Massage Envy Spa (Giveaway for 1-hour massage in Cypress, Texas!)

Did you happen to see my Sprint Tri recap post last year? I talked about how a massage helped me prepare for the race. I’ve competed in several triathlons since then, and massages are such a huge benefit to help me prepare and recover from these athletic events.

But I’m learning that massages are really a good thing for me to experience on a more consistent basis. I was reminded recently why I love Massage Envy and how I need to sign up as a member so I can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits (relieve stress, relax muscles and improve range of motion) at a cost so much more wallet-friendly then other spas.

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The Massage Envy Cypress location off of 290 invited me to see their newly renovated space and treated me to a fabulous hour-long massage. It was incredible. They recently moved a stone’s throw from their previous location into a much bigger facility; a 15-room, 4200-square-foot spa which includes four upgraded spa rooms, two couples’ rooms and a large tranquility room.

When I arrived, I filled out paperwork so my therapist, Jessica, could understand exactly what I needed and wanted to get out of the session. My wellness coordinator, Kathy, asked further questions to be sure I knew all my options. I wanted a deep tissue massage with some stretching. Kathy suggested the Deep Muscle Therapy, warming and cooling thermal products to provide deep muscle pain relief from injuries and chronic conditions or limited mobility due to athletic training, to enhance my experience. 

I was relaxed the minute I walked in, so I didn’t take many photos – but I did get a couple of the tranquility room. Look at that beautiful stone wall.

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Jessica brought me back almost immediately and the session was amazing. The Deep Muscle Therapy was wonderful and so worth the extra $12.00. She made sure the pressure was comfortable and immediately found the spots on my neck that needed to be worked out and helped stretch my legs and arms. I felt like a million bucks when I was finished and I can’t wait to go back to see Jessica again. I felt like she really cared about my health and both Kathy and Jessica were so helpful and caring…it was like I had my own wellness team!

Massage Envy offers members a great rate of just $59.99 for a monthly massage and additional massages during the month are only $39.99. They also offer Murad Healthy Skin Facials, which I would love to get sometime soon!

Do you leave in the Houston/Cypress area? Want to win a free one-hour massage at Massage Envy to try it out for yourself? Be sure to enter the giveaway! For more information about Massage Envy in Houston, check them out on Facebook!

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I was given a complimentary massage in order to write a review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Salata Eat Light at Night Promotion (free salad or wrap!)

Salata logo

I’ve shared with you my love of Salata before.

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Salata, The Next Generation Salad Bar, offers over 50 toppings including my favorites: grapes, strawberries, black beans, crab and the absolute best fat-free mango dressing EVER (which is 0 Weight Watchers PP – BTW!) They also have wraps, soup and some of the best iced-tea and lemonade flavors.

Salata Wrap high res

So naturally, I was thrilled when Salata recently invited me to enjoy a complimentary meal to learn more about their current Eat Light at Night Promotion and awesome offers for free food items for their mobile club members.

I often visit Salata during the day to eat, but salads aren’t just for lunch. In fact, a good salad with lean protein makes a great dinner.

A recent article on Healthline.com recommends eating lean proteins, veggies and fruits in the evening and specifically avoiding starchy carbs three hours prior to bedtime to maintain weight. Melissa Lanz, founder of The Fresh 20, said in a HuffPost Healthy Living article that “nutritionally, dinner should be a light, well-proportioned meal that is under 500 calories.”

Salata ELAN

On September 8th, Salata began offering mobile club members  in participating Texas, California and Illinois locations a coupon every other week for free items, complimentary protein upgrades and add-ons.

I know, I know, it’s way past September 8th….but it’s not too late to get in on the deals. 

How to become a Salata Mobile Club Member

To join – just text “Salata” to 777111. You’ll get a a coupon that’s good for a week. New members will also receive a buy one, get one free salad or salad wrap offer immediately!

Score!

Do you love Salata? What are your favorite toppings?

I was given a complimentary meal at Salata in order to review and share news about their Eat Light at Night promotion. I didn’t receive any other compensation and all thoughts and opinions (and favorite salad toppings!) are my own!

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Free Fire Safety App: Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms

Did you know that it’s National Fire Prevention Week?

