Green Bean Salad With Bacon

Happy 4th of July all!

Burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, chips and dip, brownies…there’s tons of goodies when it comes to this festive holiday. Whenever I go to a party I always anticipate that there may not be many healthier options. So I like to do my part and bring a healthier side dish to share. Just call me Mama Katie, making sure you eat your veggies!

This 4th of July I’ll be attending my friend Sam’s 4th of July/birthday party. There will be the usual 4th of July food so I decided to make a veggie based side dish that represented summer. 

The idea of a green bean salad popped into my head and we had bacon to use up so I thought I could add that in. I searched for a recipe on Pinterest but couldn’t find one I liked so I thought I’d just wing it! That’s when the best recipes happen any way right? 

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I went to Trader Joe’s and got their 16 oz bag of already trimmed and ready to eat green beans and a 16 oz container of grape tomatoes.

I was going to use a store bought dressing, but then realized I could whip something up with what we had at home. Always look to see what you have at home before just buying something store bought! I’m getting better and better at that.

Once home I chopped the green beans into bite sized pieces and halved the tomatoes.

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I cooked off the bacon and sliced those into bite sized pieces. Into a big bowl they went.

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For the dressing I added dijon mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk, whisk, whisk.

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Then I poured it over the mixture in the bowl and tossed until everything was nicely coated.

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So simple. So healthy. So yummy!

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Hope you all enjoy your holiday!

Green Bean Salad With Bacon
Serves 6
A healthy side dish for your next summer get together! Green beans, grape tomatoes, bacon and a homemade honey mustard dressing.
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
For salad
  1. Green beans, 16 oz.
  2. Grape tomatoes, 16 oz.
  3. 8 slices of bacon, cooked.
For dressing
  1. 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  2. 4 tbsp honey
  3. 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  4. Salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. 1. Break off ends of green beans. Chop into bite size pieces.
  2. 2. Cut tomatoes in half.
  3. 3. Chop bacon into bite sized pieces.
  4. 4. Add green beans, tomatoes and bacon into large serving bowl.
  5. 5. Add mustard, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper into a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
  6. 6. Add dressing to salad and mix until fully coated.
  7. 7. Serve and enjoy!
A Full Plate http://afullplateblog.com/

Foodie Finds

It’s no secret that I’m a self proclaimed foodie. And as I scour the aisles at my local grocery store or favorite market I am always coming across new-to-me products. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite foodie finds with you!

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First up is the all mighty Pro Bar. Introduced to me by Lora Hogan, she gave me this bar to try a few weeks back. I had it one day after a morning workout and holy wow…delish! Highly highly recommend these for a post workout snack. Lora also loves their energy chews!

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I found this Clever Foodies Scramble in the egg section of my local Publix. I love eggs for breakfast and would love to add more veggies in them, but alas I tend to be lazy and just usually top them with salsa. This Scramble takes all the work out for you…just add a few tablespoons to your eggs and cook! Very very tasty. They have a greens version that I’m looking to try out next.

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This is my new favorite sauce. I want to have it on everything. I found this at a local European market and decided to try it on chicken. I just baked chicken breasts topped with this Ajvar sauce and served with rice and green beans. So simple and SO yum! This would also be great on a meaty fish. I also want to try it with zucchini noodles.

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Another foodie gift from Lora! She gave me one of these Naked smoothies to try since I’m a smoothie fanatic. I LOVE them. I’ve been having them post workout. Great balance of almond milk and berries.

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Picked up this white wine at Total Wine and it’s my new fav. Light and crisp with a lot of flavor. Good luck on pronouncing it.

*Foodie tip: Whenever I like a wine I always make sure to snap a pic. Then I save it to a wine photo album on my phone. That way the next time I go to the store I can remember which ones I like!

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This Big Spoon Chai Spice peanut butter was one of my finds when Locale in St. Pete first opened. So many amazing flavors playing wonderfully together here. If you love chai flavor you need to hunt this down.

What are some of your recent foodie finds?

 

 

Salmon Salad BLT Wrap

I don’t know about you, but my lunches usually rotate between a sandwich, salad or snack plate. It can get old quickly. But every now and then I love to think out of the lunch box (har har) and get creative. With a pouch of salmon and condiments in the fridge I came up with one of my new favorite lunches: the Salmon Salad BLT Wrap.

This is an incredibly easy and quick lunch to put together. Just mix up the salmon salad, lay out your wrap, layer with salmon salad, bacon and spinach, wrap it up and eat up!

I love to keep salmon pouches on hand for salads. (In fact you can use this recipe for a salad instead of a wrap!) For this, I used Chicken of the Sea brand, but you can use any of your favorites from your local grocery store. Even a fun, flavored one!

