Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keepin' It Spicy

My babies' daddy and I will scratch tally mark number 21 in our wall in just 38 days. That's not to imply that marriage is a prison - somebody else cooks and does the laundry in prison...

Love is most certainly a decision rather than a feeling and making a marriage enjoyable rather than just something that "works" takes effort - 100% effort - from both parties. The reality of it is some days are better than others, but when the great days outweigh the bad or even mediocre days I think you've got a winning combination.

So every once in awhile we throw something else into the mix to keep it interesting. Most recently we're throwing in a pillow. Yes. A pillow.

My new friend, Cha Cha of Sit Relax and Read, makes these sweet DSCN1553pillows (and several other great things) and sells them in her Etsy shop, Cha Cha's Treasure.

This is not just any pillow - it's a "Marriage Pillow". I was curious about what a marriage pillow would be the first time I heard of it, but now it's all clear and I really like the idea.

The front side has a great big pocket that serves as a sort of soft mailbox that just you and your sweetie use. The pocket is made of a sturdy decorator fabric and reinforced nicely at the top edge so it will hold its shape over the years.

DSCN1543The Marriage Pillow comes with three beautiful printed Scripture verses for a husband and wife to share right off the bat. Later you can get creative and tuck in whatever you want - the pocket is nice and big so it will hold things like meaningful books, cases of chocolate, small electronics, cruise tickets...

It would make a DSCN1537sweet wedding or anniversary gift for a couple you care about.

Cha Cha has all sorts of fabrics and she's a pro at coordinating creative prints and trims. Go check out her shop and when you find what you'd like and place your order put "CANDLE" in as a coupon code and she'll give you 30% off everything in your cart! Suh-weet!DSCN1539

One more generous thing... Cha Cha is offering a FREE Marriage Pillow to one of my fabulous readers (you pick your favorite one). To enter the drawing, visit Cha Cha's Treasure and then come back here and leave a comment mentioning one of your favorite items. I'll have a random drawing and announce the winner on Monday, June 6.

Also, don't forget to enter my Favorite Things giveaway - I've got over $100 worth of some of my favorite things (thus the name of the giveaway...) and that ends on June 9 - so get back there and enter. Entries are so low right now that so far everyone is guaranteed a prize! I'm hoping that will change :0).DSCN1524

Do you see how I cleverly disguised the fact that this bag of chocolates is nearly empty? I promise the winners' bag will be unopened. This just proves it is a favorite. My bathroom scale will back up my claims.

Wow... so many freebies right now my head is spinning - or that could just be the effects of a strawberry shortcake hangover. More on that later this week...

I'm linking up with the Hip Homeschool Hop - perfect since Cha Cha is a homeschooling mamma too.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things - A Giveaway!

You’re probably already missing Oprah and since she wasn’t on this afternoon I thought I’d soften the blow and mimic her “favorite things” show that she always did just before Christmas and occasionally at other times. (Remember the “every.body.gets.a.car!! “episode?)

Granted, it’s now seven months before Christmas, and I won’t be giving away any flat screen TV’s, iPads or fancy sneakers and I’ll only have one of each item to give away, but other than that, it will be just like on Oprah’s show.

First, understand that I’m getting no compensation for any of the prizes below. They’re all just things I like and want to share with my fabulous readers. The opinions are my own. And now, the rules.

  1. You have to be a follower to be eligible (this is another follower appreciation giveaway…) If you already follow just remind me.
  2. You must leave a comment on this post to be entered and be sure you can be contacted by email if you win. Leave your email in your comment or be sure it’s in your profile. There are other ways to enter listed at the end of this post.
  3. You need to claim your prize by contacting me within 48 hours after I announce winners in a new post on Friday, June 10.
  4. I will mail prizes to United States or Canadian addresses. APO’s are okay.
  5. The prize you win is up to me and my official name and number-drawer children. We can’t negotiate on this – you have my permission to re-gift if you want. If you don’t like your prize or it arrives damaged or gets lost in the mail, you have no recourse. But – if any of those things happen, let me know – I’m a really nice person and want you to be happy.

Now on to some of my (at the moment) favorite things in no particular order.

First up, a 12 ounce bag of Hershey’s Nuggets – extra creamy milk chocolate with toffee and almonds. Okay… so maybe there is a particular order.

For a cheap chocolate this stuff is pretty good. I love the nutty almonds and crisp toffee bits. If you win this and you don’t really want it please let me know… I wouldn’t want to burden you.


A fitting second giveaway would be this T-Tapp Basic Workout Plus. The Workout that WORKS. I got a great deal on this workout and wanted to pass it along to someone else. The winner will receive a DVD of Teresa Tapp’s 15 minute life changing workout with and without instructions plus other DVD extras. Plus, a second DVD with an instructional seminar explaining the T-Tapp techniques for muscle activation to lose inches fast. – no matter what kind of shape you’re in T-Tapp can work for you. I PROMISE you’ll feel a difference after just ONE workout.

You’ll get the workout DVD, the seminar DVD, the little get started booklet and the two pamphlets with Additional Tips for Optimal Results and the God Made – Man Made Diet. (But even if you don’t diet you’ll see huge results with this workout – it will change your metabolism in just 15 minutes a day.


