FOCUSED, PASSIONATE, INTENSE: MY INTERVIEW WITH TOP CHEF WINNER MICHAEL VOLTAGGIO

In January 2012, I had the honor of sitting down with the owner of ink. Restaurant, ink.sack and Top Chef champ (and fellow Frederick-tonian) Michael Voltaggio. I really wanted to re-post this piece – let’s all get our inner chef’s inspired, shall we? It’s the HOLIDAYS!!!

PS – I have the Voltaggio Brothers (yep, Michael AND Bryan!) homemade applesauce recipe..it’s SO easy to make! I’ll post it in time for Thanksgiving 🙂

 Focused, Passionate, Intense: Meet Top Chef Winner Michael Voltaggio

When entering celebrated Chef Michael Voltaggio’s new restaurant, ink., one cannot help the feeling as if interrupting a conductor who is privately guiding his orchestra through its greatest concerto. With movements that are quick and decisive it’s no wonder three words come to mind to describe Voltaggio: focused, passionate and intense.

It’s this focus, this passion and this intensity that seeps its way out of the kitchen and onto the main floor here in the home of his newest passion project. Tucked away in the corner of a non-descript brick building on famed Melrose Avenue, ink., opened in September in the heart of West Hollywood. LA’s newest eatery boasts an industrial interior with a minimalist vibe and has quickly become a must-stop for foodies and Top Chef enthusiasts alike.

When comparing ink.’s menus from one week to the next, it can be noted that a limited amount of items are part of his regular repertoire. Voltaggio prefers mixing things up weekly. Served on small plates and meant for sharing, his menu is peppered with interesting options that ring of familiar fare, yet with a culinary twist.

A dish such as the jidori chicken and waffles with hot sauce served with whipped maple syrup is his creative spin on the traditional dish of Southern fried chicken and waffles. Voltaggio also expands diner’s minds and palates by offering a kale salad tossed lightly with burrata, Asian pear, pumpkin seeds and a yuzu sauce.

Other menu items that are tempting taste buds to come out of their humdrum shells are the beef tartare that is served with horseradish snow, hearts of palm, and a sea bean chimichurri. There’s also a dish of brussels sprouts, much like a side dish served for a family dinner. Except Votaggio finishes his version with thinly sliced pig ears, house-cured lardo and apple.

As if one restaurant wasn’t enough, Voltaggio also opened a culinary sandwich shop, ink.sack, in August. In his own way, he has made the ordinary sandwich quite the opposite. The menu at ink.sack offers sandwiches such as a beef tongue Reuben and the “CLT”, his take on the traditional BLT. Voltaggio’s version has the lettuce and tomato but the similarity ends there. The “C’ is a chicken liver mousse topped with crispy chicken skin as the bacon substitute.

Voltaggio also makes sure to tip his hat to his Maryland roots, by including Maryland Crab Chips on ink.sack’s daily menu. Homemade deep-fried potato crisps dusted with Old Bay seasoning adds a new spin on the BBQ potato chip for resident Angelinos. This is definitely not your run-of-the mill sandwich shop.

Sitting down with Michael Voltaggio, you begin to understand his rise to stardom amongst other culinary favorites such as Thomas Keller or James Beard. Food enthusiasts think nothing of including his name among lists of the best. The reason?

He’s becoming one of the greats himself.

“I work the line, I cook the food, I order it, I wash the dishes if I have to. I want to be in my restaurant cooking, not be the guy that is never (there),” said Voltaggio.  “I want to focus, right now, my time in LA.”

How does he spend his time when he owns and operates not one, but two restaurants? Well, there’s a consulting gig for a to be announced project in India on the agenda and don’t forget about the cookbook, VOLTink, which he’s been on the road promoting with his brother Brian. One thing is for certain; Voltaggio’s schedule is not for the faint of heart.

In fact balance is something he finds himself struggling with on a daily basis.

“Lately, it’s been all traveling, so I really haven’t had much time to have a lot of  “fun” at all. I used to go hiking a lot. When I had time, I did things like normal people do: I’d exercise and surf, I went outside. I’d like to be able to go outside again,” he said with a grin.

In the midst of his hectic schedule, there is some light though. “I do go out to eat, I ride my Harley and I like to go to shows and concerts when I can.”

Voltaggio’s talent and passion became properly introduced when he was as a teenager, living in Frederick, Maryland, attending Thomas Johnson High School, playing football and working part-time at the Holiday Inn.

