Monday, December 31, 2012

Peace Out, 2012!

I have had mixed emotions regarding 2012. While a lot of pretty crappy things occurred [losing my job, death of my cousin, death of my aunt, flooded apartment, etc.], a lot of awesome things happened as well. I started this blog, made awesome new blog + pen pals, ran my first 5K, turned thirty, finished grad school + became a bit craftier. There is much more to be thankful for that I am forgetting, but if you stop by often + check out my Instagram, you know there has been lots for me to be thankful for this year, even through the hard times.

 I'm not making any resolutions, but I plan on doing things throughout the year that will help make all areas of my life a bit sweeter. Thank you all for coming on this crazy journey with me! Here is to a happy + healthy 2013 for everyone on the planet.

Giveaway, Day 31: lauriebreaker.

I can't believe the very last giveaway of 2012 is here! While I loved giving fun treats away to all of you, I am happy that this is over. I never realized how time-consuming this would be. Setting up the Rafflecopter, copying + pasting links, emailing people more than normal, tweeting like a beast, etc. It felt kindof spammy, but I wasn't going to go back on my word. The final giveaway comes from Laura, a reader + brand spankin' new sponsor of the blog. She's a graphic designer who has her own Etsy shop, stocked with fun cards + stamps, which are perfect for those of you who love snail mail [or have decided to send more in 2013].

One lucky winner will snag a rubber return address hand stamp - you can choose your design [Homestead, Nelson or Olson] - the Homestead stamp has additional options, which are shown in the lower portion of the photo below.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Giveaway, Day 30: Bracelets by Cindi.

This is the second to last giveaway, I can't believe it! This is the last giveaway from my pal Cindi for this year, but I'm sure she will be seen around here in 2013. This giveaway is fun, because YOU are going to have input on designing your two bracelets!

The winner will receive one of each style bracelet, but you get to choose the colors. Color choices are oatmeal, lavender, turquoise, ecru, pink [which are shown in the above picture, in order], along with black. You can choose the same colors for each piece, or go with two different ones - its totally up to you!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Giveaway, Day 29: Dianna Hansson. CLOSED.

My friend Dianna is one of the people I text when I'm having some sort of fashion emergency/disaster, in need of someone to motivate me during a juice fast, or anything random that comes up. She's a good egg. She's been making jewelry for trendy boutiques on the island forever, but she decided to open her own shop on Etsy. It recently reopened, so to celebrate, she's giving a new item [that isn't even listed yet] to one of you lucky ducks.

These fantastic brass earrings are up for grabs. Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win this pair before they hit shelves!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Giveaway, Day 28: Karmaloop. CLOSED.

Last night I was sitting around, doing some blog work + listening/watching Karmaloop's streaming giveaway madness, Deals Gone Wild. They were asking random questions + one was about The Spice Girls. Seeing as I was all about Girl Power, I answered in a flash via Twitter. I snagged a $25 gift code + decided I wanted to give it away on the blog. I wasn't sure if I was allowed to, so I called the phone number they had, so I could ask.

image via

I wound up having a nice conversation with LIL INTERNET [he is the senior director + editor for KarmaloopTV, but is also a DJ, video director, etc.] about my evening, the holidays, the hurricane + spreading cheer. My words seemed to have struck a chord with him, because he gave me a gift code for myself, when the original phone call was simply to tell the staff working the web show that they were doing a great job + to ask if I could give the $25 gift code to one of my readers for Giveaway a Day December.

I had many folks on Twitter send well wishes our way + some even complimented me on spreading holiday cheer [I didn't mention this on the blog, but I did on Facebook - I surprised two couples on random days in Dollar Tree + paid for both of their orders - it cost me under $20, but brought some serious cheer to those folks].

So, here is the giveaway for a $25 Karmaloop Gift Code. The giveaway ends at midnight EST on January 7 + I will contact the winner within 24 hours of the contest ending. Good luck + have fun! :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Giveaway, Day 27: Six Months of Ad Space. CLOSED.

Do you own a blog or business, but don't have it in your budget to advertise? Well, you're in luck! The giveaway for the day is six months of Saver ad space on short girl, long island. Don't have a blog or business, but know someone who does? If you win, you can gift the ad space to a friend - remember, this is the season of giving, folks.

