Momma Told Me

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California

Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
Momma Told Me: Plan less, do more.

As many of you know a girlfriend, JoJo, and I recently made the 6 hour drive up North to participate in the 6 miles mud-run-obstacle-course, Mudderella. For anyone who's ever taken the I-5 up through California you know it's a treacherous 1,300 mile stretch of pretty much straight. Thankfully we were only driving about half of it, each way, but I highly suggest taking a co-pilot because staring at a straight road with nothing but flat land around you for hundreds of miles can take a tole on even the most caffeinated drivers.
So there we were, not-do bright eyed and bushy tailed, at 6:30 in the morning, having just arrived at our hotel at 1 AM, headed to the Solano County Fairgrounds for our event. I'll admit, we were both dreading the trails that lay ahead of us and anticipating the exhausting drive home after. Spirits were low. Then, on the left side of the highway we spot "Jelly Belly Factory 1.5 Miles Ahead." I don't care how old you are, when you drive past a jelly bean factory you best stop and visit! So we resolved to make the 10 minute drive, in a direction opposite from home, after the Mudderella event, to visit this one of a kind tourist attraction.
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
I kid you not, every half mile of that mud covered obstacle course either JoJo or I could be hear chanting, 'jelly bean factory, got to make it to the jelly bean factory.' It was our sole motivation through 11 obstacles and 3 hours of rugged hay strewn, muddy, terrain. Of course the one sight event showers were timed to 2 minutes, hardly enough time to properly wash- and we'd already checked out of our hotel hours before, so we arrived at Jelly Belly lane looking like we'd fallen into Willy Wonka's chocolate fountain. But the Jelly Belly Factory just isn't something you miss, folks!
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
For those wondering, or may those who just aren't a Jelly Belly fan (gasp) the Jelly Belly Factory is open 7 days a week with locations in Fairfield, CA and Wisconsin, offering free tastings and guided tours during limited hours. And let's not forget the epic selection of colorful sweets- there's even a chocolate confection counter where over a dozen unique flavors of fudge is fresh made daily, and chocolate honeycomb and bacon calls from behind shiny glass counters! The factories are also home to many large local events such as a classic Hot Rod show and High Five Tour Wounded Warriors stop, on the day of our visit.
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.

 You don't have to have children, or even a true sweet tooth, to appreciate this free attraction. Stop in to the Jelly Belly diner and grab a bite to refuel on your road trip and take in the marvelous sights such as life-like Jelly Bean portraits of famous American actors and presidents. If you're like my you'll try and guess which flavors were used in the color palette to create these masterpieces, then wonder just how many little candy beans went into 3 x 4 portrait of Ronald Reagan.
Jelly Bean artwork was just the beginning of the sights this candy playground was lined with. We spent about 20 minutes in line for the free tour- though the line was very long and to the door it moved quite fast. Unfortunately, on the weekends the factory is not in operation (something to note if you're planning to take the tour on a weekend) so it didn't feel as thrilling as walking through a factory in motion.
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
Neon lights, Jelly Bean wallpaper, and jumbo Jelly Beans suspended from the ceiling made visitors gawk and marvel. Feel free to bring your camera, photography is welcome in the lobby, gift shop, grounds, and tour! Upstairs the factory offers wine and Jelly Belly pairings, private rooms for celebrations (apparently baby showers are quite popular at the factory,) and smaller exhibits containing company and product history.
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
Adjacent to the gift shop you'll find the Sample Bar, which is open to all guests, free of charge. Visitors can stand in line and sample 3 flavors at a time, and unlimited number of times (so long as they are patient enough to stand in line again.) It's a job I think would drive me mad, as each guest gets one bean of each requested flavor, and portioning all those beans must be a real pain! Not all items in the Sample Bar are Jelly Beans, in fact, you'll find all of the bulk candies available for sample including Jordan Almonds, Candy Corn, and (perfect for April Fools) Peas and Carrots.
Pancakes and Maple Syrup Jelly Beans at the Fairfield Jelly Belly Factory.
Naturally one of the best things about visiting the Jelly Belly Factory is trying all the newest, and lesser found, flavors. I bypassed many of the Harry Potter Bertie Bott's flavors- I'm not sure why someone would want a 1/4lb of Vomit flavored beans? Sure the flavors are fun when there's a single mixed into a box at random, but truly, who buys these devious creations? Yes, I was more excited to grab the new Pancakes and Maple Syrup Jelly Beans with adorable syrup jar packaging. Also newer to the flavor lineup were Champagne and Draft Beer.
Speaking of champagne, there were several showcases of styling and inspiration for celebration planning. The wedding case above showed the elegant use of colors to theme and accent everything from candy bars to wedding favors. At the Factory you can hold a party in house or order custom made favors in everything from wine glasses and candy pails to mint tins and tulle. Somehow all I could do was wonder if they had any in house artists that could make a portrait of the bride and groom out of Jelly Beans!
Jelly Belly Factory- Fairfield, Northern California- Free tours, open 7 days a week.
Of course there is plenty of Jelly Belly merchandise to explore too. From jumbo jelly bean throw pillows to Popsicle molds and keychains, this stop has all your typical tourist gags and more. My suggestion? Skip the merchandise and grab yourself a pound of fresh fudge for just $15- they'll even gift wrap each 1/4lb individually for you! Or you could do like JoJo and just stand there and sample all 12 of the day's varieties. It's okay, at the Jelly Belly Factory, they don't judge! So, with our goodie bags hanging off our arms, and on a newly inspired sugar high, we got back in the car and made the trip home. We may have been stiff and sore, and sunburnt, but we were heroes walking into our homes with those Jelly Belly treats! Have you ever been to a candy or food factory? If so, tell us where we should head next!

