Wednesday, December 30, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

You get a car and you get a car...

No just kidding it's not like that. If you are at all familiar with Oprah, you may have heard of her favorite things show she does around Christmas. I would have given anything to be in the audience at one of those shows because not only does she share her favorite things, but everyone in the audience goes home with one of each of them!

She gives away things like $200 pj sets, refrigerators, and the latest and greatest gadgets...but I don't have Oprah kind of money. However I still wanted to share a few of my favorite things with you and give away a set of them to one lucky winner!

Here it is:

What's Included?

Bath and Body Works Foaming Antibacterial soap in Coconut Lime- I love this foaming soap and the Coconut Lime is by far my favorite scent. If you need to kill germs on the go, they have these tiny little bottles of hand sanitizer for like $1. I always have one in my purse just in case, but the foaming soap is still my favorite.

Sephora's Whipped Body Delight in Marshmallow Fluff- I love, love, love these little tubs of body butter. They are harder to find in the stores now, but they still have them online in gift sets sometimes. I have one in my car and they are the perfect size to take on vacation. I love the Coconut or Grapefruit scent in the summertime but the Marshmallow Fluff and Peppermint Mocha are my favorite fall/winter scents.

Cover Girl's Lash Blast Mascara- I'm not a huge make up person, but I always keep a travel sized eye lash curler and mascara in my purse because a) my eyelashes need help and b) that one little step can make you look so much more awake. I used to be loyal to Benefit's BadGal mascara, but I decided to give this one a try because it is available in more places and cheaper. I think I may like this one better! Now they just need to make a travel size!

Miss Manicure's Mini Emory Boards- I have these all over my house, car, purse, work...they are great. I am always breaking a nail and I used to just rip it off. But now that I have these handy little things, I don't have to destroy the whole nail. Plus they are super cute- you know how I love travel sized things!

Got2Be Smooth Operator- I got a free sample of this stuff and have been a loyal user ever since. Every morning I am always in a rush, but all I have to do to my hair is quickly run a straight iron through it and put a tiny dollop of this in my hands, rub them together, and run my fingers through my hair. It leaves me with smooth, silky hair and tames all those little fly-aways.

Would you like to win this loot? I know you guy readers are just clamouring to get your hands on this stuff! Here is how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already AND
2. Leave a comment on this post with one of your favorite things!

And since this is going up a little late and I know you'll all be out partying it up over the weekend, you have until midnight on Monday Jan. 4th to enter.

This is the last Grateful Giveaway, so don't miss out!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

10 Blogs You Should Check Out in 2010

I stole this idea from here. (I don’t normally read that blog, nor do I read any of the blogs mentioned there, but I stumbled upon it today and thought the idea was great!)

I read a lot of blogs…A LOT. I am constantly updating my list, as good blogs die, and some blogs start to bore me, and as I discover new awesome blogs. I suck at showing enough love though sometimes. I don’t update my blogroll and am bad about passing on blog awards.

I wanted to keep with the theme of 10, so here are 10 Blogs You Should Check Out in 2010:

She Worships
This girl goes to my church, but I have never met her. (It’s a big church ya’ll!) But I have been reading her blog since I started my own little blog. I discovered it through our pastor’s blog, and she always writes such thought provoking posts. In the beginning, most of her posts were mostly topics for single girls. However, she recently got married and she now blogs about married life too. However, I love that she hasn’t forgotten her single gal readers. She does a great job of incorporating her married life into her writing but not letting it dominate it. She writes about everything from “Should Single Women Adopt?” to “Learning to Trust God…and My Husband”. It’s a great one to add to your Reader.

All Thing in Moddy
I forget how I discovered Hollie’s blog, but it is one I have been reading for a while. She’s a southern gal with a great little family and most of her posts include great pictures from her life. Her little girl Kate is so adorable, and earlier this year, she had the best post announcing that they were expecting another one. (Check it out!) I have come to know her and her family so much through her blog, that it felt like one of my best friends just announced that she was pregnant! I was that excited! You’ll love her too!

