Saturday, February 28, 2015

February's Freebies! How I Scored Them & You Can Too!

Okay, now all you wonderful ladies & gents who follow me know how much I LOVE a freebie!  Well, here are all the freebies or almost-freebies I scored for the month of February and how I did it! 


Fun Stuff to Read:

The magazine subscriptions are still going strong!  Make sure to check out Hip2Save on a daily basis to score these bad boys.  Subscriptions go really quickly on this site!  They also find plenty of other exciting giveaways, so check this one for daily finds!


Can I just say how important it is to enter giveaways?

I don't even know how I won this lovely book that I've been coveting!  It seriously just showed up in the mail one day!  No. Joke. 

Beauty Products!

So excited to try out GlamGlow's newest product! I love being on company mailing lists; I actually have an entirely separate email account just for this purpose.  Since I'm on GlamGlow's mailing list, they sent me the information to request this free sample!

These two little get clean goodies were courtesy of GetItFree.  Thrilled to try out Nivea's new body wash plus score a coupon!  Hubby got a free full-size deodorant from Dove, which is awesome!

Sometimes freebies come in the form of coupons!  I got a BOGO coupon in my sunday paper for purchase of one Revlon Mascara and get one eyeliner free.  Yep!  Cashed that bad boy in for goodies for an upcoming giveaway! 

I mentioned the importance of mailing lists right?  I am a huge fan of being on BeautyJunkees mailing list.  (Hang around on their site long enough and a pop offer to join will show up!) They recently sent out a promo code that allowed me to get one mini-kabuki brush (regularly $18) of my choice for $1.95!  Pretty good!  

Love Harvey Prince!  I'm following them on Facebook, and recently joined their mailing list (sound familiar?!).  So, when they advertised another free fragrance, for which I only paid s&h of $8.99, I was pretty excited.  I threw in the samples for $3!  WOOT!


Totally love some free tea!  Scored this free sample of tea from Twinings from GetItFree.

Vitamins are so important, and I'm so excited that there are chewy vitamins for grown-ups now!  I got this free sample + coupon from!

So, there you go!  All my freebies this month, and where I found them!  Good luck in March and happy hunting!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday #DIY! Reviews + Minty Lemon Sugar Scrub!

I'm really excited about to share with you that one of my very favorite brands, InstaNatural, is launching a new line of Essential Oils!!

Product Descriptions:

Lemon Essential Oilextracted from the rinds of lemon, which lends its fresh citrus fragrance. This cold-pressed oil has a strong bright scent that is both refreshing and uplifting. Its astringent and purifying properties also make it a great aid to help cleanse and tone the skin, while delivering a boost of Vitamin C antioxidant benefits.

Peppermint Essential Oila multi-purpose oil that cools, energizes and refreshes the body and mind. This steam-distilled oil is extracted from dried or fresh leaves from the Mentha Piperita herb, giving it a sharp, menthol fragrance. Its pleasantly sweet and minty aroma makes it a premium choice for aromatherapy to improve the mind and lift the spirits.

- These essential oils are 100% Pure Cold Pressed!

What I love about InstaNatural's Essential Oils:

- High quality Essential Oils

- Wonderful aroma!

- Fantastic for DIY Projects

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I am also really excited about GoPure Naturals' 100% Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil & Massage Oil!  I have recently become very excited about essential oils, and many projects using essential oils require carrier oils.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to utilize and review this coconut carrier oil today!

Product Description:

- Premium Grade (Grade A)

- Lightweight emollient that smooths and hydrates without clogging pores or causing breakouts.  Never sticky or greasy.

- Highly Cost Effective, because it does not go rancid!  Plus, it works well with other carrier oils!

- Great for #DIY projects at home: soaps, lotions, hair care, ointments, etc.

What I love about GoPure Naturals' Coconut Oil:

- Very affordable at $15.95 for 16 fl oz!

- Feels great on my skin!

- PERFECT for use with essential oils!

- The bottle is attractive with a lid that makes dispensing the product easy and mess-free!

- It has no smell.  So, if you don't like the smell of coconut like me, this should be a great coconut oil for you!

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How I Use InstaNatural's Peppermint and Lemon Essential Oils with GoPure Naturals' Coconut Oil:

Make A Minty Lemon Sugar Scrub!

What You'll Need:

- Jar (Container with a twist top or a glass jar.  I repurposed an empty, clean body butter jar.)

