Sunday, August 26, 2012

Digital Footprint

Despite my half-hearted efforts, my digital life just keeps expanding. Recently, I have added a new device and traded out another and I will be reviewing soon here on the blog.

What are they?


Yep, after deciding that the Kindle Fire was not a good device for me, I was surprised that I was willing to give this a chance. But it was so new and shiny and all the tech bloggers and podcasters were talking about it so I got sucked in too. I have no regrets and I’ll tell you why soon.


I was not so thrilled with my cell phone anymore and not so thrilled with my carrier anymore, so I decided both needed a refresh. I went in for the Galaxy Note but, even though T-Mobile has started selling the device, they haven’t actually stocked the stores in my area. I don’t know what that’s about. Anyway, I am now with T-Mobile and learning to use the Galaxy SIII. I’ve only had it a few days so I’m not going to be too quick to say anything, but I can say that I miss the user experience of the HTC product line. I have faith in HTC. I know they will bounce back. The question is, will this phone make me a loyal customer of Samsung?

Stay tuned to find out...

Friday, August 24, 2012

June Books

All books links provided (in the sidebar) are from Amazon where I am an affiliate, but please support the book seller of your choice. Sorry for the late reviews. My June wrapped up with me getting a new job and moving to the midwest! I still can’t believe it. More on that later. For now, I want to catch you up on the books I managed to finish before the life storm.

I am really enjoying the mind that is Joshilyn Jackson. She is such a great story teller and this book is no different. As with the previous book I read by Joshilyn, I listened to this title using my Audible account and, once again, the book was read by the author. The life lessons and thought provoking moments are well worth picking this book up. Just be aware that you will hear a southern woman speaking in your ear for a few weeks after listening (if you go the audio route). And that is definitely not a complaint.


This book took me by complete surprise. I was gifted this book by the publisher during a promotion with Goodreads. It took me a couple of chapters to get invested in the story, but once I got it I was hooked. This was such an interesting and beautiful love story with a great sci-fi edge. You would never look at that cover and think this story is supernatural, but it’s there. Apparently, this took a lot of readers and reader by surprise and unfortunately led to some pretty negative comments. I think it is very well written and very well laid out. Don’t read this when tired though because you will get a little lost. I highly recommend this book and would love to see it made into a sci-fi channel movie.


Anyone that knows me closely knows that getting prepared for marriage has been a struggle for me for a number of reasons. That is one of the reasons you will see a lot of marriage prep/marriage counseling type books in my read-stream. This title was the first one that I purchased over a year ago and I can say it helped more that any other book so far. Prayer is an important part of my life and it was important for me to learn when and how and to what extreme I need to be praying for my future husband. I know it seems like you should just pray and all would be okay-who needs a book for that??? Trust me when I say, you need this book. If you have taken pre-marital counseling then you understand how much there is to discuss that you didn’t think to discuss. Well, there are so many things that need to be prayed for that you just don’t think to cover. She even goes into the prayer you need when you have a partner (as I do) that will completely ignore everything when the football game, pre-show, after-show, next day commentary, etc. are on. Yes, she even covers that. More than anything, this booked helped me to refine some of my expectations and realize what I was being unreasonable about. The biggest change in my relationship came when my fiancĂ© asked what book I had just finished and I was about to give this title. He was so thrilled at that thought that I would be praying for him that he has become a little more easy to deal with in the difficult things. interesting, huh?


I picked this book up because it was written for people like me. I am a planner, a very detailed planner. Some would see this as worrying. I like to think of it as planning. When I’m honest with myself I do have to admit that my planning does go over into the realm of worrying, but you will never hear me admit it in public. ☺ This summer was an especially trying time as my unemployment was stretching much longer than I anticipated it to and the savings had run out and I was only surviving on help from family and prayers from everyone. This book came along at the perfect time to remind me that despite what is going on, I can still trust God. My troubles didn’t go away with the reading of this book but I can say I was a little more at peace and that kept me from starting my new job with an ulcer!


