Natural Skincare Giveaway!

Cherished by Stacy is giving away a wonderful package of natural skincare products for free here on Mama Muse Me.


Click Here for the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

​Items included:
1 Mint Chocolate Chip Lip Balm
1 Heaven Sent Body Scrub (2 ounces)
1 Mint Chocolate Chip Body Scrub (2 ounces)
1 Chocolate Covered Cherry Body Scrub (2 ounces)

I’ve created a bunch of options for entering, including a free entry! You can pick any option to enter, or do them all for extra entries. Note: the giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

To read my blog post about Cherished by Stacy, click here. Good luck, and get cherished!

Click Here for the Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Check Out My Guest Post on Misses Miscellany

This morning I was sipping my favorite hi-caf breakfast tea out of my Jane Austen mug (yes, I am that person) and browsing new blog posts when I saw that my guest post has gone live on Misses Miscellany. I am a literary gal and a future English teacher, so this post showcases those aspects of me. Would you stop by and check it out? I think you’ll especially enjoy this post if you enjoy reading or if you remember curling up with the pages of Anne of Green Gables when you were young.

By the way, if you are a blogger, consider submitting to Misses Miscellany. I’ve discovered several great blogs and read many new, interesting female voices there.

Happy Friday, lovely reader!

Teresa from Mama Muse Me

Meet Stacy, All-Natural Skincare Extraordinaire

Today I’m featuring Stacy from Cherished By Stacy, a business that offers completely natural, no preservatives, skincare that smells absolutely divine. When she says cherished, Stacy is not exaggerating. Her skincare products feel indulgent, but the prices are very affordable. As a Christian, Stacy strives to offer her very best products, share God’s love, and grow her business with integrity.

My favorite product that she mailed me is called Heaven Sent, a body butter and a scrub. The formulas are all-natural ingredients like coconut oil, vanilla, almond oil, and vitamin E. Stacy has the scent and the texture just right, and it’s awesome to know that these products are nourishing for your body.


Today, I’m posting a Q&A with Stacy to give you an inside peek at what it’s like to start a skincare line. First, though, I’m going to tell you the story of how we met. The story says a lot about Stacy and her beautiful heart. After you read, please show her some love by visiting her Etsy site! Also, stay tuned for a potential giveaway.

How I Met Stacy

Stacy and I met earlier this year at a women’s faith retreat in rural Pennsylvania. I was doing something that, as a shy person, was pretty terrifying — attending by myself. I originally did not plan to go by myself, but plans fell through; yet, I needed a chance to be refreshed and to just get away for a weekend. It seemed like the other women at the conference center were very calm, collected, and at peace, even those who did not know anyone. I wondered, how did I ever think going on a retreat where I don’t know anyone would be refreshing? I sat in a rocking chair on the huge wooden porch of the retreat center, looking out at the mountains, feeling so grateful for the free time without diaper changes and obligations, yet also feeling uneasy. Well, that retreat is where I met Stacy. She made me feel noticed and cared about, which meant a lot. We had meals together, talked, and prayed together. I was so, so thankful for her. Even as I went way outside of my comfort zone, I felt like she really cared, and that touched me.

After we left the retreat, Stacy and I continued to stay in touch. We exchange prayer requests regularly. Anyway, one day I felt a nudge to feature Stacy’s natural skincare business on my blog. I asked Stacy if she would like that. She told me that she had started the business on Etsy earlier this year, but then she felt like God was telling her to go on a social media fast (a.k.a. — no social media!). How could she promote her business if she couldn’t use social media? Well, I’m hoping this blog post will be one way she can promote her business *wink*. If you feel led to do so, please share Stacy’s business on your social media.

Without further ado, here is my Q&A with Stacy.

013What made you decide to open Cherished by Stacy? Before opening Cherished by Stacy, I made all natural sugar scrubs for myself. I loved them so much that I shared my scrubs as gifts with family, friends, and coworkers. Everyone loved the products just as much as I did, and they encouraged me to start a business. I chose the name Cherished by Stacy because the purpose is to show women that they are loved and cherished by God.

