Thursday, April 28, 2016

No Awesome Life Friday This Week


Hi, all!  This week, I've just had no time to get our Awesome Life Friday Link Up Party together -we've been up to our eyeballs in home renovations (and I can't wait to share some of the progress with you), and this week, we've been dealing with no kitchen!

Which makes meal prep, dishes clean up and all sorts of things harder than they usually are, and the time just got away from me.

We'll be back next week and share some features from last week's party then - meanwhile, as long as you're here, share your links with Party in Your PJs through Sunday evening!

Also, if your link has any sort of Cinco de Mayo theme - a Mexican inspired recipe, decor or craft project, activity or essay - then share it with us on our Festive Cinco de Mayo link up!  I look forward to seeing what you've brought!

We'll see you next week!

A Fanson in Tulsa


This past October, my family was up for a military PCS from California to Germany. We decided that instead of flying out of the West Coast, we would drive across country to make lots of stops and visits along the way, ending at my mom's house in Maryland for a few weeks before going overseas via Dulles Airport.

Among the planned stops was Tulsa, Oklahoma – for a few reasons.

My Dad's first wife, my stepmom, Beth resides there and we are pretty close. Though I didn't know her growing up, I will always consider her family. We had stayed with her when we were in town before, but in the past it was quick overnights without getting to see the sights. Not this time! We stayed 3 nights, and loved being able to be leisurely about exploring Tulsa, instead of rushed through.

My husband already knew full how I likely had our days planned out, and for the most part, I definitely did.

It was easy, really... Tulsa OK is the hometown of my favorite band, Hanson and I already knew all their favorite spots to eat and shop and couldn't wait to experience them for myself. Judge away, no shame.

We didn't arrive until nearly 5am, after a ridiculously long drive, so the first thing we did was go straight to bed! But I didn't want to waste the next day, so we headed straight out after a short sleep.

I had a list of places to try for breakfast based on Hanson recommendations and spottings, but had to keep in mind we had a 1 and 6 year old in our midst, so needed to be sure to go somewhere they would be accommodated as well.

I should also mention that I was under no delusions that I would actually run into my favorite celebs as I knew they were currently touring on the East Coast. That said, we settled on a place called Blue Moon Cafe. It was a small place with mostly locally sourced salad and sandwich type items. It was quite tasty and gave us a quiet place to GPS plan the rest of our stops.

After our breakfast we walked just a few blocks down to a place called IDA RED. It is primarily an “I HEART Tulsa” kind of boutique, but also a well known Hanson favorite – it's even a stop on the tour during Hanson Day every May.

They had a ton of unique soda flavors from a local company and strange foreign foods and candies (like beer cotton candy!) I didn't purchase anything Tulsa specific, except post cards for my collection, but I got a few goodies.

My favorite find was my FREAKER USA!! (Jessica reviewed them a few months back so it made me pretty giddy to get my hands on one!)

After IDA RED we hopped in the car and headed to our next stop, Dwelling Spaces.

From my research this place is kind of the obvious, that all fans seem to know is THE place to be for Hanson Fans. Apparently they occasionally have Hanson merchandise, even.

 But one of the real shining lights is the coffee shop inside called Joe Bots.

Rumor has it, they can draw a mean foam Hanson symbol on your cappuccino. As curious as I was to test this theory, it was hot, and I needed an iced chai... so the mystery remains. The shop itself was awesome, but a bit expensive in my opinion.

After a short break to Geocache, we were back on our way.

Next up was Hanson's recording studio!! I was possibly most excited for this. I knew they weren't there, and that it was legit just a picture outside a building, but it was a mindset – they without a doubt, stood here, touched this doorknob, took a picture in this exact spot.

As we were looking for it, I also came across Cain's Ballroom. This is by far their most favorite place to play, and they speak of it often. We didn't bother to stop, but at least had to take a pic to say I was there..

Our next leg of the adventure was another I was quite excited for! We were headed to a site where they had filmed parts of their “Thinkin Bout Somethin” Video.

So off to the corner of N. Greenwood and E. Archer we went! It wasn't hard to find. It's just a street view with the overpass in the backround.

I wasn't able to get a replicated shot, but it's clear it was filmed quite overhead.

