Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
I hope the end of 2011 finds you happy and content. And I hope that 2012 becomes your best year ever. Do you have plans to make 2012 better than 2011? Are you setting any New Year's Resolutions?
I have never been very good at keeping New Year's Resolutions. By February they are out the window and my old ways have resumed. It's kind of depressing, really. But I do use New Year's as a time to refocus my priorities. And trust me, they need a lot of refocusing right now!
On a similar note, I received an interesting devotional from Purpose Driven Connections the other day. It talked about making a 'things not to do' list this year. The devotional went on to say that so many things - even good things - can sidetrack us from our purpose in life. We can't achieve our goals, or do what's most important, because we're so busy with other things. That is so true for me, a person who loves too many different things in this life. So I plan to refocus on what's important and cut out some of the other stuff. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I am definitely a work in progress! I so often find myself tired and stressed, and I know that some of that is because I stretch myself too thin.
One thing I'm doing is decluttering. My hubby and I are taking this week to declutter as much as possible. We are sorting closets, cleaning the basement, and getting rid of old toys. We have way too much stuff! Stuff takes time to manage, organize, and clean.
I suppose I also need to give facebook the heave-ho. Okay, not. I love facebook because it gives me the chance to connect with friends that I don't get to see often. But I think I'll try to keep account closed until the kids are in bed. Or something like that. It's a great time stealer, that's for sure.
I'm going to keep my family at the forefront, as well as my daily devotional time (which I hate to admit has been sorely neglected!). Thankfully, I can talk to God as quickly and easily as I can pick up my cell phone. But I do need to spend more, solid time in the Word of God, and not just read a few verses as I'm nodding off at night (although, falling asleep with God's Word on my mind is not a bad thing in and of itself).
I need to do something about the food issue in our house, too. We found ourselves so tired by dinner that we hit the drive through instead of making something good for us. The problem with that, as you know, is the more fast food we eat, the more tired we become. When we focused on all -natural, healthy food (think no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, etc) we were much more energetic. Food for thought, I suppose.
So maybe these are resolutions, but I try not to think of them that way. I try to think of them as a return to my values, a time to take inventory of what my family needs, and I time to re-purpose myself. And I'm looking forward to making 2012 my best year yet!
Happy New Year's and thanks for reading!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I don't feel like I have a lot to brag about. My house is not fancy, nor is it big. In fact, I find it a little embarrassing at times. I don't wear designer clothes. My idea of fine dining is a few appetizers at Applebees. I'm just a regular, ordinary person. But if I stop comparing myself to the other folks in town, and instead, look at the rest of the world, I'm a lot embarrassed. I have so much. My kids don't lack for toys, clothes, or food. They barely know what it feels like to be hungry. They're never alone. I often think our budget is so tight, but their stockings will still be stuffed to overflowing on Christmas morning, the heat will be on, the coffee brewing, and Santa will have eaten his cookies and left plenty of presents behind. And we won't even talk about the feast that Daddy and PopPop are planning to prepare.
Come to think of it, I often drive through a nearby city, with my windows tightly rolled up in my minivan, the doors locked, the Christmas music blaring, and the kids eating snacks in the back. I am secluded from the poverty - this city I drive through is the most impoverished city in the United States. I see it several times a week. And I lock myself away, protecting myself from its pain and brokenness. I busy myself with my own family so I don't have to take notice.
And then I get an email about Hope for AIDS Orphans. Millions of children in Africa have been orphaned by the AIDS epidemic. They have no food. No shelter. No clothes. And no one to love them. I can't imagine my little ones without a mommy to give them love, and it breaks my heart. In steps Hope for AIDS Orphans. They have a mission to feed, clothe, shelter, and love these impoverished children. They want to share the love of Jesus with them. And we can help. A small donation will go far in helping these children. Compared to the cost of Christmas toys or books or videos, the amount it takes to rescue a child in need is so small.
Want to help? Here's how.
You can Express Your Care by signing the Angel Mosaic.
You can Share Their Story by sending a short video to friends.
You can Give Them Hope with a donation of any size. Every little bit can help.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
It's no secret that I adore coffee. I'm sure that I drink more than my fair share. I love the smell, I love the taste, and I love it first thing in the morning to help me get my day started. I've never met a cup of joe I didn't like! My love for coffee is what inspired me to read Nicole Johnson's book, A Fresh Brewed Life. And it also inspired me to get involved with Pangeo Coffee. Now, at least my passion for good coffee can be put to good use. If you drink coffee, you can help villages by ordering coffee from www.pangeocoffee.com. They are a group of humanitarian aid workers who help the poorest of poor in Africa learn techniques and skills to overcome poverty. And they love coffee.
Pangeo Coffee has generously offered a special discount code for The Beautiful Blog readers. Just visit www.pangeocoffee.com and enter the code, beautiful, at check out. You'll receive $2 off per bag through the month of December. In fact, I'm going to go order some for myself right now!
