Momma Told Me

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Charlie Brown Christmas Giveaway, Good Grief Smoothie + David Benoit Interview

***This content is brought to you in part by my role as a Peanuts Ambassador, celebrating 40 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Celebrate 40 Years of A Charlie Brown Christmas with all new recordings of the timeless classic, OPI nail art gift sets, Hallmark 2014 ornaments and our Good Grief Smoothie Recipe. #Sp
Momma Told Me: Like jazz at a circus.

From the very moment we are born we are moved by site and sound. Some might argue that sound moves us about all else, as it i not a sense we can shut off or turn down, like sight and the closing of one's eyes. Even s a babe napping in my parent's room I remember the sounds. The gentle hum of her old ceiling fan, clicking every third rotation, the sound of my father's voice as he spoke back to the television, the gentle slosh of the water mattress as my mother climbed into bed, exhausted from a hard days work. There are simply some sounds we cannot alter, they are forever engrained into our memories by environment and circumstance, but others are skillfully paired with emotions and images that transcend languages and generations.
Jazz artist David Benoit helped bring The Peanuts Gang to life with recordings of Vince Guaraldi's music compositions. #sp
As part of the continued A Charlie Brown Christmas 40 Years celebration a group of bloggers and myself recently had the chance to interview a very integral part of what I call 'The Charlie Brown Experience.' We often think of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz as the singular mastermind behind the icon Charlie Brown, and his friends. In truth, in visual form and expression he was the sole creator, and his vision stretched far over the characters as they evolved into animated shorts and even ice shows. His children, today, still take an active interest in ensuring his vision for the characters is properly expressed. But, where would A Charlie Brown Christmas Be without Lucy's Snarky voice, or the melodic piano intro of 'Linus an Lucy' (The Charlie Brown Theme Song?)
OPI's Seasonal A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Nail Art Gift Set #sp
Gifted Jazz musician, performer but first-most Peanuts fan, David Benoit, took over the ginormous task of bringing Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts jazz compositions to life after the passing of the great pianist. At the time, Benoit was beginning to extend his Jazz roots into piano and Charlie Brown was ready to expand it's approach beyond traditional cartoon composing to a melodic branding that best emphasized the character's sophistication. Here are some notes I found especially interesting from Mr. Benoit's interview:

So you feel jazz is the right genre for Peanuts music?

I do. The kids are very sophisticated, their emotions, their vocabulary. Peanuts was one of first strips to do that—to have kids speaking intelligently, expressing deep emotions. Jazz, because of its sophistication, seemed to work very well.

After Vince Guaraldi died, they tried using other composers; many of them, like Judy Munson, were very good. But she approached it from traditional cartoon composing, and it wasn’t the same. Upbeat jazz just hit a spark. They were looking for another jazz pianist to start writing music, that’s how they found me.
Good Grief! Smoothie- 2014 Charlie Brown Hallmark Ornament #sp
 What makes the Linus and Lucy theme so memorable?It’s one of those immediately recognizable motifs—you’ve got the left hand movement, then the right hand comes in, and it’s highly syncopated. It just gets everybody happy.

The power of music.

Why has the special remained so beloved?

It might be the simplicity in its message, that Christmas has become so commercial. It’s so simple and heartfelt. It has the makings of a classic because it’s so simple and so heartwarming.

Artist David Benoit will actually be doing a tour of The Music of Charlie Brown, beginning in December, and touring the country- you can learn more and find dates on his website,
Charlie Brown Nail Art
The Peanuts gang is definitely an example of the perfect creative marriage of sentiment, sight, and sound- their exploits and stories are instantly recognized worldwide. In my humble opinion, it speaks volumes that such simple animation, and a singular piano melody can continue to move modern people today. That is one of the reason's I love Charlie Brown so much, I can see him walking down the street today stopping in front of the iPhone24 advertisements muttering 'Good Grief!' If you love the music of Charlie Brown as much as I do then you'll be excited to know the 40 Years A Charlie Brown Christmas has just been released on CD, perfect for holiday tree-trimming! Speaking of tree-trimming, we've got an exclusive giveaway below, for you, and keep scrolling for the Good Grief Smoothie Recipe!

Tell me, what about Charlie Brown and The Peanuts Gang do you love most? The music, a character, a certain story?

What Daughter Says: As iconic as Linus And Lucy is, I can't imagine Charlie Brown any other way!

This simple Good Grief! smoothie is refreshing and easy to replicate- Pineapple, bananas, coconut milk and a little zig-zag of chocolate syrup! #sp
Good Grief Smoothie
**Click here for printable Good Grief Smoothie Recipe

Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Ingredient Pumpkin Nutella Fudge Recipe

5 Ingredient Pumpkin Nutella Fudge: Pumpkin Hershey's Kisses, Melting Chocolate, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Oreos, Nutella
Momma Told Me: It's simply what you eat this time of year!

