Thursday, December 12, 2013

Meaningful Beauty Creme de Serum (Review)

I have never really thought about anti-aging products being that I feel I am still young.  However with my 32nd birthday around the corner, I may have a different opinion. Ha. 

Back to topic, anti-aging products haven’t been on my radar as I think growing old is simple a fact of life.  I think that gray hair and wrinkles are beautiful in their own way.  Although I wouldn't object to growing old gracefully, I don’t want to look 80 years old when still in my thirties.
Photo Credit
A couple weeks ago, I received an opportunity through Influenster to write a product review of Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty Crème de Serum.   The directions state to use once a day either in the morning or before bed at night.  I simply swapped out my normal morning moisturizing lotion and have been using the Meaningful Beauty Crème de Serum.   After using the product a couple weeks, I do not think that I look younger (I really don’t have wrinkles at this point…) but it does leave my skin soft and dewy looking.   I have used it with and without make-up.  I think that it leaves my skin looking as if it has a matte type finish, which I like.  I have oily skin so shine is something I despise.  The crème de serum is one of the five Meaningful Beauty products  The directions say it could take approximately 8 weeks to see a noticeable difference.  I wonder if I could tell a greater difference if I were to use all 5 products as suggested?  Regardless, I like this product and will continue to use it.

Disclosure: I was provided this product free of charge by in exchange for my review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

First Annual Friendsgiving

I have heard about Friendsgiving for a while now.  For the most part, the only times I have actually heard of it is when  people live too far away from home and for whatever reasons could not travel for the Thanksgiving holiday. So they gathered their friends who were in a similar situation and had “Friendsgiving.”  Friends + Thanksgiving = Friendsgiving

I decided in the fall that I would love to host a Friendsgiving dinner with our friends, so that is exactly what we done.   I would make the turkey and asked that everyone bring their favorite Thanksgiving side dish.   Also, in the spirit of the season, I asked that everyone bring a non-perishable food item that could be donated to one of the local charities.  I had quite the haul of food to take and was so glad we could give back in this way.

Although I was given grief like none other (particularly from the male species), I had a blast preparing and decorating our home and yard for the occasion.   When you live in a small home and do not have a dining room table (that’s another story for another day), you must use all resources at hand; therefore, I set up the table in the yard.  They were covered with pretty tablecloths and fabric.  The centerpieces included mason jars filled with dried beans and a candle as well as glitzy fall pumpkins and gourds. 


The time changed the weekend before our dinner, so to create a little extra light, I strung up white Christmas lights in the trees.  Personally, I loved how it turned out.  Although, it may have looked a little honky while the sun was still up, it gave the appropriate fall glow when darkness fell.  Especially with the candles on the tables, I thought it looked super nice.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of everything lit up.  Boo. 

Back in September, the Mr. had created a beautiful fall vignette for me.  It included pumpkins, hay bales, mums, Indian corn, corn stalks, a scarecrow and an old tin watering can.  He done an amazing job and I was so surprised when I came home.  He makes my heart happy.  Anyway, I thought this area would be the perfect spot for a photo booth!  I added the rustic sign I made and printed off some props (including pilgrim hats, a turkey leg, a turkey beak with snood, a piece of pie, etc.)  But due to the time change and the serious chill in the air, it wasn’t really utilized.  But that is totally understandable.  We did bring them inside and got a couple of photos in there.

As far as the food, it was all delicious and what a spread we had!  There was food in every corner of my kitchen it seemed.  Like I said, I made the turkey (almost 20lbs…thank the Lord for crock pots!) and everyone else brought a side dish. We had everything you could imagine; smoked chicken, hash brown casserole, broccoli casserole, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cream corn, mashed potatoes with gravy, deviled eggs, broccoli salad, stuffing, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, layered pumpkin pie, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, cookie and cream cookies, homemade caramel dip with apple slices and dulce de leche cake.  Gosh, I think that was everything.  No one left hungry that’s for certain.  We didn’t have hardly any leftovers either. 

