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Crafting can be fun and easy with Instacraft


Crafting can be fun and easy with Instacraft

What is Instacraft you ask?   Well, it is a fun little book that is filled with super cute, surprisingly easy, fun crafts to make.   Doesn’t matter if you are a newbie crafter, or a veteran crafter, you will enjoy this book just the same.   Some of the things you can make using this book are ~ brick bookends, berry personalized stationary, faux french lockets, sweetheart sugar jars, traveling globes, takeout container lanterns, paint swatch key hooks, pantone placemats, time capsule terrariums, fond memories wrapping paper and so much more.


You can purchase the book on Amazon or you can try to win it here.

Giveaway Open to US only.   Prize ~ 1 Instacraft Book.   ~  Ends 8/20/14  @11:59 PM CST.

Enter Below ~

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl received a book to facilitate a review.   All opinions expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s.

How to Maneuver a Complete Style Overhaul in Your Home

How to Maneuver a Complete Style Overhaul in Your Home

Reinventing your home doesn’t require a major addition or renovation project. Sometimes all it takes is overhauling your home’s style. This includes everything from furniture to décor to the handles on your faucets. Maybe it’s time to get rid of that cheap furniture you’ve had since college. Or maybe you just want a change. Either way, give your house a facelift and save thousands by avoiding an expensive remodeling project. Here are some tips to get started on the home style overhaul.

Start Big

When looking for new furniture pieces, it’s best to start big and gradually work into the finer details. That means looking at the furniture you use most often—probably your sofa, dining table set, and bed. Once you’ve replaced these cornerstone pieces, you can address the other furnishings that make up each room: coffee tables, ottomans, side tables, bookshelves, and armchairs.

You can save money by purchasing furniture from wholesalers. Brand-name retailers markup furniture almost 50%, so you end up paying one and a half times as much. Cut out the middle man and you can find some great pieces at a fraction of the cost. If this still isn’t your style, and you’re crafty enough, refurbishing old staples can be an excellent option.

After the furnishing is taken care of, you can get into the nitty-gritty of decorating. This is your opportunity to add your signature touch with rugs, lamps, bedspreads, pillows, art, plants, and other decorative favorites. This step-by-step approach will help you to stay on budget and organized. Tackling everything at once can be overwhelming, and you want to have enough to spend on the major furniture pieces. You can always find good deals on décor at antique stores, art fairs, and flea markets later.

Choose a Design Style

Design trends are always changing, but there are a number of signature styles that can guide your furnishing decisions. Explore different styles and choose a favorite to create a cohesive look. Some popular styles include:

Modern Rustic: Look to the past for inspiration. This style relies on reclaimed wood, tarnished metals, aged surfaces, exposed brick, and natural textures like wool, burlap, linen, and sheepskin. Have fun rooting around at antique stores and garage sales to find cool vintage items that can be repurposed. This style is often integrated with industrial items—salvaged metal pieces, edgy lighting fixtures, and abstract art.

Traditional: A look that never goes out of style, think balance and symmetry. Muted, warm colors and classic fabric patterns—florals, stripes, and plaids. Cushy rugs and comfy couches with tasseled pillows. Match your pieces to create that feeling of elegant symmetry.

Coastal: The classic beach house style. Think light and breezy with whitewashed walls, light fabrics, and minimal clutter. You can get creative with weathered wood, seashells, and nautical themes. Coastal is a great style if your home gets a lot of natural light.

Contemporary: If you like to be up on current trends, this fluid style is your best bet. Contemporary design is all about clean lines and geometric forms, with an emphasis on open space and avoiding clutter. Go for neutral shades with pops of bold color. Furniture should be sleek with straight lines and clean surfaces. Abstract art and sculptures are right at home in this style.

Use this overhaul as an opportunity to create the living space you want. Find cool signature pieces and create an atmosphere that makes you feel at home.


Your Security Checklist Before You Go On Your Family Vacation

Your Security Checklist Before You Go On Your Family Vacation

Summer is here and it is about time you set off on your family vacation. Besides the packing and planning, you want your vacation to be stress and worry free. The last thing you want is to return to a burglarized home. But every 13 seconds a home is invaded, amounting to 2 million break-ins every year. Making yourself an easy target increases your chances of becoming a victim by 300 percent, and nothing ruins a vacation more than knowing unwanted intruders took stock of your home.


