Friday, December 30, 2011

My Memories Giveaway WINNER!

The lucky winner of the My Memories digital software download and the $10 store credit is.....

And that makes the lucky winner...

You're going to love it! I'm off to send you an email!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My One Year Bloggerversary!

So, I started my blog one year ago today. My first post was mindless dribble about goals in 2011 or something, and my first follower was my friend Megan, who blogs at Miss Madison's Charmed Life. I'm not supposed to tell you that we've been friends for 15 years, cause that makes us sound old or whatever.

In that year, I've gained 804 more followers, "met" a ton of awesome bloggers online and even one in person (Hi Julie!), posted 210 posts, and had 135,139 page views in that year. 

My 5 most popular posts are...

My paint chip wall art...

My Crate & Barrel "Layla" knock off pillow...

 My Ballard Inspired spool...

My Restoration Hardware french animal art knock off...

And my frame necklace display...

Which tells me that apparently you guys like when I do crafts, and I do a ton of knock offs. 

My goals for this year are to be a better blogger (i.e. post more regularly, keep up with my Highs and Lows posts, post more comments, etc). Ya know, and do that whole "eat healthy/exercise" thang.

Thanks for following!!! You're a rock star. 


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our house to yours! The girls opened their new Christmas pajamas last night. This momma is up early, about to get started on breakfast pizza and monkey bread. My father in law flew in yesterday from St Louis, my parents will be here this morning at 7am. I'm so excited to see the girls faces. This year, Ava will be old enough (16.5 months old) to open presents, so I can't wait to see that. 

Merry Christmas! May Santa bring you everything you wanted! 



Friday, December 23, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight: Fabulously Flawed!!!

So, we all know that I think that Lesley from Fabulously Flawed is the cat's pajamas. The greatest thing since sliced bread. Like, she rocks my socks. 

If you aren't already following her blog, you are totally missing out. You'll find super awesome (and inexpensive!) crafts, photo challenges (which I suck at remembering), and other awesome things that will totally make you laugh your  butt off. 

If you're already following her blog, did you know that she has an Etsy shop? I love her etsy shop. It isn't the same crap that you'll find every where else. You don't have to worry that everyone else will be wearing the same thing, it's all one of a kind stuff. 

Fabulously Flawed

Now, this post was supposed to be about an awesome set of earrings that she sent me a few weeks ago. Silver dangly earrings with red stars. BUT, a certain 8 year old in my house has "borrowed" them, and now I can't find them anywhere in her disaster of a room. In her defense, she did say that they "look like rock star earrings", which means they were totally worth coveting.

So, luckily for you, I'm slightly obsessed with Lesley's jewelry, and I own a few pieces. One of the first pieces I bought was this Sapphire Forever necklace. 

I get SO MANY FREAKING compliments on this necklace when I wear it. I've worn it with a pretty black dress, and it even makes my $3 thrift store cardigan look super fancy. It's not heavy at all, but has a good, solid weight to it. I can't say enough things about this piece. I heart it. 

I also own another piece from her shop called the Jennifer Necklace. You know I had to buy something that was named after me, right?  

We all know how popular red and turquoise are. I love how this necklace feels like an updated, modern twist to grandma's pearls. 

So, if you don't think that Santa is bringing you everything you've asked for, why don't you treat yourself to something from Lesley's shop? 

You totally deserve to treat yourself. You've been good this year, right? 

Fabulously Flawed


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Slim Fast + New Flavors? Score.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Slim-Fast. All opinions are 100% mine.

I think weight management is something that's crossed every woman's mind. Whether you're actively dieting, or just trying to watch your calories, the holidays are always so much harder. All those yummy pies, going to people's houses for huge meals, food, food, and more food, and all those little calories sure add up.

