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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello Keurig 2.0

It's a Review
Notice:  I received this product for free through Influenster and Keurig to test and review.  All opinions expressed here are mine (and one of my husband's).

About a week and a half ago, I received an email notice from Fed Ex that I had a package coming from Influenster. I always take my surveys from Influenster, but I really couldn't remember the last one or what types of products it could be.  That is until I received another notice that it was some type Keurig.  Holy smokes!  Really?  A free Keurig?  I had only gotten my first one back in February from my parents as a birthday gift.  I loved it because there was never wasted coffee.  Coffee is generally expensive and I cannot stand to waste it.

I was excited, but I had no idea that it would be this mack daddy Keurig.  It arrived on Thursday in a giant box.  I couldn't wait to rip it open and set it up.  I was going out of town that weekend, so I knew I wouldn't be using it until I returned.


Sunday afternoon upon my return, I pulled everything out of the box and began setting it up.  At first glance, the shiny new Keurig is beautiful! One of the first things I noticed, though, was it seemed cheap in comparison to the smaller one I have.  Very plastic, shiny, but plastic.  I immediately wondered how the carafe would hold up and hold heat.


If you've ever had a Keurig, then you know there are some things that need to be put together and prepared for use.  There's a place for the water filter.  As with any filter, it needs to be soaked and rinsed prior to use.  The plastic housing that holds the filter was very difficult to pull apart.  There is a plastic snap on each side of it; however, neither side seemed to want to work in tandem.  That said, mine ended up breaking off on one side.  


I tried to superglue it back together, but it was having none of that.  I was able to add the filter and snap the one side back on with no problem.  It snapped into place inside the water house and I was ready to brew.


Now, despite that I felt this machine was a little too plastic, it has plenty of bells and whistles.  So many, in fact, that it really won me over.

First of all, it's digital with day-glo.  


With all kinds of settings, too.  An automatic filter reminder in case you never look at the water filter setting inside the machine.  Lighting options are a favorite.  There's a small light in the bottom of the water house that can be used as a kitchen nightlight.



Green, Red, Blue, and White options for  the lighting I mentioned earlier.  Of course, I selected my favorite color--green!


Now ready to be filled up with water to brew my next morning's cup-o-joe.


Did I mention it's programmable?  Yep, no need to wait for the water to heat up to brew that perfect pot.  You can set it to brew.  I used this feature every day and woke up like I was in a Folgers commercial to the yummy smell of fresh brew.


The machine came with a box of 8 of 2.0 K-cups.  These are a bit larger than the regular ones so you can make a pot.  The pot will make up to 4-5 cups.  Not your standard pot of coffee, but great for someone who drinks about that much in the morning.  I am one of those people.  I have one to one and half cups while getting ready in the morning.  Then I fill my travel mug to head to the office.  The 4 -5 cup setting was a perfect match.

The only down side of that, is there are two of us, so we would have to use a second K-cup to brew more or use the single servings.  My husband noticed that the large cup setting  for the single serve would leave about an inch and a half to the top of his travel mug. I have not verified that he used the correct setting, though.  I always think that sometimes it's user error.  I know my smaller Keurig does the same thing, though.



The first morning, I had it set for 6 a.m. and by 6:07, my coffee was ready for consumption.  It made a delicious cup of coffee, too.   Hot and tasty.  I'm a big fan of the doughnut shop blends and that is the majority of what was sent.  A few other flavors, too. Breakfast blend, French Vanilla, Hazelnut....all very tasty and ones that I had tried in the single serve.



Overall, I think the product is great.  It makes a great cup of coffee.  I like that I can use it when I don't need to make a full pot or if I am in a hurry and don't have time to wait.  The 2.0 gives you the option for making a single or a small pot.  I also love the coffee and the options they offer are yummy.

There are also things I don't like about it, but some of it is generalized for the product itself.  First, I don't think it's economical or environmentally friendly.  Look, I'm not a die-hard tree hugger, but I don't think Keurig is real concerned about their carbon footprint.  

I think because of the K cups individual nature, they are expensive and wasteful.  I've shopped them on line, on sale, and at Costco and the bottom line is:  they are expensive.  If my husband and I use this machine daily, we are going to use 2 of the 2.0 Kcups a day.  A box of 8 is $13.99 ($12.59 as a Keurig member on their site).  I think I could go to Starbucks every day for a regular cup and have someone else make my coffee.  I do have a reusable single filter for it, but honestly having to clean it out each time to reuse....not worth it.

