Sunday, December 12, 2010

Oh-My-Gosh, My-Golly, Shutterfly has Made me JOLLY

          It seems that once one has children, the inevitable picture holiday card comes into play- I've been no exception to that rule. For some reason, however, I just wasn't feeling it this year.
      Maybe it's because of all that's been going on in the past few weeks; maybe it's because of my growing knowledge of photography and disdain for the typical pre-set glossy cards that everyone and their mother sends out; or maybe I'm just a grump this year- at any rate, I honestly was considering not sending out cards 
at all this year. But then, I read a post over at Samurai Strong's Blog.  
      In the post, the author wrote about an opportunity from Shutterfly,to get 50 free Holiday Photo Cards! Now she had my interest-who doesn't love free?  I immediately started perusing the Christmas Card section of Shutterfly's site 
and was totally impressed!    
      First off, the selection was just amazing! I spent a good two hours (no lie) browsing through the Christmas selection contemplating which would look best with my token Christmas picture of the boys. Seriously, there are so many classy designs available- go check it out for your self! Some of my favorites include: Color Me Merry ; Woodblock Joy ; and Mod Love.
     Second, I LOVE that they have the matte option for their stationary cards! The more I appreciate photography, the less I'm in love with gloss as is standard with most holiday card options. The fact that I can order my cards in the matte finish, is a huge plus in my book- it feels like it adds a bit of class. 
     Third, I appreciate that Shutterfly uses sustainably forested card stock to create their cards! It makes me happy to know that the paperproducts I am buying have come from environmentally friendly resources. 
     Finally, I was excited to learn about Shutterfly's many photo gift options (you know for the grandparents). An added bonus in having children is that it makes Christmas gift buying a bit easy in the grandparent department- what grandparents don;t love photo gifts? Shutterfly has a large selection of Christmas gifts available, including: mugs; calendars; and my personal favorite- photo books!
     So, have I convinced you to look into Shutterfly this year for gifts and cards? It's not too late to place those final orders. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, no worries, Shutterfly also has a wide selection of Holiday Cards (non-Christmas specific). 
    And since the majority of my readers probably won't get to see my final product, click here to see our family card this year :) I'm pretty proud of it I must say- it makes me giggle at each viewing... 
    So what are your plans for cards this year? Are you sending them? If so, what company did you order them from? I'd love for you to share your experiences with me :)
    


Just in case you missed the links in the above post, here's a list of links to the Shutterfly site that you might find helpful:






·         personal calendar  http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars  
·         photo cards  http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery

Disclaimer: The above post was originally written in order to satisfy the requirements to receive the promotional 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly.com, however, the opinions expressed in the post are 100% my own and I am very excited about our cards this year! 



Saturday, December 11, 2010

**CLOSED EcoGlo Minerals, "100% natural mineral cosmetics at prices you can afford," Review and Giveaway!

          ***CONGRATS to lucky number 7, @ABCGP, WK! You are the winner according to Random.org. Check your email for a notification :)


      I recently "met" the owner of EcoGlo Minerals at a EcoChicParties Twitter Party. I've been a HUGE mineral makeup fan for about ten years now, so I was excited to hear about another natural makeup company. I quickly contacted the owner and she graciously agreed to sponsoring a review and giveaway on my blog. 
       Before I jump in to my review, I'd like to take a minute to give you some background on the company. Below, taken from the EcoGlo Minerals website, is their philosophy and pledge as a natural beauty company:


                 What's EcoGlo's philosophy? Natural beauty.





Stop clogging your pores and aging your skin with big name makeup brands that do you more harm than good!

All of our makeup is 100% natural. EcoGlo's mineral makeup is a healthy alternative for flawless looking skin. With EcoGlo's all natural and long lasting mineral makeup, you will have cleaner, flawless looking skin and coverage that persists through the day. Our mineral makeup is super light and feels completely natural, and it will never clog your pores since it is free of oils, silicone and waxes! In fact, it contains some ingredients that actually help the negative effects of acne and rosacea.

