The Nativity Story

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Hope you all are having a good start to the weekend.  I have a fun weekend planned, with family and harp music involved, which to me is always a great combination.

Don’t forgot to enter the giveaway #1 of the Christmas giveaways.

And today, there is a giveaway #2 – Kristin from Exploring Domesticity is hosting a fun giveaway for what sounds like yummy comfort food, so head on over and enter.

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Keep your eyes open because it won’t be too long before giveaway #3 is announced.  (There won’t be 12 giveaways, but the giveaways will run over the course of these 12 days, if you were curious/wondering).

Any fun – even if mundane – things happen lately?  Today, I went to a surplus store – which is so fun to go “scout out” what you can find…only problem is, yes, the cookies were organic and gluten free and would have cost a lot lot more at another store, but did I really need 2 boxes?!   Therein lies the problem of the surplus store.  It’s a love/hate thing.  But you can’t beat iceberg lettuce for $0.50 a head or a 3-pack of romaine for $1.50, so I’m telling myself that made up for the cookie indiscretions.  🙂

Do you have any Christmas movie traditions?  Mine would be watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” Christmas Eve, and watching “The Nativity Story” at some point leading up to Christmas.  This evening I watched that and just thought of something I’m sure I’ve known, but just dawned on me (Don’t you love when that happens?  The Bible never gets old!).  So the shepherds in the fields – when the birth was announced to them and they left the fields to find him, they were literally leaving their occupation, their way of making money because I’m sure many, if not all, of the sheep would have wondered off by the time they returned.  But none of that mattered.  Something – no, someOne – was more important and required their worship.  That just struck me while watching the movie this evening.

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Hope everyone has a great weekend – do something fun! 🙂

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways: Charise Noel Jewelry

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I’m so excited to share about this giveaway series – I’ve joined together with some other amazing bloggers and we will be having various giveaways over the next 12 days – each giveaway being open for 1 week, with the final giveaway ending on Christmas day!  Today’s giveaway is one I am super excited about because I am loving it and think so many of you will too, either for yourself or to gift to someone special in your life.

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I heard about Charise Noel from a friend, who heard about her from a friend,…  Her designs are just so pretty, classic, simple, and feminine, and I just love how easy they are to wear – no annoying tiny clasp that takes 18749 seconds to clasp.

Charise was kind enough to allow me to ask her some questions regarding her jewelry and her company:

Q: How did you get started with Charise Noel Jewelry? 

I never thought I would make jewelry as my passion and purpose in life.   Growing up I wasn’t interested in fashion.   I was interested in helping others.  However, I started making jewelry when I had both of my feet operated on at the same time and needed something to keep my hands busy since I couldn’t walk and was going crazy!  A friend gave me her tools and pearls because she thought she would make jewelry, but she found she never had the time.   As a 6th and 7th grade math and science teacher, I had put a mathematical equation together using the principals of the pulley system to eliminate the dainty clasp on delicate necklaces.  I had done this because my mom, who was a stage 4 breast cancer survivor, had lost dexterity in both hands and couldn’t wear her favorite jewelry any more.  I took the equation that I had already figured out and the tools and materials that my friend had given to me and thought I would see if my equation worked.  I sat and pieced the materials together and what I saw in my head I miraculously could make with my hands.  I made my first pearl necklace for my mom to try and the equation worked!

Q: Is there a creative process you go through to deciding what new designs are added to your collection?
Yes, I am a story teller with jewelry.  I make jewelry that is the easiest to wear and includes everyone.  The saying “the more the merrier” is a mantra for me.  I want everyone to be included in my jewelry, to find a necklace and say “this is me”.  If I have a purpose, a story, a cause, anything that is lovely and redemptive, then I get inspired from it and want to express that in my jewelry.  I draw inspiration for my jewelry designs from scripture and from people’s life stories, like my friend and actress Venda who has struggled with diabetes since childhood.  There are endless inspiring stories and causes.  I am blessed to be an artist who can portray the difficulties and hardships of life as beautiful jewelry.

