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Prayer & Meditation: The Poor in Your Land

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⁄ dil·em·ma ⁄

a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially equally undesirable ones.

Before posing this question, for those of you who hate confrontation – you may want to move on to a different post.

Since living in Southern California, I have been confronted with the modern day reality of homelessness. In my home town in Australia, there is homelessness, but not in the numbers seen here in SoCal. So any time you went by someone living on the street, it was easy to buy them a meal, give them some cash or pray with them because there weren’t a gazillion other people in the same difficult circumstance sitting on the same block… In my home town, while homelessness (temporary or long-lasting) is a real problem, it seems in some way, surmountable. But here in California, tackling the issue of homelessness feels overwhelming because there are just so many people living on the street. Of course, this can be attributed to a much greater population size of the US; whichever way you look at it – nothing is going to change if a community approach is not adopted.

But without getting waist deep into a debate I am not properly equipped to have, the SoCal dilemma that I wanted to pose to you is this: if you encounter several homeless people a day, each of whom are equally loved by the Lord, and you only have a limited amount of resources at your disposal (whether it be food, money, time, clothing – ¡whatever!), how do you steward wisely while being a generous giver? 

Why is it a dilemma? Because giving all you have to one person means you leave the others without, while giving a little to each means that you might not be helping them at all, while turning your back completely would be to deny the heart of Jesus, while giving to a larger charitable organization might mean that the person before you never sees any assistance from what you have given – there is literally an important plus and an important minus in every alternative option.

Now often the Lord meets me where I am at in a specific circumstance, and I feel an inclination to give a certain amount or in some cases to withhold, but I am intrigued as to how other people approach this…

What is your solution to the SoCal dilemma?

With love,

Natasha x

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land Deuteronomy 15:11

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November 1, 2014 · 11:38 pm

Purchase At Your Own Risk: Schleich Collectable Figurines

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WARNING: These are addictive.

I felt I had to post about this amazing product because they are incredibly chic, beautifully designed, and are a collectible for the young and not-so-young alike.

One of the perks about being a mum is that you have the perfect excuse to buy (and play with) the really cool toys that you come across. I am itching to play with the Lundby Smaland dolls house my daughter has coming for Christmas, but like a good little girl – I must exercise some self-control and wait until Christmas rolls around. I wanted to share with you the latest addition to our toy collection – a Schleich figurine – as well as warn you about the potential damage you will be causing yourself if you purchase one.

The Company

Schleich products are developed with the assistance of parents, teachers and children and are therefore especially designed for children’s hands. They endeavour to make their products as realistic and naturalistic as possible in order to enable children to experience the large variety of nature – from domestic animals on a farm to wild animals in the jungle. Schleich also do comic figurines too but pay careful attention to their character and the message they carry before producing them. So while Schleich figurine’s may be cool to look at, they are primarily designed as an educational tool (another excuse to start collecting).

The Danger

Mummy’s beware –  buying your child a toy that forms part of a collection, particularly a large, expensive collection, is like chopping your nose off despite your face. Let me qualify that by saying I am quite fond of these figurines and,collection schleich having already taken the plunge in buying my first one for my little princess, you can consider me committed (or without a nose, whichever you feel is most appropriate). In fact, I’ve already purchased her second one as a reward for a good result at school. Whoops!

I think it’s the fact that they are so detailed and realistic in their miniature form that you want to collect and play with all of them! Schleich really do accomplish what they promise in providing a good quality, realistic product. As a parent, you want the best for your child – there is no doubt that Schleich make an excellent addition to the toy collection. When it comes to the cost, well each individual figurine is anywhere from $6AUD to $50AUD and then more again for the horse stables and other larger farmyard items. While purchasing one might be quite inexpensive, building a collection is a different story. I found the picture above on Aesthetic Outburst’s blog. This is only a portion of the figurines available… can you imagine the possibilities!?

* Mummy Tip: Before starting a Schleich collection for your little one, create a lovely space for them to be kept. That way your child will know how to take care of them from the start and the fun will grow as your collection does!

Schleich is the type of toy that your kids will have for years, and considering the quality, I imagine it would be something you could pass on to the next generation. I am certainly going to make an effort to keep our collection in the family.

Age Appropriateness

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Our latest addition: baby chicks!

My daughter is 6 and she is only just getting to that age where she is starting to take care of her things. Up until now, most toys would just end up trashed or missing (in part of in full) unless I kept a very close eye on her while she was playing with them. For my girl, 6 is the perfect age for her to start collecting these as she is taking an active interest in keeping them safe and together. However, Schleich figurines are manufactured for ages 3 and up and have been specifically created in a way so as to ensure that your Schleich toy worlds “do not put you at any risk of injuries whatsoever.” It wouldn’t be such a bad idea to start building a collection while your child is younger in preparation for when they are ready to play with them. They make great decorations in a child’s bedroom so you could even pop them up on a shelf until the right age.