Our makeup does not contain:
  • Bismuth oxychloride
  • Talc
  • FD&C dyes
  • Chemicals
  • Perfumes
  • Ferric ferrocyanide
  • Preservatives such as parabens
  • Organic materials that can spoil such as cornstarch or rice powder
  • Nanoparticles or micronized minerals

What do we promise? Why choose EcoGlo?
  • Superior, high quality mineral cosmetics
  • Exceptional customer service
  • Affordable prices
  • Fast shipping!
  • A variety of shades and natural products to choose from
  • Our products are made in the U.S.A.

Campaigns and Pledges
  • EcoGlo Minerals is a proud signer of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (safecosmetics.org), pledging to not use chemicals in our products that are known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, mutation, or birth defects.
  • EcoGlo Minerals also voluntarily pledges to follow Natural Ingredient Resource Center™ (naturalingredient.org) Criteria for labeling natural ingredients and products.
  • Absolutely no animal testing is done with our products!

We are located in Salt Lake City, Utah. All of our products are manufactured and shipped by us.

      Wow! How refreshing to have makeup that's actually good for your skin! I also love that the company is a supporter of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and that all products are manufactured in the USA. 
      The product I received to review was the 3 Piece Mineral Makeup Kit (retail value $23). With the kit, you get to pick one foundation (9g), one blush (4g), and one finishing powder (3g). I chose the Fair Neutral Foundation, Light Rose Blush, and Ulti-Matte Finishing Powder. 


          I was very impressed with the foundation! I found it to provide flawless coverage and yet still remain virtually weightless on my skin! I didn't even have to use concealer due to its tremendous coverage. Under eye circles became non-existent, and blemishes/ scars disappeared- wahoo! The Light Rose Blush added just a hint of color to accent my cheekbones and I loved the warm, light pink color. The product that I loved the most, however, was the Ulti-Matte Finishing Powder! The translucent powder went on smoothly to create a flawless finish that made my skin totally look air-brushed! Also, I love that it contains zinc oxide for added sun protection. Below is my "before" and "after" comparison pic. It's not a huge difference, but that's what I LOVE about mineral makeup- it enhances your natural look rather than masking it. (I did go ahead and finish the look by adding eye makeup too.)



        Below is my first attempt at "vlogging." Please bare with me, but there is a short tutorial on how to apply the 3-piece kit:

        I really can't say enough good things about this company! They have excellent costumer service; quality products; a user-friendly website that includes make-up tips; and an awesome customer perk program where you can earn "loyalty points" towards future products. 
        
         AND now for the GIVEAWAY! How would you like to be the proud new owner of an EcoGlo Minerals blush and blush brush? Up for grabs, is a full-size Light Rose Blush (the color I reviewed; retail value of $7), and a Blush Brush (retail value of $21), in a cotton drawstring bag (retail value of $4). 


  MANDATORY ENTRY:
            Please visit the EcoGlo Minerals website, and let me know which product you would LOVE to try and why. Please include your email so that I can contact you if you win :)

Extra Entries:
          Please note that mandatory entry MUST be completed first before extra entries will count. All extra entries count as one entry unless otherwise noted.Make sure your email was in the mandatory entry- no need to repost in each extra entry opportunity.  

1. "Like" EcoGlo Minerals on Facebook. Leave a comment below and please thank them for sponsoring this giveaway. 
2. Follow EcoGlo Minerals on Twitter.  Leave a comment w/ your twitter name.
3. Subscribe to the Eco Glo Minerals NEWSLETTER . Leave a comment bellow (3 entries).
4. Follow me, @ShortyRobs on twitter and tweet the following (or be creative): "OOO Natural Blush & Brush from @EcoGloMinerals is up for grabs @ShortyRobs Blog http://bit.ly/gD9mAO ENDS 12/31"  Leave a permalink and this can be tweeted daily. One comment per tweet.
5. Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect. Leave a comment.

This giveaway will run from Dec. 11 through Dec. 31, 2010 at midnight ET. I will choose a comment number via random.org and then contact the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize, or I will have to select another winner. This giveaway is only open to the continental US. 