I've tried Slim-Fast in the past, I always go for the chocolate flavor. Slim-Fast has come out with some new flavors in their shakes, which is super exciting. These shakes will wow your taste buds, provide up to 4 hours of hunger control and offer 10 grams of protein, five grams of fiber and 24 essential vitamins and minerals. All that makes it so much easier to stick to your weight loss goals. If that isn't awesome enough, check out the new flavors. Flavors available in the new Slim-Fast bottle include:

• Creamy Milk Chocolate
• French Vanilla
• Rich Chocolate Royale  (This is the one I want to try)
• Cappuccino Delight
• Strawberries N’ Cream


Slim-Fast also offers a 3-2-1 program to help you reach your goals. 3 snacks, 2 Slim Fast shakes/Meal Bars, 1 balanced meal. That's so easy to remember.

• 3 Snacks: Three nourishing snacks a day such as Slim-Fast 100-calorie snack bars, fruit, nuts or veggies
• Slim-Fast 100-calorie snack bars provide a delicious calorie-controlled snack to help curb sweet cravings between meals
• 2 Slim-Fast Shakes or Meal Bars per day: Slim-Fast shakes and meal bars are delicious and satisfying, providing the balanced nutrition of a meal and up to four hours of hunger control
• 1 Balanced Meal: Enjoy one balanced 500-calorie meal per day. As a rule, try to fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with whole grains

I love that you don't have to drive to a specialty store to pick up the shakes and bars. I mean, with 3 kids, making as few stops as possible is always a great thing. The new Slim-Fast shakes are available in the pharmacy sections of grocers and retailers nationwide, including Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway and Kroger and online at and the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 Store on Facebook.

Imagine how many calories you could save if you were on the 3-2-1 plan during the holidays? Tuck a meal replacement bar in your purse, and eat that instead of 14 pieces of pie.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Memories free digital download!

Did you enter my giveaway that's going on right now? Up for grabs is a My Memories Digital scrapbooking program, PLUS a $10 download from their online store!

My Memories is offering up free downloads, which I'll be sharing with you every Wednesday. The great thing is that are png files that can be used with any program, NOT just the My Memories program! How awesome is that? 

The freebie I'm sharing with you today is two quickpages (for those scrapbooking newbies like me, so we can just drop in a photo and it already looks fabulous) and it has a couple of background papers and elements to personalize your page! With Quick Pages, it's super easy to just layer your photos behind the page, add a little journaling, and voila! Ready for printing or saving for the web! 

Here is a quick one I whipped up for my dog, Titan. It's the picture that was on the shelter's website, it's this photo that suckered me in. 

If you'd like to download this for yourself (remember, you can use these with any program, like Photoshop), click on the pic below! This set comes with 5 page elements, 2 Quick Pages, and a couple of background papers. 

Don't forget, if you'd like to order the My Memories software, you can use the special code STMMMS68762 !

That code will give you a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the store - $20 value!

Don't forget to check back next Wednesday for a new freebie! 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Giveaway

So, I've tried scrapbooking a couple of times before. I buy all the pretty paper, all the stickers and embellishments, take the time to dig through all the bazillion pics I have on iPhoto, get those printed.... and then it all just gets shoved in a box and I never end up doing it. I just can't wrap my head around the concept of working for a few hours and spending $10-20 total, just to end up with ONE page for your scrapbook. 

So when My Memories offered to let me download their program, and gave me $10 to spend on their online store, I was honestly a bit hesitant. I mean, I suck at scrapbooking. I have scrapbooking stuff just taking up space and collecting dust. Would I be able to figure this out and do it justice? I went ahead and said yes. 

The program was really easy to figure out. It's easy enough to navigate your way through if you've never had editing program software knowledge. I'm pretty familiar with the Silhouette program, and very well versed in Photoshop, so I was able to figure out the My Memories Digital Scrapbooking program very easily. 

There are a TON of papers and embellishments that came with the program. Plus, their online store also has a TON of free stuff you can download. My Memories was nice enough to send me a $10 download code, so I had a lot of fun, browsing through their packages, trying to narrow down what I wanted to choose. 

It's easy to figure out. You first open a page, decide on your layout and size. 

