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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Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall Review/Giveaway

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Starving Hearts

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage.

She yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .

Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.

Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

Will Annette’s search for love and acceptance replace the loss and hurt in her heart? Find out in Janine Mendenhall’s book one, Starving Hearts, of the Triangular Trade Trilogy. Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way. . . .

MY THOUGHTS:

So much to love about this story – It is *not* an everything-is-perfect, boy-meets-girl, they-fall-in-love-and-live-happily-ever-after story.  It is how your faith and strength is tested in the hardest of circumstances, when all seems to be lost, and you don’t know how anything will be okay again story – which means that redemption is a theme I picked up on in this book as well as trust.

In many books, there are at least some characters or something in the story itself that is a bit unrealistic or something that kind of sticks out to you as not being right, and usually the story is otherwise written well enough that you overlook it.  However, I really didn’t think that about any of the story – the dialogue, the characters, the plots throughout…all seemed very much believable and they all flowed together seamlessly.  There also wasn’t any confusion on my part as I read it, going back and forth between characters (admittedly, that’s something I frequently struggle with in books…keeping things/characters straight).

While there are several characters who are quite unlikeable, the two main characters are both very likeable.  Annette has her health, her mother, and her potential arranged marriage to concern her, while Peter has to search his soul and come to terms with many things going on in his family and the business he didn’t want to play a part in.  They both experience very deep losses that make you wonder how a person could manage to keep on going. I especially loved the strong character  Janine gave Peter- no weakness or sit back and let whatever happen happen.  He is a very godly man who has a strength of character that is so refreshing.  Without giving away any of the ending, this story has a lot of everything and you don’t really know what’s going to happen until the end (you have your guesses, but keep reading!).

Join in the search for love and acceptance with Janine and Starving Hearts by entering to win the Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 12. The winner will be announced September 13 on Janine’s blog.

starving hearts - enterbanner*As a LitFuse Publicity blogger, I was provided a copy to facilitate this review.

Kelli Stuart’s ‘Like a River from Its Course’ Blog Tour and Kindle Prize Pack

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Travel back in time in Kelli Stuart’s new novel, Like a River from Its Course, as the city of Kiev is bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union. This sweeping historical saga takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River From Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Celebrate the release of Like a River from Its Course with Kelli by entering to win a Kindle Fire Prize Pack.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 18th. The winner will be announced July 19th on Kelli’s blog.

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About the book:

Like a River from Its Course (Kregel, June 2016)

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler’s blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little-known history of Ukraine’s tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the “killing ditch.” He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Führer’s plans for domination
are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism.

Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Purchase a copy:http://bit.ly/28YOXRu

My Thoughts:

I was excited to dig into this book – I enjoy reading historical fiction, especially WWII-era reads.  This is probably hands down the most gut-wrenching, moving, tragic, hope-filled, and grace-infused historical fiction book I have read in a very long time, perhaps ever.  I found myself sobbing at times, having to put the book down sooner than I really wanted just to process what had just happened, how human being could be so incredibly cruel.  Knowing these are based on true accounts really makes it hit home.  This is definitely not your feel-good summer beach read.  But it is a memorable read that for sure isn’t fluff and will get you to think about things that matter…. about anger and forgiveness, about depression and hope, about desperation and loving acceptance.

Fifteen years of research and interviews… this book definitely feels like it was a labor of love, a piece of Kelli’s heart went into this story I am sure.  You just can’t write a book like this without putting your whole heart and soul into it.

I’m totally gushing over this one, I know, but it deserves it.  It’s one of those books I will keep and let others borrow (but make sure they don’t forget to return 😉 )

When does Kelli’s next book come out??

*As a Litfuse blogger, I was sent a review copy of this book to review; however, all opinions are honest and unbiased.

Sarah Sundin’s Through Waters Deep and Anchors Aweigh Giveaway

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Dive into Sarah Sundin’s explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels
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Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah’s blog.

