2.27.2015

Firmoo Review

Firmoo review


If you have been following me for a while, you probably know I am a four-eyes. During college, my vision took a turn for the worst. Since then, I have been wearing glasses every day. I have only owned two pairs of prescription glasses ever, mostly because I am really picky and have a hard time finding frames that work well with the shape and size of my face. Enter Firmoo.

Firmoo is an online eyeglasses store that sells a wide variety of prescription eye-wear at a competitive price. Firmoo is great for someone picky like me because you can try on your glasses virtually by uploading a photo of yourself and using the "Try On View"!

Firmoo review

After spending a good hour or two browsing all of my options, I finally found the perfect pair of frames. Once I chose the frames I wanted, all I had to do was enter some quick information about my prescription and my order was ready to submit!

Firmoo review

I was incredibly pleased with how great the customer service was, and how quickly the glasses arrived at my doorstep. It was also exciting to find that the package included my pair of glasses PLUS a nice case, spectacle pouch, cleaning cloth and tiny screwdriver! 

Firmoo review

I would highly recommend Firmoo for your next pair of glasses. You can click HERE to get 50% off on your first pair of frames!

*I received these products from Firmoo in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.
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2.25.2015

8 Things I Learned from Deleting Facebook

What I learned from deleting Facebook
It has been over four years since I had a Facebook account. Although I recognize this is not the norm, more and more people seem to be moving away from it. Personally, I have no plans to ever return to Facebook. However, the point of this post is not to tell you my way is better, but instead to share how deleting my Facebook account has impacted my life in a positive way. Here's what I learned:

1. Who my true friends are. When you no longer have a Facebook account, your social circle decreases significantly. You will often be overlooked when it comes to event invites, simply because they cannot add you to the event on Facebook. At first, this really hurt. However, instead of being upset by it, I chose to view it in a positive manner. Those friends who really cared if I was at an event or actually wanted to have a genuine conversation with me would reach out by phone or text to personally invite me to something. This fostered REAL friendships and honestly made my life much more simple.

2. How to make a REAL effort with friends and family. Similar to above, when you are not on Facebook, people cannot just see what is going on in your life 24/7 through status updates and photos. It goes the other way as well. Although I realize I often have no idea what was going on with some of my friends, it makes me want to reach out to them in a more personal manner so I can catch up on what was new with them. I am now an active participant in their lives instead of just a passive Facebook stalker.

3. How to communicate more effectively. It's easy to use Facebook to avoid communication or communicate in unhealthy manners. Without Facebook, all you will have to rely on are your communication skills. This can really teach you to be more effective in the way you communicate.

4. How to be more intentional with others. Not being able to just look someone up on Facebook requires you to be more intentional with them. You have to ask the important questions and not just make assumptions based on what their online profile suggests.

5. How to effectively use other social media outlets. Without Facebook, I can spend more time investing in and mastering other (and in my opinion, more healthy) social media outlets like Twitter.

6. Setting healthy boundaries is important. I used to spend a lot of time looking at old friend's Facebook accounts. This honestly just made me feel bad and it was not good for me. Comparison is too easy on Facebook. Without Facebook, it's easier to set boundaries with the kinds of things you know get you into trouble. It was almost like unsubscribing from a trashy magazine subscription. Ditching Facebook also helped me to be more careful about what kind and how much information I was sharing about myself online.

7. You will get significantly less "Happy Birthdays" on your actual birthday. Whenever a friend I haven't talked to in a while actually remembers my birthday (since Facebook cannot remind them), I always feel really special. A simple happy birthday is so much more significant when people remember without being prompted.

8. You will be less irritated. Honestly, Facebook just irritated me. When people get behind a computer, they often feel this sense of anonymity that leads them to do some pretty entertaining (and frustrating) things. I didn't want to read all about my friend's recent breakup via status updates or see my uncle's political rants. Not having to see everyone's dirty laundry aired on the internet is AWESOME.

Do you have a Facebook account? Why or why not?

