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Megan's Apothecary Spa Kit Giveaway
Instead of asking who loves going to spa, I might ask who doesn't? A weekly trip to the spa, however, is not always feasible with today's time or budget constraints! I have discovered a hidden gem in the natural skincare world from down in the bayou known as Megan's Apothecary. A small batch spot with big natural skincare results! If you are going on a trip, you must get their Mother's Day facial spa kit for your travels. It has everything you need for a week of home away from home natural skincare luxuries. Also, you can tell by the name of this spa kit that it is meant for all those hard working mamas out there! Treat your mama right and get her a Megan's Apothecary spa kit! You can tell by my green clay face that I am quite happy with mine. What is in the kit? Relaxing Facial Steam(packet makes 2 face steams), Green Clay Face Mask(packet makes approx. 6 face masks), Coconut Oil Lip Balm, Restorative Night Serum(.5 oz), All Natural Eye Makeup Remover(1 oz), Fountain of Youth Deep Moisturizing Face Cream(.25 oz).

Megan's Apothecary Spa Kit Giveaway
Fountain of Youth Face Cream has a nice ring to it don't you think? Oils of Coconut, Primrose, jojoba, and emu are combined with shea butter and aloe vera. Emu oil is something I have never come across. According to Web MD, it is taken from the fatty portion of an Emu(a flightless bird similar to an Ostrich). The properties of this oil resemble that of mineral oil. Interesting right? Well, the combination of these oils and butter leave a soothing, moisturizing, and inflammation-reducing experience. It only takes a finger tips worth to moisturize the entire face and neck. I am taking this teeny jar on my travels for sure! The essential oils of rose, chamomile, frankincense, and myrrh create a warm herbal-floral scent. Frankincense essential oil has anti-aging and toning properties. A power house of essential oils that calm, restore, lift, and have wonderful anti-aging properties.

My favorite Megan's Apothecary product(pictured above) is the all natural eye make up remover. So yummy smelling that you must resist trying to eat it! Made with almond, hemp, pure grapefruit, and Organic olive oils. Takes my makeup off gently and easily. Love it so much! Next, the coconut oil lip balm is simple and great when your lips need a zap of moisture. Made with coconut and almond oils, beeswax, and vitamin e. Lastly, is the restorative night serum with rose hips seed, pumpkin seed, hazelnut, grape seed, and vitamin e oils. Packed with myrrh, carrot seed, and chamomile essential oils. Vitamins and essential oils working their natural and seemingly magical powers over night!

My favorites! Facial steams and face masks that make you feel like you are in a 4-star spa! First, is the relaxing facial steam comprised of healing and soothing calendula, chamomile, and comfrey herbs. Next, is the green clay face mask! As you can see from the intro photo, I love this! Exfoliating and detoxifying...love green clay. Okay, you have waited long enough. Without further adieu, I bring you the Megan's Apothecary Spa Kit Giveaway(valued at $40)!!!! Want to buy right now? Use code SPUNKY25 to receive 25% off your order!

livia Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque Giveaway
* This post is sponsored. All words and thoughts are mine.

Livia pure skin care is an Organic & wild crafted skincare company. The owner Stephanie uses the purest ingredients in their raw form, with no nasties, no parabens, and uses only natural methods for product preservation! Did I mention livia pure skin care is a system? Well, it is! I love this! What a lovely way to show your customers exactly how your products are supposed to be used. For instance, cleansers are Step 1. Makes sense to me. Incidentally, I am starting at Step 3 with the Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque. This masque screams Summertime! Cooling cucumber, soothing Organic aloe vera, spirulina(a natural algae), and the gel consistency all align with warm weather vibes! This gel masque instantly transports me to a far off sunny beach. Since it is snowing outside, I could not be happier about this side effect.

The Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque is packed with incredible nutrients for your skin. Vitamin A & E are included and work wonders. Vitamin A & E are full of skin-loving antioxidants and anti-aging properties. These vitamins are essential for beauty queen caliber skin! Want to hear something even more interesting? This product contains Chlorophyll. Did you know Chlorophyll has an incredible impact for our skin? Me neither. It has magnificent healing, cleansing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. You will also find Organic chamomile oil, Organic lavender oil, and tangerine oil inside this gel masque gem! All of these oils our fabulous cleansers and contain calming properties to enhance our skin's natural beauty. I am impressed with the quality and purposeful use of the ingredients in this livia gel masque. The best products are the ones that are not just thrown together willy nilly. Livia products have ingredients that all serve a purpose when it comes to our skin's nutrition.

livia Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque Giveaway
The scent of the Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque is just as scrumptious as the ingredients within! Livia pure skin care has captured the delectable fresh scent of cucumber in this unusual gel face masque. It is incredibly refreshing and relaxing. I have never used a "gel masque" before. I love the texture and feel of the Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque on my face. This is a powerful face masque full of wonderful ingredients(as previously mentioned). So powerful, you only leave it on your face for 5 to 10 minutes. My skin feels very very soft and incredibly moisturized after one use. You can use this face masque daily! I will be placing this livia gel masque in the refrigerator for an extra refreshing experience!!!

What do you say my little cucumbers? Are you ready for a Cucumber Spirulina Gel Masque Giveaway by livia pure skin care?!??!
How to use social media
Warning: Raunchy and distasteful language is used during the course of this post. The content that follows is intended for mature adult viewing only.

This social media marketing and strategy post is really tailored to the small business owner, but baby bloggers also lend me your ear. You can easily avoid these social media killing activities and have your feed buzzing with real activity and interaction. Here are some things I have observed NOT to do over the years as a small business owner running your social media. Keep reading, because this could be your "A-ha" moment in waiting.

Do Not be a car salesman. Let's start with the almighty Facebook. I hate it and I do not describe myself as a Facebook expert in any way. I have, however, seen generally what does work and what does not. First, be genuine and caring. The car salesman technique does not work here. Screaming 20% off daily falls on deaf ears. If you post a flash sale occasionally, where you have an established audience and the sale is very specific, then that is fine and beneficial even. But everyday? Think about what you are really telling your audience? My brand is cheap and so is my product. Don't bother buying it. I am desperate for sales and no one else wants to buy my product. That's what a product that is "on sale" everyday looks like to your potential customers.

Do Not have a feed exclusively comprised of your content. It's like watching someone masturbate. Like, find yourself a room. Sharing is not just about you. No one business has enough sharable content all of the time. Keeping your customer engaged means occasionally sharing someone else's content. Their content should be pretty, eye-catching, and relate-able content to yours. That goes for most social media sites, especially Twitter. It takes time to compose your content and sometimes just having fresh content can be the most important thing for your feed. Also, sharing for others means they are more likely to share for you. That is helping you grow your audience. It is all about being social. Hence the term "social" media.

Do Not be a buzz kill. My biggest pet peeve as a blogger is when I compose a beautiful tweet complete with imagery and the business clicks the star. I have to be honest here, it can feel like a slap in the face. Are you kidding me?! RE-TWEET IT! Re-tweeting a well composed tweet that is speaking highly of your brand makes you look like a freaking rock star. It is exactly what YOU want....interaction! So interact and re-tweet it! It shows future and acquired customers why they should buy from you, because you are popular and others love your products and/or services.

Do Not forget the hashtags. Hashtags really do exist for a reason. Use them. Describe the #photo, get #creative, but always remember the people you want to #attract. The reason you use hashtags is so your people can find you. Putting no hashtags at the end of a Tweet or Instagram post is unacceptable. Why bother posting at all? Give yourself a fighting chance and use hashtags.

Do Not ignore bloggers. You don't want to work with bloggers? Fine, but we have genuine influence and some of us have a lot of it. Showing a smidgen of good will and respect with bloggers goes a long way. In fact, on Instagram some businesses create a viral feed by exclusively re-posting bloggers with their products. Why? Because those businesses are geniuses. It encourages the blogger to continue posting pictures with that said business and their products. It also encourages other bloggers to do the same. The business gets visibility and the blogger gets recognized. Are you starting to get it?

