A few of my favorite things

It’s that time of year again…. there are a bazillion ads filling your inbox with ‘deals’ and ‘gift ideas’….. but are there any good suggestions out there?  No!  It’s the same stuff in every email and commercial… perfume, slippers and expensive electronics.  Boring!

We can do better than that.  So here’s my list of Holiday Shopping Suggestions. And don’t forget to grab a few of these for yourself… you’ve been good, right?  Whatever….you’ve been good enough!

The Snoozer Body Pillow – $53.99

Yep, it’s a pregnancy pillow…. but you don’t have to be pregnant to love it….. as a matter of fact, I’d recommend against the whole baby thing if you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep.  (Just what I’ve heard.) I have one of these pillows and I cannot live without it.

Acoustic Sheep Sleep-Phones – $39.95

Another ‘can’t live without’ item.  I’ve had three pairs of these over the past 5 years.  I LOVE them.  I absolutely cannot sleep without them.  I play rain sounds and just drift right off.  They connect to any music player with a headphone jack.  What makes these really special is the flat headphone speakers that aren’t poking into your ears.  They’re a great balance between ear plugs, which I don’t like because they block too much sound and a sound machine which doesn’t ‘block” any sound.  And the headband is super soft… I like to slide it down over my eyes for a bonus eye pillow.

Kindle Fire Tablet – $49.99

I bought my first Kindle two years ago after much complaining about how evil and useless and awful they were…. I admit… I was wrong.  I LOVE my Kindle.  I have a Paperwhite E-Ink (not a touchscreen)… if you ever come across a refurbished one, buy it!  I has amazing battery life and can store a bazillion books. I also have this Fire Tablet too… I like that I can check my facebook on it too, but it does have to be recharged more often than the Paperwhite.  Don’t go crazy and buy a super expensive one, buy the cheap one…. read it in the tub, read it at the beach…. on the plane… whatever. If it gets wet or stolen or whatever, you can buy a new one for $40-50 bucks… and your books are always yours…. they’re saved in your Amazon account.  Kindle books are also (usually) cheaper than ‘real’ books and you can download books instantly…. no more waiting to get to the store to get the next book in the series! Don’t worry about the ‘Special Offers.’ The ads are only on the sleep screen and don’t interfere with the book while you’re reading.

Check out my Amazon Store for a list of my favorite books.

Jamberry Holiday Bundles 

30916288735_40afffdb9d_zPretty much anything from Jamberry is fun…. nail wraps, polish, gel, lotions…. bundles!

Love my Jamberry!  Jamberry Nail products are perfect for anyone who like having pretty nails. Need a suggestion?  Ask me!

Need a low cost gift for several people…. ask me how to order and divide the Holiday Bundle for multiple gifts at a great price!

Other Fun Ideas

I don’t know about you, but I love getting stuff in the mail.  Consider a subscription box.  Check out My Subscription Addiction for a list of nearly a zillion (just an estimate) subscription boxes.  There really is a subscription box for everyone.  I’d recommend Birchbox for your makeup lover and Birchbox Man or  Harry’s Razors for the guys.

Happy shopping!

 

 

 

Newsletter News

**** Read all the way to the end & get a present! ****

 

My name is Stephanie and I’m a Jamberry fanatic.

I first came across Jamberry when I worked as an Event Coordinator arraigning  Craft Fairs and Festivals. It took three festivals before I actually got a Jamberry Rep to show up. The first two events I had reps sign up but then cancel before the event… so by the time I actually got a rep to show up I was pretty excited. I’ve always loved painting my nails and Jamberry sounded right up my alley.

I love how the wraps can survive and stay pretty no matter how brutal I am to them… We flip houses for a living and I use my fingernails as tools for scraping paint and picking up screws and nails, mudding and taping… I do real damage. Amazingly, the wraps survive. They even helped keep my nails from breaking. The acrylic nails were the only thing that even came close to holding up and they required a trip to the salon…  Who has time for that?!

I like that I don’t feel guilty about changing my Jamberry Wraps every week… even though the wraps still look great after a week my nails grow pretty fast and I hate that ‘grow out’ line at the cuticle. I always wanted to get my acrylics filled every 1 1/2 weeks… and that got expensive fast. With the Jamberry Wraps I can do a new manicure every week – week and a half and it costs a third of the price of the salon… and I get cool designs!