I have needed a new creative perspective from time to time, like when ladies kept asking for a necklace that had charms.  And I would tell them “NO, I’m not a charm-y girl.”  I like individual charms, however when you put a cluster of charms together, it looks cluttered and makes noise . . . two things I don’t like.  So when I created my Magic line, it was my solution to the request of customers for charms.  I had to open my mind up to creating a charm necklace that I would like.  I don’t call them charms, though.  I call them Magic Endings, because they dangle off the ends but the individual endings are easily seen.  Now ladies get to collect Magic Endings that represent their favorite things in life, and I get to make a necklace that is elegant and simple.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about owning your own business? 

One word…Perseverance.  You make money and lose money, face obstacles and figure out solutions, and accept failures as graciously as you enjoy successes.  When you are building a business it can get messy.  There is no such thing as a perfectly happy story without mistakes and or tough lessons.  Although it is your own business, nobody can do it all on their own.  We need the help and support of others.  The decisions are yours and yours alone, because you have to be able to live with the outcome.  However, when there is a need, a calling, a purpose that is bigger than YOU, then you are not alone in it.  There is a need to work with others and allow God to do the impossible through you.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?

I am passionate about making jewelry that is the easiest you have ever used, regardless of your age or physical ability.  When I see a 3 year old who doesn’t know how to tie their own shoelaces, or a 93 year old with poor eyesight and trembling hands, easily put my necklace on and take it off by them self, my purpose is complete and that is success!  I just feel like screaming “SEE, YOU DID IT” but I don’t have to, because the first thing that comes out of their mouth is even more precious.  They look at me with wonder and say “I DID IT”!

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Charise sent me a Teresa Classic Beauty necklace (22″) as well as a Solitaire Magic Necklace with Magic Endings to review, and I am over the moon about them.  I have worn both, and they are so versatile.  Surprisingly, even though the Teresa has a pink/peach hue to it, it goes with so many outfits and has a beautiful mother of pearl/iridescent quality to it.  Here is the story behind the Teresa: “The Teresa necklace was designed for my Aunt who has crippling  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for her to wear a dainty necklace every day that she can quickly do herself.  The pink color is for joy and the coin pearls lay flat because she is dear to my heart.”  Isn’t that just lovely?  I love hearing the inspiration behind the creations – makes them more meaningful.

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The Solitaire Magic Necklace is also so very versatile.  Because of the design, it can be worn in more ways – as a simple necklace without using any Magic Endings.  Or you can put it on just like the Classic Beauty necklaces, and then attach the Magic Endings of your choice to the magnets and get such a variety of looks.  Her Magic Endings also are used in her Magic Earrings, so even more functionality and swapability there!

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Would you like to win your own Teresa Classic Beauty necklace (22″) AND a Magic Necklace with 2 sets of Magic Endings?!?! Your Magic Set will come with the Solitaire Magic Necklace plus the pearl drop Magic Endings and an angel wing with blue gray bead Magic Endings, which equals 3 different necklaces plus the Teresa (plus who says you have to wear both the pearls or both the wings together – you could do one of each for a fourth look). Just enter the giveaway below for a chance to win big!  🙂  (here are pics of the actual Teresa necklace you will win, as well as the Angel Wings Magic Endings, the Solitaire Magic Necklace by itself, and the Pearl Magic Endings.)

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Also, as if Charise hasn’t been  generous enough, she has graciously given a code – LeafyNotBeefy – that is good for 72 hours from now for 50% off everything in her shop!!!  Yes, 50% off!!  These would make great gifts!

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How I Saved and a Surprise

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Just like anyone else, I love to save money.  If something is on sale, I’m happy.  So when I started the room redo, I had my eyes open for “savings”.  I wish I were a great couponer.  I do use coupons, and I would say I’m great at online coupon/deal finding, but in stores I’m not as good yet.  But you always have to be working on improving something, right? 😉

I thought I would write up a quick little post detailing a few ways I was able to save and redo my room on the budget I set.

First up – paint.  I had seen Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray/Silver Chain mentioned all over Pinterest when I was searching for a nice neutral gray, but BM paint is really expensive – and according to Consumer Reports, it’s not rated any better than others.  So when I saw Behr was on sale and they could color match to the BM color, … that made me happy, and I am super happy with the color it turned out.

