Christmas Time is Here Tag!

Hello Everyone!  It appears the Christmas spirit is all over the blogosphere!  I have been tagged by two wonderful bloggers, my southern belle counterpart, Hope from Beauty & Bliss; and the effervescent Vlog Like a Boss, Kallie from But First, Coffee to do the Christmas Time is Here Tag!  Please go and give their blogs some love.  They are awesome chicks!

Not to bring everyone down, but to me Christmas has gotten way out of control.   In my opinion, it has turned into a retail extravaganza.  We already totally blow Thanksgiving off in lieu of Christmas.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in the coming years, immediately after July 4th, Christmas deco starts hitting the stores.  Not trying to be a total Grinch, but I hate how “commercialized” this holiday has become.  Hope and Kallie, don’t regret tagging me!  I love Hope’s tag, as it brings me back to what the “real” spirit of Christmas should be.  Fond memories and traditions.  I kind of think we are losing sight of that.  Anywhoo, here are the questions!

1. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?  Despite my Negative Nancy preface to this post, I think Christmas brings out the best in people.  It’s the time of year when people realize giving is better than receiving, and we band together to help people in need.

2. When you were a kid, what did you leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?  I always left milk and cookies for Santa, as well as a letter wishing him safe travels.  More important, carrots for the reindeer.

3. Do you and/or your family have any Christmas traditions?  When I was a kid, I was allowed to open ONE small gift on Christmas Eve.  My husband and I have been married for 16 years, and our anniversary is New Year’s Eve, so instead of doing Christmas presents for each other, we take that and put it towards an anniversary trip somewhere exotic for our anniversary.  This year, we will be going to Australia for 2 weeks.  Christmas and anniversary combined!

4. When decorating, do you go all out or just do a small amount of decorating?  I used to go all out.  I have a Dickens Snow Village and tons of decorations.  Now, my decorating consists of putting a Christmas garden flag on my mailbox, and having holiday scents in my home.  Plus, we do not have children, so we keep it simple these days.

5. What is your favorite Christmas dinner food?  Since we have turkey on Thanksgiving, we tend to do a ham for Christmas.  We have done everything from crab legs to a low country boil in seasons past.

6. What is your favorite Christmas movie?  Traditionally, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  Films back then were so innocent and sweet.  “Sound of Music” is my favorite musical, regardless of the season.  I totally sing along.  I also love “A Christmas Story”, and when they play it non stop on TNT, I will watch it.   Modern Christmas film favorite is “Love, Actually”.  The stories to me truly echo what the Christmas spirit should be – people loving each other.  I bawl everytime I watch it.  But I LOVE it.

7. What is your favorite Christmas song?  I am a traditionalist.  I love “O Holy Night”, especially sung by Josh Groban.  I love Christmas songs by the Carpenters (“Christmas Waltz”).  And Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, as I grew up listening to those beautiful crooners.

8. What was your favorite gift you’ve ever received?  As a kid, when I was in the fourth grade, I got a camera.  One of those old 110 Kodak’s with the big cube flash.  Once married, my husband gave me our one year anniversary present early for Christmas.  It was a seven day caribbean cruise!

9. What is your favorite Christmas memory?  Being so excited for Santa’s arrival, and not being able to sleep.  I swear it felt like I was up all night in anticipation, but I’m sure I fell asleep within 30 minutes ;)

10. Does it snow where you live?  Not as a rule.  We occasionally get flurries, and the whole town shuts down.  They send kids home from school and people raid the grocery stores for bread/milk.  Generally, the snow melts the next day, so no one has EVER been snowed in.  I guess it’s a tradition for my town to go a bit nuts when flurries come around,

11. Do you own an “ugly holiday sweater”?  I used to.  No longer.  I had a slew of Xmas sweaters.  Don’t do them anymore.

12. Hot chocolate or eggnog?  I’m with Kassie – I like an eggnog with a bit of Captain in it, and a sprinkle of nutmeg :)

13. Have you ever been kissed under a mistletoe?  Yes!  And living in Georgia, the trees in our front yard have mistletoe growing on them!

Wishing all of you a very merry Christmas season!  I am not tagging any bloggers, but if you would like to participate, please send me the post link on Twitter!  I know many of you are going to be busy going forth.

Again, thanks to Hope and Kallie for tagging me :)

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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Thankful for Blogger Friends! Tag

thankful-for-blogger-friends-tag

 

Hello Everyone!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have created a tag that I’m very excited to share!

I know many people have been posting on social media the things they are grateful for each day during this holiday.  When I started my blog, I had no idea I would meet so many wonderful women through it!  I thought this would be a great opportunity to thank you all for your friendship, support, inspiration, and for sharing your fabulous talents with me.  I am THANKFUL for each and every one of you!  You are all so special to me!

