February 29, 2012

Looking Back: My First Year Blogging

As most of you know my little blog is turning ONE next week! I can't believe how much has changed since I started my blog! This blog as truly been a blessing! I remember debating wether to start a blog or not and I'm so glad I took the plunge because I have met some wonderful people through it! I've made some wonderful friends and because of this little blog I opened up Blessed Design Studio! I can't stop thanking God for the wonderful blessings he has brought through my little blog design business! NEVER in a million years did I imagine I could do something I LOVE and get paid doing it! 

When my husband and I got married in 2005 My mother and I started a cleaning business and it was great making some money to help my husband out with bills and such! 7 months later we were expecting our first child and when Joshua was born we decided I could no longer keep cleaning homes and raise a baby. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a stay at home mom. My mom was a stay at home mom and I LOVED that she was ALWAYS there for us growing up. It was a bit tough in the beginning financially but God is so GREAT and we have seen his faithful hand in our family throughout the years, from a check in the mailbox when we didn't have enough money for diapers to a paid meal at a restaurant from strangers when all we had was $20 left for the week. Through the years we have had our ups and downs financially and I desperately seeked a way to help my husband out like selling stuff on Ebay. I started a birth announcement business in 2006 (Blessed Announcements) when my son was born but it wasn't really successful. So when I started my blog, I began playing around with design and found out how quickly I loved to design my blog! (as you can tell I've been changing my design quite often) I prayed about it and with God's help I opened up Blessed Design Studio! Ever since then I haven't been without a customer! I am SO THANKFUL! I have had the priviledge of working with such wonderful people designing their blogs and I know none of this wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for #1 God and #2 Starting this blog.

I can't wait for next week! For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about: We will be having a huge giveaway to celebrate my first year blogging! We have 24 participants and 5 prize packs! I will be sharing more details on the giveaway tomorrow and I will present ALL of the participants on Friday!
Thank you ALL so much for following me along!! It REALLY means a lot to me!! 
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February 28, 2012

My Toms Ballet Flats

A few weeks back I wrote this post on ordering the new ballet flats that Toms came out with and I received this comment:
Thank you so much  for the idea! This is my honest review of the new flats:
 I received my Toms a couple weeks ago (February 7th to be exact). I ordered a half size smaller than I usually wear because of reviews I read on the page and I'm so glad I did! While trying them out I noticed they weren't as light as I thought they would be. I kind of expected them to be as light as the original Toms but these are a bit heavier. I wore them out the whole day we went shopping for the kids' rooms. My feet hurt so bad at the end of the day but I'm pretty sure it was because they were new and because I was on my feet most of the day. I've worn them out a couple times since and they are getting much comfier each time I wear them. I REALLY Like them but I don't LOVE them! I LOVE how they look, I just wish they were a bit lighter. I give them an 8.5 out of 10. I will probably not buy another pair unless they go on sale! lol I don't regret buying them because they are pretty comfortable now & they don't stink like my other flats! lol They are the best quality flats I own and I own quite a few! I noticed most flats online are backordered now! Boo! If you ordered some Toms flats please let me know what you thought! I would love to see other people's reviews on them! :) 
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February 27, 2012

My Daughter's Gallery Wall

We are ALMOST done with my daughter's bedroom makeover. The walls are painted along with the doors & baseboards! All this room needs is a rug & some small decor items I ordered and am waiting for to arrive. Here is a little sneak peek of her bedroom! Like I shared in a previous post, my daughter's room colors are shades of pink & yellow. (like my blog! oh you noticed?) I chose to incorporate these colors in her gallery wall since her walls were painted a light gray color and the room needed some color! Here is the wall before & after the gallery wall...
 
