Battle of the Natural Deodorants~Cause Moms Don’t Have Time to Stink

Battle of the Natural Deodorants

If you follow my blog you know that I try to eliminate as many chemicals as possible from my home and my beauty routine. I want products that are safe but also work. If the product doesn’t work I don’t have time for it.

I have been on the hunt for an aluminum free deodorant for a while. I have tried a couple of brands but tossed them in the trash after a single day’s use. It never failed. In just a few hours after application I began to smell a bit funky. I don’t want to smell funky. I compromised with using Tom’s of Maine with Aluminum. It was free of most chemicals except the one I really wanted to be rid of, but at least I didn’t have flies buzzing around me while I used it.

Then suddenly I had two new deodorants show up. I have been an Honest customer for some time. I use a great deal of their household and personal care products. I purchase these at my own expense, though if they wanted to sponsor me by magically having free products show up on my doorstep I would happily except. So, when they sent me an email announcing their new deodorant I added one to my next bundle and couldn’t wait to get it.

While waiting for the UPS man to bring me my shipment I happened to go strolling through Sephora and what should my eyes fall upon but another all natural deodorant that I had never tried before. Since products at Sephora can be rather expensive and I wasn’t sure if I would like it I purchased a sample sized version so I could really test it out.

I have now used each brand for two days and here is what I found.

Honest HandThe Honest Deodorant comes as a liquid in a 4 ounce spray pump. It costs $8.95 to buy it on its own but the cost goes down to $6 something  if you purchase it in a “bundle.”  The bottle is made well and the pump has a good feel to it. The fragrance is Bergamot Sage. I can’t lie, the scent is earthy and a bit strong when you first apply but it does fade after a while.

This product has witch hazel in it, and I applied it onto freshly shaven underarms. It stung when I first put in on. The second day there was no sting.

As I went through my day doing household tasks and teaching I never did smell or become sweaty under my arms. Would this product keep you stink free if you were working in the garden or at a spin class, I don’t know, but for day to day wear it did its job.

My one complaint is that because it is a liquid once it dries it is gone completely and oddly I felt too dry under my arms, as in when I raised and lowered my arms the skin stuck to itself. After a lifetime of wearing solids I guess I am used to a feeling of smoothness that comes from the solid being smeared on.

Lavanilla HandLavanilla Pure Vanilla comes in two sizes, travel and full, and also comes in several scents. I only tested the pure vanilla scent. To purchase a full size solid you get 1.7 ounces for $14. There is no denying that this deodorant is twice the price for half as much.

However, for me this deodorant was the clear winner. Just like the Honest one it is free of petrochemicals, phthalates, propylene glycol, silicone, dyes, sulfates, and parabens. It is also free of the big one, aluminum.

The natural fragrance of the vanilla by far smells better than the bergamot sage. After two days use I was stink free at bedtime. For me what really made this one the winner was that it is a solid.  With just a few swipes I had my creamy silkiness under my arms that I am used too.

On my next trip to Sephora I have every intention of buying a full sized version of this and putting the travel size one away for my next vacation.

If you want to learn more about these products just click on the pictures to be redirected. I hope this review helped you!

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Ten Simple Tricks to Not Look Old

10 Simple Tricks to Not Look Old

People who meet me always think that I am younger than I really am. I don’t feel 43 years old and I have no desire to look that old. I refuse to grow old gracefully and I plan to fight it every step of the way. Over the years I have found some great products and learned some simple tricks to prevent unnecessary signs of aging, the biggest being to stay out of the sun.

None of these are earth shattering or that difficult to do, and I’m sure some of them you have already heard of, but they really do work. So here is a simple list to share with you for how I fight Mother Nature.


  1. Grow some bangs. Brow lines are unavoidable and can cause you to look perpetually angry. Just the day to day action of speaking and expressing yourself is going to give you brow lines. True, you can Botox the heck out of your forehead and lose the ability to raise your eyebrows, or you can simply have your hair dresser give you some fringe to hide those pesky lines. Bonus, bangs are cheaper and less painful than seasonal injections of poison into your forehead.
  1. Drink lots of water. Dehydration causes your face to look ashy, drawn, and gives you a lovely case of dark raccoon eyes. I’m not going to tell you to drink eight glasses a day because not everyone has the time to pee every half an hour, but definitely drink as much as you can. I carry a refillable water bottle with me every day. It holds 22 ounces and I try to drink three bottles full a day. Lots of water also helps to detoxify your skin which helps with blemishes.
  1. Argon Oil. One of the big things I notice as I turned 40 was that just using a good lotion wasn’t enough anymore. Aging causes huge changes in skin. Not only do you need to replenish lost moisture, but you need to replenish lost oils. I was also suffering from a return of pimples and breakouts like I had back in high school. It seemed crazy to be using wrinkle cream and zit cream at the same time. Changing hormones, however, will cause your skin to react differently to products you have used forever. An article in More magazine told me about Argon Oil and its ability to fight aging and acne. After giving it a try I now swear by the stuff. At bedtime each night after cleansing and removing my make-up I apply several ArganOil_Traveldrops of 100% pure Argon Oil to my face and gently rub it in. Then I apply my Olay Regenerist Serum on top of that as well as my eye cream. In the morning my skin is plump and my acne has since disappeared.

