Archive | giveaway

Personalize Your Own Handmade Doll & Book GIVEAWAY with BB&J!

abby11 w princess closeup b barnyard closeup w someday closeup This giveaway has been in the works for a long time, and I am so so excited for this day! One of my dearest friends in Sicily, Anna Harris, has been hard at work launching her own handmade business.

A year and a half ago, Anna and I shared a space at a craft fair, which I blogged about here. This was the first time I’d seen Anna’s dolls, and they were selling like hotcakes! Since then she has further developed her vision and work, and now she sells handmade dolls that are inspired by classic children’s books.

I love love love Anna’s philosophy: “Books and dolls come together here to create play, inspire imagination, and make memories. bb&j dolls are for those who seek a slow-paced play and imagination-based lifestyle in the midst of this fast-paced technological world. When our lives can be excessively stimulated, bb&j toys bring you “back to basics.”

meandolivia w blue secret closeup w maple closeup Anna’s shop opens on Sunday, May 3! All her beautiful dolls are handmade by Anna in her home in Sicily, Italy. Bonus: U.S. shipping rates will apply to all orders!

Today Anna and I are giving away one customized doll of your choice and a children’s book to go with it!

Which doll and book combination would you choose for a little person you know? becca-garber-bbj-giveaway-doll-book.jpg bmagnificentcloseup w places closeup You have SIX different ways to enter which gives you six chances to win!

Giveaway ends next Friday, May 8, at midnight. May the odds be ever in your favor. :)

abby3 ——–

And we have a winner! #44, Heidi P. Congrats, Heidi, and thank you again, Anna!!!

57 :: in book reviews, giveaway, good reads

Giveaway of the Book “Paris Letters” AND a Letter from Paris! {closed}

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I loved reading all your enthusiastic comments on yesterday’s post about the memoir “Paris Letters.” So many of you mentioned you’d like to read the book, and so… your wish is my commnd!

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I decided to send the author Janice an email to see if she’d be interested in collaborating on a giveaway. I mentioned I like reviewing books on my blog and linked to this post, just so she could get a little taste of Making Room.

Less than 24 hours later, she emailed me back, and what a lovely email! It put such a smile on my face that I thought I’d share the whole thing with you. She’s a kindred spirit with many of us, I think:

Hello Becca,

First off, I read the link you sent and was so delighted that you had reviewed those books. “That part was true”… picked it up at the library because the cover looked so dreamy. Couldn’t get past the second chapter. Ugh. And I was wondering about “I’m having so much fun here without you” so thanks for clearing that up.

Second, thanks for reading and taking a shining to Paris Letters. I am happy to provide a book. I’ll include the latest letter as well when I send the book. Just give me the winner’s address and I’ll make it happen. Autographed and everything. 

Third, you have a nice looking blog. Clean and pretty acre of cyberspace. 

Janice

Isn’t she nice?! I just want to sit down in Paris and share a café crème with her. And did you see that she’s going to send one of you a book and one of her beautiful hand painted letters from Paris? Autographed and addressed to you? What a wonderful gift!

Here are all the ways you can enter this giveaway:
  1.  Comment on this post. Tell me why you’d like to read this book, if you’d like!
  2. Follow me on Instagram.
  3. Sign up for my mailing list (see the SUBSCRIBE // CONNECT tab in the left sidebar).
  4. Share this giveaway on social media or with friends.

Giveaway closes next Friday, February 13. Take it away, everyone. Good luck and happy reading!

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UPDATE: And the winner, according to Random.org, is #26, Suzanne K. The winner has been emailed. Thanks for all your entries, everyone, and for such a generous giveaway, Janice!

61 :: in book reviews, giveaway, good reads, Paris

A Giveaway from Tara Montgomery Jewelry! {closed}

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I’m thrilled to bring you the best of the best today: my dear friend Tara Montgomery‘s lovely jewelry! Tara and I went to nursing school together (almost 10 years ago… gulp), and even then Tara was making and selling beautiful earrings and necklaces. Her pieces always had sorority girls ooh-ing and ahh-ing at her trunk shows, and understandably so!

Tara went on to marry her high school sweetheart, a talented designer, and together the two of them have built a beautiful home. My kids and I visited her and her second little baby this summer, and I loved every detail of their beautiful house. The Montgomerys’ love of beauty, light, and natural materials was evident everywhere. Perhaps my favorite things, though, were Tara’s sunlit studio and their ducks and chickens in the backyard!

