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Friday, December 13, 2013

How to Avoid Looking So Tired

Recently I've put in lots of late shifts, and since I'm a mom I still have to get up early to get my boys off  to school. Lack of sleep really shows! Read more about waking up a tired face on

Frugal Beauty: Getting the Most From Beauty Products

I’m frugal and hate waste. Once I find a product that I love, I want to use all of it. Often I procrastinate replacing a product that I know that I’m getting low on. I’ll find myself getting ready to go out, and try squeezing that last bit of moisturizer or BB cream out. Panicked, I’ll try to get the last little bit of product out of a tube.

If you’ve ever found yourself trying to salvage the last bit of something from a tube, here’s a tip:

Scissors to the rescue!

 Cut the end of the tube off to access the last bit of product. You'll likely find plenty of usable product left in the tube.

Plenty of product left in the tube!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dr. Scholl's Active Series Review

If you spend a lot of time on your feet or are involved in athletics, the right foot wear and support is very important.  Aerobic exercise puts plenty of impact on feet, 2-3 times body weight with each step.

I don’t buy expensive running shoes, nor do I buy new shoes often. Hey, I’m on a budget, after all! I usually wear inserts in my shoes to make them more comfortable.

Influenster gave me the opportunity to try a complimentary pair of Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Insoles. I’ve been wearing them for about two weeks, and I can honestly say that these are among the most comfortable that I have worn.

What They Do

Dr. Scholl’s Active Series is designed with athletes in mind. They reduce the shock by 40%. The help to prevent and relieve pain from shin splints, runner’s knee, and plantar fasciitis.

Each insole provides ball of foot, arch, and heel protection. The ball of the foot gets a soft cushion, for extra padding and to distribute pressure. The heel has a deep cup to absorb impact. The insole also has an arch support, which my feet really like.

One thing that I hate about exercise is getting pain afterwards. Sometimes I get shin splints and plant fasciitis. So anything that I can do to reduce stress and the chance of getting pain, is a plus.


Dr. Scholl’s Active Series is available in two sizes for men 7 1/2-10 and 10 1/2-13 and two sizes for women 5 1/2-8 and 8 1/2-11. Each insole is trimmable to the appropriate size needed. Just take out the original insole from your shoe and match it up and trim the Active Series insole to the correct size.

They vary in price from $19.99 to $24.99. They have an expected lifetime of about six months, and will need replacing at the first signs of wear.
Now on the Dr. Scholl's website, there is a coupon offer to save $4 on Active Series Insoles.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fair Trade Certified™ Green Mountain Coffee® Review

Green Mountain is passionate about coffee — they also are passionate about their impact on the world. That is one reason that they have a variety of Fair Trade Certified™ coffees available.

Fair Trade designation means that farmers are paid a fair price for their beans. It operates on a theory similar to minimum wage standards in the United States. Fair Trade is supposed to help prevent exploitation and allow people to have a better quality of life. It also allows money to be invested in their communities. Much of the economic benefit of fair trade goes to local schools. Education is vital to any community and its future. Coffee is a major cash crop in several countries, with many people dependent on coffee farming for their income.  Read all about Green Mountain Coffee® and Fair Trade at Consumers can help make a difference with something as simple as buying a pack of coffee.

One of their Fair Trade coffees is Three Continent Blend. It combines the good qualities of Sumatran, South American, and Ethiopian coffees. There was a time when I wouldn’t have known the difference among the coffee beans — coffee beans are all pretty much alike, aren’t they? As I’ve become more of a coffee connoisseur, I’ve realized that they do taste different. Three Continent Blend gets a lush, hearty body from Sumatran beans, while South American beans gives it a sweet smoothness and balanced fruity notes. It also has a delicate floral finish from Ethiopian beans.

Buzz Agent gave me the pleasure of trying some samples of Green Mountain’s Three Continent Blend K-Cups.  I curiously and eagerly awaited my morning cup of coffee, so I could try some. A good cup of coffee is one of life’s little pleasures for me. I confess that I’m somewhat of a coffee addict, starting each day with a cup of coffee to. Then often having a couple more cups throughout the day. Getting my fix is even easier since I’ve gotten my Keurig machine.

The coffee is smooth and flavorful.  I love that it is "extra bold" because I like more flavor and body to my coffee. This is also helpful because I put creamer in my coffee, which can dilute the coffee taste, and I want the full taste of the coffee. I must say that I enjoyed this particular blend. Another yummy coffee is Green Mountain Vermont Country Blend; it’s also Fair Trade Certified.

