The Facial Hair Struggle

Check out my review of Skin So Soft’s facial hair removal cream.

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So all this time- 34 years- it’s hasn’t happened. I’ve had a few gray hairs. I noticed an angry wrinkle in the middle of my forehead a few years ago. I’ve had smile wrinkles for several years. But I have never had a stache until recently 😦 

Its started when I got some sun a few weeks ago. And the skin on my upper lip got dark… and the little hairs got lighter. So the first comment came from my husband. I looked and kind of agree with him and moved on. In any case, my makeup can hide just about anything! So I started taking more time with my makeup.. lightening up this area when I applied. Now worries.

Then one day, sans makeup, my stepson mentions my mustache. I start getting concerned. Within 3 days of this 2nd comment, one of my twins says something to me! I start getting upset. And It’s time to DO something! 

Luckily for me, it was time to send in my Avon order. The wait for my shipment to arrive was painful this month. My patience had almost run out when my package arrived!!

So this morning, we decide to spend the 4th of July at the beach. I’ve read my instructions. I’m removing this stache (or hoping to!!) while I prepare my coffee before we head out. 

I read the instructions which say to put a thick layer on and do not rub it in. Leave for 2-8 minutes. I left on for about 5 minutes. Then wipe clean with wet washcloth and then rinse with warm water. 

So I come out if the bedroom looking like this…

I laughed so hard as I made my coffee when one of the twins asked me “Mommy, where did you get that milk mustache at?” So I announced to him and his brothers that it wasn’t milk.. I was working on my mustache. So then I laughed some more when he asked “So that’s lotion to grown your mustache?” Kids are a trip! 

So now for the review. I’m in holiday-beach mode so no after pick at this time. Lol But the hair removal cream did, in fact, remove all the fine little hairs from my upper lip. Apparently, there was quite a bit of “fuzz” there because now the skin feels a bald kind of weird. And I will say I probably should have done the hair removal a day or 2 ago because applying sunscreen on my face did burn just a tad on my upper lip, as well as the “just shaved now in the salt water burn” most women have experienced on their legs at some point. It wasn’t life-altering. And definitely worth having the stache gone. 

So I would definitely recommend Skin So Soft hair removal cream. It was more than worth the $7 I paid for it. I think when I’ve used all of this one I will get the sensitive skin hair removal cream. Especially if I remove the hair on beach day. Lol

Get Outside & Grow Something! 

Check out my latest blog with handy tools to get outside and get something growing this summer.

I love, love mowing our grass! And last summer I realized why I love it: because it’s relaxing and peaceful. It’s one of the few times in my crazy, hectic, boy-filled world that I can put in my headphones & think. Think about whatever I want!! The boys are usually outside with me so I can see them (another part of feeling relaxed as a Mama is being able to see your children & visually verify that they are fine!). So mowing the grass is a sort of therapy for me. 

This year though, grass mowing started a few weeks ago. And when I would get done with our 1-acre lot, I started working in our yard. Also something I learned a very long time ago is relaxing. Pulling weeds mostly. Trimming bushes is a bit harder and not so relaxing. But very rewarding. And again, I do have boys. So they help out. 

Recently I’ve started trying to grow my own lemons and watermelons. Update on this later, as the tropical conditions have been pretty serious here lately. And my plants aren’t loving it.. because their just babies. Lol

But anyway, below are some great ways to get outside. & grow something!!  😉

This tabletop greenhouse is only $34.99. & it’s great for little hands to help. 

This hanging planter basket is made out of cotten. Great for adding a little “green” to indoor or outdoor spaces. Only $16.99.

Water is essential for growing anything. This set of 2 bird bird stakes are a cute way to keep the H2O watering your plants. The set is only $12.99.

Love, love, love these cute metal planters! The set includes 3 planters with chains so they can hang for only $14.99. Also for use indoors or outdoors.

