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, 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! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

$20 coupon code at eShakti!!

Have you been able to wear all the cool, beautiful dresses you wanted this summer?  I hope so, because we're looking at fall around the corner!  I love a great dress and I've seen plenty of great ones at eShakti!  Right now, you can get $20 off on any dress purchase if you use the code at the bottom of this post!  
 eShakti is wonderful because they customize your dress according to your specs!  Just follow the easy-to-follow chart and answer the questions according to your needs!  Check out some of these cute dresses!

Of course dresses aren't all eShakti carries!  They have jackets, shirts, pants, skirts, accessories and jewelry too!  But oh, their dresses...


Check out the entire selection of cute dresses!  They ship in 3 days with all your alterations made and ready to wear!  Here is the coupon code:  HELENA0811  Use it at checkout!  You'll get a full $20.00 off of the price!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pampering At The Aveda Institute in Provo! {Review and Giveaway}

Congratulations to #37, Deanna, who said, "tweet!/dlw447/status/108854997004988416"
The best thing to give myself is self-respect. (According to Benjamin Franklin) Close second - a trip to Aveda Institute for some pampering (According to Me)!
    This week I got spoiled at the Aveda Institute in Provo!   I got a cut, blow and style!  AND I got a 90-minute facial.  I loved it!  
The haircut:  Courtney was my stylist and she was so cute!  She is a senior at Aveda Institute and will be graduating with the required 1200 hours in January. She knows her stuff!  After I got my complimentary cup of Aveda comforting tea, a 100% organic, no caffeine, herbal tea, we headed into the salon. With every cut at the Aveda Salon a scalp massage with a sensory journey is included.  This means that you get to choose one of several hand-selected natural oil fragrances for your scalp before you shampoo.  It is wonderful!  I picked vanilla.  
Natural Make-up Display in the lobby
    Courtney asked me what I wanted to do with my hair and how I would describe my hair.  She gave me her own product recommendations based on the Aveda line.  We decided that I should use a lot of the Brilliance Line because I have thick, frizzy, dry hair.  (It's a nightmare, actually)  The Brilliance Line is designed for all of those features.  Also the Dry Remedy Line is for extremely dry hair.  I love all of their products because they use as many natural ingredients as possible and that is very important to me.  Almost all of them are 100% certified organic!  She brought an instructor to OK the selection she had made for me and we got started.
First we went back to get shampooed  The shampoo room is beautiful.  They have massage chairs you can relax in while you watch beautiful nature scenes on their big screens.  And you get even more scalp massaging with the wash.  I almost fell asleep during that time! 
Next came the cut and the style.  She was great at what she does and at the end, there was an instructor making sure that everything was done right.  I loved the way my hair looked and felt after the session.  It took about an hour and a half. 

The Facial:  This was a first for me at Aveda.  Kaylynn, my esthetician, took me back to the quiet facial rooms. Here again, I was first introduced to a sensory experience and given my choice of 3 oils.  This time I chose lavender because I wanted to relax!  Kaylynn took me through the facial experience by asking me what I was concerned about for my skin and would like to see in a facial.  I thought that I'd like to have an anti-aging experience, since my summer hasn't been very relaxing and I feel like I have aged about 10 years so far this summer, with my son graduating from college and my 14 year old being a crazed adolescent.  Kaylynn introduced me to the Green Science line, which is for anti-aging concerns.  And so to classical music, I received a foot soak, foot massage, 5 facial treatments (cleanse, tone, treatment, eye treatment, and moisturizer), scalp massage, neck massage, decolletage treatment and hand massage.  It was wonderful and when I was done, I saw a visible difference in my skin!  I felt really relaxed as well!  Thanks so much Kaylynn!
Kaylynn, my esthetician
Aveda Institute Provo is located on 1700 S. State Street, Provo, UT   84604.  For services call 801-375-1501.  If you are interested in becoming a student at Aveda, and being part of one of the top 200 salons in the country, give Tiffany in Admissions a call at 801-448-2683.  They are accepting new applicants!
GIVEAWAY:  If you live in or near the Provo, UT area, you can win the same pampering spa package I had from Aveda Institute Provo!  ($60 ARV)  Trust me, it's a good one!

Mandatory Entry:  Check out the Aveda Corporate site and pick out a product that you'd love to try and come back and tell me what it is!

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES - The more you enter, the better your chance!  (1 entry = 1 comment, 2 entries = 2 comments, etc.)

(+1 each)  Like @AvedaProvo and @Xocaisgood on Twitter! 
(+2) Visit Aveda Institute Provo and tell me about a service you'd love to try!
(+2) Visit Aveda on YouTube and like a video.  Tell me which video you watched.  
(+2) Follow @evmiller on Twitter and tweet "@evemiller Aveda rocks-- @Xocaisgood sent me to say hello and give you a follow"  Leave me the tweet link and your Twitter name!
(+5) e-mail 5 friends about this giveaway! Make sure you CC me at!
(+1) daily - Tweet this: "Get pampered with a pamper-me package @AvedaProvo ($60 ARV) @Xocaisgood #provo #orem #americanfork #heber"
(+2) Blog, Facebook, Stumble, Digg or list this giveaway post on a giveaway linky.  Let me know the link where you do!  Do as many as you want!  2 entries each!
(+2) Click the +1 icon on the bottom of this post for Google +1!