For goodness sake, Pixi Beauty with 20,000+ followers re-tweeted my tweet the other day! Do you know why? Because they are smart. They recognize that one tweet does not change the course of history, but it can secure a fan for life. Was that one tweet they gave me worth it? Absolutely! They have far more to gain from giving me a bit of their audience then trying to be stingy with it. We all work hard for our brand and audience. Bloggers want to help you. Let us and pay us. Moving on.

Do Not forget about cohesion. The biggest and hugest mistake I see small businesses making on social media is having a different handle for every social media site. Confusing much? Find ONE handle that works across the board. If you are confusing me, a social media expert, then you are damn well confusing your customer. Do you know what they are doing? Moving on. One picture, one handle, one brand. Cohesion.

I hope these social media no nos gave you some insight and will help you step-up your social media game. Have questions? I would be delighted to answer them. Please leave your questions in the comment section below. Social media is not something to be feared it is a fire that can set your business ablaze! Especially, in the tall dry grass.
Being For Skin & Soul Beauty Giveaway
*This post is sponsored. All words are my own.

Being For Skin & Soul is a luxurious Vegan Beauty experience! Every ingredient in every product has a distinct purpose. These are carefully curated products that are 100% vegan, 100% natural, paraben-free, preservative-free, and GMO-free. The owner of BEING is the lovely Cynthia! Cynthia takes mindfulness beyond the product and down to each individual ingredient. BEING uses fair trade ingredients and Eco-minded packaging. Every part of the process is "mindful". Cynthia has a separate section of her website just to list all the ingredients she uses! You get to see exactly WHY an ingredient was used....LOVE THIS! Miss Cynthia gave me the opportunity to try her Radiance Incarnate Facial Nectar. My first thoughts of the Facial Nectar were, "I bet Cleopatra would've loved this!"

Being For Skin & Soul has encapsulated the most beautiful ingredients into one tiny glass bottle. Radiance Incarnate combines multiple healing oils to include some of my favorites: rosehip seed oil and argan oil. There is also an oil Cynthia uses in her Facial Nectar I have never seen before: Meadowfoam seed oil. Meadowfoam seed oil is a beneficial anti-aging oil loaded with antioxidants and fatty acids. It can also help protect your face from harmful UV rays. The Facial Nectar is recommended for use at bedtime. Night time use gives the ingredients all-night to heal and rejuvenate your perty face. What does it smell like?  A floral forest! The essential oil combination includes Frankincense, Myrrh, and Rose Otto.

Being For Skin & Soul Beauty Giveaway
The scent is not only stress-relieving and uplifting, but all of the essential oils involved work to reduce wrinkles! Sign me up!!! The oil is beautiful, light, and easily penetrates the skin. I am not sure if I have ever used a PM facial oil before, but I love it! The relaxing nature of the Facial Nectar is perfectly suitable to bedtime. It does not feel greasy at all. You can barely tell you put it on after a few minutes of application. A truly spectacular product. My highest compliment is, "I would buy it again."

Who is ready for a Radiance Incarnate Facial Nectar.....GIVEAWAY!?!?
Easter will bring these sugary monstrosities by the dozens! I will then hide them in my kitchen cabinets until they become stale. Sometimes, they immediately find the garbage can! Do not get me wrong, I do not completely hate these gross blobs of marshmallow. They are even starting to grow on me like a fungus. I thought it was time for an experimental recipe. A rice krispy treat re-mix if you will. This recipe is not only easy, but it is a great way to melt down these creeps....I mean peeps. I have to say it was truly satisfying and a bit humorous to watch them melt down. It reminded me of the wicked witch from the Wizard of OZ screaming "I'm melting...melting"! Okay, enough with the theatrics let's take these peeps to the melting chamber.

Death to Peeps: Marshmallow Treats Recipe
1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter
3 to 4 cups of Cheerios of Rice Krispies
2 packages of Peeps

Melt the butter on low to medium heat in a cast iron skillet and then add the Peeps. Stir until completely melted. Then, add your cheerios to your butter and peep mixture. Spread your mixture evenly into a small square baking pan. Finally, cut your treats into squares and celebrate the death of peeps by immediately devouring them!

