My Life These Days…and a Winner is Announced

First and foremost I need to address the business of the giveaway and announce the winner. At about 530am I went to my blog and using excel notated the names of everyone who entered. There were 17 entries in total so I used to generate a random number for me using 1-17 as my range and the lucky number was….drum roll…..da da da da da da….eleven! Number eleven is my friend Racheal and I contacted her this morning to let her know the good news. She had chose prize number 3 which was the Michael Pollan books. I am hoping she will let me know her thoughts of the books and whether or not they changed her eating/purchasing habits at all. Maybe I can even get her to guest post about the books, who knows. It’s totally up to her but Racheal, if you are reading, let me know if you would be interested in doing something for the blog.



Thank you all who entered and thank you to those who tweeted the link! You guys are awesome and if I could afford everyone who entered would have won! I am looking forward to the next giveaway, whatever it might be, and am open to any suggestions 🙂

In other news, life has been pretty hectic- especially this past weekend. The first half of my Nia White Belt Intensive is behind me and I can’t wait to write a post dedicated to the whole experience that includes a schedule and details as to what it entailed. For now I am just going to give you a few thoughts running through my head. I love Nia, which you already know, but do you know why I love Nia? Nia is a great workout; it is a cardiovascular activity yet it’s not too intense. The dancing, the music, and the community make it such an amazing way to spend an hour of my life. But I love other activities too like yoga and tai chi but I don’t have the same emotional connection to them as I have with Nia. This weekend I realized why that is, why I love Nia so much.

I was talking with DG, another Synergy member and Nia participant yesterday about her weight loss- she looks fabulous by the way. I had asked her about her story and she told me that she was at her heaviest about ten years ago, while still in high school. Then she started running and going to the gym and she lost a lot of weight which she subsequently gained most of it back. Then about two years ago she found Nia and it has brought her to where she is today- about 80 pounds lighter and in great shape. I asked her if she changed other areas of her life or was it just Nia and she told me how she needed something that was spiritual as well as physical and that Nia gave that to her. It made her whole as a person.

I knew exactly what she meant. Nia is good for your body, mind and soul. It has changed my life because it is the first time that I actually love myself. Nia has taught me acceptance and self love and that is why I am where I am today. I have dieted/exercised before and lost weight and it never stuck because I never fixed the cause instead I just tried to fix the effect. Once I found Nia and the self-hate, self-doubt, embarrassment, disgust, all of the negative feelings I had about myself, started to go away I started making better decisions for myself, putting my health first, and really wanting to change and become a better person. I truly understood what I wanted out of my life and set out to try to make it happen. Do you know why? Because I freaking deserve it. I am good enough. I know now that as long as I keep my mind, and my body, and my spirit whole then I will be successful at anything I set my mind towards.

Another great thing about Nia is as I learn more about the principles and ideas it was built on, the mystery of why it has been so life changing is uncovered. As we are taught to ‘dance through life’, view ‘life as art’, and live in ‘the joy of movement’ (in universal joy which is a sensation, opposed to joyfulness/enjoyment which is an emotion) it becomes more and more clear why this practice has transformed my life. I couldn’t be more thankful for where I am today and having the fortune to be learning more about something I hold so dearly. I hope one day to dance with you, my readers, my friends and have you experience this with me.

One last thing before I go I wanted to share this with you.

The Club KO

Pretty cool, huh? One of the owner/trainers asked me if I would write up a testimonial for the gym’s website. The version on the site has been edited since I tend to go a little overboard when I write (I know that’s a shock to you, right?) and if you want to see the full piece, I think it’s three paragraphs, let me know and I will post it. I was just so thrilled that they had asked me to be on their website even though I am still 1/3 of the way from my goal but they said they want to inspire others, people that were/are in my shoes, to not be scared to try boxing. Isn’t that great?

Thanks for reading!


December 5, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Giveaway, Life, San Antonio, Weight Loss. 5 comments.

Weekend Reading and a Special Giveaway


I am excited to be able to link up with James & Jax for her weekend reading blog hop. I am even more excited that my post is not only about what I’ve been reading lately but it also features a giveaway that is both book and health related. Even more exciting is that I am going to let you chose the prize but I’ll get to that part shortly. First let me give you some background details.

