Friday, April 29, 2016

Love Knots and Whatnots

I've always loved the idea, and the look of love knots. They have become pretty mainstream now, but I still love them. There are many different styles-some with diamonds and other stones, and some that are quite simple. I came across The Love Knot Shop, and was impressed by the huge variety of jewelry that the store's owner, Julie, had to offer.


In particular, I fell in love with The Love Knot Shop's Worry Rings. It would be almost laughable for me to say something like, "Who me? I don't worry..." If my mother could do it again, she would likely have convinced my father that it would end up being the perfect middle name for me. Yes, I worry about everything, so naturally I love The Love Knot Shop's Worry Rings. I purchased one about a year ago from Julie, that is made from rose gold wire, with a variety of colored and textured beads that slide along the wire. She recently made me another (pictured above), out of sterling silver wire. Julie's Worry Ring's are a fidgeters dream. First of all, they are so very pretty. I get questions and compliments on mine all of the time. Secondly, for me, I concentrate better when wearing mine. If I'm writing, or working on something, sliding the beads along the wire actually helps me to concentrate. Each ring is one of a kind, made with love by Julie herself.


The Love Knot Shop does make knot jewelry also! Julie makes a variety of styles from a variety of materials. I love her knot rings that are made from mixed metals-perhaps one day! Julie made me the cutest knot ring from a glittery silver wire, and it is the perfect pinky ring, or would be a great midi ring. 

Working with Julie, I very much appreciate jewelers who hand make their pieces. I know that there are so many popular jewelers out there who cast their pieces, and they are stunning. For me, however, knowing that a piece is handmade just makes it a bit more special.

If you're looking for a piece of jewelry, whether a ring, bracelet or necklace, check out The Love Knot Shop. It really is important to support small business, and artisans. You will absolutely not be disappointed. Julie is a joy to work with, and her jewelry is incredibly special. If you'd like to see her store, click on any of the links above. I hope you find something special!

*The links in this review are NOT affiliate links.*


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Book Drop Box Review AND Giveaway!!

I'm SO excited about my most recent review! I love to read, but I've never partnered with a book club. I am very happy that I found The Book Drop by Bethany Beach Books. Bethany Beach Books is the only independent book store in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Just knowing that, and seeing a picture of the shop, conjures up images in my mind of stopping in for a good book before a lazy day at the beach. What a beautiful picture that is!



The Book Drop is a subscription box created and run by Bethany Beach Books. Each Book Drop is hand packaged and mailed to you by one of their loving employees. How fantastic is that?!

Each month, they will pick one of their favorite new reads that you may not have discovered otherwise. Their mission is to "spread the love of reading by exposing people to really amazing books. We all have busy lives and unless you are surrounded by books all day (like us lucky folk), it's a bit overwhelming to pick out one REALLY good book when there are so many options. That's what we are here for... to pick out the best of the best and mail them your way, to be dropped on your doorstep or mailbox." 

I know I get a little sappy, but I find that this makes me happy. A small, independent book store that shares their love with all of us. Bethany Beach Books also has a subscription for young adults, and for kids. I'll definitely be signing up myself, and a subscription for my boys.

Bethany Beach Books sent me a box to review. The book they sent was A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton.


A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is compared to Memoirs of a Geisha (one of my all time favorite books) and The Piano Teacher. It is described as a "heart-wrenching debut novel of family, forgiveness, and the exquisite pain of love."

Obviously, I don't want to spoil this lovely book for anyone, because I HIGHLY recommend that you pick up a copy. A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding is the story of Ama Takahashi, a woman living with the horrific memories of losing her daughter and grandson forty years prior during the bombing of Nagasaki. An unknown, terribly scarred man comes to her, claiming to be her grown grandson. The man has private information containing Ama's family secrets, and Ama is forced to confront her memories of the years before the war: of the daughter she tried too hard to protect and the love affair that would drive them apart.

I was mesmerized by Jackie Copleton's novel. Her descriptions of pre-World War II Nagasaki make the reader feel like they are part of the picture. As an emotional reader, I was brought to tears several times while I was reading, and left thinking about the story long after I closed the book.

Bethany Beach Books has generously offered to give one of my readers their next Book Drop!

Due to formatting issues, once the rafflecopter giveaway was complete, I removed it's widget.
The winner of the Book Drop is Michele G. From Chicago! Congrats!

Friday, April 15, 2016

15 Years to Perfection

Mark and I have been married for 15 years. I couldn't ask for a more perfect husband. He and I compliment one another perfectly, which is what you want in a marriage. I'm sure he wishes that I didn't have quite so many deficits in the domestic department, but he really did know that when he married me!

