Village Artisan: Now Available at H-E-B Blooms

This post is sponsored in part by Ethical Sourcing Network. All opinions are my own.

H-E-B’s floral and gift shop, H-E-B Blooms, has recently launched a new, exciting product line.

Meet Village Artisan, gift giving with meaning. Each and every one of their unique items is handcrafted in North India. With every purchase of these pieces, you are helping share their story with the world and make a significant impact in their community.

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What’s the story behind Village Artisan?

Village Artisan is one of hope, dignity, and empowerment that comes from the opportunity to be trained in a skill and to work at a fair wage in a caring community.
By buying these unique Village Artisan pieces, you are sharing #aglobalstoryofchange about these artisan women and men in North India, whose hearts and dreams are carried within their crafts straight to you and your loved ones within these fantastic pieces of hand crafted jewelry, sari scarves, stationary cards and journals, home decor, and more.

More about these one of a kind, Village Artisan fair-trade goods:

Village Artisan has a number of unique and one-of-a-kind offerings like handmade jewelry and scarves. (Scarves are up cycled and many jewelry pieces have up cycled elements from reclaimed saris.)

I’m a paper goods geek. My office is full of notebooks and all kinds of stationary so of course, my favorites of the Village Artisan collection are the stationary, cards, and notebooks. Each of these items is made with 100% recycled cotton. You can literally feel a difference and know this stationary is of substance (both physically and figuratively).

After learning the backstory about the products, you get a really good feeling to every touch. Your item was personally made for you with special love and attention. In turn, these artisans are so grateful for your purchase because it’s absolutely helping to change their world.


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Gift giving with meaning and purpose behind it. Give a gift that gives back half way across the world.

Next time you’re in need of a special gift for a friend, family member, or loved one, visit your local H-E-B Blooms. Village Artisan items are complimented beautifully with fresh flowers.


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The #VillageArtisan mission is to make #aglobalstoryofchange. Just by purchasing these items at your local #HEBBlooms, you are helping further that mission to change the lives of people around the world to break the cycle of poverty and overcome. To learn more about their full story, visit the Village Artisan website here.


For all the latest updates, you can connect with Village Artisan on Facebook and Instagram.

My Jenny Journey: 200 Days on Jenny Craig

Disclosure: I was provided a free trial program and a discount on the Jenny Craig meals. However, the opinions and writing are entirely my own. Members following the Jenny Craig program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs per week

Just recently, I wrapped up 200 Days on the Jenny Craig Weight Loss Journey. During this time, I dropped ~50 lbs in 200 days!

Here’s my before (when I first started the program back in February 2015) and most recent after photo (taken last weekend):

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Showing the most notable difference, weight loss in my face!

Here are a few more results photos from my birthday weekend in July:

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Me and my husband – there’s a two-year difference between these two photos.

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On my 28th birthday, looking good & FEELING better. I don’t like calling these my “before and afters” because I still have a ways to go before I reach my final goal. But I am definitely proud of what I have been able to accomplish while on Jenny Craig these past 6 months!

My final thoughts on the Jenny Craig weight loss diet plan:

I have nothing but awesome things to say about the program. Majority of the foods are really, really good. They make dieting life so easy. They teach you how to meal prep and plan on and off the Jenny Craig menu. The consultants are fantastic and super supportive. The program is all about lifestyle and reaching your goals in a positive, healthy manner.

The only negative is that the program is pretty expensive but if you’re able to make the investment in yourself, do it! You’re worth it!

Jenny Craig’s new fall foods are here! & they’re letting me share a special offer with my readers:

Jenny Craig just launched more than a dozen new fall foods and seasonal items. I’ve had the chance to try most of these and they are all fantastic. I really like that Jenny rolls out new foods a few times a year to keep the menu fresh… plus, we all need our pumpkin spice and peppermint fix when it’s that special time of year!

The new foods include:

  • Loaded Baked Potato (so good & super filling)
  • Italian Style Pasta Bake
  • Classic Waffles (who doesn’t love waffles?! yum!)
  • Chocolate Peppermint Cake
  • Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich
  • Pumpkin Loaf
  • Pumpkin Spice Cakes
  • Homestyle Beef Pot Roast
  • Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce
  • Turkey & Wild Rice
  • Apple Crisp
  • Chocolate Lava Cake (so good!)
  • Strawberry Yogurt Anytime Bars
  • Cookie Dough Anytime Bars

    Offer: Join Today & get $50 off* Jenny Craig’s Best Program + $50 in food savings**

*$50 food discount to be used in $10 increments with minimum weekly food purchase of $90 US/$95 CAN. Discounts valid at participating centers and at Jenny Craig Anywhere for new members enrolling in the Jenny Craig All Access program, other restrictions may apply, details available at participating centers. Additional costs include monthly membership fee, cost of food, and cost of shipping if applicable. Not Valid to purchase food at No cash value. Offer ends 10/30/2015.