I can’t remember if Amazon brought this title to my attention or a friend did, but I am grateful either way. My grandmother and I have been talking a lot lately about how we have come to view our food in this country. We have gotten so accustomed to sweet potatoes being available all year round that we don’t know what the real growing season is anymore. We also have adopted so much convenience shopping and eating that we have lost some of our basic kitchen and homesteading skills. Short ebooks like this one are perfect for re-adjusting our lives and re-learning some of those skills. The author presents gardening, cooking, household cleaning/management, and financial in little monthly chunks. This is really a great way to get people on board who want to start eating better and living better without getting overwhelmed. I highy recommend this title. Look for a review on the other volumes/months soon.

Yep, another relationship book…I warned you! Years ago, I read Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book and was intrigues at how he thought about relationships. He was able to separate us not based on male and female but based on how we truly express love. That was a break through read for me so I was excited to follow that up by reading this title.I was disappointed. Apparently, everything you needed to know was in the 5 Love Languages book. He constantly refers back to it. He did go in to enough detail that this could be a stand alone book, but this didn’t offer anything beyond 5 Love Languages. So, I would suggest you read only one and honestly the 5 Love Languages is better written and more impactful.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hair Update

I am on the search for some new hair products. My allergies are killing me lately even with some products that I considered my favorites. I was sad to send my beloved Elasta QP Mango and Olive Oil Styling Cream home with my mom because the smell was just getting to me a little too much.

I have tried a few new items over the past few weeks, but right now I’m trying a new line by YouTuber, Shana. You can check her out here. What I really love is that all of her products are available in sample sizes! I ordered a handful of samples to try out.


What I have here are samples of her cleansing conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner (cream), leave-in conditioner (spray), a cream-gel styler, gel, buttercream, and a body cream. You can see all of the samples available by visiting her site.

I am going to finish out the week with these products before I give a review.

In the meantime…since my hair is getting to a good length now that hangs quite well, I am enjoying wearing braid-outs. They take longer to set and take down but I really love the results. I have not taken any pictures lately, but another YouTuber BlakIzBeautyful recently posted a braid-out tutorial video that is right in line with how I do my hair.

I do set my hair in sections smaller than hers so I can get a little more definition. The most important thing to remember in a braid-out is to allow enough time to dry. I am constantly waking up with damp hair so I have learned to set my hair with a little more gel. The gel lets me take the braids down and as long as I do minimum manipulation before it dries, my style is preserved.

I would love to hear from the naturals out there. What new products are you trying? And what styles are speaking to you right now?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Variations and Possibilities

I’ve been doing a lot of card making this summer and teaching a friend in the process. One of the things that people new to certain crafts face is not having enough supplies. You see these pretty examples in magazines and on blogs of cards and scrapbook pages that people are making and you think you have to have all this stuff. It becomes daunting to some people and they step away, putting it off till later.

I wanted to show the different variations that can be introduced to a project using a limited amount of materials.


I pulled 6 stamps from my collection that I would use for all the cards. Even though a couple of these stamps were purchased as part of a set, you could easily buy 4-6 individual stamps and accomplish the same result. Each of these cards has a different feel but they all relay the same sentiment.

Even thoughI made a set of each kind for a different recipient, it is important to remember that you can mix and match till your heart is content.


This may be my favorite. It is handmade paper that I background stamp with stars/dots stamp with a bronze Thank You on top. I added coordinated strips of paper embellished with a brad. This is a simple one page card on the back of which the message would be written.


This is a folding card with a separate piece of white card stock embellished on top. The stars/dots are stamped on the white card stock. The Thank You and flower embellishment are stamped in silver on a piece of vellum. The vellum is adhered to the white card stock with two eyelets. I made these in a varieties of colors. The inside of the card was kept blank.