However, a few added measures of protection can secure your home from unwanted entry.

Here are several tips to increase your home security while you’re enjoying your vacation.


Tell Your Neighbors

A pair of eyes and ears can be a low-cost way to stop a break-in. Alerting trusted neighbors before you head off will prevent any suspicious character from waltzing into your home right under the neighborhood’s nose.


Hide The Clues

Newspapers stacked mile high on your porch and a mailbox that looks like a stuffed turkey are tell-tale signs your home is empty. Burglars look for clues like these to sniff out their next victim. So tell your local post office to put your mail on hold and your newspaper service to stop deliveries while you’re gone.


Avoid The Obvious

A common mistake – all too obvious – is letting everyone know your house is empty. Loading your car with luggage and gear hours before your trip or parking an elephant of an RV right outside your driveway is a sure way to invite the wrong kind of strangers. So be conspicuous. Load your luggage the night before or park the RV around the corner. And don’t create a luggage marching file that shouts you’ll be going on vacation.


Create An Illusion

A car parked outside your house can make burglars think twice before breaking in. If you park your car in the garage, ask a friend to occasionally park their car in your driveway. Investing in a light timer can also stop burglars in their tracks if they believe somebody is home.


Secure All Doors and Windows

Each entry into your home is a potential means for burglary. In fact, 30 percent of all burglaries are through an unlocked door or window. Calling your local locksmith service (like this trusted locksmith in Miami Beach) to add an extra layer of security could be paramount for your home security. Home invaders only have a few minutes to break in, otherwise they increase their chances of capture. So make it tough for them to get.


With some wise measures on your part, you can keep your home protected and avoid becoming a break-in statistic, allowing you to return from your vacation, home intact.

US Locksmith Services Miami Beach is available to handle your locksmith needs every day of the year. Trust the most reliable locksmith in Miami Beach.

Sweet Slumber Pillow from Reverie

Sweet Slumber Pillows ~ just that name makes one think of a good nights sleep, right ?  Well, if you are struggling finding yourself a good pillow you have to check out the Sweet Slumber Pillow from Reverie.    Pillows are one of those things that for me, make a huge difference in how I sleep.  I have neck issues with my Fibro and I need a pillow that fits me just perfect. My husband also has pillows that fit his neck and sleeping habits perfect.   The Sweet Slumber Pillow is an awesome pillow, made of shredded natural rubber to simulate the feeling of down.   This is to provide both a comfortable pillow and good support.  This pillow is so soft, but in a heavy way.  You just have to feel it, hold it, and lay your head on it to really understand how comfy it is.   It is also 100% cotton quilted and the cover is removable for washing.  (for those like me who drool) LOL!!  Also, it is hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and dust mite resistant.

I was excited to get this pillow because the one I am using is slowly becoming not as comfy as when I got it.  Not sure if I am changing, or the pillow is worn out.  But, I need a new one.   So, I was excited to try this Sweet Slumber Pillow.  Well, unfortunately it is not for me.  It is a bit thicker than I can use.   I love to hug it at night and it works good for under my knees or between my legs when I sleep.   So, hubby tried it and for him it also was to thick.  He sleeps with a flat pillow that he can roll up right now.   So, we gave it to our son and he loves it!!   He loves how thick it is, and how heavy it is as he is a tornado when he sleeps and usually all his pillows end up on the floor, but not this one.  It is heavy and stays put.   I am glad it worked for my son because he is on his own and buying pillows is not something he can do right now.

If you like a thicker pillow, one that is heavy and soft at the same time you have to check this one out.


Follow Reverie on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl received product to facilitate a review.   All opinions expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s. 

Sleek and Modern: Five Key Reasons to Buy Stainless Steel Appliances

Sleek and Modern: Five Key Reasons to Buy Stainless Steel Appliances

What do you think of when you think “stainless steel?” You probably think “professional,” “chef,” and “expensive.” While stainless steel isn’t everyone’s favorite, and it’s not always the appropriate choice, it’s often one of the best upgrades you can make to your kitchen. Here’s why.

