Melissa Elayne Wristlet Review + Giveaway!

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I’ve been a lover of handmade products for quite some time and I love supporting small businesses that make their own handmade items. Melissa Elayne is not only the Etsy shop owner but also the talented designer and creator behind Melissa Elayne products.

You can learn a little about Melissa Elayne and her shop here.  I asked her a few questions of my own and here are her answers:

Q1.  What inspired you to start making handmade bags/purses?

A1.  It is hard to say what got me started making hand bags/purses……I guess it all started when I went to a Thirty-one party! I began by making Binder Covers……which were very time consuming and expensive to make!  Then I made a wristlet for myself with credit card pockets, which I loved, and put that in my shop. Eventually, the wristlet became so popular, I was able to remove the binder covers & focus just on purses :)

Q2.  Is this a hobby or are you full-time into your business?

A2.  This is a full time business for me……actually, this is how my husband & I support our family of 5. (we have 3 children…1 boy and 2 girls, ages: 14, 12, 5)

Q3.  What are a few things about you and your life that you would like to tell us about? (maybe just some things you enjoy, what you spend your free time doing, favorite things, etc.)

A3.  I don’t have much free time anymore, but I enjoy getting out side to do some gardening when I can. (I do not have a green thumb, but I try anyway!) I love going to local farms with my children to pick straw berries, blueberries, apples and pumpkins. I love the fall in Central NY, the kids & I look forward to picking as many apples as we can!  I enjoy knitting/crocheting occasionally :)

Q4.  And last but not least….what are your favorite products in your store?

A4.  My favorite item is my Large Wristlet :)
I made one for myself out of waxed canvas, which is my favorite fabric choice (I don’t have waxed canvas in my shop yet, but I plan to offer it soon). My second favorite fabric is Black Linen….it is a grayish color with specks of black. It is a nice alternative to a solid fabric, it is plain without being too plain.

Thanks, Melissa Elayne for answering those questions for us!  Melissa offers a variety of sizes and styles in her handmade wristlets and purses and each one is handmade to order and designed by Melissa.  Her husband Roger is the photographer behind their product photos and Melissa currently has one seamstress-Debbie that helps them out part-time. You can also make requests for custom orders.  These wristlets and purses make wonderful gifts!  All items are made in the USA-specifically in Oswego, NY.

I had the opportunity to test and review one of her lovely wristlets.  You can find the link to the specific one I received here.  There are over 40 different patterns to choose from.  The one I was sent is mini turquoise chevron with a lime green zipper.

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There is one outside pocket which I use to keep my phone in so I can get to it quickly, however, you can use the inside pocket as well to keep your phone in.  Either pocket will fit an Iphone 6 plus Otterbox or Galaxy Note (mine is a Samsung android phone).  I use the inside pocket to hold my checkbook and notepad with a pen.  I also attach my keys to the included removable wrist strap because I have a tendency to loose mine.  There are pockets for lip balm or lipstick as well.  You can easily store everything you need in this wristlet and it’s perfect for those times where you don’t want to bring along a big and bulky purse.  You can also use it to place into your purse so you can quickly grab the things you use the most.

In the inside pocket there are:

4 slots for credit cards (each slot holds 1-3 cards)
2 little pockets for lip balm
1 zippered main compartment
1 exterior zippered pocket
1 Removable wrist strap

Exterior Measurements: approx. 8.5″ x 5″ x 1″ (zipper opening: 7.5 inches)

The front zippered pocket is 4″ deep, giving you the option of using this pocket for your phone!

Both the front compartment and the main compartment are lined with cotton fabric, and zip closed to keep contents secure.

To clean you simply wash with water and a mild detergent and let the wristlet air dry.

(Information above found on Melissa Elayne’s product details.)

You can follow Melissa’s facebook page here.  Be sure to check out her Etsy shop here.

I loved my wristlet so much that I’m going to purchase one for one of my lucky followers!  Enter on the Rafflecopter by clicking the link below.  Giveaway starts on Wednesday, April 1st and will end on Wednesday, April 29th.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received this product for free in exchange for my honest thoughts and review courtesy of Melissa Elayne.

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The Spice Lab: Gourmet Salts + Spices Review

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The Spice Lab, Inc. is a woman-owned business based in Pompano Beach, Florida that carries an extensive line of sea salts, spices and related products that are sold by gourmet and specialty gift shops, major retailers and online through Amazon.com and at www.thespicelab.com.

They offer a variety of different products including salts, peppers, spices, and blends (rubs), as well as tea, fun foods, accessories, and gifts.  

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In my blogger package I received:

gourmet salts

-one Gourmet Salt collection that includes 4 tubes-one each of Himalayan Crystal Pink Mountain Salt from Pakistan, Carolina Hickory Smoked Sea Salt from North Carolina (my fave), Cyprus White Flake Sea Salt from the Island of Cyprus and Hawaiian Black Lava Coarse Sea Salt.  Each collection comes with a wooden base and a wooden spoon.