Big Kids

And FYI, these figurines are not just cool for little kids… being detailed, high quality and chic they can make neat little additions to your home décor too. I would love to have a family of Zebra’s chillin’ on my coffee table, that’s if I were ever allowed to keep nice things for myself but I’ll save parenting 101 for another day! I have also heard of people using them as keep sakes on top of birthday cakes and if you check out Pinterest, you’ll find a heap of other cool ways to decorate with Schleich.

Location

I have hyperlinked to the Aussie website, however you can purchase Schleich in the US, UK and several other countries worldwide too. If you are in Australia, I have seen Schleich in K and K Creative Toys and Mumma’s Home (Qld). You will probably find them in the higher end kids toy stores or you can purchase online. Otherwise, check out eBay and you might grab yourself a bargain!

The next one on my wish list is the peacock – here’s hoping Bailey-Belle wants that one too!

With love,

Natasha x

Sing to God a new song; play skilfully and shout for joy Psalm 33:3

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October 31, 2014 · 2:33 am

Prayer & Meditation: The Road Less Travelled

Purpose

From time to time my mind settles upon a re-occurring theme… I try to figure out exactly how I came to be where I am today – what decision was it that changed my course? Which relationship made me turn? Which door closed right before the open one at which I am standing?

Every time I find myself pondering this thought, the Holy Spirit refreshes my weariness with truth… “Many are the plans in a persons heart, but it is the Lords purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21.

There is no sweeter cup to drink from then the one that overflows.

With love,

Natasha xo

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

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Thrifted: RAINBOW BEADS

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I love op-shopping (aka thrifting depending on what part of the world you are from). Not  to be confused with a consignment store (for-profit, second hand resale stores), op-shops have provided me with endless unique bargains, and today was no exception.

I have recently started looking at designing my own jewelry, and beads have been my inspo… Bright, neon, shiny, sparkly, silver, gold, crosses, pendants and crystals! I am loving all that you can bring to an outfit with a beautifully imagemade set of beads! So I was totally pumped when I found this lovely little accessory in the window of my local RSPCA op-shop for $4!

Right on trend with spring fashion this year, I scored myself a thick collar of rainbow beads to brighten up my simple black shift dress. You know, that has to be the best thing about beads (aside from the fact that they look bomb), is that you really don’t have to put much effort into your outfit if you’re wearing a statement necklace – this may sound lazy, and it probably is, but there are definitely days where life (and my daughter) demand a little bit more of me than my styling regime can handle! And of course on those days, a basic t, skinnies and some in your face beads are my go to.

 * Mummy Tip: the op-shop is the best place to pick up sparkly trinkets and vintage treasures for your little prince or princess without hurting the budget.

Next time you’re at the local op-shop, check out the jewellery rack for some bright, big and beautiful beads! Another favorite of mine for buying beads is Etsy – but who doesn’t love Etsy! Or the much admired 3Strands, which I wrote about in a previous post, who employ women out of human trafficking to bead jewellery and then put all profits towards rescuing and restoring women still in the torturous circumstance.

Keep an eye on this space for more thrifted style buys and tips, and let beads brighten up your day this Spring!

With love,

Natasha x

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And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am (John 14:3)

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October 25, 2014 · 7:50 am

A Controversial Debate: Sponge vs. Brush?

Sponge vs. Brush

Hello my friends!

My mum bought me a foundation sponge the other day and told me to use it because “everyone was raving about them”. I am a brusher, and quite happily so, but I thought I better try this amazing sponge out to appease my mum. I wanted to share with you what I found out about both applicators.

The Sponge:

The sponge definitely gives a more even and better blended finish. There was absolutely no streaking while using thesponge sponge and the end result was a lot smoother, but also thinner than with a brush. If you prefer a light cover of foundation, the sponge will do just that. However, using the sponge, I found it difficult to get in close around my eyes and the corners of my nose. The actual shape of the sponge makes it tricky to get into these awkward places. Perhaps I need lessons on technique (?) but I couldn’t work out how to apply my under-eye concealer properly and ended up resorting to ol’ faithful.

The Brush:

With a brush you can definitely achieve heavier coverage – less is absorbed into a brush than the sponge, and you can apply a larger amount each time. With a brush you can get into the trickier areas more simply. Although a brush is streakier and it takes a fair bit more effort to get a blended finish. My overall conclusion between the brush and the sponge is that they are best used together! Initial application with the brush to all areas, and then blending and smoothing with the sponge. Sorry to be annoying but it seems to be the best technique! If I had to choose one, however, it would definitely be the brush. With my regime and skin type, I need the convenience and versatility of the brush – I can use it easily with foundation, under-eye concealer and blemish concealer.

