Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012!

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

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

Merry Christmas!

The presents are wrapped, the Christmas groceries purchased, stocking stuffers ready to be squeezed into the stockings that are never nearly big enough.  My piano music is practiced, Christmas Eve outfits are picked.  The house is decorated and nearly clean.  I even baked a few Christmas cookies this week.  It feels good to be so prepared for Christmas!  

But those things are all meaningless if I haven't prepared my heart.  Tonight I'll be spending long hours at church, playing piano for a number of Christmas Eve services.  I'm excited about the chance to serve.  I'm also looking forward to the time of getting my heart ready for Christmas.  Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, born in a dirty, humble stable is the best gift we could ever be given.  As you enjoy Christmas day, sharing gifts, eating fruitcake, and having fun with your family, I hope that you will receive Jesus as your best gift.  

Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be a guardian angel.



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.

Please take a moment and share the Christmas spirit - and God's never failing love - with the children who need it so much.  You can be their Guardian Angel during a time when they need it most.  Thank you. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Drink coffee. Help villages.


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

Deadline


I rarely bother going to the movies anymore.  There just isn't anything worth seeing, so I'm usually disappointed.  But that's about to change in early 2012.  The movie "Deadline" is a family friendly flick, based on a true story, about a cold-case murder, family ties, race, and redemption in a small town in Alabama. But don't take my word for it.  Watch the trailer, and visit www.deadlinefilm.com to sign up for email updates.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

6 ways to look prettier on the outside. (Even though you don't need it.)

Six articles to help you look better on the outside.  
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.
Is navy the new black?  All about navy blue.
How to wear gold makeup.  Be totally on-trend in gold.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Praying expectantly.




 1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 

2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 

Psalm 116, NIV



Twice in the last few weeks I've felt frustrated, anxious, and scared.  I didn't know which steps to take next. And I didn't know if I could handle what the future would bring. So, I cried.  I cried a lot. Probably a few buckets worth.  And through my tears, I desperately prayed to God to have mercy on us, and to move swiftly on our behalf.  

Well, I really should not have been surprised that God made things happen the very next day. I mean, it was me that asked Him to work fast, right? I received a phone call in the early afternoon that turned my entire day upside down.  I was stressed by the task I had to face.  I hate to admit that I tried to find a way out of it.  And it wasn't until later that I realized that although the day was mixed up and inconvenient, it was God answering my prayer.  He moved fast and He moved big.  Why was I so surprised?  In the end, I was grateful for the answer that I needed.  But I wish I had my eyes open to see how God was moving that day.  I could have faced the upheaval with a lot more excitement, anticipation, and joy if I had only been expecting God to answer me. 

The second time I prayed that prayer, the answer happened nearly the same way.  The only difference was it took a few more days for me for things to come to fruition.  Again, my eyes were closed to God's work in my life.   Why didn't I learn this lesson the last time?  

Through these two experiences I learned a few things about me, about God, and about my faith.  I learned that God is faithful even when we're not.  I really didn't show very good faith that He was going to answer my cry.  I should know God better than that.  But He answers our prayers, always.  Even when we don't fully expect an answer.  

My prayer for today is that I will have my eyes open to all He is doing around me.  And that I won't just ask for God's help, but that I will fully expect the answer and pray expectantly.  

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why you never had to worry about a bad hair day again.

Bad hair days.  Ugh.  Even us hair stylists get them.  It's no fun, is it?  And it usually happens when you're getting ready for something important, like a job interview, family pictures, or a class reunion.  I think I have more than my fair share.... probably because I hate to spend more than five minutes styling my hair. It's hard for me to wake up that much earlier than my kids!  If I wouldn't look weird without hair I probably wouldn't even have any.  :)


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

Do you tweet?

Are you a fan of Twitter?  I love tweets - such short snippets of thought that can be chock full of encouragement and hope!  Here's a few of my favorites.  Who do you follow?

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

My Beauty Wish List for Santa

If I could write Santa Clause a letter, I would send him my beauty wish list.  Santa may never read my wish list, but you can.

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

A Fresh-Brewed Life, by Nicole Johson


Fresh-Brewed Life by Nicole Johnson
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.  

