Little Things Thursday

Welcome back to Little Things Thursday. It’s officially summer for us here and that means it is time to gather books for summer reading!

I bought three this week.

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The first one I’m reading is the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. This is better known as The KonMari Method.

I’m only a couple chapters in and this probably isn’t the book for the faint of heart, except you probably should still read it if you desire to truly declutter your life. Now, I am not a person who anyone would ever accuse of being messy or keeping clutter. However, I still find myself spending way too much time managing and cleaning things because I live with others. I’ve made peace with the fact that things will need to be constantly cleaned because we use them. That’s fine. What is really eating at me is the incessant managing of stuff. That tells me one thing. We have too much stuff.

Again, by comparison, we don’t have that much. Yet, if I find myself spending a lot of time managing our things, we should have less things to ease that burden. Managing is just not how I want to spend my time. When I really break things down, I want to enjoy living with intention and purpose. I don’t want to be an owner of a lot of things. I don’t want to work hard to buy a bigger house so that we can fill it with even more things. So that I can manage more things. Or better yet, be owned by more things. That just doesn’t fit who I am at my core. But, it is so easy to get caught up in the urgency to have, isn’t it? I mean, we are getting fed that lie of urgency to have the latest and greatest at every turn. And, I’m not even talking about the things we really put to use and find value in. I’m talking incidentals that slowly creep in to our space and take over.

I like nice things, but I don’t really value stuff. I like a nice meal, a nice glass of red wine, or travel to experience a culture. I like nice, but I don’t like accumulating things, unless they truly serve me. I want our things to serve us and bring us joy, not end up being a monkey on our backs. I want the freedom to pursue the truly important things. That’s what this book seeks to help you discover, in part. There is a bit of Japanese philosophy woven in the pages, but there are some core principles that can be applied no matter who you are.

The thing I am enjoying about this book is the way it forces you to strip down to your core values, and when you do, you know where to invest. I like that.

I also appreciate how Kondo challenges every other decluttering tip you’ve ever heard and explains how they just don’t work. It’s fascinating and I totally see the points she is making against those things we have heard our whole lives: one room at a time, one thing in, one thing out, storage, box it up for 6 months, etc… Kondo takes a more comprehensive approach to clutter.

I’ll be sure to share more as I journey further in and apply the principles.

Share your thoughts on this book, clutter, or what’s on your summer reading list! Book link is affiliated link with Amazon. A few pennies from sales directly support this blog.


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Bumblebean’s Smart Solutions

As you may know, I have had the privileged of curating for Bumblebean over the last year.  I just love this company that showcases specialty brands for modern moms, kids, and babies! If you haven’t had a look around Bumblebean’s site, you should definitely make a visit soon because you will fall in love with the brands.

Today, I want to introduce you to Bumblebean’s newest help for all you moms and dads out there.  Bumblebean has launched Smart Solutions with all sorts of parenting hacks to share with you straight from the community of moms and dads who visit the site! Smart Solutions was designed with you in mind.

You’ll find tips for raising kids , tricks, advice and everyday ‘life-hacks’ for everyday challenges.   You can upload videos, images or just words of wisdom, share them with our community and with friends.  We select the best of the best and rotate them through our home page for others to see.
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I’d love for you all to stop by and share some of your best hacks with the community.  I know you have great wisdom that will benefit us all as we make our way through this journey of perenthood. Maybe you’ll find a tip to employ while you are there.

And of course you’ll always find great collections curated by Bumblebean’s experts!

Hope to see you there!

 

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Birthday Fun with Pic-Tap-Go

If you follow me on Instagram you may know that this past weekend was my birthday.  I confess, I did a little overgramming. One friend, who happens to share my birthday, reminded me that birthdays are a great excuse to overgram. And she is right!

However, my secondary purpose was testing out the photo app Pic-Tap-Go, designed for  iPhone and iPad.  Pic-Tap-Go reached out to me to see if I would be interested in trying the app and reviewing it for y’all.  I love Instagramming as a form of micro-blogging, so yeah, I was down with that!  Pic-Tap-Go is a name that I have heard around the block for a little over a year, but I just had so many photo apps that I put off getting yet another photography app that perhaps wouldn’t meet my needs like the many I have downloaded before.  However, I am kind of kicking myself because I really loved/love this app! Pic-Tap-Go is made by the same cool team as Totally Rad!, Inc. which provides Photoshop and Lightroom editing tools for photographers!  They know a thing or two.

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I had so much fun playing with Pic-Tap-Go’s 69 unique filters. Let’s face it, some of Instagram’s filters are a bit much. But, I quickly found some favorite Pic-Tap-Go filters that I could save as “my style” or I could create recipes by layering for my own signature look. There are also great tools such a straightening and rotation features.  There are a variety of ways to post your images to your social media accounts.  That versatility is such a bonus.

