Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bring Back Nice Winner

Hi friends!  Just popping in real quick to announce the winner of my box of goodies.

True Random Number Generator  1Powered by RANDOM.ORG

What a great sign!

Anita, I will be in touch with you to mail you the prize.  Thank you everyone for doing the hop!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bring Back Nice Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hi friends!  I'm so sorry that I haven't been doing any challenges or posts lately.  Summer has been challenging for us.  We are keeping busy and school starts again soon.

Today, we are doing a Bring Back Nice Blog Hop.  This is a little promotional hop to spread the word about our Bring Back Nice movement and to spread some NICE around the internet.  I opened sign ups to everyone so hopefully we will run smoothly.  Here are all the stops in case something gets jumbled.

Ashley N Newell (you are here)
Jan Farnworth
Anita Autore
Tenia Nelson
Hope to Read
Gina Karas
Tiffany Kummer
Lisa Adametz
Pia Kayo

Honestly, I feel like I've gone on and on about Bring Back Nice, what it means to me, and what I'd like to accomplish.  I'm going to leave you with a quote and a GIVEAWAY.
For the giveaway, I'm offering up a box full of paper crafting supplies.  You can use it for yourself or if you aren't a crafter, you can give it to someone else.  If you'd like to be entered, just leave a comment below about something nice that happened this week or your favorite quote about kindness.  If you'd like an extra entry in the giveaway, you can like the Bring Back Nice Facebook Page.  Leave another comment if you went and liked the page or already like it.  (ETA: I will announce the winner next Sunday, July 27th.  The box is only available for US addresses.  If you are in another country and you win, I will get you a gift certificate to Whisker Graphics.)

Next up on the hop is JAN!  

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Dress Your Baby Fashionista on a Budget (AND A COUPON!)

Hi friends!  I hope you are well!  We are doing ok.  The air conditioning is broken in the van and with the 100 degree heat, we are staying at home.  It's not as fun as it sounds.  ;)

Today, I'm writing a post about one of the way I dress my little Avery soooooooo cute on a tight budget.  I'm a super thrifty mommy but I still love having Avery wear super cute and fun clothes.  I love buying secondhand for clothes but I usually don't have time to scour thrift stores or garage sales.  Not to mention when I go places, I usually have 3 kids in tow.  When I heard about My Little Clothesline, I was super excited!  (***This is NOT a sponsored post.***)

My Little Clothesline is an online store which sells gently used kids clothes from size newborn to 14+.  They have been around since 2009.  They have great clothes sorted by size and gender so it's easy to shop.  The owner, Lauri Smith, is a super sweet lady!  She is actually the sister (or maybe sister in law) of my friend Kim Kesti.  She is a mom of 4 kids so she knows the importance of quality clothes at an affordable price!

  The shipping time was super fast!  In just a few days, I had the clothes.  ALSO!!!  My Little Clothesline offers Bargain Boxes.  They are like grab bags of kids clothes.  For just $5 you get 5 pieces of kids clothes for sizes newborn-3T or 4 pieces for 4T and up.  You can choose the size and the season of the clothes and they will send you a grab bag.  I've bought two and I was BEYOND happy with them!  The grab bags contain amazing quality stuff and I paid just $1 a piece!

This is the contents of my two Bargain Boxes.  For $10 total, I got dresses, tops, pants, capris, overalls, etc... 
Do you wanna see some pictures of Avery in the clothes?  Of course you do!  ;)

This is a top I picked out for just $3!
 This is a dress from the Bargain Box.  Seriously?  I would have paid the full $10 just for this dress!
I also got some GREAT brands for Avery like DKNY, Baby Gap, Gymboree, etc... I actually bought a pair of shorts on there for Brady too for $4.  If you haven't tried shopping secondhand for a 7 year old, it's VERY hard because kids that age are extremely hard on their clothes.  It's just so nice to be able to look from the comfort of my home and when I can shop in peace without the kids bugging me.