I also use Argon Oil on the ends of my hair. Skin isn’t the only thing to dry out with age. Hair tends to become finer and a bit brittle. While my hair is still damp from washing a few drops of Argon Oil are rubbed into the ends. It keeps hair healthy and protects against heat damage.

Hair Skin and Nails resized

  1. Hair, Skin & Nails. I started taking these dietary supplements about four months ago. I can honestly say my hair is growing faster and my nails are stronger. Luckily for me Costco sells these in bulk so I get them cheaper than at the drug store. Regardless of where you buy them, they are worth the money.
  1. Exfoliate. As we age our skin cells don’t renew as quickly as they used to so it becomes up to us to slough off the dead stuff. The trick here is to not be too harsh because over exfoliating can be worse than not exfoliating. I really like using Alba Botanicals Pineapple Scrub once a week and then doing a Juice Beauty Apple Peel for Sensitive Skin once a week. It’s just enough to keep my skin fresh without causing irritation.

Alba Pineapple Scrub Juice Beauty

mica primer resized

  1. Eyelid Primer. As we age our skin becomes thinner. Suddenly veins and capillaries that weren’t noticeable before start to show up. Not only will a good eye primer help your eye shadow stay in place all day but it will conceal those nasty little purple and blue lines that are now there to stay.

age rewind

  1. Concealer. You have probably been using a concealer under your eyes for years, but don’t forget to conceal around your nostrils. As we age the skin around our nose becomes redder and adds a shadow to your face. So when you swipe your concealer make sure to go under the eye, around the nostrils, and I even add a dot to my chin because I get redness there as well.
  1. Retinols and Sunscreen. Retinols are the best product on the market right now for fighting wrinkles, age spots, and dullness. As awesome as retinols are, however, they actually make you more susceptible to UV rays from the sun. So make sure you are using a product that has both in it. Nothing will age you faster than sun exposure! I love my Roc Retinol Day Cream with SPF 30. I use it every morning and let it soak in while I fix my hair. Then I apply my make-up as usual.
  1. Think Pink. What do you notice when you look at little kids or teenage girls? It’s those rosy cheeks and that youthful glow. Sure, a red pout can look sultry, and a smoky eye can look very dramatic, but if you are going for everyday youthfulness soft pinks are the way to go. No one does pink better than Angie Harmon. In her 40’s she is stunning.

Angie Harmon in Pink Naked 3a

  1. Pluck those eyebrows. I can think of no better way to spend $10 than to have your brows professionally done. I swear it is an instant and natural facelift. A perfect arch seems to raise your entire forehead and by removing those stray hairs from your lids it makes for a fresh and open eye. Plus, once they are done you can maintain it yourself for a month or two just following the line the professional created.

imagesRI4A5C9M eyebrows

Bonus Tip

  1. Don’t turn yourself into a lion. I am not against plastic surgery. If I were to suddenly develop a turkey gobbler neck or hooded eyelids that literally drooped over my eyes I’d sign up right away to have that fixed. But let’s be totally honest, most women look better before plastic surgery than they do after. It is just too easy to recognize the tight drawn lion face, the bloated, over stuffed lip injections, and those expressionless faces you see on any one of the Housewives of Blah Blah City on Bravo. Don’t do it ladies!

carrot dish-030915-vicki

I hope you enjoyed reading my tips. Feel free to share any you have below!

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Are You Stuck in a Mommy Style Rut?

Are You Stuck in a Mommy Style Rut

I distinctly remember having a conversation with my friend Suzie back in September about how I felt like Tina the person didn’t seem to exist anymore, only Tina the mom, Tina the cook, Tina the maid, Tina the teacher. I love my family, I love doing things for my family, I even love being a teacher, but somewhere there had to be more, there had to be something to look forward to, something just for me. I thought I was speaking selfishly until she nodded her head up and down and said she knew exactly what I was talking about, which made me feel better since I wasn’t sure I knew exactly what I was talking about. I knew I was feeling something but it was hard to put it into words. Was it my hormones? Was it a mid-life crisis? Was I just depressed? Was I stuck in a mommy rut?

So, for the past few months I have been on a mission to reclaim me. Initially it started with something as simple as buying myself some Boxycharm and Fabfitfun subscription boxes to try out new products and spoil myself a little. Then it led to getting my bottom layers cut off of my hair so I could start to grow it long like it used to be. Next came subscribing to a few new magazines that were about restoring and finding yourself again.

One day in mid-November I was searching for spoilers on Google for the December Boxycharm box when up popped a link to YouTube videos with people unboxing their boxes. I couldn’t wait to see what I was going to get in my next box so I clicked the link. This one little action opened up the world of YouTubers to me. Initially I was just watching unboxing videos and seeing if there were any other subscriptions I might want to join. Then, I saw a video for recreating a smoky eye, or a review of the best concealers at the drugstore.

In the months that have followed since I have discovered several awesome YouTubers that I actually look forward to watching. Most of these women are in their mid-twenties, which oddly I like, because they are still excited with life. Remember your twenties? Back when you went out to eat several times a week. Back when your “baby” had four legs and fur. Back when you didn’t feel the need to justify the expense of buying new clothes or shoes or paying for a night out at the movies. Back when you could pack a bag on a moment’s notice and go out of town for a three day weekend.

I have tried watching several mom vloggers on YouTube and honestly, I just don’t enjoy them as much. They post vids on healthy meals, grocery shopping hauls, buying organic, school issues, and I find these videos are just too close to my real life. I like the escapism that comes from watching a vlog on YouTube. The videos are usually 5-15 minutes long, which I can usually watch on my iPhone while folding a basket of laundry or putting my make-up on in the morning.

