#BlogHer17

Today marks the start of a huge event that I’m super excited to attend. #BlogHer17 starts today with check-in, registration, and the kickoff keynote! Speaking tonight are some heavy hitters, such as Gabi Gregg- an amazing style blogger, Starr Barbour of StillGoing, and Chelsea Clinton.

Following the keynote kickoff speeches, we’ll walk around for an evening at the expo, meeting some of the sponsors and making connections with brands we’d like to partner with in the future.

I was able to plan out my whole experience on my phone with the new BlogHer App and it made everything so much simpler! This is my first BlogHer experience and I love that the app keeps me organized and on top of what comes next, as I tend to get overwhelmed at huge events.

To say that I’m excited pales in comparison to how I actually feel. Being around other bloggers is just an altogether great experience. Everyone is one their phones documenting all the goodness together, and no one minds taking #OOTD pictures for you! I can’t wait to kick it all off tomorrow night. As far as outfits go I’m a little last minute when it comes to packing, but I’m bringing about 3 outfits per day, so 9 total outfits, plus athleisure for morning exercises, cute jammies, and poolside options. Can’t wait to show you what this amazing conference is all about! Be sure to follow me on Snap (xoxo_bnc) or InstaStories (@_xoxob) to see what I’m doing each moment, who I’m meeting, and what I’m wearing!

Also if you’re a blogger going to #BlogHer17 in Orlando this weekend, feel free to shoot me an email and let me know if you want to sit together at lunch! <3

 

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iFly US – Tampa Event

One of the greatest perks of being a blogger is getting to attend some awesome events. A few weeks ago at the Tampa location of iFly US was one of those fun perks. Local bloggers were invited to go out to iFly and experience what they have to offer as well as go indoor skydiving with a guest. Naturally, since James is terrified of heights, I took him.

When we got there we were invited to sit in their party room and munch down on some refreshments as the event host explained to us in detail all the different event options that they offer. You can rent the whole place out for a corporate event (that’d be such a fun company team building bash), or even host your child’s birthday party there, where they can provide everything but the cake!

After chowing down, we watched a short video about what the hand signals meant, as we were with one of their professional flight instructors during our time in the tube. The instructor gave us hand signals to help us perfect our flying position in the wind tunnel. We then suited up and got ready for “take off”.

Honestly I was really nervous about flying in the tube. I was anxious about what it would feel like, and also worried I may not get my position perfect or would injure myself in some way. Stepping up to my turn I actually almost turned around thinking “I can’t do this”. However, I’m so glad I took one step forward instead of reverse, because once I got in I had SO much fun!

It doesn’t feel scary like when you’re on a roller coaster, you actually more so feel like the weightlessness of swimming with the wind blowing all around you. Your stomach doesn’t drop to the pit of your belly as I was imagining it would, which was a nice relief. We each got to fly for 1 minute each, and we took two turns.

On the second turn, James- who had a tough time with his positioning the first time around, decided to sit out, and good thing he did, because the instructor flew us all individually up to the high part of the tunnel.

I had a blast, and thankfully the amount of wind blocks noise because the first time we went up I think I screamed like a little girl. I span upwards and downwards in the tunnel in a kind of circle formation with the instructor, Alex. He was great and so helpful! After our flights we all got flight certificates and links to pictures and videos of our flight sessions! Check my video out here!

 

I’d definitely recommend a trip to iFly as a fun family or friends outing. The experience is truly a memory maker and it’s safe for kids as young as 3 to fly!

 

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Spring Patio Ready

Since moving to this new home in Celebration, I’ve gotten into this minor obsession with home decor. When we moved we decided it was best to start with a clean slate all around, so we got rid of a lot of our old things. Knowing the kind of space I was working with, and with the help of my super interiorly superior Mother, I began to slowly but surely piece together what would become the elements for my dream home.

 

The Patio is one of my favorite spaces, especially around this time of year. It’s always cool, breezy and in the mid 70’s in the evening, so I really like to sit outside, light some candles, and get some blogging done at the end of a long day with the boys. For this patio my inspiration was modern bohemian and my most important element was comfortable chairs.

Patio chairs can say a lot about your personality, and while I love them in other people’s homes, Brown Wicker furniture with red/terra cotta cushions just isn’t my aesthetic. I found this set of two extremely soft and comfortable black rope chairs with a modern design and plush gray cushions, and basically designed the rest of the patio around them.

