As you all know by now, I am a self-proclaimed beauty junkie. I am always on the lookout for the best new beauty and skincare products, and I love nothing more than to be able to share these finds with my readers. In my opinion, one of the most important parts of any beauty regime is what you put on your face BEFORE your make-up is even applied. That's right, I'm talking about having a solid, effective skincare regiment. After all, the better your skincare products, the less make-up you'll need to use. Your skin will be more vibrant and naturally radiant, and it will actually hold make-up more effectively, should you choose to even use any.
In June, I turned 30. Yep, the big 3-0. I like to say I just celebrated the first anniversary of turning 29. I get told all the time that I do not look my age. Why? Because I have been serious about proper skincare since my early 20's. I have been using daily (and nightly) moisturizers, SPF protection, serums, and even anti-wrinkle creams from a very early age. I probably own more beauty and skincare products than any woman has a right to, as I have literally tried them all. I have dominated a linen closet, under both sinks, and an entire bookshelf with beauty and skincare products in search of the best ones for my particular skin. Some I love, some, not so much.
But I am convinced that using such products has dramatically helped me stay relatively youthful looking. It is NEVER too early to start preventative measures to keep your skin looking its best, no matter what your age!
I believe I have mentioned in a few posts before that one of my all time favorite brands of skincare products is Perricone, MD, much to the dismay of my husband. Their products are a bit on the pricey side, but they truly do WORK! I am a longtime believer in the science created by Dr. Nicholas Perricone. Who is Dr. Perricone? Well, to put it simply, he is a genius. Dr. Perricone is a Board Certified Dermatologist, an Educator, a NY Times Bestselling Author, a Scientist, a World-Renowned Healthy Aging Expert, a Certified Nutritionist, AND he pioneered the wildly popular Superfoods movement. That's quite the impressive resume, if I do say so myself!
While the bulk of my prize package for the upcoming In Honor Of The Tatas Event is geared towards babies, I just HAD to throw in a few great items just for Mom! And what do moms like? Feeling and looking their best, despite all of the sleep deprivation, spit up stains, and all the demands of everyday life.
Moms have the hardest and most underpaid job there is, and it can often be very exhausting.(I know all about this!) Sometimes, this fatigue can be seen in our outward appearance. All women love to feel beautiful, but caking on unnatural looking make-up can amplify rather than conceal the issues we try so hard to camouflage. My biggest issue? Dark circles. I suppose I am genetically prone to get these, as I have a more olive complexion. I hate having to apply layer upon layer of goop under my eyes just to look awake! And to make matters worse, sometimes using tons of product can make dark circles more apparent, with a reverse-raccoon look that is truly horrendous.
One thing I have noticed is that a lot of make-up doesn't perform well because of the ingredients used. Make-up tends to be full of ingredients that are not at all beneficial to the skin. In fact, some of them are actually harmful! So while the make-up may do it's job while on, as soon as it's washed off, the skin is left dull, blotchy, or irritated underneath. So to combat this, many just repeat the cycle and apply even more make-up than before! Rather than take part in this vicious, skin sapping cycle, I have chosen to take a much more natural approach to beauty: Mineral Make-up.
One line of Mineral Make-Up I love is the fabulous selection at Eve Organics. This company is dedicated to providing only the highest quality, naturally derived make-up and skin care products that are actually good for your complexion! Eve Organics believes in full disclosure, and always offers a complete list of ingredients in their products.They avoid toxic ingredients in their products such as: dyes, lakes, synthetic fragrance, bismuth oxychloride, talc, parabens, sulfates, UREA, nano-particles and others. (To learn more, please visit the Informative Links section of the Eve Organics website.) I dare you to find any harsh ingredients in their products. I tried, and I wasn't able to!
Eve Organics is also dedicated to providing products that WORK. They know that frilly packaging and appearance enhancing additives don't matter in the whole scheme of things. What really matters is the quality and effectiveness of the products at hand. So while their packaging doesn't scream high-end boutique, the performance of their products certainly do.
I received an assortment of products from Eve Organics for review. I have to say, I am very impressed! I was able to achieve a fresh, natural look with this assortment that can easily be worn during the day as well as dressed up with a heavier eye for night time glam as well.
