Thursday, January 31, 2019

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 158

Photo by Kamil Szumotalski on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 158.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

"Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
–Mark 14:38

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spam Filters - Guest Post


I've been a Lifestyle Blogger for over nine years now.  There are various ways that readers access my blog posts, with email being one of them.  For each day that I post content, my email subscribers will receive notification.  I've done some research on how best to optimize what does and doesn't work for my email newsletters.  For instance, I've learned that my subscribers are more apt to open and read my emails between 6 am - 10 am.  Late afternoons have shown to be the worst time for my emails to be sent out. 

If you want to get the most out of your business, research needs to be done on many areas and aspects.  It should not be taken with a "fly by the seat of your pants" approach.  Through trial and error, and through research, I've learned a few things here and there on the best way to present content.  Some of them include how best to get readers engaged in my emails and how best to keep my emails from resembling Spam.

This Guest Post by Emma is very informative and has given me new ideas on how to best work my email newsletters so they con't be considered Spam.  These tips and helpful advice work for bloggers and companies of any size.
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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spam Filters

“Check your spam.”

It’s like the black hole of the email universe, and when it comes to email marketing, the spam folder is the last place you want your emails to land.

According to market research, 24% of commercial emails were flagged as spam in 2015. That means, 1 out of every 4 emails you send to your users could wind up in the dreaded spam folder.

So, what do you do to achieve inbox status rather than being labeled as spammy content?

We’ll go over everything to know about email spam filters so that your content is front and center at the top of your users’ inbox.

Why are your emails going to spam?

Spam filters look into many aspects of your emails to determine if they’re worthy to take up space in an inbox or not.  If spam filters didn’t exist, your emails would get lost in a flood of email fluff, for lack of a better word.  As a result, ESPs set up their own personalized criteria to filter and sort through all of the necessary, and unnecessary, content.

Here are some reasons why your emails could be getting lost into the black hole of email spam:

You don't have permission

Subscribing to an email list is basically the permission slip the company receives to send their content to your inbox. If your company is sending email content to those that never opted-in, your emails could be on the fast track to the spam folder.

According to the CAN-SPAM Act, it is required to obtain your user’s permission. If you want to take all of the necessary steps to avoid spam folders, be sure to implement the correct opt-in steps to obtain your audience’s permission.

You didn't include your physical address.

Another important step instilled by the CAN-SPAM Act is the requirement to include your physical address in all of your email campaigns. And, let’s be honest, if you’re a business—a valid address makes your business look more credible.

Emails that fail to include their physical address will force spam filters to send your content to the spam folder. If you work out of your home and don’t feel comfortable putting that information out there, you can acquire a P.O. box and include that address instead.

You have low open rates.

Increasing your open rate is always a top priority and the most difficult to achieve, but it’s not impossible.  Emails that have a consistently low open rate will eventually be flagged as spam. But, the control lies within your user and you can’t force them to open your emails.

So, what do you do?

Make sure you’re staying on top of who your audience is so that you can evolve your content as they evolve themselves. Maintaining a thorough understanding of your users allows you to create valuable content for them.

More importantly, you can perfect the timing of your emails.

What time of day are your users diving into their email and sorting through their inbox? How often do they like to hear from your company? Figure out how you can manage the timing of your drip email marketing campaigns to encourage a higher open rate.

Your subject line looks suspect.

It's no longer true that spam filters flag certain words (like "free" or "winner") to determine if your email is junk.  However, they do use engagement metrics to identify whether or not an email is spam—and if your subject line looks suspect, your subscribers aren't likely to engage. Over time, that will have an adverse effect on your open rates and decrease the likelihood of landing in your user's inbox over time.

When creating your subject lines, don’t format them in ALL CAPS and avoid the overuse of punctuation (!!!!!!). If you have no idea what I’m talking about—take a peek at your spam folder and you’ll see exactly what I’m referring to. Again, it's all about increasing engagement because email providers use that data to determine whether or not your email is spam.

The takeaway? Make sure your subject line looks like it was written by humans, for humans, and has a compelling and relevant offer that compels the recipient to open it.

How to Prevent Being Labeled As Spam

Now that you understand the reasons why some emails are flagged as spam, what can you do to prevent it from happening to your email campaigns?