I reached out to Lauri and let her know I was going to write the review and GUESS WHAT?!  She gave me a coupon to share with all of you!  Enter code: hearthugs before checkout to save 20% off your whole order!  That is an AMAZING deal!  Coupon expires on July 10th, 2014 so HURRY!

Have a great day, friends!  I hope I helped you save a couple dollars.  :)


Monday, June 30, 2014

Bring Back Nice: Challenge 2- Social Media Presence

Hi friends!  How are you?  I hope that you are all doing VERY well.  Did you enjoy last week's challenge?  I hope it made you think about how you treat yourself and be more aware of taking care of YOU.

Challenge 2 - Social Media Presence 

This week, we are going to one of the things that got me started on this Bring Back Nice movement.  Social Media.  It is HUGE in today's world!  It seems like everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Instagram, YouTube, etc... And with being behind a keyboard comes some keyboard confidence.  I've read a lot of comments on all sorts of platforms that have stopped me in my tracks.  People can be SO mean.

I find it appalling that even people who I consider to be nice people will post things on social media that come across mean.  I guess it's common place in today's world (how sad!)  People will post photos, videos, or statements about other people they've come across in their everyday life for their social media friends to tear apart.  Let's judge a picture of what this person is wearing.  Let's laugh at this person who fell in a puddle.  Let's tear apart this woman's actions in the grocery store.

How many of us stopped to think and feel compassion for these people?  What if the woman/girl/man/boy wearing those too short shorts doesn't have money to buy anything else?  What if that's their only outfit?  What if the person who fell in the puddle WAS YOU?  Would you want your misfortune placed on YouTube?  What if that person who fell got seriously hurt and they ended up dying because of internal injuries?  Would you still laugh then?  What if the woman screaming at the grocery store just found out she has cancer?  Or what if her husband just left her?  Or what if she has been up for 4 days straight with her sick child?  I get it, these are a lot of "what ifs" and they probably don't apply to most situations.  BUT WE DON'T KNOW THAT.  I don't know this person, who am I to judge them?

This week, I want you to go forth and post positive things on your social media platforms.  If posting positive things seems unauthentic to you then I challenge you to bite your tongue and not post snarky things.  If you want to go beyond yourself and expand this challenge, then go spread some love.  Tell a friend how nice they look in a photo they posted.  Leave a comment on your favorite blog or YouTube channel thanking the person for their hard work.  Go encourage someone that is taking on a new venture.  Kindness is free, spread it everywhere!

Also, please join us on our Bring Back Nice Facebook page for more encouragement and to share your experiences with us.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bring Back Nice: Challenge 1 - Be Nice to Yourself

Over the weekend, I asked if people on the Bring Back Nice Facebook page would be interested in a weekly challenge.  There was a positive response so I decided that I will start posting a challenge with a blog post (for anyone who cares to read my ramblings on it) each Monday.  The challenge is just for fun and for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us.  If you can't or don't want to do it, that is totally fine.  You Bring Back Nice in whatever way you feel is right.  :)

Challenge 1: Be Nice to YOURSELF

I know you're saying "Ashley, I thought the whole point of this movement is to make the world a better place, shouldn't we be doing nice things for other people?"  The answer is yes, do nice things for others but don't forget about yourself.  I find that most people who are busy caring for other people all day often forget about themselves.  And it's really hard to be nice to others when you get to the point where you have neglected yourself for so long that you just feel worn out.

