Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dive into the season’s sexiest swimwear at Express!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Dive into the season’s sexiest swimwear at Advertisement. The new spring women's swimwear line at Advertisement is fabulous. They've managed to design a variety of super cute bikinis and other swim suits. My favorite suit is this two piece:

Express Swimsuit

I love how Advertisement has managed to incorporate bold hues with on trend graphic prints. I would wear their suits to the beach, the pool, on vacation. Anywhere! They're all cute and spot on with the current trends.

Some key points about the women's swimwear line at Advertisement:

* They offer their always-popular monokini, sexiest string bikini and must-have strapless and halter bikini styles.
* A choice of bright solids, on-trend graphic prints, the essential reversible style, nautical-inspired striped and sleek metallic styles.
* Their collection includes designer details including flirty ruffles, sexy self-tie sides, glam beaded embellishments and polished metal hardware.
* Removable padding in tops.
* Bottoms fit smaller to size for moderate back coverage.
*  Swim shorts available for men.
* You can accessorize with Express spring essentials including sandals, tote bags, sunglasses and hats For Him and For Her.

Sign up for Express e-mail for a chance to win one of ten $200 Express gift cards! Please be sure to visit the sweepstakes rules for additional information.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mattie Reid Chicago blog contest

I am very excited to offer Mattie Reid Chicago readers a chance to win a $20 store credit at our Etsy shop. Don't want to wait for the contest to end to get something from our shop? Use coupon code "ETSY20" and get 20% off anything in our store. Coupon expires 3/31/11.

The giveaway details are as follows:
1. Visit our shop, find something you really like and come back here and comment.
2. Heart our shop or favorite an item for extra entries and then come back here and comment.
3. Earn one extra entry for following our blog. Come back here and comment and tell us you are following our blog.

Contest ends Thursday March 31, 2011 at midnight CST.
Limit is $20 store credit.
Open to residents worldwide.
Winner will be drawn randomly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Etsy Recyclers Guild Attempts to Raise $5000 for Fire Victim They Don't Know Calling Out to Ty Pennington

This is was Ron's House. 



I'm pleased as your Team Captain to announce a huge Fundraising challenge. I am asking for help spreading the word to our readers, followers, team members , people on other Etsy teams, your twitter friends, your blog friends, and people at your church or youth groups, so that if everyone donates as little as $1, we can raise $5000 to  help someone in dire need.  As you may or may not already know, I personally work with many charities and often times I don't get to know the actual person I'm helping. In this case, I selected this cause we will be helping just one person and that's something we can feel good about.  I honestly think this is a cause for Extreme Makeover Home Edition but we have to start somewhere.


This cause is RON.  I am asking each of you to help spread the word.  I've never met him. I live in Baltimore, Ron is on a farm near Ames, Iowa. I heard about him through Etsy seller, Marie, WearTheHeartIs who shared the initial story her blog.

Who is Ron?
This story breaks my heart and I know we can help!  The key thing to remember is, Ron could be your neighbor or mine.  This could happen to any of us. Ron had a beautiful home on an Iowa Farm.  His address is in Ames, Iowa, but he's inside the town of Story, Iowa. Ron worked hard and loved animals, often taking in strays (cats, he loves them, and can never refuse a cat.)  He had a love for horses, he has 4 horses, who are ages 14, 25, 26 and 27 are alive and fine and getting fed everyday even though Ron is not.  He was a kind man, and always generous. When the recession hit, Ron was not spared.  Ron felt the economic fallout when he had lost his job at 3M.  After that he served on the Census board, and tried desperately to make ends meet. Soon Ron found himself juggling which bills to pay, as well all know, times are tough and we are often forced with these type of decisions. Ron let his home insurance lapse.

August 23, 2010 a fire swept through Ron's house, all but destroying it.  Here is a video that was taken of what is left of Ron's home by Marie.  I must warn you it is sad to see this once prestigious home in shambles.  No insurance means this is the way the home stays.

If you can't watch this video, go direct to Flickr and watch it here.

Ron has been making due, but never able to regroup after such a devastation. He has been trying to fix up the small, cabin-like offshoot to the north of the house. The truth is, it is riddled with raccoons, and Ron is the type of man who doesn't want to ask or bother anyone for help.  It doesn't have electricity or running water.  It is unfit, but we can help make it fit. Ron made it through the winter huddled inside the small building.  Over the winter, he took in two stray cats.  That's just Ron.  He has a heart of gold.  You can see by this photo, taken from the video, that Ron's cat "Hillbilly" is eating, but Ron's shoes are busting out the sides.

