You Would Be Smart To Enter This...{just.lovely.things Giveaway}

You should be very, very happy that you just stepped foot onto this little blog of mine.
Let me tell you why friends:
You may be aware of the amazing, talented, superstar Heather who is owner of one of the cutest Etsy stores under the sun:
She is kind of a big deal.
Well guess what folks.
Today YOU have a chance at winning this:

And that my friends, is why you should be excited you landed on my blog today.

Wanna see what just.lovely.things is all about?
Take a look at some of my favorites:
I know.

So you wanna know how to get in on this action?
It's Easy.

To Enter:
Follow My Blog (and leave me a comment telling me you do).

For additional Entries:

-Visit just.lovely.things shop and tell me which item(s) you would purchase if you won.
-Follow just.lovely.things blog Here
-Like just.lovely.things on Facebook
 -Follow just.lovely.things on Twitter
-Share this giveaway with your readers by using the following button:

There you have it.
5 possible entries.
If you were a genius, you would do all 5.

Winner will be selected and announced on Sunday, June 5th.
Oh and hey, you should really consider checking out just.lovely.thing's blog in the next couple of days..
You may see a very familiar face in those parts ;)
And even better-you will fall in love with her, her blog, her studio, and her amazing creativeness.
I just don't get how people are created that way.
The girl blows my mind.
K, enough, enough
....Time to enter...

Happy Winning!!!



Weeping Willow

Welcome to the weekend.
Thus far, my weekend has been..well, PMS induced.
Why I feel the need to share this little fact with you readers is beyond me..
although it does bring up an interesting topic.


Yes, tears falling down your face like a little nine year old who just dropped her sucker down the sewage drain.
That has been me this weekend on two occasions:

1. Friday night when watching Ellen's show-she showed this YouTube Video and proceeded to give the lucky couple a free honeymoon.

I mean I bawled like a baby.
Shawn was mildy concerned for my mental state at the time..
Boys have no clue.

Second moment of the leaky water faucets?
When it was cold, rainy, I just realized that I wasn't going to see my bestie for the evening, and I also realized I hadn't gone out to dinner for two nights straight.
When the realization of all of the above came crashing down, I wept..and wept..and wept.
By this point, Shawn lost all hope and laughed in my face.
And actually, somehow it worked.
Jerk-he always knows how to make me look like a fool and have me love it at the same time.

Please tell me I am not the only one who becomes an instant freak show when that time of the month shows up.

Now, aside from the crazy things that a little thing called a . does to me, I have been fortunate to enjoy these two exciting sightings:

That would be a s'more my friend.
Made with much love from moi.

And this.
This is my friend helping collect the 22 chicken halves that 4 of us friends got to partake in eating last evening..in the rain..in a poncho.

Thankfully, all emotions have left the building and I am ready to have fun.
Now if only I could convince my lover that in order to have fun we either have to kayak in Chicago, go to the outlet malls, go wine tasting followed up with a trip to the casino, or make a 2 hour track to the nearest Ikea, we will be set.

Cross your fingers that I can come up with a sneaky little scheme to get him to do one of the above.
Or all.
Unfortunately my most powerful tool is closed for the time being.
{Sorry momma...and father..and aunt..and great aunt...}

Happy Holiday Weekend Cheery Dearies.



Heaven In A Pan: Lemon-Blueberry Crumb Bars

Hey sweet things.
You know those pairs that are genius and you want to kiss whoever created them on the forehead like 28 million times? You know the pairs I am talking about:
chocolate/peanut butter,
mac & cheese/peas,
Meet Another:
Lemon & Blueberry.

I could eat those two little fruities together like nobodies business, so when I found this recipe for Lemon-Blueberry Crumb Bars I knew I was hook line and sinker in love.
Thankfully, they did not disappoint.

Wanna make em?
Here is the recipe:

The Fixings:

1/2 cup butter
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
2 eggs, divided
2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp.  zest and 3 Tbsp. juice from 1 lemon {I have no idea what zest is and didn't want to take the time to google it, therefore there was no zest in my bars and they still were delightful. Additionally, I did not measure 3 Tbsp of lemon juice, I simply squirted the guts outta my lemon...Every last drop of it.}
2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries 

Creating This Wholesome Goodness:
HEAT oven to 350ºF.

LINE 13x9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.

Microwave butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 to 1-1/2 min. or until melted.
Add cake mix and 1 egg; beat with mixer until well blended.

Press 2/3 of the mixture onto bottom of prepared pan.

BEAT cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended.

Add remaining egg, zest and juice; mix well.

Pour over crust; top with berries.

Pinch small pieces of the remaining cake mix mixture between your fingers; press lightly into cream cheese layer.

BAKE 55 min. to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely {I only baked mine 45 minutes}. Use foil handles to lift dessert from pan before cutting into bars. Keep refrigerated.