Don’t have a Keurig brewer? No problem, Green Mountain Coffee also has bagged coffees.

Beauty tip – save the used grounds for a body or face scrub. It feels invigorating, plus there many skincare products on the market touting the benefits of caffeine for skin.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Palmolive Soft Touch Review

I got the opportunity from Influenster to try Palmolive SoftTouch dish washing liquid. I’ll admit that I’ve never gotten very excited about doing the dishes — that is until I got Soft Touch. My hands get very dry and even washing them with moisturizing hand soap makes them feel dry and irritated. I’m constantly using hand cream and lotion to soothe my thirsty skin.

Often I find myself in a hurry and forget to put on some rubber dish gloves or find my gloves have gotten to be unusable.  Hands put up with lots of abuse and exposure, and they need to get a little TLC once in a while. So, I was eager to try this dish washing liquid to see if it was “softer on hands” and effectively cleaned dishes.

The cleaning ability is on par with the other leading dish washing liquid that I had been using. Palmolive Soft Touch makes some good suds and cuts grease.

My personal favorite is the Vitamin E because it smells good, and I like the pretty pink color. Another good thing about Soft Touch is that it is ultra concentrated, meaning a little goes a long way.

My hands did feel less tight and dry after washing. I didn’t feel the urgency to run to the nearest bottle of lotion as soon I was finished with the dishes. It can even be used in a pinch if you run out of hand soap.
Palmolive Soft Touch comes in three formulas — Vitamin E, Coconut Butter, and Aloe. "Tough of grease, Soft on Hands" 

It is available at most major retailers that sell dish washing liquid, including Wal-Mart.

Disclosure: I received complimentary Palmolive Soft Touch from Influenster for testing purposes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nectresse Sweetener Review

 Nectresse is a no calorie sweetener that is naturally derived. It is made by the maker of SPLENDA. It is derived from the monk fruit, which I had never heard of prior to getting this product. Monk fruit is a member of the melon family that grows in Asia.

What's in it? Monk fruit extract, a touch of sugar, erythritol (a natural sugar alcohol), and molasses.

It's got endless possibilities. There are packets for sprinkling in tea, coffee, or over anything else. It also comes in a canister to easily scoop out for recipes. It's actually great in baking, cutting calories so you don't have to feel guilty. The Nectresse website has great recipes to try.

Nectresse sweetener tastes good. There is no bitter aftertaste, as occurs with other sugar substitutes. I also like that there are no chemicals, like are found in artificial sweeteners, that may have negative health effects.

A little goes a long way because it is more concentrated than regular cane sugar. So it helps to just sprinkle in a little at a time until you get the sweetness you want, otherwise it's easy to get a surprise. I use it in my coffee, tea, and sprinkled on berries. 

Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vaseline® Spray and Go Moisturizer commercial (Dress)

@Vaseline  @Influenster #SprayandGo
(Disclaimer - Posting this video for an Influenster brand challenge for an opportunity to win a prize. I did receive a complimentary Spray & Go from

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

EOS Shave Cream Review

When many people hear EOS, they think of the colorful, round EOS lip balm. Well, EOS does much more than make lip products. The company, which means Evolution of Smooth, also produces hand and body lotions and shaving cream.

I have to admit that shaving is not one of my favorite tasks because it’s tedious and uncomfortable. I’ve used many things to shave with, soap suds, shave gels and creams, olive oil, and baby oil. I like the way oils leave my skin soft, but they clog the razor. EOS Shave Cream leaves my skin just as soft, but the razor doesn’t get clogged and rinses off easily during shaving. The first time that I used it, I got the closest shave that I’d gotten in a long time. It has moisturizers that help the razor glide over skin and that help reduce razor bumps.

The shaving cream is creamy, and it doesn’t foam. It goes on skin with a lotion-like consistency. It is made with shea butter, aloe, and vitamins E and C. It leaves skin smooth and silky after use. It comes in three different scents — pomegranate raspberry, lavender jasmine, and vanilla bliss. There is also a fragrance-free formula for sensitive skin. I absolutely love the heavenly scent of the lavender jasmine.

EOS Shave Cream can be used wet or dry. The directions on the bottle say to use two or three pumps of product, and apply a thin layer to skin. I’ve found that for wet shaving less may be used, but for dry shaving  more may be required since this cream seems to give a closer shave, necessitating more lubrication.