An Update from Home: Loving Life in Our New House

BIG news: We bought our first house!

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The journey to home owning has been exciting. We’ve been really blessed during this process to find a great team who worked so closely with us to get us exactly where we want to be. We were referred to our wonderful realtor, Albert Yanez of RE/MAX Northwest Realtors, by a co-worker of my husband’s. Albert was essential in finding our perfect first home. We can’t thank you enough, Albert!

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We were also really blessed to have a wonderful Mortgage team. As new home owners, we had never been through this process before. Jayden Slentz and his AMCAP Mortgage team were fantastic in leading the way home for us. Thank you, Jayden!

We’ve been working toward our goal of owning our first home for well over three years now.

All the budgeting and saving, patience and preparation, hard work and sacrifice has been well worth it. We closed late last month and just moved in recently. Nothing has ever been more gratifying than owning our own home. (Well, maybe except for my weight loss.)

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We’re having fun getting settled in and learning our new area. For me, the transition from living inside the city to moving to the suburbs has been awesome. People are just so much more friendly!

Needless to say, we won’t be missing 1-bedroom/1-bathroom apartment living at all. One of the most gratifying things about our move is seeing how much happier our fur-babies are in their new home. Chloe, our Golden Retriever, loves her new backyard. Seriously, sometimes, we can’t even get her to come back inside because she’s enjoying it so much! Our cat, Andie, is just loving having more space in general. She’s always been pretty anti-social but when guests aren’t over, she’s all over.

The fact that they took so well and took so quickly to this house just solidifies how meant to be it is for us. They just instantly knew they were home as soon as they got here!

I could not be happier to be enjoying #housewifelife again (for the time being).

We relocated about 40 miles away to be closer to my husband’s workplace so I’m currently in between jobs and looking for work closer to my new neighborhood. Ah, the job search begins again!

I’m also really excited to have more time to devote to blogging, too. Be on the lookout for more new posts coming very soon!

In the meantime, my main focus is homemaking and honing my domestic goddess skills. As an organization lover, having the time to unpack and find a place for all of our belongings has been nice. We’ve been purging and making quite a few trips to the donation centers, too.

It’s so nice to finally have SPACE. Can you believe we have had wedding presents (from over three years ago) unopened, in boxes still, because we had no place to put them in our apartment?

home announcement

Finally, everything now has it’s home and with room to grow. Ahh, home owning happiness, for sure.

Our Western Caribbean Anniversary Cruise Aboard the Carnival Magic

Hubby and I just got back this morning from another wonderful cruise vacation – our third one together. Yes, we are hooked and absolutely love cruising!

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This trip was extra special for us as we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary cruising on the very same ship we were married on! Not to mention, life has been so busy and so crazy these last few months – this week aboard was very much-needed. (Let me go ahead and apologize for the impromptu blogging hiatus!)

We boarded our ship, The Carnival Magic, in the Port of Galveston on August 30th.

To our super pleasant surprise, we ran into our The Wedding Experience wedding planners and the very same officiant who married us! They were so sweet and remembered us from our special day three years ago. They were so happy to see us, congratulated us on our anniversary, and wished us a wonderful trip.

Our first stop was one of my very favorite ports – Cozumel, Mexico!

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In Cozumel, we grabbed a quick taxi ride and headed to Mr. Sancho’s, a wonderful all-inclusive resort and beautiful beach. This place was Heaven for us. The beach was gorgeous and there was plenty to do. We enjoyed the drinks and food and beautiful pools with swim up bar. What made this place extra special was the excellent staff and bartenders who truly valued each and every one of their patrons. You can tell they really wanted to make the experience as special as possible for each guest.

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I have to rave about our sweet bartender, Jersey, who took such great care of us during our entire time at this gorgeous place! If you make your way to Mr. Sancho’s, go see Jersey. He’s absolutely the best!

Our next two stops were Belize and Isla Roatan (Honduras).

In Belize, we tendered to the port and spent some time walking around checking out the shops. We landed at The Wet Lizard and tried some local fare (meat pies) which were tasty. It’s a fun little place to spend some time and enjoy the weather.

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For our port day in Isla Roatan, we decided to book the Mayan Princess All Inclusive excursion through Carnival.

