20131128

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Cartesian Yarnistry

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a little over 6 weeks before baby arrives.. so I am celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Cartesian Yarnistry, adorable baby crochet delights, creating delicate, heirloom elegance designs for precious moments in time. Susan of Cartesian Yarnistry aims to to create "once-upon-a-time" precious memories of Babies and Toddlers in the genre of Crochet Wearable Art, while offering heirloom products to last a lifetime.





Cartesian Yarnistry is giving away an adorable newborn turtle outfit perfect for your babies first photo op. Shades of Green Turtle shell attached beanie rolled brim style. Turtle shell hexagon pieces in multi-green shades surrounded by soft fern including tiny tail & embellished by forest green edging around entire shell.



To Enter:
- Visit Cartesian Yarnistry's adorable shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Cartesian Yarnistry's Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!


Extra Entry

- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until December 4th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.

Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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20131125

Hiring a Contractor


So we hired our first contractor to help us create an open floor plan in our kitchen/family room. The work involved knocking down a wall, installing a window, new flooring etc. Didn't seem like much, just not something we were willing to try do ourselves. We started with an estimate in mind.. but having no experience we had no idea what to expect.

I started by picking up the Home Improvement Guide at our grocery store.. picked out a few names of contractors and Googled them. Checked out their website, saw if they had any reviews or complaints and then made phone calls. We had a total of six contractors come out and give us estimates. You don't need to get six estimates.. but I would recommend getting at least three.

We met an interesting mix of people. Of the six two declared our wall, separating the kitchen from the family room load bearing (this makes it a bit more pricey and difficult to knock down, but still doable). And then there were four. Our estimates ranged from the ridiculous $24,000 to $8,000. Now from our reasoning and from what we gathered online, the highest price does not necessarily mean the highest quality nor does the lowest quote mean poor work.

My instincts and gut also played a role in our decisions. The contractors punctuality in both arriving to meet appointments as well as replying back to emails and phone calls. If you are going to be an hour late, pick up the phone and give me a heads up. When we spoke, how many of our ideas seamlessly merged together, how agreeable, knowledgeable and helpful he was were all important factors when choosing who to hire.

When receiving quotes make sure they are not just a number but a detailed written contract of everything that is to be done, it is very easy for things to be overlooked. Make sure everything you discussed and want done is mentioned. Know what is included in the price and what is extra. For example, the cost of window and flooring was extra but the cost of installation was included. Be sure on what materials will be provided by the contractor and what must be provided by you.

Once all the details are decided upon it's time to shop for windows and flooring. Meaning more estimates and mind boggling options.. make sure the contractor knows the measurements and specifications of everything you are going to order so that it meets the requirements, know the delivery times of those materials to create a better timeline.

Lastly, negotiating a price. You don't want to haggle to the point that the relationship between you and your contractor is now uncomfortable, your contractor is your ally. Ask if he can do better? Ask if paying cash would knock make a difference? Ask if there are some jobs you can do to knock off a few bucks? Ask if he has any suggestions to make the project more cost effective? Do not go ahead with anything that makes you uncomfortable.. make sure all your questions are answered before you sign the contract.

Any tips to add? Let me know in the comments.

Giveaway: If you haven't entered already.. what are you waiting for?!

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20131121

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Zoe Natural Creations

We have a little over 7 weeks before baby arrives.. so I am celebrating another week closer with another giveaway..

This week I am teaming up with Zoe's Natural Creations, a home based, family owned business passionate about creating all natural, hand crafted products that are good for your body, soul and spirit with incredible smell and an ingredient list you can pronounce.




Zoe's Natural Creation's is giving away a 4oz jar of soothing Baby Bum Balm, perfect for your little one's bottom.



To Enter:
- Visit Zoe's Natural Creation's lovely shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite creation is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Zoe's Natural Creation's Facebook page and Like it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!

Extra Entry
- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until November 27th to enter. Giveaway open to everyone internationally.
Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131118

Family Portrait

In order to entertain D I sketched him a quick little family portrait for him to color in.. I emphasize on the word quick which I hope explains why our fingers are sprouting out of our sleeves.


Instead of coloring in my drawing.. he decided to make one of his own.. his first of what I expect to be many family portraits :) p.s baba stands for dad


Giveaway: If you haven't entered already.. what are you waiting for?!

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20131114

COUNTDOWN TO BABY GIVEAWAY - Susie's Suitcase

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

We have a little over 8.. yes can you believe eight weeks before baby arrives.. and I thought it would be fun to count down the weeks with a few baby/child themed giveaways..

We are starting with Susie's Suitcase's adorable tutu filled shop.. Susan and her daughter make fun and colorful tutu's, a must for any little girl's wardrobe.. The tutu's are available in a variety of sizes and colors and can be custom made to your liking.



Susie's Suitcase is giving away a pretty Gold and Black tutu to one lucky winner. The tutu is available in sizes 6 months to 24 months. Teddy Bear not included ;)


To Enter:
- Visit Susie's Suitcase adorable shop and tell me in the comments what your favorite tutu is and leave your email address so I can contact you when you win :)
- Visit Susie's Suitcase Etsy page and click on the Heart to favorite it.
- Follow my blog via Bloglovin'

It's as simple as that!

Extra Entry
- Get an Extra Entry by Tweeting about this Giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did it

You have until November 20th to enter. Giveaway open to US and Canada residents only.
Winners will be contacted by me, you will have 48 hours to reply before I pick another winner :(

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I am now also offering ad space. See Sponsors for more information


20131111

Lost Art From Iran

When going through some old photographs I stumbled upon a few photographs from Iran that I seemed to have missed.. I had traveled to Iran in the summer of 2007 on a college trip. One of my first trips where I took photographs not as a tourist but a then amateur photographer.. not knowing then that I'd be doing this for a living.. 




You can see more of my photographs taken in Iran here

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20131104

Halloween!

This was D's fourth Halloween.. he was just a wee little thing on his first, his second was cancelled due to a freak snow storm knocking out all power, his third was celebrated sometime in November thanks to Superstorm Sandy and no one exactly dressed up.. but it was the day he discovered candy! I wanted to make this year special.. not sure if he really understood the question of 'What do you want to be for Halloween?' I decided to keep it simple and go with his favorite cartoon character.. MICKEY MOUSE! I didn't want to spend a lot of money in case Mother Nature started pms-ing again. So we hit the Dollar Store. It cost me under $15 to put the three costumes together.





Bear ears and tail turned into Mickey ears and tail with black fabric bought at Hobby Lobby. He already had a black shirt and red pants.. I added big felt circles to his pants to make the buttons. It was cold outside so he wore his mittens and his tuxedo jacket..  I am the worst with a needle in thread.. ask M's unevenly hemmed pajama bottoms. But when I showed D the pants he instantly recognized them a Mickey's pants and danced around in them all day.. that for me was the highlight.. I couldn't help but join in on the dancing and squealing with joy.



I added a red sequenced bow also bought at Hobby Lobby to my ears and smaller white felt circles to a red sweater dress I already owned.


M make did with his maroon pants.. though he took off the ears pretty quickly and replaced them with a fire hat..

This was the first time M had ever dressed up for Halloween and I hadn't dressed up as anything since I was 10. But seeing that most of the parents where out and about costume less make us think we may go without too in the future years..




We wrapped up the night with some trunk or treating and check out some of the spooky houses in the neighborhood. The iphone pictures do not do them justice. 

Hope you all had a great Halloween!

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