Tag: review

Etsy Shop of the Month: Statement Necklace Giveaway via AquaGiraffe (closed)

Statement Necklace Giveaway AquaGiraffe

I spend a large portion of my life on Etsy. I would like to say the majority of time is spent focusing on my shop, updating, tagging, selling, making my millions… but I have to admit I spend most of my time shopping. My favorite items list is beginning to get a little out of control, and I buy a large portion of the items I end up favoriting. It does make me feel better knowing I am helping my fellow shop owners, I support handmade, I support the arts.

As the days leading up to the holidays grew shorter, my time on Etsy grew longer. I had the majority of my gifts covered through the many offerings of Etsy, including a beautiful green, beaded and braided statement necklace for my mom. My mom’s wish list for my sister and I is always the same, any clothes or jewelry you pick out. She loves nothing more than being dressed and accessorized by us, and I love nothing more than shopping.

I knew I wanted a cute statement necklace, it had to be in the blue or green color family. If you type in “green statement necklace” in Etsy it is unbelievable the amount of items you have to sift through. I was at a point of hitting the “next page” button automatically, and going crossed eyed as I stared at necklace after necklace. Suddenly I saw the braided necklace from AquaGiraffe and I was set. It was cute, fun, trendy, and without a second thought I bought it.

Aqua Statment Necklace via AquaGiraffe

It arrived on my doorstep incredibly fast, was cutely wrapped, and was just what I pictured. My mom was thrilled when she opened it up on Christmas day, and I have already seen her wear it on countless occasions. It works well with a wide variety of outfits and color, and isn’t overwhelmingly large. It can be dressed up or pair with jeans and a t-shirt. There is a possibility this will disappear from My Mom’s closet one day and find it’s way into mine…

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AquaGiraffe, run by Kimberly out of Orlando, FL, has a variety of products in her shop. From head scarves to trendy jewelry she has an adorable selection to choose from. I was very excited when she agreed to participate in a giveaway, and offered her Petal Statement Necklace as the prize. I had already noticed this necklace as I recently browsed her shop, and am slightly bummed I’m not eligible to enter my own giveaway. I just might have to make another purchase in the near future.

Enter to win this beautiful, fashionable necklace by liking your favorite item in Kimberly’s shop here. After you like an item share the link to the item in a comment below.

Want more chances to win? Like my Etsy shop here and link to your favorite item in a separate comment below. Like my Facebook page here and comment a third time with the name you liked the page under. A winner will be randomly selected on Thursday 2/13 using the plugin, “And the Winner Is…” The winner will be e-mail and has 24 hours to confirm their prize before a new winner is selected.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and enter my giveaway! A big thanks to Kimberly at AquaGiraffe for donating a necklace to one of my lucky readers. Whether or not you are the winner don’t forget to support local, handmade goodies. Be unique and find one of a kind creations on amazing websites like Etsy!

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Review and Giveaway: All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli (closed)

A few months ago I was contacted by author, Paul Matarelli, about reading, reviewing, and giving away a copy of his new novel, All Roads Lead West. With summer almost upon me and no new books in my stack on the bedside table, I decided to give his book a go, and now you can as well! All you have to do is comment on this post and link to the giveaway on either twitter or your facebook page to enter to win an electronic copy!

All Roads Lead West is a recently published book, December 30th 2012, by new author, Paul Matarelli. He is a current New York native, living in Brooklyn, where his main character, Jamie Hayden also resides. Warning, this book is for adults only, full of drugs, sex, and other adult adventures.

All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli

His Summary:

How do you know when you’re supposed to stop what you’re doing and change course? I did everything they tell you to do: I went to college, got my degree, and landed a great job. I get wined and dined in the best restaurants New York City has to offer, I do the minimum amount of work that’s required, I take long lunches, I meet celebrities, and I negotiate multi-million dollar television ad deals hung over. If I continue on this path, I will become a wealthy corporate executive…and miserable. What they don’t prepare you for – in all of the canned speeches you hear about your future – is truth about what you’re getting yourself into. The truth is you will be dealing with disgruntled bosses, office politics, vindictive colleagues, and the crippling reality that you are going to spend the best years of your life chained to a desk doing work that will ultimately leave this world worse off than when you arrived. I’m Jamie Hayden, and that’s allabout to change.

