Next Door Savior by Max Lucado

Happy Easter!! I thought that it would be fitting on this day that we celebrate Jesus death and resurrection to also celebrate his amazing and world shattering life-and that’s exactly what Max Lucado does in Next Door Savior: Near Enough to Touch, Strong Enough to Trust

Often I think when you grow up with the Bible it’s too easy to box in your thinking about the characters in the Bible. Max does the best job I know of breaking me out of this “mental rut” and causing me to see the stories with fresh eyes for what they are–real people with real emotions, real lives, real problems. This book focuses on the most important person of all time–Jesus! It gives us insight into his life and why it matters so much to those of us! It helps shake up mistaken thoughts we might have of the Son of God and shows us his true heart.  Consider the passage below:

“And look for a single mom. The absence of Joseph in the adult life of Jesus suggested that Mary may have raised him and the rest of the kids alone. We need a simple home with a single mom and an ordinary laborer. Jesus’ neighbors remembered him as a worked. “He’s just a carpenter” (Mark 6:3 MSG)

Jesus had dirty hands, sweat-stained shirts, and–this may surprise you–common looks. “No stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Isa. 53:2)

Drop-dead smile? Steal-your-breath physique? No. Heads didn’t turn when Jesus passed. If he was anything like his peers, he had a broad peasant’s face, dark olive skin, short curly hair, and a prominent nose. He stood five feet one inch tall and weighed about 110 pounds. Hardly worthy of a GQ Cover.”

Max takes a few verses and fact that I’ve known my entire life and turns them on their head–how can I complain about being “plain” when the Savior of the Universe chose to not be physically attractive? How easily that one little passage opens up a whole litany of thoughts!

The entire book is full of gems like this–facts about our “Next Door Savior” that we all need to stop and look at with fresh eyes! Once again Max does not disappoint, I love his books and would highly recommend this one especially!

Nicole Elliott

It’s a Treasure Hunt!

We all know that the kiddos are having lots of fun hunts this weekend involving Eggs, Chocolate, Bunnies & Baskets. (remember, Amber and Tyler have had 3 already!!) Well I thought that it might be fun for you to get a chance to do some hunting for a prize too! (because kids should get to have all the fun–am I right??!!)
Right now Shoplet your source for Office Supplies has a great Treasure Hunt deal going on! Just watch the video below which is a fun, short one on how eProcurement can help out your Small Business! It’s super simple to set up and can save you lots of time and money in the long run. In my opinion buying anything online is just so much more simple.  Still asking What is eProcurement? Well watch the video and you will find out all the details much better than I could explain–oh and did I mention you will save too?! 

Here’s how the treasure hunt works! Just watch the video below and take note of all the  “treasure code price tags” hidden within the video and then enter them here to get savings off! (Look up in the right hand corner where it says “treasure hunt” and click on the plus sign) The more you find, the more you’ll save (up to 10%). Don’t forget to share the fun and savings with all your friends across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest–wherever you love to get your Social Media On!

 

Nicole Elliott

The Gospel Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup

Many Biblical books written for women cover the topics of being a mom and wife and focus on passages of the Bible like Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5. In The The Gospel-Centered Woman
Wendy focuses on these topics and passages, but brings a fresh perspective on these well known passages by viewing them through the lens of the Gospel.

 What she does is explain how Jesus should be the person we try most to emulate through our lives–even as women! His life, death, and resurrection is the foundation of our faith and our lives should be lived as such. Her writing is easy and practical while pointing out many hang ups that we as Christians tend to stumble on in our lives. A great example of this is the passage below:

“Instead of seeing myself as connected to Christ at all time, I used to view my relationship with God in terms of intersecting moments during the day. The more times my life intersected with God in a given week, the more “spiritual” I thought I was. In that paradigm, God went on His way and I went on my way until we intersected at some corner on some future day. Instead I have learned to think of myself walking with Jesus continually, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our daily walk together is not just parallel but actually intertwined….the more I am aware of it, the more stable I am emotionally and spiritually.”

She also delves into our self image and the fact that we desperately need to learn to find our fulfillment to our longings and needs in God, yet we so often turn to others-especially men, in particular our spouses,  to fill a void that they cannot fill.

From women who are struggling in their marriages to women who are struggling with being single, for Moms who are exhausted with young children to women whose arms are achingly empty–The Gospel Centered Woman explains why, and how, the gospel is relevant to you in your life, all of the time and I’d highly recommend it!!! It was huge a blessing to me and helped reinforce many things that God has been working on my heart about, I will be buying this as a gift for friends in the future, and it would make a wonderful Bible study alone or with friends as there are discussion questions in the back!