Newsletter News

So, about the newsletter……

I don’t want to swamp the original PhoenixRize Newsletter with everything Jamberry… I’ll still throw in an occasional mention, but the whole point of the PhoenixRize Newsletter is to introduce new and different things… yoga, travel, books & recipes.

I’ve started a new newsletter just for Jamberry. If you like pretty nails and you’re interested in more info about specials and new releases you can signup for this new newsletter devoted to Jamberry stuff.

Just follow this link and check which topics you’re most interested in:

  • Gluten Free Living
  • Yoga
  • Jamberry Nails

If you’re already getting the PhoenixRize Newsletter this will just update your interests. Feel free to check em all! Checking Jamberry will sign you up for the new Newsletter and Checking GF Living and/or Yoga will get you the PhoenixRize Newsletter… I just gave you the option because every once in a while GF Living gets its own announcements.

**** You read the whole thing?  Yay!  Okay, here’s how you get your present. Comment on this post or Message me on Facebook and I’ll send you a Jamberry Sample Pack!****

Stuff to do in The Lou

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When we decided that we were actually going to move (to a whole different state!) we started trying to visit all the places that we figured we’d miss when we left St. Louis. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely since we want to move…. there weren’t that many places that we felt like we had to visit.

These were our top six places to visit in Missouri.

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St Louis Zoo

My #1 place that we had to see again, and the place that I’d actually recommend to STL visitors would be the St. Louis Zoo.  Brian and I got a Zoo membership before we got married and we visited fairly frequently.  It’s been our go-to place for when we just wanted to do something. Technically, there are lots of things you can do in STL completely free…. but you’re going to have to walk and be a bit creative.  STL has a really amazing zoo and you can do it completely free, but I’d recommend getting either one of the zoo memberships (a lot of zoos honor other zoo’s memberships too) or one of the day pass things.  I adore riding around on the train and seeing the sea-lion show… oh! and the new Stingray area! I’m not a big fan of the children’s area, but if you bring little humans with you, they’d probably enjoy that too, so you’d might as well have bought one of the bands or membership thingies.  Try to go mid-week if possible, otherwise the place is busy.

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Ted Drew’s Frozen Custard

Brian and I visited Ted Drew’s the first time I brought Boo along on one of our dates.  We sat in the back of the MINI and people watched and ate our custard.  (For the record, Boo likes blueberry) Brian’s parents took us to Ted Drew’s to celebrate our engagement (Cindermint).  Birthdays…. (Fox Treat) and Christmas (Hawaiian).  It’s one of those STL traditions and it became one of our favorite special treats.

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Missouri Botanical Gardens 

The Missouri Botanical Gardens is one of those places that my mom and aunts used to drag me every summer and I hated it…. and then I got my own house and my own yard and learned to appreciate all the flowers and landscaping.  The gardens are beautiful any time of year, you really can’t go wrong.  They also have a number of festivals throughout the year that are all really cool, but they’re also really crowded.  If you have the chance though, I’d absolutely recommend the Garden Glow at Christmas.


Okay, so those are the typical ‘Must See’ things that you’re going to see on every other list.  And I completely agree…. I love ’em too, but there are lots of other great things to see and do outside of St Louis.  I’m not a huge fan of being in the city anyway.  I’d rather escape the crowds and traffic.  The next two items are going to take you about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours outside of St. Louis….. and they are totally worth the drive.

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Historic Kimmswick 

Kimmswick is probably the place that I am most going to miss in the St Louis area.  Mom and I spent many a lazy afternoon roaming through the historic homes turned adorable and eclectic shops.  Each visit was always capped with a visit to the Blue Owl.  If you’re not gluten-free you should order the Levee High Apple Pie for dessert.  I don’t care how much you ate for lunch…. order dessert.  The Blue owl is famous for their desserts.  Order dessert.  If you are gluten free, there aren’t may dessert options, but you can go next door to the Blue Owl Sweet Shop and get ice cream.  I’m a fan of the Coconut Sunday.  There are plenty of Gluten Free entree options, and the staff is so sweet!  I am going to miss all of the ladies at the Blue Owl…. and the food.  Kimmswick hosts several huge festivals throughout the year that are great… but huge and crowded.  If you’re going to visit during a festival make plans to come back on another day to just enjoy the town.  (The whole town is closed on Monday.)

Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park

Elephant Rocks State Park is a fair drive out of St Louis, but it is a fun place to wander and explore.  You can climb all over the huge, elephant like rock formations and wander down paths surrounded by the granite monoliths.  Take a picnic lunch and spend the day climbing, wandering and taking awesome photos.  On your way back to the city, drive north on Hwy 21 and stop in Caledonia, MO.  It’s a teeny, tiny, blink and you missed it town, but there are several cute little shops that are fun to visit.  Stop at Old Village Mercantile to check out the antiques and enjoy and ice cream sundae.

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Chaumette Winery

Chaumette Winery is also a bit of a drive from St Louis, but certainly well worth the trip.  The wine is delicious and the food at the Grapevine Grill is wonderful.  Everything is locally sourced from area farms and dairies.  The menu changes seasonally, but there are usually several gluten-free option for entrées and dessert.  The staff is knowledgable about Gluten Sensitivity and I’ve even had the chef come out and talk to me once or twice.  He even offered to make a special sauce for me once!  Delicious food and wine, great staff, pup-friendly, allergy friendly, beautiful views, good music…..  They even have bed & breakfast villas and a spa.  I’d always wanted to do a spa weekend, but never got around to it…. It would make for an awesome Girl’s Weekend.

 

Because the world needs more cat pics

I had to take my cat MoJo to the vet this week for a dental cleaning. Thank god we don’t have human kids, the fur-babies dental work costs plenty!  213fbb6a-14d0-48fb-8d6c-33593e6996c1

MoJo is an older cat and apparently I am a terrible parent…. he had his teeth cleaned a year and a half ago, but needed them done again.

We have started going to a new vet recently…. the sweetest vet…. As politely as possible she told me that I really should be brushing MoJo’s teeth every day…. and Mayhem’s and Boo’s…. and shit! she doesn’t know about the two outdoor cats yet.  So she really doesn’t know what an awful parent I am. I can’t even begin to imagine trying to wrangle all the fur-babies and get their teeth brushed every day.

See why I don’t have human children?  Somebody would be calling Child Services on me all the time. They’d be roaming around the backyard in their pajamas with their teeth not brushed… Brian would have to be the one to remember to feed them too… No, no… I’m better off with the four-legged kids… they’re more self reliant.  And they can’t tell their therapist stories about me…

“Or, maybe, I could just bring him in every year and you could clean his teeth?”

The vet sighed.  Maybe she has realized what an awful parent she’s dealing with… “Or you could bring him in every year and we can clean his teeth.”

Yay!  I’m a bad parent, but I’m supporting local business!

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MoJo decided to sing the whole way to the vet’s office.  Opera. So, I was punished for being a crappy mom… When I dropped him off he’d let out a melodramatic wail every time the vet tech would say anything…

me: MoJo’s here for his dental

MoJo: OOOoooowwww!

Vet Tech: Hi there, MoJo

MoJo: OOOOhhhhhoooooooowwwwwwaaaaaa!

me: He’s the first one you’re gonna knock out, huh?

Vet Tech: (pained smile) We’re gonna get him in right away.  You should be able to pick him up around 3:30.

MoJo: UUuuuuuggggghhhoooww

Vet Tech: Maybe earlier…. We’ll call you. Keep your phone turned on.

a77ceef5-4475-46b2-8aa2-4128ff02a338I got a phone call at 12:00 that MoJo would be ready to go home at two.

Of course it had started to snow by the time I went to pick him up so he wailed pitifully and melodramatically all the way home through the snow.  So helpful.

Also, I discovered this thing called Dream Scope, which is a wonderful way to waste three hours and make really cool pictures of your cats.  Because the world needs more cool cat pictures.

Something to Occupy My Brain

When Brian and I stared renovating houses for a living I found my brain had a lot of free time available.  I spend a lot of time painting or cleaning or scrubbing vinyl siding by myself. My brain is like an ADD toddler hopped up on Mt Dew and Pixie Stix…. if not kept entertained it’ll run rampant and cause all kinds of trouble… like planning a My Little Pony Circus birthday party for my Pomeranian (Brain didn’t think it was an amazing idea…. because dying ponies purple and gluing glitter wings on them was a “bad” idea…) or worrying about government/alien conspiracies (Brian told me to email Amazon and return all my Doomsday Prep supplies…. he’s gonna be sorry when the aliens invade and we have to forage for Gluten Free food!)

Since Brian doesn’t appreciate all my planning and genius ideas it’s just best to keep my brain entertained quietly.  Brian recommended podcasts.  He got me started on educational stuff…. which I enjoy… I listen to a bunch of shows from TWIT tv.  (This Week In Tech… it’s an abbreviation, not an insult…) I enjoy them…. there are tons of interesting things to learn…. but… you know… “educational.”

