Friday, March 9, 2018

New Skincare Products You Should Try!

Skincare is everything. Well, in my little beauty world it is. If you take care of your skin, walking out of the door sans makeup is a breeze. Plus, it's so much fun! It seems like everyone is into skincare these days. And brands have noticed. So many are working to come up with the latest and greatest products for keeping your skin healthy, glowy, and bright. Not every product lives up to its hype, but the products below are so outstanding, they've become my new favorites.

Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
If you haven't tried anything from Kiehl's yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. I am continually impressed by the quality of the products this brand puts out. But this concentrate has to be my favorite. I use it EVERY NIGHT before bed. It has brightened and evened my complexion while leaving my skin moisturized (not greasy) and taking it from dull and tired to revitalized. Plus my skin looks SO SMOOTH! There is a slight warming sensation when the serum is first applied. This was something I wasn't expecting (and worried me a little at first) but now that I know this is to be expected with this product, it definitely makes for a relaxing experience.

Pacifica Sheet Masks (Vegan, Cruelty-Free)

These are so much more than expected. I often pick up a few new sheet masks when out and about running errands. Whether I'm at the grocery store or Marshall's, I'll stroll through the beauty section and pick up any sheet masks I find intriguing. Why? Because sheet masks are SO EASY. I put them on after a shower while watching TV before bed.  I found these Pacifica ones at Target and I got so much more out of them than I thought I would. They leave my skin looking refreshed. I especially love the Stress Rehab and Pollution Fight ones. (I REALLY want to try the Energized Glow mask but haven't found it at "my" Target yet.)

Masque Bar Pretty Animalz Sheet Masks (Cruelty-Free)

Ok...these are a bit bizarre. But they are sheet masks that work wonders in just 10-20 minutes. I'm also pretty sure these are my favorite sheet masks at the moment. And... yes... they are printed to make your face look like a cartoon animal face.  And it is a little creepy looking when you put these on. But, my goodness! The results! My favorites are the Otter and the Fox masks. (They also come out with seasonal masks. During the holidays last year they had a Reindeer mask!)

Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion Ultra Light (Oil Free)

When I need a little extra moisture (usually due to cool, drier weather that my skin is just not acclimated to) I add this Cerave moisturizer to my skincare routine at night (and sometimes during the day too). It's light but packs a punch. With Hyaluronic Acid, this moisturizer melts right into the skin while leaving a smooth, light finish.

Jason Vitamin E Age Renewal Moisturizing Crème

I know some people use this cream for scars. Some use it for stretch marks. I use it under my eyes. It's super thick so a little goes a long way. And since I only use it under my eyes, it's going to last awhile. If you have super dry skin this may be a great nighttime cream for you. I have used it all over my entire face several times in the past. It leaves my skin moisturized and absolutely gorgeous, however, it seems to be too rich for my oily/normal combination skin. But under the eyes------MAGIC!

Keeping Your Baby's Routine Normal

Written by a contributing writer

If you enjoy traveling and have children, then you might want to consider renting the equipment that you need instead of hauling it along with you every time you leave home. Many companies offer a way to rent baby equipment when you arrive at your hotel. Some companies ask that you request the rental a few weeks or days before you plan on traveling to ensure that the items that you need are available.

There are several pieces of baby equipment that you can rent while traveling or even when your baby first comes home from the hospital if you don't want to invest in buying items that will only be used for a few months. Strollers, high chairs, and cribs are among the most popular items that are rented by parents. These are often the largest items that are used when you travel or when you're at home as well. When you rent equipment, you don't have to worry about packing everything in your car when you get on the road and unpacking everything when you get to your destination.

When you rent equipment, you can save money because the fees associated with the rentals are usually affordable. You won't have to buy new pieces of equipment to take to a family member's home or to have with you just for the purpose of traveling. You'll also be able to save the nicer pieces of equipment for your home so that they aren't damaged while you're traveling. Each item that you need can be rented when you get to the destination and is a safe product to use. You can take rented pieces of equipment to the park, to the store or to someone's home, allowing you to keep a normal routine for your child instead of disrupting sleep time or the feeding schedule.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

4 Reasons to Visit Ireland this Year

Written by a contributing writer

Ireland is one of the most inviting and beautiful European countries, explaining why people love to visit, relocate and even live there. Home to friendly people, many pubs, great food, beautiful scenery and things to do, there are many reasons why people love to visit Ireland. The country is popular for its vast drinks and great wet weather that keeps changing throughout the year.

Whether you’ve been to Ireland before or not, it is a must-visit. The country is a top tourist destination worldwide with an exceptional natural beauty. Is Ireland calling you for a vacation? It doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting for business or leisure. Here are the top reasons to visit Ireland this year:

Top 4 Reasons Why Ireland is a Must-Visit in 2018

1. It Has a Rich History

Ireland has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times, making it a top destination for historians and enthusiasts. It is home to magnificent traditional houses built in the early times, museums and other historical sites, a true indication of the country’s rich history. Visit Ireland’s Historical Art Centers to gain insight into its rich heritage.

