Monday, December 23, 2013

December Sponsor Spotlight and Giveaway

Here's to another wonderful month of sponsors! Show their blogs and shops some love and enter this month's giveaway! 

Meet Loren from My {Sub}Conscious Ramblings

Hi, I’m Loren from My {Sub}Conscious Ramblings! I am an Army wife of 4 years, a certified personal trainer, dog-mom & coffee addict. I tend to blog about life as military family, DIY projects, fitness, healthy recipes I cook up & any other randomness that comes my way! We recently PCSd from North Carolina to Oklahoma- so join me as I embrace the craziness that is moving with the Army, meeting new friends, & all of our new adventures in & around “The Sooner State.”

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Meet Natasha from The Artisan Life and Natasha's Nibbles and Noshes! 

I’m currently waiting for my diploma and teaching certification to arrive in the mail and enjoying spending my free time blogging, creating new items for my Etsy store, and finally getting to spend some time with my sailor.

Meet Nicole from Mercantile 519

I launched Mercantile 519 a few months back after some life changing events. For the past few years, I've been knitting and making jewelry, and this is my outlet for these creative endeavours. I sell through my shop online, in several local stores and at craft shows.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Review: PeachDish Subscription Box

Disclosure: I received product from PeachDish for a review. I only review and endorse products that I enjoy and believe that my readers will, too. All opinions are my own. 

As with most trends, my sisters originally clued me in to subscription boxes. And then, once again, they introduced me to meal subscription boxes... which made me very curious to try PeachDish when presented with the opportunity! PeachDish, a subscription box start-up from Atlanta, sends a weekly box crammed with fresh ingredients and the recipe to make a two-course dinner. The food is pre-portioned and one box feeds two people. Oh  yeah, and they also throw in a pre-made or easily made dessert item. Just my kind of people! 

Our PeachDish box arrived USPS. The contents were cooled by cold packs and surrounded by insulated packing material. After I removed the material from the top of the box, this is what it looked like:

The recipe card was on top, and I found that dinner for the night was an Italian Chicken Sausage and Sweet Potato Stew.The soup also included rosemary, black beans, and quinoa. Our side dish was a Pumpkin Seed and Persimmon Mixed Greens Salad (complete with a homemade spicy mustard and lemon dressing). I would be lying to say that I was not disappointed; take a look at PeachDish's beautiful past menu photos. You'd be disappointed too! 

Nevertheless, I was determined to make the dinner and give a go of it. After all, I'd never tried those particular flavor combinations (and I couldn't remember having ever tasted a persimmon!). I got to work-- and honestly, with everything labeled and pre-measured, there wasn't too much work. The most I had to do was strip and chop rosemary leaves (which smelled heavenly) and cut up the sweet potatoes and persimmon.  (And as for dessert, PeachDish sent a bag of mulling spices! We haven't used them yet-- I'm saving them for Christmas Eve.)

I was hesitant to dig in, but by this time, our apartment smelled pretty delicious. And I am so glad I did! The recipe was savory and surprisingly hearty (and exceedingly healthy). In fact, John reminded me at the end of dinner to save the recipe card so we could make it again later. It's definitely a keeper! And we were definitely not disappointed anymore!

PeachDish is a great way to explore different taste palettes and introduce yourself (or someone else) to dishes that you might not have tried otherwise. It was really cool to use rosemary and persimmon in my cooking-- two ingredients I hadn't previously worked with. And, I've never made a salad dressing before either! It is certainly a great gift for foodies, wanna-be chefs, those who are crazy busy but want to make homemade meals, and the curious and adventurous.

Note: I made two changes to the recipe: first, I didn't use the chicken sausage, even though I knew it would be delicious. Our post-person left the box on our doorstep without knocking or alerting me, so I had no idea how long the food had been sitting there. When I opened the separate compartment with the chicken sausage, it wasn't very cold, and I was worried about giving John and myself food poisoning. Second, I used spinach to supplement our mixed greens, since John and I like big salads.

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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: Quilty Box

Disclosure: I received product from Quilty Box for a review. I only review and endorse products that I enjoy and believe that my readers will, too. All opinions are my own. 

My mom and I share a love of fabric and craft stores. While my mom is the accomplished seamstress, I enjoy going along for the ride and helping her pick out fabrics. In the past, we've worked on quilts together (or really, she's worked on them, I've hung out in her sewing room while she was doing the heavy lifting). When I saw that there is a sewing subscription box, I had to check it out! 

Quilty Box is a monthly, themed sewing subscription box. Every month, they send subscribers an array of sewing and quilting supplies. I had the pleasure to review the November, geometry themed box (which also happened to be Quilty Box's first-ever box!). 

And they weren't kidding on their website-- when you get your box is is chock-full of amazing items! Take a look inside my box! 

Perhaps weirdly enough, my favorite item in the box were these neat gripper clips. In fact, I used them in a Christmas decoration (that I'll be sharing with you soon) for our kitchen. They are exceptionally useful for crafts.

The colors of items in the box coordinated with each other-- the fabrics, zippers, and floss all work together, so I definitely could use them all in a project. Or not. That's the beauty of this box. There are are a lot of bits and pieces that work together or could work in separate projects too.

There was a neat trio of patterns included. (I haven't opened it yet-- I'm waiting to share this with my mom so that we can have fun looking together!)