What process did you go through to start? I was hesitant to open my page at first – I have never run a business before and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I continued to share free product samples with friends to get feedback and see if it was really something that I could do, and do well. I sold a few sugar scrubs here and there. This past Christmas I helped a friend make gifts for her family, which led to making body butter as well. It took me about a year, but with continued encouragement from friends and family, I officially stepped out in faith and launched my Etsy shop in February of this year!

What are you looking forward to the most, and what scares you the most about it? I look forward to creating and introducing new products and expanding my Etsy page. I have so much to learn, and I am excited about how I can use Cherished by Stacy to bless others. I want to make sure that I steward my business well and honor God with the work of my hands. I want to be mindful to listen to where He wants to take Cherished by Stacy, and how He wants to use it. I also want to encourage other women to step out in faith and walk towards the dreams God has put in their hearts.

How did you get started in making all natural sugar scrubs? My interest in making all natural skincare products actually started five years ago, after I went natural with my hair in July 2010. I became more conscientious about the types of products that I use on my hair and on my skin. I am sensitive to strong perfume smells, so some products just don’t work for me. One day I decided to do my own “at-home spa” experience, so I made my own hair products, face masks, and body scrub free of perfumes and chemicals – and I loved every minute! That’s all it took! I am excited that I pursued my dream of owning my own business in my 33rd year of life. I can’t wait to watch it grow!

Why did you choose to focus on body/skincare products? Anyone who knows me well knows that I am such a girly-girl, as my friends would call me! I just love pamper products – facials, body scrubs, body butters, etc. that just make my skin feel great. Let’s face it ladies: going to the spa and even great store bought products are not always in the budget, so I decided to have some fun and make my own.

How is your business going so far? The past five months have been a great experience for growth. I am learning about what works and brainstorming how to improve my marketing/design. Things in my day-to-day life were pretty busy this spring and early summer, so I only operated my business on a limited basis, to include the Mother’s Day holiday sale. I am excited to launch some new products in Fall 2015!

What has been your greatest success? Opening my store was a huge accomplishment in and of itself. Trusting God through the entire process has been amazing. I love hearing how much people love the product, men and women. I am also excited that I expanded my store to include body butters and lip balm. I love the ideas that God has given me, and I can’t wait for others to try them too.

What makes your product stand out? My products are all natural, perfume-free, and handmade.

What is your biggest dream? My biggest dream is to be a good steward of the gifts and talents that God has given me to bless others around me. God has given me a heart to serve women who need encouragement, and I want them to know that they are loved, cherished, and seen by God. The shop may change based on where I feel God is leading me to go with the business, but the mission to serve and encourage others will always remain the same. I mostly want to encourage others to pursue their dreams.

What’s your favorite product you have created? My personal favorite product is the Heaven Sent Sugar Scrub – this is my go to scrub, hands down! The smell isn’t overpowering, and the salt and sugar combo make it the perfect exfoliator!

Which skincare lines have influenced you? The products made by Lush are nice and definitely inspired me to make my own products.

If you would like to place an order or have any questions, please visit Cherished by Stacy at or email her at Blessings!

Try a Relationship Goal Like This (Take a Hike!)

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Almost a year into dating, my husband and I came up with a goal to hike the whole C&O Canal towpath together — 184.5 miles total! For my non-East Coast readers, the canal is near Washington, D.C. We decided that we would take as many years as we needed, but we would definitely do the whole thing. We first were inspired to do this when we were taking a little stroll on the canal near Harper’s Ferry, WV.

That was early in 2009. Most of our hikes were 10 to 15 miles at a time, and the longest one we ever did was 16.5 miles (whew, yes we did that). Since then, we’ve been engaged, married, and had a baby, and the canal photos chronicle all of it, in a sporadic but neat way. I also kept some short journal entries from each hike, which are really fun to look back on and remember sights and happenings, like the time we saw a deer-cyclist collision. Yes, that happened.

The year our son was born, since he was a preemie, we didn’t make it out onto the canal at all — but now we are getting really close to finishing our goal, and we’ve been bringing him along. We have less than 30 miles left, which will probably take two or three more hikes. So close! Wonder what we will do next.

