Ok, I finally jumped on the Ipsy bandwagon. What’s not to love about getting a cute bag filled with beauty products every month, right?
I got my first bag this month, a couple of weeks ago and I think I’m in love with this service. Want to see what I got?
Well, duh. That was a stupid question.
The houndstooth bag isn’t really my style, but it’s cute and might come in handy one day. The stuff inside, however… I was really happy with everything!
Hikari lip gloss in Merlot
This formula is a little stickier than I like, but the color is awesome and it has some real staying power.
Briogeo Blossom & Bloom volumizing spray
I tried this for the first time yesterday, and I liked it. Did it make my hair poofier? Hard to say, but it smells nice and my hair was super soft.
Oh, and I got my hair cut! I’m wearing the lip gloss in this pic, too.
Trust Fund Beauty polish in Elegantly Wasted
I don’t know what sort of wizardy this is, but this stuff dries so fast! The color is really nice, and they don’t use a ton of nasty stuff in their polish. I like it.
Starlooks Pro Luxe Longwear eye liner pen
My preferred method of lining my eyes involves plain ol’ eyeshadow and an eyeliner brush. A lot of pens I’ve tried end up smearing everywhere the second I finish applying the liner…Not this one! It stayed put all day, no smudges. I’m pretty impressed, and I think I’ll see if they offer other colors.
Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash
This was really the only thing I was only eh…about. I used it with my face brush (best purchase ever, by the way) and it did make my face feel clean, but I don’t know that this would be helpful for acne or oily skin. Still, it’s the perfect size for travel, and it didn’t make my skin worse, so…I’ll keep it around.
So is it worth the ten bucks? Well this is only my first bag, but I’d definitely say yes! It was like my birthday or Christmas when the bright pink envelope arrived…And I had a ton of fun trying out the new goodies.
If you’re into trying new things and you love beauty products, click here to check Ipsy out. Sign up is pretty easy, and you’ll take a little quiz so they can customize your bags. Don’t worry too much about the quiz, because you can retake it anytime to make sure you get products you love.
I’m already excited about next month’s bag!
Is it just me, or is everyone having babies all of a sudden? I think there are at least five ladies I know that are expecting, and a handful recently welcomed little bundles. Where are all of these babies coming from?
Wait…never mind. I know where they come from.
Of course, whenever I talk to my expecting friends, the conversation ends up focusing on being healthy. I can remember being extremely conscious of my health during my pregnancy, and I know a lot of women feel the same way. Check out the nine tips I discovered that got me through that wild nine months** (including a couple to combat the dreaded morning sickness), and let me know what your tips are in the comments!
- Eat! Look, right now is not the time to count calories and go crazy avoiding carbs. Now is the time to eat! Your baby needs a lot of nutrients, so make sure your diet is full of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Your doctor will discuss any foods you need to avoid (like raw fish). As much as possible, stay away from a lot of junk food and sugary snacks. Otherwise? Go ahead and fill that plate…
- But don’t go hog wild. …But, you just said to eat! I know, but here’s the thing…You still have to be sensible about what, and how much of it, you’re putting in your body. Your doctor will talk to you about a reasonable amount of weight gain, and trying to stay close to that limit will help you continue to feel great through your pregnancy. Gaining too much weight can cause a number of issues that range from mild discomfort to dangerous for you and baby.
- Take that vitamin without feeling queasy. Prenatal vitamins are a must, but sometimes they can be a little hard to swallow (literally… have you seen those horse pills?!). Taking them on an empty stomach is a sure way to make you feel a little barfy, and I found that if I took mine mid-meal I could avoid that. Even if you can just eat a couple of crackers before and after taking your vitamin, it will help***.
- Combat that morning sickness with food! Try this tried-and-true from a friend of mine: Before going to bed, put an (unopened) bottle of water and a granola bar on your night stand. Before you even get out of bed in the morning, eat the granola bar and wash it down with some of the water. My friend did this every morning and swore it kept her morning sickness at bay. Keep snacks in your purse, and if you get that hungry/sickie feeling during the day you can get a little something in your stomach to settle it.
- Cherry Coke to the rescue? Ok, I know I just said to avoid sugary stuff but… This is a trick a nurse told me about. Whenever they have someone that’s got some pretty nasty nausea, they have the patient sip Cherry Coke. Something about the cherry syrup seems to calm the stomach. I’m not saying you should be chugging it by the gallon, but if a snack isn’t helping to calm the beast you might give it a shot.
- Breathe deep to avoid barfing. There are a lot of natural ways to calm the morning sickness monster, and a friend of mine sword by this one: Take a long, even, slow breath in through the nose. Release it slowly through pursed lips. Continue until you feel better. Sure, you might look silly stopping a conversation to do this, but I think you’d be more embarrassed if you barfed on your boss’s shoes!