What Daughter Says: Always keep your eyes open for unexpected surprises!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

RealTimes Turn Into Real Memories- How Do You Share Yours? $300 #Giveaway

This is a Fashionista Event and a promotional item was provided to me. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde After All These Years and ModlyChic
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Momma Told Me: Everything I need is right here.

Momma never fussed much over the thought of chronicling her life in pictures. In fact, 99% of the photos I have from my childhood are of me, alone, or with my father- and all of them taken at his or another relative's request. "Everything I need is right here," she'd say as she tapped the side of her head with a warm smile.

But the purpose of photos, much like a wedding or funeral, are not so much to memorialize an event or moment for the subject, but to share the memories and stories with those who were not there to experience it for themselves. For grandchildren yet to be born, Prince Charmings yet to ride in on their white horse, and friends yet to be discovered.
Growing up all of the photos taken were intended for relatives. We must've had stock in Kodak and the USPS for all of the money spent developing half blurred disposable camera film and shipping padded envelopes. Growing up, and still living in California, I have family in Massachusetts, Louisiana, Texas, and Oregon. That's a lot of mail miles to log before the internet was really a 'thing!' I remember every Saturday I'd get on the phone and play with the slinky like cord while talking my grandparent's through that week's stack of photos. Of course, they'd already be a few weeks old by the time they were developed and in their hands, but it was the speed of the times. (Pssst, I'm the one with the perm above, that's one memory I might not have minded if it was lost to the steel trap!)
Today everything is instant. Nobody wants to wait for anything and sharing memories must be immediate, or we feel as though they have lost value. And, with digital pictures it seems like we have almost lost sight of what photos are for. We snap pictures of our newest duck lips face, the sandwich we had for lunch, and a piece of link we think looks like JFK, and all of them go out into the world through social media, for anyone to consume. But photos are meant to tell stories. How do you share those stories with the ones you love? It's not always easy to filter what can and can't be seen on social media, and most of the time I've lost a folder by the time I start a new one. I simply take too many photos. Wouldn't it be a shame if these moments, above, were lost in the fold of pictures of ice cream and my cat chasing some lint?
A Cloud Based sharing program or app, like Premium RealTimes service, can help you organize all of your photos, audio bytes, and videos for targeted sharing and consumption anywhere in the world. Free subscribers can take advantage of a massive 2GB of cloud storage (+5GB when you enable Auto Upload,) or enter the limited time code COUPONSCOM15 for 30 days of Premium RealTimes service and 25GB of storage FREE.
RealTimes is much more than storage- it's a way to organize moments and memories into living stories, montages and videos with in app editing, filters, touch-ups, labels, and more. Best of all, since it's cloud based you can allow remote users, such as grandparents or family friends access, or pull up your content on any app supported device with WiFi service. Parents will also save time when it comes to organization as RealTimes instantly and automatically creates montages of photos and videos organized by file name and date; never spend time fumbling to find the right photos when the relatives hit town, again! Look for RealTimes coupons  on Coupons.com.
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As you know 2015 has been the year of doing for us. All of our expendable (does anyone ever really have expendable income?) income has been going towards travels and experiences. While, ideally, I'd be sharing these amazing experiences with all my friends and family in real time, because they'd be there, it's simply not possible with my network spread so far across the country. However, I can chronicle my adventures without fear of data hoarding thanks to cloud services like Premium RealTimes. I'm starting with the FREE trial of 25GB premium service and considering upgrading to the unlimited cloud storage down the line.
As you know I recently went up to Oregon to visit Momma and, despite being sick with the plague, made sure I talked her into a rare photo. I can count the photos we've taken together in the past decade on 1 hand, so this is definitely a shot I want to protect with multiple storage formats, and cloud storage is just one of them. If you have small children you are constantly reminded that no day is ever the same and the world constantly keeps turning- but this is equally true in all of our relationships and experiences. Yes, my mother's mind may be like a steel trap, but just think how sad it would be if I could never share those beautiful memories with my own children someday?
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There is no such thing as a useless photo in a day and sage when photos are instant and infinite in production. Don't let a lack of storage stop you from chronicling all of those magical, and even mundane, moments. Who is someone you know who would love to see your photos and stories on RealTimes cloud storage?