- White Granulated Sugar (1 1/4 cups)

- Coconut Oil (1/2 cup): I used Coconot Oil from goPure Naturals

- Peppermint & Lemon Essential Oils (10-12 drops of each): I used Essential Oils from InstaNaturals 


In a bowl, mix together sugar and coconut oil.  Then add drops of Lemon and Peppermint Essential Oils.  Put the mixture into your container.  If you're giving this as a gift, one batch will fill a few small containers.

Finally, I added a label to my container with permanent marker and allowed the writing to dry completely.

Verdict: Yay!

I love how these ingredients mix well and easily.  The scrub gently sloughs off dead skin while leaving skin feeling fresh, clean, and moisturized.  Even hubby enjoys this one for his hands!  I'm thrilled with the idea of making presents of this in the future.  

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Easy Links to Amazon for all products used in this #DIY Friday project (affiliate links):


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by InstaNatural and GoPure Naturals.  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. 

Todays Reason to Smile: Articles about Loving Your Body!

Within the past week, I came across two different articles that really spoke to my heart, and I want to share them with you!

Being Thin Didn't Make Me Happy, But Being "Fat" Does
Contributed by Joni Edelman I 02.18.15 1:37am

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love My 185-Pound Body
by Nikki Gloudeman | 02.17.15 2:14am

I am thankful that there are more women writing about loving themselves, and their bodies, in ways that are not connected to the number of calories, the number on our jeans, the number on our bras.  I appreciate the central message of both of these articles: happiness is not inherently linked to a smaller waist size.

Now, until recently I've always been thin.  Of course I have had my issues with body images, they are not the same as the women in the stories above.  In college, I was the designated "skinny friend" who always sat in the b*tch seat (you know, the middle seat of the back!)  I have usually listened to my body about its wants and needs.  Although I have struggled with emotional eating in the past few months, I am cognizant of my habits.  I have a skinny-girl attitude loving my more curvy body.  

That said, I find compelling stories of women who are learning to accept themselves.  For me, part of self-acceptance is loving our bodies.  That doesn't mean we don't want them to be healthier; it means we love them where they are right now.  Why can't we love our bodies into health rather than shaming them into health?

*     *     *     *     *

I recently went to a hosted meal at a restaurant for a team meeting of a start-up organization for which I have been asked to serve as a consultant.  

The host is an extremely health conscious gentleman.  Sitting next to him, with his veggie burger and water, I struggled to feel comfortable ordering the coconut shrimp with sweet & spicy sauce that I had been craving for days.  I noticed that I even had to make the excuse for ordering this amazing fried, sweet, deliciousness: "I just love food too much."  

I was not alone; a woman across the table commented on the fact that the restaurant serves wonderful milkshakes.  She then decided that she "really shouldn't" order one.  Another woman and I both asked, "Why not?"  Of course, we already knew the answer: a milkshake does not equal thin.

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I think that part of the reason I resonate with body-affirming, curve-loving stories from women is that they fight against the never-ending barrage of body shaming images, words, expectations, attitudes, and other social cues that we all face on a weekly, daily, hourly basis.

For the first time since I was 23, I am happy with my body.  I am happy with my wardrobe.  I am enjoying these new-found curves!  Yes, I realize that I need to take care of my body.  But I also need to take care of the rest of me - I am more than numbers.  

I wish that our conversations about weight, size, and health could be more about what we want and less about what we should.  As long as we allow ourselves to use the "I shouldn't" motto, we don't really allow ourselves the opportunity to consider what we truly desire.

If I really desire those crunchy sweet bites of delectable shrimp, then by golly, I'm going to order them!  But, maybe, what I truly desire is just something sweet!  Something sweet doesn't have to be fried.  It could be fruit!  If I'm so caught up with telling myself I shouldn't order the coconut shrimp, its harder to stop and ask myself, why do I want that?  Asking myself the question, allows a wider exploration of my own desires.

Now, I'm not talking about attending a therapy session to decide what you want to eat at a restaurant.  All of this can happen internally in a matter of moments.  Its just about taking the time and being self-aware!

I wonder what would happen for our health and our ability to love ourselves if it started with listening to what we actually desire?

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So, today's reason to smile: We are all beautiful, and we all can be happy with ourselves.  It doesn't have to be in the same way!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Life-Proof Wine Glasses from Ramini Brands!

I love entertaining!  My favorite moments in life are filled with good people, good food, and good wine!

So, I was very excited about the opportunity to review these silicone glasses from Ramini Brands!

The glasses arrive in this darling package accompanied with very helpful product cards!

Product Description

Cleaning and Usage Tips:

What I Love about Ramini Brands Silicone Glasses:

- They do not break

- They store easily

- Perfect for camping, glamping, or hanging out on the back patio

- These glasses can survive your most clumsy guest!  (your carpet on the other hand . . . )

- Dishwasher safe

- FUN!!

