Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Paper Coterie review and giveaway

One of my favorite parts about doing product reviews and giveaways on my blog is having the opportunity to discover new products and new companies that I otherwise would not have known about. Paper Coterie is one of those companies!
I was contacted and offered the chance to try any of the products that Paper Coterie offers in exchange for a review on my blog. Paper Coterie offers beautiful cards and stationary that is personalized just for you.
From their website:
"Paper Coterie is a circle of friends who are passionate about documenting the beauty of life well lived. Whether it's in a photo book, guest book, journal, or one of our custom personalized books, we'll help you capture the memories you want to save and share. We've also expanded our line of exclusive Paper Coterie calendars to include personalized calendars, desktop calendars, and wall calendars that allow you to document some of your favorite memories from month to month. Want to document your growing child? Don't worry. We have that covered. Choose from one of our personalized growth charts, wall d├ęcor posters, baby books, and shower guest books.
Exclusive collections of birth announcements, birthday invitations, Valentine's Day cards, Mother's Day Cards, Father's Day cards, and shower invitations. Finally, don't forget to look at our customer personalized recipe cards and recipe card sets."

I immediately started browsing their site, and found several things I really liked.
(Side note: I'm a bad mom, and I don't scrapbook or keep a baby book for Isabelle)
Therefore, I really liked their selection of premade books where you could add your own text and photos. I decided to make the "Our Girl and the Little Elephant" book.
 It had a basic storyline that ran through the book, but you personalize it with your own photos, and some of your own text. It was really easy to make. You simply upload your photos, and drag and drop them to empty photo boxes. Paper Coterie even has editing tools included that you can use on their site. Likewise, for the text, all you had to do was click in the empty text box and start typing. Making the book took no time at all.

Likewise, the shipping was really quick as well. I received my book within days of submitting my order.

The book itself is really great quality. It's a hardcover book, which I like, and the page quality, picture clarity, and color quality is all fantastic. Right now, I'm not handing it off to my little Isabelle, but in a few years, I think she will LOVE it. It's full of pictures of her, fun little facts about her, sweet little poems about baby girls, and a sweet little story about all the possibilities she has in her life.

I would highly recommend Paper Coterie to all my friends. In addition to the book that I received for free, I also ordered an ABC book for Isabelle (again, full of pictures with Isabelle, but then also your basic A is for apple with a picture of an apple, B is for ball with a picture of a ball, etc) and a hardcover, personalized journal with lined pages for me. Again, very happy with the quality of those as well.

Paper Coterie wants to invite readers of loving the little things to experience their awesome products as well. TEN LUCKY READERS!! will be selected to win a promotional code worth $40 off of any order, plus free shipping, on their website! What an awesome, generous giveaway! 

To enter, please leave a comment on this post, sharing with me your favorite way to document all your precious memories. Do you scrapbook? Keep a journal? Blog? Keep photos in boxes?

Giveaway closes Friday, September 2 at 9:00 am CST.
Winner will be selected via random.org, announced on the blog, and notified by email on Friday, September 2. Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with the previously mentioned products as part of a promotional program with Paper Coterie and Mom Select. I received no compensation for my review, and my thoughts are entirely my own. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthday girl

Today my sweet little Isabelle is ONE and I could not love her more.




In just twelve short months, she has brought me immeasurable joy and happiness. She has the biggest smile, the sweetest disposition, and is the happiest baby I've ever met. God has blessed me beyond words with my two girls, and they are the greatest gifts I could ever imagine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lysol review and giveaway

I'm sort of a germaphobe.

Not in a crazy, detrimental to living a normal life kind of way, but in a I hate dirty, germy hands, and dirty, germy stuff kind of way.

My good friends at Lysol have all kinds of great products for fighting germs and keeping clean.
"Health matters. To all of us. That's why we've started the Lysol Mission for Health. With new mom programs, healthy habits initiatives in schools and disaster relief efforts, we are dedicated to doing more for health. Our mission is fueled by passion and backed by our expertise in killing germs. So when you use Lysol at home, you'll know you're a part of something bigger." from Lysol's Mission for Health.

Lysol recently sent me two of their products to review. I received a canister of their Complete Clean Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes (which they are famous for!) and their new Lysol Healthy Touch No-Touch Hand Soap System.

I've used disinfecting wipes for many many years, but if I'm being honest with you (which I always am!), I usually buy the generic brand. And nothing against generics, but goodness the Lysol wipes are SOOOO much better. The dual action part means that each side of the wipe has a different texture. One side is smooth, for your everyday wiping needs, and the other is rough and textured and made for scrubbing. I love the textured side! They are way more scrubby than your typical flimsy wipe. As always, these wipes kill 99% of all germs.

