CLOSED {Giveaway} Sloopybug Hair Bow Boutique


I’m so excited to be hosting a great giveaway from Sloopybug  Hair Bow Boutique! Angie, the owner (and my cousin’s wife), hand crafts gorgeous hair accessories sure to put anyone in a great mood and add a little sparkle to your day.

Angie has been making hair accessories for about four years. She started when her daughter Jill was just about nine months old. “I loved the way she looked in them and I thought they looked cute when I was playing around with my photography. Once I started making them people started asking for them and it just escalated from there!”


While Angie creates a variety of clips and headbands that use silk flowers, ribbon, beads, feathers, and other delicate, feminine baubles, her favorite pieces to craft are top hats. “I like to make each one original and unique in its own way,” she said. And all of her hats certainly have personality!



Acessories from Sloopybug Designs are funky with bright colors, yet classic at the same time. “The more creative freedom I have, the better I think the piece. I am very inspired by pin up style and day of the dead,” said Angie.



Angie also enjoys giving back to the community. This is the second year in a row she (with the help of her two two children) have put together donations baskets for local hospitals. Last year she created a basket for the D’Amour Cancer Center in Springfield, Mass. (the pediatrics oncology wing), and this year will be the Shriners of Springfield.

Sloopybug  Hair Bow Boutique will be the featured artist at It is What It Is… Vintage in Agawam, MA for the month of June. There is a meet and greet schedule for June 28, 2014 from 1-5 P.M.

Win a Top Hat!

In the meantime, how would you like the opportunity to win one of these amazing top hats? Here’s your chance! Just leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will close on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 3 p.m. One winner will be contacted. All entrants must be residents of the United States and 18 years of age or older.

To learn more about Sloopybug Hair Bow Designs, or to arrange for a custom order, connect with Angie on Facebook! And if you’d like to visit her at the upcoming meet and greet, It is what it is….Vintage is located at 430 Main St. in Agawam, MA. 


merci Giveaway Winner

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Thanks to all who entered the merci chocolates giveaway! Using I generated the number of the winner. Drumroll, please! And the winner is….

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The 11th comment was Madeline’s! Congratulations, Madeline. I will contact you for your mailing information.

For those who didn’t win, remember that you can get a BOGO coupon when you send a friend a thank you using  merci’s Facebook app, the Thank-You-Maker

CLOSED {Review & Giveaway) Hostess Gifts and Merci Chocolates

Merci Chocolates

I received a box of Merci Chocolates and a promotional item for my honest review.
I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

If your December calendar looks anything like mine, you’ll be attending several holiday parties. I am always looking for great hostess gifts. What could be better than chocolate? Merci chocolates seem to be made for saying “thank you.” I think the name alone gives that away! And indulging in a piece of yummy chocolate is such a great way to wind down after a whirlwind party.

Each box of merci includes a delicious selection of rich, European chocolates in flavors like milk chocolate, hazelnut-almond, marzipan, dark mousse, and coffee and cream. I think my favorite, however, is the praline-creme. Such a delicious treat paired with a cup of dark roast coffee!


As someone who enjoys entertaining in my home, I know how much goes in to party planning. I don’t think there is anything out-of-the-ordinary that makes a great hostess, though, as long as she is having a great time too. Enthusiasm is contagious! I do appreciate always being greeted at the door, and taking guests special needs into consideration is always appreciated, too. (These are things that I try to do myself.)

I’m really looking forward to our Christmas movie party in a couple weeks, so you can bet I’ll be keeping in mind what I enjoy when I attend someone else’s party. Basically three things: good friends, good food, and good fun. Sounds simple, but I think it’s true! I will also be bringing a gift of merci to my mother-in-law’s on Christmas Eve as a token of thanks for always having a lovely holiday dinner and making everyone feel welcome.


The sweet people at merci have generously offered to give away a gift pack to one of my readers so that you can also say “thank you” to someone!


  • Open to U.S. residents 18 and over only.
  • Giveaway will close at 12 PM Eastern Time on Thursday, December 19, 2013.
  • Winner will be chosen by and posted on the blog the next morning. To enter, please leave a comment telling me what qualities you think make a great hostess OR a party that you are looking forward to this holiday season.

And don’t forget to check out merci’s Facebook app, the Thank-You-Maker! You can send a friend a meaningful thank you, and in return receive a Buy One Get One Free coupon for merci chocolates! If you’re on Twitter, send a tweet about giving a meaningful ‘Thank You’ using the #merciHoliday hashtag.

You can find merci chocolates at many stores including World Market, Target, and 

Thanks to you, my readers for supporting my blog. And good luck with this giveaway. Trust me, the winner will truly enjoy these scrumptious chocolates!