I’ve been following a vegan diet for a couple of months now; a decision I came to for health reasons after realizing my body was having a hard time processing dairy. Just a few weeks into making this change I instantly knew it was the best thing for me. I felt great physically, I had tons of energy, and surprisingly I had no cravings. To this day I still feel the same, it’s pretty amazing. It also didn’t take very long before I wanted to learn more about veganism and plant-based diets. Thankfully our public library now has eBooks for the Kindle and I have been checking out tons of eBooks that deal with veganism as well as books about healthy eating in general. I realized that I research everything from safety ratings for automobiles to diner reviews on yelp why shouldn’t I research more about my health and how I am eating? So that’s what I did.


The book I first started off with, which is also part of the giveaway, was Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. You probably have heard of Pollan from his widely successful books; “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food”. Heck, you have probably heard of the “Food Rules” (and maybe have already read it) as well. If you have read Pollan’s “In Defense of Food” then you will recognize this principle; Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. That principle in and of itself is a great rule of thumb to follow but Pollan has taken it a step further and broken those three statements down into a set of 64 guidelines which is what “Food Rules” is.

To call “Food Rules” a book is a bit of an exaggeration. The description of the book from Amazon refers to it as “a pocket compendium of food wisdom” and that’s exactly what it is. A set of 64 guidelines broken down into three sections: What should I eat? (Eat food) What kind of food should I eat? (Mostly plants) and How should I eat? (Not too much). Pollan recognizes that it is very challenging for every reader to adapt all 64 guidelines but asks that we at least try to incorporate one from each section into our lifestyle. Below I have listed three of my favorite rules that I have incorporated into my lifestyle.

Part 1- What should I eat?

“Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle”

I would say that 80-85% of my shopping is done in the peripheries of the store with a few big exceptions being beans and grains that are located in the middle aisles. I think I am ok though, I don’t think Pollan meant avoid bulgur wheat, I think he meant avoid Twinkies.

Part 2- What kind of food should I eat?

“Eat your colors”

Someone once told me I should eat five different colored fruits/veggies a day and I thought that was a great idea. Pollan’s rule is very similar and it is something I try to do every day. I love fruits and veggies, especially raw ones, but I do sometimes find myself eating the same colors every day. Now I try to eat an assortment of colors and I can tell I am getting in a ton of different vitamins and nutrients my body needs which is a great feeling.

Part 3- How should I eat?

“Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored”

I was notorious for sitting on the couch and snacking out of boredom. There were times where I finished a whole bag of chips (family size) and didn’t even realize it until there was nothing left. I call that mindless eating and that was something I only did out of boredom. Now if I am watching TV and feel the urge to snack I ask myself whether I am hungry or bored. If I am hungry I grab a piece of fruit, if I am bored I do something else. It took awhile but I have learned how to tell the difference and it has really impacted not only my weight loss but my overall feeling of well-being.

For this giveaway I would love to give you a copy of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual”. Don’t worry if you are an omnivore, this book is perfect for you. Pollan has both plant and meat based guidelines- perfect for everyone! If you have read this book please still enter. I am sure you know someone who could benefit from reading this. Plus with the holidays coming up you can always re-gift it 😉

But wait- there’s still more. Remember earlier when I said you got to pick your own prize. Well, that is true too. In addition to “Food Rules” you also get one other prize of your choosing. I am listing below some of my favorite books, cookbooks, and DVDs that are health/diet/eating related and you get to pick one of them as your prize.

1. “The Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living” by Mark Bittman

I bought this cookbook about a year ago and have made many recipes from it. Bittman follows a vegan diet half the day so there are recipes for meat-eaters and vegans alike. Every recipe I have made from it was fabulous and I love that there are indicators for fast, make ahead, and pantry staple recipes.

2. “Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock” and “Vegan Pie in the Sky: 75 Out-of-This-World Recipes for Pies, Tarts, Cobblers, and More” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

VwaV was my first vegan cookbook and was purchased at the same time as “Food Matters”. I love this cookbook and I did even before I adopted a vegan diet. My favorite recipe is the beet, barley and black soybean soup. So yummy! Even Paul, a meat-eating Midwesterner, loves her recipes. I am also including “Vegan Pie in the Sky” which is her newest cookbook but will swap out with her cupcake or cookie cookbook if you prefer either of those over pie 🙂

3. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by Michael Pollan

In “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” Pollan discusses the evolution of the American diet and the American way of eating and “In Defense of Food” shows us how to change it.