Disclaimer: The above product was given to me to review at no cost. The opinions expressed are strictly my own :) See my PR Friendly tab for my full disclosure policy. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Eco-Mom for Holiday Shopping

              I use to get a thrill about going out on Black-Friday and shopping for all the best deals, but now, with two little ones to lug around, it just doesn't happen. Instead, I find myself doing the majority of my shopping online. I'm also really trying to make eco-friendly gift choices for the boys this year and have been browsing around to find good deals.


          I've been blessed to be able to join forces with Calley from Eco Chic Parties as a "sidekick" to help her out with her twitter parties. Through the second half of the year, I've been able to "meet" various eco-friendly companies during these twitter parties. One such company is Eco Mom. I really can't say enough good things about this company! 


          Taken from their site, Eco-Mom's vision states,
"Founded to address the connection between the health of our environment and the health of our children, EcoMom is committed to making eco-conscious living easy, affordable, and rewarding. By helping women begin to take better care of themselves and their families – with education, support, tools and products - we empower them to take the all important first steps toward a healthier, more balanced, and sustainable lifestyle.

         EcoMom.com is about bridging the gap between making healthy choices and making easy choices. We created EcoMom because we care and are concerned for babies and their moms, our families and our communities. We want every mom to be an EcoMom because being an EcoMom means making choices that are good for all of us, and the planet which we all share.          
       Originally launched by a passionate and concerned mother, EcoMom.com has become a team of moms, dads, aunts, uncles, e-commerce veterans, business and finance professionals committed to making healthy decisions for our children and planet as easy, practical and affordable as possible."
          The online store has a TON of great gift ideas including a Gift Guide. Little Man will find this dump truck under the tree, and Big Boy has this Joey Magnetic Doll awaiting. I can't wait to see their faces when they open their gifts, and it make me so happy to know that there is no threat of harmful paint or chemicals in these toys. So do you have a little one that needs so safe and fun gifts this year?
        Another awesome thing about Eco Mom is that she has several fun promotions. First, there is a Daily Deal that you can steal daily from Monday through Friday. Every day a new "deal" for a particular product is posted at 10:30 AM PT at significant savings. In addition, if you sign- up for an Eco-Mom account (free of charge), yo can become a member of her referral program earning reward dollars to her store. If you use code SB006115 at checkout, you will receive 15% off your order (also earning me reward dollars), plus you can sign-up for an account and start your own referral program! 
        So what are you waiting for? Go get some shopping done today! And if you end up purchasing anything, I'd love to have you leave a comment and share it with me :) Happy shopping!

Disclaimer: By using the above code you will get 15% off your order, but also will help me earn reward dollars to the store. 
         

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Background

Christian Hip-hop has really spoken to my heart recently. I encourage you to read the below lyrics. Lord Jesus, please take the lead in my life, AMEN!


I could play the background,
I could play the background,
'Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead

Verse 1:
It's evident you run the show, so let me back down
You take the leading role, and I'll play the background
I know I miss my cues, know I forget my lines
I'm sticking to your script, and I'm reading all your signs (Aye)
I don't need my name in lights, (Aye) I don't need a starring role
Why gain the whole wide world, If I'm just going lose my soul?
And my ways ain't purified, don't live according to Your Word
I can't endure this life without Your wisdom being heard
So word to every dancer for a pop star
'Cause we all play the background, but mine's a rockstar
Yeah, so if you need me I'll be stage right
Praying the whole world would start embracing stage fright
So let me fall back, stop giving my suggestions
'Cause when I follow my obsessions, I end up confessin'
That I'm not that impressive, matter of fact
I'm who I are, a trail of stardust leading to the superstar

Hook:
I could play the background
I could play the background
'Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead

Verse 2:
Yo, I had a dream that I was captain of my soul
I was master of my fate, lost control, and then I sank
So I don't want to take the lead, 'cause I'm prone to make mistakes
All these folks who follow me, goin' end up in the wrong place
So just let me shadow you, just let me trace your lines
Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes
'Cause if I do this by myself, I'm scared that I'll succeed
And no longer trust in You, 'cause I only trust in me
And see, that's how you end up headed to destruction
Paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothin'
You pulled my card, I'm bluffin', You know what's in my hand
Me, I just roll and trust you, You cause the dice to land
I'm in control of nothing, follow You at any cost
Some call it sovereign will, all I know is you the boss
And man, I'm so at ease, I'm so content
I'll play the background, like it's an instrument