When I was little, my mother’s friend’s apartment caught on fire. I remember how devestating it was to her. All of her belongings were destroyed but thankfully, her injuries were treatable.

My family used the opportunity to talk about fire safety and we figured out a spot to meet outside if our house ever caught on fire. But we didn’t talk much about fire safety after that. As a parent, I’ve made it a point to talk to my kids about what to do in case of a fire and we’ve revisited the topic from time to time to make sure we are all on the same page and remember our plan.

National Fire Prevention Week is a great time to get together with your family and devise a plan (if you don’t already have one) or revisit safety tips if you already have a plan in place.

Yesterday Annie and I talked about the topic when she got home from school. I asked her what she remembered from when we last chatted (it’s been awhile!). We’ve talked about not hiding if she’s or smells smoke, about the quickest way to get out of our house and where to meet outside.

I’m so thankful that there are resources available that make having these discussions easier with our kids.

I recently discovered a free app that makes learning about fire prevention and safety fun; Sparky and the Case of the Missing Smoke Alarms. I was very happy when they asked if Annie and I would give it a try and share our thoughts with you!

The NFPA and Sparky.org Fire Prevention Week app has both an interactive story and music video…plus many other resources for parents and teachers.

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Annie started with the story and she read along with the narrator (although the words are pretty small) as Sparky and the kids investigate why an intruder stole Aunt Dottie’s smoke alarms. She loved clicking on the different pictures to see lights come on, wind chimes ring, instruments play and characters (even those in paintings) talk.

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TIP: Be sure to check out the Magic 8 Ball on the stairs on one of the pages, it was her favorite….so cute!

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She could also learn about safety tips throughout the story by clicking on white “sparkles” on different pages such as facts about smoke alarms, evacuation information, etc.

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At the conclusion of the story when Annie found all 9 fire safety tips, she received a superstar certificate she personalized with her photo!

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The music video, What’s that Sound by Recess Monkey, was also fun and Annie got up and danced. It’s the next day and I’m still humming it which is good… and bad!!! :)

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The app also included questions for Annie and I to discuss what we learned:

1. Why was it dangerous for Jerome Jinx to borrow the smoke alarms?

Annie – “Even though Jerome meant to do a good thing and felt bad about his mistake, you never know when there will be a fire so they always need to be there and be working.”

2. What would you teach Jerome about fire safety? What does he need to learn?

Annie – “Teach Jerome that there has to be a fire safety plan…like how we would meet out front at our big Oak tree.”

I’m proud of what Annie learned and how fun the app made the process! For more information about the app and additional resources for parents and teachers including free fire-safety materials, check out the Sparky Schoolhouse site.

  1. What do you do to help teach fire safety to your kids?
  2. Do you have smoke alarms and change out batteries regularly?
  3. Do you have a designated outside meeting place for your family to gather in case of a fire?

While I received compensation to share information about the National Fire Protection Agency’s Sparky.org Fire Prevention Week app, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in teaching fire prevention safety tips to my children and applaud organizations like WeAreTeachers.com and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s resource for kids, Sparky.org who help me do it in such an entertaining way!

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VTech InnoTab 3 Plus Learning Tablet Review and Giveaway!

Still Living The Dream contributing writer, Tanya, and her son, Michael, are here today with a review of the new VTech InnoTab 3 Plus Learning Tablet. Check out what they thought and then be sure to enter to win one in our giveaway just in time for the holidays! Many thanks to VTech for providing Michael a complimentary product sample to review and for providing another Learning Tablet for one lucky Still Living the Dream reader to win!

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A few years ago, I bought my youngest boy, Michael, the VTech InnoTab for Christmas. The InnoTab was the “in” toy that year and to purchase the kid-friendly tablet, I had to resort to stalking the employees at Target as they restocked merchandise.

The gift was a hit! Michael loved the InnoTab- it was simple for him to use (he was 4 at the time) and intuitive. We purchased several games to go with it like Disney’s Cars and Toy Story 3. The big problem with the original InnoTab was that it required AA batteries. Michael played on the InnoTab so much that he went through the batteries faster than we had a chance to take out a small business loan and purchase them. 

