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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The Stockings Were Hung Wall Decor #FortheHolidays Gift Guide Review!

When I was given the chance to work with Teresa over at Born on Bonn to review her adorable "The Stockings Were Hung" wall hanger and include it in our For the Holidays section of our Holiday Gift Guide I was beyond excited. It was the perfect final touch for our festive holiday decor and I had several stockings that had been searching for the perfect place to be hung this Christmas.

"BornOnBonn started out as a little shop creating wood signs from scraps and has transformed into a custom sign business selling unique military signs, Christmas signs, and letters from Santa Claus himself. Each sign is lovingly and carefully handcrafted in our cute little workshop in the central Valley of California. It is a joy to take and idea and make it into a reality."

Isn't this wall hanging just the most darling thing, ever?

Made from almost an almost 3/4 of an inch thick Oak slab, this unique piece is sanded down for a smooth finish and then stained dark for an aged effect that we in my household just love. It includes wrought iron nails for each stocking, we opted for 5, and is the perfect stand in for a fireplace mantle for those of us who (curse my luck for living in FL) don't have one to hang our littles stockings on this year. You'll never have to worry about one of your precious stockings falling off onto the ground since Teresa, the creative mind behind Born on Bonn, makes sure each of the nails is hammered securely in it's place.

As an added bonus, Teresa even included Clawtooth hangers, attached to the back, for secure wall hanging. Each sign also measures 29 1/2" x 5" so it's easy to include in your holiday decor without making the space feel cramped. I can't say enough how absolutely perfect this particular product was for my family. I've agonized since I was a child over not having a fireplace but this year I feel less deprived and can't wait for my children to come out on Christmas morning and find their stockings hanging merrily from the The Stockings Were Hung wall hanging!

If you'd like to purchase one of these beautiful signs for yourself you can head over to Born on Bonn on Etsy and take a peek at it and other similar items Teresa has in stock! The deadline for Christmas orders has passed BUT you can snag one for your family for next years Christmas and get ahead of the game!

Connect with Born on Bonn on Etsy|Facebook so you never miss an update! 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Posies in My Pocket Ornament Review and #flash giveaway! US 12/24

Decorating our Christmas Tree has always been a source of enjoyment for me. Once a year, when all the children have gone to bed, we drag out the old faux tree and the grownups start the decorating process. We make the trip up into the attack and unpack all of our vintage ornaments and set to work. After a few hours, because we're a family of perfectionists and every bulb, light and strand of tinsel has to be hung just so, we've got a tree that we can be proud of and since the kids are all in bed we don't have to fear for the longevity of our tree..that is, until morning when the little heathens wake up and realize it's there and that it's pretty and shiny and they should start touching everything. We love our babies but we're realistic and know that they're at the naughty stages of their development so all our decorating, of any kind, is always done at night after they've gone to bed. This ensures that, at least for a little while, our lovely tree and it's vintage, generations old, ornaments stay intact for as long as possible.

This year as part of our Holiday Gift Guide Milkwasted was given the opportunity to review for Posies in my Pocket and feature one of their lovely Burlap Ornaments in the For the Holidays section. I was so excited to add in an ornament of my very own to our Christmas tree. Since most of our ornaments had come from my Mama and from her Mama before her it was a wonderful feeling to be able to add in something for my own little family.

I couldn't have been more happy with the way our ornament turned out and while it's too late to put in an order for this year I know my readers will find something wonderful when visiting Posies in My Pocket. Lacie, the wonderful creator behind this fabulous shop, was so easy to talk to when discussing my personalized ornament. Her responses were quick and the ornament arrived quickly as well.

"Lacie started selling Christmas ornaments in her Etsy shop in 2011.  After having her first baby in 2009, she spent a lot of time searching for the right thing to be able to stay home with her daughter and still be able to make a decent income.  With her love for crafts and woodwork ever since she was just a little girl, and her experience with graphic design, she was able to design some unique Christmas ornaments that has kept her busy over the years and has allowed her to be able to stay home with her two children.  She finds great satisfaction in being able to make things that a person will cherish forever and in some cases brings tears to their eyes.  She has a great love for being in the outdoors, playing with her kids and just spending any quality time with her family."

One of my favorite things about this particular ornament was the craftsmanship and durability.