What Daughter Says: Don't keep your memories in a steel trap, share them with those who matter most. Use a cloud storage service.
 




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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Make Your Bathroom Sparkle: D.I.Y. Soap Gems + More!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SaveWithBubbles #CollectiveBias All photos contained below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2015.
#SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
Momma Told Me: Scrub until it sparkles!

My regular readers know- cleaning the bathroom was my first official chore. Because of Momma's compromised immune system (or at least that was her story) I began scrubbing sinks and toilets at a very early age. This is also how I learned that bubbles are your best friend when cleaning. Much like  great toothpaste helping to knock away tough plaque with rich minty suds, the powerful bubbling foam of Disinfectant Scrubbing Bubbles® Bathroom Cleaner was an essential part of cleaning our family's bathroom. I can still remember the fresh lemon scent and the pride I'd take in watching that porcelain sparkle; mainly because I still trust and use Scrubbing Bubbles® products in our home, today.
#SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
Of course, when you're loyal to a brand, it can be tough to stay on budget. Great name brand products often mean name brand prices, but you don't have to compromise when you shop at Dollar General. There really are few stores like Dollar General, with over 11k store locations, nationwide, full of the most popular brands at the best everyday prices. And, not only does Dollar General carry your must have products and brands all year round, while accepting manufacturer's coupons, but they also offer in-house promotions to lower the price on everyday deals.
Use a funky piece of statement home decor to liven up your restroom. Even an elephant's trunk will double as a toilet paper holder! #SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
Now through August 2nd, 2015, you can take advantage of the following Scrubbing Bubbles® deals when you visit the Dollar General Coupon Center:
  • $0.50 off any Scrubbing Bubbles® Bath Product
  • $1 off any Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Gel Product
  • $0.50 off any Scrubbing Bubbles® All Purpose Cleaner 
In addition, July 26th, 2015 through August 9th, 2015 you'll enjoy additional price drops on these Scrubbing Bubbles® favorites; Scrubbing Bubbles® Mega Shower Foamer $3.50 (usually $4), Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Gel $3.50 (Usually $4), and Scrubbing Bubbles® Drop Ins $2.50 (Usually $3).
#SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
In fact, Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Cleaning Gel is one of my favorite products for a fuss free sparkling bathroom. Available in Glade® inspired fragrances such as Rain Shower, this product features an easy apply gel stamp and 6 uses. Simply press down on the stamp button until the next notch clicks into place, while pressing the stamp against the wall of your toilet bowl, and release a gel drop that will freshen your toilet bowl for up to 3 weeks. Every time you flush you'll be freshening your air and helping to clean your toilet, without ever really getting your hands dirty. Now that's what I call cleaning genius!
While I was at Dollar General I also picked up some bars of soap at a great price. I'd always wanted to try carving Soap Gems for our guest bathroom and thought this would be the perfect way to add a little extra sparkle for just a few dollars. While any soaps will do, consider that clear, or translucent colored, soaps will allow for the best light flow, and glycerin based soaps will cut the easiest. Of course, this project should always be done with strong lighting, on a cutting board, by adults only!
Carve glycerin soaps into gems for an instant sparkle in that guest bathroom! #SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
