Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bon Ami! Bon Prix!

For months years now, I've been saying I'm going to start using non-toxic cleaning products. I don't like the idea of harsh chemicals in my house - especially in the kitchen. I have started buying natural products, replacing the chemicals with their green alternatives wherever possible (still haven't found a viable replacement for Clorox in the toilet bowl though - natural cleaners just didn't do the trick).  I even hired a cleaning crew who says they use eco-friendly products. However, I'm a little bit too lazy to go the baking soda and vinegar and lemon juice and "omg I'm making my own cleaning products" route.  I know, mock all you want, but for whatever reason (laziness) I just have never done it.  I know it's easy, but I prefer to not have to make my cleaning products. Whatever.

When we moved, I boxed up all the cleaning products we don't use any more (a combination of having a cleaning crew twice a month and realizing we had accumulated a ton of random bottles) and Will brought them down to the basement. If we realize there's something we need, we'll bring it upstairs, but in a few months, I'm planning to leave them on the curb with a big FREE sign. I don't want to rid the house of cleaning products entirely (sometimes a girl has to clean between cleaning crew days!), but I also don't want to use those harsh chemicals. What's a girl to do?

hint: it has to do with this chick
Enter: the kind folks at Bon Ami, who oh-so-generously sent me a rad gift pack to review on ye olde blog.  First of all, it came in a cute wooden box.  I'm totally going to hang the lid on my wall in the kitchen.  So cute.  Second, the box was packed to the brim with awesome Bon Ami cleaning supplies!  In case you didn't know, Bon Ami's products are toxin-free, produced in an eco-conscious way, and have proven the test of time...they're celebrating their 125th anniversary this month!  To celebrate this milestone, they have produced a limited run of the "your grandmother probably used this in her kitchen, and probably your great-grandma too" Bon Ami Cleaning Cakes!  They only created 1886 of them (in honor of the year Bon Ami became a company), and I was lucky enough to get one!  I love me a little nostalgia!

cleaning cake and commemorative tin!
love me a commemorative tin!

I think you see where this is going...you can win one too!  But not only can you win a super cool Cleaning Cake, which comes with a cleaning cloth, in an adorable tin, if you win this giveaway, you'll also win Tangerine Thyme All Purpose Cleaner, Tangerine Thyme Liquid Cleanser, Tangerine Thyme Dish Soap, the original Powder Cleanser, recipes from Bon Ami, and the wooden box with the cutie pie chick on it!

liquid cleanser, all-purpose cleanser, powder
cleanser, dish soap. all for you!

Like the powder products that Bon Ami is known for, the new liquid line of products uses the same toxin-free approach making the products biodegradable and hypoallergenic. They smell good. And they seriously work, you guys. I used the All Purpose Cleaner to get some seriously nasty burned on Idon'tevenknowwhat off my stove, and I only needed my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for some tiny spots. And let's be honest, if I had been more patient and let it sit, or um, I don't know, used the Powder Cleanser, I wouldn't have used Mr. Clean at all.


A little blurb from the good folks at Bon Ami:

For every good meal, a messy kitchen is born. Grease lingers on the stove top, flour clings to countertops and that sink that was once shining and clean is filled with dishes. Whether or not you like to clean, it’s always part of the cooking process. But it shouldn’t be painful. Chances are you are careful about the kinds of food you bring into your kitchen, so why not be as careful about the way you clean your kitchen.  All dishes should start in a toxin-free kitchen.
Don't you agree?  I know I do!

Ok, enough talk about how much I adore Bon Ami.  You want to win some stuff!

To Enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me about one truly awful mess you've had to clean up (no judgment here; I just want funny stories!)

For Additional Entries:
you must come back here and leave a comment for each thing you do in order for it to count!
  • Visit and Like Bon Ami on Facebook (www.facebook.com/bonamiclean)
  • Follow Bon Ami on Twitter (@BonAmiClean)
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook, or Twitter, or your blog, or Google Plus, or wherever you want!

There is no limit to number of entries per person, and you have until Sunday, October 2 at 11:59pm to enter! The winner will be selected by the unbiased hand of the Random Number Generator.

Happy cleaning!  And bonne chance!

The FCC would like me to remind you that Bon Ami products were sent to me for free. I would like to remind you that my opinions remain my own, and that I wouldn't ever give something away on my blog unless I really, truly loved it.

UPDATE: Congratulations to Tricia! Comment number 6!  There are more giveaways coming, folks, so don't give up if you didn't win this time around :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Pasta Prima Ravioli Giveaway!

That's right folks - another giveaway!

The folks at Pasta Prima were kind enough to reach out to me to see if I would be interested in reviewing some of their ravioli.  Um, duh. Pasta? Count me in.

They sent me Spinach & Cheese, Butternut Squash, and Grilled Chicken & Mozzarella - and a cute little package including a chef's hat and an herb garden kit.  So sweet.  And so yummy.

Hooray!  I've tried them all, and they are all delicious.  The butternut squash is also super pretty, with the stripes.  I mean, hello fancy! Plus, they are organic and natural and all that good stuff. Super good.