The beauty of this recipe too is that you can make it your own! Instead of mayo, you can use greek yogurt for a lower fat content. You can add any of your favorite spices. You can use turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. Kale instead of spinach. Be creative and use what you have on hand!

See below for the recipe and let me know if you try it with any of your own fun modifications!

Salmon Salad BLT Wrap
Serves 1
A super easy and healthy spin on the classic BLT.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 whole wheat wrap
  2. 5 oz Chicken of the Sea salmon pouch
  3. 1/2 cup spinach
  4. 2 strips bacon, cooked
  5. 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  6. 2 tbsp. mayonnaise
  7. 1 tsp. garlic powder
  8. 1 tsp. onion powder
  9. 1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
  10. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl add salmon, sundried tomatoes, mayonnaise, garlic and onion powder, Herbs de Provence and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  3. Crumble bacon and add to mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Place spinach in middle of wrap. Spoon mixture on top of spinach.
  5. Fold sides of wrap first, then fold bottom portion and roll forward. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. www.afullplateblog.com
A Full Plate http://afullplateblog.com/

What’s On My Plate – 06/09/15

Breakfast

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We had friends in town the weekend before last and decided to try a new brunch place. We ended up at Stella’s in Gulfport, which was a cute little spot with friendly service and great food. My corned beef hash was mighty tasty, although I wish there had been more! And who can pass up a bloody with bacon?

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Banana stuffed french toast with a side of bacon. A Chef Jon creation on a lazy morning.

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Another Chef Jon creation. Eggs with roasted cherry tomatoes, thyme, capicola, cheddar and truffle oil. Served with brioche toast and fresh mango.

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A breakfast creation by moi. Base is sauteed kale. Topped with scrambled eggs with gouda, bacon and red chile sauce. Yum-o!

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Breakfast cookies from The Protein Bakery that Lora shared with me! I loved loved loved these. They were a great breakfast and good fuel for my workout.

Lunch

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Take out from Pom Pom’s (review here). This was there Cobb sandwich and their House salad. Love them!

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Lunch at Red Mesa Mercado. I’ve been dying to try this place and the day finally came! My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach as I ordered their combo platter with a beef taco, a chicken sopa and a pork tamale. Jon had a burrito and was supposed to share with me, but his burrito was a pretty decent size. I had read reviews about the portions being a bit on the small size, but I thought they were pretty on par. And that frozen sangria was phenomenal. 

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Homemade cubans and tostones by Chef Jon. *I die* #enoughsaid

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Smoked Salmon BLT from Banyan Cafe. We checked out their new location on Central next to Morean Arts Center. It’s just as cute as their MLK location and this sandwich hit the spot. Loved the side of fresh watermelon.

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Oh look, a salad! I need more of these in my life right now. Spring mix, marinated artichoke quarters, sundried tomatoes, horseradish cheddar, turkey and ham. Dressing was my fav Brianna’s French Vinaigrette.

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Memorial Day dinner! We were going to grill the hot dogs outside, but a storm rolled in (thanks Florida). Served with corn on the cob, sauteed zucchini and homemade potato salad (so good).

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I was my friend Lora’s plus one at a wedding last weekend and it was beautiful! The wedding was at Cross Creek Ranch, which was one of my favorite wedding venues I’ve been to to date (despite the ridiculous amount of bugs that bit me throughout the night). Loved their southern BBQ menu. I don’t know who catered their food, but everything was absolutely delicious. That mac and cheese was some of the best I’ve had in a long time. So creamy! Instead of cake for guests they had cupcakes, which adorable and tasty.

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So, um, ya…more mac and cheese. Don’t judge! I was joining my friend in eating comfort food after a bad day. Buffalo Mac and Cheese at The Lodge in Tampa…it’s what dreams are made of. Side of broccoli to get my greens in!

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For a healthy dinner, the other night I made a quinoa casserole with turkey sausage, zucchini and tomatoes. I used this recipe and just added turkey sausage. Very good and very fresh tasting.

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Jon and I had a sushi night at Blue Fugu on St. Pete Beach. Out of all the sushi places I’ve tried in the Tampa Bay area, this place is my favorite. We sit at the sushi bar and chat up the sushi chef and always order their special rolls of the day. They never disappoint. And that plating? Wow. I always say it’s too pretty to eat, but ya…I eat it any way. 

What’s been on your plate lately?

Sandwiches and Sushi

New restaurants are popping up in St. Pete faster than you can say “Where should we go to eat?” From Italian to Sushi to New American, as a foodie I am thrilled to have so many awesome options for my tastebuds.

Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria

One new place that I’ve been to twice now is Pom Pom’s Teahouse and Sandwicheria. Originally started in Orlando, a long time fan decided he wanted to bring Pom Pom’s concept to St. Pete. Pom Pom’s serves a variety of teas, as well as inventive sandwich creations. It’s become one of my new favorite lunch spots. It’s also located high up on Central Ave, which is nice and close to where we live in south St. Pete. 

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The first time I stopped by I was surprised when I walked in. The inside does not quite match the outside. Inside there’s funky art and eclectic furnishings. To the left you’ll see numerous cubbies filled with bags of bread you can take home. At the counter there’s numerous delectable desserts. 

Their menu is vast and some combinations may have you scratch your head, but ask the staff and they’ll assure you that it will all make sense once you take a bite.

On my first visit I got the Fu Man Chu (Asian Pulled Pork, Watercress, Goat Cheese, Ginger Cranberry Chutney and Red Onion) and the Smoked Salmon BWT (Smoked Salmon, Bacon, Tomato, Watercress, Cheddar Cheese, Cream Cheese and Lemon Caper Aioli). I also got a side of the potato salad and cole slaw.

They were both excellent. The bread is fresh and has the perfect consistency and let’s what’s in between the slices do the talking. The chutney and the goat cheese were a surprising pairing with the asian pulled pork…smokey yet sweet with the right amount of tang. The Smoked Salmon BWT tasted like a more awesome version of my favorite breakfast, bagel and lox. The potato salad and cole slaw were both good, but nothing too exciting. 

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On a more recent visit I got The Cobb (Turkey, Tomato, Melted Bleu Cheese, Watercress, Red Onions, Bacon and Avocado) and their House Salad (Mixed Greens with Apples, Goat Cheese, Almonds and Red Onion). The Cobb was perfection…tasted just like it’s namesake salad in between bread. The salad was also very good except that the lettuce needed to be chopped up more.

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Hook’s

There are a lot of sushi places in the Tampa Bay area, but there are few “go to” sushi places. The right sushi place needs a nice atmosphere, friendly service, fresh fresh fresh fish and inventive rolls. Hook’s fits the bill.

I haven’t been to Hook’s original location on MLK for years, but was glad to see they were opening a second location on 4th St. One night after seeing Pitch Perfect 2 (so good) with my friend Ashley, we decided to give it a try.

The inside is much smaller than I thought it would be, but the space is bright and intimate and tastefully decorated. Our server was great and when asked which rolls were his favorite he rallied off about 10 of them, haha. 

They have amazing sounding appetizers like sushi nachos, steamed buns and rocket fritters. But I just wanted #allthesushi that night. So I ended up with two rolls…First Love and the Mexican. They were both oh so fresh and oh so tasty.

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What is your favorite new spot?

 

 

How Compression Helps You Be A Better Runner

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of compression socks from Tiux in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

When I first started running and training for my first race my body didn’t know what to do with itself. My leg muscles were being used more than they had ever been used. While training I became familiar with some common running injuries. Specifically shinsplints and tight calf muscles. As a new runner I turned to my good friend, Google, to see how I could alleviate these injuries and make my runs more comfortable. That’s when I learned about compression socks. 

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Compression socks were my BEST running accessory while training, especially for long distances. I’m just now getting back into running and once again I’m relying on compression socks as my muscles get used to the motions of running again. That’s why I was thrilled to receive a pair of new compression socks from Tiux. Tiux is a small startup that sells performance compression socks exclusively online. Since they cut out the middleman, retail stores, etc. their socks get shipped directly to you for only $35 AND free shipping. Not bad, right? Plus, they come in some pretty awesome colors.

If you’ve never tried compression socks before here are some reasons why I LOVE them:

1. They help your muscles recover faster.

Some people wear their compression socks during a run and after their, or just during their run. I do both. I wear them about 1-2 hours after my run and I definitely notice a difference in my muscles not being as sore than if I hadn’t worn them. The compression helps to reduce lactic acid build up in your muscles and improves circulation. Plus, they’re really comfy!

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2. They help you run better.

If you’re legs are sore from yesterday’s run and you still need to fit a few miles in the next day just slip on compression socks to help alleviate the soreness and enjoy your run. 

3. They protect your feet and legs.

Compression socks are great coverage for your legs if you’re prone to scrapes, bumps, getting dirty, getting bit by bugs, etc. They also help with chafing, which sometimes happens when wearing ankle socks.

