Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Joys of Seeing my BFF of 28 Years!

Okay, lovely readers, I have to tell you about my Thursday.  I got to see my dear friend of 28 years in San Francisco!  We ate fantastic food, talked forever, and finally had a proper family meal that included our husbands!  (It was the first time these wonderful men finally met each other and spent time with the infamous pair of Suzanne & Kristi!)

My BFF of 28 years is also pregnant!  I got to see her beautiful baby bump, listen to her marvelous complaints and fears about being pregnant and impending motherhood.  We walked around the city, hung out in her hotel room with killer views, and generally appreciated having time together.

It was also incredibly special to me to be in San Francisco with her.  Growing up, every summer Kristi would sojourn to The Bay to see her daddy.  So, for about a month every summer, I would miss my best friend.  Getting to spend a day out here with her was truly spectacular!

See, Kristi and I met when I was 5 and she was 7.  My life has never been the same since.  She became my partner in crime, and the only one I knew who understand what it was having divorced parents in our small southern hometown.  Her mother was my 2nd mama, and taught me about playing outside barefoot, trying new food, and exploring the excitement of childhood.  I spent enough weekends at her grandmother's house in FL that the sunlight and the plants in her kitchen are an image forever burned into my dearest memories. 

St. Augustine, Mother-Daughter Beach Trip 1991

Kristi has been an amazing big sister, perfect best friend, and life long companion on the road of life.  My journey has been all the better for having her as a part of it.

Halloweens 1989 and 1992

Whether we were dancers & gypsies, Laurel & Hardy, or Michelle & Rachael (the girlfriends of Mikey & Ralph of the TMNT), we were inseparable when we were together.  Our imaginations ran wild, we shared our happiest moments, our deepest fears, and vented about life, in general.

New Years Celebration 2000 when the world didn't end

As we grew up, the two years between us turned our friendship into a slinky type yo-yo.  We went through so many of the same phases; some aligned and others did not.  But we have always had a deep connection: the kind that years only make stronger and more dear.

Kristi's Mom surprised Kristi by bringing me to her college graduation, 2003

I have always been impressed with this woman's ability to grow personally.  She has always maintained her own moral compass while allowing it to be informed by her life experiences.  She has walked through life seeking to love, nurture, and support those around her.  She has learned to care for herself, and love herself.  I am ridiculously lucky to call her friend.  And her daughter will be so blessed to get to call her mommy!

 Kristi and I at my wedding reception in 2008

There's something magical about being in a space with someone who knows you so intimately.  Kristi knows what it was to grow up in Valdosta, go to the schools I attended, march in the marching band I marched in, attend the church I grew up in, and be someone who never quite fit.  And I know the same for her.

 Kristi and I at her wedding in 2011 (I just now realized that our bridesmaids dresses were basically the same shade of blue . . . )

It is amazing to me how much I have changed and grown, and yet, how much I have stayed the same all these years.  Its as if the 5 year-old version of me and the 32 year-old version of me are exactly the same, and all those years in between were about wandering away and coming back to myself.  

The two of us, San Francisco CA 2015!

But one thing I know will always stay the same is my precious relationship with this truly impressive woman, and I am all the more happy about my future knowing this little fact.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lovely Lemon Oil! Perfect for DIY!

I am having so much learning all about essential oils and what I can do with them!  I can't wait to share more posts with DIY tips!

But first, I need to introduce the company that really got me hooked: Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals!
Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals is based in California.  Their focus is on creating the highest quality botanicals, including essential oils, carrier oils, clays, toners, and serums.

I thoroughly enjoyed the quality and usefulness of Majestic Pure's Peppermint Oil earlier this month!  So, I was very excited about reviewing their Lemon Oil to compliment it!

This 100% Pure & Natural, Therapeutic Grade Lemon Oil has a pleasant aroma that will fill a room, making it perfect for aromatherapy!

I found a great DIY tutorial for a homemade diffuser recipe!  This blogger calls for Mineral Oil, Vodka, Essential Oil, Glass Jar & Reeds.  I substituted rubbing alcohol for the vodka, as other bloggers suggested, and it works wonderfully!  I'm very anxious while working on my comprehensive exams, and this light scent in the apartment helps me feel calm & focused.
Lemon Oil has several other uses as well!  I'm always impressed what I find when I search for blog posts on essential oil uses.  They seem to be limitless in their abilities to be amazing!

For example, I added some to my shampoo one morning when my hair felt especially gross to cut the grease and product build-up.  Worked like a charm!
Lemon Oil also works wonders as a cleaning agent!

 A tip from one of my DIY friends was to add a few drops to Baking Soda + Dish Soap to make your own bathroom scrub.  It worked really well!