Ever thought of growing your own herbs? It’s becoming quite trendy these days to DIY. You don’t really go anywhere or click anywhere without seeing people getting healthier homes by going organic. Or growing their own. Or doing it themselves. This handy herb-eze container will help you do it all! This container helps you measure, strip, collect, and even store fresh herbs. And checkout these magic words: dishwasher & freezer safe!! These are just $5.99 each! I like fresh mint leaves in my lemon water. And now, I can grow my own!! 

Now if you’re super gardening then you need this colander bag in your life! Great for collecting fresh veggies frim outside. The design allows for extra dirt and soil removal at the bottom. Only $12.99. 

Lastly, mostly for decoration, check out this cute garden stake thermometer. Only $19.99.

Click here to see all of the Avon Living outdoor collection, including bird baths, rain measurer, and hummingbird feeder. And start getting some outdoor therapy today 🙂 Can’t wait to share what I’m growing!

Oh My Feet… 

Tired, achy leg and feet remedies for anybody who is super hard on the lower body.

Sooo it’s been somewhat of a secret that I’ve recently decided to get off the couch & get healthy. I have a few “go-to’s” who have been aware of my journey thus far. So I guess you could say the cat’s coming out of the bag. 

Recently, I’ve been taking the boys to the local park. They ride their bikes and I walk (eventually going to be a jog or a run). I usually do 2 or 3 miles per day. In addition the boys and I have been working out at home (they will confirm this is true Lol) and we’ve been spending time in the pool. They swim… I focus on water aerobics and let me tell you- I wondered if they were working on day #1 and day #2… but on day #3 I started swimming and doing donkey kicks under the water and my hips definitely let me know that day this yes, this is working!! 

So in any case, for about 2 weeks my right foot has been bothering me. No trauma. No bruise. It’s hard for me to even explain the pain… but it’s worst in the mornings. I have been sorta walking around with my coffee cup in the mornings trying to determing if walking will be possible that day, while the boys follow me around, begging to load up their bikes so “we can go ride”. They love it! It’s a win-win-win situatuon! We’re all happy and all moving. Score. 

After a few days of this I had to evaluate my foot. Pretty sure I’m going to end up visiting the Dr. But in the meantime… I’ve been using Footworks products to sooth my aching feet. And they have kept me going (see below today’s walk):

Oh yesss! Almost 4.5 miles! Amazing! I feel wonderful! & although I seriously hate my scale.. I’m noticing other victories. NSV’s. Nom-Scale Victories. Great, great feeling. So what are these products that are allowing my feet to continue providing NSV’s? I thought you’d never ask:

The FootWorks Lavender Pampering Oil is amazing! I put some in some warm water and soaked my aching foot for a while. It was very soothing and rejuvenating. Put some life back into my poor foot. Lol

I think I love the peppermint reviving leg gel the most! I’ve mentioned it before in previous posts. I can’t say enough good things about it. I use it on legs and feet. It’s not too strong and not very tingly. Many people don’t like tingly feelings. But again… this stuff has definitely been putting some life back into my feet and legs from all this hard work I’m putting them through.

& lastly… nothing to do with aching feet. I live with a bunch of smelly boys & look at this…

This deodorizing spray is only $3.99 (so I bought 2!!) We definitely, definitely need and use this stuff!! & for Hubby with BIG feet problems & constantly wearing work boots at work 75+ hours per week:

Deodorizing foot powder. Also just $3.99. & totally worth it. 

It’s Summer… Almost!

Get ready fo summer. And summer bugs with Bug Guard.

It’s Summer… Almost! According to my calendar just 2 more weeks until Sunny days and beach trips.. Late nights and bonfires.. Boat time on the lake! Yep.. It’s almost Summer. 

Me and the boys are already enjoying some summer time. We been hanging at the park and preparing for some grass cutting (one of my favorite things!!). And looking forward to flip flop tans and swimsuits. 

We have lots to look forward to!! Something we normally don’t look forward to are bugs. Sand fleas and mosquitoes. Ticks. Although we don’t look forward to bugs we are always (& I mean ALWAYS) prepared for bugs. Lol

We, seriously, keep a bottle of Bug Guard in both trucks, as well as in the beach bag. 

