Thursday, September 22, 2011

R.E.A.D. with Ranger!

                                                              Ranger loves to read, do you??

Ranger and I are a registered therapy team through Delta Society, Mid-South Therapy Dogs & Friends, and Intermountain Therapy Animals. We've worked really hard to get to this point, and it's been an amazing journey! (The new puppy, Mykelti is training right now to be a therapy dog as well; wish us luck!!) It takes about a year+ of straight dedication and training to really prepare a dog for all  the testing they must pass (They start out with a 10 part Canine Good Citizen test that they must pass before they can move on to the 22 part Pet Partner Skills and Aptitude Test (PPSAT) that Delta Society offers...there were also a lot of workshops, classes, and wonderful handlers/trainers that really helped get us ready to become a successful team!)

Over the summer, Ranger and I also had the pleasure of participating in one of our favorite programs thus far, R.E.A.D. (This stands for "Reading Education Assistance Dogs). R.E.A.D. is a program that was founded by Intermountain Therapy Animals in St. Lake City, Utah. It started out as a pilot program at local schools/libraries, and has skyrocketed in popularity throughout the US and other countries since it's launch! It was founded to help at-risk children, children with learning disabilities, and children new to reading to learn to read. 

How could that work you might ask? After all, we adults know that dogs "can't  really read". Well, it works because it forms an environment of ease and allows children to realize that reading can be fun in a non- judgemental environment! Dogs do not judge people, laugh at errors, nor criticize them. They simply offer their unyielding comfort and devotion. When the children read to the dogs, it puts them at ease because they are not being judged in front of a classroom of their peers or by a harsh teacher. R.E.A.D. teams follow strict protocols to ensure safe and happy learning environments, and the wonderful therapy dogs really offer up a lot of comfort to new and struggling readers! I've found that it only takes the children a few short minutes to really start feeling comfortable with Ranger once they sit down and open up their book. During their reading, some of the kids like to pet Ranger when they feel stressed, some of them like to use him as a "pillow" to prop up against while reading, and some enjoy showing him pictures in the pages of their books; it's adorable! Ranger has been taught a "read" command to help him focus on the pages that the children are sharing with him. The kids get a kick out of seeing him "read" with them! Sometimes, Ranger enjoys listening to the stories so much that he will close his eyes and picture himself in those storybook scenarios...well, at least that's what we tell the younger children when Ranger sneaks a nap in; thankfully, that didn't happen often for us! (Each session is 2 hours long during the summer program; we had new children rotate in every 15-20 minutes. From what I understand of the year- round program, there will be the same children each session and we will be able to really chart their progress with their teachers and librarians each week!)

One of Ranger's favorite learning tricks is to help the children in our program "sound out" the tough words by using his paw to break up multi-syllable words. (I've found that it only takes one time of Ranger "sounding out" the words, and the children never forget that particular word, because Ranger makes it so fun to remember!) He also gives out lots of kisses as encouragement; I remember one instance when a little boy was getting frustrated that he kept struggling with the same word...Ranger seemed to sense that he was stressed out and so he put his paw on the little boys lap and gave him a big kiss on the face; that instantly calmed the little boy down and put him at ease again, this time he had a smile on his face knowing that Ranger was there to help him! (By the way, the little boy did learn that word after all! He realized that reading could be fun with a good listener like Ranger there to support him!)

When the children finish with their visit, Ranger gives out trading cards and stickers with his picture on it, and he can even "paw-to-graph" their book or hand! (We use an Australian Shepherd shaped rubber stamp or his paw and an ink pad...the kids love it!) We will be participating in a year-round program at the same facility in a few weeks! These children will be given a "Boomer Buddy" (stuffed dog) at the beginning of the year and they will sign a contract to read to their puppies every night; they can even bring it in during the week to read with Ranger and their stuffed animal...anything it takes to motivate them and make reading fun! We are really looking forward to that opportunity! I have to say, I have never worked around a group of more well behaved children either; all of the ones in the summer program were a delight to be around! (The school that we visit is designed specifically for children with Dyslexia; it is an incredible, positive place!)

  (Here are a few of the wonderful letters/notes that the children wrote to Ranger! 

