Sunday, April 26, 2015

Personalized Jewelry That's Designed to Shine #review and #FLASH #giveaway US 5/10

Being as how my daughters are only just turning two and four this year it was with a heavy heart that I marked May 10th off on the calender and made a reminder for myself so I wouldn't forget a card to accompany the gift I had gotten my own Mama. For 4 years I've been longing to be given a Mothers Day gift of my own and each year I've celebrated the day on my own with a slice of Publix Supreme Chocolate Ganache cake to console me.

Now, please don't misunderstand, I love my children and spending the day with them watching movies or going on walks together is the perfect way to spend the day but when I look at the collection of cards and trinkets we kids gave our Mother over the years it just makes me sad knowing that I don't yet have those things for myself.

As a single Mom it might be years before there's anyone around to help my littles pick out gifts or cards and although Mothers Day is once again creeping up on us I don't feel as left out as I have in previous years. You might wonder what caused such a change in me this year compared to previous years and well, the answer is simple.

I was given the amazing opportunity to work with Designed to Shine. A resident of Etsy, one of my favorite marketplaces and one my readers might be familiar with, Designed to Shine is run by the fabulous and easy to talk to proprietress, Hilary. Known as Mama Shine to some and Mama, Wife, Sister and Friend to others, Hilary is Mom to a tiny army of 4.

Her shop, Designed to Shine opened their Etsy doors in November of 2012 and since then has satisfied customers with over 19,611 sales. If you take a look at her gorgeous pieces it's really no surprise why. With categories ranging from Mommy Pieces to Handwriting Pieces and more, Designed to Shine is your place to shop for trinkets that celebrate, renew and encourage the wearer.

For my review I was given the opportunity to work with Hilary and have a special Mothers Day themed piece made just for me. I was able to pick my style, customize the piece and have it made exactly to my own tastes.

I was sent one of Designed to Shine's Mommy Tag Necklace. When I first starting talking to Hilary about this opportunity I knew I was going to love this particular piece when I picked it out but when it arrived on my doorstep, all lovingly wrapped, I had no idea just how much I'd love it.

Take a look at the packaging--I love receiving packages but let me tell you, when a sponsor really takes their time and puts real thought into their wrapping, it makes the experience all the more special in my eyes.

How could that lovely little box not contain something as precious as this piece? 

I asked about this piece in particular because of it's simple design. I've never been one for gaudy jewelry but I felt that not only did this display my love for my two daughters but it also spoke of my love for simplistic jewelry. From the birthstones meant to symbolize the months of their birth, to the shiny stainless steel tags, the Mommy Tag necklace spoke to me from the very first time I set eyes on it. 

Each piece that comes from the Designed to Shine Studio is made to order from start to finish. Talking to Hilary about my specific needs to my piece was quick, painless and fun. She was so easy to work with and very personable, which I love above all else when talking to Etsy shop owners about a purchase. 

No two pieces from Hilary are the same and are each made by hand in the studio. Each individual letter is hand-stamped, one by one. I don't know about you but just thinking of the artistic process gives me a little thrill! 

If you've been searching high and love for the perfect gift for Mom this Mothers Day or any other occasion then Designed to Shine is the place to go for your individual needs. 

In addition to following on Etsy you can become a fan of Designed to Shine on Facebook|Instagram| Doing so will insure that you never miss the latest and greatest news! 

Want the chance to win a $25 Gift Card from Designed to Shine to gift to someone special or splurge on a personalized piece for yourself? 

Hilary has very generously donated the Gift Card to Milkwasted, so, check back tomorrow when the giveaway goes live and get your entries in for your chance to win!! 

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bring the Fairy Tale to Your Child with Elsa's Coronation Dress by Lady Herndon! #giveaway US 4/28

A little over a year and a half ago I had the immense pleasure of taking my oldest, who was 2 1/2 at the time, to our local theater to see a film that has become a daily must-have in our home and, if social media is any indication, almost every home across the world: Frozen. Every day when I start up my computer and bring up Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, there's always this Frozen themed craft or that one. There's always a Mama who has posted a status about having the urge to secretly stash away their toddlers copy of the movie and my day wouldn't be complete without another Mama, Aunt, Grandmother or Sister posting a covertly filmed video of their little one belting out "Let It Go" while the movie plays in the background.