We park our cars like bookends where we will start and end each hike. It does take a lot of planning, but we use Google maps and this website. Of course, we can’t say we’re finished until, well, until we are finished, but I feel like it’s been an accomplishment even this far and a testament to our determination and our relationship. Unless you are a determined person and willing to park your car in some spots with sketchy off-road driving situations, you might prefer to bike the canal if you want to do the whole thing. It’s definitely bike-friendly.

The canal starts in a very urban, high-income area and ends up in some incredibly rural Appalachian areas. The cultural shift is interesting to witness. If you just want to hike a section, the area at Great Falls is excellent. The canal holds a ton of history, from the time when boats transported goods on the man-made route from Georgetown to Cumberland for about 90 years (1831-1924). Coal was the main cargo, but hogs, whiskey, flour, salt, and other goods made their way on the canal too. Mules on the towpath helped guide the boats along the waterway, and boatmen and lock keepers were employed to keep the cargo moving.

Have you ever come up with a big goal with a friend or significant other?

Hope you’re inspired!


Christianity: For the Love

Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV)

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards, expresses so many of my own thoughts as a Christian in a world that seems polarized, quick to judge, and always striving toward elusive perfection. Even though it is challenging to show one another love sometimes  — and I can think of many times when I’ve failed at this command — I do believe love is essential to honoring God. If we as Christians could do a better job at loving God and loving others, the world might not be so cynical toward us.

Tearing each other down is not bringing glory to God. There is a time and a place for showing concern and offering critiques from a place of love — within relationship, one-on-one, when something really needs to be said — but it seems that nowadays some people are ready to pounce upon and dissect any little perceived imperfection of another human being. None of us are perfect. Period. That is why it is the grace of God that saves us through faith in Christ, not our own works. 

Of course, we do our best to gain wisdom. We read the Bible and listen to sound teaching and preaching (biblical exegesis). We can speak the truth, even hard truth, when it needs spoken (in a loving way). We want to do our best for God. Soon as a Christian mentions showing love, I think some people are, unfortunately, immediately ready to pounce and set up their counter-argument (Seriously, you are arguing against love?). Oh, you must be wishy-washy in your faith, they say. I think a person can show love and have strong faith at the same time.

Jesus is the ultimate example of love. He visited people that the religious elite of his time snubbed. He did not get involved in politics because his mission was (gasp) more important than politics. He showed compassion toward the poor and the rejected, and he lovingly taught his followers. No, he didn’t say things that people liked all the time. Yet, when He was asked what the greatest commandment is, He said to LOVE God, and then love others. Our job isn’t to “fix” everyone around us. It isn’t to be perfect all the time. 

Hatmaker Quote 2

Let that sink in. It’s powerful.

Hatmaker Quote 1

If you’re struggling today to be everything to everyone, here is a quote from Jen about coming up with priorities.

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That’s wisdom, ladies. We can’t balance it all or have it all. We can do what our season in life allows. We can certainly do our best, but give yourself and others some grace.

One more thought: this review is just a taste of the book. It’s a fascinating read. Jen has some hilarious chapters about fashion fails, turning 40, and other cultural observations. She also has some must-read chapters about how the post-modern generation needs its questions and doubts to be addressed (by listening and discussing rather than reacting in an authoritarian or dismissive way), as well as a chapter about short-term mission trips that work for the community that is being served (rather than misguided “poverty tourism,” which sadly happens sometimes). If this book gets into the hands of enough people, hopefully it will change the church for the better — emphasizing unity (in Christ), not uniformity (welcoming differences in personality, appearance, culture, upbringing, etc.) among believers.

P.S. After reading some other reviews of this book, as well as receiving feedback on this post, one common theme was that the gospel should be communicated within the discussion of love. The gospel is love. In Jen’s defense, she wrote her book to a Christian audience — people who have already heard and believed the gospel. Yet, here in this blog post, I do not know who is reading. If you would like to know more about the gospel, here is a link that will tell you what it means. I’m not affiliated with this link in any way, but when I read the page, I felt like it explained the gospel well.

Book Look Bloggers gave me this e-book for free in return for my honest review.