So keep in mind that EOS lip balm isn’t the only product from EOS. They make several products to nourish and moisturize skin, as well as lips.

EOS Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream Lavender Jasmine -- 7 fl oz

Colgate Optic White Regimen Review

White teeth are important. After all, who wants stained teeth? Many people will go to great lengths to get sparkling, white teeth. There are lots of over-the-counter whitening treatments and expensive in-office procedures to get teeth whitened. Colgate’s solution for whitening stained teeth is OpticWhite.

The Colgate Optic White Regimen’s goal is to help you get white teeth without spending a ton of money on costly whitening treatments and extra time on treatments. This system incorporates whitening in with your regular brushing and rinsing.


The Colgate 360° Optic White Toothbrush is an innovative brush to help you teeth be whiter. It helps to clean teeth and gums, while whitening teeth with “whitening cups” and polishing bristles. The whitening cups are soft rubber cups that hold toothpaste better to remove surface stains.  It also has a tongue and cheek cleaner. The soft bristles effectively clean and aren’t too rough. The brush seems easy to reach in normally hard-to-reach places. It also has a good handle with gel pads.


Colgate Optic White Toothpaste is not just any regular toothpaste. It claims to have the ability to whiten more than three shades (based on twice daily use for four weeks), with results starting in one week. It also has the usual makings of toothpaste with fluoride, anti-cavity protection, breath freshening, and it helps to reduce plaque with regular brushing.

 I drink lots of coffee, so I have a problem with keeping my teeth white. So this toothpaste piqued my interest. I’m also picky about my toothpaste. I like having clean feeling teeth without any fuzz left after brushing. Optic White does thoroughly clean my teeth, without leaving any trace of plaque residue.
I’m also paranoid about my enamel and gums, so I don’t like gritty toothpaste with sandy granules that feel like they are harsh. It does have silica, but it doesn’t feel too abrasive or gritty.
Optic White leaves my teeth feeling clean and makes them whiter over the course of about a week. It does have a strong flavor, which doesn’t bother me. I was impressed with the toothpaste’s performance. However, I will use the toothpaste in rotation with a couple of others that I like due to some tooth sensitivity. After about two weeks of use, I developed sensitivity in all my teeth and sore gums. In the past I have had sensitivity, but it was specific to one particular area. After I discontinued using it, my mouth felt much better. According to the Colgate Company, “When used as directed, Colgate Optic White has not been shown to increase sensitivity in consumers.”  So, coincidence?


Colgate Optic White Mouthwash removes surface stains and has polyphosphates to prevent future stains. It has foaming action to reach hard-to-brush spots. It also freshens breath.
There is one drawback, for me. The mouth rinse has a very strong taste, and I was unable to hold it in my mouth to swish it around for the 60 seconds stated on the instructions. The taste is that of hydrogen peroxide and strong mint flavor that is very overpowering for me. I did figure out one trick — dip a cotton swab in it and paint my teeth with it. This did help me to get shiny, white teeth. This trick worked better, since I do want whiter teeth.
My favorite of the three is the toothbrush, followed by the toothpaste. For me the toothpaste was good for occasional use.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dickinson's Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes Review

Witch Hazel is an astringent that comes from the twigs and bark of the witch hazel tree or shrub. It is used to clean skin, unclog pores, and to soothe skin irritation. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel has been a top name in bottled witch hazel since the 1800s. Dickinson’s has a full line of skin care products that includes Pore Perfecting Toner, Gentle Skin Cleanser, Foaming Facial Wash, Oil Controlling Astringent, and Oil Controlling Towelettes.
Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes are one hundred percent natural. They remove oil, without any harsh or drying ingredients. Skin is left smooth and soft. They are good for all skin types — oily, dry, sensitive, and combination. The towelette itself is especially designed to trap dirt and oil, with spun lace fibers for deep cleaning pores. Along with witch hazel (containing natural grain alcohol 14% and witch hazel extract), they contain aloe and sodium benzoate. My skin felt clean, yet soft — not tight or dry like occurs after using some other alcohol based cleansers. 

These wipes are convenient and easy to take along for travel, camping, or trips to the gym. A box of towelettes comes with 20 moist wipes that are individually wrapped. Each wipe is five inches by seven inches. I find each wipe is plenty to clean my entire face, thoroughly removing traces makeup that get left behind after washing. They are also good for calming the irritation of mosquito bites.
my blemish free skin

I received a complimentary box from Influenster. Would I buy more? Absolutely — I did like these and think they did a great job. 