I love the coffee references in Fresh-Brewed Life.  I love the coffee trivia, and the thought of curling up with a good book and a hot cup of Joe.  What’s not to love?  The book is interesting to read and spiritually challenging.  I love that Nicole calls us to journal our lives.  Not only is it cathartic, it helps us see patterns, prayers, and God’s answers in our lives.  She even gives great tips on how to incorporate journaling into an already busy life.  While this book is a great read, and Biblically accurate, I would have loved to see Nicole go even deeper spiritually.  But I’ll take it as a bonus that her words left me hungering for more, both from her writing and especially, from God’s Word.   If you’re a woman who needs a boost, a coffee lover, and someone looking for some insight into another woman’s journey, then this book is for you.  Drink it up!

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.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Here are few articles for the beauty connoisseur....






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

Women of Faith

I knew I needed to recharge my physical batteries, but I didn't realize how badly I needed to recharge my soul.   I was getting physically, mentally, and spiritually tired.  And it was starting to make my cranky.  If there's one thing I can't stand in myself, it's crankiness.  So it was on a whim - a somewhat tired whim - that I applied to be a BookSneeze Blogger for Women of Faith.  I really wasn't planning ahead too much when I applied. And I was totally shocked and grateful when I was chosen. 


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

Worship at Women of Faith

Refreshing time of worship.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Tomorrow I'll be leaving my three little ones in the tender care of my darling husband.  I'll leave the house as the  sun peeks over the trees and join a dear friend in Philly for the Women of Faith Conference.  I'm looking forward to a time of getting a way, enjoying my friend's company, and getting refreshed.  I need it!

 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

September Sale!


From now until September 9th, get 20% off my book, Clef Hangers! 
Shop at http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/clef-hangers/188849 and enter code September at checkout.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Piano for Boys


I was thinking long and hard about how to improve my piano teaching and my piano studio.  While I was doing some Googling about new music for my students, I came across a giveaway on a piano blog, www.colorinmypiano.com.  I was so intrigued by the giveaway item, “The Adventures of Fearless Fortissimo” Piano Books for Boys, that I just couldn’t wait it out to see if I had won the contest.  I went straight to www.pianomusicforboys.com and downloaded the music.  I am so glad that I did.  

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

Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado

Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado

Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado, is a blessing to the believer who is seeking God’s purpose for their life.  It is hope for the person who feels less than special, unnecessary, and unneeded.   It is encouragement for the soul who has become weary in their Christian walk.  Max’s view is that everyone has unique, special abilities and desires, and a ‘sweet spot’ for using them.  He says that fulfillment in life comes from walking with Jesus and using our gifts, talents, and resources in a way that is exciting, invigorating, and most importantly, reflects God to those around us.  Max walks us through the process of figuring out what our ‘sweet spot’ is, and how we can get to that place.  He helps us overcome our aimlessness, live a life of purpose, and share the Gospel through our everyday living.  Max’s writing is encouraging, uplifting, and filled to the brim with hope.
Cure for the Common Life encouraged and inspired me when I felt like everything was “meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:17b)  The humdrum of work life had me down, and Max reminded me that I’m here for a purpose – God’s purpose, and I can reflect Him no matter what I’m doing.  If you’re a believer searching for your place in life, wondering what God’s purpose is for you, then you need to read Cure for the Common Life.  You’ll come away refreshed, encouraged, and inspired by Max’s warm, love-filled writing.

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

Hope of the Broken World

Beautiful music. Pure harmonies.  Amazing musicianship.  Pristine mastering. Passionate love for Jesus.  These words cannot begin to sum up Selah’s amazing album, Hope of the Broken World, available on Auguest 23, 2011.  Hope of the Broken World crosses a variety of style lines.  The harmonies are pure and sweet, the vocals bluesy and intense.  Passion and authenticity can be heard in every note. Words of hope, assurance, and God’s love effortlessly flow through the captivating strains of music and catchy melodies.  Selah wears its hearts, not just on its sleeves, but on its CD jackets, as well.  

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

The Beauty Buzz for Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer is just flying by!  Where does the time go?  Are you enjoying your summer?  It's my favorite time of year, but it does bring about certain challenges for hair and makeup.  Check out these tips to deal with the summer heat and still look your best!

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

The Beauty Buzz for Monday, July 25, 2011


What's the Beauty Buzz this week?  Well, it's hot.  Crazy hot.  So hot that I'm freezing from sitting near the air conditioning vent.  But I try not to complain, since cold weather will be here before we know it, and then I'll be pining for the summer warmth again.  