Her days are full of caring for her family and working as a much-beloved oncology nurse, but Tara has also continued to build her jewelry business. Her website is a delight to the eyes. Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

tara-montgomery-jewelry-1 …because time flies. tara-montgomery-jewelry-3 tara-montgomery-jewelry-7 tara-montgomery-jewelry-4

Aren’t they all so lovely?! One of the most beautiful things Elliott has ever given me is a pair of Tara’s earrings, designed by both of them especially for me.

Tara is giving away her Turquoise and Dark Wood Necklace to one lucky reader!

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Wouldn’t you love this statement piece?! Or if it’s not your style, I know you’ve got a friend or sister or mother who would be thrilled to open this pretty package under the tree on Christmas morning.

To enter, visit Tara’s website and tell us which is your favorite piece of jewelry!

For additional chances to win, you may:

  1. Like Tara’s beautiful Facebook page
  2. Follow Tara Montgomery on Instagram
  3. Share this giveaway on Pinterest
  4. Follow me on Instagram
  5. Sign up for my blog mailing list (look in the left sidebar of my blog)

Just let me know what you have signed up for in your comment. Giveaway closes next Tuesday, December 15th, at midnight PST!

P.S. Tara has also generously offered 20% off all orders with the code MERRY20! Good through Dec 15th as well. Happy shopping!

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Update: The winner according to Random.org is #97, Sarah T. The winner has been emailed. Thank you all — especially Tara! — and congratulations, Sarah!

70 :: in giveaway, wishlist

The Best Home Manicure I’ve Ever Had {+ a Jamberry Nails Giveaway!}

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Have you heard of Jamberry? When my friend Jen asked me if I’d like to do a nail wrap giveaway, I wasn’t sure. I’m pretty low maintenance, especially about my nails. I love clothes, but I don’t wear many accessories, and I generally prefer my nails bare and free of polish.

Was Jamberry really for me?

Jen’s email, though, intrigued me. She mentioned how easy the nail wraps were to put on as a busy mom: all you need is a hairdryer and there’s no wet polish! Can I tell you how many times life messes up my nails as soon as they’re painted?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Every. Single. Time. I basically never have a perfect home mani or pedi. A child — or my own notorious clumsiness — always messes the polish up before it’s dry.

So I decided to give Jamberry a try. I looked on the website and found the simplest, sweetest nail wrap that was just my style. (I did consider getting nail wraps for my alma mater, though!) There are heaps of options, including floral and wintery and even Mommy and Me (!), but I went with what is truest to me: a simple, natural-but-better French manicure.

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The package arrived a couple of days after Jen put in the order, and I was pleasantly surprised at the simple instructions. With a hairdryer, a pair of nail scissors, and my kids napping upstairs (oh… and a handy husband-photographer!), I went to work on my nails.

I should tell you right now that I am not proud of my nails. They’re wide and short, thin and brittle, and I’ve never liked how they looked… with polish or without. The only time I ever thought they looked beautiful was when I was in college and my family lived in Poland, and my sisters and I discovered a little nail salon near my parents’ house in Warsaw that would do beautiful, inexpensive, perfect French manicures. The nail artists carefully and meticulously followed the white line of my own nail and gave my fingernails a shape and beauty they’d never had.

Maybe I was dreaming of getting a little of that back today?

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I could tell, though, that even with Jamberry my nails would still be my nails. I could see that I wouldn’t be able to get my nails as perfect or as even as those women in Warsaw did, and my home manicure would probably still look like a home manicure.

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However, I was pleasantly surprised. First of all, the Jamberry nails didn’t take long to apply. As I got used to the process, I could put a nail wrap on in about a minute, which is about how long three coats of polish per nail take me to apply.

The hairdryer softened the nail wrap (like a sticker), and then I trimmed the excess off the nail once I stuck the wrap on. I loved that I could shape my nail after the wrap was on, which is tricky with polish.

And then, before I knew it, all my nails were done, and Gil was awake!

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I think he likes them. And I definitely do! No, they’re not perfect, because I am still no nail artist. But they’re really quite pretty, the prettiest home manicure I’ve ever had:

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And they’re natural and they’re fresh and they’re me. I feel like a freshened-up version of Becca, and that’s a wonderful way to feel!