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-one Gourmet Candied Bacon Rub in New Orleans Cajun (a mix of brown sugar, cayenne, paprika, and other spices)…so good!

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-sample packets of Himalayan Crystal Pink Salt, Hickory Smoked Sea Salt, and Italian Black Truffle Salt along with a wooden spoon for measuring.

We have tested the salts out and by far our favorite is the Carolina Hickory Smoked Sea Salt…imagine that!  Being a Carolina girl…I guess I’m partial to products that are made here.  The Himalayan Crystal Pink Mountain Salt comes in a close second for me.  One night for dinner I made baked potatoes.  I rubbed them with olive oil and then we used the Carolina Hickory Smoked Sea Salt and sprinkled that on the potatoes and put them in the oven.

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We had plans on making a chuck roast this past weekend so I saved the bacon rub for that!  I’m so glad we did because this rub is delicious!  I chopped up some veggies while Noah got the roast prepared.  We placed the roast in oven bags and simply added the veggies and the bacon rub to the bag.  Simple and easy and mess-free!

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Absolutely delicious!  The rub was perfect for this roast and all the spices combined just gave this meal a perfect Cajun seasoning.

You can purchase all of these gourmet salts + spices here.  They make perfect gifts for anyone that loves to cook.  There is such a variety of different products available that there is something for everyone.

I received this blogger package for free in exchange for my honest opinions and review.

Blogging for Books: Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis

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When we think about Southern food we think about fried and fatty foods and a ton of it.   In Virginia Willis latest cookbook Lighten Up, Y’all she proves that Southern food is not all about fried and fatty foods.  She has simply brought us classic southern recipes that are made healthy and wholesome.  Recipes you can make for your family that are good for them and still just as delicious as ever.  Virginia shows us how to prepare these dishes in a new way, while keeping the flavors intact of some of our most comforting meals that we have loved throughout the years.

Virginia Willis is a French-trained Southern chef, a veteran cookbook author, and a novice on Southern cooking.  Her recipes in Lighten Up, Y’all are a collection of personal favorite recipes that include classics like Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie, Broccoli Mac and Cheese, Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie, Smothered and Covered Chicken and Gravy, Beer-Battered Shrimp, and Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cake.

Virginia shares an assortment of recipes in her latest cookbook.  From Starters and Nibbles which include recipes for squash chips, a seven-layer dip, shrimp and pepper poppers, barbecue meatballs, and even a baked onion blossom.  Salads & slaws such as grilled potato salad with bacon vinaigrette, apple-raisin-carrot slaw, shortcut chicken pasta salad, and more.

There’s a from the garden chapter, grains, grits, & other starchy goodness chapter, poultry chapter, pork, beef, & lamb chapter, soup & stews chapter, biscuits, breads, & baked goods chapter, and last but not least, is the sweet indulgences chapter.  Throughout her cookbook you can find lots of southern faves and they all are lightened up so that you can provide healthy and wholesome meals to your family and friends.

I have made several of her recipes since I received this cookbook and I have that this is a cookbook that will frequently be used in my kitchen.  The real ingredients in her recipes keep the flavors alive and bursting in the recipes.  I highly recommend that you purchase this book and get to cooking the Lightened Up way!

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You can purchase Virginia’s latest cookbook here.  

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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InstaNaturals Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oils #essentialoils

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InstaNatural’s oils are 100% Pure Steam-Distilled and contain no additional fillers or other unnecessary ingredients.  Each bottle comes in a large 4-oz glass bottle with a dropper included.  I was surprised at the amount that was included for the price…most companies I’ve looked at online and in stores are only available in 10mL bottles.  InstaNatural offers these oils in 4-oz which is 120mL.

Below you can see some specific attributes about each of these essential oils:

Peppermint Oil

sweet & minty aroma that is long-lasting

cools, energizes, and refreshes the body & mind

reduces stress

treats headaches and muscle aches/pains

great for use in a vaporizer

Lavender Oil

sweet & herbal aroma

soothing and refreshing-great for a diffuser in your home

relaxes and rejuvenates the body and mind

perfect for aromatherapy

can be used as a linen spray to freshen up your home

VicTec Ultrasonic Diffuser with Cool-Evaporating Humidifier (you can see my review on this product here. 

I’ve used both of these oils in my diffuser and love them both.  During the day I’ll use the Peppermint and at bedtime I’ll use the Lavender.  Just a few drops goes a long way.

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I honestly love the Peppermint oil and I do think it’s my favorite of the two oils so far.  It really does work for headaches and muscle aches.  I frequently get headaches and when I do I take cool washcloth and add a few drops to it and place it on my forehead and within minutes it begins to work and eventually the headache subsides.

You can purchase the Peppermint Oil here and the Lavender Oil here.  Right now you can get both bottles for $19.97 each.  This is a sale price on Amazon as of today.  Prices subject to change.  The normal price of each 4-oz bottle is $39.95.

