Monday, August 29, 2016

Back-To-School Cool: Quick & Easy Natural Makeup With COVERGIRL

Back-to-school means school lunches, morning commutes, and... waking up early.  Whether you're a student getting ready for class or a mom getting everyone out the door for school drop-off, simplify your makeup routine with these COVERGIRL products to save yourself some time during those busy mornings.

With just a few products and five minutes we can all achieve a fresh-faced, "woke up like this," look.  (Although we all know no one really wakes up like that!) Check it out below.


1. Apply COVERGIRL's Clean Matte BB Cream all over your face.  (I just squirt a dime sized amount in my hands and apply... I know, I know, you're not supposed to use your hands... but we are going for speed here.)

2. Apply COVERGIRL & Olay The Depuffer concealer under eyes.  It may not feel like it's going to do the job but this serum not only covers dark circles, it also takes care of puffy eyes.

3. Apply COVERGIRL Full Lash Bloom Mascara 

4. Apply COVERGIRL Colorlicious Oh Sugar! Vitamin Infused Balm (I like Taffy for a "my lips but better" look.)



And you're done!  An effortless look in no time.  And more time to sip your coffee, get the kids ready, or...sleep!


Saturday, August 27, 2016

2 Kids And No Space - Your Survival Guide To Cozy Living

Many Moms would love their kids to have separate rooms. But that simply isn’t the reality for so many of us. Space can get tight as your family grows. While some parents may enjoy the delights of a play room and large living spaces, there are many who have one small bedroom for the kids to use. When your home is smaller than you like, you need to be space savvy.

Storage solutions are always the savior of parents with small homes. However, there needs to be more practical living arrangements as well. If the kids are sharing a room, it makes sense to use bunk beds. Websites like http://www.cuckooland.com/dnc/cuckooland/category/3377/bunk-beds can show you the kind of possibilities that are out there. Built in storage and two beds makes sense when a bedroom has to be shared.

So how do you divide a room fairly between two kids? Generally speaking, children will accept that the oldest child gets the first choice. It’s not entirely fair, but it could stop a couple of arguments about who gets top bunk! As for the rest of the floor space, it will need to be shared, with both kids using the same areas. Siblings are usually very good when it comes to this. Of course, if a spat starts, there are always options. Have a look at http://psychcentral.com/lib/letting-your-kids-fight-their-own-battles/ for ideas.

Sharing the space could mean that time there needs to be divided up instead. If they don’t want to play together, you may need to find something else for one of them to do. If the spat is over sharing toys, why not have two toy chests? Each child can keep their most precious belongings in there without having to share. Whatever doesn’t fit, or doesn’t count, must be shared. Sharing is a big part of growing up, so this could aid a valuable life lesson.



Thanks to Flickr.com for the photo

Double wardrobes give your kids enough space to divide the hanging area. Built in drawers and containers can help here too, with a set being provided on each side. Have you ever tried labeling shelves, cupboards and containers? This can help your kids keep things organized and tidy. It means they can easily take on the responsibility of maintaining order in their own rooms and identify what is theirs.

Of course, if your children are very tiny, you may need to use the room for naps during the day too. Keeping an older sibling entertained quietly out of the room is never easy. However, your living room could also be the place for children to play. If you have a baby monitor, you may even be able to take some of the play out of the garden. Storage containers can protect many of the toys from the weather, and will free up the space in your home. Best of all, you can set a little covered play area outdoors for the kids to enjoy safely.

It’s not easy making the most of a very small space. Spats and disagreements can occur a little more regularly too. But kids who grow up in shared rooms often become closer as adults.

This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

How To Be A Mom And Still Enjoy Your Own Company

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had to deal with long office hours or a terrible boss - being a mom is by far the most demanding job of them all. Add a career and a social life on top of your mommy duties and it can often leave you feeling drained. But once the kids are in bed, it’s important that you take some quality time out for yourself, even if you do just want to crawl straight into bed! Take a look below for some low-key activities you can do purely in your own company.


1) Read a good book


This might sound like an obvious option. But think about it; how many books have you read since you became a mom? With your attention usually focused on what your little ones are doing, it leaves us little time to get engrossed in a novel. Once they’re in bed dust off that book that you never got a chance to read and settle down for a cozy evening on the sofa.