Since Thanksgiving is on November 28th, I decided to come up with 28 questions to get to know you a little better.  14 about your BLOG and 14 about YOU.  There are really no rules for this tag.  I know this is a busy time of year for everyone, so if it’s difficult for you to participate, or you just flat-out don’t want to, no worries!  I totally understand.  If you tag other bloggers, please feel free to use any part of this post.  Here we go!

ABOUT YOUR BLOG (Please be specific in your answers, so we can all learn something!):

  • How long have you been blogging?  Almost six months.
  • Are there any bloggers who helped you out/encouraged you when you first started your blog?  Yes!  One of the first people I met when I started was Megan from Little Miss Average through the #bbloggers chat.   She is from the south, and was just starting out as well, and we are still great friends.  She is still someone I go to for advice.  Also, Ellie from xomisse.  She is a whiz when it comes to techie questions that I have NO clue about.  She’s always answered any questions I’ve had regarding blog design and the hard stuff.
  • What Social Media has given you the most traffic to your blog?  Is there a platform that you don’t use?  I’m sure everyone will answer Twitter.  I have also been getting a fair amount of new traffic from Instagram.  I need to embrace Google Plus and spend more  time on Pinterest.
  • How often do you post?  Do you have a regular schedule?  So far, I have just been posting when I have time.  I probably average 2-3 posts a week.  My goal for the new year is to consistently post 3 times a week, ultimately 4 times a week.
  • Where do you blog?  On my laptop at my kitchen table!  I do have an office with a desk top, but I use that mainly for work and household related stuff.
  • What camera do you use?  What photo editing software do you use?  I have a Sony point and shoot (DSC-WX9).  I also occasionally use my phone camera (Samsung Galaxy S5).  For my camera photos, I use Picmonkey.  For my phone, I mainly use Pixlr and Line Camera apps.
  • How did you come up with your blog name?  My initials are KP, and it’s a sort of nickname.  I am not very creative, so I just picked “KPsays”, because I would be “saying” stuff about beauty products.  That’s kind of sad actually.
  • Do you do any regular “series” posts on your blog?  I do not.  I do have a “Come with Me” segment to share my travels, a “It’s a Southern Thang” segment to highlight things that are unique to southern living, and “Ducky Tales”, a segment that chronicles the progress of a wild baby dove I rescued.  But they are only featured when I have something to report.
  • What draws you to a blog?  The first thing I notice is photographs.  I love beautiful, clear pictures!  The more creative, the better.  Next would be the “tone” of the post.  I like to get a feel of the blogger’s personality.
  • What turns you off of a blog?  I will not read blogs if there is no picture of the author and/or nothing but stock photos in the posts.  Other than that, I appreciate everyone’s different styles/concepts for their blog :)
  • How many blogs do you subscribe to? Are they all beauty related?  I just counted 58!  I DO read all the ones I sub to.  I did notice a few that I follow are no longer blogging!  I do need to go through and delete and add some new blogs I’ve recently discovered.  Eight blogs are not beauty.
  • When do you generally read blogs?  I am a night owl, so I always read blogs late.  Usually after 11pm EST.  The majority of time I read them on the weekends, late of course.
  • What is your favorite type of post, and why?  Product reviews are my favorite, because I love discovering new things, and also like to see if girls agree with what I think of something.
  • What is your least favorite type of post, and why?  I don’t really ever read wishlist posts.  Probably because of stock photos (?).

NOW ABOUT YOU!!  (If any are any you prefer not to answer, just skip!):

  • Where do you live? Tell us a bit about your city!  I live in Augusta, Georgia in the US.  Augusta is the second largest metropolis in Georgia (our population is a little above a half million).  My city is the home of The Masters Golf Tournament, the most prestigious golf tourney in the world.  I am about a two and a half hour drive to Atlanta.
  • What about your home?  I live in a house in a neighborhood community in the suburbs.
  • Single or taken?  I have been married for almost 16 years.
  • Do you have children?  No.
  • Do you have pets?  Yes!  2 dogs (Standard Poodle and Australian Shepherd), 7 cats (Maine Coons, Ragdolls, and rescues), and a wild dove.
  • Do you have a “day job”?  Yes.  I am a sales rep for a freight forwarder.
  • How tall are you?  5’8″
  • Do you have siblings?  I am an only child.
  • 3 words to describe yourself.  Funny, smart, kind.
  • Who is your style icon, and why?  Gwen Stefani.  I’ve been a long-time fan of No Doubt.  I think she is absolutely beautiful, and I love her music, abs, clothing, everything!  And she’s a mommy to boot.
  • 3 favorite bands/musicians.  Gwen Stefani/No Doubt, Tori Amos, Cake.
  • 3 favorite movies.  Gone with the Wind, Love Actually, Forrest Gump.
  • 3 favorite books.  Pillars of the Earth, The Lovely Bones, The Stand.
  • 3 random/weird facts about you.  I don’t like my food to touch on my plate, I cry easily, I have the world’s worst sense of direction.  I am always lost.