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer Review

Vaseline Spray and Go is a novel idea — lotion that sprays on. The lotion comes out in a fine mist that is lightly moisturizes and absorbs quickly. It isn’t greasy or sticky, allowing for getting dressed quickly after use.

It comes in three varieties: Total Moisture — made with oat extract, Cocoa Radiant —infused with cocoa butter, and Aloe Fresh — infused with aloe.

To use Spray and Go hold the can about four to six inches from your skin and spray it on. Give it a few quick rubs.

My Opinion

At first I was wondered how is a spray container better? It can be a little messy with over spray. If it gets on the floor, it can be slippery or get on clothing that could be lying nearby. Make sure the area is clear and don’t hold the can more than four inches away from the target area. If you have non-stick grips in your shower, try standing in there to use

It left my skin light and silky. On days that I go to work I wear compression stockings that put on after bathing.With Spray and Go I don’t have to wait to get dressed. Normally I have to wait about 20 minutes before I can put get dressed because I have to wait for my other lotion to absorb and get less oily. It does smell really good, and it is simple to use.

It does give skin moisture and hydration, but if your skin is very dry and needs more moisturizing it could leave you wanting. It does lack thicker emollients. As I gear up for warmer weather, it will be useful because I normally lighten my moisturizing routine in the summer months.

The suggested retail for Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer is $7.99 for a 6.5oz can.

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Renaissance Lady Anne Costume Review

Dressing up is fun for me. I’ve loved costumes and fancy clothes for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I would dress up like Wonder Woman, Jeannie of I Dream of Jeannie, Lady Jaye or Scarlett from G.I. Joe. Now I go for things a little more sophisticated — like Renaissance clothing or other historical dress.

The latest addition to my wardrobe is the Lady Anne Costume from It is one of my favorites because it is gorgeous and well-made. While some costumes are sewn together haphazardly, this costume has finished edges in the seams that won’t unravel as easily. The fabrics are good quality. It is made with stretchy, reddish/burgundy velvet-like fabric and golden brocade.

It is one size that fits up to 14/16. I wear a size 10 dress, and it fits me just right. I’m also about 5’8, and the length falls a couple of inches above my ankles.  It is a full length dress with long, bell-shaped sleeves. One unique thing is the side pleats that help it to be more flowing, yet form fitting around the hip area. The style feels quite elegant. It’s great for costume parties, Halloween dress-up, plays, or any occasion that requires a historical element.

The dress comes with a golden fabric belt and a unique headpiece with a veil in back. Shoes and jewelry aren’t included. Care for it by hand washing it and allowing it to dry flat. 

This costume is based on Lady Anne Neville, who was the Princess of Whales during the late 1400s. She became Queen in 1483, when her husband Richard seized the thrown. Unfortunately she passed away less than two years later. However, this costume is great for depicting any upper-class woman from the Late Middle Ages and Renaissance time periods.  

*disclaimer — I did receive a complimentary costume for review purposes from Costume Reviewers.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox

I recently joined Influenster. Influenster is a community of “trendsetters” that provide reviews and opinions — through the website, YouTube videos, and personal blogs. Members are active in Social Media. One of the benefits is occasional free items for testing and reviewing.

Last week I traveled across the country to attend my brother’s wedding. When I got home my VoxBox was waiting for me. 

 I don’t travel much, and didn’t pay much attention to my packing, as it relates to TSA rules. I inadvertently packed a half used 4oz tube of toothpaste. Consequently a TSA agent confiscated it, as I was going through the security checkpoint. The box contained some Colgate toothpaste, which was a very welcome sight, since I was now only living on an almost gone small tube of travel toothpaste that I gotten to replace the one that TSA took from me. 

I digress. More about the VoxBox:

What is VoxBox?
The VoxBox program from Influenster is a great program that brings great items to “Influensters” to try and review. Influensters are bloggers and vloggers who love to share their experiences and write reviews or make YouTube videos.  If you are interested visit the Influenster website or email me. I have a couple of invites available that I will gladly share on a first come basis.

