24 May 2016

Papercrafting/Cardmaking Fun!

I'm so excited! A friend and I got together over the weekend and made the most adorable cards from Close to My Heart's Happy Times paper and accessories. Since I'm a rep with Close to My Heart, I hooked her up with everything she needed to make the same dozen cards I was making.

I think making cards is my very favorite, because it doesn't feel like as much of a 'commitment' as a scrapbook or scrapbook pages, and everyone sends or uses cards sometime, right?

Here's a picture of the cards we made:

If  you're interested in making these cards, or the scrapbook pages highlighted in the video, please let me know ASAP and I can get you a supply list of what to order, and then the instructions for either project. Everything is available on my Close to My Heart site at http://becki.ctmh.com. But remember, the paper pack is only free with a $60 order in May, so you want to order right away!

If you're into papercrafting, what's your favorite thing to do? If not, is it something you've done in the past, or something that looks like you may enjoy it now or in the future?

I'm surprised at how relaxing it is for me to follow the step-by-step directions to make such easy yet impressive projects :)

17 May 2016

Spring WILL Come!!

Last week was CRAZY! But one of the bright spots for me was pulling in the driveway to see a Prove Winners Direct box on my porch - my new plant had arrived!

When they said it was coming, I wasn't sure exactly how something like a plant arrives safely in Michigan in early May, but it made it in excellent condition. The box had dividers like it could possibly hold four plants of this size. Thanks to the Proven Winners Direct packaging and an attentive UPS delivery driver, my precious plant in the box was upright and very little soil was displaced from the actual container where it belonged.

The plant I got is a Vista Bubblegum Supertunia and was ordered/labeled as being 4.25". It's so bright and cheerful! Hubby got me a small pot when he went out that evening, and planted it safely in its new home. Well, its new pot. It's new home will be my fabulous table on the porch, but after driving through snow squalls on Monday, I think it's safer to keep it inside by my kitchen sink til at least Memorial Day. Darn Michigan weather!

I was also surprised to remember I rather like the smell of dirt/fresh potting soil. I'm excited for my DIY hanging basket coming soon from Proven Winners! I believe I'll also be having a giveaway for a DIY hanging basket for a special reader - be sure and comment here if you'd be interested (official giveaway to follow).

I received this lovely plant in exchange for my unbiased review.

06 May 2016

10 Random Things for Friday

  1. Have you ever checked out Perfectly Posh? How about from the comfort of your home through a Facebook party? I've got one going on now (click here to see more), or you can always book your own to get free stuff too!
  2. I'm so excited that the weather is 70 degrees and clear today! But then sort of bummed that there's a 50% chance for thunderstorms tomorrow...while my daughter is at camp for the day :( I really, really, really home they have a nice dry-ish day!
  3. Only five weeks or so of school left - yay!! I'm that weird mom who really enjoys having her kids home with her :)
  4. We're getting our new dining room set today!! I can't wait - it's a set I've wanted literally for YEARS. 
  5. Isn't it funny how having something else you need to do makes you WANT to do the things you should have done before? LOL Now that I'm scoring tests and trying to get in as many hours as possible before the project is finished, I almost feel motivated enough to put away Maggie's trophies, and clean my office, and start on garage sale stuff, and, and, and...
  6. We've got yet another appointment for someone to come give us an estimate on deck/doorwall construction issues. This will be the third appointment, but this one is with a different company...hoping this one actually shows up!
  7. Debating on wearing shorts today, but I'm not really doing anything anyway. Might save them for a day when I spend some time with people (besides Jack). :D
  8. So... I packed up a bag with crafting supplies last night to work on making some cards, but then got busy visiting instead. Now the bag is looking at me and making me feel guilty. Yes, I've been putting off making cards for a while too, but now I should REALLY be scoring tests!!
  9. Next weekend is my favorite girls' weekend with my bestie. Can.Not.Wait!!!! 
  10. Right now I'm struggling for the best random thing for #10. In a few minutes, in the shower, I will have a MILLION brilliant ideas! LOL

03 May 2016

Cake (2014) - Movie Review

I don't remember exactly which list I first saw this movie on, but I knew I wanted to find it, and watch it. It was on Netflix, so luckily I didn't have much trouble.

