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     SHOP//the green body    "Never underestimate the POWER OF COFFEE!!"~tgb

Coffee is "the lifeblood" of my morning routine. Well, at least it is for us parents with small children and those of us waking at the crack of dawn to bustle ourselves to work. Your delicious cup of Star Bucks is not the only place to find caffeine in the morning. Thanks to The Green Body: organic body care shop your cup of joe is available in bar form ready for that AM shower! Let me tell you more about my experience with this organic coffee scrub soap!

Gritty, moisturizing, and loads of suds! After one use on my Susie-homemaker hands they feel soft and supple:) A great soap for any location in the house. Kitchen or bath you cannot go wrong! The green body has many unique Organic soaps to choose from: Charcoal, Triple Lavender, Vanilla Cafe Latte, and Dead Sea Salt just to name a few. tgb has a lovely array of Organic lip balms too! What I love about the green body shop is one word: exfoliation. Salts, Lavender, Coffee, etc...these soaps are premium and made with high quality Organic ingredients. 

Who would like some tgb caffeine pepped, Organic scrubbed, cup of coffee for your skin? a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hopefully, you figured out gastro has something to do with eating or food....or at the very least the stomach. If you have sorted through that much then I will fill in the rest of the gaps for you! The origination of the Gastro Games is fuzzy for me, but I do know that my father-in-law wanted to pit his children in a head to head foodie competition in collaboration with their spouses for his amusement {priceless}. Just note that my father-in-law is the sweetest. Even though Clayton and I lost miserably he made sure to mention multiple times that our food was indeed delicious and even sent a separate e-mail to confirm his approval of our cuisine:)

The basic "Gastro Games" set up consists of 12 judges{complete with score cards}, The three sibling teams in collabo with spouses, and a menu of the team's choosing. The menu consists of  a round of appetizers, entrees, desserts, and this year a specialty drink was included as well. Take a gander at some of the food and drinks that were being prepared in a 4-star fashion:

Georgia's Dessert Masterpiece {I cannot recall every component, but chocolatey delish!}

    Alice is working on her main entree: A rustic venison pot roast!

Steve is Alice's husband and he made my listing of "most amusing" Gastro Games member!:)

This is Alice and Steve's specialty drink {Strawberry Champagne?}. Sitting in the bottom of these flutes are little gelatin balls...FANCY!

 My darling made an amazing grilled pork chop with his homemade BBQ sauce!

That concludes this delicious edition of the 2nd annual Gastro Games, but please do let me know if this sparks a Gastro Games of your very own! In conclusion, here is a photo of our wonderful hosts: Mr. and Mrs. Paulding:) Until the 3rd annual Gastro Games I bid you a hearty farewell!

Jammin' Jan Jiveaway!
Oh sweet coffee beans! This group giveaway is just caffeinated with craziness! You could be one of TEN winners in this EPIC Group Giveaway! Shane at Whispering Sweet Nothings put this SWEET giveaway together for all of you. Now feel free to enter as many or few as you choose! Be sure to come back each day to earn more entries for tweeting, sharing, and blogging about this Jammin' Jiveaway Spectacular! I am shaking from all the excitement, but maybe that is just all the coffee coursing through my veins;-)

Coffee Lovers Dream Package
>> $50 to Starbucks
>> Coffee + Mug
>> Large ad space

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Comfy Cozy Package
>> Custom beanie
>> Bath & Body set
>> 5 pairs Fluffy ear warmers
>> Custom Owl pillow
>> Cup cozy >> $10 just B you credit >> Reversible tote

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Accessory Queen Package

>> Jewelry + 250x400 ad space
>> Teardrop hoop earrings
>> 3 bracelets
>> Mum earrings + large ad space
>> Go Jane Prize package >> 3 custom hair bows >> $20 Allena Mistral Designs >> Bronze & Pave Bracelet >> Charmed Bracelet

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Jack of all trades Package
>> $10 Target gift card + Medium ad space
>> Large ad space + Pampered chef cookbook >> $10 Paypal cash >> 2 styled outfits >> $10 Ulta >> $25 Sephora
KristineBetsyKristenMeagan, SabzRenee
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Photo's Delight Package
>> $50 to Anna Delores Photography >> Valentines Day Print >> 8x10 print >> $20 to English Breakfast  EmilyAmandaKarlyPhoebe