My Summary:

When I first read Matarelli’s summary of the book I was intrigued. After all, so many people get caught up in the “rat race” of life. So many are swallowed up by the glitz and glamour of city life, the possibility of hitting it big, and I was curious to find out how his main character, Jamie Hayden, was able to step back from this life and ultimately decide to leave it. I agreed to read his book, and was looking forward to cracking it open when my summer officially started.

I was very excited when I received the notification from Barnes and Noble: “You have received a gift from Paul Matarelli”. I very easily opened up the book on my Nook and got to it. The intro definitely set the tone for the rest of the book, with a pot clouded mind, attempting to seduce a married woman, and on going trains of thoughts that I quickly discovered is typical of Jamie.

As I rounded out the intro I was wondering what this book was really going to be about, I got no sense of future change from this sex driven character, but the last line intrigued me: “I’m Jamie Hayden and I will be your guide through this story; or as I like to call it, my path to enlightenment”. This very direct statement to the reader was a shift from the sense of viewing Jamie’s life secondhand, through his mind. The shift in writing style and statement were enough to hook me, and keep me reading. I was intrigued by this possible “enlightenment”.

The remainder of the novel follows the 27 year old account manager working in the world of television, living in New York City, struggling to decide if New York is where he needs to be. Jamie narrates his tale of trying to find himself, while spending time experimenting with drugs, bar hopping, and sleeping with a range of women. While amidst this intense partying it’s difficult to convince himself to leave it all, after all it seems like any man’s wet dream.

After the intro I expected to read about more of Jamie’s “adventures”, I fully expected more experimentation with drugs and sexcapades, but I was looking forward to the moment that would snap him out of this somewhat unrealistic haze, and into real life. Thinking the other half of the book would be about him finding himself, his true passion, and actually heading west to pursue it, I read on.

After reading 3/4 of the book I realized this was not going to delve into Jamie’s journey west, but instead focus on the final month he spends in New York before leaving. In between the pot, cocaine, and acid use mixed with sleeping around, it did hit on three major events that pushed Jamie to realize it was time for him to leave his corporate 9-5 and try to find his true passion. With A Catcher in the Rye-esk undertone, Jamie spends his last weeks partying, free from responsibility to anyone or anything other than himself, until his eventual departure.

Going into the novel I had to adjust to Matarelli’s writing style. Essentially the book is Jamie’s ongoing train of thought, and often breaks away from what is happening and into thought tangents about past memories, opinions of people, and other unrelated asides. At times it got on my nerves, I wanted to stick to what was going on without getting caught up in the ADD mind of this eccentric character. However, by doing this Matarelli is giving you a true sense of the character. You are literally entering the mind of a drug and sex driven 27 year old man, which I must admit was a hard adjustment to make as a much more settled down woman.

At times I was also a little perturbed by how easily women fell for Jamie’s seduction. I felt the women were portrayed as somewhat one sided, and a bit shallow. But again, this is the interpretation and view of Jamie, and my interpretation is probably driven by my more “settled down” self, already married for three years at age 26. Overall the book was an entertaining read, a good book to take to the beach as a nice, quick, and naughty read. Matarelli has piqued my interest with this novel, and I plan to continue to keep up with his writing career. I am very interested to see what Matarelli writes next, perhaps he will pick up where he left off and give me the enlightened and changed Jamie I so desire.

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is comment on the post and link back to the giveaway through Twitter or Facebook, please include a link to your tweet or facebook page in your comment. The winner will be randomly selected using the plugin And the Winner Is… one week from today (7/22/13). Check out a trailer for the book here and an excerpt on Amazon here!

Thanks for visiting my blog, help me spread the word by sharing with others, tweeting, linking, liking, subscribing, and commenting, I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!

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Review and Giveaway: Photobox Canvas Print (closed)

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A few weeks ago I was contacted by Roy Bainbridge, the PR Manager of a UK company Photobox, about doing a review and giveaway of their canvas print line. Photobox is an online digital photograph company, specializing in photograph based gifts. They offer a range of items, from photo albums made from your uploaded files to clothing, calendars, and stationary, to a wide range of canvas print styles and sizes. When I first began looking into the company I expected a small boutique, start up, looking for some outside-of-the-box PR opportunities. What I found was an already established company, with over 116,000 likes on their Facebook page.

After researching the company and seeing what they offer online, I couldn’t wait to partner with them and review one of their canvas prints. I quickly went to my extensive Iphoto library, and began sifting through pictures to find the perfect one to convert to a canvas print. Once I found the perfect photo, one of Nick and my engagement pictures, I created a username on Photobox, and e-mailed Roy my information. He very quickly credited my account for one Classic Canvas print, 60cm x 40.6cm (in non-metric terms a 24″ x 16″ x 1.5″) plus shipping.

