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At a family event, I noticed my husband's Aunt was toting around a mysterious Tupperware container full of a natural cleaning concoction. Aunt Carolyn stated she made the natural cleaner and that it was similar to the bleach version of Soft Scrub. Naturally, I asked if I could snatch her recipe and blog about it :} She delightfully agreed. What I like about this natural cleaning recipe is the simplicity. The recipe calls for mixing two household ingredients together: Baking Soda and Liquid Castile Soap. Why did I not think of this before? Thanks a million Aunt Carolyn!


You simply mix the baking soda into the liquid Castile soap until the liquid is no longer visible. Make the scrub as thick as you want by continuing to add baking soda until satisfied with the texture. Dr. Bronner's comes in an assortment of naturally-derived scents to tickle the olfactory senses. You can clean practically anything with this natural scrub including yourself! Add a few dollops at bath time for a relaxing soak! Perfect for cleaning soap scum, toilets, dishes, counter tops, and stove tops. A shallow Tupperware container is all you need to keep your natural concoction from drying out!

Check out the YouTube video below for stunning before and after "LIVE action shots". Pretty gross and miraculous stuff:) Also, if you are not a DIY-er and are looking to simply buy your natural cleaning supplies do try Karmalades! Not only do they have amazing natural cleaning products, but they are perty to look at!

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target. I was sent a $50 Target Gift Card to compose this post. All words are mine.

 
Married since September 2006, my husband and I are far removed from our honeymoon days. I vaguely remember the planning stages of our wedding, but I clearly remember laughing off the importance of a wedding registry. "I don't see why we need a wedding registry", I said. I wish I could have understood that choosing the perfect wedding registry was a vital part of planning a wedding. My sister-in-law eventually chose one for us and the bottom line is: we did not get everything we wanted or needed. I know, however, if  we could do it all over again my husband and I would choose Target to host our wedding registry.

Why? Target has an incredible selection of fun, cost effective, and well made items. For example, I have been drooling over this KitchenAide mixer at Target ever since my brother received one as a wedding gift. So jealous. Ahem...I mean happy for you:) As a couple, you spend countless hours cooking together and the right equipment makes all the difference!

When my husband and I got engaged we openly dreamed about traveling the world hand in hand. One of our first big adventures was traveling to Belize for our "belated" honeymoon. We were already married and I was in my second trimester with our first son. Great timing huh? What I really could have used was some good luggage!!! If I could turn back those clocks I would put Swiss Gear luggage from the Target Wedding Registry on my list. That's right folks, Target carries Swiss Gear....totally amazing!

 
Target makes you feel like you never have to sacrifice what you want for the things you need. What do you need? Everything when you first get married! Linens, cookware, furniture, dishware, and the list goes on. Target has all the basic necessities as well as your heart's desire. Take it from someone who thought a wedding registry was utterly useless and get exactly what you NEED with a Target Wedding Registry!

Get more wedding ideas on Target’s Wedding Pinterest board and keep scrolling to enter to WIN a $25 E-Gift Card to Target! Now that is some real love!


Either the "Selfie" is Instagram's claim to fame or the "Selfie" was made famous via Instagram.  The Selfie is synonymous with Instagram.  Instagram is "growing at a faster rate then any other social media worldwide" as stated in an article by techcrunch.com. Needless to say, Facebook was smarter than the average bear to scoop up Instagram for their very own. I want to provide you{the blogger, small business, and individual} with some tips to increase your Instagram followers quickly while keeping your target audience in mind. This takes very little maintenance{about 10 to 15 minute spurts throughout the day}. Sure you could take a shortcut and buy followers, but do you want people who are actually listening to you?

1.} Check that profile. I will go back again and again to this subject. If your profile is not spot on, do not expect anyone to click on the link to your website. Please make sure you have a profile photo and up-to-date website address. No cars salesmen photos are needed! I do not need a flashing sign saying: 50% OFF in my face. I just need to find your photos intriguing and that is how I come to visit most sites from Instagram.

2.}Follow people. Not just anyone will do. Always think of your brand. I want to build my audience with like minded folk no matter what social media website I am on. Search tags that are relevant to your brand. Find people that are into what you are into and follow them. I find searching for your own friends is kinda fun and most people follow back.