Next, the items I got from Amazon (the dark bins, the gray velvet hangers, the cedar flowers, the desk), all but a little bit of it (I think about all but $20) was paid for by redeeming SB points from Swagbucks.  I talk about them a lot on my Facebook page, but they have helped tremendously – if you are a blogger, I highly recommend their Influencer program.  Something always seems to come up that I want to redeem my points for, but I’m hoping to save up for a computer (maybe even a Mac) for when my current one finally goes kaput.

Also paid mostly for from Swagbucks was the Sauder bookcase!  It was on a great sale, and then with the gift cards I believe what I actually paid was $47.

Another site I use quite a bit when I was buying things online for my room redo, and use in general whenever shopping for anything online, is Ebates.  No, it’s not a lot, but getting any money back for free is always a good thing in my book, plus it adds up eventually.  Also, if you join from my link, you’ll get $10 just for using it.  Plus you can enter to win a 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (and they also have a great blogger program).

And finally, something else I saved on for my room was the nautical-inspired rattan table lamp with linen shade.  I was able to get that through a program called Vipon.  It is free to join (just like all the others have been), and you are able to request items from Amazon at a reduced price – if you love them, you are free to leave a review on Amazon, but you’re not required to do so.  The lamp is so high quality, and it was only $4.80 or something like that.

Now for the surprise…..

I, along with a few other bloggers, will be hosting a “12 Days of Christmas” Giveaway – there will be various giveaways over the next 12 days, starting tomorrow.  Each giveaway will last 1 week from the day it’s posted, with the last one ending on Christmas day.  🙂  You seriously will NOT want to miss these!!  There will be health/food/fitness/beauty and more.  Psst – tomorrow’s giveaway will be a gorgeous beauty item you will love for yourself or for a Christmas gift!

Room Renovation Tour

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One of the reasons I’ve been absent from the blogosphere is because I’ve been busy renovating/redecorating a room.  I didn’t take very many before photos, but this room used to have my closet, a dresser, mirror, a bed, a long craft table, a desk, and a small bookshelf.  It was crowded and felt so narrow (because it is a narrow room).  I don’t actually sleep in this room, so when I decided to redo this space, the bed was the first thing to go.  Now, this room is a dressing area, a reading area/prayer space, and an office.  I had SO much fun with this project! I will list at the bottom, wherever I can, where I purchased everything from in case anything stands out that you are curious about.

So, without further ado, here is my room redo:

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Before (technically more like in progress/beginning) – a very purple room with lavender paint and purple balloon valances.  I had thought that I would put wood look laminate flooring down, but the house is probably 150 years old and the floors are very very crooked, so it would have been too much work and money to get leveler.  Plus the carpet was in decent condition.

After (get ready for the deluge of photos!)

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Sauder bookcase // Luminara lanterns from ebay // dark baskets // velvet hangers // lace curtains // tub chair // pillow and pillow(in teal) // desk //  lamp // lighter baskets

Dollar Tree finds – the vase and the pear on the middle shelf of the small bookcase and the vase on top of the Sauder bookcase as well as the multicolored and clear flat marbles in the vase.  The highchair was my great-great aunt’s highchair, so I love that in this space.  The light teal/aqua side table was also vintage, as well as the floor lamp.  The lamp’s middle socket is a mogul bulb, so I am awaiting an adapter so I can use it.  It used to be brass, but a spray of spray paint brought it back to life.

My desk looks so empty because I haven’t moved my laptop and stuff there yet, and I also still want to put a mirror in the room (probably a thin wall one to take up less space), and I’d like to hang something on one of the walls.

Speaking of the walls, the paint color I went with is Benjamin Moore Harbor Gray (aka Silver Chain).  In searching through Pinterest for the perfect true gray, I came across several people saying it was the color of choice.  Because BM was so much pricier than Behr, I had it color matched in the Behr formula.  This room gets a ton of natural light, so it was important to me to not have a color that would diminish any of that.  I also painted all the baseboard and woodwork white instead of that not-so-nice shade of golden honey oak.  I was able to reuse my curtain rods.  I was originally going to reuse my dresser by taking out the drawer for open shelving for my bins, but the drawers weren’t tall at all, so it wasn’t worth it – I just repurposed the bookcase I had for my bins.  Then this Sauder bookcase…. oh, do I ever love it!  It is the perfect cool-toned grayish brown taupey color, and I love the little knots that give it character and a slight rustic quality.  It was fairly easy to put together as well (did most of it myself).