Saver ads are $5 per month, but come with loads of goodies - a Sponsor Spotlight, plus the option to host a giveaway or product review on the blog. Since you get six months, you can also guest blog [which isn't usually included in saver spots, but its an option only available for this contest].

Use the Rafflecopter setup below to enter. If you've missed any of the giveaways featured so far, there are a handful still in effect, so catch up here. The ones that are closed are marked in the title, as to lessen confusion.

PS - I'm also giving away a free month of advertising to three lucky readers - use the promo code FREESAVER to snag one of the three spots up for grabs.

December Cara Box Reveal.

My blogger pal, Kaitlyn, started a really awesome swap on her blog a few months ago. Its called Cara Box + I don't know why I didn't start participating sooner! The details on what the exchange entails is in the link I just provided. Each month, there is a different theme. This one was "sparkle," due to the holiday season. Chelsea from Cardio + Cocktails was assigned to put together a Cara Box for me.

When I first opened the box, my eyes lit up. Chelsea knows the way to my heart - dark chocolate! There was also a few wrapped packages + a not to "make dinner together." Erich + I usually don't make dinner [his mom was laid off in October, so while she hunts for a job, she cooks delicious food for us], but I told him that I want to cook together this week.

 I love unwrapping presents, although wrapping them is my least favorite thing to do, haha! I couldn't way to see what else Chelsea found for me [thanks to the wonders of the 'net, she could learn about me by reading my blog, checking out my Pinterest + seeing what I talk about on other social media outlets].

Chelsea snagged me some Star Wars miniature ornaments [I LOVE Star Wars + so does Erich], a super cute plush ornament [reminds me on Christmas as a small child for some reason], a picture frame + Haribo gummy bears [my favorite brand of gummy bears on earth]. This was such a fun gift to open, especially the day after Christmas. Thanks again, Chelsea!

What I love about Cara Box is that the swaps are unique. Chelsea had to get me a gift, but I didn't get Chelsea a gift - I sent a Cara Box to Ashley, who runs one of my new favorite blogs, Wannabe Green. She just posted about the fun Cara Box I sent her, so head over to her blog to see what was inside!

I highly recommend participating in Cara Box - its much more personal than subscription box services [Birchbox, Whimseybox, GoBites, etc.] + its fun to be able to curate a gift for someone else. Plus, you meet new people + who doesn't love that? If you decide to join in, let me know! I'll definitely be on board for January!

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Seventeen.

This edition of TMST is from Dara, a reader who reached out to me with an awesome tutorial that she actually used for her wedding. This is a great example of upcycling + these flowers can be used for a plethora of occasions!

For my wedding centerpieces, we decided to go with preserved/dried flowers for the main focus.  Aside from the flowers, we wanted something really interesting on the ends of our tables for the wedding. We used banquet tables, so they are long and rectangular. Therefore, one centerpiece didn't really work! We needed a line of centerpieces. We're both into old books, my fiance (now husband!!) more than myself actually, so I set out to make some book paper flowers!

I came across a few different sites explaining how to make paper flowers. I tried the crumbling method, but rolling is just so much cleaner (and easier).  I took some tips from many different sites, and experimented a little, and figured out which method worked best for me. Then, I took some photos and compiled it into (what I hope is) an easy to follow tutorial!

Let me know if its confusing or if it works for you - I'd love to see the results!

To see more of Dara's fun creations, visit her craft blog, A Very Good Coat Rack + make sure to swing by her Etsy shop - Dara makes the cutest stuffed animals!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Giveaway, Day 26: Shwings. CLOSED.

On Christmas Eve, I received an awesome package in the mail from Shwings, a company that makes fun accessories for your shoes/sneakers. I have yet to try them on my sneakers, because the weather has been yucky, but I can't wait to put them on my new Nike Dunk Sky High. The awesome folks at Shwings sent me two pairs of Pink Glitter wings - one for me + one for a lucky reader of the blog!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Merry.