Would you like to give Jamberry Nails a try? Jen is giving away a nail wrap of your choice to one lucky reader! All you have to do is comment on this post saying which nail wrap you would choose.

Additional entries can be earned by:

  • Joining my mailing list (see the sidebar of my blog)
  • Following me on Pinterest
  • Following me on Instagram

Let me know your additional entries in the comments.

Giveaway ends next Monday, Nov 24. Good luck!!!

P.S. If you don’t win this giveaway, a set of Jamberry Nails is a much much better deal than a manicure in a salon! Also, there are enough nail wraps in one order for at least two manicures. It’s worth a try, I think!

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Congrats to #20, Carly of TheMilSpouseFoodie.com, winner of the giveaway! Carly, I sent you an email. :)

83 :: in giveaway

Confessions of a Third Culture Kid + A Book Giveaway

Update on 11.4.2014: The winner of the book giveaway, according to Random.org, is #10: Karen. Congratulations, Karen! I’ll email you to get your address. Thank you for all your wonderful, insightful, and beautiful comments, everyone!

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On the L: With my siblings and dad at the pyramids circa 1996. I’m the one with the unfortunate bangs on the far left.
On the R: Back at the pyramids with Elliott and Lena (!) in 2010.

A recent Monday morning. Six women sat around a table, plates filled with food, ready to talk.

“Let’s get to know each other a little better by sharing about the cities we’ve lived in,” my new core group leader suggested, shifting the baby in her arms as she surveyed our small group. “Might but a fun way to tell our life stories. I’ll start…”

In my seat next to her, I tensed inwardly. I felt my otherness, my weirdness, slipping back over me. I had dressed like the others, talked like the others; I fit in, they thought. I looked the part. I looked like a nice, average American girl, just like everyone else in the group.

But that’s just part of my story. It’s only the last eight years of my life story, actually. The eight years that involve living in America, going to an American school, marrying a semi-American boy, and having two cute and semi-American children.

The 19 years before the last eight were what had me sweating.

I didn’t grow up in the States. I was born in Egypt and lived in Australia, Singapore, Pakistan, Singapore again, India, and Brazil all before I started college. It was a different life, a life studded with foods and holidays and cultures and languages that I can taste on my tongue, see in my memory, and long for without warning.

As I waited for my turn to share my life story last week, I remembered a book I was reading at home called Between Worlds: Essays on Culture and Belonging. The author, blogger Marilyn Gardner, is a friend of mine, and recently I had agreed to read and review her book. However, I had no idea how relevant the book would be to me. Marilyn also grew up overseas; she spent her childhood in Pakistan and her adulthood between Egypt, Pakistan, and the States. (Sound like someone you know?!)

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With my dad when he graduated from the American University of Cairo in 1987.

In her book, Marilyn writes with poignant understanding about third culture kids: children who spent most of their childhoods outside their passport country. Her observations and anecdotes flooded me with memories, sometimes bringing me to tears, sometimes leaving me running to Elliott, saying, “Listen to this! I have felt this way and it’s so true!”

Here’s one of my favorite quotes (which perfectly captured how I felt that Monday as I prepared — again — to share my “third culture kid” childhood):

As a child raised between worlds… I was neither of one world nor the other; I occupied a culture between…. In this other world called the United States, the blue passport bearing my picture and various stamps told me, told the world, that I belonged. That I was a citizen. But I never felt like I belonged in this other world. At any given time I was less or more comfortable, but I always felt like a bit of a fake. I didn’t know how to buy clothes. I didn’t know how to dress for winter. I didn’t know the idioms, the slang that was so important at that age. I had no clue about pop culture. I was trying to fake it, trying to fit, but at heart an imposter.

I got it. I knew how the author felt. Especially in college, fresh from a childhood overseas, I struggled daily just to fit in. I worked so hard. What did the other students wear? What did they do in their free time? Where did they live? What did I need to do to fit in? I transformed my wardrobe, made friends, joined organizations, moved out of my far-away dorm into the center of student life. Packed my life full just to fit in, to lose my otherness, to stop feeling so awkward, so left out. So lonely.

I just wanted to belong.

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My first smile on a bus in Cairo. I have a  feeling I will look exactly like this when I am 92 years old, plus wrinkles and including chub.