Overall, I am so thrilled with how the space evolved.  Tomorrow, I will share little secrets of how I was able to stay on budget with this redo.

Do you enjoy redecorating/renovating?  What was your last project?

My Favoritest Thing

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I am working on a list of things that I have particularly enjoyed this year – – – some are things that I have enjoyed for several years and still “makes the cut” and some are new things from just this year.  So I’m working on the list, but in the meantime, this special is happening right now and only through tomorrow, so I wanted to go ahead and post this, which is also my favoritest (no, that’s not a word, but I don’t care 😉 ).

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you may know some of the struggles I’ve had with my health, namely my back problems/pain.  Plexus makes no claims to cure or prevent any disease, but I can say that my pain has been astonishingly diminished.  As a reference, when asked (on a great day) by my chiropractor what my pain level from my degenerative disc disease was, I would usually say maybe a 5-6/10, and when it would flare up super bad a 10/10.  Those were the times I would go to his office sometimes 3 times per week for a week or two (that’s not cheap!), then maybe 2 times a week for another week or two, just to get me back to my baseline.  I was always doing the benefit/pain cost scale in my head if someone asked me to do something, go somewhere, or anything that involved any unknowns because what if the seating wasn’t comfortable for me?  What if my back got bad and I couldn’t do whatever it was?  Or even what if I think I can do whatever or go wherever, but I know that then I won’t be able to go or do something else that I want to do or go the next few days?  It was a constant line running through my head.  So, of course, that leads to feelings of guilt for having to say no to things and feelings of sadness.  The worst was when I would have a month or two or even three of being at my baseline (which I had grown to consider “normal”), and then overdo it and be in excruciating pain again – that despair – I know if you suffer from acute and chronic pain you understand.  You just want to cry, and often do, and you want to scream “No! This isn’t fair! I’ve had enough of this already!”  You probably also try not to gush all these things to others, because you don’t want to be a complainer because nobody likes constantly being around someone who is down, and you don’t want to be down, so you try to smile.

When I found Plexus, I was so down and so hopeless, but I did still have just a slight glimmer of hope, though I highly doubted it would help me, as I had tried SO many things (many of which are great and did help to an extent, but never helped enough).  I was really doing it more for the weight loss part of it.  Well, I went to the chiropractor due to the pain (another flare up episode) a few weeks after I started the products (I take the TriPlex and Ease caps).  That was on April 10th, 2015.  Since that time, I have only gone back to him twice… just twice!! (And one of those times was just because I thought I should, not because of pain).  Now, if my back does bother me (it occasionally does), it might be a 6/10 on those rare occasions and I just up the products a tad and usually within a day or two, I am back to baseline, which now is probably a 1-2/10 (almost nonexistent!).  I really could not be more thrilled, and I thank God for Plexus all the time!  It has also helped with a few other health issues I’ve had (allergies gone! headaches gone! skin condition getting better!), and I’m still hopeful and confident it will continue to work and allow my body to heal from a few more things.

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Some people wonder how the products seem to work for so many different people with such a variety of problems.  I feel, as a society, we are so used to treating symptoms – we take a medication for this condition, and for that condition, and then we take another for the condition brought on by taking the medication for that condition, and we are not looking at the body as a whole – as connected.  If you are curious, just Google whatever issue you are having with the words gut health (so ____ (your issue) and gut health), or try it with your issue and inflammation, or (your issue and blood sugar).  It is amazing how many things come back to the root issue of gut health, inflammation, and blood sugar balance!  These are the 3 things that Plexus products address, so to me it’s no wonder they are helping so many people.  It gives me the greatest joy to hear from people who have been helped!