“I was in school full time, going to football practice then going to work. I think out of the whole course of my day, the part I looked forward to the most was going to work, and it wasn’t just because I was getting paid. It was fun. I was working on the line cooking food. I couldn’t wait to get there everyday.”

This education helped as he began planning his restaurant after his Top Chef win in 2009.

“I think Los Angeles is a city that has never been taken seriously as a food town. Within the past five years, (we’ve seen) this small food community start to get bigger and bigger, and grow and grow because there is a need for it. People are interested in going out to eat in LA. Food is big, but it hasn’t been as chef-driven or chef-branded.”

When asked what restaurants or nightlife he likes to imbibe in when traveling home to Frederick, Voltaggio’s grin widened as he shared, “Olde Towne Tavern and of course, I’m going to always go check out Volt.”

And where will Chef Voltaggio be in the next few years?

“Hopefully, still in LA, still running ink, maybe with a couple smaller restaurants around,” he said thoughtfully. “I missed my twenties and most likely am going to miss my thirties, so I’d really like to enjoy my forties.”

Photo credit: Alex Horner (for LA Times Magazine)

Photo credit: Alex Horner
(for LA Times Magazine)

 

 

 

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The Company We Keep: In search of like minds…

We’re all Late Bloomer’s at heart aren’t we? I needed to make sure I was keeping good company – not just good. AMAZING. Yes, AMAZING company.

Here’s who I found – if you can think of anyone else and want to share, leave a note in the comments! 

 

1. Stan Lee was in his early 40s when he created Spider-Man  – and artist Jack Kirby, Lee’s partner, started drawing The Fantastic Four when he was 44

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2. Rodney Dangerfield didn’t get his first “big” break until he was 42.

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3. Julia Child published “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” when she was 49. She was on TV by her early 50s.

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4. Charles Bukowski was 49 when his first book was published.

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5. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first book – “Little House in the Big Woods” – came out when she was 65.

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Need A Good Idea? Here are the best ideas for an inexpensive date!!

Who says we need to be totally WOW’ed all the time?

Ok, so maybe we do need  a big “oomph” factor. However, in times like these (aka coming outta the Recession we were all dealing with) I love it when  a guy looks for other ways to charm the pants off me…literally. 😉

There is nothing wrong with researching date ideas involving more of a “budget-friendly” vibe. I love being doted on, and the over-the-top moments of an expensive dinner or surprise front row seats to a favorite concert or show, but the times my dates have really thought outside the box? Those are the ones I’ll always remember and truly do appreciate more. Nights chatting over a game of darts, or swinging at balls at the driving range are ones that pop to mind quickest…followed by surprise picnics at the beach or a dinner one night of my favorite pizza, a bottle of wine and a rented movie. And the firing range – Ahh, that was a great first date!
Apparently Marie Claire agrees  – In the July 2011 issue, they released 50 top spots and good ideas for a cheap date. Check out their link and see how many of these ideas you’ve participated in or would like to do with your one-and-only now.

Feel free to let me know how it goes or to leave a comment here with your own ideas for budget-friendly date night 🙂 I love your feedback!!

Girl Scout Cookie Season..It’s on!

A little over a year ago, I was prepping for my second favorite time of year – and it’s only second because first place is a tie between Thanksgiving and Memorial Day .

GIRL SCOUT COOKIE SEASON!!!

My mouth waters at the mere thought. Oh, what bad day wouldn’t just go away with the gentle love of a Thin Mint? “What, CEO-Bossman Guy, you’re mad at me – I screwed up? Let me pop a Samoa in my mouth and think about this…”

I would search out those little cookie-entrepreneurs each season. I would pray, usually starting said prayer vigil, around the beginning of March. I would watch for them outside my grocery store, or on the weekends I knew to keep an eye out. There they were, those future leaders of America, setting up their little both with their wares. It was the one time I wanted someone to stop me as I was going into the grocery store. “Four dollars a box? Awesome! I’ll take three of these and two of these. Oh, and let’s get one of those for goof measure.”

Yes, Girl Scout Cookie Season was a favorite. Then I was told I couldn’t have gluten.

First of all, there are a lot of folks out there that attempt the recreation of a Girl Scout Thin Mint (hereafter known as GSTM). It’s nearly impossible! A local bakery here in LA has come very close, but when you are paying two dollars a cookie, it’s just not the same.