Have a beautiful day and a great cup of coffee!
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
But I know you don't need to.
What to wear when you don't know what to wear. Suggestions on how to dress for any occassion.
Wake up prettier. How to look a little more appealing when the alarm goes off.
Perk up your smile with these simple steps. Easy steps towards a whiter, brighter smile.
7 beauty products for $7 and under. Great products for cheap.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Psalm 116, NIV
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
But I suppose there is hope for me, yet. While I may stress when my hair isn't doing what I want it to, what I really need to recognize is that I don't ever have to worry about a bad hair day. Why? Because God's opinion of me won't change with how I look. No matter if my hair is perfect or punky.
1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV) reminds me: "For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
And that, my friends, is a beautiful thing, indeed. Have a great day!
Monday, December 12, 2011
womenoffaith Women of Faith - encouraging women everywhere.
KayWarren1 Kay Warren, wife to Rick Warren. Her tweets are profound and full or God's love.
RickWarren Rick Warren, pastor, author, and funny, too.
lensweet Leonard Sweet, Speaker. And just because he's cool.
OfficialSanta Santa will tweet his location all night long as he delivers toys.
JoyceMeyer Joyce Meyer Author, speaker, spreader of hope
beautifulmanda That's me! :)
Saturday, December 10, 2011
10. To be able to wake up in the morning, already dressed, coiffed, and with perfect makeup.
9. For a never ending supply of Sephora Black Glitter Waterproof Mechanical Eye Liner.
8. For a Magic Eraser for pimples, varicose veins, freckles, wrinkles, and scars.
7. For a bigger closet.
6. Instant Dry Nail Polish that really does dry 'in an instant.'
5. Rock star hair.
4. Another Magic Eraser that removes muffin tops, crows feet, and arm jiggle.
3. For more of the purple sparkly eyeshadow from Tarte's Glamour to Go palette.
2. To find a cotton ball substitute that doesn't take up space in landfills.
1. To feel beautiful all the time. And for other women to feel the same.
Thanks, Santa, I hope you can fit that all in my stocking!
If you're reading, please share your beauty wish lists for Santa, too! Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
I admit it. I love all things coffee and I certainly can’t get my day going without a cup. Or three. So when I saw the title of Nicole Johnson’s book, Fresh-Brewed Life, I was hooked. In her book, Nicole calls us to wake up from our hum-drum, dazed, and sleepy approach to life. She encourages us to reflect inwardly, discover our weaknesses through the act of journaling, and turn them over to Jesus. He, and only He, can set us free from those damaging issues, like hidden anger, that wear us down. In it’s place, we’ll have a refreshed, revived approach to life and a renewed relationship with Christ. Nicole uses interesting, heart-wrenching, and funny examples from her own life to illustrate this book.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Best Ways to Wear a Classic, Red Lip A how to for successfully wearing red lipstick.
The Secret to a Perfect Pout How to perfect your lips!
10 Steps to Prettier Skin Don't forget to pretty up your skin in time for those Holiday Festivities!
How to Look Fabulous in Your Facebook Photo How to look great in your profile pic.
Monday, September 12, 2011
I had kind of stayed away from Women of Faith before, not because I think there's anything wrong or bad about it. I stayed away merely because I had this idea in my head that it was a hand-holding, Kumbaya-singing, cry-your-eyes-out kind of estrogen fest. And with three small children in my household, there are plenty of tears - many of them mine! It just didn't sound like my cup of tea - I much prefer coffee. But when BookSneeze gave me 2 free tickets in exchange for a little blog post, I decided it was worth a try.
I grabbed a friend, told her I had a ticket with her name on it, and away we went. I was pleasantly surprised with the opening worship. No Kumbaya to be heard! It was actually current, beautiful, worship music with a little bit of an edge to it - something you'd hear on the radio, not around a camp fire. And the team was dressed in purple and black (my favorite colors). They rocked. I was hooked. This was totally not like I had imagined.
What really got me were the speakers. I loved how they stood up and honestly shared their life stories - the good, the bad, and everything in between. They shared how God loved them. They shared how He showed up. And they shared how God loves us. They laughed at themselves and cried real tears when they shared their hurts and sorrows. I was moved by their authenticity, their transparency, and their compassion. I admit, I did cry. And I laughed. And I sang. And I was completely caught off guard by how much I needed to hear that God loves me. After all, I know God loves me. I've known it since I was a little girl. But I guess we're never too grown up to hear it again. And again. And again.
Thank you, Sheila Walsh, Lucy Swindoll, Angie Smith, Lisa Harper, Nicole Johnson, Mary Mary, and Natalie Grant for sharing your heart, your thoughts, and your soul. I feel re-energized, excited to see where God is going to meet me and use me, and ready to care for my little flock of children. And thank you BookSneeze, for convincing me to go!