For those of you who celebrate, I hope you had a Christmas Eve + Christmas day. Being that I was raised in an Italian household, Christmas Eve is the real shindig, while Christmas day is pretty mellow. I spent the evening with my mom + her cousins, which was fun. I took a video of my mom making [yes, making] homemade mozzarella cheese, which is really cool. Its insanely delicious + I ate way too much. We had fun chatting + opening presents. Its an ongoing joke that my mom always forgets/misplaces one of our gifts + this year was no exception. A week ago, she told me that once she find the gift that she lost, she will give it to me. While Erich was unwrapping his gifts behind me, I heard him oohing + aahing over something he just opened. I turn around + see him ogling over The Sounds of Star Wars. I look at my mom + say to her, "Didn't you buy him for that two years ago, but you couldn't find it?" My cousin + mom burst out laughing, because when my mom was wrapping it, they were discussing the same thing. Typical.

This morning was spent sleepily opening stockings [I had two this year, one from my mom + one from Erich], followed by a coffee break, to fuel us for unwrapping our presents. Everyone was spoiled with wonderful, thoughtful presents. We headed over for breakfast with my stepdad, which was followed by gifts + March of the Wooden Soldiers [which might be the creepiest holiday movie I have ever seen]. All day, I couldn't shake the sadness I was feeling. I kept thinking about how this was the first Christmas Dom would not be celebrating, then I thought about those families in Newtown. There is so much to be lucky for in this world + I hope that these people can find things that will bring light + love their way.

Its only 830, but I am heading into bed. The holidays always wear me out, especially since we went on a crazy cleaning spree earlier this evening. I hope you all had a wonderful day + try to spread cheer to those around you.

Giveaway, Day 25: The Sapphire Bee. CLOSED.

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a fantastic day, even if you didn't celebrate today. I'm going to make this short + sweet, because the holidays kicked my butt. Today is the final giveaway for this year from The Sapphire Bee. Brittany is giving away one month of free large ad space, plus a $10 e-gift card to her shop.

Also, if some of you have holiday funds you want to get to spending, The Sapphire Bee is running the Clean Slate Sale - 50% off most items in the shop, PLUS an extra 10% off for the next two days if you use the code MISTLETOE.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Music Monday.

Erich + I were talking in the car today, as he was switching radio stations. He complained about the lack of decent holiday songs. As he said that, this blast from the past came on. Finally, a Christmas song we could both agree on. Enjoy!

Giveaway, Day 24: MerCurios. CLOSED.

Sorry this is up so late, but I spent Christmas Eve with my family. This is another fun treat from a dear friend of mine, Mary-Jo. She owns MerCurios, which is my go-to for amazing crystal pieces. She creates a plethora of beautiful items, which is why she is giving away a $40 gift certificate to the MerCurios Etsy shop, so you can pick your favorite item!

I own two custom rings that Mary-Jo + I collaborated on awhile back + I absolutely love them. I was eyeing some of the pieces tonight + I think I need to add a new piece to my collection - perhaps something that glows.

Enter via the Rafflecopter below - if you've missed a few giveaways, scroll through the blog, because many are still open. Good luck! :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Giveaway, Day 23: Nerd Craft Librarian. CLOSED.

Many of you have seen posts about me + my partner in craft, Sarina. Some people are crazy cat ladies [I'm not one.... yet] + others are crazy craft ladies. We fall into the second category. Today, as I was texting Sarina about the giveaway, autocorrect had its way with me.

So, this is what I sent her a few minutes later...

A Bowie isn't up for grabs today, but a bowtie pin is! They come in red or TARDIS blue, for you Whovians.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Giveaway, Day 22: iTunes. CLOSED.

I can't believe there are only three days til Christmas - time flies. I have been doing so much last minute shopping + wrapping, so I've been getting to bed super early [I am currently frolicking in dreamland, seeing as I have to wake up early for work - the beauty of scheduled posts]. I have a confession: I have zero patience when it comes to wrapping paper + I wait until the week before to wrap it all. Glutton. For. Punishment. Next year, I'm just getting a bunch of gift bags.

Anyway, the real reason why you're here is to win something rad. Courtesy of my pal, Joey, another $25 iTunes gift card is up for grabs. Make sure you head over to Twitter + thank him for supplying these - he did it out of his own pocket, which is beyond awesome.