4. They keep you warm on cool days.

We are a LONG way away from cool days here in FL, but when they do come around compression socks are a great way to help keep your legs warm. I wear them over running leggings, as well as with shorts.

5. They just plain look cool!

Stand out during your next race or be the talk of your running club when you show up with awesome, colorful compression socks!

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These Tiux compression socks gave great compression and are really comfortable. It may be silly, but my favorite part about them is their color! I am a big fan of the purple/pink combo. If you want to get your hands on a pair of these awesome compression socks check out Tiux at tiux.co.

Do you wear compression socks?

 

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival Recap

Disclaimer: I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival through Big City Events and the Tampa Bay Bloggers in exchange for a review. All opinions, as always, are my own.

This past Saturday I got to attend the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival thanks to Big City Events! 

Thanks to summer storms we weren’t actually sure we’d make it. The festival was from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. and to beat the heat of the day my friend Ashley and I decided to go in the evening. I also had my friends Nick and Katie come up from Cape Coral to join the fun! 

We left St. Pete around 5:30 p.m. and it was POURING. We crossed our fingers, hoping the bad weather was going south and that Tampa would be all clear. Luckily, it was!

Ashley and I had VIP tickets so when we got there we checked in and received these nifty wristbands.

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These are RFID-enabled wristbands that made the festival cashless. Instead of fumbling for money at each vendor you could pay for food and drinks with just a swipe! Very, very cool and smart for a big festival. And it definitely made paying much easier!

Our VIP tickets got us access to the Grand Marnier VIP Experience, which was a huge tent that had unlimited margaritas. Of course, we headed there first.

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Unfortunately, at 6:30 p.m. they were out of some of their mixers so the margarita types were limited. I ended up with the Prickly Pear and the Classic. The Prickly Pear was awesome! Not sure if it quite tasted like pear, but it was very good nonetheless. The Classic was a good mix of sweet and sour.

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Nick and Katie visited some of the vendors and I got to try a sip of their pineapple margarita, which was fantastic! The festival was super crowded, but upon exploration we found an upper level that was much more low key, had tables, cornhole, seating areas, etc.

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I really wanted to try some of the extreme margaritas that had been promoted, but the line was SUPER long so I had to forego it.

As for food there was a good variety of places to eat. For some reason I really wanted a hot dog and found an awesome hot dog vendor. Lots of yummy choices, and I ended up with the chili dog.

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Unfortunately, we missed seeing Smash Mouth and the fireworks, but the other bands that were playing while we were there were really good and did a great job of keeping the crowd entertained.

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Overall, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival was a blast and I can’t wait to go again next year! Thanks again to Big City Events for providing me tickets! 

Tampa Bay Margarita Festival *Giveaway*

So, remember how much fun the Bloody Mary Festival was? Well, Big City Events has another awesome event coming up…the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival!

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The Tampa Bay Margarita Festival will be at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa, FL from 12 p.m. – 11 p.m. on Saturday, May 23.

I’m already drooling over their website…there will be 14 (yes 14!) tequila and liquor brands pouring different kinds of margaritas. Brands include Cabo Wabo, Hornitos, Sauza 901, Camarena, Margaritaville and more! There’s even an Extreme Margarita Bar featuring a RedBull Margarita, Sour Patch Margarita, Strawberry Sriracha Margarita and even a Bacon-a-Rita!

And while you’re enjoying those yummy margaritas there will be some awesome bands on stage throughout the day. And you’ll never guess who the headliner is…Smash Mouth!! 

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Now that you know how much fun is going to be happening, who wants to go?? I have two pairs of FREE general admission tickets to the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival up for grabs. To enter to win visit their website here and comment below on which margarita you’re most excited to try! Comment by Wednesday, May 20 at 12 a.m. and I’ll be randomly choosing two winners on Thursday, May 21.

Good luck and hope to see you there!

*Winners have been chosen and contacted. Congrats to Summer and Katie D.!*

 

 

Influenster Bella Vox Box Review

When I got back from Vegas I was thrilled to see this little pink box waiting for me.

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Have you heard of Influenster? It’s this really cool social site that sends you free items to review if you have a high social impact. It’s a great way for brands to get feedback on their latest products and hey, who doesn’t love free stuff?

This box is called the Bella Vox Box and was filled with fun beauty and foodie finds.

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Influenster includes a card that gives a run down of each product, it’s price, the company’s social tags, etc.

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First thing I saw was this coupon for Club W. Club W is a wine club that chooses wine for you based on a short quiz you take on your palate. You get 3 bottles for $39 a month, which sounded like a lot to me at first. But truth is I probably spend about that much on wine a month anyway. The coupon we got is for a free bottle of wine when we buy our first two bottles. You can get this deal to! Just use promo code: REFERME. I looked around on their website and there are a lot of wines I’ve never heard of so I’m excited to give it a try and find some new favorites!