It’s Hygienic

One of the coolest things about stainless steel is that it’s naturally hygienic. It’s due to the fact that it’s non-porous. Most materials aren’t like this, will readily absorb chemicals, dyes, food, etc. Not stainless steel. This property also means it resists bacteria. All that’s needed is a wipe down with a cloth. Of course, It’s probably a good idea to get all of the food off it when you’re done using it. While the bacteria can’t penetrate the surface, dried on food looks pretty nasty.

It Has a Long Life

Even if your appliance does break down,, and other similar companies that offer home warranties, can easily fix appliances like these. But, it’s rare to even have to call in a service professional. The material is very durable, and it just doesn’t need to be replaced. Since it’s stainless steel, it’s not going to rust on you any time soon.

The material is an alloy that contains at least 10 percent chromium. This is what resists corrosion and makes the material shiny and stainless. It doesn’t fade either, like painted appliances. So, you can set it out in the sun and nothing bad will happen to it. You can also spatter it with hot grease, Indian spices, like turmeric, and tomato paste, and it’s not going to stain.

It’s Easy To Clean

Again, because stainless steel is non-porous means, it’s easy to clean. That’s good too, because the material is notorious for showing every fingerprint that lands on it. Thankfully, there are many ways to clean it. You can use glass cleaner, soap and water, stainless steel polish, and a mild detergent. None of these options will harm the finish, and they will make your kitchen look like a professional chef’s kitchen after each cleaning.

If you’re using stainless steel polish, just make sure that it’s fully dry before you go cooking with it again. In most instances, it’s not a good idea to get this stuff close to the burners either. For the most part, you should use either hot water, or a mild detergent. For fingerprints, a Windex-type product is best.

It’s Sleek and Modern

Some of the best restaurants listed in‘s list of top restaurants in the country use stainless steel. There’s a good reason for that. The material is non-porous so food cooked in stainless steel is always clean. But, another aspect of stainless steel is that it’s modern and sleek. This material reflects light, creating the illusion of a larger kitchen.

If you have a small kitchen, this is a huge plus. It‘s something interior designers have been advising clients do for many years. But, you don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to a designer to get this secret installed in your home.


Katy Butler loves to spend all her time in the kitchen. An avid cook and blogger, you can read her helpful articles on cooking and home blogs online.

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Meet Sonja from Thirty One Gifts


Hello Everybody!

I am Sonja Larson and have been in Direct Sales for over two years! I am a consultant/rep for 3 (soon to be 4) different

To let you know a little bit about me, I have been married for almost 16 years. I currently live in Shoreview, Minnesota.
My husband is a computer geek/engineer/inventor who does a lot of traveling in the states and in Europe giving presentations about his work.
We have 3 children: Alexis (14), Alexander(12), and Angela (10). They attend Calvin Christian school in Blaine.
My last career was in dental assisting for over 20 years. I was also an aerobic instructor during 10 of those years and taught danceline and cheerleading.

I am a homemaker/mom, work part-time for a few clients cleaning or organizing their homes, I work part-time doing Nationwide online health studies, food taste tester, and with my extra time–work in Direct Sales!

Some of my hobbies are baking, creative memories, knitting, reading books on health, and watching any genre of movies.
Being busy with both work and family can be challenging as you all can relate! Since I have always been an organized “neat freak”, I have found my first DS company with Thirty-One Gifts to be a perfect fit for me!

Thirtyone has products that help you organize your busy lives! Even if you are organized, our products add that “extra touch” of having your home, office, car, garage, kids activities, travel, etc. looking “put together” and pretty at the same time!

Thirtyone sells purses, totes, bins, wallets, accessories, etc.–most which can be personalized/ icon for a more “polished” and personal look!
Take a moment to look at Thiryone’s products on my website:


I am also looking for other DS people to network with so please friend request me on facebook so I can know more about you!

I am here to answer any questions you may have about Thirtyone–and love to be your 31 consultant for you to shop, product swap, host (person or online) to receive FREE products, or even join under me to be a part of a fun and rewarding company!

Have a Thirty-Onederful Day!Sonja LarsonIndependent Consultant

313  Phone 651-483-6130 Shop and find great ideas atmy website

Household Uses for Salt

Household Uses for Salt

Salt has more uses than just on the rim of a margarita glass.   Check out the great household uses for salt.




Household Uses for Lemons

Household Uses for Lemons

Lemons have more uses than just making one pucker.   Check out this great list of things you can do with lemons.