Lucky for you, the Pasta Prima folks are being super nice and letting me give a gift pack with an assortment of three flavors to one lucky reader! Yeah! Woo hoo! You can't wait!

To enter:
  • Visit www.pastaprima.com, check out the flavors and post a comment telling me which one you'd most like to try.
  • Do any of these things for an additional entry (but make sure you come back here and leave a comment for each thing you do)
    • Like Pasta Prima on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pastaprimafoods 
    • Post about the giveaway on their own Facebook page 
    • Mention the giveaway on your blog
    • Tweet about this giveaway
I'll choose a winner on Saturday 9/24, so the contest will be open until 11:59pm on FRIDAY 9/23!  Please note that this contest only open to US residents.

FCC regulations want me to let you know that the ravioli I am reviewing was provided to me by Pasta Prima. However, my ravioli opinions are my own.  Yum.

Planning a Wedding

So we've been engaged for just about three weeks now, and since we've decided on a February 2012 wedding, the planning has begun in earnest!

My superawesome friend Aly has volunteered to be our wedding planner, and she made this crazy organized Google Docs spreadsheet (based on the Martha Stewart wedding planning guide, I believe) full of to do items and vendor organization and so many things to think abut that I would not have remembered.  She's great, and we are so lucky to have her around.  Aly, I love you.

We have two weekends in mind, and are planning a snowy wedding in Tahoe (ceremony outside, reception inside).  Yay snow! Pretty! Magical!  I've started some inspiration boards on Pinterest, to collect ideas and start seeing what we might like (so far we're really into the mason jars with candles, especially in the snow).  Check 'em out if you like!  It's all very fun!

Of course, there is the stress of wedding planning, realizing how much things cost and trying to figure out what we can cut back on (Reed and I are going to be knitting and crafting up a storm this winter!).  I never thought I'd be a stressed out bride, but here we are only 3 weeks in and I'm finding myself narrowly avoiding panic attacks, mostly around the sticker shock of how much things cost.  Luckily, Will keeps me grounded. At the end of the day, we're going to get married and that's all that matters.  :)

Anyway, people have been asking for updates, and that's where we are so far!  Checking out venues and trying to get an idea of per person costs so we can finalize the guest list.  Gathering ideas and talking about what kind of wedding we want to have.

Only 4.5 months to go! Eep!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Circulon Giveaway Winners!


Aein Hope!


Congratulations, you two!

Everyone else...stay tuned!  I have several more giveaways coming up in the next few weeks!  Thanks for playing :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Circulon Pots and Pans Oh My!

I am a fan of Circulon, have been ever since I purchased two from CSN. A few months ago, I was able to attend a super cool "Circulon Cooks" event in San Francisco, to preview a new line and learn about their (honestly, it's awesome) iPad app.  Seriously, I wish I had an iPad just so I could get this app.  So great.  And the display of pots and pans? To die for.

I swooned a little at the pots and pans on display.
photo by Irvin the Awesome
Anyway, Circulon is rad.  Their magical (and frankly, neat-looking) circular pattern inside the pots/pans does some sort of nonstick wizardry, and I am not lying to you when I said I HAVE MADE FRIED EGGS IN THESE PANS WITH NO OIL OR BUTTER OR PAM OR ANYTHING AND THE EGGS DO NOT STICK.  I mean, that's just crazy talk.  I had to put it in all caps, it's so crazy talk.

I was a fan of their pans before the event (obviously), and I was really disappointed to have missed the chance to enter their raffle for a free 10-piece set of pots and pans.  I happened to be standing next to one of their marketing guys while lamenting this to a friend, and suddenly, I was being told I could have "a little something" sent to me.

One more pretty picture of pots.
photo by Irvin the Incredible

Turns out, "a little something" was my very own 10-piece set of Circulon Contempo cookware to try out and review.  AND (dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn trumpets blaring!) they are giving me TWO (not one, T.W.O.) to give away.  Actually, I already have the two extra sets.  They are sitting in my living room right now, waiting for me to choose their new owners and arrange for UPS to pick them up!

In case I haven't provided enough of a review, this set is great. Every piece features the sweet nonstickiness that I love, but it's also just a handy set.  Two fry pans, a perfectly-deep skillet, a big ole stockpot (thankyouomgineededoneofthese), a saucepan, and the cutest little pot ever.  The stockpot is perfect for making spaghetti, the tiny pot is great for sauce, the skillet is awesome for making veggies (heating some frozen peas with butter, anyone? yes)...basically, you can make whatever you want with this set because it is so kickass.

Do you want to be one of TWO lucky people to receive your very own (crazyawesome) set of pots and pans?  I know you do!
This could be yours!

Here be the rules:

  • Leave a comment telling me what your favorite thing about this cookware set is (aka why you want to win).
  • The giveaway will remain open until Wednesday, 9/14/11 at 11:59pm.  
  • A winner will be chosen via random.org on Thursday 9/15/11.
  • You must leave me a method of contacting you (if you comment anonymously with no contact info, please email me at kimskitchensink [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know).

