Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blog Hop With A Difference

Hello and good evening. I seem to be blogging more often these days, which isn't to say I have more time. Quite the opposite in fact. I'm two weeks from a full 18 credit semester in college and knee deep in various crafty projects that I've started. Speaking of the crafty projects, I am honored to be nominated by my good friend Cassandra Sloan at Moms Crafty Closet to be a part of the "Blog Hop With a Difference". I met Cassandra when we both were part of various craft groups at Cafemom and we stayed friends as we transitioned over to Facebook. Whatever is next in this great internet world of ours, I expect that Cassandra and I will be lifelong friends. Blog Hop With a Difference is a blog hop designed to give our community of crafters a network to meet other crafters, get to know something about our creative process, and possibly even pick up some inspiration along the lines. I, myself, get quite a bit of inspiration from my interactions with other crafters and I especially enjoy their ideas on organization since I am juggling quite a few interests in a small space.

The great thing about the crafting world in general is that we all seem to have our own style. I think this mostly comes about from picking and choosing ideas and inspirations from those we look up to and then creating our own style from that mixture. It's always good to have other crafters out there to keep you inspired. I've personally always loved Cassandra's use of colors and she is a great photographer. I confess that I envy the fantastic photos she gets (and it seems to come so easily to her).

On to the questions:

Question 1: What am I working on at the moment?
Well that's a loaded question. The easy answer is...everything. When I received the message from Cassandra, I was in the middle of sewing a minky baby blanket to give to a friend who is expecting her first child. I'm still working on that as well as some carding of fibers, spinning on my CS2 and my Kromski Symphony, dyeing new fibers, and learning different stitches in crochet. I've also got a couple of beading projects planned and I try to draw or sketch weekly as well. I enjoy coloring and I also write. I'm currently working on a couple of writing projects; one is about my life and the other is just a fantasy story. Basically, if there's a craft project out there, I want to try it! I cannot get enough of being creative.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others?
For starters, I'm definitely interested in many types of crafts and I actively pursue all of them. I am also extremely concerned with the feel of projects. For instance, my fabrics and yarns are always soft. I don't like working with anything that doesn't feel good close to my skin. My husband says that I have an eye for color that he rarely sees and it impresses him. I guess it really depends on which work you're talking about. I'm a perfectionist in all things, so that is definitely something you'll see throughout my projects. If I make a mistake, I start over. My sewing, fiber works, and beading tend to be extremely bright and colorful while my drawing and writing is rather dark most of the time. The thing about crafting is that there are always those out there that might have a similar style, but no one is exactly like anyone else unless they are working hard to copy. And most of us would rather have our own style.

Question 3: Why do I craft?
Well, out of necessity really. The world is so bright and vivid to me and I must express that somehow. Also, crafting offers me something that nothing else ever could, a sense of calm and relaxation that I've never been able to find anywhere else. It is both the expression and release of emotions for me, a cleansing of sorts. I am very passionate about the things that I create. I guess it's also my way of contributing beauty to the world.

Question 4: How does my creative process work?
I sort of touched on this in the previous question. Mostly my creative process is a direct result of how I am feeling in any given moment. It's an expression and a release of emotions for me, both light and dark. I say light and dark because I don't believe that there are "good" or "bad" emotions, just different ones. I'm also heavily inspired by nature and by the memory of my daughter.

Those were all the questions I was given. If you have more, I'm always happy to answer questions.

I am going to nominate Hannah Miller with EdventureGirl. I actually got to know Hannah's mother through her wonderful group on Facebook. Then I started following Hannah's blog and I have to say that she is one very inspiring girl. Her music is beautiful, she hand sews the most beautiful clothing, and she writes so very well and much beyond her years. It's always a pleasure to read her blog.

My second nomination goes to Natalie Redding with Namaste Farms. She is one of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of getting to know online and I'm so glad for it because she sincerely is a wealth of information for one of my favorite pasttimes, fiber arts. If it has to do with fiber arts, odds are Natalie knows about it. She runs a farm in California and she has regular podcasts which I highly recommend you watch.

Last, but certainly not least is my sister, Sharra. She is the owner/operator of Serendipity Handmade Boutique and she's just plain awesome. I might be biased a tad. You can visit her blog, Sharra Loving Life.

Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to visit forward and back on the hop to learn more about the crafting community! It's a small world out there, you might just already know someone!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Surf's Up!

I live in Montana, so obviously the surf is not literally up. I did, however, get a chance to experience some of the bold colors, fruity tastes, and refreshing scents of summer thanks to the Influenster Surf's Up Vox Box. If you'd like to see me unboxing the #SurfsUpVoxBox, you can go to my YouTube Channel and check it out here: Surf's Up!

