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Summer Beauty Essentials

7 Jul

summer beauty healthy

1. Acquarella Nail Polish. I wrote a review 3 years ago here.  Acquarella is the only brand I’ve used since.  I’ve tried Plasma, Livid and most recently Sleek, and I love them all.  A little pricey, but it lasts awhile–my first bottle lasted two years!

2. Babyganics Hand & Face Wipes. I keep a pack of these in my purse for wiping down after the park.  They’re cooling and they clean with one wipe, without being scented or leaving a greasy residue.

3. Babyganics Insect Repellent.  This is the only bug spray we’ve used for two years.  I find I have to reapply more frequently than other chemical-laden sprays, but I guess that’s to be expected. It leaves an oily residue, but the smell isn’t bad at all.  I think the spray comes out heavy and fast, though, so watch out!

4. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion.  I use this after showers, but I also keep a small tube in my purse.  If I were ever exiled to a deserted island and could take one item, it would come down to lotion or toilet paper, and lotion just might win.  I apply multiple times during the day, so I like that this is a healthier choice, doesn’t have a fragrance, and doesn’t leave a residue.  Matty loves putting lotion on, too, and I don’t worry much when he pulls this out of my purse.

5. Babyganics Sunscreen. Do you get that we love Babyganics?  I bought this sunscreen for Matthew for our vacation last year in the Caribbean.  Eric and I ended up using it too, and no one got burnt.  We’ve continued to use it almost daily this summer, and I still love it.  It does go on really white, but Matty doesn’t mind. Heck, neither do I…I’m too busy chasing a toddler around the park to care if I have white streaks on my face. 🙂

6. California Baby Calendula Cream. I bought a big tub of this when Matthew was born in lieu of traditional diaper cream.  We just ran out.  I use it for everything from bites, scrapes, rashes, and even moisturizer in a pinch.  Matty loves to get kisses from Mommy and then his “creeeeeam” when he gets an ouchy.

7. Honest Company Conditioning Mist.  I love Moroccan Oil for my hair, but when I ran out recently, I decided to try Honest Company.  I don’t love this as much, but I still love it.  It keeps my hair soft and less frizzy, which is great because I rarely have time to blow-dry.

Lord knows I carry enough in my purse, so it’s nice when I can find a product that does double (Mommy and Matty) or even triple (Daddy, Mommy, and Matty) duty.  The best part?! All of these products are rated as a 1 or 2 (low risk) on Skin Deep, the EWG’s website ranking beauty and household products.  Check it out!

Acquarella Sleek

**I had a hard time finding a picture of the exact color of “Sleek”, so hopefully this helps!

Questions:

1. What healthy beauty products are you loving?
2. Did you make the “jump” to healthy products all at once, or as you run out?
3. Does anyone else feel like maybe if they trash all their sunscreen, magical voodoo will get rid of all this rain and bring the sun back? Seriously, what is up with this weather?!

Everlasting Christmas Joy

3 Jun

Is it too late to post about Christmas presents? Probably.  But after 6 months of using this particular gift, I just have to share.  Hubby and I decided we weren’t going to do presents for each other this year, and instead save the money towards a vacation or a house project.  Of course, he broke this pact, but I have to give him credit–his surprise was well-thought out and downright awesome.

This is an SD card. It can be used in any camera that uses SD.  But it’s not just any SD card, my friends, Oh no.  This is a magical SD card.  It’s saved me HOURS of time.  It’s given me back my sanity (well, some of it).  It’s made life more fun. Okay, that last one is a bit of hyperbole, but still true.

You see, this card slips neatly into your camera in place of your current SD card. Then when you take a picture, POOF! It’s magically uploaded to any device you choose.

Think about that for a minute…

  • no more taking the chip out of your camera and sticking it into your computer to upload pictures…
  • no more grabbing said camera to take a picture of your adorable child doing something adorable, only to realize you forgot to put the chip back in your camera…
  • no more curling up in bed at 10pm to write a blog post, only to realize you forgot to download the pictures you need…
  • no more running out of storage space on the camera (they can automatically be deleted once they’re uploaded)…
  • Magic!
  • Did I just give too much away about my life? 🙂

Of course Hubby bought the super-mega card because he said he wasn’t sure how well it would work, but he agrees that the average user could get one of the lower-tier SD cards.  We take a lot of HD video and use a Nikon D90, so he wanted to ensure the card could handle it… something about Class 10 Rating.

It comes with easy software to install on any computer, and  you can then choose where you want your pictures to upload (your computer, two computers, cloud storage, facebook, Flikr, etc.).  Eye-Fi has partnerships with a lot of online storage sites, so the sync-up is easy-peasy.  Oh, and if you take pictures away from home, all you do it flip your camera on for a couple of minutes when you get home (aka, back on your wireless internet network) and the pictures upload.

smugmug

Along with the Eye-Fi card, Hubby also signed up for a subscription to SmugMug.  So we have our Eye-Fi card automatically upload all pictures to SmugMug (aka cloud storage).  That means that at any time, any place, on any device (laptop, phone, iPad), I have access to all pictures and video that we’ve ever taken (we uploaded all past pics and vids, too).

