Beach Bag Must Haves

Posted Jul 08, 2019



It is officially summer and time to hit the beach! Make sure you are prepared for the beach and warm weather by bringing a beach bag along with you. We’ve made a list of the absolute essentials for you to pack. Grab the sunscreen and get out there!

  1. Water -- Make sure to bring lots of water and to stay hydrated! Drinking water often is the best way to beat the heat and    make sure your body stays healthy while playing in the summer sand.
  2. A Cooler – If you’d like to bring lunch or some snacks, make sure to pack a cooler! It is also a nice spot to keep your belongings from being exposed to the sun, like snacks, medications, or your phone.
  3. A Towel – Helpful for drying off, laying on, or wrapping up in after a long day of play!
  4. Sunscreen – If there is one thing you bring to the beach with you, let it be sunscreen. Nothing protects your skin better from the sun AND nourishes skin. Don’t forget sunscreen!
  5. Portable Speaker – If you’re a music fan, a portable speaker is perfect for playing music in the background of your beach day. Make sure it’s charged up before you go.
  6. A Book or Magazine – Read a book or flip through a new magazine when laying on the beach. The ultimate relaxation!
  7. A Hat and Sunglasses – Another few items to protect you from the sun’s harsh rays. Lightweight and stylish can be found even at the beach.

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Summer's Here

Posted Jun 18, 2019



Happy first day of summer! School is out, the sun is shining, and the possibilities are endless. We are thrilled to share some awesome and fun activities to do during the dog days of summer.

  1.  Take a vacation! Some of the best places to visit during summer include:             
  2.  Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  3.  Bar Harbor, Maine
  4.  Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
  5.  Nashville, Tennessee
  6.  Make popsicles for those hot summer days! Our favorites can be found here.
  7.  Start A DIY project, like painting an old item of furniture or crafting it up!
  8.  Drive-in movies are the perfect way to spend a summer evening, so find one near you and grab some friends- it’s show       time!
  9.  Campfires are another great way to wind down from a summer day full of fun.
  10.  Food, friends and sun. What could be better than a picnic?
  11.  Stay in shape and feel great after going for a run (your dog will feel great too!)
  12.  Crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read and get to it! Enjoy the sun and a fun read!
  13.  Volunteer! Your local community has dozens of opportunities to help out, whether it be from picking up trash, to playing with     kids, to walking shelter dogs. Go out there and give back!
  14.  On especially hot days this summer, the mall or the movies are great places to cool off and still make some great memories.

 

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We Love Donuts

Posted Jun 07, 2019



Happy National Donut Day! Created in 1938, The Salvation Army wanted to honor those who brought donuts to soldiers throughout World War I. In light of this, many donuts shops today celebrate by giving away free donuts. On the first Friday of June, you can stop into any of the places below to get your free donut! This year National Donut Day is on Friday, June 7, 2019.

Krispy Kreme – Stop into your local Krispy Kreme and grab a donut for free, no purchase necessary.

LaMar's Donuts - Visit LaMar's Donuts to get any donut that has a hole in it for free. There's no purchase necessary.

Dunkin' Donuts – Dunkin’ will give you a free classic donut with the purchase of any beverage on National Donut Day.

Walmart – Surprise! Who would have thought Walmart would give out free donuts? Head over to any Walmart on June 7th to receive a free donut.

Tim Hortons – A classic. Just walk into any Tim Horton’s and you’ll be walking out with a free donut.

Cumberland Farms -- All of these East Coast convenience stores to get an *almost* free donut. Just purchase a dispensed drink like coffee or soda to snag yours!

Local Bakeries – Check your local bakeries for a National Donut Day deal! You’ll probably be able to find some great free donuts, and support local businesses while you are at it.

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Memorial Day Treats

Posted May 22, 2019



Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner. We hope you all have some fun days planned ahead filled with family, friends and food! However, if you still need some festive food inspiration, we’ve got you covered.

An American Flag Cake is a unique and tasty desert to bring to your Memorial Day festivities. This beautiful and easy cake is perfect for celebrating the red, white, and blue!