Don’t just take my word for it! Hop on over and check out the reviews on Amazon
 (it has close to 5 stars so far!) and make sure to visit the rest of the Bloggers on the Book Tour!

Nicole Elliott

Spring Clean Your Style with a Custom Made Dress!

Next week in Organizing in Small Spaces I’ll be covering how to organize your closet in less than one minute a day! Since this week is Easter, however, first I wanted to do a post on Spring Cleaning Your Style–because it makes no sense to be organizing a closet full of clothes that you don’t wear, don’t fit, or hate–we’ll talk a little more about that next week but on to the fun post this week!

  Lately I’ve talked about refreshing your makeup but I haven’t touched on clothes in awhile. Spring is the perfect time to give yourself a fresh, new look by purchasing some of the great new Spring Clothes that are out!

As you all know this Sunday is Easter. Growing up I loved Easter for many different reasons–the egg hunts, Easter basket, and the Easter Story were factors, of course! But one very fun tradition was that each year I got a new, special Easter dress to wear to church on Easter Sunday. This pretty much continued the entire time I was at home, and now I’ve continued the traditional on with Amber. However I stopped this tradition for myself–I’d quit growing (well, ehem, I try to keep from growing) so the dresses that fit when I was 18 still fit (for the most part???).

Since I’ve been clearing through my own closet since we downgraded from a huge walk-in I’ve been giving all my church dresses a critical eye. Just because it still “sort of fits” should I be hanging on to dress that is going on 10 years old now and looked much better on that pre-baby body??? Not so much!

The beautiful thing about the day and age we live in is that you can custom order dresses from places like eShakti so that they are perfectly tailored to your body type and needs–a huge bonus for those of us who know that even once you hit that “pre-baby” weight on the scale it looks a *whole* lot different on you know than it did before! They offer everything from offer size 0-36W and you custom tailor each part of your outfit for no additional charge! So basically everyone can find a dress in a style and shape that will perfectly fit their body and accentuate their best features! The older I get the more I realize that I’d rather have 5 dresses that I spent a little more money on that I LOVE than 20 that don’t fit well and that I don’t wear that might have been bargain buys. So after ditching several of my “days gone by” outfits I ordered the darling Victoria dress in lilac (which they’re actually out of now–but they have equally lovely watermellon, cream, and navy options)

I loved the ruffles that give the top a fun, flirty, interesting flair (even when they don’t lay or stand up exactly right they pull it off because they’re ruffles) and the dress is cinched in at my narrowest point–my natural waist (yey for that!) Here in Texas the days are going to be scorching before long so knee length and sleeveless were the way to go but I love that the dress is still modest enough to wear to church each week!

Oh–and another amazing thing about eShatki? They celebrate REAL beauty of REAL women (like me!!) they have a whole gallery dedicated to Real Fashion for Real People–pictures that customers and bloggers have sent in of themselves rocking eShatki’s amazing styles! I encourage you to look through it–it will encourage and uplift you just like it did me!

How are you Spring Cleaning your Style? Leave me a comment and let me know–I love to be inspired by you!

I was sent my beautimous Victoria dress by the lovlies over at eShatki for my review–any pretend modeling pictures, organization tips or opinionated-ness is, as always, all my own.

Nicole Elliott

Spending, Splurging, & Dial Coconut Water Body Wash

One of the things that has been keeping me so busy over the past several weeks is attending a Couponing for the Kingdom Bible Study each week that is taught by my “in real life” blogging buddy from Thrifty Texas Penny. 

In it we’ve been going over everything frugal living and couponing–something extremely useful for me on our college budget right now! While I’ve always been great at finding huge deals (hello Amazon and Groupon) and am a recently converted garage sale addict (my MIL and Pinterest did me in for that), I have never been able to get into couponing and the “Drug Store Games” left me with my eyes crossed. (Any CVS or Walgreens lovers out there???)

 Over the past few weeks I’ve learned a bunch and started  to work my new found knowledge to product “magic” at CVS. I now love to come home and brag to my MIL–LOOK! I got these 9 awesome products for under $1 a piece!

In the class we also talked about everyone needing to have their one “splurge” area. Maybe you love to have fast food but you can buy cheapo toliet paper, maybe you’re not brand loyal for makeup but you must have a certain kind of Kleenex. Everyone has their caveats! (Some of mine? My Macbooks and eating at fancier sit downs–Hello Outback and Red Lobster!)

One of my “splurge” areas has always been body & bath products. While I love me some affordable makeup there is something about body washes and lotions that leaves me always gravitating back to my high end specialty store brands.

While I was staying with my mom over Christmas she mentioned that they’d tried several body wash brands lately that they had picked up at Walmart but had that specialty body & bath feel. I was a little surprised and said I’d have to check them out.