For all the hype and all the misery it's caused I can honestly say that Frozen is worth it's weight in gold and that the craze has been worth every second of it. I think my daughters, now 2 and 4, and still watching the movie at least twice a week, can agree. At least, if a playroom full of Frozen toys, bedding, dolls, clothing, etc. is anything to go off of. With the Frozen chaos still going strong in my home it was to my absolute delight that I was given the chance to work with a fabulous little Etsy shop called Lady Herndon.

What's so special about Lady Herndon and what treasures does it have in store for you, my faithful readers? Well, Lady Herndon specializes in the creation of every little dreamers dream: being able to dress up and become the characters of their most beloved fairy tales!

Check out what Sarah, the lovely proprietress behind Lady Herndon, has to say about her shop, how she found the beginning of her sewing adventures and her hobbies:

My family of six moved back to the US after teaching in Istanbul, Turkey, and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Living far away from the convenience of America has taught me to appreciate the value of handmade and home-cooked treasures.

Using techniques taught to me by my mother and her mother, I sew to find myself again in a world full of four wonderful young kids, a hard-working and loving husband who is my own brave Knight in Shining Armor, and a holy Lord who directs my steps. I also work as a part-time secretary at our home church. If I ever have free time, I love climbing mountains, reading, coffee, running, and being with friends.
I am inspired by my children and the way they recreate popular fairy tales and movies when they play, which is what gave me the idea to make them dress-up costumes that were as comfortable and durable as real clothes.

As I hinted above, Sarah is a talented artisan in her trade and creates costumes that help children bring their fairy tale dreams to life with her creations.

I was sent a My Fairy Tale: Elsa Coronation Dress for my review!

Let me start off by saying how blown away I was and still am with this Elsa replica. As soon as it arrived I was able to tell it was of high quality and made by the hands of an expert--and that was before I had even removed it from the packaging. I knew right away that I had a decision to make: take the dress out of it's pristine packaging and let my daughter play in the exquisite costume or stow it away until Halloween. As you can tell my curiosity and impatience won in the end and I promptly scrubbed every inch of my daughter before allowing her to try the dress on.

Sarah couldn't have done a better job at crafting this costume if Elsa herself had leapt from the television screen and handed it to her herself. From the design of the dress right down to the embroidered crest of Arendel everything was spot on. I would know; I've only seen the movie about a million times since it's release into theaters. 

Such beautiful embroidery and attention to detail. I especially loved the gold trim Sarah added-it really makes everything pop. My oldest, Sophia, who was modeling the dress especially loved it and her squeals of excitement could be heard by our neighbors across the way. Her 4 year old enthusiasm to be wearing "Elsa's special dress" was catching and pretty soon I was fractionally less worried about her getting it dirty and more content to watch her curtsy, bow and twirl in the beautiful replica dress.

Unlike a lot of cheap costumes that come from retail stores such as Wal-mart, Target, etc. that use polyester fabric and attach velcro closures or bulk, uneven buttons to close the backs, Sarah uses high quality cotton and cleverly adds a simple zipper to the back of her costumes so getting it over Sophie's head, settled onto her body and then back over again was a snap. It was just an added bonus that it made getting it over her Elsa-ish styled hair easy and didn't mess up a single strand. When you consider the fact that neither myself nor my Mama are any good at styling hair then that's quite the feat!

I could go on and on about this costume: how flawless the stitching is, how accurate the sizing was, the fit, etc. but my words nor the pictures I managed to snap can do Sarah's work justice. You'll just have to check out her enchanting creations for yourself!