We enjoyed the guided bus tour on the way to the resort but unfortunately, our experience there wasn’t the best. The place itself was GORGEOUS and we loved our time spent in the water and on the beautiful beach. BUT The Mayan Princess staff were not friendly and downright rude to most of us with the “all-inclusive” wristbands. We were ignored during busy times at the bar. As a matter of fact, the “open bar” menu was very limited. Although, the food was pretty good… the terrible customer service just really took away from the entire experience not making it worth the $99.99 cost per person.

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Not to mention, we experienced the best of the best two days before at Mr. Sancho’s in Cozumel so my expectations were pretty high… but again, the beach was pretty close to perfect! Do be prepared though for a ton of vendors, although, the resort provides security guards to keep the pestering to a minimum.

The Carnival Cruise experience just keeps getting better and better.

So while being on my weight loss journey for a while now, I decided to let loose a bit and enjoy food and drinks this last week that I wouldn’t normally have. I definitely had to try the new American Table dining experience that Carnival has rolled out over the last year.

I was so impressed! The menus offered a wide variety and everything we tried was absolutely delicious. Carnival has definitely upped their culinary game, for sure!

One of the biggest differences I noticed from our last cruise with Royal Caribbean was the difference in quality of dining options included in your regular cruise fare. RC’s additional restaurants (which cost extra) were all exquisite but their main dining room experience and food quality was not consistent at all. Carnival’s American Table definitely outshines the competition in that respect.

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We truly had the best time on board The Magic. Until next time! Safe travels, friends.

A Tribute to my Grandpa

It’s been a really tough time for my family and I over the past week. My grandfather passed away last Friday and today, we said our goodbyes during his funeral services. It was a beautiful ceremony and I can’t help but share about my incredible Grandpa Pegg.

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During my childhood, I was very blessed to have had both sets of my grandparents with me while growing up. They are each amazing people with their own amazing life stories; and each of them has uniquely impacted me in shaping who I am.

My Grandpa Pegg’s story, to me – has always been one of valor, hard work, and dedication. 

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He loved his country and fought bravely for it. I’ve always been so prideful in the fact that MY  Grandpa is a United States Marine.

He loved his family – but especially his sweetheart, Mercedes. My grandparents’ unique, yet classic, love story has always inspired me.

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They met in Gibraltar in 1950. My grandma was a dancer and my grandpa a MARINE. And YES — It was indeed love at first sight (I have confirmed this with my grandma).

Grandpa has always been such a devoted and loving husband to my Grandma.

One of my favorite songs is called “Old Love” by The Rocket Summer… There’s a lyric that goes… “I want to love like my grandfather loved his wife.” The song talks about my generation’s issues with love and commitment. & how some of us tend to just give up too easily these days on marriage.  I want to thank my Grandpa for his example of how it should be.

Grandpa’s devotion to his wife was mighty and they enjoyed a beautiful lifetime together. They made a beautiful family with two great sons. They traveled the world. They lived and loved life, making the most of it.

grandma and her boys
It means the world to me that my husband, Opie, got along so well with my grandparents. Especially, the moment when Opie got Gramps’ stamp of approval so quickly — that really solidified me knowing I was getting a good man.

And WE strive everyday for that same “old love” that my grandparents shared for over 65 years together.

Now I do have to tell you all… Grandpa did have another little lady in his life during the later years, his other sweetheart that he loved very much — Tiny, my grandparents’ Chihuahua. She has been with him loyally for the last 14 years.

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Our sweet Tiny — she held on to the very end for Grandpa. She heard him calling from the other side and actually passed away the night after Grandpa. It comforts me to know that they are together again. Rest in peace, sweet girl.

I’m very lucky to have so many great memories of my Grandpa Pegg.

Me and Grandpa
But I’ll never forget this one very special moment, in particular, that Grandpa and I shared back in 2012.

I was in the Neuro ICU recovering after my brain stem surgery. Grandma and Grandpa had made the arduous drive to the medical center to see me that day.

After visiting for a while, Grandpa came up to my hospital bed and grabbed my hand and told me that I had really given everyone a big scare and he was happy that I made it through.

I remember squeezing his hand and smiling at him. I couldn’t speak at the time but I wanted to tell him, “Of course, I made it through. I’m built tough and strong just like my Grandpa Pegg.”

grandpa and me funeral services
I will always do my best to carry that same strength with me through out my life and instill it in my own children one day. I promise that they will learn their great-grandfather’s life story and be just as proud as I am of our Marine.

I love you, Grandpa.

Rest in peace!

In Loving Memory of Charles E. Pegg

1927 – 2015