Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Homemaker Monday

I decided to join a Homemaker linkup this week since I'm on spring break and I feel like I really am a home maker. Living the dream, guys.



As I look out my window:It's rainy and gross, but still getting warmer each day. I'll just keep in mind that "April showers bring May flowers."

Right now I am: relaxing with my husband after dinner.

Thinking and pondering: Where life is going to take me. Deep, I know. But I have a sense that something new is coming along soon.

On my bedside table: My bible, devotional, and book for grad school

On my TV tonight: Grey's Anatomy. We are very behind, and we are playing catch up. Drew is watching baseball.

Listening to: My dog Jeffrey chewing on a bone, my husband humming on the couch. 

On the menu tonight: THIS taco pasta bake made with GF noodles. It was really yummy.

On my to do list: My list for tomorrow is

  • finish painting coffee bar
  • go to the bank
  • take wood back to Lowe's
  • Trip to dollar store for shipping envelope
  • Stop by the post office 
Plans for this week: I just have lots of projects to complete and relaxing to do!

What I am creating: I am finishing up our coffee bar. Andrew made me a shelf and I am repurposing a small bookshelf we had. I'll make sure to show you the end result! 

My simple pleasure: Sleeping in. Spring break, I love you.

Homemaking tips: Clean as you go. I love to cook but I hate cleaning up the huge mess I always make. Cleaning as I go helps me to make it manageable.

Looking around the house: I see a clean space with lots of items to be sold in our garage sale this weekend.

From the camera: 

I was at a bachelorette party this weekend and Drew was with the Bachelor. The girls began at wine and canvas and ended up driving up to the casino to play a joke on the boys. It ended up being a TON of fun, we had a blast. 

fish tacos 

lovely ladies 

finished products 
Surprised the boys, only to realize almost all of them were already asleep. LAME! We had a blast with the three who were left. 


Dollar slots are where it's at 
Prayer list: Our families have lots of exciting events in the upcoming months. Two weddings, a baby on the way, reunions and trips. Pray for blessings upon all of it. 

Bible verse, Devotional: Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


This was super fun, thanks DOASAHM for hosting!


What are you all up to this Monday?
Don't forget to enter the Flourish giveaway HERE



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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Flourish Boutique Grand Opening


Last Thursday evening I was invited to Flourish Boutique for their Grand Opening celebration, and wow, did they celebrate in style! Flourish has been around since 2008, but they just re-opened in their new location just a short distance down the road in Centennial Plaza. You may remember this post from a previous fashion show, and this one was just as fun!

The new store is incredible. Glitter on the floors, pink walls, giant chandeliers- the perfect place to have fun shopping with some friends. And if you aren't local, their website has all the fun wrapped into their online store!


While I waited for the show to start, I walked around and took in all the glamorous surroundings. I tried on a few pieces, admired the beautiful hors d'oeuvres,  and chatted with some other bloggers.


Soon after I arrived, the fashion show began. Instead of a typical runway, they used the huge windows in the store with live models. It was fun to watch the models come and go with different outfits on. Here are some of my favorites:

THIS dress was just so beautiful 

THIS bag.... 

I die. 


This was my favorite favorite favorite item of the night. 
If you live near the Granger area, do yourself a favor and head over to Flourish Boutique



Flourish is also giving you all the chance to win a $25 gift card! Check out the giveaway below to enter.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you Flourish for a super fun evening and congratulations on your new (amazing) location!

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Katz Gluten Free Baked Goods


Hi everyone! I wanted to share a new resource I found for gluten free items. I wasn't paid to do this review. I simply want to share an awesome resource for any of you that are gluten free. a friend shared this website with me, and I am super impressed. Katz has some delicious gluten free items that you can have shipped to your door.