I hope I have the opportunity to blog about the event again next year. And my friend and I are already planning to attend Women of Faith Philly in 2012. Guess we better warn our husbands now.....
Learn more about Women of Faith at www.womenoffaith.com. Sign up to be a BookSneeze blogger at www.booksneeze.com.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
I know the sacrifice that my hubby is making so I can go. And I'm really not excited about getting up before the sun, knowing I'll have been up most of the night feeding a baby and changing diapers. And I always get nervous trying to find my way around Philly. But I know it will all be worth it when I come back tired but renewed. I'm looking forward to telling you all about it! For now, you can visit http://www.womenoffaith.com/ and see what its all about!
Monday, September 5, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
I was excited to present these comic book style pieces to one male student in particular. Once he started playing the songs, his younger brother couldn’t wait to play them, either. They quickly learned each and every piece of music in the down-loadable early elementary level music, and have been asking for the next installment. They love the comics, the action-oriented music, and the mysterious and exciting sounds. They are thrilled to use the pedal, and they have asked to work on the next level of difficulty (of the same pieces) to tide them over until the next installment is complete.
The music is convenient to order, no trips to the music store are necessary. It is very attainable for younger students. The hand positions are easy but not static, there is enough repetition to facilitate learning, and the music writing is exciting, fun, and full of neat ideas that the students love. My students have already improved on their note reading and especially in their musicality. Suddenly, musical themes and dynamics have much more meaning when attached to a Villain and a Hero. Fermatas and rests become secret hideouts and eighth notes are clues to the mystery. This series has certainly added energy and excitement to my students’ piano lessons.
These pieces are easy to teach, as well. The fingerings are not overly complicated. I find that the pieces are just easy enough that the student feels successful, but just hard enough that they are learning new material. I’ve already started using “The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo” with a new batch of students. Their eyes lit up and they couldn’t wait to run to the piano. These arrangements are definitely a hit.
You can download your copy of “Fearless Fortissimo” Piano Music for Boys at www.pianomusicforboys.com. For $19.95, you’ll receive a down-loadable copy of the music. You are licensed to print unlimited copies of each of three levels of music.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Monday, August 8, 2011
Selah’s sound is nearly impossible to put into a style box. As we listened to Hope of the Broken World, my husband and I discussed what we heard. “Is that Southern Gospel?” “Broadway,” he responded. “I’m pretty sure that’s modern pop.” “I think it’s Soul.” The reality is, Selah is all those things. Their sound is a sweet blend of styles, attesting to their impressive musical versatility and their ability to reach a broad audience.
But what really hits home for me is not just the beautiful music, but the fact that Todd Smith, Allan Hall, and Amy Perry can worship God in spite of the awful tragedy and loss that they experienced in their personal lives. Visit Selah’s blog, www.selahonline.com to read about the devastating loss of Todd’s infant daughter, Audrey Caroline, and the lives she touched during her short time on earth.
Preview Hope of the Broken World at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQG2BcNOX0&feature=player_embedded. Please pre-order this amazing CD at http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Broken-World-Selah/dp/B004Y1QQ4A.
Buzzplant was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of this CD in exchange for my personal opinions. While they encouraged me to be forthcoming and honest in my review, I cannot lie. I truly loved this CD and am grateful for the opportunity to listen in on such beautiful music.
Monday, August 1, 2011
How to Keep Hair Frizz-Free All Day Tips and tricks to keep away the dreaded frizz-monster!
5 Quick Hairstyles for Wet Hair Easy, beautiful hairstyles that will get you out the door without taking the time to blow dry your hair.
3 Professional Hairstyles for Hot Summer Days Keep your hair looking professional in spite of the heat and humidity.
Melt Proof Your Makeup How to keep your makeup from melting off.
Makeup Artist Beauty Secrets Tips and tricks to keep your makeup looking great.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
Sunday, July 17, 2011
3 Fixes for at home hair color mistakes.
What you need to know about razor haircuts.
Hair embellishments: Bling for your hair.
How to donate your hair to Locks of Love.
Three professional hairstyles for hot summer days.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Get a FREE full-size STILLA lip glaze in Grapefruit with any $10 purchase at www.beauty.com. Offer expires 7/28/11. While supplies last, so hurry! Oh, and shipping is free on any order over $25. Enjoy!!!!