It’s important to analyze these reasons and find the solutions to some of the email crimes you may be guilty of.

Don’t buy email lists

Spam filters have become familiar with companies that acquire email addresses by purchasing email lists from third-parties. Those that send their content to users who are technically not subscribers will find their emails deep within the spam folder.

You can prevent your emails from getting lost within a pile of spam by not buying your email lists and acquiring your subscribers the right way, by asking for permission.

Segment your audience

Increasing your open rates through top-notch email content will help you avoid the spam folder, but how do you determine what’s valuable to whom?

Segmenting your audience will help you divvy up your users into vital groups based on their relationship with your brand. Factors like their position in the sales funnel or their engagement with your company helps you create content that appeals to that specific group of users.

You don’t want to send blanket emails to everyone on your email list when some have just been introduced to your brand, while others have been subscribed to you for years.  Strive towards higher open rates by segmenting your audience into specific groups and send them the necessary content they will find valuable.

Choose a credible Email Service Provider

When you are choosing an email service provider (ESP), you must be confident that your choice is credible and is not associated with spammy email content (via their other clients). Unfortunately, your sender reputation could suffer if your ESP is working with companies that send out spam to their users.

Spam filters are designed to sort through IP addresses and determine if it passes the clearances set in place. In order to prevent your email content from being flagged as spam, be sure your ESP only works with credible companies and valuable email content.

Best email design and content practices

Aside from spam filters labeling your content as spam, your subscribers can also report you as spam. The top reasons why your subscribers are probably reporting you as spam are:

The content within your emails is no longer relevant or they receive too many emails.
They are no longer interested in your content.
Users weren’t aware that they subscribed.

You can begin your email marketing strategy by providing valuable content to your users. If your content is invaluable to your audience, they will either unsubscribe or report you as spam.

You can’t go wrong with creating the content your audience wants to see. Keep your audience engaged with your content by creating emails that tap into their needs and wants.

Before sending out your next email, ask yourself: “Does my audience need this?”

Also, be sure to follow all of the necessary guidelines that the CAN-SPAM Act has set in place. Being a rule-breaker isn’t a cool thing today in the world of email marketing. Follow the rules, and you won’t have to worry about any consequences.

Take these tips and apply them to your current email marketing strategy, but don’t forget to let your users’ needs inspire your next email–and every single one after that.

Which of these tips did you find most useful?
Do you have any added advice or personal recommendations regarding Spam filters?
About the Author

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

I received compensation for this post.  The opinions within this post are of my own.  Please do your own research before purchasing product or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms - Blu-ray Review and Giveaway


Disney's dazzling adventure "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms"- inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann's classic tale and the beloved ballet "The Nutcracker"- carried audiences along with 14-year-old Clara (Mackenzie Foy) to a magical, mysterious world with breathtaking performances by Misty Copeland plus sweets, snowflakes, soldiers, scurrying mice... and no shortage of surprises. Destined to become an annual viewing tradition for adventurers of all ages, the film arrives home instantly with never-before seen extras and deleted scenes on Digital and Movies Anywhere, and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD Jan. 29, 2019.
Bonus features include a discussion with American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland about her role as the enchanting Ballerina Princess, her personal history with “The “Nutcracker” ballet, and her inspirational and historic rise within the world of dance. Extras take viewers on the set of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” to meet both new and reimagined characters, and discover how the Land of Sweets, Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and mysterious Fourth Realm were created to such dazzling effect. Deleted scenes provide a look at magical moments that didn’t make the final version of the movie.

In “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” Clara travels along a golden thread, presented at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual party, eagerly searching for a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a music box that holds a priceless gift. When she enters a mysterious parallel world, Clara encounters a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and three Realm regents, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). Ultimately, she must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve the key and return harmony to the unstable world.


Bonus features include:

BLU-RAY:

On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland - Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.

Unwrapping “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” - Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.

Deleted Scenes –
The Stahlbaums Arrive- As the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.

Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.

Deleted Scene: Clara Asks About Her Mother- Sugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother’s bedroom.

Left, Left, Left, Left, Left- Wandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.

Out with the Old- Sugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.

Music Videos -
“Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli- Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.

“The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang- Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.

