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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Vote for us to win the SCORE #Business Award!

We have entered the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre to win the #SCORE $25,000 Unique Business Award- PLEASE VOTE FOR US- and please share it, too! (Apparently you can vote repeatedly- so PLEASE do, as we have to catch up with the folks who have 5000 votes!) https://championship.score.org/contest_entries/264102


The Elkhorn Inn is the ONLY entry from McDowell County #WestVirginia- and the ONLY "Coal Heritage Trail" historic building in the state providing lodging and fine dining! AND we are the ONLY restaurant in our area on the Bon Appetit Appalachia "foodie" map! So we really ARE unique! We truly hope to be their next  #BizChampion!  THANK YOU!

The Elkhorn Inn is an historic "Coal Heritage Trail" inn providing bed-and-breakfast accommodations in 14 guest rooms, and fine dining by reservation.  Thanks to Chef Dan's dinners, we are on the 6-state Bon Appetit Appalachia "foodie" map: http://visitappalachia.com/bonappetitappalachia/item/elkhorn-inn-theatre/

Our area offers the best railfanning (train photography ops), and wild stream trout fishing in the USA, and the best ATV and UTV trails in the eastern USA! We have gorgeous leaf-peeping here in the mountains in the fall, tons of historic sites to visit for those interested in West Virginia, railroading, and industrial and coal mining history, and lots of other fun in the mountains!
Please share the #ValentinesDay #love!

Great ATVing!
Great winding roads for bikers!
Great trout fishing on Elkhorn Creek!
 When we saved and restored the last, surviving historic “Coal Heritage Trail” building in Landgraff, WV in 2002, and opened our home as the Elkhorn Inn in 2003, our aim was to help kick-start the post-flood tourism economy of McDowell Co., by providing needed lodging & tourism services, as McDowell Co. offers excellent railfanning, ATVing, wild trout fishing, and other fun! We believed that we could not only save this historic building, but truly make it “live” again, welcoming guests from around the USA and overseas- and we did! We also have a “museum room” at the Inn documenting local history, a gift shop featuring local products, & we offer fine dining at the Inn by reservation, literally  putting McDowell Co. on the Bon Appetit Appalachia 6-state “foodie” map!


Chef Dan dinner: Caribbean Rum-Marinated Steak, with housemade Onion Jam

Chef Dan dinners: Chicken Piccata, served over Pasta

Dinner Party at the Elkhorn Inn!

Chef Dan Dinner: Shrimp Scampi

Golf AND ATVing!

Railfanning: the NS "Pocahontas" railroad across from the Elkhorn Inn (c) Sean Hoyden

Leaf-Peeping via ATV!

Chef Dan dinner: Herb-Rubbed Smoked Ribs!

The Elkhorn Inn & the NS "Pocahontas" railroad (C) John Sagert

Chef Dan Dinner: Herb-Poached Salmon with Alfredo-Dill Sauce!



Apples Guest Room
 

Blue Private Bath Guest Room

Dinner at the Elkhorn Inn...

Greenbrier Guest Room


Yellow Flowers Private Bath Guest Room

#bonappalachia #trainsarecool #Appalachia #Appalachian #smallbusiness #smallbiz #travel #TravelTuesday #CHT #coalheritagetrail #TTOT #bedandbreakfast #finedining
#railfan #trains #trainarecool 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Sweeps & Contests THANK YOU- and sweeping tips!

This post is a GREAT BIG THANK YOU!
As my five faithful readers know, I am a terrible sweeper and contest-enterer. The first time I entered a contest- Oil of Olay's "Most Romantic Summer" contest back in 2002- I actually won it- a totally fabulous trip with hubs to The Golden Door Spa at The Boulders in Arizona that included plane tickets and spa treatments- and that fueled what has become my late-night hobby- and one that sure beats Candy Crush or Farmville for lucrative time-killing! LOL Yes, sweeping has it's downside- I get 1900+ emails a day I have to actually go through (because you are ONLY notified of a win via email...), but in the process of sweeping, I also learn a lot about new products, and there are lots of things I now want that I never even knew Existed until I saw them in a sweeps! LOL And yes, my friends made fun of me... until I started winning trips with plane tickets! So far I've won 6 trips with plane tickets, which Dan and I have enjoyed the heck out of:  thanks to sweeps and contests, we've had amazing trips back to Israel and Vietnam, Chile, Arizona, California, and Virginia!
And so, as 2016 draws to a close, I want to thank the great people and companies who made my fabulous "wins" possible, and, in many cases, treated me (and my husband) to things we Never would have been able to enjoy otherwise! PLEASE shop with these great companies- they all make terrific things that you'll love, and that will make Great gifts for the people you love!
Happy Dan and his fabulous Big Green Egg!
My first BIG Thank You goes to Tabasco, as, thanks to them, I won my chef husband THE Ultimate Grill-Smoker- a fabulous, medium-size Big Green Egg! And it came with a Nest, Eggmates, BBQ tools, starters and even organic charcoal, so (after reading the directions and watching videos and putting it together), he could get right into smoking us some fabulous, Memphis-Style Dry Rub Brisket! This was THE best "Big 7-0" birthday present for Chef Dan ever!
Chef Dan making a Dry Rub Brisket in his Big Green Egg!


