Tuesday, September 27, 2011

COTTONAGE.com REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

I'm going to get a massage this next weekend!  I love the whole experience of being systematically relaxed by a trained expert.  I love the whole atmosphere - the candles, the relaxing music, the beautiful art, the trickle of water from a fountain, the quiet conversation or better yet, no conversation, and the cotton robe and slippers that I get to wear!  It makes me feel so comfortable.  I love a soft well-worn cotton robe to put on when I'm relaxing.

That's why I was so happy to hear about CottonAge.com.  They have amazing deals on cotton robes, towels, slippers and other things cotton!  


     The robe I got from CottonAge.com was a 100% Cotton Waffle Diamond Spa Style Robe in white.  I love the high quality cotton and also the texture, which is very absorbant and has the potential to become very very soft after washing.  It was their one-size fits all and I loved how it gave me plenty of great room but I wasn't swimming in it either. I'm about 5"5 and of average weight...ahem.   I also let my husband try it on and it fit him well too!  He's a big guy, at 6"1 and 228 pounds.  So one size truly does fit all!  
Giveaway:  One reader will receive the same robe I reviewed and also the Hair Wrap Towel that I reviewed earlier this month!

 Here's how to enter the giveaway!  First do the Mandatory entry!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An Option for Adoption

I love this poem and believe it is true~
 "I didn't give you the gift of life, but in my heart I know the love I feel is deep and real...as if it had been real.  For us to have each other is like a dream come true.  No, I didn't give you the gift of life but life gave me the gift of you."  --Unknown
    I believe that there are many families in this country who would gladly open their hearts and homes to children domestically and from other countries.  But because the process is so difficult, children around the world have been left to fend for themselves.
    There have been several times where my husband and I have talked about adopting.  We weren't able to have children of our own, even though we both have children from our previous marriages.  We both really wanted to have children, but because Greg had a vasectomy that was 15 years old, the reversal didn't work.   I was heartbroken and wanted to adopt.  The thing that prevented us each time we talked about it was the prohibitive cost of adoption.  We had already spent $15,000 on the reversal and because I was 42, the doctor strongly discouraged us from using my eggs for artificial insemination.  So we looked into adoption.  That's when we realized how expensive the process is.  Now, we're definitely not affluent, by American standards.  But by some standards, especially 3rd world countries, we'd be considered very wealthy!  But the cost of adoption is crazy!

    One couple in Genola, UT fell in love with their sponsored orphan, a 14-year-old boy, who they were only having in their home temporarily to introduce him to people here in the States who might potentially want to adopt.  They already have 6 children but this boy fit into their family so well and it felt right. Now they are trying to adopt him, along with his younger sister who still lives in the Ukraine.  To make this adoption happen, they will have to put up $55,000, a sum which they certainly don't have just hanging around in an extra account somewhere.  What they do have is creativity, drive and motivation.  Even so, it will definitely take awhile for them to reach that goal.  
     For these two children, should they be lucky enough to be able to be adopted into this family, their life will be much better than if they were to stay in the Ukraine.  According to the family, orphans in the Ukraine have a very bleak outlook.  70% of girls living in orphanages end up in prostitution and 60% of the boys end up in forced labor situations or forced to enlist in the Russian Army.  With no one to help them with education or housing they are forced to choose between one of these lifestyles.
    In my opinion, the cost of saving these children from those lifestyles seems like it is a very brisk business and profiting some individuals very well.  It almost seems like human trafficking but to a different class of people--people who want to help these children and who would love them.  Why is it be so expensive to save these children from lives of drudgery, poverty and crime?  Not really an answer from anyone other than it takes a lot of agencies to complete an adoption and all of them require money. 
    But it is what it is.  Is there an easier way around that?  Most families who are thinking about adoption don't have sufficient and available funds to do so.  But over time, they would have the means to raise or accumulate enough funds to complete the adoption process.  
    Right now there is an idea floating around called the Perpetual Adoption Fund.  It is based on the idea of the Perpetual Education Fund, an already tried and proven system to help motivated individuals in 3rd World Countries.  Basically it is a collection of donated or otherwise accumulated monies set aside for the purpose of helping individuals or small groups accomplish a common purpose.  In the case of the Perpetual Education Fund, it is for the purpose of furthering the education of people in 3rd World Countries.  It works like a low-interest loan, with the recipients paying it back when they get their new jobs.  The repayment goes back into the pot so that other people can benefit from the fund as well.  
     With the Perpetual Adoption Fund, people would apply to be helped with the fund as they go through the adoption process and then they would pay it back when the adoption is complete.  
      I think this is a fabulous idea and I hope that the embryo of this idea will flourish and become a fully developed program someday.  
     In the meantime, the family who is attempting to adopt the two orphans from the Ukraine are trying to accomplish it the old-fashioned way!  It's a noble and worthy cause and I wish them well!  Read more about it here!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why I Endorse BSOA