Hook:
I could play the background
I could play the background
'Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead

Bridge:
I know I'm safest when I'm in Your will, and trust Your Word
I know I'm dangerous when I trust myself, my vision blurred
And I ain't got no time to play life's foolish games
Got plenty aims, but do they really Glorify Your name?
And it's a shame, the way I want to do these things for You, yet
Don't even cling to you, take time to sit and glean from You
It seems like You were patient in my ignorance
If ignorance is bliss, it's 'cause she never heard of this

Hook:
I could play the background
I could play the background
'Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead

Hook:
I could play the background
I could play the background
'Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
So won't You take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead

Monday, November 15, 2010

What to Say

       Ever wonder what to say to someone when they're experiencing something like a miscarriage? I've been overwhelmed by kind words and thoughts over the past through days, but I've also heard a few things that really don't help.

Here's my list of things "NOT to Say" to a friend or loved one that has just experienced a pregnancy loss:
At least it was early
It's better this way
You can have more children
There's a reason for everything
You were barely pregnant
This was nature's way of ending a doomed pregnancy
You're weren't trying yo get pregnant anyway
You can share my baby with me

While all of these things may be true and come from a place of well-meaning- there's a time and a place for everything and sometimes just a simple, "I'm sorry this happened to you," is the best thing you can say. 

The kind and compassionate responses that I have received have far out-weighed the negative and I can even begin to tell you how grateful I am for each kind word, thought, or prayer that has been sent my way. I wanted to share with you two messages that were very helpful and touching:

"oh Robin!
im so sorry that you lost a little one!
Of course there are lots of emotions. I can think that there would be betrayal (by your body), loss, grief, frustration, lack of understanding, anger, confusion, isolation, and much more i'm sure. It must have been so scary! I've never lost a baby so young, but i've known (sadly) many who have. So often their experience is discounted because "they weren't 'that far' along" or it was "just a miscarriage" or "it wasn't even a baby yet" and lots of other, terrible, thoughtless WRONG things. I am sorry that our culture does not give acknowledgment for such a huge loss. Especially with our knowledge of ovulation, early ultrasounds, and pregnancy tests we know we are pregnant SO much earlier and are able to bond so much earlier. I know some people, depending on their belief system, think that they have a baby right from the start and other people who don't. i know you so tenderly shared your devout Christianity with me and so i'm guessing, this tiny one, you will always know as your third child.
I am just so sorry. I am so sorry for you and your husband and his or her big brothers!. Did you have a feeling if your little love was a boy or a girl?Did you have any kind of ceremony for him or her, name, cuddles with your husband? i've heard lots of cool things being done...writing little notes of wishes you had/would have had for your child and burying them, creating a journal, naming butterflies after them (so beautiful and don't last very long).
If you wish not to talk or think about it, that is also really normal and then i'm sorry for blabbing on. i'm just so sorry you are having to deal with this heartache. you are obviously such a loving mother, i'm glad at least your little one could grow inside such a loving soul, his or her whole life.

so so sorry Robin. i hope though your tears you find some times of peace.

((((((((((((((((((LOVE))))))))))))))))))) "

and

"I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that although I don't know exactly the feelings you have right now (because loss is such a personal experience); on some level I can empathize with you b/c I have felt the pain of losing a baby. I can think of no greater cruelty in this world than for a mother to anticipate the birth of another child (no matter how far along) only to have those hopes torn away. My heart breaks with you today. Of course I still hope that maybe they were wrong, but I totally understand the up down roller coaster that comes with those emotions so I'll let you lead on how to pray in that arena. :( I will be praying for you today regardless and for the days to come."

I think just acknowledging that there was a life and empathizing is extremely helpful. There are so many mixed emotions that come along with experiencing a miscarriage and, if nothing else, I am taking away a new-found compassion and empathy from this experience hoping that I can reach out to someone in the future that , God-forbid, has to go through a similar situation. 

What about you? If you've experienced a miscarriage or loss, what types of things/ words did you find helpful and vice versa?