(For those of you with little ones at home, I'd encourage you to start reading to them early and often; it does make a difference! If you have a patient furbaby at home, consider allowing your child (supervised) to read to their furry, slithery, or even finned friend! You never know how much it might help them!) 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Small Things Done With Great Love Will Change The World" Mother Teresa

What simple things can you do throughout your day, your week, your month, to make a positive impact?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The SCAR Project: Breast Cancer Is Not A Pink Ribbon

When you think of Breast Cancer Awareness, what is your first thought? Do you think of pink bracelets, pink ribbons, or 5K runs? Do you think of a beloved family member or cherished friend who has been affected by this horrible disease? Do you think of a teenager or 20 something? Chances are that you might not! Did you know that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in women ages 15-40? ** Breast cancer is a non-discriminating disease that affects women of all ages, all social classes, and all ethnicities. (It can even strike men too.)

I stumbled upon this website today when I found a link to it on Pintrest. The pictures on the site really impacted me! It's incredible to see exactly what these ladies have endured though. I admire the badges of courage that they wear on their chests, in the form of their scars. These are not just any women; they are brave women! Women who are in the fight of their lives, and  are not afraid to share their struggles with others. I love the way that they show people that a woman's beauty is not defined by her breasts alone. They are not hiding behind a cute t-shirt; they're spreading the truth in the most natural of showing others the true faces of Breast Cancer, in the hopes that their stories will reach others. The women on that website are some of the most beautiful ladies I've ever seen; their pictures have left a mark on me.I hope that they will touch you as well.

Please re-post the link and share information about The SCAR Project with all of your loved ones!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What a Hoot!

  (This is seriously one of the most adorable things that I've ever laid eyes on! How stinkin' cute!!)

Yesterday was the last day of the Germantown Arts & Crafts Festival. By some miracle of God, I was able to talk my normally reclusive Momma into venturing out with me to the festival! It was quite fun too! I mainly went because I thought that surely the vendors would have a huge selection of Christmas ornaments....nope. There were only a few vendors selling them, and I've made cuter myself, so I held off my search and moved onto other things. That's when I realized one of my favorite local artists had a booth at the festival this year! Joy!! 

For those of you who do not know, Susan Hood is an amazing up and coming artist in the Mid-south area. Her canvas work is pretty awesome, if you ask me! She sells some of her items at Bella Vita under "Art by Susan". Check her out; hopefully you'll show a little love for local artists and buy a piece of her artwork! 

I was thrilled to see so much of her artwork today and to have the opportunity to meet her; she's very nice! I wound up taking home that cute little gem of a painting I posted above. (Those of you who know me well, know how much I love birds!) I decided to hang the owl painting right by my entry way door so that everyone who comes in or leaves can be greeted by its cheerfulness!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Will Never Forget...

(Please silence the music in the right side bar so that you can watch the video)

I will never forget the events of 9/11/01. I will never forget where I was, how I felt, or the way it changed my views on life. I will always hold the events of 9/11 dear to my heart and remember the precious souls who perished that day and those who were left to carry on. Today's 10th anniversary was a bitter-sweet reminder of how much tragedy can devastate, yet simultaneously bring people together in hope. I pray we all remember to hug our our loved ones a little tighter every time we see them. I pray we all remember to say, "I love you" or "I forgive you". Life is beautiful. Life is fragile. Life is fleeting. Life should be treasured.

Last year I posted about where I was on 9/11 and how I recalled that day unfolding. Today I felt it appropriate to share the above video that really touched me.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Face Masks: A few of my top picks!

For most ladies, nothing beats a nice face mask, music, candles, and a hot bath! I love face masks; I love how incredible my skin feels after I use them, and knowing that I'm doing something to keep my skin in great shape. My skin type is combination: oily on the T-zones and dry around my nose/cheeks. Sometimes it can be hard for me to find the perfect facial mask because of that. They either make my skin too oily or too dry. Through trial and error however, I've found a few that I adore and will continue to rotate through my beauty arsenal! I've listed these little gems below! Enjoy and feel free to comment or ask questions. 

1.  Queen Helen Mint Julep Masque: First off, this one smells incredible; just like a refreshing Mint Julep drink for your parched face! Love it! And the best thing about this product?? It is dirt cheap people! It's around $2 for an 8oz tube. (your average drinking glass is only use a small amount of this masque with each application, so one tube lasts a long time! Great bang for your buck!). When I use this mask, it makes my skin feel refreshed and clean (not that tight/over-drying feeling a lot of masks leave behind.). This is the most cost efficient mask for your money!