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2.23.2015

How to Be a "Tweet Master" in 11 Easy Steps + Giveaway

How to maximize twitter as a blogger

Last month, Ashley deemed me the "Tweet Master." Although I had no idea I was the master of anything, let alone Twitter, I wanted to take advantage of this epic title and share how I "do" Twitter. Twitter is tricky, and to be honest, I hated it at first. I had no idea how to use it and was easily overwhelmed by it. Slowly but surely, however, I have grown to love it and see it as a great tool for my growing my blog! Here's my advice for how to be your own twitter master.

1. Use your down time to interact. Waiting in line for your morning coffee? Jump on Twitter for 2 minutes to favorite, retweet, or respond to tweets! The key to a successful Twitter presence is consistency. I achieve consistency by getting on Twitter during my down time or multitasking when possible.

2. Schedule your tweets. I use Hootsuite but there are a ton of options out there. Scheduling tweets allows you to maintain an online presence without having to be active on Twitter 24/7. I usually sit down once a week to schedule tweets about previous posts, inspirational quotes, and the like. Each morning, I also take about 10 minutes to schedule promotional tweets for my post that day as well as my sponsor's posts. In my opinion, scheduling tweets is the key to success on Twitter because who can actually afford to be online throughout the entire day?

Hootsuite

3. Participate in Twitter parties. I will be the first to admit I am not the best at these. That being said, you don't have to be perfect to benefit from them. Twitter parties are a great way to connect with new people that have similar interests. I have met some of the most amazing women through Twitter chats (such as #createlounge). Since these are not my forte, I will point you to Amber's post on how to win at Twitter parties.

4. ENGAGE. The key to success on social media, no matter what medium, is engagement. Don't be scared to tweet your favorite blogger or retweet a blog post link that stood out to you. Without engagement, you have no presence.

5. Utilize multimedia. Although Twitter is largely focused on text, don't overlook the importance of adding images and links to your tweet. Did you see a podcast that stood out to you this week? Share it! Did someone's blog post have a pinterest worthy image associated with it? Use the bloglovin' Twitter share option to share it! Rich content is eye-catching!

6. Use hashtags (without overusing them). Hashtags are another easy way to find people with similar interests! Here's a little activity: search the hashtag "blogger" on Twitter and see what you find! Follow the accounts that stand out to you during your search.

7. Write an interesting bio. I have had a number of people tell me they found me on Twitter and just HAD to click my blog link after reading my bio. It doesn't have to be anything flashy, but it should represent who you are as well as what they can expect from your blog.


8. Be authentic. I tend to be outspoken. When appropriate, I take my thoughts to Twitter. Typically, when I do this, I am asking for other people's thoughts on the issue or inviting them to engage in some other way.

9. Utilize lists. Although I do not use Twitter lists (mostly because I am too lazy to organize people), this is a great way to categorize people based on interests or topics. Those ladies on Twitter you just love? Add them to their own list so you can be sure not to miss any of their tweets throughout the week!

10. Don't underestimate consistency. If you only engage once a month, that won't get you anywhere. Consistency is key with any social media outlet. That doesn't mean you have to tweet every hour, but it does mean you shouldn't go 5 days without tweeting a single thing.

11. Share other people's content. That blog post you just LOVED this week? Share it on Twitter and tag the author! I promise you it will make their day AND put you on their radar! However, be authentic about this. Don't just share posts to gain recognition- that will quickly ruin your reputation.
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$70 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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2.20.2015

Battle of the Dry Shampoo

The best and worst dry shampoos

I have this strange obsession with dry shampoo- and not only because I don't like to wash my hair. My hair is incredibly fine and becomes greasy within HOURS. Dry shampoo adds texture as well as volume to my hair, making it easier to style. Sometimes I will even take a shower, blow dry my hair, and still add dry shampoo- call me crazy.

My hunt for the best dry shampoo has been going on for a few years now. I have tried some stellar products as well as some total let-downs. Today I'm sharing my favorite (and least favorite) finds with you all. Each ranking is based on a combination of average price point and quality.

The best and worst dry shampoos
1. Tresemme Fresh Start ($5.99). I absolutely despise this dry shampoo. Although the price point is alright, it leaves your hair feeling even more nasty than before. It barely absorbs any oil and leaves behind a flaky residue that is difficult to conceal. Yuck.