As for the machine itself, I don't thing the carafe keeps the coffee warm enough for long enough.  After all, it's plastic and a stainless steel carafe (available for purchase for $29.99 on their web site) is going to work much better for retaining the heat.  I have had to reheat my coffee in the microwave on numerous occasions.  Knowing I can get a stainless makes it that much better though.  After all, they sent this to me for free, so I would gladly spring for the upgrade.

I have enjoyed using this machine for the past week. I am now out of the 2.0 Kcups, but I have a few individuals left to use.  I haven't decided if I'll use them this week or save them for when I run out of coffee and don't have time to get to the grocery.  I know one thing, though. My regular Colombian Folgers is not going to be half as delicious as the Donut Shop coffee.  

I highly recommend a Keurig for a single person or if you live in a house and you are the only coffee drinker.  This model would also be great on hand for company.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this thing also brews a fabulous cup of tea and hot cocoa.  So for the versatility, taste, and ease of use, my dear Keurig, you get a 10!

Thank you to Keurig and Influenster for letting me try out the new 2.0.  It was truly a great experience.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!
xoxo,
Laurie









Monday, September 15, 2014

What Weekend?

I'm always amazed at how fast my weekends fly by. I always feel like I could have gotten a little more done or had a little more fun.  I've also realized I like to go out one night and stay home the other.  There is no way I can make plans to go out both nights and feel like I have gotten adequate rest.

Friday night, I went out with my Greensboro friends.  We went to the Green Queens Bingo.  That's drag queen bingo for those of you keeping up at home. I had never been and it was so much fun! I wasn't a winner, but had a great time with some great people.  I also saw some great enertainment!







How was your weekend?
xoxo,
Laurie

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Social Sunday: Favorites

Good Sunday morning to you!  It's been an overcast, cool and somewhat rainy weekend here in North Carolina.  The best part is that it's cool today.  It's really beginning to feel like fall.

I wasn't ready for summer to end, but now that it's cooling off, I'm getting excited about fall. The cooler weather makes me want to sleep.  I slept REALLY late today and I feel like I could go back to sleep right now.  

Well, it's that time of the week to link up with Neely and Ashley for Social Sunday.  This week's questions are all about Favorites.



1. Favorite scent(s)
I have more than one favorite scent.  Vanilla, an ocean breeze, my mama's chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven.  I also love Ralph Rocks from Ralph Lauren.  They don' make it anymore, but it's a divine scent.
I also love when the summer air fills with the sweet scent of Confederate Jasmine.


2. Favorite food(s)
I love Italian.  I love all Italian, but a good lasagna is my favorite.  I love pizza, too, but more specifically, Sir Pizza and Elizabeth's Pizza (this is more of a New York style).  I also love chocolate with the passion of a crack addict.

3. Favorite sound(s)
Waves crashing along the shore.  I am a beach girl and I would live there if I could.  I also love to hear my nieces and nephews laughter.  The uncontrollable giggles melt my heart.

4. Favorite picture currently on your phone

5. Best memory of the year so far
I'm just not sure what my favorite memory of the year has been.  I've had lots of changes going on in my life.  I would have to say changing jobs would be my favorite, but I'm not sure that counts as a memory so much as an event.

That's all I've got for today!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Happy Sunday, y'all!
xoxo,
Laurie

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering 9/11 - 13 Years

Copyright/All Rights Reserved/Laurie Tester
Just like most Americans, I spend a lot of time reflecting on where I was and who I was with on September 11, 2001.  As time passes, we heal a little bit more.  On the ten year anniversary, I wrote a post on my own experiences that day.  I'm re-posting it today because I don't think that there is any possible way I could say it any better today.
**************************************
A Look Back:  10 Years Gone
I'd like to share my experience from September 11, 2001, as well as a little background as to why I love NYC.  Every word is just another step to healing.  Thank you for reading.

My first trip to NYC was in October of 1986.  I was 16.  My mom and her best friend took their oldest daughters on their first trip to New York.  We were awakened on a Thursday morning, just like normal, but told to get up, dress warm and pack a bag for a trip.  We weren't told where we were going.  We wouldn't find out until we were on our way to the airport.  It was exciting and so surprising.  We spent Halloween in New York and it was the most fabulous experience of my life at that point.




We were taken by limo on the traditional tourist ride.  We went to battery park, the empire state building (not up it, though, that's still something I want to do), we had fabulous dinners and Broadway shows.  We had makeovers at Bloomingdale's or Macy's (I really can't remember), Tavern on the Green, Rockefeller Center.  We even had lunch at Windows on the World.  That was the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center Tower.