Plus, you wouldn’t think that someone in their 40’s would be inspired or learn something from someone in their 20’s but I really have. I have become much more adventurous with make-up, a lot more knowledgeable, tried new products I had never heard of, and this month when I went shopping for a new summer wardrobe to take to Florida I bought items I wouldn’t usually buy, but I did buy them and I love them.

Here is a list of some great YouTube Beauty Channels you might want to check out. None of them are endorsing this post. I have never contacted any of them, but I eagerly await their new videos.

Essie Button

Lily Pebbles

Ingrid Nilsen

Amelia Liana

Tanya Burr

Vivianna Does Makeup

Jessica Murphy

Fleur DeForce

Many of these ladies have a secondary vlog on YouTube as well showing their personal life, their favorite shops, their fur babies, and more, which you can connect to from the pages I posted above. Also, many of them are British or living in England which also helps me to vicariously fill a life long dream of mine.

Anyway, check them out and let me know if you liked any of them!
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It’s Time for a Better Magazine

It's Time for a Better Magazine

Make This Year Your Year, Look 10 Years Younger in Just One Month, Lose Two Dress Sizes in a Week, How to Make Him Adore You, Sex & Your Body, Find Your Style, What Your Style Says About You, The Mega Fashion Issue, What Makes You Happy, How to Be Happy, Drop Pounds in Days…

HeadlinesFor a couple of decades now I have been reading women’s magazines with gusto.  Cosmo promised me the power to have better sex.  Ladies Home Journal told me how to create the perfect house…if you have enough money.  Glamour, Elle, and Women’s Day all had advice on the quickest and best diets.  Vogue, Lucky, and all the rest were busy keeping me up to date on the latest fashion.  People, Us Weekly, and the gossip rags allowed me to get a hair cut like Rachel’s from Friends, use the same skin care products as Cindy Crawford and learn what was in Drew Barrymore’s bag.

As I have gotten older, however, I have gotten wiser.  I now know these magazines don’t really offer the promise of a better future.  Really, if you stop to think about it, most of these magazines are making money by playing on women’s insecurities and fears.  The real message that women are told again and again is that they are not good enough, not thin enough, not working hard enough, that they are just NOT ENOUGH as they are now, but with a little help from Cosmo or Glamour they can fix themselves and be just as perfect as the actresses and models who have been photo shopped to the point of ridiculousness.

Magazines today set standards that are not attainable by anyone, and more importantly, we shouldn’t be trying to obtain them anyway.  Instead of living life like Angelina Jolie or Taylor Swift, I should be living my life, just as every woman needs to live her own life the way she sees fit.

Does that mean I can’t wear a hot red lipstick like Taylor Swift or a nude one like Kylie Jennr?  Well, that depends on whether I think that lipstick would look good on me and if it would bring me happiness.  I have finally learned to take these magazines for what they are, giant advertisements designed to make me buy stuff.

But, when I really want to read a magazine that can offer me inspiration, creativity, information about better living, better parenting, finding my Zen or filling my soul, I have found a better group of magazines and I am eager to share them with you!


Bella Grace  

This magazine is very new.  Their second issue just came out on December 1, 2014.  I absolutely love this magazine.  It is more like a book with its firm covers and good binding.  It is filled with inspiring and empowering articles and beautiful photographs.  I find myself rereading both issues over and over.  When I am at a road block or feeling low I pick them up and let them work their magic.  Bella Grace is a magazine and workbook in one.  There is room in the magazine to write your own thoughts, scribble a note or two, and write down your favorite quotes.  My fingers are crossed that this publication starts putting out more frequent issues.  Click the pictures if you would like to order your own copies.  Both issues are still available for purchasing.

Bella Grace Issue 1a Bella Grade Issue 2a

Darling  Mag4a

Darling comes out four times a year, spring, summer, fall, and winter.  It’s fresh, a little funky, and best of all they do absolutely zero photo shopping on their models.  Finally there is a magazine that shows beautiful women just as they are~flaws and all.  Just like Bella Grace I find myself picking up this magazine often looking for inspiration and ideas.

Darling 2 Darling 1

Darling also offers an online magazine with different content from what is in the print issues.  I love to read my print issue in bed at night with a cup of tea, and I find myself clicking on the web magazine on weekend mornings when I have some time before having to start my day.  I really love their original series Mom’s the Word.

One perk of Darling magazine is that when you subscribe to receive the print issues, you automatically receive an email with a link to the digital copies of their past print issues, so buying one magazine unlocks all ten of their issues to date!!  That’s $20 well spent when you think that it comes to $2 an issue.


This magazine is on line only and offers an amazing web magazine filled with great articles, practical fashion and make-up tips, video tutorials, and just like Darling, none of the models have been photo shopped.  In fact, most of the models aren’t models at all, just regular women.  There content is wide, covering fashion and beauty, lifestyle, culture, healthy living, and relationships.  Verily is all about empowering you to be your best authentic self and a bonus, a lot of the articles are about finding that balance that so many of us long to achieve.

Verily Perfect Male a Life

So if you are tired of magazines filled with women who look like wax figures, or tell you to lose weight to gain confidence, or just make you feel like something is wrong with you, I really think you should give these a try.  Click on the pictures in this post to link to the homepages for these magazines as well as their online versions.