Amazing Ads
I found Sam’s personal blog through her commenting on mine and started following and then a few weeks ago she announced that she was starting this blog to highlight some great ads and I love it. I’m in marketing, so I may be a little biased, but I think anyone can appreciate these entertaining and thought provoking ads.

I think I discovered this blog through Gigi’s Gone Shopping (a great blog too). This girl has the kind of style and wardrobe I wish I had! I love pictures of clothes on real life people and have become kind of obsessed with finding more blogs that have real life pics of their style selections. So far this is my fave! Not only does she have amazing style, but the perfect photos she takes make her look oh so adorable with just the perfect touch of quirk!

Sean *heart* Chloe’
I just recently started reading this one and I can’t even remember how I discovered it, but I already love it. They are so cute and some of the stories are just too dang funny. You have to see the pics from the open house they went to at the crazy Christmas lady’s house HERE and the post about how her big Christmas surprise for Sean was ruined HERE. I also like the fonts she uses and the layout of her posts…I know that seems weird, but it really is aesthetically pleasing and makes her posts stand out in my Reader.

The Typing Makes Me Sound Busy
This is one I have been reading since my beginning blogging days as well. This girl can write! She is witty and descriptive and turns the most mundane adventures in to hilarious posts. Sometimes her posts can get a little long, so there have been a few that I have skipped, but this is definitely one to add to your Reader.

Average But Not…
I discovered this blog through a comment left on my blog…I always check out my commenter's blogs and it has led to some very terrific finds! Anyway, Ann always posts her thoughts and advice on great topics relating to everything and anything that girls like me would be interested in: from diet and exercise to sex and relationships. What I like the most is that she incorporates current events in to her posts a lot of the times in a very relevant way. One thing I don’t like about this blog, is that it won’t show the whole post in my reader (which usually qualifies you for an automatic unsubscribe in my world) but the titles do pull me in and make me click through to read the whole thing usually.

ITB Insider
This is another one I have been reading for a while. I was a little scared to highlight this one because A) I don’t know how well it will translate for people not living in Raleigh and B) I don’t want him to find out a “commoner” loves his blog so much. So ITB stands for “Inside the Beltline”. There is a beltline that runs around Raleigh and living ITB supposedly makes you better than everyone else. This is reflected in the real estate prices ITB- it’s at least double what you would pay per square foot outside of the beltline and quadruple what you’d pay in the suburbs of Raleigh. Anyway this guy plays up the “old money” and “exclusivity” in his hilarious posts. Think Tucker Max. You want to hate him, but he’s just so darn funny and a pretty good writer. But like I said, I don’t know if it translates as well for people not in Raleigh.

Silly Grrl
I’m not sure how I discovered this blog. I stumbled upon it not too long ago and it has steadily become one of my favorites. She always writes about interesting things and I love her style. Check out a sample here!

Naked Discourse
My friend Jen just started her “official” blog and it’s one I look forward to reading now too. I love her Review Thursdays (that’s how I learned that new John Meyer song I liked really wasn’t so sweet after all). She’s really open and honest in her posts with a healthy does of snark to make you chuckle along the way.

Of course I still love my old standbys like Can I just Say?, A Little Pink in the Cornfields, From L.A. to LA, Girl v. The World, The Audacity of an Optimistic Pessimist, Planting Daisies, Hang on Little Tomato and many many more that I just can’t mention all of them here. I just wanted to highlight some that you may have not heard of that I really enjoy.

Have you made any great new blog discoveries lately?

P.S. I am going to try to post my final giveaway tonight or possibly tomorrow morning. You WILL want to come back for that. Are you familiar with Oprah's Favorite Things show? Yeah, it's going to be kind of like that.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Find a Doctor You Trust- CHECK!

I put this on my list because I haven't had a steady doctor since my pediatrician. Most of the time I would just go to the Minute Clinic when I got sick. Whenever I filled out a form that asked for my Primary Care doctor, I would just leave it blank. I totally forgot that "doctor" includes a primary care doctor, gyno, eye doctor, and dentist!