When I was first checking out the website, I discovered that you can order a free sample box, which includes many of their items. You have to pay a very small shipping fee, but for a very small fee you get many items to try. I placed my first order on Monday, and the box was waiting for me when I got home on Wednesday. My first box was damaged, and a few items inside crumbled as a result of UPS's poor handling. I contacted Katz and they sent me a replacement box immediately. That's amazing customer service! The sample pack included:

  • 1 slice of whole grain bread
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1 slice of challah bread
  • 1 powdered donut
  • 1 chocolate cupcake
  • 1 english muffin
  • 1 cookie
  • 1 rugelah (similar to a cinnamon roll)
  • 1 slice of marble cake 

My favorite item from the sample box was the chocolate cupcake. I've only tried one box mix for cake, but it was disgusting. This cupcake tasted amazing, and had the perfect chocolately taste I was craving.

I can see myself ordering baked goods to keep on hand for special occasions, or for holidays when I know I am going to miss out on something like pie. This definitely will not be a weekly or even monthly purchase, but stocking up on special items may be a good idea (especially because orders of $50 or more are shipped free).

I hope you or someone you know that is gluten free find this helpful! I was very grateful to find this website.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to save money when buying textbooks

Some days I feel super boggled down with grad school work. Usually during one of these times I bring it up to friends or family, and I end up finding out someone else I know is in school too. I find that grad school goes a little under the radar, and I'm always surprised at how many people I know are in school too! 

By far the biggest thing that comes up when talking about school is the incredible cost. Textbooks are always way more expensive than what we think! I wanted to let you all know some tips I have for saving some money on textbooks.

1. Share books with friends.
-pretty much self explanatory, but sometimes people forget that sharing books with other students is super helpful and can save a lot of money. A colleague of mine is in the same program as I am, but we take classes at different times so we can swap books. It has saved a lot of money!

2. Shop around

-If you want to buy your books, check out every option. One site might be cheapest for one book, but may be super expensive for another. Check out all of your options if buying is the way you want to go. 

3. RENT your textbooks

-I think campusbookrentals.com is amazing! 
-save 40-90% off of bookstore prices
-free shipping both ways
-can highlight in the textbooks
-flexible renting periods
-they donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented
-free returns within 21 days(this one is HUGE! I've bought so many books before that I never ended up using. This way you can begin your course and figure out if you really will use the book or not!) 


4. Make money off your textbooks
-some people keep their textbooks thinking they will use them down the line. I have not used a single book since graduating with my undergrad degree. I learned my lesson and now sell back all my books. 
-RENT your books! I wish this would have been around a long time ago. RentBack is new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other students... which is awesome because it makes them 2-4x more money compared to what you will make through buyback options!



College is SO expensive, and the additional cost of books can put budgets over the edge. I hope this can help someone along the way!
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*This post is sponsored by Campus Book Rentals. As always, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

I miss you


Hey guys!

I just want to pop in and let you all know I'm not dead. I know you were worried (haha) but I'm fine. I am almost finished with Grad school and the end is in sight! This last semester has been rough, but It will all be worth it in about 2 more months. I hope to be able to update a little more as time goes on, but if not, know I will be back soon.

I have SO much to share with you, but I want to do it when I have sufficient time so I don't leave anything important out.


I really miss posting and getting everything out on here. I miss a lot of things actually... but I just have to keep going. It will all be worth it when I am finished with school!



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Friday, February 14, 2014

Planetbox Review

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Before I begin this Planetbox review- I want to share the winner of the giveaway from Monday! 

Elizabeth has been emailed. 



Okay, so next up is Planetbox!


The Planetbox lunch box was actually what spurred this whole series. I loved the idea of having a stainless steel lunchbox that had different sized compartments. I decided to review the Rover set, which includes the lunchbox, carry bag, magnets, and dipper set. This model retails for $59.95, which is a HEFTY price for a lunchbox. Is it worth the price?
carrots, popcorn, sour patch kids, rice cake & almond butter, blood orange and a gluten free brownie
The lunch box itself is made of stainless steel so it is non-toxic and very sturdy. The lid is attached and folds down while securing the box easily. This can be washed in the dishwasher, but obviously cannot be microwaved. 
carrots, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, blood orange, guac and string cheese
This box is geared toward children, so it comes with lots of fun magnets you can choose from. I haven't used these myself, but this seems like a fun feature if you will be using it with young ones. 

