Friday, April 30, 2010

Canvas Press Giveaway

Lately I have been changing up the house decor and I've moved my sights to the dining room. The dining room that is the first thing you see when you come into my house. The dining room that no longer boasts a chandelier, nor table. It's officially become....the play room. As such, it can be a bit of a messy distraction. I've been thinking about adding a couple bold pieces to the wall that not only say "this is a place of fun", but also "this is a home with some resemblance of style". Last week, my "signature" element arrived.

What can it be??? All packaged so carefully....

"Wow". That was all Shane could say when he saw this incredible 16X20 canvas. Wow is right.  I loved the photos I took of Lydia swinging so much, I headed over to Canvas Press , uploaded a photo and ordered one for the playroom. It look about 3 minutes. What ended up at my door was my own personal masterpiece. I could not believe the quality. And the colors! So beautiful.

I first discovered Canvas Press when working at a high end art gallery. Ever wonder where amazing fine art prints are made? Well, now you know the secret. I also know that Canvas Press is used by professional photographers to get their clients top quality enlargements. But you don't need to go through a professional to access Canvas Press, you can upload your own photos to create incredible gifts. I love knowing that we'll have this canvas forever.

I have been toying with the idea of ordering one of their wall collages for above my bedroom. Maybe a beach scape. This is a great idea if you need to cover a large area of wall space.

I chose to have white sides on my canvas due to the dimensions of my photo, but you can choose to have the photo wrap around the sides, which looks really classy. You can see a nice example of that here.  It is ready to hang straight out of the box. No expensive framing to deal with.

One of you will be receiving a 16x20, 1.5 inch gallery wrapped canvas, just like mine! A $117 value (including shipping).

Want one now? Mother's Day perhaps? Enter code "sentimental15" for 15% off your order! Good through the end of May. 

To Enter:

  • Leave a comment here letting me know what photo you would have made into a canvas, and who it would be for. 
  • For an extra entry, let me know in a separate comment that you are a public follower and/or have my button on your blog. 
  • For an extra entry, let me know in a separate comment that you have facebooked or twittered about this giveaway. 
  • For THREE extra entries, let me know in THREE separate comments that you have blogged about this giveaway. 

I will announce the randomly selected winner on May 7th. Good Luck!!!!!!!

U.S. addresses only. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey! Get back here you little Scooter Toot!

I've never been a pet name kind of gal. Shane and I call each other, well, Shane and Natalie. Occasionally we call each other something like "sweetheart", but it is so rare that it really does come across as a noticeable term of endearment. I always thought that couples who are calling each other "honey" or "babe" in the midst of a heated argument may be at the point of overuse. But that's just me. Shane has a few other nicknames for me, but they' :)

As soon as I had kids, that pet name policy went at the window. With Lydia every other word from my mouth was "sweetie", " sweet baby", "munchkin", "cutie pie", "sweetheart", "Liddy Bitty". From the day Collin was born I started calling him my little "scooter toot". It just seemed to fit. I found out recently that my mom called me that as well, so I guess it makes sense. Now he is actually crawling and I get to see that little toot scooting around the house. I hope he doesn't walk too soon. I like this stage.

What nicknames do you use in your family? 

By the way, I've added my summer reading recommendations and summer reading list to Monday's post.   Sorry I didn't think to include them earlier. Enjoy!

Monday, April 26, 2010

TLC Book Tours - The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

I am surprised how often I am asked for book recommendations. It makes me a little nervous to give them out as reading a book is such a large investment in time. I don't want anyone to be disappointed. I can however, unequivocally recommend Rebecca Well's newest work The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder. Thank you TLC Book Tours for asking me to review it.

Calla Lily is a small town girl who has very simple dreams. She wants to love the people in her life, and she wants to heal others with the healing touch in which she has been gifted. While she has simple dreams, she is anything from a simple girl. Her relationships are deep and complex, heartfelt and alive. She is kind, genuine, intelligent, moral and humble. She may be one of the most likable characters I have ever encountered. Perhaps that is why reading the trials of her life were so heartbreaking. She is the kind of person who deserves all things lovely.

At a tender age, just blossoming into womanhood, Calla Lily loses her mother to cancer. The anguish and loss she endures is so poignant, I felt the effects for days. Daughters need their mothers and the void Calla Lily experiences is inescapable. Her small Louisiana town rallies around her, but soon another heartbreak ensues and she leaves her town for New Orleans.

