The Raven

October 13th, 2017 Posted in Cool Gadgets, Handbags | No Comments »

We were really there for my husband… to help him find a day hiking backup at Ramsey Outdoor in Succasunna, New Jersey.  It’s one of those times when you find something special for yourself too ;).  Fairly often I find myself slightly dehydrated and fatigued on longer hikes despite bringing along a bottle of water.  No longer do I have to take such conservative little sips hoping to reach the car before running out of water.  I believe my new Raven will definitely level the playing field for me.  There’s also ample space to carry other little necessities AND I was able to find it in a lovely purple violet (Royal Purple) as well!  Because I’m a stickler for cleanliness, I bought a perfect fit Osprey Bite Valve Cover for it.  The cover is compatible with other Osprey products like a few of their water containers etc.  Recently I purchased a raincover to protect my backpack from inclement weather; its ever so slightly big but it’ll do.  Both the bite valve and raincover were purchased from Amazon.com.

*Photo Credit: Ramsey Outdoor & Amazon.com

Ornament Trees, Stands, Displays

August 3rd, 2017 Posted in Holiday | No Comments »

A great alternative to tabletop trees either real or faux are the numerous ornament trees, stands, and displays on the market.  Some are also easy to build and customize to your heart’s content.  The one I recently purchased from eBay as old new stock is the 2006 Spring Ornament Display.  It is perfect for storing most of my Marjolein Bastin ornaments and has the added bonus of taking up very little space on my shelf.   Yes, I still owe you a picture of mine ;).

*Photocredit: Hooked on Hallmark

Here’s another design which could easily be hung on a wall or you could build your own to accommodate larger ornaments.  If mounted on a wall, it wouldn’t even consume any table space!

*Photocredit: Hooked on Hallmark

If you have other great ornament display ideas, please comment below.  I would love to hear from you :)

Other Very Cute Hallmark Keepsakes

August 3rd, 2017 Posted in Holiday | No Comments »

About a month before visiting the Hallmark location at the Wayne NJ Preakness Shopping Center, I was mailed a Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Premiere Event July 15-23 mini catalog.  On the first page was their Merry Music Makers Collection by Kristina Gaughran.  Each are priced at $24.95 US currency.   They are so adorable and great if you normally have a big holiday tree.

Swingin’ Sax, Groovin’ Guitar, and Playful Piano (my fave of the three):

*Photocredit: Hallmark

I especially love them because they remind me of a documentary I once saw regarding unique ice cave music concerts such as this one, Classic Concerts in Ice Cave.  I was able to see all of the ornaments at the Preakness Center and they most certainly didn’t disappoint.

A New Season of Hallmark Keepsakes

August 3rd, 2017 Posted in Holiday | No Comments »

Here’s another mini haul during Christmas in July ;).  I picked up three to add to my collection while wandering around New Jersey’s Preakness Shopping Center:

Eighth in the Series: 2017 Candied Christmas Rose from Hallmark’s annual cupcake collection (please see my Hallmark cupcake ornament post for more information),

*Photocredit: Hallmark

Floral Birdhouse by Edythe H. Kegrize, which is a Spring ornament for my garden themed collection,

*Photocredit: Hooked on Hallmark

and Welcoming Wreath by Nature’s Sketchbook: Marjolein’s Garden/Jim Kemme.  I will add this ornament to my Marjolein’s Garden post.

*Photocredit: Keepsake Caboose

They bring a smile to my face every time I look at them.  I always store all my Christmas ornaments away once the holidays are over but I normally keep my spring/summery ones out year-round unless I need extra space for other things.  I will include a picture soon on a separate post.

Project Life Planning

May 22nd, 2017 Posted in Cool Gadgets, crafts, curiosities | No Comments »

In the past two years I began delving into Project Life and all it has to offer.  It is the very clever invention of Betsy Higgins.  BTW, her website is a wealth of crafting tips!  Like many crafters Project Life appeals to, I love documenting my experiences and treasured memories but don’t always work well under the pressure of having to find creative ways to dress my pages.  I’m a novice level crafter who started not too long ago so I don’t have an arsenal of crafting skills under my belt or the supplies to go with it, nor want to due to space limitations.  Project Life has been a great fit for me in the craft projects I have endeavored to complete in countless ways…

  • My pages look beautiful with minimal effort
  • Affords me a potentially quicker process time overall; no more big backlogs for me ;)!
  • I can choose to further embellish or not (a potentially neater process as well).  The cards come pre-printed with very cute or pretty designs.  Many are even lined for easy writing.
  • The pages can lay flatter with less layers of embellishment (I very often tended to overstuff)
  • I can concentrate on my documentation without becoming overwhelmed with decorating the pages; this was a big point of frustration for me.
  • the kits are reasonably priced (I prefer the smaller Value & Mini Kits over the Core Kits)
  • I can use 6×8 albums instead of the huge 12×12 albums
  • the supplies are stocked by many retailers
  • I can change the pages/themes much more easily than if I used the traditional scrapbooking method
  • I can easily make my own cards with a paper cutter, patterned cardstock, and the optional corner punch
  • I haven’t tried this yet but there’s an option to have digital PL albums made then sent right to your doorstep
  • The supplies are easily transportable to craft crops etc.

Recently, I was researching ways to print pictures from my phone on a whim (I’m mainly an iPhone photographer *blush*) and found an affordable, light-weight option called the HP Sprocket.  It uses Zink photo paper.  Since my birthday is coming up in June, it makes a most opportune time and excuse for me to buy it :).  I was considering other similar devices but overall I was most impressed with it.  I’m including a link so you can see for yourself if you’re at all curious.

