Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Via PINKY Cherry-04 Review

Via PINKY Cherry-04 Review

As a blogger, its a dreadful and sad day when you actually have to present your readers with a bad review. It honestly is. One of the coolest things about a blog is being able to tells hundreds of thousands of people about brands that you love and getting the personal satisfaction of knowing you influenced someone to support a brand you believe in. I took a chance a couple of months ago and ordered a pair of shoes from eBay. They weren't used, they were brand new and came straight from a boutique. They were not shipped from China or anything, so I had high hopes that they would be good shoes.

When I first opened the shoes, I admit, I was impressed. The material is great. They're really soft inside and out and super stretchy without being tight. The bow quality was just okay, I won't say I hated it, but I won't say it was the best I've seen either. They were really unevenly tied (one side bigger than the other) and they felt kind of loose.

I loved the shoes when I put them on. They felt so good on my feet and didn't leave any blisters, so I thought for sure I had found my new favorite flats. I even posted this picture on my IG to show everyone my new favorites!

So Whitney... what was so bad? They're cute, comfy, and great material... where are you going with this?

Well here's the deal. I paid $31.99 for the shoes. I don't think thats a bad price, especially not for the material. However, I got three wears out of these before they fell to pieces, literally.

When I say wear, please know that I mean light wear. As in I slipped them on before I walked out of the door, rode in our car for 30 minutes to our destination, got out, went in and sat down, and got up and walked back to our car and rode back to our house and took them off. THREE wears. I didn't wear this for an 8-hour shopping trip. No dancing. No running. Hell, I barely even walked. I literally wore them and that is it.

And here were the after results:

The thing that bothers me most about this is I really loved these shoes. Its not like I got them and was like, oh damn, they don't even look as good as they did in the pictures. No, not at all. I got them and was so excited! What a let down! The skull and bow came off of both of the shoes, and I didn't even notice the one came off until I got home and now its no where to be found so I can't even glue it on. The insoles are ripping right out and the shoes can't even be salvaged as plain flats because of that tacky hot glue mark on the top. If you look closely at the picture of the bow, you'll actually see that they are literally just glued on with a hot glue gun! Such poor quality for a $30 pair of shoes!v

Sorry Via, you did not gain a new fan here!

If by some chance any of my readers have ordered these and had a good experience, please let me know! Maybe I just got a bad pair? Who knows. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reversing hair damage

I could have been the poster child for damaged hair.
After being a blonde all my life, I went dark and it dried my hair out. The ends were horrible, so I had to chop over an inch off. 
Then came a Kardashian marathon that had me determined to get healthy, shiny black hair.
So, being the product junkie I am, I hoarded every hair repair product I could find. My bathroom looked like a hair salon.
I have oils, lotions, 3 day treatments, masks, shampoos, conditioners,  styling products, all of it! All in hopes that I would repair the damage and get shine.
These are the products I've narrowed it down to, as well as a before and after picture in a time span of 3 months!

The Products:

Nexxus Pro-Mend Split End Binding Conditioner
Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo
Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil
Nexxus Youth Renewal Rejuvenating Elixir
Natrol Biotin 10,000mcg Max Strength
(and Nestle Pure Life!)
and (optional) The "Wet" Brush

The Routine:
Alright...Here we go.
I actually prefer "no-poo", but because I wanted something extremely moisturizing, I wanted to add some actual shampoos.
I don't wash my hair much, nor do I blow dry it or straighten it.
Since I'm a stay at home, I don't worry too much about it looking dirty or whatever, but if I do have to go somewhere I just pull it into a messy bun and spray a bit if dry shampoo on it before hand so it has some volume.
I only wash my hair 3 times a week, sometimes only 2.
I take my Biotin every morning and I chug two bottles of water after I take it. I drink water all day and I'm convinced it truly helps with the growth, and I know the Biotin does. My nails look AMAZING!
I brush my hair with my Wet brush all the time, not just when wet. It is amazing. It doesn't break my hair and it gets tangles out so easily.
Keeping the hair smooth and tangle free will really help your hair out.

I rub a little of tropical traditions organic virgin coconut oil on my ends several times a day. It only takes a tiny bit to cover it all. My hair is dark so it doesn't look oily, but I'm sure it would require less on blonde since blonde will show more of the oil. After I apply it to my ends, I wipe my hands off a bit on a towel and then I use my finger tips and massage my scalp for approximately 1 minute.

Before I go to bed every night, I do a full coconut oil mask. I take a larger amount of the oil and saturate all of my hair, paying special attention to the ends and my layers. I use the Wet brush and brush it a lot to get the oil all over my hair and let it really absorb it. I usually just throw it in a loose bun or braid afterwards and put an elastic headband on to keep it off my face and sleep with it in my hair.
In the morning I just rinse it with cold water.