2. Batiste ($7.99). Although not top-notch quality (it's just average), I love this product because they have a ton of options. You can choose your dry shampoo based on the fragrance you prefer, the color of your hair, or the style you are attempting to achieve. This one is particularly great for extremely oily hair.

3. One Love Organic Powder ($12.00). I have to be honest and admit that I have not tried this product yet, but I have been stalking it for a good year. It's on the higher end of the price range, but has a lot to offer. Instead of a spray, it comes in powder form. A lot of aerosols can leave my hair feeling "weighed down" and I have heard that this powder is a great way to eliminate that feeling.

4. Detox ($22.00). This one would be higher on the list if it wasn't so pricey. Although it is a great product, there are others that are less expensive. One thing I have read is that it is a great product for darker hair as it sprays in more of a beige color then a chalky white.

5. Big Sexy Hair ($10.99). This dry shampoo is great for adding volume but I think it could do a better job of absorbing oils. Some of the cheaper dry shampoos seem to eliminate more oil, but definitely do not achieve volume like this one does. It's one of those dry shampoos you might turn to for a night out on the town instead of an all day look.

6. Dove ($4.99). This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE drug store dry shampoo. It works just as well as some of the more expensive brands and doesn't leave my hair feeling chalky and weighed down like the other drug store brands. I also love the natural fragrance it has- not too heavy or artificial.

7. Indie Hair ($15.00). If I had the money to spend on nice dry shampoo all of the time, this would be my go-to. It's incredibly lightweight and you don't need to use very much of it.

Order your dry shampoo through Loxa Beauty and get $5 off your order of $25 or more when you use the code "SAGE5"!

Did your favorite dry shampoo make the list? Looking for more information on other dry shampoos or how to use your dry shampoo correctly? Check out Amber's post.

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2.19.2015

"A Cry from the Dust" Review + Giveaway

A Cry from the Dust Review

After reading rave reviews about "A Cry from the Dust," I decided to give it a try. This debut novel by Carrie Stuart Parks is about a woman by the name of Gwen Marcey. Gwen, a forensic artist, is in the midst of trying to pick up her life again after battling cancer and a recent divorce which left her estranged from her daughter and penniless. In her desperation, she takes a job in Utah at The Mountain Meadows Interpretive Center where she is in charge of reconstructing faces from an 1857 massacre site; something the Mormon extremists known as the Avenging Angels have been held responsible for.

The Center assigns Gwen the task of reconstructing three of the faces of survivors. As she nears the completion of her reconstructions, a woman visiting the center faints as she sees Gwen's work. Shortly after, Gwen discovers the body of this young woman at a nearby hotel. She turns out to be a young college student with a stolen identity. Given her expertise, she is called in as a forensic artist on the case.

As the case proceeds, she quickly realizes the undeniable resemblance between one of her reconstructions and the death mask of Joseph Smith. By this point, she has become the next target of the remaining Avenging Angels who believe she is in possession of something iconic that was last in Smith's possession. As the story builds, Gwen must attempt to recount Mormon history, eventually leading her to a discovery of secret societies, angry people, and more bodies. In a race against time, she is forced to stop the next modern-day massacre.

This was an incredibly well-crafted novel with some historical basis. Parks' ability to draw the reader in within the first few pages is remarkable, and I had a difficult time putting this book down. I loved that Gwen was a character based on the author, who also fought breast cancer, worked as a forensic artist, and owned a Great Pyrenees. This is probably why she was such a likable character.

I would highly recommend this book, especially if you are into crime and mystery novels. Personally, it's finding a book like this every so often that reminds me how much I love to read and why.

*BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review. All opinions are honest and my own.
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2.18.2015

Introducing: Adproval Courses + Meet Jenny

Adproval Courses

Have you been thinking about making the switch to Adproval? You're not alone. I have had numerous inquires about Adproval over the past few months, with more and more bloggers thinking they are ready to ditch their current hosting site and go with something more uhm... customer service friendly.

That's why I am teaming up with Adproval to bring you a series of courses. Each course will be an hour long and will take place via Google Hangout. Included in each course is IMMEDIATE access to the New BETA Adproval and an opportunity to enter a giveaway to use Adproval without a commission fee forever (should you choose to make the switch).