The thing I love the most about Bug Guard is that it is DEET-free. Everybody loves bug repellants with deet… until they realize how harmful DEET is!

Now I’m on the “other side” of most of the warning labels these days. I like to keep my feet firmly on the ground. You can’t go anywhere or talk to anyone nowadays without hearing how bad EVERYTHING is for you. Seriously… everything is bad. Sugar is bad for you… but so is aspartame (fake sugar). Sunburn is bad for you.. but so is spray and lotion sunscreen. Again, everything is bad and it will drive you crazy trying to keep up with warnings!

Luckily, we all get to choose what we give or don’t give and use or don’t use with our families. I like to think of myself as a smart person. I do my research before banning an item from our lives. I like to read up before deciding what’s best (or worst) for my family. I suggest everyone do the same. 

With that being said, I do try not to use DEET anymore. My children and I suffer from breathing problems and asthma. So that is one of the main reasons I choose DEET-free. If you do research on deet you will find that it can cause rash and skin irritation, as well as nausea, headaches, and dizziness just to name a few. 

This is an actual bottle of Off! I have in my home. The most concerning warning cautions that sprayed clothing needs to be removed and washed immediately when returning indoors.

Bug Guard uses a DEET alternative called Picaridin. Picaridin has been around since the 1980’s and is most popular for being lighter than DEET (not as greasy) and less harsh. Some plaatics and synthetics can actually be dissolved by DEET. Picaridin doesn’t have this effect. Let me also say that Bug Guard is safe for pets, when used properly of course.

Also… might I add that Bug Guard is available with sunscreen? And Bug Guard has a line of actual sunscreen products, as well. 

I like this one pictured. The lotion goes on blue and disappears once rubbed in. This is HUGE for allowing my boys to be more independent and also to free up some of my time, of course while they apply their own sunscreen. One of the many things I do  the boys.. & for me. Sadly, they must learn to take care of things.

So, in short, my family has officially switched. Click here to see all of the Bug Guard products and read tons of reviews! I don’t think Skin So Soft itself has as many reviews as the Bug Guard line! 

The Bug Guard line is a little pricey so be sure to catch them on sale! Right now the whole line is on sale- Buy one, get one free. Sales usually happen pretty often but BOGO is pretty rare. So shop now 🙂

I almost forgot one of my favoritr Buv Guard products. 

The anti itch spray. I published my blog while I was out with the guys for a short drive. As soon as I got home (9:00 p.m.) and got into the house I went to medicine cabinet for this little gem. & then a lightbulb went off! I just posted about Bug Guard and I left this out. Whaaat?? Lol

 We use this almost daily! I’ve been using this anti itch for bug bites so long that I’m not even sure what other Mom’s are using these days? This takes the itch out of bites almost immediately! The hydrocortisone is pretty much obsolete around my house. 

Meditation… Sort Of. 

Meditation. Brandi style.

So recently I visited the doctor. We discussed lots of healthy things I need to start doing. Or stop doing. Lol Most of her advice was already burned into my brain from tons of research on getting healthier. I expected most of what she said. But one thing did surprise me. She advised me to spend time, every day, meditating. Or praying. Basically- time alone. 

I asked questions and we discussed this for a little while because I wasn’t expecting it. So I had questions and wanted to understand what she was asking of me. 

She gave me the name of an app that she uses daily on her drive to work. You can decide which area of your life you would like to hear some motivational and inspirational tips (for example relationships or raising children or managing stress at work). Once you click a short 20-30 minute clip plays on your phone. 

So, I downloaded the app, signed up with my e-mail address, looked all of the information over one good time and haven’t clicked the app again in over a month. I haven’t listened to a single recording clip. Don’t get me wrong- I love motivational speakers like Les Brown. & I always feel empowered when I’m done listening. But the truth is my life is busy and I didn’t feel this app was how I wanted to spend my “alone time”. This “meditation method” clearly wasn’t for me. 