I moved around so much the last few years that I just didn't feel settled enough to go find a permanent one. But after I had been in Raleigh a while I thought it was time to get my doctors in order.

It is HARD to find a new doctor, new hairdresser, new dentist, new mechanic, etc. when you move to a new town. It takes research (I used a lot), asking everyone you know if they know of anyone, and some trial and error on your own.

I have found my full line-up now though:

Doctor: Meredith Barbour of Duke Medicine in Brier Creek

Before I found Dr. Barbour, I went to a really old male doctor near the hospital and a younger male doctor near my old workplace. I didn't like the first two because they did not listen to me or ask the right questions. It was like I waited around forever just to be rushed out. I just did not get a good vibe from them at all.

I found Dr. Barbour partly through a referral from a friend and another referral from a co-worker for that practice and a search on my insurance provider's "Dr. Search". I like Dr. Barbour because she is near my house. Getting one near your workplace may seem like a good idea so you can pop in during your lunch break, but you have more control over where you live than where you work. If you don't work at that location anymore, than that convenient location isn't so convenient anymore. I just make my appointments for early in the morning or last thing in the afternoon so I can pop in on my way home.

Dentist: Dr. Ben Britt

I've already told you how much I love Dr. Britt here. He really is great and his office is always so fast. I am in and out of there in no time! And did I mention the massaging chairs? He is also near my house for the same reasons I mentioned above. Before I found Dr. Britt, I had been to 3 other dentists in Raleigh that I all hated. So I'm glad I finally found someone I like.

Eye Doctor: Eye Care Associates

I'm not too picky about my eye doctors because I have gotten so used to the routine. The only reason I go is to get my contacts. Your prescription is only good for a year, so when you run out, you are forced to go have your eyes examined again. Eye Care Associates have multiple locations across the Triangle, so there is always one close by. And during the summer you can get a free pair of sunglasses with your purchase!

Gyno: Dr. Karen Roane

You want me to undress completely? You have to put that where? You are going to SCRAPE some cells off?! I mean I dread this one more than anything. I had been to another gyno near my old workplace that my boss had actually recommended, but now that location wasn't convenient. So, I went to Dr. Roane at the end of last year, and she was ok. I went back a few weeks ago and the one thing I found that I love about her is she is quick. The whole exam is over in less than 5 minutes and is pretty painless. She is nice enough and chit chats with you while she does the exam to keep your mind off it. So that works for me. (I did have a male gyno while I was in Greenville that I loved, so as you can see I am not partial to one gender or the other.) Another good thing is she is in the same office building as my dentist. So if I ever wanted to knock out 2 in one day, it would be pretty easy.

Overall I trust all these doctors and hope I can stick with them for a long, long time.

I also found a good hair stylist- Carly at Who Does Your Hair? and a good mechanic- Westgate Imports, in case you were curious.

And I found the best source for finding these service providers is through word of mouth. (Although I did find my dentist through a direct mailer he did to my neighborhood.) Basically though you just have to be patient and try a few out until you find the one that fits you best.

Do you find it difficult to find service providers- like doctors, hair stylists, etc.?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This week has felt crazy! I have been so busy, but I pretty much got it all done. It may not have been exactly perfect- my poinsettias died and some of the gifts I bought for people weren't exactly what I wanted to get them and cooking was hectic, but it's all said and done and it was pretty good.

I cooked a turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mashed red potatoes, gravy, rolls, cranberry waldorf salad, pumpkin dessert squares, and cranberry walnut cookies. I chopped, beat, blended, mashed, baked, and stirred my way through the last 24 hours and now have enough left-overs to last through the rest of the year! And it was all delicious!

But no wonder people were skinny back in the day before fast food, microwave, and food is hard work!

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and took a moment to remember the most important gift of all- the birth of a savior. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

As promised one of you lucky readers will soon get a little after Christmas present from me. And the winner of the Border's gift card is...

True Random Number Generator
Min: 1
Max: 18
Result: 13


Email me your address so I can get it in the mail to you!

And don't worry if you didn't win...there is one more giveaway this month, so come back for another chance at a little after-Christmas present!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Countdown to Christmas & Giveaway #4

We are getting closer and closer to Christmas!