I'll start with the Jamba Juice Smoothie Kits. These retail for $2.99-$3.49 each and come in a wide variety of flavors, including green smoothies. I'm a fruit smoothie junkie, so I went with Caribbean Passion and Strawberries Wild. One was free, the other was a coupon for $1.00 off. Looks good, doesn't it? It was. All I had to do was add a bit of apple juice and blend...that's it! Moments later I was sitting back enjoying a nice, cold smoothie. These smoothies contain fruit and yogurt, so they have one full serving of fruit and 100% of your daily vitamin C! They are also fat-free and gluten-free. You can check them out on their Facebook Page and then go try a smoothie and let me know what you think of it!

Next up is the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion. 2 oz retails for about $2.99 and 8 oz retails for about $8.99. This wonderful stuff contains both ribbons of gel and lotion to leave your skin feeling so refreshed after a day in the sun. The first thing I noticed about this stuff was the absolutely amazing scent! I felt like I had been transported to a wonderful island somewhere. It truly is amazing. The next thing...it's light. It's not like other lotions that make you feel icky or sticky. It goes on light and smooth. It truly is perfect for those warm summer days. You can visit their Facebook Page as well.

Next up is the First Aid Shot Therapy. It retails for $2.99. "FAST" is a liquid pain relief shot that you drink, kind of like those energy shots, only with pain relief. It is FDA compliant, so no worries there. I personally thought the flavor was a bit intense, but the pain relief was definitely there and it worked fast on my headache (which is what I ended up using it for). I was keeping it in my gym bag for that post workout pain relief, but used it before then. You can follow them on Facebook too.

Next up is SinfulColors Professional Nail Polish. You can find this at your local Walgreens for just $1.99. I received this lovely teal color complimentary, but there is a HUGE variety of colors to choose from, so there really is something to match any mood or any occasion. I love how bold this color is. Actually, I may have gotten slightly addicted and I went out and purchased a few (5) more colors for myself. I've been having fun changing them up every week. I'm sure I'll eventually have quite the collection. They've turned me into an addict, which is my only warning: These nail polishes are addictive! SinfulColors is formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP free. Plus, they never test on animals! You can follow their Facebook Page too for updates on new colors.


Last up, I received Covergirl's Bombshell Curvaceous by LashBlast Mascara. This retails for $9.49 - $11.99. This little package comes with TWO brushes and TWO formulas for volume, curl, and dramatic intensity...and it works! This mascara works just like a waterproof mascara for long lasting use, so be sure to use an oil-based makeup remover at the end of your day! I love the dramatic look of this mascara and it will definitely become a permanent part of my makeup bag. You can check out their Facebook Page for inspiration!

If you'd like to see more photos of the items in the #SurfsUpVoxBox, go check out my Pinterest Profile and look for the SurfsUp Board!

If you are interested in becoming an Influenster, leave me a comment or message me and I'll send you an invite!

Thanks for checking out the #SurfsUpVoxBox with me! Have a GREAT summer!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The TLC VoxBox from Influenster

You may or may not know that I am just one of many of the Moms of Influenster Nation. Influenster is a community of people, like myself, who live to give opinions of products and experiences. If you know me at all, you know I fit that profile to a T. Recently, I was invited to receive the #TLCVoxBox from Influenster and I happily accepted the invite. The box you see is what I received.
As you can see, there is a coupon at the very top of the box for one FREE Breyers® Gelato Indulgences™. Regular Price for this product is between $4.49 and $5.99 depending on the store and location. There are a total of four varieties of Gelato, and I highly recommend trying all of them. I personally chose to go for the Vanilla Caramel. It had a rich, creamy texture with plenty of luscious caramel swirled throughout and caramel crunchies on top. My husband and I enjoyed this after our children were in bed, only we didn't get caught like in the commercial!

The next thing in my VoxBox was the Neosporin® Neo to Go! This product normally retails for $4.97 - $7.50 depending on your location and where you are purchasing it. Neo To Go is a super convenient no touch, no sting spray that fits in your purse (or wherever you want to carry it) and is crush resistant unlike the tubes. You can use it one handed and, though it does say it has pain relief, I didn't find that to be my personal experience. Still, I like the piece of mind of having a spray to protect against infections while out and about exploring our great state of Montana. This is definitely part of our bug out bag now.










Next up is the traditional Ivory Bar Soap. This typically retails for about $3.99 for a 10-pack. You can't beat the price or the cleaning power of Ivory. I really like the fact that Ivory doesn't contain dyes or perfumes that can irritate your skin. There are some pretty cool things you can do with the Ivory (I saw one post about putting it in the microwave) but we just used it to get our two boys clean. If you have boys, you know that your soap has to have some serious cleaning power to cut through all the mud and grime they get into in a day! This even worked on my 11-year old, and he loved the fresh natural scent of the bar. He won't give it back.