4. “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingslover

I haven’t read this book but it is on my to-read list. I bought it at a library sale and hopefully will get to it soon. A friend of mine said it completely changed how she eats so I thought it would be a good book to include on the list. This is the book description from Amazon:

“Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat.”

5. Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives (on DVD but you can choose the books instead if you prefer)

Two movies that I think will completely change how you look at food and both tie in to Pollan’s “Food Rules” completely. Food, Inc. gives us an in-depth view of how the demand for cheap food has impacted what we are eating; choosing cheap over nutritious and the ripple effect it has created. Forks Over Knives shows the consequences of a Western diet and the benefits of adopting a plant-based one. If I wasn’t a vegan already this movie (actually book, I haven’t seen the movie but I’ve read the book) would have pushed me to it.

Contest Rules

To enter leave a comment as to which one of the five prizes you would want and why.

One entry per person

The contest runs November 28th, 2011 until 1159pm CST December 4th, 2011. One winner will be chosen at random (using and announced on this blog December 5th, 2011. Once notified, the winner will need to supply their mailing address.

If you have any issues leaving a comment you can email me ( or DM me (@dacialee33) and I will add them for you.

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

*No purchase necessary for entry, all opinions and viewpoints expressed are my own and I did not receive payment nor was I solicited for this giveaway.

November 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Books, Food, Giveaway. 18 comments.

Echotone Giveaway

Today is November 1st and I thought it the perfect time to start a giveaway, kicking off my month of thanks. I feel so indebted to you, my readers, for helping guide and support me through my journey so I decided to host three giveaways this month to show my appreciation. I am very excited for this first one because I love the prize so much. The winner of the giveaway will receive a copy of Echotone on DVD. Aren’t you excited?

After my last post about the film I thought about doing a giveaway for the movie because I just loved it so much and really wanted to continue getting the word out about this film. A few days after the post went up I found out that Nathan Christ, the director, had actually read it. I was fortunate to be able to start up an email conversation with Nathan about the giveaway and his thoughts. It turns out, which you will learn in more detail below, they are currently in the midst of creating a 6 part, 6 hour series for television that will tell not only Austin’s story but will also include Chicago, NYC and LA and are putting together the pilot for the series to show to interested networks. In order to get that pilot finished they need to raise a significant amount of money ($15,000) and have recently started a campaign on Kickstarter in order to do so. Once I found this out I knew that I wanted the giveaway to be based around their Kickstarter project. It made me feel like I had a legitimate opportunity to help this pilot get made and hopefully the giveaway entries will make you feel the same way too. Throughout our lives we are given chances to be part of something greater than ourselves and I hope you don’t pass this one up.

Nathan also graciously allowed me to share with you an email I received which can better explain their vision and hopes for Echotone far better than I ever could.

Dear Friends, Family, and Colleagues,

Since I last wrote you, Reversal Films and I have been hard at work getting the political music documentary I directed, Echotone, out to the world. The journey has been monumental for us. The percentage of truly independent films that actually find a home (i.e. we have a distributor and a nice download spot on iTunes) is extremely small. The story really resonates with audiences of all stripes. We have received almost universal critical praise, recently winning the New York Times Critics’ Pick and nabbing an excellent review in the Village Voice.

I see the issues raised in Echotone resonating in cities around the country, no matter where I travel with the film, whether it’s the rampant gentrification pushing artists and families deeper into Brooklyn, a controversial series of legislation threatening the creative class in Chicago, or the major music industry collapsing in LA. All of these stories are interrelated and I am now convinced we must continue filming the story. My vision is to create a 6-part, 6-hour television miniseries intercutting Austin, LA, Chicago, and NYC together to great a nationwide tapestry, a true historical document of a very uncertain time in our country’s history.