They don’t compress your pictures–they keep the full image or video, and you can even order prints and photo gifts through them (though I haven’t done this).  SmugMug has great features: I can tag pictures to search (like “Lima House” or “Wedding”); I can search by date taken; I can create galleries and slideshows to share with friends and family; and best of all I can upload pictures to my blog directly from SmugMug in about 2 seconds. Awesome, unless you’re one of those fancy blogs that have to Photoshop all of your pictures first, though you can watermark directly from SmugMug, which is kind of cool.  If you don’t have a blog, but you’d still like to share pictures with family and friends, you can customize your homepage with themes and layouts.

smugmug1

The cost is about $8/month for unlimited storage, but it’s worth it in terms of peace of mind–in the event of an emergency, we have all of our family memories backed up.  We even got crafty and took pictures of important documents, just to at least have that information, if needed.

I’m not a spokesperson or being paid for this review,but we’ve talked with a few friends about it recently so I thought I’d share. I did, however, steal their graphics, so I suppose it’s even. 🙂

Gettin’ My Fix: Stitch Fix Review

30 Apr

stitch fix review

Have you heard of Stitch Fix?  It’s quite the talk of the blogosphere as of late, and this is one bandwagon I couldn’t wait to take a big hop, skip, and jump on.  Long story short, it’s kind of like hiring a personal shopper.  First, you fill out a detailed “Style Profile”, where you rate how much you like and how often you wear certain styles.  Fear not, there’s pictures to help you see what “Romantic” or “Bohemian Chic” really means.  It also asks for your measurements and what sizes you normally wear in a variety of clothing.  One really cool feature is that you can link it up to your social media, like a Pinterest style board.

For $20, they put together a box of 5 items based on your style and requests.  If you decide to keep anything in the box, the $20 is put towards your purchase.  If you don’t like anything in the box, you’re out $20.  If you like everything in the box, you get 25% of you entire purchase.  So yeah, it was a $20 gamble on giving this a try, but I figured I had to like something, right?  And if not, well, it was a fun experiment.

For this Fix, I asked them to focus on dresses and tops.  Specifically, I asked for casual items that could be worn to run errands with a toddler in tow.  I asked that the dresses hit above the knee, and that the tops hit around the hip or are tunic style.  Yep, you can be that detailed.  They sent 2 dresses and 3 tops, and they all fit the requirements nicely.  Interestingly enough, all the items were things I wouldn’t have picked up myself, but I ended up liking each one, at least a little.

Item #1 Payton Sheer Plaid Tab Sleeve Top

stitch fix review

I liked this a lot.  It was comfy and cool.  It looks good with jeans, but will also look good with shorts this Summer.

Each item has a tag that gives ideas on how to wear it.  Most ideas were great, but this one frightened me a bit…Please tell me Daisy Duke tie-front shirts aren’t in style?

stitch fix review

Item #2 Evelyn Stripe Knit Short Sleeve Top

stitch fix review

This was cute, but not $78 cute. Not even half-that cute.  Plus, it was sweater material, so it wouldn’t get much use now.

Item #3 Keely Mixed Material Tie Front Dress

stitch fix review

I didn’t think I would like this, especially with a name like “mixed material”.  But I like it a lot.  It’s perfect for errands or Date Night, whatever that is. 🙂

Item #4 Calafia Jersey Wrap Front Dress

stitch fix review

I hate wrap dresses. Hate them.  They always make me look like a stuffed sausage.  Wrap dresses are supposed to be flattering on everyone.  But. No. No, they’re not.

Item #5 Avree Button Up Chambray Top

stitch fix review

I kind of wanted to like this. It was a bit too small. And it had a weird button situation.  The buttons went all the way to the top, but there were so few buttons towards the bottom that my belly button showed. And it was…wait for it…$98.  Excuse me while I choke on my own spit.

Okay, so here’s the deal with the pricing.  You get to choose your own price range.  When I signed up, there was a wait list.  So, in my logical glory, I thought that if I chose a higher price range, they’d let me in sooner.  I think it worked, btw, but I totally forgot to change the price range back down before I hit “ship”.  But I’ll be changing that if I do this again. Ha!

I do, however, think they would be super successful if they offered a “Toddler Chic” option.  I suspect it would look much like this, and I would sign up for monthly shipments.

toddler chic

So what did I keep?

If you haven’t signed up yet, give it a try.  And use this link: I’ll get a $25 credit when you have your first Fix shipped.  That will buy me a new shirt.  Maybe I’ll rename this post, Contribute to My Post-Baby Body Wardrobe Because It’s Currently Pathetic.  But that might be too long…

  • Have you tried Stitch Fix?
  • Did you love or hate it?
  • What’s your favorite store for “mom clothes”?

Halloween Reading

12 Oct

Now that Matty has learned to enjoy more than just 3 favorite books, I thought it was time we branch out into our first themed reading box. Ahem, cauldron. Hehe.