Prep Time: 1 hour 30 mins           Cook Time: 30 mins        Ready in: 3 hours

Ingredients you will need:

  •   3 (10.25 ounce) packages white cake mix
  •   9 egg whites
  •   1 cup vegetable oil
  •   3 3/4 cups whole milk
  •   2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
  •   2 tablespoons red food coloring
  •   1 tablespoon blue food coloring
  •   1 cup white chocolate chips
  •   10 cups fluffy white frosting
  •   1 tablespoon white chocolate chips
  •   2 tablespoons white sugar
  •   1 4-inch round paper or cardboard stencil

Directions:

  1.        Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and line 4 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
  2.        Combine white cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat for 30 seconds using an electric mixer on low speed. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. The batter will still be slightly lumpy.
  3.        To make the red cakes, measure half the batter into a separate bowl and whisk in red food coloring. Evenly transfer the red batter into 2 of the 8-inch prepared cake pans; smooth tops of batter with a spatula. Transfer half of the remaining uncolored batter into a 3rd prepared cake pan; smooth top as before. This will be the white cake portion.
  4.        Add blue food coloring to the remaining uncolored batter in the large mixing bowl; fold 1 cup white chocolate chips into blue batter until combined. Transfer batter to remaining prepared 8-inch cake pan; smooth top of batter with a spatula.
  5.        Bake all 4 cakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from oven and place onto cooling racks until cooled completely.
  6.        Run a knife around edge of each cooled cake. Invert cakes, remove pans, and peel off parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to trim tops of cakes flat and even.
  7.        Cut both of the red cake layers and the white cake layer in half horizontally. You will have 4 thin red cake layers and 2 thin white cake layers.
  8.        Place a 4-inch round stencil on top of 1 thin red cake layer; cut out a 4-inch red cake round. Repeat, placing stencil on 1 thin white cake layer to make 1 4-inch white cake round. Center the 4-inch round stencil on the blue cake; cut out and remove center portion covered by the stencil to make a blue cake ring.
  9.        To assemble the cake, you will need 2 thin 8-inch red cake layers, 1 thin 8-inch white cake layer, 1 4-inch thin red cake circle, 1 4-inch thin white cake circle, and 1 blue 8-inch cake ring. Reserve the leftover thin red cake layer and other cake pieces for making crumbs for decorating.
  10.    To assemble cake, place 1 8-inch thin red cake layer on a cake pan and frost the top generously with white frosting. Place the thin 8-inch white cake layer on top of the red one, and frost the top. Place remaining 8-inch thin red cake layer atop the white one. Frost the red layer.
  11.    Place the blue ring cake on top of the 2nd red cake layer and carefully frost the inside of the blue cake ring. Gently fit the 4-inch white cake layer into the blue cake ring. Frost the top of the 4-inch white center. Place the 4-inch red cake layer on top of the white one. Gently press small cake circles flush with the top of the blue ring.
  12.    Frost the entire outside of the cake generously with the remaining frosting.
  13.    Crumble red and blue pieces of leftover cake into 2 separate bowls. Score lines into the top of the cake's frosting with a kitchen knife to make a flag design on top of the cake. It should have a 2-inch square at the upper left for blue field and white stars, and 7 thick horizontal stripes about 1 inch wide.
  14.    Fill the square field at the upper left with blue crumbs and press 1 tablespoon white chocolate chips upside-down into the blue crumbs to make 'stars.' Fill the bottom stripe and every other stripe with red crumbs to make red stripes. Sprinkle white sugar generously into the white stripes to make them stand out.
  15.    To serve, cut cake into wedges. The inside of the cake will reveal its layers of red and white stripes and blue field with white chocolate chip stars in every slice.


You can find the original recipe here. Happy baking and good eating!  

American Flag Cake by DIZ♥

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Celebrate Burgers

Posted May 10, 2019



The origin of the hamburger is pretty unclear since there are so many claims to who invented it and when it came to be what it is today. What we do know is that the name comes from the town of Hamburg, Germany and that it showed up between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. This greasy delicacy is often the star of the menu at your local fast-food restaurant chain, but also served at almost any restaurant in America, no matter the type of establishment and no matter the type of people who go there. Finding the best burger in your area might be a tough task, considering you can find them at so many local bars and restaurants. Well, we’ve narrowed it down for you and with the help of some food critics and burger reviews we’ve found online. Here’s a list of some of the best burgers in America, in no particular order.

The Ozersky Burger @ Knife – Dallas, Texas

The Jucy Lucy @ Matt’s Bar – Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Block Burger @ Block16 – Omaha, Nebraska

The Atomic Burger @ Atomic Burger – New Orleans, Louisiana

R.L.E. Hello Burger @ Tommy’s Burger Stop – Anchorage, Alaska

The Burger @ Father’s Office – Santa Monica, California

Bigger Beefstro Burger @ Rehab Burger Therapy – Scottsdale, Arizona

Cheeseburger with everything @ Nic’s Grill – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Flagship Burger @ Burgers and Things – Honolulu, Hawaii

The Zombie Burger @ Zombie Burger – Des Moines, Iowa

Baltimore Burger @ The Abbey Burger Bistro Bar – Baltimore, Maryland

The Burger @ Raoul’s – New York, New York

Double Cheeseburger @ Holeman & Finch – Atlanta, Georgia

Original Burger @ Mott Street – Chicago, Illinois

Cheeseburger @ Louis’ Lunch – New Haven, Connecticut

The Haus Burger @ Burgerhaus – Indianapolis, Indiana

Obviously this list is just the beginning of a journey filled with mouth-watering burgers to enjoy, but we hope you enjoyed reading and that you can (or already have!) try a burger from the top picked places with the best burgers. Enjoy national burger month all month long by enjoying one of America’s favorite foods, whether it’s home-grilled, fast-food, or gourmet.  