We simply can’t make it the same way we made Echotone, though (by fundraising on our own). We must get picked up by a major network – the project is just too vast and we will need too much money and promotional support. That said, we’ve already begun shooting. We must prove the concept to the networks, thereby creating a “pilot.” Thanks to some extremely generous donations, my crew and I worked tirelessly all summer long in Chicago (during the inauguration of newly-appointed Mayor Rahm Emanuel) and New York (during the 10-year anniversary of 9/11) and captured some gorgeous, captivating footage. Our goal now is to shoot the remainder of our pilot in LA, edit the four cities together, and go into sound design (our sound in the original Echotone is one of the most critically-praised aspects of it, thanks to an incredible company called Voodoo Highway).

I’m calling our pilot “the chicken that lays the golden egg.” If we can just make it over this current financial hump, I believe we will be in the position to continue telling this story for years to come. We are already in talks with networks and will be primed to pitch the material in February if we can finish the pilot in time.

15k sounds like a lot, but every dollar truly helps. I feel like all my work making videos in high school onward has been building to this moment. The inertia is huge. Please help in any way you are able. The incentives for pledging are attractive (you can see them all on the Kickstarter page linked below). I’ve also created a new video which visually shows what I’m writing about, including some great new footage from Chicago. Click here to watch the video and to pledge.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write or call me.

My Best,


Contest Details

The contest will run from November 1st through 11:59pm CST November 14th. Winner will be chosen at random (using of course) and announced on this blog November 15th. Once notified, the winner will need to supply their mailing address to me so I can have the DVD sent to you.

You must leave a separate comment for each entry method; i.e. one comment about the trailer, one comment stating you tweeted, etc. Please DO NOT leave one comment saying you did all five. If you do that you will only receive one entry in the contest opposed to five. Also, only one entry per method per person. This means you can tweet that message 1,000 times but it will only be good for one entry. There are five ways to enter, giving you five chances to win.

If you have any issues leaving comments you can email ( or DM (@dacialee33) me and I will add them for you.

How to Enter

1) Head over to the Echotone website and watch the trailer for the film. Then leave me a comment as to why you want to win the DVD. It would be great if you could include something from the footage that piqued your interest but I trust you will enter a comment only after watching the trailer.

My goal for this giveaway is to get as many people as possible over to the Kickstarter and Echotone websites and help them raise funds for the series pilot but I am not going to ask you to contribute in order to be eligible for the prize. Yes, I would love for you to make a donation via the Kickstarter site but I know not everyone can afford to do that so instead I am asking for your help spreading the word about the Kickstarter campaign.

2) Tweet ‘Please help Echotone expand to a multi-city music documentary series. Find out more info about the project here:’. Leave your twitter handle in the comment so I can verify.

3) Share the above message and the Kickstarter link on your Facebook wall. Leave your FB username in the comment so I can verify.

4) I know not everyone uses FB or Twitter so share the Echotone and Kickstarter info via word of mouth or email and I will give you an additional entry. There really isn’t an easy way for me to verify this so I will take you at your word just tell me in the comments what you did to get the word out.

*UPDATE* I forgot the fifth way to enter so I am adding it now

5) Talk about this giveaway and the Kickstarter project  including a link to this post. Leave a link to your blog in the comments.

Side note: the great thing about the Kickstarter fundraiser is any donation you make will come with a gift. The gifts range from a virtual high five/special thank you for a one dollar donation, yes you can donate just a dollar, up to a private screening and live performances for donations of 5K- so not only do you get to feel good for supporting Echotone you also get cool stuff in return. The donation details can be found on the Kickstarter page 🙂

In closing I leave you with a message from Nathan Christ. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind writing up a little blurb for the giveaway post and he so graciously did so.

Echotone has been a labor of love from the gate. We are now more than 3 years deep in this project with no intention of stopping. As you’ll see from the Austin film, the issues we are documenting are universal. The goal is to raise money to tell this story not only in Austin, but in Chicago, NYC, and LA. We just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to fund a pilot. This will give us the fuel we need to tell this quintessential American story during this time of great national uncertainty.

You can pledge to our campaign here:

I hope that you are as excited for this giveaway as I am. If you can’t or don’t want to donate to the Kickstarter campaign please help me in getting the word out there. Who knows, you could end up winning the DVD and at the same time we can help make history.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

*No purchase necessary for entry, all opinions and viewpoints expressed are mine and I did not receive payment for or was solicited for this giveaway.

