The Dog Tag Bakery Brownie is a rich, decadent brownie, dipped in chocolate and gently rolled in a potato chip crumble. This delicious twist on Dog Tag Inc.’s classic brownie recipe offers the perfect combination of chocolate indulgence with a hint of salt.
I am so EXCITED about this Dog Tag Bakery Brownie! It’s been four years in the making for Dog Tag Bakery to reach this level of national success.
Founded in 2014 by Fr. Rick Curry, SJ and Ms. Constance Milstein, Dog Tag Inc. was born out of the shared conviction that no veteran, military spouse, or caregiver who wants to work and pursue their career goals should be unemployed.
Their founders drew on their experiences as social innovators and advocates for veterans and persons with disabilities to create a national model to support veterans and their families as they begin a new chapter in their lives.
Together, Father Curry and Ms. Milstein have convened educators, experts, and leading entrepreneurs to ensure that Dog Tag Inc. remains a robust, enriching, and sustainable social enterprise.
My journey with Dog Tag Inc. began in July 2016 when I was selected as a Fellow in Cohort 4 of their Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program. We had only moved to the DC area a few months earlier, my husband was in the middle of the Medical Board process to get out of the Army, and I was trying to figure out what was next for me in this transition.
The Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program allowed me the space, time, and support to find myself as an individual. I learned what my strengths were outside of being a military spouse and caregiver.
I learned that I AM STRONG, CAPABLE AND EMPOWERING!
I took the skills I had learned in the 10 years as an Army spouse along with the 8 years of blogging and turned it into a consulting business. I now teach other small businesses and non-profits how to manage their own social media and online marketing.
So today – I’m proud to announce the launch of the new Dog Tag Bakery brownie to be sold in Starbucks stores Nationwide!
DOG TAG BAKERY AND STARBUCKS RECOGNIZE NATIONAL MILITARY APPRECIATION MONTH WITH THE LAUNCH OF A DARK CHOCOLATE & POTATO CHIP BROWNIE AT STARBUCKS STORES
Georgetown’s favorite pastry destination, Dog Tag Bakery, will launch the Dog Tag Bakery Brownie on May 1, 2018 at Starbucks locations nationwide in honor of National Military Appreciation Month. This brownie is a delicious twist on Dog Tag Bakery’s classic recipe, topped with a salted potato chip crumble, and will be available in over 8,000+ participating Starbucks locations nationwide starting May 1, 2018 until June 4, 2018 (or while supplies last).
Inspired by a shared commitment to helping our veterans and military families, Dog Tag Bakery developed this special limited-edition brownie for Starbucks customers to help raise awareness for veteran causes. Dog Tag Bakery’s entrepreneurial fellowship program combines education with hands-on experience to create a living business school, to build a bridge to employment and to help veterans, military spouses and caregivers find fulfillment in their professional and personal lives. To learn more about Dog Tag Bakery’s program, please visit www.DogTagInc.org.
Together we’re #BakingADifference in the lives of our veterans and military families.
Product Name: Dog Tag Bakery Brownie. The packaging will state “Salted Potato Chip Crusted Brownie” Unit Price: $3.95 Release Date: May 1, 2018 Availability: Available in over 8,000 Starbucks locations nationwide PR Contact: Meghan Ogilvie / 202.527.9388 / [email protected] and Hilla Narov / 212.995.1833 / [email protected]
Sometimes without warning, life can become incredibly busy and chaotic causing stress not only on your day, but on your body as well. Using these 4 Ways to Decompress a Stressful Day will help you unwind, regroup, and regain focus.
My personal life has had it’s share of ups and downs creating times of chaos and calmness. Let’s be real here though… there’s definitely been more chaos than calm.
Since moving from Germany to the United States, I’ve found myself yearning for balance and peace in my life. Through the community of friends, colleagues, and military caregivers here in Washington, DC, I have learned so much about being mindful and the importance of self-care.
These tips are what work for me to decompress from a stressful day.
4 Ways to Decompress a Stressful Day
1: Drink Water
Do you get headaches? Feel tired all the time? Is your mouth dry and you just feel thirsty? These are all signs that you probably need more water in your life.