There was a ritual with these cookies. When I bought the GSTM’s, I’d immediately put them in the freezer. Nothing tastes as good as one of these babies straight from the freezer. It was a habit, something I looked forward to every Cookie Season.

I’m on a quest now. I want to see if I can find a recipe that comes close to one of these cookies I loved so dearly so I, too, can smile again and laugh when folks are talking about their Girls Scout Cookie purchases. I want to have a Samoa! I want them at my fingertips!

Apparently, someone else wanted the same thing. Why? Because I found a recipe online for gluten free (and casein free) Samoa Cookies. It looks like when you start making them that you are in for quite the commitment, but you know what?

I’m down for it.

When NOT to text…or how to date the old-fashioned way!

I can’t believe I’m about to wax poetic about the days of yore, but as a single gal out there dating, I’ve come across a phenomenon that is just not normal, people. Not one bit.I thought I was the only one that felt this, but thankfully after interviewing several women and men, I’ve found that what I thought was a lone pet peeve is actually a universal one.

What is this maddening, irritating tick, you ask? Okay, hold on to your boot straps folks, cause I’m about to upset techies everywhere.

It’s TEXTERS.

There I said it, and my load feels lighter for just typing it out. Text-iquette is something that is begging to be addressed as it is becoming more and more common in today’s dating world.

I get it – we are an A.D.D. society, used to getting information faster than a speeding bullet. Can’t remember who starred in that last Clooney film? Quick! To the SmartPhone and Google it. Need to look up the address for that amazing restaurant from last Saturday night? No need to dial 411 when you can search it out online from the privacy of your car, then text the address to your friend!

All in less than a minute…

There are times when texting can be a lifesaver. I understand that when you need to send or receive a quick burst of info without a long conversation, using the power of text is quite beneficial. Friends with someone forever? You can text one another, going back and forth with quick one-word answers because you know each other and can hear the tone of his or her voice. Family member that could get you tied up in a long convo on the phone? Text ‘em!

But, when should you not text someone?

When you’ve started to date someone, especially in the very beginning! We need to set some ground rules here, folks. Cause this is getting a little out of hand.

Recently a friend of mine – let’s call her Chloe – went on a date or two with someone who was coming across well in person. They had a few dates that were fun and lively. There were some reservations, but she wanted to get to know him a little more, because that’s what dating is about. It’s an information exchange while searching out your chemistry, and hopefully a little making out, too.

Anyway, all was well for those first few dates, then the texting began. Now initially Chloe said that she didn’t mind the texts after date one, because they were still in the “getting to know you” phase. Did she want to talk on the phone? Communicate verbally? Of course.

Did the guy do this? Of course…Not.

(Most of the folks I polled DO want to speak on the phone. It’s just better since the beginning stages are when you’re both sussing out the others ticks and habits. You don’t know someone’s inflection over a text, but six months down the road you might. )

Men and women alike are growing irritated with the trend of non-committal texting. The impression you give in the beginning is the one that makes or breaks you, my dear. Seriously.

Chloe, being more forgiving than most of her gender, decided she’d go out with Mr. X another night, and would bring up the lack of conversation when they saw each other next to test the waters.

Oddly enough, the next date was entirely arranged via text message. The evening of said date, Chloe waited for her date to “text” her his ETA for their date. She never heard from him. Confused and wondering if she should call or text, Chloe decided to go to bed and give it a day to see what tomorrow brought.

Well the next morning brought an apology…over text. It seems that Mr. X had indeed texted Chloe that he needed to postpone their plans. Unfortunately, the message was never delivered. It had shown up on his end as a “delivery fail” and he had not seen it until the next morning – insert sad face emoticon here.

Yes, folks, it truly was a delivery fail.

Realizing that this man could have picked up the phone to call her and rearrange plans, yet he chose not to made it much easier for Chloe to see her own personal communication red flag at this juncture.

Following his lead, Chloe sent a “nice to meet you” text, and promptly deleted his information.

I know, it isn’t easy out in the dating world, folks, but the one thing I’ve learned in all of my years as me is that communication is key.

So the next time you get the urge to text someone – be it a first date, your girlfriend of five years or even your best friend – surprise them and yourself and communicate like the olden days:

PICK UP THE PHONE!

———

Anne Kemp writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.