Hillshire Farm Empanada recipe #HillshireNaturals
#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Hillshire. This could include Hillshire providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Empanadas have been a favorite of mine ever since my travels to Miami last year. Ham and cheese is a typical filling used in this Latin American classic! I used Hillshire Farms Naturals in honey roasted ham for the filling. No artificial ingredients and no nitrates. Just delicious ham flavor. In fact, I just took the Hillshire Farms Naturals slow roasted turkey breast into the classroom for snack time. The kids kept asking for more and more...and more. Kids are the real taste testers here. They ALWAYS tell the truth and we have a meaty winner in Hillshire Farms NEW Naturals! With two toddlers, it is a constant battle to find a meal that everyone can agree on. Ham and cheese is a definite winner. You could also call this recipe a homemade hot pocket. Whatever you call it, everyone is sure to love it! Let's start prepping the crust!

Hillshire Farm Empanada recipe #HillshireNaturals
Crust Ingredients
2 cup flour
2 stick of unsalted butter {room temperature}
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp Coarse sea salt
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic powder
1/4 to 1/3 cup very cold water
1 egg white(for brushing)

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. If you have a food processor, pulse until you achieve a coarse bread crumb consistency. For me, I am old school. I take two knives and cut the butter into the flour mixture until I achieve a coarse bread crumb consistency. Here is the tricky part: pour a little bit of your water into your dry ingredients until your mixture just holds together. Not too sticky and not too dry...just right. Let your crust mixture hang out for a few minutes while you are grating the cheese. Preheat your over to 375 degrees.

Filling Ingredients(makes 12 to 15 medium-sized empanadas & feeds a family of 5):
1 package Hillshire Farms Naturals honey roasted ham or slow roasted turkey
1/2 pound Cheddar Cheese

Hillshire Farm Empanada recipe #HillshireNaturals
No rolling pins needed. Take a small chunk off your dough and get some flour on your finger tips. Press out the dough as thinly as possibly into a small circle. Place more filling inside then you think you need and then roll your dough tightly until it meets the other side. Press the dough down(see the picture above). Two seals: First, roll and press down. Then, fold up the edge and press with a fork. This step is important or all your filling will leak out during the baking process.

Next, bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 375 until golden brown and crispy. Egg wash both sides prior to baking. Bake on the very top rack. Flip your empanadas after 10 minutes of baking to crisp both sides. Serve with salsa and fresh guacamole! These are great for parties, because you can make them in advance. If you have extra, just freeze them. Bon Appetit!
Windecker Farms Body Butter Giveaway
*This post is sponsored. All words are mine.

The cool guy rooster with sunglasses is back! Windecker Farms is a familiar all-natural face around these parts. Today, we are exploring Kimberli's "skin loving" body butters. Windecker Farms "skin loving" body butters have a base of Organic olive oil and apricot oil with a dash of mango butter mixed in. I do love coconut oil, but it can be too greasy for body butters. I love their use of Organic olive oil! This body butter is as smooth and creamy as silk! It applies almost like a balm. Nothing greasy about this body butter. A fantastic full body moisturizer! Stock up on this body butter for summer my beach babes.

The scent of the body butter I am reviewing is ylang ylang, jasmine, and wild orange . I love the interesting complexity of the scent. The jasmine rocks my world! Don't get me wrong, I love lavender as much as the next Eco-loving gal, but it is nice to see a natural skincare company using a wide variety of essential oils to achieve some unique essentially-derived scents in their products. Windecker Farms does just this. You can get the beautiful simplicity of a lavender "essentially-derived" body butter or a more complex scent like: ylang ylang, jasmine, and wild orange. MMMmmmm, now that is something delicious to write home about!

A special thing to note about Windecker Farms and their skin loving body butters is they blend Organic rose water into their formula! I truly see and appreciate the extra effort that Windecker Farms takes in making their products not just good, but great!