I tag the following bloggers!  If you don’t already know them, make sure you give them a visit!

Shelle from Polkadotglam.

Mariko from Budziak Beauty.

Jules from LippyLikes.

Sissie from Beauty4Free2U.

Lor from Miss LJ Beauty.

Anoushka from Anoushka Loves.

Stacey from Expat Make-Up Addict.

Neya from Neya V Beauty Talk.

Hope from Beauty & Bliss!

Lauren from Will Sing for Makeup.

If you participate, please send me your link!

Wishing all of my blogger friends a happy holiday season!

Much love, kxoxo

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I Love Fall Tag!

Happy fall everyone!  I kind of thought fall was upon us here, but it appears we will be having temps in the 80s midweek!  I was tagged by the lovely Hope from Beauty & Bliss! to participate in this tag celebrating autumn.  She is a brand new blogger enjoying great success on her blog/YouTube channel.  She is also a Southern gal, so check out her blog/channel and show her some love!

On to the questions!

  1. FAVORITE FALL LIP PRODUCT?  As the weather turns colder, I rely more and more on my lip balms.  My fave is Nivea’s “Touch of Smoothness”.
  2. FAVORITE FALL NAIL POLISH?  Currently, I am wearing OPI’s “Lincoln Park After Dark” and “Lincoln Park After Midnight”,  I just ordered a Deborah Lippmann glitter polish I’m looking forward to trying!
  3. FAVORITE STARBUCKS FALL DRINK?  Y’all are going to think I’m insane, but I have NEVER ordered anything from Starbucks.  I enjoy coffee every now and then, but it’s not something I would go out of my way to order.  Yep, cray cray.
  4. FAVORITE FALL CANDLE?  I am a home fragrance junkie, so this is going to be a hard one.  I especially like spice and pumpkin scents for cooler weather, but right now, I am burning a special edition University of Georgia Yankee Candle in “Black Coconut” fragrance.  It sort of smells like toasted marshmallows.  Mmmmm!!
  5. FAVORITE FALL SCARF OR ACCESSORY?  I am not a huge scarf fan.  My favorite accessory for fall would be boots!  I love boots, and I have a gazillion pairs in all heights and heels!
  6. HAUNTED HOUSE, HAUNTED HAYRIDE, OR HAUNTED CORN MAZE? Ooooh, Lawd.  If I HAD to choose, I reckon it would be a haunted house.  I haven’t been to one in years.  Going into some place that is pitch dark and having things jump out and scare the poo out of you isn’t my idea of a good time.  I scream through the silly haunted kiddie ride at our local county fair!
  7. FAVORITE HALLOWEEN MOVIE?  Now while I don’t enjoy things jumping out at me, I love to be scared at a movie!  I think the Halloween season is a time to watch REALLY scary movies.  The last scary movie I saw was “The Conjuring”.  If you haven’t seen it, and want to get into the spooky/scary spirit, I definitely recommend it!  I also enjoy the classic “Halloween” movie.  Oh, and “The Strangers”.
  8. FAVORITE CANDY TO EAT ON HALLOWEEN?  Okay, I’m not a big candy person either.  Yes, I know, “She don’t like Starbucks, and she don’t like candy”.  However, if I do eat candy, I love Starburst (pink and red only).  So that’s what I buy to give out to the kids for Trick-or-Treat.  I also get a bag of “good” stuff.  I save the Starburst til the end in case we don’t run out (and I get to eat them).
  9. WHAT ARE YOU DRESSING UP AS FOR HALLOWEEN?  We recently went to a Halloween party.  I had the brilliant idea of dressing up as Miley and Robin at the VMAs (not in the latex bikini, mind you!).  But we ran out of time for me to get the costume together.  I am obsessed with the beautiful fashions from the ’20s, so I was a flapper and my hubby was a gangster.  Ala-Boardwalk Empire.
picture-of-flapper-gangster-halloween

The Roaring Twenties!