With a wide range of fairy tale character ensembles to choose from Lady Herndon is sure to have your costume needs covered. Whether you have a Frozen, Tinker Bell or Peter Pan fan, you won't find a more perfect match for your child!\

Want to win a $50 Gift Code from Lady Herndon to apply to any order (with a minimum order of $55)? Hop aboard the rafflecopter form below and stay tuned to see if you're picked as our winner!

You can connect with Lady Herndon on Etsy|Facebook|Twitter and make sure you never miss an update from the creator of real life magic herself! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 6, 2015

Journey to Middle-Earth with the release of The #Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies on Blu-Ray #giveaway! US 4/20

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.
Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

• New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3
• Recruiting the Five Armies
• Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga
• Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey
• The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes
• Music Video 
• Trailers

As a true lover of J.R Tolkien and a follower, since birth, of the Hobbit legacy I couldn't be more excited for the arrival of the latest Hobbit installment, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. I'll admit to slacking and haven't yet watched the film myself but thanks to Partnershub I am able to say that one of you lucky readers will have the chance to win a copy of your very own on Blu-ray!

Are you brave like Bilbo? Want to take a journey through Middle-Earth? Take a look at this great new quiz and interactive map of Middle-Earth! While you're at it you can even take a peek at some special clips that are available for your viewing pleasure.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Saying goodbye to your on campus book stores and hello to Campus Book Rentals!

With a new semester on the rise for college goers there's a noticeable buzz of activity on and around our local campus. The parking lots are full, students are mulling around getting new schedules, familiarizing themselves with where their classes are going to be located and teachers are going in to start setting up their classrooms for the next round of students. While there are so many exciting parts about getting ready for school to begin there is one part of the process that I personally know can be a real downer: purchasing new textbooks. It's the  most dreaded occurrence of every new semester and I ought to know since I spent a few semesters shelling out moolah for the expensive things myself.

If you'd like to save a few bucks this semester than I can't recommend Campus Book Rentals enough. Created to help college goers save money on their course materials and get them the best deals for their money, Campus Book Rentals will beat your Campus bookstore hands down. While your campus bookstore will charge an arm and a leg for their new books Campus Book Rentals can save you up to 40-90% on materials purchased through their website. They also save you money by providing FREE shipping since we all know that regardless of whether we're students or not, shipping books of any size/weight can get pretty pricey.

One of my favorite things about Campus Book Rentals, other than the fact that their rental periods are flexible based on your needs, is that you can highlight text straight from your books. No more having to take notes by hand--when you find an important passage that you want to remember for later you can just take your trusty highlighter and mark it. No worrying about additional fines or penalties for marking up materials, you can highlight to your hearts content!

All of those perks sound pretty awesome, right--Well, Campus Book Rentals sweetens the deal by donating a portion of each purchase to Operation Smile. Not familiar with Operation Smile? Operation Smile is a wonderful international organization that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for patients who otherwise couldn't afford the potentially life saving surgery. If that isn't worth smiling about then I don't know what it!

You can connect with Campus Book Rentals on Facebook|Twitter|Google+|Pinterest to make sure you never miss an update!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

NT Handmade Jewelry Resin Pendant Review and Giveaway! US 12/27

When I was given the opportunity to work with NThandmade Jewelry to review their beautiful Resin Jewelry it was like Christmas had come a full month early. I remember how eager I was to contact Nikola, the creative mind behind NThandmade Jewelry, and how I had done all but drooled all over her selection of gorgeous resin pieces as I looked through each page of her wonderful etsy shop. When she wrote back to say she was interested in being featured in our holiday gift guide and that she'd be sending the very same piece that I had been so infatuated with from the start I was positively over the moon!

Here's a little bit about NT Handmade Jewelry to get you geared up for my review:

"Nature, plants and the enviroment is what inspires us to create and incorporate natures beauty into jewelry. All of our items are made with extreme care, and detail to capture and preserve the breathtaking organic patterns, forms and colors."