One of the drawbacks to this box is that it doesn't seal completely. You cannot pack foods like applesauce or yogurt inside because they will leak all over the place. This is why Planetbox created dippers, which DO seal completely. You can fill these with dips and sauces and place them in the box- and the lid of the box seals them. 
Carrots & hummus, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, grapes, and turkey meatballs. 


The bag that the box came with is made out of recycled material and seems pretty durable. When I received it- it had a terrible smell. I made sure to hand wash mine immediately before use. I've read similar reviews, so just be prepared if you order one. 

The inside of the case includes a mesh pocket for a napkin or an ice pack, and two straps for utensils.



Planetbox also has a really cool site where users can plan, create, and share their lunches. You can check it out HERE
Carrots, yogurt tube, chia shot, sour patch kids, strawberries, rice cake & almond butter
 I tried packing a sandwich one day, which worked since I used small gluten free bread. If you were using some big pieces, it wouldn't fit. If you are more of a sandwich eater, Planetbox has a box called Launch that would work better for sandwiches.
Turkey and cheese rolls, rice crackers, chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, blood orange, yogurt with almonds


PROS:
-dish washer safe
-easy portion control
-lasts for years
-dippers seal 
-website to help with lunch ideas

CONS:
-cost $$
-box itself doesn't seal
-not microwave safe 
-not large enough to hold a big sandwich 

Overall, I totally think this is worth it. It is one of my favorite lunch boxes to use. I think many will balk at the price, but if you think about how long you can use it, it's a great investment. I ended up buying a second set to keep on hand, because I love it so much. 

What did you have for lunch today?

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**I received this box free to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Easy Lunchboxes Review & Giveaway

Next up in my lunch container series is Easy Lunchboxes. These lunchboxes are a LOT cheaper than some of other containers I am trying. They come in a pack of four, in classic colors or brights. The lunch bags also come in a variety of colors, and the bags can hold up to three of the containers at a time. These bags are microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe, and can last for a few months. 







You can get free shipping if you order from amazon here13.99 for a set of four. You can choose "brights" or "classic". You can also order directly through the website






These are actually rated #1 on Amazon, which is impressive! I've used these a few times now and was shocked at how durable they are. I was expecting them to be the same quality as the Ziplock containers you can buy. These are actually much thicker and stronger, so I was pleasantly surprised!



Andrew uses these a lot as I pack him sandwiches 9 times out of ten. I've also used them for leftovers. A few weeks ago I had some leftover gluten free mac & cheese, and reheated it in the Easy Lunchbox container. You know how when you reheat plastic containers, they get all gross and warped on the inside? Just me? Bueller? Bueller? You will NOT get that with these containers. 


Pros:                                                                                                     
-Microwavable                                                                      
-Freezer safe                                                                                  
-Dishwasher safe (top or bottom)                                                  
 -Inexpensive                                                                                                    

Cons
-not leak proof
-will need to be replaced every few months
-Great for larger appetites 


Although these are GREAT lunch boxes, we are currently using them more for Andrew's lunch than for mine. This is simply because I am now gluten free, so I'm not eating sandwiches, and Drew usually takes any leftovers from dinner. Overall, I would still recommend these for someone looking for an inexpensive option for packing lunches!


Easy Lunchboxes were so kind when I reached out about my series, and they offered up a free set to one of you! One winner will win either the "Classic" or "Brights" set, and the cooler of your choice. You can enter below! 




What is your favorite lunch box?
Which set would you choose if you won?
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*I was given these products in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/opinions are my own.
*Many will enter, few will win. Just kidding, only one winds.  (I've always wanted to say that.)
*Giveaway ends Friday 12 pm EST. Winner will be emailed by midnight.