Next up, my favorite lipstick. I get my Sei Bella Lipstick (and LOTS of other stuff) from Melaleuca.com. I love their products because of the purity and quality. There’s no nasty stuff like formaldehyde and it’s not waxy or smelly like a lot of lipsticks are. It’s full of shea butter and it goes on smooth and creamy. The color I wear every day is Mauvelous – it’s a natural looking neutral color that will work with any skin tone. DSCN0756

Another favorite from Melaleuca is their Exfoliating Sugar Scrub. This is a 13.4 ounce jar of yummy nectarine sugar scrub. You won’t recognize your hands, elbows, knees and feet after using this.  They’ll be silky soft and smooth. You might want to, but don’t eat it…it smells great but it’s not as tasty as it smells. Yes – I was tempted once…


This might seem like a strange favorite, but it’s been one of the most useful bible study tools I’ve ever found. Prophecy Foundations is a DVD ROM (it only works in your computer) from Amazing Facts that is FULL of 27 different topics you can explore in-depth with an array of multimedia presentations. There’s more than 25 hours of video footage, 48 topical “pocket books” (in PDF form), 9 in-depth books by prophecy experts (also in PDF form), 173 audio presentations, 51 topical Bible study lessons and even 10 kid friendly Bible lessons. Each study is loaded with Scripture references that will help you unpack the mysteries of Bible prophecy for yourself, enabling you to uncover key prophecy concepts.

I truly enjoy the time I’ve spent studying with this incredible tool.


This is my favorite sharing booklet, Happiness for Life. I keep these in my glove compartment in my van. There is a world of encouragement and hope in just 61 pages. It can be life changing.


I LOVE these peel and stick Chalkboards by Wallies.They are removable and repositionable. We have two large ones on the closet doors in our school room. They have so many different uses and are great for places you might not want to paint with chalkboard paint.

The winner of these will receive two slate gray 9x12 peel and stick chalkboards and chalk too.


If you didn’t know it already, in my past life I was a dental hygienist. Someday (after we finish homeschooling) I’ll return to my hygiene career since I really DO enjoy doing it.

These are my two favorite toothbrushes. One for daily use and one for emergency tooth brushing situations… The winner will get one of each. First the Pulsar by Oral-B. It has vibrating bristles that out clean a manual toothbrush. I’ll send a soft (always use soft unless you’re cleaning grout…) adult size toothbrush.

Also, a pair of Colgate Wisp single use toothbrushes. These are a must have for your purse or glove compartment in your car. Perfect for breath and plaque emergencies!


This is one of my favorite books – it’s a perfect wedding (or anniversary) gift for the bride. For Women Only What You need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. It completely changed some of my opinions about men and how I’m raising both of my sons AND my daughter. My marriage was instantly improved! It’s a short quick read full of amazing insights, forehead slapping moments and even some humor. I’ll send one hard back copy to the winner. By the way – Shaunti has written several other equally insightful books – For Men Only, For Parents Only, For Young Women Only, For Young Men Only and The Male Factor. I recommend them all.


Last but not least, my absolute most favorite lotion hands down ever. Renew Intensive Skin Therapy. This stuff is incredible and will soothe even the most dry ,rough or chapped skin. It’s not oily or greasy and absorbs quickly. It’s a Melaleuca exclusive that outperformed Eucerin in clinical tests.

I’ll send a purse sized 1 ounce tube to one winner.


It’s easy to enter:

  1. Comment and tell me you’re an old follower or new follower. (Be sure you’re following of course…)
  2. Tweet about this giveaway then comment and let me know. (You can Tweet once a day – leave a comment each time…)
  3. Blog about this giveaway and comment leaving a link to your post.
  4. Facebook about this giveaway and comment letting me know.

This giveaway is open for two weeks and will end on June 9 at 11:59 PM.

I’m joining these giveaway linky parties.

