Monday, September 8, 2014

Empty Products #14

More empty products! Why is it so satisfying to finish something and toss it into the recycling bin?! There is just something about it that I love. I also love sharing mini reviews with you guys when I have really used all the way to the end. Here is what I've finished up lately:

Aquafresh Extreme Clean Deep Action Toothpaste in Mint Zest
This is my go to toothpaste. I repurchase it over and over and will continue to do so until someone tells me it causes cancer or some other awful thing...I love the foaming action of it and it leaves my mouth feeling really clean. What more could you ask for from a toothpaste - clean mouth, sold!

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash
I love Origins, and this cleanser of theirs has become my go to night time cleanser. My skin is pretty normal these days (after a round of Accutane last year), so I try my best not to irritate it by changing my skincare once I've found something that works. My skin likes this cleanser and it isn't too harsh. Yes, it foams, but it's not drying at all. I just feel clean after using it. Are you noticing a same theme here...

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil
When I finished my round of Accutane, I was told that I would need to use a prescription topical retinol cream every day for the rest of my life. This didn't sit well with me, so I started researching the active ingredient and natural alternatives. Retinol is an animal form of vitamin A and it highly irritates my skin making it very red, patchy, and not at all what I want after spending time and money to clear up my skin! A natural alternative is rose hip seed oil. I found that Pai's Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil had the highest concentration of the ingredient of any product on the market at the moment, so I decided to give it a try. I've heard great things about Pai. This is a dry facial oil that you put on dry skin. I put it on at night before bed. To me it smells like chocolate and raisins. I'm not a big fan of raisins, but I have grown to really love the herbal scent. I use 5 drops in the palm of my hand and smooth over my face and neck. The bottle lasted for 8 months, so at less than $35 it really is a steal! I am already onto my next bottle!

Victoria's Secret Dream Angels Heavenly Angel Mist
My lovely hubby gave this perfume to me a few years ago and I am just now finishing it off. It wasn't my favorite scent, but it wasn't horrible either. It has a powdery fresh smell to it. I used it mostly when I was going to be around the house, which is most of the time since I work at home. If you like the scent, I think it's a great deal, because even using it most days this stuff lasted me over a year! Plus, the bottle is plastic so it would be great for road trips.

Clinique All About Eyes
Finished another eye cream. This one is a very light gel cream hybrid. It sinks into the skin nicely and I think it would be perfect under makeup. Right now it is tied with Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream as my favorite daytime eye cream.

Crest Glide Deep Clean Cool Mint Floss
I have made a pact with myself. I WILL use up the toothpaste and dental floss that I have amassed in my linen closet from the dentist. You know, the stuff you get after every cleaning. The other day I went through my bathroom drawers and pulled out so many toothbrushes, boxes of tiny toothpaste, and things of dental floss that I could have supplied an entire football team for the next month! I organized them into a box and vowed to use all of the toothpaste and floss before I buy anymore. So far so good...apparently they don't put as much floss in those things from the dentist as they do when you buy them, so it's fast going. This one was nice...more of a tape than the stringy stuff of my childhood. It did the job and I didn't notice any real minty flavor.

Nude Progenius Treatment Oil
Once I ran out of my Pai oil, I needed something to bridge the gap before my new bottle came in. I found this in my stash. I've heard great things about Nude products, but this one didn't do it for me. I didn't like the smell and I just didn't feel like it nourished my skin as much as the Pai oil. I know they are 2 completely different products, but I just didn't feel like it was enough for my skin. It is a thinner oil than the Pai Rosehip oil too. So far, my 2 favorite dry facial oils are the Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil and the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Oil. I think I will stick with them for now.

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
Speaking of Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream...I finished up the Clinique one and had this sample in my stash, so I figured I could use it before I went out to repurchase another All About Eyes. After using this sample, I was reminded how much I love this eye cream! It has a bit of shimmer to it that just give the skin around your eyes a glow. It doesn't look glittery on. You are just left looking fresh and you've just had the most amazing facial! I think I will be repurchasing this guy instead of the Clinique...this time, at least.

