Saturday, July 29, 2017

SK-II Facial Treatment Oil Review

   I recently got the opportunity to try SK-II 's facial treatment oil.  Right off the bat I was a little nervous because my entire skincare line is from one of their biggest competitor, Shiseido.  Also, SK-II had a scandal around 2009 because they were being accused of putting illegal chemicals in their product! (Yea I know, that's enough to turn anyone off.) Despite the terrible press, SK-II has been praised as a miracle anti- aging brand so I was still very excited.  I received this product from BzzAgent and SK-II in exchange for my honest opinion.  Normally the products I review have a positive impact on me thus resulting in a positive review.  This product unfortunately fell a little short and overall disappointed me. The SK-II facial treatment oil retails for $150.  So initially, I was thinking that this product was going to work really good. Really expensive always equals really good results right?  Turns out, that's not always the case.

   If you read my previous posts then you might already know that I recently started using L'Oréal triple power, as a replacement for my Shiseido Ibuki Moisturizer.  If you haven't read that post, you can read it here.  Well, I tried to switch back to my normally routine and it didn't work for me.  I love the triple power so much now and it's the only cream I've been using .  (I know!! drug store cream??!? It freaking works, trust me. You are cheating yourself if you don't try it.  It retails for $25!!!(On sale for $17 right now).  I was extra dry when I switched back for a few days, so this was a perfect time to give SK-II a whirl for 2 weeks. 

   Day 1 I popped out the SK-II bottle with excitement.   I was so excited to be chosen to try an expensive facial oil.  The directions on the box and bottle were INCREDIBLY VAGUE, so that initially made me nervous.  I had to searched high and low on the internet for instructions.   All of the directions say that you want to apply this product after you cleanse your face, but before any serums that you might be using.  Before you use it, you want to shake the bottle really well.  The oil separates and you want to mix it altogether.
   I shook the bottle and applied the oil before my serum, as directed.  The first thing I noticed was the subtle scent.  I've read other people saying that they love the way that it smells.  Although it is subtle and it goes away quickly, my opinion is that it smells sour.  I moved on quickly from the scent though, because it went away quickly.  After the first week, I didn't notice any result.  I was surprised to find out that this product wasn't very "oily" but instead was rather matte. After week one,  I would get dry and flaky skin by the end of the evening.  This was confusing for me because I thought it was supposed to heal your skin.  By the end of week 2 , I had very little to show you guys.  I was promised a glow and I didn't get one.  Lucky for me, I discontinued use of this product and my L'Oréal skin has been glowing great.   My recommendation, if you have dry skin, is to try  Shiseido's Ultimune Power Infusing Serum.  It will cost you around $70 but its hydrating and will definitely leave your skin glowing and dewy.

  My current skin type is combination because I have an oily nose and chin, but my forehead is often dry.  Of course everyone's skin is different and reacts differently to different products.  This experience was unique to me and my skin so I don't know if you would react the same way.  As always, I would love to hear your experiences with these products and/or any recommendations.

(In case you don't already know, the typical skin routine is as follows:  wash, toner/softener, serum and then cream.  )

Friday, July 28, 2017

You Might Be A #LivePD Fan If: 

  • The Palmetto inn comes to your mind anytime you check into a hotel. Heck if someone even udders the word motel, I get a mental image of a guy diving into a window.

  • Whenever you see a cat 🐱 on the show, you get really excited. There is always a cat, you just have to find it.

  • You will never forget the time Trooper Casey, from Arizona, saved a mans live before our eyes.  I nearly cried that night. 

  • Your recent searches include #LivePd all week long. Guilty!

  • You follow the K9 officers on Twitter. Shout out to Flex!

  • You have ever played Live PD bingo.  Which brings us right back to the cats again.

  • When you see the Obama store flash on your screen, you get excited. There is always something going on at the Obama store.

  • You have Live PD friends from Twitter. Shout out to Becky!! She's the best.

  • You immediately start writing a tweet when you hear someone say "that's not my bag, my friend left it in my car" .

  • You have tweet a question to #asksticks on multiple occasions.  He is so knowledgeable. 

  • You wait all week just to hear Tom Morris Jr. speak the words "Riding Dirty".

I don't usually write list posts but after many months of watching Live PD, I felt it was crucial  You can catch Live PD on A&E at 9/8c and you can live tweet about the show using #LivePD.   I would love to hear your love for Live PD so please comment below.  You can find me tweeting nearly EVERY Friday and Saturday, here.

You can find a #LivePD T-shirt here.

Happy Tweeting #backtheblue !!