 Start by cutting your soaps into various simple shapes. Gemstones come in all shapes and sizes, so don't over think this part. A few trapezoids, diamond shaped, and even lopsided rectangles, will do. With your soap shape securely on the cutting board cut the corners off at varied angles and placements. Once you have achieved a shape that pleases you carefully take the knife and whittle along the fine edges to add additional depth. There is no right or wrong in gem-shaping, and the leftover pieces can easily be melted back down in a microwave safe bowl and poured into a heatproof mold- so don't worry about waste!
Carve glycerin soaps into gems for an instant sparkle in that guest bathroom! #SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
Hand-carved soap gemstones can be a fun and relaxing project, and a great way to repurpose those old decorative soaps you've had hanging around for a while. If you don't have translucent bars on hand, don't worry, other soaps make perfectly gorgeous rocks and geodes too! Soap gems are also the perfect 1-2 use soaps for heavy traffic bathrooms and entertaining events!
A lot of times at stores such as Dollar General I see affordable mesh bins and baskets for home office organization. As affordable as they may be, I like to add a little extra sparkle. Recently I found a mini mesh basket that just so happened to have a larger waste-basket that matched. I bought the set knowing immediately that I would use the smaller one for a toothbrush holder and the larger one for our new bathroom waste-bin. The idea to dress up these mesh bins can be adapted in multiple ways to fit your color and decor. Use wide ribbon or yarn on waste-baskets, and small, narrow, ribbon and a needle on finer mesh such as this desktop bin/cup.
While your inspiration for decoration will match your tastes, and your bathroom, I stuck with the theme of sparkling and choose a starburst pattern I could easily alternate. We recently re-did our bathroom with a red, black, and grey European influence, so I stuck with the color palette for this project. As a general tip, start by threading from the inside out, and choose a central notch in the mesh as your repetitive feeding point. This will also help hide the knot you will inevitably tie in the back to secure your design.
Simple stitch pattern GIF for decorating your mesh wastebasket. #SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
For this simple starburst design I began with the center burst and brought my ribbon back down about halfway, through the middle notch, out from the inside of the bin. Each time I looped the ribbon back across the front I pulled the ribbon tight, through to the back, and brought it back out to the front through the central notch. For the red starburst I passed through the center notch 5 times. Of course really any design you can imagine could be woven into a mesh bin like this, and there are hundreds of patterns you could easily adapt to the project, online.
Dress up a mesh wastebasket for a fashionable toothbrush holder or bathroom trash can. #SaveWithBubbles and make your bathroom sparkle for a few dollars with Dollar General, Scrubbing Bubbles®, and these simple DIY tips. #ad
When it comes to making my bathroom sparkle I trust Scrubbing Bubbles® for the toughest stains and least glamorous jobs. Not only do their products continue to clean after I'm done, but they also make the cleaning process faster and more pleasant through powerful bubbles and fresh fragrances. Best of all, I can help my bathroom sparkle without watching my wallet dwindle when I pick up my favorite name brands at amazing deals, thanks to Dollar General. I've shared some of my favorite tips to add sparkle to your bathroom- what's one of yours?

What Daughter Says: I enjoy my sparkles with a little less elbow grease and a lot more pizazz!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

(MSG 4 21+) Summer Entertaining On The Go Solutions- Blackberry Cristo Sliders

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerToGo #CollectiveBias The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
Momma Told Me: It's not the bottle, it's the wine.