When we decided to get married, it wasn't your typical engagement. We had known one another since we were teenagers, and had dated long distance for a year. I had moved in with him about a month before, and neither of us had any doubt that we were going to get married. One night he mentioned that he was saving up for an engagement ring. I told him that I didn't need a ring, and he said, "Well, let's get married then." Not super romantic, but kind of an "us" way of doing things.

We got married a few months later, and we exchanged simple, white gold bands. I remember looking at it on my finger-it was so smooth and shiny, and I was thrilled. A year later, Mark gave me an engagement ring, a simple solitaire in a white gold Tiffany setting. Again, a little backwards, but again-us.

All was well for many years, until I lost my wedding ring. I was in the ER with a kidney stone, and had an allergic reaction to the pain medication that they gave me. Sometime during my stay, I scratched off my band. I was devastated. We bought a new band, but it's not the same. It's a bit thinner than his, it doesn't feel the same on my finger. A big bummer in the wedding ring department.

I had worked with Tawnya of JLaurynDesign on another project a year or so ago, and decided to ask her to make a wrap for my solitaire. 


Like me, Tawnya was born and raised in Iowa. She is a trained bench scientist with a Zoology degree from Iowa State University.  After getting married and having kids, Tawnya left the science bench for the jewelry bench.

Tawnya is mostly self taught-how amazing is that? Looking for a creative outlet, Tawnya had always been drawn to jewelry. She started learning about gemstones and thought that she wanted to facet gems. The facet machines were eye popping expensive to consider as a hobby, so she looked at other options that were affordable.  

A friend of Tawnya's was a beader. She taught her to bead and make beaded jewelry, and her passion grew from there.  After dropping umpteen beads on the floor, Tawnya decided that she would rather work with fire, and hammer away at metal. So began her metal smithing journey! She taught herself how to solder using YouTube and various books. Her shop started to grow and so did her passion for metal smithing.

Tawnya finished gold smithing and fabrication, casting and advanced diamond setting courses in Jupiter, FL at Stewart International School for Jeweler's. These courses gave her the additional skills that she needed, and her confidence grew.

Tawnya has a mentor, Tom Newport of Newport Designs in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He has helped Tawnya with design, problem solving, and offered support for her growing career. Tawnya and her husband are building a new house in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. The new house includes a workspace for Tawnya, and she is looking forward to the designated space, and the creativity that will come with it.

Tawnya's jewelry career allows her to be a stay at home mom, and to work with customers that push and challenge her in directions that she didn't think possible. Tawnya's mother encouraged her creativity, and gave her the spirit to follow her dreams.


Tawnya does a lot of custom work at JLaurynDesign. She works with a variety of metals, depending on what her clients are looking for. She also used a variety of gemstones-if you look at her Etsy shop, JLaurynDesign, you'll see that she has a huge variety of cut and color. I wanted something simple to wear with my solitaire, so Tawnya and I decided on an arch above and an arch below. They turned out to be so incredibly stunning, that it takes my breath away! So, after 15 years, I now have a complete wedding set! 


Tawnya also made the ring above for me last year. I showed her an inspiration picture, and she determined the size of gold bands to use. It is so comfortable, and it is gorgeous! 

Whether you're looking for an engagement ring, wedding bands, earrings, etc., JLaurynDesign has so many beautiful pieces, and great ideas to make something that is one of a kind. All of her work is made by hand, and it is truly a pleasure to work with her.

To contact Tawnya, you can find her on Etsy and Facebook. She is very responsive to messages, and will help you find the perfect piece!! https://www.etsy.com/shop/JLaurynDesign

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Little Red Hen (Or...A Mother's Work is Never Done)

Obviously, I'm pretty obsessed with the girly stuff. Makeup, skincare, the color pink, and gorgeous, dainty jewelry. If only finances kept up with my wish list, I'd be one happy camper (dressed in a pink monogrammed uniform, of course). Oh, and naturally I have sons. They're amazing, but don't share my love of the things listed above. Ah, well--I get to share my "must haves" and "wish I had" lists with you!!

I recently came across Heart of Water Jewels, and fell head over heals for their Red Hen Eggs. Heart of Water Jewels' owner, Sally, designed the line in memory of her sister, who had nicknamed her Red Hen. Sally wrote to her younger sister, as she was out making her way in the world, signing her letters with her nickname, Red Hen. The Red Hen line is made up of gold envelopes, gold hens, and beautiful gemstone and gold eggs. The pieces are unique, personal, and extremely feminine.