10.  WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT FALL?  Let me start by saying I HATE being cold.  However, our summers are usually so brutal I welcome the cooling off.  In Georgia, we really don’t have seasons.  We have Summer (hot and humid) and Winter (cold, but not like Minnesota).  Our Fall is usually just a few weeks long.  My favorite thing about fall is being able to wear the dark shades of makeup that I love without looking out of place.  Regardless, I wear it all year long ;)

So, there you have it.  I really enjoy doing tags because it is such a great opportunity to learn more about my blogging friends.

I tag:

LippyLikes

Wendy from FashionableHeart

Kristy from TaupeAndPearl

Laura from LibertyxLoves

Valerie from Ohh-val

*If you girls cannot participate, I totally understand.*

Again, thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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Makeup Storage – Muji Acrylics

s for everything.

I did the best I could to get decent photos.  It sort of looks like chaos, but I took my pieces apart to give you an idea of what I put together.  I wish to thank my lovely assistant, Murphy, for adding some super cuteness to the photo session.  Murphy is a Flame Solid Lynx Ragdoll.  He is 3 years old, and always up in my business :)

picture of Muji Acrylic Storage

Muji Acrylic Storage 5 drawer

Above is the 5 drawer unit I used as the base ($27.95).  It can easily accommodate a large palette.

picture of Muji Acrylic Storage

Muji Acrylic Storage

Above is the base in the background, the 3 drawer case on the left ($24.75) that I put on top of the base, and the Large 2 drawer with lid on the right ($26.75) that is on the top.  The top drawer slides out as well.  The drawer on the unit with the lid is “deeper” than the other 2, so it holds my taller/bulkier items.

picture of Muji Acrylic Storage

Muji Acrylic Storage

The drawers slide in and out smoothly.  You can pull them out all the way and they don’t flip over.   The acrylic is still bright and clear with no crackling.  Apparently crackling is a common problem with acrylic, and the expensive units I looked at before guaranteed no crackling, hence the high price tag.  I initially started with the 5 drawer base and 2 drawer with lid.  Added the middle piece about a year later.  The bottoms of each unit have secure rubber “feet” that allow you to stack securely. They do not wobble or slide, so no worries there.

I love my Mujis!  I think they were a great buy, and I use them every day.

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

Fierce Females: Helen Gurley Brown

Before Carrie Bradshaw, even before Anna Wintour, there was Helen Gurley Brown.  She was a pioneer of powerful women in publishing, running Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997.

She took over Cosmo as Editor-in-Chief after the success of her book, “Sex and the Single Girl”, which she wrote at the age of 40.  Quite an accomplishment I think, considering by today’s standards,  if you’ve not conquered the world by 30, well, you’re a lost cause!  Under her helm, circulation went from the hundred thousands to several million across the globe.

The 70s was a time when young women began questioning the traditional roles of wife and mother. Was it okay to be single, have a career, make your own money, be independent, and not “save yourself for marriage”?  Cosmopolitan addressed those issues head on, with a resounding message from Helen saying, “Yes it is!”.

Through the years, the magazine, like we girls, evolved.  It helped empower women to take charge of their destiny and not think life was all about marriage, a white picket fence, and 2.5 children.  We could make our own money, wear beautiful clothes, buy a car, become an Executive, get married, make babies; whatever we desired.  On our terms.  Soft-core feminism, in baby steps.

I was definitely a Cosmo Girl in my single days, much to my Mother’s chagrin.  It all worked out though.  We women are amazing creatures capable of doing anything.  Social mores should not set limitations on our dreams and aspirations, whether they are to be a career woman or a stay at home Mom.  It’s our decision.  I think Helen Gurley Brown helped pave the way for our liberation.

After leaving her position as Editor-in-Chief, she stayed on to oversee the international editions of Cosmopolitan, until her death in 2012 at the age of 90.

After she stepped down, I felt like the magazine lost it’s edge.  Not sure if it really did, or if I had just “outgrown” it due to my own evolution.  That’s kind of sad.  I can’t even tell you the last time I picked up an issue, but it was definitely my absolute favorite magazine and inspiration during my 20s.  It’s a totally different time now, but I hope the Cosmo Girl is still alive and well in the 2010s!

Thanks HGB.

“Good girls go to heaven; bad girls go everywhere” – Helen Gurley Brown

Thanks for reading, and be fierce!

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De-mystifying the Vitamix

I have been trying to eat healthier and clean.  Whole grains; lean, organic protein; fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also exercise regularly (more on that in a future blog!).

I was finding it really hard to get the recommended servings of fresh fruits and vegetables into my day.  I remembered I had a “Magic Bullet” blender that was gathering dust in my pantry.  So I broke it out, thinking I would make healthy fruit smoothies and protein shakes for my breakfast.  The bullet seemed a great alternative to my old school, clunky blender with it’s many pieces and parts that would have to be disassembled to wash after use.  Off to the grocery store I went to get fresh fruit in season, frozen fruit that wasn’t, and whatever other ingredients (fat-free Greek yogurt, chia seeds) needed to get me on the way to liquid nutrient nirvana!