On September 11, 2001, I was working at Rose Furniture Company as an interior designer in sales.  Most people don't know this, but many of our clients lived in and around New York.  It may seem odd, but at that time, our competitive prices brought our clients to us.  They lived in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.  They worked in New York City.

At 8:46 a.m., I was sitting in my Tuesday sales meeting, where I sat  every Tuesday.  When we were released for work a little before 9, I climbed the stairs to my second floor office space.  My cousin worked there, as well.  His desk was at the top of the stairs.  I was going to stop by and wish him a happy birthday, but when I looked in his office, there were already a few other co-workers in there.  All gathered close behind where he was seated, I saw his mini-tv on his desk.  This tv in his office was strictly for emergencies or sporting events (like Thursday games of the ACC Tournament). Everyone had such a serious look on their face.  My cousin looked up and said a plane crashed into the World Trade Center Tower 1.  I remember thinking, 'Wow. What a terrible crash.'  People started to mingle back to their own desks, so I took a look at the tv to see the devastation.  I never imagined what would happen next.

Another plane came crashing into Tower 2.  I gasped at the horror.  It took my breath.  I realized this was no accident.  You see, what we had been watching was an attack, not an accident.  I remember feeling very scared.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted to be with my family.  I didn't know what was going to happen next.

We stood like statues, glued to the tiniest of televisions as we watched New York's Fire and Police departments rush toward the burning towers.   Then, as news unfolded that another plane headed for California had been hijacked, work seemed so unimportant. By 9:40, the Pentagon had been hit by another plane. I rushed to my desk and called my parents and my boyfriend.

My husband and I weren't married yet.  We'd been dating just over a year.  Neither of us wanted to be at work.  We were on edge for the rest of the day just wondering what would happen next.  I finally told him, I'm going back to the tv to see what's going on now.  Flight 93 was the only airplane left in the air in the entire United States.  It was headed towards Washington, DC, most likely headed toward the Capitol Building or the White House.  Without the strength and heroism of the passengers of Flight 93, Washington may well have been hit a second time.  And then, the unthinkable happened.  Tower 2 collapsed into a pile of rubble.  I can't tell you how many times I have watched it since then. 
The question rolling through my mind....how could you survive that?  Be on top of the building?  Yet, as I watched tv and people threw themselves from above the burning floors.  What were they thinking?  I'm going to die anyway, so lets just get it over with?  I cannot imagine.  Then I remembered my lunch there back in 1986.  I remember seeing helicopters flying by the buildings far below.  How high that would be to jump.  The lesser of two evils?  Burning to death or jumping.  Still stirs up emotions within me.

Shortly after 10, Flight 93 crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  I couldn't help but feel overwhelmed and wondered what is happening?  What's next?  I had never in my life been as scared as I was that day.   What came next was the collapse of Tower 1.  Like many Americans, I felt helpless, but not hopeless.

I didn't know a lot of people living in New York.  Not like I do today.  My friend in the above photos...her uncle lived there.  He was okay.  A friend from high school lived there, too, near the towers.  A few days passed before we heard he was okay.

As the days passed, we began calling our customers.  It made me so nervous to call my customers from the area.  I didn't know what I was going to find out.  One story really stuck with me, though.  A woman told me that a dentist appointment saved her husband.  He worked in one of the towers, on the floor where the plane crashed.  He would have been there right at 9.  I've never forgotten that story. 

The photo that has always stuck in my head is that of Mike Kehoe as he ascended the stairs in Tower 1.  It was taken by John Labriola who worked on the 71st floor of Tower 1.  I never thought this man survived, but he did.  You can see this photo HERE.



As we remember where we have been, take time to do something for someone else.  Volunteer and become more active in your community.  Lend a Helping Hand.  

God Bless America.

Happy Thursday, y'all!
xoxo,
Laurie

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Dinner Is Served: Mini Chicken Pot Pies

I've been at it again. More pinning and cooking from Pinterest and I must say...Success!
Sunday night, after returning from our trip to the mountains, I whipped up a little comfort food:  Mini Chicken Pot Pies.  Did anyone else think these were Chicken Pock Pies when they were kids?  I sure did.  Ah well, I wasn't a fan as a child either.