In my mind Summer is the best time of the year to entertain. Sure the holidays are filled with delicious food, timeless music, and large gatherings of family and friends- but entertaining over the holidays arguably creates the most stressful times of the year as well. Yes, in the Summer there's nothing but lazy afternoons, impromptu get-togethers with long lost friends, and endless hours of sunlight just waiting to be soaked up. In the Summer there's no dress code, no formalities of gift exchanges and fancy traditions, just good times with great people. Yes, Summer celebration are my favorite.
MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
Of course one of my favorite ways to unwind and enjoy a Summer day is by heading down to the local lake or park with a picnic basket, a wireless speaker, and some delicious food. You simply can't see enough sunsets in one life- why not throw up a Facebook status and invite some friends to come down and watch one with you? Summertime gatherings are just that relaxed, especially when you have a 3L box of your favorite Black Box Wine in the trunk. That's 4 bottles of delicious award winning wine ready to be shared while creating memories with friends new and old. Best of all, there's no fuss of breakable bottles, packing corkscrews, or even worse- corks breaking off in bottle necks. Keep the good times rolling, I like to say.
Black Box wines come in several varieties, from light to dark, all from an award winning winery that boasts over 50 industry medals for it's commitment to quality and innovation. If you think delicious wine can't come from a box, you're wrong- not only are Black Box Wines on average 40% cheaper than comparable wines, but those 3L boxes will keep your delicious wine fresh up to 6 weeks. Serving your guests on the go is as easy as popping the easy to use pour spout out of the box's punch tab and pressing lightly on the red dispensing button. When the party's ready to pack up for the day simply pop the pour spout back into the box and put your black box away for another lazy day.
Some may argue that a celebration without all the fuss of planning and stressing isn't really a celebration. I disagree. As the one who's often the hostess, I savor any chance to mingle with my guests and enjoy the gathering, no matter how big or small. Simple solutions, like quality Black Box Wines and Blackberry Cristo Sliders ensure any day can be a memorable day with good eats, great wine, and amazing friends. It really is that easy to elevate any Summer evening with portable, affordable, delicious, Black Box Wines.
MSG 4 21+ Make this Blackberry Noir Aioli with delicious Black Box Wines Pinot Noir. #ad #SummerToGo
In fact I used some of our favorite Black Box Wine, (California 2013) Pinot Noir to reduce a Blackberry Noir Aioli that we've been slathering on everything  we can imagine for weeks. My Blackberry Noir Aioli is the perfect mix of refreshingly tart and unsuspectingly sweet to compliment everything from cucumber slices to turkey sandwiches, and it's even better in a dish paired with a freshly poured bottle of wine. In fact, I whipped up some Blackberry Cristo Sliders and took a Black Box of Pinot Noir down to the lake at my mother's community last month to meet and treat some of her neighbors.
MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
With 27 Wine Enthusiast Best Buy Awards and 40 Gold Medals, I didn't need to convince anyone in attendance that this was the way wine on the go was intended to be done. I set the box on the picnic basket knowing I wouldn't have to worry about running out, or spilled bottles. Black Box proved the perfect way to keep my guest's glasses full, and the conversation going as my Blackberry Cristo Sliders disappeared. Time and again these strangers turned new friends asked where the bottle was to 'fill up' their glass, and one by one they were astounded to learn such quality wine came from such a convenient and affordable wine!
MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
I'm no wine snob- all I need to make memories is a great setting and wonderful people- and the beautiful Oregon lake was certainly a breathtaking setting! But Momma, she's drank her share of glasses from $2 bottles to special reserves, and Black Box passed the test with flying colors! She just *might* have a Black Box of Chardonnay and Merlot in her cabinets right now. After all, any proper host is prepared to bust out the libations as the menu and settings change, right? And I'm sure Black Box will be helping with on-the-go get together all season long; though we'll be hard pressed to test that '6 weeks fresh' claim, since those black boxes never seem to stay full near that long!

We don't have a problem, we are just blessed with a truly wonderful community of family and friends. After all, wine isn't meant to be enjoyed solo- it's meant to be shared, one clink of the glass at a time! Want more Summer on-the-go fun and entertaining ideas, visit the Black Box Wine Social Hub, then enter the exclusive Summer sweepstakes today! Now, tell me, what's one place you'd love to bring a Black Box this Summer?

What Daughter Says: Ditch the bottle and explore the freedom of wine uncorked with Black Box Wines and lazy Summer get-togethers.


(MSG 4 21+) Blackberry Cristo Sliders made with Blackberry Noir Aioli and Black Box Wines. MSG 4 21+ Take impromptu memories and #SummerToGo with portable, award winning 3l Black Box Wines. #ad
Blackberry Cristo Sliders
***Click here for printable Blackberry Cristo Sliders Recipe