Here's a few fall previews from http://afurbeck.mymarkstore.com/
Notice the leg-lengthening tights, the pleated shorts, and the boyfriend blazer.  All are on the hot list for fall. 








Must have bag - Notice the black faux-leather, the metal studs, and the cool dangly things.  This is a great piece to 'toughen up' any outfit.  I couldn't wait for wall - I already added this gorgeous accessory to my wardrobe.  And its a nice big size to hold all your essentials, too. 









Super high, super-chic boots.  Wear them over the knee, or flip the tops down for a cool, cuffed, pirate-y look.  Love 'em.  Can't wait for cooler weather to wear mine! 








Color blocking - try it for your wardrobe and your hair! 








Try a super-sleek, super-chic off-center pony to stay cool and professional.  You'll look great! 



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Women of Faith


Women of Faith - what an amazing time of refreshing, renewal, and friendship.  Most of all, it's a great opportunity to put the cares of life on the shelf for a bit and focus on Jesus Christ.  I'll be attending in Philadelphia on September 9th and 10th, 2011.  I'm really excited to be able to blog for Women of Faith.  What a blessing it will be to be a part of this wonderful event!  

For more information, please check out www.womenoffaith.com - this fab event will be in a city near you, so don't forget to order your tickets!  Be sure to like Women of Faith on facebook for great inspiration, and hope for this life and the next.  

I'll be posting again, especially as the time draws nearer.  I just wanted to give you a heads up for this awesome event.  Women of Faith helps you look beautiful on the inside - and that's the beauty that counts the most!   I hope you'll join me at Women of Faith this year!!!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Win Flip Flops!

Visit Life in the Lost World for your chance to enter to win a free pair of Planet Flops Flips Flops. They are supercute, look super comfy, and come in a wide variety of cool colors.  Entering is easy!

Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Soles4Souls Fundraising

Do you love shoes? I love shoes. I love sandals. I love boots. I love stilettos. In my lifetime, I bet I've had hundreds of pairs of shoes. Shameful, isn't it? It's shameful because there are a lot of people in this world who have never had a pair of shoes. This breaks my heart and makes me a little sick to my stomach. I'm totally convicted to do something for people who have never had a pair of shoes. That's where Soles4Souls comes in.

For just $1, they can provide a pair of shoes to someone who's never had one before. Shoes are important to people who are impoverished. Shoes protect them from parasites, from injuries they may sustain gathering food or from their difficult living conditions. Cuts and burns sustained while being barefoot may never be treated -leading to more serious problems such as infection, amputation, and even death. Some children cannot attend school because they have no shoes.

I never realized that something I merely thought of as a fashion accessory could be so important. I realize that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of charities asking for your hard earned money. I know that if you gave to every single one, you wouldn't be able to feed your own family. But please considering giving a dollar. A dollar will give a life-changing pair of shoes to someone whose never had them before.


If you can't give a dollar, please consider sharing this post or starting a fundraiser of your own. Visit soles4soulsfundraising.org/amandafurbeck for more information. Thank you for changing a life!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Shoe envy.

I had shoe envy.  Now I have a pair of shoes I can't walk in.  Thank you, Macy's for having a 75% off sale.  Lol.


Seashore


Not too bad for a cell phone pic! 
Ocean Grove, NJ

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thrifty Thursday! I love a good deal!

Just a thrifty quickie for today!  I've been a little swamped with the role of storyteller at VBS.  I'm having a blast, though.....  here's the deal of the day.

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

Beauty Buzz Monday, July 11, 2011

Happy Monday!   It's a hot one, so I hope you're staying in and staying cool! I am helping with VBS this week, and let me tell you, it's hard to look good when you're sweating along with a few hundred kiddos.  Here's a few tips for the week, though!  Don't forget to add your own!

5 Must have hair products. 


4 Cool hairstyles for summer.


5 Summer Hair Mistakes to avoid.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thrifty Thursday! Department store verses big box store

Who doesn't love a MAC eye shadow or a Clinique foundation?  I know I do.. and wouldn't I love a Chanel lipstick, or even a NARS blush.  But these high society products are as expensive as they are good.  And on a stay at home mom's salary.... that can be a bit of a stretch.