Then Michael’s older brother, Henry, got a Kindle for his birthday. Michael wasn’t quite ready for a tablet of his own, but he REALLY, REALLY wanted to play with his brother’s ALL-THE-TIME. After the 1,000th fight over the darn Kindle I whispered a prayer to the toy gods- “if only there was something Michael could use that was more his age-level, that was durable, and rechargeable.” The wind floated the message down to me- the VTech InnoTab 3! Michael has had a blast using the InnoTab 3.

michael with vtech

Setting up the InnoTab was easy and straightforward. Michael took to it right away, he even created his user name “Mike”. Some of the best features are that it is rechargeable (available in the bundle option) and it is compatible with the cartridges we purchased with the original InnoTab. There are also games and apps that you can download when you connect the tablet to the computer.

This tablet offers access to more than 800 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate cartridges, software and apps that can be purchased and downloaded from VTech’s Learning Lodge app store, but Michael seemed to be perfectly content taking selfies!

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Michael’s favorite aspect of the InnoTab is the camera and video feature. It has an 180° rotating camera with over 55 special effects and video recorder to make movies. Kids can even import and listen to their own MP3s with the music player.

As for durability, it has been dropped multiple times and run over by a bicycle at least once and that was just day one! It seems to be durable enough to handle the abuse of young boys. 

The InnoTab 3 is a great gift for Christmas for the kid that really, really, wants a tablet but will crack a screen faster than you can shout- “Nooooooooo-“.  Although it is recommended for ages 3-9, because of  its contents, I think it is more suitable for kids aged 4-6. InnoTab 3 Plus comes with 12 apps and retails for $59.99.

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VTech InnoTab 3 Plus artwork by Michael! 

There is now a little more peace in the house with two boys having their own personal and age-appropriate tablets. And, Michael, well, he has ridden his bicycle off into the sunset yelling: “This is the best day ever!!!”  

Unedited video directed and produced by Michael on his VTech InnoTab 3 Plus!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were provided a InnoTab 3 Plus Learning Tablet from VTech for review purposes. As always, all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Washdrops: Rinse-free Car Wash formula (Coupon!)

After some pretty crazy rain in Houston, we woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning last weekend. The minivan was pretty grimy from going back and forth to soccer practice and games, play rehearsals and running errands, so we decided to take advantage of the sunny day and clean it up.

Over the summer while at Blogger Bash in NYC, I learned about Washdrops, a wash and shine formula for your vehicle that doesn’t require any rinsing!

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I was excited to receive a complimentary Basic Car Wash Kit from Cequent, the manufacturer, to try out so I could share my results with you. The kit included:

  1. Washdrops® 16 oz. (16 washes & shines)*: Smart Solution for ALL the surfaces of your car exterior
  2. Duo Sponge: Laitner Microfiber chenille sponge with mesh scrubber
  3. Extra-Large Towel: 6.5 sq. ft. Laitner Microfiber drying towel

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Not included in the kit, but very helpful indeed, was Annie and her friend E. who volunteered to help me!

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With just three capfuls of Washdrops in a gallon of water, we were able to get the minivan spick and span. The girls took turns washing and drying (well – they mostly handled the middle section of the vehicle…I was in charge of the high and low areas!)

I like that Washdrops is biodegradable and solvent-, butyl-, phosphate- AND ammonia-free. This means the formula won’t scratch my vehicle’s surface (because I don’t want anything to distract from the door dings!) and run-off can safely go down the drain or in the yard without killing the flowers I may or may not have had time to plant this year!

The best part is that you can use the formula to clean all surfaces from tires to windows and you don’t have to rinse it off. For me, this is great because I can spot clean when needed without a lot of hassle.

COUPON for Still Living The Dream readers

Did I mention that Washdrops is pretty darn economical?

The Basic Car Wash Kit is just $16.00 and a Washdrops Gallon bottle (which yields up to 128 wash and shines) is just $28.95. But as a Still Living The Dream reader, you can save $2.00 off your order by using the coupon code: FansSaveNow at the Cequent Store

A coupon and a clean car? Nailed it!