Pic-Tap-Go’s 2.0 upgrade is now available in the iTunes store for $1.99. The upgrade is free to all previous Pic-Tap-Go users.  Don’t miss the in-app Replichrome Mini purchase for 10 film-like filters for $0.99. Pic-Tap-Go 2.0 now also supports a variety of languages to bring great iPhone photography to photographers around the globe, which is so cool of them!

Thank you Pic-Tap-Go for allowing me to try this app! I will definitely continue using this app for those on the go shots when “the big girl” stays home. The best camera is the one you have with you and I always have my phone ready to document my day.  Y’all be sure to go check out www.pictapgo.com and get the Pic-Tap-Go 2.0 app! Hashtag your images with #pictapgo_app and let’s see what you create!

Today, I’m also linking with Good.Random.Fun. , a great community of photo lovers!

This post is sponsored by Pic-Tap-Go and Totally Rad!, Inc. All opinions are my own.

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Birchbox-February 2013

When we arrived home from our vacation, one of the first things I looked for was my pink Birchbox for February!  I truly get excited for my pink parcel each month!

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One of the first things I noticed was Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB|Full-size $36.

I was really excited about this deluxe sample!  I have really fallen for BB creams over the past 6 months.  I really love what these beauty balms do for my skin.  I love having a product that handles coverage, SPF, and anti-aging.  BB creams are so much lighter than regular foundation, which I love!  I really liked the “finish” Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB left on my skin.  I would buy this in full-size.

Next, I noticed theBalm cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer|Full-size $24.

I have so enjoyed all the products I have sampled by theBalm!  I love theBalm Staniac! And in January I sampled their Hot Mama shadow/blush which looks just lovely on!  I was happy to have more products to try.  Mary-Lou is a gorgeous luminizer for face and body.  Love it!

Curly Hair Solutions Rev Up Volumizing System|Full-size $19.50 was a new product line for me.  Truthfully, I was not excited about the product, but for only one reason.  The product is for adding volume to your hair.  I have loads of thick curly hair, and do not need more volume.  Actually, this product confuses me.  Most people with curls have big hair, at least by my accounts.  I am committed to trying this product when the stakes are low.  I’m pretty sure I will not purchase this product.

As usual I was excited by the perfume sample!  In my box was Juicy Couture Couture La La|Full-size $90.  I have love all the Juicy Couture samples I have gotten over these last 8-9 months.  I love perfume samples because I love to mix up my fragrances.  I’m not the type to land on one fragrance.  I love my samples for travel, too!

A Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel Square|Full-size $4.25 completed my box.  Of course, this was not new to me, but it was a nice little treat to have while working at my desk!

I’m continuing to love my Birchbox subscription!  For just $10 a month, I am able to treat myself to a variety of deluxe beauty samples from high-end cosmetics lines.  The value of each and every box has been greater than my $10 investment.  Birchbox is a sweet deal! Want to treat yourself? Click the above link to find out how you can sign up for your own pink parcel of fun!

 

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Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

I’ve begun to bake and make round two of Christmas goodies.  I found yet another Pinterest idea that was a must make for me.

These peanut butter pretzel bites are so good.  I could eat the filling all by itself, but the pretzel and chocolate really make this treat.

Even Kringle has set his eyes on having a few of these.

I love that these didn’t require any real baking, because I still have cookies to make.

Peanut butter pretzel bites would also make a great homemade gift for those you still need to cover on your list, but it is perfectly fine to stash these for family and guests visiting this season. I wish I could have found the Christmas pretzel shapes from the Pin, as that would have been super cute.

And…I just have to say that I can’t believe it is 4 days until Christmas!!  Time needs to slow down because I still have movies by the fire to watch before it is all over.  Much to savor before the after Christmas and January lull arrives.

Linking up with the sweet Gina for 12 Days of Christmas.

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Insta This!

Many of you know I subscribe to Birchbox for deluxe beauty samples.  I have really loved being a subscriber and trying out new beauty products risk free.  One deluxe sample that I have loved from September’s box is this Color Club polish, Insta This.

I’m not normally a huge fan of blue, but I have fallen for this polish.  Insta This is a tribute to Instagram, which I love! Who doesn’t love Instagram?

This shade of blue is perfect for fall.  I’ve worn this polish with fall’s trendy goldenrod hues.  I love how this polish is an unexpected pop of color for my fall wardrobe.

What trends are you loving right now?

*Links are connected to Birchbox’s affiliate program.
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good things

I love hearing about products that you love.  I’m always open to learning about something new that I may love.

So…in the spirit of sharing, here is what I am currently loving!

