Monday, May 30, 2011

makeover mondays!!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!!  We just returned  home from a weekend of camping and are coming down from our "fresh air high".  We had a blast!!  Between prepping, packing, cooking, games, hayrides, popcorn over an open fire, Reese's pb cup s'mores (TO DIE FOR!!),  tennis, walks/runs (to work off aforementioned s'mores), lounging pool side, a beautiful worship service in the middle of God's creation,  and time to nurture relationships with friends....we are spent and our hearts are full.  So glad today is a holiday because I needed this afternoon and evening to unwind and unpack.  (laundry is in full swing as I type)  I love days off, and today's post is dedicated to those beloved ones we call Monday .  Enjoy!

5 fun things to do on your holiday Monday

1.  Start your day out with a walk or run!!  I know it doesn't sound like something "fun" to do on a day off, but it really is.  There's nothing more energizing than getting up and getting your blood pumping with a little exercise. you're walking/running, you can soak in the beauty around you.  It was so great to take walks through the woods this weekend and get reacquainted with God's glorious creation.  As someone who's new to the walking/running world, I can tell you that even doing a little can make a big difference.  You don't have to train for a marathon on your first day out.  All it takes is the will to start.  Get out and get fit! 

2.  Talk to the ones you love.  Whether your family and friends live right next door or are thousands of miles away....connect.  Nothing makes me smile more than cultivating relationships with the ones I love.  I cherish coffee talks with my girlfriends, bible study nights with my chicas, skype dates with my siblings and their families (especially my precious niece & nephew), get-togethers with my husband's family, and weekly chats with my mom. Take time today to let those close to you know how special they are!

3.  Treat yourself to a little sweet.  One of my favorite sweet treats right now is the Maya Gold chocolate bar by Green & Black's Organic.  It's a dark chocolate bar infused with spices and orange.  It is HEAVENLY!  Now...I've recently cut out sweets entirely from my diet, but a little treat every once in a while isn't bad for the body and it's great for the soul.

4.  Get your vitamin D quotient.  I love getting out and getting a little sun on my cheeks.  I've never especially enjoyed laying out in the sun, but I love being in the water.  Whether it's the beach or the pool, if there's water...I'm in.  :)  And...some studies show that 20 minutes of daily sun exposure is good for your body and mood.  Hmmm....sign me up!  To quiet the sunscreen police I will add that if you're going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, don't forget your sunscreen!  ;)

5.  Get to paintin'!  Your nails, that is.  :)  I'm a big fan of either light neutral or dark tones, but on a whim today I whipped out this crazy hue....

 Sorry about the sub par photo quality, but it's a pinkish/coralish color.  I've had this polish for awhile, but rarely wear it.  It's Year of the Dragon by OPI.  Who knows how long I'll be able to tolerate it, but today I love it and felt just fun enough to pull it off.  :)  Go ahead.  Be adventurous and do something fun for your nails too!

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On this Memorial Day, I'd like to thank those men and women who are giving or have given their time, resources, and lives to fight for our religious and civil freedoms.  I'd also like to thank God for giving us the gift of ultimate freedom in Him.  We are truly blessed!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

what's the bzz all about?

Have you ever heard of BzzAgent?  BzzAgent is a social marketing company that drives sales of consumer products via word-of-mouth.  They do this by signing up "agents" to test products and give honest feedback.  I've been an agent with BzzAgent since 2009, but have never really been involved in any campaigns.  "Campaigns" are where they send me products to test and give them my honest feedback.  They like for me to spread the word to friends and family about what I'm doing and what I  think of the products.  It sounds a little confusing (and I may not be explaining it well) but it's really easy.  Recently I signed up for two different campaigns.  The first was to test CoverGirl's new NatureLuxe foundation and glossbalm.  The second was to try TREsemme's Color Revialize shampoo and conditioner.  I mean, seriously, I got full sized products shipped to me for FREE!  And I love free!! they are : 

It's been fun trying these products - some I've liked and others not so much.  And that's the nice thing...I don't have to like everything...or anything, for that matter.  Honesty is best.  So, to spread "bzz" about these products, I'm letting you (my bloggy friends) know what I think :

CoverGirl NatureLuxe foundation :  I'm not really a liquid foundation girl right now (FL heat!).  Also, the color I received was a little light, so I didn't wear it on my face.  I tested it on my hands and it went on really smoothly.  It has an SPF 10, so there's that benefit.  I'm indifferent about this product.