There Calla Lily begins to learn the art of healing she inherited from her mother. Friendships are tested, love is found, the void her mother left is, bit by bit, filled with a new life. One of my favorite parts of the book is when she is given a gift from a dear friend. "The perfect accessory, what every girl needs: a big beautiful blue scarf to soak up her tears."

While this book follows the life of a women who experiences serious loss, I found it surprisingly uplifting. With every pain, there is hope. There is hope in the sisterhood of lifelong friends. There is hope in new children. There is hope in new love. There is hope in a family who cling to each other for comfort. There is always hope in the town of La Luna, Louisiana and hope in the moon, from which this tiny town was named. Calla Lily's mother left her with some sage advice. "Good enough is good enough. Perfect will make you a big fat mess every time".

I spend the last few nights on my back porch swing, reading this book while sipping lemonade. It is the perfect summer read. Buy a copy for yourself and for your mom. Laugh a little, cry a little....and then go out and get your hair done. - After you read the book, you'll understand why.

The Updated Book Club

Speaking of summer reading, I have a great idea for you ladies. (Do any men actually read this blog?)

Book clubs are fun, but it can be really difficult to agree on a book that everyone wants to read, and then of course, to find the time to read the book. A couple months ago I had an idea to have a "Summer Reading List" party. Instead of having one specific book to read, get a bunch of friends together to discuss summer reading recommendations. Everyone make a list of books that they think others would enjoy. Bring food and spend an evening talking about favorite reads. Everyone goes home with their own new list.

My friend Jessica was nice enough to host our "Summer Reading List Party" at her gorgeous home. Everyone brought delicious food and their book recommendations. Jessica set up a "swap table" for any one who wanted to bring books to trade. (Four of the guests are weeks away from giving birth. I'm so glad in not pregnant.)

It was a great time and I have a list of 10 books I want to have done by September. Thanks ladies!

What books would you recommend for a summer reading list???

Update- I probably should have thought to do this earlier, but here are the books I recommended. Not necessarily my favorite books of all time, but books I really enjoyed reading - I did star (****) my very favorite reads in the list.

French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure

These are the books I am planning on reading this summer- 

Right now I'm reading On Folly Beach. I'll review it next month. It hasn't been released yet... (ah the perks of blogging!) but you can pick it up on May 4th. Read it and we can discuss! It's great so far. I read for an hour and a half in the bath last night. With chocolate. Bliss. 


Whatever Dee-Dee wants said...
Fun idea! I want to see your new list :) I am always looking for a new book to read.
Brit said...
I'd love to hear a few titles! I have a book club with some of my friends and we're always interested in what's out there that moms enjoy. Please post or e-mail me! :)
S Club Mama said...
Water for Elephants Hunger Games triology (the 3rd book is due out in Sept.) Plan B Run Like a Mother Will you do a post with your recommendations?
Life With the Crazies said...
The Help by Kathryn Sockett... I couldn't put it down, even though it is super long, I loved it!!!
Kytsmom said...
French Women don't get Fat. I read it every summertime. It gets me excited for Farmer's Markets and having friends over for fresh food!
Natalie Jane said...
LOVE that book! It was on my list of recommendations! Makes me want to bake a baguette....
Modern Crush said...
I spy THE HOST!!! Ahh, I do love that book... happy reading! xo
Nickie said...
I love reading in the bath....Sometimes if I am finishing a book I could be in the for hours. My daughter loves the Hunger Games. She keeps begging me to read it. I just might have to read it on vacation this year. Thanks for the list.
Stacy said...
I'd definitely recommend The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster.
Nama said...
Thanks for putting up this list! I love that you included a Laurie Nataro book...she's hilarious, and I love her books as fun, light reads that you can pick up randomly when you need a good laugh. :) Also, I love Ender's Game. Have you read Speaker for the Dead? I absolutely love that book, and you should totally read it!
sara said...
I love LOVE this idea!!! Whenever I can get my act together and plan a party, that's the one for sure! It might be lame at this point, but The Time Traveler's Wife is on my top five books of all time list. Perfect read for any season, especially summer! Currently, I'm reading Let The Great World Spin by, Colum McCann. It's good so far.
Natalie Jane said...
Nama - I've read the entire Ender's series several times. Have you read the one that came out a couple years ago? I thought it was just so so. The rest I LOVED!
Gilbert Family said...
Please tell me that you plan on reading Catching Fire (second book to Hunger Games)! I love those entertaining!
Natalie Jane said...
LOVED Catching Fire! Can't wait for the next one!!!!
Nickie said...
I just ordered the third Hunger Games. It comes out August 24th.
kanishk said...
I am always looking for a new book to read. post free classified ads
Heileson Family said...
I am a huge reader. I read 8 books in April. I love to read. I have read most of your titles. A few were harder to get into than others. Oh I have so many I loved though. You should go to and set up an account and then all of your friends can see what you are reading and they are reading. You can make tons of comments on the books too. I love it because I can see what people are reading and then mark that I want to read the books as well. It is a nice way to find out about new books. Check it out. I love it and then when you sign up we can be reading friends too.
Natalie Jane said...
I'm on Goodreads and I will make sure to look you up!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Get your Christmas shopping done in April....for Free! Thanks CSN Stores!