Once he notified me of my credited account I couldn’t wait to get started. I logged back into Photobox, and got to work. I selected “Canvas” at the top of their website, scrolled down to “Classic Canvas”, and selected my size. I first attempted the “drag and drop” upload option to insert my picture, but it continued to give me an error message. I finally went through the traditional, “upload and select your file” option, and it worked perfectly.

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I was bummed to find out my original plan of having a wrapped image print (where the image continues on the sides of the canvas) was not an option with the image I chose. By having the sides wrap it caused the image to crop in too much, and our feet ended up wrapping around the side. I considered switching pictures all together to achieve this look, but decided I was too attached to this one to change. I reluctantly decided to have a non-wrapped image, and have since considered either framing it or painting the edges black, both which are easy to do. As you order your print keep this in mind, if you want a wrapped image make sure your original photograph is able to be cropped.

The remainder of the ordering process was a piece of cake, overall their website was very user friendly. I placed my order and eagerly awaited it’s arrival.

A week later the box finally arrived. I ripped it open and pulled out my greatly anticipated print. At first I was very excited to see our picture enlarged so much, but then I was bummed when I realized the canvas was very loose on the frame. When I looked at it at the side it had a distinct ripple affect. I immediately e-mailed Roy and explained the situation, and asked how it could be fixed. In no time at all he responded with a sincere apology, explanation, and solution.

Apparently a few recent orders of the Classic Canvas prints had calibration issues with the joint measurements, which affected the tightness. By the time he e-mailed me back he had already been in contact with customer service about the issue and re-sent my order through. If there is ever an issue with an order, the re-order is automatically sent through quality control, where it is reviewed and looked at by and actual human being (amazing!) before it is re-shipped. It’s nice to know that with such a large company they take care of their customers.

Although I was bummed that I had to wait another week for my canvas to come in, in a way I was also glad that I experienced their customer service department. This gave me a more comprehensive experience with the company, and I now feel I can give more than one perspective on my overall experience with them.

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Less than a week later my new, new canvas print showed up on my doorstep. Once again I ripped open the box and discovered my beautiful, high quality print. It still had a slight ripple in the canvas, but not nearly to the extent of the first one. After 24 hours the ripple was gone, leaving a tight, perfect print. I believe the long shipping process from the UK to the States with heat, etc. caused it to temporarily loosen. If you experience something similar with your order I suggest you wait at least 24 hours before contacting them.

All in all my experience with Photobox was a wonderful one, and I LOVE my print! I have it proudly displayed in my house and I can’t wait to pick out the perfect frame to finish it off. What I love even more about the company was their willingness to not only send me a free print, but also offer one to one of my readers. Enter below for your chance to win your very own Classic Canvas print, at whatever size you desire!!

To enter this giveaway all you have to do is:

1. Tweet about the giveaway and include a link to Photobox (http://www.photobox.co.uk/shop/wall-decor/canvas-prints)

2. A tweet is preferred  but if you don’t have a Twitter account please mention the giveaway on Facebook, and include the link: http://www.photobox.co.uk/shop/wall-decor/canvas-prints

3. Comment below and include a link to your tweet or facebook page! The winner will be randomly selected next Tuesday (6/25/13)! All tweets and likes will be checked before the winner is notified.

If you don’t win this amazing giveaway try using Photobox for your next canvas print, they are a great, reliable company and they continuously offer specials and discounts on orders! Click here to purchase your own photo canvas

Thanks for reading my review of Photobox and entering my giveaway! Help me spread the word about my blog by tweeting, liking, e-mailing, and sharing with others, I can’t do it without you! Thanks for stopping by!

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Paper Wallet Review and Giveaway Coming Soon!

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I am excited to announce my very first product review and giveaway! In the next couple of weeks I will post a review about an already amazing sounding company, Paperwallet. Their goal is to not only create comfortable, durable, eco-friendly wallets, but to also expose artists around the world. They even accept suggestions and ideas, maybe your art could be the next artwork featured on one of their wallets!

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Click here to see the wallet I will be giving away to one lucky reader of my blog. Keep your eyes peeled over the next couple of weeks for the review and giveaway post! As always thanks for reading and helping me spread the word about my blog, I can’t do it without you!

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