Since we got rid of a lot of our “knick-knacks”, a lot of our spaces are dangling on the minimalist line, but I like that everything serves a function and there’s no “junk”. The black and white striped rug really reflected to me that sense of modern minimalism and clean lines with an edge.

Rather than purchasing pricey outdoor end tables, I grabbed two $30 planter stands from Target to serve as end tables for us to set our beverages and candles on. They work really well in the space, and the iron legs reflect that clean look we were going for.

As far as accents go, I wanted the space to not be cluttered, but wanted to incorporate some fun and functional pieces. I grabbed these two matching gold lanterns which are perfect when lit at nighttime outdoors, and a simple black/white squiggly lined planter pot, I haven’t yet committed to which plant I’m going to try to grow yet though, so leave me some suggestions if you have a green thumb.

Being that our patio sits in an open place and is visible from the street to several tourists that come through the area, I wanted it to stand out and reflect the fun personality that embodies our family. This space makes me so happy.

The two pack of my specific chairs is only sold in select stores, but I’ve linked similar chairs and the big patio sets of my specific set! <3

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A Halloween Playdate

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Being at the house with the boys on a daily basis can get dull I must admit, which is why I like to go all-out for every holiday you can think of! With Halloween being the kick-off to the holiday season, I always get started with fun holiday crafts & baked goods the very first week of October, to maximize holiday fun!

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Our first Fall playdate was so much fun, planned with my best friend Amanda & her daughter, Liliana. Lily is very close to Cash’s age so they love playing together right now with Dinosaurs, colors, and watching Disney movies. I wanted to celebrate the upcoming holiday and get some seasonal baking done with Amanda so our families could enjoy delicious treats, so naturally, I bought basically ALL of the Halloween treats display so we could bake and decorate cupcakes with our littles. You’ll see regular chocolate chip cookie mix and yellow cake mix, to make these things Halloween-y I added 3 drops yellow/2 drops of red food coloring to the yellow cake mix to make them appear more orange, and I also let the kids pour Halloween sprinkles in the cake & cookie mix, semi-homemade “funfetti” šŸ˜‰

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Setting up this in an organized way was essential to not create a HUGE mess. When you take on the task of letting toddlers play with frosting and sprinkles, remind yourself that it’s about the memories, and let the mess happen.

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Lily and Cash helped prepare the cookie batter by mixing all the ingredients in the big bowl, then forming cookie circles with clean hands, before putting them on the baking sheet. While our cookies and cupcakes baked, we sat down with crayons, and they each colored and added sparkly pumpkins to small “CANDY” themed canvases. While our cookies and cupcakes cooled, we made “Boo Bark”.

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Boo Bark is really simple to make and great for letting little ones explore their love of the kitchen. You simply melt almond bark and pour it onto a wax paper lined baking sheet. While it’s still hot, let your kids add fun sprinkles, seasonal themed candies, and whatever else they want to, to make it a special experience and to promote their uniqueness. Once all toppings are added, pop it in the freezer for 30-45 minutes then break it apart!

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Once all of our treats were cooled, Mommies iced the cupcakes using large Ziploc bags & Halloween colored icing. We set up a system so that once we iced a cupcake, the kids would add the sprinkles to the top. They had the MOST fun with this part (though both Lily & Cash attempted devouring 3-4 cupcakes before we even got the icing in the bags hahaha) as sprinkles are one of Cash’s favorite things, and Lily was so excited to be “making the cupcakes pretty with sprinkles”.

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They both were so proud of themselves for assembling such wonderful treats for our family members. Not only was it special to create these memories with our little ones, but it was also wonderful and heartwarming to see them take such great pride in their accomplishments at such an early age.

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Have you tried baking with a toddler? What did you make?

Spooky Spirits,

B

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Salted Caramel Root Beer Floats

Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Inc. All opinions are my own. #SummerOfFloats

Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

My mother worked at the same middle school I went to when I was in 6-8th grade. My mom is the coolest and I loved getting to hang out with her at school. Sometimes she would substitute for a class when a teacher called out last-minute, and I would get surprised with my mom as a teacher in 4th period, I was a lucky kid. The best part of her working for the middle school was that she also had the entire summer off to spend with my brother and me.

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While the majority of our days were spent playing around the neighborhood, jumping on the trampoline in our backyard, and fishing in the pond behind our house, my mom planned really awesome “Family Fun Days” at least once a week for us to spend quality time together. Sometimes she would take us all the way out to the beach for the whole day playing in the water and making things out of sand, while other days she planned awesome crafts & recipes for us to make and enjoy at home. We had the best summers and since I have been blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with my family, I want to recreate that magical summertime feeling for my boys.

