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5 Healthy Snack Options for On-the-Go Moms ~ #StoredBrilliantly

5 Healthy Snack Options for On-the-Go Moms ~ #StoredBrilliantly

When you're go, go, go, you need snacks that are going to keep up with you. Here are 5 healthy snack options for your busy lifestyle.

My life is a constant go, go, go! There are days when I get very little sleep, and it's not because I don't want to sleep, but because there are deadlines that need to be met and I have to get them done. As a mother, sometimes it seems as though my day is never done, and there are never enough hours and minutes in the day. I try and eat as healthy as I can, but there are days when the junk food, meaning chocolate, cookies and chips get in the way. Lately, with me wanting to live a healthier lifestyle for not just me, but for my kids, I have been trying to eat a lot healthier and have been keeping healthier options on hand. So what are a few of my options. Today I want to share 5 with you and how I keep them all fresh and ready to go with the new Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE Salad & Snack Set.

Cereal isn't just for kids. Since most cereals are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, and are even high in fiber, these make for not only a yummy snack, but sometimes a flavorful one too. I just love the ones with added nut clusters. However, stay away from the very sugar cereals, you know which ones I'm taking about.

Who doesn't love fruits? Toss a few fruits in a bag and you can snack on them all throughout the day. They're my go to whenever I want that bit of sugar, instead of eating candy. There are so many reasons to eat fruits, but you can also get your 2 daily servings of fruit this way by snacking. I personally love snacking on grapes with some added cheese.

Speaking of cheese, cheese is also another healthy snack option. You can either do individually wrapped or string cheese. Who said that string cheese was just for kids? It's also a great source of protein and calcium.

According to the food chart, you should have a 3 healthy serving of veggies daily. Carrots, broccoli, edamame, tomatoes and celery are just some healthy and safe options for you to eat raw. Together with a yogurt dip and you have a snacking option that is just good for you.

Unless you have a nut allergy of course. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts, are generally rich in healthy fats thus allowing you to have that feeling of fullness for much longer, curbing your need to consistently snack between meals. They are also known to boost your good cholesterol, are a healthy servings of minerals and omega-3s, and are best when raw.

How do you keep it all together and fresh? 

I use the new Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE Salad and Snack Set.

The new Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE is the perfect container for ready-to-go meals and snacks. It comes complete with customizable insert trays and dividers, which is perfect for those like me who would prefer to separate their food. It is the all-in-one solution for not only taking lunch on the go but great for snacks too. My favorite feature would have to be the salad container which I use for my veggies. It comes with a mini dressing container which includes a lid. I can place my dip in the container and keep my veggies in their separate compartment when its time to eat.

The new Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE Snack & Salad set is also 100% Leak-Proof Guaranteed*. The airtight latches keeps the container tightly secured with no leaks or messes. The ultra durable Tritan material keeps the container both stain and odor free and clean up is a breeze as it's dishwasher safe. Don't worry, since it's BPA free, you can also microwave and freeze your meals in the containers. They are very portable and I can totally see myself snacking so much more healthier. What about you? 

So you can give the new Rubbermaid BRILLIANCE Snack & Salad set a try for yourself, one lucky winner will have the chance to win a set. Winner will be randomly selected by PromoSimple and will have 48hrs to respond to the winning email. Failure to respond will mean forfeiting your prize and a new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

*Not applicable to internal compartments created by inserts.

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Annmarie John
5 Reasons I Love Coffee - And You Should Too! ~ #HaveMoreFun

5 Reasons I Love Coffee - And You Should Too! ~ #HaveMoreFun

Everyone knows by now that I just love my coffee. A quick search on my blog will bring up quite a variety of coffee recipes, and I'm always thinking up more ways to enjoy that cup of joe. Coffee, coffee, coffee, say it with me, and it's totally ok for you to drink that cup of coffee.