I was sent this gorgeous Queen Annie's Lace Resin Pendant in Blue and Jade Leather Wrap Bracelet to review and to feature in the For Teens section of our Holiday Gift Guide. The pendant measures 24mm in diameter, is made with resin, real Queen Annie's Lace and comes in a half sphere design. Each pendant comes with your choice of 18" Silver Plated Chain, Gold Plated Chain or 22" Silver Plated or Gold Plated Chain for a customizable necklace that bests suits the preference of the wearer. I opted with the 18" Silver Plated chain since I'm a simple type of gal and like a shorter chain length. Isn't it a gorgeous piece?

The Jade Leather Wrap Bracelet is a favorite of mine. I love the layered look paired with the Jade Stones and silver accents. Each stone measures approximately 4mm and 6mm in size. The bracelet is also adjustable so just in case my sisters want to borrow it for an evening it's no problem. Isn't it the perfect accessory for a night out on the town?
You can connect with NT Handmade Jewelry on Etsy|Facebook|Twitter and make sure you never miss an update from them!

If you're looking for the perfect way to accessorize while keeping it classy then head on over to NT Handmade Jewelry and find the perfect piece for yourself or a loved one/friend today. Nikola has lots of items in stock including Resin Pendants, Earrings, Bracelets and more and all at a super affordable price that won't break the bank!

Want to win one of NT Handmade's Resin Pendants for yourself? Well, Nikola has very generously given up one of her Spring Flower Resin Pendants for one of you lucky readers to win! So, just climb aboard the Rafflecopter form below and get those entries in! 

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Exaltation Review and OM Earring #HolidayGiftGuide Giveaway! US 12/27

Milkwasted was recently given the opportunity to work with Exaltation to review their products. With almost all girls living under one roof we greatly outnumber the boys/men and when given the chance to review a fabulous jewelry company we never turn it down. So, when I heard back from Exaltation that they wanted to participate in this years Holiday Gift Guide and have some of their pieces featured in the For Teens section I was beside myself with happiness. I couldn't think of a more perfect addition to our For Teens section!

"Exaltation’s mission is to create meaningful gifts and inspirational custom jewelry that is uniquely expressive. Through fully personalized statement pieces including quotes, mantras, affirmations, symbols and names, you can let your jewelry express your personality, or act as a personal affirmation to remind you to stay present and positive.

With an interactive, customized focus that allows customers to design their own jewelry ranging from 12 available colors and including necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings and earrings, Exaltation provides fun and personalized customer experience to each individual. Exaltation strives to create expressive Jewelry that communicates something about you, and instigates a dialogue with others. These conversation starters are a great way to say what you mean, and mean what you wear!

Exaltation strives to be as sustainable and Earth-friendly as possible. The majority of the materials used are sourced within the US from American manufacturers, and the majority of shipping supplies are both recycled and recyclable. Each month 5-10% of profits go to a rotating charity supporting environmental or educational causes."

I was sent the following items for review:

  • Children's Name Necklace
  • Peace Love Music Necklace
  • OM Earrings 
The Children's Name Necklace was perfect for one of my nieces so I requested that Jen, the artist behind Exaltation, send me a Mikayla version in pink on a stainless steel chain. When it arrived I couldn't believe how lovely it was in person and knew instantly that my niece would go nuts for it. Since all items are hand-made and ready-to-order no two pieces from Exaltation are the same; knowing that her necklace is one of a kind will truly make Miss M glow with happiness! These adorable necklaces are available in 10 different colors and come in a variety of different lengths.

The Peace Love Music Necklace is a person favorite of mine. Lets just call it a reflection of my Mother's Peace&Love days back in the late 70's, shall we? The Peace and Love part speaks for itself but with my deep love for music this necklace called to me as soon as I set my eyes on it. It arrived more perfect than the pictures could do it justice and on a sterling silver chain. It also comes in 12 incredible colors to choose from but plain jane that I am I decided that silver would suit me just fine! It was a little hard to photograph while wearing it but the picture on the Exaltation website does it proud!

