Aster Market September Box… Getting Ready for Fall!

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 aster_market_september_box_2015_review The September Aster Market Box is here! Aster Market prides itself on small batch made products that inspire a positive outlook on life. The finds are so contagious, you’ll have a hard time not sharing them with friends!Aster Market loves to give back too! Twenty-five percent of the net proceeds are sent to a non-profit of your choice from their selected charities.Our September box included a beautifully bold Frankie & Coco PDX (frankieandcocopdx.com) canvas bag. The size is perfect to house your makeup or art supplies. The bag is handmade from start to finish in Portland, fully lined with solid cotton and styled with a hint of vintage.

Next in the box is a lovely catch-all dish by Be Free Designs (etsy.com/shop/beFREEdesigns). This little white dish packs a punch. Hand stamped with the word “LOVED” in shiny gold, it is the perfect addition to your nightstand or entryway as a daily inspirational reminder.

Stephanie Martin Co. (etsy.com/shop/StephanieMartinCo) included a bracelet trio that will become a staple for your jewelry collection. Beautifully handmade with stretchy cord, it fits a variety of wrist sizes and creates an effortless fashion statement.

Last but not least is a fun notepad by Quill & Fox (quillandfox.com). Run by a very creative husband and wife team, they use vintage art, fashion and old children’s books to inspire their stationery designs.

Aster Market is a monthly subscription box with prices starting at $39.95. Use code FIRSTBOX10 for 10% off your order.

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Our Most Popular Project Pin! Graduation Rainy Day Cash Gift with FREE Printable!

graduation_umbrella_rainy_day_cash_giftIf you have a graduate that deserves a little something extra, we’ve got an easy creative cash gift that will be the talk of the party.

Start with the materials shown at left: wrapping paper (graduation print or try a solid in the school’s colors), shreds (great time to recycle paper from the shredder!), long narrow box (that will fit your umbrella), million dollar mints or similar money themed candy, umbrella (cheap ones can be found at dollar stores), cash (we used $50 total — (1) $20, (1) $10, (2) $5, (10) $1), fishing line or string, paper clips and our FREE printable “A little something for Rainy days” gift tag.

Fold the flaps of the box inward so you are left with a secure box with no top. Wrap the box with your selected wrapping paper (wrapping so paper can be taped to the bottom of the inside of the box). Fill the box with shreds. Remove any tags and packaging from your umbrella. Carefully open the umbrella in a large open space. Attach paper clips to each paper bill (on the short side of each bill). Cut small lengths of fishing line and tie a few knots around the paper clip and then do the same around the supports of the umbrella. Repeat step until all cash is attached. Tip: You’ll want to keep the strings fairly short so that you can close up the umbrella without strings getting too tangled.

Close umbrella with cash inside and secure with Velcro strap. Cut out our FREE printable “A little something for Rainy days” gift tag and attach to umbrella. Place umbrella inside box on top of shreds. Place money candy around umbrella. Leave box open or cover with clear cellophane for a finished look.

This is also a great birthday, wedding or holiday gift!

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Wish List Wednesdays: A Bluetooth Keyboard that Supports All Your Devices

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Logitech has recently released a versatile bluetooth keyboard that works seamlessly with your phone, tablet and computer (both Mac and PC). Phones and tablets fit securely in the top cradle of the keyboard for a laptop like feel. Turn the dial to easily switch between devices. The keyboard is available in both black/yellow and white/gray. At just under 12″ x 8″ and under 2 pounds, the keyboard is travel friendly. The 2 AAA installed batteries last about 2 years so your new accessory won’t be a drain on power either. At just under $50, this is a great gift for a student, tech lover or frequent flier.

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Mindful Mondays: Give a Memorable Personalized Gift with SpeakSake

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If you are looking for the perfect gift for someone who has everything, look no further! SpeakSake is a unique service that creates an amazing memorable gift that is easy and affordable! Simply e-mail invites to all of the family and friends of your recipients you can come up with. The invite provides details on how to leave an audio message for your recipent’s birthday, get well messages, etc. SpeakSake takes the messages and combines them on an audio cd so the recipient can replay them as many times as they want! At under $40, this is a great gift for kids, grandparents, teachers and more!

