I Love The Girl Creative!

I'm back!

I've been in the throes of reviewing my high school students for their Advanced Placement exams and trying to finish up the school year.

In the meantime, I contacted the fabulous Diana from The Girl Creative to redesign my little blog.  I love her blog, and I really dig its clean and lovely style.  I went to her design site to check out some of her work, and I was SO EXCITED to see how affordable her prices are.

 The Girl Creative

Diana really listened to what I wanted and responded quickly to my thoughts.  As a result, I have this cute new look for less than $70 and in less than a week!  If you would like a fresh new look, you should check her out!

If you don't need a new blog layout, check out the super content on her blog.  Diana's is one of the first blogs I followed when I joined the blogosphere, and I love her posts.  If you haven't yet, check out her

The Girl Creative

Teach Me Tuesday 


The Girl Creative

By the way, Diana's got a really great giveaway going on now through Friday, June 4.  It's an adorable handmade wallet from Stitch-n-Studio.  I'm on my way there to try to win it.  I love handmade!!!


Apothecary Jar Giveaway!

I'm so excited!  In celebration of reaching 100 Google Followers (and loving my RSS subscribers, too), I have a super new giveaway for you.

I'm on the CSN bandwagon.  CSN is a collection of online stores that sells a ton of great items for the home - from furniture to cookware to home decor.  I was so excited when they contacted me for a giveaway.

As many of you know, I am working on my master bath.  We decided to keep our soffit, which uses recessed lighting to light up our vanity.  

Since CSN carries some really great lighting options, I'm checking out some new trims for the lights.  YAY for some cool styles!

So how about that giveaway?  CSN also has some really cute home decor.  I am giving away your CHOICE of apothecary jar:

The Artland Atwell Jar:
Isn't she lovely???

I think her slender lines are absolutely beautiful.

She's 20 inches tall and could hold so many things...

and look good doing it.

She has a taller sister if you want to buy another for yourself - 25 inches tall!!!

OR the Artland Kingston Jar:

This beauty is 16 inches tall!

Like her Atwell sister, she is mouth-blown.

She is roomier, so she could stage a really cute little vignette.

She could also hold some serious stuff...in just about any room of your home.

How to decide???

I'm a jar fiend - I love organizing and displaying everyday objects in glass jars, and I hope you do, too!

Of course, I am offering several chances to win in this giveaway:

1) Follow PARING DOWN on Google Friend Connect and comment that you have (or remind me that you are already following me, you lovely you)

2) Comment on what you would put inside the jar if you won it.

3) Add my button to your sidebar and comment that you have (or do)

4) Blog about the giveaway and comment that you have

5) Follow me on Twitter @lauraparingdown and comment that you have (or do)

5) Tweet about the giveaway and comment that you have with your twitter name (you can do this once per day for additional entries)

This giveaway will last until May 15, when I will use the random generator to select a winner.

Good luck everyone!


Paring Down Meal Time - a.k.a. I Love Bento!

I love Bento!
I also love eating out, but I'm in a support group for that (too many calories and too much money).

As I continue to look for ways to pare down my life, I decided to focus on my meals.
Portion sizes are a huge problem for me - and many folks, I would think.
So how do I reduce my portion sizes while still eating well and not feeling deprived???

Enter bento.  
I'm trying to remember when I first started thinking about bento.

Was it Molly Ringwald's bento lunch box in The Breakfast Club?

Was it the bento box at the Japanese restaurant where I first tried sushi?

Once I started searching bento in the blogosphere, I found some amazing go-to sites.

Just Bento is a great site that provides a lot of basics on getting started making bentos as well as on losing weight and buying all kinds of cool bento accessories. 

Lunch in a Box is another super site with lots of great bento tips.  I also enjoy seeing a variety of non-Japanese foods made into bentos.

What's For Lunch At Our House is a great blog written by a mommy who is preparing bentos for her kids - so CUTE!!!

Bento Fun is full of adorable bentos - again many of which are non-rice based.  

Not Exactly Bento is probably my favorite blog because it incorporates all kinds of yummy leftovers and palate pleasers into the bento box itself.  That means yummy + portion control.  PERFECT!

I also found some inexpensive bento boxes to start with on a recent trip to FIT, a Japanese $2 (and a little higher) store in Houston.  My bento boxes were only $3 each there!!!
Aren't they cute?  They are double layered, and they are held together with a bento belt (a stretchy elastic band).

I also purchased the small white silicon forms that hold runny foods or foods that shouldn't combine (dessert, for example).

So here is my first bento breakfast:
  Alexia seasoned potato wedges (left over from dinner) and a sliced boiled egg with blackberries, a clementine, and red seedless grapes.

And this is my first bento lunch:
Spicy three-pepper hummus and baby carrots with a whole wheat ham, red pepper, and light cream cheese wrap and grape tomatoes.

Give bento a try.  It's YUMMY!


Crate and Barrel Giveaway Winners on Spotlight Saturday

Congratulations to the winners of the cute Crate and Barrel white vases!  I've been telling my non-blogging friends about so many of my favorite blogs that I decided it was time to start my own Spotlight for them.

And what better way then to start by spotlighting the vase winners, all of whom have AWESOME blogs that I follow myself.

So, without further adieu, winner #9 (I don't know how to do screen shots of it yet) is......

Tammy is a world class scrapbooker AND crafter.  She is a designer and has won a TON of awards for her beautiful creations.  Here are some amazing examples!

Check Tammy's blog out - it's awesome.  She's a friendly chick, too, who is another Texas bloggin' gal.

Winner #15 is....

Created by Diane

Diane at Created by Diane.

Diane is an east coast girl living in California.  She has a hair salon AND she's an amazing cook and crafter.  Just look at those cookies in her button!  

Here's a little more to whet your appetite for her super blog...

I LOVE Diane.  It's hard to visit her blog without your mouth watering, so eat before you visit!

Winner #39 is...

Lydia at Still on the Verge!

Lydia was a long-time blogger and just came back from family hiatus.  She has FOUR kids - the youngest is TWO.  I don't know how she does it!!!

This is an excerpt from her latest post, which is HYSTERICAL!

Print out and submit as per instructions at the bottom of the form.

Thank you for your interest. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for processing. You will be contacted in writing if 
you are approved. Please do not attempt to call or write. If your application is rejected you will be 
notified by two gentlemen wearing white coats and carrying a violin case.
Head to Lydia's site to read the rest.  If you have a daughter, you'll LOVE IT!!!

Congratulations to all three winners!

I'm nearing 100 followers, so I'm getting ready to hold another giveaway.  YAY!!!

Happy Saturday, everyone.