ON DIGITAL:
Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”- View a reel that explores the layers of effects in sequences of the film.


My Review:

Based loosely on the classic novella and ballet, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is saturated with beautiful costumes and scenery.  This film tells of a girl named Clara who received a box with no key.  She finds the key after attending a Christmas party and following a golden ribbon to the Realm of Snowflakes.  While there, a mouse steals the key.  There are Four Realms in this alternate world and Clara must go through them all to get her key back.  The Realms are The Land of Sweets, the Land of Snowflakes, the Land of Flowers, and the Fourth Realm.  Clara comes across some rather odd characters in the realms.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms isn't at the very top of my favorite Disney movies, but it was still good.  There are some scenes that might be scary for young viewers but they're not over-the-top.  Clara ends up finding out that she's strong mentally and she can achieve her dreams.  She's witty and smart in the beginning and stays the same in the end.  The only difference is that she finds out she's a princess.  If you don't compare this movie to the classic Nutcracker, I don't think you'll be disappointed.  The CGI effects and fantasy concept make this a pretty entertaining movie.


In celebration of the movie release, Geeks Who Eat has created a delicious cookie recipe inspired by Mother Ginger!

Win It!

Three people will each win The Nutcracker and the Four Realms Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received product for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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Random Tuesday Thoughts - Upside the Trolls

It's been a hot minute since I've participated in Random Tuesday Thoughts, hosted by Stacy Uncorked.  It's one of my favorite linkups.  If you'd like to post your randomness, she'd love for you to play along.
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Logan and Allyson accompanied me to watch The Upside in theater last week.  It's one of the best movies I've seen in a while.  The Upside is based upon the true story of an aristocrat, a con man, and the friendship that transformed them both.  The film stars Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, and Nicole Kidman.  All three did superb in their roles.  I'd recommend that you see it.
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I wasted two hours of my life watching Troll (1986), a comedy horror film.  There was nothing funny or scary about it.  It was just outright atrocious.  One interesting tidbit that I did catch when watching the film is that the teen brother's name is Harry Potter Jr.  Lo and behold, I'm not the first one to take notice.  I did some online research and, apparently, the similarity (among others) was brought up.  J.K. Rowling denies that there's any relation between the two.  I'm going to side with J.K. on this one because I'd hate to think she referenced to one of the worst movies in the world when writing her books.
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So, the Rams and the Patriots are in the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Who are you rooting for?  I'm not a football fan by any means but do watch the Super Bowl every year.  I don't dislike the Patriots but I'm so over watching them play every year.
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I got good news the other day.  I entered a sweepstakes through U.S. Cellular and was announced as one of the 20 grand prize winners.  My win includes an Apple iPad, an Apple Smartwatch, and one year of free phone service.  Score!
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I've been having to dress up more often than usual.  I don't mind it once in a while but, I'm not gonna lie, I like the jammies and t-shirt life.  Next week calls for more days of actually caring about how I look too.  
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How have you been?
What's your randomness for the week?
Seen any good (or really bad) movies lately?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad - Recipe


Sometimes I'll get a gander at making a recipe I've come across on Facebook.  One popped up for Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad, and I knew right then and there that's what I was making as my contribution for a dinner.  Since then, I've made it several times. 

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, chopped
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 lb bacon, fried & crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
chopped broccoli and cauliflower

remaining ingredients to add


Directions:

Combine chopped broccoli and cauliflower in large bowl.

In a separate bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar and salt to make a dressing.

Add the dressing to the broccoli/cauliflower mix, stirring to evenly coat the veggies.

Stir in the bacon and cheese, reserving a small amount to sprinkle on top of salad just before serving.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Dinosaur Devotions - Children's Book Review and Giveaway


Book Overview:

*Ages 8-12

*Dinosaur Devotions will help your children dig deeper into the Word while uncovering fascinating facts about dinosaurs! These 75 devotions also include segments like Dino Stats, Bible Excavation, Digging Deeper, Did You Know?, and Jurassic Journaling. Dinosaur Devotions blends fun dinosaur facts with a deeper understanding of God’s Word.

My Review:

This isn't anything I haven't said before, but I firmly believe that it's important to teach children at an early age the core values and beliefs that revolve around Christianity.  Giving them the tools early on helps them to grow and mature in a religion of love, mercy, and grace.