After you have a chance to check out these sites please let me know what you think of them down below. 

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Taking Care of Mom: So Mom Can Take Care of Everyone Else

Taking Care of Mom

It is no secret we are all tired.  If you are a mom with or without a forty hour a week job you are exhausted.  If you are like me you are only getting about six hours of sleep a night…on a good night!  If you are like me you are only getting about four of those so called good nights a week at most.  So what can we do to cope with our sleep loss?  What can we do so we don’t look like an extra from The Walking Dead?

Here you will find a list of things that has helped me to make it through the day.  Hopefully some of these will help you too!

Get as Much Rest as Possible:

I know what you are thinking.  Duh!  If I were getting enough rest already I wouldn’t be wasting my time reading this blog.  But are you really getting the most rest that you can?

  1.  Stop drinking caffeine around noon.  I know this is a hard one, but I recently gave up all my caffeine drinks after lunch time and I have noticed a difference.  My brain seems to quiet down faster once I go to bed at night instead of replaying the day over and over or worrying about all the things I need to do the next day.No-caffeine after 222
  2. Take a melatonin supplement with dinner.  Melatonin doesn’t work like a sleeping pill, and it is all natural so you don’t have to worry about dependency.  However, it does take several hours to kick in so if you take it at bedtime it will be too late.
  3. Consider buying a white noise machine or downloading an App.  I have an actual white noise maker in my room but it is too loud for my husband.  Instead I use the App “Relax Melodies” which is free through the iTunes App Store.  I set it on my bedside table on a volume that is just loud enough for me and it works great.  The two sounds I use each night Relax Melodies 2are Thunder and Oscillating Fan.  For me just the sound of my husband breathing is enough to keep me awake at night, not to mention every time one of my boys cough, sneeze, or talk in their sleep.  I just don’t need to hear all that.  So a white noise machine blocks those sounds out for me.  Now if I can just find a way to block his snoring.

Take Care of Yourself:

 I know you hear this one all the time too, and trust me I have rolled my eyes more than once by some of the helpful articles I have read.  Here is the truth, I don’t have time to cook from scratch daily.  I don’t have time to buy fresh produce every couple of days.  I can’t afford to buy 100% organic all the time.  Sometimes I don’t feel like cooking AGAIN!  And exercise! Hah!  Screw that.  However…

  1. Probiotics are our friends.  I love all those little active bugs.  They keep things on track.  I have been eating Greek yogurtNaked Juice 2 for years, but recently I added Naked Juice to my morning breakfast and I buy the ones that are Boosted with Probiotics.  Both of my boys just had colds with fevers.  Usually I catch everything they get.  Not this time.  I was shocked.  My class has had some kind of bug running back and forth through it and I have yet to catch it.  I am giving full credit to my Boosted Naked Juice along with my Greek yogurt.
  2. Turn on the music and turn it on loud.  It just happens.  Before you know it you are tapping your toes, shaking your rear, and bopping along.  As far as I am concerned any movement is good movement, even if it is just my bad dancing.  Plus loud music will help to drown out your children’s whining.
  3. Take your vitamins.  Many vitamins actually make me sick because the doses are too strong for my system, but I love my Flintstones with Iron.  It is just enough to stop my anemia (which is a side effect of my Rheumatoid Arthritis) but not make me positively ill.  Even better, toss in a Krill Oil supplement.  All the benefits of fish oil but no yucky fish burps!!
  4. Stick a banana or an apple or a Kind Bar in your purse when you leave the house.  It helps you to avoid a quick pop-in to the drive thru or shove a candy treat in your mouth.  If you are PMSing, though, just eat the chocolate and call it a day.
  5. Drink lots of water.  I have learned from experience that it is really easy to confuse dehydration for exhaustion.  I keep a refillable water bottle on my desk at all times and I never leave the house without one.

Get Yourself the Right Tools

  1. Dry Shampoo!  Seriously, I don’t know how I ever lived without this stuff.  I used to use my Treseme all the time but Rockaholic Dirty Secret 2recently I discovered Bed Head’s Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo.  OMG!  This stuff is amazing.  I use it on clean hair to add volume and texture as well as on three day old hair to keep it fresh and looking good.
  2. Concealer.  I love the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser.  It is a great little product that is super cheap and super effective, and it fights fine lines.  I actually buy two shades of this.  I use the one called Brightener for highlighting and then Light Pale to cover any imperfections.  The little sponge applicatorsInstant Age Rewind2 make using it a piece of cake.
  3. A small emergency kit for your purse.  I used to carry my PAK with me where ever I went but there is no denying that the PAK is rather large since I had purchased the original version.  Then one day I found the perfect replacement.  Pinch Provisions make a tiny little bag that fits in the size of your palm filled with mini-emergency items for her.  I then took a couple of their items out that I don’t really use and swapped them for items I need all the time, like my eye drops and nail clippers. It’s perfect for the busy mom on the go!
  4. Eye serum and face cream.  I am currently using a really fancy eye serum thanks to a Fabfitfun box, but trust me once itRoc runs out I will not be buying another since it costs $88.  Usually I just use Olay Regenerist products and Roc Retinol for my day and night moisturizer.  Whether you have wrinkles or not that stuff works incredibly well and I am a big believer that it is never too early to start.  Life is rough.  Life is exhausting, and all those sleepless nights and times spent worrying over one problem or another will begin to show up on your face.