If you've missed any giveaways, there are still some awesome prizes up for grabs, so look around to see what is still available. Good luck! :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Giveaway, Day 21: Weekdāzed. CLOSED.

We are entering the home stretch not only for the giveaways, but for the holidays as well. The wonderful folks at Weekdāzed are doing one more giveaway for the year, but I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of the line next year [they're making a huuuuuge announcement on Christmas Day, so keep your eyes peeled].

2012 has been a trying year for many people, but I think that we have made the best of it, even in less than stellar circumstances. Whoever wins this shirt can wear it with pride, even if they aren't from Long Island. This shirt represents all of us in some way, if you think about it. We've all weathered a storm of sorts in our lives + we survived. :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Giveaway, Day 20: Starbucks. CLOSED.

I'm one of those people that is at Starbucks more often than I'd like to admit. To justify my frequent visits, I use the excuse that I worked for the company for nearly ten years, so its part of my genetic makeup at this point. I decided to pass on some latte lovin' this evening - one lucky reader will win a $10 Starbucks eGift card!

A few photos that I had in my iPhone: The holiday sign I created last year 
[I was made fun of mercilessly for it], my go-to holiday drink = gingerbread 
chai, my favorite summer beverage = coconut iced latte, + a drawing of 
me in my cap + gown [apparently, I look similar to the Starbucks siren].

If you not correctly complete the tasks listed below, your entry will be disqualified, so please be honest. Good luck! :)

Teach Me Something Thursday, Volume Sixteen.

Between now + the new year, I feel there is always some sort of event going on. If you're anything like me, wearing the same outfit + accessories is a no-go [when it comes to school, I could care less in sweats], especially if people will be taking photos. The necklace you'll learn how to make below is a great accessory for your holiday soirees, plus they make great gifts.  This installment of TMST is from Marianna, owner of Castellammare Designs. 

This is Marianna of Castellammare Designs Jewellery writing from Ottawa, Canada. I’m visiting my good friend Michele’s blog today to show you the basics of making a beaded strand necklace. Today I will be showing you the steps I took to make a Smoke Ombre Pearl Strand Necklace for Michele. You can use this technique with just about any type of bead and in any combination you like.

  • Beading wire, cr
  • Crimp beads
  • Crimp clams
  • Beads (I used 8mm glass pearls)
  • Clasp
  • Jump rings

  • Crimper
  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers
  • Bead board
  • Bead mat (you can use a towel)

Start by laying your beads out on the bead board in the pattern of your choosing. Note the measurements are listed right on the board. I’ve decided to make this necklace 18” so I want my beads to extend a bit further than the 9” marking. The beads will sit tighter on the wire then on the board so keep this in mind.

Next, measure out your wire. You want 18” plus an extra inch on each side so aim for 20” of wire. Once cut, take one of the crimp beads and one of the crimp clams and attach to one end of the wire. Do this by using the crimper to flatten the crimp bead to the wire. Close the clam over the bead. Lightly tug the clam to make sure it’s secure.
Now you can start stringing your beads!

Once all your beads are on the wire, carefully lay the wire back onto the bead board and check the necklace measurement. If you measure just below 18” not to worry, the clasp will add another ½” or so.

When you are happy with the length you can begin to close off the loose end.  Add a clam to the strand (open side out) and a crimp bead. Crimp the bead with your crimpers about ½” away from the last bead. Why you ask? You want to allow the beads room to move. If the necklace is to tight it may snap when worn. Now cut off the excess wire at the end and close the clam over the crimp. Almost done.

Now, use the pliers to open one of the jump rings and attach it to the hole on one of the clams. Add the clasp and use the pliers to close the jump ring. Do the same on the other side only without adding a clamp.

Try on your necklace, we are done!

Marianna is giving away a $30 shop credit to Castellammare Designs for Giveaway a Day December, so make sure to enter!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Giveaway, Day 19: Kouture. CLOSED.