Since we had such a selection of food I decided I would make food labels for each dish.  I knew that when it came to the casseroles, people would wonder what it was.  Now we all know that most casseroles have one of two toppings: crackers crumbles or cheese.  It can be hard to tell what type of casserole it is.  This is where the food labels came in super handy.   Or at least I thought so – the menfolk (and some ladies) looked at it as a way to pick on me.  But I did not care, it made perfect sense to me. Z  If one food gets a label, then they all do.  I break out in hives when there is a lack of consistency.

I believe that everyone had a great time from eating, playing corn hole, standing by the bonfire, the kids had fun fishing in the creek, playing in the yard, coloring, watching cartoons and roasting marshmallows.  Most of all I am glad that everyone seemed to have a great time fellowshipping together.

I cannot wait to do it again!

(Most of the photos are courtesy of my dear friend Kellye.  I was too busy and forgot to take them…..thanks Ked!)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Favorites

Well, it’s Black Friday.  I have never been one to get up super early and hit the door busters and such.  Don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying I haven’t done it or won’t do it again…I’m just saying that I am indifferent when it comes to Black Friday.  I generally go out on Black Friday (not before 10am-ish though) to window shop.  Heck, I may even make a purchase or two if the notion hits.  Personally, I would much rather do that any day than try beat a crowd of people (who are in a turkey stupor) to score a good deal. 

I haven’t decided what I am going to do today.  I really want to get my Christmas decorations up and since the Mr. is working and the weather is cooperating, that is probably what I will do.  I believe we will be going to visit with a couple friend of ours this evening before they head back to Florida.  Regardless, of what we do, I see coffee (maybe hot cocoa, too) and Christmas decorations in my very near future. 

ThinkThin / TOCCA / Stella & Dot / Macaroon Mug / Heldaa by G by GUESS
Here are 5 favorites I am loving this week:
  1. ThinkThin High Protein Bars. Thank you, Lindsay, for your wonderful review which made me go out, purchase and try for myself. Oh my gosh, they are so good. The Chocolate Fudge is really good, as is the Brownie Crunch.  
  2. TOCCA Crema Da Mano in Cleopatra. I received a sample via Birchbox and I love it. It feels amazing and smells wonderful. I will need a full size bottle of this stuff.  Please and thank you.
  3. Stella & Dot Serenity Earrings. I love how vibrant these earrings are. They add a whole new level to an “everyday” outfit. These are definitely one of my favorite pairs and they go with me when we go out of town always.
  4. Coffee and/or Hot Cocoa.  With the weather turning much colder, I have found myself consuming more coffee and hot cocoa to warm my innards.  Personally, I believe that a super cute mug makes drinking any hot beverage more fun!  Trust me, you should try it. 
  5. Heldaa Boots by G by GUESS. The Mr. picked out these boots while we were in Charleston on vacation. I was surprised at his sense of style.  They are so comfortable and go with everything!  Highly recommend.   
Just for good measure, I must add one more favorite…

6)    Hallmark Channel – Countdown to Christmas movies. Really, who doesn’t love a good snow-filled, cheesy romantic Christmas movie to get you in the spirit of the season??? I love watching these movies. They make me feel all giddy and glitzy. They are good for the soul, I say. If you do not like Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas you are either in denial or you are male.
** TELL ME - What are some things you are loving this week? **

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Counting My Blessings on Thanksgiving

The time has come when we gather with family and friends for one of the largest meals of the year.   We eat, talk, eat, laugh, eat, lounge around, eat, watch TV, oh yeah, did I mention eat? until our hearts -and stomachs- cannot handle a smidgen more.

At church this past Sunday, I received the biggest blessing through the children’s choir.  They all gathered on the stage and sang the sweetest rendition of "Count Your Blessings."  Don’tchya just love when children get to their favorite part of a song and they sing it at the top of their lungs?  Well, they all sang beautifully but when it came to the chorus, their little faces lit up and they literally belted out the lyrics:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done..