I was given a Basic Car Wash Kit to try out for free but did not receive any other compensation. As always, all thoughts, opinions (and possible dirty areas on my minivan roof I may have missed during this review) are my own!

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#FitMadeFun – Healthy Lifestyle for Kids with CLIF Kid and LeapFrog LeapBands!

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School is back in session and while it’s still hot (really, really hot!) in Houston, the Fall season is really just around the corner.

For the love of pumpkin bread, I heart the Fall! As the holiday season approaches, the temperatures will finally begin to drop which makes for much better outdoor running weather!

The kids and I stayed pretty active over the summer despite the heat. Now that they are getting back into a routine with school, organized sports keeps them busy - but we also try to have fun and keep moving around the house.

Which is why we were really excited to be invited by MomSelect to host a Fit Made Fun party sponsored by LeapFrog and Clif Kid. We received a party kit with free product in order to host the party. To inspire kids to get up and active, LeapFrog coordinated an event in Santa Monica, California, on September 6, 2014, where hundreds of kids and parents joined together to break several Guinness World Records with fitness activities.

We participated at home in Houston and while we probably didn’t break any world records, we had a blast!

Annie showed her friends her new LeapBand – a cool wearable activity tracker that encourages kids to move around throughout the day. Like my FitBit, the LeapBand tracks movement – but it also has several fun games, up to 50 fitness challenges you can take and even virtual pets you can create and rewards you can earn.

LeapBand

Instead of logging steps, you earn jewels which unlock even more fun activities. I really like that you are rewarded for your movement and also that parents can lock the device during certain hours during the school day and/or night so games won’t be a distraction during class or while sleeping  (but it can still be used as a watch and continues to track activity!)

For our Fit Made Fun party, we used the CLIF Kid 60 Minutes of Motion cards, a combination of 25 motion, activity, adventure and game cards, to inspire relay races and other fun activities. My friend Kelly and her kids came dressed for the occasion!

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exercise

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends kids have 60 minutes of daily physical activity. This card deck, available to download for free starting September 15, 2014 here, is a fun way for busy families to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.  Star jumps, crab walks, nutrition tips and choose-your-own adventure prompts are just a few of what you’ll find in the deck.

After our activities, we took a break for a healthy snack including fruit, cheese and crackers, hummus and Clif Kid Zbar Protein Parfaits. We crumbled up the Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Chocolate and Chocolate Mint flavored bars and the kids used them as toppings on vanilla yogurt. It was a huge hit!

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We are already fans of Clif Bars for grown-ups. My older son, Jackson, eats one before races and early morning cross-country practice. I always have one before a long run or triathlon. They are easy on my stomach and provide the nutrients I need to keep going.

Clif Kid Zbar Protein are great for kid’s growing bodies with calcium, vitamin D, iron, Zinc and 5g of protein. I also like what they DON’T  have – no partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives and artificial flavors.

My kids just like that they taste good!

After we played (even the moms got into some of the hula hooping fun!) we gave away a LeapBand to one of our friends! Annie was so excited to draw the winning ticket and her buddy Michael was even more thrilled to win a LeapBand of his own!

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The LeapBand can be found at stores like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us for just $39.99.

What do you do to help keep your kids active?

How do you track your progress throughout the day/week and what helps keep you motivated to stay active?

I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and Clif Kid sponsored MommyParty but did not receive any other compensation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Weekend Getaways Close to Home – Our #Staycation at Woodlands Resort

Sometimes you just need to get away!

Taking a break from the worries of work, schedules and your normal routine can be such a great way to gain a new perspective and relax, but it can also be hard to carve out time to go on a long vacation. Plus, organizing and financing a trip far from home can be time consuming and pricey when you take into consideration flights, activities, hotels and meals.

We’ve taken several “staycation” mini breaks at home over the years, both over  the summer but also when school is in session when I find that schedules are beginning to run our life. Blocking out a weekend or even one day to spend together as a family can help us get reconnected and we’ve gone on picnics and museum trips and even just stayed home for games or movie marathons.

But it’s hard to really “get away” and be present with your family when you are at home looking at the loads of laundry, dishes and bills that need to be dealt with. Then there’s the lawn that needs to be mowed and wait…what? Is that the roof leaking?!!!