& Dial Coconut Water Body Wash

When I was sent a bottle of Dial Coconut Water Body Wash I had high hopes that this might be just what my mom had been talking about! The androgynous look and smell would make this body wash be perfect for the entire family if you wanted it to be–but the subtle notes of floral make it just a touch girly with an overall really fresh, light, and clean smell to it. I was very happy with how much it lathered up–that’s usually my biggest complaint about big box store brands–they just don’t have that  delicious foamy lather! As you can see in my picture, however, Coconut Water Body Wash provides a thick and creamy foam that’s just perfect for scrubbing up all over!

All this for a product I’ll be able to use some of that CVS and Wal*mart magic to get for next to nothing! Looks like I might be changing my must have splurge items after all!

Even better! Right now Dial® is running the Healthier Skin. Healthier You.® Sweepstakes featuring Dial® Coconut Water Body Wash!

One lucky grand prize winner will receive $1,000, while 250 second place winners will receive free Coconut Water Body Wash. Awesome right??!!

 But don’t worry–even if you don’t win the sweeps One Lucky Reader from my blog will get to try out Dial Coconut Water as well!

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Nicole Elliott

Mamavation, Motivation, & Makeup!

This week’s “selfy” wearing a fun Spring dress and modeling Iman’s new BB Crème

 This week my slim & trim quest continued along with the norm of juggling all it is that I do and trying to adjust my schedule as new curve balls my way!

After a few weeks of trying running at night I’m definitely going to stick to it, however I’ve found that trying to run 3 nights a week just isn’t happening with how busy our schedule is and how many different people I have to try to work my schedule around right now. So for the time being I’m going to switch to 2 nights a week (Thursday and Friday) for one mile.

 I’m excited to finally see my time improving, my weight going down, and I no longer DREAD running–I’m not loving it but those 3 things are huge motivation boosters!

Here’s my update for the past week:

The Scale: 134 –back down again!!! Now it’s time to keep it there and keep it going down, down, down
The Treadmill: Ran twice for 1 mile clocking in at 11:16 & 11:15 –personal bests!
 This Week: Easter–oh Easter. The kids have 5 (yes FIVE) Easter Egg hunts this week–so that means that there will be a huge influx of candy! I’ve been doing really well lately with my cookie in a mug trick-instead of wasting my “sweet tooth” calories here and there and over doing it by snacking ALL night long I have one cookie in a cup and I’m left satisfied–plus knowing I can have something I love makes it easier to say no to things that I don’t (like cupcakes at a party, a pop, or candy).

In the meantime keeping myself looking and feeling pretty is always important in terms of motivation and making the most of what I have right now! If you’ve been paying attention you’ll know that my latest makeup love is BB Cream! Now that I’m hooked on it I want to try it all and see what works perfectly for me!


My latest BB Cream to try was IMAN’s new BB Crème! It’s actually made for women of color and, well…., you can probably tell that despite some hispanic roots (Grandpa was 1/2 Irish, 1/2 Spanish) I’m about as pale as they come! 🙂 Because of this even the lightest shade is just a smidge too dark for me (see the picture of me modeling it up above) However this means that it will be *perfect* this summer when the hot Texas sun gives me a tiny bit more color!

This BB Creme also contains SPF 15 so it has that kind of a texture to it as well and spreads on like a mix of foundation & sunscreen would. It also provides the coverage that I’ve come to expect from a BB Creme–slightly lighter than a light foundation. It provides evening without thick coverage-so for any problem spots don’t forget to touch up with concealer!

One very cool thing is that IMAN’s is having a bunch of awesome in-store events where you can find out more information about this new product! Be sure to check out the IMAN’s Facebook Event list  to find one near you!

Two Lucky Winners Will Receive BB Crème samples: Shades Clay Med and Earth Med, IMAN Cosmetics Luxury Lip Shimmer: Crystal, and Luxury Lip Pencil: Tan. (Total Package Value $20.00)

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Nicole Elliott

nuNAAT GOGO (Give One, Get One) Giveaway!

You might remember my recent rave about my Lovely Locks if not go check it out so you’re up to speed!

