Direct Energy and Nest #DEsmarthome

chat October 8, 2014 Leave a response

One thing I have already noticed about this fall, we’ve already started to pull the blankets out for times when we aren’t asleep.

We’ve needed a throw a few times when we were sitting around reading or watching a family movie on the sofa.

Smart Thermostat

Direct Energy and Nest provided me with a mixture of energy efficiency and smart home ideas for you! I already do a few of these ideas in our home but I know there is always room for improvement — especially when it comes to new ways to save money during the summer and winter!

Here’s what Direct Energy and Nest suggests we all do –

1. Install a smart thermostat, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat. Smart thermostats offer you climate control, the convenience of programming away from home, and more.

2. Your living room typically has multiple active light sources available. Make sure your lighting is energy efficient by switching traditional bulbs to CFLs or LEDs.

3. Replace your old, inefficient appliances with new, efficient, Energy Star® appliances. Old appliances tend to run inefficiently.

4. Replace the showerhead in your bathroom(s) with low flow showerheads. These showerheads regulate the flow of water, assuring you a more efficient shower.

5. Make sure you have a strong Wi-fi signal from your smart thermostat and smart devices. Because you can remotely control your smart thermostat via the internet, periodically check the signal strength in the network settings on the thermostat’s control screen.

6. Installing light dimmers can save cut your electricity use 40% over time and make your lightbulbs last 20 times longer.

7. Use an automated pet food and water dispensing system so you don’t have to worry about feeding your pets if you happen to be away from home for longer than you had intended.

8. Planting trees in optimal spots on your property will provide shade during the warmer months making your system work less hard to cool your home down.

9. Even when your appliances are turned off, they are still using electricity. Use smart power strips to combat energy vampires.

10. Use a smart sprinkler to control your sprinkler system from your smartphone. They adjust setting based on weather and time of day so you don’t have to.

For more information on how you can save 20% on your heating or cooling bill check out this link if you are reading from your desktop or this link if you are reading from your mobile device.

Thanks Direct Energy for sponsoring this post!

#Selfie Confidence

chat September 19, 2014 Leave a response

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“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I used to walk into a room and hold one hand in the other as a way to be less nervous. When people came up to me to talk, I’d have no issue finding something to talk about with them but I could never go up to other people and just start a conversation. I was shy. And there’s a very good chance I also felt I didn’t want to intrude or be a bother so I stayed to myself or only with the people I knew.

MirrorSelfie

Years later, I can walk into any room and chat with anyone. And if the last eighteen months are any indication, I really do mean anyone. Although there are many times where I prefer to stay quiet so other people can be in the spotlight they want/need. Being self-confident goes a long way in my little career/job/lifestyle. Notice I didn’t say being obnoxious, I just mean I am fine with my flaws enough that I can be silly and not worry all day what people will think. I accept them.

FourSelfies

But most importantly I’m comfortable enough in my skin that I take a #selfie by myself or with a friend (#usie) and post them without a filter. That’s a topic of conversation with some of my friends. “Oh no, I forgot you don’t use filters.”

I figure if I show people how I actually look that day, then I’m really being myself. What you see is what you get.  My funny faces and pictures where I am still eating a cupcake. Or making a ridiculous face because a friend took a photo and didn’t think to check it before she posted it.

cupcake

I’m fine with it all. And I’m proud I am a different person than I was years ago. Especially with social media being such a huge part of our lives. Being confident is one of the super powers I am happy to have. :)

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Want to enter the “Countdown to Confidence Daily Instant Win & Sweepstakes” that started this week and runs through November 13th? Find out more information about it here.  You may enter daily for a chance to win $100 instantly (there is one winner daily) – each daily entry will count towards the grand prize drawing of free Invisalign or Invisalign Teen treatment and $1000. You may also “Tell a Friend” after entering and gain three additional entries for each friend that enters! Full rules can be read here.

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Moms Advisory Board.  I am receiving complimentary Invisalign treatment as part of this program. All opinions are my own and based on my own treatment experience. 

Captain America Cake Cookies

standard September 14, 2014 Leave a response

Happy Weekend everyone! It’s definitely starting to feel like fall here in Manhattan. Sweaters are being pulled out of our tiny closets and sneakers instead of sandals are stepping over cracks on the sidewalk.

This past week, Captain America – The Winter Soldier was released on DVD making my at home movie night plans pretty obvious. I thought it would be fun to make a dessert using M&Ms inspired by Captain America to celebrate its release. A little birdie told me #HeroesEatMMs and well, who am I to disagree!?

HeroesEatMMscakecookies

I decided to make red white and blue cake cookies for my children. All four of my children are big fan of M&Ms (with the blue ones being the favorite of my three year old!) so we picked up two bags at Walmart. I let my oldest choose which types of M&Ms I would use.

At Walmart #HeroesEatMMs

I bought both bags but actually ended up only using the bag of M&M minis. I separated the red and blue M&Ms from the bag of M&M minis and put the rest of the colors aside for me to use when doing fall baking.

One of my favorite things about autumn is getting back into the baking groove so the leftover orange, green and brown M&Ms will come in handy. (Want some M&Ms? Grab this M&Ms coupon! Thanks for that tip #CollectiveBias)

#HeroesEatMMs CakeCookiesIngredients

The cake cookies were simple to make. Mixing eggs, butter and cake flour into a bowl took minutes and before I knew it I was adding blue and red mini M&Ms into the batter. (A simple cheat to this recipe is to buy a box of white cake mix instead of going the flour, baking soda, salt, eggs route!)

#HeroesEatMMs MandMsinCakeBatter

Once I mixed them all in, the last step was for me to evenly spread the mixture onto a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. I sprayed it baking PAM. Yep, I truly hack recipes to make them even easier and I am totally not ashamed.

CakeCookieBatter

After 20 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees, it was ready. After it cooled I cut it into squares.

#HeroesEatMMs CakeCookiesOutTheOven

The cake cookies looked really fun with the colors inside. But there was one last step to making these red, white and blue cake cookies to enjoy while watching the Captain America sequel.

#HeroesEatMMs RedAndBlueMandMCakeCookies

The icing! I put white icing on the cookies and added red and blue mini M&Ms for more patriotic fun!

Sure you can eat them without it (like I did while making them… who could wait!?) but icing just adds more to the cookie. So why not!

Captain America Inspired Red, White and Blue Cake Cookies #HeroesEatMMs

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