- Exercise You don’t have to be as hardcore as the CrossFit mom, but a little physical activity every day will go a long way toward keeping you feeling great. Talk to your doctor first, but consider water aerobics. The water in the pool will support your belly, and your back might get a little relief!
- Don’t read all of those pregnancy books A friend of mine let me borrow a couple of hers when I first found out I was pregnant, and I think I got to chapter two before I had to put it down. It was terrifying! It was like going to a family reunion and listening to all of your female relatives drone on and on about their horror stories. Look, it may not be a bad idea to have one around for reference, but don’t sit down and read it cover to cover. You’ll only stress yourself out with all of the what-ifs you’re reading about.
- Find a doctor you trust I adored my OBGYN so much that now I actually look forward to my yearly poke-n-prods. She and I developed a wonderful relationship, and I trusted her completely. She was able to quiet my fears and I always felt like she was really listening to me. If you have a doctor you don’t feel comfortable with, go somewhere else. The rapport between you and your doc can set the tone for your entire pregnancy, and it’s a stressful enough time as it is. Do you really need to add not liking your doctor?
So there you have it, my favorite tips for a happy, healthy pregnancy. Do you have any tips to share? How did you fight the morning sickness monster?
** I may have been on The Doctors, but i am not one. Please get your doctor’s ok before doing anything!
** Please be cautious when taking any type of pill when you’re pregnant. There are some potential dangers out there that could put your baby at risk. Zofran, for example, is an anti-nausea medication that has been reported to cause birth defects. Please consult your doctor and do your research first!
Click here for more information.
As much as I love summer, I kind of hate dealing with what to have for dinner every night. Most days, it’s just too damn hot to get the oven going. I could probably live on salad during the summer months, but The BF wouldn’t appreciate it.
The good news is that we have a crock pot. I rely pretty heavily on ours, but especially during summer months when I’m not about to sweat it out over a hot stove. There are tons of websites dedicated to crock pot cooking and make ahead freezer meals (something I really want to try!), but if you’re like me that might be a bit too much planning. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I like to go with the flow! I like to throw a bunch of stuff in there and cross my fingers!
So anyway, I know this will sound weird. Brats are for cookouts. They go with sauerkraut, not tomato sauce. I know, but just trust me. The brats cook in the sauce all day and they’re so tender that they are better than meatballs. You may never go back to squishing through ground meat to make balls when you find out how good this is.
Turkey brat spaghetti
6 turkey brats
1-2 cans of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 small onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 green pepper, quartered
Salt and pepper
So you can make this as simple as pouring the sauce into the crock pot, adding the brats, and letting it cook on high for about four hours before turning it to low until the brats are cooked through.
If you want to snazz it up a bit, toss the optional veggies in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a parchment lined baking sheet at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until you get some char. Toss them in a food processor after they’ve cooled a bit and pulse until a chunky mixture forms. Add that to the crock pot with your canned sauce and brats. Delicious!
I used macaroni noodles because they’re easier for my boy to eat, but you can use whatever pasta you like… just boil it according to package directions and drown it in sauce and meat. And cheese, duh.
Serve with a salad and garlic bread. Make sandwiches or pizza with the leftovers. Go ahead and call me a genius. Just chew that bite up first, ok? It’s not polite to talk with your mouth full.
If you’ve been coming here looking for food lately, never fear! I have a new recipe to post soon. It’s all of my favorite things, too: easy, easy, easy, and tasty!
For now, though, I need to tell you about this Turmerex Turmeric 95% extract supplement. If you’ve ever had curry, you’ve had turmeric. It has a warm, slightly bitter flavor and is used in lots of Indian food. It’s actually part of the ginger family, and (like ginger) has a lot of health benefits.
Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders.
It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.
So this little spice does a lot of good things!
Recently, Vitavana sent me a bottle of their Turmerex supplement for testing purposes. I used it for about a month, just to give it time to work. I don’t tend to suffer from a lot of the issues turmeric is thought to help with, but I can say that I generally felt less bloated and my knees didn’t get nearly as grumpy during all of this rainy weather we’ve been having. It’s worth trying if you’re having some mild issues and want to find a natural remedy. Of course, you need to talk to your doctor first. I might be a genius, but I’m definitely not qualified to be dispensing any medical advise. Ok? Ok.
I didn’t notice any aftertaste when taking this, which was nice. I’ve given up on some supplements because the taste was so bad. Also, I didn’t have any stomach issues with this one…I made sure to take it with food as directed, and I had zero trouble.