What I’m Into Right Now

What I'm Into Summer 2015

What I’m Watching

The Astronaut Wives Club is so, so good! It reminds me how far women have come in terms of the choices that we can make for our professional and domestic lives. I love that being a full time mom is a choice I’ve been fortunate enough to make (a great choice!), but the women in this show really do not have a choice to work outside the home. Seeing how much one of the women would like to be an astronaut, and then seeing that she did not have the opportunity because she was a woman, is heartbreaking. On the flip side, I love seeing the nurturing strength of the astronauts’ wives. Traditional female roles are not something to look down on; I think everything that a woman has to offer should be valued. To say that homemaking is not valuable is an insult. I know I’ve been looked down on by some people for choosing to be a full time mom for awhile, but I am so happy that I have the opportunity to do it. I’m glad I’ve been able to watch my son’s milestones so closely. I will also be glad to rejoin the work force when that time comes. As women, I think we are judged severely by people, no matter what life path we take — and ultimately you will not be everyone’s cup of tea, no matter what decision you make (cue the Kacey Musgraves song).

I’m also watching Project Runway Season 14 and rooting for the talented Ashley Nell Tipton. She won the very first challenge of the season! Go, girl! Way to add some variety to the show.

What I’m Listening To

Kacey Musgraves: The sound is indie and country, and the lyrics are witty. My favorite songs on the album are “Cup of Tea,” “Biscuits and Gravy,” and “Pageant Material.” I don’t care for the drug references in a few of the songs, but she is very talented, and most of the songs really speak to me.

Driving Tunes: Taylor Swift’s 1989 (yes, I’m still listening to it), Erica Campbell’s Help 2.0 (Christian), She & Him (indie), Rend Collective (Christian), Kelly Clarkson (obviously!), Eric Church (country), Jimmy Buffett (a retro summer favorite), Urban Cowboy Movie Soundtrack (another retro favorite!)

What I’ve Been Reading

I’m in the process of reading Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love. I think of her as the authentic Christian voice for women of my generation. She is genuinely funny and really understands what grace means. I’m going to be posting a review of her book sometime in the near future. I also have a goal of reading through the Bible, so I’m reading a book of the Bible each week. I started with Matthew earlier this year, and I’m now just finishing II Corinthians. For someone who loves reading so much, and as person of faith, I realized that the Bible should obviously be a book that I’ve read from cover to cover.

Over the summer, I’ve also read Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend series and adored it. The first book is the best one, and the third one is a little depressing, but I still love the story and can’t wait to find out what happens in the final book that’s being released in September. I would describe these books as intelligent, truthful, raw, and true to the female characters.

My Workout

Three days a week, I do Mel B’s Totally Fit DVD. It’s not new, but it is so good (you will feel the burn)! I’m definitely seeing a nice difference from it (p.s. it’s not for beginners). I’m always going to be curvy, but I do want to be as healthy as I can be. I’m the type of person who does not lose weight just by working out, so I’m also keeping a food journal. I was resistant at first, but it has helped. I also walk on the local track a couple days a week. If I can get down to my pre-baby weight, I’m going to celebrate. I will still be plus size, obviously, which is fine with me. It will take awhile because I’m going slow and steady.

At Home

thomas bedWe just moved Carson into a toddler bed. We found this little gem, and we were pretty excited because we knew he would love it. Woo hoo, Thomas!

At home, for myself, I’m doing a lot with essential oils. I make myself a body scrub with 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup almond oil, and several drops of peppermint essential oil. You have to use it up fast because it does not have preservatives, so that’s why I make the recipe small. Also, it will make your shower pretty slippery, so be careful . . . but it’s good!

As you may have gathered, I’m eclectic in my tastes, haha.

What are you into right now?

xoxo Teresa

My Latest Summer Outfit

Hi, sweet reader.

This is my latest summer outfit that I really love. I wanted to share it because I think it’s pretty cute, and it has the subtle bohemian, 1970s vibe that I like.


I’m pretty sure 1970s is going to be big this fall. With a pair of boots and skinny jeans, this look will transition perfectly into autumn.


The light shirt sleeves have a ribbed texture, so I was playing with textures a little when I combined the shirt and the crochet vest, but they’re both in the same color palette. I bought the shirt and vest from Maurice’s this past week, and the shorts are also from Maurice’s. The sandals are, believe it or not, Crocs. They look like jellies. They’re probably the sexiest Crocs you’ll find (lol!). Love me some Crocs. This post isn’t sponsored in any way, but I just wanted to tell you how to find the clothes.