November 1, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Giveaway, Movies, Music. 5 comments.

My Cooking Vlog: a Healthier Version of a Breakfast Taco and a Surprise Giveaway!

Hello and welcome to my first ever cooking vlog. This was far more difficult to do than the last vlog. Hopefully you can actually see what I am doing and hear me talk as I move around my kitchen. Paul was going to record it for me but the idea of having him behind the camera kind of made me nervous. Instead I chose to prop up my iPhone on top of a bottle of Fiber Choice, leaning against one of those cardboard 6 wine bottle carriers. Classy, I know 🙂 Just to be safe I am including the recipe below for your reference. As I mention in the video; this recipe is pretty basic so feel free to add whatever ingredients you have on hand and change it up however you please. In my opinion, wrap anything in a tortilla and it will taste good.

Veggie Sausage Breakfast Tacos

1/4 cup Southwestern Egg Beaters

2 Tablespoons shredded Cheddar Cheese

1 Tablespoon Salsa or Pico de Gallo

1 Morningstar Farms Veggie Sausage patty

1 Mission Carb Control Whole Wheat Tortilla

1. Heat sausage patty in microwave 35-45 seconds

2. While sausage is cooking, warm tortilla in an ungreased nonstick skillet 10-15 seconds per side

3. Once tortilla is warmed, remove from pan and set aside. Lower the heat on the pan to medium low and add some nonstick cooking spray. Cook the egg beaters until done, about 1-2 minutes. Not very long so pay attention.

4. Once cooked, place the egg beaters on top of warmed tortilla and top with 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, sausage patty which has been cut into bite size pieces, and 1 tablespoon of salsa.

Voila! Breakfast is complete. I do however recommend serving some fresh fruit alongside.

Nutritional Info using ingredients listed above/featured in vlog:

Fat: 9.5g, Protein: 21g, Carbs: 19g, Fiber: 11g

WW PP: 6

This meal is cheap to boot- only .93 cents per taco! The price may need to be adjusted for COL as I am in TX and shop on post; things are cheap here. So maybe 1.50 might be more accurate for you. Still pretty cheap for what you get!

Now for my giveaway, in case you were unable to watch the video, to enter all you need to do is leave me a comment (or you can text, email, Facebook message, tweet, whatever) telling me your favorite 7 or 8 letter word. I know, it’s random as is the prize which will be determined once I see who the winner is. You will basically be receiving a care package, for lack of a better term, featuring some of my favorite things customized with items I think you will like. It will possibly contain one or more of the following; non-perishable food items (yes, Biscoff spread for sure), books, music, or even some of my homemade soaps. Yes, there is also a good chance I will make you a mix tape CD because that is how I roll. You’ll just have to wait and see. You have until 11:59PM CST Friday September 16th to enter. On Saturday, September 17th I will choose a winner at random and announce it here on my blog that day. The only thing required from you in order to enter this contest is that you feel comfortable enough to give me your home address so I can send you the prize!

*Disclaimer: I have not been solicited by or received anything in exchange for mentioning products on this blog. All of the products featured are ones I enjoy and use regularly. I have not been compensated in any way for my opinions. Same goes for any of the items in prize package for the giveaway.

Thanks for stopping by and watching my vlog! Make sure you enter the giveaway! If you make the breakfast taco let me know what you think of it!

P.S. After I was finished with the vlog Paul ate the breakfast taco, his first time eating veggie sausage, and he loved it. Yay! Score one for the healthy breakfast taco!

September 9, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Cooking, Giveaway, Vlog. 20 comments.

And the winner is….

I am sure you were all waiting with bated breath for this moment to come. It was probably difficult to sleep last night you were so excited, right? I figured as much- it is a pretty amazing prize. Yes, the time has finally come for me to announce the winner. Oh, happy day! Of course, it would only be fair to show you how the winner was chosen before I make the announcement. 

First, I went to the comments section of my blog and wrote down, in chronological order, the names/blog names of everyone who left comments and assigned them each a number. There were a total of thirteen entrants.


Then I went to and used their true random number generator using 1 as the minimum value and 13 as the max value in order to find the winning number. I pressed the generate button and voila- we have a winner. It’s #2. 