Who is ready for a skin loving body butter giveaway with Windecker Farms?
Beauty link party on TLV Birdie Blog
Eco Easter: How to blow out and naturally color eggs.
Easter eggs are the best! I love coloring them with my children and best of all keeping them for decor all Spring long! How do you do that? Blow your Easter eggs out. Below you will see a YouTube video demonstrating how to blow your eggs out and the Eco Eggs kits I used during round #2(not demonstrated here). First, let's talk about blowing your eggs out. It is easy. Grab a large sewing needle and poke a small hole at the top and a larger hole at the bottom. Blow your egg into a bowl...literally from the top hole. Next step, rinse your eggs inside and out with warm soapy water. Do at least a dozen or you will be itching to do more the next day. They are so perty! In the first photo, you are seeing some naturally colored eggs arranged in a small chippy basket with dried rosemary and sage from last year's harvest. An absolutely stunning centerpiece!

Eco Easter: How to blow out and naturally color eggs.
Eco Easter: How to blow out and naturally color eggs.
What natural ingredients do you use for egg coloring? Turmeric powder, beet powder, fresh spinach, wine, yellow onion skins, green tea. I would add blueberries and cabbage to this list. Also, make sure you are using fresh ingredients to yield the richest colors. Take all of your fresh ingredients and place them into small individual pots. Place them on the stove top. Add a cup of water to each pot, and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Remove and let cool slightly. Then add your blown-out Easter eggs while the liquids are still warm. rotate your egg every 10 minutes for up to an hour. Let them dry on a drying rack. The boiled yellow onion skins will make a pretty orange egg, fresh spinach Green, turmeric yellow, beet maroon, wine a marbled maroon Color. Use boiled blueberries for purple and boiled purple cabbage for blue. I also used green tea and that gave me a very pretty tan or caramel looking egg. What I love about natural Easter egg coloring is you never know what colors you are going to get. A beautiful natural mystery!

Eco Easter: How to blow out and naturally color eggs.
Undoubtedly, during the blow-out egg process, an egg will be dropped onto the floor. Save the broken half! You can fill the broken half with dried herbs or make it into a beeswax candle. This is one of my favorite decor pieces this Spring. Tiny, but beautiful!

Fluster Buster

How to make Biodegradable Seed Pots with Newspaper
This week, I stumbled onto the Better Homes & Gardens website during a random Google search related to gardening. I came across a video of a woman creating a biodegradable seedling pot out of newspaper...it was astounding and super creative! Then, I noticed the woman using a weird wooden contraption. It was a thick wooden dial rod of sorts. It also appeared that it was specifically made for the sole purpose of making these Eco-friendly seed pots. That's not very "Eco-friendly". Do you know what I thought? These seed pots look exactly like empty toilet paper rolls! And that's what I used for my framework...an empty toilet paper roll. HA! There is no shortage of TP in our house...that's for sure.

Below, I have a step by step YouTube instructional video. This is a very simple DIY project. There is no need to go to Home Depot to buy seedling pots anymore! Take 6 to 8 inches wide of 2-ply newspaper and start to roll with the toilet paper tube in the middle. One end can be flush with the newspaper and the other end needs about 2 inches excess at the bottom for tucking. Once you have rolled your newspaper around the toilet paper tube once or twice tuck the end with the 2-inch excess into the bottom. Trim the other end if necessary. Sit your newspaper tube on a table(tucked end down) then, grab a thick pen or marker and gently press inside your toilet paper tube to compress the newspaper at the bottom. This will flatten your newspaper and create "the bottom" of your pot. Wiggle the toilet paper tube out and you are all done!

Plant the whole pot in the Spring or after the last frost in your area! Happy Gardening. 

I will be demonstrating this DIY project at the Grow Your Health Festival Saturday, March 28th! If you live in the Northern Virginia area come visit The Virginia Bloggers Club booth. A special thanks goes out to Karmalades, Oh So Good Organics, Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, Carin Kilby Clark, Beagles and Bargains, Goodie Godmother, Blue Crab Martini, Blooming Secrets, Mindful Healthy Life, Jeanne Grunert, Second Ave Photography, and the whole team at Grow Your Health!