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boy Scouts of America for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

My son, Eddie, is a pretty talented guy.  He is 23 and he completed his degree in Urban and Rural Planning at BYU and now is in the midst of his  MPA (Master's of Public Administration) Program, also at BYU!  He did it on his own while working and while doing something else he loves--fighting MMA, his chosen sport, with a  team called Team Unbreakable.   He has done really well with that, winning most of his matches.  I attribute a lot of the discipline it takes to accomplish that kind of work to something he learned much earlier in life--when he earned his Eagle Scout Award from Boy Scouts of America.

I remember attending a meeting with him when he was just a little guy and there were several elements that were great. First, it was very patriotic with the habitual flag ceremony.  It was great to see how the boys were taught to honor their country and treat the flag reverently and respectfully.  Another great thing to see was the recognition these boys received when they earned their merit badges.  No effort goes unnoticed and it is always recognized with badges or certificates.  I think that the positive recognition for their effort helps to spur on even more elbow grease to achieve greater goals.  Last but not least, the refreshments were always there.  I love that parents are involved to help their kids achieve goals.  Eddie always had a good time whenever we went. 

There are so many reasons to Be A Scout, among them just a couple I will mention here!  For one thing, are you looking for a way to get your son out and active?  Scouting offers activities that help kids stay in shape and educate them on proper nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle.  It just comes naturally with all of the activities and outings that occur as a result of being a scout!  It also involves you, the scout's parent, and helps you teach a wholesome system of values and beliefs, while also building and strengthening relationships among family members.  But it isn't all camping and tying knots.  There is a new emphasis on STEM:  science, technology, engineering, and math.  There are 31 STEM-related merit badges, to help Scouts develop critical skills that are relevant in today's competitive world. 

I know that we value our sons and want them to do the best they can in this world and in life. I strongly recommend looking into what Boy Scouts has to offer!  AdvertisementBoy Scouts of America

Visit Sponsor's Site

Saturday, September 17, 2011

CottonAge.com Review and Upcoming Giveaway!

I found this really great site for all things cotton!  If you love cotton towels, bathrobes, teeshirts, hair wraps, slippers, bags or outerwear, you must visit this site.  Not only is the quality very good, the prices are amazing and the shipping is free in the continental U.S. 

I was able to review the Hair Wrap Towel and I really love a few things about it!  I've always made due with a regular towel to wrap my hair after washing.  After trying this hair wrap towel, though, I've become a spoiled woman.  My hair always feels like it is getting pulled when I wrap my head in a regular towel and it is also really heavy on my head.  I really can't stand having my hair in a towel any longer than absolutely necessary.  But this CottonAge.com hair wrap towel is lightweight, yet highly absorbent because of the micro-fiber.  It is extremely comfortable and doesn't pull my hair.  
 As a matter of fact, I can use this towel for a lot more than just after shower because it stays put so well because of the elastic edging that keeps it in place so that it doesn't just fall off.  It woud be great for pre-conditioning my hair before a shower, a facial, a sauna and applying make-up!  Also, you won't believe the price--right now they are on sale for $2.99.  An absolute steal if you want my humble opinion.  So really, A GAL NEEDS...a cottonage.com hair wrap towel!  I will be having a giveaway soon for one of these plus something else pretty special!  So stay tuned.  In the meantime, look at some of the other things you can get with free U.S. Shipping at CottonAge.com