Since your brain is mostly water, drinking it helps you think, focus and concentrate better and be more alert. As an added bonus, your energy levels are also boosted!
I have constant headaches, but I find that drinking water helps relieve and prevent those headaches (migraines & back pains too!) which are commonly caused by dehydration. I have even gone as far as to look into something like a lower back pain chiropractor, to see if I can get any help with these pains. They can be a lot to deal with at times, so I’m sure this will make all the difference. My back pain affects my life in many different ways. I had to contact a lawyers like Aston Knight Solicitors in Bury to make sure I got the correct compensation for my personal injury. It’s all sorted out now though and I’m so glad!! There also those that look for phenibut HCL for sale as it could also help give stress relief.
Tips for Incorporating Water into Your Day
Instead of your second cup of coffee in the morning – fill your favorite water bottle and sip on that.
Speaking of favorite water bottles, mine is my teal Camelbak. Go to Target, Walmart or wherever and pick out a bottle, glass, cup that you love and will enjoy drinking from!
If you have the taste of water, try adding lemon or other citrus wedges to it for flavor. Not only will your water taste good, but the lemon aids in digestion.
Stop bringing the sugary drinks into the home or workplace. If you only have water to choose from, you’re more likely to drink it.
2: Practice Mindfulness & Meditation
In 2016, I was introduced to mindfulness for the first time by my husband who was in therapy for his PTSD at Fort Belvoir. The concept was instantly intriguing to me but I didn’t immediately do anything to learn more about it until I was a Fellow in the Dog Tag, Inc. Fellowship Program.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
In a mindful state your mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, and to the space you’re moving through. Too often our minds veer from the moment and what we’re trying to accomplish and our mind takes flight.
We lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something else and in turn those new thoughts tend to distract us and make us anxious.
Mindfulness can be practiced by simply incorporating a few proven techniques into every day life. When we meditate it doesn’t help to fixate on the benefits, but rather to just do the practice, and yet there are benefits or no one would do it.
When we’re mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind, and increase our attention to others’ well-being.
Mindful meditation gives us a time in our lives when we can suspend judgment and unleash our natural curiosity about the workings of the mind, approaching our experience with warmth and kindness—to ourselves and others.
As I find myself being stressed during my day, I take 5 minutes to breathe and become centered by practicing minute mindful meditation.
5 Minute Mindful Meditation
Find a relaxed, comfortable position. You could be seated on a chair or on the floor on a cushion. Keep your back upright, but not too tight. Hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Tongue on the roof of your mouth or wherever it’s comfortable.
Notice and relax your body. Try to notice the shape of your body, its weight. Let yourself relax and become curious about your body seated here—the sensations it experiences, the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Relax any areas of tightness or tension. Just breathe.
Tune into your breath. Feel the natural flow of breath—in, out. You don’t need to do anything to your breath. Not long, not short, just natural. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen. It may be in your chest or throat or in your nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. When one breath ends, the next breath begins.
Be kind to your wandering mind. Now as you do this, you might notice that your mind may start to wander. You may start thinking about other things. If this happens, it is not a problem. It’s very natural. Just notice that your mind has wandered. You can say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. And then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing.
Stay here for five to seven minutes. Notice your breath, in silence. From time to time, you’ll get lost in thought, then return to your breath.
Check in before you check out. After a few minutes, once again notice your body, your whole body, seated here. Let yourself relax even more deeply and then offer yourself some appreciation for doing this practice today.
I sit at a desk most days for several hours at a time and find myself hunched over with my shoulders rounded in toward my chest. Constantly, I’m reminding myself to sit tall and roll my shoulders back, however the pain and discomfort I feel in my neck, chest and shoulders is undeniable after sitting at my desk.
Last year, I went to a holistic physical therapist, Megan Anderson, for my back and neck pain along with headaches. She explained to me that the muscles in my chest were constricting, pulling tighter as I sat hunched at my desk.
To alleviate the pain associated with this, Megan my pain was to stretch my pectoral muscles at least once day.