Dinosaur Devotions is an engaging resource for children that teaches them about God by incorporating dinosaurs into the mix.  There are 75 devotions in this book, with each one showcasing a different dinosaur.  I found out that there's a lot more dinosaurs than I ever learned about in grade school!  

The devotion on the Tyrannosaurus Rex talks about how this infamous dinosaur was rather quite lazy and took the easy route.  It goes on to tell that sometimes the easiest way isn't the best way and God has called us to always be our best.  The rest of the devotions in the book are written in a similar fashion.

In addition to the Christ-centered devotions, there are facts given on each dinosaur.  Kids will learn how to pronounce their name, find out what they ate, and see how tall they were.  There's also other facts about the dinosaurs.  For instance, did you know that some scientists believe the Sarmientosaurus walked with its nose pointing down so it could nibble on low-growing plants?

As if all that wasn't interesting enough, there's also journaling prompts, dictionary words pertaining to dinosaurs, and narratives on how we can dig deeper in our walk with Christ.  Oh, and there's scripture on each page!

This hardcover book includes a blue ribbon bookmark.  Dinosaur Devotions is engaging and interesting.


Win It!

One person will win a Dinosaur Devotions children's book.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received book for review from Tommy Nelson.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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Cheryl's: 60% Off Buttercream Cookie Basket


Do you have a hankering for a delicious, chewy cookie or luscious brownie? If so, place an order with Cheryl's. Available at retail stores in Ohio and on their thriving website, Cheryl's makes its customers happy with a wide selection of cookies, brownies, cakes and other fresh-baked goods — all made with fine, quality ingredients. For perfect gift-giving, there are items packaged in beautiful gift tins, towers, boxes and baskets.

Save 60% Off Cheryl's Buttercream Cookie Basket.  Originally priced at $49.99, you can get it for only $19.99!  Offer expires January 31, 2019.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Zales: 15% Off All Orders



Zales has been helping couples say 'I love you' for more than 85 years. As a leader in the jewelry industry, Zales provides fine jewelry and gifts at affordable prices.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Zales is offering a 15% discount on all orders with coupon code ZCART15.  Even better, you will not pay for shipping.  No matter the size of your order, you'll get UPS 2-day shipping at no additional cost.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Love Lost, Then Brought Back Again

My mom and divorced when I was less than one year old.  That in itself never bothered me.  What hurt was that I had a very loving mother but not a very loving dad.  I felt he liked me, but didn't really love me.  

You see, he wasn't what you called a "picture perfect father".  An awesome man with a great personality, he definitely was.  However, he lacked in the fathering department.  He traveled the country and rarely made contact with me.  I cried so many times as a child and young adult wondering what I ever did that make my father not want to have that parental relationship with me.  I wanted that father, daughter bond so bad.  God felt my yearning and stepped in.

My mother raised me and she did a fine job.  My dad was a good person in general, but wasn't there for me.  He was married to another lady and they traveled the country working at KOA campgrounds.  After being married to my step-mother for over 20 years, she passed away of cancer.

About a year after my step-mother passed away, my mother asked if I would call my dad and ask him to have coffee with her.  My jaw hit the floor!  The two had barely said ten words to each other in over twenty years and all of a sudden she wanted to go on an informal date with him.
I made the call and the rest is history.  My mother and father rekindled their relationship.  They fell back in love and moved in with each other.  The relationship I never had with my dad was now becoming a part of my life.  It was only a year and a half that they were together before dad passed away but I had more of a relationship with my father in that short of time than I ever did in the almost thirty years of my life.  

He gave my children the love and affection that he didn't give me as a child.  He asked for forgiveness for not being there and I accepted his apology.  Our relationship had been mended and repaired.  We spent a lot of time together camping, listening to music, goofing off, and watching my children grow.  I learned a lot about my father and who he was.  He also learned about me.

I firmly believe God knew the ache in my heart and knew I needed my father in my life.  If even for a short time, I'm thankful for God's blessing and intervention.  Now both mom and dad are in Heaven together.

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 157

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 157.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

"It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth."
–Matthew 15:11

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Bloggers and Influencers: Earn Extra Money with Savings DealPro Network

Join the Savings DealPro Network!