Are you all ready?

I’m certainly not. I haven’t wrapped a single present. I still have some shopping to do. I have to cook Christmas dinner and I haven’t even made my list and gone shopping for the food yet (although I do have a huge turkey defrosting in my fridge). My mom requested I cook a turkey this year. I have never cooked a turkey before, so we shall see how this turns out. Maybe I should have some microwave lasagna on hand just in case?

Speaking of cooking, I watched Julie and Julia this weekend. It was pretty good. I liked the blogging aspect of course. But really who does that happen to? I mean what a dream come true…to become a writer because of your blog!

Back to the point- Grateful Giveaway #4!

You know I love to read and I hope you all do too because this week’s giveaway is a $10 Borders gift card!

I used to be loyal to Barnes and Noble. Now with I don’t have to buy books too often (although I do make way more trips to the post office!) But when I do buy books, I find myself heading to Borders more and more. They always have good deals, send out way more coupons, and you don’t have to pay to be a part of their membership club (unlike B&N). Even if you don’t win the gift card, you should check them out!

If you'd like to win the Borders gift card, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite book or a book you are dying to get your hands on!

I'll draw a winner on Friday (Christmas Day!). Good Luck!

P.S. Shoshanah at From L.A. to LA is doing a book giveaway on her blog in honor of her Blogoversary! Go check it out!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thank You!

Sam at Simply Sam and Brittany from A.S.A.P. gave my this lovely award last week:

Thank you so much girls and I love reading ya'lls blogs too!

I am supposed to list 10 things that make me happy and pass this on to 10 bloggers.

I have done "what makes me happy" post in the past you can see here and here...

So here's 10 things that made me happy this weekend:

1. Not having to go to my work Christmas party alone

2. Getting the Nike Plus for my iPhone as an early Christmas present from a very thoughtful friend.

3. Chatting with another volunteer at church and getting to hear her awesome love story of how she met and got engaged to her husband...I'm a hopeless romantic.

4. The sermon at church today. It was really insightful and was about Fatherhood. He talked about the different types of ways you may have been hurt by your earthly father, the effect that can have on your adulthood and of course how that relates to your heavenly Father. You can listen to it here if you're interested.

5. Getting a front row parking spot at church AND at Target today!

6. Having Julie and Julia reserved at the Redbox for me thanks to my new iphone app.

7. Taking a nap with Cam on the couch.

8. Christmas makes everything feel so magical

9. Yummy food and drinks at my work Christmas party...tried eggnog and it was actually pretty good!

10. Thinking about day after Christmas Christmas is only a year and 5 days away!

I want to pass this on to all my readers! Take the image and post 10 things that made you happy this weekend. If you do come back here and leave a comment with a link to your post! I'd love to hear about your weekend!

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the Winner is....

The winner of the $10 Starbucks gift card is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 19
Result: 12
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Aritza, Goddess of Sarcasm and Unfinished Sentences!

Congratulations! Email me your address so I can send it out to you!

By the way, I tried the Caramel Brulee Latte and Peppermint Mocha this week (skim- no whip) and I have to say the Caramel Brulee Latte is my new fav!

Also we got about 15-20 minutes of beautiful snow this afternoon and it so felt like Christmas! It is calling for more tonight. I wouldn't mind a few more flakes, but I hope I don't get snowed in this weekend!

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Too Much Going On!

I know I said I had some good posts for this week, but this week has been super crazy at work, so I am going to give you the cliff notes version here:

Oh Baby Deer!:

Saturday night, a baby deer ran into my car. I was on a back road near my house and I saw a whole pack of deer crossing the road, so I stopped in the middle of the road and let them cross because those things are crazy and will just jump right into your car. After they crossed I started rolling again and I heard a thunk. I stopped in the middle of the road and looked in my rear view and started freaking out because it looked like I had run over a dog and it was lying in the middle of the road. I put it in park and hopped out and starting running towards it. It wasn’t a dog, it was a baby deer. It was thrashing around trying to get up but couldn’t, so I tried to help it, but it just fell down again. Then I saw that one of its front legs looked like it was broken.