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Spring Activities

Posted Apr 14, 2019



Happy April! You know what they say… April showers bring May flowers! While April showers may seem gloomy, there are so many activities that can brighten up the month, including spending some time in the warmer weather. So shed that winter coat; we’ve got so many fun ideas to share with you and they sure beat shoveling:

-          Have a picnic with family and friends.

-          Go to a drive-in movie theater. Catch up on some new flicks in an old time fashion!

-          Visit the lake and a nice boat ride.

-          Watch the sunset (or sunrise).

-          Go on a hike.

-          Take your dog for a long walk.

-          Sit outside, listen to your favorite music, and use your very own GotchaCovered notebook.

-          Spend the day at an amusement park near you!

-          Read your favorite book (or one you’ve been meaning to dig into) and relax.

-          Host a cook-out with some friends!

-          Go for a family bike ride; exercise AND family fun, what could be better?

-          Invite some friends to have a bonfire, s’mores and music included!

-          Plant some fresh garden foods or beautiful flowers for decoration.

-          Go for a jog outside.

-          Play a round of golf with your friends

-          Feed some ducks at a pond (not bread, though! Bread is a choking hazard to ducks)

-          For a touch of nostalgia, grab some chalk and draw on your driveway or a sidewalk.

-          Visit your local farmers market for some fresh fruits, veggies, and bread!

-          Spring cleaning: get refreshed (and clean) for summer!

Say goodbye to winter - it’s time for you to get outdoors and enjoy the warm spring weather!

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April Awareness

Posted Apr 04, 2019


April is Stress Awareness Month because stress and the effects it can have on your body influence your day to day life in many ways! Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional tension due to demanding circumstances. Not only can this be physically demanding, but long-term stress can lead to a wide range of illnesses. Diving deeper into your understanding of stress and how it can be managed can improve your health and your well-being!

Stress happens regardless of the places you choose to work, the activities you choose to participate in, and sometimes with the people you surround yourself with. Sometimes, it can be unavoidable. That’s why it is so important to take time for yourself to relax and unwind -  it’s even healthy to let yourself rejuvenate!
 

Some of the best ways to combat stress in your life is to simply be flexible! Taking different approaches to conflicts and problems can sometimes alleviate the stress from a situation all together. Developing a vision for healthy living and personal growth can help you to reach some of your realistic goals to avoid stressing out.
 

The best way to beat stress is to always relax and recharge. Making time for yourself each day is proven to help you get a handle on life’s stressors. Since everyone relaxes in their own way, here are some ideas to jump start your recharge:

  1.        Meditate or practice yoga.
  2.        Spend time with a friend or loved one.
  3.        Exercise! This can include walking a dog, going for a run/jog, bike riding, or even going for a light stroll around the block.
  4.        Read a book.
  5.        Separate work-time and home-time.
  6.        Listen to your favorite music.
  7.        Start a planner, organizer, or journal! Shop some adorable ones from GotchaCovered here!
  8.        Take a warm bath and light a scented candle.
  9.        Take a break from screen-time and break out a coloring book!
  10.    Organize your living space - this can greatly improve your mood and provide physical evidence of taking control of your life.
  11.    Take a short nap! 20-minute naps are shown to leave you feeling more refreshed and alert.
  12.    Stretch for 5-6 minutes.
  13.    Breathe in some fresh air, it does wonders to the mind!


While you can’t completely avoid stress, you can definitely make it manageable by changing how you choose to respond to it! We hope these ideas get you started towards a healthy and balanced life.



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Women's History

Posted Mar 15, 2019


International Women’s Day has been observed all across the world since the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until 2011 that former President Barack Obama declared March Women’s History Month in the United States. However, March 2-8 was National Women’s History week as of 1980, declared by former President Jimmy Carter.

Every March, the United States, as well as other places around the world, celebrates the achievements of all the women who have paved the way for social, economic, cultural and political gain for women. This month is also a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
 

Here are some great quotes from women throughout history to celebrate all those before us who fought for women’s rights, and to inspire you!
 

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

-          Maya Angelou, civil rights activist

 

“Like anything learned, bravery needs to be practiced.”