Then it'll open up a blank page, and there the magic begins. You pick your paper, your embellishments, your photos, etc. Click on this next photo so you can view it larger, and see how much there is that you can do. One of the things I was most excited about was that it automatically pulled up fonts that I already have downloaded on my computer. Being married to a graphic designer = LOTSA fonts on my computer.

Since I'm scrapbookingly challenged, I decided to start with something super easy. The first page I did, I used a Quickpage. Basically, it's a page that is already designed, and you just drop in your photo.

Easy peasy, right? The second one I did, I used the Birthday Circus theme. It's far from the gorgeous layouts I've seen people do, but for my first attempt, I'm happy with it. 

I did one more, after browsing through some scrapbook images on Google. Looks like lots of layers are the way to go. 

Are you jealous that I've had the chance to play with this software? And of my free $10 download? Want a chance to win it for yourself? 

Required Entry:

Head on over to My Memories Suite and choose your favorite digital paper pack or layout. Then leave me one comment below, letting me know which one it is. 

Additional entries:

  • Followers of Life, Crafts and Whatever get a bonus entry! Please leave a comment below, letting me know you're an awesome follower. 
  • Follow LCW on facebook (+1)
  • Like My Memories on Facebook (+1) 
This giveaway ends Wednesday, December 28th at midnight CST!

Can't wait? Will you have some Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket? If you'd like to download the software now, use the code STMMMS68762 at checkout you'll automatically get $10 off AND another $10 to the My Memories store!! 
You'll also see me posting some FREE quick pages that My Memories is sending me, I'll do those every Wednesday, so be on the lookout for those!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

So, who's the lucky winner of the $15 credit to Fabulously Flawed?

I held a little giveaway last week, hosted by none other than the super amazing Lesley at Fabulously Flawed. And that winner is....

Technically the post will show that I had 84 entries, but one reader did all 5 entries in one post. So I added on the other 4 to the total, so 88. 

And that lucky winner is..

Farrah, I will have Lesley contact you! Have fun spending your $15!!!!!


Famous on Etsy? Sure, why not?

So, for those of you who actually read my blog (thank you!), you may have noticed that I've fallen off the face of Blogland. I had a few posts planned this week, and I still need to pick the winner of Lesley's giveaway, but I've been chained to my house and, well, Hobby Lobby and Joann's. 

On Thursday night, I got a notification that I was tagged in a FB status. I checked it out, and my friend Emily said...

Ummm, what? I don't follow Etsy on FB, so I had no idea. Clicking the link just took ya to my etsy shop, so Lover pulled up their FB page and twitter feed. 

Ummm, holy crap. That's me! Craziness, huh? And they posted the same thing on their FB. Did I mention that their twitter feed has 1.5 MILLION followers, and they have 573,000 followers on FB? 

So I'm totally stoked at this point. Seriously, teared up, felt like a rock star, the whole bit. I mean, people get so excited when their stuff makes it to the front page of Etsy, right? This was HUGE. 

And then the orders started rolling in. It honestly got to where I was afraid to check my email, since the orders were racking up faster than I could fathom. And while it doesn't look too overwhelming (yeah right), two of those orders were for 3 pillows, a handful of them were for 2 pillows, and one order was for 5 pillows. So, like 30 pillows. No joke.
Looks cool right? Anyone would be thrilled to have so many orders. But of course, I wasn't expecting a rush, so I didn't have much in stock as far as pillow forms and fabric. Of course, right?  Did I mention that it normally takes me 4-5 days to make and ship these? And 10 of the orders came with a note with "Would love to have this in time for Christmas!". 

So Thursday morning, I got up early, dropped Ava off at my mom's, and hit up Hobby Lobby. Which was completely out of the fabric that I use. Went to another, they were out too. Went to a 3rd one, they had 2 yards in stock. Finally hit up Joann's, and they had a huge bolt of it. Score! But they charge double what Hobby Lobby charges for it (Boo!). 