Monday, July 24, 2017

All Roads Lead to Kickee

  My Obsession with kids clothes began when I signed up for Amazon's Baby Registry.  (When I signed up a few years ago, they were NOT running this cool '$100 worth of wipes' promotion.)  I couldn't believe that my favorite website now had registries.  Much to my surprise, all my friends LOVED that my registry was on Amazon because everyone I know is a Prime Member.  Needless to say, most of my registry items came from Amazon, despite also registering at BuyBuy Baby (still love them) and Target (come one, what mom isn't Target obsessed). 

  Before combing Amazons extensive list of baby items, I turned to a local mom group for baby registry recommendations. (I was a new mom so I could use as much advice as possible!)   One mom suggested Kickee Pants Pajamas and she was very enthusiastic about it.  They were a little pricey for pajamas, I originally thought, but I was willing to throw a pair on our registry.  To my surprise, they were the first item on the registry to get purchased.  I was so excited when it arrived.  The fabric was so buttery soft, that we became completely obsessed.  Kickee our first brand obsession but our list grew and so did my list of Facebook Groups. (love some B/S/T)  Since we have tried nearly all the popular brands, I've compiled a list of our favorites.

Kickee Pants

  Kickee pants (you can shop for it here.)  is a mom created brand with amazing customer service.  They release new prints twice a season and the releases have a very strong following.  In fact, I have joined several Kickee Pants b/s/t groups on Facebook.  These groups are strong communities of moms that trade and sell their older prints and styles.  Its shocking how attached you get to a print after you put your newborn into it for a month.  Once you realize that you can never buy that print again, you turn to b/s/t.  Honestly, I feel lucky that these women welcomed me into their group. 
  So now lets talk clothes.  Kickee pants is on the top of my list because of softness.  The prints are usually an array of animals or colorful patterns.  We are addicted to 'Musical Stripe' right now.  You can check out Musical Stripe here.  I am slowly buying up at many pieces as I can, because I know that once it sells out, its gone.  B/S/T will eventually be my only route to find it again.  I would say the only major cons is that it is a little pricey and delicate.  (yes we wash in Dreft and hand dry. You can get Dreft here.  While your at it, you should buy their surface cleaner because its amazing for stuck on food. You're welcome! ) 

Rags for Raches

  Rags to Raches is another mom built brand (yes to women bosses!!!) of children's rompers (and some Tees).  What makes them unique is that you put them on through the stretchy neckline. I don't know about you, but my daughter throws a fit when we take her shirt on and off.  This eliminates that one dilemma when its time to change.  This company was actually on Shark Tank and has been very popular ever since.  We have a few of these rompers.  They are soft, easy to put on, wash well and VERY comfortable.  When it comes to price, the classic styles are a little cheaper than some of the prints.  Prices seem to range from $30 - $60 but they are worth every dime.   I don't know much about Rachel's releases but I know there is one coming up soon. (this was written 7/2017)    I know there is more than one B/S/T groups on Facebook for this brand, however, I haven't joined yet. 

Freshly Picked

  Yet another mom built brand.  The founder of Freshly Picked got frustrated with poor fitting children's shoes.  She has been making moccasins ever since.  These shoes are not only stylish but they are also comfortable.  Plus most pediatricians recommend soft soled shoes when babies are first learning to walk.   We have about 4 pairs of these and I've been welcomed into 1 B/S/T group. (wonderful ladies there too!)  I have even gotten lucky and picked up a pair at TJ Maxx for $39 dollars!!  That is a steal because Freshly Picked Moccasins go for $60, depending on the prints and styles.  Also, they are preordering for diaper bags right now.  I would be lying if I said I didn't want one and I don't even have a need for one right now.  All 4 pairs have held up really well to being walked in on smooth surfaces.  However, I never let my child walk outside on concrete.  I have seen some nasty pictures of torn up moccasins.  (ain't nobody got time for holes in $60 shoes!!!)  I just ordered a pair of the leather sandals because all my B/S/T ladies recommended them highly.  You can buy the sandals here, but I was told to size up 2 sizes in the sandals. 

  Both Freshly Picked and Kickee Pants both have their own registry.  However, I found that most people liked shopping on Amazon for registry items.  Plus with Amazon, I was able to register for both brands and more.  Overall, I would highly recommend Amazon's baby registry.   Below is a banner that will take you to create a registry if you are interested in trying it out.  They have a great promotion right now with a diaper and wipes contest.  Check it out.  As always,  I would love to hear your feedback on my post and on your experience. 

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gut Healing Bone Broth

Okay, so I kept hearing about how amazing bone broth is for your gut and I needed to try it.  So I did a ton of "research" on Pinterest.  Turns out, bone broth is really cheap and easy to make.  However, it is a little time consuming.  I stumbled upon all these links about two years ago and I haven't bought broth since.  Specifically, one blog post changed my opinion forever and that was a post from Strictly Delicious.  Lina, from Strictly Delicious, does an amazing job of describing all the benefits of drinking bone broth.  I urge you to read her post if you are considering making this broth.    My broth is a mashup between her broth and others I've read online.  Every time I make this broth  Her post just had the most influence on my own recipe.