It's official...My baby is growing up, and Mama is getting old! Okay, maybe 30 isn't quite geriatric by any means, but my oldest child has just started Middle School. It seems like it was only yesterday that I was a scared 18 year old bringing her baby home from the hospital, unsure about the future or how to take care of such a tiny, beautiful person. Well the years have flown by, and I now have a sweet and sensitive preteen. I am very proud of the kind-hearted person my son has grown to be.
Last week, my son began his 6th grade career. That's middle school here in Virginia. He was quite nervous, since there are so many changes. From block scheduling to losing recess to having a locker of his own, Middle School is so much different than elementary school. Thankfully, he has seemed to embrace this transition and is enjoying his new venture into young-adulthood.
When helping Kyle prepare for his brand new school, we looked at a lot of ways we could help him make this transition easier so he could walk the new, bigger hallways with confidence. From advice about bullying to note taking strategies, we covered all of our bases. We even touched on keeping his belongings secure. This is where Master Lock can help!
I have worked with the nice folks at Master Lock before, and I was excited to receive the opportunity to review one of their brand new Speed Dial lock. What makes this lock different than traditional locks? It relies on directional movements rather than a traditional rotary dial. So rather than having to remember tricky numerical combinations, all that is needed is a simple Left, Right, Up or Down sequence that can be customized to the pattern of your choosing. This allows for a fast, easy trip to lockers between classes, since all you need to do is input a directional combination. This is also much more secure than a traditional rotary combination lock, since it features anti-shim technology. There are even stickers that include letters, numbers, shapes and symbols for added customization. Simply place them over the arrows, and you're good to go!
My children, like most kids, love stuffed animals. What's better than a friendly, plush pal to accompany a child on their many adventures? My oldest had an elephant pillow-style toy when he was little, and he would not go anywhere without Mr. Elephant. Sophie, my toddler, even has a few furry friends she likes to cart around with her. Xander, my youngest, is almost 8 months old and he is just now really beginning to love stuffed animals. He often eyes his big sister's animals and tries to cuddle them until she notices and reclaims her property! We're working on the whole concept of sharing. Stuffed animals are more than just a fun playmate for children. They are also a source of comfort. If a child is upset, tired, or just not feeling well, one of the first things they turn to is their trust stuffed companions for hugs and snuggles. These give a child a sense of security, and can often do the trick in calming down a fussy tot.
That's why I was so intrigued by the new concept in stuffed animals: The Huggy Buddy! Not only are Huggy Buddys adorable, they also have something extra special tucked away inside of them. You see, there is a hidden, velcro compartment in the Huggy Buddy's belly that holds a scented pouch containing the soothing properties of Lavender Leaf and Flax Seed that your child is sure to love! The best part? The pouch can actually be removed and heated in the microwave! When placed back into the snuggly body of the Huggy Buddy, it will keep their furry friend warm, toasty, and extra cuddly for up to an hour! This would be perfect for a chilly evening! And since the Huggy Buddy utilizes the proven soothing aromatherapy effects of Lavender, your child is sure to fall asleep sooner and more soundly when hugging their Huggy Buddy!
I received the Huggy Buddy Elephant Buddy for review. I thought this would be perfect for Xander, since he seems to like elephants. I also loved the purple color! Take a look at how adorable our Huggy Buddy is!
If there is one thing I hate about cloth diapering, it would have to be the initial cost involved in setting up the ultimate "stash." While it's true that cloth-diapering can and does save thousands of dollars in the lung run, it also requires a pretty hefty initial investment. I have 2 babies in cloth, and we have spent HUNDREDS of dollars on diapers, inserts, and other supplies. My very first diaper purchase was the biggest mistake ever! I saw a HUGE lot of BabyLand diapers on EBay for a ridiculously low price. Of course, not knowing any better, I purchased 20 diapers. Well, that ended up being a bad choice. The BabyLand diapers were fine when my babies were under 6 months old, but once they started getting bigger, these diapers had the worst wing-droop I have ever seen, and they even began to leak. So now I have 20+ diapers that I don't dare use on my children, all because I thought I was getting a good value.
