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Saturday, July 23, 2016

After School Good Milk Gone: Grilled Peanut Butter And Jelly

This post was sponsored by a2 Milk® as part of an Ambassador Program for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.
a2 Milk® helps those with self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort enjoy real milk again. Pair it with our favorite back to school snack, the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich! #a2milk #IC (AD)
Momma Told Me: Some things just go  together like peanut butter and jelly.

I have a confession- As a young girl I absolutely despised the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Almost every school day Momma would pack me a sack lunch and I'd open up my pail to see a messy ziploc, with sharpie notes scribbled along the side from my father, and a smashed peanut butter sandwich inside. I didn't care if it looked a horrid mess. In fact I'd even smash it further until it almost resembled something a steamroller had gone over, then roll it up and eat it like a burrito. Yup, I was one of those kids. But the only thing crying out for a nice tall, cold, glass of milk more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a peanut butter (only) sandwich. I couldn't guzzle my juice box fast enough, and it simply wasn't the same. There is no substitute for milk.
a2 Milk® helps those with self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort enjoy real milk again. Pair it with our favorite back to school snack, the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich! #a2milk #IC (AD)
I know, I know- soy this and coconut that. As the better half of a lactose intolerant individual we keep plenty of milk alternatives in our home, and I use them often- but what about me? You may recall that I have self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort that is not attributed to lactose, but can put a little bit of a damper on my milk love, just the same. A few months ago I discovered a2 Milk®, milk
sourced from specially selected cows proven to produce milk missing the troublesome A1 protein, often associated with post dairy digestive discomfort. This milk only comes from specially sourced cows in the U.S.A. It tastes exactly like 'regular' cows milk, and is available in varieties such as whole, and 2% reduced fat, and is found next to the specialty milks and milk alternatives in your local dairy case.
a2 Milk® helps those with self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort enjoy real milk again. Pair it with our favorite back to school snack, the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich! #a2milk #IC (AD)
a2 Milk® is not only a great option for me, but a wonderful after school snack pairing for the upcoming back to school season. a2 Milk® contains approximately 6x the amount of calcium as soy beverages, approximately 8x the protein of almond beverages and approximately 6x the potassium levels of rice beverages. 
Obviously nutrition is just as important as being delicious and convenient, when considering after school snacks. As someone who often cares for multiple children after school, whether my nieces and nephews, or at the daycare, a2 Milk® is a great option to fuel kids. I love that it tastes just like real milk, because it is real milk, while offering the traditional nutritional benefits of milk.
grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Not entirely convinced you want to give up your milk alternatives? Some things, like my Grilled PB&J simply aren't the same with a glass of almond milk- this delicious warm, gooey, slightly crisp after school snack can only be paired with a tall glass of delicious white thunder. I might have spent several school yard lunch breaks dreaming of downing my peanut butter sandwich but a2 Milk® has finally made up for all those years at last!
a2 Milk® helps those with self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort enjoy real milk again. Pair it with our favorite back to school snack, the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich! #a2milk #IC (AD)
Now, I know you're not sitting there telling me, "Jenna, I've never had a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich," because that would be a horrible revelation. It doesn't matter whether you're a grape jelly, or strawberry jelly kinda person, heck- even a few banana slices will work! Simply heat up a skillet with a little bit of butter and slather some peanut butter all over the thickest bread you can find and grill. When the edges of those slices start to brown and you hear the sizzle of the filling gurgling down the side you know you're on track to the best after school snack ever. Just don't forget the milk!
a2 Milk® helps those with self diagnosed post dairy digestive discomfort enjoy real milk again. Pair it with our favorite back to school snack, the grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich! #a2milk #IC (AD)
I'll admit, the school year isn't quite hear yet, and I've already get myself hooked on this after school comfort routine. Some things just make you feel completely content inside, and this pairing is comfort food at it's best! I've been enjoying a2 Milk® without any post dairy digestive troubles for the past several months and I quite like being reunited with my long lost friend. If you and milk have parted ways keep an eye out for a2 Milk® in the dairy case near you, and be sure to stock up before back to school time!

What Daughter Says: For my 'famous' grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, real milk is the only pairing!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

British Comedy At It's Finest In Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, This Summer #AbFabMovie

This post is made possible by support from Fox Searchlight Pictures. All opinions are my own.
#AbFabMovie 7/22/2016 #ad Absolutely Fabulous The Movie
Momma Told Me: Create your own fabulous.