DSCN2624How’s this pose for some whimsy? ;) I wore this outfit to an outdoor Christian fundraiser yard party at a friend’s house in Northern Virginia this past weekend. There was a DJ, and everyone’s children danced. There were also twinkle lights strung along the backyard, which I think are so pretty on a summer evening.

xoxo Teresa

Linking with Top of the World Fashion, the new A Lovely Little A La Mode Link-up and Garay Treasures Bloggers Who Have Inspired Me.

My Selfie in Words

Antietam June 2015 3

This personal essay of mine appears in the current issue of Bella Grace magazine. With the editor’s permission, I am sharing it here with you. Hope you will enjoy it! Consider picking up a copy of the magazine at your local bookstore to see the creativity of many other writers and photographers too.

My Selfie in Words

I have never taken a selfie.

It’s partly on principle, and partly because – well – I don’t have one of the fancy phones that make it easy. I did try one time just for the heck of it, but I kept cutting off part of my face no matter how I angled the phone. I gave up. Honestly, I could just look at myself in the mirror anyway. Even if I could take a good one, I’m still a little old school. I did draw a self-portrait on my Kindle not too long ago with my finger, using a sketchbook app. I thought it turned out cute, especially considering that I drew it with my finger.

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” – Walt Whitman

A selfie is a quick version of self-expression, a way to capture yourself in the moment. Personally, I still prefer the slower versions like an artist’s portrait or a long poem. I would rather write than snap a picture of everything, even though I know there can be magic in photos too. Yet, some of the senses are missing, no matter how hard you look at a selfie.

A picture can’t capture the clean scent of my toddler’s hair after a bath or the softness of his cheek when his mommy kisses him. A picture can’t bring back the smell of spicy cologne that my husband wore when we were first dating or the nervous flip-flop feeling in the pit of my stomach when we went on our first date.

Life unfiltered: a carpet cluttered with Lego blocks and wooden trains that have collided off course, a kitchen sink filled with dishes to be rinsed and nested neatly in the dishwasher, a Sheltie on the floor wearing a red splint because he broke his front leg (long story), our flat screen television resting on a makeshift stand while we wait for the real stand to be delivered, a full time mom and part time master’s degree student in her thirties trying to make it to the gym in her Prius, a husband going to work early in the morning and coming back late at night to scoop up his son and say his favorite greeting of “hi dear” to me.

When I think of these days, “hi dear” will ring in my memory. My son’s chant of “car, car, car” – his favorite word – will ring there too, like a remix.

I have seen some creative selfies. I saw some selfies from a woman who drew elaborate pictures on her bathroom mirror and stepped into them to snap a photo. I admired her creativity. Most of the time when I’m behind a camera, I’m taking photos of my husband and son. I try to get my husband to take a few photos of my son, Carson, and I together so that when he looks back, he will know that, yes, mommy was on the vacation too.

My identity is me, but it is also my family. Right now, a selfie looks more like a family portrait. It looks like diaper changes, the high chair, play dates. It looks like the toy police car that Carson drove up to the manger scene under the Christmas tree so many times last year that it started to seem intentional.

If I could paint a self-portrait, it would look like Russian nesting dolls. Nestled inside of this mom is a young girl who grew up on a farm, raised rabbits for 4-H, took walks in the cow pasture after school, went fishing, read voraciously, and didn’t yet feel self-conscious when she spoke her mind.

The next nesting doll would be a teenager who was on the yearbook staff, who drove to work as a restaurant hostess after school, who had dates to homecoming and the prom, who went to the movies with her best guy friend a lot, who graduated in the Top Ten, who read magazine articles about how to be appealing. I wish I could tell her to ignore those articles and just rest in her own worth.

Another nesting doll would be a newspaper reporter in her early twenties, driving around in her little Jetta with a “News Girl” vanity plate on the front. She was listening to J-Lo or Christina Aguilera and singing along as she drove out to different interviews. It was the first time she could walk down to the coffee shop for a chai latte every day and afford a fancy brand of shampoo. She felt like life was a big adventure, and every day was different. I’m still proud of that person.