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Wish List Wednesdays: Document Your Summer Vacation with Muvee Reveal 11

muvee_reveal_11_reviewIf you love making professional looking videos but don’t have a lot of time, we have an affordable software that will help you get your precious memories documented fast! Muvee Reveal 11 is a windows based software that allows you to import movie clips and automatically stitches them together to create a high-quality video suitable for future showings.

Whether you are compiling everyday family videos, a once-in-a-lifetime wedding, completing your bucket list or extracting stills from your videos, Muvee Reveal 11 can help!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Muvee Reveal 11 is extremely easy to install and use. In the upper left hand corner you can easily add and arrange movie clips from your computer or camera memory card.

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Double-clicking on a clip will bring up an edit screen. The edit screen easily enables the user to highlight or exclude segments within a video clip. It also has a tab for adding captions and video effects. Choose “auto-summarize” from the personalize tab (lower-right corner on main dashboard) if you want Muvee Reveal 11 to do the editing for you!

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The software also comes with styles. After choosing a style, you can add music from your hard drive and Muvee Reveal 11 will take care of the rest! If you need a video specific theme, you can purchase more styles for a small fee.

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In the bottom right hand corner you will see the personalize button. Clicking this option allows the user to use all of the clips added or have the software edit for you. You can also add a professionally edited cinematic title by simply adding caption text and still photos in themes like “action” and “family”. Even add a video logo and voice over.

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Movies can be saved and rendered in a multitude of formats including YouTube, Facebook and even
Blu-Ray quality! Render time will depend on age and capacity of computer and option chosen (HD or web file). You can even store movies on the software’s cloud or burn to a DVD.  Other features includes adding stickers and borders to still photos, color filters to your videos and adjusting the pace for every style. Muvee Reveal 11 retails for $79.99 and can be purchased directly from muvee.com.

Our final thoughts: After creating a few videos, we are confident this is a great software for PC. It is easy enough to use for people who are not computer software friendly but comes with enough features to keep a computer wiz satisfied. HD movies do take a considerable amount of time to render but the result is worth the wait. We did not experience any freezing of the program itself which can sometimes be a problem with video based software. Cinematic titles alone are worth the cost of the software. Although additional styles cost extra, for a special event the $10-$15 would be worth it to make the video unique and special.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Wish List Wednesdays: Send a Sweet Surprise with Sugarwish!

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A gift card works in a pinch but lacks a certain effort and surprise. Sugarwish allows you to pick from three size candy boxes, Petite ($25), Classic ($40) and Ultimate ($70), choose your occasion gift card and e-mail your lucky recipient (all shipping charges are included!. Sugarwish allows the recipient to choose their favorite four candies from a large selection of tempting choices to complete their sweet gift! Great gift for teens, nieces/nephews, long distance friends/family, co-workers, teachers, graduations, Father’s Day and more!

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Julie’s Picks: Custom Picture Puzzles by Piczzle + Giveaway!

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juliespicks_piczzle_custom_photo_puzzleDisclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I recently received a custom picture puzzle by Piczzle and I am thrilled with the results! The process could not be easier!
You can choose from vertical or horizontal orientation and fun shapes like circles and hearts. Simply choose your desired shape, add up to 2 lines of text and upload your photo.
Piczzle will turn your pictures into puzzles!

I chose a family photo that my boys would have fun putting together. I received the standard cardboard piece picture puzzle (medium size/48 piece), but you can also order an heirloom wood base puzzle for a special occasion. The cardboard pieces are very durable and fit together easily. The picture was also printed at a high quality resolution with good color.

My boys really enjoyed putting together the custom picture puzzle. The coordinating photo box is really handy for keeping everything organized. It’s definitely an activity that is great for quality family time.

Piczzle is a great gift for upcoming Spring/Summer weddings (use their engagement picture personalized with their wedding date), it’s small enough to add to your luggage for Spring Break activities and even a great gift for Grandparents for upcoming Mother’s/Father’s Day! 

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Want to try out Piczzle? Piczzle is graciously giving away a small sized picture puzzle to one of our lucky readers! Enter the giveaway below and earn extra entries for sharing the giveaway with your friends and family! Find Piczzle Photo Puzzles on Facebook and Piczzle Photo Puzzles on YouTube.

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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