 

Lights, Camera…Action! A tour of LA for Oscar season

I love awards shows! I really do, so when the Frederick News-Post asked me to write a travel article that worked in the theme of Oscar season, I gladly took the challenge!

Please, jump to the story here and have a read. I even took the picture of the Kodak which is featured 😉

I love getting to write love letters (or articles as some say), and this is one that I penned to MY city . . . Los Angeles!

 

Living Gluten Free (or why it ain’t easy…)

It happened. I got glutened.

For those of you that are intolerant to gluten, you know this is not a pretty sight to begin with, but when it actually hits you like a runaway truck, it can be downright frightening.

I’m always prepared. Really. I’m better than a Boy Scout. When dining out, I try to do my own due diligence to make sure I can eat something on the menu provided or see if I need to “load” up before I go because there are not a lot of options at said restaurant.

I was excited when I was getting a cup of soup at Le Pain Quotidien here in LA and was told by the server that there was the option of gluten free bread when I was ordering my usual gluten free tomato soup.

“Really?” I could not contain my excitement. I wanted to kiss him.

“Oh yes! It’s completely gluten free. I’ll give you some, ok?”

I was still not convinced. “Are you positive?”

“Yes! I’ll even give you extra…” His nod was so sincere and his smile so heartfelt, I was lured in, no more questions asked.

Here is where I made my mistake folks. I can’t blame him entirely because as a former server, I usually ask many more questions. This day I was so tired, hungry -and excited – that I got greedy. I watched him load my small take-out bag with my soup and gluten-free bread, took it and skipped out the door.

I enjoyed that bread. I did. It was crusty and fresh and I dipped it in my soup and used it with some dips and spreads at home. Now, as I was eating it I did notice my tummy wasn’t feeling well and I was itching some, but honestly, I brushed it to the side. The guy at Le Pain insisted it was gluten free and he wouldn’t lie to me.

Would he?

As the day progressed, I noticed other little side effects begin to present themselves…my lips hurt, my mouth felt like it had cuts inside it and the topper was when I felt my throat closing. I was having more trouble swallowing than anything, but it was enough of a shock to send me running to the closest Rite-Aid to ask the pharmacist what to do.

Luckily, the Benadryl they recommended worked immediately and I didn’t have to go to the hospital, which was our initial first thought. I pride myself on knowing how my body reacts to things, and once again I listened and caught myself before a mini-disaster occurred.

Did the counter guy at Le Pain lie? The answer to this is no – he didn’t lie. I just think he was ill informed. I found out later he took it that the spelt bread he gave me was gluten free and didn’t think to ask anyone if he was correct.

And again, I take my share of responsibility here because I knew to ask more questions. It’s not like people know about this everywhere, but I wish they did. I wish that most restaurants offered more gluten-free items or trained their servers so they were more educated on this allergy. Kind of like when I was serving and we had to learn all about peanuts and what can happen if someone ingests them.

Hopefully my mistake will help someone else out there to remember to ASK QUESTIONS. Tons. Screw it if they think we’re nuts, I don’t want to spend another Saturday night wondering if my throat is going to close.

I’ve decided that this Saturday I’m going to make some chocolate pots for my neighbors and myself – we love our sweets here and I need to be happy about something delectable again!

So, here’s a recipe I found online at Real Simple that I’m testing out  – let me know if you do, too and we can compare our desserts!

Have a wonderful weekend – and remember: No question is stupid!!!

 

 

Breads and Desserts: A Gluten-Free Gal’s Guide to Keeping the Faith!

The conversation with my doctor the day I was told “No More Gluten” went like this:

Awesome Doc: “We have to stop your body from throwing itself into Celiac’s.”

Me: “Ok…What does that mean? Do I get a pill?”

Awesome Doc: “No, not really. You just have to stop eating gluten.”

Me: “That’s all? Ok. How hard can that be?”

About ten minutes later I found out gluten was in pizza and beer – two “comfort” foods that have made me a happy girl for years.  I’m still positive my cry of “Noooooooo!!!” was heard ‘round the world.

Anyway, you move on and you figure it out, right? I immediately turned to friends, nutritionists, amateur cooks and professional chefs who I know for advice. I rolled up my sleeves and started to do my own research on the internet. There was good news in the midst of my break up with gluten, as there seemed to be a fair amount of “gluten-free” items popping up in grocery stores already and all over online retail stores as well.