Who says that coffee has to be boring? There are so many ways for you to enjoy your coffee. Me personally, I'm a bear when I first wake up, just ask my kids. They will tell you not to even speak to me before I've had my first cup. There is just something about coffee that just wakes me up. It also helps that my Keurig K45 Coffee Maker allows me to have my first cup with just a touch of a button. Those K-Cup® pods are just a lifesaver! And I just LOVE the Original Donut Shop K-Cup pods, because I can always find a flavor that I love. Gone are the days of making a pot full of coffee that took minutes (but seemed like hours) to make and then when you're ready for another cup, it tastes stale and yucky. No more just plain black, I can get them in all kinds of flavors and that's just the way I like it. While there are a myriad of reasons you should be drinking coffee, here are MY top 5 reasons why I drink coffee and why you should too.

Coffee makes me happy
This is my number one reason and why I drink so much of it. How can you even be sad when you're drinking a cup of coffee. Have you ever seen anyone drink coffee and cry at the same time? I know I haven't. If you have, then you've got to tell me about it. As I've mentioned, I can be the grouchiest person in the morning, but once I've had my favorite cup of The Original Donut Shop K-Cup pod, along with my favorite creamer, I'm all smiles.  Call it my coffee rush if you will, but if you were happier when you drink coffee, why wouldn't you drink it? It makes perfect sense right?

It's easy to make and very versatile
While there are many ways you can make your coffee, one of the easiest would have to be with a Keurig K475 Coffee Maker and my trusty K-Cup pods. My Keurig K475 makes it so easy with just a press of a button and voila, my coffee is ready in an instant. I can have a 4oz cup if I wanted to, but a 4oz cup is not big enough for me, so I go straight for a 12oz cup. I can make it extra strong or not, but no matter how I make it, it makes it just right.

It helps me be a morning person
I admitted it earlier, I have to have my coffee or you'll be talking to a zombie or an angry bear. Don't even talk to me before I've had my cup. If you think I'm fun, it's because I've already had that first cup of joe. Coffee picks me up and makes my day go oh so much better. My husband and kids can attest to this.

It increases my energy levels
How many times have you had a paper to write or a boring meeting to sit through and you've wished that maybe, just maybe, you can have a cup of coffee? That caffeine in that one cup of joe can help speed up your metabolism, and give you the energy that you need to get through whatever you're dealing with. When I was a medic in the army, we would have to go through trainings almost every week it seemed, and I can't begin to tell you how many coffee cups would be on the table, because we all needed it. Without that cup of coffee, I don't know how I would have survived.

It's tastes delicious!
Last but certainly not the least, it just tastes delicious! OK, I have to be honest here, black coffee tastes disgusting to me, but add some creamer (flavored or not), and it's amazing! Coffee now comes in so many flavors that there has to be one that you'll find and love. That's why I love The Original Donut Shop, just the name alone says "hey drink me"! You can find them in a variety of flavors but their coconut mocha is my absolute favorite. Whether you're drinking it hot or cold, coffee is good for the soul!

So go ahead - live a little, laugh out loud, smile as much as you can, because life is too short. And if you're still wondering why so many people enjoy coffee, it's because we're happy people, so go ahead, enjoy that cup of coffee! It might even make you live longer. 😉

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Annmarie John
DIY Dollar Store Halloween Witch Wreath

DIY Dollar Store Halloween Witch Wreath

Who else is ready for Halloween? While everyone is goo-goo-ga-ga over all things pumpkin spice, I am currently counting down the days to Halloween. Halloween, the one day I can dress up and be anyone I want to be. While I love changing up my hair color, that's as far as I usually go. That's why I couldn't resist making this Halloween Witch Wreath, because it's so me.  My kids would tell you that yes "the witch is in".