CoverGirl NatureLuxe glossbalm :  First of all I love the color.  Second of all, I love that it has an SPF of 15.  This isn't something I'd wear for a night out (not enough pigmentation), but it's perfect for a day of errands or going to the beach...especially with the SPF to help protect my lips.  Bonus!

TREsemme Color Revitalize shampoo and conditioner :  As an avid Aveda user for the last number of years, I was a little leery to switch to another haircare brand, but I noticed that my Aveda bottles were soon going to be empty, so I thought...why not?  (remember the free part?)  :)  I've been using these products for the last 2 weeks and  I have to say, I like them.  They're not the BEST I've ever used, but they do make my hair soft and manageable.  Haven't really noticed that my hair color is any better (I highlight/lowlight), but it's only been 2 weeks.  Time will tell.  :)

Along with my products I get coupons to hand out!  Yay!!  See....

I have 10 of each, so leave me a comment with the word CoverGirl or TREsemme (or both) and I'll send them to you.  :)  The expire @ the end of August 2011, so be sure to comment early.  Thanks for stopping by and reading my bzz.  Have a terrific Thursday!!  Much love bloggy peeps!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

makeover mondays! just when I was on a pretty good blogging roll, life got busy.  Not so much busy, but full.  Full of the great stuff of life.  Between work, family activities, freezing fresh sweet corn, precious time with friends, bible studies,date nights, sleepovers, picking tomatoes, canning said tomatoes, and all the things that fill my life....I didn't find time to blog.  Major fail.  Actually, no regrets here.  I wouldn't trade a single minute.  So, let's dust off the cobwebs and get right to it, shall we?  :)

7 Ways to LIGHTEN UP your Monday

1. Lighten up your morning with a spot of tea!!  I have to admit, I am NOT a tea drinker, by choice.  But...lately I've been trying to limit my coffee intake and have made the switch to tea in the mornings.  I know.  It's crazy.  Two teas that I'm learning to enjoy (basically because I'm told they provide energy just like my friend Cuppa Joe) are Oolong and Yerba Mate'.  These are the brands I currently use.

 And...over the weekend my friend Jill introduced me to some of the best tea I've EVER tasted. felt like all the flavor notes were dancing in my mouth.  It was insane!!  It's Cha Yen Thai Black Tea by Teavana.  Gotta get some of this stuff - it's amazing!  She brews it, sweetens it, and chills it. and it. is. good.  Get it at a Teavana store near you or visit

2.  Lighten up your home (if you have the space) with this firework!  This hanging light always catches my eye at Ikea and I want to take it home every time, but I have absolutely no working space to put it.  There's a downtown boutique that has it front and center in their entry way and it makes me happy every time I see it. 
3.  Lighten up your summer wardrobe with these cuties.  I love white and I love the femininity of breezy summer clothes.  These are a perfect accessory to any summer outfit.  I wear them all the time!  Pick up a pair from Stella and Dot.  Click here to visit my friend Carolyn's website to get your own pair.

4.  enLighten your Monday with special mementos.  (not to be confused with mentos candy)  Do you ever see something and instantly it takes you to a special place in your memory bank where you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?  For some, it may be a photograph.  For others, it may be an heirloom that has been handed down from generations before.  My husband has a bible that his grandfather used during his sermons.  It includes notes in his own handwriting.  It's a special memento.  I think special mementos are neat.  They are not of utmost importance, but often serve as a reminder of people we've known, places we've been, or who we hope to become.  With the help etsy and my husband, I recently added this little memento to my charm necklace.  It's so special to me because it signifies a step on my life's journey.  I'll get a little honest here for a second and tell you that I am currently on a journey to get healthy and fit.   My goals are big, but my God is bigger.  He has been my strength through it all - all glory to Him!  This "50" charm signifies my first goal fulfilled - a 50 lb weight loss.  It's such a sweet reminder of God's goodness and faithfulness every time I look at it.  Take a little time and create your own special mementos for you and the ones you love!!