Armed with healthy recipes (under 300 calories, 10+ grams of protein, 5+ grams of fiber, antioxidants and no added sugar), I began trying out this new breakfast thing.  Many of the recipes called for frozen blueberries/fruit, Greek yogurt, nuts, and the dreaded “ICE CUBES”.  This post is not meant to be a rant against the Magic Bullet.  I’m sure there are thousands of people who love it and use it every day.  However, for me, it could not handle the contents I threw into it.  The instructions give you advice on how to handle tough items to blend.  My favorite was the “shake” technique.  If the bullet seemed to be struggling to combine all the ingredients, you “shake” it like you would a cocktail shaker – up and down vigorously.  So I would shake the unit up and down vigorously.  So vigorously that I was literally jumping up and down with the bullet in my hands, shaking it, and jumping to try to get the ingredients incorporated.  On the plus side, I was getting a bit of plyometric exercise!!!  And ICE CUBES, you could just forget it.  You would end up with solid non-crushed ice cubes randomly in your smoothie.

Then I discovered the Vitamix!  It claimed to be able to blend whatever you threw at it into a smooth, delicious, whatever-it-is-supposed-to-be.  With the Vitamix, I was actually able to get the fruits AND the vegetables I needed into my diet!  The actual Vitamix website was not very informative to me.  So I did some research, and thought I would share my findings with you.  Note this is strictly the home use Vitamix, not the commercial series.

I purchased the bare bones, basic Vitamix – the Turboblend 2 speed.

picture of Vitamix  Turboblend 2 speed

Vitamix Turboblend 2 speed

This completely suited my needs.  It has an on/off switch, and low/high speed.  You put your ingredients into the container, start on low speed, flip to high, and viola!  Your recipe is finished!  I did not know you could make hot soups in this thing!!!  You put your ingredients in, do the low/high thing, let it blend for 4-5 minutes, and the heat of the motor cooks and heats your ingredients to produce a hot, hearty soup!!! And you are eating whole foods!  I actually made a delicious kale and watercress soup that took care of my vegetable requirements for the day!

picture of Vitamix  Turboblend 2 speed

Vitamix Turboblend 2 speed

picture of Vitamix  Turboblend 2 speed review

Vitamix Turboblend 2 speed

This is the “basic”, least expensive model.  It comes with a food tamper (to get the ingredients mixed together – you take the stopper off the lid and insert this and stir) as well as a basic recipe book.  And cleanup is a snap for all models.  You just fill the container half full of warm water, put a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid in, and run on high for 30 seconds.  That’s it!!  And there are no pieces/parts to disassemble.  There is the base unit, the container, and lid.  The blades are an integral part of the container, so you don’t have to take it all apart.  And the base is solid, and the blade mechanism fits into it, so you just wipe it clean with a damp cloth.  Simple!!!!

picture of Vitamix  Turboblend 2 speed tamper

Vitamix Turboblend 2 speed tamper

picture of Vitamix  Turboblend 2 speed cookbook

Vitamix Turboblend 2 speed cookbook

The next step up from this is the Turboblend Variable Speed.  It is the same as mine, except it has a variable speed dial in between the on/off and low/high settings.  It comes with a raw foods/vegan/vegetarian cookbook.  The 5200 is also the same as this, but it comes with a whole foods cookbook.  Both models also come with instructional DVDs that mine did not have.  So, basically, they are the same unit, but have different cookbooks.

All the various model numbers after these are hybrids of the above, differences being the size of the blender container (the creation series is a shorter, wider container that fits under most cabinets.  As you can see, mine does not fit under my cabinet with the container on), and type of container, and accessories.  Some come with additional containers that can make whole grain/nut flours, knead dough, larger capacity for families, etc.  Home use blenders are all 2HP, so they all have tremendous power and are equal in that sense.  The Professional series and Creation series also offer pulse, pre-programmed settings, and soft touch controls.  You just have to decide what works for you and your family.

I purchased mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  Retail price was $379.99.  I used a coupon for 20% off my entire purchase (I bought a couple of other things as well).  The coupon specifically said not valid on Vitamix, and I told the cashier I understood the disclaimer.  She said, “Let’s see what happens”.  It took 20% off my total purchase PRICE.  It did not differentiate what I actually purchased, so I ended up getting it for $304.00.