Time to Cut the Cord on Cleaning #DysonatBestBuy

Time to Cut the Cord on Cleaning  @BestBuy @Dyson #DysonatBestBuy

The reviewer (that is me ~ Living Smart Girl)  has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the
product/service at a reduced price or for free


The life of a stay at home wife/mom is one that includes many things, like cooking, laundry, shopping, bills, cleaning, etc.   A day’s work is never done, and seems to always pile up to the next and the next and the next day.  Not all of us can afford a housekeeper, and sometimes the house chores seem to take longer than what we have time to give them.   I know for me, I am a clean freak but there are things that stop me from being as clean in my home as I want.  Things like, constant remodeling/fixing of this old house.  My very furry dogs, and the fact we heat with wood, in our living room, so we haul wood in daily and that makes a huge mess!  A few years ago I was so crabby every time we hauled in wood.   I am careful, make sure I don’t track much in if anything at all.  But, others here are not so careful, and don’t do the vacuuming so they don’t seem to think about the mess they make.   I tried not to complain, but dang it already… I am only one woman and need help so please pay attention to the mess you are making!  (Ok, I did complain…but not a TON).   Well, even though house cleaning is not the most fun of jobs, I don’t totally hate it.  But, due to our life, I did try to vacuum a couple times a week, which just didn’t seem like enough during heating season.  I have a Dyson Animal Ball and love it, but it is heavy and not always the fastest and easiest way to clean up a smaller mess.  I finally broke down and purchased a Dyson DC 44 that was refurbished.  I had been drooling over them for a while, and just decided to trade in some of my saved gift codes and treat myself.  Well, let me tell you,.. it was one of the best things I ever bought!!  And, my husband even loves it!  But, I have a big house, and sometimes the battery doesn’t last for a full clean.   So, when I was given the chance to do a review of the new Dycon DC59 from Best Buy I was so excited I think I even shed a tear of joy!  I loved my other one, but wanted to new one because it was supposed to be even better.  And, that meant I would be able to have one on our main floor and one on the upstairs level.   YEAH!!
DC59 1

I was so excited when I came home one day to my new Dyson DC59 waiting for me on my front steps.   I brought it in, and put it together right way.  It has a slight charge, so I even got to try it out right away.   WOW ~ This thing has even more power than my other one and I love the more comfortable design.   The fact I can empty the bin easier with a right or left push button helps a lot.   The power button is sleek and easier to push as well.  But, my favorite thing about my vacuum is that it is light, always ready for any job big or small, is compact and easy to store, and now my husband likes to vacuum.  (I think that part is the best).

If you are tired of dragging out the big ol’ vacuum you have got to check out the Dyson DC59 .   You will fall in love with your first vacuuming session.   I use mine at least 2 times a day, and sometimes 3 times.   Depends of what we are doing.  If hubby is in and out and the dogs are in and out and I am a vacuuming queen.  The first thing I do in the morning is usually vacuum.  Yeah, I am that obsessed.   Mostly because I like a clean house, but also because Dyson DC59 makes it so easy to be neat and tidy.   And since we have hard wood floors, linoleum, area rugs and throw rugs it is awesome that this vacuum goes from one, to another, to another with no issues.  Being able to vacuum, cord free, with a light weight vacuum is such a big deal for me.  I love how easy and effortless it is to just grab this cute little thing and zip zip… house is tidy.  Did I say how much I love it?   Well I Do !   But, for as much as I love it I have 2 complaints.  I wish the power button stayed on, as holding it on does become a pain and makes for a sore finger.  And, I wish that it was a bit longer.  I find I have to bend a bit and sometimes that can be a pain in the back.   But, neither of those will make me not use it, or love it any less.   Just a few things maybe Dyson can look at for the next upgrade.  (which I would be more than happy to review again).