I was freaking out and didn’t want the deer to die so I PICKED IT UP and carried it to the side of the road. It made a crying noise as I carried it and I could literally feel my heart breaking. I laid it on its side and it was breathing so hard from the shock and all that effort that I thought it was going to die right there in front of me. I didn’t want to see that so I got back in my car a tearfully drove home as I prayed for the baby deer.

All this happened around 9:30 pm. After I finished baking five dozen cookies for a party that night, I just couldn’t stop thinking about that deer. So at around midnight I took some dog food and drove back out there to check on it. It was still alive and curled up in a little ball on the side of the road. I got out and tried to feed it, but it wouldn’t eat. I talked to it and was freaking out all over again, but didn’t know what to do.

I drove home and looked up an emergency vet on the internet. They told me to call the police. The police couldn’t figure out where it was exactly so I had to meet them out there and point out the deer. It wasn’t thrashing around in pain so they didn’t know what to do, so they called the supervisor and before I knew it, 3 cop cars were out there. Finally the supervisor came up to me and told me they were trying to get a hold of someone at animal control to find out what to do. I begged them not to kill it and he told me to just go home and know that they would take care of the baby deer.

I drove by the next morning and I don’t know what happened but the baby deer was gone. I hope he is in deer rehabilitation safe and sound somewhere right now!

Marked something off my list:

I have found all the doctors I need in Raleigh- a good general doctor, eye doctor, gynecologist, and dentist. Little did I know when I said “find a doctor I trust” it would turn into find FOUR doctors I trust! I’ll write a more in depth post about this and my other healthcare and insurance woes later when all the craziness dies down.

Guess what I got today as an early Christmas present?

Any good app suggestions?

Can you believe Christmas is next week!?! This month flew by!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about the awards from you guys and I'll do that one this weekend hopefully! And don't forget to enter my Grateful Giveaway #3! I'll draw the winner tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Grateful Giveaway #3

You know what is almost a good as Christmas cookies? All the yummy Starbucks flavors that come out around the holidays! So for my Grateful Giveaway #3 I am giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card!

My go-to drink there is usually a grande skim caramel machiatto so I would probably like their new drink this season- the Caramel Brulee Latte.

I also love their Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Last year I tried the Gingerbread latte but I didn't like the little pieces of ginger in the bottom.

This year I really want to try the Peppermint Mocha!

Also I heard you can pick regular or Godiva chocolate for your hot chocolate there. Yummy!

If you'd like to win the Starbucks gift card, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite Holiday drink or Starbucks favorite!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

P.S. Caribou Coffee's White Hot Chocolate is to die for too!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Tour of my Home

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

First I want to apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. I obviously need a new camera and maybe some photography lessons. I am a sucker for pretty pictures and on my next "list" will definitely be "learn to take pretty pictures".

Here is my humble abode all done up for Christmas:

P.S. I have some good posts planned this week including the baby deer story in which I think I may have lost my mind for a night due to a breaking heart and some awards from fellow bloggers, another giveaway and I am going to mark something else off my list this stay tuned!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

I don't know where that phrase comes from but it makes me chuckle.

The drawing for the CD winner was a little complicated because of the anonymous comment throwing things off. Anyway there were a total of 11 people once I skipped over the anonymous comments, my comment, and comment from friends who already got the CD. And the winner is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 11
Result: 9

AnnQ! Congrats and send me your address so I can get this in the mail to you.

And a special bonus second chance drawing for the book The Traveler's Gift (I couldn't get in touch with the original winner)

And the winner is...

True Random Number Generator

Min: 1
Max: 7
Result: 7

Sam! Congrats and send me your address so I can get this in the mail to you.

Thank you for all the kind comments and emails on my last post. I really appreciate it and am glad I can share my journey with ya'll!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Defining Character- Accepting Criticism

I got a comment on one of my last blog posts criticizing me for my spending habits and how I slammed those who send picture Christmas cards. It really bothered me. I was angry and shocked and didn’t know how to respond. It’s hard hearing criticism. The first reaction I often have is to defend myself. Even if I know what the other person is saying is true, I want to explain why I have fallen short of their expectations and give a long list of excuses to justify my behavior.

