Category Archives: Products & Reviews

Weekly Pinterest Challenge: Antler Jewelry Holder

Notice anything different about today’s post? Specifically the title? Well, I’ve officially decided to retire the feature title “Pinspiration Monday” once and for all. When I first started this recurring Monday morning theme over 2 years ago, I had no idea just how much it would consume my focus. What initially began as a way to chat out loud about my favorite Pinterest pins, has evolved into a full on weekly challenge – “challenge” being the operative word. Making the commitment to recreate one of my pins each and every week is a LOT of fun, but also a LOT of work. But I adore making the promise to myself that my pins (all 7,681 of them) won’t go untested, or at least unconsidered.

So it’s time to slap a REAL title to this challenge and shout out the truth behind the mission. I hope you don’t mind the minor shift and that it doesn’t throw you off. Aside from the new name, nothing else will change – Meet me here same time each Monday, and you’ll continue to see a Pinterest pin brought to life through my own perspective.

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Source: Etsy

Now that that little piece of business is out of the way, I’m excited to share today’s “Weekly Pinterest Challenge” focus – antlers. Way back when I got my own vintage antler to be used for styling around the house, I considered painting it, I considered leaving it as is and I even considered wrapping it in yarn (like this). But that was only until I saw the image above. What better way to put that protruding, sculptural shape to use then by hanging jewelry from it?

The only issue was that my particular antler was a solo piece – no mountable duo like the inspiration from Pinterest. But I figured it would be just as fun to lay my own antler on a surface and hang bracelets from the upturned curvature – I’ve seen a couple of people do just that on other blogs before, so I wasn’t thinking too far out of the box here. And luckily, it worked!

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This is one of those amazingly simple, amazingly fast projects that took only, oh…five minutes. And that was mostly factoring in the time it took me to walk to the basement den to grab the antler and walk back upstairs to set it on the bedroom dresser. Sometimes though, it’s these quick and easy styling fixes that make all the difference in a space.

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If you’re also into this rustic trend, what are your favorite ways to style antlers?

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My island shopping haul

I promise this will be my last post about our Hilton Head vacation…Okay, maybe that’s more like a soft promise, but for the MOST part I’ve already told all that there is to tell. All except for a companion piece to my HomeGoods tale – plus a few extra beach shop goodies thrown in for good measure.

As you saw last week, my mom and I had a blast browsing the island’s HomeGoods store (twice, in fact). We laid eyes on TONS of fabulous treasures during our multiple tours of the store, but could sadly only bring home a few armloads each. So what did I end up grabbing for myself? The cat is finally out of the (shopping) bag – Scroll on.

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The first thing I just haaad to have was the ikat patterned Cynthia Rowley box for $9.99. The price was too good to be true, plus the on-trend pattern in a classically bohemian color palette was irresistible. You may have caught sight of it in yesterday’s studio redesign reveal (thanks for all of the love and support on that, by the way!)

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To continue our “Where’s Waldo?” (or should I say, “Where’s The HomeGoods Treasure?”) in yesterday’s reveal post, one other piece ended up making the cut in the final design. The $12.99 burlap basket you see above filled with my growing everday wrapping paper collection was yet another HomeGoods steal (figuratively) that serves as great storage for the multi-functional space. Oh, and if you’re thinking it looks a little boring now, I definitely plan on adding some kind of paint treatment to the burlap down the line…

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But let’s take a break from the studio for a moment and move on to a couple of kitchen-y items. That yellow patterned drying mat (for only $4.99) was just what our sink had been begging for. The old one had seen much better days, plus we could use the upgraded color and pattern – I so love when I can find utilitarian pieces in fun and perky colors/patterns, don’t you?

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Okay, so the can of dog biscuits shown above didn’t actually come from HomeGoods…But I DID buy it during our trip – just at a local beach shop rather than my go-to chain home accessory mecca. I loved the color and the old school pattern seemed like the perfect fit for our retro-filled kitchen.

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The glass bowl shown above is another departure from HomeGoods specific souvenirs, although it DID come from T.J.Maxx, which feels like it’s at least related. If you can’t tell from the bag of beach-scooped rocks beneath it, I plan on turning the pint sized bowl into a mini terrarium. More on that project soon!