So, what's covered in each class?

Topics covered in the basics course will include:
-What is Adproval?
-What does it mean to be an Influencer?
-What is it going to cost me?
-What's the deal with their payment system? What is Stripe, anyways?
-Open Q&A




Topics covered in the details course will include:
-The Nitty Gritty: How does it work?
-Contracts
-Ad space options
-Run time/duration
-Statistics and tracking
-Promo codes
-Open Q&A
 
Each course comes with a comprehensive outline of the main points. Not sure which one is for you? Feel free to contact me and I can point you in the right direction. Be sure to sign up quickly because spaces are limited! If the courses run out of space, please e-mail me about being placed on the wait-list.
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Today I get to introduce you all to another one of my lovely sponsors. Jenny is a wife and mother who also takes amazing photographs and creates lovely one of a kind pieces of jewelry. Stay a while and get to know her!


Hi everyone!! My name is Jenny and I blog over at Dancin' With A Dolly and am owner of the Hole In Her Stocking Designs. Besides blogging and designing jewelry, I am a photographer and a writer. Oh yea and not to mention a wife, mother and caretaker of my father. You can say my plate is full but I wouldn't change a thing. I love everything I do and if you check out my blog you can follow the crazy journey that is my life.

Well, Cassie had a few questions for me that will hopefully let you all get to know me just a little better.

1. What are you passionate about? 
I am passionate about many things but I would have to say my family, writing, designing jewelry, blogging, photography and working on getting a brick and mortar shop open in the near future.


2. If you could travel to one place in the entire world, where would it be and why?
Paris is definitely my dream vacation ever since I was young. I took French for ten years so it would be great to finally put what I learned to use although, that isn't my main reason for wanting to go. I always wanted to visit Le Louvre because I love art history. I would also love to photograph the whole city, it seems like a photographers dream.

3. If you could learn anything, what would it be and why?
I am a nerd who would still be going to college if I could afford it. I love learning and would go forever if I could. So there are so many things I would love to learn to do but right now I am on a sewing kick. I would love to be able to sew my daughter and I some dresses.

4. What's your weirdest quirk?
I have a slight hoarding problem. I need things in bulk, every color, variety, etc. It's a compulsion. Don't worry you can walk in my home but the closets may be jam packed. I wrote more about this problem here.

5. What's something you wish everyone knew about you?
I am pretty much an open book but one thing I wish everyone knew about me is that I am a very picky eater. In other words, if a 5 year old won't eat it, chances are I won't either. I know this is bad. But people I don't want to go to the new Sushi place or that trendy Thai place, Applebees is great, thanks!

I hope you got to know a little bit about me and will stop by my blog and stalk either one of my Instagrams: blog here and jewelry here. I always look forward to making new blogging buddies! xoxo

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2.17.2015

Tell Me About Your Town: Blate Edition


I'm pretty excited about today's Tell Me About Your Town. It's not often I get to take you all on a virtual blate (blogger date). Who knows, this might even convince you to come visit us someday!

If we were on a blate, we would definitely be walking around MIZZOU's historic campus for some time checking out the awesome architecture. I never tire of this campus and I spend most of my time there. I has been fun slowly learning about the history of the campus, so I would likely share that with you as well.

After our stroll, the first stop would be Makes Scents. Makes Scents is a custom fragrance shop in the heart of downtown. You can mix your own scent or even go scentless if it bothers your allergies! Such a fun activity to do with friends.


Once we exhaust our noses, we would make our way over to my favorite happy hour location, Room 38, for the best snacks and drinks in town. It's locally owned and you can't beat the intimate atmosphere of this place.

image via


Finally, we would have to end the night by seeing a show at the historic Missouri Theater. We would have our choice between a concert, symphony performance, film, or even some comedy!


So, when are you coming to visit so we can go on our blate? Don't forget to link up below!

The Rambling Llama


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2.16.2015

Be Inspired: Instagram

Best Instagram AccountsEveryone here (I hope) knows that I am ON FIRE for community. It is definitely my passion. One of the best places I have found community is through Instagram. It's just so full of people to be inspired by. That's why today I'm bringing you a collection of some of the people who inspire me.

