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“My name is Diane Kidman and I’m a pen addict.” That felt really good to confess.  You see,  I love the physical act of writing – in fact, I write a lot of my reviews by hand; even wrote this review by hand and with a most incredible writing instrument.  Ryan Krusac makes pens, but these aren’t your usual plastic variety.  His writing instruments are works of art.  Most are made of fine hardwoods that he turns on a lathe and then hand buffs to a glossy finish.  My Ryan Krusac Studios pen is a little different even still – Asian River Buffalo Horn with a wonderfully warm and subtle patina.  I chose the River Buffalo Horn because I’m partial to all things Asian, and strangely, to water buffalos.  I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity of having Ryan create one of these pens just for me.

Each Ryan Krusac Studios pen is made to order – this means the end result is all the more special knowing it’s being hand crafted just for you rather than cranked out in a factory and sold by the bag.  I chose a fountain pen because that’s always been my preference.  I don’t use fountain pens for, say, check writing and grocery lists, but I reserve them for special things like my daily journal writing (yet another obsession), letters, and any other writings I feel are important.  There’s something about sitting down with a fine pen – for the creative writer, that may mean that extra edge between good writing and great writing.  Is a pen a muse?  I’m not sure, but holding a writing instrument made of natural materials certainly does something to the creative spirit.

I am truly enjoying the experience of this pen.  Ryan Krusac has a great attention to detail – from the gentle curve of the pen barrel to the Rhodium and black titanium appointments, as well as the lovely German made nib which produces an easy flowing, smooth writing.  Don’t do fountain pens?  Ryan also offers finely crafted ballpoint pens and rollerball pens too.  But I’d highly recommend giving the fountain pen a try.  The pen’s balance is just perfect for the fountain pen lover, and it’s a real joy to write with.

If you’d like a chance to win your own, Ryan Krusac is going to create a work of art specifically for one of you.  With graduation time nearing, this would make an extraordinary gift.  Or perhaps you’re due a grand gift to yourself.  Either way, one of you will be receiving a real keepsake!  

Here’s what you could win:  A wooden pen of your choice from the Ryan Krusac Studios fountain pen page.  (You may choose to have the pen made as a rollerball if you wish.) The pen’s hardware will be like what you see in the photo to the right, and you’ll be able to choose from any woods (excluding rosewood burl and banksia pod).  Open for worldwide entry!!!

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just visit the Ryan Krusac Studios fountain pen page and tell me what pen you might choose if you won and why.  (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, April 21, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here

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This Giveaway is Closed – Thank You!

Whether you’re a book lover, a music lover, or both, chances are you like to indulge in your appreciation of either with a hot cup of your favorite coffee or tea by your side.  I prefer having a favorite mug to fill; something that’s mine and mine alone.  For years now I’ve used the same old tired yellow mug that sports a faded cartoon of the Chicago skyline.  I overpaid for it in the Hancock Tower gift shop, and although it represents a very pleasant day, it was time to replace it with something not so worn.  Mug Heaven has such a large selection of handmade ceramic mugs that choosing one to replace my old standby was an enjoyably difficult task.  Animal mugs, personalized mugs, beautifully glazed pottery pieces that looked more like art – and that’s where I stopped.

See the photo above?  It’s the mug I chose, my new sidekick while I blog, read, listen to music.  It’s sitting next to me right now, filled with my favorite cappuccino.  A beautiful piece which came wrapped with extreme care, so it looked simply brilliant when I received it.  There’s something about a good mug that makes drinking coffee and tea seem more satisfying, like a little indulgence in the midst of my usually busy day.  If you’ve ever used a good pottery mug, you probably noticed its tendency to hold onto the heat a little more than the average mass-produced, thin walled piece.  That and, darn, cappuccino just looks better surrounded by a mug called “Golden Toffee and Raspberry“.  

This is where it gets fun:  Mug Heaven is giving away a mug to one carp(e) libris reviews reader.  The winner gets to select the perfect mug to fit their personality; up to a $20 selection! 

Rules for Entry:

1.) Just visit Mug Heaven and tell me what mug fits your personality and why.  (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, March 2, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

Click Here for Giveaways & Coupon Codes

Numi Teas have quickly become one of my favorites.  Organic and smooth, fair trade and fresh.  The varieties are endless, and one of their new additions to the Numi Tea family is Puerh tea.  Puerh has a unique history behind it, one that adds to the enjoyment of drinking in its smooth flavor.  Numi tells the story of Puerh:

 

Puerh’s ancient history, filled with secrecy and mystery, dates back before the Han Dynasty to over 2000 years ago. During that time, tea was transported by mule and horse caravans along five main routes known as the ‘Tea Horse Roads’. The first and most traveled road started in the village of Pu Erh (pronounced ‘pu-err’), in the high mountains of the Yunnan Province, China’s most Southwest region near the border of Laos and Vietnam.

Merchants on the trading roads compressed tea for easier travel and to maximize their load. These long journeys from western to eastern China (the size of the U.S.) led to a mysterious but extraordinary process. To the tea traders’ surprise, the tea tasted better at journey’s end then the beginning and yielded additional health benefits. It is said the Last Emperor’s mother, known as the ‘Beautiful Countenance’, was cured of her gout from drinking this amazing tea named Puerh.