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The two pieces pictured above, the agate pendant and silver horse, both came from another of our favorite beach shops on the island. As seen in this post from 2 years ago, we always make a point to stop in at Black Market Minerals, and this trip was no different. It was a struggle to leave with just those 2 pieces in hand…

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Remember how I was describing an idea for one of the inexpensive table cloths in my HomeGoods recap? Well I plan on doing exactly as announced – in other words, add velcro to the edges of the summery vinyl tablecloth pictured above, and then wrap it around the dingy glass tabletop of our outdoor dining set. I’m hoping it will act as a slip cover of sorts. We’ll all see how that turns out soon enough.

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I also mentioned this sculptural gold and white frame in my original store recap last week – At just $7.99, I just had to have it. I could stand to start upgrading my frame collection, and this metallic beauty fit my style too perfectly to leave it behind.

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While hardly functional in the normal sense of the word, my new $9.99 gold filled hour glass is one of those really cool signature styling pieces that I’m more than happy to welcome into our collection. The “sand” in this particular hour glass is actually tiny fine beads, making the sound a little more unique in comparison to others like it – it’s sort of dull and heavy, rather than soft and whispery.

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Last but certainly not least, we have my favorite take of the day – This Moroccan style side table. At $49.99, it was the most expensive piece I bought that day, but I have some pretty grand plans for it, as I’ve hinted before. A big name brand has claimed it for a specially hosted project and review, and I can’t wait to share more in the coming weeks. So mysterious…

Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. I’ve announced the winner of the SIGG Active Top bottle – Click here to see if it’s you!

P.P.S. In today’s Friday Feature Round Up, we’ve got 2 posts over on Le Papier Studio – a “Pin of the Day” post focused on picnicking, and an “Inspired by…” post central to the new “Children of the World” collection that was recently released. Over on Glitter Guide, I designed and wrote a feature all about 4 ways to add pink to your home. Enjoy!

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Studio reveal (one more time with feeling)

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I’ve never encountered a space like this room. It’s gone through 4 coats of paint (in the last 2 years alone), countless arrangements, unTOLD hours spent on styling – But it just never felt “complete.” Now, I know I can’t possibly be the only one with a confusing space like this…Right?

Well thankfully, I think that I was finally able to hit the bullseye over the weekend, and all it took was removing one piece of extraneous furniture, repainting a small section of the room and updating my art and desk area.

First up, the “Before” shots.

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It was a pretty room – VERY functional for an artist, with my oversized drafting table and custom built paper supply cabinet. But the room also functioned as a guest room, so the bed  had to be included somehow. That “somehow” solution? Sticking it out into the center of the space. Sure, it blocked flow, but it worked. And I lived with it. The other big feature in the room was the black feature wall. I was so afraid for the longest time that an entirely mint room (the paint color is “Icy Mint” by Valspar, btw) would read “nursery,” so I hadn’t even considered the thought of painting over it.

That is, until I reached my breaking point and decided it was time for something drastic. The first thing to go in my big editing-down-the-studio-slash-guest-room was to purge half (yes, I said HALF) of what was stored in my studio closet. I moved a 4 feet high, 4 shelf industrial unit into the upstairs hallway and proceeded to fill it with soon-to-be yard saled items. With half of the closet now empty, I was able to tuck the giant custom wood cabinet seen 2 photos up behind closed doors. This was absolutely the biggest improvement. I think the room threw me off for so long because it just had TOO MUCH FURNITURE. If you are also struggling with a difficult room, this would be my first piece of advice: Edit things down, especially furniture.

The next thing to go was my black feature wall.

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Isn’t Valspar paint amazing? Those last 2 photos above show the FIRST coat! I was amazed by how well the almost white color covered the saturated black in just a few rolls. Ultimately it did take two coats, but it was nothing I couldn’t take care of in under 2 hours. Once the paint dried and I put my new desk back into place, things really started to come together. The black was definitely a fun, unexpected element of the room before, but with the mint now running continuously across all four walls, it immediately felt so much more cohesive and calming.

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The next and final phase was to update the art. With a new blank wall to play with, I finally had room for a large scale art project that I’d been putting off for over a year. You see, at our wedding last year, my friends, family and I made tons of paper pinwheels as decorations. After the event was over though, they sat forlornly in plastic bags at my parents’ house, just waiting for me to come up with a fun place to utilize them. Well that time is now and that place is my studio…

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The space over my desk needed a big “wow!” factor, and nothing suited it better than these pinwheels. The color! The shape! The pattern! And, of course, the memories of our special day…To hang them, I simply used a handful of clear pushpins and arranged them in a random pattern similar to our plate wall in the kitchen (as seen in our home tour). In case you want to make your own set of paper pinwheels, I will be posting a detailed DIY tutorial next week.