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About the Book

Through Waters Deep (Revell, August 2015)

It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My Thoughts

I so enjoy learning/reading/pretending I’m living in the 1940’s, so this book immediately drew me in from that aspect.  The writing is great, and the plot kept me reading and reading..and reading! (This is my second Sarah Sunden book, so I wasn’t at all surprised by that fact)  I don’t know much about naval life, so it was enjoyable discovering the different nautical terms that would pop up throughout the story.  Besides a good mystery and clean romance, something else I thoroughly enjoyed was seeing how Sarah wove Truth through the story.  In the story, Mary is reticent/reserved, but can’t resist a good mystery, and even through her fear, she learns it is important to shine her light brightly – not to show the world how great she is, but how great He is.

About the Author

Sarah Sundin is the author of The Wings of the Nightingale series and Wings of Glory series. Her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten is a 2015 finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Awards. On Distant Shores was a finalist for the 2014 Golden Scroll Award from both the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) and the Christian Authors Network (CAN).  In 2011, Sundin received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Sundin just launched her new World War II series, Waves of Freedom, with Through Waters Deep. Anchor in the Storm is expected to release in summer 2016.

A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, Sundin works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy, and her great-uncle flew with the U.S. Eighth Air Force in England.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in California, where she teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She also enjoys speaking for community and writers’ groups.

Breakfast Oatmeal Cookie plus Review/Giveaway Plant Powered Families and Plant Pure Nation Cookbook

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Ever tire of eating oatmeal, but like the taste of oatmeal?  Do you like cookies? (um, who doesn’t??).  So make yourself a giant oatmeal cookie – not the kind laden with tons of oil and sugar, but a lightly sweetened breakfast version of oatmeal goodness.  oatmealbreakfastcookie

No way is that winning any photography awards, but if it tastes good, that’s all that matters!  And tasty it was!  I used a recipe from Dreena Burton’s Plant Powered Families cookbook, but modified it to fit my needs.  I may not be a vegan any longer, but I was happy to receive these 2 cookbooks below because I need to keep veggies and plants at the forefront of my eating-thinking.

In the end, I probably modified this so much it doesn’t resemble the original very much, but the original was my inspiration, and oatmeal and cinnamon and raisins…I don’t think you can go wrong no matter how you modify.

1/2 C old-fashioned oats, uncooked

1/4 C quick oats, uncooked

1 T Great Lakes geletin (in the green container) for added protein

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp vanilla

a few good shakes of cinnamon

stevia or sweetener to your taste preferences

handful of raisins

2 tsp or so of sunflower seed butter or peanut butter or oil of choice

water to thin to oatmeal consistency (maybe think waffle batter, not pancake batter?)

Bake 350-degree over for about 8-12 minutes or until done.  Makes one gigantic cookie, or you can share if you wish.  There are no eggs or anything in here, so no worry about that.

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I’m really looking forward to delving more into these cookbooks.  Like I said earlier, even if you’re not vegan, you can still find ways to make this work.  I am pretty much following Trim Healthy Mama way of eating, so it’s more about figuring out how to stay within E and S guidelines (most will be E because there are a lot of recipes that use beans and grains).  The photography on both books is amazing.  This is just a silly thing, but I really like the rubberized(?) type coating on the Plant Powered Families cookbook (I’m a nerd when it comes to how things feel and so I notice these details).  I am sure I’ll be making many of the recipes from both of these cookbooks!

From the PlantPure Nation Cookbook, I already have one planned – so I used to make an alfredo sauce from cashews for fettuccine alfredo.  It was very delicious, and this cookbook also has a recipe for a cashew-based alfredo sauce.  In order to keep it within THM, I could have it over Miracle Noodles or Caulirice, or I bet it’d be good on a salad as well!  But if I wanted to have some sort of pasta (maybe a sprouted grain pasta or Dreamfields), I could use the lighter version recipe for alfredo sauce in the book that is made from cauliflower instead of cashews.  I love that there are options like that so you can take the recipes that you like or will work for your particular diet and still get lots of plant-based goodness!

So does all this make you hungry?  I bet what’ll make you even more hungry is if you check out BenBella (the lovely people who publish these cookbooks) pages for Plant Powered Families and The PlantPure Nation linked above.  You will find beautiful pictures and sample recipes and a link to purchase your own copy (but make sure to enter my giveaway first, as you might win one of them)

BenBella is giving one of you a copy of your own!  Giveaway open to entrants in any location. US and Canadian entrants will receive a hard copy of the book that they choose. Anyone outside of the US and Canada will receive an e-copy of the book.

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