If you belong to Costco, they also have fabulous deals on Vitamix.  They are a “traveling” vendor for Costco, so check to see when they will be at your local store.  They have demos at the stores, and offer packages much cheaper than you could buy elsewhere.

For me, my basic model does everything I need.  I have made almond butter, pesto, soups, smoothies, and oh!  ICE CUBES – no problem!!!!!  Personally, I didn’t see a need for variable speed and pulse and all the other bells and whistles.  So I got the basic.  Vitamix does have an on-going “trade-up” program, so if I ever decide I want more, I can send mine in and get the next upgrade for a small price.  I do use it at least twice a day – mornings for my breakfast, and for dinner to make a vegetable.  Weekends more – might make a fruit sorbet (healthy!!!).  Today I made a delicious green smoothie with kale, spinach, broccoli, pear, orange, white grapes, and ICE CUBES.  Delish!!!

KPsays, “Take the plunge!!!”

Thanks for reading!  kxoxo

Fierce Females: Lisa Marie Presley

I have always had a morbid fascination with Lisa Marie.  Probably because she is the only child of the biggest superstar in the world, Elvis.  I grew up listening to his music and watching his movies because my Mom was a huge fan.

I couldn’t even fathom growing up with a father as famous as Elvis.  He was a gigantic celebrity with worldwide fame.  Even today, people flock to Graceland by the thousands, and Elvis impersonators are still popular.  I think even in today’s times, anyone over the age of 12 knows who Elvis is.

Considering how huge her father was, she was mostly protected from the public eye growing up; especially after Elvis’ tragic death.  I’m sure her Mother, Priscilla, had a lot to do with shielding her child from the paparazzi and trying to allow the only daughter of an icon to have a somewhat normal life.  And all things considered, I think she turned out alright.

And followed in her father’s footsteps as a singer.  I like her music, and think she’s got talent.  Notice that sneer?

So, here’s to Lisa Marie Presley.  To Priscilla Presley as well, for I’m sure it wasn’t an easy task protecting her famous daughter from people who would have loved to exploit her for monetary gain.  And the from bottom-feeders who were still trying to make a buck off of Elvis’ name.  Thank goodness reality shows weren’t a thing back then!

Thanks for reading, and be FIERCE!

xoxo

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Do you know about EBATES?

If you do any online shopping, you really should check out Ebates.  It is a website that features many of the major retailers you are probably already shopping with.  The cool part is, with Ebates, you get a percentage back of your total spend with said retailer!  It is almost like how a cash-back credit card works.

The retailer’s website on Ebates is their ACTUAL website.  If you are registered with that particular retailer, you can log on with your user id and password as you normally would.  So if you get points from a particular retailer for shopping, you won’t lose out on that functionality.  It’s not like you have to go through some “generic” online shopping mall to access your favorite retailers.

I will use Sephora as an example.  Sephora gives you points for each dollar you spend that can be redeemed for certain featured beauty products.  If I access Sephora.com via Ebates, I can log onto my Sephora account as usual, get my beauty points for shopping, and ALSO get a percentage back from Ebates on what I spend.  Total double-dipping!

The percentage back varies by retailer – usually between 2%-8%.  It may not sound like much, but it does really add up!  And if you’re going to spend that money anyways, why not get a little something back?  Also, occasionally retailers will double the cash back percentage during promotional periods, called a “Daily Double”.

Your cash back is dispersed quarterly.  You can chose to get an actual check in the mail, or electronically through PayPal.  I get a check, because I’m not really sure how the whole PayPal thing works on getting money back.  I sure do know how to use it to pay for something though – haha!!   You do have to have a minimum of $5.00 built up before they send you a check.  And it will keep “rolling” until you hit the $5.00 mark.

They keep you updated on the Daily Doubles and coupons/sales/special offers from your favorite stores.  It is a very user-friendly site.

I shop a lot on Amazon, as I’m sure most of you do as well.  Currently, they only offer cash back on Amazon purchases for clothing, swim, denim, and personal care appliances.  From what I understand, they are working to add more categories.

I joined in December of 2012.  Here is what my payment history looks like:

picture of Ebates screen

Ebates Account Summary

This is the summary of what I have been paid so far, and how much I have pending for my next check.

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Ebates Account History

This is the history the checks I’ve been paid so far.

The hardest part for me was remembering to go through Ebates when I made an online purchase.  As you can see from my history, I have done much better, which equals more money back!

It is not a scam. It is free to join.  No hidden fees or weirdo stuff.  They make a commission for “directing” customers to websites, and they share that commission with we consumers, who in turn continue going to Ebates.  Happy little circle!

If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s www.ebates.com!