When I do wash it, I do it after washing the coconut oil out. I still use cold water and just easy gently and really only use the conditioner on my ends. I can't stress how great this coconut oil has been on my hair. Tropical Traditions was kind enough to send me a sample of the product to try out, and I really wanted to include the review in this post just to really make my readers understand that I had such great results with it that I actually made it a part of my daily routine. 

I towel dry and apply the Nexxus Elixir to the ends, and sometimes a tiny but more of the coconut oil.

I NEVER dry my hair on hot on the rare occasion I do dry it.
And I never straighten it afterwards! If I absolutely have to straighten it, I dry my hair at night and let it rest and straighten it the next day.

And here are my results:

The left side is in March, the other is from today (May).

And this is from before I started using the coconut oil and after! 

If you're interested in placing an order with Tropical Traditions and picking up the exact kind that I have used you can visit their website here:
If by some chance you don't love the results you get with your hair, you can reuse the product for hundreds of other purposes! I apply it all over my body as a moisturizer, I use it as an eye makeup remover, and it works great (for me) at treating acne. You can cook with it as well (it doesn't even store in your body as fat!) and it has so many medicinal purposes I can't even begin to list them all. Its a really great investment that I don't feel like any of you will regret!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reasons Why My Kids Don't Like Me...

Its been a bad week for my kids.
I don't know why. 
It doesn't apply to my youngest, but the two older monsters have been living up to their nicknames lately. They feed off of one another so if one is mad, so is the other. 
I'll be referring to them as #1, #2, and #3 in this entry, with 1 being the oldest and 3 the youngest of course. 

[[Disclaimer- This is a JOKE. My kids are just being brats. Don't get crazy on me as some of my readers like to do.]]

1. I moved #2's chair closer to the table so she could reach her cup.

2. I gave #3 a new crayon instead of the tiny broken one with no tip.

3. #2 wanted my bed sheets to be yellow instead of black and white.

4. After three bowls of cereal each, I said "That's enough."

5. Jesus and Juju aren't mean. I am. (Juju is my MIL)

6. I couldn't pick all of the leaves off the tree in the front yard.

7. I made the sun go away (it was nighttime)

8. There were no dirty dishes in the sink. (Apparently this really bothered #2. She had a major meltdown over it.)

9. I got a Mother's Day card and they didn't.

10. I wouldn't let #3 take his Huggies diaper off to look at Minnie.

11. Doritos turned their fingers orange. (all 3 cried over this)

12. I didn't have coffee in my new coffee cup.

13. My fingernails weren't "sprinkled" enough.

14. #1 put his shoes on the wrong feet.

15. Today isn't #2's birthday.

16. Bad guys are bad and its all my fault.

17. There isn't a pool under our coffee table.

18. I didn't let #3 jump on #1's head.

19. Daddy's shoes are big.

20. The flowers are crying.

21. The Mickey logo on the Disney Channel didn't make Mickey Mouse Clubhouse come on.

22. The lid on #2's pink sippy cup was pink.

23. Skinny stomachs mean your hungry.

24. The garbage truck didn't let #1 take it's picture.

25. The clouds looked like Spongebob but didn't look like Dora.

26. The couch didn't feel like popcorn.

27. Mud makes you dirty.

28. Bumblebees sting and hurt.

Yep.... thats been my week. And its not even Friday yet. The kids all contributed to this unknowingly. This is just a collection of the nice things they have yelled at ME for this week or thrown a tantrum on my feet about. They also added these things that they do like.

Things #1 Likes:
Santa Claus
Special things
Video games

Things #2 Likes:
Present bags
Maw Maw

Things #3 Likes (according to #1):

Just for the heck of it, here's some cute pictures from today, when I let them play outside until they couldn't stay awake anymore hoping to make them happy hahaha. It worked momentarily. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tips, tricks, and products that will make your (mommy) life a little easier.

With three little ones, I could have it a lot worse than what I do. I have a lot of people who come to me for advice on how to still manage a household while staying on a schedule and taking care of their kids. I can't count how many times I've sat and wondered why people ask me that, especially since I have so many days that I'm in tears once every one is in bed because the day has just been so insane. I've already done a bit on scheduling and I don't feel like that is something that really needs to be gone into in depth again, but I will touch on it. The following list is just some tips and tricks, plus a few products, that make my life a little easier and I think most moms will benefit from.

