Tasty Cool Drinks for Hot Summer Days

Raspberry Banana Smoothie

Obviously I’m a massive fan of smoothies. Who isn’t these days?

And I thought it was pretty simple…put a bunch of stuff in the blender and bing, bang, boom smoothie. Perfect every time.

However, I am solid proof the smoothie-making process is anything but simple.

I think my mistake is assuming everything that can be blended should be blended. So I ended up throwing everything at risk of spoiling into the concoction.

Generally my smoothies ended up tasting alternately like celery or dirt.

So now I follow recipes. (Lesson learned.)

There are a million places to get frozen blended drink recipes but how do you know which ones are tasty? Don’t worry guys, I’m here to help. My husband and I consider ourselves quite the experts in all things tasty and have given these two our top rating. Of “tasty.”

Frozen Fruit Smoothie

Fruit Smoothie Ingredients

Tasty cool drinks for hot summer days

It’s so simple. SO simple. And yes, tasty. This recipe includes six ingredients.

  • Frozen raspberries
  • Frozen banana
  • Oranges
  • Plain non-fat yogurt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Mint

You can grab the proportions from the link in the recipe title.

I should have had all this on hand but I had to duck out to get…most of the ingredients. But I found the recipe days ago and it just had to be in my belly.

So in my version I used some ice to make up the difference for not freezing the berries and banana.

I thought it was passable but my husband’s friend said it could have been colder. So I will freeze the fruit next time. And then it will be EVEN BETTER!

You may be worried the drink won’t be sweet enough without sugar, honey, or nectar but I can tell you it definitely is. No sugar required.

Quick Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

I’ve tried to make iced coffee before, and I’m actually semi-surprised I tried again. It hasn’t gone well.

But it’s too hot for hot coffee! And I need coffee.

So we try again.

This recipe is pretty much the perfect way to use up leftover coffee. All you need to do is chill it and you’re good to go. Here are the other ingredients.

  • Ice cubes
  • Protein Drink
  • Mint

Like…yeah I have that on hand!

This drink is probably better if you have a flavoured protein drink—otherwise it’s a bit bitter. Maybe if you don’t have any of that you can add something to sweeten it up, but the point of this drink is to be low fat so if you add sugar it’s kind of defeating the purpose.

I like the protein idea. Haven’t heard of that one before. Anyway, for more detailed instructions just click on the link in the recipe title.

Result? Tasty!

In fact it was so tasty I only got a sip of this one before my drink got hijacked. But don’t worry, I have the recipe bookmarked.

NOW I’m Ready to Throw My Tri-Annual Regifting Party

festive-febreeze

This is a bit weird to admit in public (or at all) but I always notice the air fresheners at work.

I don’t know why. Generally I just take note and continue on with my day but lately I’ve been…more…interested.

Because a couple weeks ago a new freshener arrived. It was this new Febreze fragrance cranberry and frost. INTERESTING! What does frost smell like?

I found myself sneaking off to the bathroom just to spray the stuff…I know right?

So imagine my surprise and delight when this box FILLED with festive Febreze and related products arrived at my doorstep.

febreeze-filled-christmas-gift

Literally amazing.

The letter accompanying the festive box encouraged me to throw a Kim Kardashian-type party over the holidays and at first I was like, “Well that’s impossible since I’ve never seen her show before.”

But then I set everything up and I saw CRANBERRIES AND FROST EVERYTHING!

The air freshener I spray on myself every day at work, scented candles, and two other types of air fresheners…one you plug in and one you can hide behind stuff (no clue what you call it). Perhaps the last one is for pranks.

At any rate, after that discovery I decided it was high time to throw my tri-annual Regift-athon Party.

But before you get your hopes up, NOTHING from this box of goodies will be regifted. Oh no, no no.

febreeze-candle

Side note: it’s both weird and scary how quickly I Googled “Kim Kardashian party.”

So I Love Charm Bracelets, Who Knew? [Ulinx Review & Giveaway]

ulinx-case

If 2012 has been anything it’s the year of the charm bracelet.

I’ve never had one before, but by now most of my friends do.

In case you don’t know, a charm bracelet is just like a regular bracelet but customized. It’s filled with trinkets and pendants, which (usually) holds meaning for the wearer.

I think the appeal is because you can make it your own.

Recently I learned about Ulinx: magnetic charm jewelry. Up until this point I had only heard of the kind where you purchase the bracelet, then separately you purchase all kinds of charms to hang off of the bracelet.

Ulinx is a bit different. First you build your charm bracelet online using their fancy DIY bracelet builder. Then you choose the style you like, and drag in the pendants you want from their large selection. As you build the price grows or shrinks on the sidebar so there are no surprises when you’re ready to purchase.

ulinx-suggestions

I had a lot of fun building my dream bracelet. In fact I spent an entire weekend creating my personal masterpiece. Up until that moment I never thought I was interested in charm bracelets. Now, I’m kind of digging it.

The funnest part about the jewelry being magnetic is you can swap around your design all the time. And you can order extra charms or linking spheres so you can build more or larger pieces.

All in all, I’m a fan.

ulinx-bracelet-collage

So I’m glad Ulinx is providing an awesome giveaway on arbynblog—$150 of Ulinx! I can tell you right now, that’s gonna be a nice Christmas surprise for the winner.