I have not been compensated for this post…at. all.  I’m simply sharing products I personally love.

I’m developing a make-up crush on Tarte.  I wasn’t familiar with Tarte until I got Pouty Lip Luster in one of my summer Birchboxes.  I decided to check out some of their other products at Ulta.

Due to my recent random-from-outta-nowhere-eye-infection, I had to toss all my eye make-up. While out replacing my things, I found these adorable Amazonian Clay cream eyeshadow pots.  I love these shimmery, earthy colors that stay put.  The cream is easy to apply with a shadow brush or your fingers.  I’m impressed with how long-wearing these are!

Here is a peek inside at Bronze.  While this looks really dark and rich, you can control the amount you put on for a natural finish.

 

I’m loving BB creams!

BB creams are becoming all the rage in cosmetics.  BB stands for Beauty Balm, or originally Blemish Balm during its genesis in the 1960’s.  Today, it is an all-in-one cream designed to minimize pores, moisturize, prime, fight fine lines, conceal, and add that all important SPF we all need!  The BB cream’s popularity resurfaced in Asia a few years back, and is gaining a global appeal.  I have been using this Japanese brand Boscia for about a month and I am pleased with it! It saves time and takes care of all my skin needs without the need for layers of products.  I’m curious about a couple other BB creams like Dr. Jart+, and Stila stay all day.  Would love to test and compare these with Boscia.

The Body Shop’s Olive Body Butter is an old tried and true product.

This body butter is incredible!  I used this body butter while living overseas where The Body Shop had a large presence.  This is fantastic for dry skin, and I used it while pregnant with my babies to stave off the dreaded stretch marks.  It worked for me! I love the fresh clean scent which is so soothing.  I stopped using this when we came back to the States because I couldn’t find it readily.  Ulta stocks this product and I’m so happy! My upcoming winter skin will be so thankful!

 

Recently, Sarah introduced us to Frilly Chili’s adorable necklaces make from Scrabble pieces.

Isn’t this adorable?  I really loved Sarah’s Polaroid necklace and ordered one for myself!  Frilly Chili has so many cute, and affordable necklace designs. There are quite a few designs for photographers that are so cute.  I have already shopped for a few Christmas pressies! Be sure to check out the collection.

 

 

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Salt Water Sandals

Salt Water Sandals are summer’s must have footwear.  Last week I ordered a pair.  They arrived yesterday and I am so excited!  I ordered the super cute red ones.  I just love the color.   We will be going to Hilton Head next month for our summer vacation. These sandals will be perfect for days on the beach, and walks around the island.

Aren’t they retro cute?

Neither water, nor sand will cause these sandals harm. The shoes are made of waterproof leather, and actually mold to your feet when wet giving you a perfect fit.

They are comfortable, which is always important.  I look forward to wearing them with shorts, jeans, skirts, and sundresses.  I love the style versatility.

I sort of want to order every color.   Did I mention how cute they are? *side eye Crocs*

Ordering Salt Water Sandals* online is easy, but it is not recommended that you order them big.  Mine fit true to size.  They also come in children’s sizes for Mommy/baby cuteness.  * Amazon affiliate link.

 

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Going soft

I have been a follower of Rachel Meeks at Small Notebook for a few years.  I really enjoy her quest for a simple, but beautiful life.  About a month ago, she posted one of her simple skin care routines.  I was really intrigued by the fact that she washed her face and body with one product.  Sounded simple, so I decided to investigate her advice.  I have used a widely know brand for years because I liked all the fragrance options, but my skin was always in need of lotions to combat dry skin.    I tend to bathe twice a day and wash my hands very frequently.  I just like being clean, but the dry skin needed a solution.  Rachel recommended Kiss My Face Olive Oil soap.  It is 86% saponified olive oil, salt, and water.  I bought a couple of the huge bars of soap.  I found them in my local grocery store in the organic section of heath and beauty.  This chunky, ugly green soap has been amazing for my skin.  I have not had dry, itchy skin since using this product.  I love that it is pure without chemicals and lathering agents.  It is just good clean stuff!  It is a bit of an adjustment at first because you can see the water beading on your skin, it is more slick than foamy, and your skin while wet, almost feels sticky.   Once you dry off, all you are left with is soft, glowing skin. I no longer have that stripped feeling on my skin.  I have been using this soap for a little over a month with great results.  I am mositurized and baby soft.   Because it is fragrance free, my husband can also use this product.  He has been very pleased too!  It is great for children, but not tear free.   If you take care to keep the bar dry, the 8 oz bar will last over a month.  The big bars run around $3.50 in my local grocer.   Hop over to Small Notebook and check out Rachel’s post!

Image mine via Instagram.

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