Ice Cream Float Party

One of the most important things to me is that my guys know how to enjoy the simple pleasures life brings us in the summertime, like catching fireflies at night, fireworks on the Fourth and a delicious ice-cold ice cream float after a day spent in the hot summer sun. To instill this love of simple pleasures early on, I invited the whole family (cousins and all) over for a spur of the moment summer play party where we all enjoyed ice cream floats together. I set out a few different sauces, toppings, and soft drinks so grownups and kids alike could use their imaginations and create a delicious float all their own.

Ice Cream Float Party

A&WĀ®’s refreshing variety of flavors has always been one of my favorites, so when I set out to create my float I knew I wanted a modern-day twist on an old classic, and there’s nothing quite as good to me as a salty & sweet combination. After ogling and drooling at images of milkshakes online all month, my creation was born…

Salted Caramel Rootbeer Float

The Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

  • A&WĀ® Root Beer
  • Crushed Pretzels
  • Sea Salt
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Archer Farms 48 oz Salted Caramel Ice Cream
  • Pretzel Rod
  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Chocolate Covered Caramel Candies

Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

The secret to a good float is all about the layering so:

  1. Drizzle chilled mug with caramel sauce (I even dipped the edges in some sauce then dipped them in pretzel crumbs just to be extra jazzy, things taste better when they look amazing)                          Salted Caramel Root Beer Float                        
  2. Add 2 scoops Archer Farms Ice Cream to mug, then add another small drizzle of caramel sauce           icecream
  3. SLOWLY pour A&WĀ® Root Beer into mug until mug is full                                                                         float4
  4. Top with whipped cream, then crushed pretzels, another small drizzle of caramel, some chocolate caramel candies and chocolate sprinkles.                                                                                                       Salted Caramel Root Beer Float       
  5. Finish off with a giant pretzel rod which can also double as a dipping stick when you want to have a bite of ice cream šŸ˜‰

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Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

Target is running a fabulous deal right now so you can also turn up the excitement on a summer weeknight by having fun with floats. When you buy any two Archer Farms 48 oz Ice-Creams, you get a FREE 2L or 6-pack Mini Cans A&WĀ®, SunkistĀ®, 7UPĀ®, Canada DryĀ® and More. This deal just gets better because you can also combine it with Cartwheel to save 5% OFF 2L or Mini Cans of A&WĀ®, SunkistĀ®, 7UPĀ®, Canada DryĀ®, Dr PepperĀ®, and more from 6/26- 7/30/16.

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Salted Caramel Root Beer Float

We had such a great time creating different floats with A&WĀ®, SunkistĀ®, and Dr PepperĀ®, everyone in the entire family was happy, refreshed, and full of fun ideas. My niece, Summer made her float a Chocolate Cherry Dr PepperĀ® float while James and my stepdad got a little competitive in who could create the most impressive float and really knocked theirs out of the park, proving you don’t need much to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary and make great family memories. Find more ways to excite your family and celebrate the summer of floats here.

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What kind of creative float are you going to create?

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Strawberry Mini-Pizzas

strawberry pizza recipe

strawberry pizza recipe

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s, all opinions expressed are my own. #AmericanIcons 

Pregnancy Cravings are no joke. Before I got pregnant with Cash, I just assumed “cravings” were all in a pregnant woman’s head and she could use them as an excuse to eat whatever whenever she wanted. Now I know that the craving is so strong it actually feels like a need. It’s hard to separate mentally what you can live without vs. what you absolutely need to consume in the moment. Lately, since I reckon towards the end the baby is putting on fat, I have been craving everything and anything sweet & fruity. I love watermelon, pineapple, cake, cheesecake, ice cream, waffles…all of it. haha. One of my biggest loves has hands down got to be the strawberry though.

strawberry pizza recipe

I know in Florida berry season is quickly fleeting, but I don’t mind paying a little more for California berries at this point to satisfy my sweet tooth without having a lot of refined sugars. Since I’m 5 days away from delivery at this point now though, I felt like today was a good day to indulge a little and make something really treat worthy.

strawberry pizza recipe

My mother always made the coolest recipes for us kids and family gatherings. My family seriously doesn’t consider a holiday complete without her famous potato casserole, and before social media was even around she was crafting “semi-homemade” sweet treats. Strawberry Pizza was one of those sweet treats and I remember being in 6th grade the first time she made it and loving every single bite. The first time she made it was for a 5th Sunday Dinner at church and I remember being so proud of how delicious her dessert was, I wanted to make sure everyone I knew tried it.