Summer is here and it seems the movie season has arrived, though one film is not quite expected to be a Summer blockbuster, it does feature an array of over 60 internationally recognized cameos, and an outlandish cast and plot that is sure to break even the staunchest of Summer doldrums. Based entirely around the cult following British comedy television series Absolutely Fabulous, or Ab Fab for short, delivers everything one would expect from a British comedy. It is at times horribly offensive, laugh out loud funny, perplexingly odd, and visually over the top. If you are one of the series loyal followers and somehow escaped the knowledge of it's revival through this 100% authentic film- run to the theaters, you simply cannot miss it, darling. For the 95% rest of the American population, read on to learn a little more about the zany lead and her cinematic debut.
#AbFabMovie 7/22/2016 #ad Absolutely Fabulous The Movie
First most I should disclose that I was, prior to screening this film, familiar with the cast, characters, and plot on a casual level. I'd seen a few episodes of the British comedy here and there, and it held my interest enough that I followed them through to their final credits. I can't say I'm a professed fan, or follower, though- and the girlfriend I brought along for the ride certainly was as 'fresh' as it comes to the Ab Fab lineup.

If you are unfamiliar with the series, you likely do not partake in British comedies, and as a result will probably find the film very much like a horrible train wreck. Even I found myself cringing numerous times through the first 15 minutes or so, as the cast and characters fell into place. While the loyalists of the series were in stitches and a buzz, I missed out on a lot of the finer nuances to the dry jokes, and authentic cameos. Having said this, once we settled in, and I committed myself to the ride I found myself more and more enjoying the flamboyant costumes, the off color humor, and the absurd characters that are Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley.)
#AbFabMovie 7/22/2016 #ad Absolutely Fabulous The Movie
You're probably wondering what the film is about, we'll get to that.

But first you should know that the film is most guttural because it features two lead characters in a 'bro flick' companionship doing all of the slapstick, offensive, 'did they just?' humor we've been conditioned to expect from male counterparts. These two women are smoking, cursing, drinking, and more the entirety of the film. And, thanks to the 60+ cameos, I cannot help but compare Absolutely Fabulous The Movie to This Is The End (2013). If you found yourself laughing out loud as actor James Franco and a slew of his celebrity friends greet the end of times over a major Hollywood party, than this film will feel familiar and made for you.
Absolutely Fabulous, the movie, is based directly off the end of the British comedy series of the same name. As such the characters pick up right where they left off, at last, finally out of money and desperately trying to find any 'get rich quick' scheme to maintain their fabulous lifestyle. The main character, Edina Monsoon is a PR agent desperately trying to attach herself to the latest fads, and trends of the youth in an effort to keep herself eternally popular and young. Her sidekick, Patsy Stone (Joanna Lumley) is the slightly more sinister best friend who is always around to solve problems in the most catastrophic of manners.

When the two find their credit cards 'broken' they set out to land a new PR client to represent, the stunning party girl, and model, Kate Moss. When their shenanigans go too far Edina is accused of murder in an unfortunate series of events that ultimately leads to the 'Laverne And Shierley' like duo becoming unlikely fugitives.
#AbFabMovie 7/22/2016 #ad Absolutely Fabulous The Movie
Once the film gets rolling the visuals, costumes, language, and humor begins to feel almost familiar and it's hard for even the most resistant not to begin caring about the zany characters and their next adventure. Would someone who is not hip on British humor, or familiar with the series, possibly enjoy this move? My friend Jo says she thoroughly enjoyed it and would watch it again- she called it 'laugh out loud' funny. I'll admit, I'm not quite the slapstick sort of gal, so I wouldn't give it a raving review- but it definitely is worth a watch. Absolutely Fabulous, at the end if it, is really jut plain good (definitely not clean) fun. Besides, why not watch just to count all the FABulous cameos- Brienne of Tarth, erm Gwendoline Christie even makes an appearance alongside John Hamm! For those still on the fence you can actually discover the characters and stream Absolutely Fabulous, the TV show on Hulu now and check out some of the previews for the movie on YouTube! Absolutely Fabulous will be in theaters nationwide beginning Friday July 22nd.


What Daughter Says: If you're looking for a laugh, Absolutely Fabulous is a no brainer, for better or worse. Stay Fabulous, darling!


#AbFabMovie 7/22/2016 #ad Absolutely Fabulous The Movie

Friday, July 15, 2016

Banana Split Strawberries Recipe

Banana Split Strawberries
Momma Told Me: Taste the season.