Waffle Bathrobe $11.99

Women's Crew neck Tee $5.99
Cotton Tote Bags 5 colors - $2.69


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

eShakti's Dress Length Theory

 I love the way eShakti lets me be the one to decide where my dress should fall.  I happen to like my dresses to fall right at the knee.  Not longer, not higher.  Right at the knee.  eShakti lets me be in charge of that, regardless of what style it is.  I love that.  Right now through October 31st you get a full $20 off if you use this code:  HELENA0811

Monday, September 12, 2011

U.S. Open - Nadal/Djokovic

I'm sitting here watching the grand season finale of my favorite spectator sport, tennis and the U.S. Open.  It's no joke that Djokovic is the favorite and won the first 2 sets with absolutely no problem.  I am a longtime fan of Rafa Nadal and in spite of that, had to place my wager on Djokov because of his absolutely brilliant play this past year, taking home 2 grand slam championships and taking home every win available in other tournaments.  And as I sort of expected, Nadal just couldn't seem to pull anything off against this warrior.  Djokovic won the first two sets easily,  making Nadal look almost like an amateur.  Then in the 3rd set, Nadal pulled off a tie and sent it to a tiebreaker.  Nadal has always done well in tie breakers and that was no exception--Nadal won the tiebreaker.  Djokovic then went down physically and had to call a medical time-out to treat his back.  After that, there seemed to be no stopping him.  I'm watching the final set where Djokovic has broken Nadal twice and I'm just waiting for the final set to be over.   What a run for Djokovic.  Rafa looks so totally resigned to the fact that he will lose this match.  I just love him though.  It's heartbreaking to see.  Here we go--championship point and the winner of the U.S. Open, Novak Djokovic.  A great run and a great end to the tennis season. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Flash Follow Giveaway at Simply Stacie


I now have the winner for my flash follow giveaway!  The winner is #683, Brianna Beers!  She will be notified by e-mail!  Thank you all so much for entering!

A heads up reminder for everyone who loves giveaways! Tomorrow on September 12,  Simply Stacie will be doing a flash follow giveaway for 14 different blogs!  Each blog giveaway will be open for one hour only and each blog will be giving away a different prize!  It will be absolutely crazy from 9 am to 11 pm at her place!  I wouldn't want you to miss it, especially mine, which will be held at 5 pm - 6 pm.  So get those kiddos fed early and hop on because I will be giving out a $25 Paypal cash award!  See you there! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tribute To Rafa Nadal at the U.S. Open

 I have thoroughly loved watching this guy play for the past 5 years.  I am hoping he wins this year.  But the odds are that if Novac Djokovic stays true to form, he would win.  I'm not quite ready for that, as much as I admire Novac's great winning streak that put him at the #1 seed this year.  Go Rafa! 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

