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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to School with BIC - Review

My two younger girls are in year round school.  Unfortunately what that means is we have to buy our school supplies in early July, way before the sales start.  In August though I still do try to take advantage of the sales and stock up on all the goodies.  I am somewhat of a pen and pencil addict so I admit that I also buy for my own stash.

Bic has introduced some new products for Back to School that are certain to get your kiddos excited.
BIC’s 2014 back-to-school lineup includes the introduction of BIC Kids™, the first line of children’s writing instruments in the U.S. designed specifically to help children learn to write. (The line includes the BIC Kids™ Mechanical Pencil, BIC Kids™ Pen, and the BIC Kids™ Stylus).  Also included are the traditional BIC® 4-Color™ but also the new BIC® 4-Color™ Metallic and BIC® 4-Color™ Mini.  Also check out the BIC Atlantis® Comfort, BIC Atlantis® Exact, BIC® Mechanical Pencil Xtra Shine, BIC® Magic Marker® Brand Dry Erase Marker and BIC® Wite-Out® Brand ZAP correction tape. “  

My favorite?  The BIC 4 color - My favorite pen when I was little was the BIC 4 color pen and that has not changed.  Since I am getting up there, I can tell you this pen has been around for quite some time!  It is a classic that never goes out of style!  My daughter Miss E. loved the BIC correction tape and BIC mechanical pencils (Xtra Shine) the most but you can check out the variety below and select your favorite!



BIC Kids Mechanical Pencil comes in pink or blue, and includes an eraser and lead refill with six leads. Can be personalized with stickers.  ARV $3.49.




BIC Kids Pen is available in purple or green, and includes stickers for personalization. ARV $3.49  I liked that this was kid sized and ergonomically designed for children.



BIC Kids Stylus offers an innovative tool for small hands that helps children navigate tablets in the classroom or at home. The stylus has a soft grip and comes in black with a yellow guiding line. The BIC Kids Stylus has a SRP of $3.49 for a one-pack.

BIC® 4-Color™ The iconic BIC 4-Color pen was the first of its kind, providing the convenient ability to choose from four ink colors (red, green, blue or black).Today, it remains a favorite among students and teachers.

The new BIC 4-Color Metallic is available in five vibrant, metallic barrel colors: silver, turquoise, pink, lime green and purple. It is the same great pen, just with a new, exciting look! The BIC 4-Color Metallic pen has a SRP of $2.99 for a one-pack.

BIC 4-Color Mini provides the same appeal of the popular and timeless 4-Color, but in a convenient mini size. ARV $2.50 in original or fashion colors



BIC Atlantis® Comfort New!  This features BIC’s exclusive ink system for long-lasting smoothness. A comfortable full body grip helps with writing. The BIC Atlantis Comfort pen has a SRP of $3.99

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BIC Atlantis® Exact The new BIC Atlantis Exact has a fine point for exact, precise lines and clean writing! With a full grip area and smooth ink system, BIC Atlantis Exact is perfect for the studious note-taker. The BIC Atlantis Exact has a SRP of $3.99 for a three-pack.



BIC® Mechanical Pencil – Xtra Shine   a back-to-school favorite for years, is now available in a fun, new shiny, holographic design!   ARV $2.20 for a five-pack.

Before you finish your Back to School shopping, make sure to check out the new BIC product line!

Disclosure:  Thank you to BIC for this review opportunity.  Images, information and products were provided by BIC.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.  

Skin Beautiful Time Reversal Eye Cream - Review

I like to try new and different beauty products.  As I have gotten older, eye creams have become a more critical part of my skin care regime, especially those made from natural ingredients.



Skin Beautiful Dermaceuticals (SBD) is the first advanced skincare system designed to cultivate and awaken both inner and outer beauty by incorporating daily affirmations, or Affirmacizes, into a daily beauty skincare ritual that fights the signs of aging and manifests in purely radiant skin. All Skin Beautiful Dermaceuticals™ products are natural based, and are free of parabens, artificial fragrance and colorants, phthalates, and formaldehyde releasing preservatives.