He's been taking showers at a local health club and getting evening meals at friends or relative's houses. He has a tracphone only with limited minutes, often running out of them. He went from living in a beautiful home, trying to make ends meet, to having absolutely nothing. Marie from WeartheHeartIs has been bringing him food and even cat food and selling some items she finds on his farm on Etsy to help Ron receive some sort of income.  She spends one day a week rummaging around through any of the half dozen, dilapidated buildings he has on his farm, looking for things to sell, and that helps somewhat....sadly, not enough to even begin picking up the pieces that once was known as his life.  Nothing is salvageable from the large home, nothing.   Ron is just happy to be alive and like I said, hasn't asked anyone for help.

When I heard this story I knew I had to do something.  There comes a time when I have to look at our team and know that in numbers, we can make a difference.  This story touched me and I know I was meant to do something. 

This could happen to any of us overnight. I realize that everyone is feeling this economy, but I'm asking everyone to open their hearts and help spread the word. If you can't donate $1, that's fine, you can help by spreading the word. 

Here is how we can help Ron.   

1) SPREAD THE WORD, it doesn't cost you a thing but a few moments of your time:

Tweet, Facebook, Blog, Digg, and talk about this story and this post to anyone that will listen. If have an Etsy shop post this story in your announcement, and in your automatic Message to buyers, send them the link and ask them to spread the word.

We need to get this guy to Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I'm printing out this application and blog post and sending it to them.  You can do the same here's the link. If we continue to put the word out, people will donate, help, and eventually someone who has real means to help Ron will come forward.   I am calling out to Ty Pennington and I encourage you to post THIS STORY to Extreme Makeover facebook page, post it to your local news, your church, or anywhere anyone will listen.

Send this story to o Friskies or 9 Lives and ask them to send cat food, to Ron. Send your friends or family back to this link, so they read about Ron and send just a $1 or more to help Ron.  If you send to twenty people, and they send to twenty people, and everyone sends $1, Ron can some temporary help he needs to possibly make his outbuilding more liveable until someone comes in and fixes this home!

If you know of any huge construction companies that build residential homes, send it to them. Ask them to rebuild Ron's house. You would not believe how charitable people can be.  The key here is we are doing this for someone we've never met, and do not know. A stranger to us.  Has a stranger ever helped you?

2) DO MORE AND DONATE, if you have the funds to do so here are a few ways:

Mail a small donation as little as $1 bill to Ron.  ADD IT HERE TO THE FUNDRAISER SPREADSHEET!

Ronald Craig
55089 282nd Street
Ames, Iowa 50010

You can donate via this paypal button and I will send the Donations to Ron as they come in, and I'll add you to the spreadsheet. (WARNING: This won't be tax deductible because I'm not a 501C! and Paypal does take fees unless you send me money as A GIFT to

:( I tried to use a site like Kickstarter but they said NO CHARITY CASES!)
You can donate below but know they will take fees!

Send some cat food or clothing or figure out how to refill the TracPhone!  ADD IT HERE TO THE FUNDRAISER SPREADSHEET!

Sell an item in your shop, and send the proceeds to Ron!  When you do, ADD IT HERE TO THE FUNDRAISER SPREADSHEET!

Or you can purchase some of the items that are listed from WearTheHeartIs wherein you obtain a cool item from Ron's estate of which net proceeds after packing and fees go to Ron. These items are tagged "SUPPORTS RON" and click here to see them and Marie is constantly finding new things to sell from Ron's estate. 

It's stories like this where I know, if enough people reach out, we can make a difference. 
I beg of you, to spread the word and help this man.  I believe that if we do, someday someone will help us when we need it.  Such is life, and random acts of kindness.  Every tweet, every facebook post, will help this man.   It is now I will stop blogging for awhile and start helping Ron.

Copy and save and post this banner to your shop. Do what you can for Ron~!
We are banding together to help someone we've never met because random acts of kindness is what we are all about.
Thank you,

Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer
aka Ira Mency



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Yogurtland Rocks!

The new rage of sweet shops to visit in Houston is yogurt shops. One of my most favorite yogurt shops is Yogurtland.

I've been to other yogurt shops here in Houston and they're all basically the same. I stumbled upon Yogurtland one day and they seem to have a better variety of yogurt. They have tart frozen yogurts, which I love, but they also have other normal flavors such as chocolate and strawberry. All of their yogurt is self serve and they have a topping bar near the checkout. The topping bar includes things such as granola, fresh fruit and candy. I love chocolate covered sunflower seeds and typically spoon on some of those with some blueberries (I know it probably sounds pretty gross, but it tastes really yummy!).

Dominic and I went to Yogurtland after visiting the zoo yesterday and each got a yogurt and sat outside and enjoyed the afternoon.

If you like frozen yogurt and haven't been to Yogurtland, you need to go. They weigh your cup and their price is the best around-and, they have the best flavors around. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!