So there you are.  My attempt to share a little knowledge gathered from forty years of life experience and time spent being really, really tired and still having to go to work.  Let me know if any of this advice helps you.  It’s nice to know I am not just talking to myself.  Also, if you have any great suggestions please share!

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Mom’s Favorite Things

Ppumpkins on white background with fall leaves frame

Sometimes as mom’s we get so wrapped up in taking care of the kids and maintaining a relatively sane home that we often forget to do anything special for ourselves.  Lately I have made a point to put myself in my top five to do list.   Yes, the kids are still number one, and my husband is number two, and then my job is number three, but I have officially put myself before laundry and scrubbing the bathrooms!!  Hey, I’m moving up!  Seriously, though, sometimes we need to take a moment and do something just for us for no other reason than we simply want to.

With that in mind, I thought I would share some recent discoveries that I have come across that have put a smile on my face, and the best part is these are relatively inexpensive finds compared to the Smashbox Palette I wrote about last week (although I still think that was pretty awesome).

First up, I love make-up.  I do a full face every day not because I have to but because I love too.  I even wear make-up on the weekends because that is when I feel free to play around and try new things that I know I don’t have time to do in the morning before work.  Recently I have been watching YouTube videos by Jessica on her channel JAMBeauty.  She is a make-up guru and I have been learning lots of new stuff.  One of the things she talks about a lot is make-up brushes.  Honestly, I never really stopped to think about my brushes before.  Then I started to think about just how old my brushes were and I realized that most of them had been purchased before AJ was born (14 years ago) or were received free in a Clinique or Lancôme gift bag.  After close examination it was decided that my brushes were actually pretty gross .  So I took a trip to Sephora and almost fainted when I saw the prices.  Once I picked myself up off the floor I drove to Ulta thinking they would have to be cheaper.  Wrong!  There was no way I was going to drop a $100+ on brushes.

At Target I found a small selection but after feeling the soft supple brushes at the Fancy Pants beauty stores the Target ones just seemed so crappy (sorry Target, I still love you) plus the better made ones were only a few dollars cheaper than the Fancy Pants stores.

Fall2Then I discovered E.L.F!  Now maybe you all already know about E.L.F. but it was brand spanking new to me and they made my day.  Their brushes were great and the best part was they were only $3 a brush!!  Bazinga!  I stocked up on them.  Then today at Meijer doing a grocery run I found that E.L.F. had just come out with a brand new kabuki brush for only $6 and it is every bit as awesome as the Fancy Pants store.  I have noticed that applying my make-up really is easier using the right tools, especially lining the eyes and doing my brows.  My make-up looks better and goes on faster.  That’s a win-win!


My next awesome discovery is Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Meritage.  It is a pinkish, redish, brown if that makes any sense.  It has become my go to lipcolor because even though it is bold it is oddly enough a neutral.  It looks perfect if I am wearing pinks, browns, or silvery metalics.  Sometimes if I want to tone it down a little I’ll swipe on some Buxom Gloss in White Russian (another recent discovery).  The lip pencil is $24, so its not super cheap but I always find that a new lip color is the easiest way to renew your look.  It is totally normal for me to have a dozen lipsticks in my purse at any given time.

My next three discoveries are of the yummy variety.  First is Oreo’s Pumpkin Spice cookies.  OMG!  These are so freaky good.  I usually hate regular Oreo’s but when I saw these I thought, what the heck?  Well, its now three packages later and I am still nibbling on these with no signs of getting sick of them any time soon, which honestly, I wish I would already.

Fall4Next, I always carry a granola bar or a Nature Valley bar in my purse for emergencies.  I had seen the Kind bars in the stores many times but for some reason they didn’t look appetizing to me.  I finally tried one and they have officially replaced the granola bar in my purse.  I especially love the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew, and they are so much healthy than my Quaker Oats Chocolate Chip bar.

Finally, I wanted to mention a few treats that have made their way into my “Oh No, Mommy is About to Lose Her Shit!” drawer, or as it is sometimes refered to; “Its That Time of the Month Drawer.”  This is my secret stash of pampering things for when I just can’t take it anymore.  In a perfect world it would be stocked with Xanax, Prozac, and wine, but really it holds some fancy soaps, a new nail polish, samples of teas, treats and chocolate.  The Ghirardelli Minis are scrumptious and perfect for when you just need a bite. The Chocolate XOXOX bar is for your bigger chocolate needs and is also very good and is guaranteed to take some of the bitch out of your time of the month, which is good for the whole family!

As always, if you have a great “mom needs a break” product or “makes mom’s life easier” product please share below.

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The Make-Up Product Every Tired Mom Needs

The Make-Up Product Every Tired Mom Needs

If you follow this blog you know that like a lot of moms I am super busy and often exhausted. I have two boys that wear me out, a full time job, a house to run, my children’s sports and music activities, as well as all that lovely cooking and laundry that needs to be done over and over.

So I am always looking for the next great product that will just blow my socks off and leave me asking the question, “How did I ever live without this before?” In previous posts I have talked about my extreme love affair with 5 Hour Energy, my PAK from , and even the hanging Monday-Sunday Closet Organizers that hang in my boys’ closets which makes putting together a week’s worth of outfits a snap. If it is convenient, time saving, or just amazing, I want to know about it!