Anyone notice something kind of crazy going on in the blogosphere? There are CSN Stores giveaways and reviews everywhere right now!!!  Many lucky bloggers were selected to review CSN Stores to get the word out they have everything there! I discovered them last year and have gone there for everything from baby cribs to cooking pots. I even picked up some great shoes here once. I think I personally frequent the site because of all the free shipping.

Well, I was browsing around and.....I found this bike for Lydia! Isn't it darling? 40% off retail and free shipping! I love that it is blue so it will work for Collin too. The order is in and pretty soon I will be showing off my daughters riding skills. Can't wait! I'll be sure to post some video of it in action.

Bet you want to enter to win a CSN gift certificate huh? (Most at least $40)  Well, I don't have one to give away but I know over 2 dozen other bloggers that do. Spend an hour tonight entering and I bet you end up winning one.

Just some of the CSN Giveaways I've found: 

here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Wait. One more...

Ooo, this one is good too!

Good luck! Tell them I sent you!

If you have a CSN giveaway going on, let me know and I will add it to this link list.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Next Move Towards Becoming Green

Happy Earth Day! It is so glorious outside right now, it is like the Earth is celebrating her big day along with us. The smell of new honeysuckle is wafting through the open windows. Yum.

 I'm happy to report our family has made some good strides towards becoming green. We are now using cloth napkins almost exclusively along with reusable snack bags. I have curbed my driving so that instead of filling up my gas tank every 3 weeks, it is every 5 weeks. We finally have recycling pick up offered in our area and that has cut our trash in half. I love to give Lydia cereal boxes to jump on to crush and then walk her out to the recycle bin. I recently found out that you use 8 times as much water to wash dishes by hand as in the dishwasher, so that was a freebee. I hate washing dishes by hand.

My next move it to get rid of the plastic store sacks. Did you know that the average American family consumes over 2,500 plastic sacks a year! Yikes! That can't be good. My goal is to stock up on those $1 grocery totes and actually take them with me to the store. Along with that, I want a really stylish tote to always have with me when I am running errands. I'm loving the "Bag Envy" tote from Green Eyed Monster. Stylish, practical and gets the point across. Also, the simple "live enviably" tote is on sale for $10!!  I saw on Twitter and facebook that you can win a Bag Envy tote for yourself. I know, leave it to me to see Earth Day as a reason to go purse shopping. But hey, it's for the planet!

What are you doing to go more green?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


It's time to announce the randomly selected winners of the Monumental Mother's Day Giveaway!

1st Place winner is Amy Dear.
2nd Place winner is Sarah Seitz.
3rd Place winner is Holly.

Congrats ladies!!!!! Comment here and then email me and I'll get you your AWESOME prizes!

Didn't win? No worries, there are some great giveaways just around the corner. I mean hello...Father's day is coming up!

Have a product you are dying for me to write about? Email me to discuss. 
I'm always looking for the next great lovely.

P.S. Since so many of you said you were excited about the Scentsy Gift Certificate, Angelene (the Scentsy Consultant) is offering natalie's sentiments readers 10% off their Mother's Day orders! So head over to her site and let her know I sent you! Would make a great teacher's gift too.
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