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Next up were these chocolate covered blueberries from Dove.

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Although I don’t think you can taste much of the fruit these are still a tasty treat. For a snack I mixed them up with shredded coconut and walnuts. Yum!

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Next was this Eco Tools Mattifying Finish Brush.

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I LOVE this brush. It works great with the loose powder I use and it is the softest brush ever. I also love the look and design (the handle is made of bamboo) and EcoTools is big on using organic materials for their products, which I love.

Next is Not Your Mother’s Deja Vu Do Style Extender.

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Again, I am in love with this product. First off it smells AMAZING. But it also really makes a difference with my hair! The first day I tried it I was outside at the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival for 3 hours and then later spent another 2 hours on the beach. By the time I got home my hair was still in really good shape, where normally it would have been a hot mess. Can’t say enough about this tube of joy…I even bought my mom some for Mother’s Day!

Next up were two products from Rimmel’s Kate line.

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Since my name is Katie I love that the lipstick has “Kate” on it haha…it’s like my own personal lipstick! I also really liked these products. The mascara gives great coverage and really elongated my lashes and made them look full. The lipstick is super moisturizing and stays on well. 

Last up was Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs. 

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I almost didn’t try this product. First of all, they sent me a light color, which isn’t the right color for me since I have tan skin (but obviously there’s no way for them to know that). Secondly, I have tried this in the past and wasn’t thrilled with the results. I have a lot of dark scars on my legs and I’ve tried different leg make up and I always feel like you can tell it’s make up and then I feel silly.

However, I gave it a shot any way. Below the leg on the left is the one with Airbrush Legs on it. I posted it on Sally Hansen’s Facebook page and someone commented that they thought it evened me out, but I’m still not completely sold.

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And that’s it! Overall, I loved what Influenster sent me…it introduced me to some great new products!

Have you tried any of the above products? What do you think of them?

Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival

Disclaimer: I received two free tickets for myself and a guest to attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival through the Tampa Bay Bloggers. All opinions are my own.

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival thanks to Big City Events and the Tampa Bay Bloggers. As expected, it was bloody mary heaven.

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It was a beautiful day in Tampa. A tad hot, but beautiful none the less. As soon as we arrived it seemed like a fun scene. There was live music, cornhole and of course lot’s of bloody Mary’s!

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All of my favorite Tampa restaurants were there: Datz, Roux, Boca, Epicurean, Irish 31, Carmel, Ferg’s, SONO, Paddywagon and Acropolis. Each restaurant was striving for the coveted “Best Bloody Mary” and gave out a free sample of their blood’s.

With a general admission ticket you got one free full sized drink so we thought it was best to get our full sized drink to sip on as we waited in the lines for the samples. For the full sized bloody Mary’s the event used Tito’s and Zing Zang mix. I love Tito’s but these blood’s weren’t the best. It was a good starter, but nothing compared to the samples we were about to taste.

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(I got a bit overzealous and got two so I wouldn’t have to wait in line again!)

Each restaurant had it’s own booth therefore each had it’s own line. The event was set up fairly well and the lines went pretty fast.

First on our list was Epicurean. A few friends we were with said it was their favorite so far.

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Garnished with an amazing piece of pastrami cured salmon. It was good, but too spicy for my taste.

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Next was Datz.

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Oh ya…one thing that really set many of these blood’s apart were their garnishes. The more the better! This was a sweet pepper stuffed with smoked pastrami, bacon and a green bean. Also an olive stuffed with a pickle. And that thing little pretzel on the end? Yes, folks, that is a COMBO. Insert childhood nostalgia.

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Datz used a bacon infused bloody mary mix, which tasted fantastic and made this bloody my favorite of the day.

Next was Roux who served their blood’s with hush puppies. Yum!

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I really liked this bloody mary as well. It had a slow heat and the Cajun seasoning around the rim was perfection.

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Believe it or not these were the only three I ended up trying. I love my bloody’s, but was getting bloodied out!

Thankfully there was also tons and tons of FOOD. In the form of food trucks no less.

I spotted the Bacon Boss food truck right when we walked in so I just had to get something from them.

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Grilled cheese with bacon, tomato and ranch. De-lish. Seriously tasted like the grilled cheese of my childhood.

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I’m so glad to have attended the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival…here’s to next year!

Did you attend the Tampa Bay Bloody Mary Festival? If so, who had your favorite bloody mary?

 

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