But that never gets me anywhere. I don’t want to use the word “sin” because that sounds so ugly and ultra-religious, but that is what it is. Every way I fall short in life can be traced back to sin (aka a deep seeded issue in myself that causes me to act destructively to myself and/or others). Call it what you want- sin, vice, problem, issue…it’s all the same. Confessing my sin is the first step to overcoming it.

What do I struggle with constantly?

Envy- This is the one that usually leads to overspending and self esteem issues. I see someone else with something shiny and new and I want to have it. I hear about a competition and I have to win it. I envy other people and I want other people to envy me. This is what leads to spending lots of time and money on my Christmas decorations. This is what makes me want to buy a new house. This is why I hate Victoria Secret models. This is part of the reason I hate picture Christmas cards- because I envy that person and their perfect little family. It’s an evil that creeps up on me everyday and I just have to shift my mind to think about things in a different way to shake that green eyed monster off my back.

Gluttony- I think about food a lot. I’m not just one of those people who can eat the same tasteless thing everyday. I have cravings and sometimes I like to indulge those cravings. When there is chocolate or cookies in the office, it is hard for me to say no. When I am craving a cheeseburger, even if I put it off for weeks, I will eventually cave and have to get one. I've wasted a whole lunch hour before because I just couldn't decide what to eat. I let food control me sometimes instead of me having control over the food. It’s a blessing and curse- this wonderful tasting food. And it’s one of the hardest things to overcome because you have to eat to live, so why not enjoy it? It’s all about finding a balance and it's a constant challenge for me.

Sloth- I am lazy. I hate to clean. I put off exercising. I get distracted easily. When I get home from work (especially in the winter) I just want to cuddle up on the couch and watch mindless TV sometimes. I have spent entire Saturdays in my PJs never leaving the house. I try to overcome this with lists (like my 30 Before 30) because that motivates me. But that doesn’t stop me from procrastinating either.

As to what the next steps are in overcoming these things, I really can’t say for certain. I know that I need God’s help and it isn’t something that will happen overnight.

The good thing is that we are all in this together. Everyone has something they struggle with. No one is perfect and if you think you are, then you are in denial. You may not have the same struggles I do, but everyone falls short in some way. Realizing that is what helps keep me humble and understanding of others. All I ask for is the same forgiveness and understanding from others.

But I have to remind myself understanding and forgiveness is not acceptance. I can’t just confess my sins and then keep on doing them and never change. Albert Einstein said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It would be like a murderer who confesses, asks for forgiveness, but then goes out and does it again. It’s an extreme example, but it’s basically the same thing. I can't just accept my shortcomings and expect others to as well.

So even though it’s not easy to hear, I am thankful for the criticism. It’s like medicine on a cut- it stings, but in the end, it helps.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chistmas Elf Spreading Christmas Cheer

I'm a little elf spreading Christmas cheer this year! Last year I didn't even put my tree up because it was too much work. This year, I have went all out.

I have the inside of my house decked out and the outside too. I'll be posting some pictures next Monday when I go on The Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester!

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

Also this year I did a little something different with my Christmas cards. I included a mix CD of some of my favorite Christmas songs! I mailed them out this weekend, so people started getting them yesterday and I got so many positive comments on them!

I also tried to write something personal about the person I was writing to in each and every card. I think this is the most important part. It lets the person know you weren't just a part of some kind of mass mailing. I often feel that way when I get a generic card with just a person's signature, or even worse, their TYPED NAME. I mean thanks for slapping my address on the front, but really you could have saved a tree and a stamp. Thanks for letting me know I made your "list". I feel so honored.

The picture ones kind of bother me too sometimes. It's like, lets promote our perfect little family. "Look how happy and perfect we are in our matching outfits...just wanted to let you we don't care about you, but look at us and Merry Christmas anyway."

Ok, I digress...losing my Christmas spirit...anyway, back to the point.