Amazingly, I also won $160 in fabulous steaks and seafood from Certified Steaks and Seafood! I got us an amazing assortment of Prime and Wagyu filet mignons, Bermuda & Canadian lobster tails, crab claws, and andouille sausage for Chef Dan to make- and he's making some of them right now for our New Years Eve supper! 













My next BIG thank you goes to Vitruvi Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, as I won a glorious gift certificate for their excellent, natural essential oils, which I LOVE! I keep a diffuser on my desk in my office, and enjoy blending the oils to create a really pleasing and healthy environment around me while I work! My aromatherapy oils are like a "chemistry set" for Big Girls! :-)
My diffuser and some of my Virtuvi essential oils...

Some of my Vitruvi essential oils and sprays...

I won a Delicious November Bokksu box of Japanese snacks and teas, which was so much fun and yummy! (I blogged about it here: Bokksu - Enjoy Yummy Japan at Home every month!)  The November box was themed "Japanese Folklore" and included an artisan assortment of Japanese snacks and teas and a guide to explain everything! This is THE best gift for anyone who loves Japan- as we do! Our Bokksu box not only brought back wonderful memories of our honeymoon, 4 glorious days of which were spent in Japan, but gave us the chance to try new things and learn more about Japan, too!
My November Bokksu Box







I won a gorgeous ceramic artists palette from Stephen Quiller from The Artists Magazine, which I badly needed for my watercolors...






I won a Selfie Stick from Galbani- Italy's Favorite Cheese! 



I won PreHeels, a great anti-blister foot spray to stop my fave high-heels from irritating my tender toosties...

And from Vogue, I won a Gorgeous Vera Bradley backpack!













 I won a lovely selection of great travel beauty products from www.savvytravelers.com/


And a truly fun and stylish Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon "travel set" for my photo of my AbFab Kentucky Derby Evan Williams Mint Julep Jello Shots!















And two cool, fun vacuum wine stoppers from VINOPlease Wine Accessories and Tools:














I also won two glasses from Coors... (Obviously Not the Grand Prize LOL)







From Latina I won a set of Ouidad curly hair care products which are great for my curly hair!


I won a great assortment of natural beauty products from ThredUp, including lovely Earth Mama Angel Baby organic body lotion and other delightful products! 










And from SheSpeaks I won a Neutrogena Cleansing Set!













And then there was the Banana costume I won from Del Monte... No, this prize did NOT come with a trip to their Dole Plantation in Hawaii, but I entered it anyway... because I am, yes, bananas. LOL














And last, but not least, I FINALLY won Dan a car... There's just one little problem... :-)







