Saturday, August 31, 2013

August Group Giveaway Day!!

Happy Labor Day weekend!!

Any special plans? I am not sure what I'll be doing today. I got church on sunday and then on monday, me and my mum will be heading to the mall to see what kind of good deals we can nab with special sales ya know! Oh, and in case you go to the store this weekend, here are a few coupons/codes for some of my favorite stores:

 A link to print out a coupon for JCPenney's. It's not a huge discount off if you don't have a jcp card (20% off if you do have one!), but 10% helps :)

If you favor Forever21, they are having an additional 50% off their sale priced items! Use code: LABORDAY to get that discount online!

Love bath & body works? Then go here for a spend $10 get one free item coupon (up to $14 value).

Like Downeast Basics? Get 40% off clearance items with code FAB40 or shop in store to avoid shipping fees.

Well, we've got some goodies to give away with special thanks to my UBER generous and sweet sponsors!! I haven't been that successful before (depends on you define success?) with group this is basically the first one in a loonnnnggg time and may just be the start of something beautiful! lol.

If you feel inclined, stop by Ileana's, Betsy's Or Alicia's blog and thank them for the giveaway. I mean, who doesn't like cool, free stuff!?

make sure to read the terms + conditions in the bottom of the rafflecopter widget!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, August 30, 2013

breaking free.

The end of August is drawing near and I feel a bit reflective. I've had a mild migraine since early this morning and took something for it and it's still here, gently nagging.

Remember when I talked about going to try to get a mammogram done and how I was experiencing pain on the side of boob, up near my armpit? Well, since that day is July, I put my game face on and I started cutting back on my caffeine intake, as suggested by one of the techs at the office. I first stopped drinking regular tea. I then switched to decaf instant coffee (realizing that there are still trace amounts of caffeine in that) within that week.
can i do this?!
Psalm 64:1, 5 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." + "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early."

In just two weeks of making those changes, the pain was gone! Wow, right!? About a month later, on August 8th, I decided to stop drinking coffee! Today marks day 23 of being coffee free! I FINALLY confronted my fear of this change as I realized that I was a coffee addict. It might sound funny, and it does make me laugh, but it was serious. I am not saying coffee is bad, in fact, it has antioxidants, but for me, it was a problem. It was my drug,"my own personal brand of heroin" (gosh, i sound like Edward in Twilight). I didn't want that addiction to control me. I wanted to break free and I did so with the help of Christ. Prayer helped and amazingly, this letting-go has been easier than I thought. [special thanks goes to A.L& K.L for the prayers & rolos] I was stronger than I thought, though I believed in myself that I could do this, as I had been mentally preparing for this day for months.

I looked forward to every.single.morning of one cup (sometimes 2) of home brewed coffee. Everytime I'd leave the house, I'd try to think of if there was a starbucks or coffee shop nearby so I could get a coffee contained frapp or iced drink. Believe me, I know where all the starbucks are within a 3 mile radius of my home!

Now, I still frequent starbucks often, but it's for coffee free drinks like their double chocolate chip frap or the strawberries and cream frap. I've made each of those my go-to drinks in my own way, like no extra chocolate sauce or whip and adding toffee nut flavor to the strawberry one.You may ask or think that I am replacing one addiction for another? Maybe. However, I find that I don't crave the above drinks like I had with the coffee ones.
Isaiah 64:8, "But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand."

Do I miss coffee? Hmm,yes, a bit, when I really think about it, but honestly don't think about it that much on a daily basis or I try not to think about it :) I now have replaced my morning fix with watered down orange juice, which I thoroughly enjoy. Positive changes, like this one, take a conscious daily effort. I am so thankful to have God on my side. As I draw strength from him, I draw nearer to him and all the good he has in store for me. I will continue to follow Jesus all the days of my life & forever. He is the potter who is molding me and holding me safely in the palm of his hand.

Gonna leave you with this beautiful song from a "new" duo I discovered two days ago, All Sons & Daughters. Enjoy.

Did you used to be a coffee addict? When did you stop drinking it? 
How did you break free from any addiction?

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

sunday style + current mani

In yesterday's post I mentioned the new maxi dress I got from Old Navy.

Well, today, the dress is revealed! Here are a couple photos of my outfit that I wore to church on sunday. You must think I am crazy for wearing a light cardigan of sorts over my dress IN AUGUST, but guys, it was chilly indoors with the A/C on. Since saturday, my part of Arizona has been cloudy and Sunday was for sure only in the low 90's for the high.

Once Paco & I got out of church, I took my cardi off, because it was just so lovely outside. But man oh man, how glad I am that I wore that and even my slippers to church because I was freezing inside the chapel! Yes, slippers. Call me granny. Oh well, I was pretty comfortable lol.