The OM Earrings are a perfect gift for those in your family/circle of friends who are most mindful, i.e are enriching their mind and bodies through yoga or meditation. Although when I think of OM in it's entirety I think Amit Ray said it best, "OM is not just a sound or vibration. It is not just a symbol..If you think of OM only as a sound, a technique, or a symbol of the divine, you will miss it altogether. OM is the mysterious cosmic energy that is the substratum of all the things and all the beings of the entire universe. It is an eternal song of the divine. It is continuously resounding in silence on the background of everything that exists." The OM earrings come in 11 different color choices, and can come made in your choice of Sterling Silver Plated, Silver Stainless Steel, etc. options.

If you're looking for the perfect statement piece then look no further than Exaltation. They have just what you're looking for and at a fraction of the cost of those sky high priced Jewelry stores while also having twice the quality!

You can connect with Exaltation on Etsy|Facebook|Pinterest|Instagram and make sure you never miss an update!

Want to win a pair of OM Earrings for yourself? Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below and stay tuned to see if you're chosen as our lucky winner!

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Jewell Ray Matching Pendant and Ring Review and Braided Opal Ring Giveaway! US 4/1

As much as I've come to adore local artisans and their wares I have to confess that the true holders of my heart belong to the artisans overseas. I've spent long hours coveting the talents of artisans in Ireland, the Ukraine, Germany and France; these countries and more boast some of the most talented artisans I've ever come across. One glance shows how much care goes into just one of their creations, but closer inspection shows just how much talent and time goes into them. This I noticed especially when I came across a lovely little jewelry shop by the name of Jewell Ray.

Located in Galilee, Israel, Jewell Ray is a family owned and operated business that specializes in creating unique Sterling Silver jewelry for women who can truly appreciate original designs and true craftsmanship. At Jewell Ray they believe that jewelry should be beautiful, feminine, comfortable and fashionable; they're aim is to make the wearer of their jewelry feel elegant and special while wearing one of their pieces.

Take a look at what Pina and IIan have to say about their lives, their inspiration and the creative process behind Jewell Ray:

"We live & work in a small place in the Galilee (the north of Israel). Our studio is on a mountain's top, viewing a stunning landscape of the Sea of Galilee, and of the Mediterranean Sea. This surrounding inspires us. This quiet and peaceful Environment enables us to focus inwards when creating and designing. 

We met when Pina was a student in the jewelry school of art, where Ilan was teaching. We have 2 amazing children - our son - Maayn is 6 years old, & our daughter - Neomi is 3 years old. They are happy, fun loving kids that make us happy & proud! They are always in our minds and hearts, in everything we do. We love working together & we hope our love & friendship shines through our work.

We love working with metals, because we are curious about the way the material brings out our spirituality. We are inspired by the world that surrounds us: we love transforming visual characteristics of other materials into metal - the texture of wood, a wrinkle in a fabric, the curves of our son's curls. We also enjoy transforming other crafts' techniques into metalwork, such as Crochet, Origami, Macrame and more. 

We are thrilled that people all around the word appreciate and enjoy our creations."

I was recently given the opportunity to feature Jewell Ray in our Holiday Gift Guide and was sent their gorgeous Purple and Turquoise Pendant Necklace and matching Dual Birthstone Ring  for review.

Let me just say that capturing the true beauty and craftsmanship of this pair was almost impossible; I tried from many angles and in different lighting to o them justice but it just wasn't possible. Even as lovely as the pictures in the shop were I can honestly say even they don't do them justice. Take a look!

The Purple and Turquoise Pendant Necklace is a one of a kind treasure and is made from Sterling Silver and natural Turquoise and Pearls. The size of the Turquoise and Pearls measure approximately 3-7mm each and are the perfect finishing touch for any outfit/occasion. Silver not your thing? Pina and IIan can can craft this lovely treasure in Gold to suit your tastes!