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I love my blog #1
>> Large ad space
>> Large ad space
>> Top Notch ad space
>> 200x200 ad space
>> A year of ad space ($120!)
I love my blog #2
>> Custom blog header, intro, button
>> 220x220 ad space
>> XL ad space
>> Large ad space
>> 2 months 300x350 ad space + two 200x200 Newsletter features

I love my blog #3
>> Large ad space
>> 2 months medium ad space
>> Full custom modern/sleek Blog design
>> Supercool ad space
>> Really really big ad space

I love my blog #4
>> 2 hours virtual assistance + guest post
>> 200x200 ad space
>> Dating ad space
>> 3 months XL ad space
>> Medium ad space
I love my blog #5 >> Ultimate ad space >> Custom post signature >> Large ad space >> 200x200 ad space >> Custom blog planner Nicholl, Chelsea, Brittany, Kerry, Rachel
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Paloni represents Independent Finnish Designers whom have yet to be discovered by the main stream! You will find collections of women's clothing, children's clothing, art, jewelry, accessories, home decor, etc...all handcrafted with a main focus on Indie and Eco-Friendly styling. This is your chance to grab these high fashion pieces before they become Vera Wang house hold names. Forgive me, I am swept up in the excitement! I have a big announcement to make on Vietto's behalf! Drum Roll please...

Minnä Särelä takes her drool-worthy concept store Paloni to New York during fashion week! If you are located near "The Big Apple" you need to get there!! She will be featuring 27 independent Finnish labels for a pop-up shop and our own Vietto is among the lucky few! The pop-up shop will be situated in Ivana Helsinki New York store and will be open from 11th to 28th of February.

Enter the Vietto Turban Beanie Giveaway still going on now! 02/01;US ONLY

What are Flip Sidez? Flip Sidez are sandals that leave a imprinted impression in the sand as you walk! This is an amazing and unique way to promote your business, ask that special person to marry you, or just for pure fun{which is my very favorite reason}. The Flip Sidez Design Shop is very easy to use. You have the actual flip flops in front of you to visualize what the final product will look like. Customization of your choosing includes text, symbols, colors, and your shoe size {of course} just by clicking the right or left flip flop. If you and your computer have less than a kosher relationship you have the option to use a simple form instead:) Scott Osiol the Founder at Flip Sidez was kind enough to send me a customized pair...check out my foot stache!
Flip Sidez was originally founded as Flop Happy in 2010
My customized pair is the multi-layered flop in pink, complete with a "Stache"! greatest creation yet:) Jokes aside I was impressed with how well the small lettering stood out! I was barely standing on the sand and the photos show a sturdy impression! The sandals are also comfortable too! That was a concern with the missing chunks of my sole and all. My worries slowly dissipated while walking about in them. You cannot tell the difference in comfort or stride with Flip Sidez in comparison to the old regular flops. What are you waiting for? Let your feet express themselves;-) 
NO minimum orders and Made in the USA!
Who wants to leave their own personal mark in the sand world with Flip Sidez?:)

*Flip Sidez provided me with sandals for the sole purpose of this review. I also created my own beach using my children's sandbox...damn I am creative!;-) 
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The lovely Chelsea Monroe is not only an amazing blogger at The Big, Beautiful, and broke....oh no, she is a Registered Nurse too. I feel very fondly about this since it is my chosen profession as well. Chelsea kindly has put a giveaway together boiling over with ad space and other goodies for you kind folks. I hope you enjoy all the love she and these other lovely bloggers are sending your way. Enter, enter my loves!

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The rose you see before you fought like the dickens to bloom in mid January. Over a two week period I would go out my front door to grab the mail and see this rose reaching to the sky. I thought, "It will die soon".

Not only did it survive, but it was nearly to the point where the blossom was starting to open. The good Samaritan that I am I took the liberty to bring the poor thing inside. Then I had a thought...this rose is me in a way. Okay, before you all start sending me phone numbers for the nearest psychiatric facility here me out:)

I was raised in a primarily negative & unloving atmosphere. My father was emotionally abusive and my mother is diagnosed with having bipolar disorder. This is part of me and I am not ashamed to share this with you all...quite the opposite. I am proud.