I was given the opportunity to review the SBD Time Reversal Eye Cream.  The first thing I noticed that it came in a glass bottle vs. a plastic one.  I actually prefer glass because I do not have to worry about the chemicals in the plastic leaching out to the product).  There was a pump that was used for dispensing the product - another plus for me - you get the right amount of product without contaminating the jar by using your hands to apply.

The product itself was very rich and emollient but most important, non irritating.  I have very sensitive eyes which is why I do not wear contacts and am very selective about what cosmetic and skin care products I use.  This was easy to apply and absorbed quickly.

The active ingredients in this product are as follows:

 Marine Filling Spheres™ (Sodium Chondroitin Sulfate, Atelocollagen): Dehydrated collagen and glycosaminoglycans microspheres penetrate and swell 10 times their volume in the presence of water, immediately filling in fine lines and small wrinkles in as little as one hour. After remaining in the hollow of the fine lines and wrinkles, these microspheres are eventually degraded by enzymes and slowly release the water initially taken up, providing an ongoing resevoir of skin plumping and hydration. 

 Matrixyl 3000 ™ (Palmitoyl Oligopeptide & Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7): A synergistic blend of anti-aging peptides clinically found to stimulate collagen, reduce wrinkles and speed up the skin’s natural repair process. 

 Myoxinol ™ (Hibiscus ecculentis extract): A vegetable alternative to Botox®, Myoxinol™ is a patented complex of oligopeptides obtained from the seeds of Hibiscus esculentus (okra) Extract. Studies show these botanical peptides reduce muscle contractions for up to 24 hours and reduce wrinkles by 26% after only 3 weeks. 

 Hyaluronic Acid: A major component of young, healthy skin, hyaluronic acid binds up to 1000 times its weight in moisture. Increases skin barrier function and collagen production, thereby boosting skin elasticity and smoothing and plumping fine lines and wrinkles for a younger looking appearanc


At $30 I find this a reasonable price for an eye cream.  The bottle is generously sized (.5 oz) and a little bit of this product goes a long way.  With the pump dispensing mechanism, you will be using the right amount of product without excess or waste.  Finally you are getting a product that is designed to be nourishing and effective but without harmful added chemicals.   If you are interested in trying but do not want to commit to a larger purchase initially, samples of the are available for $3 (plus shipping).  Orders over $50 receive free shipping AND there is currently a coupon for 20% off on their site.  I am not sure how long this promotion will be running for so hurry and check it out if interested.

Thanks to Skin Beautiful for the review opportunity!


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Disclosure - I received a product for review purposes.  I did not receive monetary compensation and I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.




Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Time for a good night's sleep! Review

One thing I cannot stand is to not be comfortable when sleeping.  We recently purchased a new bed and that has helped with getting a good night's rest but a good mattress alone is not the complete solution.  Recently I was asked to review Novosbed Pima Cotton sheets and coincidentally I was also asked to review Reverie Pillows.





Novosbed Pima Cotton sheets
We like to keep two sheet sets on hand - when we change the sheets we have a clean set ready to make the bed up with.  Recently the fitted sheet on my preferred set ripped and I planned to purchase a new set.  When the opportunity for review came up I jumped on it.

These are absolutely the BEST sheets I have ever used.  Have you ever gone to a luxury hotel and after a great night's sleep wondered where they found their fabulous sheets?  This is what that the Novosbed Pima Cotton sheets reminded me of.

I was able to review the King sized sheets in brown.  The color was great - not too dark and not too light. The sheets fabric is heavy weight, but soft and silky with a high thread count.  Even though the weight is heavier, it was completely comfortable to sleep in, even in summer.  My husband does not usually say a whole lot about products I review but he has commented several times on how much he prefers these to the Novosbed Pima Cotton Sheets to what we were using before.