  • Sort and organize: Cleaning with kids around isn't easy. However, I'm the obnoxious mom who gets a little irritated with the moms who compare cleaning with kids to brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It shouldn't be that way. Kids react to the environment around them. Throw them into a room that has toys piled up where they can't even tell what they are, trash all over the floor, broken toys taking up space just because, and dirty clothes scattered about and kids will act NUTS. I mean they will tear more stuff up, they will climb on furniture, hit each other, and just act barbaric. This is because chaos is all around them so they act chaotic. The easiest way to prevent this and encourage independent PLAY and not just following mom around all day is to just organize things and help them learn to keep them that way. It doesn't take a big budget to do this, most of us have enough stuff around to do it spending nothing or very little. Don't just clean rooms when someone is coming over or when the mess is so much that you almost break your neck walking in. Instead, do a 15 minute clean every couple of hours. This prevents you from having to do a 1 hour clean later on. EVERY day, take a handful of Walmart or grocery store bags into your kids room and pick up trash. Involve them in this. Make it a fun thing to do and do it constantly, and they will eventually do it on their own. If a toy is broken, throw it away. Talk to them and let them know it serves no purpose now, it is broken. As parents we tend to hold onto our children's toys forever because of the attachment we have to them. What most people don't realize is you have an attachment to the memory, not to the toy. So let it go. Use clear organizers (I use Rubbermaid) and put them in an accessible spot. I line ours up. Each box has only certain toys in it. Using my boys' room as an example, we sort like this: Superheroes and action figures in one box. Cars and trucks in one box. Tools in a toolbox. Stuffed animals on the bed. Its simple and because the boxes are clear, they don't feel the need to dump a box out to get the toy they're looking for. They always know where they are and how to get to them. Buy a container with a lid attached and you can put these boxes up in the closet or somewhere they can't get into and if you don't want the toys out, they can't get to them. We also have one designated shelf for "big" toys that can't fit into boxes like our singing Mickeys, Spiderman and Batman town sets, and remote control cars. Another good idea for kids old enough to have things like this around without hurting themselves is to put figures in a sandwich bag and store them with the things they go with. My daughter has a Cinderella castle and it has lots of little add ons that don't have another place to go. So instead of putting them somewhere else and having them get lost, we take all of Cinderella's furniture and accessories and put them in a sandwich bag, and then we put the bag inside the castle. Same goes for Captain Hook's ship and all the pirates it came with, and Spiderman and the Bat Cave. This can be carried on into the family room or anywhere that toys are played with a lot, and here you can take it a step further. Get an organizer (or in my case, three) and put each child's picture on the front of the box. Because these don't have to be as durable, you can use a shoebox, a bucket, or even a large storage bag. I personally like to use the huge Ziploc bags and then stick them all into a clear organizer. Once the child has their picture on the container, place the toys that they play with the most in that area into it. When a guest announces an unexpected visit, all you have to do is have the child find all of their toys that are out and put them into the designated container. Easy! I could go on and on about this because it is truly a lifesaver. It can be done in every room of the house with various things (bath stuff, snacks, art stuff, etc). Just have a place that the child knows to use for their things, and it will be used. If you have a child that has an allergy or kids that always complain about wanting a different snack than the other child, you can make boxes or bags with the child's name or picture (just anything that lets them recognize that it belongs to them) and then place their favorite snacks in them. When they want a snack and have permission to get one, they can just go grab one and there is no worry on mom's end. 

  • Stop being brand loyal: This is something I see people do too often and its just ridiculous. We associate being a good mom with using the most high end products on our children. That is just dumb. I'm sorry, but it is. An amazing mom can take the cheapest most useless products and make them something great that their children can benefit from. A few things I don't worry about "splurging on" include wipes (not for diaper changing but for clean up), disinfectant spray, shampoo, paper plates, and juice. I am brand loyal when it comes to wipes for changing my baby, but when it comes to wiping hands, faces, and bellies throughout the day, cheap wipes are the way to go. I can buy a refill pack of Huggies wipes to use for diaper changes and have it last me a month because I use cheaper wipes for clean up jobs. Parent's Choice, Dollar General, Up & Up... These wipes are all great. They don't always hold up as well on diaper changes (most people report having to use twice as many wipes to get the job done when they are using cheaper brands, which means you end up buying wipes MUCH quicker than usual which eventually defeats the purpose of buying the cheaper brand!), but when it comes to getting sticky hands clean again and getting spaghetti off faces, they work just fine. Because kids tend to get sick so often, most moms will keep disinfectant spray and wipes around at all times. Buying those cans of Lysol can get pretty expensive though, so I grab off brand disinfectant. I can get three cans of DG brand spray for the same price I can get one can of Lysol and it is just as effective and still has a great scent. Shampoo might have some readers going "WHHHHHAAAATTTT?" but let me explain. Kids get a lot of baths. And most of them don't do a hole heck of a lot. You just wash it to make it look pretty on most days and to make it smell nice. I mean, most of them don't even have much hair. So I don't always get Johnson & Johnson's or whatever else I might want to pick up because they go through it SO quickly. There are lots of less pricey versions of kid's shampoo that smell just as yummy and obviously clean their hair just as well. Paper plates and juice pretty much get the same explanation. They're both things we go through a ton of and buying the most expensive brand would just not be cost effective. My off brand juices contain less sugar than the more well known brands which is an added plus. Paper plates (if you use them) get really expensive especially considering you just trash them afterwards. Most of what my kids eat off of them are small light things like sandwiches or snacks, so even the less sturdy cheap plates can be used. Of course I wouldn't serve them pasta on them, but for most kid's meals, they're fine.