This year Madison and I will be celebrating Halloween at Walt Disney World with Mickey and friends, at the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. If you would love to join us, I wrote about what you can expect in a previous post. Since I won't be around for Halloween, I wanted my home to reflect the season, but didn't want to spend an exorbitant amount at the home decor stores. I love making wreaths and have to admit that I've come a very long way from when I started my first, I have actually been getting better at it. I would see all these amazing wreaths at the store, but just hated the prices. No way am I going to spend $50 on a wreath, that I can generally make about $10. This Halloween Witch Wreath cost less than $10 and all my supplies were purchased at my local dollar store. What's great about it, is that it's unique and I'll be the only one with it in my neighborhood. There's nothing better than having your very own.  So lets begin.

DIY Dollar Store Halloween Wreath

Supplies Needed

Wreath form (we used a metal form, but you can use foam as well)
Fake spiders
Clip on bats
'The Witch Is In' wooden sign
Halloween decorative mesh
Glue gun
Halloween branches (not shown in photo and optional)


Step 1. Cut about 8-10 inches of your decorative mesh to use as your door hanger. Don't worry, you should have enough to wrap around your wreath form.

Step 2. Wrap the remaining mesh around your wreath and carefully secure the ends of the mesh in place with hot glue.

Step 3. Your witch sign comes attached with ribbons. Cut the ribbons so you can use the sign separately on your wreath. Arrange them on whichever side you prefer and hot glue them in place. For this, I placed it on the right. I didn't notice that it wasn't perfectly aligned until after I had already glued the sign in place.

Step 4. Attach your spiders and other decorations with your glue gun. I decided to add a few Halloween colored branches by just sticking them in between the decorative mesh. This is optional, but I personally believe the added touch looks great.

Step 5. Tie your 8inch mesh that you first cut in step 1 and tie it around your wreath. This will be used to hang on your door.

Hang on your door and enjoy your one of a kind Halloween Witch Wreath.

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Annmarie John
Donate Blood - Save Lives ~ #BeImpulsive

Donate Blood - Save Lives ~ #BeImpulsive

Have you thought about blood donation? Today I want to share with you, why you should consider donating blood, in partnership with Bonfils Blood Center.

I have always advocated for blood donations. As a former military member, an army medic to be exact, one of the things that we did consistently in the army was donating blood. When you're deployed anything can happen. Knowing that there was a constant supply of blood made us feel a bit more comfortable, but not too comfortable. Blood donation is something that we were all required to do, unless of course you were exempt and something that I did willingly. Even now that I am out of the army, it's still something that I do, and I want to share with you my reasons why.

Here are three very simple reasons why you should, and why I donate blood.

1. You can save a life, or three. 
Know that the life that you save can very well be a family, friend or even your own. You never know if an accident may happen and you will need a blood transfusion.

2. It's very simple and takes less than an hour. 
The process from start to finish is very easy, and the blood donation itself takes about 10-15 minutes.

3. It's the right thing to do.
What other reason do you need?

Did you know that every 2 seconds someone in the U.S. needs a transfusion of donated blood? That's a very high statistic isn't it? One in 7 people entering a U.S hospital needs a blood transfusion and one whole blood donation has the potential of helping up to three patients. Yes you read that correctly, 3!!

You can donate blood every 2 months, so generally six times a year and it was time for me to donate. Before you donate, be sure that you are hydrated and have eaten. I went to my local Bonfils Blood Center where it is all voluntary. There are no incentives to donate blood and the process is very simple.

1. Fill out the registration form. Be sure to have an ID on hand.

2. You will be screened, with vitals taken (blood pressure, temperature and pulse) and blood count. Then you will fill out a questionnaire asking about your health and places traveled, and also what medications you may be taking, if any.

3. Once that is over and you've passed the screening process, you will then be able to donate.

While I donated whole blood, platelets are especially needed. They only have a shelf life of 5 days and are used to help treat cancer and other patients.

In addition to donating blood you can also donate plasma, which has the same lifesaving effect and is in even greater need. Plasma contains important proteins and nutrients which help treat severe burns, traumas, blood clotting disorders, organ transplants and premature infants.