I thought about what the doctor had told me about spending time thinking or praying, because the truth is that stress is harmful to your health. In more than one way. I certainly understand this and I believe that minimizing stress is necessary for a healthier lifestyle. It just took me a day or two to decide how to spend my quiet time. 

I wouldn’t call myself a vain person; however, most of my blogs mention doing things for yourself (applying makeup in the morning, using face cream at night, painting your toenails) all for one main reason: to feel better. Any feeling can control your whole day if you let it. So feeling healthier or feeling happier is ultimately going to lead to being healthier and happier. What a simple concept!

So with all that being said, I decided that I would spend a few minutes each day doing something for me. I have four young boys in my home, a husband, and a dog. Most everything I do is for these guys- my family. And I don’t (usually) complain. But a few minutes each day spent on something for me has the potential to reduce stress in my life. Maybe not a ton of stress- but every little bit helps. And will eventually add up!

So I’ve been doing little, extra things lately when I have a chance or think about it. I love bubble baths. I usually get to enjoy a bubble bath once a month… or every 2 months. 

Something else I love is coconut oil. This evening, inbetween the madness that is my life, I made time to put a coconut oil mask on my hair. Now don’t misunderstand: I am NOT doing the new “natural hair” thing. I definitely would- but my hair is high-maintenance. Natural hair just isn’ta good look for me. Lol But coconut oil is really nourishing and replenishing. I’ll wash the mask out in the morning and get back to my toxin-bearing hair products. But I love the end result and ultimately, it was me time. 

My “me time’s” are generally sparatic, unplanned, & unscheduled. That’s just how it goes. Lol So the boys aren’t usually surprised to see me coming out if the bedroom with some sort of mask on my hair or face or some kind of homemade exfoliating creams on my legs. Lol

Face masks I like are firming sheet masks (yes, the royal jelly from the queen bee is true!) or black mineral masks. Again, I’m not on a schedule with these products. Scheduling is difficult at my house. Lol But I do use them. & I love them. 

Some other non-scheduled “me time’s” involve foot care. Sunny Florida is just amazing at catering to my love of flip-flops. It’s pretty great. Floridians are capable of flip-flopping in every season- all year long! My sandal collection is actually growing as well! Flip-flops and sandals are great.. except on your feet. And heels. Especially heels! So I like to pamper my feet ever so often. 

I normally go with overnight renewing foot cream. Mostly because who has time for a foot soak?! Lol Less than 5 minutes.. go to bed.. beautiful, soft feet and heels in the morning! Why can’t everything be so easy, like laundry? 5 minutes.. sleep.. done! Nice thought, huh? 

Reviving leg gel is also pretty great for “me time”. I’m not a huge peppermint fan. I don’t like creams or body washes that are minty; however, after a long day of chasing my kids around (going on bike rides with them or going skating at the skating rink) this stuff feels amazing! Yes… I really do skate with them when we go. & my lega aren’t what they were 20 years ago! Lol So aching legs are the cost. 

Perhaps one day soon I’ll set up a structured schedule that fits in with all of my other daily routines. If not, at least I get an ‘A’ for effort. Remember to get your meditation in per the doctor’s instructions… however you may spend it ♡

First Beach Trip of the Year

Read my latest blog on dealing with sunburn and avoiding skin peeling.

My family went on our first beach trip this past Sunday. We chose our favorite beach- Clearwater. We haven’t been to Clearwater in several years. We went with several friends and they all tried to talk us out of Clearwater. We wouldn’t hear of it. We were set. So we arrived to overpay for parking.. and to end up on a pretty crowded beach. It was a rough start but the waves were pretty much nonexistent  (which was wonderful for the kids) and we had the best day. Lots of friends and the kids got to play with their cousins and friends. We absolutely had a blast. 