strawberry pizza recipe

Since I don’t have a giant pizza pan, I decided to make my own twist on her classic recipe by making single serving individual “pizzas” easily enjoyed by the family. This was brilliant, and a ton of fun not just for me, but also for Cash as he helped in part of the recipe making!

strawberry pizza

Strawberry Mini-Pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (washed)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temp)
  • 1 package pre-portioned sugar cookies
  • pinch of powdered sugar for decoration

Directions: 

  1. Slice entire pint of berries thinly and mix in 1/2 cup sugar. Set in fridge to let sugar to break down with berries. This creates your “pepperoni” topping.                                                                                         strawberry pizza recipe
  2. Bake Cookies according to package instructions. Be sure to leave adequate space in between each cookie, so you get a great circle shape.                                                                                                                  minipizza1
  3. Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth, refrigerate while cookies bake.           strawberry pizza recipe
  4. Once cookies have cooled (10-15 minutes out of the oven), spread cream cheese frosting on top of cookie, then add sliced berries, and finish off with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

strawberry pizza recipe

This is one of my favorite dessert recipes and I love that it’s something passed down from my mother, that I will pass on to my kids eventually. Macy’s also shares a love of strawberries and family memories, which is why this summer they are launching Strawberry Shortcake Day at Macy’s!

 

Macy’s is celebrating the joys of summer and American Icons with a tribute to one of the most classic and iconic desserts of all time! On June 14, 2016 at the Citrus Park Mall I will be participating in one of the most exciting events Macy’s is offering this summer: Strawberry Shortcake Day! This is a totally free event, and there are several going on around the country. You don’t have to RSVP, but to ensure a great seat you can do so here. Don’t fret if you’re not in the Tampa area either, you can find an event in your area by clicking here.

I’m so excited for this event, and even more excited to dive into this plate of cookies!

 

Sweet as a Berry,

B

 

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Sharing Snacks with Grandma- Give a Box of Cheeriosā„¢.

Cheerio's Snack Mix Grandma

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiveABox #CollectiveBias

special grandmother

I’ve always had a really great and close relationship with my maternal grandparents. As the daughter of a teenage mother, we spent the first few years of my life living with my grandmother. While my mother worked on the weekends to provide for us, my grandmother used her weekends off to spend quality time with me & care for me. We went yard-saling every Saturday morning, then scoured the sales at the mall in the afternoons. On Sundays we got dressed up in our best dresses and went to church.

special grandmother

When we moved out of my grandmother’s house, I still loved spending weekends with her. She had TONS of silky nightgowns and I adored sleeping in them. I would spend the night most Saturday nights before church on Sundays and she would throw us what I called “Princess Parties”, where we would both wear lipstick, a gorgeous silky nightgown, and drink our juice out of her “fancy” china. She made me feel like the most special little girl in the entire world on those weekends.

special grandmother

As I’ve grown from a “young lady” to an adult, I cherish those memories and truly appreciate the sacrifice my grandmother made in giving her weekends to me. Now that I know what it’s like to work and take care of a home all week, giving your entire weekend to a rambunctious little girl obsessed with wearing all your clothes has got to be considered saintly, and I’m forever grateful. My mother tells me all the time how similar I am to my grandmother. Our emphasis on a wholesome lifestyle is one of the biggest passions we share.

Grandmother is special

My grandmother is now 71 years old, but she doesn’t look a day over 50! She lives an active lifestyle, and eats nutritional foods. Our family often pokes fun at how small she keeps her indulgence portions, I’m talking a sliver of cake so small a mouse wouldn’t even be satisfied! Now, Cheeriosā„¢ is offering a special promotion exclusive to Walmart that’s a perfect way to let my grandmother know I’m thinking about her.

Cheerio's Snack Mix Grandma

For a limited time, you can  purchase a box of Cheeriosā„¢ at Walmart, enter a code and fill out an E-card online for someone special to open and receive a coupon for a free box of Cheeriosā„¢ at your local Walmart.