Some people will hear about Plexus and think it’s dumb or that it’s somehow not needed or maybe that they’re taking 124,847 supplements that are higher quality (they think), or the opposite think they get everything they need from eating clean (and there is nothing wrong with that thinking – I was sooo there before, and still advocate eating clean and green; but Plexus is GMO-free, plant-based, and it’s not synthetic, and, as we all know, you can’t eat perfectly every single meal of every single day, and even if you can, sometimes you need extra help).  But I think of it as if your neighbor’s house is on fire – you, being a friendly neighbor and having put out your own fire earlier, run up to the house and tell them it’s on fire.  They might not believe you or maybe they think, “Oh, brother”.  If you can’t convince them, then you don’t just go on home – you go to the neighbor beside them and warn them their house may be on fire soon.  There are so many people that need the help that Plexus gives, and the right ones will listen!

I could talk for a long time, but this post is already getting a bit lengthy, but one of the other great things I love about Plexus is their 60-day money-back guarantee.  That was a real biggie for me when I first ordered – I was kind of actually expecting to have to use it (though hoping not to).

So on this #GivingTuesday, Plexus is giving us a coupon code for 10% off ANY order of ANY size – can be as a customer (Retail/Preferred) or as an Ambassador – even on the Welcome Packs, which are already below wholesale cost.

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SHOP PLEXUS

This deal ends Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST!

Here is a “Cliff Notes” version/description of Plexus products:

SLIM –“The Pink Drink” is a little powder packet that you mix into one bottle of water once per day. It contains a unique blend of plant based ingredients that help maintain healthy blood sugar, cholesterol and lipid levels, reduce cravings and I’ve noticed it increases my energy without stimulants. Slim also burns fat, not muscle!

PROBIO5- this is our probiotic with 5 varied strands of good bacteria. It helps restore proper intestinal balance and helps level out the yeast/bacteria balance in your system. ProBio5 also has THREE added digestive enzymes and a fungal killer specifically targeted to help your body break down food and fight the bad yeast and fungal overgrowth.

BIOCLEANSE- our magnesium based gentle daily colon and GI cleanser; oxygenates and energizes your body while detoxifying and cleansing wastes, pathogens and plaque in the body. It is very gentle and helps keep your body rid of toxins on a daily basis.

X-FACTOR- This is our daily multi-vitamin. It is unique in that it contains a patented aloe blend that helps increase absorption of nutrients by up to 400%. It also contains Methylfolate so those with the MTHFR gene mutation can take it.

EDGE- provides a clean, natural extra boost of energy without all the harsh side-effects of typical energy drinks/patches/shots etc. Most energy drinks contain synthetic caffeine that causes quick spikes, followed by sudden crashes and can also cause jitters, nausea, anxiousness and more. Edge contains natural caffeine from Green Coffee Beans along with L-Theanine & Theacrine that block the negative effects of caffeine so you can feel alert, focused & energized, yet you remain calm and happy all day!

ACCELERATOR+ or BOOST- when used with Slim, speeds up fat loss, boosts metabolism, helps control appetite and increases energy. Accelerator is the milder version of the two. Boost is stronger and is a thermogenic. Skip if you have BP issues.

BLOCK-fast acting formula that also helps boost appetite control, helps control glucose levels & increases fat loss by absorbing up to 48% of the excess carbs and sugars we intake on a daily basis.

MEGAX- is the ONLY completely plant-based total omega product on the market. Containing Omega 3,6,9 + 5&7, this product is incredible for brain health, heart health, skin related issues and so much more.

We also have amazing GRASS-FED WHEY PROTEIN shakes, EASE pain relief cream and capsules, a NERVE pain relief product, a BREAST EXAMINATION KIT, an amazing BODY CREAM and children’s CHEWABLE MULTI!

If you have any questions, I would love to offer my help.  Helping others brings me joy, and I am so thankful for how my health has improved, and if even one of you is helped as well, that will just make my day!  🙂

Have a great day!

Coming up posts: A few reviews, some books, and my favorite things post.

Edit:  Oh! I almost forgot! Since Sept., I’ve been planning and working on a room renovation.  It is finally completed, and I’m so happy with it!  So I’ll be sharing a room tour post next! 🙂

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