-Find it at Walgreens, Walmart, Target, and Online

2. Alba Papaya Enzyme Facial Mask: Sometimes my skin can be very moody and sensitive; this is the mask I reach for when I need something gentle for my skin! It is fabulous for sensitive/delicate skin! It smells fantastic, it's lightweight, it softens your skin without making it feel greasy or leaving behind a gross residue, and it is very gentle! 

-Find it at Target, Walmart, or Online!

3. Boscia Luminizing Black Mask: Is your face gunked full of blackheads and filthy pores? Give this mask a try! It's the most incredible clean up mask I've ever used! If you've ever tried the Boscia Black Pore Strips, you know how they blow the Biore ones out or the water and how much gunk they remove from your skin. It's insane! Well, this gem of a mask is IDENTICAL to the Boscia Black Pore Strips, only it comes in gel/liquid form. Sounds odd right? A solid black face mask that goes on like a gel/cream yet dries to a paper mache'/ pore strip consistency. Well, it is a little weird! On that same note however, it is insanely incredible. I've never tried another mask that cleans my pores out the way this one does! You apply this one and let it dry, then you peel it off of your face like a peel-away mask. Word to the wise though, DO NOT GET THIS PRODUCT ON YOUR EYEBROWS OR YOUR HAIRLINE. Not only does this clean away all of the  blackhead and impurities in your skin, it sure does wax the hell out of your hairline if you get too close (I didn't realize this during my first application...neither did my niece or my best friend lol! We all got a little bit of a face waxing that day!) If you do accidentally apply this one to your eyebrows or hair line haven o fear, just use warm water to loosen it off when you're ready to remove your mask.  This one wins the "de-gunk my face award" hands down! Use a little face moisturizer after this mask and your skin will feel amazing!

-Find it at Sephora or online! (Insider tip, Sephora will give you a free sample of it if you go in and ask ;) Take the free sample home and see what you think! It will  be enough for a single use. This mask is a little pricey, so definitely go to Sephora and try a free sample first before you buy it.)

4. Montagne Jeunesse Strawberry & Cream Gel Masque: I have used this product since middle school! My best friend and I used to buy these all of the time! I LOVE these! I love how inexpensive they are too: normally you can find them ranging in prices from 2 for $1 or $1.50ea. You also get at least 2 uses from each mask (perfect for sharing with a friend!). This mask is nice for a stressful day or when your skin needs a gentle pick-me-up. It's very gentle and soothing and it rinses off easily. It does not over-dry; it leaves skin moisturized, smooth, and non-greasy. Love it!! (Please note I've used this one with many different girlfriends/family members: it is suitable for many different skin types!)

-Find it at Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Kroger, or Online! (These are available just about everywhere you could think of!)

5. Lush Cosmetics: Catastrophe Cosmetic: This blueberry infused mask is absolutely amazing! All Lush products are fresh, handmade, and use natural ingredients. There are no artificial or irritating preservatives in these! Because they are so fresh, they do have an expiration date; so, plan to use one up within two weeks and to keep it refrigerated as well. One container gives me about 6 uses, so it's very cost efficient (the same goes for ALL Lush masks)! It has the most incredible scent to it! Not only does it smell fabulous and completely put you in a happy mood, it does amazing things to your skin! This one has calamine in it that helps to calm any redness or breakouts. It is gentle enough for all skin types and can be used as often as you'd like without drying or irritating your skin! This is my go-to mask when I have one of those "once in blue moon break outs". 

-Find it at the Lush Cosmetic's counter inside of Macy's at the Oak Court Mall (or a Lush Store near you! Their fresh masks can not be purchased online through their website due to their expiration dates and the fresh ingredients used in them. If you'd like to try a Lush mask but do not have a store near you, try out some of the other amazing Lush masks on their websites that are shippable! ) *Insider tip: If you visit the Lush store, they regularly offer free facials. Those are great opportunities to try out their face masks and find the ones best suited to your skin type! They are also very generous with free samples!)

Last but certainly not least is my favorite: Drum roll please...