When I was a young girl we'd overnight strawberries to my grandparents in Massachusetts. This might seem like a silly thing to do, but I've heard all too well the plight of over-priced, over-ripe, tiny strawberries on the East Coast. See, I grew up quite literally walking past the strawberry fields to school, and my little Southern California town is known as one of the strawberry capitals of the country. We even hold a massive strawberry festival each Spring. A life without fresh, ripe, dippable, bursting with flavor strawberries never occurred to me as I was painting my shirt, fingers, and face with strawberry juice as a child.
Banana Split Strawberries
I've had many tell me that my local strawberries are some of the best they've ever had. I suppose I take it for granted when I can walk to a stand several blocks from my house and pick up a fresh (picked that morning) flat for just $6. And for those not savvy with the market lingo- a flat is many many baskets- 8, to be exact. Yes, I know, you probably pay $5-6 for a pint even in season, if you live in a cold climate state.
So what does all this have to do with anything? Am I just rubbing my beautiful berry fortune in your face? Well, yes, and no. Strawberries simply are a staple here for most of the year. We don't have groves of fresh peaches, and the corn is often lacking, but every Spring and Summer we feast on the most beautiful, delicious, berries. And, with an entire flat on the kitchen counter, I come up with a lot of creative ways to serve and enjoy them.
In the Summer anything frozen is a hit- But I try not to keep ice cream on hand- or it'll get eaten and,  nobody needs that temptation around. Needless to say, my favorite, banana splits, are reserved for ice cream parlors and special occasions. That's where the genius of these banana split strawberries come in- a healthier version of a classic treat in a single portion, bite sized package. They're especially great frozen and thawed at room temperature for 5 minutes, or served fresh at a Summer party.
So this recipe, needless to say, is insanely simple, requires no baking, and can be made in about 30 minutes with some ingredients most people have on hand already. Since I'm watching my sugar, I even found a delicious sugar free pudding mix to use as the base for my pineapple banana filling- and it chills to the most wonderful texture, thanks to the artificial sweeteners.
Of course anybody can core out strawberries and fill them with deliciousness- who am I to judge if you just straight up nozzle some whipped cream in the center and call it done? The sentiment is still there- banana splits IN strawberries. And these pack an adorable punch at that. But I do have to say, the creamy, fluffy, pudding filling is the perfect companion to the crunch of the chocolate dipped shell and the gooey chocolate fudge.
Most recipes that require coring use a melon baller. Well, I don't own one, and most berries are going to be too small for one. I actually used a sturdy teaspoon measuring spoon to carefully carve out the center of my berries. It worked perfectly!  You'll also want to cut just the tip of the strawberries off to help them stand after being dipped. Be careful though, these will be top heavy when filled- when in doubt, cut a little extra off. The filling is thick and shouldn't leak or run through.
Banana Split StrawberriesWho doesn't love a chocolate dipped strawberry? Well, those who don't like strawberries I suppose- but then, you wouldn't be reading this, would you? Prepare your gorgeous strawberry split vessels by dipping them in a thinned chocolate solution. I like to use a little bit of coconut oil, rather than butter, to give my chocolate a quick melting, even consistency. The trick is to get the chocolate just thin enough to begin running down the sides when you place it on your resting tray.
A banana split isn't complete without all the trimmings, so you'll want to dip those chocolate dipped berries in some chopped nuts if you're a fan of the full split experience. Make sure you send your dipped, filled berries to the freezer for about 5 minutes to properly chill and set them before you move on the my favorite part- the hot fudge drizzle.
Banana Split Strawberries
Banana Split Strawberries
Hot fudge, sprinkles, and a cherry on top complete the split experience and make these quite literally a bite of banana split at your fingertips! Every time I see one of these beauties it makes me smile and reminds me of wonderful childhood memories scarfing down a sundae or split in my pajamas on a Friday night. Even better, I can enjoy 1 or 2 in a sitting without feeling all the guilt of a heavy ice cream treat!
Banana Split Strawberries
So that's what I've been nomming on in my kitchen- Is there a seasonal fruit or veggie you have local that you just can't get enough of in the Summer?



What Daughter Says: Strawberries mean Summer in my little hometown- and it just wouldn't be Summer without them!

Banana Split Strawberries
Banana Split Strawberries 
***Click here for a printable Banana Split Strawberries recipe

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Legend Of Tarzan Film Review

The Legend of Tarzan
Momma Told Me: Everyone knows the story.