Well, we're halfway through the week. Some of you might be cramming for finals [or doing a happy dance because they are over] + I can bet some of you still have to get some holiday shopping done before Santa Claus comes to town. I figured today was a great day to host the second Kouture contest. One lucky winner will receive a $25 gift card to Kouture, plus a 20% discount code.

If you need to stock up on a few gifts for your loved ones [or treat yo self], Kouture is running a killer sale - 50% off all sale items with the code 50MORE. Sale ends on 12/21.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Giveaway, Day 18: Bracelets By Cindi. CLOSED.

We're only on the eighteenth day of giveaways, but I feel like I have been doing this for months, oi! Today's giveaway is actually a gift for you + a friend, or gifts for two friends. Technically, you could keep them both for yourself, but I have a feeling that you'll pay it forward. Up for grabs are two pink + gold bracelets from Bracelets by Cindi.

I mentioned this earlier in the month, but Cindi is not reopening her shop for the holidays, but she IS taking custom orders via email. To get an idea of what you'd like, check out what she has sold in her Etsy shop, then email her at

If you've missed a few giveaways, feel free to catch up here. Good luck! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Music Monday.

I'm a little late with the holiday music video today, but better late than never, right? I found this gem of a video, which features Cee Lo Green + The Muppets on his holiday tune, "All I Need Is Love," from his recent holiday release, Cee Lo's Magic Moment. I nearly choked on my Gingerbread Soy Chai when I heard Kermit say "Hotlanta" - I was not expecting that. Seeing Cee Lo Muppetfied was pretty awesome + I definitely heard a bit of Lou Bega's "Mambo No. 5" around 3:45. The ending is really funny, so once the credits roll, keep watching!

Giveaway, Day 17: Moonlit Glass Jewelry. CLOSED.

Welcome back to the workweek. Hopefully you all spent your weekend with those that make your life magical. Today's giveaway is from Ailea, over at Moonlit Glass Jewelry. She graciously donated a pair of Red Plumeria Bobby Pins + a pair of Raspberry Red Dichroic Glass Studs, which are great ways to add a pop of color to your outfits!

Ailea + her husband also have another Etsy shop, where they sell fun stickers for your car or laptop [they welcome custom orders, too], so make sure to swing by - these make great stocking stuffers!

Note: All giveaway entries are checked, so if you do not do the task + say you did, that entry is disqualified. There have been many people who have been cheating, which is pretty sad. This is supposed to be fun, so be honest, please!

Another Reason to Love Cards Against Humanity.

I love Cards Against Humanity - its like the adult version of Apples to Apples + makes you laugh like no other. I had been waiting to get my own set for months, after it had been sold out. I could have printed free cards from the site, but lets face it - I'm not going to waste time printing these, plus cutting, then finding somewhere to put them. No. I want the fancypants box + the shiny little cards.

Fancypants box photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

So, once I finally got word that Cards Against Humanity was FINALLY back in stock, I snagged it off Amazon faster than you can say Austral Pygmy Owl. They also released a Holiday Expansion Pack, which allowed buyers to name their price. They said they cost $3 to make, but suggested price was $5. I snagged a set, because I saw that one of the cards said "Elf cum," + lets be real  - how could I say no to that?

Well, what I didn't know was what the creators of Cards Against Humanity planned on doing with the profits they made from the Holiday Expansion Pack. I received an email today, telling us how the Holiday Expansion Pack sales fared  + how they decided to spend the money. After reading the link included in the email, I soon realized how they decided to spend the profits + gasped. This video is at the end of the email, but I wanted to put it on here in case you didn't feel like clicking the links.

Dude, this might be one of the coolest things I have seen in quite some time. I use Wikipedia on a daily basis, whether it be for academia or general information [note: regarding academia, I do not quote information on Wikipedia, but I do check the sources they utilized, to see if it is appropriate for what I am working on]. Erich + I were actually discussing making a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation [they operate Wikipedia + other Wiki projects] after the holidays. We still plan on donating, because we enjoy giving back to those who give to us!

Now, as for Cards Against Humanity, I plan on supporting them to the fullest, after this awesome act on their part - they could have used those funds for new projects or holiday bonuses, but decided to donate it to something the utilize on the regular. I still need to snag the First Expansion + Second Expansion, which will have to wait til after the holidays, but I also plan on giving the gift of Cards Against Humanity throughout the year [if it isn't sold out, which happens often]. I believe in giving back to good folks, even especially if they are foul-mouthed + inappropriate.

