I love giving gifts. It’s so fun taking the time and shopping around to find the perfect gift for someone. In fact, I usually have more fun giving gifts than getting them! I tend to go a bit overboard so I always try to find the best deals on everything. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are definitely some of my biggest days for buying presents. I like to indulge my giftees and buy them fancy things versions of things so I especially love shopping the sales at places like Neiman Marcus Last Call. I was so excited when they partnered with Rakuten Affiliate Network to send me a Black Friday / Cyber Monday preview bonus box and I couldn’t wait to try everything out. Full disclosure: I loved this box and I am so excited to share all of the products with you, especially since they are all on super sale at Last Call right now! This Bonus Box was a wonderful mix of products- I got to try a variety of food, home, and fashion items that would all make awesome gifts this holiday season.
One of the things I love about being a blogger is discovering and connecting with different brands. Even in this day and age when internet shopping is so prevalent and there are forums dedicated to the latest and greatest beauty and fashion products, it can still be hard to learn about new companies. I’m part of Rakuten Affiliate Network and they’ve recently started a program where they send out a RAN Bonus Box each quarter to introduce their bloggers to new brands and begin partnerships. It’s a really fun program and I was fortunate enough to receive their Q1 RAN Bonus Box which featured products from six different brands, most of which were new to me.
I’ve been getting Try the World boxes for a few months (see my Paris Box and my Holiday Box) and I have to say, the boxes keep getting better and better. I’m still not sure if they’re worth the $39 price tag but they’re a lot of fun to get and I’m enjoying trying the different foods. The premise behind Try the World is really fun- every other month you get a box full of foods and drinks. Each box has a theme of a different city or country and the idea is that you get to “try the world” by sampling foods from different places. It’s a great concept and although I’m a pretty picky eater, I love trying new foods. The latest is the Try the World Thailand Box, packed full of eight Thai snacks.
Last month I wrote about my Try the World Paris Box. Try the World is a fun food subscription box that uses different cities or countries from around the world as themes for their bimonthly boxes. I really liked the box I got last time although I wasn’t sure it was worth the $39 price tag. I decided to try a few more boxes though because I think the concept is really nice and I love discovering new foods from around the world. My latest box was the Try the World Holiday Box, which was packed with 8 holiday foods that all look amazing.
Lately I have been all about sweet potato casserole. I usually only like sweet potatoes in small doses- I love the taste but they are so dense that it’s hard to eat an entire one. Sweet potato fries are okay and I can probably eat half of a baked sweet potato but that’s about my limit. However, when they are mashed and sweetened, I’m able to eat as much as I want. I love the flavor of the sweet potatoes and they’re even better when topped with crunchy, gooey marshmallows. When I found this recipe which also adds a layer of candied pecans, I couldn’t resist trying it out for Thanksgiving but it would be absolutely perfect for Christmas as well. I altered the recipe a bit (making it a hybrid between the above recipe and the one found here) and also cut it in half since we were also making mashed potatoes.
I spent the past week in Arizona to celebrate Thanksgiving with the family. Several of my relatives were out of town this year so we had a small Thanksgiving dinner at my parents house before going over to my uncle’s house for a second dinner. My parents roasted a 14 pound turkey so we had plenty of leftovers. On Sunday, my mom and I decided to make turkey pot pie with all of the leftover turkey! The recipe was actually quite simple; lots of turkey, peas, carrots, onions, gravy ( we used the homemade gravy my mom made on Thanksgiving), and a couple potatoes as well! My mom found the recipe in the Peninsula Clarion, an Alaskan newspaper, when my parents were visiting a couple summers ago. You can find the recipe here. We mostly followed the recipe with a few modifications including using turkey instead of chicken.