When Ramini Brands invited me to review their Silicone Wine Glasses, I knew that this would be the perfect moment to experiment on my weekly gaming group!  In the interest of fun and a real-life testing group, I hauled these bad boys with me last week!

I brought the glasses, and they brought the wine!

Well, if you take squishy silicone wine glasses to a gaming night with all the guys, what happens?

Well, first, the silicone glasses become the subject of experiments: when paired with espresso cups, they look like light bulbs.

After a few glasses of vino, they start being called "Wine Boobies," and examined with great curiosity . . . and a little confusion.

But, the final verdict is that these glasses are great fun!  They're impossible to break, which is perfect for camping, patio events, and having wine with that one friend who always breaks your glasses!

You can find Ramini Brands® Silicone Glasses on Amazon for $17.97 for a set of 2 glasses!

Verdict: Yay!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by Ramini Brands.  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. 

Today's Reason to Smile: First Day of the New Job!

The first day on a new job is always a bit nerve-wracking.  My first day of work in the Communications Department started with me playing photographer at an event at the GTU!

So, I had to think about wearing comfortable, professional clothing in which I could move!  I came up with loafers, cuffed boyfriend jeans, and a button-up shirt with totally adorable blue birds on it.  Then I paired it with some sparkly earrings!  I got two thumbs up from Hubby!

So, I felt good!  But even better, I got to take my toy out of the case and take it for a whirl for the first time in a while.  It was so much fun!

Today's Reason to Smile: Feeling Great & Having Fun on the first day on the job!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Today's Reason to Smile: A New Job!

Last week I posted this look as Part #3 of my Foray into Fashion.  

Well, that day I was headed to an interview in the Communications Department at the Graduate Theological Union (where I'm doing my doctoral work)!

I am really excited to share that I got the job!  Its a part-time position as Communications Assistant.  I am seriously excited about the opportunity to participate in the life and presentation of the GTU.  Plus, I think that some of the skills I gained through blogging will come in handy!  

So, I met some of my team members and supervisors on Tuesday.  I'll start on Thursday afternoon!  Yay!

So, today's reason to smile is: A New Job!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Today's Reason to Smile: Having Enough!

  I love springtime in the Bay!

Everything comes to life with just a few drops of rain!

After months of the land looking dry and brown, it bursts into life!

  Vibrant colors everywhere!

These flowers don't care that there's a drought ravaging across N. California.  

All they know is that there is enough.  Enough water.  Enough sun.  Enough soil.  Enough warmth.  They have enough for life.  

So, today's reason to smile is having enough.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today's Reason to Smile!

So, I'm going to start a new series of posts entitled #TodaysReasontoSmile.  There are so many times that there are moments in my day that make me smile  So, I'm going to start putting them together to share my smiles with you!

Today is a beautiful day in the East Bay!  The sun is shining and the skies are so blue!  I loved how the sun was coming through the new leaves on this tree by my apartment.

In fact, I shot the picture above on the way to my leasing office to pick up a package.  I thought I knew what it was, but I was (happily) wrong!  This time it wasn't a package of products for review; instead, it was a surprise from one my besties!

Ms. Inspired & Inspiring has been doing wonderfully healthy things for her body and soul!  I am so proud of her journey toward health.  In turn, she celebrates that I am in a place of accepting my current weight, so she sent along some clothes that no longer work for her, but should work for me.  It was like Christmas Time in the Laughing Scholar Apartment this morning!  I have several new pairs of pants that look amazing!  

So, #todaysreasontosmile is for beautiful weather and beautiful friends! 

And How Do You Tell Your CoWorkers How You Feel?

Have you ever had a . . . 

. . . and needed your coworkers to just leave you alone?

Well, check out these amazingly adorable and work friendly Kitty Mood Cards! 

 They facilitate inner-office communication easy, fun, and well, a little less grumpy!! 

PLUS, they come with totally precious riddles at the back!

Great for jokes at the water cooler, at lunch, or even chatting with others on the phone!

What I LOVE about Kitty Mood Cards:

- They have adorable pictures of kitty cats!

- They are really funny, but totally honest!

- Elephant Exchange at the Office?  PERFECT GIFT!

- Need some comedic relief or know someone who does? AGAIN, PERFECT!

- This is great for your desk!

- Affordable! Score this Funny Office Gifton Amazon for $10.99! (affiliate link)

Verdict: YAY!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by and made possible by Webgage Commerce.  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.