I’ve recently discovered story style podcasts and I’m hooked on several really good ones.

You can listen to podcasts in several different ways… iTunes, direct from the web, Pandora, but I like using the Overcast App.  There is a free version, but I opted to pay the $5.00 so that I could download podcasts using data instead of only WI-FI… I like to be able to download new podcast when we’re traveling and I don’t want to have to wait for a WI-FI connection.  (There are other benefits, but that was all I was after.)

Favorite Podcasts:

Serial  – Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial tells one story—a true story—over the course of a season. Each season, we follow a plot and characters wherever they take us. We won’t know what happens at the end until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we bring you the next chapter in the story, so it’s important to listen to the episodes in order.

The Black TapesThe Black Tapes is a weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, and is hosted by Alex Reagan. The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both.

Lore – Lore is an award-winning, critically-acclaimed podcast about true life scary stories. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. – Each episode of Lore looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it.  Sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

Limetown – Ten years ago, over three hundred men, women and children disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be heard from again. –  In this seven-part podcast, American Public Radio host Lia Haddock asks the question once more, “What happened to the people of Limetown?”

The Message – The Message is a new podcast following the weekly reports and interviews from Nicky Tomalin, who is covering the decoding of a message from outer space received 70 years ago. Over the course of 8 episodes we get an inside ear on how a top team of cryptologists attempt to decipher, decode, and understand the alien message.

Tanis – Tanis is a bi-weekly podcast from the creators of Pacific Northwest Stories, and is hosted by Nic Silver. Tanis is a serialized docudrama about a fascinating and surprising mystery: the myth of Tanis.  – Tanis is an exploration of the nature of truth, conspiracy, and information.  – Tanis is what happens when the lines of science and fiction start to blur…

Do you have a favorite podcast?  Share with me!

 

Allergy Season Survival Kit

Allergy Season Survival Tools*Aaaahhhh- CHOO*  

Allergy season is upon us.  My allergies are much better since I went Gluten-Free, but I still get the sneezes during the high point of Spring.

When my nose starts to resemble a certain red-nosed reindeer…. (Red noses might be attractive on reindeer, but not so much on me)…. I have a couple of products that help return my skin to normal.

Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips  – This stuff is INSANE!  I got my first sample in a Birchbox eons ago and have been hooked ever since.  It is made from 100% medical grade Lanolin and can be used on noses, lips, cuticles, nipples (as the name implies)… whatever you’ve got that is dry and ouchie.  It is super thick and lasts…. even when you’re blowing your nose and breathing through your mouth… this stuff lasts! My eyes crossed a little at the idea of spending $15 on a lip balm, but it is so worth it.  Trust me!  Your EOS Lip Balm is great for everyday, but this stuff will get you through a cold or sinus/allergy season without your lips cracking.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator – I’ve had other face scrubs that I liked… but never anything like this.  Vasanti WORKS.  The scrubbie things are super fine and gentle… yes, you’re using this to scour off dead/dry skin, but it doesn’t hurt… or leave your face even more red and sore.  It is a gentle scrub that works really well. You can even use it three to five times a week.  When I’m blowing my nose like crazy and scrubbing my face off with tissues, I use this every other day or so.  Yes, my nose is still red, but I don’t have the dry, flaky skin.  Combine it with the Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips for ultra healing. It’s $35… yep…. but it lasts forever… seriously, you only use a tiny bit.  I received the 20g sample size in my Birchbox just before I got a cold this past winter and it lasted through my cold (using it every other day) and for another two weeks (2x weekly use).

I know that neither product is exactly cheap…. but they LAST and they WORK.  Seriously…. anything that can help you get through allergy & sinus season without looking like a certain red-nosed reindeer…. WORTH IT!

Ready to sign up for Birchbox and discover awesome products for yourself?  Please use my referral code: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/phoenixrize

Shop Small, Shop Local

The holidays are upon us… (if the big stores are to be believed, Christmas was here sometime in late August…. )shop

I’m usually more on top of my holiday shopping, but this year has thrown me for a loop.  In my family we have the added excitement of birthdays.  The majority of birthdays (both sides of the family) are in November – January.  There are only five of us with spring birthdays and one September thrown in for a bit of uniqueness.

I try really hard to find something special or unique for everyone.  We’re all of the age or ability to pretty much go get what we want… so it has to be something unique…..