Here is a list of all the things I use when making bone broth:

This recipe is made nearly entirely from things you would normally throw away, bones and vegetables scraps.  Its easy to modify it to your liking so you can easily do vegetable broth, bone broth, chicken broth, ect.  For the sake of this post, I am going to write about how I make my typical broth.  My go-to broth includes all kinds of bones but typically chicken, pork and beef bones always make the pot.  Also, unlike Strictly Delicious, I add vegetables to mine for flavor and nourishment.  (little tip, stay away from tomatoes because they turn your broth into a red sauce. Root vegetables work best.) So let me walk you step by step through the process:

Step One: Bag of Bones

Roasting the bones is a bit time consuming but I do this step right after I'm done cooking.  So if we have a meal that has bones, I remove the bones right away and roast them while we are eating.  The best method I have found is Linda's method (strictly delicious) of roasting bones.  She lines all the bare bones on a sheet pan for roasting.  Linda puts her apple cider vinegar into the slow cooker.  I, however, have adopted the method of pouring it over the bones before roasting.   I cover my pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up.  Then she advises that you roast them for 20 mins at 425 degrees F.  I have noticed a better flavor I roast the bones with ACV but its personal preference and experimentation.  Roasting the bones is optional but I recommend it for the richest broth.  Although you don't have to do this step, most people will tell you that it is crucial.  In order to extract the most nutrients from the bone, you must roast them first.  Once the bones are done roasting, you simply let them cool and throw them into a freezer bag.  Repeat this whenever you eat meals with bones and until the bag is full. The best bones for this are joint bones such as: necks, backs and feet from chicken.  The more joint bones the better and more gel-like your broth will be

Step Two: Bag of Scraps

We are constantly throwing out skins and scraps that aren't desirable to eat.  These scraps contain a lot of nutrition that we are wasting by throwing out.  This broth recipes will help you eliminate vegetable waste.  Next time you peel a potato or carrot, put the skins in the vegetable freezer bag.  Just like the bones, you are going to keep a gallon ziplock in the freezer that is stuff with scraps.  Make sure to chop them up small so you can fit more!  Some of the regular items that make it into the vegetable bag here are:  Skins, stems, onion peeps and skins (yes skins) and end pieces.  Like I said before, I stay away from tomato scraps but instead include potato, carrot , onion and celery scraps. 


Step Three: Cooking the Broth

Once you have two filled up bags, you are ready to go. You are going to start by filling the slow cooker with the entire bag of bones.  Then top the bones with a layer from the vegetable bag, until the slow cooker is filled. (don't worry if it looks over filled because it will cook down)  Take your distilled water and fill it up to the "max fill" line.  This is usually most of the gallon so just set aside what's left of the gallon for later.  Put the slow cooker on low overnight.  When you wake up, take that slotted spoon and fish out as many veggies as you can.  (its ok if you still have some floaters, you just want to get most of them out)  Once you have removed the vegetables, take the remaining water and fill the slow cooker to the max fill line again.  Keep the slow cooker on low all day and all night.  So roughly 24 hours.  The next day, line the colander with a cheese cloth and strain the broth into a bowl.  My suggestion is to do this in 2 parts instead of all at once.  It will help eliminate a huge mess.  Once you are cooled and strained, you are done and ready to store.  At this point your entire house should smell like delicious meats and rich broth.  (I'm drooling)  A good test to see how well you did, is to put a glass of broth into the fridge and let it cool.  It should start to gel up and a layer or fat should sit on top of the broth.  Some people put their entire batch into the fridge and scrap the fat off the top.  They then save the fat to cook with as a replacement for butter or oil.  (haven't tried that yet but if I do, you will read about it.) 

Step Four:  Store your Broth

I would love to hear some ideas on how to store the broth.  For now, I am using Linda's hockey puck method that has been passed onto her from another blogger.  To do this, you fill a muffin tin with broth and freeze the tin.  Once frozen, you pull the tin out and put a hot cloth under each muffin hole.  I usually have to pop them out with a knife but they are perfect pucks.  Then I fill up a food saver bag and suck it shut.  This method has been working for me because I can throw a puck into a recipe straight from the freezer if I need broth quick.  If you have a great tip or trick on how to save the broth better, please comment below. 