Basically, after all the running around, I didn't get home until noon. And then just started working on pillows. I finally had to tell hubby that I needed him to come home and help. He got home at 4:30, and we worked on these until 1:30 AM. I got 10 pillows ready to pack up (I worked on the "in time for Christmas please!" orders first). Those shipped yesterday, yay! My mom came over and helped me with a bunch of stuff, like sewing and stuffing them. She's actually on her way over right now, and we'll work on these all morning until I send hubby to the post office right before they close at noon. 

So I'm so thankful for these orders. I won't be tacky and say how much I profited, but even after having to buy the supplies and shipping, it was a very welcome (and needed, with Christmas and still trying to get our head above water due to all of Ava's surgeries) addition to our bank account. 

I'll be cranking these bad boys out all weekend, I want to get them all finished by Monday and ready to ship. 

If you need me, I'll be stuck in my house. :) You're welcome to come over and help. I have cookies.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Photo Challenge Monday

So, I'm a horrible bloggy buddy. My buddy Lesley told me about her photo challenge, and gave me plenty of notice to prep, and I totally spaced on doing it last week. Bad Jen! I totally blame it on Blogger/Google reader, her posts were getting eaten.

16. Animals

Since I already posted a pic of my dog when this challenge first started, I thought I'd go a different way on this one. We took the girls to the pond yesterday and fed the birds. Ava LOVED it. She kept clapping and pointing at them. Melted my little heart!

17. Memories

Now, one thing you won't catch me doing on this blog is bitching or trash talking my ex. Not my style, I think it's tacky. But you need a bit of back story to understand my complete and utter joy when I found these pics this morning. When I left my ex, it was in a rush, and I didn't get a chance to take any of the pictures of my girls with me (darn you, digital age when everything is on the computer!) and he's never emailed them to me. And now that we are on speaking terms, he told me that his computer crashed and he can't recover any pictures. :( So I have very few pictures of my oldest from ages 2.5 and under, and even less photos of my middle daughter from ages 1 and younger. So you can imagine my surprise this morning when I found these pics hidden in the recesses of my email! I had emailed them to my now husband when we were still just dating, and somehow still had them attached to the email when he replied. So grateful to have found these. So yes, I didn't take these this week, but I did find them, so that should count, right Lesley?

18. Something New

Okay, I know I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of a cookie party? My friend Megan hosted one on Saturday. You can go to her blog and read more about the party here, but basically you bake 4 dozen cookies, bring them, and everyone trades. Gives you a ton of homemade cookies, without all the work. Did I mention that I won the prestige of "Best Cookie", for looks and taste? You'll have to go to her blog and see what I made. Spend time looking around her blog, she does so much stuff, it's unbelievable. Furniture refinishing, painting, etc. Did I mention that we've been friends for 16 years? Yowzas. Yes, I'm a bit red in the pic. I may or may not have had 4 glasses of her cranberry margaritas. Oops. 

19. Best Friend. 

Sounds totally cliche, but it's my husband. Anyone who can take on my two kiddos, give me one more perfect one, and love me despite all my faults? Yeah, those are totally best friend qualities. Plus he's hot.

20. Seasonal. 

Our Christmas tree. Would you be able to guess that we have a toddler in the house?

Boom. Mission complete.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Teacher's gifts? Dipped pretzels, baby.

So, this year, I dig my kid's teachers. My middle daughter is in kindergarten, and her teacher was also her pre-K teacher. Super nice lady, I know Jasmin loves her. And Arielle's teacher? Anyone who can deal with my oldest daughter for 8 hours a day and not strangle her is an angel in my book. 

This year, I'm making dipped pretzels for their Christmas gifts. My bloggy buddy Julie at It's Sew Stinkin' Cute showed me how to make these. She said that at a bakery near her house, they sell these things for $1 a rod. Holy crap! I can make like, 30 of these for under $10.

Now, this is the lamest tutorial ever. Like, as in, no pics. I made some of these bad boys yesterday, and I had every intention to take pics. But it's impossible to take a pic and make these at the same time. So we're going to use our imaginations, mmmkay? 