-          Caroline Paul, author

 

“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.”

-          Oprah Winfrey, entrepreneur

 

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

-          Mother Teresa, Saint and Nobel Peace Prize winner

 

“The best way to change the society and the underlying issues is to channelize the power of woman in every walk of life.”

-          Tanya Sharma, actress

 

“A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

-          Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and humanitarian

Here’s to strong women! May know them, may we be them and may we raise them.

 

Source: Women’s Day, International Women’s Day

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Vacation Getaway

Posted Mar 02, 2019



Although vacations are relaxing, planning them can be a hassle. We have some basic tips to give you when you’re planning a vacation, especially since March seems to be a month full of travel with college spring breaks happening across the country, and others looking to escape the cold weather. Whatever your reason, we’re here to help ease the stress of traveling.

  1. Use an app like Hopper to guesstimate the prices of travel in advance of when they’re posted. When booking flights, check with the individual websites for prices, as some don’t post their flights to Expedia/Orbitz etc.
  2. Book each flight separately, as a one-way flight. This often will save you anywhere from $40-80 per flight, versus booking as a round-trip flight. Don’t be afraid to check multiple websites and use different airlines for each flight; just be sure of the baggage policies of each.
  3. Use AirBnB or VRBO instead of hotels when possible, even if it’s just for part of the trip. You’ll save tons and get to experience a new home away from home, often with much more space than what a hotel room provides.
  4. Plan out each day of your trip with what you’ll do. By purchasing tickets for museums, park attractions etc. you’ll often save a little when booking in advance. Be sure not to plan too much in one day though and to have some free time dedicated to lounging on the beach/freely exploring the area.
  5. Buy travel insurance for trips that cost more than what you’re willing to lose without paying for the insurance. If you’re going anywhere overseas this is a good idea, considering flights are often the most expensive part of the trip.
  6. Be strategic in your packing and start your packing list well in advance. Stick to this list and try to bring clothes that you can mix and match, so you can create more outfits with fewer items. Roll your clothes instead of folding them and pack socks and undergarments in shoes to save room.
  7. Take a photo of your luggage, the tag, and also photos of your passport, just in case it gets lost.
  8. Put important and expensive items like electronics, medications, and some small basic toiletries in your carry-on bag; again, just in case your luggage is lost.
  9. Ask locals about the best places to eat and check out. You can do this in advance by befriending local bloggers as well. After all, they live there, so they’ll know best.
  10. Alert your credit/debit card companies that you are travelling in advance, so you don’t run into issues of paying for something because your card has surprisingly been shut off.
  11. Travel safely. Wear sunscreen and bring aloe. It’s never fun to ruin part of your vacay over being too burnt to go outside. Also, bring a small first-aid kit and sewing kit with stain remover for small inevitable accidents.
  12. HAVE FUN!! Go with the flow and enjoy the time you spend simply relaxing – those are often our favorite days of travelling.

We hope this list of travel tips help you during planning a vacation. Most importantly, have fun and document your adventures – wherever they lead you. You never hear anyone complain that they took too many photos while traveling.

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Get Ready for Game Day

Posted Feb 02, 2019


The biggest Game Day of the year is a fun day for families everywhere. Even if you’re not into football, it’s a day often filled with tons of food and friends. The Super Bowl has taken place since 1967 and has sold out ever since. The televised event is the most watched in the United States and there is also more pizza sold this day than any other day of the year. Despite pizza being awesome, this blog is dedicated to helping you get ready for this day with awesome apps and detailed decorations.

We know it can be tough making food for a large group, but making a self-serve food bar of some sort will help keep the work for you minimal. Try doing a taco or nacho bar, or even a baked potato bar where guests can load up their potatoes as they see fit. People will love the personalization, and picky eaters will be especially pleased.

We think we’re pretty sure everyone loves a good dip, and while everyone’s hanging out and watching the game, it’s great to just snack on chips and crackers with dips of all sorts. It’s much easier than preparing a meal and you can keep it warm (or cool) the whole time so that guests can eat when they want. We’re dying to try this jalapeno popper dip and hot taco dip, but also know you can’t go wrong with a good layered dip – especially a football themed one.

As far as decorations go, you can get pretty creative with these, depending on your budget and the time you have to dedicate towards decorating. Keep it simple with free printable water bottle logos for the kids (and adults if they want) and yellow napkins in a bucket labeled as “penalty flags.” You can turn so many items into footballs like brown solo drinking cups, as well as silverware containers. There are tons of food items you can also do this with like brownies or a cheese ball.

You can’t forget the games! We found some free printables like this generic football bingo card, a Super Bowl trivia game, and a Super Bowl commercial bingo game.

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