So the first lesson I learned about cloth-diapering was learned the hard way: Do your research. Read reviews. Sometimes you really DO get what you pay for, and cheaper is not necessarily better! If I had done my homework the way I do now, I would have never made that initial diaper purchase. But as a family of 5 living on one income, saving money is an absolute necessity if we want to comfortably survive. I diligently try and find the best bargains and I comparison shop extensively before I place an order.
So while cloth-diapering is expensive, and some bargains are simply too good to be true, there ARE great deals to be found. There ARE economical products that really do work! You just need to know where to look for them. I recently stumbled across a great cloth-diaper retailer, Diaper Safari. First of all, they offer FREE SHIPPING. All the time. This is a fantastic deal, since often shipping costs can be rather pricey. I don't have any local cloth diaper retailers, so I am limited to online purchasing. There have been many times that I thought I had found a wonderful deal, just to find that after shipping costs, I really wasn't saving any money. With Diaper Safari, this is no longer an issue! What you see is what you pay, since there are never any crazy shipping fees to eat a hole in your budget.
Diaper Safari also has a fabulous selection of only the best, most trusted brands in cloth-diapering. They carry ALL of the tried and true names, like FuzziBunz, BumGenius, Happy Heiny, GroVia, and many more! They even have a ton of must-have diapering accessories, baby gear, and a special For Moms section with great nursing accessories. Diaper Safari is truly a one stop shop for all of your fluffy needs!
I received the Best Bottom Diapering System from Diaper Safari for my review. Best Bottom Diapers are an all new All In Two cloth diaper system! This system works best when the Best Bottom Shell is used as the cover that holds the sized Best Bottom Inserts (available in Stay Dry or Hemp/Organic Cotton). This system will take your baby from birth through potty training and will save you tons of money over other diapering systems.
The Best Bottom Diaper has all the pros of the different diapering systems and has eliminated the cons. So Best Bottoms Diapers are very trim fitting, extremely absorbent and one of the most economical diapering systems available! The snap-in inserts eliminate the need for stuffing but still give a fast drying time. The inserts are available in 3 different sizes and several different materials, so you will be able to use the one that is just right for your baby. This makes Best Bottoms super trim!
Here are some features of the Best Bottom Diaper System:
Take a look at the Best Bottom System! We chose the Orange Sherbet color, since we're die hard Chicago Bears fans! Finding the blue and orange color combo in a diaper was a nice, unexpected surprise! My babies can now show their team spirit on game day!
So Irene packed quite a punch along the East Coast this past weekend, and here in Virginia, we definitely felt her wrath...There are thousands in my area alone without power, and today we saw plenty of downed trees and minor damage in our neighborhood. Luckily, we suffered a power outage that only lasted about 3 seconds. I don't know how we avoided something more substantial, especially since our neighborhood is wooded, but I am not complaining!
So even though my power stayed on throughout the storm, I have had one heck of a weekend. I have my son's pseudo-cousin here, and between the boys, the babies, and my epic headache that is STILL killing me after 5 days of excruciating pain, I have had my hands quite full. I plan to kick off the week right tomorrow with some more giveaways and reviews, so stay tuned!
In the meantime, I wanted to share a video of the storm right when it began. It got MUCH worse as the night wore on, but it would have been too dark to get good footage. I hope everyone who was in Irene's path is safe!
Okay, so as you all know, there was an earthquake that rattled Virginia this past week. The epicenter was actually about 20-30 minutes away from me, so we definitely got violently shaken and lost almost an entire set of dishes in the process. Thankfully, WalMart has dishes for around $30.00 for a set. This made the hubby happy, since he wanted black dishes anyway.
The weird thing? I have had a CONSTANT, never-ending headache for the past few days. Nothing will ease it. Not Excedrine Migraine, not heat, not cold compresses...I can't even sleep and I am miserable. I have never suffered from chronic headaches before. A few people guessed that it could be due to the quake, but I don't know how that could even be possible.