Do you take supplements? What do you do for bloating? I need some good ideas because my body is rejecting dairy as of late and I REFUSE TO GIVE UP CHEESE.
**I received this product at no cost in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. **
Sometimes (not right now, hello hormonal breakouts!) I get asked what my skincare routine is like. I hear from ladies that are around my age that are struggling with their skin and I want so badly to help them…I know what it’s like to get hit in the face with turning 30 and then having a baby and suddenly your skin refuses to behave. Boy, do I ever.
In high school, my face behaved really well considering how lazy I was about washing it. Like, wetting a washcloth and rubbing my face with it was my whole routine. The only time I paid any real attention to washing my face was after a show choir performance, because that was usually the only time I wore makeup. And boy oh boy, did we ever cake it on. I can remember thinking I looked like a clown, only to be told I needed MORE BLUSH! MORE RED LIPSTICK! Can you put some glitter somewhere?
It was the only time in my life that I was able to go through an entire tube of red lipstick. Boy, those were the days.
Now, I even think about putting foundation on and I get a bump on my chin. Pluck my eyebrows? Suddenly tiny pimples pop up in place of the hairs. I have blackheads for days, and I swear no pore strip or scrub on this planet will ever get rid of them for good.
I got really sick of feeling a little like Quasimodo every time I groom my eyebrows. I was tired of the “Guess what, it’s PMS time!” pimple pop up on my chin like clockwork. I needed to do something, clearly (get it?), but what?
I read a ton of beauty blogs, including XOVain (the comments on the articles are usually as good or better than the actual post), and I found that a lot of ladies were really into African Black Soap.
It seemed weird at first…To be honest, some of the stuff looks a lot like you’d be washing your face with a turd. I found Shea Moisture African Black Soap on Amazon, and since it looked a lot less like poop than some of the others I ordered it.
This stuff smells like bubble gum and turns your shower black (e-cloth to the rescue!), but it does really seem to do something great to your skin. I use it on my body and face in the shower, with a pair of exfoliating gloves like these from The Body Shop.
About once a week, I use St Ives Apricot Scrub instead of the African black soap on my face. I know some people aren’t fans, but until I find something that actually exfoliates the way this does, I’m sticking with it. Don’t scold me.
Every day after washing my face, I use Valentia Even Glow Serum to even out my skin tone and plump things up. I actually got my bottle for free to test and review. After using it for about a month I have noticed quite an improvement in my skin… I feel like my color is more even and my face looks more…plump? Juicy? In a good way, though. Like, younger. You have to go easy with this stuff at first or you will probably break out or notice some peeling. I had both for a hot minute, so I backed it down from morning and night use to only once a day and saw a big difference. There’s a nice citrusy smell that reminds me of those chewable vitamin C tablets… Do those even exist anymore?
It’s important to use a good moisturizer with your serum. At night, or if I’m not putting makeup on, I use SheaMoisture African Black Soap Problem Skin Moisturizer. Just a heads up…It doesn’t smell very nice. Still, it’s good stuff!
If I’m putting makeup on, I use Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel Moisturizer, which smells really nice and isn’t thick or greasy at all. It works perfectly under my It Cosmetics Your Skin But BetterTM CC Cream with SPF 50+ (which is seriously my favorite thing on the planet).
So that’s the skincare routine that seems to work for me… For now. What are your favorite face products? Am I the last Apricot scrub diehard on the planet?
***Valentia sent me their serum free of charge for testing purposes. All opinions are my own.***
***Post contains affiliate links***
Well the contest went on longer than I originally intended. Apparently, my beloved Samsung Note 3 decided it was going to take a gimongous crap on me in the middle of running this contest. It was really the least opportune time for that to happen, because I also have a few other things going on that require me to be able to communicate.
The boy and I drove to the nearest Best Buy after Sprint customer care said I could upgrade early since I’d had their service for so dang long. It pays to be loyal, I guess (or just too lazy to switch carriers). We spent a hundred years waiting and chatting with a Samsung rep, and I finally decided on the Galaxy S6. Not only did I pay nothing out of pocket that day, I also walked away with a $100.00 Best Buy gift card just for upgrading. Not to shabby, I think!
If you happened to be in the same Best Buy while I was there, I was the lady with the antsy toddler that suddenly yelled, “I LIKE WINE!” for no reason. For the record, no. He has no idea what wine tastes like.
So now that I’m back in business, I can announce the winner of the e-cloth giveaway!
Congratulations to allaboutcoupons4fun! I’m sending your contact information to the lovely people at e-cloth so you can claim your prize.
Thanks to everyone that entered and shared!