For the challenge, I'd like you to do one nice thing for yourself each day.  Here are some ideas:
~Read a book or magazine for relaxation
~Take a bath
~Get or give yourself a manicure or pedicure
~Watch a movie
~Get a massage
~Treat yourself to a coffee or smoothie (or whatever you like)
~Do some crafting
~Listen to your favorite music and just sit
~Call your best friend or mom or other favorite relative just to chat
~Meditate
~Do that spa/craft/cooking kit thing that you bought for yourself and never got around to doing
~Do a face or hair mask
~Go to a bookstore and just hang out
~Do your favorite hobby or whatever makes you HAPPY

But beyond these little things that you can do FOR yourself, I want you to be nice TO yourself.  Bringing Back Nice is a mindset.  It's a movement to bring back kindness into every day life.  And you can't be nonjudgmental, compassionate, and kind to other people if you are constantly beating yourself up.  You do not need to put yourself down to bring someone else up!  Be kind to yourself not just in the actions you do that other people can see like treating yourself to a nice hair cut but in the way you talk to yourself and the way you treat yourself.  Give yourself some grace.  I read a quote once that to paraphrase said "If we treated our friends like we treated ourselves, we wouldn't have any friends left."  And that's just sad.

If you'd like to join along in the challenge, you can go to the Bring Back Nice Facebook Page and check in with us or you can leave a comment right here telling me how you were nice to YOURSELF this week.  Or you can leave a comment everyday when you do a nice thing for yourself.  Or you can just do it and not leave comments.  Whatever you like.  :)  I just hope this encourages you to Bring Back Nice.  Remember, love starts at home.  ;)  

Monday, June 16, 2014

Food For Thought

Hi friends!  I hope that you are doing well.  We are ok.  The baby has hand, foot, and mouth and now so do I.  Sigh... isn't that how it goes?  Eventually, we'll start our summer vacation.

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for a call that wasn't picked up and I'm entering it in the Paper Issues Food for Thought challenge.  I used some stamps from Lawn Fawn and some Webster's Pages paper for this card.  I used different colored ink for stamps for a colorful effect without having to color.  The sequins are wood patterned from Studio Calico.
Hope you're having an amazing day!  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Teacher Thank You Card

Hi friends!  I hope you're having a wonderful day!  Today is my husband's birthday.  I will be sharing his card after I make it.  LOL!  Isn't that how it goes?  Someday I will make cards before the day of the actual event.  Someday.

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for my son's teacher to go with her end of the year gift.  We went in on a gift with a bunch of other families and I made the card for all the kids to sign.  I made a HUGE card since all the kids were signing it.  This is 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches.  I took a while brainstorming what to do with so much space.  I decided to go with a grid of a bunch of things you do in school.  Our elementary school teachers also teach Physical Education so that's why the baseballs from Paper Smooches Little Fella are on there.  The laptop is from the Teen Routine set.  The other images including the little apple on the computer and the thanks sentiment are from Smarty Pants.  Then I used my Alphadots set to spell out the teacher's name at the top.  I pulled out my Copics for the first time in a long time.  My coloring needs a lot of work but you work with what you have.  On the binder paper, I used some gel pen.  I cut out all the items by hand and used a square punch for the white card stock to display them.
I'm linking up this card to this week's Paper Smooches Sparks Anything Goes Challenge.
Have a great day, friends!  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Remember, You are First Place

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are ok.  We are wrapping up Brady's school year this week.  Wish me luck with having him home for the next three months.  Parker has another month of preschool to go then we'll have some time to hang out and do fun stuff.

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for a magazine call that wasn't picked up.  It's a shame because I LOVE this card.  I still do.  I made this with some Crate Paper Maggie Holmes Styleboard paper and die cuts.  I added some Gold Metallic Divine Twine to this.  I also used a little washi tape, some wood Studio Calico veneer hearts that I colored with Copics and coated with glitter glue, and some inking around some of the edges with gold ink.  The stamp is Studio Calico/Hero Arts from a Studio Calico kit.  
Have a great day, friends!  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Bring Back Nice: Kid's Challenge

Hi friends!  I hope you're having a wonderful day!  We are doing pretty good around here.

Today, I'm writing the second post of my Bring Back Nice movement.  You can find the first post HERE.  It's reached a lot of people so far and I'm really excited!  I would love to hear what you all are doing to Bring Back Nice!

