Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My 3 Favorite Lip Color Products

When it comes to lip color products, I'm extremely picky. I hate wearing any type of lipstick or gloss that looks cakey or feels sticky. And, I don't like the color to be glaring and bright. What I want is a product that wears like a balm, keeping my lips smooth and hydrated, while providing a lasting, sheer, natural-looking color.

Here are 3 lip color products that I love to use (all of which I purchased at my local drugstore or WalMart for under $10 each):

This gives me the perfect hint of sheer color (very sheer and natural looking)and really feels nice on my lips. It also contains SPF 15, which is a great benefit. Available in 8 shades.

 This balmy lip color contains mango and shea butter which makes my lips feel great. It's also a sheer wash of color, very lightweight, and contains SPF 15. It earned a 2011 Spring Makeup Award from The Oprah Magazine. Available in 15+ colors.

3). Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter
This one contains mango, shea, and coconut butter and boasts that it actually "boosts lip moisture by 156%". The gel formula provides sheer to medium color and shine. Available in 20 shades and it comes in such a pretty little case.

Do you have a favorite lip product that you would like to share?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blog Tour - The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

About the book:
To escape a scheme to marry her off to a dishonorable man, Margaret Macy flees London disguised as a housemaid. If she can remain unwed until her next birthday, she will receive an inheritance, and with it, sweet independence. But she never planned on actually working as a servant. And certainly not in the home of Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch--both former suitors.

As she fumbles through the first real work of her life, Margaret struggles to keep her identity secret when suspicions arise and prying eyes visit Fairbourne Hall. Can she avoid a trap meant to force her from hiding?

About Julie:
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit

Link to buy the book

Blog Tour Schedule

My Thoughts:
I'm a big fan of historical romance and this book was a real treat to read. Margaret Macy has only known a life of privilege and when she is suddenly forced to flee that life and disguise herself as a lowly housemaid it is quite an adjustment. I loved that much of the story was revealed from the servants world, or the "belowstairs" world. It's difficult to imagine how hard these people worked to keep the house running smoothly, all while keeping themselves behind the scenes and virtually unseen. I found myself laughing out loud as Margaret carried out her ruse and tried to fit in to this unfamiliar territory. Through her experience as a servant, Margaret begins to look at life differently and appreciate the dedication and hard work of those who attend to the privileged. There's also plenty of romance. The Upchurch brothers are completely different but both appealing - one a dashing, flirtatious charmer and the other, a somewhat hardened, but handsome, devout man. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall is a fun intriguing plot full of colorful characters.

Win a Kindle Fire and RSVP for FB party 3/15!

Enter Today and Save the Date-3/15!

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.

Enter via Twitter
Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook
Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!

Litfuse Publicity Group provided me with a free copy of this book to facilitate my review. They also provided information related to the book and giveaway to share in my blog post. Thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are 100% my own.


Monday, February 27, 2012

More Randomness

*Yet again, another cruise ship mishap. Reason #474 why I will never set foot on a cruise ship. And, why you could not pay me to travel to Mexico. Muy dangeroso!

*I went to the mall this weekend. Twice. Friday night we had to get our boys fitted for tuxes for a wedding this spring. And, on Sunday I went with my daughter for a little quality girl-time. I am super excited because I finally bought myself some new prescription sunglasses (it's been 10 years since my last pair, seriously!). And, I had been looking at this shirt on but ended up buying it at the brick & mortar for $6 less. I don't normally shop at Old Navy so I'm not familiar with their sizing. But, I was able to buy this shirt one size smaller than I normally wear. Woot woot! That's gotta make a girl feel good. Aaaand, I am totally in love with these adorable mini candles from Bath and Body Works. The peach bellini and coco lobo are my faves. So cute and yummy smelling!

*Another interesting thing we saw at the mall...Sugar Gliders. Have you heard of these little pocket-sized animals? I had not. There was a group set up in the center of the mall, showing off these creatures and telling you what good pets they make. Uhhhh, I guess they had really cute little faces but they were too rodent-y for me. I don't care for any of those kinds of things - hamsters, gerbils, mice - they all creep me out. But, these sugar gliders apparently like to hang out and snuggle up in your pocket (ewww!), are supposed to be good companions for the handicapped, and usually get along with most other pets. If I could get over the ickyness of having them in my pocket and running up and down my arms, then I guess I could maybe see the fascination with the little guys.

*My sweet dog, Emma, is having her 2nd surgery on Thursday. You may remember that she fell and injured both her back knees in late September. The right was surgically repaired at that time but we had to wait a few months to do the left (for her to recover and to save up the money for the 2nd surgery GAH!). We decided to have her hair cut really short prior to this surgery just to make things easier. She's going to be off her feet for a couple weeks and with her long skirts it would just be a matted mess. She's going to look pitiful! Wish us luck for her care and recovery.