And for fun, I wanted to show you my current manicure, and by current, i mean that I haven't done my nails in about two months! I pretty much replicated the gel mani I got back in May. This time I used regular ol nail polish.

 yes I got some nicks in the polish! It never fails!

dress// oldnavy
cardi// target

Essie's marshmallow
Sally Hansen's complete salon manicure in golden rule #120

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Monday, August 26, 2013

weekend news + giveaway!

Hey everyone! How was your weekend?

I have alot of news to share, but first I'll leave you with a few pics from this weekend's shenanigans.

I did a little shopping with my pals James & C at Oldnavy, where I got a striped blue maxi dress on clearance for $19.99 {Wore it to church. Pics to come tomorrow.} It wasn't that great of a bargain (imo), but James and I went in together to spend $50 and get $15 off, so in reality, I got the dress & a pair of earrings for $20.  C got some really cute button up tops & jeans that she looks so cute in! After ON, we went to Barnes & Noble and browsed around. Of course, I made a stop at the starbucks cafe for a strawberries & cream with toffee nut frap! I ended up getting a cheerful looking journal for a friend's upcoming birthday. It's always nice to spend time with good friends.

I'm following the lead of Chelsee, who is like a mentor to me, and mention a couple cool people that I've "met" through some exchange programs. I signed up to be part of the Bigs & Littles Blogging Network created by Chelsee. I am a Big to Kelli, a mom of a toddler, who blogs at She Crab Soup. She is a book lover like me and is living a dream life living near the beach! I've enjoyed getting to know her through our lengthy emails we've exchanged so far!

I also signed up for the Post Exchange put together by JustJacq.

I love meeting new people, making friends and snail mail! I got paired up with Renee. Because of the quick timeline of getting acquainted and life happening, we will a be little late linking up for the Post Exchange post. Hopefully we make it! And guess what?! If you want to join in on the fun, sign-ups start today, August 26th, for the next round!! Check out this post for all of the details of the Post Exchange. Bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome! :)

If you want a chance at winning some ad space, gift cards and earrings, then you should know that I am participating in a great group giveaway on Penniless Socialite's blog! check it and or enter in the rafflecopter below!
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  a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

all about betsy

hey hey hey! happy weekend everyone! What are you up to?

I am excited for you all to meet Betsy on this wonderful saturday! She's cool and she's got a cool blog by the way of name, Musings of a Museum Fanatic. I mean, it's quite literally a perfect name for her blog. I just love it. I thought it would be fun to have a little Q & A with Betsy to get to know her better.

Without further ado...

 1. Because of your blog name (which i love btw), we know you are a museum fanatic. When did you become a museum fanatic? What is a dream museum you want to visit in your lifetime?
Visiting museums has always kinda been a thing in my family.  I can remember going to the Museum of Science and Industry when I was younger along with the Children's Museum allll the time when we lived  in Minnesota.  Hmmmmm I've actually kinda been to my big ones, the British Museum, the Louvre and Colonial Williamsburg but I'd really like to go back to all of them.  When I was on those trips I didn't get to spend as much time at them as I would have like to.   

2. I have to ask :) Did you enjoy the movies, Night at the Museum?
Of course!!!  When it came out I remember being like dang I wish I could sleepover at the museum and then my mom reminded me that I have done that before!  When I was in girl scouts we used to sleep over in the Bell Museum of Natural History.  I remember there was a huge cast of a bear track or something on the floor and I tripped over it one year on my way to the bathroom, it hurt a lot!

3. What are your fave treats or comfort foods?
Favorite treat is totally ice cream.  I also love Reese's.  Comfort food I'm a big pasta person. Probably my favorite comfort dish would be my Grandma's Mac & Cheese Casserole.  It is like the perfect "curl up on the couch I will eat the whole casserole dish myself thank you very much" food.
4. I see that you have a love of reading as well, what is a book you are currently reading or the last great book you read?
I'm actually reading three books right now.  The Happiness Project (had to return it so I'm waiting for it again haha), The Third Coast (interesting book about Chicago) and Do More Spend Less

5. Any fave quotes you'd like to share?
"Life moves pretty fast if you don't take the time to look around once and a while you might miss it."
"Strange things are afoot at the Circle-K"

6. top 3 movies you can watch over & over again?
Star Wars Trilogy
Anything Disney Princess (seriously I will watch them all)
Easy A 

7. I love hearing how a couple met. How did you meet your hubby? What's the best tip you could give on marriage that you've learned so far?
We actually met online.  It's kind of a funny story too.  This one is actually kinda hard, I took a while to sit and think about it.  I guess I would have to say it's ok to argue, we do it a lot about stupid stuff but it's more important that you both realize it's stupid and work to fix it together! We do a lot of that too and hugging it out!     