Here are some highlights:
- 100% Pima Cotton
- 600 thread count
- Silky soft and ultra comfortable

Each set includes 1 fitted sheet, 1 flat sheet, 2 pillowcases

Why Pima cotton?  From the Novosbed website:
 "Pima cotton is an extra long-staple cotton, which is an indicator of quality and longevity. It typically has a staple of at least 1 3/8″ or longer, guaranteeing the cotton’s excellent durability and long product lifespan. Pima cotton is 100% USA-grown, coming from areas such as Arizona, California, Texas, and New Mexico. Novosbed’s pima sheet sets are guaranteed to last for years, maintaining their soft feel and velvety sateen weave"

These sheets are a little bit more on the pricey side but worth the investment ($159 USD for a Queen set and $179 USD for a King set).




Reverie Sweet Slumber Pillows
I actually started using these pillows before I reviewed the sheets.  Again, the request for a review came at a perfect time.... my pillows had flattened quite a bit and even with 2 - 3 pillows, I was waking up with neck pain.  1-  2 was not enough support but 3 gave too much lift.

The Reverie Sweet Slumber Pillow was the perfect amount of thickness and it was easy to fluff the pillow to my personal comfort level.   I have not been waking up in the morning with my usual stiff neck and I am waking up less throughout the night.

What I liked most is that because the fillers are shredded latex vs. fiber fill, foam or down, the pillow retains it's shape.   One thing I will note is that the latex scent did bother me when I would first lay down.   Ironically when I started using the Novosbed pima pillowcase, the fabric was woven tight enough that I could no longer detect the scent.   If you are someone that finds it difficult to get comfortable at night, this may be a great solution for you.

I would not recommend it to anyone with a latex sensitivity or allergy but for most this may be the solution you have been looking for.  I have been using the pillow a couple of months and it looks the same as it did the day I received it.

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If you are looking for a better night's sleep, new bedding may be the solution!    Thank you to Novosbed and Reverie for the review opportunities.


Disclosure:  I was provided with a product for review purposes.  I did not receive monetary compensation and I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Upcycling packaging using DCWV cardstock


I have bought a few of the pocket page card sets for scrapbooking but I do not like keeping the cards in the containers once I start using the product.   I instead store vertically so I can flip through the cards to quickly find what I need.  I purchased one pocket page scrapbooking set a while back and felt guilty discarding the packaging because it  was so nicely constructed and very sturdy.  I recently bought a another few sets at Michael's on sale and instead of throwing the boxes away I decided to upcycle these into storage containers.  The boxes shown here are from "Project Life" kits by Becky Higgins

For this project I decided to use Die Cuts With A View card stock  because the paper is thick and sturdy yet the prints are intricate, the colors are vibrant and most have a little glitz (foil, glitter, embossing, etc.) - perfect for a project like this.

For the first box I decided to use the DCWV Black Currant Stack.  I selected a centered print for the lid and a coordinating fuchsia, patterned foil for the sides and the inserts.  After carefully trimming I used washi tape to trim the edges.  To make sure the washi would stick I also re-enforced with double sided tape.  The bottom of the box was covered with felt.  To finish off the project I added a layered button and rhinestone embellishment for a "handle".  (The box has a hidden magnetic closure so the button is more for decorative purposes and to show where the box opens).

I now have my scrapbook essentials stored in it - these are the things I use constantly - a pair of scissors, a small pencil sharpener, chalk ink for edging in the colors I use most, my favorite acrylic block for stamping, etc.




For her project Miss E. selected papers from the DCWV Cherry Limeade Stack.  We used pink swiss polka dot and lime washi tapes for the trim and a pink/purple plaid printed paper for the edges.  She plans to use her box for her jewlery and hair accessories. 






I am making the third box for my friend Anna using the DCWV French Country Stack.  She loves victorian and shabby chic decor so this will be something fun.  Instead of paper, I may line the inside of her box with linen or velvet.  I will probably eventually do that with the other two that I made also.

What is great also is that with the left over trim from these projects I can create more 3x4 and 4x6 cards for pocket page scrapbooking.  (I usually use a 50/50 mix of cards I have made myself and those that are with sets).

I would love to hear about what projects you have made using containers or what you think of this project.  Please feel free to leave a comment before departing and thanks for visiting!