*Gas is around $3.57 around here. Just curious, how much is it in your area?

*Something really, really huge and important happened to us this month....we totally paid off all our credit card debt!!! YAAY! It's been something that's been hanging over us for years and a major thorn in our side. My husband has been doing some extra contracting work over the past few months (working his bu** off - traveling, loooong hours, working outside in extreme conditions with brutal deadlines, etc.) which made it all possible. He is awesome! And, we are so thankful!

*We are going to Florida for vacation this summer. Something we haven't been able to do for several years. So, I am now scrambling to lose some weight before I have to put on a bathing suit. Scary! Interfering with my diet plans are those 8 boxes of Girl Scout cookies I ordered. How to keep myself from eating them?...hmmm

*What is the correct term for those little dots that I so love to know, those dots....right there? I can't help myself. Everything I say seems to require the pause of those little dots.

Your turn...tell me something random going on in your life right now.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Aloha Friday - The Box Office

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

What was the last movie you saw at the theater?

I went to the movies twice last week. I saw Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D with my family and then went with a girlfriend to see This Means War. Was a little disappointed in Star Wars (3D wasn't that impressive) but LOVED This Means War. It was so cute and funny - great for a girl's night out.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Why Is It That?...

There are some things that I've been wondering about lately.

Why is it that?...

1) some people are just so uncomfortably awkward to talk to on the telephone?

2) my kids could stay out of sight in their rooms for hours, playing XBox or watching tv, but the second I need to go use the bathroom, one of them is yelling for me?

3) I can never remember to take my shopping list to the grocery?

4) my 11 and 13 year old sons can be so smelly sometimes?

5) when I'm on Pinterest I feel super-stylish, crafty, and healthy then later realize that I'm not so much?

6) I have champagne taste and a beer budget?

7) I can only sleep curled up on my sides, thus causing premature wrinkling of my decollete area?

How about you? What have you been wondering about lately?


Friday, February 17, 2012

Aloha Friday - Two Words

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Tell me two words that describe your spouse or significant other. If you are single, tell me two words that describe yourself?


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

That Awkward Moment When You Get A Call From The Principal's Office

Today, my home phone rang and before I could get to it to answer, the machine picked up. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was from our son's school (Zachary, our youngest, he's in 5th grade). I immediately hear his counselor on the other end of the machine, leaving a message that she needs to talk to me about Zachary. From her tone, I could deduce that it wasn't an emergency. But, I got the sinking feeling that he probably did something bad at school. Oh great! While I'm trying to mentally prepare myself to return her call, my cell phone rings (which happened to be in my hand). It's the school calling.

Dreadfully, I answered the phone in my most chipper voice. It's the counselor and I figure I'm about to find out what kind of shenanigans my boy has been up to. She proceeds to tell me that he and another boy were talking very inappropriately during computer lab yesterday. She never really came out and told me exactly what they were saying. Only that it involved "lady parts" and that it wasn't nice at all. And that it apparently offended some of the other kids who happened to overhear. Oh great!

I'm now hanging my head in shame. Trying to maintain my chipper voice.

My kids are not perfect by any means. But, for the most part, they just do not get into trouble at school. Of all my kids, Zachary is probably the most talkative and mischievous. He can be a little rambunctious and loud. We've had issues recently with him saying bad things (i.e. "shut up" or "freakin" or "that sucks"). So, he has been admonished at home several times for this kind of thing.

While I listen to the counselor tell me the details of his punishment (he has to write an apology letter to the computer teacher and the kids who were "offended" and have study hall instead of recess for two weeks) I'm trying to tell myself that he's just a boy being a boy and it's not a big deal. But, actually, I'm mortified. I'm embarrassed to even have to have this conversation with his counselor (who I've known for years because she taught my other two boys when they were in 4th grade). I'm mad that he acted in this way when I know he's been taught better. I feel like I'm the one being scolded by the counselor and I feel about two feet tall. She wasn't rude or unkind, but still I feel ashamed that my child has acted in an ugly way that others found disturbing.

When the phone call ends, I immediately start the blame game....blaming myself. If only I didn't let him play so many video games, if only we went to church on a regular basis, if only I didn't let him spend so much time with the older boys, if only I wasn't so lenient with him because he's our baby, if...if...if... I'm just so mad at him and also at myself because I feel like I should've somehow done better.