One of the main reasons I wanted to start this movement was for my children.  As with all parents, I want my kids to grow up in a better world.  I also want to teach them that it starts with each individual person.  I issued them the same Bring Back Nice challenge that I issued to everyone else.  Do one nice thing a day, everyday.  Then we reflect upon what they did, talk about how it made them feel, and how they think the other person felt when receiving their kindness.

Here are some ideas of what kids can do to Bring Back Nice:
~Give someone a hug
~Pay someone a nice compliment
~Smile at people
~Include classmates in games especially if they are alone
~Open doors for people
~Pick up litter at the park
~Pick flowers from the garden and give them to someone
~Bring an apple to their teacher
~Pick out clothes or toys they've grown out of and donate them
~Share their favorite toy with a sibling
~Draw someone a picture and mail it to them
~Leave a nice note for someone
~Call a relative to say hello

What are some things you think kids can do to Bring Back Nice?  Will you be challenging your children?

Also, please keep in touch with the Bring Back Nice community using the Bring Back Nice Facebook Page.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mary Kay Review

Hi friends!  I hope you are well!  Today, I'm reviewing some Mary Kay makeup I got from Influenster for free for the purpose of writing an honest review.  Influenster is a really cool program you can join and they give you products to test out and review.  I love it!

I used to be a Mary Kay consultant over ten years ago.  I enjoyed the makeup then but have not tried it recently.  I was really excited to try it!  I loooooooove makeup and really enjoy experimenting with it!  I'm going to write mini reviews of each product I received.

1. Mary Kay Nourishine Plus Lip Gloss in Mango Tango
This is a very smooth formula lip gloss.  It gives good pigmentation and can be sheered out for a more natural look.  It does not dry my lips out and is not too sticky.  It's quite comfortable on the lips.  It has a very faint vanilla type smell.  This shade has a bit of micro shimmer in it.  I don't mind it at all.  It does not leave flecks of glitter on my lips like some lip glosses.  This shade is really pretty.  It's a bit intimidating in the tube but really pretty on the lips.  Would I repurchase?  Yes.

2. Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara in I heart Black
This is a thin formula mascara.  It builds a lot of length but I could not build a lot of volume without making it clumpy.  I have very thin eyelashes.  I also have oily lids and skin.  I wore this mascara on my top and lower lashes and it did not smudge at all.  I was very impressed with the staying power!  I usually have to use waterproof to get mascara to stay on me.  This is a good mascara for people who just need length or for lower lashes.  I had to layer it with another mascara to get the volume that I prefer.  Would I repurchase?  Maybe.

3. Mary Kay Bronzing Powder in Light-Medium
This shade was very natural on me.  I would say I have medium skin.  The product has a pleasant slightly perfume-y smell but it's very light.  There is a little bit of shimmer in this so it's not great for contouring.  I usually only use bronzers for contouring so this product didn't really work for me.  However, if you are the type that likes a dusting of bronzer, I'm sure this is nice.  Would I repurchase?  No.

4. Mary Kay Mineral Cheek Color in Shy Blush
This is my favorite of the products I received!  It's a very pigmented blush that can be sheered out.  It has a golden shimmer in it and gives your cheeks a healthy glow.  It has no smell that I can detect.  What really impressed me about this blush is how long it stayed on my cheeks!  I feel like blush is the first thing to fade off my face.  I checked this blush after 7 hours and it was still there.  Would I repurchase?  Yes!

5. Mary Kay Powder Brush
I'm a firm believer that you need good brushes to apply beautiful makeup.  This brush worked just fine and it seems sturdy.  However, it's not the softness I prefer.  I would not call this brush soft at all and it sheds a little bit.  If you don't mind a medium texture brush, this would work for you.  Would I repurchase?  No.

6. Mary Kay Cream Eyeshadow/Concealer Brush
This is a nice dense brush and it has a good shape.  It's not soft but for cream shadows, it's doesn't really need to be.  It's effective at applying the cream shadow.  It does shed a little bit.  Would I repurchase?  Maybe.