A First Year As An Organ Donor

My driver's license came up for renewal this year and for the first time I checked the little box that says 'yes' for organ donation. Prior to this, I've had mixed feelings about my being an actual donor.  I've heard how much it helps other people and all, but I just felt a tad squeamish over the fact that after my immediate demise people are hovering over me (like vultures, it seemed to me) and harvesting my remaining healthy organs.  Please, I just need a moment to be....dead?  
    But as story after story comes to me about the people who are affected and given another chance at life, my heart has changed.  
   One story recently shows what an impact just a little check in a box can make.  Last summer, July 2010, a wonderful, healthy, good-looking boy was just living his life.  Brandon Curtis had lettered in 3 sports that year at his Springville High School.  After football practice, he was goofing around with some members of his team of which he was captain.  They were driving in the parking lot, doing donuts in a jeep.  Not exactly the smartest thing, but something not unlike what any teenage kid is prone to do with his buddies.  Believe me, as a teenager, I've done some pretty stupid things myself.  The difference is that somehow, I'm still here, while Brandon lost his life that day when their jeep rolled and he was pinned underneath.
    This was not an ordinary kid by any means.  This was a boy who thought about everyone.  "Brandon was the kind of person that if you couldn't finish running your quarter mile and he was done, he would come back and run with you and help you."  -Conrad Beach, 15, teammate
"Brandon loved to bake and cook.  I'm a lunch lady and Brandon would bake and make cookies for me.  He was a friend to everybody."  -Cheryl Beutler, family friend 
"brandon was a good friend to me he was there when no body else wanted to talk to me he made me feel like i was part of the group and i always went to the games to support him he is going to be missed by all who knew him"  -elisia, friend
It was because of who Brandon was, that his father wasn't surprised that he had chosen to be an organ donor.  And with that decision he was able to help 6 people continue on in their own lives.  
   Because of privacy laws, Brandon's parents weren't given the names of those who Brandon had helped, but one day it happened anyway.  Marlee Dalton walked into the Reams grocery store where Brandon's mother, Dianne Curtis works.  She was looking for information about Brandon Curtis so she could visit his grave.  Instead she ran into his mother and told her this story.  As she was in the hospital waiting for her kidney and pancreas that was to be donated by Brandon Curtis, she closed her eyes and saw a young man facing her.  It startled her.  It was only later after reading about Brandon and seeing his picture that she realized it had been him. (That brings chills to me)  She was able to meet his mother by coincidence (?) and thank her and tell her about this experience.  In addition to Marlee, a 10-year old boy received a kidney, a 27-year old father received a liver, a 66-year-old man got a new heart, a 44-year-old man received two lungs, and one other woman was also a beneficiary of Brandon's generosity in death.  
    There are many more examples of how one choice can mean so much to so many.  And while I don't want to be in a position to make this gesture anytime soon, it's nice to know that I might be able to count for a little bit more good on this earth before I'm finally laid to rest someday! In the meantime, thank you Brandon and all like you, for seeing the needs of others and acting on their behalf, even after you're gone.
Brandon Curtis
source



Monday, August 29, 2011

Shabby Apple Giveaway - The Mad Hatter's Time Keeper #Rafflecopter

Shabby Apple - what an interesting name!  This is what comes to mind when I think about that title.  Shabby -  relaxed, a little retro, not uniform, free-spirited.  Apple - Abundaance, nourishing, of substance, roundness as opposed to angular, many colors and textures.  
 And indeed this is what you find at www.shabbyapple.com, home of beautiful women's dresses, both vintage and modern, also with accessories and maternity clothing.

Not only do you find dress after beautiful dress in their big selection, but they are all bunched into different themes!  There is Yosemite, Inca Trail, Up And Away, Carousel, The Berkshires and more.  Each of these themes takes my imagination away to a beautiful place where I'm not at right now but would love to step into, if only for just a few moments.  What better way to do that than with a gorgeous dress that fits the mood and surroundings of the location? 
From The Yosemite Collection - "El Capitan"

From The Up And Away Collection - "Fork-Tailed Devil"
They have a wonderful collection of little girls dresses from Shabby Apple too!
Little Girls Dresses from Shabby Apple
I'm excited to be able to offer a great coupon code for 10% off anything at Shabby Apple!  The code is: agalneeds10off  and it is good for 30 days from today!  So hurry and get shopping! 

My Giveaway I chose a beautiful and conversation-worthy piece from the jewelry collection.  It's a beautiful pendant from the Alice In Wonderland collection.  The Mad Hatter's Time Keeper was interesting to me because it is both chunky and delicate at the same time. It's an Antique brass filigree pocket watch with etched detail on back suspended on a delicate 24” long chain. The pocket watch face opens up to reveal a working clock.  Handmade in the USA and valued at $66.00, it will be a great addition to any jewelry collection!

Enter the giveaway: Complete the mandatory entry in my first Rafflecopter giveaway and any other entries you care to do!