The secrets of processing Puerh have been guarded for generations and still remain a treasured tradition. Although all teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, Puerh is made from a different variety that grows on wild, old, tea trees or bushes, known as ‘broad leaf’, found in the cool, crisp, pristine Yunnan Mountains. Numi obtains its Puerh tea leaves from rare 200-500 year-old wild-harvested tea tree varieties, not the pruned bushes that are 40-50 years.

 

Although Numi’s Puerh tea won’t travel to you via mule mail, they do provide wonderful Puerh teas in a few different flavors:  Emperor’s Puerh (black tea); Mint Puerh; Chocolate Puerh; and today’s giveaway, Magnolia Puerh.  The Magnolia Puerh is an organic green tea blend with a hint of magnolia.  Between my husband and myself, we managed to drink a box in a matter of a few weeks!  It’s mellow and smooth, no bitterness as I’ve found the case to be with Numi, and wonderfully uplifting without the jitters.  This quickly became a preferred green tea here at the house.

Now it’s time to enter to win your own box.  Numi is giving away one box of Magnolia Puerh tea to a carp(e) libris reviews reader.  Enjoy!

Rules for Entry:

1.) Just visit the Numi Tea site and tell me what you liked or learned there.  (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

Click Here for Giveaways & Coupon Codes

Katharina, it’s time to start journaling again – you won! Look for the winning email and respond right away to claim your prize.

Journaling has been an important part of my daily life for many years, and while I have written in less-than-impressive journals, tablets, and even hotel notepads when in a pinch, there is nothing like being able to write my thoughts in a journal that inspires me to write every time I look at it.  As my writing becomes more important to me, so does my choice of journal.  I have recently started keeping my everyday writings in an Italian Leather Travel Journal from JournalShelf, and I’ve found writing in it to be completely enjoyable.

This JournalShelf journal is actually designed for travel with its belted cover and practical 4 x 5.5-inch size, but I’ve found it’s also perfect for everyday use.  I have never really taken to using the large desk sized journals because I so rarely write while sitting at a desk or table.  Most times it’s a lap thing.  A big bulky tome just won’t do.  Add to the convenient size the fine Italian leather craftsmanship with hand tooling, the warm scent of smooth quality leather, and 240 wonderful hand-cut Amalfi paper pages in an easy-on-the-eyes cream color, and the journal is a writer’s dream.  This would make a fantastic gift for the writer or writer-to-be.  Mine came wrapped beautifully in fine paper making the experience one of quality from the get-go.

JournalShelf is generously giving away one Italian Leather Travel Journal to a carp(e) libris reviews reader.  

 

Rules for Entry:

1.) Just visit the JournalShelf site and tell me what other item appeals to you.  (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Sunday, February 15, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

Click Here for Giveaways & Coupon Codes

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What’s better in blustery January than snuggling in with a good book and a favorite throw?  Land’s End sells a wonderfully warm Combed Cotton Cable Knit Throw, perfect for long, luxurious Sunday afternoons with your favorite novel.  I’ve been enjoying a Land’s End throw myself, and I’ve found the knit to be warm, comfortably stretchy, and long enough for coccooning myself with the latest book up for review.  At 6 feet long, there’s plenty of room to wrap up or share, and 100% cotton means durability and easy cleaning.  Very important for me since some of my book time includes a certain not-so-tidy toddler!

In Honor of the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival, Lands’ End is generously giving one of you a Cable Knit Throw in white so you can spend the rest of the winter days warm and toasty! This one is white, so it will easily match anyone’s favorite reading nook.

 

1.) Just visit Lands’ End and tell me something you liked or learned there. (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Sunday, February 1, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

Nothing beats relaxing with a good book and your favorite cup o’ joe.  For coffee connoisseurs, the joy of testing new brews is equivalent to the wine taster’s experience.  This is the great pleasure I’ve been having lately with the Grounds for Change Songbird Gift Box.  Grounds for Change is a unique coffee company; all of their coffee is organic and fair trade, and they roast to order and ship fresh daily.  That means really fresh coffee!

Grounds for Change is giving away one Songbird Gift Box to one of you!  Their Songbird coffees aren’t just your average bean.  These days when coffee is grown, the fields are clearcut and the beans are grown in full sun.  But the coffee shrub is a shade-loving plant.  After scientific tweaking, coffee was developed to handle full sun.  But truth be told, nothing is better than coffee grown as coffee should be – in the shade, surrounded by a wide variety of trees.  These coffee farms, second in biodiversity only to the rainforest, quickly become the home to a wide variety of animals, including migratory birds whose songs surround the farms.  Hence, the Songbird coffees of Grounds for Change.

But are they good?  I’m telling you, I’ve not enjoyed coffee so fresh and wonderful in a long time.  Peru “Cafe Femenino”, Agate Pass Blend, and Bolivia “Los Yungas” have been in my mug every morning for the past week, and every cup has been a pleasure.  I love to prepare cappuccino, and in my opinion that can’t be done properly without a full wonderful coffee that lacks bitterness.  All three of the Grounds for Change flavors have been smooth and delicious, perfect for cappuccino.  

Now that you’re jonesing for joe, it’s your turn to enter to win!  The Songbird Gift Box includes the following:

  • Three 8 ounce bags of Fair Trade Organic coffee (Regular or Decaf; Ground or Whole Bean; Coffee Varieties Your Choice)
  • One Fair Trade milk chocolate bar
  • One Fair Trade copper & brass coffee scoop from Chile

1.) Just visit Grounds for Change and tell me something you liked or learned there. (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four, plus enter once a day, and you can gain up to 9 entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Sunday, January 4, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.