6. Lush Cosmetics: Love Lettuce: This is my favorite face mask of all times! (I'm actually about to use it in a few minutes before I take my shower!). This mask has an incredibly relaxing lavender scent to it and always works magic on my combination skin. It's magic I tell ya! You will fall in love with this mask every time you use it! It exfoliates your skin gently and removes dirt and dead skin. It tightens your pores and cleans them out without drying up your face, and the pure Lavender oil in it balances oily T-zones and inflamed skin. It leaves your face with the most gorgeous glow after you use it! I LOVE LOVE LOVE, Love Lettuce!  

-Find it at the Lush Cosmetic's counter inside of Macy's at the Oak Court Mall (or a Lush Store near you! Their fresh masks can not be purchased online through their website due to their expiration dates and the fresh ingredients used in them. If you'd like to try a Lush mask but do not have a store near you, try out some of the other amazing Lush masks on their websites that are shippable! ) *Insider tip: If you visit the Lush store, they regularly offer free facials. Those are great opportunities to try out their face masks and find the ones best suited to your skin type! They are also very generous with free samples!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Thursday!

         Ranger wishes everyone a happy Thursday!

A few of my latest make-up picks!

I'm dedicating this post to a few of my new favorite make-up products! Try them, enjoy them, love them!! 

1. NARS Wonder lip gloss. It's amazing, people! I saw several raves on youtube about this one and couldn't help but want to try it the last time I was in Sephora. At first I was slightly freaked out by the crazy orange tube. Have no fear though, because once you apply it, it's astonishing how flattering of a shade it is! It turns into the most beautiful hue of coral/peach. It's flattering on soo many skin tones too! I love how non-sticky it is and how long the color lasts too. It doesn't claim to be an extended wear product, but it definitely lasts for several hours longer than the lipstick I normally wear. It really is "Wonder"-ful! Try it out at Sephora!

2. Maybelline Colossal Volum' Express Mascara: It gives amazing volume and length without clumping, AND it's affordable! Love this stuff!! (I'm a bit of a mascara freak, I have tried just about everything from the super cheap to the somewhat pricy. This one preforms very, very well!). Try it out at Walgreens, Target, Ulta, Wal-Mart, Kroger, (you get the point, you can find this one just about anywhere!   (There are tons of coupons floating around for this one as well ;) Double that coupon with an Ulta store coupon (it's free to sign up online for their mailing list) and you can get it for practically no charge at all! )

3. Wet n' Wild Kohl Eyeliner Pencil: You seriously can not beat the color pigmentation in this product! It is a classic for a reason! The price on this little gem is also quite amazing! It's around $1 depending on where you shop! Try it at Walgreens, Kroger, and Ulta

4. Butter London's "Tea With The Queen" nail polish. Ladies you have got to try Butter's nail polishes at Ulta! I'm normally an O.P.I. / Essie devotee, but now that I've tried the Butter nail polish, I'm hooked! I only have one, but I will defintiely be trying more in the future! The shade that I have is called "Tea With the Queen". It is a gorgeous nude that is especially flattering on lighter skin tones. It does not streak when you apply it, it is extremely long lasting, and it does not chip easily! I love it!! (I also love that their nail polishes contain no Formaldehyde, Toluene, or DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate). There are no offensive nail polish fumes whatsoever to this product; how great is that?!) Try it at Ulta, Nordstrom, local beauty supply stores, and online.

5. Urban Decay Naked Palette: Yes, this one is seriously worth ALL of the hype YouTube and every magazine under the sun has been raving about! I was very sceptical at first, but I am so happy that my best friend talked me into this purchase (she had hers several months before I got mine and couldn't rave enough about it). Ladies, if you're into eye shadows at all, this is one of the best investments that you will ever make! The Naked palette is amazing and worth absolutely every single penny! Every color is extremely pigmented, goes on as smooth as butter, does not crease, and lasts all day long! These shades are absolutely beautiful and flattering on every single skin tone! In addition to the color palette, you also receive an eyeshadow brush and the Urban Decay Primer Potion (you apply it to your eyelids before you put on the's amazing and really lengthens the wear-time! You don't have to use it with Urban Decay shadows though, I have a few Wet n' Wild palettes that are terrific too and I use it with those as well.) Try it at Sephora, Ulta, or online! (If you buy this from Ulta, don't forget to take your Ulta coupon with you and save a little money!)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Eccentric Neighbor

Before you read further, please play the video link below so that you can fully understand the entertainment that is about to unfold:
(Please be sure to pause the music in my sidebar first, so that it doesn't all jumble together!)  