The Lord has most definitely blessed me beyond measure and more than I ever deserve.  In the spirit of the Thanksgiving season, I wanted to list my top 5 blessings that I am thankful for today:

1)      MY SALVATION.  I thank the Lord that He saw fit to send His only Son to earth only for Him to die on the cross for our sins.  My sins (and yours) have been washed away by the Blood of Christ even when I am so unworthy.  If you do not know Christ as your own personal Savior, I pray that you seek Him and ask Him into your heart.  I promise, it will bring a peace like no other.

2)      MY MR.  He is the Peanut Butter to my Jelly, the Flip to my Flop, the Macaroni to my Cheese, the Bumble to my Bee, the Shake to my Bake, the Sprinkles to my Sundae, the Blue in my Sky, the Spring in my Step, the Twinkle in my Eye, the Beat of my Heart and the ULTIMATE Love of my Life. 

3)      MY FAMILY.  I just love my family –immediate, extended, in-laws, all of them.  They may drive me nutty at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I do not live far away from my hometown (like 30 minutes, people) but sometimes it seems like an eternity away.  I find myself missing them more and more each day.  Hey guys, can you please move closer to me?  I know it is Jackson County, but if I can tolerate it, then you can too.   I would love for the Mr. and I to move to Macon County to be closer to you, but I think I have a better chance of participating in an Olympic event before that would happen. *for real*

4)      MY FRIENDS.  Friends make life a little brighter.  Plus it is always good to have someone who knows what you are thinking before you even say it…that alone can keep you out of trouble. Ha!  My girlfriends are the bestest ever.  Even though the majority of them live away we always pick up where we left off…even after a few years!

5)      MY HOME.  Although, it may not be our dream home (that will come in time) it is ours.  We have taken things from our single lives and blended them among things from our life together making our house a home.  It is warm and cozy in the cold months as well as fresh and cool in the warm months.  There have been many conversations, laughs, whispered prayers and baked goods within these walls.  I hope and pray that we continue to make memories in our little home by the creek.

The Mr. and I are heading out the door (with fresh apple cake in tow) to my parent’s house for our Thanksgiving meal.   I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to count your blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Mail

In the past month or so I have entered online giveaways through various blogs that I follow.   I generally never win anything, but apparently I’ve had the luck of the Irish (although I’m not Irish) or my stars in line (although I don’t believe in such things) or whatever.  Lo and behold, I received three different emails stating that I was a winner in three of the giveaways!  Woot Woot!
Aside from bills and junk mail, the last couple of weeks have had some of the best mail days ever. The various items that I won has been arriving and I am so excited to tell you about them.
Yesterday, I went to the mailbox and had the ever-so-exciting yellow slip of paper signifying that a package has arrived that wouldn’t fit in my post office box.  Score!  I impatiently waited in the line for the postal worker (is it just me or is that the WORST line to ever stand in, patrons always seems so clueless about mail.  Oh well, I digress.)   Anyway, I give my slip, gather my package and run out in the rain to the car as fast as I could.  I opened the package and was excited to see that I had received the Come Home to Supper cookbook by Christy Jordan of Southern Plate.
Last week, I entered a giveaway (Come Home to Supper Cookbook Review and Giveaway) hosted by Robin at Simply Southern Baking and I was elated to receive an email from her stating I was the winner.  (Robin mentioned in her email to me that she has family and friends in my neck of the woods and loves to visit the area.  Small world after all.)  Robin received a copy of the cookbook to review and a copy to giveaway to a read courtesy of Workman Publishing.
All I can say is that I am beyond excited to try out the recipes.  They all look so delicious!  Just in browsing a little so far, these are the recipes I will try first:
  • Janice’s Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Tuscany Pot Roast and Vegetables
  • Big Fat Greek Taters (I love the name, too!)
  • Simply Delicious Tomato Basil Soup
  • Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Pie
  • Coconut Meringue Pie
Okay, I must stop. I am drooling e’er where!  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

DIY Cake Plate

If you know anything about me, you know that I to go junking.  I get a thrill out of going to thrift stores, consignment store, antique stores, yard sales and the occasional dumpster in search for treasures, as I like to call them.  It's kinda sad how giddy I get just thinking about it.