I absolutely love how much color and life this gallery wall brought to my daughter's room! 
I know most of you either have a gallery wall in your home or have been wanting one! I have been seeing them ALL OVER blogs & pinterest and I was planning to do one in my living room (still want to!) but the living room will probably be the very last room we makeover in this house so I decided to do a small gallery wall in my daughter's room! I have NEVER done one in my life and I've seen people use newspaper and such to arrange on the wall to see where they would like to place their frames but.... I couldn't find any newspaper! (go figure! I usually have it everywhere and the one day I need it! ah!) So I ended up using my favorite picture hanging thingies (that's what I call em!) to hang the frames for the gallery wall. I call this gallery wall hanging technique "The Cindy Way" aka the "use what you've got" way or in my case don't got (have). I took a picture of the hanging thingies so you know what I'm talking about...
These thingies (ok I guess they are called picture hangers? go figure!) are perfect for me and my clumsy self! I am not good with tools! I wish I were! I wish I could build beautiful furniture and such like Ana White and many other talented bloggers but I can't even use a hammer without smashing my fingers! My husband won't even let me touch his drill! Not because he's selfish and doesn't like to share but because he knows my clumsiness and I'm pretty sure he thinks I will end up hurting myself. Which reminds me of the time I ended up hurting myself with my glue gun! Nope, I didn't get hot glue on my hands (which I have, but that's not what I'm talking about) I ended up burning my foot with hot glue when I made my first wreath! YES MY FOOT! That tells you how clumsy I am! Anyways! I'm getting way off topic aren't I? 

Here is how I hung my gallery wall:
I layed out my frames first before putting them up to make sure I liked the way they looked...
I took a picture hanger thingie and my first frame and sort of scratched the wall with it holding the frame in front to mark where the middle of the frame was and where I wanted to place it. (I didn't take a picture because both my hands were occupied while doing this) Here is how you use the picture hangers: You take a hanger and with your hand drive it into the wall, moving it side to side until it goes all the way in...
You might end up with a couple holes on the wall trying to perfectly align the frames! Remember I NEVER said this was the perfect way to hang a gallery wall! This is just what I used and how I did it! It took me less than 10 mins to hang all the frames on the wall and I didn't even use a hammer! woo hoo! Here are some more pictures of the finished gallery wall...
 I used leftover fabric for one of the frames. I turned one of my favorite pictures of my daughter into black & white and the other two prints you can find in my etsy shop. I can't wait to show you all the full reveal! 

February 23, 2012

Pamela's AWESOME Bedroom Makeover!

Ok guys I have nothing to post today! Boo! I have been SUPER busy working on the kids rooms, catching up on design work, doing laundry & responding to e-mails! It's been a crazy week so I apologize for my absence this week! Today my lovely friend Pamela revealed her BEAUTIFUL bedroom makeover and you HAVE TO check it out!! It's GORGEOUS! I Absolutely love EVERY single detail! I've been following her along with each and every single detail she has shared of her room. From the beautiful stenciled curtains to the trunk makeover and today she decided to reveal the complete bedroom makeover...
I absolutely love it! Can you tell!?! I am using way to many exclamation points!! :D
 You must visit PB&J Stories to view the rest of the room!
BTW can you see her beautiful blog on her computer screen? I just updated her blog with a new look! :)
Doesn't it match perfectly with her bedroom? Love it! 

Anywho I'm not sure I will have a post tomorrow but be ready for next week when I reveal either my son's or daughter's room! (depending on which one we finish first) Oh and ARE YOU EXCITED FOR MARCH?! Why? Because beginning March 5th we are having our HUGE GROUP BLOGAVERSARY GIVEAWAY WEEK!!! (Oh my goodness so much excitement in one post!) I will be sharing hints next week of our participants on Facebook so make sure you are following me on facebook so you don't miss out on any giveaway updates! Hope you all have a lovely weekend!
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February 22, 2012

My New Microwave!!!

Can you tell I'm excited?! We got a new microwave! We started our kitchen remodel last year and we took out our old microwave and finally just got a new one! The big ugly gap has been filled with this beauty...
Please ignore the ugly stove, It will be replaced soon....I hope!
We purchased this Samsung microwave from Best Buy which you can find here. 
I just loved the fact that the buttons are on the bottom and the inside is dark blue like an oven! I am so happy with this microwave! My husband installed it for me this Sunday while I was out having breakfast and shopping with the ladies from church. HE IS THE BEST! Not only did he have it installed by the time I got back, he also washed all the dishes!! THAT'S LIKE THE BEST THING EVER! Seriously I HATE washing dishes so I think I was a little more excited to see the pile of clean dishes for a second over the microwave! I LOVE THAT MAN! Here he is measuring for the new microwave the night before...
So that is one reason I've been MIA for a while! Another reason is because we've been working on my daughter's room and we finally finished painting it! The walls, the baseboards and all! I love it! I still have a couple little things to do before I show the reveal. We are moving on to my son's room next which should be done by the end of the week so I'm thinking I'll reveal his room sometime next week... hopefully! 
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February 17, 2012

Weekend Plans & New Winner!