Thanks for reading! kxoxo

Fierce Females: Gwen Stefani

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Gwen Stefani

I.LOVE.GWEN.

She has been on my list to feature, but after seeing her on The Grammys  this evening, I decided she would be my choice this Sunday.  Yes, I did take pics of my TV.

I loved her the moment I discovered who No Doubt was.  I have a thing for chick singers who front rock bands.  Especially if they are the only chick.  I adored her funky style and craaaazy stage presence.

Oh.  And her abs.  I mean, really?

She is an amazingly talented singer, songwriter, rock star.

Fast forward a few years.  She goes solo, and her records do great.  She lands a hot rock star husband, launches an uber successful fashion line (couture and RTW), becomes a Mom of three, and appeared on  this past season of “The Voice”.  Superwoman.  Proof we can have it all!

I’ve seen her several times in concert both with No Doubt and just Gwen.  She is a total bad-ass!  I am so looking forward to seeing her live again.

Have a great week lovelies!  And be fierce!

xoxo

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Ducky Tales Part 2 – Newborn Update

Welcome to Ducky Tales part 2.  This is our newborn update.  Part one of this saga is here.

We have made it to day 5!  We now know, thanks to our super smart niece Carol, that our beloved Ducky is a Mourning Dove.  After much research on the internet/YouTube, I have discovered that baby doves do not “gape” for food with their mouths open like most songbirds.  They are actually fed by both the Mother and Father, who regurgitate “crop milk” which is like infant formula. The baby doves then put their heads into their parent’s mouth to feed, sort of like a hummingbird feeding on a flower to get the nectar.  That explains why he wasn’t opening his mouth when we attempted to feed him with a syringe!

So, how to feed this baby? Believe it or not, they make a hand feeding formula for baby birds (more on that on my next post).  We decided on the ziploc method.  It is similar to hand piping cake decorations and Spritz cookies.  You chuck the formula into a ziploc, snip the corner of the baggie, place the bird’s beak into the opening, and “pipe” away!!

picture of Feeding baby mourning dove

Feeding baby mourning dove

Honestly, he LOVES it.  He understands it.  He stomps his little feet, flaps his little wings, and chirps with delight as he’s eating it.  You see his little beak opening up inside that ziploc.

picture of Feeding baby dove.

Feeding baby dove.

picture of Feeding baby dove.

Feeding baby dove.

picture of Feeding baby dove.

Feeding baby dove.

It does get a bit messy.  We also learned that the food needs to be between 103 degrees and 105 degrees prior to feeding.  So we are making formula, checking the temp, reheating when necessary, and checking the temp again with our Thermapen.  Who would’ve thought this would be the best thing we’ve ever used that Thermapen for!!!  Overdone pork chops – who cares??

He does look like a mess after feeding time, but he loves when I wipe the excess off with a warm paper towel.  He just sits there and lets me clean him up.  So, he no longer looks like he has a flesh eating bacteria like the last post.

picture of baby dove collage

baby dove collage

This has been such a rewarding experience.  Indeed we have grown very attached to this little baby dove.  I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us figure out the right thing to do with this little bird.  The people who posted videos of their experience on YouTube.  The bloggers who have detailed their labor of love to save a little life.  I have reached out to all of those folks to let them know what a blessing they have been to us in our little endeavor.  My hope is that someone later on down the line, who comes across a helpless baby bird, will be helped by my contribution.  I believe the next installment will be a blog post, but we absolutely need to put a video on YouTube to help others.

Do I need to say more?

picture of baby dove

Baby dove

Snuggling with his Daddy.

 

picture of baby dove

Baby dove

How his wing span has grown.

I thank you all for your thoughts/prayers for our little warrior.  I am confident now that he’s made it 5 days he will be okay!!!  Next update in 2 days!

Again, really THANK YOU for reading!!! kxoxo

Also for the pet lovers, let’s check reviews on cute outdoor cat house & shelter!

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Fierce Females: Stevie Nicks

The “Rumours” album is one of the first records (yes, vinyl!!!) I ever owned.  I was obsessed with it, as was the whole country.  I wouldn’t understand all the drama and intrigue that propelled this album to explode the way it did until I got a little older.  We were living in Taiwan at the time, and hearing any of these songs instantly transports me back to that time in my life.

That is when my love for Stevie Nicks first began.  She was the epitome of cool with her hippie style;  a rocker chick that combined glamour and grit.  Yes, please!  I believe my love of all things boho is because of her!

While I love the Mac, Stevie’s solo stuff was an integral part of my youth.  Her first album “Belladonna” just spoke to me, and I listened to it over and over back in the day (okay, so by that time, we had evolved from vinyl to cassette tapes).  Her songwriting is so beautiful and her words so haunting.  I have seen her in concert many times over the years, and she is still one of my absolute favorites.