  • Meal plans: This is one of those things that if you don't do it, you're just going to slap yourself for not thinking of it. Make a meal plan every week and you'll never have to panic over what you're going to make for dinner and whether or not you have every thing you need to make it. Plan out every meal you'll make, not just dinner, and when you're done making the meal plan for the week, make a list beside each meal of the ingredients you need to make it. Then you can compile a grocery list and go to the store once a week and get EVERY thing you need. You can do this by the month, by the week, or bi-monthly; whatever works for you. Every night before you go to bed, check your meal plan and make sure you don't need to lay anything out to thaw for the next day. This will save you the midday panic tomorrow when you remember you were supposed to lay out those pork chops :)

  • Stay consistent with your timing: Obviously, schedules aren't necessary for every household, nor do all moms like to have them. Of course I love schedules but I know they're hard to stick to, especially if you work outside of the home. If there is any consistency that will help a household out though, it is having a set time that eating and sleeping are done. If you eat at the same time every day, it actually signals to your body when it is and isn't time to eat. Not only does this make it easier for you, but its HEALTHY. It is a great way to protect your kids against obesity. If you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day, and have snacks at the same time, kids will eventually begin to eat only at those times and they will adjust to it and won't do so much nagging because they'll already know when it is going to be time to eat. If your child gets sleepy every day around the same time, use that as a way to gauge when nap time should be and stick to it. I know that my youngest will always go right to sleep so he can be laid down at 10:50 for his 11:00 nap. My 3 year old will fight sleep and has to play for a bit before she will actually fall asleep, so for her 2:00 nap, I send her to her room a little after 1:00 and tell her to go play and wind down. They all go to bed at the same time every night, so I can usually tell just by their behavior when its 9:00! And an added benefit to knowing when every one will be in bed is knowing when to make time for myself. Because there isn't a fight over what time to be in bed, I know I can workout, clean up, take a bath, or watch something on TV without being interrupted. It makes for a little less stress because I know I have ME time coming EVERY day, not just sometimes!

  • Invest in a plethora of do-it-all products: I'm not personally a fan of 2-n-1 shampoo and conditioners, but when it comes to other things, I'm completely onboard. Rather than having 10 cleaning products for every room in the house, I use vinegar and water, sometimes with added baking soda. It costs nearly nothing and cleans better than any of the chemical heavy crap they sell in stores. Beauty products that do it all are a mom's best friend. Almost all cosmetic companies have beauty sticks that function as shadow, cheek color, lip color, and highlighter. Great for on the go glam looks. Tinted moisturizers with SPF= MUST HAVE! I just discovered coconut oil and I am SO thankful I have. There are hundreds of uses for it and I intend to take advantage of them. Use it as lotion, eye makeup remover, diaper rash cream, conditioner, hair treatments, anti itch cream, and of course cooking. There is almost nothing you can't do with the stuff! Shampoos and body washes all in one for kids are awesome and a huge time saver. 

  • If its in your budget, get a water table: This is something I don't even know how I have gone this long without having. We don't have a pool, but even if we did, that would be a huge supervising job. A water table provides the same outdoor fun without all that worry. We got one at Toys-R-Us that is by Little Tikes. It cost $45 and we got our money's worth out of it in one day, no kidding. All three of the kids love it and they will stay outside all day playing in it. My kids are NOT easily entertained, so finding something that occupied all of them that had enough for each of them to do was a miracle in itself.

  • Make some meals ahead of time: A lot of meals can be made ahead of time which will inevitably cause you less stress. You can brown some ground beef (or ground turkey in my case) all at once and pack it into freezer bags to be used through the week. This will turn what would have been 20 minute meal prep into 10 minutes and its super easy. You can use the ground meat for whatever meals you want: chili, spaghetti, Hamburger Helper, soups, tacos, etc. You can also grill chicken and freeze it in storage bags so it will just have to be heated back up and thrown into a salad or in some veggies. Vegetables can be sliced and frozen too, making it a no-excuse way to always work veggies into your meal.