7. Mary Kay Gel Eyeliner with Expandable Brush Applicator
The formula on this is extremely creamy.  It's SUPER black!  It's very easy to apply.  The brush works really well with it.  It stays very well on my oily skin, even when I did winged liner.  It did not irritate my eyes at all.  Would I repurchase?  Yes.

8. Mary Kay Translucent Loose Powder
This is a finely milled powder.  It has a very faint perfume-y smell.  It leaves my skin with a matte finish and does not irritate my skin.  It does not leave a white cast in photos so that's nice.  This powder works fine but it's nothing to write home about.  Would I repurchase? Probably not.

9. Mary Kay Cream Eye Color in Apricot Twist
This is a nice cream shadow with no scent I can detect.  It has a shimmery finish.  It lasts all day on my lids without a primer.  I didn't crease either.  The only issue I ran into was when I was trying to build up more color while the product was not quite dry, it got a little clumpy looking.  However, if you just let it dry in between, it works fine and you can build up to a very pretty golden color.  You can also use it sheer around your tear ducts and under the brow to highlight.  Would I repurchase?  Yes.

Here's a look I created using ALL the Mary Kay products I received.  I added my own BB cream, concealer, navy eyeshadow, and an extra coat of mascara.

The product links I provided are to my friend Brooke's Mary Kay site.  She's a very nice woman who I've known for about 6 years now.  And I've NEVER felt any sales pressure from her.  I have not purchased from her site but if I was going to buy Mary Kay, that's how I would go about it.  :)

Please leave me a comment if you are interested in more makeup reviews.  I have LOTS of makeup!  :)  Have a great day, friends!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bring Back Nice - A Movement

Today, while I was scrolling through Facebook I noticed how much unpleasantness is out there.  Unpleasantness from my own friends, people who I have deemed to be nice and wanted in my life.  I'm guilty of it myself.  We post status updates complaining about a stranger that cut us off or ignored our no soliciting sign and woke the baby.  We post pictures of fashion faux pas for people to tear apart online.  We spread hate about people who do things differently from us.  How dare that mom come to preschool drop off in full makeup, doesn't she have a life?  How dare someone parent differently, vote differently, eat differently, drive differently, etc?

If this is the norm and all my friends are "nice people" then I truly don't want to know what the mean people are posting. When did it because so normal to be snarky and mean-spirited?  When did it become common practice to make fun of everything and everyone?  People made fun of Gabby Douglas's hair when she was in the Olympics, she was only 16 at that point.  Who makes fun of a KID?  I've seen people on YouTube make fun of BABIES.  What is wrong with this world?  What happened to MANNERS?

I remember breaking down in a friend's car in high school several times.  At that point, people pulled over to help us.  One person went to the gas station and bought us sealed waters so we knew they were safe to drink.  Last summer, my van broke down on a very busy street.  I had all three of my kids in the car.  ONE person rolled down their window to ask if we were ok.  Other people honked, flipped us off, and yelled.  What has happened to the world?  Remember once upon a time when someone fell, you helped them up?  These days people film it and put it on YouTube so other people can have a good laugh at you.  And that is sad.

I don't want my kids growing up in this kind of world.  We need to make a change and it really all starts with one person, right?  I want to start a movement.  I want to BRING BACK NICE.  I want those days of being kind and neighborly to come back.  I want people to extend grace to one another. I want people's faith in the human spirit to be restored.  And it all starts with you!  You, wherever you are, whoever you are.

I'm challenging EVERYONE to do ONE nice thing a day.  Let's BRING BACK NICE!  Let's make nice common practice.  Let's teach our children to be nice to each other and that there are nice people out there.  Let's set an example.

Here are a few ideas of what you can do (but do whatever your heart desires):
Pick up trash
Bring a sick person dinner
Donate unused items to charity
Smile at everyone you see
Donate blood
Take a friend out for coffee
Bake a treat and bring it into work for your coworkers
Gift someone a bouquet of flowers from your garden
Leave a coupon on a product at a store
Pay someone a nice compliment
Send a card to let someone know you're thinking about them
Hold the door for the person behind you

No matter how big or how small, check go out and do it.  Also, come share with me on the Bring Back Nice Facebook Page.  I will be posting reminders so everyone can post what they did each day.  I hope that these posts from others will inspire people.  Will you please help me Bring Back Nice?

