Friday, August 29, 2014

What I’ve Been Reading #59

Earlier this week I shared that A Broken Us by Amy Daws is currently available for preorder. I was lucky enough to read the ARC of Amy’s book and I loved it! “Finley and Brody are in their own little bubble of deep, indescribable love. Finley’s quirky ways are the perfect compliment to Brody’s scandalously sexy passion. So Finley is undeniably crushed when she gets a hard dose of reality from her doctor. She can’t have children. Not now. Not ever. Crippled with the fear of how Brody will react when he hears the news, Finley does the only thing she can think of—she runs. Leaving behind all that she knows, Finley hops on an international flight to London to move in with her eccentric, childhood best friend, Leslie. With a plethora of new people and experiences to distract her, Finley is surprised when a cheeky Brit named Liam, a self-proclaimed fixer, is determined to help her forget. The only problem is...a large part of Finley’s heart is still with Brody.”  This is the kind of fiction that I enjoy. It’s a love story but also a story of friendship and family and it is written in a way that makes it very hard to put down. Finley runs away to London, but she is American, which means that unlike the main characters in many other chick lit set in England, I found Finley relatable. Her personality was likeable and the reader can empathize with the way she feels and why she leaves Brody. The friends that Finley finds in London are hilarious and enjoyable to read, especially Frank, a tall, redheaded gay man who Finley quickly becomes close friends with. Amy Daws has a way of writing that draws you in and lets you be a part of the world of her characters.

The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand was a slower read for me, but not a bad book overall. “It’s a hot August Saturday on Nantucket Island.  Over the course of the next 24 hours, two lives will be transformed forever. Marguerite Beale, former chef of culinary hot spot Les Parapluies, has been out of the public eye for over a decade.  This all changes with a phone call from Marguerite’s goddaughter, Renata Knox.  Marguerite has not seen Renata since the death of Renata’s mother, Candace Harris Knox, fourteen years earlier.  And now that Renata is on Nantucket visiting the family of her new fiancĂ©, she takes the opportunity, against her father’s wishes, to contact Marguerite in hopes of learning the story of her mother’s life—and death.  But the events of the day spiral hopelessly out of control for both women, and nothing ends up as planned.” The book alternates viewpoints between Marguerite and Renata, and I found Renata’s story a bit more interesting than Marguerite’s. Towards the end of the book, more viewpoints are shared, and I found myself wishing they had been available throughout the book as well. I have read books by Hilderbrand before and enjoyed them, but this one wasn’t quite as good as the others. I did enjoy finding out more about the death of Renata’s mother, which was the main reveal of the story. I also like the Nantucket setting – I was in Nantucket once and wish I would have been able to spend more time there!

Have you read anything good lately?


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Be Your Own You Magazine For Tween Girls Review and Giveaway

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I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that Gabbie is now considered a “tween.” However, she is 9 years old and falls into the early range of the tween years, some of the most difficult in a young girl’s life.

BYOU ‘Be Your Own You!’ Magazine is the premier provider of positive self-esteem messaging for “tween” girls ages eight to fourteen, with the mission to empower them to become a positive force in tomorrow’s world. We have created the perfect balance of entertainment and education; teaching self-esteem in fun, yet powerful, ways that makes a long-lasting impact on a girl’s life. We feature stories and information on current topics and challenges girls face today (such as bullying, body image, and friendships), positive self-affirming messaging, and popular teen/tween celebrities who are positive role models and making a difference in the world.

BYOU Magazine believes that every girl deserves a healthy self-esteem and should be empowered. Their readers are “excited, intrigued, challenged, involved, educated, supported, inspired, and entertained” and I was happy to present Gabbie with a digital copy of the magazine to read.

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Gabbie had two favorite parts of the issue that she read – the idea of writing a journal and passing it back and forth with a friend and the recipe for chocolate covered fruit pieces. She is super excited to continue getting the magazine and reading it bi-monthly. Each issue contains positive teen and tween role models, craft ideas, puzzles to exercise your brain, silly jokes, and of course, stories that inspire self-esteem and empowerment.

Would you like to win a  complimentary one-year subscription (regularly priced at $17.97 per year) to this awesome magazine? Use the form below to enter! And if you want to order your own subscription, please do so!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided a copy of this magazine in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August Ipsy Glam Bag

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This month I received my 10th Ipsy Glam Bag. This month’s theme was “Beauty Schooled.” Here is what I received:

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Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner – $45 for 1 oz, I received .25 oz, a value of $11.25:
Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer is Dr. Brandt’s quick fix for flawless, photo-ready skin. It is the miracle base to create the perfect skin canvas for long-lasting makeup and well-preserved skin. This velvety formula absorbs excess oil, minimizes pores, blurs fine lines and is resistant to sweat and humidity.
20% off + free travel size of this product + free shipping with code IPSY20 until 10/31/14.