Well, this weekend my husband told me to go out and have some girl time. Living with three guys I don’t always get girl time so I decided to jump at the offer.  In a flash I was driving to the mall with the windows down, the radio blasting and no destination or purpose in mind other than walking around and sipping on something pumpkin spice (yes I am one of those people).

Walking past Sephora I remembered a Youtube video on this great blush from Smashbox and I thought I would check it out. I found it right away but decided to walk around the store and look at all the pretty things.  Suddenly there it was!  (Insert a dramatic dun…dun…DUN!)  It was a thing of beauty.  It was a marvel of cosmetic genius.  It was a freaking bargain and a half!!!  It was the new and limited time only Master Class Palette III – Color & Contour by Smashbox.

Master Class Pallete III by SmashboxInside there are 32 of the most gorgeous eye shadow colors to create any combination you can think of.  Day time neutrals?  Done.  Evening smoky eye?  Check.  Date night come and get me big boy?  You betcha’!  Halloween clown face? I don’t know why you would want to but I am sure you could pull it off with this.  Then there are three contour colors for creating that glorious bronzed and highlighted look as well as three perfect blushes, a pale pink, a rosy pink, and a glowing peach.

Plus, here is the best part!! This kit actually comes with cheat sheets!  I’ll be brutally honest, I have been afraid of using contour colors in the past.  It just seemed too complicated and I was certain that I just wouldn’t have the time in the morning before work to be bothered with it.

Well, I was wrong. I did a practice run on the weekend and was shocked by just how easy it was.  It’s just like putting on blush, only now you are doing a quick swipe of three tones that soften jaw bones, give you fabulous chiseled cheeks, a hint of color, and highlights the good spots.  I can apply and blend all three in less than 60 seconds. Add a rosy tint to the apples of your cheeks and you almost look like you have been photo shopped in real life.

Plus, as I said, this palette is a super bargain. It contains $300 worth of make-up inside but only costs $65.  I know!  Amazing, right?  I love it so much that I am seriously contemplating buying a second one and putting it away for the future.

What I also love about it is that it is completely self contained. We are going up north this weekend and packing my make-up is going to be a breeze.  I’ll take my new palette, a lipstick or two, mascara, eyeliner, and I am good to go.  No more little pots of eye shadows, separate compacts of blush, bronzer, and powders.

As always, if you have discovered the holy grail of mommy products please share below. I won’t hesitate to check them out and then share a review here.

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Carving Out Mom Time: Pamper & Reconnect

Carving Out Mom Time

You haven’t had a real nights sleep in god knows when. There is currently a Cheerio in your hair and stains on your shirt. The children are making so much noise that you may very well lose your mind. It is at this moment you can’t remember why you had kids in the first place. You can’t remember the things you used to love to do B.C. (before children). Heck, you aren’t even sure what day it is or the last time you had a girl’s night.

This is the time to call in the big guns. If you are lucky enough to have two TV’s in the house then you need to stick the kids in front of one of them and walk away. If you are lucky enough to have On Demand then by all means spend $6 to make them sit down, be quiet, and leave you alone for approximately 105 minutes.

Now that you have a bit of alone time, do you even remember the things you liked to do, other than just be a mommy? How can you surround yourself with something that is pretty and feminine, and doesn’t come from a Disney Princess movie, or help you to forget the fact that you live in a house filled with boys, trucks, dinosaurs, and Legos.

Here are some simple suggestions to help you remember what it was like to be a woman, when you thought of girly things, not just your teenagers latest class project and your little ones next t-ball practice, or potty training the youngest.

Think Pink

pink nails2

Go in your room and shut the door, then pull out the cutest pink nail polish you have. Sure, black, navy blue, and pearlescent hunter green are very cool looking, but sometimes you just want to be girly and soft. A quick foot soak and then a pedicure with a Bubble Gum colored polish is just the trick.

Look at Some Pretty Pictures

I subscribe to a lot of magazines, but some I keep and never throw away. I have every issue of Victoria magazine ever published. When I crave enchantment, romantic rooms, magical destinations, and just pretty things in general, I pull out a stack of them and just browse away. The same is true for Tea Time. There is just something so civilized about seeing cute tea cups and tiny desserts. Often the world we live in is a rude, cold, and somewhat overwhelming. It is comforting to look at a simpler way, a slower way of seeing things.

Victoria Mother's Touch Victoria Bliss Tea Time Strawberry Issue

Invest in a Few Girlie Things

tea cup

I am not talking about breaking the bank. A quick trip to TJ Max will allow you to get a charming tea cup and saucer for about $4.99. If you really want to feel like a lady buy two and invite a friend over for a cup of tea, but be sure to stop at the bakery first and buy some cute little pastry to share to make it even more special. Or, while at TJ Max grab an adorable box of biscotti in fancy packaging. Sure, you talk to your friends all the time through the internet, but sometimes you just need face to face contact.

Another girlie thing to get is a cute journal. A place to take notes, write to do lists, and keep secrets if you want. Journals can be very expensive, but no one says it has to be a leather bound work of art. A pretty 5×7 spiral notebook will work just as well. Martha Stewart makes some cute ones at Staples.

pretty journal Small Notebooks

Now that winter is over and spring is coming run to the stores and shop the clearance racks and buy yourself a new robe, whether it is spa white, pink and fuzzy, or covered in flowers. Right now you can grab a $60 robe for about $15. I actually own four of them, a thick one for coming out of the shower, two long soft ones for winter, and a short one with elbow length sleeves for spring and cool summer nights. All were bought at different times but always on clearance, or at Kohl’s using Kohl’s Cash and a 30% off coupon.

super soft robe pretty robe

There is nothing more wonderful in the evening than stripping off the clothes you wore all day and wrapping up in something soft and comforting and girly. Plus, it will hide the hole in your nightie, or the wine you accidentally spilled on your boob!