Insert sigh of relief here.

At this point, I began to approach shopping with a new excitement, almost an unsettled fervor and with such confidence! I would head to my local grocery stores and farmer’s markets armed with a list of “must have’s” for my pantry. I’d allow myself extra time to peruse the aisles in search of items I could add to my repertoire. I managed to find most things I needed and some I didn’t. Then, the taste-tests began.

And the taste tests sometimes just…sucked.

I can’t to lie to you – I love my carbs. While I do believe watching carbs is good for the waistline, I also believe hell hath no fury like that of a girl who loves bread and sweets and is told it they have to go away.

I’ve taste-tested my fair share of bread options. While some are …well, chewable, I’m still on the hunt for bread that will be soft on the roof of my mouth again or that will not be as thick as a brick. I’m sure they are out there, but this girl is still in search. Bread bowls at dinners out are sadly off my radar now, and one of my favorite items was gone forever. Focaccia bread.

Or, so I thought.

For anyone else out there that loves bread and would like to be able to break off a piece of focaccia and run it through some olive oil and balsamic vinegar, I have the best news ever.

You can! Best part? My taste testers didn’t know this recipe was gluten free when I had them sample it.

Along with the help of my good friend Mimi Germaine, and based on a recipe from the cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison, I’ve found a focaccia recipe that will make folks at your Thanksgiving table come back for thirds and fourths!

Ingredients:

2 tsp active dry yeast

½ tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 ½ -3 cups of Gluten Free Flour  (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 ½ tsp coarse sea salt

  1. In ¼ warm water, dissolve yeast and sugar. Set this mixture aside for up to 20 minutes. Some recipes suggest 10, BUT Mimi (aka my “Kitchen Guru”) suggested I let it dissolve longer to “add air” since my issue with most bread was the denseness.
  2. Prep a mixing bowl for the dough by oiling it thoroughly.
  3. Using a separate mixing bowl, mix together 1-cup warm water, salt, oil and flour. Add yeast mixture to this concoction and lightly knead. After flour ingredients are all mixed together, turn out ingredients on to a floured surface to lightly knead, no longer than 2 minutes or 3.
  4. Place the dough inside the oiled bowl, covering top with a damp cloth. Place bowl in a warm spot for dough to rise for the next hour. Again, as with the yeast, some recipes suggest letting the dough rise for 45 minutes. Go longer, add air. It’s the Germaine way!
  5. After the dough has risen, you can put it in a bread pan or shape it into a circle and use a pizza stone for baking or do what I did: I spilt the dough in half, dividing it into two different sized Le Creuset bakeware dishes.  This way I could also make one loaf of plain focaccia loaf and one loaf with some pizzazz!
  6. After the dough has been placed in the bakeware, pinch it or poke small holes in the top with fingertips to make a decorative top to the bread.  Cover again and let rise in a warm place for the next 45 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Top with anything from Rosemary to pre-roasted garlic or you can even add some onions (I used fried onions leftover from making the Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole). Bake for 30 minutes.

While it’s cooling off, get a plate and pour some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it for your dipping pleasure.

Trust me – this bread is going to be a hit on your Thanksgiving table!

Besides bread, there is always the small issue of ….do I dare say it?

Desserts. Delicious, sweet, gooey, yummy, decadent desserts!

Cookies, cakes, pies…you name it. Most of the baked goods we gluten-free-peeps have loved or indulged in for past holidays are now off limits.

Well, kind of.

Thankfully companies like Betty Crocker have stepped up to the plate. I’ve mentioned my love of Betty’s gluten-free cookies in the past – I make them for almost every dinner party I’m invited to or any BBQ I’m attending. You know what’s funny? No one can ever tell the difference between my cookies and “normal” ones. In fact, at most parties? My cookies – well, Betty’s – are the first to go! Her cakes are just as amazing and can be topped with almost any icing in the Betty Crocker line as well, just read the labels.

Besides Betty, there are so many other options out there. You just have to hit the internet and do some research.

So here you are – thank me later: I’ve found some naturally gluten-free desserts (these I found in the Huffington Post) and a Pumpkin Pie recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess. If you have time, take a look at the Betty Crocker website. They’ve created a ton of amazing desserts that can be made from their mixes. Trust me, my Christmas baking is going to include some of my own recipes mixed with a few of Betty’s suggestions!

