FRIDAY FAVES - Six Things - April 1, 2016

No foolin'! I'm back at the blog, with another Friday Faves roundup, which coincidentally is where I left off, but a ton has changed since that last post - mainly, we moved from Florida to Tennessee (yay! liefelong dream!) and so the busyness of that took precedence and I wandered away from blogging again. I'll do an in-depth update on the move an all next post (and it WON'T be like, a year from now, haha! promise!) For now though - here's a buncha stuff I am into right now!


I know it's not as "sexy" as the DC cam for Mr President & First Lady who's baby eggs recently hatched, but - this one is semi-local to me and I've been maniacally watching it for weeks! Everytime you check in on it you have the chance to see something amazing - in fact, I JUST pulled it up on my phone to get a quick screenshot to put here and at that EXACT SECOND mama (or, daddy) flew into the nest with a fish - it was still flopping! haha, nature is great ... so's technology, for that matter ๐Ÿ˜‰

Harrison Bay Eagle Cam - LUNCH!

Harrison Bay Eagle Cam - LUNCH!


Like I said, we finally moved to our beloved Smokies this past summer, and while we're currently in a temporary home and area while we get acclimated and make decisions on the future, we LOVE this little town we ended up in, and the spot we call home for now is completely fitting and lovely for what we need at this time. I love to sit on the deck and look across the side road to our neighbors' places - one with a big old country barn in a field, the other with a totally charming yard that's picture-perfect with the spring flowers and trees blooming right now. There's also goats! ๐Ÿ  BAAAAAHAHAHA! Love'em!

My "across the road" neighbors - whatta charming place

My "across the road" neighbors - whatta charming place


The past several years I've been on a self-imposed self-improvement track, and while I've always been a big fan of books and a huge reader, I never really got into the whole self-help or inspirational positive message genre - then I started a new business and one of my mentors made a point of saying Leaders are Readers and gave a huge list of book recommendations and I was hooked! The Secret book is an older book that was real popular a few years back - I got it from the library recently - it's a really easy & fast read and it will change your attitude in a quick minute, believe that. The Crossroads of Should and Must is a well, MUST-READ for anyone struggling with how to find their true path in life - as an artist I was obviously drawn right to the cover (I saw it on a friend's Instagram feed last year) and bought it right away, but only just NOW started reading it! It's another really easy to digest format and it's just a lovely design as well.

note: those are Amazon links and I get a wee lil kickback from them if you order from here.
if ya do, thanks, if ya don't - no sweat, just full disclosure for ya ...
Two books you TOTALLY have time to read!

Two books you TOTALLY have time to read!


Ok, I guess I'm seriously turning into "that girl" - along with my mental outlook adjustment, I've been diving way deeper into the whole natural living thing (yes, I still do essential oils! DUH!) and while I'm not growing my armpit and leg hair out (gross. I mean, sorry, but- GROSS.) I am changing out a lot of the products we use in our home and on our persons. For me, I was never a super fanatic about wearing deodorant/antiperspirant anyway - turns out, that's kinda a GOOD thing! Have you read up on antiperspirant and how bad it actually is for you? We are SUPPOSED to perspire, it helps flush out toxins from your body, and if you're not flushing them out where are they going? They're hanging out in your lymph nodes, planning all kinds of "fun" things (hint: they're NOT even remotely fun.) Aluminum, parabens, petroleum based chemical ingredients? NAHTHANX. Kinda seems like a common sense no brainer really. So yeah I'm done with anti-persp, but I don't wanna stink, ya know! Cue this all organic, destinkerizer: Coconut Dream Natural Detox Deodorant by Organic Fields of Heather. Like, it seriously smells so good, feels like a literal dream going on, and I've been using it for a couple weeks now and I've noticed it lasts all day (I can still smell it when I go to bed) and my pit-skin feels so much softer and less bumpy & irritated. I know I had a commercial brand touted in my last FFaves post! but that was before I realized what a toxic garbage dump I was putting under my arms. DONE!

Just call me pina-colada pits, haha! *item shown not actual size < hah!

Just call me pina-colada pits, haha! *item shown not actual size < hah!


Along the same lines as the all-natural deo, I have been swapping out some other commercial made HBA products, and one of the funnest (and seriously, easiest) things to do is MAKE YOUR OWN SOAP! I went the super lazy way on these by using a pre-made goat's milk soap base which you can get at pretty much any local craft store (Hobby Lobby is MY choice but when your husband works there you're kinda obligated AMIRITE? haha good thing I also happen to dig'em!) and I added my own essential oils* - I used Bergamot, Orange and a Young Living blend called Stress Away, and added some coconut oil for extra yummy moisturizing softness. They smell so good I wanna eat them! You know you wanna make some too, now - don't worry, I'll be sharing recipes & DIY how-to's for fun stuff like this in future posts, you betcha!