Monday, June 30, 2014

Cook With Kohl's - Review and Sweepstakes entry info

It is summer time again and that means plenty of get togethers with family, friends and neighbors.  Many memories are made over the summer months - the longer days and nicer weather are a perfect formula for more celebrating.  An intregal part of these celebrations is the food of course!

The next potluck, picnic or backyard BBQ, consider visiting Kohl's for all of your food prep, serving and storage needs.  I recently visited Kohl's and was astounded by the variety of items carried in the Food Network Line.  I shop at Koh's often but usually in the clothing, accessories, jewelry or Bath/Linens departments.  I have to admit that I had never really ventured over to the kitchen section before.  I really was taken aback by the vast selection.  There area a few select Food Network Kitchen items available on Kohls.com, but at the store I visited there are literally hundreds of items to choose from.
Flexible silicone measure and prep set
Silicone utensils

My Kohl's Haul
For this review I really had a difficult time selecting what to purchase but I finally settled on new cookie sheets, flexible silicone measuring bowls, a silicone spoon,  2  silicone spatulas and a cooling rack.

When I came home with the new goodies my girls were so excited and we decided to make cookies.  Although these are not a summer dessert per se, cookies are great year round and perfect for any occasion.  We actually found a recipe at the Food Network's website and decided to make that.  





Review:  I really enjoyed using my new cookware.  My favorite items were the silicone spoon (HEAVY duty) and the baking rack which was very sturdy and stable.   I liked also that the measure and prep cups were silicone as well.  It was useful to be able to gently squeeze the bowl to pour ingredients out more easily and the silicone also gave it a good grip in the counter and when handling - we had NO slips or spills!

Here is the recipe that I used: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe.html  There were a few different ones to select from but this is the one the girls and I liked best.  We did add walnuts also but otherwise stuck true to the recipe

Cooling Rack
Also, if you get a chance check out twitter and instagram for the #CookwithKohls sweepstakes.  You can tweet or post to instagram using the #CookwithKohls hastag and a note or picture about the weekly topic - this week it is Summer Desserts!  Make sure that you tag @Kohls and use the #CookwithKohls hashtag.  More information can be found on the Koh's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kohls  there are only a few days left to enter so make sure that you get your name in the hat!  Also, I will be hosting a Kohl's card giveaway later this week so make sure to check back!

Disclosure:  I received a gift card for review purposes.  I was not required to give a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Delay in updates

My site as flagged by Google for having Unnatural Outbound Links. I did my best to correct recent links (2012 - present) but ended up deleting most review posts prior to 2012. I did try to edit as many as I could but the amount of work involved to convert links on over 1000 posts was too daunting considering that I work full time and have three active kids. I made the difficult decision to delete posts instead of convert links which would have taken weeks.

 I have resubmitted my site for review and hopefully all is well. I do hope to be back now with a few reviews, giveaways and updates on the girls.

 

Scrapbooking and Papercrafting Resource List

My favorite places for Scrapbook/Papercrafting supplies are vast and numerous.

GO LOCAL:
Michael's and AC Moore  are"standby" local craft stores that are I frequent what I consider my my ever faithful standby location. 

PROS:  Both have great sales regulary, a vast selection of papers, stamps, punches, markers, glitter, glues, embellishments, storage solutions and more!  Both also have apps available to download to your phone (with a compatatile system).  Now I am never without a coupon!  Both also have rewards programs. 

CONS:  Although the variety is great and there are excellent prices at both, you will not find speciality lines at these stores. 

Archiver's is a local chain speciality store.   

PROS:  What I love is that they have a really extensive collection of papercrafting items.  They also have interesting classes and 2 fun, functional and inspiring work areas.   If you need to buy items as you go, the store will keep a running tab for you! 

CONS:  Warning - 1) Speciality stores can be pricier than mass retailers and 2 ) may not be as flexible as larger retailers  if you don't have your coupon with you.