I am really not a big pumpkin person- in fact, only once a year will I cave into the pumpkin pie leftovers and attempt to eat a slice halfway through, before the craving is satisfied. However, it seems I must be against the majority of the population in this feeling. When did adding 'spice' at the end of a flavor make it so much more desirable? Every year more and more brands try to put the 'Pumpkin Spice' twist on their most popular products in hopes the masses will pull out their wallets in a clamor. And, as someone who bakes for others, more so than for herself, I knew I would inevitably have to offer up my own submission to the holiday pumpkin racket.
5 Ingredient Pumpkin Nutella Fudge: Pumpkin Hershey's Kisses, Melting Chocolate, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Oreos, Nutella
Because I am lazy when it comes to topics that do not excite me (hey, I'm honest) I decided the best way to tackle the pumpkin dilemma was with simple ingredients that harnessed this elusive and be-twitching flavor for me. My weapon of choice was Pumpkin Spice Hershey's Kisses, but really any Pumpkin Spice chocolate (like the Wilton Meltaways or Ovation Pumpkin Spice Break-A-Part Orange) will do. Really, one can't sneeze without finding something invaded by the flavor, this time of year, so feel free to go a little wild. As long as you have chocolate, you will end up with fudge!

And, because few ingredients are as buzz worthy as Nutella (bacon just didn't work in this recipe,) I decided Nutella would pair well as a balancing flavor. Crumble some Oreos on top as it sets, and Voila, you are a baking genius (and all you really did was melt a few ingredients in a pot and pour!)

Are you pro-Pumpkin, or do you keep your orange squash for strictly decorating?

What Daughter Says: Thankfully pumpkin is a popular enough flavor you can infuse it into just about anything with minimal effort.

5 Ingredient Pumpkin Nutella Fudge: Pumpkin Hershey's Kisses, Melting Chocolate, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Oreos, Nutella
Pumpkin Nutella Fudge
***Click for printable Pumpkin Fudge recipe.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pop Art Makeup Tutorial And The Neutrogena Must Have For Costume Makeup

DISCLAIMER / FTC: This post is sponsored by NEUTROGENA® I only recommend products I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. Some of the products mentioned were purchased by myself AND/OR some were provided by NEUTROGENA® for this post. #CollectiveBias
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
Momma Told Me: I need to take my face off!