Cake, with Jennifer Aniston and Anna Kendrick, was definitely a thinking sort of movie. It was about a woman who we figure out was in an accident, leaving her scarred and in pretty much constant pain. As the movie goes on we're left wondering perhaps how much of her pain is physical vs emotional. But the drugs numb it all for her.

Jennifer Aniston is incredibly real in the role of Claire. There's not much time for looking like a fashion plate or dressing up for fancy nights out - she's just barely holding it together with the most help (or enabling?) from her housekeeper, Silvana. Claire finds another focus besides her pain when Nina (Anna Kendrick), another member of her chronic pain support group, commits suicide. As Claire delves into the life the other woman left behind, she is haunted by Nina's ghost, taunting her for spending more time and energy on Nina's life than she does on her own.

There's definitely some dark humor, and I was left thinking about parts of the movie for days afterward. I absolutely love Anna Kendrick, and her role as a snarky ghost was really perfect. As long as suicide or chronic pain aren't emotional triggers for you, I'd recommend this movie.

27 April 2016

The Liebster Award!

I am so honored to announce I've been nominated for a Liebster Award by Run with Jackabee. Since my blog has been running for a while, I remember being part of blogging groups - yes, before Facebook - where we had awards like this that we shared with each other, which shared great new blogs with our readers! So fun!!

So what is The Liebster Award? It is an award given to bloggers by fellow bloggers. The whole idea is to promote and acknowledge bloggers for their hard work, accomplishments and build a community for bloggers.

Once a blogger is nominated, they are to post 11 Random Facts about themselves, answer the questions given to them by their nominator and ask eleven questions of the bloggers they have nominated for the award. It is a great opportunity to meet other bloggers and get to know a little bit about them.

On to the fun part!

11 Facts About Me:

  • I really like wearing my hair short. Part of the reason is that otherwise I chew my hair.
  • I always have my toenails polished if I wear flip flops. My daughter thought this was an actual law and tried to tell a friend at the library that she couldn't wear sandals without toenail polish. I had to explain that it's more of a family rule.
  • I really, really like my fish aquarium. The kids say it's theirs, but it's not.
  • I drink Cherry Coke like other people drink coffee.
  • The older I get, the less need I have to see other people, like, in person.
  • I'm 5'8" tall.
  • I used to wear 4 - 5" heels, but ended up with back issues. I now can't wear high heels.
  • I love the house we live in, and never plan to move again. Ever.
  • I have blue eyes.
  • I'm already having nightmares about snow next winter. And we haven't been a month without snow yet. :(
  • My biggest regret when my kids stopped napping is that I have a much harder time getting away with a nap now. I really like naps.
Questions from Jackie:

1. If you could have any animal (wild or domestic) as a pet, what would you have? Hmm... I'm not really big on taking care of things all the time, so the kids are enough pressure. I think I'm good with my old cat, my fish, and my frogs..

2. What does your blog name mean? My first and last name both start with the letter B, so I'm B-squared for sure. My first website back in the early 90s was 'Sweet Daisy' (did you the daisy as a flower actually means sweet innocence?), so that carried across - SweetlyBSquared
3. Most insane hospital experience (that you are comfortable sharing)? I'm always amused that when I was in labor for my son, I had been admitted to the regular labor & delivery area, but wanted to birth with a midwife from the natural birthing center. So when my water broke, I called down the hall on my cell phone. The midwife came to my room and stayed til my son was born.

4, What is your favorite color? Usually dark colors. But since I've been with Posh, I feel oddly drawn to pink...

5. What one widget would you recommend to fellow bloggers? I don't make a lot of changes to my blog. I'll be sure to check out the answers of the other nominees to see what I'm missing! LOL

6. Does your name have a story? Well, I did have an uncle who would only call me by my middle name, because he had an ex-girlfriend with the same first name. I imagine that would have seemed super weird to a kid. I don't think we saw him often.