If you go a bit further past the bridge you'll find the iconic blues mural they used as well. It was so interesting to see how much was photoshopped and changed for it! I loved standing there. I felt very connected to my favorite band. 

Two more stops to go on my personal Hanson tour of Tulsa! 

Next up was a sweet shop. Every Valentine's day on they sell boxes of chocolates with their different iconic symbols on them. 

These are made by Glacier Confections. Although the shop is small, I was amazed by the selection! If you can dream it, they'd already made it. 

On a big screen behind the counter they even had the original Willy Wonka playing on repeat.

The lady behind the counter was one of the sweetest retail people I've ever met. She was happy to chit chat and answer anything and she was the first person all day that I told what personal tour we were on. When she said she was happy to answer any questions I say “I have one.... have you ever personally MET Hanson??” haha! 

Sadly she hasn't but she did know what I was talking about which was good enough. We spent a good bit of money for some of the most exotic artisan chocolates and truffles...a good few were alcoholic. ;)

The very last stop on my Hanson propelled tour was their childhood home. They no longer owned it of course and the address is public knowledge from when it was sold a few years back.

Obviously I wouldn't overstep any boundaries but I just wanted to SEE it. It's where it all began. It's where they got the name 3CG (Three Car Garage) and created many of the songs I've come to love.

So after a long drive to Mounds, I found that it was entirely inaccessable. Not only was it completely invisable due to the tree cover but there is a lovely sign warning people away...I'll assume I'm not the first Hanson fan to search out this sight... Le Sigh...

We ended the night with meeting up with our wonderful hostess at a Mexican restaurant in town. I had originally thought about wanting to try either Mexicali or Caz's Steakhouse which are notable to the Hanson Fangroup, as these are where the boys take everyone during Hanson Day weekend, but we settled on Cafe Ole without regret. They had wonderful food, and even better margaritas to be enjoyed on the patio.

Our second day was spent doing much needed laundry and being lazy after days on the road with many more ahead. When Beth returned after work we spent the afternoon enjoying her farm land filled with beautiful horses. 

My girls had been begging to meet them and were so happy to get on the golf cart like vehicle and go feed the animals. 

The night topped off with a delisious dinner at JL's Bar'B'Que. This place was insane! It was buffet lunch line style and they top you off like no one's business. 

We went the out of towner way and got the sampler. I believe it filled two trays with pulled pork and chicken, sausages, cole slaw, potato wedges, texas toast, corn, you name it! Between the 4 of us, we still couldn't come close to finishing it! 

After dinner we ventured into a local Amish store and bought the kids some fun new toys and snacks for the next leg of the drive we'd be facing the next day.

On day three, all we had time for was packing and a lovely last meal at a diner I can't remember the name of. 

I had so much fun on this trip with family and finally getting to experience a part of the world I've been eyeing for more than a decade and a half. I will make it back again someday and happily stand in all the same spots once again. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma is a beautiful city filled with friendly people and much to offer. Hanson fan or not, I recommend checking it our some day.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Party in Your PJs #103

1 comment:
Welcome to Party in Your PJs!

Happy Tuesday!  Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll still find the Awesome Life Friday link up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

This week, if you've got a Cinco de Mayo themed DIY, recipe, activity or essay to share, swing over to this post and add it to the link up!

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at

Features from Last Weeks Party!

Make sure you head over to the other member of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!

Were you Featured? Grab a button!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

-Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment, we all love comments
-If you were featured, grab a"Featured" button, found below.
-Consider adding our Party button to your Party Page or Post.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Festive Cinco De Mayo Recipes (and Link Up!)


Whether you celebrate Cinco de Mayo, or simply love a great excuse to plan your menu around the great flavors of Mexico, this is a wonderful time of year to stock up on some new Tex-Mex recipes!  I notice that our writers here at RCHReview frequently share their personal family favorites, and thought it'd be a great time to showcase a few of them.  I bet one or two of these will fit right into your personal recipe box!

Homemade Chunky Salsa (Chelsea Joy)

Taco Bites (Jackie Snider)

White Chicken Chili (Jackie Snider)

We'd love to hear about your Mexican influenced recipes, decor or activities, so we're putting up a themed blog hop on the bottom of this post that will be up until Cinco de Mayo.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review/Giveaway: NeoCell Collagen Sport


I was recently given the opportunity to try NeoCell Collagen Sport for review - and just in time! I had just committed to doing a 12 week weight loss challenge (no, I'm not crazy) and a big part of weight loss is eating right. Have you ever heard 20% fitness, 80% nutrition, and 100% mindset? I have, and I’ve been coached to ensure I am getting enough protein, and I am pumped for results!