Working for a small business myself, I like to support my fellow little businesses and shop small and local.  When I do shop online I like to find little crafters and artists… love Etsy!  It’s like giving two gifts, one for your family/friend and one to the business owner…. who can in turn spend that money on their family… keeping it all local… Shopping to make a difference! (Woo hoo!  Shopping justification!)

So if you’re in my area, or looking to shop online, here is a list of some of my favorite little guys:

Eclipse Holistic Fusion

1035 Main Street 
Imperial, Missouri
www.EclipseHolisticFusion.com

I just adore this shop!  I’ve been a client of the owner for six years or so now. When she opened her own shop this year I was ecstatic! Kim is an amazing massage therapist and her shop is filled with all kinds of soothing, pretty, comforting and good for you things.  Kim handcrafts copper and stone jewelry (I can’t get enough of her earrings!).  The shop also boasts a wide assortment of crystals and stones, angel cards, books, teas and incense.  A number of local artists also display their paintings and carvings at Eclipse… so you never know what will be on the shelves!  Eclipse also offers yoga classes and, of course, Massage Therapy…. so don’t forget about gift certificates!

Only Child Originals

176 North Main Street
Ste Genevieve, Missouri
Facebook

More jewelry!  This is a super cute little shop in historic Ste Genevieve, Missouri.  (Which is a great place to visit during the holidays anyway – Check their calendar for the annual Christmas Walk.)  The owner handcrafts all different kinds of lovely beaded jewelry.  She’s also started adding glass and ceramic pieces and these odd, rusty lamps…. they’re so not my style, but I love them… and want one… and have no idea where to put it… but I moon over them every time I’m in the shop.

The Spa Room

5212 US HWY 61/67
Imperial, MIssouri
Facebook

Pampering!  Kim (another Kim) owns the Spa Room and offers a variety of spa services.  Manicures, pedicures and facials….. My personal favorite are the facials.  I’m scheduled for a hot stone foot massage in December….. can’t wait!  Consider gift certificates.  She also sells a product called the Makeup Eraser… I bought one, just because I was trying to be supportive… I wasn’t expecting it to be as awesome as it was, but WOW.  It’s like a washcloth… but you don’t need any soap or lotion.  Just wet the cloth and wipe your makeup right off!  I was skeptical at first.  I used the cloth with warm water and it looked like all my makeup was gone… but I grabbed one of my makeup removing towelettes….. and it came away completely clean!  I used to use two of the towelettes to get my makeup off, but now I just use the Makeup Eraser.  Best of all (in my opinion) it takes mascara off with no rubbing or soap… just a little warm water.  About once a week I toss it in the wash… no special treatment or anything.  Love this thing!

Bonne Terre Airport

7444 Williams Lane
Bonne Terre, Missouri
www.BonneTerreAirport.com

Well, I couldn’t go without mentioning this one!  So you’re thinking… an airport?  No, I’m not suggesting you buy an airplane…. but what about an airplane ride?  Yep, Bonne Terre Airport offers Sightseeing Rides and Introductory Flights.  A super cool gift for someone who has never flown or maybe is interested in learning to fly.  Its also fun to take someone flying over their own town or family farm!  Maybe you know someone who wants to learn to fly?  How about Ground School classes?  Or an hour with an instructor?

Historic Kimmswick, MO

I love shopping in the old river towns in our area.  (Check out their calendar for the annual Holiday Open House and Cookie Walk.) Pretty much every shop in Kimmswick is wonderful, but I especially adore:

  • Serendipity Gifts  – I found the best camera strap cover here.  Very pretty with a cute little pocket to hold the lens cap.  They have tons of other cute stuff too!
  • The Cozy Cottage – What don’t I like from this shop?  Just bag it all up for me!  Purses, jewelry, home decor…..
  • London Interiors – This shop sells the cutest home decor and chalk painted furniture… and the chalk paint if you want to DIY!
  • The Design Haus  – Lots of pretty home decor, but I love their soy candles and melts the most.  They last forever and smell wonderful.

The Feminine Touch

47 N Allen Street
Bonne Terre, Missouri 63628
Facebook 

You can tell that I’ve got a thing for spas….. I’m okay with that!  The shop is in this cool old house right in the heart of Bonne Terre, MO.  Love this place! Hair, nails, massages, waxing…. coffee shop….. Pampering and coffee!  I’ve gotta tell you… there are few things as decadent as wandering from massage to pedicure to manicure with coffee supplied all along the way.  They do all kinds of packages and gift certificates.