The Woodlands Resort seemed to sense we were in panic mode recently and called to see if we would check out their new lazy river and be their guest for an overnight retreat. We were thrilled to be offered this opportunity. Just about 45 minutes away, The Woodlands Resort is close enough to make it an easy trip, but far enough so that we put some distance between us and the work that was at home.

We actually stayed at the Woodland Resort in the spring, but that was before the lazy river was built and it happened to rain the entire time we were there (check out my post “How To Make the Best of a Rainy Vacation“). We still had a great time, but we really missed being in the water.

This time we arrived early Saturday morning to take advantage of all the poolside activities. Even though check-in isn’t officially until 3:00 p.m., The Woodlands Resort allows their guests to come earlier on the day of arrival to enjoy the property. Just stop by the desk and they’ll give you your bracelets. You can start sipping cold lemon-aid and racing down the water slides and they’ll call you when your room is ready!

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We picked a seat by the back pool and water fall, so relaxing! But all the kid’s activities were happening at the front pool by the Cool Water Cafe.

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Annie was excited about the line-up of activities scheduled for the day. She definitely wanted to get her face painted, get a balloon creation and take part in the hula hoop contest.

Woodlands Resort

We had a great meal by the pool from The Cool Water Cafe. Then at 3:00 p.m., we got a call that our room was ready! Our door was right by the pool and the back patio overlooked the lazy river. What a perfect view! The kids took a small break while I got ready to head over to The Spa at the main building.

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The Spa is very quaint, quiet and relaxing. The therapist I had was wonderful. She asked me if it was ok if she worked out some of the kinks in my shoulders during my Swedish Massage. Yes, please! The hour flew by and I left feeling more relaxed for sure, but also more alert and energized!

cool water cafe

We were going to take advantage of the kids eat free deal in the Woodlands Dining room, but we were having so much fun by the pool, we decided to eat dinner poolside at the Cool Water Cafe again. They have a nice menu, so we were all able to get something different then we had for lunch.

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After dinner, we made S’Mores at the Fire Pit and circled around the lazy river a couple times before the movie. Their new, 1,000 foot lazy river wraps around the Forest Oasis Pool and guest rooms. With music playing along the way, we relaxed as we floated (the current isn’t too strong, very easy going) and then had a blast sliding down the new two-story water slide.

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When we returned to our room after the movie later that night, we had a surprise waiting for us…a cookie cake and carafe of milk. The kids felt so fancy! What a perfect way to end the day.

After a great night’s rest, I got up early to run. The fitness center is open 24/7, but I wanted to check out the property and run outside. They have a bike and run trail that surrounds the resort, but I just ran throughout the property and saw the golf course and tennis courts.

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There is a lot of construction going on at the resort right now, but once you are back by the pool area – you hardly notice anything is going on. The $60-million expansion and renovation began last year and includes a new 184 guest room wing, the new (and now open!) lazy river and a new steakhouse along with an update to the resort’s conference center. We stayed in one of the 200+ renovated guest rooms at Fairway Pines, and they are really nice! The beds were comfortable and the furnishings were pretty with a modern Texas vibe. (Just be sure to ask for a room with a refrigerator if you think you’ll need one during your stay. Not all rooms have one right now.)

We will definitely go back to the Woodlands Resort again soon. It was one of the most relaxing overnight stays I’ve ever had and because it was so close to home, getting there was stress-free! The Woodlands is such a great area and there are plenty of stores and restaurants located close by, but they have everything you need right at the resort so there’s really no need to ever leave the property once you arrive. We didn’t…and we can’t wait to do it again!

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I was invited to stay at the Woodlands Resort with my family in order to review the property and resort amenities. I did not receive any other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

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Salata – The Next Generation Salad Bar (Giveaway)

Salata logo

By now you probably can guess that I love to go out to eat, but finding healthy food options (especially  for a quick bite) can sometimes be challenging.

One of my favorite places? Salata.

So when Salata, The Next Generation Salad Bar, recently sent me a gift card to have lunch on them and gave me another one to give away to a, lucky Still Living The Dream reader, I was beyond thrilled. They have a lot of exciting things going on including summer promotions, new locations and new menu items.