Eat, enjoy and love…and don’t forget to get outside and move to work off your holiday meal! I know I’ll be stealing some time for myself this holiday weekend to fit in a run or some kind of pilates workout.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Guess Who’s Gonna Be Gluten Free Travel Bloggin’?

I’m excited to share with you that I’ll be doing a series of blogs in association with FlipKey, an offshoot of Tripadvisor, starting in the next few weeks!

I’ve learned so much about how to travel while being gluten-free, not to mention keeping up on your health and fitness activities while on the road. It can be hectic enough trying to get from Point A to Point B, but when we figure in outside issues – watching our diets for low-fat or diabetic needs, trimming calories for our heart or other health reasons or cutting out gluten, it’s no wonder thinking about food can be taxing.

Let’s make it easier…Shall we?

And that is what I intend to do. I want to help you – and me – figure out the best way to watch our diets, no matter what they are and why we do them, so we can feel good about ourselves. Let’s also find time to sneak in a workout, shall we? Whether you are on the road for business or pleasure, we’ll find a way to keep your goals visible in front of you –  no matter what city, town or providence you may be passing through.

While prepping for my own trip, I found this fun little nugget of info for anyone traveling who is gluten-free: It’s a  list of restaurants from different airports across the country, and these particular spots either have items that can be reworked so the gluten free can enjoy them or they have options for you that are pre-made & gluten-free.

I know it’s easy to just get something at the airport, but I also want to suggest that you consider doing what I do: Pack your own food. For. Real. I’m a snacker, and when I travel I’d rather have some goodies to pull out during my travels than to take a chance at an airport diner where honestly, you could end up getting an item that is cross-contaminated by accident.

Sometimes we take our chances. For instance, show me a Wendy’s and I’ll show you a girl who loves a baked potato! Add a side salad and I can usually stop the hungries from hitting. Totally GF.

However, today I’m climbing on a red-eye and want to make sure I don’t get hit with an accidental dose of gluten – and the following gluten attack – while in the air. What’s in my bag? Well, a small baggie of gluten-free Blue Diamond Almond Nut Thins, two small packets of Justin’s Almond Butter (easy to open and easy to use!), and two Luna Protein Bars flavored with cookie dough and mint-chocolate chip (the mint chip are amazing!). I’m planning on grabbing an apple or a banana once I’m past security to add to the mix. Looking over my little bag o’treasures, I’m feeling pretty good.

Are you traveling this week for the holidays? If so, get to your local grocery or health-food store and start your travel bag of snacks for the trip. An hour two of preparation before you get to the airport will save you and hour or two of pain and misery if you get “glutened.”

Trust me.

How You Can Optimize Your Online Shopping Experience

I know I spend a lot of time online – you, too, right? And I have finally managed to get addictions like Facebook and Twitter under control by making myself set up times to go online and play with those sites, then log back off ASAP (they can be such time sucks, but fun time sucks!!) Things are good as far as internet land goes…

I found a cool website recently called  Swagbucks (www.swagbucks.com). Have you heard of this? It’s a site that you sign up for (yes, another email to hit the inbox…but wait. There’s more!!) which will you, the user, earn virtual currency and real-life rewards while you are performing everyday actions online from playing games to searching the web or maybe even taking a survey. By going here and messing around for a few minutes everyday, there is an opportunity to get for-REALS prizes and rewards!

The time it takes to fill out the form is minimal, and the information you provide helps them to lump you into groups for taking survey or signing up for polls. You have to go on and check it out, maybe play a bit. I was impressed with the ease of the site and how little time it took for me to get registered…I did peek at a few of the survey times and noted it would take about 15-30 minutes to take a survey. Not sure if I’m ready to give up that much time.

They have daily deals where they highlight specials in your area. I recognized some of them from Tippr and Groupon, sites that I already subscribe to, but Swagbucks has this information all compiled on one page, which does have the possibility of making my inbox that less full (OCD Anne likey!!).

There is a page devoted to “SwagTV) with hints for style, weddings, decorating…You name it! I only had a few minutes to really look this over, but I’ve bookmarked this site and will be focusing on using it a little more often. In my opinion it’s a good one-stop-shop for online purchases, lifestyle information and current trends  – All while having the added bonus of giving you a chance to earn REWARDS!!! Who doesn’t love that?

Have tried it? What do you think of Swagbucks?

Have a good weekend XOXOXO