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Now, I chatted about my desk yesterday, but you may have noticed a second new piece of furniture. My original desk chair was yet another hand me down – a little too traditional for my tastes. Plus, the thrift store find was in desperate need of some grease. Every time I moved a muscle, the entire piece would creak and groan – not good when your husband is trying to get some sleep in the next room for a 4am wake up call (and yes, it was really THAT loud). An original way of adding a different touch to your desk is by choosing one of the electronic massage chairs, that way you can get relax while doing your work. So I decided it was time to pick up a treat for myself in the form of a brand new acrylic ghost chair. I love the mod vibe, and the clear finish is just perfect for blending into the room, making it feel less cramped. It’s surprisingly comfortable too!

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As for the art in the rest of the room, I rehung some of my existing framed prints to the side of my pinwheel collection, but I also threw in a couple of new pieces too. The first was a newly framed print of a Grace Kelly costume design that my sister gave me for Christmas, and the other was a thrifted find via Etsy. I recently discovered that Victoria of sfgirlbybay, one of my favorite bloggers, has an Etsy shop – I just HAD to snatch up something from her beautiful treasures, namely the vintage “W” seen a couple of photos down. It was exactly what I needed to offset the colorful pinwheels.

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My inexpensive IKEA bookshelf also returned to the side of my desk, where it continues to display favorite books and thrift store accessories. (and, of course, I couldn’t help but snap a shot of Ginny enjoying the sun beam reflected from my camera…That girl loves her some dancing light)

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As for the drafting table, that got shimmied to the side a bit and now sits unobtrusively just inside the door to the space. This piece of furniture has always been essential to the room thanks to its functionality as both a crafting table and a drawing/painting surface, so it had to stay. Thankfully, my dad did a beautiful job making it slim-lined, but attractive all at the same time.

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The final issue was making the bed work. Having it stick out into the middle of the room just wasn’t cutting it for me, so I eventually decided to push it against the wall, day bed style. To make it feel less like a bed and more like a lounge area, I removed the covers and opted for a single gray fitted sheet. Then I topped it with a folded quilt (think table runner) and piles of pillows to add softness and pattern. If you can ignore the wrinkly brand new, out-of-the-box fitted sheet (which will obviously soften over time), I think it was the perfect solution – one the cats are THOROUGHLY enjoying.

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So there you have it! 2 years, 4 coats of paint, 6 different art arrangements, 30+ photos and 1,136 words later, I got the studio I’ve always dreamt of. Not to sound too cheesy, but the journey to get to this point has been enormously educational. Despite alllllll of the challenges, I think it has helped me to realize that trial and error will eventually reward me with the room I know I can have – it just takes a little perseverance. Although I’m sure there are changes to come just because, I couldn’t be happier now and it finally feels like home.

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What sort of challenges have you faced while designing (and REdesigning) a favorite room?

Side by Side: White Parsons Desk

Today’s post begins a two-part reveal to a little something I’ve been working on in the studio. If you’ve been following along for the past couple of years, then you know just how much trouble this room has caused me. It just NEVER. FELT. RIGHT. That is, up until now. That’s right, folks – I think I finally finally finally landed it. Yet, before I get ahead of myself, let me explain where it all started – namely with a new desk.

Now I’ve known for a while that I wanted to get a new desk. Something streamlined and modern, a far cry from the traditional hand-me-down I’ve been carting around for the past several years. In my wildest dreams I always pictured a nice crisp white Parson’s desk, but didn’t have West Elm’s original version in my budget. Thankfully, Overstock saved me yet again with an affordable version of the look I so craved.

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Option 1: Overstock | Option 2: West Elm

Yeah, that’s a whopping $280 difference. I was a little blown away by the value, even despite the slight difference in dimensions. Overstock’s version measures 39 inches wide x 19.70 inches deep x 30 inches high. West Elm’s version? That one measures 48 inches wide x 24 inches deep x 30 inches high. That’s only a difference of 4.3 inches in depth and 9 inches in width – Hardly worth the extra money (again $280!!), if you ask me.

That said, please don’t get me wrong. West Elm might as well be dubbed the Olympia of all things home decor, and I am sure it’s an incredible piece of furniture. I just can’t afford it. But in the essence of full disclosure, after unpacking and assembling my new desk, I could tell right away that it wouldn’t last forever. The material is pretty cheap, but it’s not as though I put a desk through the ringer – If I can make the piece last through one more move and HOPEFULLY one decade, I’ll be more than satisfied with my $69 spent. If you want a budget-friendly version of this trendy piece of furniture, I highly recommend the Overstock parson’s desk!