*note: I use only Young Living essential oils, and am an Independent Distributor with them. The link will take you to their Seed to Seal page if you'd like to read more about the company, their oils, and their process - if you ever have question or want to know more about it, just ask!
Handmade goat's milk &amp; essential oils soaps

Handmade goat's milk & essential oils soaps


and finally, lest you think I'm some kinda full-on New Age hippie weirdo with all my natural products, let's have a fess up moment where I tell you yes I TRY to eat pretty healthy most of the time, and fresh, organic, local and responsibly sourced foods are a high priority BUT THEN THE WEEKLY FLIERS COME IN THE MAIL AND THERE'S A COUPON FOR BOGO BURGERS AT HARDEE'S AND YOU'RE ALL: MMMMMM, DINNNNNNER! Therefore, I give you:

There were also bacon topped cheese fries cuz WHATEVER, I'M GETTING CHEESE FRIES

There were also bacon topped cheese fries cuz WHATEVER, I'M GETTING CHEESE FRIES

Sweet & Smoky Moonshine Sauce, Crispy Onion Straws & Applewood-Smoked Bacon Strips on a 100% Black Angus Beef patty all served on a Fresh Baked Bun. (do not, I repeat DO!NOT! look up the "nutritional" data on this bad boy. just eat it and be damn happy.) Granted mine didn't LOOK like the picture on the flier (do they ever?) but it was so damn delicious I did not even care. They did forget the crispy onion straws on BOTH our burgers, and I think they used the wrong cheese, but that just means I'mma hafta go back and get another one, hehe. Oh, and hey - here's a coupon - you're welcome ๐Ÿ˜ 

And THAT, as they say - is a wrap! Enjoy this wonderful first day of April, may you not get pranked but if ya do fall for anything, I hope it's fun and funny (mean pranks make me mad) and have a super stellar weekend!

Friday Faves! July 3, 2015

Heyyyyy stranger! (you know - YOU, the one person who reads this stuff. Mom? That you? haha nope - I don't think even my mom reads my blog. HOW. SAD. is THAT?) Anyway, 3 months later. Hi.

Working up the energy to revamp things around here (turns out I DON'T like this template I chose after all the testing and previous decision making, isn't that awesome.) and in the meantime I was looking up old Facebook posts and remembered a thing called Friday Faves! which, is - exactly what it sounds like. My favorite things I've read or saw or whatever from the week. So let's bring it back! And awayyyyyyy we go!


Baby Bear Chatting Up His Ma

Baby Bear Chatting Up His Ma

One of my very very favorite nature (specifically, the Smokies!) photographers is Bill Lea. He documents (among others) the lives of black bears, and his images are beautiful to be sure, but the stories he shares about them are what really set his photos apart. He is all about teaching us humans how to responsibly interact with and appreciate these wonderful creatures, and for that, I thank him <3  You can find more stunning images of bears and nature in general at his website: Bill Lea and on Facebook: Bill Lea Photography - I promise, you will not be disappointed.


Apt. 9 Oversized Envelope Wristlet

Apt. 9 Oversized Envelope Wristlet

GAH! I KNOW! ISN'T IT GREAT?! So, I had to go to the DMV on Wednesday - they have this whole new check-in process using your cell phone and text messaging, where you can essentially check-in, get in the queue, and then YOU CAN LEAVE. They update you with current wait time periodically then alert you about 15 minutes from your number being called so you can get back. Pretty spiffy! I didn't trust it at first ;-) so I only went across the street to Kohl's to kill some time and $pend some of my birthday giftcard money. I saw this and my heart went ZING! plus it was on sale AND the only one left so I snapped that sucker up! B&W stripes on one side, B&W polka dots on the other. Bigger than a regular wristlet, not as huge as a fullsize envelope clutch. Plus interior pockets for cell phone and assorted other girly paraphernalia. All the wins. Get it here: Apt. 9 Luna Travel Wristlet @ Kohl's

OH RIGHT! the DMV - well, let's just sum it up by saying I ended up trusting the system, going home, coming back when they texted me - easy peasy! And then they were unable to solve my issue anyway. HAH! Whatever.  I gotta cool new bag!


Photojojo Wide-Angle Macro Lens Combo for iPhone 6

Photojojo Wide-Angle Macro Lens Combo for iPhone 6

Couple Christmases ago "Santa" brought the boys and I a set of cell phone lenses he apparently got on sale at Photojojo. There were three - a fish-eye, a polarizer, and the wide angle / macro combo lens (guess which one Mom got, heh.) Fast forward to me getting a new iPhone and BooHoo my old lens won't fit cuz it needs a different type of attachment piece (they're magnetic, so you apply the attachment ring or plate to your device, then the lenses interchange off of that. Plus they come with little keychain type holders and lens caps). This week PJo had a flash sale that I happened to be right on time for, and nabbed a new combo lens AND attachment for the iPhone 6 for like $10! It came yesterday, and save a tiny issue where my current case won't let the lens sit *quite* flat againt the phone - it still works great and I AM SO HAPPY to be back in macro action! Here are a few quick pics I took with just the phone + lens, no filters or edits.