Now it’s Wednesday and I have one word for you: Sunburned. 3 days after our beach trip I am finally able to wear regular clothes Lol I’m a bit of a professional at not peeling. Just ask my husband. Lol But this time I was thinking Sunday night I really messed up. I really got way too much sun. Going forward.. goal #1 Don’t let the summer ruin my skin.

So just as soon as I’ve gotten all the sand off me I start my ritual. I never use less than two lotions.. and I never apply them less than 3 times a day. (My husband always thinks I’m crazy… let the gel dry and then immediately apply some lotion Lol I think after 5 years he has realized that I’m onto something!) This time it’s been a variety of lotions and gels. Normally I do this because I don’t want to peel; however, now I’m genuinely getting concerned about taking care of my skin. I’ve been working on a sun spot on my face for about a year! Trying to get it to fade and not be discolored. Hopefully I haven’t undone all that hard work.

In any case, I’ve mainly used 1 product on my face. And I really feel that it has saved the day.

At the time I purchased this Nutraeffects Radiance Day Cream I had no idea it would hydrate so well it would stop sunburned peeling. This stuff has been amazing. I use it everyday, along with some other products… normally. However, since my sunburn I have stopped using my Vitamin C Serum. The serum is wonderful and I still love it; however, when I first started using it and recommending it to me friends I noticed right away an “alcohol skin drying characteristic”. For this reason every bottle I sold- I made sure and told my friends to use a moisturizer with the Vitamin C Serum. It has never dried my face out. But I could definitely see where it would without a good moisturizer. 

So, in my current situation any products that add any drying effects are off limits. 

So for the rest of me I’ve been using several products:

This beautiful little tube of blue bliss cost me about $1.99 from Avon last year. I gave several as gifts and I held on to about 3 of them, knowing that me & my boys spends summers at beaches and lakes. Unfortunately, Avon stopped selling them after last summer. I’m looking for the 2017 replacement item to come out soon.. once summer reaches all the other parts of the country. Florida doesn’t really know spring. We know summer. Already in the 90’s around here?? Yep.. it’s summer. The $10 or so I spend on this after-sun aloe gel has paid for itself in my home about 100 times since last summer! Awesome stuff!

Now.. I’m all Avon, most of the time. I ordered this It Works! Defining gel from one of my mothers-in-law. It was $75!!! No typo… $75! They call it liquid gold. It’s pretty good. And I have used it a couple times on my shoulders (that are slightly starting to peel). It is super hydration. It has done the job for sure. But prior to this sunburn I wouldn’t hardley use it. The price I paid.. I always felt I was wasting it. Lol

I’ve been slathering up in this Radiant Moisture Body Lotion. It doesn’t make my skin greasy but it moisturizes and the scent isn’t too strong. I have this big one pictured at home, as well as a smaller size on my desk at work. I’ve never used my “office lotion” more than this last week. Lol I’m usually a germ-a-phobe, sanitizer freak. But not this week! #goals #nopeeling

This is another lotion that’s been a great friend this week. Moisture Therapy Ultra Hydration Body Lotion. My lower didn’t get as burned as my upper.. so I’ve been using this on my legs to restore some hydration. Again, non-greasy and mildly scented. This one is great.. but it isn’t as thick as the Radiant Moisture lotion. 

Once I could finally stand to take a nice, long, warm bath I did! Little trick I learned from Hubs- taking a warm shower/bath takes the sting out of the burn for us. I don’t know why and I don’t know why I tried it the first time he told me about it. But I tried it.. and he was right!! So I grabbed my bath gear and very, very carefully hopped in. Lol

I’m a huge fan of bubble bath! Baths just aren’t the same without bubbles. I will change my mind about a bath if I find out there is no bubble bath (not even in the boys bathroom!). I’m not a huge fan of vanilla scents; however, i wanted something subtle. So I chose Vanilla Cream Bubble Bath, which I think I paid $2 or $3 for. I didn’t want an overvearing scent… I had enough to deal with Lol

For obvious reasons, I decided on Supreme Nourishment Body Wash for tub time. Anything with words “supreme nourishment” are worth as shot when you’re as sunburned as I am! Lol The scent wasn’t my favorite, but still very subtle and soothing. 