This giveaway will run through August 31, 2011 at 11:59 pm at which time a winner will be chosen with and notified with e-mail.  Winner will be given 48 hours to respond.  Open to Utah residents only.  Thanks to Aveda Institute Provo for providing services for review and giveaway!  Special Thanks to Brittany Sharp for facilitating this giveaway and for all the great students and professionals at Aveda Institute Provo!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Underage Drinking - Lots Of Hazards

Today I read about a mom who is charged with hosting an underage drinking party. 

"Julie A. McPike, 49, of the 200 block of Beverly Road in Barrington was charged July 28 with hosting an underage drinking party at her home..."

There are so many things on so many levels that are wrong when a parent chooses to host parties like this.  I can almost hear the rationalization--"well, at least they're at my house so I can monitor their behavior...."  Apart from the stark fact that alcohol kills more teens than all other illegal drugs combined, here are a few hypothetical situations:
What about the neighborhood kid who gets so drunk at the party that he totally forgets where he lives?  He staggers around the neighborhood and finally recognizes a familiar street corner and that's when it hits him.....the car, that is. Seriously, 6000 kids per year that are 15 or under end up in a hospital because of alcohol!  

Or what about the inebriated kid who is just playing around and accidentally shoves a broken bottle into his friends face, lacerating him badly and then ending up in juvenile detention for it?  It's true that 1 in 5 sixteen year old kids are involved with violence after drinking alcohol!  
Here's another possible scenario--A young 15-year-old girl goes to a party and gets royally smashed for the first time.  But that's not the only first.  She also hooks up with a guy there and they have unprotected sex and then she ends up with a baby.  Yep, 1 out of 8 15-16 year old girls have unprotected sex after drinking alcohol.  

It's just too easy for teens to become victims to the effects of alcohol.  And for adults to think they are doing any favors by promoting drinking in any way, shape, or form, is a badly misguided mistake!

I'm glad that some states are stepping up and holding adults responsible for what is happening on their property.  For instance, Missisippi just stepped up to the plate and established the "social host" law, which holds adults responsible for underage drinking.  Violations result in a $1000 fine and/or 90 days in jail.  

I have a 14-year-old son and I feel inclined to not only be aware of the friends that he will be with, but also have a good feel  for the parents.  Just because he is going to a party and the parents will be there doesn't mean that he will always be in good hands.  Thankfully, I know many of the parents in my community and I absolutely shouldn't have to worry about something like that.  But it's always a good idea to be sure!

Another thing that should give my son pause when confronted with a drinking situation is that we don't drink in our own home.  He sees his parents doing just fine without booze and so most likely he will stop and think twice before drinking.  Personally, one of the reasons I don't drink is that I want to know when I'm having a good time!  That's just me, though!  

Here are some more reasons, if you're still on the fence, as to why you shouldn't expose your underage child to alcohol!
• Teens who begin drinking before age 15 have a 40 percent higher chance of becoming alcohol dependent than those who wait to 21 to begin drinking.

• Teens who drink regularly can shrink the part of the brain that controls learning, memory and decision-making. An adolescent's brain is still developing and is especially sensitive to alcohol and drugs.

• According to a recent Monitoring the Future survey, nearly 1 out of 5 10th graders and 1 out of 4 12th graders had engaged in binge drinking at least once in the previous two weeks.

• A 2009 national CASA (Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) teen survey found that 1 out of 3 teen drinkers usually drink with the intent to get drunk, and teens that get drunk are 18 times likelier to have used marijuana.

• Teens who drink are more likely to get poor grades, drop out of school, have unplanned and unprotected sex, and be a victim of car crashes, date rape, alcohol poisoning or suicide.

• According to a recent study, an estimated 29 percent of high school students rode in a car with a drunk driver in the last month.

• An alcohol conviction can limit a teen's scholarship opportunities and future career choices. Many careers require a license to practice, which may be denied.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Most Gorgeous Romantic Dress!

I was being distracted this morning, and how I was led to Bon Bon Rose Girls Blog is rather puzzling.  But nevertheless, there I was and was just amazed at the dress she posted there, with the intent on buying it for her upcoming tropical vacation!  I'm so jealous, I admit it!  I hope she got it though, because it is so gorgeous!  I even left this comment on her blog: 

I haven’t seen a dress in quite awhile that I’ll actually need to make a comment on. But this dress is absolutely exquisite, if you are talking romance and other worldliness! I looked at the other examples of mullet dresses and this one is by far the best!