What have you used up lately? Anything that I need to run out and purchase?! I'd love if you shared!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Parent Essentials: Summer to Fall Edition

Tis the season...for the season changing cold...ugh! With 2 boys 10 and under, you can best believe that germs run rampant around my house starting this time of year. What is it with boys and refusing to wash their hands?! I've said it a million times, and I stand by it...Boys are Gross!

Anywho, over the years, I've put together something of a Parent Survival Kit for these times. Some are common sense, and some are my own tricks of the trade, if you will...Let's get into it!
  1. Saline Nasal Spray: First off, when noses get snotty and/or stuffed up, saline spray is a great way to keep things...flowing if you will. I know it is supposed to keep the mucus lining hydrated or some highly educated thing, but for me it just aides in the whole nose blowing experience that kids just absolutely love...Not! The one I have right now is the Walgreens Saline Nasal Spray, but really any will do. It's just a salt water solution in a fine mist delivery bottle, but it's worth having on hand! A spritz in each nostril and a tissue...or 12, and you're good for at least another...half hour or so...
  2. Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer: Since I had my first son 10 years ago...geez, where has the time gone!...our Pediatricians have advocated the Tylenol/Motrin dosing every 4 hours, as needed. For my kids, Tylenol does little to nothing when they have a full on fever, so using it alone isn't in my best interest. But I also don't want to just dose them up with Motrin all of the time. So we do a shot of Tylenol (here I have a store brand: Healthy Accents Children's Pain Relief Acetaminophen) and 4 hours later, a shot of Motrin (again, we have a store brand: Healthy Accents Children's Ibuprofen). I'm perfectly happy to use the store brands from stores that I trust, but that really is up to you. I find that I am giving my kids far less medicine when we use this method, and that is always a good thing!
  3. Thermometer: A thermometer is a MUST have for parents, I don't care how old your kids are. Shoot, I even use an ear thermometer like this * Braun ThermoScan 5 Ear Thermometer for my husband and myself! I find it to be super quick and easy and the kids don't get all squirmy. I used to have the Braun Thermoscan Ear Thermometer with ExacTemp Technology, but the ThermoScan 5 is definitely faster! It also has a power button so you can turn it off - allowing the battery to last longer. Braun is the best brand thermometer, in my opinion, and I will continue to repurchase them for my own piece of mind.
  4. Decongestant for the Under 6 Crowd: When you read the directions on all of the decongestants on the market, they all say not to use for kids under 6. Well, what are we supposed to do to help our little ones?! Our Pedicatrician recommends Claritin for kids when my 4 year old is snotty and snuffly. We have the Up & Up Children's Loratadine Syrup (ie. Children's Claritin) version right now. It says you can use it on kids 2+. I would have never thought to use this for a cold had my doctor not recommended it, so I wanted to share with all of the other parents out there.
  5. A Good Distraction: Who doesn't need a distraction when they aren't feeling their best? Adults and kids alike! When the kids are snotty and have scratchy throats, popsicles or freezie pops are just what the doctor ordered...right now we have these Mott's and SunnyD Freezer Pops. The Mott's ones are made using fruit juice and both have a bit less sugar than the standard freezie pops. I got these from my local Walmart. The kids love them, and they don't realize that their sweet treat is actually helping soothe their throats. It's a twofer folks! As a parent, you learn to have lots of these little tricks up your sleeve. 
As an honorable mention, I wanted to point out that Baby VapoRub is good to have on hand. I use it at bedtime more as a relaxation technique than anything else, but I find that it really does help my kids sleep better when they are stuffy.

Although none of these things are cures for the sickies, they do lessen the blow, and who doesn't want to do that when their kids are sick?!
What is in your must have kit when your kids are sick? I'd love to know!

*This product was sent to me in consideration for a review free of cost to me. My opinions are always my own and are genuine!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer Favorites

If Labor Day is the unofficial end of Summer, then we have unofficially started the Fall with some of the hottest weather of the year here in my little piece of the world! I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready for snowboard season...bring on the SNOW!