Then, there was the huge cut of fabric in the box. The cut had both a wall hanging for a 2014 calendar and a faux-quilted cosmetics bag. Love the colors!

And I would be remiss if I didn't also include these cute little guys. They're magnets!

This is a fantastic array of items and was such fun to look through and enjoy. It's like a trip through a sewing store-- but without the wait to get 1/4 yard of fabric cut. I'm excited to use each item! (I'll have to follow-up post when I do!)

Something heartwarming and important to note: Quilty Box donates 5-10% of their subscription box sales to Quilts for Kids, an organization that creates and gives handmade patchwork quilts to comfort children who have life-threatening illnesses or who are survivors of abuse.

Still on the hunt for Christmas presents (or just want to treat yourself)? Until December 31, Quilty Box has an exclusive code for Jo, My Gosh! readers! Use GOSH5 to get $5 off your first box!
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Review: Fair Ivy Subscription Box

Disclosure: I received product from Fair Ivy for a review. I only review and endorse products that I enjoy and believe that my readers will, too. All opinions are my own. 

I am a sucker for pretty things. So, when given the opportunity to review Fair Ivy, a subscription box that provides a gift box every month, there was no way I was going to say no.  Essentially, Fair Ivy is a courier for women's gifts. You choose the woman (you can always choose yourself!), and Fair Ivy sends a monthly surprise package to them. All of the gifts are hand-crafted by US artists, which is pretty cool too. I had a blast checking out the beautiful items from previous months-- chocolates, bracelets, handmade soaps... You name it, they've sent it and it is beautiful

But let's check out my box. My Fair Ivy package came in a bubble mailer. Inside was this: 

I unwrapped the green box and found more cute packaging!

After unwrapping that package, I found these beautiful handmade earrings. I literally squealed-- they are cute, simple, and perfect for me. I've been trying, within the last year, to cull my closet and jewelry case so that I'm classy and timeless instead of trendy. These fit in so well! (And honestly, they're exactly something I would pick out for myself.)

I've already worn these babies to work, the mall, and around the house. They dress up jeans and a t-shirt and make me feel a little prettier in my work polo.

I decided to wear these to John's command's Christmas party! Just a little bit of understated glamour-- these fit the bill!

It is always fun to be on the receiving end of a unique gift. If you're looking for a Christmas gift for a sister, mother, best friend, cousin (or yourself), start the search with Fair Ivy. Fair Ivy is offering the code HAPPYHOLIDAYS for $5 off any purchase for Jo, My Gosh! readers-- so be sure to head over there!

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wedding Ornament Trio DIY

During wedding planning, I ordered a lot of extras when it came to the Save the Dates, invitations, and ceremony bulletins. (I'm pretty sure this is typical, but it makes me feel a bit neurotic to see how much we have left over!) I've kept a few for our scrapbook (which is slowly in the works) and posterity, but there's not too much you can do with 25 extra of anything! 

In an effort to not just pitch them all into the garbage (it seems a little unceremonious to me), I bought some glass ornament balls from Michaels, pulled out my very (un)trusty straight-edge cutter, and immortalized our wedding ephemera.

It is quite possibly one of the easiest DIYs ever. I was done with all three in no more than 20 minutes. 

You'll Need:
  • Scissors or a paper cutter
  • ephemera
  • fill-able glass balls
  • ribbon, pearls, or other wedding decor you have left 
1. Cut your paper into strips. I varied my sizes so that the wording from our bulletin and invitation could be read. 
2. Using the straight edge of a scissors, slightly curl the ends of the paper strips. 
3. Remove the metal cap and fill the glass ball with paper strips. (Make sure that the strips face out!) If you have ribbons, pearls, rhinestones, or other bits and pieces from the wedding, you can add them once all of the paper has been used.
4. Reattach the metal cap and hang! 

See? Super easy! And cute, too.

Here's our invitation ornament! 

And our ornament using our ceremony program. For this ornament, I cut the strips around the wedding participants so that the names of the people we love are visible on the ornament.

I've got to confess, though. I think my favorite is our Save the Date ornament.

 I can't wait to hang these on our tree every year!

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to Wrap the Inside of a Box

It is crazy to think that John's been home for just over six months and a week (not that I'm counting)! I haven't made a care package for more than half a year... until last week. I created a care package for some friends who are currently overseas-- I got to break out all of my care package stuff from last year.  One of my favorite ways to decorate a box is to use wrapping paper. It is so much easier than cutting down scrapbook paper-- and it's mess-free too!

Here's my easy way to do it (and have it looking fab for your gift recipient)!

You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Box
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Packing Tape

1. Take the box apart. If you're using a USPS Priority Box (which are free at your local post office), there is a tab glued to the inside of the box. Pull it apart, and the box will fall open. Once your box is open, lay it flat on wrapping paper to measure how much you need.

2. On the inside of the box, spread your Elmer's Glue. (Rubber cement dries too quickly.)

3. Flip your box over, press onto the wrapping paper and let dry. Place books or other heavier items on the edges of the box if they seem to be lifting up.

4. Once the box has dried, cut out completely (even between the box flaps). Using packing tape, tape, reassemble and tape the box back together. Make sure to secure the inside tab with glue, and then tape with clear packing tape.

And, boom! You have a snazzy, decorated care package in less than 10 minutes!
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