How to Stretch your Pectoral Muscles
Find a 90 degree corner wall in your work space or home.
Stand about a foot away from the wall with one foot forward and one back and gently bend your front knee.
Lift both arms so they are shoulder height and bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
Place your hands into the wall in front of you – one hand on each wall – and press your body forward. Keep your chin/head up. You should feel the stretch in your pectoral muscle. Hold this for 10-20 seconds.
Switch positions of your feet and repeat the stretch.
You can change the position of your hands up or down or how much you press into the stretch depending on what feels good for you body.
*I am not an expert physical therapist. This is just what has worked for me to ease stress. Please consult your doctor for a routine that’s right for you.
4: Practice Yoga
If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I ever saw myself practicing yoga, I would have laughed at you. However, having witnessed the benefits personally I am a believer in the benefits and power of yoga today!
The benefits of yoga provide both instant gratification and lasting transformation. The practice of yoga will allow you to find stillness, peace and tranquility as well as helping to relieve stress and declutter the mind, allowing you to become more focused.
The benefits of yoga aren’t limited to the mind, in fact the physical benefits of yoga have drastically changed my life for the better.
Physical Health Benefits of Yoga
Tones the Body
Decreases Chronic Pain
I have struggled with lower back pain my entire life with little help from my primary care doctors at my family clinic. My local USO was holding free yoga classes and I decided to attend several.
It changed my life so much that the USO asked me to film a video for them about my experience with yoga at their center.
After that first yoga practice at the USO, my body had never felt that amazing before. My muscles and joints stretched and moved, cracked and made noise that sounded like I was falling apart. However that couldn’t be further from the truth… my body was healing and growing strong.
After a quick search online, I found Yoga with Adreiene… a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos that tackled issues in every part of the body. Adriene’s approach to teaching the practice of yoga makes it feel as though she’s in the room with you, reading your mind and saying the exact right thing and the exact right time.
My favorite videos with Adriene for back pain are:
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EnterTheWonderVault #CollectiveBias
Friends, I’m so excited for this post because it’s sponsored by two of my favorite brands, OREO and Kroger!
Best Friends Movie Night
Hosting a Best Friends Movie Night doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. It’s really simple and doesn’t have to cost a fortune! My friend invited me to her house for a movie night and it was amazing! She told me to check out Home Cinema installation in London to get a home cinema installed and it looks great. Follow these guidelines and enjoy a Best Friends Movie Night of your own!
Call your best friend and invite her over!
Go shopping for snacks! One of my favorite stores to shop at is Kroger. There are things in Kroger that I just can’t find anywhere else… which is seriously why I love it so much! One of my favorite snacks is anything OREO! At Kroger, you can find all your favorite OREO products on cookie aisle!
For this Movie Night, I decided on two of my favorite flavors, OREO Red Velvet and OREO Birthday Cake, which I bought at the Kroger in Richmond, VA. Life wouldn’t be as “Wonderfilled” without OREO sandwich cookies. #EnterTheWonderVault However there are a variety of Wonder Vault OREO sandwich cookies to choose from including: Red Velvet 12.2 oz Cinnamon Bun 12.2 oz Birthday Cake 15.25 oz Salted Caramel 10.1oz (available 6/17/17) Find your local Kroger/Kroger Family of Stores to get your OREO sandwich cookies here!
Set Up for Movie Night I love getting things ready for parties and events. Making it all pretty is one of my favorite things.
I kept it simple for this movie night. I placed a few rows of OREO sandwich cookies on a platter, grabbed a bowl of popcorn and a pretzels, and two glasses of milk.A few fun napkins, blankets, pillows and our favorite movie is all that was left to get ready!
Enjoy! Now is the fun part! Get under those blankets, put the movie on and have fun!Whether your favorite way to eat an OREO is to dunk it or twist it, OREO sandwich cookies make the perfect snack for movie night!My favorite is dunking!! I love how soft the OREO gets when it’s soaked in milk. So yum!My second favorite way to eat an OREO… in a cupcake! (Did I mention that I have a recipe for OREO Red Velvet cupcakes? Of course I do!)