Hello Friends! We've been busy painting my daughter's room & we are not even done! The room is painted but we are going to also paint the doors & baseboards since they are currently off white and I want them to be white. Anywho there is so much to do in both kids rooms but thankfully my hubby is off from work today until tuesday of next week so we will be working! I hope to have some updates on the rooms for you all next week! What are your plans this weekend?

Also, we have a new I Heart Feathers winner because I never heard from the first winner.
The new winner is...
Congrats Tausha!! Please e-mail me by Monday so I can forward your info over to Amber!
Hope you a have a lovely weekend!
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February 16, 2012

February Birchbox

Not only was I excited to see my little pink box in the mail yesterday because of the goodies, but also because I had nothing to post today! So THANK YOU Birchbox, you arrived just in time! Here is what I got this month...
 1. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant®
2. 6 free song downloads from Green River Ordinance *
3. Cute Heart Shaped Nail File *
4. Eye Rock Designer Liner
5. colorescience pro® glow and go Travel Puff
 6. Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint
*extras
If you've never heard of Birchbox, it's basically a $10/month subscription to 3-4 high end beauty product samples. You sometimes get extras such as the song downloads & nail file this month. You can also get Birchbox points for referring friends & reviewing the items you get in your box each month. For every 100 points you get $10 to the Birchbox shop! You can see more of my Birchbox goodies here. Or you can subscribe to Birchbox here. If you subscribe through me I will get 50 points and guess what people?! Two of you subscribed through me last month and I got me $10 in the Birchbox shop! YAY! THANKS SO MUCH!! I want to spend them so bad but I would like to get a couple more points so I can get my favorite concealer free! I will write up a post sometime soon on my favorite concealer and show you all why I NEED concealer! Anywho would you help a dark circled sistah' out and subscribe through me? 
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February 14, 2012

I Heart Feathers Winner

We Have a Winner!!
Congratulations Courtney!!!
Please e-mail me with your address so I can forward it to Amber!

Guess what I'm doing today people? I'm painting my daughter's room! yay!
So I will be busy busy today! Hopefully I can get it all done if not most of it!
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February 13, 2012

Let me REPLY!

   Caught your attention? Good! Cause I NEED you to do something for me please!
First of all I want to thank those of you who left me a sweet comment on friday's video post. You guys are too sweet and I was about to reply to all of you but I noticed some of you are no-reply comment bloggers! BUMMER! I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading your comments and I LOVE replying to your comments but in order for me to reply you gotta let me! Don't know what I'm talking about? Well maybe you're a new blogger or maybe you've been blogging for quite some time but you are still struggling to figure out Blogger and you don't know that blogs can reply to your comments via e-mail. Do you want to get replies to your lovely comments? not only from me but from ALL bloggers?

   You can easily fix that in three easy steps! I am guest posting on PB&J Stories today with a tutorial I have shared here on my blog before. Actually it was my very first blogger tutorial. So would you lovely people please head on over to Pam's blog and read my tutorial and let me reply to your comments?! 

I would REALLY appreciate it!
PS. If you haven't already please enter my current giveaway it ends TONIGHT!
Thanks a Bunch,
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February 10, 2012

My First Video Vlog...

...and maybe last. As you will probably notice my son in the beginning says "this is the last one!" We recorded like 5 videos. I completely blanked out a couple times and I didn't know what to say. So we started over and over and then finally this one was the best. Hope you guys enjoy "getting to know" the author of this little blog & my kids! Oh yes and you might end up getting distracted by looking at my son's funny faces and completely tune me out! :D
video
BTW we had an AWESOME shopping day! I got tons of stuff for both my son's and daughter's rooms. I can't wait to show you all! Have a Great Weekend! Don't forget to enter the I heart feathers giveaway!
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February 9, 2012

My Son's Bedroom Inspiration

Yesterday I shared the inspiration board for my daughter's room makeover and today I am sharing my son's. My son's room will mostly be blues & grays with hints of green. I have asked my husband to make my son a wooden headboard and he seems to like the idea so hopefully we can get it done soon! I'm going shopping today! Hopefully I can find some goodies for both my son & daughter's rooms and stick to my budget! wish me luck!! :)
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February 8, 2012

My Daughter's Bedroom Inspiration


First of all notice anything new? I got me a new header & overall blog look but I kept the color yellow. As I was looking for color palettes for my daughter's room I found how much I like pink & yellow together! So I stole my daughter's colors for my own blog! It just brightens things up don't you think? I am very happy with my new header. I didn't create new buttons because I like my current ones which is why I created that little matching bird up on my header.