Oh, I am guessing unless you scrolled back up to see the list that you probably want to know who is #2. It’s Yerttle! Congrats Yerttle, you have won an 8×10 print of Subha’s beautiful Positano photograph. Please contact me at so I can get your address for shipping.


Thank you to all of those who participated and of course a huge thank you to the talented Subha for donating her amazing photograph for this giveaway. I know I can speak for everyone when I say we were all in awe of the beauty you shared with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

*On a non-contest related note, as of this morning I am down to 256 (home scale, different than WW weight) which means I have lost 30 POUNDS since I started on 2/22, 15 weeks and three days ago. Can you believe it??? I can’t. I am amazed I have made it this far and gotten my life on this new, exciting path. I am happy with these results, to say the least, and excited to be able to share them with you.

Thanks for reading!

June 10, 2011. Tags: , , , . Giveaway, Life. 7 comments.

It’s time for my second blog giveaway!!!!

I am honored that my friend and blogging comrade has offered to donate one of her amazing photographs for this giveaway. A few weeks ago I asked for giveaway ideas and Subha graciously volunteered to donate an 8×10 photograph as the prize. Since I follow both her blogs and had already perused her photography website I knew that this would make for an amazing prize. I love photography and have fun toying around with my digital SLR camera when I can but most times I can be found trying to capture life using my iPhone camera. So, I am thrilled to be able to give away one of Subha’s beautiful (and professional) photographs. She is simply an amazing artist and hopefully you can take some time to visit her websites and blogs and take a look for yourself.

About Subha

Subha Airan-Javia is a health professional by training, but realized early on that she needed a more substantial creative outlet than her career would allow. Therefore, she started a photography business, JAS Photography LLC, while she was still in training and has been having tons of fun with it ever since! In fact, she has since become a mother and decided to work part-time, so that she could spend more time with her daughter and explore her other interests. Since then she has taken up many other hobbies such as graphic design (, creating tools to teach children how to speak Hindi and Gujarati (, knitting, sewing and many other handmade crafts ( She is also currently trying to practice the art of appreciation, by recognizing something she is thankful for, or one of life’s “simple beauties”, each day for a year, on her blog Simple Beauties (

Although I knew I wanted to feature her photography as the prize it was quite a difficult decision figuring out which photograph we should offer. Subha asked me to pick which photograph to give away in order to make it more personal. This was a challenging task because there were so many amazing photos to choose from. I was, thankfully, able to narrow it down to six. From those six, Subha told me which were her favorites and narrowed it down to two. Then Subha sent me the dandelion photo, which was not posted on her photography website, and I fell in love with that one as well. So here they are; our top three photos. We couldn’t pick just one so we are leaving that up to you. To enter the contest all you need to do is leave me a comment telling me which one is your favorite and why. The winner, picked at random, will receive the photograph they picked as their favorite. Easy peasy, right?


For my birthday, my hubby bought me a new macro lens, which I had been wanting for a long time. This image it the result of play time with my new toy on the coast of Maryland. What really makes the shot is the blue sky in the background, for which I had to lie almost completely on the ground to capture!


This is a view of the breath-taking Amalfi Coast in Italy- more specifically, it is of Positano. This little town is perched on the cliff side of the coast with unbelievable views from almost any vantage point. This shot was taken from a bus stop off the “highway” with my point and shoot camera with the flash turned off. It is amazing what you can get even with a point and shoot!

Yellowstone Springs:

Grand Prismatic is perhaps one of the most picturesque views in Yellowstone National Park. We try to visit a national park every year, and from the moment we entered Yellowstone, I saw pictures of this amazing “rainbow” spring everywhere I went. Instantly I thought: I want to see that! Well, sadly when we got there, the smoke coming up from the spring obscured pretty much everything. It wasn’t until we hiked up a nearby hill that we were able to see this commanding view of the spring displaying all the different colored bacteria creating its characteristic rainbow appearance!