So after I got home from Mykelti's Advanced Obedience class earlier, I decided to take the "big dogs", (Macy & Ranger) for a nice walk. It's gorgeous outside today! What happened during our walk is too amazing not to share with you delightful bloggers!

Prepare to be entertained by my eccentric neighbor:

While the dogs and I were strolling along through the neighborhood, I stumbled upon the most unholy, yet simultaneously glorious sight! Leave it to my "eccentric" middle-aged neighbor to make me laugh my myself silly today! As the dogs and I walked past his house, I heard an old, familiar song. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Wow, I used to love that song in the 90's!" (I've always had an eclectic taste in music, what can I say!) That's also when I noticed "Mr. Eccentric", was in the middle of his living room: beer gut hanging out, no shame, singing away, and dancing like a mad man to the Prince classic, "Pussy Control"! Let me just add that this is also the same neighbor who does not believe in using curtains or blinds. The dogs and I shamelessly watched quite an entertaining show for a few minutes there! I laughed so hard that I almost peed my pants! What can I say, the crazy man knows how to get down!!

Please note that this is the same eccentric neighbor of mine that always leaves his windows open! His pitch may not be perfect, but he sure does enjoy a good song and dance! (I think he must be some sort of exhibitionist...) Strange things are always happening in that house, much to my amusement lol!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A brief summary: 5 month blogging hiatus

I'm sure my fellow bloggers have noticed that over the past few months, I've been absent. I just needed a break for a little while to clear my head and focus on the things that were happening around me. I'm glad to say however, that my hiatus is over with now and I will be back to blogging more frequently!

Since you guys have missed out on the happenings in my life over the past 5+ months, here is a very brief summary. I will fill in more details & pictures later on!

In no particular order:

1. Jack and I are no longer together: I wish him well in life. However, I deserve more for my life than the hurtful things he subjected me to in our relationship. He refused to elevate himself, and make positive changes to improve the overall situation, so I refused to stay in a relationship that was detrimental to my well being and future. That's it in a nutshell.

2. My beloved cat, Velvet passed away in June after fighting Chronic Renal Failure for several years. I had owned her since I was a young child. It broke my heart to say farewell, but I am happy she is at peace now.

3. I moved out of my apartment when my lease was up and into a rental house recently. I LOVE IT! (Surprisingly, it was cheaper each month for a rental house, than it was for a tiny apartment...go figure! The dogs and I are loving all of the space and the lack of stairs!)

4. I brought home my new Australian Shepherd puppy back in March. Her registered name is: AKC Brake's Femme Fatale. (Her call name is "Mykelti". )She is a love bug! She is a Blue Merle with Tan & White points. She has one brown eye and one split blue/hazel eye. Since I brought her home, she has passed her puppy and beginner/intermediate obedience classes, and she is currently enrolled in Advanced Obedience classes. She will begin Agility classes soon, and is on track to become a registered therapy dog like Ranger. (I will devote an entire post to Mykelti and her pictures soon!).Mykelti has already been to one event as a "therapy dog in training" and couldn't be more well-suited for that line of work! Wish us well as we prepare for her upcoming CGC and Delta tests over the next few months!

5. Since Ranger and I passed our therapy test back in March, we have been busy going on weekly therapy visits throughout our community! We visit an adult daycare center every week; the people there are so nice! Ranger loves going on visits; he always gives out lots of kisses and makes everyone in the room smile! It absolutely makes my heart melt when I see the people we visit, smile the moment they see us walk in the door! Ranger also did the summer reading program for a local school. We loved it so much that we plan to do the year-round school program as well! It's amazing to watch children who were once fearful of reading, read to Ranger and find joy in their new found skills because they do not feel judged by him! The impact we've been able to make in our community with our therapy visits has been such an amazing blessing! I pray we are a successful team for years to come!

6. Macy , my pit bull mix, celebrated her first "Gotcha Day" on August 28th. It was a very big deal because Macy is in end-stage heart failure. She was born with several birth defects to her heart that have dramatically affected her health and will shorten her lifespan. The vets told me that she would not see her first "Gotcha Day" when I adopted her (we expected a few good weeks, maybe months at that). Sweet Macy has thrived in her new home here though, and got to share that milestone with us. It was an amazing blessing! :)

7. I got my tragus pierced on my 26th birthday; it's that little flap of cartilage near the inside of your ear). On that note, I celebrated my 26th birthday at the end of July, with my best friend, Renae. We had dinner, drinks, got my ear pierced, and saw a movie. It was so fun!