Best Instagram Accounts

Best Instagram Accounts

Best Instagram Accounts

Best Instagram Accounts






Who on instagram inspires you?
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2.13.2015

Loxa Beauty Review

Loxa Beauty Review

Today I'm excited to share all about my experience working with Loxa Beauty. Loxa Beauty is an innovative e-commerce platform that supports professional salons and stylists, while offering consumers a unique shopping experience. It was founded in 2011 by Janell Shaffer and Danielle McDowell who were determined to bridge an important gap between consumers, salons and major manufacturers. Loxa was created to empower salons and stylists and offer easy product purchase for consumers at their convenience.

Loxa Beauty is great because it provides customers with access to more than 3,000 authentic and authorized professional hair and beauty products, and gives a commission to a professional salon and/or stylist of the customer’s choice with every purchase made on the site. When a stylist is not chosen at checkout, the patent pending technology, Loxa Local, ensures that a salon or stylist in the area automatically receives the commission! How cool is that? Buying online while supporting local businesses! That's a win-win in my book. 

With Loxa, you even have access to personalized product recommendations from your own stylist using their HairScription tool, which creates the perfect product cocktail to treat your hair needs! Every step of the process with Loxa felt personalized which is something not all online retailers have to offer.
 
I was connected with Loxa through Adproval as an influencer. Shortly after, I received five awesome products to test and share with you all. Here's what I received:

Loxa Beauty

1. SORME Powder Brush. I have to admit that I am really bad about taking care of my makeup brushes and it had been a LONG time since I had replaced them. Luckily, Loxa had just what I needed: SORME brushes. I'm really picky about my powder brushes because I use a mineral-based powder on top of my foundation and the wrong brush can really destroy the natural look it is intended to achieve. Although this brush had some normal bristle loss during its first few uses, it worked perfectly after that.

2. SORME Blush Brush. Try to say that one ten times fast. Similar to the powder brush, this blush brush had normal bristle loss during its first few uses. To be honest, this brush took some getting used to because I was previously using a blush brush with more surface area. However, I was really impressed with how well I was able to control my blush application with this brush. I don't think I will ever go back to using a brush with a larger surface area after using this one!

3. SORME Brow Groomer Brush. I'm kind of a freak about how my eyebrows look. My last brow brush was in pieces, so this couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I really love how easy it is to shape my brows with this brush!

Loxa Beauty

4. INDIE HAIR Dry Shampoo. OH MY GOSH I AM OBSESSED. You know I'm a huge fan of dry shampoo and I have to say this might have been one of the best ones I have used yet. I don't want to give too much away because next Friday I will be sharing a "Battle of the Dry Shampoos," but just take my word when I say this product comes out on top.

Loxa Beauty

5. OPI INFINITE SHINE Gloss Top Coat. You also know that I cannot go more than 24 hours without chipping my nails. Luckily, this all changed when I used OPI's gloss top coat. I'm a pretty big skeptic so I wasn't sure how I was going to like this polish. However, when my nails hadn't chipped after THREE WHOLE DAYS when I used this product- I knew it had something great to offer. If maintaining a manicure is a challenge for you, I highly recommend this product.

Loxa Beauty




I would highly encourage you to check out Loxa on Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. You can also find some awesome products and beauty tips by searching #shoploxa. If makeup is more your thing, check out Emily's reviews! When you use the promo code SAGE5 you can get $5 off your next order of $25 or more!

*I received these products from Loxa Beauty in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.

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2.11.2015

What to Tell Yourself When You Don't Want to Exercise + Meet Lindsay


Do you struggle with getting motivated to exercise? I can definitely relate. The motivation to exercise doesn't always come naturally to me despite the fact that I really enjoy it. That's why today I am teaming up with Sierra from Sierra's View to bring you six things to tell yourself when you don't want to exercise.

Sierra's tips: 

1. This Will Help My Emotional and Mental Health.
Anxiety, depression, and stress is exceptionally common these days. It seems as though everyone I know is dealing with many emotional and mental health problems (including myself!). And if they don't, they are stressed out of their minds. I love that exercise helps me physically, but I love what it does for my brain even more. I love my perspective afterwards--my mind seems to be more clear, calm and happy. 