Giveaway Day MakingMyAmericanDream

Boutique Elli’Ette

Friday, May 20, 2011

Master Bath Make-over Reveal

We’ve finally come to the end of the master bath make-over. For a short job it sure seemed to take a long time. But now all the tweaks are tweaked, the adjustments are adjusted and I’m feeling much better about it than I was earlier this week.  I think just getting the mirrors up in there made a big difference.DSCN0972
Before the final touches I really wasn’t happy with the way it was a-gonzalez-chavez-hospital-interior-hospital-anita-elicaraygoing. To me it looked like a hospital built in the 40’s. It was probably a combination of the color and the large cabinets that made me feel that way… The light blue and the simple design of the cabinets made it look very clinical and cold. The turning point (in my non-design-istockphoto_2191899-hospital-interior-delivery-roomschool-educated opinion) was adding warm colors (the browns and yellows) and the organic materials (the boxwood topiary, dusted off silk plant and fading rose corsages plus the rustic wood shelf and small, wood, wall cabinet). I guess these organic items are naturally non-clinical. You can’t sterilize them or disinfect them and therefore they don’t belong in a medical facility. Therefore, my bathroom no longer looks like a hospital. Sound logic? I think so.
So here’s where we started (more photos here)DSCN0453DSCN0457
And here’s where we’ve come to…
The mirrors came from Hobby Lobby. They were on sale for 50% off so I got a pretty good deal. My original plan was to use the original mirror from the other bathroom in it’s “before” state which I had cut at a local glass shop. They cut the monstrous flaw-accentuator (new word) down with  just two cuts into two smaller rectangles for only $12. With some inexpensive trim from the hardware store I could have easily framed them for a custom look, but because the trim from the window overhangs the vanity it was going to look pretty weird. So… more oval mirrors. I think I needed the curved lines anyhow.DSCN0969
I did purchase new towel bars. Surprisingly, they were less expensive at Home Goods than I found them at Wal-Mart or Target. I like how they closely match the metallic paint on the vanity. When I get my towels monogrammed from my favorite Etsy shop I’ll let you know.DSCN0971
See how it’s less clinical when you put a plant on top? This thing looked as if it was made of dust. I swished it in the bathtub with some shampoo, rinsed it and put it in the sun to dry for about an hour.
This cabinet is 100 times better looking in hospital blue than it was in bile green… My goal was to make the bathroom appear larger by painting the cabinets the same color as the wall. I’m not sure if I achieved it or not… I think just the fact that I’ve used a lighter, light reflecting color makes it appear larger.
You probably don’t recognize my TP holder. In the “before” photos it’s the planter on the wall with the previously dusty plant. I really like this set up for a few reasons, not the least of them being I won’t have to search for a roll as often. But.. it does kinda look like it’s floating here and I’m still thinking about how to make it fit better with the rest of the wall d├ęcor. Any thoughts?DSCN0967
I made this shelf with a piece of weathered barn wood I got off FreeCycle. This perfume bottle belonged to my great grandmother. I purchased the little resin bird on a Canton excursion at Laurie Anna’s booth. Yes… I’ve mentioned this shop many times before… I dropped a lot of money there that day. The bottle full of bubble bath was shopped from the other bathroom redo. I had a whole shelf full of these etched glass bottles – they were my first ever, on my own, credit card purchase. I keep them around as a reminder of that grave mistake. The rest of the collection is scatter around the room – most found a new home on the cabinet above the potty. The apothecary jar of soap was shopped from the top of my piano. I used to fill it seasonally with candies – I have less of a tendency to eat the bars of soap I took out of the cupboard…
I gave details about some of the other pretties in the room, including the paint colors, here.
So much for “simplifying”. There’s a lot more to dust now (a term I’m not normally that acquainted with) but it makes me happy to be here now. So that’s worth a little dusting now and then, don’t you think?
I’m linking up to these fabulous parties:

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
Stuff and Nonsense
Boogieboard Cottage

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almost Finished, But Not Quite

It took me all week and I’m close, really, really close, but not quite finished with the master bath re-do.

I’m still on the hunt for mirrors. Mirrors that won’t break my already empty bank. Mirrors are NOT cheap – at least the ones I’m looking for aren’t.

I’ll tell you a little secret… I’m not as happy with this make-over as I was with the last bath make-over. I’m not exactly sure why, but I have a pretty good idea. I think it’s a combination of the wall color and the cabinets.

Here’s a peek at what I’ve been doing.


I love goats milk soap. It’s pretty to look at and great to use. I think you’re really going to like this little rough cabinet. It’s got lots of character for a ‘new’ piece. It’ a Home Goods find

DSCN0772Don’t you love this lidded jar? Don’t tell my kids, but I’m hiding emergency chocolate under the cotton balls. This jar and the soap dish above I scored at Home Goods for real cheap.


New $5 lampshade from Tuesday Morning for my old lamp from the “other” bathroom.DSCN0779

I’ve changed all the door and drawer handles. Found these rubbed bronze ones at Target. If the screws had been the right length for my doors and drawers it would have been a perfect deal. Since they weren’t I had to buy new screws that were NOT very cheap.

I used the same metallic brown (Eagle by Martha Stewart for Home Depot) that I used in my guest bath make-over. Here’s a helpful hint: number or somehow label your cabinet doors and hinges. They aren’t necessarily interchangeable. DSCN0777

I looked a long time for a shower curtain. When I saw this one at Home Goods I knew it would work. The scroll work and bottom border are an antique gold color. It works well with the metallic brown vanity and is complimented nicely with my little lampshade above, don’t you think?

The only thing I don’t like about it is that it’s “recommended dry clean only”. That doesn’t make any sense at all for a shower curtain…DSCN0776

This is also the print for our new comforter set. I found it at Tuesday Morning as well.DSCN0782

I think this is the part I don’t like… The blue cabinets. We can talk about it later. I have some thoughts…DSCN0775

In my past life I had a career as a dental hygienist. I don’t wear dentures… just collect antique dental stuff – even denture powders. My favorite is my antique medicine bottles – most especially the Listerine bottles.DSCN0780

I’m really excited to show you what I have planned for the toilet paper. I know that sounds a little weird, but you’ll understand when you see it…

Be patient with me… I want you to see the total picture soon. Believe me! I working to resolve my mirror issue as quickly as I can. They’re going to make or break the room. Pun sorta intended.

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