***HUGE thank you to my friend Tifany for the awesome logo she designed!***

Friday, May 16, 2014

Last One for Gallery Idol

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are ok.  I got my CT Scan results back, they are normal.  YAY!  I got some medication for my head but it probably won't start working for 4-5 days.  Hopefully, it will kick in sooner.

Today, I'm blogging the last card I made for Gallery Idol.  I've been having a lot of fun with this contest.  It's fun to have just a supply that you need to use and then have freedom with the rest of your card.  For this card, I used some kid's washi tape I got at Target in the kid's craft section.  The stamp is from Some Odd Girl and the sparkly enamel dots are from Freckled Fawn.  Wish me luck!

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Virginia's View Challenge #3

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well.  I'm so-so.  I've had a headache for the last 4 or so days and it's starting to get a bit annoying.  I had a CT scan today and I should have more info tomorrow.  Other than that, we are doing pretty good.  It's still very hot.

Today, I'm posting a card for my friend Virginia's challenge.  I "met" Virginia online a loooooong time ago when she was on my EtsyInspired design team.  She is a wonderful lady and I adore her!  I've been meaning to play along with her challenge for a while but I don't get a ton of crafty time these days.  I'm trying to make more time for it.  You can find the challenge HERE.

This month's challenge is stitching.  Let's be honest, I don't stitch a lot.  Like maybe once a year.  I even having a little sewing machine that never gets used.  A while back, I bought the stitch templates from Amy Tangerine but I've never used them so I busted them out and used Gold Metallic Divine Twine to stitch with.  Stitching with bakers twine is kind of hard because it's very thick.  I would advise you to take your paper piercer and make your holes larger before you start stitching.  I used My Mind's Eye paper and a Studio Calico heart.

Have a great day, friends!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Another Washi Card

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are doing pretty good.  We are just trying to stay cool.  It's gets HOT here and we have a black mini van and it's VERY hot in there.  It's getting to the point where I only want to do errands in the morning and evening.

Today, I am sharing another card I made for Gallery Idol.  A while back, I made a set of cards using a panel I covered with washi tape then using both the die I cut out and the negative.  It is one of my most popular posts on Pinterest.  I decided to do a variation of that idea.  I covered a panel of white card stock in washi tape.  Then I die cut out the vases from Paper Smooches.  I covered the washi panel in glassine to mute the colors a little.  I offset the die cut vases on top of the glassine so it looks like a dark shadow but in actuality, you're seeing the black card base.  Then I added a sentiment from Paper Smooches and some enamel dots from Doodlebug.
I'm also entering this in the Simon Says Stamp Die Crazy Challenge.

Have a great day, friends!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Throwing My Hat in the Ring

Hi friends!  I hope that you are doing well.  We are doing ok.  It's starting to be very summery here.  I think it might be making the kids antsy to be off school.  Brady will be out pretty soon but Parker goes through the end of next month.  Sigh...  I hope he makes it.  ;)

Today, I'm sharing a card I made for the Paper Crafts and Scrapbooking Gallery Idol 2014 contest.  I'm pretty sure I enter every year with the exception of last year.  I figured I would give it a go.  I'm not having a ton of luck making time for crafting right now so maybe this is the push I need.  What's the worst that could happen?  I haven't made it any other year so fingers crossed.

This year's audition theme is washi tape.  I have a BUNCH of washi tape and I don't use very much of it, just a few pieces here and there.  I figured I would go all out and use a whole bunch.  I am not very good at making gradients so I thought I would try one with washi.  I didn't have all the colors I needed so I layered a few of the tapes. I used a Memory Box die, a Paper Smooches sentiment, and some CTMH little rhinestones.
Have a great day, friends!