Below is my “end result”. Hubby didn’t want his picture taken (he’s peeling!!) Lol I did not edit the picture in any way. And you actually can see a little bit of “peelage” on my nose. I can’t even say how happy I am that I had all of these products readily available in my home. The struggle to wear clothes had been real (as anyone who has gotten sunburned can imagine!) So it was nice to have what we all needed, kids included. Next beach trip will (hopefully) be a blog about how to avoid getting too much sun at the beach! Lol But just in case you got too much sun too, check out my web site for most of these products 🙂

Click on my picture to see all thing Bug Guard related on my web site. Bug Guard has some great SPF lotions for kids, as well as insect repellant (that even repells sand fleas) if you’re planning your first beach trip of the year! 

And yes, the shirt is one of my new favorite things from Avon. Click below to see it now!

Striped Off-the-Shoulder Top

DIY Like A Boss!

My latest obsession is DIY.

So even at 34 years old I’m still a cool mom. I still want more tattoos and I have a few piercings. But I got to be honest with you- my latest obsession is DIY! It’s like a disease. Lol Once you get started you just want more!

So I’ve been making our laundry soap for about 2 years now. It is tough enough to clean my boys’ clothes and it smells great. When I first started making it my husband actually had some comments from work about how great his uniforms smelled and inquiries about what his wife was using. I was impressed. So 2 years later- I’m still making our laundry soap and I have tweaked it a bit each time I make it (I’m sorta professional laundry soap preparer). Lol 

Collapsible Box Grater Essential for grating up the Fels Naptha soap bar for making laundry soap. 

So a few weeks ago I got into some more DIY. I tried DIY shampoo (twice), DIY shaving cream (fail), and DIY dishwashing liquid (that didn’t work). Lol It’s been a process. Word of advice to anyone thinking about any kind of DIY products for home: it’s going to be a process- Don’t give up! There are tons (& I mean TONS) of articles and recipes. I’ve found a bunch on Pinterest, of course, and a bunch just by Googling. 

It’s a nice thought to to “all natural”; however, my all natural coconut milk shampoo is just No. I’ve tried it several times and it’s just not going to work out. Lol Same with my first batch of dishwashing gel. I did all natural… ran the dishwasher about 3 times… and then finally put a dishwasher tablet in to get them clean. Lol That’s been about 3 weeks ago. I put the concoction under the sink and haven’t messed with it too much since, until today. It was time for some laundry soap.. so I busted out all my boxes and bags and got on Google. I used this gel and added some additional ingredients and I now have tablets drying in the Sunshine. Recipe and feedback to follow in the next couple of days. I’m feeling good about it, though. Below, a helpful kitchen gadget that helped me get the mixed up product into ice trays to “set”:

Batter Dispenser Yes, this is actually a 4-cup batter dispenser; however, you can see how it was perfect this job! 

While I was in productive mode I whipped up some homemade all-purpose cleaner. This was an easy product using only distilled water, 2 tablespoons of castile soap, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and about 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. SCORE!! I tried it right away, of course. Seriously impressed. Unfortunately, I don’t see my family ever giving up Clorox Wipes. We use these in bathrooms where it really counts to get extra clean and get rid of germs. But I do see wherewe will be cutting back on money spend on Clorox Wipes. This all-purpose cleaner is awesome! 
So all this time spent in the kitchen DIY-ing let me share some other handy tools I use for storage and labeling:

Metal Canister with Chalkboard Front Blue Perfect for storing amd labeling my finished dishwasher tablets. See below also White canister. 

Metal Canister White

Color Labels For labeling boxes and containers. I can’t stress the importance of labeling. Especially if you have small children. These labels are perfect. And stylish. 

I’ll be posting a separate blog for How To’s on my laundry soap, my all-purpose cleaner, and (hopefully) my dishwasher tablets.