7. Are you left-handed or right-handed? Right-handed.

8. What is the craziest color you have dyed your hair (if you have dyed your hair) I used to like dark colors like burgundy. Now I look like a crazy old lady trying to hard if I do it :( I've done my hair both black and crayon red for different Halloween costumes. It's only hair, so I used permanent dye, and it came out over time.

9. How did you meet your significant other? I first met him while visiting my brother at college (Michigan Tech). Then when we were all out of college, we re-met on an internet forum. A member of the forum who lives out of the country but was working in the U.S. came to visit a town near us and we all met up to hang out with him for an evening. The rest is history ;)

10. What is your dream career? I'm not really fond of working. LOL I'll plan to stick with being a mom, writing, and direct sales.

11. What is your least favorite food? I'm actually not too much of a foodie. I don't have a lot of favorite, or least favorite foods...

My nominations:

  1. Barrett's Happy Trails
  2. life flavored lemonade
  3. Modern Farm Mama
  4. Yes/No Films
  5. Party Plan Prosperity
My Questions:
  1. If you were to have a baby/adopt a puppy/take in a stray turtle/whatever right now, what would you name it?
  2. Do you prefer planning on paper, or electronically?
  3. What is your favorite way to pamper yourself?
  4. Describe your best customer service experience.
  5. What's your current favorite song? 
  6. Where do you feel most comfy?
  7. Do you have a lucky number? Is there a reason behind it? Tell me!
  8. What's your favorite season?
  9. Tell me the funniest thing that has happened to you recently.
  10. What's the best movie you've seen lately?
  11. What do you like best about blogging?
Be sure to come back and leave me a link - I want to check out all your fun answers and facts!

20 April 2016

Bookstock- Used Book and Media Sale

Bookstock is coming!! I was lucky enough to attend a blogger lunch and learn about Bookstock last week and get all the details for you. Once I left, all excited, I met with my parents the next day. As I started telling them about this fabulous event, my dad surprised me by saying, "At Laurel Park Place, the mall, right? Yeah. We've been to that."

WHAT? I'm not exactly renowned for my great memory of things I've done when I was younger (thank goodness I wrote a lot of it down in this blog! LOL), but I just finished telling a room full of people that I'd never been to Bookstock in the 14 years its been running. Hahahaha...

I know I'll remember it this year - I'm sure it's a great event to just stumble across, but knowing all the great benefits and perks makes is something I'm totally seeking out for my family this year.

It all starts on Sunday, May 15. At 8:15am, Livonia's Stephenson High School Marching Band will kickoff the festivities at Laurel Park Place (at 6-Mile and Newburgh in Livonia, east of I-275). The only part of the sale that isn't free is the $20 Pre-Sale on that Sunday from 8:15 - 11am. The rest of the sale is free to shoppers, and it's during regular mall hours - Sundays 11am - 6pm, and Monday through Saturday 10am - 9pm.

Don't be too worried if you can't make it out the first day. There's new stock put out daily, which is also why lots of shoppers visit more than once. Check out these other great events during Bookstock!

Monday Madness - Monday, May 16: The first 1000 shippers receive giveaways, and one lucky shopper will  receive a $500 Visa gift card!

Teacher Appreciation Day - Tuesday, May 17: 50% off to all teachers with a valid ID from 3 - 9pm. AND at 5pm, the Bookstock B.E.S.T. Awards will be presented to fourth grade students from Detroit Public Schools based on previous essay submission.

Bookbuster Special Days - Wednesday, May 18 and Thursday, May 19: Buy three books and get the fourth book free (least expensive item) from 3 - 9pm. ALSO Spend $25 or more either night and be entered in a special drawing for fun prizes!

Half Price Finale - Sunday, May 22: All remaining books and media will be sold for half price!

Bookstock has been supporting the need to read in Southeast Michigan and beyond for 14 years. It has generated more than $1.3 million for literacy and education projects throughout Oakland County and Detroit in this time.