You likely know the story of The Little Red Hen, who asks her friends the duck, the pig and the cat for their help planting seeds, grinding wheat and making bread. When they wouldn't help, the Little Red Hen goes about the hard work herself. 

Heart of Water Jewels' Red Hen is also "charming and proud: she’s not afraid of hard work and can make it on her own. She’s an emblem of initiative, responsibility and competence rewarded. While the duck, pig and cat in us assert themselves daily, we all have a Little Red Hen that wins out in the end."


When Sally and I began talking about a collaboration for Preppy Mom's Wanderings, we wanted to make sure that we could incorporate the story and the spirit of the Little Red Hen when we shared the beautiful line with you. 

With much discussion, we decided on the time leading up to Mother's Day. I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who fumbles with what to buy my Mom in May, especially once I passed the age when we made something in school (a looong time ago). Flowers are too common, candy/sugar isn't a good option for many, and the list goes on. When I thought about the Red Hen Eggs from Heart of Water Jewels, it seemed that The Little Red Hen is much like a Mother. Mom's are ready and able to do the hard work necessary to get things done, not always thanked for their efforts, but yet finding reward.


Heart of Water Jewels has many stunning pieces, but to me, the Red Hen Eggs are so special, and would make such a touching gift for the Mom's out there. Sally has a variety of gemstone colors, chains, golden envelopes and hens to choose from. I've included photos from Sally, as well as a picture of my Red Hen Egg above. I put it on a simple gold box chain that I had, but there are many options. It would be beautiful to give Mom a necklace with Red Hen Eggs in her children's birthstones. Personally, I hope for the solid hen with the gemstone eye to go with my egg!


Sally is so lovely to work with, and will gladly help choosing the perfect gift for Mom. You can click on any of the links in this post to go to Heart of Water Jewels, or, you can go to https://www.etsy.com/shop/HeartofWaterJewels

I can absolutely say that this is one of the most special lines that I have found. It is definitely worth a look!

YASOU Skincare Review

I have struggled with dry, sensitive skin for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, while I didn't have adolescent breakouts, I had dry, flaky skin. I have tried and discarded so many moisturizers over the years, that my friends always looked forward to the semi-annual purge of my beauty arsenal. As I have aged, my skin continues to be dry, but it looks more aged and less radiant. I am also on the lookout for products with natural ingredients, thinking that they might have been the answer all along.
I had heard praise of YASOU Skin Care recently, but could not find it anywhere. I reached out to YASOU (www.yasouskincare.com), and explained my complexion woes. YASOU was kind enough to send me a few products to try, and to pass along my findings on Preppy Mom's Wanderings.
YASOU skin care gets its name from a common Greek greeting meaning “to your health," and its mission is to "embrace the beauty traditions, natural ingredients and rich culture of Greece with American technology, bringing you this luxurious natural skincare line that makes you look and feel good.”
The YASOU skin care line is inspired from the heart, heritage and passion of creator Theodora Ntovas. Theodora grew up in Chicago and travelled and lived in Greece as a child, where she spent time visiting her family and soaking up the rich Greek culture and local traditions. As an adult, Theodora returned to Greece, where she discovered the purist, most unique, organic skin care products and was intrigued by the beautiful women who swore by them. These products were made from olive oil, natural essential oils extracted from local flowers and indigenous plants, and organic beeswax.
Theodora educated herself in cosmetic chemistry, aromatherapy and natural skin care solutions. Her research led her to partner with chemist/formulator Nestor Tomasi. Inspired by Greek beauty philosophy, together they developed the unique Calityl O Complex, that became the foundation of a truly luxurious natural skin care line. And so, “YASOU” was born!
YASOU consists of a cellular firming and rejuvenating day cream that compliments their anti-aging night cream and the ultra hydrating body cream with essential oils and vitamin E. The ultra hydrating body cream is designed to nourish skin, help calm and relax your mind, and even help you fall asleep! It is ideal for those special and precious “me time” moments when you want to pamper and reward your body-it’s having a spa experience but at home.

YASOU natural cellular day cream and cell renewal night cream moisturizing treatments deliver a boost of essential, naturally-sourced ingredients combined with their exclusive Calityl-O Complex, to hydrate, replenish and reinvigorate the skin to it’s optimum condition and keep it looking stunning every day.


YASOU Vegan Hand Cream is formulated to moisturize, protect, repair and soothe your hands. It is a vegan natural hand cream that contains moisturizing certified organic extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, bacteria fighters, and soothing botanicals.