But wait! Bonus entries!  For each bonus entry, please come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did (one comment per bonus entry) so I know to count your bonuses :)
  • Go to www.facebook.com/circulon and Like them
  • Follow @circulon on Twitter
  • Tweet this post
  • Share this post on Facebook
  • Blog about this giveaway
  • Spread the word in some way of your choosing - skywriting, anyone? (you better prove it with a picture though)
Best of all...there are no limits to how many bonus entries you can earn! Tweet every day for a week and get an entry every day as long as you come back here and comment to tell me you did it! 

I am seriously tickled about this giveaway, and I can't wait to send these babies to their new homes so you can enjoy them as much as I do!  Super huge thanks to the Circulon team for being so awesome.

Disclosure: While Meyer Corp. sent me a free set of pots and pans for review, I was not otherwise compensated for this post. All omgIloveCirculonomgpotsandpans opinions are my own.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I guess he really liked it

On Thursday August 25, 2011 I left the house at 8:30am.  I drove to Yosemite, where (after erroneously being pulled over by a childcop who admitted/yelled at me that the reason he wasn't issuing a citation was because he didn't know what kind of citation he could give me) I was to pick Will up as he was finished with the John Muir Trail.

On my way there, Will called to tell me to pick him up at Bridal Veil Fall instead of the Crane Flat gas station as planned, because it was an easier location for his hiking partner's ride to reach. I figured he knew I wouldn't mind driving into the valley, and that I certainly wouldn't mind waiting for him at my favorite waterfall.  As I sat on a rock at the base of the falls, reading The New Yorker and people watching, I was relaxed and unsuspecting, taking pictures of the falls and lounging about.

It was a beautiful day
After about an hour, I started wondering when the heck the boys were going to arrive, so I sent Will a text asking when they'd arrive. When he responded that he was about to walk up the trail, I got a little of that nervous-excited-butterflies-in-the-tummy thing.  I tried to act all cool though, and went back to reading my magazine to avoid anxiously staring down the path (though, duh, I looked up every 5 words or so to see if I could see him coming).

Finally, there he was (awww).  I believe my first word to him was, "Hey." to which he responded "Hi."  I'll say it's because we were so happy to see each other that words escaped us.  Sure.  Anyway, I got up off my rock and walked over to give him a hug, but holycrap suddenly he was down on one knee.  My initial thought was that he was messing with me, but when I saw the ring, and heard him ask me to spend the rest of my life with him...for reals, I was freaking out.  I believe my thoughts went something like "holy shit this is actually happening, oh my god, Will is proposing."

Will's hiking partner James was stealthily crouching on the
path, taking pictures the whole time. 
He proposed with a hand-carved wooden ring: when you decide you want to marry your girlfriend while backpacking in the Sierras, your jewelry options are somewhat limited.  So I got a freaking awesomely cool and totally unique ring, carved just for me with love.  And it totally fit, so awesome points for Will there.  And double awesome points for having a friend there to photograph it, so that we can have pictures like this to remind us of this moment.

I like this picture because
A) it shows off the ring
B) it reminds me of just how utterly
overjoyed I was in that moment.

So yeah. Giddy and excited were we.  Happy happy happy.  I was genuinely surprised...several friends had done the "omg do you think he's going to propose when he gets back!?" thing, and I had actually managed to shut those thoughts out of my mind.  I was just happy that I was going to pick him up and that we were going to go home together.  In hindsight, I probably should have been suspicious, but I had succeeded in convincing myself to just be happy he was home and not to think about a potential proposal.  You know, as to not set myself up for disappointment or something. While I still can't believe I was so surprised, I'm glad I was, because that was sure fun.

fat and happy
The drive home was full of giggles (from my side of the car) and hand holding, feeling like the newly-engaged people we were.  We stopped by our favorite fruit stand and headed home to relax (it had been a long day for both of us).

And then...not even 5 days later, this happened.

In the five minutes between changing for Pilates and leaving for Pilates, he asked me to play a game of cards.  Again, totally unsuspecting (maybe I'm just gullible) little ole me said sure.  I mean, he had just taught me a new game the night before, and I had time to squeeze in a round or two.  I did think it was weird that he was making me shuffle the deck (why didn't he just do it?), but when I reached for it there was a shiny black engagement-ring-sized box on the table.  

another angle of le ring. so sparkly.

Now I have a huge freaking rock beautiful sparkly giant truly wonderful engagement ring on my finger, in addition to the beautiful one carved just for me out of wood from the Sierras (not currently wearing it due to some fears of ruining it).  I am planning to coat the wooden one with some sort of protective shellack or something (any product suggestions? let me know!) so I can keep it forever..it looks really good as a necklace, btw.  And the diamond ring? Custom-ordered the day after we returned from Yosemite, it is perfect and unique and I love it so.  The jeweler down the street who made it can even make a wedding band to go with it, and I feel so fancy I could just barf.  Just kidding, no barfing. Just squealing.

I am a very lucky girl, with two engagement rings - both given to me in surprising ways.  Even luckier to be marrying the guy I love, my best friend, the one who makes me laugh daily.  He's a good one, that Will. 

Artsy fartsy shot of the rings, together in awesomeness.

If you don't understand the title, you obviously don't have this stuck in your head. If you do, hopefully it's stuck in your head now. You're welcome!