The no touch hand soap system was pretty cool too! Automatic things are pretty fun, and all you do is put your hands underneath the dispenser, and it squirts out some soap for you. Not touching the dispenser with dirty hands definitely cuts down on the spread of germs. The dispenser comes packaged with a container of soap that fits into the dispenser, and you're ready to go. Lysol even included batteries, which was a nice touch! My only complaint is the soap itself. Yes, it's anti-bacterial, which is the important part, but I'm really not a fan of the fresh cucumber smell. Luckily, Lysol makes four different kinds of soap for the no touch system, so I'll be trying a different scent next time.

My friends at Lysol want to help you fight germs in your house too! One lucky reader of loving the little things will receive the same products I received from Lysol - a canister of the dual action antibacterial wipes, and a no touch hand soap system. Speaking of which, you can also be friends with Lysol - go here to like Lysol on Facebook!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post! Tell me about your day, or what you'd like to do this weekend, or about the last book you read. Go ahead and leave a couple comments if you feel like it!

Giveaway closes Sunday, August 28 at 9:00 pm CST.
Winner will be selected via random.org, announced on the blog, and notified by email on Monday, August 29. Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with the previously mentioned products  from Lysol. I received no compensation for my review, and my thoughts are entirely my own. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A broken marriage

(I received several emails and messages from my blog friends, just out of the blue, saying they've been thinking about me, wondering if I'm okay, just wanting to check in and say hi. My blogging has been very sparse this summer, with several periods of inactivity, but this is the first occasion I've gotten concerned messages. It's interesting that that concern would occur now, at a time when it is warranted.)

I recently discovered that my husband has been engaged in a full-blown affair, for nearly the entire duration of our marriage. For all of the 16 months that we've been married, he has been in a relationship with another woman; a relationship that consisted of sex, and dates, and time together, and daily contact.

This discovery was devastating. It is still devastating. This is very much one of those situations that you hear about, and believe would never and could never happen to you. At the very least, I feel violated and betrayed by the one person that vowed to love me. I am angry, disgusted, sad, and a million other emotions I cannot name. I feel like my entire marriage has been a lie, and I am left with broken pieces, trying to figure out if they can be mended together, or if they are shattered beyond recognition.

I am trying so hard to trust in my Lord, knowing that "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Right now, I don't have a clear picture of God's purpose for my life, but I will "trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

I have several products that I need to review and giveaway, so I will not be entirely absent from my blog. You can expect to see those posts soon. If I feel that blogging would be beneficial or therapeutic, I will do so, and if I feel my world is far too depressing, then I will not.

If you feel the inclination to send a prayer my way, know that I appreciate it, and that your kindness means a lot to me.


(I am sharing this information not out of a desire for sympathy, judgement, attention, or condemnation. I am writing it because it is me, and my life, and I am far too good at keeping all my feelings locked up inside instead of dealing with them in a healthier manner. This post was more for me than it is for you.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I scream for ICE CREAM!

I interrupt my regularly scheduled posting (I was actually working on my next Disney World post, about Magic Kingdom) to alert you to some FABULOUS (new) ice creams you need to try. 
Blue Bunny Red Velvet Cake ice cream.  Red velvet cake flavored ice cream swirled with cheese cream icing flavored ice cream with little pieces of red velvet cake mixed in.
If you like red velvet cake, I'm pretty sure you'll need this ice cream in your life. Plus, it's pretty :)

Blue Bunny Triple Chocolate Cake ice cream. Chocolate ice cream with chocolate cake pieces and thick, rich fudge icing swirled in.
Definitely an ice cream for any chocolate lover out there! The fudge swirls are the best part!

Haagen Dazs Carmel Apple Pie ice cream. Apple ice cream and fresh apple swirled with caramel and pie crust pieces. Normally, I'd never buy this flavor, but lately I've been having a hard core craving for anything struesel-y, caramel-y or apple pie-ish. The apple ice cream is just a little bit odd, but it's still pretty good.

What's your favorite ice cream??

Monday, August 1, 2011

Soak up the Sun

What to do? What to do?

Option A:
The "oh-I've-been-so-busy-that's-why-I-haven't-posted" recap sort of post.

or Option B:
Just write as though I haven't AWOL from this little blog of mine.

Hmmm.....

Summertime has been full of typical summer activities. Lots of traveling. We've been to Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Florida. In this upcoming week, we'll be venturing to Kansas City one day, Oklahoma City another day, and then Colorado for a week. 
We've had one birthday party, celebrated my husband's, and another is in the planning stages for little miss Isabelle's big ONE.
In between all the traveling and partying, there's been lots of laundry, lots of reading, and lots of time outside. School starts in about three weeks, and we plan on squeezing in as much fun as we possibly can.

Life is good.

I'll be honest, though, I'm ready for fall. We've had temperatures in the 100s for the last two months, and while I usually LOVE the sun, I find myself in the shade much more often with my fair-skinned baby. It's almost miserably hot outside, and even just a few minutes leaves you uncomfortably hot and sweaty.

I'm ready for cooler days and the schedule and predictability of school days.

In the meantime, you can find me enjoying summertime, spending time with my family, and soaking up the sun.

Are you loving summer or cursing it??

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

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