Monday, July 11, 2011
5 Must have hair products.
4 Cool hairstyles for summer.
5 Summer Hair Mistakes to avoid.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
But here's the reality. There's nothing wrong with using another product that works. For instance, I love Mary Kay products. They are extremely well researched, their manufacturing processes are stellar, their ingredients are great, and the anti-aging benefits are amazing. I've visited their manufacturing plant and liked what I saw. However, I have stubborn acne and Mary Kay acne products, while good, aren't strong enough to treat my stubborn acne. So what do I use instead? Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Products. Neutrogena is a big name - big enough to compete with Mary Kay's research backing. And their products, while not fancy or sophisticated, work for me. So I'm content using my Big Box Products for my Acne, while sneaking in the Mary Kay anti-aging products for the rest of me. Neutrogena is less expensive, so I save money that way. The savings can go toward my next purchase..... maybe a bottle of fancy eye cream? Or Not?
The point is - use what works for you. But don't be afraid to try a less costly alternative if it works just as well as its expensive counterpart.
Have a beautiful day!
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quotes (Swiss-American psychiatrist and author )
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Well, the answer is that you need to use the products that work best for you. For me, it's a little tricky. Sunscreen makes me break out, and there is nothing attractive about sitting at the beach covered in pimples. So here's what I like.
For my son, who has sensitive skin, I like Banana Boat's Kids Tear Free SPF 50 Lotion. It doesn't seem to bother his skin and it protects him very well. I also insist he wears a hat. Sometimes its a struggle, but I don't want his delicate skin to get too much exposure. www.bananaboat.com.
For me, I use a combination of products. I use the Mary Kay Day Solution SPF 25 on my face. It has good coverage, age fighting properties, and doesn't make me break out. It's a little pricey at $30 for a small bottle, but it lasts for a pretty long time if you only use it on your face. And it's well worth avoiding sunblock-induced pimples! www.marykay.com.
For the rest of me, I like Ultra Defense® UltraMist® Sunscreen SPF 30 Continuous Clear Spray. It goes on soooooo easy. You just shake it and spray it all over you. It feels tacky for a minute or two until it dries, but then you're good to go. I'm much less likely to miss a spot and it goes on so much quicker than lotion. And it hasn't failed me yet! It's easier to reapply at the beach since there's no rubbing involved. I also try to spritz a tiny bit at the partline in my hair. An awful lot of melanoma's go undiagnosed on the scalp since you can't see your skin there very well. Banana boat also makes a Scalp and Body Sunscreen spray. It's a good idea, especially if your hair is thin or thinning, to prevent sunburn on your head. It's a really sensitive place!
I'm very intrigued by the Bare Minerals SPF 30 Sunscreen. It's a powder that goes on anywhere you need it. I haven't tried it yet, but its on my to do list! www.bareescentuals.com.
Another interesting product - www.coolibar.com - clothes recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation for its SPF properties.
When you're applying sunscreen, make sure you don't miss any hard to reach parts, and apply 20 minutes before you go out into the sun. Reapply according to the directions on the package. Take frequent breaks from the sun, drink lots of water, and wear a great big hat!
Meltproof Your Make Up
Best makeup for summer dates.
How to keep chlorine and sun from damaging your hair.
Tips for easy wash and wear summer hair.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I'm so amazed that the feather extension craze is continuing to take off. Keep your eyes peeled for feathers popping up in people's hair all around you! They look pretty cool, is you ask me! If you want your own, you can order them (or have your stylist order them) at www.hairroyalty.com. If you need more info on hair extensions, check out this article.
What else has us buzzing?
- Fake tans. Because a real suntan isn't a good idea.
- 5 Must have hair products.
- I'm especially partial to the modern pixie, aren't you?
Friday, June 24, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Before going in the pool, saturate your hair with either plain tap water or a mix of tap water and conditioner. Once your hair has absorbed all the moisture it can hold, feel free to take that dip. Hair has a little bit of a sponge-like quality - once its full of water, it won't really take on any more. So if you fill it up with safe stuff, it will be less likely so soak in the bad stuff.
Rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the pool. Just to be safe.
One or twice a week, wash your hair with a good quality clarifying shampoo. This will help remove buildup, but avoid using it too often or it will fade your hair color and make your hair dry.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
|We are all ears!|
Thursday, June 16, 2011
You might think that the Amish people are too far removed from society to have any bearing on our financial life today. But the truth is, their wisdom and philosophy are a timely resource for our struggling, debt-laden civilization. Money Secrets of the Amish reveals how this society lives peacefully and debt-free by focusing on the virtues of simplicity, delayed gratification, contentment, and sharing.
I found Money Secrets of the Amish to be refreshing; their virtues a much needed respite from the complexities of our society and a balm for our financial distress. I very much enjoyed reading the author’s interactions with the Amish folks: their personableness, their humility, their kindness, and surprisingly, their humor. I found that the author had excellent suggestions for incorporating the financial strategies of the Amish without having to leave our society altogether. It certainly would help me to live more simply, more frugally, and more contentedly.
This is a great book for anyone looking to improve their financial situation. You don’t have to be an accountant to understand these concepts and apply them to your life. An open mind, a willing heart, and Money Secrets of the Amish will help you get started on the path to financial freedom.