I received these products for free in exchange for my honest opinions and review courtesy of Tomoson and InstaNatural.  

Have you tried any essential oils?  If so what is your favorite and why?

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Tuesday Happenings

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Hello friends!  Luck O’ the Irish to Ye!

I will be serving up this Guinness and Onion Soup (recipe by Michael Chiarellofrom Nikki over at Seeded at the Table later on today to celebrate St. Patricks Day!  Nothing better than a big ole’ pot of onion soup to celebrate the Irish holiday.   I might make something sweet, too!

I’ve been super busy the last few days pitching to companies on my own for product testing and reviewing so I’ve been kind of absent here in the blog world.  I have some exciting opportunities that I will be sharing with you all very soon.

Most of my blog posts lately have been centered around product testing and that will not change, but I will be more “picky” about what products I get from here on out.  I love product testing and reviewing and I hope to continue it for as long as I can but I feel that I need to focus on products that I truly love and products that I feel might be of interest to my lovely readers.  With that being said, I need YOUR help…I want to know what you would like to see.  So please leave a comment below with some things that might be of interest to you!

I’m currently working on a blog post for my Blogging for Books review on my latest cookbook Lighten Up, Y’all by Virginia Willis and will be sharing one of the recipes I’ve made from her book that includes these Organic Chia Seeds that I won in a giveaway!

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I’ve also found a few more items at World Market that I’m loving right now:

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Bunny Crunch

This Hoppity Caramel Corn (AKA Bunny Crunch) is ah-mazing!  Caramel corn drizzled with milk chocolate and almonds with amaretto…what’s not to love?!  A nice sweet & salty treat!ramekins

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I just LOVE these Prep Ramekins!  There are three stoneware ramekins labeled “Dash”, “Pinch”, and “Smidgen”.  So adorable.

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I also have an obsession with measuring spoons now. Thanks….World Market.  This Spring Bird Ceramic Measuring Spoon set goes perfectly with my Spring Ceramic Measuring Cup set that I purchased awhile back.

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See…don’t they pair well together?  =)

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I’m also loving this Pink Himalayan Salt!  There are so many benefits to using the Pink Himalayan salt.  One of my Facebook friends shared this article earlier this week and I have to share it with you guys…it’s very interesting!  This is What Happens To The Body When You Eat Pink Himalayan Salt

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I’m also sharing my favorite Easter treat recipe this week so be sure to check that out!  These Coconut Bird’s Nests are easy to make and they involve jelly beans!!

Last but not least…I have three GIVEAWAYS going on right now on the blog!

PicMonkey Collage-giveawaysThe Julep giveaway ends in 16 hours…so go get your entries in!  Winner will be announced tomorrow!

#evianspray giveaway

#joyandkarma giveaway

Hope you are having a lovely week!

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Chocolate and White Chocolate Coconut Nest Recipe

Jennay:

My favorite Easter treat! This is an oldie but another goodie!

Originally posted on A Day In the Life of Jennay:

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white chocolate coconut bird's nest

Remember these??!!

These little bird’s nest are my favorite little Easter treat in my childhood days.  I still love them and they are so easy to make in your own home.  No baking in the oven required!  In fact, the only time you have to use heat is to heat up the chocolate so this is a perfect treat to make with your kiddos!  Easy-peasy and ready in no time.

I found the recipe from a hand-me-down recipe book called Chocoholics Cookbook Calendar-published in 1988.

I don’t have a sweet tooth that often which is a good thing considering how much I <3 to bake!   This is one of my weaknesses…coconut, chocolate, and jelly beans….oh my!  Usually you only see these little bird’s nest around Easter time in stores, but now you can make them anytime of the year…clearly they are not just for Easter!

Chocolate Coconut Nests

What…

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Breakfast with #WeightWatchersCereal

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Now you can have a healthy breakfast the Weight Watchers way with a variety of different cereals that are now available for purchase.  Weight Watchers Cereal is available in 5 delicious and wholesome flavors:

Oat Clusters with Cherries & Almonds-3 Points Plus value per serving

Oat Clusters with Almonds-3 Points Plus value per serving

Frosted Shredded Wheat with Protein-5 Points Plus value per serving

Chocolate Frosted Shredded Wheat-5 Points Plus value per serving

Whole Grain Honey Nut Toasted Oats-3 Points Plus value per serving

Real fruit, whole grains and only 3-5 PointsPlus® value per serving means you can savor every spoonful in a delicious bowl of Frosted Shredded Wheat with Protein, Oat Clusters with Cherries & Almonds, or any of the other five flavors that are available.

Both of the cereals that were sent to me were delicious!  I highly recommend you stop by your local grocery store and pick some up!  The flavor was great and it left me filling full and satisfied.  I recommend pairing the cereal with a fruit for a healthy and delicious morning meal.

I received two boxes of Weight Watchers Cereal in exchange for my review courtesy of BzzAgent and MOM brands, distributor of Weight Watchers cereals.

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