Tag: win

Review and Giveaway: DIY Pattern Paint Roller Room Makeover (closed)

Pattern Paint Roller Before and After

Since I created this post the Etsy shop I purchased the pattern roller has closed. There are many similar products still out there, go check them out! I love my patterned rollers!

One afternoon while enjoying my daily Etsy peruse I discovered something I couldn’t live without, a patterned paint roller. You use it just like any other paint roller, but rather than simply coating the wall, it creates a pattern similar to wallpaper.

I immediately favorited it and continued my peruse, but just a few days later I placed my order. I decided I had to have it. I purchased my paint roller from the etsy shop, Not Wallpaper, and eagerly awaited it’s arrival. After a very long six weeks of processing and shipping it finally arrived on my doorstep, I couldn’t wait to get started.

Pattern Paint Roller Supplies

Before it arrived I had already decided to use it in my guest bedroom. I didn’t mind the beige/pink color, but it didn’t 100% fit with the grayish blue of the bedspread and wall decor. To better tie the room together I choose two shades of gray. I decided to paint three walls with a lighter gray, one wall with a darker gray, and go back on top of the dark wall with the light color using the paint roller.

Tip: when selecting two colors to use in the same room stay within the same color family. I always select my two colors from the same paint strip.

I started the process by repainting the room with my new paint. I painted the wall with the bed on it with the darker gray and the other three walls with the lighter gray. While waiting for it to dry I pulled out my pattern paint roller and began reading the instructions.

It seemed simple enough and had good tips for painting the pattern randomly or in a set pattern, similar to wallpaper. I decided to go the faux wallpaper route and marked two sides of the roller with a + and -. You alternate between the + and – sides at the top of every stripe down the wall in order to get an even, alternating pattern.

Next, I followed the instructions to tape up the sides, top, and bottom of the wall and any outlets. In order to get a continuous roll you need to be able to roll on top of any obstacles (ie outlets). Once everything was set  I rolled the flat roller in the light gray paint, attached the pattern roller, and got to work.

Pattern Paint Roller Set Up

I couldn’t wait to pull the tape off after I finished rolling on the pattern to see it all come together and I loved the results!  In some areas I accidentally slid the roller causing the pattern to elongate and at the end I realized the pattern would overlap because I ran out of space. While not every section is perfect, as a whole it looks amazing. My best advice is to go with the flow and don’t stress if a section goes a little crooked. In the end the pattern really comes together and small mistakes aren’t noticeable.

Pattern Paint Roller Details

I loved the end result so much I decided to do the pattern on the wall across from my front door. I used a slightly lighter color with a satin finish. By using satin on top of matte it creates a very light affect, you can really only see the pattern when the light catches it. I love it!

Pattern Paint Roller

If you love the way this looks and want to get your own pattern paint roller visit Not Wallpaper’s Etsy shop here or enter my giveaway! Michelle, owner of Not Wallpaper, has graciously agreed to giveaway one pattern roller set, the winner gets to choose the pattern, to one of my lucky readers! All you have to do to enter is favorite Not Wallpaper’s Etsy shop here, and comment on this post with the name you favorited the shop under.

To earn up to three additional entries you can like my Etsy shop here, tweet about the giveaway, and/or share on facebook. For each additional entry please comment again with the name you favorited my shop under, a link to your facebook share, and/or a link to your tweet.

The winner will be randomly selected from the commenters next Friday (7/26) using the plugin And the winner is… Thanks for participating in my giveaway and following my blog! Help me spread the word by sharing, subscribing, commenting, liking, tweeting, digging, or other social networking of your choice. Thanks for stopping by!

Congrats to my winner Dana! Thanks for participating in this giveaway, keep checking back for more chances to win! With the success of this Etsy shop giveaway I hope to review and giveaway more local and handmade items in the future!

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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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Adorable Website + Discount Giveaway: Style Outside the Box (closed)

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Recently I was contacted by Marketing Manager, Emily Horn, regarding a new online shop, Style Outside the Box. As an independent blogger, artist, and avid shopper I am always intrigued by up and coming shops, especially those that support local art and crafters like me. As I read through the e-mail one line caught my eye: “We are an exclusive site whom work with and promote independent designers from around the world”, I immediately searched their site to take a look.

