Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bee's Wrap Food Storage (for only $3)

I have wanted to try Bee's Wrap for years.  The only thing that has been holding me back has been the price.  I was reluctant to spend the money without seeing them in person or knowing anyone else who had tried them.

I thought I'd pass along the good news that you can get two wraps for $3.  That includes shipping.  I couldn't pass it up!

Go to Reading My Tea Leaves for more information and to catch the deal!

So far I really like the wraps.  I don't think they will completely replace my storage containers or plastic wrap at this point.   That would be a big investment, and some dishes would be too large for the wraps to cover.  I like the concept and think they will come in handy for small dishes or for wrapping up cut produce.  While they would be handy for taking your lunch to work, I don't think I would do a lot of traveling with them, because I'd have to make sure they got back home with me.

If you use Bee's Wraps, I'd like to hear how you use them and any tips you may have.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Embroidered Monogram Hanging Banner

I sewed and embroidered this little banner for my nephew that was born last week.  Colin's sister had a baby boy, and I just had to make him something for the hospital!

The upholstery fabric in the woodgrain pattern was picked up from Hancock Fabrics right before they closed.

I had a small metal rod, and Colin trimmed it to the right length for me.  I used twine for the hanger.

If you're interested in getting started in machine embroidery, the machine I use is a good place to start.  The exact model number was sold at Hancocks, but the two models below look to be exact to what I have.  I see one has a foot pedal, which mine doesn't have, but I'm not sure why it's needed.  My machine will embroider a 4x4 space.  Before you invest in a machine, be sure to do your research and watch videos.  You need a computer and embroidery software if you want to use your machine to its fullest potential.  It's one of the most fun hobbies for me!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Your Life Is Not An "Interruption"

If you like to read books or watch shows full of drama, deceit, twists and turns, murder, stuff that makes you want to cover your eyes, then you really need to read the Old Testament.

Let's take Noah for example.  For awhile I've been thinking about the story of Noah and how we tell it to our kids.  Harlow has some story Bibles for kids that have cute poems and drawings about the animals and the story of Noah.  She loves the VeggieTales DVD about Noah with all the fun songs and silly jokes.  It seems like just a few years ago the most popular design for a baby's nursery was Noah's ark.

Yes, the animals came on the ark two by two.  Yes, the earth was flooded, and Noah's family was saved.  But have you thought about the details, and have you read what happens after they get off the ark?

Details:  Animals are stinky.  They need to eat.  They need to get rid of what they eat.  Many animals are scary.  Noah's family was inside a boat with those animals.  Being inside the boat while the earth is being destroyed is scary, now add caring for those animals to the stress.  While Noah's family is in the ark, the rest of the people and creatures on earth are drowning.  My daughter's story Bibles leave that out (with good reason, of course...she might need to be a little older to read about that part).

After:  Know what else isn't in my daughter's books?  What happens after the flood.  I don't know all the logistics of how they survive afterward.  All I know is God provides, and I believe it, because I've seen Him provide in my life when it seems like He does it from nothing.  But that's not what I want to talk about.  We're here for drama, remember?  Well, Noah gets drunk.  And there's more sin to follow.  Even after God saves us, we're prone to sin.  Do you remember why the earth was flooded?  Sin.  What happens when Noah's family gets off the ark?  Sin.

Let's move on to a second story that could seem like it was written for Game of Thrones.

A little later in the book of Genesis in chapter 38, we come to the story of Tamar.  There's deceit, wickedness, and death.  Be sure to click the link above to read the story.  I've read it before, but it wasn't until the other day that I found myself reading it with an open mouth of surprise.  Drama!  Below is a photo from commentary in The Knowing Jesus Study Bible.  This Bible has commentary and notes that show how the Bible as a whole points to Christ.  This commentary of the story of Tamar was so good that I had to share.  Sorry about all the underlining and notes.  I didn't know I was going to share this until after I had marked on the page.  Be sure to read it; don't skip it!
click to enlarge photo

Why would any of this be comforting?  Well, every single one of us messes up daily.  Often we're hurt by other people.  The things that happen in our lives have a purpose.  God works through our mistakes and the hurts others commit toward us.  That's grace and mercy.  You're a part of the bigger plan.  That should encourage us to work for God and do right, but even when we mess us, He's still working.  Thank the Lord.  I find a lot of comfort in this right now as I see everything happening in the world.  Our country is in turmoil.  Countries all around the world are in turmoil.  When it seems like God is removed, HE'S NOT!  Again, thank the Lord.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Unique Jewelry Storage (for Women + Men): No Crafting Required!

I'm always looking for ways to neatly display and store my jewelry.  I have a large jewelry chest I got for Christmas one year, but I like to have a few pieces out for when I'm in a hurry.  I usually rotate necklaces and bracelets to fit the season.  I keep my wedding band on a little dish with earring studs that go with just about any outfit.  That way I can grab and put on a few classic or trendy pieces in a jiffy.