I love that Salata doesn’t charge by the weight. You just go down the line and tell them to add whatever you want… they offer unlimited toppings at one set price of $8. But it’s the type of toppings they offer that keep me coming back.

With nearly 50 ingredient options, there is something for everyone.

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Here’s how I built my salad yesterday:

  1. grapes
  2. strawberries
  3. carrots
  4. black beans
  5. cilantro
  6. cucumbers

For just a small amount more ($2 for chicken and $3 for seafood) you can add protein. I added crab meat and topped my salad with fat-free mango dressing (YUM!) and baked pita chips.

Nutrition info (Weight Watchers Points Plus):

Salata’s 10 dressings, all made in-house, are gluten-free. While they are all delicious – they range in calories/fat content. The best options if you are watching your intake? Fat-free Mango and Fat-free Sun-Dried Tomato. Both are delicious but you’ve got to try the fat-free mango…my absolute favorite which is (wait for it) 0 WW points plus! (based on a 1 ounce serving which is 1 ladle at the restaurant) it gives your salad a light but flavorful punch.

Worth the splurge – Chipotle Ranch…not too bad for 3 PP. Delicious but higher in calories/fat – Balsamic Vinaigrette (4 PP) and Lemon Vinaigrette (4 PP).

For the adventurous types, Salata will mix dressings. Fun combos include Ginger-lime and Chipotle Ranch and Mango and Chipotle Ranch.

Salata also offers broccoli, tomato basil and tortilla soups and tortilla wraps and has great homemade tea and lemon-aid flavors.

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Summer Tea Promotion:

Speaking of tea and lemon-aid, from now until July 31, guests who purchase a half-gallon tea or lemonade variety will receive one free, reusable Salata tumbler – limit one tumbler per purchase per visit while supplies last!

The house-made teas and lemonades are available in premium flavors like peach lemonade and green tea lemonade, or plum cinnamon tea and the portable jugs are available for $8.00 at any Salata location that serves its signature teas and lemonades. To find the Salata nearest you, visit www.salata.com.

Houston-area Peeps: A New Salata Restaurant Location!

Salata, a Houston-based salad-bar restaurant, has more than 30 corporate-owned and franchise locations in Texas and Southern California and has signed agreements to open 40 more by 2016. They are opening their 34th restaurant (19th in Houston) tomorrow, Thursday, June 19th in River Oaks (1440 W. Grey St.). Doors open at 11:00 a.m. and the first 34 guests to dine will receive a free salad or salad wrap and signature drink of their choice!

A Giveaway!

Can’t make it to the Houston River Oaks restaurant for the grand opening and still want  to try Salata for free? One lucky Still Living The Dream reader will get a $15.00 gift card to check-out Salata’s greatness first-hand. Just leave a comment below telling me what ingredients you love in a salad. Easy-peasy! I’ll select a winner at random on Monday, June 23, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

I was given a gift card to enjoy lunch at Salata. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own!

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Big Deals at New Store – #FiveBelowHouston

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On June 6, 2014, Five Below, a retailer of trendy items targeted at the pre-teen and teen market, opened eight stores including the following locations in Houston: Memorial City at Hedwig village, Richmond at Bella Terra, Tomball and Copperfield.

They invited me out to visit during the grand opening weekend and gave me a gift card so I could go shopping and share my experience with you. Annie and I went on Sunday, June 8 to check it out and here’s the skinny.

All items at Five Below are priced at $5.00 or less.

Yep. Nothing over 5 bucks.

They had a sporting goods area with balls, bats…even yoga mats and foam rollers, arts and crafts supplies (we loved the drawing kits and sketch pads), home goods items, a big selection of cosmetics and beauty supplies, cards and gift wrap, candy and even headphones and chargers for cell phones.

 fivebelow stuff

Check out all we got for just $20.00!

  1. a nail file
  2. black sharpie
  3. composition notebook
  4. a sketch book
  5. set of 10 velvet hangers
  6. bubble set
  7. subtraction flashcards

Annie really wants to work on her  math and reading skills this summer and they had many different work books, flash cards and educational games for all ages.