I have tried several different foundation brushes, including Bobbi Brown, MAC and supermarket brands. My favourite so far has been a generic eI bought from the chemist – it’s so basic it doesn’t even have a label printed on the brush. I threw away the packaging ages ago so unfortunately, I can’t even tell you the brand BUT I can say this – when it comes to foundation brushes, they don’t seem to get better with price. Feel free to prove me wrong!

Chat soon!

With love,

Natasha x

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16)

 

 

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October 23, 2014 · 3:05 am

Dem Tresses: The Best Product for Taming that Mane

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I have a wild mane. A thick head of hair that I don’t enjoy brushing. The list goes on with all the ways I’ve mistreated my hair. Being an (un)natural blonde means that it is often dry, damaged and knotty. Living between Southern California and South East Queensland, my hair cops loads of sun, chlorine and salt water.  Even when I have split ends I loathhhhh cutting it. And finally, as if my hair doesn’t get put through enough, I am currently taking accutane (aka isotretinoin) for my skin which completely dries out your hair – not to mention your eyes, lips and skin! So to find a product that actually works to hydrate my hair and make it silky smooth is mind boggling! Especially when I The best hair moisturiser out!actually know what the product is, instead of walking out of the hair salon having the “I love the way my hair feels” feeling but never knowing what on earth they used to get my hair to feel that way!

Drum roll please… I would like to introduce to you the much acclaimed yet extremely understated His & Hers Hair Moisturiser Booster! Australian made and owned with protein and UV filters, this little gem actually does what it claims to – protecting, restoring and maintaining moisture balance in your hair!

So how does this product compare to the alternatives?

As you can imagine, I’ve tried a lot of different products over the years to help hydrate my locks.

On that list there have been a variety of oils and serums ranging from olive oil (don’t ask) and coconut oil, to your typical supermarket products, to more expensive salon quality ones. Compared to these types of photo 2products, His & Hers doesn’t leave you with dirty, greasy looking hair and there is no real risk of over-doing it, which I cannot say about oils and serums. The amount of times that I, or one of my sisters have put too much oil in our hair or applied it too close to the scalp, and come out looking like we don’t shower is just silly (but pretty funny). Instead of assisting with grooming, products like oils and serums have often just left me feeling like the inside of a deep fryer. While you only need to use one fingernail size blob of the His & Hers, I have never once ended up with clumped together or oily looking hair, even when I squirt a little too much out the tube. On a side note, I do love to occasionally run some coconut oil through my hair for its restorative qualities but I certainly can’t use it as an every day product like I can with His & Hers.

Compared to the different conditioners I have used (in the shower), I find that the effects of His & Hers is photo 4longer lasting and for those times when you don’t have access to your favourite shampoo and conditioner (because you’re on holiday, you’re at a friends house or you forgot to write it on the grocery list), His & Hers can remedy the effects of a lousy conditioner without any issues. Honestly, if I have my His & Hers it doesn’t bother me what shampoo and conditioner I use in the shower, so its my first pick of hair products to take when I travel.

I have also tried using sprays in my hair – anything from heat protectant to “beach hair” sprays in an effort to smooth my hair. My hair is naturally wavy, so what His & Hers does is level out flyways and soften the individual strands so that my hair still has the beachy look I love but sits smoothly because it is hydrated rather than matted because it is completely parched.

bailey hair* Mummy Tip: this product is what I use to get a brush through my daughters long and tangled tresses – like mummy like daughter!

How to use it?

While your hair is still wet after you get out of the shower, rub a large fingernail size blob between your hands then run it through your hair. Depending on the length of your hair, I would first rub it through the bottom half of your hair, making sure your ends receive most of the goodness then put whatever is left on your hands through the top half of your hair. I normally run my fingers through my hair a few times when applying the product to make sure it is evenly spread. Then, when your hair dries it will be lovely, soft and smooth.

How long does the tube last?

Only applying this product every other day (when I wash my hair), a tube has lasted me 9 months. Incredible, I know! When I am in the sun more frequently, I use more, because it acts as a sunscreen for your hair also.

How much will it cost me?

Now this is actually the best part – this product only cost me $12.95 AUD from my local salon. Bargain!

Even though I luuuuuuurv this product, I want to know about your favourite products for taming your mane or whether or not you have any feedback about this product. Enter your comments bellow! Keep an eye out for my next post as I will be sharing with you a little treasure that will bring style, and freedom to your summer threads. Until next time my beautiful ladies!

With love,

Natasha x

 Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a Godly life. (Proverbs 16:31)

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October 16, 2014 · 8:03 am