I don't earn my living by being a blogger.  I've been doing this gig for nine years but haven't made enough (or even really tried) to make this a full-time deal.  I earn money here and there, and that's good enough for me.

If you are a blogger and are interested in earning some extra cash, I highly recommend DealPro Network.  I signed up via another blogger's referral link late 2018 and it's been my favorite affiliate program so far.

By posting about online discounts and deals, coupons, and giveaways I've been able to garner a decent amount of money in the short time I've worked with the company.  I doubt it'll make anyone rich but I'm happy with the turnout and with how quickly the network pays its influencers.  I receive monies monthly via Paypal.

If you are interested in sharing online deals and/or printable coupons with your audience, complete the on-boarding process for the Savings DealPro Network to start earning now.

This post contains referral links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Check It Out: #ZalesForVDay Giveaway



Savings.com is giving away five $100 Zales e-gift cards to promote the brand ahead of Valentine's Day!

Giveaway ends on Thursday, January 31st at 11:59 PM PT
Enter the giveaway by heading to the Zales page on Savings.com and submit your email address on the form at the top of the page.  The winners will be chosen through a lottery drawing and notified on Friday (2/1) via the email address they used to enter.

Lose that notion that Zales is just a store for diamonds. You can find jewelry of all types in a range of metals and stone types to suit all budgets and tastes.

Use code ZCLR20AFF at Zales online to receive an additional 20% discount off clearance items.
Offer expires February 2, 2019.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Monday, January 21, 2019

A Birthmark By Any Other Name Is Just Dirt


My sister, being ten years older than me, would sometimes play "Mama Hen".  One way she'd show her torment that she cared is by taking a washcloth and rubbing the dirt off my forearm.  She'd scrub and scrub, frustrated that the dirt would never come off.  My mom would inevitably come in, after hearing me screaming in pain.  She'd laugh it off and walk away.  After a few times of this suffering, mom finally explained to her that the dirt was, in fact, my birthmark.  Now that I've recovered, I can finally laugh about it!

Do you have a birthmark?
What things have your siblings done to cause you angst?

Fortnite T-Shirts at TVStoreOnline.com - @TVStoreOnline Giveaway



TV Store Online feeds your TV and movie obsession with its classic TV and movie shirts and memorabilia. You'd be hard pressed not to find a tshirt or memorabilia featuring one of your favorite shows or movies.  I've received pajamas and sweaters from the company and have been nothing but impressed.

TV Store Online has just launched a small line of officially-licensed Fortnite t-shirts.  There are currently four youth styles available and three available for adults.  If you have kids that play video games or enjoy gaming yourself, then I'm sure you're familiar with the hugely-popular video game.  I don't know much about the game itself but know it's popular in these parts.

TVStoreOnline.com would like to offer one of my readers choice of Fortnite t-shirt, in youth or adult size.

TV Store Online Social Media accounts:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TvStoreOnline/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TVStoreOnline
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/TVStoreOnline/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tvstoreonline/


Win It!

One person will win choice of Fortnite t-shirt.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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Animal Owners: Super Sales Going On At Petmate

PetMate is passionate about pets and their families. As a worldwide leader of solutions and excellence in the pet industry for over 50 years, they’re committed to providing fun, trusted, quality products to enhance the lives of pets.

Visit Petmate.com
10% OFF Site Wide at Petmate.com.
Use code PETQ1 to save on orders $10+
Offer expires 3/31/19

From vintage handkerchief prints to cowhide print collars, your dog will look good supporting Miranda Lambert's pet project, the MuttNation Foundation® supporting rescue efforts and raising awareness of pet adoption.
70% OFF All MuttNation Items at Petmate.com!
Use code MUTTNATION to save on orders $10+.
Offer ends 1/31/19.

Visit Petmate.com
15% OFF Site Wide at Petmate.com!
Use code BFFQ1 to save on orders $20+
Offer expires 3/31/19.