These were super easy. I know in the South, Chicken Pies have variations and this recipe is open to variation.  I followed the recipe on these, though.  You can find the pin here.  You simply mix your ingredients and set aside. Pop open your Grands biscuits and make your crusts by shaping them in the muffin tins.  I would like to try these with crescent rolls and maybe even ready made pie crusts.  There would be a few extra steps in cutting them out in circles, but I'm sure they would be yummy.


Once your crusts are ready, fill them up and bake.


The recipe calls for them to bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, but I baked them for 20 minutes.  Ta-da!  Dinner is served and it was delicious!


I do believe I'm having some left-overs for lunch today, too.  Mmm.  I can't wait!

I'm always looking for easy, yummy recipes. So, if you have something quick and easy, please let me know.  I'd love to try it!

Happy Wednesday, y'all!
xoxo,
Laurie

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Monday, September 8, 2014

First Weekend of Fall

Good Monday morning! It's a cool, rainy morning here in the Piedmont.  I have to say, I wasn't ready to see the summer end, but I am sure loving the cooler temps that we are already experiencing here.  This cool weather, though, is probably a taste of what's to come.  Farmer's Almanac says a cold and wet winter.  Needless to say, I'm not excited, but it certainly gives me reason to save my money for a trip to Florida mid-winter.

We spent the weekend in the beautiful, North Carolina mountains.  High atop Sugar Mountain Resort, our views were just beautiful.  Below, you can see the moon rising over Grandfather Mountain Friday evening.


The perfect place to escape the heat and humidity at home.  Though it wasn't an entire washout, we had plenty of sun and plenty of rain.  We also ate and drank well.  Nothing like some fun weekend away with a few of your best friends to get you laughing and relaxed.


We enjoyed a great lunch at Fred's Mercantile over at Beech Mountain.  If you've never been up to Fred's, it's worth the trip.  They've got a little bit of everything, including a great patio to enjoy your lunch.

Later on, we headed to a popular spot in Banner Elk, the Bayou.  They had the new, old school, Miller Lite bottles.  I'm not sure why, but the nostalgia of it makes me happy.


Sunday morning, the skies were clear and the sun was shining brightly.  It was the perfect start to the end of a great weekend.  My face still hurts from laughing.  Thank you for the hospitality, John and Trix.


Linking up (finally again--it's been a long time since I linked up with LeeAnn) with Monday Morning Gossip



With my sky pics, how could I not link up with Just Beachy Blog?


Happy Monday, y'all!
xoxo,
Laure

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Social: 5 Things

Good Sunday morning!  I hope you have had a fabulous weekend.  I've spent my weekend in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. It's been nice and cool but somewhat rainy.  This didn't stop us from having fun, though.  

Sunday Social 
Linking up with our favorite Sunday Social gals. For Five Things:

1. 5 Things you want us to know about you.

  • I am loyal to a fault, but if you break my trust...we're done.
  • I love exercising, but I can be lazy if I don't keep myself on track.
  • I am a creative soul.  I love to paint and write, but hardly ever make time to do either.
  • I'm a total nerd.  I love Star Wars. If Star Wars is on (any of the three original ones), I will stop what I'm doing and watch.  
  • I enjoy bird watching.  I have at least 4 bird feeders and one hummingbird feeder.  At least I'm not a crazy cat lady, right?
2. 5 Favorite things about blogging.
  • Friends I've made blogging.
  • Recipes I've shared/found/tried and loved.
  • Creative outlet through writing.
  • Learning about other areas of the country through the women who live there.   
  • Travel tips!
3. 5 Things you are doing before the year is over.
  • Complete a few projects at work.  Sad that I mentioned work, but there are things I KNOW I will complete.
  • Attend a college football game.  I haven't been to one in years, so I am excited about my trip to Greenville for the ECU/UNC game.
  • Eat a bag of candy corn.  It's not a goal, but I'm sure it's something I will not be able to help.
  • Trick or treating with my nieces and nephews.
  • Getting the last pounds off for good. 
4. 5 Favorite Fall Fashion Staples.
  • Fleece Vest
  • Jeans
  • Clogs
  • Fleece Pullover
  • Long sleeve t-shirts
5. 5 Favorite beauty products.
  • Loreal CC Cream.  I love that it's a light moisturizer with tint.  Perfect for summer.
  • Frizz-ease spray.  Keeps my ever changing hair in check, especially in the summer.
  • NYC nail polish.  The fast drying kind.  It's inexpensive and has quickly become my favorite go-to polish.
  • Elf blush.  Cheap and fabulous.
  • Coconut oil.  For everything!
Happy Sunday, y'all!
Xoxo,
Laurie

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