This Summer I spent a lot of time out in the sun playing in the water with the kiddos. I think you will be able to tell by this group of favorites from the last 3 months.

  1. Sunscreen: We all know that we should be covering up with sunscreen everyday. Not only does it defend against scary things like skin cancer, but it also keeps our skin looking younger longer. And at 33, I need all the help I can get in that department! This year I started seeing sunscreen oils and was intrigued. I can't stand the time and effort it takes to put on lotion and my skin is always left feeling sticky and just plain gross. On top of that, my skin has started to react to sunscreen lotions by burning and itching on top of getting super dry after I wash it off at night. The sunscreen oil sounded like it might offer a different experience. I grabbed a bottle of the Supergoop! Sun-Defying Sunscreen Oil with Meadowfoam Broad Spectrum SPF 50. It was AMAZING! I put it on in the morning it sunk straight in leaving my skin feeling nourished and not tacky. It had a very subtle scent that I barely noticed. And after a day with one re-application, I didn't feel like I had been rolling in a tar pit. I did not burn one little bit all Summer with this on! This sunscreen has quickly become my holy grail.
  2. Pedicure: During the Summer, when our toes are on display with cute sandals and flip flops - or like me, when you go barefoot - a good pedicure is a must! I am obsessed with corals, and not even just for Summer. It looks great with a tan and is bright and cheery for sunny days. I had one polish on my toes ALL Summer and it was Trout Pout by Butter London. It is the perfect coral peachy pink for my skin tone. Plus, it matched my bathing suit!
  3. Bathing Suit: Speaking of bathing suits...a girl needs THE perfect bathing suit when the Summer months roll around. There is no easy way to find said perfect suit, and it can take hours, if not days to do! Because I spent a lot of time with family and the general public - at beaches and such - I wasn't about to display my (never beach ready) body for all to see. So, I decided on a super cute one-piece from Charlotte Russe. It is a flattering cut, but doesn't make me look like a frumpy 30-something mother of 2 (yes, I am, but I don't wanna look like it!). Plus, it's that amazing coral peachy pink color that I'm mad for at the moment! And at under $20, it was an absolute steal! You can't get this exact one on their site anymore, but I'm sure you can find something similar next Summer season if you keep your eyes peeled.

  4. Leave-In Conditioner: During the warmer months, my hair tends to need some help when it comes to tangles. As soon as it gets wet, it knots right up. So I grab some leave-in conditioner and let it do its thing before I ever put a pick or my tangle teezer to my head! This Summer I picked up the Aveeno Active Naturals Nourish + Condition Leave-In Treatment and it worked pretty well. It didn't have a smell and it didn't seem to weigh my hair down or make it greasy. You can pick it up from just about any drugstore and it's super cheap at $5.99. I wouldn't say it's life changing, but it got the job done.
  5. Ice Cream: Finally, it wouldn't be Summer without ice cream! When we go on vacation, ice cream is a meal in itself. There is Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Ice Cream! I swear I've put on 10 pounds from it! And although, when we are at the beach, we like to grab it from our favorite frozen custard place (Kill Devil's), when we are at home we are just as crazy for frozen treats. My lovely hubby made the mistake of bringing these *Klondike Heath Ice Cream Bars home once and we were all hooked! I love Heath Bars and vanilla ice cream, so this was a natural choice. When I got a coupon from Influenster to grab a box for FREE, I was all over that! Free ice cream?! Who would turn that down?! Who, I ask?! Anyway, these quickly became my family's favorite frozen at-home treat. If you like ice cream and chocolate, check 'em out! We got ours from our local Target.
Although I am ready for the cooler months, we had a great Summer, and with my favorites around it couldn't have been better! Here's to the Summer of 2014!

What can you not live without during the heat of the Summer?

*This product was sent to me in consideration for a review free of cost to me. My opinions are always my own and are genuine!