8. I recently "celebrated" the 1year anniversary of my heart procedure on August 16th. That date marked the anniversary of the complications I suffered post-op. (Phrenic Nerve Palsy, 2/3rds of my right lung is collapsed,etc.) For those of you wondering about my heart/lung issues and the surgery complications I suffered, unfortunately, there has been no improvement yet. I still go to cardio-pulmonary rehab, take my medicine, and follow the specialists orders. I do what I can physically to take care of myself and I leave the rest of it up to prayer. Hopefully one day God will see fit to restore my heart and lung function to a healthy/safe level. In the mean time, I just make the best of it and I'm thankful that things are not worse than they could be.

9. My nephew introduced me to the joys of hot air popcorn poppers! I LOVE MINE! (I just got an inexpensive Sunbeam popper from Target). I use it all of the time and like to make my own seasoning. Once you try it, you will never go back to microwaved popcorn again! 

10. NARS "Wonder" lip gloss...try it, love it, buy it! It looks quite orange in the tube (I was VERY hesitant when I first tried it...I decided to be brave though and found that the color turns into the most gorgeous coral-peach shade when you wear it. It literally flatters every single skin tone I've seen it on. Try it; you won't regret it!)

11. My sister and her family moved recently as well. Unfortunately the house they moved into did not allow cats, so I took in one of theirs, Lucky to give him a home. I wasn't planning to add anymore cats to my house after my oldest one, Velvet died back in June. Lucky was too sweet to turn down though. My sister's children home-school, so since they stay with me a lot during the week, it makes me smile knowing that they still get to see their cat anytime they'd like and that he's in a safe home with me.

12. I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea after I had a sleep study done recently. (It was NOT a pleasant experience!). The specialists think that it relates to my decreased lung function due to the complications I suffered from my heart procedure. For now, I have to use a CPAP machine at night to help me breathe better. If my lung function ever returns to normal again, they will retest me and see if I can be taken off of the machine at night. Keep your fingers crossed that it happens soon; I'm very claustrophobic and hate having to wear a mask on my nose at night!

13. Purex Crystals (lavender): the best thing to hit my laundry room shelf in ages! The fragrance is awesome and I love how soft it makes my clothing!

14. "Rio" is my new favorite movie! I love the vivid animation and how well-made it is! I've watched it twice in the theatre and six+ times since I bought the DVD: I'm hooked!

15. I've had to deal with the stresses of my ex husband's continual harassment and stalking. I have moved 5 times since I left my abusive marriage nearly 3 years ago. It's draining and upsetting to say the least! Since he is a cop, there does not seem to be any accountability for his heinous actions either. I'm fed up, but I will not let him control my life or hurt me again! I may have to make adjustments for my safety, but I'll be damned if he will get the best of me.

16. I finally put up the family picture shelf I've always dreamed of. It is too stinkin' cute! I posted a picture of it on Facebook, but I will have to post one on here for my blogging friends!

17. I re-discovered the amazingness that is 7-Up. I am in love; I like it more than Sprite!

18. I recently had Vonage phone service installed and I have to say that I'm loving it! My new home is essentially a "dead zone" for my cell phone. As a result, I can not use my cell inside of my house without it dropping calls. Since I still have issues with my ex husband stalking me and the continued heart/lung issues, my dad insisted I get a home phone. I do not regret it! If you are in the market for a home phone, consider Vonage! (It works through your internet).

19. I'm soo excited that it's almost fall! I love that the weather is starting to cool off. Pretty soon I will complete my yearly routine of filling my place with fall-scented candles and decorating. Can't wait!!

20. Free Body Wash Alert:  Ladies, the next time you're in the mall, stop by Sephora and sign up for their "Beauty Insider" club. It's completely free to join and you get free rewards (like a Kroger card.) Every year on your birthday, they give you a free bottle of Philosophy's "Happy Birthday Beautiful" body wash. (you can claim it two weeks before or after your birthday.) It's an amazing body wash, and it's completely free! I got mine this year on my birthday, and my mom recently got hers for her August birthday. All free! Ya! (It's a good sized bottle too and it smells just like vanilla cake! )