Update: If you looked on Wikipedia to figure out what an Austral Pygmy Owl was, let me know! ;-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Giveaway, Day 16: Pegasus Star Party. CLOSED.

Being able to showcase many of my talented friends this month has been wonderful. They each bring something different to the table, but what they all have in common is that they are hard-working individuals who are genuinely good people. Today's giveaway is from one of my Long Island ladies, Julie. Along with her partner-in-crime, Holly, they created Pegasus Star Party. They create a plethora of  unique accessories + awesome items for the home. The ladies created a frightfully beautiful necklace - here is what the gals have to say about it:

This spooky, sparkly necklace is scary-beautiful and will charm you to death! The 19 inch silver-tone chain is studded with teal and black sparkling glass beads. The adorning charms are in a Dia de Los Muertos theme, including a blue howlite skull bead, matte black metal rose, and antique silver-tone cross.

The ladies are also running a sale that ends today, so I put this giveaway up earlier than I normally would - 20% off anything in their Etsy shop with the code CANDYCANECRUSHER. If you need some last minute gifts, they will ship all orders placed this weekend on Monday, to make sure they'll arrive by Christmas. 

To win this custom necklace, enter via Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Giveaway, Day 15: Coffee + Cardigans. CLOSED.

I hope you are all making the best of your weekend + enjoying the little things. Today's giveaway is from Callie, the gal behind Coffee and Cardigans. Callie's blog focuses on being able to dress well, while on a college budget. In the theme of making life more budget-friendly, Callie is offering up a free month of large ad space for one lucky winner.

If you've missed any of the giveaways, there are still many to enter. Click here to see what gifts are still up for grabs.

Newtown, Connecticut.

I'm not a religious person, but I have been praying for the people of Newtown, Connecticut. What happened on the morning of December 14 is a nightmare that this close-knit community cannot escape. Members of the community, of all ages, died senselessly at the hands of twenty-year-old Adam Lanza. As we noticed from the numerous reports that were casted today, there has been a great deal of misinformation [they claimed Ryan Lanza had committed the crime, that both Lanza parents were murdered, + that his mother was the teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, to name a few major pieces of information given out by the media]. 

You know what, though? All of that information is not necessary for us to know. The people of Newtown should be given privacy to grieve + gather their thoughts - THAT is necessary. While I appreciate the Connecticut State police giving numerous press conferences throughout the day to update folks around the world + beyond, they shouldn't have had to answer dozens of questions from reporters [many of which were intrusive + inappropriate]. The government officials, law enforcement agencies + the medical community need to make sure everyone in their town is being taken care of. The families who lost loved ones, the students who were at the school + their families, plus the rest of the community who treasures this town + the residents - their well-being is top priority. 

Regarding the media, I am appalled by many reporters, news stations, + executives at major stations that are going onto social media sites such as Twitter, searching through hashtags related to the incident + are asking if they could be put in touch with the person they know that has a child or relative that attends Sandy Hook Elementary, works at the school, or knows the Lanza family personally. This is disgusting + deplorable. I understand your job is to break the story first, but most stations reported false information without fact-checking, which is irresponsible + lacks integrity. 

I posted this on Facebook earlier today, but I wanted to share it with all of you, as this should be for all to see:

We can be angry, yes. But do not hold on to that emotion - acknowledge it + let it pass. Anger can eat you up inside + change who you are. Just let it go + seek out happiness. Bring love into this crazy world - lord knows we need it.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Giveaway, Day 14: The Sapphire Bee. CLOSED.

Happy Friday, folks! I hope you got through the work week + plan on enjoying your weekend. We have another giveaway from The Sapphire Bee for you today. The prize up for grabs is one sparkling bangle of your choice, one flower hair clip of your choice + one month of medium ad space on The Sapphire Bee's Blog.

There are still plenty of giveaways still up for grabs, so after you enter here, don't forget to catch up on the ones you have yet to enter. Good luck!