On my last trip to Archivers I addicentally left my coupon at home once and the coupon would not come up on my phone.  The sales girl would not give me any sort of discount so I left my items at the store, on the counter, unpurchased and went home irritated.  When I arrived home I found the same items online and then purchased the same items from a different retailer - at a discount.  Sadly Archivers lost a sale over not giving a 10% discount.


THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:

 I also really love to find buys online or hunt for deals in unxpected places.  A few successes

Discount Retailers - I have had successes digging for items at Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, Marshall's, and even Walmart.

PROS:  Great prices

CONS:  You have to dig.  Do not go in the store with something in mind, because chances are you will not find it.  If you keep an open mind, you can score some great deals!

Yard Sales - Many Scrapbookers will decide that they need more space in their homes or simply decide to discontinue papercrafting/scrapbooing.  Most are looking to simply offload materials. 



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Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Hunger Games, Catching Fire.



If you are a Hunger Games fan, I have a guess where you are planning to be this weekend!  The moment we have all been waiting for has finally arrived - The Hunger Games, Catching Fire has finally hit the theaters!

Earlier this week I had the privilege of screening the movie.   I am a huge fan of the books and although I enjoyed the first movie, I did not think that it was "great".  I liked it and thought Jennifer Lawrence did a great job portraying Katniss but it simply was not as good as the book.  Catching Fire is different.  This movie was much, much better than I expected or could have hoped for and cannot wait to see it again.

The movie is a little lengthy - Ii am guessing around 2 hours and 45 minutes.

The beginning of the movie takes us back to District 12.  Katniss and Peeta have returned to the games and are living in their new homes.  On the surface everything seems hunky-dory but it very quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case.

The movie stays pretty true to the book - there were a couple of things I noticed were missing but overall the movie captured much of the key points from the book.  Our old favorites return - Gale, Prim, President Snow, Haymitch, Cinna, and, of course, the unforgettable Effie who finally shows us a softer side.  Outstanding performances by newcomers Phillip Seymour Hoffman (the new GameMaker), Same Claflin (Finnick) and Jenna Mason (Johanna Malone).  Jenna had a very memorable scene where she really captures the fire and volitility of Johanna.

Take a fun but emotional ride from District 12 to all the Districts 


Hashtags:    #CatchingFire #TickTock



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Mother's Day Journey - Review and Giveaway



Sunday May 11th is Mother's Day.  If you are looking for ideas look no further!

I have worked with Harvey Prince since their first fragrance, Ageless, was released.   You can see my original review here: Ageless.  Harvey Prince is not only one of my favorite companies to work with (wonderful people!)  - they are also an organization that creates truly unique and innovative products.  This is not an easy accomplishment when you think of how saturated the market is for bath and body products.  Find out more about the company HERE.

I regularly use Fling and Ageless and love both!

Recently I was given a bottle of a new scent - Journey.
Out of all of the Harvey Prince Fragrances I have tried, I have to say that Journey is the most feminine.  It is a beautiful, soft scent but it is not weak nor is it cloying.  With a marriage of a variety of unique floral notes and earthy undertones, this scent makes a subtle but lasting impression.

I normally do not like scents with floral base notes - I usually prefer a fruity or earthy scent with underlying floral notes.  This scent is definitely primarily floral though.  What is really interesting is that I and all three of my girls loved it.  We all have completely different tastes and it is extremely rare that we all like the same thing.

I could not put my finger on what Journey reminded me of but I finally realized what it was.  When I was very little I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house.  She used to let me go through her jewelry, makeup and perfumes - ts scent is very similar to one that she used to wear.  If I had to describe it I would say a very feminine and sophisticated, warm, sweet floral.

When first sprayed, Journey gives off a Gardenia like scent.  As the top note dissapated, the scent was slightly powdery and sweet.  Slowly the other scents emerge creating a wonderful floral scent.

Notes: Indonesian Clove Bud, Australian Sandalwood, Moroccan Rose, French Bergamot, Indian Tuberose, Japanese Orange Flower, Lebanese Cedarwood, Turkish Cyclamen, South African Freesia Style

Thanks to Harvey Prince 5 winners will win a bottle of Journey each!  To enter to win a Journey Tall Spray bottle, simply tell me what other scent you would want to try from Harvey Prince and why.  Easy!    Have fun browsing and good Luck to all!