There have been  few films on my radar, so to speak, for 2016- The Secret Life Of Pets, Star Trek Beyond, Doctor Strange, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, The Magnificent Seven, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, to be specific. These are the films I plan on booking my tickets in advance, opening night, for- the ones I plan my entire week around when they are about to drop. This was the case with The Secret Life Of Pets, a film I'd stalked since the first previews and teasers were dropped nearly 2 years ago- I simply had to see it, and this was the weekend I was going to see it. So I made my plans and a girlfriend casually suggested, why not make it a double feature.

I hadn't really seen a film in theaters in a month, with all of the upheaval and drama during the first half of these year in my personal life, so a double feature sounded like the perfect treat. Naturally, since we were seeing 'my' film, the second film was her pick- The Legend Of Tarzan. Until yesterday I'd only seen a single preview- one that looked very much like traditional Tarzan and featured a smoking hot Alexander Skarsgard(True Blood) running half naked through the jungle for it's entirety. As tempting as this image had been I was not about to sign up for yet another retelling of the 'tale as old as time.' It was definitely on my rental radar.
So I walk up to the box office window for the first showing this Saturday and am fairly displeased to see that Legend of Tarzan is only playing in the 'IMAX' theater and in 3D- something the ordinary person would be elated at- yet our little Edwards cinema isn't really IMAX. The screen is tiny and the auditorium is in desperate need of an upgrade. And, as every glasses wearer knows, 3D can be a real pain in the hiney. But I shelled out my $17.25 a ticket (almost triple the asking price of my The Secret Life Of Pets tickets, mind you) and walked into the lobby demanding the very best for my hard earned money. After suffering through a 3 minute video of Rhianna singing in place of an actual Star Trek preview, we were ready to roll and the film very much as every other Tarzan story I'd ever seen told.
I settles in to be disappointed, quite honestly, I expected this would just be a nice fluff piece with an extremely attractive actor and hey, at least I'd see some eye candy. But the opening scene faded within 5 minutes to reveal an entirely different 'Tarzan,' John Clayton dealing with modern world struggles 8 years after his return to civilization. The film progresses, naturally, to force the title character to struggle with his childhood identity versus his birthright identity and ultimately finds him thrust back into the fantastical world of the congo.
The movie features an array of fairly short flashbacks which help one identify with 'Tarzan' and his past, while keeping the film very much present day (for the time period) and telling the story of an adult John Clayton struggling to redeem the freedom of the land he once grew up in. Tarzan and Jane are still very much the center of the story, but the 'twist' of this 'Tarzan revisits' story line is much more compelling than that of a film that solely focuses on his youth.

As smitten as I personally was with the film's storyline, cast, and visual structure, I should be candid and say this is still 'another' Tarzan film at heart. The villain and story is a bit predictable but the action, cinematics, and characters draw you in and make it compelling. I particularly loved that this film is entirely family safe- barring the dramatic stampedes and primal scenes (violence) and maybe a curse word or two I didn't quite catch? This film keeps it remarkably clean, though I'm not sure anyone much younger than a tween would find it captivating enough to sit through- this is more of an adult paced movie.
The Legend of Tarzan
I feel like I want to highly praise Legend of Tarzan, and recommend all go see it, or at least rent it- but I do warn that it is a 'Tarzan' film and as such, no matter how much is added to the story, it is still going to feel familiar. The cast does a beautiful job of bringing their characters to life, particularly Samuel L. Jackson who provided comedic relief and a reason to catch this flick all on his own. The CG is a bit cheesy in some parts, but other action sequences will literally take your breath away (which is what you want when you've shelled out near $20 for an IMAX ticket.) In all honesty, I enjoyed this more than The Secret Life Of Pets, a film I'd been looking forward to all year. Share with me, have you seen this film? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what was the last film you saw in theaters?

What Daughter Says: It can be hard to captivate an audience with a character so familiar as Tarzan, without venturing too far fro the character's origins. I think The Legend of Tarzan is a good compromise of traditional tale meets new story.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

How To Restore Your Headlights (In About An Hour)

How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!
Momma Told Me: Sometimes you have to take ownership and invest to feel pride in something.

Many of you know now that I was rear ended, at a complete stop, on the freeway this past St. Patrick's Day and was forced to say goodbye to my purple PT Cruise (aka my 'rolling sanctuary'.) After over a month of searching for a replacement car I came across a cream colored PT Cruiser convertible with an exceptionally low odometer reading for it's age. Those who know me well know I dislike white/off white cars, and convertibles- I was simply feeling beat down and decided I needed a familiar car with reliability more than 'the car of my dreams.' Besides, the car was in mint condition, except the headlights which looked as though they had been transplanted from a vehicle 10 years older.
How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!
Life being as it is, things don't always turn out as expected, so, upon purchasing this vehicle, I decided I would make it my own so that I could one day take as much pride in it as I did my precious purple PT. The first step was to give it a little extra TLC- to invest a bit of myself into it.