I spent a lot of time and money on these cards. I bought songs I really liked. I burned over 50 CD's. I bought cases for each one and made a personalized cover insert. This was my gift to all the people who made a difference to me! Even though it was a lot of work and it cost $1.28 to mail each one (dang post office...I hand delivered some, so take that!) it was so worth it! I love spreading Christmas cheer!

I wish I could send you all one! But I have limited resources...

So for my Grateful Giveaway #2, you can win a copy of my Christmas Mix CD and a handwritten personal card! Some of the songs include Sugarland, Dave Matthews Band, Martina McBride, Mariah Carey and more!

If you'd like to win my Christmas Mix CD, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR favorite Christmas song!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

Friday, December 4, 2009

We have a winner!

The winner of my first Gateful Giveaway contest is...

True Random Number Generator

Max: 8
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congratulations Amanda!! Email me you address so I can mail the book to you!

Thanks for all your bits of wisom everyone! Look for my next Gateful Giveaway next week!

Speaking of neighborhood is having a contest to see who has the best decorated house this year (outside only). I had no intention of entering because there is this crazy person who has a huge blow up Santa every year and I thought they would win. But I think those people moved, because I have not seen the Santa.

Last night I drove around my neighborhood to check out the competition. There wasn't much! I mean we live in townhouses, so there isn't much you can do anywaay. There were a couple houses that had some lights on the bushes, some with candles in every window, but not too much else going on.

So now I am on a mission. I want to win! I got a candle for each of the windows in front and got wreaths with red bows to hang on each of the downstairs windows. I wrapped a tree in white lights. I got a lighted garland to wrap the column on my porch with. I put out a Christmas garden flag.

But I have this tree with bare branches right in front that needs something. I want to find some lighted balls to hang in the tree but I don't know where to find them. I was thinking of hanging some big pretty ornaments in the tree, but I don't know if you'd be able to see them at night. So I need some suggestions!

Here's a picture of my house (it was from when it was first built, the tree in front is much bigger now):

So give me some suggestions...what can I do to win this thing without being tacky?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Forget Twilight...Pick Picoult!

When I read the Twilight books, I devoured them. I would read all the time obsessively. But I have discovered something I like just as much as Harry Potter and Twilight- Jodi Picoult!

I read her book My Sister's Keeper a few years ago and loved it. I didn't want to ruin it with a book of hers that may not be as good so I didn't read any of her other books. But I just recently decided to pick up The Pact- loved it! And just finished Plain Truth- loved it too!

Her books are one of the few that I just can't put down like Twilight and Harry Potter! But in a totally different way because they are not about vampires or wizards.

Go read my review of Plain Truth on my Bookshelf Blog

What authors do you love? What books can you just not put down?

Also don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grateful Giveaways

As you know Christmas is the time for giving and who better to be an the receiving end than YOU!? When I first started this blog, I never thought anyone would read it other than my loyal friends who I sent a link to. It is just crazy how people (i.e. YOU) have discovered this blog and started following along!

So for the month of December I am going to have a giveaway each week!

Giveaway #1:

Remember how I blogged about a book my office was reading called The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews? I finished it last week and it is just too good to NOT pass on to someone else.

A unique blend of fiction, history, allegory, and inspiration, The Traveler's Gift has motivated tens of thousands since its release in late 2002. David Ponder's lost his job, his confidence, and his will to live. And just when it seems that things can't get any worse, they do: his only child falls ill, and he's involved in a serious car accident. But a divine adventure that includes encounters with seven of history's most inspirational characters, among them Anne Frank, Abraham Lincoln, and Christopher Columbus, leaves him with a glimpse of life's big picture, and seven bits of wisdom with which to confront his future. This thought-provoking book encourages readers of all ages to reach their full potential using these simple keys to success.

If you'd like to win my paperback copy of this book, here's how to enter:

1. Become a follower- if you're not already
2. Leave a comment on this post with YOUR best little bit of wisdom or favorite quote!

I'll draw a winner on Friday. Good Luck!

And be on the lookout for other giveaways all this month!