A while back at Goodwill, I happened upon glass candle holder that I could not pass by at a whopping $0.50.  However, I had no intention of using it for it's given purpose.  I planned to make a cake plate with it.  On this trip I also found a cute little glass cloche ($1.00) that I could use as a cover for the cake plate.  All I needed was the perfect plate. 

On one of my trips to Asheville, I stopped by Pier 1 to see what I could find.  After a bit, I found the perfect plate that was neutral enough, yet classy enough to meet my ever-so-picky needs.  I don't remember how much the plate cost, but it was on sale.  Of course.

Move forward approximately six months,  I finally put all the pieces together.  I gave the candle holder, glass cloche and plate a good washing and let it air dry.  Once it dried I adhered the candle holder to the bottom of the plate with Gorilla Glue and let it dry/set overnight. 

Now I have the cutest little cake plate ever and it was made on a dime, of sorts.

  *top of plate*
*Perfect for displaying Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins courtesy of Bethany*

Thursday, November 7, 2013

DIY Fall Sign

I love fall.  It is my favorite time of year.  I love the vibrant earthy colors that seem to be splattered about the mountains.  I love the crispness of the air.  I love the smell of woodsmoke in the early evening.  I love the comforting aroma of the savory foods provided by the fall harvest.

I don't know about you but I am a blog junky. I enjoy reading and learning from others on DIY projects, recipes, giveaways and whatever else they happen to talk about.  In early September, I was reading an email subscription from Kristen at Ella Claire about an Autumn sign she had made.  I loved how it turned out and knew immediately that I wanted to create one myself. 

My original thought was to create my own signage with different wording and fonts.  However, I decided that my piece of mind was better spared if I opted to use the printable that Kristen shared on her Tutorial. (As Kristen states in her tutorial, if you use the printable, please be courteous and only use it for personal use.) 

Now that I had the printable, I needed a piece of wood. A couple weeks ago, a girlfriend of mine headed out one day in search of the perfect piece.  This was harder than it seemed.  We went to the flea market and left empty handed.  There is a salvage store just outside my hometown, Culpepper's Otto Depot that I had been dying to visit.  It was on our way back home, so we decided to stop.    Culpepper's is vintage lighting, architectural salvage, antique hardware store.  It was as if the heavens opened and angels sang a harmonious "Ah_______" when we walked through the door.   I fell in love. 

There were shutters, windows, boards, cabinet doors, old doors and crates and anything else your heart could desire.  And that was all within the first 15 feet inside the door!  There were so many shapes, sizes and colors imaginable.  All in their original state.  It was a junker's delight and a clean freak's nightmare.  Everything we touched had years of dust, dirt and grim all over it the exact amount of personality I was in search of.

After about 30 minutes of pulling out cabinet doors, old shelves and shutters I finally decided upon two pieces of wood.  I cannot tell you exactly what either of them used to be in their past lives, all I know is they are perfect in every sense of the word. One would be used for my Fall sign and the other is yet to be determined. 


I didn't really follow the tutorial, per se.  I had my printable (mirror image printed onto a piece of 11x17 paper) and used that to transfer my words onto the wood.  I didn't paint the wood before putting the words on because I liked the chipped blue paint as it was.

I painted the words done a little highlighting with other colors and let it dry.  Once it dried, I took a fine grit sandpaper and ran across the painted words to give them a weathered look. I did take a little antique white paint and brushed it along the edges and a little across the words to lighten up the darkness of the wood.  I then sanded a little more on the white areas so it looked like it was supposed to be that way.

Finally, after several hours of lining up, transferring and painting the words I was done.  It took me two evenings off and on to complete my sign.  But I am beyond thrilled with the final product. 

Although, I do not believe I will leave it outside I like how it looked with my fall vignette.  It will more than likely be an indoor fall decoration.  

Personally, I couldn't be happier with my project.  Thank you Kristen for the inspiration!