5.  Lighten up snack time with these kale chips.  I have to admit when I first heard about these things I was a little more than skeptical.  But in all honesty...these things are really good!!  Kale is a super hearty green that I believe is in the cabbage family.  It's super good for you - loaded with lots of nutrients!  Now don't be fooled - this is definitely a vegetable and doesn't taste "just like a potato chip only good for  you".  :)  (don't I wish!)  But it does cure the salty/crunchy cravings.

It's crazy how something that starts out like this
Can turn into this - salty and crunchy!
(these are the ones I made)

All you need is a bunch of kale, sea salt, and a little olive oil. You can experiment with different spices and seasonings as well.  Here's the recipe I followed, however instead of letting them bake for 15 minutes (like the recipe calls), I suggest checking them around the 10 minute mark and keep an eye on them.  Mine got a little dark.  These are definitely worth a try!  Enjoy!!

6.  Lighten up your day by....lightening up!  Haha!  Laughter really is good medicine and I've had a prescription since the day I was born.  :D  Humor abounds in my family, so laughter is never in short supply.  Good thing I married a man that appreciates my sense of humor and has a bit of his own to spare.  A great way to lighten up is to not take yourselaugh at yourself every now and then.  And what better way to laugh at yourself than with a random ridiculous picture

or two
or three

Oh my gracious...I could keep going here - that's the scary part!!  AND...these are all pictures I posed for, and in some cases, sent to people.  I may need help.  Haha!!  Go ahead.  Laugh at my expense.  I know I have.  ;)

7.  One last and final one (I'm about to get a little deep here) would be to WRITE.  Huh?  Yes.  You heard right.  When your Monday (or any day) has taken your emotions over the edge and you've reached the breaking point...write.  Let me explain.  Okay...I am not an avid journal-er ('s a word...I'm like 20% sure).  Lately I've become a little more intent on journaling and I love it.  When I'm going through a tough time, a major change, or a time of incredible breakthrough - sometimes it just helps to write about it.  Not for someone to read (gasp!), but simply for me to do something with my thoughts.  A lot of times my thoughts become prayers and I begin to pour it all out to Jesus with every stroke of the pen.  There's just something about the written word.  I think our thoughts and emotions need a place to land and my journal has provided that place for me.  Just recently I picked up an old journal that I knew held some pretty deep things inside.  In it were thoughts and feelings that only God knew.  I was only ambitious enough to write 2 entries in that journal and then I put it on the shelf and never touched it again.  It was a pretty journal favorite color, green.  I remember it catching my eye at the store and knowing I had to have it.  In the back of my mind I knew why I had started this journal.  (I'll try to explain without going into great detail)  I had been in a place of extreme desperation.  That first journal entry was me crying out for help.  The kind of help only God could deliver.  And that meant laying all my baggage bare before Him and letting it land smack dab on the pages of my journal.   Let me tell you....I honestly felt better after, (by the end of the entry I was actually joyful) but it wasn't an altogether happy journal entry that I planned on reading every day.  In fact, I didn't know if I ever wanted to read it again.  I mean, imagine picking up a beautiful book, opening it, and finding someone had vomited all over the forward.  Ga-ross!!  (sorry for that awesome mental picture) That's what it felt like to me.  In a nutshell...not a fun read.  Anyhoo....yesterday I felt it was time to open it.  I read it.  All of it.  And instead of heaviness and pain, what I felt was freedom and joy.  As I kept reading, I knew that the person who had written those early words was not the same person who was reading them now.  It was liberating!!  Because let me tell you, I could visibly see evidence of a life changed by Christ!!  Amen??  AMEN!!  Answer to prayer!!!  In that first entry, I saw the beginning stages of change.  A heart desperate for it.  Crying out for it.  He is faithful.  I don't fear those words on the pages anymore - this journal has a story to tell and God's not done writing it on my heart.  God has me on an incredible journey (I'm only a part of His ultimate story) and all the glory belongs to Him.  What started as a simple journal entry that seemed to go nowhere, God used as a catalyst to the faith he wanted to build in me.  And when our faith is strengthened in Him..everything feels lighter!!