Photo from Google 2) Cook

Before you stop reading, hear us out! We don’t mean a three-course banquet or a huge batch to feed the family for a week. Try cooking something simple yet tasty just for you. You will enjoy the calmness of mealtimes when you’re not running after four other people. Cooking can be therapeutic, so put some relaxing music on and enjoy preparing dinner for yourself. The added bonus of no dinner-time tantrums will make it taste even better! Pair your meal with a glass of wine or a beer depending on your preference and sink into some quality ‘me-time’.

3) Watch a movie

Ever feel like your television is permanently stuck on the children’s channels? Enjoy some freedom in the evening with free reign of the television yourself. If you can’t find anything that takes your fancy, apps like Showbox have a huge number of movies and TV shows available to stream to your heart’s content. You can stream from your laptop, tablet and even your cell phone ; and can do it on the go too (providing you have a stable internet connection).




Photo from Pixabay

4) Do some yoga

It may sound a bit zany, but yoga has many proven benefits for both the body and the mind. Although slow and low-intensity, it can aid weight loss, flexibility and can even help boost your body confidence. You don’t need any special equipment to try yoga – just comfy clothes and something to cushion the floor with. There are plenty of online guides and video tutorials to help you become a master yogi in no time!

5) Pamper yourself
As a mom, self-care can often fall by the wayside when you’re so busy with everything else. Designate an evening per week, or per fortnight to taking care of your mind and body. Got dry skin that’s been bugging you? Open that expensive moisturizer you got for your birthday and let it sink into your skin. Or treat yourself to a new nail polish and do a home manicure. Remember, you deserve to treat yourself too!


This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quick and Affordable Remedies To Help Busy Moms Get A Sparkling Smile

Even as a busy parent, we all want to feel and look as good as is possible - but don’t necessarily have the time and funds. We take care of our hair, exercise and moisturise our faces every night to achieve this goal. Or at least, we do when we remember to. Even the little things can feel like a huge effort sometimes.

Aside from the aforementioned things, one of the key components to looking good is to have white teeth. It’s something that we tend to forget about in the midst of everything else, assuming our regular brushing will do the job. Drinking coffee (an essential for Moms!), eating dark foods and even your herbal teas can stain teeth, as well as just general wear and tear. Maybe the fact that white teeth are so unobtainable is a reason for why we prize them so much.

While you can have teeth bleached, it's not something you want to do too often. Or perhaps you just have an aversion to total bleaching and want something you can do for yourself, for less money. Here’s three options that won’t cost a fortune and can still leave you with a sparkling smile.

#1 Activated Charcoal

The idea of pouring a black powder onto your toothbrush, using it, and then teeth being whiter - well, it just doesn't seem to scan. But in fact, do it right and ground charcoal can lift stains from teeth. This is because it is adsorbent, coupled with its slightly gritty texture to act as an exfoliant. Many natural health advocates swear by this method, and it can't hurt to try.

#2 Hydrogen Peroxide

Image by Beshef


You can try using hydrogen peroxide if you're feeling brave - and careful. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching element that has many uses, and is a component of professional whitening solutions. Use it diluted with water and dab lightly on to teeth with a cotton swab, rinsing off after a few minutes. It's always best to use too little rather than too much. If you're trying the at-home chemical route, then using a whitening strip can enhance the effect between applications.


#3 Baking Soda and Coconut Oil

Combining these two together can have a fantastic impact on your teeth. Mix a little baking soda in with the coconut oil. Coconut oil has a melting point of 24C, so use your fingers to heat it if necessary. Then rub the mixture onto your teeth. The mild abrasive action combined with a beneficial oil can brighten your smile. Be careful of overdoing it though, as too much of a good thing can lead to damaged tooth enamel.

"But what if I need my teeth to look brighter right now?"



Image Credit: Annca

If you have an upcoming event, then the above methods aren't going to get it done. They tend to require regular applications over a period of time rather than providing an instant fix. The best sudden improvement factor goes to the activated charcoal, so if you have some time anyway, it's worth doing.