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Urban Decay Perversion Mascara – $22 for .4 oz, I received .1 oz, a value of $5.50:
Urban Decay's ultra-creamy, lengthening and volumizing mascara features triple-black pigments and a deeply nourishing ingredient blend.
Free Sample of Subversion Lash Primer while supplies last.

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J. Cat Beauty Flying Solo Eye Shadow in Half Naked – $2.99:
The collection glides for every girl—from classic neutrals to the trendsetting shades in mattes and shimmers. The high-quality formula and texture can be worn wet or dry. Each shadow opens up to reveal a mini mirror and applicator, making this shadow perfect whether at home or on the go!
25% off with code JCAT25 until 9/30/14.

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Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner – $5.50:
Mongongo oil has hydrating, regenerating and restructuring properties and offers a unique protection from UV and environmental pollutants in skin applications. Mongongo oil is rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, cooper and anti-oxidants.
50% off lip conditioners with code IPSY50 until 9/30/14.

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Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk – $19.50 for 3.2 oz, I received 1.06, a value of $6.50:
Klorane Dry shampoo with oat milk gently revives hair, ridding it of excess dirt, oil, build-up and odor while leaving hair soft, clean and full of volume.
15% off with code IPSYAUG until 9/30/14.

Once again, I pay $10 a month for these bags. I love seeing what comes my way each month! The value received this month was $31.74, a bit of a higher value than last month. I was mostly happy with the products in this month’s bag. The Pore Refiner went on nicely and can be used as a foundation, which I don’t necessarily need along with my current makeup routine, but is worth having for occasional use. I love Urban Decay and have started using this mascara daily. The eye shadow is good for a base – and I didn’t realize it comes with an applicator and a mirror so I have to check that out! I wouldn’t say I needed another lip balm, but this one smells nice and also feels nice. Finally, the dry shampoo may not be so great for curly hair, since it needs to be combed out, but I wonder if it might work on my hair when it’s straightened and then I can keep it straight for longer – we will see!

If you’d like to sign up to receive your own Glam Bag each month, click here! If you got this month’s bag, what did you think?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Neato Skins Custom Device Labels Giveaway

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When I was invited to try out Neato Skins Custom Device Labels, I knew right away what I wanted to create – a Fitz phone. Back in the spring, the Scandal publicity team was sending phone covers to lucky fans and another Scandal fan created a similar design for other fans to use for their own phones:

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[source]

The Neato Skins Custom Device Labels kit comes with:

  • 5 Blank Skins
  • Clear Cell Phone Case
  • Paper Test Sheet
  • Complete Instructions
  • Online Design Software Access Code

With the access code, I was able to use the software provided at the Neato Skins site to design my phone cover. From there, it was simple enough to add my image to the software. I did find that using “fit to label” distorted my image, but using “fill vertically” worked perfectly.

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I printed out the test sheet to make sure my printer was aligned correctly and it worked perfectly, so I printed out the actual decal!

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I applied it to the back of my phone and added the clear cover. Now I have my very own Fitz Phone! Plus, I have four more blank decals that I can use to create any other design that I want to. The decals are removable and you can rotate them out whenever you want to.

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Do you want a Fitz Phone? Or just a Neato Skins Custom Device Labels kit? Enter using the form below and win a kit for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was provided with this product from advertisewithbloggers.com and neato.com in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own!

It’s Okay #36–Fall Fashion and A Broken Us Reveal & Giveaway

It’s okay…

…that my “it’s okay” posts are usually a little random.

…that today I have a few random things to share!

…this comes from my friends at Park Place Leawood, regarding fall fashion:

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This fall, the freshest fashions have flair and flare, ‘70s style. Think wide leg pants and jeans, flowy tunics, tops and skirts, and bold prints, all accented with chunky brass and gold jewelry.

Park Place Leawood’s unique boutiques are some of the best sources for these looks, and we’d like to offer you fashion advice, curated and commentated by Park Place’s style guru extraordinaire, Melanie Knopke.

Wide leg pants and denim:  Move over skinny jeans!  There’s something flirty and flattering about wider legs – for one thing they elongate the leg and make the waist look super small! Alysa Rene Boutique has both prints and solids – a Ferris flare jean by Hudson, tribal printed pants and knit Ikat print pants by Tart.

Bold prints: Flower power rules, but we’re not talking dainty pastels.  For fall, florals are warm and bold, and paisley is also a popular choice.   We’ll show some cute mini-dresses in these prints from the Alysa Rene Boutique, and a Johnny Was floral silk blouse from EJ’s.