Elisse's Tips for Successful Sweeping and Contest Entering:
1. Read the rules! If you are going to "waste time" on this, read the rules so you don't disqualify yourself!
2. Have an email just for sweeps and contests if possible, and check it EVERY DAY! This is a must. You will ONLY be notified of a win via email, and you will sometimes only have 24 hours to respond or you will lose the prize!
3. You WILL get 1000s of emails every day. You WILL be on every mailing list in the known universe.  Enjoy it. Think of it as "Market Research". LOL If that concept makes you crazy, sweeping is NOT for you!
4. Enter 100 a night. No kidding. This isn't luck, as many friends insist- it's entering 100 a night on average,  month after month after month... If you think of this as your "nighttime job" it will be less painful. LOL
5. Legitimate sweeps and contests will NEVER charge you ANYTHING to claim a prize you have won. You may have to send or fax in a signed affidavit, and you may get a tax form at the end of the year if the prize is larger than $500. But if anyone demands money from you to claim a prize you won they are breaking the law.
6. You WILL have to submit your name, address, phone, birthday, email, etc. in order to enter anything. If that is a problem for you, sweeping is NOT for you!
7. Sweeps are random drawings (like Lotto); Contests are based on skill. If you can write well, take good photographs, create art, make unique Pinterest boards, etc., contests can be very good- I have won a number of contests, including the trips to Chile, Arizona, and Virginia! Note: sometimes sweeps are designed to look like contests; again, read the rules to see if it's a random drawing or a skill-based contest.
8. The smaller the company (or blog or Facebook page) the better your odds. Blogs have great odds, because usually only a few hundred or a few thousand people enter, as opposed to the millions who enter the HGTV sweeps to win a million dollar home or the Ford sweeps to win a $40K truck.
9. Some are "enter only once" and some are "enter every day"; again: read the rules.
10. There are email lists of legitimate sweeps and contests you can sign up for which will deliver 100s of them to your inbox every day... 
11. Only enter for things you really want to win. I learned that the hard way! But remember: you may not win the Grand Prize $10K Trip to Vegas, you may win 1st Prize, which is a giant box of condoms- because the contest was sponsored by a condom company- and yes, that happened to me! You may also win a key chain, a toy car, or 2 beer glasses. Hey- it still beats Candy Crush. LOL
12. If and when you win a prize, be NICE to the great folks who sponsor these sweeps and contests! Don't forget that they do it to get business- so send them YOUR business and that of your friends and coworkers! Buy from them, blog about them, Facebook about them, Tweet about them, Pinterest pin them, and G+ them!
Good luck, and happy sweeping!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Bokksu - Enjoy Yummy Japan at Home every month!



If you (and/or your friends) love all things Japanese, as we do, especially trying new foods and treats, you are going to Love having a subscription to Bokksu!  
I recently received my November Bokksu box of Japanese snacks and teas, and am Totally loving it!  Bokksu is unlike any other Japanese snack box; the Bokksu folks are Really in love with Japanese snacks, and they handpick tasty snacks that people in Japan enjoy, and curate them into a unique and fun themed box each month. They source their snacks directly from the makers in Japan, so many of the artisanal snacks you get can't be found anywhere else! 
Enjoying my Foxtail Pastry and coffee!
The theme for their November box was "Japanese Folklore", and all the things they included were Very cool- and cute, too- with info about each one on the enclosed card- and so far DELICIOUS! (In the photo I was enjoying the yummy, flaky Kitsune "foxtail" pastry, which is iced with maple white chocolate, with a cup of coffee!
This is truly a Very cool (and not expensive) treat to enjoy- or give as a great holiday "foodie" gift- for Anyone interested in Japan! (And Especially if you- or they- live in a place like we do- rural southern West Virginia- where you cannot even Dream of finding these things!) Bokksu really created something special here; it's very well designed and thought-out-  and yummy! I'm truly impressed!
Adorable chocolate Panda cookies!

The adorable and totally delish chocolate "Panda" cookies, were also perfect with a cup of coffee- on top of being really yummy, they were totally "Kawaii" - or "super-cute", as Hello Kitty would say! (And they sent 4 packets of them!)
Bokksu is NOT expensive- I think it's a very good deal- AND the are having a special now, so go check it out:  www.bokksu.com
My Bokku Box and the info card that explains all the treats!
Each box comes with a guide so you know what everything is and "why"- which is almost the best part, since even when I've been lucky enough to live or visit places where there are Asian food stores, I almost never knew what to buy, as the packaging is almost never in English! LOL

My November box was themed "Japanese Folklore" and it included Organic Sencha Tea, the flaky Foxtail Kitsune Pastries with the maple/white chocolate icing, Kumamo "bear" cookies from Kumamoto Prefecture, the totally adorable Saku Saku Panda cookies, "Dream Animals" butter cookies, and savory/spicy ones I intend to have with a glass of sake (which you actually can get here in rural southern West Virginia, LOL): Hakata Mentai Shrimp crisps!