Fluster Buster
WOODS: Malaya Organic Body Oil Giveaway
Malaya's mantra is: "A garland of flowers, free of chemicals, that keeps your skin young!" 

The first thing I do with my skincare product is flip the bottle around and look at the list of ingredients. I can tell everything I need to know about a green beauty or Organic skincare company by looking at their list of ingredients. Malaya Organics is a company out of Brooklyn, NY. Their ingredients are free of chemicals.  They are Organic, and some ingredients are wild harvested too! It is my pleasure to review their Organic body oil in the essential oil scent of WOODS. How did Katya(the lovely owner) know that I love manly scents?*wink* All kidding aside, WOODS is not really manly. The scents combine vetiver, rose otto, and a hit of cedarwood. Very light and aromatic without overwhelming the olfactory senses. A home run. The essential oil scent would appeal to both men and women alike. 

Going back to the ingredients - all the oils used are THE best oils. The reason? They are supremely light, nourishing, and deeply moisturizing without being overly heavy(like coconut oil and countless other butters). Organic oils of sweet almond, sunflower, argan, rosehips, safflower, jojoba, and avocado are all included in WOODS. The oil is a beautiful golden color that begs to be applied to your skin. WOODS gets two thumbs up and will be sitting next to my bathroom for generous applications when hopping out of the tub. 

At first glance, It is crystal clear that Malaya has impeccably pristine packaging. Both clean and modern styling. Did I mention that I love this glass bottle? My favorite feature about the bottle is that it has a dropper top. As a consequence, you do not have to worry about wasting this precious body oil by pouring too fast.  The label is also waterproof. I am a packaging whore and obsessive-compulsive, so this tiny tidbit is important to me. 

Organic Lavender Lip Balm
Looky here! Behold, the Organic lavender lip savior! If you adore lavender then you should definitely try this. Soothing and healing lavender for your kisser. Malaya is definitely Eco-luxury skincare at its finest. 

Are you ready for a Malaya Organic Body Oil Giveaway for WOODS?! Enter below and please be patient as it takes a moment for the widget to load.

DIY Eco Terrarium Necklace
I was buzzing about my favorite social media AKA Instagram when I caught sight of an adorable cork bottle necklace. It gave me a phenomenal "mad scientist" idea! The idea is to create a personalized terrarium necklace full of things that make you happy. How you compose your little terrarium necklace is your prerogative. The necklace is absolutely adorable and took a whole 15 minutes to make! The best part? It can be 100% Eco-friendly. All materials I used were literally lying around my home. In order to achieve Eco terrarium success, you will have to use your creative wit and search for your own re-usable materials! Let me get your creative juices flowing and demonstrate how to make a DIY Eco terrarium necklace.

DIY Eco Terrarium Necklace
DIY Eco Terrarium NecklaceMaterials
String(your choice)
Natural Oil(I used Organic Safflower)
Mini Cork Bottle(You can find these at thrift stores, around the house, or at your local craft store)
Fresh Herbs or Flowers
1 to 2 drops Essential Oil(optional)
Old Jewelry Parts(a necklace chain or two)
Monogram Adornment(optional)

First, fill your tiny bottle with fresh herbs or anything your soul desires. I used a fresh sprig of rosemary. You could use something like confetti in a bottle. As you can see, confetti looks fabulous too! Then, I filled my bottle with oil to cover the rosemary. I also added two drops of Organic peppermint essential oil, because rosemary and mint are a classical combination. Next, find an old necklace or two to disassemble. Open the metal ends with a knife or pliers. Push the open metal ends into the cork. Next, take your string and tie it to the bottle then tie it to the metal in your cork x 2 for both sides. The idea is to make sure your cork is completely secured. You don't want the cork and oil flying everywhere during an inconvenient moment! The last part, is to attach a small personalized adornment. I chose a small metal monogrammed adornment that I removed from an old necklace.

DIY Eco Terrarium NecklaceThere you have it! An adorable Eco terrarium necklace of your own creation! Good luck my creative Eco divas! Until then, I am dreaming of tulips and Spring. XO.

Fluster Buster






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