Favorite Halloween Books 

1. Where Is Baby’s Pumpkin?, Karen Katz


We have amassed quite a few Karen Katz books, and Matty loves them all.  He especially loves this one because it is lift-the-flap and the little girl is dressed as a kitty, which is kind of a big deal around here right now.

Activities:

• Lift the flaps!
• Touch the textures. Discuss different words-rough, sparkly, soft, smooth, etc.
• Use real-life gestures to show under, behind, in, etc. (not just lifting the flap)
• Get a small pumpkin to hide around the house. Ask “Is Matty’s pumpkin under the pillow?”, “Is Matty’s pumpkin behind the toy box?” Is Matty’s pumpkin on the chair?

2.  Halloween Dogs, Roger Priddly

Okay, I absolutely hate the words in Priddly books, but of course, Matty loves them.  And that’s the point, right? He picked this one out himself, by shouting “DOG!” and running to the display in the store.  Then he just giggled-screamed at the cover for a good 2 minutes. So  naturally, we added the book to our cart and brought it home with us.

Activities

  • Touch & Feel. Matty’s favorite page is the “Hocus Pocus” page with glittery stars.
  • There’s a page about howling dogs, where we (I) of course, howl.
  • Dress up your dog? Just kidding!, Kind of.  If we had a dog, I’d totally dress it up. Maybe Kitty will be a good sport?

3.  The Spooky Wheels on the Bus, J. Elizabeth Mills

The Wheels on the Bus is one of our faves around here, so I thought Matty would get quite the thrill out of this.  It took him a few reads to warm up to it, but he loves it now.

Activities

  • Sing!
  • There’s a CD that goes along with the book, so this could be a fun alternative.
  • Lots of hand movements, for example, instead of “the wipers on the bus goes swish swish swish”, we’ve got “the white wipers go creak creak creak” (it’s a bony hand). I dangle my arm and creak it back and forth.  Granted, Matty doesn’t fully get what I’m doing, but he sees I’m having fun, so he has fun, and that’s the point, no? Plus, after reading a book 100 times, you got to entertain yourself somehow!
  • The illustrations have lots of detail, so a great anchor to add more vocabulary.  “Do you see a ghost? There it is! It was hiding behind the driver.”  Matty isn’t able to find things on his own yet, but kids a little older can probably start finding some of their favorite items.

4.   Who Said Boo?, Phyllis Root

We just got this book today, and we’ve already read it at least 15 times.  Needless to say, we’re digging it.  It’s a lift the flap book, and the  illustrations are great.  It’s a rhyming book, and as I was reading it for the first time, I was really anticipating finding out the next rhyme (what rhymes with skeleton?!).

Activities

  • Lift the flap
  • Each page begins with “Who Said Boo?”, and on “boo” I’m sure to “scare” Matty by leaning in and saying “boo” in my scariest voice.  He likes to be scared. Weirdo.
  • At the end, all the characters shout “Eeek”, which I really draw out.  I get lots of giggles on that.
  • Each rhyme includes a Halloween character saying “No!”, which I shout and wag my finger.  Matty is already “reading along” shouting “No, No, No!” at those parts (but that’s his favorite word anyway).
  • So basically, be sure to read with expression.
  • For older kids, you could make your own rhymes to go along with the story.  For example: Who Said Boo? Was it Matty? NO! Matty was busy driving Mommy batty. Sorry, couldn’t resist…

5. Pumpkin Heads, Wendell Minor

While I love this book, I can’t believe that Matty actually does, too.  The premise of the story is all the ways the ways jack-o-lanterns are used: trick or treat decorations, scarecrows, and even on a hot air balloon.  The illustrations are more real-life drawing and would appeal to older kids, but aren’t very engaging for younger ones (or at least I don’t think so); Actually, I think a few of the images could be a bit frightening.  But Matty brings it to me and sits through repeated readings,so we keep it in rotation.

Activities

  • Matty really enjoys pointing to the eyes and noses of all the pumpkins
  • Lots of reading with expression and adding sound effects (for example, I bounce Matty on my lap for the page about hayrides and say “Yee Haw” on the page about cowboys).
  • Older kids could have lots of fun trying to find a new way to use their own pumpkin

The best part  is that we’ll be able to keep these books in our collection for at least a few more years. And yes, he’s in LOVE with the little reading corner.  I have large floor pillows next to the tree so we can snuggle and read.  The tree has been up for a week, and he hasn’t knocked it over, maimed it, or been rough with it in any way.  He does touch the lights (and smile!) and he also takes the the little decorations on and off, which I’m completely fine with  (No, I’m not worried about choking.  He’s been out of the everything-in-my-mouth stage for awhile and hasn’t tried to put these in his mouth once.  I think he really knows the difference between food and non-food substances).  I had more decorations, but figured since he’s doing so well with it, why push it?  I did try a craft today that we were going to put on the tree, but uh yeah…he’s just totally not into crafts. 😦

Any other recommendations?

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