I have been using YASOU day and night moisturizers for a little more than a month. I immediately noticed that the creams had a very light fragrance, almost nothing at all. That is preferable to me, as even scents can make my face blotchy. From the very first day, I noticed my face was more hydrated and had a nice glow. I don't generally use any retinols or alpha/beta hydroxy acids on my face, because it gets so angry. I did notice that my skin exfoliated a little more for a few days when I started using YASOU (it has naturally derived hydroxy acids), but it wasn't uncomfortable at all. After a month, I would absolutely say that my skin is more hydrated and looks more healthy. I've just started using it on my neck and chest, and I'm anxious to see the difference. My skin honestly looks better as I continue to use YASOU, and it looks healthier and less irritated.

Like many my age, my hands show my age. I feel like one day I looked down, and they had changed and they looked terrible. I was so happy to try YASOU hand cream as well. You can definitely smell the essential oils, but it is not an unpleasant fragrance at all. It is also one that I look forward to-different from any other fragrances in my every day life. It is an herbal, botanical smell. I have been keeping the tube next to the bed, and putting it on each night. The cream is thick, but it soaks in quickly and is not sticky at all. After about a month, my hands are softer and also look brighter. I really love this hand cream! It is truly both a beneficial and lovely product. A must try for sure!

I am excited about my experience with YASOU. It is definitely a line that encorporates quality ingredients and research, but also integrity. I love that the high end products are amazing for my skin, but also that they are still a nurturing line. Several YASOU products are vegan and Leaping Bunny Certified, and all contain beautiful, organic ingredients. 

If you would like to learn more about YASOU, you can find them at www.yasouskincare.com. Their website has information about all of their products, including ingredients, product benefits and online ordering. They are also happy to answer any questions that you may have. 

YASOU is absolutely fantastic!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

What Up, Wednesday?! Inside My Wandering Mind...

I really want to write more content to my blog, in addition to product reviews and "Must Haves."

In this spirit, I'm starting What Up, Wednesday?! Kind of a ramble of things on my mind. Really, don't we all have them? It's kind of where the "wanderings" comes from. Where has your mind wandered to? I'd love to know in comments! 

So, here we go...

*So, money has always been a struggle for us. My shopping habits haven't helped at all, but I'm really trying to remedy my ways. Anyhow, it was super-fun to check the bank yesterday, and to see a huge charge to JCPenney. I'm not a big mall shopper, although our Sephora is in Penney's. Unfortunately, I've never been there! So, yup--we got hacked! The worst! Hopefully it will get straightened out quickly.

*I'm excited about all the great shows coming back on cable and Netflix. 
--The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is laugh out loud, pee a little funny. It's on Netflix, and Season 2 goes up in a few days. If you haven't seen Season 1-seriously do a binge watch. It's hilarious.
--Penny Dreadful comes back to Showtime this week. It's kind of creepy, but not scary. If you like mystery, sci-fi stuff, it's pretty good.
--Game of Thrones!!
--Outlander
Despite all of this, I'm really not a tv junkie. I'm serious. We live with my inlaws, and I can only take so many Alaska shows from them, and Disney/Nick from the kids. It's easier to pull out my iPad and watch something before bed.

*Our oldest son is trying to find his sport. It's much easier for his younger brother, who seems to be good at every sport he tries. We thought maybe track, but practices are 5 nights a week, and travel meets on weekends. It seems a bit much for 10 year olds. What do you think? Is it really important that all kids have a sport? He's super active-he plays, rides his bike, takes swimming lessons, etc. As long as he wants to try new things, I'm open to it. If he decides team sports aren't his thing, I'm okay with that, too. 

*Mother's Day is just around the corner, and if you're anything like me, you might have a hard time figuring out what to get your mom, or perhaps your mother-in-law. As my mom has gotten older, I'm having a harder time finding something for her. She's diabetic, so any kind of foods/treats are out. She lives in assisted living, and her condo is packed, so I don't really buy her things for her place, and we don't want her to cook. Ugh! 

So, I think a little piece of jewelry would be perfect. I came across LunaOscula on Etsy and Instagram (@LunaOscula). I posted about her recent giveaway on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but I also wanted to share a really cool idea for Mother's Day for less than $20!


LunaOscula's Hamsa Necklace is intricate and beautiful. It's unlike anything my mom has (Depending on your mom's age, I'm guessing this is also true). The Hamsa Hand is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings it’s owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. Very appropriate!


LunaOscula has many other beautiful gifts in her Etsy shop, including hand stamped disc necklaces. A necklace with kids' or grandkids' initials would make a fantastic Mother's Day gift. So, a few lovely ideas that you can pick up for Mom, without breaking the bank. A break from scarves or bath baskets would be appreciated, I'm sure!

Let me help with your shopping! I'll be back with more ideas!