At 66, she is still rocking and kicking ass.  As a member of one of America’s first “super groups”, she definitely paved the way for women in rock.  I was so excited to hear her music featured on last season’s “American Horror Story”.  Then she actually appeared on the show!  I was just beside myself.  So, here’s to this week’s Fierce Female, Stevie Nicks!

Ah, I’m at the age where the music I grew up with is now “classic rock”.

Have a great week, and be FIERCE!

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Fierce Females: Oprah Winfrey

I know people have differing opinions about Oprah; but I myself love her, and think she is definitely a Fierce Female!

She is a self-made billionaire!  She started out as a local news anchor in Chicago, and is a living, breathing example of what one can accomplish with a bit of grit and determination.

She single handedly built an empire: successful talk show, production company, magazine.  A mere mention of a book, product, artist – they became overnight sensations.

She also encouraged us to become the best person we could be.  Thanks to her, I have had many “Aha!” lightbulb moments.  And read some of the best books I would have never known about.

I was sad to see her show end.

Here’s to you Ms. Winfrey!

Thanks for reading, and be FIERCE!

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Fierce Females: Jackie O

Yaaasss!  Our 35th First Lady Jackie O served up some serious fashion.

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Jackie O’s Fashion Sense

The Camelot years inspired our country.  JFK and Jackie were the Prom King and Queen and brought excitement and freshness to the drab world of politics (and Presidents).  Especially Jackie with her designer suits, pill box hats, and the pearls!

In spite of all the horrific tragedies life threw her way, she endured. She is the epitome of class.  You would have never seen her on “The Real Housewives of Martha’s Vineyard”.  No way.  Even though there was no such thing back then.  But if there was, she would have given them the finger.  No, I take that back.  She would have politely declined.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, I salute you.  For your grace, courage, style, and silent fierceness.

Even my beloved Tori Amos wrote a song about you.  She wants your strength.  I do too.

Again, thanks for reading!  And Be Fierce!

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Fierce Females: Dr. Laura

The one trait that I believe define Fierce Females is “accountability”.  Taking responsibility for your own actions and choices.  Not blaming “him”, “her”, or “them”.  We set our own course.  We are in control of our destiny.  We are not helpless damsels in distress.

Enter Dr. Laura.  That is her game.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a pretty controversial radio talk show host.  Years ago, her program was carried by my local radio station (thank goodness!).  She is now syndicated internationally, and her show is exclusively carried on Sirius (as well as online streaming and podcasts).

 

When I was young(er), single, and stumbling finding my way in life, I discovered Dr. Laura.  She is hardcore, doesn’t sugar coat, and tells it like it is – even though you don’t want to hear it.

Her book, “Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives”, gave me a much needed bitch slap in reality.  I became a stronger, more empowered woman after reading her book.  If you are single, in a “iffy” relationship, or are just starting out, I highly recommend this book.

I don’t agree with ALL of her views, but her message to women is right on; stand up for yourself, do not let a man define you, and put yourself in check if your life is going awry.

Have a great week, and BE FIERCE!

Love,

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Fierce Females: Samantha Stephens

Thanks to my friend Rosie from A Red Lip And A Nude Shoe, I am starting a Sunday Series on the blog – Fierce Females!  She came up with this concept to celebrate the women who have inspired/shaped/influenced her life.  I read her first post, and I totally dug it!  So, thank you Rosie for being an Influencer, and allowing me to totally copy your idea!

Bewitched

My first pick is Samantha Stephens from my FAVORITE-EST show EVER, Bewitched!!!

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Though she is totally fictional, I so wanted to be her when I was growing up.  I loved that she married a mortal (first Darrin was the best!), could twitch her nose to get out of trouble, and had the most over the top family!  And I thought the house they lived in was the most amazing house ever (1164 Morning Glory Circle).

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Samantha was beautiful, wore the BEST mod clothes, and had fierce eyebrows!

serena

Cousin Serena was also a favorite – the wild side of Samantha!

So this is two-fold; in that I also admire Elizabeth Montgomery, who portrayed my beloved Samantha.  She lived a great life, made her own rules, and pretty much didn’t play by Hollywood standards for women back  then.

Not to be all racial/political, but “Bewitched” made me feel like I belonged.  Back in the 70s, “mixed” marriages were not very common.  Although the Stephens’ wedding was witch to mortal, it made me feel like the Japanese lady to Army guy union that created me was okay.

What Fierce Female made an impact on your life?

Again, thanks for reading!  kxoxo

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