February 28, 2013

Free Hostel World Pocket Guide Review

I was referred to check out this site Hostelworld.com.  It's a site that offers cheap lodging in many major cities.  One of the great tools they also have on their site are their Pocket Guides.  They have a pocket guides for 6 continents. (guess there isn't much to do in Antarctica)

Here is the description from their site:
"Are you sick of carrying around heavy guidebooks? Would you like to have a comprehensive, compact guide that is small enough to carry in your pocket?  Well now you can because Hostelworld.com is giving away Free PDF pocket guides for all of our top cities!"

Hostel World Pocket Guides are easy to download (as long as you have Adobe Reader) and print out very nicely.  It can also be easily folded so it is not so cumbersome.  I downloaded the guide for NYC only because that is the city I am most familiar with.  I just read through it, took me about 15 minutes.  Even though I have been to different parts of NYC countless times I want to go be a tourist!

This guide is broken down into 10 different sections.

Laurel Likes It Hostel World Pocket Guide NYC
The Essentials and Climate

The Essentials which includes transportation information on getting there as well as getting around.   Climate briefly describes what the weather is like throughout the year.   Don't Miss which has 5 must see attractions.  Mark Your Calendar has an event for almost every single month of the year (nothing in February).

Laurel Likes It Hostel World Pocket Guide NYC
New York for Free and A Day in New York

New York for Free lists 5 things to do that don't cost any money.  A Day in New York plans out a day for you with 9 stops that will give you a little taste of everything.  Neighborhood Watch has a short description of 4 very distinct neighborhoods that NY is known for.  Retail Therapy maps out 5 ways you can satisfy that shopping need.  Cheap Eats lists 5 places that you can get amazing food for reasonable prices.  After Dark has 6 different places with great night life.
 I can honestly say that this guide is great.  I have always wanted to go to NYC and "be a tourist" but since we live so close I feel like we take it for granted.  Sure I've been to Broadway plays, Times Square, been to museums but I now feel like there is so much I have missed out on.  I have never been to Central Park, Top of the Rock or the Brooklyn Bridge.  I feel so silly!

NYC is definitely a family friendly city if you know where to go.  There is so much to do you will be planning your next trip back while you are still there!

Now I want to check out some of the other guides they have and maybe plan a long weekend getaway!

What is your all time favorite city?

February 21, 2013

Barilla Pasta Meal Review

One of the full size items I had in my Back to School Snacks Crave Box was a Barilla Pasta microwavable meal.  I have had other varieties of this type of meal from Barilla so I was expecting to like it, and I did.  I love to keep these types of lunches at work in case I forget to bring something or I just don't want whatever I brought.

This lunch was easy, quick and tasty.  Who doesn't want those three things when making lunch?  The directions were right on the plastic film that covered the pasta.  All I had to do was peel back the film to the dotted line and microwave for 60 seconds.  This heats up the pre-cooked pasta and small compartment of sauce inside.

Next I lifted the compartment of sauce out and poured the desired amount onto the pasta.

Even though I am not usually someone who likes a lot of red sauce on their pasta I dumped the whole thing on.  I was pleasantly surprised that the sauce tasted great.  It was sweet and tangy at the same time.  It had noticeable chunks of tomato and great seasoning.   The pasta was cooked well too.  I would consider it to be just past "al-dente".  The pasta itself was small though.  They were not full size penne but that didn't have any effect on the taste.  The one major thing I noted was that it was not too salty.  Many pre-made meals that I have eaten are very salty.  This was not at all.

I will definitely be buying more of these to eat for lunch.  My only suggestion is that they include a small packet of Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top!

What is your favorite lunch to have at work?

*I received this Barilla Pasta Meal in my Back to School Snacks CraveBox.  However, all opinions are my own and I will always be honest, good or bad.
If you would like to receive CraveBoxes please sign up here and use my email address in the "Referred by" section of "About Me" in your profile!  Laurellikesit@gmail.com

February 18, 2013

The Taste: Tuesday at 8|7c on ABC

Laurel Likes It The Taste ABC I am not generally a big reality TV show watcher. I have a few that I like to watch but they are usually the elimination kind.  (The Bachelor, Project Runway)  When I heard about this new show "The Taste" I was intrigued. I love to watch cooking shows, even though I don't consider myself a great cook by any means, I do like to eat!  I also love Anthony Bourdain so I couldn't wait to hear his sometimes brutally honest remarks.  The concept for this show seemed quite different than the other elimination shows that are out there so I was curious to see how it worked.

Here is the description from ABC's website:

"One blind spoonful could change everything on ABC’s “The Taste.” This new cooking competition show is literally all about taste.
Sixteen competitors, from pro chefs to home cooks, whip up dishes attempting to impress four of the world’s most notable chefs.  The catch is all the dishes will be judged in a blind taste test.  In this pressure-packed contest, the taste of a single spoonful can catapult a contender to the top or send him packing.

“The Taste” features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef and author Ludo Lefebvre and restaurateur Brian Malarkey. Each of the four culinary superstars and “Taste” mentors – Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey – will coach a team of four competing pro and amateur cooks chosen from a nationwide casting call as they vie to create the best tasting dish.