On top of that, my husband blew a brake line yesterday, so now BOTH of our cars need brakes. Wonderful. I don't know how we're going to afford to fix either of them now, and hubby still has to get to work. So I'm stressed about that now. Perhaps I should look into selling some things on EBay.
Oh, not to mention, we're bracing for Irene. We're not in a coastal town, but we're close enough that we may see substantial damage and/or power outages.
So basically, between the headache that will not quit, needing to find $ to fix the vehicles, and preparing for bad weather with 4 kids in the house, I may not be able to post much this weekend. I am going to try and get a couple of giveaways posted, but I make no guarantees. Hopefully we won't lose power!
Hope everyone is staying safe! And if anyone knows any good headache remedies, PLEASE let me know! I'm in SO much pain over here.
In my house, I am the "adult", therefore it's my responsibility to budget the money. Sure, my husband is the one who brings home the paycheck, but I am the one who decides where the money needs to go and when. So at any given time, I have to know what our account balance is. My husband has a habit of making small, random purchases throughout the week, and he never even knows if we can afford them! A few dollars here and a few dollars there can really add up! Thankfully, he will usually call and ask "Hey Honey, so we have money for me to grab a mocha-frappa-whatsit today?" I am then left scrambling to the computer to check our balance and make sure that the weekly budget allows for this little splurge. While Dan's little impulse buys haven't overdrafted us yet, I know that they very easily could. That would mean hefty overdraft fees! And no one likes those!
That's why I was excited to learn about the new Prepaid American Express Cards. These cards are perfect for families who want to keep more control over their budget without having to worry about activation or monthy fees. As a matter of fact, there are some wonderful benefits to carrying this card instead of wads of cash. When carrying cash, it's often difficult to keep a tally of spending. This often results in overspending! In today's economy, having control over one's finances is imperative. With the American Express Prepaid Card, you always have complete and total control over your account.
By using the American Express Prepaid Card, you take control over weekly or monthly spending. You can create and manage additional user cards for others, so you can leave one with the babysitter, with a child to use during emergencies, or even for your Starbucks craving husband with no worry about overdrafting your account.Why? Because YOU are in charge of loading funds onto the card, and you can put any amount that is affordable at the time onto the card. The card has no fees for purchasing the card online, monthly maintenance, activation, balance inquiries, alerts, card replacement, foreign currency conversion or loading via bank account. That's right! No fees for services that a LOT of companies charge an arm and a leg for!
The funds you put on the card do not expire, and if you lose it, it can easily be replaced. If it's stolen, not only will the card be replaced, American Express will also give you your money back! Talk about peace of mind! Users have full control via an online account - with the ability to load money, view transaction history, and set up alerts. Plus, with the Prepaid Card you get some of the same benefits you've come to expect from American Express like Roadside Assistance, Purchase Protection and 24/7 Customer Service. And signing up for the card is easy! There are no credit checks and it will not impact your credit score in any way.
I would definitely recommend the American Express Prepaid Card for anyone who wants to have more control over their budget and spending. With this card, it's so easy to manage your finances, completely worry-free! Since you load funds onto the card, there is never any worry about overdrafting. And using this card is much more secure than carrying cash! So whatever your needs, from groceries or gas to helping a child in college, you can always feel confident using your American Express Prepaid Card for all of your financial needs! With no monthly fees and free account maintenance, you'll be able to breathe easier and your husband will be able to get his mocha-frappa-whatchamacallit without having to worry about calling home to ask permission. I signed up. Will you?
TO LEARN MORE:
To learn more about American Express Prepaid Cards or sign up for one yourself, please visit their website.
***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of American Express and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.***
As you all know by now, I am addicted to cloth diapers! Ever since we began our journey into all things fluffy, I have had the opportunity to try many, many different diapers. I have found many that I love, and some that I don't, but we've enjoyed it every step of the way! So most of my friends in real life just don't "get" our decision to use cloth diapers. You see, cloth diapering comes with many unfair and totally inaccurate stereotypes that I would love to help squash, once and for all. A lot of people get the image of old-school prefolds, huge diaper pins, and squeaky plastic pants when they think of cloth diapering. They also assume that cloth is difficult to use, smelly, and hard to clean. Well, these common assumptions couldn't be more wrong!