Style Outside the Box is exactly what she described, an online shop that offers a variety of products from small start ups and independent designers, like myself. It has a nice, clean design, similar to the popular and growing Etsy and Pinterest tile style layout. As you click a category a full page of products pop up, with easy to browse images, titles, and prices.

Style Outside the Box also offers a wide variety of products. I expected to find a website that focused only on jewlery, handbags, and similar accessories, but I found products for children, men, and the home. Although not every category is as “beefed” up with products as their jewelry and handbag section, I do expect the site will continue to grow and add products.

Fish necklaceWhen I first visited the site I immediatly went to the jewelry section to see if anything caught my eye. They have a range of styles and colors, and I quickly discovered an adorable fish inspired necklace, check it out here as well as other products by Tweak. It is a very unique piece, and is tantalizing enough for me to bookmark for possible future, cute-jewelry-induced spending.

In addition to the adorable necklace I discovered I loved how I could click the “More Tweak Products and Bio” button and find more jewelry by this designer and learn about her.

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After the ever tempting jewelry section I moved to the handbags, the equivalent of crack to a purse enthusiast like myself. I saw cute clutch, after cute handbag, after cute tote, until I stumbled upon my new obsession, the Lavender Hobo Sand Handbag. I love the large size and unique cut out design at the top. If only I had the funds to buy it, if I did it would already be gone… Once again I bookmarked this item for future drooling over until I save up my money! Go here to check out this adorable bag and other products from Vanessa Boulton.

As I continue to explore the website I was very pleased to find a category, Gifts under $30. When buying from independent designers you get more detail, higher quality, and a one-of-a-kind item, but often at a higher price. I am all about supporting local and independent, so I am more than happy to shell out a couple extra bucks for a quality item. However, it is still nice to find items at a reduced price.

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My favorite item from this section was the set of Happy Crab Blue cloth napkins. They are an adorable touch to any table and a great gift, for a friend or even for yourself. Once again I found myself bookmarking another future purchase. Check out this adorable napkin and other products from Wabisabi Green here!

All in all I really enjoyed Style Outside the Box. It has an Etsy feel, with the tiled images and independent designers, but all housed under one company. If you have questions about products you contact employees at Style Outside the Box, who then contact the designers. Although it may seem like a round-a-bout way I think it will take away the unreliability that exists with many Etsy shop owners.

I encourage everyone to visit the website and take a look for yourself! In addition to their great products they are also offering a 10% discount to one of my readers! All you have to do is check out their site here and share your favorite product in a comment below. I will randomly selected a winner in one week (7/4/2013) using the plugin And the Winner Is….

Thanks for checking out my blog and participating in my giveaway! Help my blog grow by sharing with others, tweeting, liking, subscribing, and commenting, I couldn’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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Coming Soon: Book Reviews and Giveaways!

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As a blogger I am often approached to review products, publish guest posts, and advertise for companies. This is an added bonus to something I already enjoy, however in the process I do a lot of nay saying. I refuse to present unrelated information or poorly written posts to my subscribers, and the general web browsing public. However, if something peaks my interest I gladly do a little research and decide if it is worth my time to write about it, and your time to read about it.

All of this comes down to my newest endeavor as a book reviewer. In the past couple of months I have been approached by four separate authors and publishing companies about review upcoming books. If you are a frequenter of my blog you should know by now that I am an avid reader and very supportive of tying the literary and art world together in and out of the classroom. Because of this, it was a no brainer to jump on board and offer something new to my readers. After all art, reading, and writing, are part of the same creative spectrum.

My plan is to post at least one review a month over the summer, and provide you with an honost review of each book. I hope your interest is peaked and you decide to pick up a copy for yourself, after all there is no better way to spend the summer than reading in a hammock or on the beach. I am also pleased to announce that each author was willing and excited to give me an additional copy to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Along with each review I will set up a giveaway you can enter to win your own copy!

Here are excerpts sent to me by the authors and publishers of the books I have been asked to review. They have a wide range in content from children’s books, to research based, to quirky stories. I have never limited my reading to one genre, and I hope you are open to exploring a variety of books with me!