Another fun lesson in the school of Jen:

Protein needs vary from person to person, but the basics are know your muscle mass (how much you weigh in muscle alone), and absorb that same number in grams of protein. This is the minimum you need to maintain muscle. Example: I have 95lbs of muscle. To maintain I need to absorb 95 grams of protein per day. If I am working out and intend to increase muscle, I would need to absorb more protein.

Just as I started this weight loss challenge, I received Neocell Collagen Sport in the mail, a BIG 3lb container of Belgian Chocolate flavor! Each of the 30 servings have 30 grams of protein, 15g from whey protein, and 15g of collagen protein - score!

Reading the label, I learned that not only is collagen great for inner and outer beauty (read any of my other Neocell reviews to see my results with skin, hair and nails), but is necessary to develop sturdy connective tissue, like tendons and ligaments.

Dude! Most sport recovery supplements don't even target this issue.

But, as someone who had a foot sprain a few years ago, this is important to me. Running and other exercises can feel uncomfortable, and I was curious to know if using Neocell Collagen Sport would make a difference.

Here was my experience:

When consistently making shakes with Collagen Sport, I began to notice that the only fatigue I feel during and after a workout is in the muscles I am pushing and growing, not in my joints.

I used to be consistent with running, and working out, and just getting into it again feels great! I know protein helps feed muscles which is great, but I was surprised when the night of, or the day after my strenuous workouts and running, notice no joint pain. Surprised, relieved, and motivated to do more!

The suggested use is one scoop (provided) in 6 to 8oz water, or in your favorite dairy free smoothie. Other suggestions are to use in the morning as breakfast or within 45 minutes of exercise. Collagen Sport was designed to dissolve easily with a spoon if a shaker cup is not available.

So what's the first thing I do? Put this spoon theory to the test!

Because of my previous, and limited experience with protein powders, I opted for more water rather than less. My only experience with protein powder is Herbalife protein, which thickens my smoothies and has a small scoop. The scoop for the Collagen Sport protein powder is 3 times the size of the Herbalife scoops (again, I tested this theory). The initial consistency is thin and watery, though when it sits for a little while, I noticed it will thicken.

I had a friend try Collagen Sport with me to get her view. She let me know that in her vast experience with different protein powders, to have a large scoop, and thin consistency is normal. I prefer a thicker smoothie, as I feel it makes for more of a meal, and fills me up more.

Collagen Sport is free of gluten, sugar and artificial flavors, resulting in the Belgian Chocolate flavor being very mild. My friend added stevia to her mixture, and enjoyed a sweeter drink. I find Collagen Sport is best added to a smoothie or shake.

I later mixed Collagen Sport with Herbalife Chocolate Formula 1, and enjoyed a rich delicious and nutritious high protein meal shake! I also found this video, with other great ideas:

So, now I drink down my Collagen Sport in a shaker cup with an Herbalife Formula 1 healthy meal shake mix when at work or on the go, or with only 6 oz water, one ice cube, and a homemade protein muffin with coconut oil. Again, the flavor is mild, but I know I am reaping tons of benefits in just a few cold sips.

As I mentioned before, 80% of results, whether  in a weight loss challenge or not, will come from what we chose to eat, and absorb. Collagen Sport has made every day easier for me knowing I can get almost a third of my Protein needs in a few easy sips, while maintaining stronger joints, and still glowing with great skin, hair, and nails!

So far I have lost about 4lbs, and a few inches! Thank you Neocell, for being a part of creating a healthier and happier me.

Collagen Sport comes in Belgian Chocolate and French Vanilla, in containers of 1.5lbs, or 3lbs. These products can easily found online, starting at $23.99.

For a chance try this awesome protein powder with hidden positive beauty side effects, enter our giveaway below, for US residents.  One lucky winner will receive a 3lb jar in the flavor of their choice!

To enter the giveaway, you must leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 5/7. 

The winners will be notified by email within 24 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Once the winners have responded and confirmed, their first names will be posted on our Giveaways  page.

Good luck!