HP Sprocket: https://www.amazon.com/HP-Sprocket-Portable-Printer-sticky-backed/dp/B01LBWELHI/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1495486507&sr=8-3&keywords=HP+Sprocket

HP Sprocket Case: https://www.amazon.com/Storage-Carrying-Polaroid-Sprocket-Portable/dp/B01MTBG9SL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495486507&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=HP+Sprocket&psc=1

HP Sprocket Demonstration versus Other Similar Devices: https://youtu.be/mfs2qIaN11s

*Photo Credit: Hewlett-Packard Development Company

 

My New Obsession: Rompers

May 22nd, 2017 Posted in Fashion | No Comments »

I normally don’t wear many dresses or skirts.  I’ve always been a mostly pants kinda girl but lately the romper trend has inspired me to try new things and get out of my current fashion rut.   I bought one to give it a try.  It’s from Nordstrom Rack online, by the brand Fraiche by J, and is labeled their floral tie-neck version in Aster.  What do you think?  I just love those floral prints!  The neutral blush color and blouson sleeves make this piece eye-catching and uniquely beautiful!  I’m planning to pair this with either summery espadrilles or tan wedges ;)

*Photo Credit: Nordstrom Rack

Nature’s Sketchbook by Marjolein Bastin (Marjolein’s Garden)

December 29th, 2016 Posted in Holiday | No Comments »

Here’s another very cute ornament collection from Hallmark called Nature’s Sketchbook designed by artist, Marjolein Bastin and rendered by Hallmark Keepsake Artists, Julie Forsyth and Jim Kemme…

P.S. You can find out more about Ms. Bastin’s work here: https://marjoleinbastin.com

2014: Simple Gifts #1

2015: A Home for Wren #2

2016: Winter Wonder #3

 2017: Welcoming Wreath #4

Fantasies of Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab

November 29th, 2016 Posted in beauty products | No Comments »

We were on the way to have dinner in Manhattan with my husband’s old college buddy and his family this past Friday.  Since we arrived earlier that afternoon to expressly browse through some shops, like McNulty’s Tea & Coffee on Christopher Street, I happened to also tack on a quick walk to Bite Beauty’s Lip Lab located in Soho.  Too bad they were getting ready for a private party since I would have had an old favorite lipstick remade… a beautiful mid-tone pink I can’t seem to find a good dupe for believe it or not though I’ve looked everywhere and driven various SAs mad over it in the process.  I will have to schedule an appointment one of these days.  I heard that they do an amazing job so I can hardly wait ;)!

Mineral Fusion Cosmetics

June 8th, 2016 Posted in Cosmetics | No Comments »

If you are ever in Mrs. Greens or Whole Foods and are looking for a great cosmetics company, please give Mineral Fusion a try.  So far I have purchased their eyeshadow trio in Fragile and 3 of their Sheer Moisture Lip Tints in Glisten (my favorite), Blush, and Flicker.

I bought Fragile from Mrs. Greens (might have seen it at Whole Foods too) and really love that it goes on smoothly, the color pay-off and lasting power is quite good.  I’d definitely re-purchase this since it’s a great neutral trio to have and plan to buy this product in some of the other colors.  It’s nice for travel due to its compact size.  If you are wondering about the packaging of their products, I would say it’s reasonably good quality, feels relatively sturdy, has a transparent lid (helps you to easily see what you are looking for as you dig through your makeup; I’m not a fan of opaque covers), and I love the touch of micro glitter embedded throughout the earthy tan bottom of the compact I have.

Around the time I bought their jumbo lip pencils, I was also really into Bite Beauty’s jumbo lip pencils and wanted to do a comparison.  Both goes on smooth and are very moisturizing.  On occasion I have chapped lips and prefer using a moisturizing lipstick, lip pencil, or gloss over applying a lip balm then a color product… most times the application ends in disappointment when the color doesn’t deposit well.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention that there’s a slight sweet flavoring to this product.  I often wonder about such things since I’m sensitive to scents and can be very particular about it.  I wish more reviewers would include such details in all their product reviews but very few do :(.  BTW, if I ever forget, please don’t be afraid to ask.  My favorite is the scent of MAC’s lipsticks I must admit.

I recommend MF’s products :).  Also, best of all there’s no testing on animals!  I’m under the impression that not all of their products are vegan.  It’s best to call or email them if you want to make sure of this.

*Photocredit: Mineral Fusion

mineral fusion eyeshadow trio fragile mineral fusion sheer moisture lip tint glisten

A Home for a Gnome

June 3rd, 2016 Posted in curiosities, Holiday | No Comments »

In 2014, Hallmark launched it’s first gnome home keepsake entitled “A Home for a Gnome” by Hallmark Keepsake Artist Tammy Haddix and while I wasn’t sure if this would indeed become part of a series, I searched again this past year 2015 while I was at my local Hallmark purchasing holiday greeting card sets.  Lo and behold, there it was!  I have a soft spot for the elementals so here are the two I have collected so far with a special Hallmark sneak peek for you (time to get excited!)…

*Photocredit: Hallmark

 

2014 A Home for a Gnome

hallmark ornament a home for a gnome

2015 Home Sweet Gnome

hallmark ornament home sweet gnome

2016 Sneak Peek: Gnome for the Holidays Terrarium Tree Home $22.95?

hallmark ornament gnome for the holidays