Anyway, we decided that his punishment at home had to be pretty severe. When he came home from school, I shamed him quite a bit and let him know how disappointed we were with his behavior. He genuinely started crying and I felt bad (for just a second) because I know he was truly ashamed of himself. (By the way, my husband was working a 24 hour shift at the firehouse so we discussed this on the phone, but at home, I'm flying solo). After talking with him about the incident and letting him know our expectations, I laid down the sanctions he would have to face for his offense:

1) No video games or computer for one month
2) No fun outings or friends over for one month
3) Strict lights out bedtime at 9:00 pm for one month
4) Extra chores around the house
5) Extra study time at home (i.e. reviewing multiplication tables, reading, etc.)
6) Any deviation from the above punishments extend them for another month

Thanks for listening to me vent; I would love to hear your thoughts. Have you ever had times when your kids misbehaved at school? Were you able to take it in stride or did it leave you feeling as mortified as I'm feeling?


5 Reasons Why I Hate Valentine's Day

I know, I is Valentine's Day. It's supposed to be all about the love, and the hugs and kisses, and the flowers and chocolate, and the romance, blah blah blah. Well, I'm sorry, but I just don't buy into it...

1) In all of my 42 years, I can count on one finger the times I've received a special, surprise Valentine gift (it was roses). Never have gifts of chocolates or jewelry been bestowed upon me. Call me bitter.

2) I'm not a fan of the color red.

3) I think it's a load of crap to suddenly have a day to act all sappy-lovey-dovey. If you really feel that way, you should be sending flowers, having romantic dinners, reciting love sonnets and such on any given day of the year - not just on Valentine's Day.

4) When my kids were younger, I absolutely detested preparing Valentine cards for all their classmates. Thank goodness they are older and no longer have to do that. I have four kids all close in age - so that was a lot of cards to prepare (4 kids x 28 classmates = see what I'm sayin). And, creating the card collection shoebox was always such a chore (I'm not crafty at all!)

5) It's nothing but a commercial holiday. Money, money, money.

Now, having said all that, I'm not totally evil and un-loving, LOL! I did surprise each of my kids with little bags of Valentine goodies filled with candy, gift cards, money, and clothes (they're teenagers)-- yes, I contributed to the commercialization of the holiday. And, I might've tossed a few leftover mini York Peppermint Patties to my husband.

Valentine's Day. Done.

Seriously, I hope that my kids and spouse feel loved and special every single day. Not just on Valentine's Day. And, if you are one of those folks who happen to love and relish Valentine's Day, more power to you. This post was just tongue-in-cheek fun and these are just my little ol' opinions.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Some Random Things

**Whoo hoo! We just paid off my husband's truck. Now, we both have vehicles that are totally paid for. Feels really good. On another note, I now want to buy a new vehicle. A brand new Chevy Tahoe to be exact. (I want to but I won't)

**Has anyone watched the new show Doomsday Preppers on the NatGeo Channel? It introduces us to various Americans who are going to extreme measures in order to prepare for some type of catastrophic, end-of-days type of event. While these folks are definitely extreme and maybe even seem a little kooky, it really does make me think about how unprepared I am for any type of disaster. Between this show and all of the young-adult dystopian novels that I read, I now have the strong urge to run out and stock up on beef jerky, bottled water, and toilet paper. And, I think I should really learn how to start fire with sticks. And, buy a big knife. Seriously, it's an entertaining show...check it out.

**I just finished reading Fracture by Megan Miranda. I cannot find the words to tell you how much I loved this book. I was hooked from the very first page, bawling on page eleven, and so engrossed in the story that I couldn't put the book down until I finished. It's about a teenage girl, Delaney, who falls into an icy lake and is underwater for eleven minutes before her best-friend, Decker, (cute boy-next-door) is able to pull her out. She dies but somehow wakes up and comes "out of it" at the hospital. And, even though her scans show brain damage, she seems perfectly normal. But, she soon realizes that things may not be so normal when she begins to sense death and is drawn to people right before they are about to die. Gripping story with a really unique paranormal plot. I loved it!

**Did any of you watch either of the new shows Smash or The River? Just wondering what you thought? I thought they were both okay - I wasn't blown away but I will keep watching. I'm super excited that The Walking Dead comes back on this Sunday. And, it's not too much longer before HBO's The Game of Thrones is back for Season 2 (April 1). Yay!

**Do you have any special plans for Valentine's Day? I will get some goodies for the kids but otherwise, it's just another day around here.

Well, that's about all of the randomness I've got right now...enjoy your weekend!


Friday, February 10, 2012

Aloha Friday - Meeting Your Mate

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

Where or how did you meet your significant other? If you are single, tell me a trait you admire in someone of the opposite sex...

I met my husband in high school - I was in 11th grade, he was in 12th grade when we started dating. Coincidentally, years before when I was an 8th grader, his dad was my science teacher. My husband has an identical twin brother and I can remember his dad talking in class about his twins (who I didn't know at the time).