Cheerio's at Walmart

To celebrate this Buy a Box, Give a Box promotion, I came up with a great recipe to share with my grandmother along with the box of Cheeriosā„¢ I’m sending to her inbox.

cheerios snack mix

Cheerios Snack Mix

Sweet & Savory Snack Mix

  • 2 cups Honey Nut Cheeriosā„¢
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup mini pretzel rods
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1.  Toast Honey Nut Cheeriosā„¢ with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sea salt  in oven on 350 for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove toasted Cheeriosā„¢ from oven and place in large serving bowl
  3. Add Cashews, Cranberries, Pretzel Rods & Chocolate Chips to Toasted Cheeriosā„¢ and mix well
  4. Enjoy a handful or a bowlful at a time!

The Buy a Box, Give a Free Box promotion is available exclusively on specially marked family sized boxes of Cheeriosā„¢ at Walmart. To learn more click here for details.

Cheerios Snack Mix

Cheeriosā„¢ Snack Mix

This snack mix is great for any occasion. It only takes about 12 minutes (including toasting time) to put together, making it perfect to put together quickly while you’re meal prepping for the week! It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty, without being over-indulgent like some salted carmel snacks can be.

Cheerios Snack Mix

I can’t wait to share this snack mix with Grandma when she gets her big box of Cheeriosā„¢ that I’m giving to her!

Cheerio's Snack Mix

For more details on the Buy a box, Give a Free box promotion click here for details. Who would you share a box of Cheeriosā„¢ with? What flavor is your favorite: Original, Honey Nut or Apple Cinnamon?

Make Someone Happy,

B

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Make your own Cold-Pressed Green Juice

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShoutSolutions #CollectiveBias

greenjuice

Staying healthy has been one of the most important and challenging aspects of pregnancy #2. With my first baby I put on 70 lbs of pure carbohydrate craving indulgences, so when I found out I was expecting again I started doing exactly what I knew I needed to in order to stay fit. At this point (33 weeks) I’ve only gained 21 lbs and since I’m nearing the end I foresee myself ending this pregnancy gaining no more than 30 lbs total for baby #2.

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One of the ways I insure baby and I get all the nutrition needed is by making my own cold-pressed nutrient dense green juice every morning. Making your own green juice is a great way to make sure you get all the micronutrients daily that most people miss out on. Aside from that, the amount of fruits and vegetables I’m able to fit into a single glass of juice is almost TWICE the amount I could actually chomp down on in a single day!

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My morning juice recipe is simple, tasty, and full of metabolism boosting nutrients that also strengthen my immune system! If you already have a juicer, you can also make this great morning juice at home all you need is:

(preferably from an organic local farmers market & all ingredients have been refrigerated for 24hrs)

  • 2 whole cucumbers
  • 2 handfuls of fresh Kale
  • 1/4 in slice of ginger
  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 1 handful spinach leaves
  • 1 apple
  • 1 kiwi
  1. Cut all your fruits & veggies to fit the juicer entry

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2. Slowly run your produce through the juicer. I recommend putting your flavorful fruits & ginger in first, that way you get the maximum amount of flavor from those as the other ingredients filter through.

3. Once all your ingredients have processed through your juicer, stir your juice well.

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Then, pour into a glass and garnish with lemon wedge for additional alkaline and antioxidants, and enjoy!

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While I love the benefits of juicing, it does have its drawbacks. At least once a week I find myself wiping my hands on my harem pants after slicing up beets, or mis-sipping my morning juice and getting a spinach stain on my crisp white organic cotton v-neck.

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The more rich in nutrients the fruit or vegetable, the harder the stain is to come out, which is a huge problem for my closet since I’m not getting any less clumsy. To keep my clothes looking as fresh as the veggies I pick out at the farmer’s market, I use ShoutĀ® Trigger Triple-Acting Stain Remover to treat everything from kale to carrot juice.

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ShoutĀ® Trigger Triple-Acting Stain Remover is packed with stain-fighting ingredients and enzymes to quickly penetrate, break up and remove tough stains. It’s triple-acting formula clings, penetrates, and lifts away stains to keep everything looking brand new. The convenient trigger dispenser makes it easy to target stains, making ShoutĀ® Trigger Triple-Acting Stain Remover a must have in a home like mine.

You can easily find ShoutĀ® products at your neighborhood Wal-Mart in the laundry aisle. ShoutĀ® Trigger Triple-Acting Stain Remover works on all colorfast washables and in all water temperatures, so it’s great for whatever specialty item you’re caring for. To find out more about the new generation of stains and how to fight them, follow ShoutĀ® on Facebook or the Social Hub.

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What stains do you constantly find yourself battling? Garden grown tomato sauce, Farm-to-Table pesto, or savory sriracha sauce?

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