You can find Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals' 100% Pure & Natural Lemon Oil on Amazon for $14.95 for 4 fl oz!  After doing some hunting online, I'll say that I think this is a very generous amount for such a great price!

Verdict: Yay!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals.  Products were provided in exchange for my time in assessing their quality and writing an honest review about them. All product information is gleaned from the manufacturer's product description.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences with the product.  All photos are my own. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sweet Scentbird ~ January!

I really am a huge fan of Scentbird!  This month I received Gucci's Guilty Intense.  Its very different from something I would normally purchase for myself, but I really like it!

The main notes are: Pink Pepper, Lilac, Amber, Mandarin Orange, and Patchouli.

Scentbird categorizes this scent with the following labels: Sexy, Party, Sweet!

For $14.95, Scentbird sends you a new designer fragrance every month, and your selection is completely customizable!  They have a fantastic survey that helps them make the best suggestions for you, but you are not limited to those options only! 

To try it for yourself, I'd love it if you used my referral link

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tasty Treats + Pleased Puppy = Happy Home!

Hi! My name is Barley, and I am so excited to be publishing my debut doggy product review!

I wasn't too sure about lying next to this tub of treats, but my person was extremely persuasive.  And those treats are really tasty, so eventually I gave in.

Steward Pro-Treat sent me this huge tub of 100% Pure Pork Liver Treats for Dogs for me to taste and review on my person's blog.

My three favorite things are cuddles, walks, and FOOD!  I really enjoy my tasty dog food.  But what gets me really excited are great tasting treats!  I love it when my humans use treats for training, trick shows, and to reward me for going on good walks . . . you know, those times when I don't chase the neighborhood cats, skate boarders, or motorcycles! 

My favorite thing about these treats is that they are delicious and easy to eat!  I also like that there are no grains in these treats, since grains make me itchy.  I am excited that the package is so big!  It means I'll enjoy these treats for a while!

My humans' favorite things about Stewart Pro-Treat is that they have no additives or preservatives.  Plus, they are rich in protein, which makes me feel great!

You can find these wonderful treats on Amazon (affiliate link) for $19 for a generous 12 oz!

Puppy's Verdict: A Tail Wagging Beg!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by Steward Pro-Treat.  Products were provided in exchange for my time in assessing their quality and writing an honest review about them. All product information is gleaned from the manufacturer's product description.  All opinions are my own based on my experiences with the product.  All photos are my own. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jammin' with Jamberry Nails!

In the blogging world, its all about connections, right?  

Well, I was thrilled when one of my hall-mates from college reached out to me to do a review of Jamberry.  She is a fantastic Jamberry Consultant, and I couldn't wait to test and review Jamberry Nail Wraps!

Special thanks to Frances Barna for sponsoring this review!

Frances sent me this totally fantastic nail set to review!  Everything we need to do our nails is included in this beautiful bag!  So, let's get to it!

To start, we clean off our nails with the alcohol prep pad.  This will help ensure that our nail wraps stay in place!

Next, select the nail wrap that best fits the cuticle line and width of the nail.  Before applying to the nail, make sure you warm up the nail wrap using your hair dryer - that particular shot was beyond my ability during this project! :-) 

Once its in place, press firmly on the nail wrap.

Then, trim the wrap to the length of the nail.

Using the cuticle stick, smooth out the nail wrap onto the nail.  This will help ensure that the nail wrap bonds with your entire nail.

Finally, file down the nail wrap along the nail's edge using a nail file.

Repeat these steps for each nail, and then, All Done!!

My favorite things about Jamberry!

1. They are really easy to apply!  Its nearly impossible to really mess these little babies up, which is fantastic!
2. No smell!  Hubby usually comments on the smell of the nail polish/ remover from the moment he walks in the door.

3. No mess!  I didn't have to worry about spilling nail polish or remover.  I didn't have to worry about smudging my new nail-do on something.

4. Easily Interruptible!  While I don't have kids, I can imagine that Jamberry is perfect for mothers.  I could stop after any particular nail and take care of whatever was going on at home without fear of the dangers of wet nails!

5. They're beautiful!  I love all of the designs!  They're versatile, beautiful, and low maintenance for a truly fantastic look!

6. They last a long time!  These nail wraps lasted me 7 days before I really needed to change them.  I didn't alter my cleaning, typing, dog walking routine, and they endured all of it without chipping!

7. One sheet stretches very far, see!

Verdict: Yippee!  Yay!

If you are interested in exploring Jamberry for yourself, I highly recommend working with Frances.  You can also connect with her on Facebook.  She's responsible, fun, and generally wonderful woman!

Right now, her site has a fantastic Buy 3, Get 1 Free Deal!

PLUS, for all of you subscription addicts out there, Jamberry now has a monthly Stylebox that I know you'll love!