Located in Meath County, Newgrange was built prior to the Great Pyramids. The hundreds of restored castles are accessible all year round. Ireland trips aren’t just fun and educational, but also memorable.

2. Rich in Music, Culture & Dances

Ireland is popular for its Irish music, rich culture and love for live performances. Traditional Irish music is played at least once every week, making it one of the most sought-after destination in Europe. Amateur musicians usually gather in pubs to entertain both guests and locals.

Home to all sorts of bodhrans, guitars and whistles, among other cultural designs, Ireland is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the arts.

3. Hosts Various Irish Festivals

Various festivals are held in Ireland throughout the year, meaning whichever time you decide to visit, you’ll be able to attend one. The festivals are typical of great food and drinks you can taste and eat for a feel of what the nation has to offer its visitors. Irish festivals draw people of all kinds from different nations worldwide.

With thousands of visitors attending festivals annually, the events are often packed. Whether you want to party, indulge in the country’s best foods or simply attend global events, there’s something for everyone. Widen your social network by mingling with other attendees, try different foods and sail, etc.

The Galway Oyster Festival and the Tralee Rose are some of the most popular festivals in the nation. Pick a festival you’ll get to enjoy for the best times. Choose vibrant festivals with lots of things for you do.

4. Visit Ireland’s Vibrant Cities

Ireland is home to many vibrant cities such as Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin. The country booms with a busy night life to improve your social life and high-class restaurants for some of the best dishes the country has in store for you.

Located along the sea, Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and has luscious parks, elegant architecture, lively bars and restaurants to keep you busy during your visit. Adjacent to the Irish Sea and Michelson Star restaurants, the city has beautiful views you’d love to see first-hand.

On the other hand, Galway has a busy lifestyle to accommodate both locals and visitors. Ireland is also home to snow-capped mountains, wildlife, inland waterways, beautiful sandy beaches and natural landscape with breathtaking views, making it a top global destination.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Few Benefits That Come from Purchasing Your Own Home

Written by a contributing writer 

Many people are facing the decision of purchasing a home or renting one. While each individual has to decide for themselves what will be best for their family, there are a lot of reasons why purchasing a home may be the better option.

When you purchase a home as opposed to renting a home, you are putting your money into something that will benefit you over the long run in a financial sense. Renting a home or an apartment means that you are only taking care of your immediate needs. You pay for the month, so you have a place to stay for the month. It does nothing for your long-term financial goals or well-being. At some point in the future, you will own your home. You will have the ability to sell it if necessary. Of course, you need to make sure that this is the best financial choice for your circumstances right now and in the future.

New home construction Mandarin allows a person to choose exactly how their house will be designed. This is a great idea for individuals who are interested in purchasing a home that they plan to live in for many years and even pass down to their children and grandchildren. If your life goals involve staying in one home for many years or even the rest of your life, having the ability to design a home that you love may be the right option for you.

While you may not be able to control exactly what goes on in your neighborhood, if you take the time to do research and to get to know your neighbors, you can choose an area that will be a safe place for you to live and for your children to grow up in. Take time to do research beforehand about school districts, crime in the area, and other similar information. In some cases, renting a home may mean that you do not have as much control over the neighborhood you live in and the individuals around you.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Have a Pet You Love? Enter the #ZulilyPetWeekContest

If you follow me on social media, you know we recently adopted a sweet, mellow Golden Retriever. If you don't [shameless plug coming] you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more updates, information on must-have products, beauty secrets, and all the random things. Since adopting our big guy, I have been obsessed with finding great treats, toys, and products. I don't know why I didn't look on zulily sooner!

But here's something really fun that zulily is doing to celebrate all of the adorable, silly, and sly pets around. To celebrate Pet Week, zulily is hosting the #ZulilyPetWeekContest. Simply post a picture of your pet on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a trip to zulily for a personalized pet photo shoot, a curated package for your pet, and to be featured in images and post across zulily’s social media channels including an interview on zulily’s Facebook Live Channel. Plus, four runners-up will win a curated pet product package worth $100! For contest details click here

To enter on Facebook click here.

 One of the cutest parts of the contest is the five themes. These are:
  • "Biggest Baby – Do you have a dog and a puppy in the house? Share a photo of them together for a chance to win. 
  • Cutest Puppy – If you just brought home a new fur baby, this is your chance to win with a photo of your new puppy. 
  • Pet & Human Duo – Are you and your pet a dynamic duo? Show off your favorite photo together to win this category. 
  • Coolest Cat – We know there are some cool cats out there - here is their chance to shine & take home a prize. 
  • Most Unique Pet – This one is for those pets with scales, wings, feathers, etc.!"
So, why not enter? Share a picture of your pet and maybe you'll win! can look at all of the other adorable animal photos to destress at the end of a long day (or in the middle of one).  Contest ends February 23rd (ending at 11:59PM PT).