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The store was much nicer and the items were of a higher quality then a dollar-type store. Five Below would be a great place to go for birthday presents (they had an awesome collection of nail polish) or for birthday party favors and supplies.They also had just about everything you’d need for a trip to the beach including sand toys, sunscreen, flips flops, towels, beach umbrellas and sunglasses. With a lot of seasonal items, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store during the holidays this fall!

Check out Five Below and see what you think. You can find a store closest to you by checking them out online.

Have you been yet? What do you think?

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I was given a gift card to Five Below in order to review the store, shopping experience and merchandise. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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A Look at Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake Pizza #PapaMurphysMom

I don’t mean to brag, but I’d like to think I know a thing or two about pizza.

I have two kids and since we keep pretty busy with work, school and after-school activities, we’ve definitely had our share of “pizza for dinner” nights. Sometimes we are literally so busy, there’s just not enough time to cook a full meal at home. But honestly, sometimes we have plenty of time, we’d just rather spend it playing together then cooking in the kitchen.

When I learned about Papa Murphy’s and their take and bake concept, I was intrigued. As a Papa Murphy’s Mom ambassador, I’ve had the chance to learn more about the food and the company. And I’m impressed.

The Concept

Unlike most pizza companies, Papa Murphy’s prepares their dough from scratch on-site. When you arrive, you select the type of dough and fresh ingredients and they make the pizza right in front of you. Then you take the pizza home to bake. I love this because you can pick up the pizza anytime and then bake it fresh at home (ideally within 24 hours). Your house smells great as it bakes, but you leave the preparation to the pros!

 Papa Murphys group pic

I was able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of a local store on Tuesday. Don Huff, owner of the Papa Murphy’s in Katy, Texas, showed me, Fred with Mocha Dad, Kristi with Mom’s Confession and Tonda with Digital Kids Media (not pictured) the ropes. As a family-owned business (his wife, son and daughter all work with him!), he caters to those in his community. His goal is to have each customer on their way home with a freshly made pizza under five minutes from the time they arrive. He offers specials like $10 Tuesdays  and supports many events in the community including school activities and the YMCA Turkey Trot.

I didn’t realize that Papa Murphy’s started in 1981. Relatively new to the Houston-area (there are currently 19 stores in the Greater Houston area but they have plans to expand), they are the fifth-largest pizza company in the United States.

I love that the store has a kid’s sized picnic table available so kids can sit and color while mom or dad is placing an order. They also offer Mini Murphs  - a kid’s size kit in a mini pizza box with pizza dough, sauce, cheese and one topping for just $3.00 so kid’s can make their own pizza at home!

Papa Murphys pizza being made

Nutritional Facts

If you are watching your calorie/carbs/fat intake – there’s good news! Papa Murphy’s has delite crust pizzas. The  thinner crust is delicious and a healthier option. Last night we had the family size delite with made with half Herb Chicken Mediterrranean and half pepperoni. It was delicious!

  • Herb Chicken Mediterreanean (with Olive Oil and Garlic, Mozzarella, Chicken, Spinach, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Feta Cheese).- 5 Weight Watchers PP per piece – (1/12 of he pizza)
  • Pepperoni – 5 Weight Watchers PP (9 Weight Watchers PP for a slice of Family Size pepperoni pizza on original crust)

A slice of delite crust pizza with cheese is only 4 Weight Watchers PP (7 Weight Watchers PP for a slice of Family Size cheese pizza on original crust).

papa murphys baked pizza

Grilling It Up!

In Houston, summers are pretty hot and humid. We try to keep things cool by not heating up the house with the oven. I was excited to hear that Papa Murphy’s Pizza tastes great on the grill as well. I can’t wait to try this next time! They offer instructions for charcoal, wood pellet and gas grills.

Houston Text Club

Want to find out about coupons and special offers from Papa Murphy’s? Text PAPAHOU to 90421. Everyone else, be sure to visit Papa Murphy’s online to find out where the closest store is to you and to take advantage of similar deals!

Have you had Papa Murphy’s pizza? What’s your favorite kind?

As a Papa Murphy’s Mom, I receive products, promotional items and educational material to use and share as I see fit. All opinions are my own and reflect my actual experience.

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