This post contains affiliate links.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

My Most Recent Amazon Prime Buys

So, it seems a fairly new topic for bloggers to write about is what they've recently purchased on Amazon Prime.  Jumping on the bandwagon, here's what I've recently bought:

The Monk (Oxford World's Classics) - Paperback 

Okay, so I ordered this book but it wasn't technically for me.  My son needed it for his British Literature class in college.  Logan ended up giving me a synopsis of what it's about and it actually sounds pretty good (in the psychological horror sense).  But then I saw that the font is too darn small and the words are too yesteryear/poetic for me.  (Interesting fact: The original book was published in 1796!)

Moroso 60460 Early Cover Cam Button Kit for Small Block Chevy

Again, something else I ordered but wasn't actually for me.  My husband send a screenshot that he just HAD to have this piece for his car.  Since I know y'all are all about cars, he says it's a must-have piece for a Chevy Camaro.  There you have it, straight from the mechanic's mouth.

GlitZGlam Rocker Gnome – “George”

Something else I ordered but didn't keep for myself.  It was actually a gift for my sister.  She collects garden gnomes and this one fits her personality to a T.

Hangsun Foot Spa Bath Massager with Heat Massage and Jet FM180 Electric Feet Salon Tub with Bubbles, Rollers, Vibration, Pedicure Spa & Infrared

On wait, here's something I purchased for myself!  I haven't tried all the functions of this gadget yet but have massaged my feet with the rollers and vibrations.  Very relaxing.  It doesn't keep the water hot for a real long time but that just means you need to start out by putting very warm or hot water in it in the first place, then immediately use the foot spa.

Danielle D8064 Reusable Makeup Removing Cloths (4-Pack)

This here is the best thing since sliced bread!  Each cloth is like a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for your face.  This cloth has the ability to remove all types of cosmetics, including waterproof mascara without the use of harmful chemicals or synthetic makeup removers. With just warm water, each cloth will remove the toughest makeup and makes your face feel so soft. 

These makeup removing cloths are one of my top fave finds of 2018.  I didn't get them until the end of the year but I won't ever go without them again.  The cloths are washable and can be used over and over.  Love, love, love!
two of my Erase Your Face cloths

Would you purchase any of these items from Amazon Prime?  Don't BS me and tell me it'd be the car part!  

What Amazon Prime purchases have you gotten lately?

Three More January Winners

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

A few of my giveaways have ended and the winners have been randomly drawn.

The winner of the Rummikub game giveaway is #32, AMY.

The winner of The Cow Said Neigh! children's book giveaway is #3, Edna Williams.

The winner of the Auntie Anne's coupons giveaway is #55, bluecat.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to keep an eye out for open giveaways.  They're always listed at the top left hand side of my blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win.

Goosebumps 2 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack - Giveaway


Based on the best-selling book series by R.L. Stine and starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, Chris Parnell and Ken Jeong

GOOSEBUMPS 2

Now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD

You’re in for a fun scare now that Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has unleashed GOOSEBUMPS 2 on Digital and available via the Movies Anywhere App, and on Blu-ray™ and DVD.

Slappy the devious ventriloquist dummy returns to run amuck, in this second installment of the family-friendly franchise based on R.L. Stine’s beloved book series. Standing in Slappy’s way is a terrifyingly talented cast including Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs), Madison Iseman (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle), Jeremy Ray Taylor (It), Caleel Harris (Castle Rock), and Chris Parnell (Rick and Morty), with Ken Jeong (Crazy Rich Asians).



The GOOSEBUMPS 2 Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital bonus features include a gag reel full of hilarious hijinks, three all-new deleted scenes and five featurettes. Between the chills, thrills and goosebumps, watch the cast get a case of the giggles in the “Gag Reel.” Dive deep in “Thrills & Chills- The Making of Goosebumps 2” with Madison Iseman, along with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew. “Meet the Monsters” gives fans a sneak peek of how the scary creatures were brought to life. In “Slappy’s Audition,” watch what happens when Slappy auditions for the role he was born to play. In “Science with Slappy,” enter the Slapatory where Madison, Jeremy and Caleel join Slappy for some electrifying experiments! And get ready to sing along with three hilarious “Slappy-oke” songs. Who knew dummies could sing?

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for. With their after school junk business, best friends Sonny and Sam hope to find treasure in other people’s trash. But when cleaning out the old Stine house, they open a locked book that frees a supernatural nightmare- Slappy! Now, with the help of Sonny’s sister Sarah, they’re in a race against time to get the sinister dummy and all the creatures he’s brought to life back into the pages before he unleashes total pandemonium!