Here are three ways you can display your jewelry with items you may have around the house or can pick up for an affordable price.

A hand towel rack is great for bracelets and shorter necklaces.  I've seen these at TJ Maxx in different finishes and styles.  I like the ones with curved handles, similar to this one: InterDesign Axis Towel Holder for Bathroom Vanities - Chrome.

Side note: The leather bracelet is one of the Good Works Bracelets that I got for Christmas, and the braided one is from Wanderer Bracelets.  Colin gave it to my for my birthday this year.  Click here for $5 off: clicky click!

Look at baby Marla!  This is a table at my parents' house in the room that Colin and I sleep in.  I brought this plate to keep my jewelry organized when I visit.

This is an antique egg plate.  It's perfect for keeping rings and earrings organized.  This plate also has a large space in the middle that is great for bracelets and a watch.

A little antique shopping might be all you need to find a great plate like this!  This one belonged to Colin's grandmother.  I have a Fiesta egg tray that I love using for things like this too.

Lastly, here's an idea for the guys (and gals!).  A cigar box is a great way to hide a mess, whether it's jewelry, discount cards, miscellaneous items.  The box above is what my husband keeps on his dresser for those random items that need storing.  I use a newer box for buttons.

I'm definitely not endorsing smoking!  My grandfather always had cigar boxes, so it's sentimental for me.  I also love the vintage artwork.  You can find these at flea markets or get new ones at cigar shops.  I found some on Amazon if you're not able to find some locally: Paper Covered Empty Cigar Box; Pack of 10.

I hope this gave you some ideas!  What are your favorite ways to display (or hide) your jewelry and knick-knacks?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Beauti Control Skincare & Makeup

I have used Beauti Control skincare and makeup since I was a teenager.  At the bottom of this post is a video where I explain and show all the products I use.

Today I want to show you the newest products I've started using since they won't be mentioned in the video I did last year.

My mom also uses Beauti Control, and she gave me a few skincare items for my birthday a couple weeks ago.  

Let's talk about them!

Nutri-Rich Oil with apricot kernel oil

Beauti Control says: The 'Crown Jewel' of the Nutri-Rich range, Nutri-Rich oil is a highly concentrated blend of specially selected Apricot Kernel Oil and Vitamin E which intensively nurtures and helps to protect the skin for a soft, smooth and supple feel.  Apply at night after cleansing and toning.

What I have to say: This smells sooo good!  It's like an oil-lotion hybrid.  It's almost the consistency of coconut oil.  It has a tiny bit of grain to it, but it doesn't scrub your skin.  It's smooth and quickly absorbs into your skin.  A little goes a long way.  I already use a night cream (mentioned in the video) every night.  I replace my night cream with this oil about twice a week.  I have dry skin, and while I like the other night cream, I wanted something to help my skin when it was feeling extra dry.

BC Facial Exfoliating Polish

Beauti Control says: Gently exfoliates dead surface cells to invigorate and polish skin with natural jojoba beads.  It also provides skin-brightening benefits and antioxidant protection for newly exposed skin cells.

What I have to say: I think a gentle exfoliator is so important. This exfoliating polish (as they call it) is for all skin types, so it's going to be pretty middle of the road.  It's not harsh, but there's enough to it to notice a difference.  If you're having skin issues and have never exfoliated, give it a try.  I always notice a difference in my skin when I've gone too long without giving it a scrub.  For me, in particular, it helps remove my dry skin than can peel up.  This scrub doesn't have much of a scent if you're looking for something with a gentle, clean scent (for those of us who can be bothered by scents...anyone else get headaches from certain smells?).

Skin Logics Milky Tonic

Beauti Control says:  Skinlogics® Essentials Milky Tonic removes traces of makeup while replenishing your skin's protective barrier. Hydrate skin while boosting firmness and elasticity.  Multi-tasking, alcohol-free formula helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and even out skin tone. 

What I have to say: I already use the BC Facial Reviving Tonic in the blue bottle (I can't remember if it's in the video).  I first tried the Milky Tonic when I was at my parents' house.  My mom has been using it for awhile now, and I liked it.  I have used a toner ever since I started a skincare regiment as a teenager.  I notice that it helps remove anything that my face wash didn't get.  My pores need a toner!  I'll continue using my Reviving Tonic (description below) but like having this Milky Tonic as an option.  I need to take care of this skin!

BC Facial Reviving Tonic Night/Day: Hydrating formula that replenishes skin with essential moisture and provides an anti-aging boost to your regimen. For people with normal to dry skin. Contains a blend of polyhydroxy acids that gently and effectively exfoliate dead skin cells and provide anti-aging benefits.