Chunky brass and gold jewelry: Statement necklaces in brass and gold work well with the 70’s esthetic.  A few from Park Place include a chunky gold chain and a multi-stone chain and cross lariat necklace from EJ’s and a Megan Auman statement steel and bronze multi-strand necklace. TallulahBelle’s has a variety of mixed metal earrings, bangles and accessories made from artists around the world.

Flowy tops and skirts: Swingy tops and tunics abound for fall fashion. Park Place’s favorites include a printed velvet kimono jacket by Johnny Was, a long gray eyeley skirt by JW, and a tie dye black and tan kimono skirt by Yahada, all from EJ’s.  More prints from Alysa Rene Boutique, include a paisley scoop neck tunic, and swing tops in denim, lace and knit by Free People.

…I’m also sharing Amy Daws’ debut novel A Broken Us today!

A Broken Us is currently available for preorder! “Finley and Brody are in their own little bubble of deep, indescribable love. Finley’s quirky ways are the perfect compliment to Brody’s scandalously sexy passion. So Finley is undeniably crushed when she gets a hard dose of reality from her doctor. She can’t have children. Not now. Not ever. Crippled with the fear of how Brody will react when he hears the news, Finley does the only thing she can think of—she runs. Leaving behind all that she knows, Finley hops on an international flight to London to move in with her eccentric, childhood best friend, Leslie. With a plethora of new people and experiences to distract her, Finley is surprised when a cheeky Brit named Liam, a self-proclaimed fixer, is determined to help her forget. The only problem is...a large part of Finley’s heart is still with Brody.”

You can watch the video book trailer on YouTube!

I read the book and will be reviewing it shortly, but for now, you can enter to win an ARC e-book of A Broken Us!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

…that I have something else fun to share so I’ll be back later today with another post and giveaway!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Family Wedding Pictures

Last week when I shared about my trip to NJ, I promised a further post about our cousin’s wedding. Mainly I just have pictures to share! So here they are.

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Family picture

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The bride, Dave’s sister, Dave’s mom, Zachary and Gabbie | The bride and me

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Daughter of the bride, the bride, me, and my kids | Gabbie and her cousin

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These kids are all 1st cousins (boy in the blue and boy in the white are brothers)

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Gabbie and her 2nd cousin | Simon and Dave

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Groom and bride | Cousins dancing

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Simon and Gabbie with their uncle and aunt

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Same, plus Zachary and cousin

Mazel Tov to our cousin and our new cousin!

Flowers From The Bouqs–#BOUQLOVE Review

As you most likely know, last week we visited New Jersey and we stayed with my in-laws. When Adam from thebouqs.com contacted me and asked if I would like to become an ambassador to The Bouqs Company, I had the thought that it would be nice to send a bouquet of flowers to my in-laws to thank them for having us stay with them.

The Bouqs Company ship straight from an active volcano or from the sunny surf of California. They cut only what they sell. Other providers source from a supply chain that sees 1 in 3 stems wasted. Across hundreds of thousands of bouquets a year, that’s a lot of wasted land, resources, labor and fuel. They also save energy through their direct-from-the-farm supply chain. The standard supply chain must keep stems cold for up to 2 weeks, meaning hundreds of hours of refrigeration and the associated energy use. They use cold storage for only 4 days from the Volcano, and not at all from California, resulting in a lot of energy savings. Finally, their farms provide living wages, childcare, healthcare and adult education. And their growing business supports farm communities, so you can feel good about shopping The Bouqs Company’s flowers.

There are so many beautiful flower options to send from The Bouqs, and the one I chose was called Confetti:

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“We brought together every color of our farm-fresh premium roses to create this Bouq. It’s called Confetti, and these flowers are guaranteed to get the party started.  You'll love these eco-friendly, sustainable flowers shipped straight from the Volcano to your recipient’s door.”

The Bouqs come with free delivery and I was able to choose the date that I wanted the flowers to arrive. They came via FedEx. Here’s what they looked like:

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We were all very happy to have these flowers decorating our table! They lasted the rest of the time that I was at my in-laws’ house. I was also able to include a note with the flowers, but somehow I forgot to sign who the flowers were from! My in-laws wondered if possibly their other daughter-in-law had thanked them for having her family to stay with them – just kidding, they don’t have another daughter-in-law!

If you would like to try out the Bouqs, there is a  deal going on now that you should know about:

  • Forget the apple, send a Bouq! Shop The Bouqs now and save 15% on volcanic flowers with code TEACHER15! Offer ends 9/30/14.

Do you like to send flowers to people?

I received these flowers in exchange for my review. The above links are affiliate links and I may receive compensation if you click my link and make a purchase. Thank you in advance!