Like the rose, I would not give up. Mediocre is perfect for a person of my background and truly is expected. I say piss on the status quo. With a lot of hard work and a little luck {help from the big guy perhaps} you can not only survive, but thrive under the starkest circumstances. Yeah, this determined little January rose brought this to my attention.

Valentine's Day and I have not always seen eye to eye in previous years, but with my hottie husband and chocolates on the menu it is hard not to go to the dark side. Okay, I am in! We can do champagne and chocolate covered strawberries, but I draw the line at chick flicks! Oh hey, yeah I have an agenda;-)
Welcome to the Lover's Lane edition of  "A Crafter's Dream" Giveaway! Your amazing heart-tacular hosts are Sara at My Merry Messy Life, Earning my Cape, and Tutus and Tea Parties. You still have time to sign-up if you are a blogger or shop owner that wants amazing exposure...who doesn't?  Not to brag, but I have a supremely talented artist who hand crafts adorable romantic accessories at ChatterBlossom! V-day would not be complete without some lovely girlish accessories and without further adieu a sneak preview to peep with those peepers;-)


* sunglasses are featured as well as Vietto Eco-friendly Fashion!

Girl Booklet's 500 follower celebration is a greenlight baby! What better way to celebrate than with not just one, but three tremendouly amazing giveaways surrounded by other talented bloggers? Join in my loves by entering them all, as they are chocked full of goodies for you;-)

Jessica has divided the prizes into "3 packages” and each one is worth over $300!!!! Feel free to enter as many as you can! (Trust me they are ALL worth it!) Just remember that entries are checked & Sponsors can enter the packages that they did not donate to! GOOD LUCK MY LITTLE HOT TAMALES!!

The Mustache Diaries: 6 months of ad space and a Essie Nail Polish goodie bag ($80)
Sparkles & Shoes  Silver Bracelet from NYC Boutique ($25)
3 Swell and Stylish: Ad space for 2 months ($20)
4 Shary Loves You: 1 month in-post ad space ($15)
5 BericeBaby: 3 Months Daddy Badge Ad Space ($15)
6 Peace it all Together: Amazon gift card ($15)
7 Nykki-talks-beauty: 3 months of regular ad space ($15)
8The Casual Stay at Home: Starbucks gift card (15)
9 Raising Reagan: 60 days Sponsors Ad Space ($12)
10 My So-Called Chaos: 1 month small ad space ($10)
11 lala Lists: 2 months medium ad space ($10)
12 Daddy's Space: 2 Months Ad SPACE 200X200 ($10)
13 Going with the Flow: Two months of Medium Ad space ($10)
14 Being Erica: two handmade felt bows from my shop and two 'Technic' nail art pens ($10)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Provocative Manners: Ad Space for 2 months ($40)
2 Hairspray and High Heels: 2 Months of "The Chanel" Ad Space Package ($40)
Tutus & Tea Parties: Medium Ad Space ($20)
4 The Closet Intellectual: 3 lavender sachets hand embroidered with the letter of the winner’s choice {one letter per sachet}( $5 per sachet, $15 total)
5 Whispering Sweet Nothings:  medium ad space ($16)
6 Jessica Who?: medium ad space ($15)
7 Glued To My Crafts: 2 months of 200x200 ad space ($14)
8 By the Porchlight: Large ad space ($12)
9 Country Roots City Living: 2 months Large Ad space ($12)
10 Singledou[b]t: Amazon eGiftCard ($10)
11 The Domestic Geek Blog: Large Ad space for 30 days ($10)
12 Futures: The Ferris Wheel ad space ($10)
13 Chamomile Dealer: Set of Blog Buttons & Ad Space ($10)
14 flamingos in raincoats: iTunes gift card ($10)
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Rolled Up Pretty: X Large Ad Space on Rolled Up Pretty for Three Months ($90)
2 The Anna Delores blog: XL ad space ($20)
Ramblings of a Southern Belle: $20 Gift Card to
4 Ohsoamelia: Large ad space ($20)
5 Fortune Favors the Brave: 3 months ad space ($15)
6 Sensational Creations: set of 3 bracelets ($15)
Finding Michelina: hand painted sign -Meesh's choice ($15)
8 Discover. Create. Live: 2 months Large ad space ($14)
Spunky Real Deals:{Feb. one month} Large Ad Space ($12)
10 Chevron Stitches: Large Stitches Ad Spot & $5 Starbucks Gift card ($11)
11 My three bittles: Medium ad ($10)
12 Wifessionals: Small Ad Space ($10)
13 Wannabe Green: 1 month Ad Space ($10)
14 Free spirit reigns: 2 months ad space ($10)