Buy One, Get One
Buy one Wonder Vault flavor OREO and get a free MILKA OREO Chocolate Candy Bar at Kroger grocers; offer valid 6/14 – 6/20.
In-store Kroger demos happening 6/15-6/18. Demos will present Kroger-exclusive recipes, information on the newest OREO flavors, Limited Edition varieties, the new MILKA OREO Chocolate Candy Bar, fun facts about the history of OREO and Kroger, and much, much more.
And let me tell you why I’m excited about this BOGO offer! MILKA is one of Europe’s leading chocolate brands, made with milk from the European Alps and the finest cocoa bans. The ALPS!!!!
Crunchy bits of OREO + Crème Filling + Rich MILKA Chocolate Candy… you can’t go wrong with this combo!
I lived in Bavaria for 5 years and grew to love all things MILKA! Seriously, I am so excited about this BOGO offer!!!!
So head over to Kroger, grab your favorite OREO sandwich cookies (don’t forget the BOGO MILKA OREO Chocolate Candy Bar) and enjoy a Best Friends Movie Night!
Once a year, on May 12th, the country recognizes the strength and resiliency of those who stand beside their service members on Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Today, I wanted to share a look back at a few of the military spouses who have made me who I am today.
When I became a military spouse in 2007, I would have never believed that I would be where I am today… let alone be here because of the military spouses that were in my life. Because my husband joined the military later in his life, I was older than most other spouses at the same rank as my husband so I naturally gravitated to toward the spouses of the senior enlisted and officers.
Women like Tara Rousch, wife of C Co, 2/23IN Commander, Amanda Houston, wife and FRG Leader in B Co, 2/23 IN, Morri Landes, wife of LTC Landes and Senior Adviser to the FRG and Tricia Lawrence, wife of LTC Lawrence and Senior Adviser to the FRG. These women showed me how a group of spouses, women, can come together to support those around us and to be strong for our soldiers at war.
It was their leadership, grace, and resiliency that showed me the type of military spouse I wanted to be. It was because of their leadership that I became an FRG Leader for my husband’s units at all of his duty stations. It was because of their example that I knew I had something great to model and to live up to.
After our 2nd deployment to Iraq together… some of those same senior military spouses that lead me to lead were standing beside me as we were presented with the Commanders Award for Civilian Service. One of my most proud moments as a military spouse.
I am so incredibly thankful to Tara, Amanda, Morri and Tricia for being a shining example of excellence in the military spouse community.
As soon as we moved to Germany, I knew I wanted to be involved in the community. I reached out to the command of my husband’s unit and inquired about being involved.
And I met my Chrissy. Although I met many amazing women and military spouses at Fort Lewis, it wasn’t until I came to Germany that I truly found out what it meant to be a military spouse.
We were quick friends, best friends, like-sisters-friends. Chrissy became my family away from my family. I think back on all the things we went though together and my life is better for having Chrissy in it. Chrissy is unconditionally loving, kind, and supportive.
Chrissy guided me as the FRG Leader for the Rear Detachment as her husband and the rest of TF 1/2 IN, 172nd IN BDE went to Afghanistan. She held it together during that deployment with such integrity and grit. I’m proud to know you, Chrissy and I can’t wait until we can live on the same side of the USA again!!!
My time in Germany also brought me Doris, Christy (again!), Sarah, Susan, Amanda, Rachel, Sarah, Allison and Margot. Neighbors, friends, and now family for ever.
And then there are these women…
These women were my rocks. My safe place. My unconditional love, support, and shoulders to cry on. I spent more time with Lizzie and Mareile than I did with my husband at times.
Both of you… Mareile and Lizzie – you are my best friends. My sisters. We share a common bond of being military spouses together – but we will always be more than that.
You have both have been with me in my lowest, most trying times as a military spouse. Even before I knew what I was doing was called being a Caregiver. You held me up. You supported me… my children. You listed. Let me cry. Gave me advice. You saved me.
There are no words that can express the depth of my gratitude to you. I will forever be thankful for your friendship.
Moving back to the USA knowing that we were transitioning out of the military, I wasn’t sure what kind of friends I would make here.