DC59 2


Want to know all about this great little vacuum ?   Check out the specs ~

Key Points:

-       3 times the suction of any other cordless vacuum in use

-       26 minute clean time

-       New V6 motor = 50% more power than V2; performs like an upright

-       2 Tier Radial Cyclone technology brought to cordless for the first time

-       Re-engineered brush bar for hard floor and carpet cleaning

-       Only 4.65 lbs

Features in-depth:

-       V6 motor

o   Spins at 110,000rpm (5 times faster than a Formula One racecar engine)

o   4-pole magnet that delivers 50% more power than its predecessor, V2

o   3 times smaller than a conventional vacuum motor

o   350 Watts

-       Re-engineered nickel manganese cobalt battery

o   1.5 times more power than its predecessor (same run time, however – the extra capacity is used to power the V6 motor)

o   3.5 hour charging time (vs. 5 hour in the DC44)

o   Boost mode still available

-       2 Tier Radial Cyclone technology

o   15 cyclones, arranged across 2 tiers

o   Work in parallel to increase airflow and capture fine dust

-       Re-engineered brush bar

o   Wider (approx. 10” vs. 8” on the DC44)

o   Improved maneuverability due to smaller ball at the back

o   Self-tightening mechanism keeps the brush bar stable

o   New configuration of carbon fiber filaments and nylon bristle tips to remove fine dust and dirt across all floor types

o   Extended neck for greater ease of use

-       Ergonomic updates

o   Soft-touch trigger is easier to hold (makes for longer clean time – people don’t need to keep it on when moving furniture, etc. – less wasted energy)

o   Handle now more comfortable to hold

o   Only 4.65 lbs

o   Hygienic one-touch bin emptying, now on both sides (for lefties and righties). One push empties bin, 2nd push detaches bin completely for washing, etc.

o   Pre-motor filter located at the top; now much easier to take out for washing




The reviewer (that is me ~ Living Smart Girl)  has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the
product/service at a reduced price or for free
All opinions are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s.

Clearing Up the Cotton Confusion: Why Towel Materials Really Matter

Clearing Up the Cotton Confusion: Why Towel Materials Really Matter


You hop out of the shower and dry off. You hang up the towel. You never give it any thought – until your towel starts falling apart. It started with a small thread. Now, it’s totally unraveled. Or, it’s faded. Or, you’re redoing your bathroom, and you need a new set of towels. You’re at the store, staring at the towel rack. What do you buy?


Egyptian Cotton


Egyptian cotton is famous for its luxuriousness. It produces the longest, silkiest fibres. That’s why it’s so soft and extremely absorbent. It’s probably the best cotton material you can use for the bathroom. But, because it’s so absorbent, you’ll need a place to dry this towel off once it’s done. Otherwise, it might start to smell of mildew after a few uses.


Turkish Cotton


Turkish cotton is another long fibre cotton. Some people believe that this cotton is even superior to Egyptian cotton. The fibres, and thus the end-product, are some of the most durable in the world. It’s very soft and absorbent.


Pure Cotton


Pure cotton is great for everyday use. In terms of quality, it’s not on the extreme high-end of things, but it’s not always bottom-of-the-barrel either. It can be found through online stores and in most retail shops.


Combed Cotton


Combed cotton is an extremely soft version of cotton that’s made by combing all of the tiny fibres off of the cotton before it’s spun into yarn. This gives the finished material a very soft feel. It’s not the most absorbent cotton, compared to Egyptian and Turkish varieties, but it’s still very good.


Supima Cotton


Supima is American cotton that produces one of the best yarns in the world. It’s also got some of the longest fibres in the world. The result is a tower that feels like silk, yet is actually cotton. Expect this variety to rival Turkish and Egyptian cotton towels. Very luxurious.


Zero Twist Cotton


Twist refers to the number of twists per inch of yarn. The fewer the twists, the more plush and luxurious the towel will be. With a zero-twist towel, there are few, or no, twists in the yarn – making I thicker than any other towel while remaining incredibly light and fast-drying. Of all of the varieties and styles to choose from, this is the common denominator you should be looking for in a towel. It doesn’t matter if it’s Egyptian, Turkish, or Supima.




Pile refers to the loops in a towel. The length and amount of loops will determine the surface area of the towel. It also determines the absorbency. The more loops per sq cm, the longer the loops, the more absorbent the towel.




GSM is the Grams per Squat Metre. It’s the unit of weight that towels are measured in. The higher the GSM, the denser and heavier the towel is. Consequently, the more absorbent the towel is. What does this mean in practical terms? It means that a 500 GSM is a good standard weight for a towel. If you get one that’s denser/heavier than this, expect it to perform better.


Scarlett Watson is always on the lookout for home care and decorating tips. An avid blogger, she loves to share her findings by posting on various blog sites.