3.} Unfollow people. IF...you follow someone and realize that are not quite your cup of tea then unfollow them. I unfollow people if they are spamming me mostly. 10 photos in a row, Sales pitches, and loud advertising photos are the major reasons. I unfollow people sometimes. It is okay. You should do what you need to do.

4.} Big Fish and Little Fish. The people on the front page{explore section} are the big fish. Most of them do not follow people...so do not follow them. You may gain a few followers momentarily by following them, but spammers stalk the front page regularly...so be careful.  The little fish are those with a small following, but they are your best friends. Those are the one who will probably regularly like and comment on your photos. They will be the ones to get you to the front page. Play very nice with them.

5.} Interact with your followers. Comment and like their photos. You want them to comment and like your photos too! If someone comments on your photos be sure to comment back. Instagram allows you to be closer to your audience then ever before, but you must say, "HI"!

6.} Post eye catching photos. Be choosy and be picky. Your photos must be beautiful. Natural, fashion, and animals all seem to do really well in likes. The selfie still reigns supreme.

7.} Tags. Choose them wisely. 5 to 10. Generic, popular, and fun tags. Mix them up. Too many tags actually works to your detriment if you want to make the first page. An entire page of tags is annoying...there I said it.

8.} Hard Work. Everyone wants a magic unicorn ride to a basket full of followers and that is called spam. Building an audience with folks that want to listen to you is hard and consistent work. Stick with it and be open to changing your strategy if necessary.


 Please Note: I am no expert on essential oils. Essential oils must be diluted properly prior to use.

Sedona{Our German Shepherd} has been leaving a trail scent that would knock a buzzard off a fence fifty yards out. It was definitely bath time. We were fresh out of doggie shampoo. This was a smelly emergency! Here comes natural ingredients to the rescue. I concocted an herbal wash that left my pooch smelling much much better and her coat shining beautifully. Combine three or four natural ingredients and you are ready for bath time!

With each bucket of warm water I added a few drops{10 to 20 drops} of lavender essential oil, a few drops{10 to 20} of rosemary essential oil, and a few tablespoons of olive oil. That is it. Also, if I had tea tree essential oil I would have used that as well. You may substitute the Olive Oil for coconut, grape seed, or jojoba oil. Organic oils are best, but this was a smelly emergency! The homemade wash worked really well. Her skin and coat looked very dry prior to her herbal bath. All the photos you see here are after shots. I was a little too wet to handle action shots during the bath time fiasco:}


Fluster Buster

 *This giveaway is sponsored by Tip Hero, therefore, most of the writing is by Tip Hero

Hello my lovelies and welcome to the "New Year's Kickoff Giveaway Event" sponsored by Tip Hero, which is featuring some incredible sidekick bloggers. The New Year is in full swing and what better way to celebrate then with a giveaway!
Let's be honest...who is broke? Yep, come on raise your hands. The holidays is fun, but it leaves our wallets a little light. Here is your chance to fill it back up with a $100 Walmart gift card. There are some great things to buy in January, and one lucky winner will get something that could come in handy while shopping. One winner will receive a $100 Walmart gift card to help start off the new year right.
This giveaway begins on January 15th and will run until January 29th at 11:59pm US Eastern time. It will be open to residents of the US only, 18+. Use the PromoSimple form below to enter, and make sure that you take advantage of the many entries you can gain. Also, be sure to come back daily for more chances to win. Best of luck!

Disclosure: [INSERT YOUR BLOG NAME HERE] is not responsible for prize distribution. If you have any questions or concerns, please send an email to kira@tiphero.com. All entries are optional, but if the winner task is a task that you did not complete, a second winner will be chosen. Winners will be notified via email. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours of the time when the email is sent, another winner will be chosen.
Valentine's Day used to be one of my least favorite holidays, but like a disconcerting fungal infection it really starts to grow on you:} Today, I have an adorably rustic DIY project for Valentine's Day: A heart-shaped wooden picture frame. This is the perfect sentimental{yet frugal} Valentine's Day gift for both mum and grandma. The heart belongs to V-day, but it is a true silhouette for every season.