To enter all you have to do is browse the new Symbols Collection over at Ulinx and tell me your favourite pendant. You can tell me in the comments on this post, on Twitter, or however you generally talk to me. You can enter once and one winner will be chosen to receive $150 of Ulinx jewelry on Friday, December 21 so don’t put this off!

If I don’t know you remember to leave a way for me to contact you.

Thanks to Ulinx for this great contest and for the cool experience.

Fancy BassBuds Make Me Happy [Review]

bassbuds_2

I know this is one of those “first world problems” on Twitter or whatever but I’ve been dealing with it since before there was a phrase to describe it. I have trouble keeping headphones in my ears when I jog.

If you check my source link you’ll see I started publicly complaining about my problem in 2006. Since 2006 baby.

Anyway, BassBuds contacted me with a potential solution—their in-ear headphones are lightweight and have nine interchangeable tips so you can get the perfect fit. As in, maybe they’ll fit in my ears so well they’ll actually stay there.

As a bonus they use something called “crystaltronics” sound technology…there’s even a little Swarovski Crystals embedded in the back of each bud.

I don’t know if that enhances anything other than the aesthetics but I can’t say I care! Fancy!

bassbuds_3

There’s a bit of a swag bag with each pair of BassBuds and you can basically choose any colour you want. The sound quality is good—and the ear buds are so comfortable the first night I tried them I used them for three hours consecutively and my ears felt great. Usually they hurt after an hour or so.

Taking my new @bassbuds out for their final challenge—can they stay in my ears for my ENTIRE run?

But the real test came when I took them out for a jog. For some reason I decided to attempt a review vlog to show you my honest reaction.

Or something.

The video has some interference—it was extremely windy on test day. Perhaps not the best for vlogging…but excellent for testing the BassBuds!

Though the weather was cold, wet, and windy, I had no trouble hearing my podcast and the one-button control was really easy to use—I didn’t need to read a manual or anything.

Oh yeah, and they STAYED IN MY EARS!

I’m definitely a fan of BassBuds. If you’re in the market here’s a little extra incentive: visit the BassBuds Canada site and use this unique arbynblog promo code: BB75268 to save $30 on your very own pair.

Thirty bucks baby!

P.S. The code is good through December.

Rare Earth [Book Review and Blog Tour]

Just by looking at the cover of Davis Bunn’s newest title, Rare Earth, I just knew this book was no girly romance.

And the first one or two sentences in the story confirmed my hunch. Nope, not a girly love story. Finally!

Not only does the plot take us from Washington DC to Kenya, Israel, and back again in the pursuit for truth and justice, but protagonist Marc Royce (AKA The Accountant) certainly captivates the imagination and inspires the senses for 300 pages or so.

He’s everything a hero needs to be: unaware, humble, honest, determined, passionate, tough, talented, willing, and (of course) damaged.

And then he meets a girl woman in the deepest darkest desert in Africa who brings back to life the spark of hope he thought was gone for good (hey I didn’t write it).

Wait…didn’t I say this wasn’t a girly love story? Oh well, it took 100 pages to get here and by that point, I was hooked.

If you want an exciting summer read I definitely recommend Rare Earth. However, I would suggest not reading the book blurb on the back as it kind of wrecks the BIG DISCOVERY on page 219. Unless you don’t like surprises, then be my guest.

This is an easy read, quick paced and interesting. I ripped through it in three days while lounging by the pool (rough life huh?). If I wasn’t distracted by dodging summer thunder storms and making ice cream runs I may have even finished it in two days.

However, some there were some points in the descriptions I began to question my vocabulary. For example.

In case you can’t read my awkward alterations the sentence I’m highlighting says “She gave Marc the clear-eyed gaze of a woman with a future.”

No matter how hard I think about it, I just can’t picture what this gaze looks like. Does my gaze tell people I have a future? Can I practice this look? Is it a little bit mean? Just wondering.

Example two.

This one says, “The fire pit was lit and three cooks worked the biggest skillet Marc had ever seen, large enough to hold seventeen steaks and have room left over.”

OK. I know this is a BIG skillet. But the question I keep coming back to is—if it was big enough for 17 steaks with room left over…why wouldn’t you just say it was big enough for 18 steaks?

Anyway, seeing as this is my hang up and none of this takes away from the story we’ll just laugh and move on.

Here’s your chance to read the first three chapters of Rare Earth for free. Three chapters is a pretty good taste, just enough to really whet your appetite. Clever. Also, author Davis Bunn said the opening sequence was his favourite scene to write.

Rare Earth is the second book in the Marc Royce series, although you don’t need to read book one (Lion of Babylon) to thoroughally enjoy book two. It was published July 1, 2012 by Bethany House and is available in paperback, hardcover, audio book, Kindle, and NOOK versions.

David Bunn said Marc Royce is the kind of character who carries his faith into a world that thinks it no longer is relevant. He sees himself as an outsider who is searching for a place to call home and an ideal worth living for, or giving his life for. There are underlying themes in this story of the missionary church, the role believers can play in politics, and the difference one person can make.

I’m eager to read book one (see what I missed) and sure hope there are more Marc Royce adventures to come.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. Opinions expressed (as always) are my own.