And now for a small taste of the full reveal of my new studio, complete with a fresh coat of paint (yes, this will be the 4th), new furniture, new art and a few new accessories.

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I’m going to attempt to ignore all of the other goodies and just point out how fabulous my new desk is functionally. Whereas my old desk had 6 drawers packed to the brim with things I hardly ever used, the new desk has one clean, streamlined drawer right beneath the keyboard. I ended up tossing or boxing up all of my extraneous office supplies, leaving just the useful things like push pins and camera cords in the drawer – So much better. The biggest thing though is being able to cross my legs and pull my chair in without banging around within the minuscule footprint afforded by my old desk (as seen in this post). It’s worlds and away better.

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See you back here tomorrow same time for much, much more of this room update!

Our next HHI house?

While typically today would be reserved for “The Options” feature, I’m suspending my normal schedule in lieu of catching up. In the past few months I’ve often struggled with coming up with projects to fill my weeks here but, as predicted, after coming back from vacation a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been on project overdrive – Now I have too MANY projects to share! I’ll take this problem over the former any day though. So instead of “The Options” this morning, I’m sharing yet another little sneak peek into that aforementioned vacation we just recently returned from.

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One of our family’s (namely, my mom’s) favorite pastimes while vacationing in Hilton Head is planning which house we’ll stay in next. There are so many beautiful options across the island, I can certainly see why it would be a bit of a treat to imagine what our next rental property will be like. Thankfully though, mom’s tastes are pretty superb and we just sort of follow along, no questions asked. This year though she let us in on the decision making for future visits, taking us on a quick tour of a new home we’d never been to before. While wandering the hallways, I was able to snag some shots with my iPhone that I thought were worth sharing.

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Frankly, it was love at first sight for me. I adored the streamlined modern-meets-traditional look of this house, with its stone floors, high ceilings and monochromatic color scheme. As you can see from the tour I posted last week of the home we actually stayed in, we typically go with warm, traditionally beachy homes with lots of color and styling. This house though felt almost like an Elle Decor spread (which I know is hard to picture through these grainy, dark iPhone photos, but maybe you can get a sense…).

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This home was actually on the end of a cul-de-sac, with a lagoon in front and a golf course behind. It was incredibly private with neighbors on only one side, the pool nestled behind high walls and trees curtaining off the rest of the neighborhood.

To know more about the equipment, go to a closer look at the Makita

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The best part if you asked my sister and me was the guest house – attached to the main house just by an extension of wall (no shared walls – more like a fence) was an extra room, complete with its own bathroom and bed. No matter how old we get, we will always love to watch movies together in bed after our parents fall asleep, so the idea of having our own private little room to giggle in is very tempting (speaking of this little tradition, I saw “When Harry Met Sally” for the first time this past trip – SO good).

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After our quick tour of the home itself, it was on to the back yard to investigate the golf course and water views. They clearly did not disappoint, and neither did the pool and patio. It’s hard to be critical of your own private pool, outdoor dining and upholstered lounge chairs.

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As is typical of these post-beach posts, I’m entirely depressed that we aren’t still there…But as a comfort, there are only 347 days until we go back. I can handle that. Oh, and although I was 100% on board with this house, I think the rest of the family was a little unsure about the modern look and feel. We’ll see if I can convince them for 2015’s adventure…

Where do you guys vacation?

P.S. Don’t forget! I’m giving away one of SIGG’s brand new Active Top bottles just in time for summer – Click here to enter.

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Pinspiration Monday: Umbrella Stand

It may seem a bit funny, but I’ve always loved the idea of a good umbrella stand. Something so utilitarian doesn’t really need to to be cute, stylish or whimsical, but I sure do love that someone decided that it should be for no other reason than making us smile.

Here are just a few that I’ve come across throughout my virtual Pinterest travels…

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Amazingly though, I had yet to pull the trigger. They cost too much money, I had no real, desperate need per se (although that hardly ever stops me in normal circumstances) – whatever the reason, our version of an umbrella stand was the floor of the coat closet or, on particularly rainy days, looped over the edge of the bar cart right inside the front door.

That is, until I met my new favorite entryway accessory…

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Clocking in at just $39.99, this oh-so-sculptural, oh-so-ORANGE piece fit the bill (and then some!) of my dream umbrella stand. It hardly bears describing, but it even came with its very own coat rack to boot! While I really love the look of our new multi-tasking home accessory by itself (which was snagged from Ross, by the way, one random day during my lunch break), it even looks pretty swanky filled with the usual suspects – coats, hats, scarves, the dog leash and, of course, the umbrella.