The flash sale is over but even at the regular price it's a good buy for a sweet lil cell phone lens. And they have other lenses and are available for a buncha phone models, even Android. PLUS! If you go thru this link you get $5 off (I think it's a min $25 purchase) and then *I* get a $5 buck coupon for next time. An' not to put any pressure on ya, but - I been eyein' up a Gorillapod Mobile stand, sooooo ... jus'sayin' ...

Okay! That's the faves this week - (I know - short 'n sweet, that's how I do! ... well, not really  - long & convoluted is usually how I do, concise and succinct I really gotta work at) Tune in next week when I rave about new faves! WHEEEEEE!
And oh yeah - hey USA - Happy 4th of Fireworks and BBQs and junk! Hurrah! (uh, where's the dog?) ...

Love with Food

Hello! and Happy Friday to you :)

One of the things I am planning to do more on the blog is product reviews - I will always state whether or not I am being compensated for, sponsored by, received the item from or am in any other way affiliated with a certain product or website or company. I will also always give my own true and honest opinion of said products or services whether good or bad. Got it? GOOD!

So I have recently (and finally!) signed up for a couple subscription box programs - and just received my first Snack Box from Love With Food, which delivers organic and/or all-natural food products for you to try once a month, in themed curated boxes, and for each box sold they also donate a meal to a food bank to help combat childhood hunger in the United States. The snacks are unique offerings you may not see locally or in your neighborhood chain store, and are organic, all natural, GMO-free, gluten-free and don't contain artificial ingredients. No trans fats, no hydrogenated oils, and no high fructose corn syrup. Sounds good, right?!

My first box for May 2014 was the Derby Days snack box, which contained reimagined Kentucky Derby fare to celebrate the classic American horse race (sadly, box did not contain a fancy hat to wear while sampling the treats ...) 

Here's my box, as received -

Derby Days snack box from Love with Food

Derby Days snack box from Love with Food

Contents and individual product comments (clockwise from left) and their respective Twitter handles, if available -

Sweet Potato Chips by One Potato Two Potato 
Tasty and crisp - not too sweet or too salty, a nice balance of both. A bit too "oily" tasting for me.

Southern Derby Sampler Pack of teas by Revolution Tea @RevTea
I have not yet tried the teas, may send to a friend who is more of a tea drinker, and will report back on what she says. But they sure smell good!

Key Lime Cookies by J & M
Very tasty little sweet treats - just enough tangy key lime flavor balanced out by the perfect touch of sweetness with the minimal sugar dusting, and the cookie was a nice crisp shortbreadyish (that's a word, right?) biscuit. Easily our favorite item in the box! I would buy these.

Tarallino Snack w/ EVOO by Terre de Puglia @Terredipuglia
Like a very upscale cracker, I suppose - but not flat! It's like a pretzel-bread-toast-cracker-snack - though it is also none of those things? Make sense? Yeah I know, not really :D Anyway it was mild and tasty and would be great at a wine & cheese party. We liked these!

Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and Italian Black Truffle Salt by The Spice Lab @TheSpiceLab
Have not yet tried these, waiting for a good recipe to use them on! But the packaging is neat and looks like quality ingredients, looking forward to tasting them. They have MANY flavors on their site and they come in these super cool test tube dealys.

Giddy Up & Go Granola by Thoughtful Food @GiddyUpGranola
I ate this as a snack - super tasty and to my surprise, a bit soft! not like that teeth breaking stuff that uses more energy to chew than it's providing you with (knowwhatImsayin?) Full of seeds and fruit and gluten-free grains, it was super good, and actually tasted like the things it contained, not just "sugar-glued-together chemical flavored bits of dry stuff" like some other so-called healthy granolas or trail mixes can. Another fave!

Sea Salt Caramels by Le Caramel @le_caramel
... shhhh ... i ate the caramels myself and no-one else got any ... They were SO GOOD, but oh man I am not supposed to have caramels, especially REAL caramels like these super sticky chewy little nuggets. I'm surprised my teeth are still in my face ;-)

Tropical Peach Drink Mix by Flavrz Organic @FlavrzDrinkMix
I did not try this, my husband did - he liked the taste but said he would have added LESS water to make it more flavorful. Package states to add contents to 12-20 ounces of water, and is marked as a water enhancer (like, to make lightly flavored water) but apparently he was expecting something more like a "add water to this to make a fruit punch drink" which it is not meant to be. 

SO! Overall I was really pleased with our first box - I joined via a Facebook post and with the promo discount they were offering I believe I paid $5 + $2 shipping (regular monthly plan price for the 8+ snack size box is $10 + $2 shipping, there are other options and box sizes to choose from) and felt that was well worth it for what the box contained. There are some product coupons included in the box, and the website has a shop area where you can purchase more of your favorite products OR a version of the featured month's tasting box. I also have an affiliate link you can use to sign up with if you are interested in trying them out - I believe you get your first box free and just pay the shipping:

Sign up to Love with Food using my link! and enjoy your snacking!