**e-cloth was kind enough to provide one shower pack to me for reviewing, and one to the lucky winner of this contest. All opinions in the review are my own.**
I’m going to be honest, here. I hate cleaning. It’s not that I don’t do it, I just don’t enjoy it. I’m constantly looking for shortcuts and “hacks” (I really hate that word…) to make cleaning easier so I can go on to more fun things like playing outside with my boy.
One of my least favorite chores is cleaning the shower. I don’t know why, but I’d rather have someone dump a bucket of fire ants** over my head than stand in the shower and scrub that stupid thing. I don’t even know how it gets so dirty…
Ok, that’s not true.
The BF works outside and occasionally comes home covered in mystery stuff that I guess has to go somewhere… like, all over the walls and floor of the shower. And I shouldn’t act like he’s the only one to blame… I don’t generally get super dirty (just sweaty), but my favorite soap stains the shower walls.
In case you wondered, it’s Shea Moisture African Black Soap. I love it, and it’s been great for my skin, but somehow I manage to get it everywhere.
Needless to say, our shower needs frequent attention if it’s not going to look gross. I tried a handful of cleaning solutions I found on Pinterest, including the Dawn dish soap and vinegar one, and I wasn’t impressed at all. The store-bought cleaning solutions worked (sometimes) but they gave me an awful headache from the smell and I was always worried that O would come up behind me and grab the bottle when I wasn’t looking. Sure, I could wait until nap time, but I’ve already got a hundred and one other things crammed into that ever-shortening time slot.
When I found e-cloth, I was seriously skeptical. I was supposed to believe that this cloth was going to clean my shower (like, really clean it) with nothing but water? Uh, yeah. Next you’re going to tell me that a tomato is a fruit.***
What exactly is e-cloth? How about I let them tell you:
e-cloth’s superior microscopic texturing easily penetrates hard to remove soap scum, built up grime and water marks. Remarkably, the only cleaning companions are water, and you, so there are neither harmful chemical fumes nor any chemical residue left behind. The Shower Cloth is for thick grease and dirt. It comes with a handy grommet and power suction hook for hanging on any hard surface. The Glass & Polishing Cloth is for light cleaning and final polishing. (Not for use on electronic screens and delicate lenses.) e-cloths really are different and give a fantastic chemical free clean with just water. If you take care of them they will last for years. e-cloths work so well that you will get a lint-free, smear-free clean with just water.
e-cloth microfiber cloths are made of millions of tiny fibers that pick up dirt which normal cloths just leave behind. When we say tiny, we mean each fiber is about 1/200th the width of a human hair. These tiny fibers attract moisture and oil, lifts and traps dirt, grease, grime and bacteria. Leaving your surface clean and polished with no chemical residue left behind. This process is healthier with no chemicals used. There is no chance for potentially harmful fumes and residue. This is important to children, as well as allergy and asthma sufferers.
Save money by reducing the use of paper towels and chemicals. E-cloths come with a 300 machine wash guarantee giving you years of cleaning performance and savings
The super nice folks at e-cloth sent me a shower pack to try… And even though I was still pretty skeptical, I was excited to try it out. Included in the shower pack is a shower cleaning microfiber cloth, a suction cup hook, and a glass and polishing cloth.
I barely got the stuff out of the package before I dashed into the bathroom to try the glass cloth. Since our shower doesn’t have a glass door, I tried it on the medicine cabinet mirror…Which was covered in toothpaste splatters and toddler fingerprints. Without even getting it wet, I had the mirror completely clean and streak free in less than a minute. Say what?
The next morning, I tried the shower cloth out after my shower. Before I turned the water off, I soaked the cloth and wrung it out a bit. I then turned the water off and used the cloth to wipe down the shower walls. When I stepped out of the shower, I was pretty happy with how nice the walls looked after very little effort on my part.
I’ve been using the e-cloth for almost a month now, wiping everything down after I shower, and I’m super impressed with how great it looks. The best part? I no longer have that, “Ugh, I have to clean the shower today…” feeling.
Now if they would only come out with a set of cloths for every room of my house.
Silly me, they totally have that already! I’ve already got a wish list a mile long now that basically includes everything on their site. I mean, they even have a line of stuff to clean your body.
Because they’re so awesome, e-cloth has offered to send one lucky reader a shower pack of their very own! Entry is pretty easy…
3. Come back here and leave me a comment about your least favorite chore.
Contest will close at 12:00am EST on June 22nd. Winner will be chosen at random and be notified by email.
Due to some major technical difficulties, I’m extending the entry period until Tuesday, June 30th]
The entry period for this giveaway has closed. Check back tomorrow to find out who won. Thanks to all that entered!
This contest is open to residents of the USA only. I received my e-cloth free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Post contains affiliate links.
**Please don’t really do this.
***Tomatoes totally are a fruit. Just making sure you’re awake.