  • Set up certain days of the week to do household tasks: There are some household chores that don't have to be done daily. To stay on top of these tasks so they don't all end up taking an entire weekend to finish up, just set designated days for each chore. If you change sheets every weekend, start doing that one day during the week. Same for scrubbing the baseboards, dusting the ceiling fans. Here's an example:
      • Monday- Change sheets
      • Tuesday- Dust fans & dust catching areas above doors and in corners
      • Wednesday- Clean tubs
      • Thursday- Clean outside area, driveway, etc.
      • Friday- Clean windows
      • Saturday- Clean out car
      • Sunday- Steam clean carpets
    • Take it one step further and do a monthly chore list
      • First Monday- Purge toys no longer played with
      • Second Monday- Donate or pack up clothes that kids outgrow or do not wear
      • Third Monday- Clean doors, spots accumulated on walls
      • Fourth Monday- Clean out the refrigerator
      • Fifth Monday- Clean out cabinets, clean inside of oven, dishwasher, washing machine.
None of these things will completely make your life chaos free, but these are at least a few of the ways that I make it through the day without completely losing my mind :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My skincare routine

Hi there glam moms! I have had a huge wave of skincare questions thrown at me recently so I thought I would just go ahead and go through my whole facial care routine. I suffered from super severe cystic acne all through my childhood and teen years and it didn't really ease up until I was around 19. I took all of the antibiotics, prescriptions, everything that the dermatologist recommended, and nothing ever worked. Accutane kind of helped but came with an entire set of scary health issues on its own so I ditched it. Now I have fairly good skin and few acne flare ups, and pretty minimal scarring considering how severe my acne was. Being asked about my skin is pretty crazy but you ask, I tell, so here goes:

Morning Routine

1. Noxzema Original Deep Cleansing Cream.
This is a really standard and budget friendly face wash everyone probably remembers from their teens. I use it now mostly because I like the smell and how cold the eucalyptus oil makes my skin feel. It makes my skin feel tight, soft, and really clean and I like that, especially in the morning.

2. Boots Organic Face Rosewater Toner
100% organic and totally awesome :)
It makes my skin so soft and really makes irritated skin feel a lot better. I like the light scent and love that it doesn't dry out my skin.

3. Mary Kay Timewise Age-Fighting Moisturizer
I'm not a huge Mary Kay fan but this moisturizer is easily one of my favorite face creams. Its extremely light and works really well as a primer for makeup, so its great to stock up on.

Night Routine

1. Petal Fresh Botanicals Aloe & Apricot Facial Scrub
I love love love this stuff! I have never been too big on exfoliating scrubs but I have been missing out! Let me tell you, if you have a stubborn pimple that is sore or doesn't want to fade, get this stuff and scrub it every night. It literally just scrubs the yucky stuff away and heals you're skin really gently. I really can't say enough great things about product. Its gentle, even on sensitive skin. I just adore it.

2. Alpha Hydrox Foaming Face Wash
This is a product I love more the older I get. AHA is great for your skin and this cleanser is where its at. It lathers well, rinses easy, and leaves your skin tight and dry and super clean. Never makes my skin oily or dry, just a perfect clean feeling.

3. Perfect Skin Tone
This is part of a cleansing system but I only use the toner. I have tons of it and I go through it quickly. Its made my skin a lot more radiant than its ever been, and helped soften the few dry areas I have. 

4. Olay Regenerist 
This product is a little pricey for a drugstore brand but I adore it. I just finished up my full size bottle so I'm using some samples I have until I come across some good coupons ;)
Its a nice deep moisturizer that dries surprisingly light and silky. I love it for night time because it just feels so soft! 
I swear I can see a major difference when I use this stuff, especially in the dullness I get in my cheeks and t zone a lot.

5. Aquaphor
I go through this stuff so quickly! It is a miracle product. I use it all over, especially on my hands and feet at night, but I use it on my face nightly as well. I have really dry lips and dry skin around my nose, so I always put this on before I go to sleep. Wherever I put it is baby skin soft by the time I wake up!

Alright, so there we go. My day and night routines! None of these are sponsored products. I didn't receive any of them to review, I just purchase them myself. I did get the Olay sample from a Vocalpoint campaign, but I was a long time user before I ever got it ;)

Most of the products are pretty easy to find except maybe the PerfectSkin and the Mary Kay of course. Just look em up online! I ordered all of my stuff from drugstore.com except for those two!