{CLOSED} 13th Blogiversary Giveaway



Thirteen years ago I was sitting in my cubicle in a Norwalk, CT office. (Next to the Chick in the Kitchen, actually!) I’d just grabbed a coffee on the way in to work and decided that this was the day I was going to purchase a domain. It was a big deal back in those days! I had an online journal, but was curious about this thing called “Blogger” and wanted my own space on the web. 

I tossed a few ideas around in my head and then I looked down on my desk and saw something that resembled this:


And that was the beginning of a crazy journey through this world of blogging. I started out using Blogger, moved over to pMachine (which is still my favorite blogging platform of all the applications I’ve used), and made my way to WordPress somewhere around 2006. I’ve “met” more creative, wonderful people than I can count. Many of these online friendships developed into honest-to-God real friendships and I can’t imagine my life without them.

My blog has seen me through my wedding, the birth of three children, the purchase of our current home, the purchase and sale of a wine shop, taking up scrapbooking (oh, remember the recipe swaps?) and eventually giving it up because there just wasn’t the time anymore, learning to knit, learning to sew, learning to crochet, and many other crafty pursuits. I’ve blogged about sleepless nights, my kids’ milestones, what I’m making for dinner, what I wish I was making for dinner, and many boring stories about “a day in the life.” 

I “quit” once. Went on hiatus several times. Changed the name once. (Anyone remember “Parapluie”?) Went private for a while. Deleted and started with a clean slate a few times (but oh, to have all those archives… if I’d only known).

Somehow I can’t imagine not having a blog, especially after all this time. It’s nuts, I know. And I’ll bet that the people I know in real life who know about this blog probably think it’s totally weird. But that’s OK! The people who know me in real life already know that I’m weird in general 😉

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine that if my blog was a person, she’d have her period and be thinking about boys in between writing bad poetry and painting her toenails. Especially since I wasn’t sure I’d even make it through the year when I first hit that “submit” button.

To celebrate this occasion, I’m hosting a giveaway right here, right now!


  • Open to U.S. residents 18 and over only.
  • Giveaway will close at 3 PM Eastern Time on Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.
  • Winner will be chosen by and posted on the blog by 5 PM the same day. To enter, just leave a comment on this post (the link is at the top, right under the title) — simple as that!

Please make sure that you use a valid e-mail address when filling out the comment form. If I can’t get in touch with you, I can’t send you the goodies! So. I bet you want to know what I’ve put together, right? Well, it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I chose items that sort of encompass bits of my personality. Kinda like Oprah’s Favorite Things. Only I’m not Oprah and… well, this is on a much smaller scale 😉 Anyway, on to the giveaway!

13th blogiversary giveaway

  • 25 yards (total) of baker’s twine — 5 yards each of red, blue, yellow, green, pink
  • 6 yards (total) of fold-over elastic — 3 yards each of red and turquoise (this stuff is great for making hair ties!)
  • 3 spools of washi tape
  • 1 set of embroidery patterns from Sublime Stitching (“Gothic Grandeur” — since Halloween is around the corner I thought this was perfect)
  • 1 vintage crochet pattern booklet
  • 2 crocheted dishcloths (made by me!)
  • a few fun paperclips
  • a sampling of my favorite tea (Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Spice)
  • a small box of chocolate truffles

 Good luck and thanks so much for reading! 

All Smiles Cookie Giveaway – 3 Winners!

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It’s that time of year again when there are so many gift-giving occasions — Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, First Communions, Confirmations, Teacher and Bus Driver Appreciation days, Graduations, the last day of school. . . Just to, ahem, name a few. Wouldn’t it be great to surprise someone with a unique gift that will stand out from the rest? I’ve teamed up with Cookie Gift Baskets and a few other awesome bloggers to give away an “All Smiles” cookie gift that will surely put a smile on anyone’s face.

Three winners will be chosen at random to win one of four different cookie gifts (valued at up to $47). The choices are All Smiles Cookie Pot, the Smiley Face Planter, the Happy Faces Cookie Pail, or the  Happy Faces Cookie Gift Box. They are all so cute and filled with yummy treats — I’d have a hard time choosing!

Giveaway Rules Overview (click here for the official rules)

Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter the contest.  A comment on this post is the only mandatory entry, but you once you do that, other entry options will become available.

Please note: When a winner is selected, their entry will be reviewed to make sure they completed the given entry task. This makes it fair for everyone. 

Three winners will be chosen at random and may choose one of the four designs shown. Make sure you provide a valid e-mail address, so we can contact you if you are one of the winners. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another replacement winner will be chosen.

This giveaway ends at midnight EST on May 12, 2013. The sweepstakes winners will be announced by May 19, 2013.

Eligibility requirements

Giveaway sweepstakes is open to U.S. residents in the continental states (e.g. lower 48) and only to those 18 years old or older.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, guys!

Disclaimer: This is not a product review. I am participating in a shared giveaway.