Simply complete the rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries area available after mandatory requirements are met.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Alice in Wonderland birdhouse


Raulston Blooms




Every year in Raleigh there is a local birdhouse competition at the Raulston Blooms festival.   This is a local bird and blooms festival that is structured as a family event at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  There is also a plant sale, food trucks and games and activities for children.


Above are some pics of Miss E who joined my friend Cat and I for the festivities:



Here is my friend Cat with her awesome Peacock house.  She used feathers, peacock print paper, a feather stamp, cute outs and more!.  The inside is decorated also but unfortunately I do not have a picture of that.


FLY TO WONDERLAND BIRDHOUSE

For several years I have hoped to enter the competition but usually forget until the event is over.  This year I planned far enough ahead and was able to actually submit an entry.

I have a large collection of vintage children's books (Classics to Grow On) that I purchased at a garage sale (circa 1960's).  The pages are yellowing and have that authentic aging that can only be achieved with the passing of time.  I thought it would be great to use these papers for an altered art project, especially the images.  The birdhouse project was a perfect opportunity and I decided on an Alice in Wonderland theme as I also had matching acrylic stamps and immediately knew how I wanted to execute the idea






I know absolutely nothing about woodworking so I decided to construct the birdhouse from foam board (sides), cardboard (bottom) and a large children's book (roof).  I created a pattern and cut out the front, back and sides,  I then covered with colored card stock and hot glued together.  Once that was complete I used washi tape to clean up the sides and give a nice, crisp finished look.  I found that the washi tape did not adhere to the paper properly so I also used a tape runner to secure it.

Once the structure was complete I constructed the roof out of an old children's book, covered with harlequin-argyle pattered scrapbook paper and black card stock.  The roof was just a tad short so I extended this with cardboard treated with gesso and paint on one side and covered with scrapbook paper on the other.  Happy accident!  This added to the overall effect.  Before securing the roof, I raised slightly with vintage fringe trip and red and white raised-dot disc beads.  I secured the left side of the roof with hot glue and left the right side to be lifted.


Now the fun part - decorating!.......
I cut and individually colored each of the selected vintage images with distress ink markers, gelatos and water.  Once complete I edged the sides with chalk ink and cropped onto black paper.  I also used a few Crafty Secrets "Greetings from Wonderland" stamps in the same manner.  I then dove into my craft supply to embellish the rest of the house.   A wooden spoon was painted with gesso, wrapped with wire, decorated with a cameo pin, baker's twine, a blue sequin circle and a red ribbon bow.  I adhered to the roof to function as a handle.  Lift it up and look inside to find a large fabric heart and another stamped image.

On the exterior a good number of paper roses were added - on the back there is paint brush and a pink rose with red coloring - You guessed it!  For "Painting the Roses Red".  There were also feathers, heart icon wooden bingo chips, heart cutouts and chip board, black beads, stamped flowers, rhinestones and more!  (Many of the embellishments used were from href="http://www.mayaroad.net/" rel="nofollow">Maya Road) .

I finished by mounting on a stand made of tea cups and saucers hot glued together.  I had a small fiasco when dropping off the birdhouse at the Arboretum when half of the base broke.  Fortunately I brought my hot glue gun with me and fixed what could be salvaged onsite.  (The lady who worked there thought I was crazy I am sure but I knew that there was a good chance that the base could break during transport so brought it to be safe).

Here is the first prize winner's creation.  It was really awesome - the flashlight (demonstrated by Miss E.) is aimed through the hole.  Take a peek inside a view a variety of decoupaged bird images!  Miss E. was so impressed with this birdhouse that she told me I had NO chance of winning. (Gee...thanks.  LOL).



Here is the 2nd place winner.  Me!  I was so excited and had no idea that I placed!   I had so much fun I will probably enter again next year but until then on to the next project :)






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