Framing our family's photos has been quite difficult. The sole reason is I cannot find the right frames. Then when I find the right frames they are so darn expensive! THEN on my hunt for the right frames I may only find a handful, one, or none at all. Well...you get the picture and the dilema{no pun intended}.

How do you make these adorable wooden frames? Grab your sticks and arrange them in any fashion you like. Get creative! Paint your sticks, glitter them, color them with crayons, or leave them natural. My heart frame is a primitive heart shape, but it's just beautiful character! Hot glue the sticks at the contact points.

Next, Take your yarn or string of choice and wrap the contact points to reinforce. Take your photo and trim if necessary. For you backing, I would use a scrap book page. That way the front and back is protected from dust and direct sunlight. You could use card stock or cardboard for the backing if necessary. Cut around your photo.

Next, lightly hot glue your photo to the backing at the ends. Hot glue the photo into the frame at the contact points while being careful of the photo itself. Check out my YouTube video below for those who prefer visual tutorials{that would be me}.


Fluster Buster
Tip Hero is having a New Year's Kickoff Giveaway Event and we would be pleased to have you join the party!
  • Event is free to join with an announcement post. If you don't wish to post the announcement, please send the $5 non-post fee to tiphero@gmail.com
  • You'll receive 1 free link for participating (either Twitter or Pinterest)
  • Additional links (RSS/Email, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest) are available for $5 each. Facebook links are now available for $15 each.
  • Sign-ups for this event close on January 13th
  • Event runs from January 15th - January 29th
  • Prize: $100 Walmart gift card
Please send all payments to tiphero@gmail.com as a "gift" via PayPal. Sign up for this event here.

Some days as a parent you are in pure survival mode. Entertaining your children during back-to-back snow days certainly qualifies as "survival mode". When it is cold enough to freeze your pipes it is necessary to find indoor activities for the kiddos that are fun, entertaining, and interactive. This is not a walk in the park. Well, it is cold outside....let's freeze something!

The boys and I settled on their plastic dinosaurs. I took some shallow Tupperware containers and filled them with lavender water. Why lavender water? The lavender water ice chunks will be useful for cleaning the floors. I am a certified genius. Additionally, I put some marshmallows in a separate Tupperware container for my own entertainment. The boys will surely dig them out and eat them. I cannot wait to video that one!! Who says marshmallows are strictly for hot chocolate anyway?:}


My boys have been trapped indoors this week more than they normally would with the freezy temperatures. Today{after two hours of indoor activities} the family room floor looked like a realistic archaeological dig site! My husband put away some dinosaur dig kits for cold days such as today. The dig a dinosaur kits are entertaining, but very messy! Leave it to my youngest to trip over a bucket of cleaning water that left the floor looking like a pig pen.

Good Luck in the coming frosty months with those small babes and enjoy my Vine video detailing my home land disaster! Well....time to go outside in the 30 below weather kids! Who knows there could be Penguins and Polar Bears roaming the frosty streets.

Fluster Buster
*The soap pictured is my soap. Yours is sealed. LUSH is not involved. I bought the prize winning's.
SHOP LUSH<<>>LUSH on Instagram<<<>>>Spunky Real Deals on Instagram

Hello and Happy New Year to my lovelies. I want to start off 2014 with a super giveaway just for you! Not just one giveaway, but two!!! I am running the LUSH Orange Jelly Soap giveaway right here on da blog and on my YouTube channel I am running a separate giveaway, "Guess That Stache". Go to my YouTube video below to subscribe and enter! Now, Who loves you?:}


The LUSH Orange Jelly Soap I am giving away is my current "Lushie" favorite. A bright and vibrant citrus scent paired with an electric orange color. If this soap does not scintillate your senses then nothing will. Follow both @spunkyrealdeal and @lushcosmetics to be entered into the LUSH Orange Jelly Soap drawing below via the Rafflecopter. Good Luck Stache Fans! XO:{

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Hire me!  I am passionate about small businesses, social media, customer service, and giveaways. You may be asking: "So, you want me to pay you and give you free stuff to review? Why?" Good question small business owner! I intend to answer that poignant question and hopefully much more with the following: FAQs Small Business Owners have about Blog Reviews and Giveaways.