Join lots of other shoppers and volunteers who are also book-lovers, and discover new favorites or search for hard to find older books. The sale is perfect for families, book-clubs, collectors, and anyone who loves books. Hope to see you there!

Bookstock website: http://www.bookstockmi.org
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BookstockMI
Twitter: @BookstockMI
Instagram: Use #BookstockMI

18 April 2016

Maggie's KidPik Box - April 2016


Rumor has it, KidPik was inundated at their launch with box requests. We signed up in early March, and my daughter started asking for her box about two days later.

Fast forward to the second week of April, and her box arrived - and it was worth the wait!

She wanted to love it all - and we got pretty close. KidPik was also very true to their word - they emailed at the end of March apologizing for the wait, and promising us something extra in the box. While Maggie was hoping for a Kindle (HA!), she really likes the extra shirt that was in for the wait. While it's our first box and I can't be sure, there was also a cute bag with three iron-ons that looks like it's their 'regular' bonus for the kids.

Let's see the outfits!

This was our favorite outfit from everything. The Gingham Tie Front Shirt (regular price $15.50) was super-cute, and absolutely Maggie's style. I'm hoping it doesn't want ironing. She couldn't wait to wear it to the Harlem Globetrotters game yesterday so it's in the washer now - we'll find out!

The pants are five-pocket Knit Pants in a rich color called blue ribbon. They are styled like jeans, but buttery soft material like stretch pants. She says they're a little big, but I'm guessing most of her other leggings are a bit small. These had a full retail price tag of $14.50.

I'm stating these as regular prices because if you buy the whole box, you get a 30% discount on it all! Shipping to return anything you don't like is free, and a bag is included for this purpose.

Maggie was very excited to try on this Floral Embellished Scuba Dress ($32.50), but it ended up being the first thing to go in the 'send it back' pile. The material is weird, for lack of a better word. The bottom doesn't even need to be hemmed, as the 'scuba' material is like a foam. It makes it feel heavy for a summer dress. When I showed it to hubby, he didn't think it was that odd, but it wasn't something Maggie wanted to wear, and I agree with her.

Interestingly enough, the skirt in this picture is also called a Flower Scuba Skirt ($15.50), which leads me to believe the fabric is similar to the odd pink dress. I didn't really notice, and Maggie has the skirt on at school today, so I can't check again. She loves the skirt, although I've already said about five billion times - "It's a skirt, not a skort. Sit like a lady!!" It's still early enough in the spring here in Michigan that she's wearing leggings with it today. Not sure if that will give her a chance to create good habits, or a good excuse not to worry about them. LOL

The shirt was in her 'send back' pile just because it didn't make much of an impression. It's the Love Tee in white ($12.50).

Also in this pic are the Glitter Braided Headwrap ($1.50) that she said she didn't need (mostly because she usually doesn't wear anything in her hair), and the Pandora Metallic Gladiator sandals ($27.50), which she LOVES the look of. One day of wear convinced her that they make her feet sweat, so I'm not sure how much she'll actually choose them. They came in an very cute mini-backpack style cloth bag.

Last but not least was the Lace Trim Swing Top, which I'm assuming was free for the wait. There is no price for it on the item description sheet. Luckily she also loved it. It will go great with her many leggings, and I love the swing style for covering her butt in leggings and similar styles like the pants from earlier (shown again in this picture).

Overall, we had a GREAT experience with KidPik. As I mentioned, there's a discount for purchasing the whole box! For Maggie to get the things she really liked (skirt, pants, sandals, gingham shirt, and swing top) would have been $73 at regular retail. When I asked her, she said she'd wear the t-shirt and headband that she didn't love if they were here. So we are getting the whole box for $83.65 and selling or donating the pink dress. Of course she's ready for another box ASAP, but we did shopping the old-fashioned way when we got ready for a Florida trip in February, so we'll probably wait til closer to fall.

Have you had a great (or horrible) experience with a subscription box? Let us know about it!