I’ve spent the last few years synthesizing my childhood and my future, trying to blend them into a cohesive whole. Elliott — my multifaceted, amazing husband and best friend — has enabled me to do this. To embrace our American-ness and combine it with a life overseas.

Marilyn’s book, though, brought back wave upon wave of memories. I remembered afresh the delight of living in another culture, of assimilating new and old, of learning to navigate a foreign land with ease and awareness. I remembered how my heart sings as I stride through international terminals, as I hand over my passport, as I find my seat on a plane, as I feel the dip and the lift as the plane climbs into the air. I remembered the deep pain of leaving a country behind forever, of re-entering the States, of reverse culture shock, and of feeling achingly far from home. Marilyn’s words, memories, and stories brought it all back.

Some passages in her book felt like I could have written them myself:

The day my passport expired and I realized there was no upcoming reason to renew it, I felt as if I had been robbed of my identity.

My passport was my grown-up teddy bear. [When it expired], I made up my mind that no matter what, I would not let my passport expire again. While I knew that my identity was far more than a document that had expired, the symbol represented too much of my life — people I loved, places I had been and pivotal events that shaped who I had become — to let go.

I am an invisible immigrant….. I can adapt a chocolate chip cookie recipe to taste good without brown sugar or chocolate chips. I can decode idioms in Arabic or Urdu. I am completely comfortable in crowded bazaars or navigating any major airport in the world. I can make an orange-cranberry salad without the cranberries…. And I understand the importance of identifying friends with commissary privileges and make sure they are invited to dinner so that next time I see them there will be cranberries for my orange-cranberry salad.

(All throughout my childhood I loved being friends with kids who had commissary privileges and could buy cranberry sauce and Blue Bunny ice cream and chocolate chips. And then in Italy I became the friend with commissary privileges… and it was glorious.)

Third culture kid envy… It is what I feel when my feet are trapped on the ground for too long while I watch others travel. It is what I feel when I hear others, sometimes worthy and sometimes not, talk about Pakistan or Egypt, my beloved places. It is what I taste when I hear that someone is going on a long trip, leaving from the international terminal just minutes from my house. It reaches crisis stage when I find out someone is moving overseas. And I so long and need to overcome this syndrome, but there are times when I think that it is impossible.

(Yes, it’s true. I’m not proud, but such envy has consumed me, especially since we moved back to the States this summer.)

What happens when the third culture kid becomes an adult and settles in their passport country? For a time everything seems backwards and contrary. Few of us had the dreams of owning our own homes, or becoming “successful” as defined by middle-class America. Our parents had lived counter-culture and had passed that on to us. Nothing really prepared us for a life in suburbs or small towns of the Western hemisphere.

Perhaps our unspoken fear is that if we learn to sing songs of joy in this new place, this new land, then we will forget the old, we will lose our identity, all that we know, all that is familiar. As one person put it: “I wanted to preserve my identity, to hold dear the soil in which my roots are settled, to Never Forget Who I Am. After all — my identity has come at such a high cost.

This past Monday, when my turn came to share my life story, I chose to start it in a new way. I chose not to blush, smooth over my strangeness, downplay the different childhood that I’d had. I chose to own it, to share it, to explain it and hold it out and offer it without reservation.

Take me or leave me, here I am.

“I’m a third culture kid,” I said. “I spent most of my life overseas until I started college, and I got back overseas as soon as I could after that. Living overseas is a huge part of my identity, and I want to live as much of my life outside of the U.S. as I can. My story starts in Egypt when my dad was in graduate school…”

May it not be too long (oh please, Lord, don’t let it be too long) before I’m standing in the international terminal of another airport, passport in hand, ready to fly away into the Great, Beautiful World once again.

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image via

Would you like to win a copy of Marilyn’s beautiful book? For the third culture kids who read this blog (I know there are many of you!) or for the parents out there who long to raise kids overseas, this book is for you! Marilyn has an autographed copy just waiting to send to you.

Entering to win is easy. Just leave a comment in this post and tell me why you’d like to read this book!

Giveaway closes next Monday, November 3. Happy reading!

P.S. If you haven’t seen this crazy-but-true list yet, it’s guaranteed to put a few smiles and eye rolls on your third culture kid-lovin’ face.

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70 :: in Army, book reviews, giveaway, home sweet home, memories, thoughts, travel

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