The newest member of our family

Monday, February 12, 2018

Five Mom Hacks For Saving For Your Children's Future

Written by a contributing writer

Saving is hard but necessary, especially when you have children. If you have hopes of sending your child off to a good college, paying towards their wedding, helping them put a deposit down on their first home, or even buy them a safe and reliable car when they pass their driving test, then you need to start saving when they are young. Sure there are fantastic loan options they can use like, but as a parent, you want to try and help them as much as you can. However, with so many daily expenses, it can be difficult to commit to putting away a decent chunk of money. Not to worry. Just like with trying to save yourself some time, you can save a lot of money by simply making small changes. By saving yourself a small amount of money here and there, you can start to build up a decent pot of money with next to no effort at all. Below are five tips to help (Source) you start to build that pot.

Say No to Coffee

Don’t panic. You don’t have to give up coffee forever. But consider how much money you spend heading to Starbucks even once a day on your way to work. Instead, make your own coffee at home and put it in a travel mug for your morning journey. The money you would have spent on the coffee shop visits can be put towards the beginnings of a savings account. It may not seem like much, but you’d be amazed how much those little purchases add up to a substantial amount of money over the course of a month.

Change Jar

An old favorite, get yourself a big jar and put all your change in it. You might choose to put all your coins in or maybe just the lower currency values, either way, all that money will add up over time. Many people throw small amounts of change away, but by keeping hold of them, you are maximizing your money usage. You might be surprised how much money you can build up over the course of a few months or years. Once the jar is full, you can either take it to the bank or use a machine which will convert your change into larger monetary denominations and you can then put it into a savings account. Be warned though, even a regular sized jar filled with change can be heavier than you think.

Yard Sales and Clear Outs

Everyone has junk they bought, used, loved, but no longer need. You could throw it away, but by selling it, you get a little bit of extra money in your pocket that can go into savings. You can also use a yard sale as an opportunity to teach your kids about how to haggle and get the best price for things.

Look at Your TV Packages

Most people have incredibly comprehensive packages for their cable TV. But be honest, how many of those channels do you really watch? Consider lowering your package to the next level down, or even the most basic level. There are also ways to keep up with your favorite shows (through the internet and apps) without having to pay for traditional cable TV. You may think you’d miss it, but you’d be surprised how quickly you adapt to less choice. You may even get more work down around the house without the TV to distract you.

Stay in Instead of Going Out

Going out is expensive, even when you do it on the cheap. Create some quality family time by staying in with a board game or doing an activity together. Playing outdoors, cooking together, and putting on a talent show are all fun ideas you can do at home.

Hopefully, these tips have helped ease your mind and shown how easy and painless it can be to start saving for your children’s future. By making small changes, you can put that money to better use planning for the future.

Monday, February 5, 2018

3 Tips to Choosing the Right Diamond

Written by a contributing writer

Buying diamonds is easy. But choosing the right one – that is usually a little more difficult. You see, some people liken it to the process of choosing a life partner. In both cases, you have to tread with care. This is especially true when it comes to picking out the perfect diamond rings that can be used for proposals. That said, taking the right approach will help make the selection process easier and more enjoyable.

The key to choosing the perfect diamond is knowledge. Sure, most people have already heard of the 4 C’s that define diamond shopping. But that by itself is not enough. Brief research or a short visit to your local jewelry store will not give you enough information to pick the best diamonds. But it’s not an impossible prospect either. Here are 3 tips that will help you choose the right diamond:

1. Consider the Cut

The cut should be your topmost consideration when buying diamonds. That’s because it’s the biggest factor determining its beauty. Simply put, the better the cut, the better the diamond’s sparkle and brilliance. On the other hand, cuts that are too deep or shallow will not reflect enough light. That’s why poorly cut tones usually look dark and lifeless.

So if you want to find a diamond that looks great, then consider its cut grade. This refers to the objective assessment of the stone’s proportion and finishing. Use the GIA system to rate gems before you buy them. The ratings here will range from Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor. Always strive to get the best cut of diamond that is available within your budget.

2. Check Out the Shape

If you are going to buy to buy diamonds as a gift or engagement ring, then you had better get the recipient’s shape preferences right. While it’s true that other factors like price and quality will affect your choice, let the recipient’s personal style and taste guide your choice of shape. This is especially true when it comes to the fancier or more exotic shape diamond rings.

If you can’t ask for your partner’s shape preferences directly, then think about getting a round diamond. That’s because they tend to have more brilliance than other shapes. They can also accommodate any setting and are always in fashion.

Furthermore, make sure to check out the gem’s length to width ratio. This calculation has a major impact on the shape of any diamond. For instance, the difference between a rectangular or square princess cut stone is quite obvious to any eye. So if you’re not sure about the diamond shape that you want to get, view some stones with different length to width ratios to see what you like. This is also a great way to narrow down your search.

3. Don’t Forget About Color

The vast majority of untrained buyers can’t tell the difference between one color grade and the other. But diamonds are more than just colorless pieces of stone. High-quality stones often show differences in color that make them look much more beautiful.

For the best value, look for stones rated G-J diamonds. It’s also important to note that it is easier to detect color in larger diamonds. In that case, you can opt for a G-H rating in stones that are over one carat and I-J for those that are below one carat. When coupled with a great cut and setting, you will end up with a beautiful and expensive looking diamond ring at a fraction of the price.