A brand new journal entry

Isaiah 40:31
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.  They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

o mother, where art thou?

*post title disclaimer :  I'm not really asking where my mother is.  I know where my mother is.  I'm just a really big fan of the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and brother and mother rhyme, do the math.  Moving on....

Since this is Mother's Day and my mom is 1200+ miles away, I thought it fitting to dedicate a little space on my blog to her - {she rocks, by the way}

Dear Mom.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for the ways that you spoil me when I come home to visit.  Thank you for still making me feel like every small accomplishment in my life is a big deal - you are my biggest cheerleader.   Thank you for showing me what a prayer warrior looks like.  Thank you for the great potato salad recipe you've passed on to me (and every one of my friends has requested).  Thank you for always mending my clothes when I feel too lazy inept to operate my sewing machine.  Thank you for showing me how to do a lot with what a little.  Thank you for taking an interest in my friends.  Thank you for being a fun mom.  Thank you for playing games with your kids till the wee hours of the morning.  A BIG thank you for getting in that shopping cart 10 years ago and giving us something to laugh about - we have the picture to prove it.  ;)  Thank you for showing me how to look on the bright side of things.  Thank you for loving Dad like you do.  Thank you for steering me towards truth.  Thank you for showing me what a good work ethic looks like.  Thank you for always having my back.  Thank you for encouraging my creativity.  Thank you for letting me be me.  Thank you for being the best mom a girl could ask for.  Today (and every day) I thank God for you!!

I love you Mom!

PS.  And....thank you for showing me that at 56 any age - you can still run after your goals.  Congrats on finishing your 1st (but not last) 13.1 miler!!


I also want to take this time to reach out to those who don't know their mother, who have lost their mother, or can't become mothers.  Sometimes Mother's day is a reminder of what we don't have.  Know that you are loved by a God who cares for you and wants to pour out His love and grace on you. 
Be blessed today and rest in His perfect love.

Monday, May 2, 2011

makeover mondays!

Hey guys!!  It's Makeover Monday!  With summer just around the corner, I can't help thinking about fresh scents in my home, breezy colors in my closet, light bright flavors in my kitchen, and melodies blaring from my car.  There's nothing like the smell, sight, and feel of summer to brighten your day...especially Monday. 

10 ways to BRIGHTEN up your Monday

1.  Put on the garment of praise!   Huh?  The garment of what?  Ok...this one's important - so I'm starting with this first.  Last week in Isaiah 61 I read about the "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness".   My study bible had a great reference that I'd like to share with you.  And I quote....

"The Hebrew root for 'garment' shows praise as more than a piece of clothing casually thrown over our shoulders.  It literally teaches us 'to wrap' or 'cover' ourselves - that the garment of praise is to leave no openings through which hostile elements can penetrate.  This garment of praise repels and replaces the heavy spirit.  This special message of instruction and hope is for those oppressed by fear and doubt.  'Put on' this garment.  A warm coat from our closet only resists the cold wind when it is 'put on'.  When distressed, be dressed - with praise!  Act according to God's Word!"

I just LOVE this word picture!!  Man...some days I feel like I not only need to put on the coat, but a whole blooming snow suit complete with the mitten/scarf/hat/ski goggles combo.  Can I get an amen??  :)  But seriously...just think...not only is our praise a barrier against the spirit of heaviness (fear, doubt, anxiety, etc) but that heaviness is replaced (lightness, brightness, peace, etc).  How awesome is that???