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Lilipop Designs has the frill and modern day flair that any blogger femme would adore! When things start spiraling and getting out of control with my blog{like my social media icons spread out like the great ocean herself}. I call in the Calvary, also known as,  Jessica from Lilipop Designs. The #1 reason?

I TRUST HER. When you take so much pride and put so much work into your blog "just anyone" will not cut it. Trusting a graphic designer is a good first step, but what about the final it good?
Jessica is OVER the MOON fabulous, but I will let you judge for yourself. Look around at the bloggy updates she helped me with: organizing my social media icons {top right}, creating an About Me icon {also top right}, and a revised post-script {check the bottom of this post}. Jessica keeps my blog looking professional and I recommend her for any and all updates to your baby{your blog}*smirks*
NOTE: The lady behind it all Jessica also blogs at boys oh boys!

...and the angels descended from Heaven and handed me Marie Dean Curly Styling Cream. Dramatic yes, but ladies this is what your hair has been waiting for! I was worried using a cream in my hair would give me a "Fonzie" look and needlessly weigh down my hair.  
Marie Dean curly cream made me fall in love with my hair again. It added volume, shine, and much needed moisture to my hair. The texture is thick and tacky...the scent is divine. It left a vanilla marshmallowy scent trail in my wake for hours! Be prepared to be impressed! The curly cream will replace a multitude of products you probably already own including: moisturizers, hair sprays, sculptors, and anti-frizz hair products. Spend the $20.00 on the Curly Cream and you will be delighted you did.  Marie Dean's Curly Cream is only the tip of her fresh product iceberg!

 FACT: Marie Dean products are made by hand every day.
Marie Dean has natural hair masks, leave-in conditioners, hair detanglers, deep conditioners, let's save time and just say this is your one stop hair shop! Let me also mention she has naturally-focused products for the whole family, including the kiddos too! My beady eyes are laser focused on the Green Tea Seed Oil Ultra-Nourishing Moisturizer! Marie Dean makes the Essential, must-have beauty that is saying something!

Who wants Marie Dean luscious locks that shine from the light within?

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North Coast organics is a budding Vegan, Organic, and Handmade small business creating some very unique personal care products with an even more stand out marketing scheme to boot! Established in 2012, They proudly represent the Logan Square, Chicago, IL area and I am about to give you the "organically correct" North Coast grand tour. Hold on to your essential oils...this is going to be one wild organic ride!;-)

If the skull and the lavender cross bones does not grab your attention...I just do not know what to tell you people. Death by Lavender is coined "The Odor Assassinator". ALUMINUM FREE. PARABEN FREE. BPA FREE. Vegan, organic, handcrafted deodorant by North Coast Organics. The ingredients are wholesome and safe for your body, but does it really work? I sent Death by Lavender through one rigorous test! The only test for a REAL natural deodorant: Bikram Yoga. Bikram is an hour and a half of intense exercise in a hot room. This test should suffice.

Pass is really a very generic term for Death by Lavender surpassed my every expectation! I have used many natural deodorants in the past {like Lush...sorry guys} and stopped, because it just did not work very well. The Death by Lavender natural deodorant lives up to his reputation as "The Odor Assassinator". It also smells great! I am ashamed to say I walked around the house sniffing my armpits quite frequently:) Kudos North Coast Organics!!! Strong work for creating a strong working natural deodorant!

Who would like some Death by Lavender for their precious, natural-loving pits?
*NOTE: All thoughts are my own and I do not do yoga with my mustache, but maybe I should start:)
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