Beauty has always been a ritual. For many women the process of applying makeup, even a neutral or natural look, is therapeutic; and equally beneficial the satisfaction of removing it at the end of the day. Many of us have rituals, we get up in the morning, throw the foundation on, sweep mascara on our lashes, puff some blush on our cheeks. Putting makeup on is fun- taking it off, not so much. In fact, when I was a little girl, I learned quite quickly to steer clear of Momma as she disappeared into the bathroom each night, usually a half an hour or more, to 'take off her face.' If only she has Neutrogena cleansing towelettes to get the job done!
Never worry about smeared or leftover makeup again. Maybe now you can finally take those Mime classes! Take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
I discovered this beauty box staple last year, searching for a solution to remove costume makeup and colored corn starch after the annual fun run. Walking the streets of our town covered in patches of food color and dye is a badge of honor after one of those events, and we usually wind up walking into the retailers located near by. On one of the forums for color event participants someone had suggested bringing makeup remover wipes to clean up (or at least be presentable in a dining establishment) after. We were sure to grab a few packages of the Newutrogena makeup remover towelettes when we popped into Walmart. Not only did the facial wipes work impressively to pull off loose corn starch and bled colors, but they were more than efficient at removing oil based facial paints.
Take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and put these Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes to the test with your costume makeup removal. Find them at Walmart! #ad
So, when I heard Neutrogena was challenging their customers to get in the festive spirit with facial makeup and the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge, I was excited to really put these wipes to the test. What I didn't know about the wipes I used every night was the number of varieties I had to choose from- I always made a beeline to the blue refill pouches and never thought anything of it! As it turns out, Walmart has several Neutrogena cleansing towelettes varieties on hand so you can choose the right one for your needs. I'll be working the Night Calming wipes into my nightly makeup removal regimen, and plan on trying the oil free wipes next Summer when the nights begin to get humid again.
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
I'll be participating in a few events at the end of the month that will require me to wear a costume- but I detest having to spend lots of money on an actual costume. The solution? Stick to my retro-loving roots and whip up a costume out of a full-face makeup. I knew the graphic style of Pop Art makeup (think old school comic books) would really read well in a large crowd and be easy to wear throughout the night. You really only need white, black, blue and red face paint. You can use your existing makeup to accent and style the look for extra drama. (I actually have several rainbow eyeshadow palettes, and used some aqua eyeshadow for my 'tears.')
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
This makeup will look best with a white bottom coat- for those with naturally dark complexions simple begin with a base 2-3 shades lighter than your natural skin tone. If you are going the 'white' base route apply a thin layer over your entire face and 'pat' the paint even with the palms of your hands. Having a great makeup remover wipe on hand is a must here! Next, using a brush/makeup applicator/your finger, daub on a bright eyeshadow up to your brow line, and some bright blue 'tears.'
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
Next, take an eyeliner pencil or brush and black paint, and outline your tears, and all the way around your eyeshadow. Accent your eyes with any eyeshadow, fake lashes, and mascara to help make them really pop. If you choose to apply fake lashes make sure to go big to exaggerate the graphic appearance of the look. Once your eyes are done you will want to paint your brows. Draw or paint them on so that the lowest dips of your brows just overlap your natural brow line. Having them a little higher than your actual eyebrows will make the look more visually dramatic.
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
If you wish to add blush, do so now. Next, using a bright color of lipstick (I chose to match my pink eyeshadow), paint your lips. Daub a little white on the outer edge and press your lips together to add a comic 'sheen' and line your lips with black. After your lips you will want to continue outlining with the black- trace a thick line along the outside of your face, adding visual notes near your eyebrows to aid the appearance of a static expression. Lastly, taking a Q-tip, daub red dots across your face paying special attention to scattering each row so that the dots fall below the spacing of the rows above them. It's really that easy!
Pop Art Costume Makeup for a retro look that is easy to pull off and memorable to wear! Then take the #NeutrogenaFaceOff challenge and #WipeAwayTheDay with Neutrogena Cleansing Towelettes from Walmart! #ad
I like to try out my makeup before actually getting dressed up- it takes the pressure out of rushing to meet a party kickoff, or dealing with an unexpected complication. I wore my Pop Art makeup to bowling last week, and it was just close enough to Halloween that no one found me crazy- in fact, they all loved it and wanted to know just how I did it! By the time I got home it was almost midnight and I simply wanted to get to bed. The Neutrogena cleansing towelettes did not disappoint- just one wipe fully removed an entire face of costume makeup; and a second made sure my face was perfectly refreshed and ready to hit the pillow! Find more makeup removal tips on the Neutrogena Facebook page today.

I've shown you my look- now it's your turn to share your makeup ideas and looks with the hashtag #NeutrogenaFaceOff so we can all take note of great ideas for next year! And don't forget to tweet or Instagram a photo after the big night, sharing your #NeutrogenaFaceOff results too!

What Daughter Says: Stop spending hours taking off your face- get the modern woman's secret to fuss free facial cleansing!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Would You Do Us A Flavor And Try These? Momma Told Me To Take A Bite

Lay's 2014 Do Us A Flavor Winners
Momma Told Me: Just taste it!