Bumblebee LinensNext, buy something pretty that you will probably never use but you can say you have them. I recently bought from a set of six beautiful linen and lace handkerchiefs. Why? Because I have always wanted a set and I think they are so beautiful.

I remember my grandmother always had a pretty handkerchief in her “pocketbook” along with her tube of deep pink lipstick. It was just such a womanly thing to do. Will I ever blow my nose into these gorgeous works of art? Absolutely not! But every time I open my purse I will see a little something that will make me feel like a lady, not just a mom, and even have a happy memory of a great woman who helped to shape my younger days.

Take a Trip to the Library

I know many moms out there don’t have time to read anything longer than a magazine article these days, but summer will  come eventually, and hopefully once the school year winds down you will find yourself with a little more free time on your hands.

Complete Works of Jane Austen Little Women Wuthering Heights

Jane Austen is a must! I have read them all, several more than once. Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park, and Pride and Prejudice are personal favorites and guaranteed to make you forget about swimming lessons, catechism classes, and the bake sale you promised to bake for even if just for a little while. If you finish those and find yourself still wanting more I recommend Wuthering Heights, Little Women, and Jane Eyre!

While at the Library Check Out a DVD

Sure, you’ve got Sex in the City, Bridesmaids, and even How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, but if you really want to feel like I lady I have a few other suggestions. You have probably seen them before, but they are so good why not watch them again.

Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind– Whether she was trying to steal another woman’s husband, or digging potatoes out of the ground, she always did it with her chin up and in a three ring hoop! Plus when the going got tough she knew a little nip of brandy could fix everything.

Pride and Prejudice 1995 (1)

Pride & Prejudice the A&E version– All I am going to say about this is…Colin Firth. If Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy doesn’t make you weak at the knees then you might be beyond help.

Breakfast at Tiffany'sBreakfast at Tiffany’s– One of the ultimate chick flicks! Before there was Clueless, before there was Legally Blond, before there was a Mrs. Robinson, there was the original Holly Golightly. Even playing a loose woman with questionable morals Audrey Hepburn still did it with class and elegance, and one heck of a great pair of sunglasses.

So there you go. Have a night filled with tea, or champagne, with pink nails and romantic reads or movies to help you remember what you were like before you had baby spit up on your yoga pants and a small child’s finger up your nose.

Cheers ~ Tina
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Tired Mommy Survival Trick: How to Fake Clean Hair

How to Fake Clean Hair

Let’s face it, once you become a mom, your personal grooming takes a hit. I remember when I had my first baby I could not for the life of me figure out when I was supposed to take a shower.

If I am supposed to sleep when the baby slept, then I couldn’t take a shower. But then once the baby woke up it was feeding, diapering, burping, etc., so I still wasn’t showering. I finally figured out to put the baby in the bouncy and take a shower with the baby in the bathroom. Of course my mommy fatigued brain took a week or so to come to up with that idea. I was becoming rather ripe if I do say so myself.

Then comes baby two, and your job, and the housework, and after school activities. I have learned to take a 120 second shower once the boys are in bed for the night since I don’t have time in the morning. But my hair is another story. Because my hair is fine I can’t wash it daily, it breaks and falls out. So I only have to wash it twice a week. How hard can that be? Hahaha, oh excuse me.

Anyway, my hair is good for three days, but by day four it gets flat. By day five it pretty much looks like crap. So how does a working mommy go to work when her hair looks like a matted down birds nest? Through trial and error I have honestly figured this one out.

Because I can’t afford Botox I grew myself some bangs years ago. The first step to faking clean hair really is to wash out JUST your bangs. This requires a rain drop sized amount of shampoo and then hunch over the sink and in 15 seconds wet, suds, and rinse your bangs. Be very careful NOT to get the rest of your hair wet. Squeeze out the water with your fingers and then use a round brush and your dryer to blow them out so they are dry, clean and fluffy. This whole process is done in under a minute, seriously.

IMG_0880Since your bangs are front and center on your face it’s the first thing people see, and you can’t fake clean hair with greasy, stringy bangs.

Next I love TRESemme Fresh Start Dry Shampoo for Oily/Straight to Normal Hair. I am allergic to most perfumes but the fragrance of this one is subtle and fresh smelling. Shake the can a few times and then separate hair into big chunks and spray the dry shampoo right on the root area. A quick sprits here and there will do. Then use your fingers and gently massage scalp and hair and work it through.


To finish my fake “blowout” I love to use my 1 ½ inch curling iron. I lift the top half of my hair up on to the top of my head and secure it with a clip. Then I curl the bottom layer under in four big chunks for about 5 second each.

Under Curls

Next I drop the sides and in two big rolls of the curling iron and five seconds each they are now straight and curled under at the ends.

Side Curls

All that’s left is the crown of my head which then gets rolled into three big chunks going away from my face.

Crown Curl 1Crown Curls 2Crown Curls 3

That comes to nine curls in all each about 5 seconds. Run a brush through it all and you are ready to go!