As my blog-followers know, Dan and I were lucky enough to have spent 4 glorious days and nights in Japan back on our honeymoon in 2008, and we truly love the food and culture of Japan. Having a Bokksu arrive at our door brought all the great memories back, and gave us the opportunity to try new treats, and learn stuff, too!
 Let me know in the comments if you try Bokksu, or get it as a great Hanukkah or Christmas present for that Japan-loving "foodie" in your life!


Thursday, October 27, 2016

I'm a #CoolAger! Thanks, Philosophy, for pointing that out!

Thanks to being a Crowdtapper- a member of Crowdtap- I recently had the opportunity to try Philosophy's "uplifting miracle worker moisturizer"- their "cool-lift & firm moisturizer for face & neck". 
I'm a #CoolAger, all right!
At 57 (I'm a #Boomer born in 1959), I Do like to think of myself as a #CoolAger - one who at least tries not to let anything stop her, and for whom age is only a number! My mom is THE ULTIMATE #CoolAger- at 94, and a WWII US Army #Veteran, she is a 165 avg. bowler and a Great golfer (see photos below), as well as a professional artist- and a 20-year breast #cancer survivor/thriver! She has been my Cool Aging Inspiration for many, many years- my whole life, actually- and as a result, I have a lot to live up to in the Cool Aging Department! LOL
My belief is that being able to be a #CoolAger, and to keep doing the things you love and want to do, depends a lot on genes- and I'm counting on having my mother's! But it is also an attitude, and a determination not to "let the turkeys get you down", as the expression goes! I HATE when people advise others not to do the things they love and want to do because of their age! As long as you want to and enjoy doing the "crazy" things you've always loved to do, keep doing them!! For me, being a #CoolAger is also doing what ever I can to make myself both look and feel good, and as youthful as possible. No, barring a miracle, I'm not gonna look 35 again (dang! LOL), but I can strive to look as good as possible. Living now in Extremely Rural West Virginia (as opposed to NYC, where I'm from and lived for many years), means I don't have access to monthly facials and spas and shopping, and such, so I really have to do it all myself! I don't wear makeup every day now, either, so it's important to me that my skin look as good as it possibly can without makeup. I do a lot of research on natural medicine, which I rely upon for my health, and I take Ayurveda (Indian) herbs every day as they really do make a difference in how I look and feel. And as an Official Anti-Aging Beauty Product Junkie, I am Always looking for the newest, best, and most 'cutting edge' anti-aging beauty products to hold back the hands of time (at least visually LOL), and so I was really excited to try Philosophy's "uplifting miracle worker moisturizer", as it promises, in only 4 weeks, to make one's skin feel more firm with a better bounce, with one's facial contours appearing more sculpted, youthful and defined. In 8 weeks, 75% of the women who sampled it showed a clinical improvement in skin firmness, radiance, and texture! That is pretty darn impressive!
I've used a number of Philosophy products in the past and have always been pleased with them, and I was pleased with this one, too! (Thank you, Crowdtap!)
I really like the way the uplifting miracle worker moisturizer feels when I apply it- it's cool and lightly firming. You can see from the photo of me applying it, that my skin has a nice, smooth sheen to it. It's absorbed quickly into my skin, my face does feel soft and hydrated all day, I've experienced no breakouts or other issues, and my makeup goes on smoothly on top of it. It is a great moisturizer! To be honest, however, I was, frankly, expecting more... more visible anti-aging results, faster, I guess, especially as it's $65 and not an inexpensive product... I am using it on my face, neck, and decollete, twice a day, and I am going to continue using it to see if I get more "lifting" and "firming" results over time. Philosophy does suggest that for best results it should be used together with their "uplifting miracle worker instant-effect cool-lift & tightening moisturizer booster", which supposedly provides "instant results"...  and I want to try that, along with this moisturizer... Not cheap, but heck- I AM worth it! :-)  
My 94 year old mom- #CoolAger Extraordinaire!
My 94 year old mom playing golf last month...

As you can see, I received the full-size product to try from Crowdtap, which was great, because to see results with a product like this you really do have to give it a fair shot and some time to work- it's unfair to judge a product after only sampling it once or twice. I HEARTILY recommended joining Crowdtdap if you enjoy market research and giving your opinions on products- sometimes you get to try them, too!
SO: the bottom line is: YES, I really like Philosphy's uplifting miracle worker moisturizer, and the cool, firming feeling it gives, and the way my skin looks and feels after I've applied it, and YES, I'm going to keep using it! AND I'm going to lash out and buy the serum, too! :-)