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!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

"
People are like stained-glass windows.  
They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in,
 their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.  "

 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quotes (Swiss-American psychiatrist and author )

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Stay safe in the sun

Did you know the SPF of a pair of blue jeans is about 1700?  And a white t-shirt has an SPF of about 8.  Certainly, the American Cancer society does a great job at educating us about skin cancer.  We've all heard we need to use sunblock to protect us from serious sunburns that can lead to skin cancer.  But there are so many options available!  So which products should you use?

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

Happy Fourth of July!

Just wanted to say happy fourth of July!  We are blessed and privileged to live in such a great nation.  Although it isn't perfect, we have it pretty good here.  Celebrating our freedoms, our families, our faith, and especially the service men and women who sacrificed to make that happen.  Also praying for those in other countries suffering war, famine, poverty, and hopelessness.  One of our greatest gifts in America is hope.  I hope you have hope, too.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Photo Friday: Sharp Focus


So maybe a chipmunk isn't totally beauty related, but I loved watching this little guy.  He's pretty adorable!  And I took his picture at one of my favorite places - the Lehigh Valley Zoo.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Words of Wisdom Wednesday



Old age is no place for sissies. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beauty Buzz Monday, June 27, 2011

Beauty Buzz

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?

Now is a good time to clean your makeup brushes!  Wash them in warm water and shampoo or a skin safe cleanser.  Rinse well, blot dry, and then lay them flat to airdry.  If you stand them up to dry, moisture can find its way into the handle and cause mold or mildew.  EW! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Photo Friday: The Wilderness

At the Trexler Game Preserve in Schnecksville, Pa



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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

I love this quote.  It is so true. 

Joy is the best makeup.
-Anne Lamott

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tip

Did you ever see a blond whose hair is turning green?  It often happens in the summer from spending a lot of time in the pool.  Yup - chlorine is great for killing germs and other nasties, but terrible for our hair. It builds up on all hair types and hair colors, but seems to be most noticeable on blonds.  It can make your hair dry, stiff, sticky, and brittle.  So how can we combat it?  Try this!

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.

Happy swimming! 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Beauty Buzz for Monday, June 20, 2011

Don't you just love to people-watch?  I totally do.  I could sit for hours with a cup of coffee and watch folks walk by.  At the local zoo over the weekend, I saw a lot of people who were trying to beat the heat.  I saw too-short shorts, barely-there tank tops, muffin tops, and all kinds of things that I didn't want to see.  Trust me; I'm no prude but still, some things should be left up to the imagination.  

Here's a few summer don'ts: 
1.  Bra straps showing.  Seriously, this trend is over.  Very, very over.  Invest in a strapless bra.  Or at least wear thicker tank top straps.  
2.  Handkerchief shirts - that were tight.  I love these shirts because they're cool, comfy, and have a style.... but they're are not supposed to be tight.  Loose and flowy is the name of the game. 
3.  Bulges.  If it bulges out the top, bulges out the bottom, or anywhere in between, its just too small.  Go up a size and relax!  You'll look slimmer and feel better. 
4.  Vintage stone washed denim.  Vintage=good.  Stonewashed=bad.  Need I say more?
5.  Boots and shorts.  Kinda looks wierd when its 85 degrees. 
6.  Matching your mother.  Even if she is stylish.
We are all ears!
7.  Long sleeve track suit.  

 A few of my fav looks:
1.  Handkerchief dresses.  Very cute, very lightweight, and flattering, too. 
2. Maxi dresses.  These dresses are alluring, flattering, and yet, don't show too much skin.  Bonus, my son thinks I look like a princess in mine.  :)  Pair them with a pair of espadrilles and your are totally on trend. 
3.  Dark wash jean skirt with a fitted -but not tight- black sleeveless top.  Very simple, yet very chic.  
4.  Capris and a shapely 'T'.  Comfy yet chic!
5.  Gladiator sandals.  They go with almost anything:  shorts, capris, skirts.....
6.  Straw hats for sun protection.


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Financial Freedom is a Beautiful Thing....

I have to admit it; I probably wouldn’t have picked up Money Secrets of the Amish by Lorilee Craker, if I had seen it in a bookstore.  But as the book so often states, “The best things in life are free.”  My free copy of the book, provided generously by Thomas Nelson for review, is no different.  It’s nuggets of wisdom, passed down from generations of Amish folks, are full of financial tips.  

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.

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