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Wake Up with The Busy Mom Guru

Wake Up with the Busy Mom Guru

Anyone who knows me knows I haven’t left the house without make up since the age of 13.  Seriously, except for my immediate family and my children, no one knows what I look like without make-up.  NO ONE!

For years people have complimented my skin.  I’m not entirely sure why because truthfully it is pasty white and never tans.  I admit except for some brow lines I am relatively wrinkle free, but that is more from my limited sun exposure due to burning and never having smoked.  I can’t lie, I do come from some good genes.  Grandma Stretanski never aged.  From 45 till the day she died at 81 the woman looked exactly the same and I am pretty sure the only products she ever used were Dove bar soap, Jergen’s Lotion and a tube of Cover Girl Lipstick.  Grandma Casey was a similar story, until severe illness finally robbed her of her flawless skin.

Good genes aside, I can honestly say that now that I am 40 it requires a little more work to keep my skin looking nice.  Gone are the days when I could ignore my face and skip washing off my make-up for a week at a time.  My skin routine is firmly established and never skipped these days.

So, what do I look like without make-up.  I am going to show you.  Warning, it ain’t pretty.  This is possibly the scariest thing I have ever done.  So, here goes.  This is me make-up free, in my pajamas, bed head and all.


Okay, so now you know.  I wasn’t kidding about that plain pasty white skin.  But luckily for me they sell beauty in a bottle.  I am very serious about getting as many toxins as possible out of my beauty routine.  In the last couple of years I have done a lot of research on parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulphates, and other toxic chemicals in the products we use daily.  While I wish I could say everything I use is totally safe and organic the truth is sometimes you have to chose function over organic.

The beginning of any great look is a great foundation.  Here is my secret, True Match foundation and Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer and Brightener.


 I used to use really expensive items from top brands and spend a fortune, but you know what, these work better!  Honest.  A few dots of foundation are smoothed all over,


In the inner corners of my eyes, around my nostrils, and on any blemish I use the Age Rewind Concealer.  Then lightly tap with a finger until everything is smoothed out.


The Age Rewind Brightener is used under the outer eye area to open the area up and fake being awake.  I also use the applicator and run it down the center of my nose, then blend it all in.


Next comes cheeks and eyes.  I use dark brown L’Oreal Eyeliner and smudge it a bit.  At Sephora I found the most adorable compact from Tarte, an all natural mineral based make-up.  A little blush on the apples of my cheeks and light on the lid, dark in the outer corners, and white at the base of the brow.



Then I take a clean brush (I love my Eco Tools) and blend the three colors together until you get a seamless eye shadow.

After the shadow I have to deal with my eyebrows, or lack there of.  Usually I have really long bangs that hide them, which suits me fine, but a really bad hack job left me with ridiculously short bangs and suddenly my brows could be ignored no longer. Not only are they sparse, but they don’t match.  One has a lovely arch, the other goes straight across.  One gets plucked from the top to lower it, the other get plucked from the bottom to raise it.  Yeah, its a pain in the butt.  I really needed help.


Browzing from Benefit came to the rescue!

             132i 133j

This stuff is the bomb!  The little chiseled brush and the wax perfectly outlines your brow, and allows you to draw in some where there are none.  Then the blender brush and the pigment fill in and replace what nature forgot to give you!  It even comes with a super tiny set of tweezers to get rid of those out of place hairs.  Ta Dah!!


Finally to wrap this whole thing up is lashes and lips.  I have tried organic mascara.  Do yourself a favor and save your money.  They all flake and smear within hours.  Totally wasted my money.  But, I did find an amazing substitute for lipstick!  Lipstick is one of the most toxic products women use because we actually ingest it when we eat or lick our lips.

 135l 136n

I love Lancôme’s Definitions in Brown and Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer in Raisin.  Burt’s Bees is made from all natural plant based products and yet has awesome pigments.


My make-up is now finished but not my beauty routine.  Below are the products I use to keep my skin healthy using as few chemicals as possible.  First is cleansing.  I used to use Olay Cleansing Wipes but decided to go for an organic solution a while back.  Green People Cleanser and Make-up Remover and a package of Honest Baby Wipes work better than the Olay and are seriously chemical free!  To scrub off dead skin cells and keep skin glowing I love Alba Pineapple Enzyme Scrub.  After cleaning and sloughing, I apply the tiniest amount of Josie Maran Organic Argon Oil.  One of the big shockers for me when I turned forty was the return of teenage zits.  Seriously, now I have to fight wrinkles AND acne?  How is that fair?  Anyway, Argon Oil ended up being a real blessing.  Who knew it took an oil to fight an oil?


    142q 148r

147sThe last weapon in my arsenal is Roc Retinal.  No, this is not organic, but the truth is I refuse to grow old before my time and retinols plus sun screen really are the best thing out there for slowing down your skin’s aging.  So every morning this goes on before the make-up.  I apply it before I curl my hair so it has time to absorb.

I know what some of you might be thinking, good grief that is a lot of work, and when you break it down step by step like I just did, I admit, it does seem like a ton, but the truth is I get all of this done in about five or six minutes each morning.  The Browzing added an extra minute or two when I first started using it but like everything else I quickly figured it out and it just became one more step in the program.

If you use or like any of these products let me know how they work for you.  If you try some of these products from this post make sure to come back and let me know if you liked them.

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