Kraft Foods-Thank you for making my stomach smile.
From me...
and my cutie patootie niece.

Today I am linking up to:
Check em out.


Not So Awkward & Awesome..

I know, I know..
This is neither Awkward or Awesome.
Sue Me.
Actually don't.
I am trying to save up money to purchase the new love of my life {Sony NEX 5 camera}
and that could really throw a wrench into things.

PS. Have you ever tried to save money before? Consider it impossible.

Please do not think for a minute that I didn't have any awkward & awesome moments happen this week...
That is far from the truth.
I think I am still too humiliated by my latest awkward moment to let my fingers type it out.
Come next week, all shame will be forgotten and I will spew that moment out with pride.

Anyhow, turns out I've been too busy baking {you'll see the tasty treat tomorrow},
washing our bedding {which got dirty again within hours...from Maggie eating croutons in bed of course. Yes croutons. We ran out of dog treats and for some reason croutons seemed logical at the time..she didn't disagree},
and getting all weepy eyed to Oprah's finale.
By the ponds that were formulated in my eyeballs you would've been convinced I actually watched her show.
Lord help me when Ellen retires.
...And now my tear ducts are starting up again just thinking about that day.

Oh, and one other thing..
I was also working on getting some giveaways lined up for you chick-a-dees.
Now you really can't be mad at me.

Hope you are all having the most incredible day of your life.
And if you aren't, please start.
Meaning: Get off this blog, leave work, fly to Bora Bora, grab a cocktail, and take a nap on the hammock shown below.
Just a thought.

Love you!



Awake & Alive

Hiya friends.
I have this little {and by little I mean her 4'11 petite body. Her heart on the other hand...huge} friend that I want all of ya to meet.
I am honored to introduce you to Jolene, her handsome hubby, and their three beautiful, precious, Ethiopian children.
{Are they not the most adorable family ever?!?}

Jolene and her husband adopted these three little nuggets over the course of the past 3 years. While it has been full of many ups and downs, they could not be happier.
During the adoption process, they spent weeks in Ethiopia-meeting the people-learning about the environment, both good and bad, seeing first hand the need that these people are in {especially the children}.
The devastation sparked a passion in Jolene.
She came back from Ethiopia with a strong desire and a heart full of hope to make a change. Not all of the children over there are as blessed as her precious babies, there are thousands that will not receive the love and affection that her little ones will.
After realizing all of this, and wanting to do something more, Jolene & her friend Danielle gave birth to Awake & Alive.
Here is Jolene to tell you a little more about Awake & Alive's purpose:

"Kechene is a slum of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It would be comparable to camping, but with no electricity, or running water, that is the life style in about 85% of Ethiopia's population.
Awake and Alive is plugging in to the "forgotten" area of Kechene.
We are going to give HOPE and EDUCATION to as many kids as we possibly can!!
We will be working with 4-8 year olds. The reason for this age group is because so often this age group gets left behind or put to work.
Here is a very typical scenario:
Dad dies (often from preventable disease or HIV), Mom is now responsible for all of the kids-trying to provide for the family. The older kids stay home to take care of the home, cook, and garden, while the young ones normally have to travel to work with mom(they are "easy prey"), so their momma keeps them close to her. Typical work in Kechene for many of these women is walking into the country side, about 5-8 MILES one way to collect sticks, then they load themselves and their young children with as heavy of a load as they can possibly carry and they WALK back into the city to sell their sticks for fire wood.
This means that these little 4 year old babies are having to sometime walk up to 16 miles, half the way back with a GIANT load on their backs to help provide for the family.

Awake and Alive wants to be able to be the CHANGE in their lives!!

If we can send these young kids to school we can stop this!
 Awake and Alive school will also help provide the TINY TINY amount of $ to the family so that the mothers do not feel the loss of not having their young child not being able to help sustain the family financially.
We are talking like a dollar a week at the most!!

These people have no one to step in and stop this crazy cycle of poverty!
No one in Ethiopia will help them so WE ARE!!
I am so passionate about this and the HUGE impact this will make in SO MANY lives!
These kids have nothing but if we can give them an education... that is something that no one can take away!!"

Amazing stuff huh?

So how can YOU help?

Glad you asked ;)

1. Like Awake & Alive on Facebook to stay informed on ways to help make a difference

2. For all of you locals-Awake & Alive will be holding it's first ever garage sale on June 3rd & 4th. You can help two ways-donate items for the garage sale, or come SHOP at the garage sale. All of the proceeds will go to Awake & Alive which will in return help those precious children pictured above. There is no better way to shop than with a purpose.
If you would like to donate items, please contact Jolene at jolene1021@gmail.com

3. Donate! You saw up above, all it takes to make a difference in the lives of thousands of families is less than $1 a week.
Please consider it.