2. I Will Feel Better About Myself. 
Each of us is beautiful in our own way…no matter what size you are. However, I have never felt worse about myself once I have exercised. I always seems to feel more beautiful after I exercise. 

3. I Will Have More Energy. 
More than anything in the world, exercise makes me have energy. I know that when I am exhausted, exercising is the LAST thing that I want to do. However, I find that afterwards, or even the next day, I have the energy to socialize and move and work harder at my job.

Cassie's tips:

1. I Will Feel Empowered. 
Nothing empowers me more then reaching my goals. I feel strong, confident, and brave when I take the time to invest in my health through exercise.  

2. I Will Be Motivated to Make Other Healthy Decisions.
I don't know about you, but when I exercise I am far more compelled to make other healthy decisions throughout the day. Exercise has this way of jump starting my day.

3. Starting Tomorrow Won't Get Me Closer to Where I Want to Be Today. 
Sometimes I have to remind myself to stop making excuses. I frequently have to tell myself that starting today is better then starting tomorrow, especially if I really want to take my health and fitness seriously. You cannot expect to make gains today (or feel better about yourself, have more energy, and be empowered) if you wait to until tomorrow to start. Plus, tomorrow will be easier if you start today.

What might you add to this list?
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I'm beyond thrilled to introduce you to one of my lovely sponsors today. I have had the privilege of getting to know this lady over the last month and she's such a joy. You'll love her too- just watch.


Hi! I'm Lindsay and I blog at Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos. What's in a name? I write mainly about my love of makeup, shoes, and Kentucky bourbon, but don't be surprised if you come across posts on life, tutorials, and a DIY project here and there. I spend my days writing technical documents and my nights cooking and watching Netflix with Jason, my longtime boyfriend. I love making new friends and hope you'll stop by!   

1. What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about my relationship with God, my family, writing, reading a good book, and good wine. 

2. If you could travel one place in the entire world, where would it be, and why? Italy. The geography, culture, and people are beautiful. Plus, I'm certain I can get along well with anyone who appreciates good food and better wine. 
 
3. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be, and why? Code. I'm a technical writer by day, and know that learning code would help me immeasurably in my career and with my blog. I'm trying to teach myself but don't have a lot of free time!
 
4. Would you like to know what day you're going to die ahead of time? Why or why not? No, ignorance is bliss! I'd prefer not having a date to focus on; I'd instead like to live every day as if it's my last!
 
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2.09.2015

Week's End


SNAPSHOTS
1. I somehow came down with an upper respiratory infection this week and my husband was such a huge help to me. I'll never grown unappreciative of this man.

2. On Friday I randomly decided to attend an IF Gathering viewing at a stranger's house. I was so glad I did because it was such a cool experience!

3. M and I found out we would be getting tickets to the True False Film Festival again this year. I am beyond excited; it's such a great event.

4. I spent quite a bit of time planning some awesome blog posts for the next month and I am so excited to share what I have been dreaming up with you all!

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
10 Blogging Kisses of Death
Fit Snack Subscription Box
How to Prevent Exercise from Becoming an Idol
15 Blogging Prompts for 2015

GREAT FINDS
- 5 Reasons to Try Community Supported Agriculture
- This Cranberry Avocado Spinach Salad
- Essential oils allergy relief trio (all natural)
- Vampire Diaries on Netflix; the ultimate sick day binge
- These mini bear claw mittens because COME ON SO CUTE

LINK UP
This Monday I am co-hosting a link up called Week's End with Beth from Oak and Oats! It is a place for you to link up your favorite post from the week and meet new bloggers. I love community and think that we can all learn something from each other!

RULES!!!!!
1. Link up ANY POST from last week!
2. Make sure it is a POST and not your BLOG URL. We love your blog but we want you to share a post.
3. Click on one, two, three, or more posts and LEAVE ENCOURAGING COMMENTS. The whole point of this is to find new blogs, make new friends, and all that good stuff! You MUST read the post right before yours and comment.


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