Most people tend to think that accident victims are the ones who use the most blood, but that's a very common misunderstanding. Actually, people who receive the most blood include those who are:

  • being treated for cancer
  • undergoing orthopedic surgeries
  • undergoing organ and marrow transplants
  • undergoing cardiovascular surgeries
  • being treated for inherited blood disorders
Major disasters don’t usually require large amounts of blood. In most cases, hospitals rely on the blood that is already on their shelves to save lives. You can help blood centers be at the ready by making sure blood is available before it’s needed.

How can YOU get involved? Find out at #BeImpulsive.

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Annmarie John
5 Steps to Clearer Skin ~ #UltaBeauty

5 Steps to Clearer Skin ~ #UltaBeauty

I have combination skin, meaning that it's not dry or oily, but actually both. Today I want to share 5 tips I have been using to manage my combination skin while helping me on my way to a much clearer skin.

Having a flawless complexion is something that I've always wanted, however you would think that the older you get, the clearer your skin may become. After all, you're done with acne right? Wrong! I thought that acne was only for teenagers, but even at age 40, I occasionally have breakouts. However, I have been using these five tips and so far I can see a marked difference. I'll also include a few products that I have been using, that has been helping me achieve the look I'm aiming for.

Never go to sleep with makeup
One thing that I have learned over the years is that while makeup makes you look amazing, going to sleep with it consistently, can make you look much older than you are. Sleeping with your makeup can not only clog your pores, but your skin and your bedding will pay the price. Clinique's Take The Day Off Makeup Remover takes everything off and is perfect for use before bed. And speaking of sleeping, please get that 8hours of recommended sleep. Not only will you awake feeling refreshed, but your body will thank you for it, and so will your eyes. No more under eye circles.

Drink lots of water
Water is not just good for your body, but it's good for your skin too. There is a reason that drinking 8 glasses of water is recommended. You will not only be hydrated but your skin will also glow.

Use the CTM method
CTM in this case means, Cleanse, Tone and Moisturize. Always remove your makeup with a gentle cleanser. Using a toner helps in shrinking open pores while a light moisturizer helps to moisturize the dry areas on your skin. Since I'm older I have been using the Origins Amazing Anti-Agers Set so that I can reduce my fine lines and wrinkles. It comes with all the products that you need so there's no need to purchase additional products.

Wear sunscreen
Whether it's 30° or 100° outside, wearing a sunscreen should not be an option. I have written many reasons why you should protect your sun from it's harmful rays, so I won't beat a dead horse. Just know that sunscreen is important and should always be worn when going outdoors.

Exfoliation opens up your pores and gets rides of dead skin cells. It also stimulates and polishes your skin leaving your face clear and smooth. Once a month I get a microdermabrasion done at the spa, and I highly recommend it. However, you can exfoliate at least once or twice a week in between treatments. I love Origins Modern Friction Nature's Gentle Dermabrasion which is gentle enough to be used twice weekly and it gets the job done. I use it in conjunction with my Clarisonic system. Just remember to change your brush heads every three months.

Now you don't need to wear 10 products a day to get the best results and to get flawless skin. Actually my mantra has always been, less is more. You don't want to clog your pores, so for me, wearing a moisturizer, or a sunscreen that has added moisturizer has always been my go to. I'm not a product junkie and it has been working. So while I did not have the flawless skin I wanted in my 20's, I'm realizing that in my 40's, with me taking so much better care of my skin, it's getting there.

I hope that these tips will help you, and remember to also eat healthy and exercise as well. You don't have to go to the gym to work out. A quick brisk walk around the neighborhood will do. And as always use the right products, made for your skin type.

Check out my MavenX Board, where you can see more of the products I use to get my skin clear, and don't miss out on Ulta's 21 Days of Sale which ends September 23rd.

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Annmarie John
[name=AnnMarie John] [img=] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook= (instagram= (twitter= (pinterest= (

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