4. Stay "in the know" through Jolene's blog HERE, Danielle's blog HERE, and Awake & Alive's website HERE.

Jolene-thank you so much for sharing your passion with my readers.
I am SO excited to see the difference that Awake & Alive makes.
You are an inspiration to many{and the cutest mother alive}.

Thank you lovelies for reading today.
Hope your heart is as touched as mine.



Get Your Bettin' Shoes On...

Time to place your bets kiddos.
Except on something way more exciting than basketball, horse races, or how many tacos you can eat on your lunch with fellow co-workers.
I’m talking about placing your bets on who will take the final rose this season in the Bachelorette.
Yes, that’s right. I am filling out a bracket and you should too.
I have dreamt about doing this for years and have never taken action, until I found this pretty little thing.
Thank you Google Images for leading me to this document which will provide me hours of entertainment and a place to showcase how stellar I am when choosing the correct man for Ashley.
I am thinking we need group participation in this.
Here’s what I think we shall do: to simplify things we are going to keep things to the final three, and selecting the winner {aka: ultimate rose master, lover of Ashley’s heart, and also the ex of Ashley two weeks after the show ends.}
Unless they do it up Ryan & Trista style and really do decide to have a happily ever after.
We can hope right?
So join in the fun-leave me a comment with your final three and who you are predicting will take the cake. And whoever wins?
Gets a prize, duh.
There is no “satisfaction knowing you won” around these parts.
I’d rather spoil you with whatever it is I have up my sleeve.
It will be pretty I promise.
Heck, it may even be a date with the runner-up for all you know.
Here are my final three:
Ryan P

And the winner??
Ryan P.
Can’t wait to read your predictions.
Disclaimer: If you read spoilers, you are disqualified.
Shame, shame, shame on you for even thinking about doing such a thing!
Cheers to a brand new season of hot tubs, champagne, makeout sessions, and lust love.



Miscellaney Monday

Waaaah...it's Monday.
Yes, I just whined.
I feel much better now that I got that out though.
And actually come to think about it, I meant to say Waa-la, It's Monday.
I just realized a new Bachelorette season starts tonight.
Finally, ABC has given me back a life again.

Please tell me there are others of you who speak fluent in this red rose mushy gushy language?
Anyhooo...with it being Monday, you know what that means..
Time for Erin to ramble her brains out.
Ramble away brainy...

1. So I now own the cutest napkins in all of napkin land.
 Get ready to be totally jealous of these suckers:
I am planning a party right now just to use these pretties.
And of course to hang out with my awesome friends..
Ok really, it's just to use the napkins.
The friends don't hurt the cause though ;)
Go purchase all of the above at Target if you must.
And by that I mean, you must.

2. Seriously Erin, you just bragged about having the cutest napkins on the block?
I guess this is what happens when you get older.
You brag about napkins?

3. I learned this weekend that I have a large male population who reads this little bloggy blog. I officially apologize for all the name calling over the posts-Lovely ladies, pretty girls, pickle heads, and birdies. I will try to stick to more masculine names from now on that will appeal to both genders.
Like licorice lickers.
Yup, totally more fitting.
Thank you father for calling me that over the years.
I am so happy to now be passing it on to my dearest loved ones =)

4. So last evening the handsome man who lives in this household and I were sitting underneath our pergola awaiting a storm to roll in, and I noticed he was deep in thought.
After giving him some time, I kindly ask "whatcha thinkin about babe?"
He responds with "Oh actually, I was just singing Baby Got Back repeatedly in my head..
Then turn around! Stick it out! Even white boys got to shout..Baby got back!"
I thank God everyday that I have a husband as normal as I.
We're deep people.

5. Do you like our balls?
Just wait til you see them light up.

6. I have an idea for this blog.
It will be revealed soon.
It has something to do with the color yellow.
Weird I know.
Stay tuned.

7. So I heard YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are joining forces.
It will be called..
You Twit Face.
Please share that with somebody today, chances are good they will chuckle.
And if they don't, they probably are a Twit Face.
Thank you sister for that joke. It never gets old.

8. Have you ever seen a walking mosquito bite? Me either...
Until I became one.
Thankfully about 48 of those little guys decided to snatch themselves on to my skin over the weekend which resulted in 48 welts plastered all over my back and arms.
It is so attractive.

8. I'm officially done writing. Popcorn is calling my name and Rihanna is on TV.
And I can't ignore popcorn...or Rihanna for that matter.
Or anything that calls my name really.
Except mosquito's.
I'm done giving them the time of day.

Happy Monday Licorice Lickers :)

Another post brought to you by:



So This is What a Perfect Weekend Looks Like...

Yes, yes it does.

Perfect indeed.

Hope yours ways the same.

Until Tomorrow Loves...