Things you need

Pretzel rods, duh. But I didn't get the Snyder's ones. I'm totally cheap and went with the Walmart brand in the white bag. Tastes just as yummy, and they were around $2 a bag. 

TIP: take your time and go through the bags, find ones that don't have a ton of broken rods. Although hubby likes when the bag has broken rods, cause the gets those ones. 

Get ya some of these. I've seen these at Walmart in the cake decorating/party section, and I've seen them at Hobby Lobby too. The ones I'll picture at the end were made with red and white. The ones I'm making for teachers gifts are white with red and green drizzles. Ya know, for Christmas.

I know some people use almond bark for the white part. I looked up online about using white chocolate, but apparently it's tricky to use, like it doesn't melt or gets all goopy, so I didn't want to deal with that.

You will also need a bowl to melt the wafers in (I like using my big measuring cup), a spoon, some wax paper and a cookie sheet. 

The process

First step is take some of the wafers, place them in your bowl, and place it in the microwave. Nuke it for no longer than 30 seconds, stir it, nuke it for a few seconds more, stir it, and so on and so on until it's all melted and easy to stir. I like to add a splash of vegetable oil (NO water, it'll ruin the consistency) in the bowl to help it be more smooth. Don't just nuke it without checking and stirring it, it is possible to over cook these. 

Once those are all melted, place the pretzel rod in the bowl, take your spoon, and spoon the melted candy over your pretzel rods until they are mostly covered (leave a couple of inches on one end uncovered so you can hold it). When it's all covered, I like to shake it up and down to get some of the excess off (do this over the bowl, duh). Then place it on the wax paper, which you have laid on your cookie sheet. If you are going to do sprinkles, do it at this time before the candy has dried.

Keep repeating this until all of your pretzels are covered. To speed up the cooling process, place the cookie sheet in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. 

To do the drizzled colors, you just repeat the above process. But instead of spooning the mixture over the pretzels, I placed it in a ziplock bag, snipped the tip off of one of the corners, and squeezed it out over the pretzels. Bloggy buddy Julie uses a squeeze bottle for this part.

I did let the red candy harden before I did the green on the teacher's gifts, so the colors wouldn't mix.

And voila! It's all done. We made these for Ava's birthday party, and they flew off the plate. Let me know how they turn out if you make them!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas survey? Sure, why not!

I found this over at my girl LP's blog, A Crafty Southern Chick, and decided to play along!

1. egg nog or hot chocolate? I'm not a fan of egg nog, what the heck is in it? Hot chocolate if I had to pick one. But I can't even really enjoy it, because with each sip, all I can think about is the calories I'm drinking. So if I have to have it, I want it obnoxious. Whipped cream, marshmallows, chocolate syrup drizzled on top, with a peppermint stick to stir it all up with.

2. does santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped, always. Lover and I even have wrapping paper and special Santa tags that we use, and Lover always writes on the tags with a different handwriting. When I was a kid, I realized that Santa used the same paper as my parents, and had my dad's handwriting.

3. colored lights on tree/house or white? White. We don't do lights on the house, but I might string some along the walkways next year, since the girls keep begging. When hubby was growing up, one of his neighbors got hurt while putting lights on his house, so now I refuse to let Jake wander around up on the roof. And white lights on the tree. We have an all blue and silver theme on our tree, and our tree came pre-light with white lights. So pretty!

4. do you hang mistletoe? Nope. Do people do that anymore?

5. when do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving.

6. what is your favorite holiday dish? Stuffing. I love me some carbs!

7. favorite holiday memory as a child? The one that comes to mind first is this one. I had a toy poodle growing up named Sparkle, and I would always make sure to get him a present and wrap it up. One year he found his present under the tree, and would always lay down by it with his paw on it. Smart dog.

8. when and how did you learn the truth about santa? See question 2 above. I think I was about 6 or 7. Thanks Dad.