Aside from the Gelato (which is kind of hard to beat really), my next favorite thing in the box was the Avon Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother which retails for $30.00. Now, I'm not admitting to having wrinkles here...let's not be silly. I'm only 21 (+ or - 17 years) and so I was skeptical about this product having any merit for me. However, I found that I can use it over my moisturizer or make up to create a more smooth look overall. It comes in a great little compact that I can store easily in my purse and the cream-to-powder feels silky smooth on my skin. I also love how light it is on my skin. Plus, if you visit Avon.com, you can receive 15% off your Anew purchase of $50 or more with the code Anew15. This offer code is only valid until 8/1/14, so get over there and get it while you can!


Influenster seems to have this uncanny habit of sending just what I need right when I need it, so I was so happy to open my TLC VoxBox and find Puffs To Go! These typically retail for about $0.49 for a single pack. They fit right in your purse and let me tell you, during this allergy season, they are AWESOME! By awesome I mean they are super soft and, of course, it's hard not to love some Puffs that I can stick in my purse rather than carrying around a huge box of tissues with me everywhere. Allergy season was kicking my rear, Puffs evened the odds a bit I think. Thanks!


Last, but not least, I received a Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card. It is a free loyalty program that helps you save money on fuel at Shell gas stations. I can't say too much about the program because we don't have Shell Gas Stations in this area, though the card does work at some local fishing outfitters. I haven't had a chance to use it there yet though because I haven't been fishing this year. If you have a Shell in your area, I'd recommend signing up though. With the cost of gasoline these days, every penny off is an extra penny in your pocket. And, for a limited time, new member can save 25 cents per gallon on their second fill up and 3 cents every time after! If you own a truck, that's a lot of money to save! So...go sign up and get to saving!

Keep coming back for more reviews and various other odds and ends I get around to posting. I know I'm not exactly timely with posts, but I'm working on it. Let me know if you've tried any of the products in the comments below and if so, what did you think of them? Also, if you're interested in an invite to  Influenster, hit me up in the comments and we'll chat about it.

If you want to stay up to date with Influenster, go like their Facebook Page at Facebook.com/Influenster and follow @InfluensterVox on Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received all of the above products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster. My opinions are my own and I was not paid to make any specific statements. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Walking into 2014: Being Present in the Moment

I actually had nothing planned to write for today. Then I came across a friend's blog post and I decided to answer her question: What does the new year look like from your place on the path?

You can see her blog post here: http://walkinitoff.com/walking-into-2014-on-the-odyssey-of-becoming/

I made a decision before the new year started to try to live in the moment and to experience each moment with all of my senses. So, when I read her blog post, I knew it was a great place to start. To really just sit in the moment and try to capture what I was hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, seeing, and feeling.

I spent 2013 doing a lot of soul searching and really fumbling around with who I was and what I wanted. It took the better part of a year to realize that who I am isn't this set in stone kind of idea. It's an ever-changing, adapting presence and I'm learning to be okay with that. What I want also changes, sometimes by the moment and sometimes by the day. I am constantly embellishing or removing parts of what I've planned based on the current needs and/or wants of me and my family. I'm okay with that now too.

So..what DOES the new year look like from my current place on the path? Well...

The New Year sounds like jeans rubbing across carpeting as my youngest son plays with our kitten. She is 12 pounds and not yet a year old, so her large feet thump loudly as she chases the stuffed mouse he dangles in front of her. The clicking of keys on a keyboard, mine and my husbands, as we both work toward a goal. Mine to bring in the New Year with a passion for the newness I feel. Him to offer some witty response to something he's seen on Imgur if I'm not mistaken. The clacking of the vent covers in the bathroom are the only indication I have of the windy conditions outside our door, which will remain closed except to run out to view fireworks later.
It smells like fresh winter air from the door being opened to see those fireworks, wool that I'm currently knitting into a scarf, and the ever present smell of coffee which makes me think of friends, conversations, and warmth.
It tastes like an organic banana, Dragon Eye Oolong Tea, and the occasional bit of milk chocolate with caramel. At the stroke of midnight, it tastes like moscato wine, sweet and tart at the same time.
It feels like soft yarns, comfy big blankets, fuzzy socks, and a warm mug of tea in my hands. It feels like the brush of my husband's lips across mine as we ring in the new year. It feels like the arms of my children wrapping around my neck in an embrace as they finally decide to go to bed.
It looks like the explosion of so many colors in a dark night sky as the neighborhood celebrates the coming of the new year with fireworks and the heat of the explosions cause trails of white smoke in the cold night. It looks like the big sky, even at night, Montana is so famous for.
I sense the hope and the expectations from my friends, my family, and even strangers. It surrounds me, that hope and those expectations, and I can't help but feel it too. I am happy now, where I am. And for once, I'm not looking at tomorrow, I'm here in this moment. This is my current place on my path.

I hope you'll read her post. It's poetic really. It also offers a really good start to the new year. A reflection on where you are now.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I really do hope it is wonderful and filled with realized hopes, met expectations,  and fulfilled goals.