Have you heard of this "mullet dress" trend yet?  Seems like it is so very popular this year!  Can I even say 'hot'?  All in all, I feel that it is a very hard fashion to wear and can end up looking rather silly.  But fashion is fashion, and if it's in, I want to at least find the best looking example of said trend.  I think that I found it in this dress! 
Oh, and maybe this one too! 
I love anything she wears, probably because she is so gorgeous!
Can I just say these are not my favorites?

Katy Perry is lovely, but no...
Oh Miley...just let your Dad live down his mullet! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce {Review & Giveaway}

Many Congratulations to the winners, #36 Cynthia, who said "I just made chicken thighs in the oven and they would have been great with bbq sauce", and to #35, Tarter95, who said "I "Like" Country Bob's on FB. #2"

    I have been a fan of Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce for awhile now!  This past weekend I used it to cook some venison that my dear son brought in!  About half-way through the cooking process, I simply added about  3 Tbsp. of the sauce into the pan.  It was absolutely delicious!  And that's what I love about the "All-Purpose" element of this sauce.  I can use it on anything.  It's great with chicken, beef, and now, venison!   I am also guilt-free, when it comes to the ingredients used in this sauce!  For 1 Tablespoon it is 25 calories, 6 grams of sugar and 170mg of sodium.  Those are quite impressive figures for such a great taste! 
It was 1968 when Country Bob Edson perfected his sauce recipe and today we call it All Purpose Sauce because it was more than just a steak sauce. Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce has remained the flagship item since 1982 when Country Bob, Inc. was established. 

     In addition to the original All-Purpose Sauce, Country Bob's also has Spicy All-Purpose Sauce, BBQ Sauce and Seasoning Salt!  Also, found exclusively in the gift pack ($19.95), two new flavors of the All-Purpose Sauce--Apple Chipotle and Honey Habanero!  Yum!   Country Bob's is available at grocery stores (just check their store location finder for a store nearest you) and available for purchase at the Country Bob's website!   Also on the website is Cooking With Ken--a collection of savory barbecue and meat recipes, showing how to use Country Bob's products in them.  
    Keep up-to-date with Country Bob's on Twitter or Facebook because they always have something going on--either a great promotion, event or a giveaway.
    I'm excited to be able to offer 2 readers 2 bottles each of Country Bob's All-Purpose Sauce!  Make the rest of your summer cooking something to remember! 
Mandatory entry:  Tell me something that you already cook that you think Country Bob's Sauce could work well with!  (Remember, you can use it in most anything!)
Extra entries:  ( 1 entry = 1 comment, 2 entries = 2 comments, etc.)
 (+1) Follow me on Google Friend! (right sidebar, leave your Google name)
(+1) Subscribe to my e-mails!  (Also on my right sidebar!)
(+1) Follow Country Bob's and @Xocaisgood on Twitter!  (1 entry each)
(+1) Tweet this out using @CountryBobs and @melahelen  (Use the tweet below for your convenience!)
 (+1) Follow me on Facebook!  (Leave me your FB fist name and last initial!)
(+2) Grab My Button and show me where you put it!  (give me the link)
(+2) Like Country Bob's on Facebook!  Comment on your favorite summer grilling food! 
(+3) Blog, digg, stumble or Facebook this!  Leave me the link!
(+2) Follow my giveaway listings blog!
(+1) Click the Google +1 button at the bottom of this post!

Giveaway will end on 8/19/11 at approx. 11:59 pm MST.  Winner will be selected from and e-mailed the results.  Please respond within 48 hours.  Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada.  Thanks so much to Country Bob's for the opportunity to review this great product!  Disclosure: CMP.LY/2


Monday, August 1, 2011

Making Your Own Stock or Broth

Making one's own broth or stock seems like a lost art because you can usually get canned broths and bouillon cubes easily and not-too-expensively!  But here's a case for making your own! 
    First of all, you can control what goes into the broth.  Oftentimes, monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be found, or even excess sodium or wheat gluten in the store bought offerings.  Secondly, if it is done well, it can taste so much better!  Thirdly, it can add a wonderful smell and a warmth to your home, especially in the cooler months!  And last, it makes you feel really great when you can use up everything in a chicken dinner, including the carcass! Two things can make the project very easy and rewarding.  Those two things are a slow cooker and a rotisserie chicken!  
    On an evening where you bring home a roasted chicken from the grocery store for a quick dinner, don't toss the carcass.  Instead put the carcass in the slow cooker and cover it with cold water.  Add any skin as well (it adds flavor and can be skimmed off at the end of the cooking process!)
    Clean out your vegetable drawer and put in celery (include the leaves),  onion, carrots and garlic along with the chicken. Don't forget salt and pepper as well!
    Turn the slow cooker on low and leave it for at least 4 hours!
    Take off the lid after that and continue the condensing process by turning the cooker to high and leaving it for 6-8 more hours.  This makes it more flavorful and when it is done, will be delicious to add to your homemade soups and stews.
    Pour the remaining liquid through a strainer, leave out for another hour and remove the remaining fat and store in airtight containers in the freezer!  I guarantee you'll feel like such a diva chef!