Cloth diapering has come light years since our Grandma's cloth diapers! Modern cloth is EASY to use, EASY to clean, and requires no goofy pins or squeaky rubber pants at all! Now prefolds are another story. Many people still love using prefolds and covers, and I even have several of my own. But this isn't the only option available in cloth diapering.
Modern cloth diapers look and act a lot like their disposable counterparts, all while being much more environmentally responsible. Since they are reusable, cloth diapering families help keep thousands of diapers out of our already overflowing landfills every single day. Did you know that disposable diapers can take up to 500 YEARS to biodegrade? Think of all the diapers that are thrown away worldwide, and that's a LOT of trash just piling up! Disposable diapers are also chemical laden, and these chemicals can affect the environment as well as baby's delicate skin. That's right! Babies who wear cloth diapers experience far fewer rashes than babies in disposables since cloth diapers are chemical free!
Cloth diapers are also easy to wash, and smell a LOT less than disposables! When my babies wear cloth diapers, they smell like babies, just as they're meant to. Disposable diapers tend to smell more than cloth since they contain perfumey chemicals that tend to only amplify the smell of urine and feces. So babies in disposables often smell like an odd combination of perfume and ammonia. Eww!
And if these weren't enough reasons to consider cloth, I also have to point out the cute factor. With a wide variety of colors, prints, and fabrics available, cloth diapering is a fashion statement in itself. I am actually guilty of basing a whole outfit on which diaper my children happen to be wearing that day. Am I obsessed? Probably! But my babies also seem to be happier in cloth diapers. Maybe it's because cloth is plush and soft against their delicate skin. I imagine cloth diapers are much more comfortable than having chemical-laden, scratchy paper against their little bottoms! Yuck!
I am always on the lookout for new, fun diapers to add to our fluff-rotation. So when I got the opportunity to review the AMP Diapers One Size Duo, I jumped at the chance! I am already familiar with the superior quality offered by AMP Diapers. I actually have a few of their Stay Dry AIO's, and I love them! AMP Diapers is a Canadian based company that makes cloth-diapering fun and affordable for experienced cloth users and beginners alike!
I received the AMP OS Duo Diaper in Light Blue for my review. When my AMP Diaper arrived, the first thing I noticed was the unique insert. It is a flat insert, much like a prefold. The one I received is a 2-Layer Hemp insert, although AMP offers other insert options as well. I also noticed the trim appearance of the diaper. Since the One Size Duo Diaper is meant to be super-trim, they have ingeniously used a super-stretchy fitted elastic to ensure the perfect fit on babies of all sizes. If you need to adjust the rise, there are 3 different rise settings, as well as multiple thigh and tummy settings that will take your baby from birth all the way to potty training!
I will freely admit it: Laundry is probably my absolute least favorite chore. All of the lugging heavy baskets up and down the stairs and the tedious act of folding, hanging, and putting clothing away. And then, of course, there is the issue of my more intimate items getting ruined in the wash. I have had straps on bras and camisoles break more times than I care to count. I have even had expensive bras get misshapen and worn-out just by washing them! I don't always have time to hand wash my intimate apparel as many manufacturers recommend, so I have to leave them to the mercy of my washing machine and pray!
That's why I was so excited to get the chance to review the Berry Ball, sold at ComfortHouse.com. The Berry Ball is a revolutionary new concept in laundry that makes washing your bras easier than ever before, all while allowing them to stay perfectly shaped and avoid damage often incurred by laundering! That's right, ladies! You can protect those straps and keep your bras from getting twisted and misshapen! I know I hate spending a ton of money on pretty bras just to have them become worn out and virtually ruined within a few weeks. In my opinion, a bra looks and feels so much better if it retains its shape and isn't over-stressed by the normal routine of washing and drying. When a bra maintains its intended shape, it does its job more effectively, and keeps your "girls" looking spectacular. A bra that's taken a beating loses that ability rather quickly, and doesn't do any favors for your figure.
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud Mom of 3 amazing kids. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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