Making the Switch to Teami Teas

I’m not quite a coffee junkie, but there are times when I think I’m pretty close to crossing that line. While there’s no chance I’m going to give up my addiction, I have found myself expanding a bit more into the world of tea. It’s hard to say what pushed me to try something new, but there is definitely a soothing factor associated with tea that coffee rarely offers. Whether it’s accurate or not, I definitely associate tea as being something to drink when you are looking to decompress and relieve yourself of stress as opposed to coffee which “keeps me going” for the day.
Coffee is a staple in our house and we have strong allegiance to our favorite brands including Dunkin Donuts and New England Breakfast Blend. I haven’t gotten to that point yet with tea, but I can see it moving in that direction as I try out different brands and experiment with new flavors. One of the brands that I could see eventually making it to that list is a company called Teami. I had the opportunity to try out Teami Skinny and I have to say it was really good. When I was given the choice of which of the five different teas to choose from by Teami, I figured that trying to lose a few pounds before my son’s Bar Mitzvah wouldn’t be a bad idea and their product could definitely assist. And while weight loss might be one of the ancillary benefits of using their tea, I like the fact that I have slept a little bit better at night since drinking it and don’t feel as hungry as I normally am. It’s hard to say if that is really attributed to the tea or not, but the fact that it has a nice taste and does relax me, I view the possible weight loss just as an added benefit.
If you drink tea for other reasons besides weight management, Teami has other products, plans and packages to choose from including Teami Colon , Teami Profit, Teami, Relax and Teami Energy. Each of the teas is intended to have a different therapeutic purpose and can be good for almost any type of lifestyle from the very physically active to the more couch bound television watchers. The prices range from $25 to $139, depending on the type of tea and plan you choose. While $139 optically looks high, it’s fairly inexpensive for a 4 month detox plan. It works out to about $1.16 per day which I know if far less than what I spend on coffee per day. In addition to the various tea packages, Teami sells these very cool tea infusers that come in different colors and sell for about $8.45. And its also very cool that the shipping for everything is free with orders for $20 or more.
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So while I’m not ready to abandon my cups of java quite yet, I do know that the word of tea also has a lot to offer. I appreciate Teami helping me come to that realization.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Teami Teas

A Very Special Date Night at the Carlton Hotel

Truth be told – my husband and I have not had a romantic weekend without our kids in a very long time. Between work, our kids, school, finances and our dog, we don’t get away much anymore. So when the PR team from the Carlton offered me the chance to take my hubby with me for a special night out on the town, I jumped at the chance.
One week after Valentine’s Day, we were primed and ready to head into the city while our nearly sixteen year old daughter took on the responsibility of watching her younger brother and all our pets. As we headed into the city, it started to snow…for what seemed like the bazillionith time, but that was okay. We were going on a 24 hour adventure and I couldn’t wait.
We arrived at the hotel about an hour later and when we got to the front desk, we were surprised to find out that we had been upgraded to the Diva Suite. Take a look….
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The cool thing about the Diva Suite is that it feels like you’ve stepped into an episode of “Mad Men.” The decor has a 1960’s retro feel and the elegant couch and armchairs reminded me of the furniture my parents owned when I was growing up (they bought their living room set in the early 1960’s). Plus, the bedroom had a king sized canopy bed and a vanity that you’d find backstage at a Broadway Show. The walls were adorned with pictures of some of the most memorable Broadway divas on the planet including Liza Minelli, Patti Lupone and Bernadette Peters.
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While my hubby brought a bottle of wine from home we were surprised by room service when they arrived with a complimentary bottle of prosecco. The night so far was absolutely phenomenal.