Thursday, February 9, 2012

(Guest Post) - February 9th is "Read in the Bathtub" Day

Linda Gilden, Director
CLASS Christian Writers

Take a Break
By Linda Gilden

I held the dripping book by one corner. Water poured from between its pages. How could that have happened? Until this moment I had never even gotten a cover wet.

For years the bathtub has provided my favorite literary getaway. Preparation for bath time means gathering the essentials: a glass of cold water, one towel for drying, a small one for drying hands occasionally, a flashlight, eyeglasses (a fairly recent addition to the list), and a good book.

You may not be a bathtub reader but finding a daily time for yourself is important and reading enhances that special, individual time. Making the effort to have personal time each day has great benefits.

1. Keeps you grounded. The best way to start every day is with a personal time of devotion. Making a connection with God when you first get up gives you a solid foundation for the day. This time may include Bible reading, your favorite devotional book, and a time of meditation and prayer.

2. Recharges your “batteries." We were not created to go and go and go. We need a break. Life is busy if not frantic for most of us and burnout lurks just around the corner. A few minutes away from the family, workplace, and the demands that go along with them gives you new strength, energy, and perspective to face your day.

3. Provides a time for enjoyment. Everyone needs to have a little fun every day. Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. So relaxing with a good book, whether in the bathtub, under a tree, or wrapped in a blanket in the recliner gives me a few minutes of enjoyment and entertainment.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Linda Gilden is an author, speaker, editor, and writing coach. She has written hundreds of articles as well as the Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, and has ghostwritten or contributed to over three dozen books. Directing the CLASS Christian Writers Conference in Abiquiu, NM, she encourages others to clearly communicate God’s love to the world. Linda lives in SC with her family – a great source of speaking and writing material!

In March, the CLASS website will release news of the 2012 Christian Writers Conference: Come meet Linda and the rest of the CLASS faculty there!

This guest content was provided free of charge by the author, sponsored by CLASSEMINARS, courtesy of KCW Communications.


Spring Trend - Mint Green

It looks like mint green is going to be a popular trend for spring fashion and accessories. I love the soft, feminine color (although I'm not sure I wear it well since I have light hair and pale skin). But, it sure is pretty!

Here's a set I put together via Polyvore...what do you think of this pastel hue?

Mint for Spring

$93 -

Skinny fit jeans
343 NOK -

Flat shoes
$32 -

FOSSIL stainless steel watch
$95 -

Dorothy Perkins rhinestone jewelry
$15 -

Diana Warner crystal dangle earrings
$95 -

Letter jewelry
$75 -

Friday, February 3, 2012

Aloha Friday - Just Do It Already

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

What is something you've been meaning to do for awhile, but just keep putting off?


Things That Are Good For The Soul

Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines soul as "a person's total self; the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life."  Most of us strive to exercise and eat healthy foods to keep our bodies in good condition. We read and study to keep our brains active and healthy. But, what about our souls? How do we feed our souls?

Here are some things that are good for my soul:

  • spotting a rainbow
  • laughing until I cry
  • hearing a child's laughter
  • having someone give me a hug
  • telling someone I love them
  • petting my dog
  • receiving a compliment from a stranger
  • watching the snowfall
  • seeing an elderly couple holding hands
  • listening to beautiful music
  • the scent of lavendar
  • remembering my dad's smile
  • saying prayers
  • holding a baby in my arms
  • spending time with my kids
  • staying up late to read a good book
  • sleeping in, tucked in a warm bed
  • thundershowers
  • connecting with a friend
  • coming up with a spectacular idea
What about you? Will you share some of the things that feed your soul?


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Am I The Only One Who Does This?

I'm reading a book. I come to a particularly exciting/scary/tense moment. I'm reading along with the words, but I'm so anxious to find out what happens that my eyes automatically jump to the end of the paragraph, prematurely revealing the outcome. Bummer! I didn't mean to skip ahead but I just couldn't stop myself. Now, I have to go back and re-read the entire paragraph.

Am I the only one who does this?


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

9 Reasons Why I'm Glad I'm A Girl

I'm not the girliest of girls, but I'm still 100% glad that I am a girl. Here's why:

1. I'm afraid of spiders, bugs, worms, snakes, or any type of creepy-crawly.

2. Farting and burping disgust me.

3. I like shiny, sparkly, pink things.

4. I tend to cry easily, especially over anything baby, animal, or old-people related.

5. I could not change a tire if my life depended on it.

6. I hate the taste of beer.

7. Anything "mechanical" turns me into a brain-dead dummy.

8. I will never understand football or even care to try.

9. My toenails must be painted. At all times.

*Obviously, this list is all in good fun. If any of these things offended you, as a female, I apologize. I'm strictly applying them to myself;o)