However, one of the first spouses I met during my time in the Dog Tag Fellowship program has turned in to one of my best friends.
Megan and I were both married to soldiers transitioning out of the military at the same time. Our love of fashion, yoga, and coffee made us quick friends and our experiences together made us best friends. Megan is my friend unconditionally and my life is richer for being around her kindness and southern charm. You make me a better woman, Megan.
And Gina… oh sassy, sweet, Sicilian Gina.
Gina’s example of what it looks like to be a spouse of a wounded warrior is truly inspiring. She has shown me what true strength in the face of adversity looks like and how amazing it can be on the other side.
THANK YOU Gina for giving me an opportunity at Yellow Ribbon Fund. THANK YOU Gina for pushing me to be better and to be more for our community.
Military Spouse Caregivers are some of the strongest women I know.
They have the strength and resiliency unlike any other military spouse. Their dedication to their wounded, ill or injured service member is unparalleled. It is my privilege to know them, learn from them, and be inspired by them.
Ramona… Oh Ramona.
This friendship with Ramona had a slow start. Ramona is not only a military spouse, but she is prior service as well serving 17 years in the Army.
Ramona, your friendship always surprises me and lifts me up when I’m least expecting it.
Thank you for being you and thank you for being in my life.
I didn’t know Jen when she was an active duty military spouse, but that doesn’t make me any less appreciative of her today.
Jen has become my mentor. She may not realize it, but I look up to her for entrepreneurial and business guidance more than any other military spouse in my life. Jen has taught me so much about what it means to be a military spouse in DC and how to become the best business women I can offering me advice, resources, and connections.
Jen McNulty is one bad-ass lady and I wouldn’t be as successful as I am with my career without her and for that I am eternally thankful!
Finally, to the most recently military spouse and friend I have here in DC… Cassaundra. Cassaundra is a Fellow in the current Dog Tag Fellowship cohort, the current Army Military Spouse of the Year and is an all-around rock star military spouse. Just being around her is inspiring! Although our journey as military spouses has just begun, I am inspired being around her and I know we are going to do great things together in DC for the military community!
I could really go on and on and on about every spouse that has touched my life… I know there are more. However these women are those that truly stand out to me as I look back on my life. They have shaped, guided, and loved me into the woman, leader, and military spouse I am today.
So thank you. Thanks to ALL of the military spouses who have touched my life. From the bottom of my heart… THANK YOU for all you have done for me.
Have you ever hosted a child’s birthday party at home? Have you ever wondered how to stop 15 sugar-filled children running around your kitchen and climbing on your gloss dining table and chairs? Instead of hosting your child’s next birthday at home, why not bring the party to their school?! Use this How to Host a Paw Patrol Party at School guide for inspiration and recipes!
Sometimes hosting a party for your kids can be stressful! Figuring out where and when to host the party to get the greatest number of children to attend can be a chore! If your child’s school allows it, have their next party at their school. You can speak to the school about what the party will involve. If you suggest the idea of having inflatables for the kids to play on in the playground and the school agrees with it, you could get in touch with that family friend who is a kids party planner and speak to them and see if you can use the inflatables that they purchased through companies like JungleJumps. The earlier you plan this party, the more you can do to make this party so much fun for the kids! School parties mean that all your child’s friends will be there, plenty of tables and chairs, plus teachers to help! For Matty’s 5th birthday this year, we had his Paw Patrol Party at his school! It was one of the most fun parties I’ve ever hosted for him so I wanted to create a guide so that you can host a Paw Patrol Party at school too!
In this guide, you’ll get ideas for…
Table Settings & Party Decor
Dessert Table w/ Recipes
Party Games & Favors
Thank you Note/Group Photo
Let’s get started!
Having your child wear a shirt in the theme of the party just adds another simple dimension of fun to the entire look at feel of the event.
In the past, I’ve done matching shirts for my entire immediate family, but this year I decided to just get the birthday boy one shirt of his own to wear.
A few weeks before the party, I searched on ETSY for a birthday shirt in the Paw Patrol theme that Matty could wear to his party. I contacted Mending Life Together and asked if they could make Matty’s shirt and get it to me in time.