I would love to hear everyone's feed back on how their broth turned our or how I can improve mine.  Until then, I'm going to go finish making 2 gallons of broth pucks! haha

Sur La Table

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

L'Oréal Revitalift Triple Power Review

  Recently I was sent a jar of L'Oréal Revitalift Triple Power to try in exchange for my honest opinion. I got this from one of the many sample companies that I have joined, Influenster.  If you haven't heard of them, you are going to want to check them out.  They give you free product/food/clothes in exchange for your opinion.
  Influenster is an online community of bloggers and sample fanatics.  They have an online reviewing platform that is comprehensive.  Once you sign up, you answer a bunch of questions about you and what you like.  Then Influenster sends you different things to try that are tailored to your likes and concerns.  So far they have sent me Water Wipes (baby wipes) for my daughter and the L'Oréal Revitalift Triple Power.  In fact, I'll probably write a post about Water Wipes because I believe every baby needs them.  So Influenster is a game changer and if you want to sign up, you can use my referral link:

  Before using this moisturizer, I was using Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser, Ibuki Softening Concentrate and Ibuki Protective Moisturizer. I only replaced my moisturizer with Triple Power and kept the rest of my routine the same.  L'Oréal and Influenster asked that I use it two times a day for two weeks.  I was also instructed to take a before and after picture and post them to Instagram.
This is my "before" and its looking rough

  I can be forgetful so I made a daily checklist and hung it on my mirror.  I used a giant post-it because I am obsessed with them and will use any excuse to use them.  Everyday I put two checks next to each day.  After week one, I had much more hydration.  In fact, I remember being surprised because I didn't even know I had dry skin until I tried this.  After week two ended, my forehead expression lines had disappeared and my neck was tighter.  I was so shocked that a cream could make such a difference so fast.  I guess I needed anti-aging cream more than I thought. 

  After week 2 I could see and feel a difference

  The commercials boast that this cream is better than any high end cream and I am a believer.  I urge you to take the #revitaliftchallenge. 

I just received SK-II Facial Oil Treatment from Bzzagent this week, so stay tuned for that review.  (Update: You can read that review here. )

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Meal Planning, NOT PREPPING!

Truthfully, I am not much of a meal prepper.  I just end up leaving all the prep work in my fridge for TOO long.  I always thought that meal prepping and meal planning went hand and hand.  That actually isn't always true.
I tried meal planning so many times before but none of the systems ever stuck with me.  I would plan 7 dinner meals and assign them to a weekday.  Then that day would approach and I wouldn't want to eat that meal.  It would throw off my entire plan for the week and I would end up eating out.  I needed my plan to be more flexible so it was easiest to adhere to. ( I swear I have great ideas but they are hard to stick with!)  So after many failed attempts, I came up with a back to the basics system.  Meal planning this way has saved me a lot of $$ and time.  This system is easy, cheap and will help you remember everything you need. (no extra grocery trips during the week.) 

Ok let's just start with what you need to begin:
  1. One 9.5 x 7.5 softcover notebook ( I like this one ) (or any notebook that makes your heart smile.)
  2. One Pen ( obviously pick your favorite one but I really like the Pilot G2)
  3. Two Binder Clips (dollar tree sells these for very cheap but I got these U- brand clips on Amazon.)
  4. A Ruler (unless you don't care about straight lines. No one is looking! Westcott is the best rule in my opinion though. )
  5. Excitement!  You are about to get healthy, eat out less and start feeling your best. (and maybe stickers because I love stickers.)
  • Step One: Pick your Grocery day
You want your grocery day to be a day when it's most convenient for you.  It's important to pick a day that you are least likely to bail out.  Meaning, you must make it easy to say yes to grocery shopping.  You want to go consistently on the same day of the week because you will base some of your meals on upcoming sales.  (different days is sometimes different sales. You got me?)
  • Step Two: Pick your Grocery Store
By now, I'm sure you have a grocery store that you frequent the most.  Make sure you are signed up for their card and download their app.  That way, you can clip coupons on your phone and read the circular for the week. 
  • Step Three: Set up your Meal Plan book
You want to star with 2 fresh blank pages:

On the left side, you will write:  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (sounds stupid simple right?)

On the bottom left side of the book, I place one binder clip to hold the paper coupons for that grocery trip.  I use the remaining clip to turn the book inside out to clip the two sides together.  (This makes it easier to carry around the store.)

On the right, I use my ruler (or washi tape) to create different sections according to my grocery store.  This makes it simpler for me to find things when I'm walking through the store.  (you have to make it fast when you have a 1-year-old)

  • Step Four: Fill in the Meals and Ingredients. 
Now you are all set to fill in the Meals on the left and the things you need on the right.  I leave my book on the counter all week so I can add things to it easily.  Then on Sunday (that's our grocery day) I fold the book in half, clip it together and go.  The clips help hold the coupons for that week so I never forget to give them to the cashier. 

I've taken all the things I have loved about my notebooks and designed my own Grocery Shopping List Notebook.  You can check it out ------> HERE

If you prefer a binder, download this Free Shopping List printable that I created.  I designed it to function in the same way as my notebook.  You can download it here.

This system has helped me tremendously!!! I hope it might help you too.  I would love to see what your book looks like. 

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