Those are the three newest (new to me) products I'm using.  Beauti Control works for me and my skin needs.  They cover a wide range of skin types and skin age.  Even if you never try a Beauti Control product, find something that works for you.  I think it's important to take care of my skin since it's the only skin I have!

Here's a video I did last August where I go through every Beauti Control product I use.

Let me know in the comments if you use Beauti Control or if there's another brand that you love!

I was in no way compensated to write this post of make the video.  I really use these products!  Full disclosure: My mom is a consultant, so we do get a percentage off retail.  We also shop when the items are on sale/discount/special!  BUT my mom became a consultant after we had been using these products for quite awhile.  We wouldn't use them if we didn't like them!  If you'd like to try Beauti Control but don't know a consultant in your area, you can order at  Click Find a Consultant and enter Robbie Shepherd and Arkansas.

Fast Food Blessings: God Provides

I posted the story below on my personal Facebook page a couple days ago.  It was something the Holy Spirit was urging me to share.  I had no idea that so many people would identify with it and find encouragement.  This morning I decided to copy and paste it to share here.  Some of you may not know me in "real" life, so we probably aren't Facebook friends.  I'm hoping that this story of how God has provided for my family will encourage and ring true with someone else out there who needs to hear it.  It's not about me.  It's about Him.  He just used me in this instance to share His goodness with others.

Love, Marla

When I was growing up, I saw time and time again how God provided for my family. We lived on a small budget, but our needs were always met. In my adult life and with my own family, I've seen the same thing over and over. When I was 8 months pregnant, Colin and I decided that I would stay home with Harlow. Before making the decision, we put everything on paper. Our expenses didn't match up with the one income we would be living on. We just knew that we were supposed to take the leap of faith. While we definitely had to make sacrifices, it has been worth every "want" we've given up. Our needs are met every single day. It isn't always easy, but then again, who said faith was easy? 

Colin gets paid about every two weeks. We have a very strict budget. We have a set amount set aside for eating out. When we spend that amount, we have to wait until the next paycheck to have money to eat out again. The amount that we set aside is equal to about what a couple could spend on a date night. That amount is to feed the three of us for about 2 weeks at places outside the home. That means most of our meals are at home (which is better for the waistline and pocketbook). That was a sacrifice we decided to make. We used our eating out cash faster this go around while spending time with our families. We knew we wanted to spend our cash to have that time to fellowship with our families, and we knew that meant we couldn't eat out for another 11 days. 

Here comes blessing #1. Colin was gifted $100 in Bear Bucks. It's a card that has money loaded on it that he can use to eat on campus or at a handful of places in Conway. We decided we would use it for when we were desperate to eat out. That was money we didn't expect to have. 

Now, here's blessing #2. Last week we had a particularly hectic day with a fussy toddler and a full day of work for Colin. I hadn't prepared any dinner, and Colin didn't have the energy to cook. We decided to use the Bear Bucks to get pizza from Domino's. Colin went to pick it up, and their machine that took the Bear Bucks wasn't working. Colin apologized and took out his wallet to pay. The employee refused to let us pay and insisted on giving us the pizza. We were shocked. 

Ready for blessing #3? On Wednesdays it's often a rush from the time Colin gets home from work to eat dinner at home to then head to church. When he got home tonight, I didn't have anything prepared for dinner and still needed to get myself and Harlow dressed. If you're a stay-at-home mom, you know that getting ready can sometimes take all day. We decided to use the Bear Card to go to Zaxby's. We hadn't been there in a long time, and it's near church. Instead of ordering Harlow a kids meal, I always order enough to share with her. I ordered my meal, and Colin ordered his. The waiter then asked us what four kids meals we wanted. We must have looked dumbfounded, because he asked us if we had ever been there on a Wednesday. We said no. He said that with certain meals, you receive two free kids meals. Since Colin and I each ordered, we got four free kids meals. The cashier insisted we get all four free meals and take them home for Harlow to eat on for the week. We were happily surprised and laughed about how much food would come to our table. Once they brought the food out, they sat my plate down, and the order wasn't completely correct. Colin asked me if I had the right sauce, but before we could even finish our conversation, the worker ran over with my correct order. I asked him if the order was just confused with someone else's, and I tried to hand him my incorrect order. He said for me to keep it and boxed it up for us. I also had food left over from my plate. Do you understand how much food we left with? It was comical! Colin looked at me and said, "Well that was a blessing." 

While these are small things that may not seem like much, they have been huge blessings to us. I want to thank Domino's Pizza and Zaxby's for their kindness and customer service. You both blessed this family.

Do you realize that you can't out-give God? He gives you every single thing you possess and looks for ways to bless you, even if it's bags and bags of chicken! "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matthew 6:25-26

Monday, July 18, 2016

FREE Pinch Me Box: All the Details

A few months ago I found out about Pinch Me.  I can't remember where I first saw their info.  I do remember seeing that it was FREE!  I have gotten 3 boxes, and I'll let you know all I know so far about how it works.  Hopefully you can snag a box of your own!