Based on the beloved Scholastic book series by R.L Stine, GOOSEBUMPS 2 was directed by Academy Award®-winner Ari Sandel (2005, Best Short Film-Live Action, West Bank Story) from a story by Rob Lieber and Darren Lemke and screenplay by Lieber. The film is produced by Deborah Forte and Neal H. Moritz and is executive produced by Timothy M. Bourne and Tania Landau.

GOOSEBUMPS 2 has a run time of approximately 120 minutes and is rated PG for scary creature action and images, some thematic elements, rude humor and language.
Win It!

One person will win a Goosebumps 2 Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Power of Prayer Thursdays - Week 156



I believe in a God that hears prayers and answers them. I've witnessed the miraculous gift of answered prayer. And, I want to pray for you. I've started weekly Power of Prayer post every Thursday. We are now on week 156.  If you are needing prayer in an area of your life, please leave a comment and I'll commit to pray for your need or request. You can be as general or as specific as you like. Whether it be for healing, salvation, finances, emotions, or another area of life, I'd like to lift it up in prayer.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
–Hebrews 12:1

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Shut Your Trap and Listen

Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash


Me:  9-1-1.  What's your emergency?

Him: I might need to go to the hospital.  I feel like I want to hurt myself.

Me:  Are you suicidal?

Him:  Yes.  I haven't done anything yet, but feel like I want to.

Me:  What's going on that you want to harm yourself?

Him:  I just have a lot going on in my life.  Anytime I try to talk to someone, they tell me it will all be okay.  They don't care.  I just want someone to listen.

*This is a condensed version of a 9-1-1 call I took early last year.


Having been a 9-1-1 Dispatcher for 14 years, there's not a lot of calls that really stick out.  They tend to run together, one and the same.  That particular call, though, was one of the few that etched in my memory.  Thankfully, the male received help.  But his words have stuck with me.

We are so caught up in ourselves that we don't pay attention to others.  REALLY PAY ATTENTION.  When someone is telling you a story, do you focus on what they're saying or are you chomping at the bit to tell about something similar that's happened to you?  Do you brush someone off when they're trying to talk because you are feeling rushed?  Are you quick to offer advice, but slow to lend an ear?

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

Hypocrite #1 here would like to advise you to take the time to listen, really listen, to a person.  Ask the person if they want to vent and let out their feelings or if they want advice.  Don't be quick to dole out how you'd handle things if that's not what the person is actually looking for.

If someone tells you about their trip to see a Cardinals Game, don't try to one-up them by immediately interjecting how you got tickets behind the home plate with inclusive food and drinks.  It's not that your story doesn't matter.  But let their story matter too.

In a nutshell, shut your mouth and open your ears once in a while!

God Bless You & Good Night Touch and Feel - Children's Book Review and Giveaway


Book Overview:

*Ages 0-4

*God Bless You and Good Night is now available as a touch-and-feel book! This beloved bedtime classic has touched more than 500,000 families, and this touch-and-feel edition offers even more fun as little ones prepare for bed..  

*Bedtime can be a precious time of connection for you and your little one. Enjoy those snuggly moments together as you read this classic bedtime book while exploring all the fun touch-and-feel elements, from the polar bear's soft fur to the elephant's leathery skin to the silky grass of the African grasslands.


My Review:

A book that originally released in 2013, God Bless You & Good Night continues to be a favorite for bedtime stories.  This book, God Bless You & Good Night Touch and Feel,  is similar to the original except it has a few different animal illustrations and there are areas within the pages that children can touch and feel.  For instance, there's the white fur of a polar bear and the coarse feel of a hedgehog.

Perfect for toddlers, this short storybook is written in rhythmic form.  It features cute illustrations of animals.  There's giraffes, polar bears, penguins, and more.  The story starts with seeing the moon so bright, goes to taking a bedtime bath, and ends with getting tucked in bed.  This book is just the right length for a bedtime story and children are given a reminder of how much they are loved.


Win It!

One person will win a God Bless You & Good Night Touch and Feel children's book.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

I received book for review from Tommy Nelson.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.
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