There has long been a debate in our family as to whether 'tricking' someone into eating something (usually on the premise that it is 'healthy' for them) is an acceptable practice. Last Summer, I went out to eat with my cousin, who has kids of a varied age, and watched as she told her youngest (4 and 9) that calamari (squid) was 'chicken.' Both kids happily gobbled up the pieces of fried squid slathered in marinara sauce, but their father was not too pleased. He argued that honesty should be a policy, even from parents to kids, and, himself, refused to try the new food. I am telling you this because I was raised the way my cousin chooses, but with a little less courtesy.
Honey Sriracha Chicken Tenders
When I would ask what was for dinner, I would be told 'food,' and if I questioned an ingredient or flavor I would be asked if I liked how it tasted- if I said yes, the answer was almost always "then it doesn't matter!" And, when our Vietnamese and Chinese neighbors would bring over pungent smelling dishes from across the street, or next door, I was most often the guinea pig. Before too long I was asking to try new flavors and food on my own- that is how I came to sample the famous Shark Fin Soup; which should be known as '1000 bristle soup' for the hundreds of small cartilage bristles it is brined in.
Lay's 2014 Do Us A Flavor Winners
And that is precisely where my curiosity of food and flavors came to be. I'll try most anything once- though I often prefer not to know what I'm trying until after (I'm still human and can be biased.) And, when it comes to mainstream foods, I am fascinated by the flavors brands attempt to recreate when selling the same old product with a face-taste? lift. Of course, we know just about any aromatic or flavor can be created artificially and put into just about anything. While, in America, we are currently transfixed by the myriad of Oreo cream flavors that rotate across shelves, International demographics have been pairing savory and obscure flavors with mainstream snacks for decades. In fact, the potato chip is perhaps the most violated snack in this matter.
In England Ketchup crisps are quite popular, while Japan has been enjoying Shrimp flavored chips on shelves for generations. So it should come as no surprise that the Lay's Do Us A Flavor 'competition' was around for quite a while before it hit the U.S. a few years ago. You may recall I did a post trying to push my Honey Sriracha Chicken Tenders as the next big flavor. While that didn't make the cut, this year's finalists are compelling, to say the least; Wavy Mango Salsa, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, Cheddar Bacon Mac And Cheese, and Cappuccino. Naturally, I had to try all 4 as soon as they hit shelves off national production. Cheers to Lay's for making them available in the smaller bag sizes for those of us who are simply curious, only one flavor really met with my approval this year...
While the Kettle Cooked Wasabi and Ginger had a great flavor, without being 'spicy' or overwhelming, the chips themselves were often much too thick for me. I suppose, if you like the Kettle Cooked, it is worth a try, but I prefer a lighter chip when snacking. The Mango Salsa had the most flavor, but was much too bold on the sweet versus savory scale and overwhelmed my taste buds. Ironically, Cappuccino was perhaps the dulled, with almost no flavor at all, and I'm sure would lend itself well as a dessert flavor, but not worth the calories otherwise in my opinion. This leaves us with the predictable Cheddar Bacon Mac And Cheese Lay's chips, which had more of a cheddar flavor than anything but satisfied as a snack, overall.

Have you tried any of this year's Do Us A Flavor chip winners? If not, which would you most like to try?

What Daughter Says: Modern brands are making it easier and easier to explore new flavors with mainstream snacks. Why not be bold and take a bite?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October Is National Healthy Lung Month: Are You Armed With Knowledge?

October is National Lung Health Month- What do you know about your lungs?
Momma Told Me: Knowledge Fuels Prevention

If you've ever been to the doctor with a bad cough or some sort of lung pressure/pneumonia issues you've likely been asked if anyone in your family worked construction or mining, or if you've been exposed to asbestos. The average person wouldn't think twice about this question, and perhaps even laugh at the absurdity of a modern housewife, mother, businesswoman, etc being exposed to asbestos. Many of us would also be inclined to ask more, fairly ignorant on the issue ourselves. Most of us know asbestos is bad, true, but do we really understand the why and how of it?

When I was a tween my family moved from our condo into a newly manufactured home. One of the things Momma had been looking forward to most, as a survivor or Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer) was the relief of enjoying an air conditioned environment. During her fight with cancer Momma's immune system, and respiratory system had taken quite a hit, and having such a modern comfort greatly increased her comfort level.
Within a week of moving in, while dusting her new home, Momma began to notice a sparkly residue on some of the higher surfaces in our house. Alarmed, she sent my father up into the rafters immediately to inspect the ducts. As it turns out, an entire segment of our air ducts had not been connected and some of the insulating materials of our attic and walls were exposed to our air system! Crawling around in the attic and crawl spaces isn't something most new home buyers think to do when approving their new home.

As it turns out, as a modern American, this was not my only potential run-in with asbestos- 2 years back I decided to search my old appliances for recalls on a whim. I'd inherited some staples, such as toaster ovens and hair dryers from my parent's newlywed days. I was shocked to learn the name brand hairdryer I was still using, that day, had been recalled by the company for 'potential use of asbestos' in insulating elements.
Products made in the 1970s, or prior, can have active recalls for asbestos. Consult an online database today for more info.
Today, asbestos is still NOT banned in the United States, and can still be found in some buildings and consumer products in use today. These products and buildings were most often made in, or prior to, the 1970's, though global regulations may impact products being made today and moving in and out of the country, as well. Exposure to asbestos is currently the only known cause of the aggressive form of cancer known as mesothelioma, and has impacted the lives of those not in industries immediately handling products containing it.

If you suspect exposure to asbestos inform your physician so they can monitor your lungs and health accordingly. The best prevention to this form of lung cancer is knowledge- ensure you and your family are as safe as possible from asbestos and other lung contaminants by keeping up with product recalls, from the Consumer Product Safety Commission or, and performing annual home inspections. October is National Healthy Lung Month, learn more about lung health and mesothelioma prevention and detection at While the story above is my own, I would like to thank the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance for providing some of the facts used in this content and the info-graphic, I created, above.

Do you know someone impacted by mesothelioma? Have you ever discovered a product that potentially used asbestos?