Picture this (side note :  when I say "picture this" I feel like I'm about to tell a Sicilian story like Sophia from the Golden Girls.  Hee hee.  Ok.  Moving on...)  One night last week (before I came across this nugget of goodness in Isaiah) I was laying in bed trying to sleep, but......NO GO.  There was a spiritual battle raging in my mind.  It was overwhelming.  I got up.  I went to my keyboard.  I pulled out some worship music and began to sing.  As I went from song to song, my burden lifted.  I wasn't aware of what was happening at the time.  But by the time I was finished, I was filled with such gratitude for who God is that I couldn't help but thank Him over and over.  I was able to give Him everything that had been burdening my mind...I was able to trust Him enough to take it.  Amazing!  My entire mood changed and I was free of the heaviness that had been filling my mind.  Little did I know that I had just put on the garment of praise.   What a gift of revelation when I read Isaiah 61 a few days later!!  Ahh...I love the way God works in our lives!!  He is real, people.  He is living and active and He cares about what you're going through.  I know that nothing can brighten your day, or life for that matter, like Him.  Go get your garments and praise Him today! 

2.  Brighten up your Monday (literally) by catching a sunrise. I know it's a stretch for some of us to even function before 10am + 3 cups of coffee, but there is nothing like seeing the day awaken before your very eyes.  It's magnificent!

Easter morning on the beach

3.  Brighten your day with citrus!  Nothing says bright like the smell and taste of oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, limes, and lemons.  Right now I am in serious "like" with grapefruit!  I eat one almost every day.  

4.  Brighten your home with fresh flowers!  There's something about fresh flowers that screams bright and cheery to me. We send flowers to people when they're sick or when they're going through a rough time.  Why?  To brighten they're day!  Why not brighten your own?  (or the day day of a friend)  :)  Right now these little darlings are available everywhere around here....and probably where you live too.  (who knows - you may even have some in your own garden right now)  Around here you can get a huge bunch for around 5 bucks!  Worth it to have a little beauty of nature sitting on my kitchen table.  Hmm....I think I'll go out and get some today!

5.  Brighten your home with the aroma of the season!  I snagged this little guy at Ikea for 1.99!  He and some of his buddies came home with me on my last Ikea shopping trip.  He smells like a mixture of apples, pears, and all things yummy!  He's amazing!  (and his buddies smell great too!)

6.  Brighten up your wardrobe with a great pair of sandals!  Nothing says summer like a fresh new pair of flip flops or sandals.  I love Old Navy's 2/$5 flippies, but so does my dog apparently.  She thinks they're chew toys and destroys them every chance she gets.  (especially when she feels I haven't paid enough attention to her)  Stinker!  So...I haven't been able to keep those around very long, but I got these bright beauty's at a sale a while back and I wear them every time I want to add a pop of color. 

7.  Brighten up your lips with this little treat!  I love Rosebud Salve and I love all things minty, so when I saw this I had to try it.  It's a treat for the lips and the mint isn't overwhelming.  Goes with me everywhere.  FYI :  It's available exclusively at Sephora.

8.  Brighten up mealtime with Tuscan Farmhouse Blend with Sea Salt from s.a.l.t. sisters.  I LOVE this stuff!  Right now I'm loving it as a rub on grilled chicken breasts, but it's great as a seasoning for just about anything.  Don't be surprised if products from this line show up on my Makeover Monday lists again...their stuff is just so good!  Try it for yourself!  Click on the picture below to visit their website!

9.  Brighten up your ears with sounds of summer!  To me, music is synonymous with summer and right now I'm loving me some jams.  Two albums that I can't get enough of currently are Adele's "21" and Hillsong's "Beautiful Exchange".  Adele because she's soulful, funky, and girl's got pipes!  Hillsong's latest because let's face's Hillsong.  :)   Ok seriously, for me this album is a beautiful expression of the Father's love and the gift He gave.  And..."Like Incense/Sometimes By Step" is a new twist on the oldie "Oh God, You Are My God".  It's glorious!  Take a listen....

10.  Last but not least, brighten up your breath with these lovelys.  I love these and carry them with me everywhere...actually I'm out right now.  Whoops.  I guess I'll pick some up while I'm getting tulips.  :)  When you can't brush your teeth, these are the next best thing.  Love them!

Hope you enjoyed the 2nd installment of Makeover Mondays!  Go out and let the brightness of your Monday shine!  xoxo

PS.  Don't forget your garment of praise.  ;)