FAQs Small Business Owners have about Blog Reviews and Giveaways

{YOU} Do giveaways work? Yes. How do I  know? I do not have scholarly research on the topic, but I have personal experience to draw upon. In fact, when I first started hosting reviews and giveaways I asked myself this very same question. My conclusion is "Yes, they do when run properly". There have been many times I either purchased a product seen on a blog immediately or tucked the knowledge away to purchase the item later as a gift. That is why it is truly difficult to quantify a giveaway's monetary value. That brings me to my next point.

{YOU} What makes your giveaways better than the competition? I got into blogging because I like to enter reviews and giveaways myself. I know how they operate and how to set them up for maximum benefits. Sharing works. My giveaways are based on sharing not following. More sharing = more reach. More visibiliy ={fingers crossed} more sales down the line for you.

{YOU} Who will be entering my giveaway? How do I know I am reaching my target audience? Look no further than your blogger and their stats. You know your audience as a small business and so should your blogger. If they do not....Houston, we have a problem. Your entrants are typically a mixed bag. You have the blogger's audience, giveaway trollers, new followers they gain from continual networking, and random stragglers. The main reason I make my entrants share is even if they are just there for the giveaway win they WILL share if they really want that prize! Also, Google Analytics states 63% of my readers are new traffic{as of 01/02/2014}. Good information to ask your blogger if you are looking to host a repeat giveaway with them.

{YOU} How do I know I can trust you? Well....technically you don't, but the good news is you can do some blogger background checking. For instance, Google search the blogger's name. But for pity sakes please realize the bigger the blogger gets the more hater's will ultimately be in their wake. Take the negative feedback from the Google with a grain of salt and a pinch of common sense. Also, does your blogger in question run a business? Odds are yes. I personally run a social media consulting business through my Spunky Real Deals online Etsy shop. Check their customer feedback. For instance, mine is 100% satisfied. That should tell you an awful lot about the blogger's honesty, reliability, and work ethos.

{YOU} Do you charge for your reviews and giveaways? Absolutely. I am not giving the milk away for free here. You want me to see the worth in your products and I want you to see the worth in my services. For instance, I run my giveaways over a month when most blogs run them over two weeks. I cannot even contemplate how many hours I am on the computer for one particular giveaway{about a full day's work over the course of the month}. I charge $30 to small businesses for the review post + an item to review. The giveaway item can be a particular item or gift certificate. You Ship.

{YOU} If I pay you for the review shouldn't that be enough? Why do you need a review item as well? Every blogger is different, but what credibility would I have to my readers if I gave a stellar review and never touched the item in question. Let me answer that: Zilch.

{YOU} What item should I give away? Some of the most buzz worthy giveaways are mystery bags and a simple bar of soap. The giveaway item does not necessarily need to be expensive.

{YOU} You are a giveaway blogger because you just want free stuff. My face is turning red as I type. This is not true{at least as far as I am concerned}. If all I wanted was free stuff I would just enter giveaways. It is a lot easier....trust me.

{YOU} Will I hear from you frequently during the giveaway period? Probably not. I have to be honest here. If your blogger is doing their job they are far too busy promoting your giveaway to contact you with frequent updates. If you are curious to see how things are going just shoot them an e-mail. I assure you they check it frequently and will get back to you ASAP. That being said, they should let you know your post is up and running!

{YOU} Do I have a part in promoting my own giveaway? YES. I understand you have a business to run, but spread the word on your end. You already have an established clientele and should share your giveaway with your current customer base. How nice would it be if a customer you currently have won a nice gift from you. It is called customer loyalty. Word of mouth is still the most powerful form of marketing on Earth.

{YOU} Do you teach your small businesses how to use social media? Yes, but I run a consulting business though so I do not teach everything! I give tips and pointers on how they can work on gaining followers with minimal effort. Small business owners are busy folks. I understand:}


Whew....I am beat. Entrepreneurs I want to hear from you! What other questions do you have regarding reviews and giveaways? 



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