Contest Rules

To enter, simply leave me a comment as to which photograph is your favorite and why, only one entry per person please. The contest will be open from the time this is posted up through 11:59pm CST June 9, 2011. On Friday, June 10th, 2011 we will choose a winner at random and announce it here on my blog that day. The only thing we require in order to enter this contest is that you feel comfortable enough to give me, or Subha directly, your home address so we can send you the photo.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

June 3, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Giveaway, Uncategorized. 23 comments.

And the winner is….

This just in…hot off the presses….an email from Karen:

“Good morning, it is early here, but I wrote down all the names of the items people liked when they visited my shop, double checked them with your blog, cut them in tiny strips, folded them up and then put them in a bowl. I double mixed them and then picked one. The winner is the Pastel Easter Kusudamas (snoopyhockey33)”


***Pictures taken from gracelinepaperstudio’s Etsy shop website

So, miss snoopyhockey33 you are the winner! Congrats! I will be in touch with you shortly for your address so Karen can mail the Kusudamas directly to you.

Let’s all give thanks to Karen for participating in this with us. THANK YOU!

And of course, thanks to all my readers who entered in my first blog giveaway. Feel free to visit Karen’s Etsy shops ( or at any time in order to keep up with the new items she adds. It is truly beautiful work.

Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

April 15, 2011. Tags: , , , . Crafts, Giveaway. 7 comments.

My first giveaway- are you as excited about this as I am???

****UPDATE**** Congratulations to snoopyhockey33, winner of  Pastel Easter Kusudamas from 

Today I am going to do something a little different. I have seen numerous blogs hosting contests and giveaways and thought that would be something I would like to do as well. Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff, especially when it is really cool free stuff??? So here it goes- my first giveaway.

I met Karen through her Word Press blog. While reading through her posts I saw some pictures of her beautiful handmade paper crafts and immediately wanted to see more. Karen sells her crafts on Etsy and it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her unique products and craftsmanship and I think you will love them, too.

I asked Karen if she would mind if I held a giveaway, to be featured on my blog, in which the prize would be one of her crafts. I am hoping to help support her by bringing more traffic to her site as well as have the opportunity to provide one of my readers with a fantabulous gift! Karen was game so I asked her to write up something for this post so you can learn a little bit about her and she kindly obliged. Here is a little bit about Karen:

 “Hi, I am a grandmother of twelve, just adding identical twin girls that were born early. I made Boston my home for three months to give my daughter a hand. Preemies require lots of help! And so do daughters sometimes! ==== I have been interested in crafting since I was a little girl. I began making my own gifts long, long ago. I began an ‘everything’ Etsy shop quite awhile ago. That was a very slow business. So I decided to open another shop. In my many and various Google searches I hit upon a very beautiful paper flower called a Kusudama. My interest sparked, not only because it was so pretty, but because I have such a deep admiration for the Asian people who created this craft hundreds of years ago. When I did a search on Etsy for Kusudamas very few artisans were creating these paper flowers. So I began a new shop. In the fall of 2010 I got a couple of orders for wedding flower packages.  And I was off running from there. I expanded my paper arts into making mobiles, signs, doing anything paper. I love creating from paper, embellishing with beads, using paper punches, my Cricut, but most of all I am in deep love (sounds silly) with Kusudama and all things Japanese. Their crafts are breathtaking and admirable.”

How impressed are you by a grandmother of twelve who crafts and blogs? I know I am amazed and once you see her work you will be too!

Here is how the contest will work: First thing you need to do is stop by either of Karen’s Etsy pages – (my personal favorite, like I said- I love her paper crafts) or – and take a look at her beautiful handmade crafts. Then leave a comment on my blog and tell me (us) which item was your favorite- you can also include some positive feedback for Karen, too, because who doesn’t love hearing nice things??? The deadline for comments will be 11:59PM CST on April 14, 2011. Then on Friday, April 15th, 2011 Karen will choose one lucky winner who will receive the item that they commented about on my blog.

I hope all of the details are clear but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

*Please note that the winner will not pay anything in order to receive said prize however, your address will be needed for shipping purposes which can be given to me or to Karen directly after prize notification.  

I hope you enjoy Karen’s crafts as much as I do! I am particularly fond of her paper crafts and have ordered some for myself and friends. I am excited for this giveaway and I hope you will enjoy it too! Good luck and thanks for reading!

April 8, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Crafts, Giveaway. 20 comments.