8. what is something random we wouldn't know about you by reading your blog?
I played the violin for 14 years

Wow! Isn't she so fun? Thanks Betsy! Can you take me with you when you visit the Louvre and British Museum!? lol. I love British things! And Ice cream?! Yes, please! My favorite is mint chocolate chip. Girl, if I had the physical book of The Happiness Project, I would totally pass it on to you, but I have it downloaded on my nook. I think sometimes we all get so wrapped up in the busyness of life, we forget that the little things and the simple things can make us truly happy.

Go stalk and find Betsy this weekend if you have spare time hangin out around the house :) She might become your new bloggy bff!

You can find her below at many social media sites:


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Friday, August 23, 2013

hometown glory

There is just so much going on. This week has been so busy. On Tuesday, James & I went to the dmv and waited for 45 minutes to find out that even our expedited ticket was not going to be called for at least 3 more hours! We decided to leave & go back next week, so I'm sure I'll blog about that!

Now, I am quite excited to share how my last sunday went. I got to go visit my hometowns and visit each of my parents, and a couple of my best friends's parents as well, with many special thanks to my friends James & Tessa who came along with me to help.

I rented a van for the day and the van itself was so nice, spacious and drove smooth. Plus, the tie downs to secure my wheelchair were top notch. Renting the van from this particular company was much more affordable than taking a taxi across town, one way being over $100!

We got a late start sunday morning, so we were behind schedule all day, making sure to fit in our four stops! I wish I had more time!

Also, not part of the plan, was picking up my cousin on the way to my mom's house, so that took a bit of extra time, but no problem at all as we were on our way! Just gotta roll with the punches! I haven't seen my cousin Izz in many years, at least 5! I was happy we were able to pick him. Oh the freedom with this van!

Once we made the long stretch out to the east valley, each of my family's stops are all in close distance to each other so it was easy to fit everyone in, but of course, time flew by!

Get ready for lots of photos!

1st visit-lunch at mom's house

awhh the babies love emme

Who's that? Oh that's my baby picture!

me & my pretty cousin visiting from back east

yogi loves nana now! ha ha

2nd visit-dad's house

james's new best friend

look at bogey's cute face

3rd visit-C's mom's house
special delivery for mama rosa

4th visit-dinner at paco's parent's house

i love this pic

and this one too.

I am so grateful that the day worked out with no problems. I am so grateful to my friends who came along, even to meet some people for the first time, stepping out of their comfort zones.

I am so grateful that I got to spend time with my family and got to see our dogs! Everyone that we visited, I have missed being at their homes. Yes, I love when they come to visit me at my home, but being there is different & cozy.

I can't wait for my next visiting adventure! It was such a blessed day.
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beauty Review: Almay liquid lip balm + MAC waterproof mascara

Hey Lovelies!
How's your week been so far?

I'm excited to share a review with you of a couple make-up items I recently bought and tried and am currently using.

The first being Almay's new color + care liquid lip balm in apricot pucker.

I wasn't sure how pigmented the color was going to be and so I was pleasantly surprised that it's not completely sheer. I think the color looks ok by itself on my lips, but I like the color better when applied on top of a light layer of pinkish lipstick.

See my dimensional lips here:

I swatched this lipgloss on the back of my arm for you to see:
I do like that this lip balm/gloss is not sticky like some lip products can be. When wearing this product, I felt like it did moisturize my lips since it did not dry them out. The applicator is somewhat spongey and soft and picks up enough color. On a scale of 5 stars I give it a 3.45.

The next item I purchased a couple weeks ago is from MAC.  I took advantage of MAC Cosmetics's free shipping online (which I believe is free shipping through the rest of August) and bought a couple items, one being a gift for one of my besties! The other item was for me, which was the Splashproof Lash Mascara in Blacksplash. It's a waterproof mascara.
The first day or two that I wore this mascara, I LOVED it! It didn't smudge on my lower lash line where I tend to have raccoon eyes within 3 hours of applying other mascara/s. I typically only add eyeliner and mascara on my upper lash line and lashes. It also didn't flake either. It was tougher to get off at night when i washed my face, but I don't mind using a cleansing cloth to remove the mascara.

The size of the wand is not huge and just the right size to me, making it easier for me to apply as I wiggle the wand across and up, really creating volume to my lashes.
not the best picture :/
 Now while the first couple days I LOVED this product, a couple days this week, i did notice some flaking below my eyes. Disappointing fact! :( I don't know if that's because of this specific type of waterproof formula, but problem can be solved with a light swipe of a q-tip or tissue. Because of the non-smudging factor, I rate this product a little high at 3.98 out 5 stars.

Have you tried either of these products? What is your favorite mascara? Do you have oily skin too, thus, having problems with mascara or eyeliner smudging under your eyes?
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