We decided to opt for a quick dinner at the hotel because we were planning to see “Honeymoon in Vegas” that night on Broadway. Millesime is a seafood brasserie that boasts a two star Michelin chef – the food is simply superb and the wait service was also top notch. All I can say is make sure you order the warm cesar salad – it’s like eating french onion soup…but it’s a salad. Beyond delicious!
Once we finished our meal (the snapper special for two was phenomenal), we raced out of the hotel to make the show. Once we arrived, I picked up our tickets and we only had a few minutes to spare. While Darin hit the bathroom, I proceeded to head to my seat and to my surprise, I was greeted by Jason Alexander who had to move out of the row so I could make my way towards the middle of the aisle. When he stood up, Alexander quipped, “That’s what happens when you arrive 10 minutes before the show.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking or annoyed at me – either way, I was kind of honored to be insulted by George Costanza and then quickly grabbed my phone and texted my hubby to tell him to enter our row from the other side so that we didn’t bug Jason again. Luckily, he got the message and before we knew it, the show started.
HMV-New-Trio-w-Elvis-emailable.jpgWe really enjoyed the show and I have to say, I was quite impressed by Tony Danza’s performance. Who knew the former “Who’s the Boss” star could tap dance and sing like a former member of the rat pack? Plus, Rob McClure was terrific as Jack, the fiancé who’s convinced his mom has put a curse on him forbidding him to ever get married. Meanwhile, Brynn O’Malley portrays Betsy – a gorgeous blonde haired, blue eyed teacher who’s determined to get Jack to finally commit even after he sells her for a weekend in a poker game gone bad.
After the show was over, the crowd poured out into the streets where we all battled an incredibly messy wintry mix of freezing rain and snow. With the weather wreaking havoc on the sidewalks and the streets of the Big Apple, there was no way we were going to find a cab. Once I saw an entrance to the N&R trains out of the corner of my eye, my street smart subway instincts took over, I grabbed Darin’s hand and we zipped downstairs, hopped on the R train and were back at the hotel within 15 minutes.
By the time we returned, the hotel was hopping – while the DJ was playing great dance music, we decided to return to the suite where we could unwind without any distractions. Before we knew it, our night in the city had passed us by and it was time to head back to reality. Despite the fact that our night away from the kids was quick, we were relieved to find out the house was still in one piece and our kids survived. So much so that they can’t wait until we spend the night away from home again!
If you’re in the mood for a fabulous getaway in the Big Apple, definitely check out the Carlton Hotel. They are offering an amazing Honeymoon in Vegas package until February 28 complete with free show tickets and an executive king room. Trust me when I tell you, it’s totally worth it to spend a night away to reconnect with your partner. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the evening in a hotel suite at the Carlton, make sure you tell them Role Mommy sent you!

The Carlton Hotel Offers Special “Honeymoon in Vegas” Package

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The historic Carlton hotel, nestled in the heart of Manhattan’s NoMad District, has entered into a partnership with Broadway’s newest hit show, “Honeymoon in Vegas,” to offer exclusive hotel packages for hotel guests. The partnership will feature a transformation of the hotel’s Broadway Diva specialty suite into a themed “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite complete with one-of-a-kind items from the show, as well as a Get Lucky in New York romance package complete with overnight accommodations, a special romance welcome amenity and tickets to the hilarious new Broadway musical starring Tony Danza. 

Officially opening on Jan. 15, 2015, “Honeymoon in Vegas” tells the story of Jack Singer (Tony Award nominee, Rob McClure), a regular guy with an extraordinary fear of marriage, who finally asks his girlfriend Betsy (Brynn O’Malley) to marry him. The show follows Jack and Betsy on a wild adventure, beginning at their home in Brooklyn, NY, and carrying through to Las Vegas and ultimately Hawaii. The show takes place at the Nederlander Theater, located at 208 West 41st Street in Manhattan’s Theater District.

The Broadway Diva Suite at the Carlton Hotel will be transformed into the “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite from Jan. 15 through Feb. 28, 2015. Guests booking the Broadway Diva Suite package  during this time will enter a room resplendent with “Honeymoon in Vegas”-themed décor including framed production photos, signed Playbills, branded playing cards and props from the show including an oversized Champagne bottle as used in the play, fake cocktails, poker accessories and more. Package elements additionally include two tickets to “Honeymoon in Vegas” on Broadway, dinner for two at the hotel’s on-site restaurant Millesime, and a welcome amenity inclusive of one bottle of Prosecco, Lucky Lovers Message Dice and “Honeymoon in Vegas” branded playing cards. Those guests booking the branded suite over Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 12-15, will additionally receive a special opportunity to propose onstage at the conclusion of the Broadway show. 

Guests booking a stay at the Carlton hotel between Jan. 15 and Feb. 28, 2015 will have the option to book the Get Lucky in New York romance package which includes overnight accommodations in an Executive King Room, two tickets to “Honeymoon in Vegas,” and dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Millesime. Additionally, guests booking this package will receive a special romance-themed welcome amenity inclusive of one bottle of Prosecco, Lucky Lovers Message Dice and “Honeymoon in Vegas” branded playing cards. 

Rates for Carlton’s “Honeymoon in Vegas” suite during this time period start at $899 plus tax available for booking Thursday through Sunday only. Rates for the Get Lucky in New York romance package begin at $650 plus tax. For more information or to book, please visit www.carltonhotelny.com


Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Easy Green Bean Coconut Curry

soup.JPG We are in the throes of a frigid winter and what is more comforting than a nice steamy, bowl of soup? Better yet, a nice steamy bowl of Thai curry soup? Here’s a simple recipe to use up your already cooked butternut squash. Freeze the leftovers for a nice treat later this winter as well. Enjoy!
Easy Green Bean Coconut Curry:
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
1/2 can water (about 8 oz.)
2 cups green beans, cut into 1 ” pieces
2 cups cooked butternut squash, cubed
2 tbsp honey
1/2 -1 tbsp red curry paste (can get at most supermarkets and any Asian supermarket)
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce (can get at most supermarkets and any Asian supermarket)
1 cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
Steps:
In a soup pot, add the coconut milk, the water and the curry paste, starting with only 1/2 tbsp (you can add more if you want it spicier later).
Stir until all ingredients are well combined and boil until the sauce reduces a bit and is thickened to your liking, about 15 minutes.
Add in the fish sauce, the honey and stir.
Add in the green beans and cook until tender, about 10 more minutes.
Add in the squash so it is heated through, about 5 minutes but not much more so that it doesn’t become too mushy.
Remove from heat, adjust sweetness and spiciness and serve over rice, quinoa or by itself.
Top with the chopped cilantro.
For more great recipes please visit: takebackthekitchen.com

The Girlfriend Getaway

There is nothing that quite compares to seeing your friends from high school. In my case, I’ve had a group of girlfriends that I’ve been close with since I was 15 years old. Sure, over the years, we’ve moved to different cities and there have been times where we don’t get to talk or see one another, but no matter what, the moment we are together, it’s like time has never passed.
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This past year, one of my close girlfriends lost her father when he passed away suddenly from a heart attack. When we reconnected at his funeral, we all realized how precious life truly is and how important it is to make time for one another no matter how many commitments keep us from spending time with the people we love. We decided we would all meet in New York City in February. I found a great deal on Broadway show tickets for “Beautiful,” tracked down a Groupon for the Hotel Edison and made a reservation at Bobby Flay’s famed midtown restaurant, Bar Americain.
My friends from out of town began booking their flights and at the same time, I was contacted by the folks at Toyota to see if I wanted to try out the brand new 2015 Camry and I gladly accepted the invitation — as long as I could have the car for my girlfriend’s getaway.
The car arrived a few days before my friends, so we spent a few days tooling around our neighborhood in the Camry and what we discovered – especially in light of the fact that our area is completely covered in snow and ice, was that the car handled really well in bad weather conditions. The gas mileage was also fantastic. While the car isn’t a hybrid, I managed to travel to Northern Westchester, New Jersey, Manhattan and back to Westchester without going through a tank of gas. Plus, the car has a rear camera so when you are backing up, you can see if anything is behind you and it even senses if your car is too close to the car next to you — ensuring that you protect your car doors from nicks and scratches.
When my girlfriend arrived from Miami (after a torturous six hour delay), we picked her up from the airport and proceeded to turn on Sirius XM radio and instantly switched to 80’s on 8 so that we could get inspired for our long awaited girlfriend reunion.
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The next day, we left my house to pick my friend up in New Jersey. While the car didn’t come equipped with a Nav system, I decided to use the Waze app on my phone and somehow, we still managed to get lost. I truly am GPS challenged when it comes to the Garden State so instead of making it to Ridgewood, New Jersey, we overshot the exit and wound up in Woodbury Commons. I have to admit though, despite the fact we were forced to take a 40 minute detour, the car handled beautifully and eventually, we arrived at our destination.
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From there, we hit Manhattan and valet parked our car for the night. Before we knew it, the rest of my friends arrived and we spent the night catching up on lost time. It was as if time had never passed. We were the same group of 15 year olds all looking for a great time. We all agreed we couldn’t wait to see “Beautiful on Broadway” (it was absolutely fabulous), a few of the girls wanted to go dancing while my mission was to find a great dessert or brunch place afterwards. The rest of the group really didn’t care what we did as long as we were all together.
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Before we knew it, the night that we had been planning for months, passed in what seemed an instant but not before we made a pact to plan another getaway real soon. Hopefully next time, it’s going to be in a warm weather climate. Maybe I’ll even get to score another Camry the next time around but this time, I’ll get to open the sunroof and blast our favorite 80’s songs again so we can sing at the top of our lungs while catching up on lost time.
For now, I’m just going to reflect on the fun that we had – even if it was just for 24 hours. There is something to be said about having friends who knew you before you knew yourself. What this year has taught me is that life is too short not to spend it with your oldest and dearest friends. And something tells me that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of each other from here on out.

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Tahini Salad Dressing

I’ve been doing a lot of food shopping in Paterson, NJ lately because of their wonderful Middle Eastern stores. One of my favorite reasonably priced items to get there is tahini. I stocked up on it and have been making loads of hummus, tahini cookies and the following salad dressing that I replicated from memory, as best I could, from my friend’s dressing at our book club years ago. I hope you like it!
Tahini Salad Dressing:
1/3 cup tahini sauce
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, peeled
2 tsp maple syrup, agave or honey
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 pinches Kosher salt
Steps:
In a blender or with a fork, mix all the ingredients until fully combined and refrigerate.
Serve with vegetables, rice, falafel or anything you like!