If you read my post on home goals for 2012 then you remember that re-doing the kids rooms were goal number 3 & number 4. Today I am sharing the inspiration board for my daughter's room and tomorrow I'll share my son's. The kids have shared a room since...well since Sarah was born really. She never had her own nursery. So since Joshua is turning six this year (WHAT?) we decided to give them each their own room. I have a strict budget of $100/per room for the kiddos. Thankfully we already have beds so we don't have to buy any big furniture but there are a couple things like bedding for my daughter & storage for toys that are on the list and will probably consume most of the budget. I am planning on painting the rooms this weekend so hopefully we can have one if not both of the rooms ready by next week. I am going shopping with my mom tomorrow to find a couple things I need for each room! I'm so excited to begin! Hopefully I can stick to the budget!
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February 7, 2012

I HEART Feathers Giveaway
by Local Giving Tree

Happy Tuesday everyone! Today we have an awesome giveaway from Local Giving Tree. You can check out yesterday's post in case you missed it for more info on my new sponsor Local Giving Tree. The very generous Amber (owner of Local Giving Tree) is giving away three pairs of gorgeous feather earrings & a beautiful headband! One lucky lady will win all of this...
 
PRIZE: 3 pairs of feather earrings & a matching headband
VALUE: $69
HOW TO ENTER: Subscribe to get Localgivingtree.com’s deals and leave a comment letting me know. (you will also get a free “mini” fused glass pendant for doing this, no strings attached) 
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: Monday, March 13, 2012 at 8pm CST
NUMBER OF WINNERS: ONE 
OPEN TO: The 50 United States (18yrs or older)
THE FINE PRINT: The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Tuesday March 14. If potential winner forfeits or does not claim prize, prize will be re-awarded. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 
DETAILS:  "I HEART Feathers" Giveaway - Provided by Localgivingtree.com, a national deal website that features handmade, boutique, artisan and eco-friendly items AND a donation is made to a school or nonprofit with every purchase, hence the name, Local Giving Tree. This package is valued at $69 and includes three pairs of feather earrings (one to go with every outfit), plus a chic feather headband adorned with a brass filigree and fresh water pearl. All of these items have either been featured on Localgivingtree.com or will be featured in the near future with discounts of 35%-70% 



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February 6, 2012

Sponsor Guest Post/Feature: Local Giving Tree

Hello Cinsarah readers! My name is Amber DeBirk and I am excited that Cindy invited me to tell you about myself and my company, Localgivingtree.com. I’ve had a chance to get to know Cindy through her blog and her hip designs—I just love her work! I appreciate her commitment to her family, helping other businesses thrive, community, and all things creative—that must be why we connected!

Now let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am married to my best friend Bill, and a mother to two sweet girls, Indy Rose (6) and Willa Grace (4), plus my old man retriever Murphy (13). I am very involved in my community and the arts. I have wrote grants and fundraised for numerous local and national nonprofits and started our town’s first community market that sells locally grown produce, arts, and crafts. I am also a fused glass and mixed-media artist that works mainly with recycled glass and scrap materials. I am obsessed with upcycling and love teaching my girls crafts that are kind to our environment.

Now where does Localgivingtree.com fit in to all of this? It’s simple. I had been approached by numerous daily deal sites to offer my fused glass creations and classes on their websites. I always declined their offers, because everything that I sell, I always donate a portion of my sales to various nonprofits that are important to me and my family. I always thought it would be great to offer my artisan creations on the other “deal” sites, but something was missing…after many conversations with my crafty friends, Localgivingtree.com was born!

Local Giving Tree is a national deal site that offers you handmade, artisan, eco-friendly, and boutique items. There are companies out there that offer these same deals, however, our company is different. We are committed to “Buying, Saving, Giving & Growing,”—and with every sale, a portion of the proceeds is donated to a nonprofit or school chosen by the artist or business making the offer, hence the name, Local Giving Tree. With a grassroots approach, Local Giving Tree’s business model plants roots and helps to sustain our local economy and communities.