Now, as a mom, I feel like I’m experiencing the part of my own life that I can’t remember. I’m experiencing it vicariously through my son. I can’t remember what it was like to be a baby or a toddler, but I see his sense of awe in the world, and I’m sure I had that too. I still have that sense of awe as I watch him. I see the magic of learning, the beauty of life itself. So, this is me. This is my selfie, in words — a work in progress. What does your selfie look like, in words?

Thank you for reading!

P.S. Since the time that I wrote this, I did take a selfie with someone else’s phone once (wink, wink).

xoxo Teresa

Copyright 2015. Printed here with the permission of Bella Grace.

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli: A Children’s Book Review

I received Thankful by Eileen Spinelli from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review. As the mom of a toddler — and especially with Autumn and Thanksgiving around the corner — the cover of Thankful caught my eye. The drawings inside, by Archie Preston (who, according to his bio on the back flap, used to be a stunt double!), were whimsical and went well with the writing.

As a poet, Spinelli has an eye for the little things in this world that make people thankful. She writes about what makes different people thankful, including a waitress, news reporter, gardener, fireman, crafter, children, and others. The phrasing is simplistic enough that young children will be able to follow the concept.

I thought the book was beautiful and well-written, even though I don’t think my son, who is two, would be quite ready for it. The recommended ages are 4-8, so that makes sense. The reason I think my son would not be ready for it yet is that the book does not have his favorite things that keep him interested in a book — trucks, trains, tractors, and action. He would look at the illustrations and probably point objects that he recognizes like birds, cats, and water. When he gets a little older, I think he would like it. I wish the book had started out with things children are thankful for rather than immediately starting with an adult perspective (the waitress and the news reporter), even though the illustrations do show children dressed up and playing those roles.

Overall, the book is very charming.

Rockin’ My First Sunless Spray Tan

promo photo

Palm Beach Tan was nice enough to gift me a free sunless spray tanning session to try and write about on my blog. I had a wonderful experience, but rather than just tell you how it turned out, I’d like to take you through the process with me.


This is my sunless spray tan two days after the treatment. Nice glow with no make-up!

First confession: I have never had a sunless spray tan before.

Second confession: Most sunless tanning lotions turn me a little orange, so the only way I usually look naturally tan is when I have an actual tan.

Third confession: My teenage years were spent sunbathing because I thought it would be fine as long as I didn’t tan too dark. Then, around the time I turned 30, I had some precancerous cells removed from my face. That was a wake up call for me to get serious about putting on sunblock.

Considering these confessions, I often spend my summers teetering between pale and a hint of orange when I use a sunless tanning lotion (perhaps I have not found the right one?).

Anyway, the sunless tanning session that Palm Beach Tan gifted me to try was the VersaSpa Sunless Skin Care System (click on the link to see a video of how it works). One session is $50 at the location I went to, so I knew the results would probably be good.

I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what exactly would happen, and then I also realized that I would need to make sure I prepped myself well before I even entered the booth. That included taking off make-up and jewelry, putting in provided nose plugs, using a special lotion on rough areas of skin such as the hands, wrists, and ankles, putting on a hairnet in a way that would not leave a tan line on my face, and putting on goggles.

After prepping myself, I mentally went through the four poses that I would need to do in the booth before I entered it. I pushed the green button to start (and reminded myself to close my mouth, haha), and the session was fast. I faced forward with my arms out, to the right in an Egyptian style pose, the left in that pose, and backward with my arms out. All of this happened in probably less than two minutes.

I felt a cold gust at one point. Then I thought, is it over already? Yes, it seemed to be.

I exited the booth and looked myself over. No noticeable change. An employee told me that it would take about three hours for the color to develop.

Without yet knowing how my tan would look, my first impression was: wow, that was so fast. A person could easily get a spray tan on a lunch break if the booth wasn’t busy.

Three hours later, I was definitely liking what I saw. I hadn’t had a glow like that on my skin since the days when I used to sunbathe. It was the most natural thing I’d ever seen besides an actual tan on my skin.

To see how I looked the next day, check out this post. A post that shows what my skin looked like before the sunless tan is here.

The final verdict after several days: My skin is still glowing. I have an almost air-brushed, light glow on my face, so I don’t even need to wear make-up foundation. I really like how my sunless spray tan turned out.