How to sign up:
Go to to create an account.  Everything about signing up is free.

How to get samples:
Pinch Me will let you know when they are going to release a new box.  The easiest way to know when it's coming is to follow them on social media.  I follow them on instagram to get a heads up.

On the day they are releasing a box, be ready to have their website pulled up ahead of time.  As soon as the products are released, put them in your box!  Samples go fast!  I mean really, really fast.  Sometimes their server gets overloaded with traffic and you may miss out on samples.  I've gone to their site an hour after samples were released, and everything has been gone.

How they decide what samples you get:
When you create an account, you'll fill out a profile telling them about you.  When they have samples that fit your profile, you qualify for a box.  You may only qualify for a few items in the box.  One time I got just dog food and nothing else.  Another time I got a box full of samples.

How to continue receiving a box:
After you've had time to try the samples, there are surveys to fill out on the website.  They are quick and easy to fill out.  I'm guessing this is why they are sending out samples to begin with.  Companies partner with them to get feedback and to get the word out about new products.

Are there strings attached?:
Well, yes, kinda, depending on what you call strings...
I get emails several times a week from Pinch Me with coupons and trial offers and all sorts of promotions companies pay them to send.  I delete most of them, because I don't have time for all that.  I haven't looked yet to see if I can opt out of emails and still receive a box.  I'm hoping that's an option, but my guess is it's a package deal.

I hope this answers any questions you may have about Pinch Me.  It's fun to get these free samples-- you just gotta be quick!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Video: Family Vacation in North Central Arkansas

Every year my family gets together on/around the 4th of July for a little vacation.  We spend time at my parents' house, swimming, boating, exploring nearby towns.  My birthday is July 5, so there's always cake :).

Here's a short video of our time relaxing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Colourpop Review: Super Shock Shadow & Liquid Lipstick

I received my first Colourpop products about a month ago.  There are two good things about Colourpop: 1) They offer affordable products. 2) If you sign up for their email list, you get $5 off, which covers your shipping charges.

Now, let's talk about the two products I received.

Super Shock Eye Shadow
I got this for free!  Colourpop gave out this shadow to celebrate their second birthday in the color Birthday Boy.  I was very excited to get it (yay, free!).

My first impressions:
  • The color was not as pigmented as I expected.  It turned out to be pretty sheer, even with multiple layers.
  • It is very glittery.  Not shiny, not sheen, glittery.  I think the one time I might wear this is as a base to a matte color to give the matte color some interest.
  • There was some glitter fall-out.  Glitter under the eyes that was almost impossible to remove without messing up my foundation-- not cute.
  • I don't know if it was just because this was a free product, but I hit the pan on the first application.  I'm hoping the products you purchase would have more product than this free shadow.  Otherwise, it's not going to last very long.
Let's just say that I'm glad this was free.  I would like to test another shadow to see if I like it better.

Now, let's move on to the second product.

Ultra Matte Lip in Clueless (Liquid Lipstick)
I've seen a lot of youtubers wearing Colourpop lip products.  I really wanted to try some, so I started with Clueless, which is a really on-trend 90's color.

So, let's break it down:
  • I really like the color.  I get compliments when I wear it.
  • It lasts much longer than most lip products I've tried.
  • It can accentuate your lip lines if you don't scrub and condition your lips before applying it.  Make sure to dry your lips off before applying it.
  • It flakes off if you don't condition your lips and flakes after wearing it for awhile.
  • It doesn't fade as nicely as I'd like.
  • The applicator stick has a lot of product on it.  The tube doesn't have enough suction to pull the product off the plastic stick and keep it only on the doe foot brush.   It seems wasteful and has gotten lipstick on other parts of my face while I'm putting it on my lips.  The lipstick is not easy to remove from your chin!
  • The product applies better if you use a lip brush.  My guess is because it uses less product, so you get a better, less goopy application and can really smooth it out better than the doe foot applicator which has too much product on it (again, needs more suction).  The problem with that: it's almost impossible to wash it out of your brush.  I washed and washed the lip brush only to stain my hands.  Once I finally got the brush clean, I vowed to not use it again with that lip product or to dedicate it only to that product.
Overall, I think it's worth the price and a good lipstick.  I wish it was more like a lip stain that fades nicely and had more nourishing qualities.  If you follow me on snapchat (username: marlagraces), you would have seen videos of the progression of me wearing it through the day on two different days.  I have screenshots below, because my videos somehow didn't save like I thought.

If you have Colourpop products, please let me know what to try (or not try!).  I'd love to hear what you think!

Disclaimer:  Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links.  I purchased the items pictured myself and was not sponsored to write this post.  The affiliate links are just similar items for ideas, and the links help sponsor my tiny blog so I can keep creating!

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