They worked with me to get it done and I had the shirt in time for the party!
Table Settings & Party Decor
I’m a firm believer in saving myself time, energy and stress. Which is exactly why I don’t stress about buying out Party City of plates, napkins, cups, balloons, and confetti in the theme of my party!
At the party store save yourself the hassle and buy the following on theme:
Plates and napkins*
Silverware & cups*
Tissue paper tassels
Get creative with the items you choose. They all don’t have to be on theme exactly, however they should all be in the same color family.
At the Paw Patrol Party, I set the table with a red table cover so that the plates and napkins would stand out against it. I choose blue cups to offset the red add another color to the table.
Simple and perfect for 5 year olds!
Planning the decor for a party for 5-year-old kids is pretty easy. They are really only impressed if their favorite characters are plastered everywhere! I only care how easy it is to clean up after the party!
Two balloon bouquets lined each side of the table to add height to the overall look and feel of the party. I also sprinkled Paw Patrol themed confetti across the center of the table & dessert table to add a little more fun!
Since this party was happening during snack time at school, I knew that my snack should be fun but also have a healthy component.
For this party, I served:
Paw Patrol fruit snacks
Paw shaped Cheetos
Every party I host always has some type of dessert table display. For this Paw Patrol Party, I kept it simple since we were at school.
I improvised with shelving and furniture that was already in the classroom to create my Dessert Table! I cut a Paw Patrol plastic table cover to fit the shelving and sprinkles confetti over the top.
To add height and dimension to the table, I placed a small box under the table cover in the center in turn creating a higher focal point for the cake which was the centerpiece of the display.
The cake is always the star of the party. Candles are put on top and the first slice is always for the birthday boy. Since I don’t work a lot with fondant or modeling chocolate, I decided to buy a Paw Patrol toy to top the cake.
Frosting the cake in a solid color and adding simple piping embellishments allowed the topper of the cake to shine and still look clean and professional!
The cake is a funfetti box cake mix with a homemade chocolate frosting and whipped vanilla buttercream tinted blue on the outside. The red balls on top are gum balls I got at in the bulk section at the party store.
The same funfetti box cake mix was used for the cupcakes. I baked the cupcakes in Paw Patrol liners I found at the party store. The cupcakes are topped with the same chocolate frosting used on the cake and cookies.
One of the easiest ways to create another dessert on theme of your party is to make roll & cut sugar cookies using a themed cookie cutter! For this Paw Patrol Party I used a dog bone shape cutter and frosted the cookies in chocolate frosting.
I displayed the dog bone cookies on a cake stand with blue ribbon to tie in more colors from the party.
The cookies were made with my tried and true sugar cookie recipe and topped with chocolate frosting (the same used in the cake & cupcakes). I used a Wilton #4 piping tip to outline and fill the cookies with frosting.
Party Games & Favors
I know how short kid’s attention spans can be so I combined the party favors and games into one activity.
I set up three stations for the kids to go to.
Paw Patrol themed small toys, games, rules, rings, etc from the party store. Small paper bags and markers. Each child will write their name on the bag then answer a fun/silly question before getting to pick out 2-3 items from each bowl.
Paw Patrol themed candy plus bulk candy in the colors of the party – all from the party store. Small paper bags and markers. Each child will write their name on the bag then answer a fun/silly question before getting to pick out 2-3 items from each bowl.
Paw Patrol temporary tattoos from the party store.
Thank You Note & Group Picture
At the conclusion of the party, arrange the children with the balloons for a fun group picture! This photo can be printed and included in the thank you notes to all the children who attended the party!
Since this party was at school and on a quick timeline (only an hour for the party), I had to be realistic about the activities I had planned. If I would have had another hour to fill, I would have included an arts/crafts project and a group game that got them up and moving.
The kids had a great time and the teachers were super happy they had an easy Friday afternoon. Really, the most important thing is that my son Matty felt special.
At the end of the party he hugged me and said, “Mom, you’re the best.” So yeah, I consider this party a success!
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