Since the session is usually $50, I would probably only use this for special occasions like a wedding, beach vacation, or a splurge to pamper myself. Next time, I would also go for a dark tan instead of medium. The medium looks very natural and is definitely shades darker than my typical skin, but now that I know how the process works, I figure, why not see what a dark tan would look like (especially since I have never had a dark tan in real life)?

Have any questions? Feel free to ask.

xoxo Teresa

Reading with my Toddler (and a book review)

Something most of my blog readers probably do not know is that I wrote a children’s book, Sweet Sallie’s Squirrel Scarf Factory, before I was pregnant with my son. My husband illustrated it, and we had a great time working on it together. The book is about a little squirrel who works at the squirrel scarf factory, but she is so creative that she can’t finish her scarves as fast as her boss wants her to finish them. If you’re a creative person (hello, blog reader!) you will probably relate to Sallie. My book is on Amazon in hardcover or a Kindle version.


Naturally, as a “book person,” I want to share my love of reading with my son now that he’s a toddler. Carson and I go to our local bookstore about once a week, a little before nap time, where we look at whatever entertains him (even if it’s the toy cars) until he falls asleep and then gives me my own reading time in the store. I usually buy a drink or something to support the store since we are camping out there for at least an hour or two (wink). Of course, with a toddler, our bookstore outings do not always pan out gracefully, but most of the time the routine goes well.

Carson car magazines

Carson in his favorite magazine section — automotive!

Carson is only two, but he adores cars — so his favorite section in the store is the automotive magazines. He will sit down to flip through several car magazines before he gets bored. “Car” was one of his first words, right after “da” and “ma.”

You might not think a toddler flipping through a magazine is too impressive, but, sadly, some children enter kindergarten not knowing which way to hold a book and how to flip through it correctly. At two, because I read to Carson and books are a part of our lives, he knows how to hold a book.

In the education classes I have been taking, I’ve learned that modeling reading for enjoyment is a great way to promote early literacy. Another way is to read to your child based on topics the child enjoys (for my son, that means the book has trucks, trains, and ducks). These tips sound like no-brainers, but the trick is actually incorporating the practice into your busy day.

I like to discover new books for my son, so I decided to go for it when Book Look Bloggers offered The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Little Ones for its bloggers to review. I grew up on the Berenstain Bears myself, so there is an element of bookish country girl nostalgia involved for me, and I also like the idea that I can share spiritual values with my son as I read. As moms, we love to multitask (sharing spiritual values + reading at the same time!). For a Christian family, this type of multitasking is a win-win. When your child hears a lesson taught in Sunday School, the child can think back to the story in the Berenstain Bears book. Learning is about making connections, so the more connections your child can make with spiritual lessons, the more likely your child will be to remember those lessons.

Publisher’s Description: The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Toddlers is perfect for young children. Now toddlers have a padded board book edition designed just for them, with simple text, bright art, and a padded cover. This cute and durable edition provides an overview of the Bible with eight stories from the Old and New Testaments that follow the Bear family as they explore Scripture. The Berenstain Bears Storybook Bible for Toddlers is fun and enlightening for kids and a great resource for parents and educators.

My Overall Review: The book covers major Bible stories in language that is easy to understand. It includes creation, Noah’s ark, David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the birth of Jesus, the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus in Jerusalem, and the resurrection of Jesus. The lessons in this book are an excellent foundation for teaching Christian faith. Even at a young age, a child can understand that, as the book says, “God made everything!” I thought it was an excellent choice for the writers to use the Berenstain Bears in the story illustrations but not to actually include the bears in the written text itself. That way the child does not have to try to mentally switch back and forth between fictional bears and the Bible truths. Parents could actually show young children the bears and say the bears are cartoon characters, and then say the Bible stories that are being read are true. The book is just the right size for little hands to hold (about 5×7).

If you have a child, hopefully you will consider adding some reading to your routine. Letting your child see you enjoy reading (if you’ve read this far, you enjoy reading!) is a wonderful way to show that you value the written word.

How do you incorporate reading into your child’s routine? Which books do you recommend? Do you have any questions about the children’s book I wrote or about the book I reviewed?

Happy reading!