Cozy Classics presents Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables by Holman Wang and Jack Wang

“Designed as developmentally appropriate abridgements for the very youngest of learners, Cozy Classics retell the world’s most beloved literary works in just 12 simple, baby-friendly words. Complemented by photographs of lifelike, expressive and simply stunning needle-felted figures and objects, Cozy Classics inject a sense of narrative into the baby wordbook—and revitalize the genre for young and old alike. For while there are only so many years one can spend learning to count to ten or the colors of the rainbow, the pleasure that is to be found in the works of literature’s greats, as any adult knows, is forever!”

Now, in April 2013, the brothers Wang expand the Cozy Classics repertoire with their takes on Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

“From a very young age, children fall in love with characters: Barney, Dora, Cinderella,” says Holman Wang. “The Cozy Classics books foster a love of characters that will ultimately lead to the classics themselves. Unlike Barney and Dora, Les Misérables’s Jean Valjean and Pride & Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennett are characters that children will never outgrow.”

This will be the first of my book review series, and I am excited to discuss it with my friends and family who have children. I am very intrigued to see how such complex stories could be reduced to only 12 words. In addition I can’t wait to see the felt sculptures turned photographs used to illustrated the book and reinforce the idea behind the 12 words. Keep your eyes peeled for this review and giveaway at the end of May or beginning of June. To all you mommies out there, this could be a classic addition to your children’s library of educational books!

All Roads Lead West by Paul Matarelli

“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 all about to change.”

This book will be my first novel review and read of the summer. This book sounds like an interesting perspective of the life and career attitude that is so prevalent in our society. When I read this excerpt I immediately begin to visualize a Wizard of Oz type scene, everything gray, black, and white, until Dorothy lands in Oz and everything turns to color. Similarly, this character seems stuck in a dreary world, a life he isn’t satisfied with, until he takes a stand against it. However, leaving me with the line “and that’s all about to change” keeps me in the dark, the black and white world, and I can’t wait to see where this character, Jamie Hayden, and the author, Paul Matarelli will take us. Look for the review and electronic giveaway (for your tablet, Nook, Kindle, or other electronic reading device) of this book in the middle or end of June.

Fun & Games By David Michael Slater

“The 1980’s: it’s the time of Dungeons & Dragons, banana clips, and Atari. Jonathan Schwartz is growing up in a family like no other. His sisters, Nadia, the dark genius, and Olivia, the gorgeous tease and temptress, manipulate Jon and his friends for their own entertainment.And his Holocaust survivor grandparents? Their coping techniques are beyond embarrassing. A disastrous visit to Jon’s class by his grandmother unhinges his famous father, setting off a chain of events that threatens to send the dysfunctional Schwartz clan up in flames once and for all. Fun & Games is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of faith, family secrets, betrayal, and loss—but it’s also a tale of friendship, love, and side-splitting shenanigans.”

This book peaks my interest in so many ways, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The quirky characters combined with interesting history is right down my ally. I love nothing more than a good character study, and this sounds like it is full of interesting characters. The book is set to be released July 20th, and I can’t wait to spend the remainder of June with my nose buried in this novel. Look out for my review and giveaway at the beginning to middle of July.

Studio City A Mile of Style by Joann Deutch

“Impeccably researched, erudite, and filled with unforgettable stories and pictures, Deutch’s book is a MUST-READ for anyone working in the film/TV business, anyone considering a career in the entertainment industry, anyone simply in love with Hollywood, and/or anyone hoping to understand Los Angeles’ past, present and future. 

Author Joann Deutch – a Studio City based lawyer who served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for over 15 years as the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary – tracked down the many untold stories which have left their mark not only on her community, but as well on Hollywood. A riveting and fascinating book that reveals the untold story of a more than often under-exposed, under-valued city and its rich and influential contribution to the film industry.”
I currently have three close friends living in Los Angeles, trying to break into the movie industry. Taking advantage of having a free place to stay, I have been to LA twice to visit, and like many people, was mesmerized by the glamor of the city. I’m looking forward to delving into this book and learning more about the history and inner workings of the complex city and industry that LA is. Look for the review and giveaway of this book in August!
I hope you are as excited as I am about these new books, and will be coming back for a chance to win a free copy of each one! Thanks for stopping by and supporting my blog!
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