In each episode, the groups will face team and individual challenges with a variety of culinary themes through several elimination rounds.  At the end of each episode, the mentors will have to judge the competitors’ dishes blind, with no knowledge of whose creation they’re sampling, what they’re eating, how it was prepared or whom they could be eliminating."

Laurel Likes It The Taste ABCThere are two parts to each episode and two different meals are cooked.  Basically in the first part of the show the teams compete against each other and one person is selected to have immunity for that week.  The second part of the show is when the contestants cook a second dish and it is decided who gets eliminated.  What I really like about this show is that the judges never know whose food they taste until they have chosen the winners/losers.

Of course you have your typical selection of personalities. You have the jerk guy, the nasty lady, the sweet innocent girl.  If you are familiar with how reality TV works it's never a coincidence that gets placed to work with each other.

I do enjoy this show and I will be setting my DVR to record this on Tuesday nights so I can keep up with it.

You can watch the most recent episode here

What is your favorite reality show to watch?

*photos from abc.go.com

February 11, 2013

Stride ID Gum Reivew

Laurel likes it stride id gum review
Outer packaging
I am not a huge gum chewer but I almost always have a pack in my purse.   My Back to School CraveBox had a whole pack in it to try.  I had yet to try the new line of gum from Stride so I was looking forward to having a piece. Quoted from an article on PR Newswire:

"iD Gum offers up a delicious twist to the flavors you love – Peppermint, BerryMelon, and Spearmint – and is packaged in a sleek, innovative, folding pack featuring a new and unexpected magnetic closure. iD Gum is delivered in a semi-transparent cellophane wrapper that hints at what's inside the pack. Once unwrapped, the pack reveals original artwork sourced from young emerging artists from around the world. There are 18 designs in total – so the more you chew, the more you discover."

Laurel likes it stride id gum review
Inside of package
Laurel likes it stride id gum review
Cute dog!
The first cool thing about this gum is definitely the packaging.  Mine had a drawing of a dog on it. So cute!  My favorite part about the packaging is the magnet that holds it together.  The picture to the right show the package open.  The top and bottom purple areas are actually very thin magnets!  Great idea!  It's easy to open and close but also keep the gum from falling out all over the inside of my purse.

Ok, enough about the packaging...I received the Peppermint flavor.  This is not a flavor I would normally go for but I like minty things in general so I expected to like it. It was not as intense mint flavor that I was anticipating but that was a good thing. I enjoyed the piece right after lunch to gauge it's breath freshening abilities and I must say it passed the test! I had eaten a Morning Star corn dog and a lean pocket for lunch (I know, that's weird).
Laurel likes it stride id gum review
Pattern printed on the gum

Side note:  The gum itself even had a cool design on it!

It did have a very smooth consistency and softened quickly as I started chewing it. I have a bad habit of snapping my gum but I must say that this gum was loud! (oops!)  

I chewed the gum for about 2 hours before i put it in the trash. It was not because it lost it's flavor by any means! It was still very minty and I would have expected it to stay that way for much longer. I just grew tired of chewing it.

I will be keeping this pack at my desk at work so if I have bad lunch breath it will be there to save my co-workers from my offending breath.

What do you use to get rid of your lunch breath?

*I received this pack of gum in my Back to School Snacks CraveBox.  However, all opinions are my own and I will always be honest, good or bad.
If you would like to receive CraveBoxes please sign up here and use my email address in the "Referred by" section of "About Me" in your profile!  Laurellikesit@gmail.com

February 5, 2013

Back to School Snacks Crave Box

Earlier this month I received my Back To School Snacks Cravebox and I have been slowly reviewing the products, some of them along with my son.  I will be posting all my reviews for each product separately.  Included in this Cravebox was:

Cravebox Veggie StixCravebox SunRype FruitStrips 3 flavorsCravebox Honest Kids PouchCravebox Earthbound Coupon, Brochures & Activity BookCravebox Barilla Microwaveable MealCravebox iD GumCravebox Pretzels and Cheese
  • 1 small bag of Veggie Stix
  • 3 SunRype Fruitstrips - 3 Flavors 
  • 1 Honest Kids drink pouch
  • Earthbound coupon, brochures & activity book
  • 1 Barilla microwavable meal
  • 1 pack of iD Gum
  • 2 Handi-Snacks Pretzels and Cheese
I have already tried a bunch of these and have posts waiting to be published so keep checking back to see what I think about each of these products!  I also have an un-boxing video that I shot but I haven't mustered up the courage to post it yet.  (it's my first one!)

Which product would you like to see a review from first?
  • SunRype Fruitstrips
  • iD Gum
  • Handi-Snacks Pretzels and Cheese

If you would like to receive Craveboxes please sign up here and use my email address in the "Referred by" section of "About Me" in your profile! Laurellikesit@gmail.com

The pictures used above are from Cravebox.
Cravebox is a wildly popular product discovery service that puts extraordinary and crave-worthy products into the hands of our curious, adventurous and fun-seeking Members. Our Cravebox Curators pack up handsome and hefty boxes filled with the latest new products, gadgets, supplies and offers focused around a theme, activity, occasion or hobby that our Members love.