This is a fun little set that I put together using a variety of tags that I had pre-punched in my stash. I layered two tags on the card, each in a different position. The top tag is stamped with the Thank You and flower embellishment. The inside of these cards is stamped with the internal sentiment stamp. The back of the card is stamped with the doves.I thought about adding a ribbon tie or element to the tags but I was concerned about adding too much bulk in the mailing. These are gifts and I don’t want to unnecessarily increase shipping costs for the receiver.


This is the more simplistic of the bunch. I kept the color pallet on the bland side which I like. These are made with scraps in varying shades of beige/ivory. The background square is stamped in grey and the Thank You in black. The eyelets just add a little more interest to the overall look. I also varied the eyelets that I used between three different metallic finishes that are in my stash. The inside of the card is stamped with the internal sentiment stamp. The back of the card is stamped with the doves.

I hope this gives you a good idea of the variation possible with just a few stamps and embellishments. Don’t let the plethora of stamps and supplies in the craft store stop you from trying.

Have fun!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Slow Down and Enjoy

I am one of those people that likes to feel useful and likes to be productive. Even when I’m not moving, I like to be constantly thinking through my schedule, my meal plans, my leisure time, my crafts, my life and making plans. I don’t enjoy excessive down time and I don’t enjoy work that keeps me busy but un-engaged. I don’t like feeling useless.

And this is exactly how I feel when starting a new job. There is always that amount of time that needs to pass while everyone tries to figure out if you really know the things you claimed on your resume. And you always have those situations where you have to be re-trained before you are allowed to perform the tasks you’ve been doing the last 11 years. I know! Training is necessary and I respect its place. But I want to rush through it all and become an active, productive member of the team.

I’m ready to show what I know and to prove that I really am worth six figures. I don’t know why I always think someone is in the background comparing my hourly rate to my production but I always do. Anyway, there are definite benefits to going into a new place and hitting the ground running, but there is also value in just taking a step back and observing.

The last three jobs I’ve had were a bit of a whirlwind. I learned a lot very quickly and I traveled a little too much for my taste, working crazy hours when needed so I was always showing my value in the most tangible and visible ways possible. My productivity was high but that came at a cost--I burned out quickly and often. When I mastered something, I was ready to move to the next thing. The enjoyment I once found in working and learning was fading more quickly with each new task that landed before me.

But my life is changing and my priorities are changing. I want to slow things down. I want to focus the passion I still have in my work and foster it into something new and exciting. I simply just want to slow down and enjoy what God has blessed me with.

There are so many changes coming at me all at once--new job, new city, selling my first home, getting married! I don’t want to rush through any of them. They all are bringing a certain amount of stress into my life, but they are also bringing me these incredible experiences that are blowing my mind. I want to savor each and every moment of this journey and show some gratitude for it all.

I am not one for making new year’s resolutions, but I am compelled to stop mid-year and resolve to slow down and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Hello my lovelies. Yes, I’m still here but productivity has not been my friend lately. I am in Kansas now. I’m not completely relocated, but I am here and working and trying to figure out what life will look like here until the future husband joins me next year.

I foolishly thought I would be one of those bloggers that would keep everything moving during the relocation, giving you all the details here and there. The summer heat waves and shaky WIFI kept me from getting much done. Now that I’m cooler and connected, it’s still taking some effort to get back up and moving.

Soon, my friends. Soon. In he meantime, I am trying to get back into the swing of things by working on the one knitting project that I brought with me.


This is the Jared Flood Inversion Cardigan and I am casting on the final piece. I have already stitched up and joined the first two pieces. Waiting until this thing was blocked just wasn’t in my DNA so I’m piecing and joining as I go. It really does look lovely and I can’t wait to wear it when the weather cools WAY DOWN.

Needless to say I have fallen a behind on my reading goals for the year, but I am very much still committed to meeting that goal. More on that soon. For now, I am sending some productivity mojo your way and hope that it serves you well in the coming weeks/months.