Enter for your chance to win TWO sets of the products (link to your nuNAAT review) I just recently tried and LOVED from nuNAAT – one for you and one to give to a friend! When entering, be sure to select my blog name “Wyoming Girl turned Coastie Wife” from the drop-down menu so they know who sent you!!
The nuNAAT NAAT Brazilian Keratin Collection is great for ALL HAIR TYPES, and works especially well to protect your hair and keep it healthy if you like to style using heat (with a blow dryer or flat iron) like I do! The winner will receive the following products with an estimated retail value of $65:
        2 NAAT Brazilian Keratin Daily Care Shampoo
        2 NAAT Brazilian Keratin Daily Care Conditioner
        2 NAAT Brazilian Keratin Intensive Hair Mask
        2 NAAT Brazilian Keratin Liquid Keratin Leave-In Reconstructor
        2 NAAT Brazilian Keratin Serum Ultra Shine
TO ENTER: Visit the nuNAAT Facebook page
Rules:
CONTEST DATES: March 23, 2013 – April 13, 2013
Winner will be announced April 15, 2013 by e-mail. If response from winner is not received within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen.
PRIVACY: Your email will not be shown and will be kept private.
ELIGIBILITY: Giveaways are open to readers 18 years or older with U.S. or Canada shipping addresses only (no PO boxes). For my international readers, you may enter and if you win, we can send the prize to person of your choice with U.S. or Canada shipping address.
No purchase necessary to enter or win.
 

Nicole Elliott

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu Ray (my geeky heart rejoices)

So, as I’ve admitted before though you might not tell by looking at me (I mean–I am pretty fabulous right?? 😉 ) I’m really a total closet geek!! I mean I’ve even played World of Warcraft (up to level 85, Blood Elf Fire Mage, Baby!!!) For crying out loud!

But where my geeky heart really shows up is in my undying and never ending love and passion for Lord of the Rings. The movie series has been my #1 favorite since it came out–and probably will always remain firmly in my top 10 no matter what movies may come–I just love them that much!

So naturally when The Hobbit came out I went and loved every minute of it with my even geekier than me little sister–it was AMAZING!!!!! As hubby said, “Well, it was copy/paste LOTR all over again.” Well, yes–that’s why I loved it so much! I really love how they’re splitting it up into three movies because I felt like they could really dive into the storyline and even add in some of
J. R. R. Tolkien’s fabulous back stories instead of having to chop and hack the book’s plot like most movies do–can’t wait for the next one to come out!

So I’m SUPER excited to bring all my lovelies the chance to win The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Blu Ray!

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Nicole Elliott

Friday Food ~ Campbell’s Go Soup

Campbell's Go Soup
I love the Go Soup hilarious packaging and all the different flavors they offer!

If you’ve been around these parts for long at all you’ll know that while I love providing my family home cooked meals  I also love me some “cheat night” dinners! Monday’s are usually leftover night here because Bob has school on Monday evenings and it’s so nice to have one night to not worry about cooking something! However since me and the kiddos also eat leftovers for lunch pretty much every day they have a tendency to feel a little “blah” after a bit!

Coconut Curry with Chicken

So when I was offered the chance to “give my taste buds a kick with bold flavors” I decided it would be a fun break from leftover night!! Happily Campbell’s Go Soup was just as easy to prepare as leftovers would have been–maybe a little easier! Just tear, heat up, and pour! (my kind of meal prep!!!)

Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms
Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms

There are six of different flavors to choose from:  Golden Lentil with Madras Curry,
Moroccan Style Chicken with Chickpeas, Creamy Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda,
Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms,  Chicken & Quinoa with Poblano Chilies, & Spicy Chorizo & Pulled Chicken with Black Beans

 Golden Lentil with Madras Curry
Golden Lentil with Madras Curry

 So what did we think of the soup? This past Monday I tried out the Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms while the kids split the Golden Lentil with Madras Curry. The soup packs are the perfect size as they just fill a nice portioned bowl–perfect for one adult or two hungry kiddos! It makes a great “cheat night” meal or would be perfect for lunch on the go!

I enjoyed the Coconut Curry with Chicken & Shiitake Mushrooms! It had a fun, flavorful, and “not boring” taste for soup out of a pouch! I especially loved the mushrooms-yum!! The only thing I wasn’t crazy about was the chicken in the soup–for some reason chicken in canned or pouched soup just never tastes quite “right” to me-and this soup was no different. On the menu for next Monday night is the Red Pepper with Smoked Gouda which I have a feeling I’ll love even more! How did the soup go over with the kiddos? Well, let’s just say that the soup is advertised and targeted to those with bold and adventurous taste buds–all of which a picky toddler and two year old do not have–haha! I still enjoy having them try out new and different tastes though-in the hopes that exposure will lead to liking someday! 😉

Don’t forget to try out the “Random Text From Last Night” Mad Libs: Complete it to receive a $1 coupon for the product (try it out, it’s pretty funny!)

Have you tried the new Campbell’s Go Soup yet, if so let me know what your thoughts were in a comment! If not then tell me what your favorite “cheat night” meal is!

Nicole Elliott