Unlike most of our glass and clay made ornaments, Lacie makes each of her ornaments entirely by hand and from wood, so there's no chance for accidental breaking while packing or unpacking and if one of my mischievous littles decides to get their sticky little fingers on it I won't have a heart attack. I couldn't think of a better 1st family ornament to trust my heathens with if I tried!

I know I mentioned that Lacie won't be taking orders again until after January 2nd but did I also mention that Lacie also has an adorable 2nd shop where she sells her sweet Baby Month Stickers? If you or a loved one/friend is expecting a new addition in the New Year then I'd definitely recommend taking a peak over at My Sweet Baby Cake where in addition to Month Stickers, Lacie also sells her Birthday Signs, Wall Art and more!

Whether your looking to find the perfect Ornament for next years tree or looking to chronicle a little ones journey from the womb to your arms, Lacie has something that is sure to leave you with a smile!

Better still, she even takes CUSTOM ORDERS!

You can connect with Lacie at Posies for My Pocket and My Sweet Baby Cakes on Facebook and make sure you never miss an update!

Now, Lacie has been very generous and has granted me the permission to let you all in one a great little bit of news: She's decided to give one of you lucky readers the chance to win a $30 Gift Certificate to use towards an Ornament from Posies for My Pocket! How cool is that? Come this time next year you'll have yourself a beautiful new ornament to show off to friends and family!

Just get those entries in on the Rafflecopter form below and Stay tuned!

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

True Callings Unique Ceramics and Gifts Tart Warmer Review!

There's nothing that says the holidays are near than that of a house filled with scents of the season! Whether it be pine, cinnamon, baked goods or a yummy baked ham, there isn't a scent stemming from Thanksgiving to Christmas that I don't love to have wafting throughout my home. One of my favorite ways to achieve the permeation of said scents into every corner of my house is the burning of candles or melting of wax tarts via Warmers. There's nothing better, in my opinion, than the slow burning of a good soy candle or soy tart as you go about your daily routine or in my case settle down at the trusty old laptop and satisfy the urge to create or work through the art of writing.

So, when I was given the chance to work with True Callings Unique Ceramics and Gifts to include them in the For the Home section of our Holiday Gift Guide and review one of their beautiful, hand-crafted, Warmers I was more than a little excited.

Before I go into my review check out what Stephanie, the creative mind and ceramics master, has to say about her background and business:

"I have been working with clay for 20 years. I first started when my mother placed me in a clay class when I was 10. I think it is a neat material because there are really no limitations. The clay can take any form imaginable. Clay allows the imagination to come to life in 3-D. The creatures I create look like they could almost turn their heads and have a conversation with someone.

Each piece is one of a kind because they are all handmade. I hand build and paint/glaze all the pieces.  My husband helps me as well. He helps glaze and paint the creations. He also helps with the more technical side of the business, such as running the kiln, adding mechanical parts to various pieces and he is a wiz at the computer. We started the business almost 5 years ago.  We go all over Oklahoma doing art shows and festivals."  

I was sent one of Stephanie's Dragonfly Tart Warmers  to review. Although similar in design to the one advertised, my Dragonfly Tart warmer is multi-colored and the dragonfly design is purple, as you can see in the picture below. If you think the picture is absolute perfection then you should see this Tart Warmer in person. The blue and pink speckled design, although less vibrant in the photo than in person, is just about the cutest thing I've ever seen and perfectly suits my tastes. It also has a place of high honor on our dining room sideboard.

Measuring 6" tall, the Dragonfly Tart Warmer by True Callings is crafted using the hand slip casting method and then painted by hand. It, along with all of Stephanie's Warmers, come complete with electrical components and 25 Watt bulb. It was such a snap to put together once it arrived in the mail that I was able to set it up and start enjoying my very first Soy Tart, in this warmer, within a 30 minute time frame. The scent of Apple Cinnamon was sneaking into every corner of our home in no time flat! 

 If you're looking for a unique gift for someone this holiday season then I highly recommend heading over to True Callings Unique Ceramics and Gifts and taking a look at their lovely seasonal collection! With a wide selection of darling Creatures, Holiday Goodies and Home Decor items to choose from there's sure to be something for everyone on your list within their stock of unique, hand crafted items!

You can also connect with True Callings on Etsy|Facebook|Pinterest to make sure you never miss an update!