I would love for our “tree” to grow, and there are many ways that you can help with that. Spread the word about Localgivingtree.com by following us on Twitter (@localgivingtree), tweet about us to your family and friends, like us on Facebook (facebook.com/localgivingtree), subscribe to get our deals emailed to you by clicking here, share our deals via Twitter, Facebook, your blog, or Pinterest. If helping your local communities “Grow” means something to you, I encourage each of you to try shopping differently and challenge your family and friends to do the same at localgivingtree.com!

Now you don’t think I would ask you to do all of this stuff just out of the goodness of your heart, do you? Although, Localgivingtree.com has been shared by many people without the incentive I am going to offer you. Here’s the “deal,” it is our goal to get as many new subscribers as we can during the month of February, so I am offering a FREE mini-fused glass pendant made out of scrap glass by myself J, just for you signing up to get our emails! It’s free to subscribe, and we want our “tree” to grow, can you help us do that? Anyone can get this offer, so Tweet it, Blog it, Facebook it, and let’s see how the power of “sharing,” which is what Localgivingtree.com is about, can grow. To get the free handmade pendant, you must sign up through this link, click here.

Thanks for letting me share with you what Localgivingtree.com is all about. I am truly passionate about our commitment to giving back, and promoting the work of many talented people like you as well! If you are interested in featuring your handmade product or blog on Localgivingtree.com, please feel free to shoot me an email at localgivingtree@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!

P.S. Localgivingtree.com will be offering a stellar giveaway tomorrow on Cindy’s blog, all handmade items, value of more than $50! Come back tomorrow and enter!

February 3, 2012

Lets talk about Dishwashers

So... I've never used a dishwasher in my life! When we bought our house in 2005 the dishwasher was broken and we never thought to fix it because honestly I never knew how to use one and didn't really care so much about it. Well it is now 2012 and I want a dishwasher! 

Since we began remodeling our kitchen last year we took out our old broken dishwasher and a stinky trashcan is now sitting in the space where a dishwasher should be. Every year we use our income tax money to upgrade something in the house and last year we got our cabinets & granite installed. This year we are getting a new dishwasher and microwave. This is where I need your help! I've been looking for a good dishwasher because I've read about dishwashers breaking and leaking water and such and since I've never used one I need advice! What is a good brand for a dishwasher? What kind of soap do you use? Anything will help! Here is the one I've been thinking about...

It's a Maytag and it's from Sears. You can find it here. It's got pretty good reviews. Does anyone have a maytag dishwasher? Any recommendations for microwaves would help too! I kind of want the appliances to all match so If I go with a maytag dishwasher I more than likely will get a maytag microwave too! ANY ADVICE would be SUPER HELPFUL and APPRECIATED!!

Hope you al have a wonderful weekend!! 
We have a fun giveaway planned for next week and if you are participating in my HUGE group giveaway for March, expect an e-mail from me either Monday or Tuesday with more info!

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February 1, 2012

TOMS New Ballet Flats

Oh TOMS! I used to loathe you! Although I loved your mission (ONE for ONE), I simply disliked your style and the way every one and their grandmas owned a pair of your popular shoes. (No offense to anyone who already owns a pair of Toms or if you are a grandma who wears them! My mom is a grandma and she sometimes uses my sister's Toms!) I promised I would NEVER buy myself a pair...that is until you came out with the one thing I can't resist! BALLET FLATS! I have a weakness for flats! I love them in all colors & patterns and although I don't buy myself many shoes, I tend to ALWAYS buy a pair of flats when shoe shopping. So guess what people?! I stayed up last night and bought myself a pair of TOMS! Gasp! I can't believe I did it! I mean they are the MOST Expensive pair of shoes I have EVER purchased for myself! I always buy myself super cheap and uncomfortable shoes that tend to end up all stinky and gross and in the garbage! So I'm hoping these flats are as comfortable as the other Toms and that they last me a lot longer than my current stinky ones! Here are the ones I chose...
Aren't they gorgeous?! They aren't something I would normally pick. I tend to stick to the neutrals. I was about to pick the gray ones but I fell in love with these! It felt so good to have this pop up once I ordered them...
I don't only get a cute pair of flats but I got to help someone out too! 
I can't wait to get my flats! If you are thinking about getting a pair of ballet flats...
use code: ShareToms for $5 off your order! 
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