9. do you open a gift on christmas eve? My girls do. It's always new pajamas that they get to wear to bed that night. We got Ava the cutest penguin footie pajamas this year.

10. how do you decorate your christmas tree? We have a really tall tree, I think 8 feet? But I have hubby fold down the top few branches, cause when you put the star on there, there is a huge gap from all the decorations and the star. White lights, blue and silver ornaments, but none of the ornaments are lower than 3 feet. The joys of living with a toddler.

11. snow! love it or dread it? Dread it. I live in Texas, when we get an inch of snow, schools close, people spaz out, they throw sand all over the highways. I used to be stationed in Japan, and we would get over 300 inches of snow in the winter. Seriously, you'd have to go out and figure out which snow mound was your car, and then unbury it. And they wouldn't cancel work, they'd just do a 2 hour delay so you'd have time to dig out your car.

12. can you ice skate? Yes, I'm not super at it or anything though. I'm happy to remain upright.

13. do you remember your favorite gift? I would have to say my iPod. It's definitely my most used gift.

14. what's the most important thing about the holidays for you? My family, and making sure my kids have a great time.

15. what is your favorite holiday dessert? pecan pie! But apparently I say it wrong. I always call it "pee-can" instead of "pee-con". Even my Korean mother says "Oh my gosh, aren't you American? You're saying it wrong!"

16. what is your favorite holiday tradition? I love the ones that we do with the girls. Opening their new pajamas on Christmas Eve, making a big breakfast on Christmas morning. I love seeing things through their eyes.

17. what tops your tree? a glittery silver snowflake thing.

18. which do you prefer: giving or receiving? giving. I love finding that perfect gift for someone, something they wouldn't buy for themselves.

19. candy canes: yuck or yum? Eh. Those rainbow ones if I'm having them.

20. favorite christmas show? A Christmas Story. Love love love it. There is a house in our neighborhood that decorates their whole yard with that theme. Even has the kid in the yard with his tongue stuck to the post, the leg lamp in the window, it's awesome.

21. saddest christmas song? I'll Be Home for Christmas. Being away from loved ones would be so hard.

22. what is your favorite christmas song? Carol of the Bells by Trans Siberian Orchestra. Holy. Crap. I want to see them in concert.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Giveaway time! $15 credit to Fabulously Flawed!

So, for those of you who live under a rock and somehow don't know of the lovely lady named Lesley over at Fabulously Flawed, let me introduce you. 

Readers, meet Lesley. Lesley, meet my readers.

Now, I think Lesley is the neatest thing since sliced bread. I actually don't remember how her and I started being friends, but she's always there for me to vent to, from everything from kids to Blogland to everything in between. 

On her blog, you'll find link parties, super awesome crafts, great giveaways. It's one of the blogs that I religiously stalk. 

Now, this is where you should start getting excited. Lesley runs an adorable Etsy shop that I've bought a few things from. The packages come adorably wrapped, it's always a great day when I get a package from Lesley. 

Today, Lesley is offering my readers a $15 credit to her shop! Want to know what I would get? 

"Just Breathe charm necklace"
Isn't that adorable? I also want these. These would be a great stocking stuffer. Hint hint, Santa.

"Bent Spiral earrings"

So, you wanna know how you can enter? I'm going to make it all crazy and have TWO required entries. Please leave a separate comment for entry!

Required entry #1: Be a follower of my blog and tell me "I'm awesome cause I follow you!" 

Required entry #2: Be a follower of Lesley's blog. Trust me, if you like the crap I write, you'll fall head over heels for the stuff Lesley writes. Tell me "I follow Lesley's blog, she rocks my socks" 

Now, we all like extra entries, right? 

Follow me on FB (+1)

Follow Lesley on FB (+1)

Go to Lesley's etsy shop, tell me what you'd spend your credit on (+1)

There ya go! Giveaway ends next Tuesday Dec 13th at midnight! Contest open to Canada and the good ole US of A!