The matching Dual Birthstone Ring finishes the look. It's brilliant colors symbolize Love, Passion and Enthusiasm and Fun. Crafted from Sterling Silver, Turquoise and Purple Amethyst, it's pure perfection. Mine was made to my exact sizing specifications and Pina was very easy to work with. She was very friendly and more than happy to accommodate my needs; she had no problem crafting the ring in a size 11 for me (I inherited my Grandmothers short, stubby fingers) and offers the ring in sizes US 000-16. So whether you've got teeny fingers or stouter fingers like myself you can be assured that your Jewelry needs can be meet by IIan and Pina at Jewell Ray.

From Pendant Necklaces to Rings and Earrings, if you're searching for a truly unique piece to add to your jewelry collection or make a statement at an important upcoming event then I strongly urge you to head over to Jewell Ray and take a look around. You won't be disappointed with what you'll find and you won't find a more genuine and sweet proprietress than Pina herself!

Take a look at Pina and IIan's introductory video and see for yourself!

Want to win a Jewell Ray piece for yourself? Pina and IIan have generously offered one of you lucky readers the chance to win one of their Braided Opal Rings! Isn't it stunning?!

Don't forget to connect with Jewell Ray on Etsy|Facebook|Pinterest and never miss an update!

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Jinxy Jewels Holiday Gift Guide Review and Giveaway! 1/13

When I was given the opportunity to work with Jinxy Jewels to review their Fandom & Fashion Jewelry and feature them in our Holiday Gift Guide I was so excited. I don't know about my readers but I'm a sucker for Fandom artifacts myself so when I came across Jinxy Jewels and reached out to the awesome proprietress, Jessica, I'll admit to geeking out (just a little bit) when she agreed to work with us this year. From Necklaces, to earrings, Bracelets and Rings, whether you're looking for Fandom jewelry to make proudly display your loyalty or Fashion jewelry to make a statement, Jinxy Jewels is the place to go for all of your accessory needs during the holiday season and the upcoming New Year!

Check out what Jessica has to say about her business while you gear up for the fan(tastic) review I have planned for ya'll:

"Hello! My name is Jessica, but I'm also known as Jinx. I run JinxyJewels from my home in Tennessee. JinxyJewels offers an affordable collection of handmade jewelry based on popular shows, books and movies, as well as a variety of fashion jewelry to accessorize any style with. A fun mix of charms and supplies for your own unique creations can also be found at JinxyJewels. I love hearing from you, so feel free to chat with me anytime!"

I was sent a pair of gorgeous Amethyst Earrings, an Amethyst Bracelet and Mushroom with Mario Star Necklace for review!

The Amethyst Dangle Earrings are made from Amethyst Chips and are absolutely gorgeous. Jessica uses Silver earring hooks that really go well with the stunning purple of the Amethyst and when paired with the Amethyst Bracelet they make for the perfect outfit accessories for a casual day out. Each pair of Amethyst earrings will vary in size depending on the size of the chips used and no two will ever be exactly the same!

The Amethyst Bracelet is perfectly paired with the Dangle Earrings, as I mentioned earlier, and is crafted out of the same Amethyst chips. Jessica uses Black bicone beads that perfectly offset the purple of the Amethyst. One fun fact about Amethyst that some of my readers might not be away of is that it's the birthstone of February and also said to make the wearer gentle and good-natured.

Last but not least and certainly my favorite is the Mushroom with Mario Inspired Star Necklace! My love for an old classic really shines through with this piece of Fandom Jewelry. Who doesn't remember spending Saturday afternoons holed up playing Super Mario or for later generations, Mario 64, gathering stars and getting super sized via Mushrooms? The Necklace is strung on a silver chain and comes with Mushroom Charm and a dazzling yellow Star container which gives it a Mario feel while including it's own personal touch. I have no problem representing my Mario pride with this piece!

Want to win a matching Dangle Earring and Amethyst set for yourself? Just get your entries in on the Rafflecopter form below and stay tuned to see if you've been picked as our winner!

Connect with Jinxy Jewels on Etsy|Facebook and never miss an update!

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