Contents of the Sugar ‘n Spice VoxBox

The box contained the Colgate Optic White Regimen:  4oz tube of Colgate Optic White toothpaste, 8oz bottle of Optic White Mouthwash, and a 360° Optic White toothbrush.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Oil Control Towelettes - read my review here

Nectresse natural no calorie sweetener

Belvita Breakfast Biscuits

Vaseline Spray and Go Moisturizer - read my review here

I will write reviews for each of the mentioned products, which I will post soon.
Thanks to all of the sponsors and Influenster for providing all of the products.

 "I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes."

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Can Sweet Almond Oil Be Used on Hair?

There are lots of hair oils, and many of these oils can be used for skin care, as well as many other things. Sweet almond oil is one of these versatile oils. It is a light oil that is great for using on your hair and scalp. Most of us want healthy, beautiful hair, and almond oil is one way to help. Hair oil is good for moisturizing, conditioning, and giving hair luster.

Moisturizes Scalp
Sweet almond oil is full of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which make it good for conditioning. It reduces itchiness and inflammation on the scalp.
To use sweet almond oil you can use it as a hot oil treatment. Apply it and cover with a shower cap. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then shampoo. You can also put it on before bed, and washing in the morning. A few drops of almond oil can also be added to your regular conditioner to give it a boost.
Tame Frizzies
Another of sweet almond oil uses is, to make hair smooth and shiny, by reducing fizziness and sealing the cuticle. If you are between trims and have spilt ends, rubbing a drop or two on the hair ends can give you a temporary fix.
 When using it, keep in mind that a little can go a long way. Start with only a couple of drops, so you do not end up with a greasy mess.
Hair Growth
Many people use sweet almond oil to prevent hair loss or to help stimulate hair growth. Almond oil is full of nutrients that contribute to healthy hair. It may also be less due to the almond oil and more due to the stimulation of hair follicles by massaging. Regular massage helps the scalp have better circulation, which is good for hair growth.
Use as a Carrier Oil
Many essential oils, like rosemary, have wonderful benefits and healing properties. However, they shouldn’t be used alone in full concentration. Sweet alone oil is a good base or carrier oil for combining with other oils.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How to Reduce Hair Breakage

Strong, healthy is hair is attractive, and many of us like long, silky hair. A major frustration of wearing longer hairstyles is hair breakage. No one wants damaged hair that breaks. If you can’t seem to keep long hair healthy looking and free of breakage, don’t worry because you’re not necessarily destined to wear shorter hairstyles. There are some things that you can do to prevent your hair from breaking.
Treat it Carefully
You must treat your hair carefully to help prevent breakage —always be gentle. Don’t brush it when it is wet —opt instead for a wide tooth comb. Let it air dry, whenever possible. If you do use a hair dryer, use a low setting. When using heated styling tools use a thermal protectant to keep heat damage minimal. Avoid tight hairstyles that put physical stress on your hair. To give hair less friction while you sleep, use a silk pillowcase.
One of the things that I must watch out for is my shoulder bag. So often I’ll just fling my bag over my shoulder. The problem is that when my hair is longer, it easily gets trapped under the strap and tangled. Things that seem simple may need a little more attention, if long hair could get in the way.
Unless you really need to, don’t wash your hair every day. If your hair is dry use a moisturizing shampoo that will help keep hair hydrated.    Look for ingredients that moisturize and soften hair, like fatty alcohols, jojoba oil, and vitamin E. Also look for products that are fortified with protein that will help strengthen hair. Stay away from chemical processes, like perming and straightening, because they can make your hair dry and brittle, allowing it to break easily.
Aside from physically preventing your hair from breaking, it’s important to have hair that is strong and doesn’t break easily. Use conditioner after each washing. It will keep hair hydrated and allow combing to be easier, with less chance of tangling. Keep hair moisturized and conditioned with weekly deep-conditioning treatments. Look for treatments that have protein or keratin added to strengthen hair. One of my favorites is Giovanni Smooth as Silk Xtreme Protein Hair Infusion. It is contains shea butter, soy protein, and macadamia nut oil. It rejuvenates damaged and over processed hair, leaving it moisturized, smooth, and soft. Use it after shampooing, leaving it on the hair for about 10 minutes, then rinse.
Hot-oil treatments with olive, coconut, or castor oil are also great for keeping hair conditioned and nourished.
Regular Trims
Get regular trims to your hair to get split ends cut off. This will not only remove the damaged, brittle ends, but keep hair healthy and tidy looking.  Keeping the ends of your healthy will reduce the amount of hair breakage.

updated 3/26/14