What Daughter Says: October is National Healthy Lung Month, arm yourself with the facts and help fight lung cancer of every kind!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Brew Something Fiendish With Keurg 2.0: Mocha Zombie Cakes Recipe

**I received a Keurig 2.0 through a media event. I was in no way required to post the following content. All opinions and images below are original and copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2014.
Brew a cup or a Carafe with the new Keurig 2.0 System- Brew A Carafe for baking with coffee!
Momma Told Me: Sometimes you have to try something new to bring something old to life.

We're in the middle of October and that means, some of us, are already preparing for Thanksgiving, and even December's events. In Southern California, where the seasonal changes are primarily marked by window displays at the shopping mall, we're not quite feeling the pressure to move on. In fact, these past few days have been delightfully blustery, a sure sign of a SoCal Fall- but not quite cool or chilly. So I set out, with the help of my Keurig 2.0, to brew something fiendish in my quiet little kitchen.
Mocha Zombie Cakes and Decorating Tips- Psst, The Secret Ingredient Is Coffee!
 I don't drink a lot of coffee- which is odd, since some of my earliest childhood memories are of begging for a sip from Momma's complimentary cup at the grocery store while couponing. I like the flavor of coffee, and certainly the smell of a freshly brewed cup, but will take tea anyday as my chosen hot-brewed beverage. That is why our single cup brewer has become so integral in our household; a fresh cup of pretty much anything to please pretty much anyone. And boy do we have a lot of everything; lemonade, flavored iced tea, hot cocoa, dark roast coffee, light roast coffee, English tea, and more.
Brew a cup or a Carafe with the new Keurig 2.0 System- Brew A Carafe for baking with coffee!
We'd had our humble little mini Keurig for a while; back when coffee was primarily the only thing one would brew in it. However, with the range of new brands and varieties coming to the kineup every day, it was time to upgrade to something that might better satisfy a crowd. The New Keurig 2.0 does just that and more with the flexibility to brew 3 different cup sizes (or strengths) and a carafe of multiple cups (up to 5). The new touch-screen interface system is even rendered in gorgeous color for intuitive operation, and friendly design. And, as I prepared to brew something especially wicked, I waseven able to set the mood by adjusting the tank's lighting to a creepy crimson red.
The new Keurig 2.0 K-Carafe Cups
While we don't entertain everyday, there were often times, with our old Keurig, we brewed multiple cups for enjoyment later; or even to fill those extra tall tumblers throughout the day. With K-Carafe cups that are larger in size, but functional with the 2.0 system (while being backwards compatible to traditional K-Cup) I can brew multiple servings at once, saving time and money. I especially love the lack of material/plastic waste from the larger cups- where as I would have traditionally thrown out 4-5 K-cups before to brew the same amount.
Brew a cup or a Carafe with the new Keurig 2.0 System- Brew A Carafe for baking with coffee!
For now, the varieties in the K-arafe cup range are not wide, and mainly limited to coffee variations. This is perfectly fine with me, who bakes often with coffee as a substitute for water and other liquids. Just ask anyone I know about my family's famous German Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake- the 'S' in the recipe isn't the only surprising secret ingredient that keeps the cake extra moist and decadent! However, on this particularly ghoulish afternoon I was whipping up a simple Mocha Cake base for some mini Zombie Cakes I'd envisioned the week prior.
Mocha Zombie Mini Cakes and Simple Decorating Tips
With all of the wonderful cake decorating and baking aids readily available in the modern craft store, or even the seasonal aisle of one's local Walmart, making a fiendish delight come to life is easier than ever. I'd been holding onto a few pairs of mini (5") springform pans for a while, and they were just the size for these special treats. I also found 'Slime Green' Wilton cake decorating gel, and gummy eyeballs for under $2 at Walmart. Paired with a piping bag, some red food color, and a few minutes patience these chilled layers of mocha cake came to life quickly!
Mocha Zombie Mini Cakes and Simple Decorating Tips
Mocha Zombie Mini Cakes and Simple Decorating Tips
Baking with coffee is something the Old English and Germanic generations have done for centuries; it dies not have to overpower flavoring. In fact, in order to truly flavor a cake like coffee one would require more of an espresso substitution. In this particular recipe a dark roast is used to help mellow out the cocoa and make for an extra moist 'dark' chocolate cake flavor. No brains involved! Okay, maybe ONE brain- my own, but that remains securely in my head!

Do you have a secret ingredient you use in cooking some might not expect?

What Daughter Says: Baking with coffee brings new flavor to old favorites.

Mocha Zombie Mini Cakes and Simple Decorating Tips
Mocha Zombie Cakes
**Click here for Mocha Zombie Cakes Recipe