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No, it’s certainly no designer umbrella stand, and its not an owl (or a pair of porcelain boots) but I love the color, I love the swirly shapes and the peppy “conversation” it has with the rest of the entryway is undeniable – Although it’s nothing like I had pictured, it fits juuuuuuust right.

What odd ball treasures have you unearthed lately?

P.S. Happy Memorial Day!! I’m excited to be spending a little extra time with family today, and I hope you are able to do the same.

P.P.S. If you didn’t hear the news, I’m giving away a brand new SIGG Active Top bottle – Contest ends Friday, so be sure to click here to get your name in the mix before it’s too late! 

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A Review and Giveaway: Active Top SIGG Bottle

This giveaway is officially closed. Keep scrolling  to see if you’re the winner!!
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Wanna know an odd ball secret? John and I are a family that owns, quite literally, a family of water bottles. Frankly, I’m a bit embarrassed by our extreme collection because, I kid you not, we have close to 10 on-the-go water/coffee carafes between the two of us. I suppose it’s just one of those quirky characteristics of our household, but we just can’t get enough of these convenient portable vessels.
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So when SIGG approached me to host a review and giveaway in time for the debut of their Active Top bottles in new rainbow colors, I couldn’t say “no.” Although I’ve been contacted by a few Spam-y companies this season looking to get some DGD exposure, very few have been a good fit. Sunglasses? Not so much (especially since the ones I currently have rattling around in my bag were free). Start your email to me as “Dear Carmel”? Yeah, no. But SIGG was a different story. This was a product that I knew we’d embrace everyday here at casa Waller, and as assumed it fit right in – Especially while on a certain week-long excursion I just got back from…
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In the interest of full disclosure…I’ll be entirely honest with you.

I LOVED it!

At first sip, I knew that SIGG was onto something special. Why? Instead of worrying with leakage and spills due to an open straw or mouth piece, the active top on this baby is sealed tight. In fact, to access your favorite drink, you literally bite down on the mouth piece. Seriously! All it takes is a little gentle pressure from your teeth to open the soft mouth piece, and then you suck on it like a straw. Talk about high tech! The straw took care of everything – No need to tip the bottle, no shaking over your open jaw to get that last drop, although it was pretty darn funny to see my dad do exactly that to a full bottle of water because we hadn’t explained the concept to him beforehand…

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So the construction is obviously legit, but this is thankfully one of those space age inventions that actually sports a pretty stylish exterior to match. The bottle comes in several fun colors, including yellow, red, green and even a crisp white. I certainly wasn’t shy about flaunting my shiny water bottle whether on the sand or lounging pool side.

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Still not convinced? Please excuse my unintentional infommercial voice, but I can’t help but tell you that the bottle is ALSO extremely light weight, durable and completely BPA free. Plus, it’s totally recyclable at the end of its long life.
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I can’t speak for John, but I have a feeling that our local thrift store is going to be inundated with a bunch of my extra water bottles this weekend…
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So. Want to hit the beach, the pool or the gym with your own SIGG bottle? Here are the details:
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The prize:
One reader will receive their own purple Active Top bottle courtesy of SIGG (a $28.99 value).
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To enter:
Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite summer time drink. Are you an H20 gal (or guy!)? Or do you like to spice things up with a fancy, umbrella-topped cocktail? Maybe sodas are your guilty pleasure during the warm season? I want to know! (Don’t forget to include an email address in the form so I can contact you!)
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Bonus entries:
For extra chances to win a prize, follow Dream Green DIY on Facebook and/or Twitter and leave a comment for each here letting me know that you did. (it’s a win-win since you’ll be able to keep up with my daily updates once you’re a follower – But of course, there’s NO pressure to do so. You don’t need to do this in order to win the prize).
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Deadline:
You have until Thursday, May 30th at 11:59 p.m. to enter. The winner will be announced here on Friday, May 31st – Don’t forget to check back to see if you’ve won.
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Nitty gritty:
Contest is limited to the U.S. and Canada. The winner will be selected using random.org.
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Good luck!
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GIVEAWAY UPDATE: Congratulations to Jennifer C!!
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Jennifer, I will be emailing you shortly with details on your new SIGG Active Top bottle.
Thanks to everyone for participating – I really enjoyed hearing all of
your favorite summer time drinks. Cheers!!
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