The headlights had to go. Well, they had to at least look like new, as the rest of the car so brilliantly did.

I wasn't the only one who thought so either, both Jay and my father took one look at the car and pointed out the glaring (erm, dull) elephant in the room- the headlights were UV damaged and covered in layers of grime and stains. Weren't there commercials for some miracle product to fix this? Hadn't I seen, on TV, somewhere a woman wiping off her crusty old headlight to reveal a sparkling new one?  Well, for about $20 you can own one of these magical products- but it's a kit- not some miracle single shot treatment.
My headlights most likely weren't near as bad as those belonging to the average person considering this project. I don't live on the East Coast, where my car would be subjected to extreme humidity, salty air, and harsh Winters (though we do live near the beach)- and the car was primarily garaged for the second half of it's life before I purchased it. But the passenger's side headlight was covered in strange splotchy patches of buildup and the driver's side was considerably fogged over. It was clear at one point in it's life the car had received primarily direct sun to the driver's side.
Well, remember that kit I said we invested in? Well it's a bit more involved than just wiping away the years from your headlights- But it does include everything you need (no extra tools required) and will take the average DIYer about an hour to complete both headlights. Keep in mind that, while anyone can do this project, your results will vary depending on how strictly you follow the instructions and if you have an previous experience with restoration or wet sanding. Yes, I said sanding.

Begin by taping off the liner and paint immediately surrounding your headlight with a durable painter's tape. The kit claims that the materials used will not harm paint- but the instructions suggest taping- and I certainly would for 2 reasons: 1.) We noticed the first solution we used took the color off our shop rags, so it seemed to have some sort of acid or bleach in it, 2.) You will eventually be sanding right up against your car's paint- not point in risking anything there. You will also want to start with a clean car.
Next, treat the headlight surface with the Step 1 Activator, generously spraying, and allow it to sit about 30 seconds before washing away. Here's what we noticed about this process- 1.) The spray is very aromatic in a chemical sense- you will need to step back for air, and you should always be working in an open, well aerated, shady area. I highly suggest wearing a simple paper face mask to help diffuse fumes, and that you keep your face as far back from the solution/mist as possible. 2.) You will be using this bottle a total of 4 times, 2 treatments each headlight, so you should expect to use about 1/4 of the bottle each time. 3.) Given the nature of the product and spray we suggest you wear gloves and wipe the solution off with a wet rag to clean the lens before continuing- rather than use a hose which may send the solution flying onto your car and other surfaces.

Once the Activator solution has been cleaned off the lens, and the lens has been dried, it will quickly begin to cloud. This is normal and you will see this after every step from here until the final UV coat.
Now you're ready to begin sanding- the kit includes 3 sheets, 1 each of 2000, 1000, and 400 grit wet sanding paper. You should tear them in half and make note of which is which with a written indicator on the back since you will be using half a sheet for each lens.

My father and I had some disagreement as to whether a mask should be worn through the sanding process- since this is a wet sanding procedure. I am going to suggest you do since we did see quite a bit of kickback debris on clothing and even in his ear after the sanding process.

To wet sand you will want a small bowl of clean water nearby, and a clean cloth (to wipe up any drips that may make their way onto your car's paint. Wet the lens with the wet cloth, and submerge the sanding paper into the water. Begin sanding (you'll start with the 400 grit for the first step) in circular motions from the top corner of the headlight inward. You should expect to continue sanding for approximately 5 minutes- though cars with less build up may require less time. You will be able to tell you are done when the headlight has reached a uniform, smooth, texture, and there are no clear sections visible.
Rinse your headlight and continue with the repeating the above process of sanding, using the 1000 grit sandpaper. Sand in circular motions with a wet lens and sandpaper for approximately 5 minutes, clean, then repeat with the 2000 grit. When you are done sanding you should have a clean, dry, foggy lens.
Next you will apply the Clarifying Compound, which we closely attribute to a sort of buffing wax. Wet your lens with a clean wet rag and apply half of the compound to the provided white towel. Starting at the lower corner of the headlight, in sweeping circular motions, buff the clarifying compound into the lens for approximately 5 minutes.

We were worried this compound would dry out during a 5 minute buff, but it actually seemed to break down and glide even more the longer we worked it into the lens. Once you are done clean and dry the lens. You will begin to notice the lens will maintain a glossy 'wet' look as though it is holding water along the surface.