If you need a fix quickly but don't want a huge dental bill, then lipstick is your friend. Choose a red with a blue-tone. This is simple color wheel stuff; blue and yellow are opposite one another, so the blue cancels out the yellow sheen and dominates. It's a quick fix, but it'll do in a pinch.


This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The 90's are Back! : MAC Good Luck Trolls Collection

Choker necklaces. Daria. And, yes, Trolls.  The 90's are starting to come back in a big way. And I love it. Of course, MAC Cosmetics is on top of this trend with their new Good Luck Trolls collection.  The Summer 2016 collection, inspired by the new Trolls movie, completely captures the vibe of  these memorable, wacky-haired toys. It's also a great representation of numerous 90's trends all in one collection.  Bright colors, glitter, and a little bit of grunge is what you'll find when you dive in.

The quality of the products themselves are, of course, wonderful.  Exactly what you'd expect from MAC.  The packaging, however, has to be my favorite part.  I love the troll detailing in the beauty powder and eye shadows.  The bright colors are also appealing to my inner 90's chick.

The Paradisco eye shadow is perhaps one of my favorite eye shadow colors ever.  This bright pink-coral has an absolutely GORGEOUS shimmer to it.  It's eye-catching without being a "risky" choice. The beauty powder (shown in Play it Proper) leaves skin glowing thanks to its slight tint and shimmer.  And the brush! How cute is that brush?! It may look like something out of your childhood dreams but it definitely has the quality you crave as an adult.

The lipstick in Dance Off Pants Off (best lipstick name ever) is a fun, vibrant, frosted hot pink.  The lipglass in Glitter Grunge is that little bit of 90's grunge needed to round out the collection. Definitely a color that could easily be a go-to for that awkward summer-to-fall transition period.

Overall MAC's Good Luck Trolls collection is one of the most fun makeup collections I've seen. Not only is the packaging completely on-point, but the products are everything you'd hope for them to be when shopping at MAC Cosmetics.

Get your hands on this collection now at a store/counter near you or online here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Looking After Your Bump: The Best Exercises You Can Do During Pregnancy




Image credit: Pexels


Finding out you’re pregnant is such an exciting and happy time. It’s also a great time to think about amping up your health and fitness. Give your baby the best start in life by staying fit during your pregnancy and maintaining a healthy diet. In this post we’re going to focus on the best exercises you can do during your pregnancy. It's important to stay active to minimize aches and pains and help prevent gestational diabetes. Exercise will also strengthen your muscles in preparation for birth. Being active during pregnancy is perfectly safe as long as you follow the guidelines. Also, let your health provider know what you will be doing, and make sure you are comfortable and protected too. So let's give your baby the best start in life by making sure Mommy is super fit too.


Yoga

Yoga is a fantastic low impact exercise to embrace during pregnancy. If you already practice yoga, you can continue as soon as you find out you are pregnant. If you haven’t done it before, it’s best to start yoga in your second trimester. Pregnancy yoga classes are a superlative way to exercise with barely any impact on your joints. This form of relaxing exercise will help you maintain flexibility, improve posture and give you a better night's sleep. Yoga can help with common side effects of heartburn, insomnia and lower back pain. Not only will yoga relax your mind and body but it will also help you prepare physically and emotionally for birth. A specialized pregnancy class will also help you meet new Mommy friends! It’s also the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some super stylish maternity active wear to relax in throughout your pregnancy.


Swimming

During pregnancy, it's important to keep your heart strong, boost oxygen in your blood and keep circulation flowing. Swimming has this nailed! It’s also one of the safest exercises to take while pregnant. Exercising in water provides that much needed weightless feeling while you’re carrying your baby. It’s also easy on your joints and eases back strain. Swimming will strengthen your muscles in preparation for birth and beyond. If you find you are suffering from swelling, water is a great way of reducing this too. If you enjoy it, and it feels good, it’s worth trying to swim for 20-30 minutes a day if you can. You can swim during each trimester of your pregnancy. And if you are feeling tired, you can use paddle boards or noodles to float.

Pilates
Pilates is a brilliant form of exercise when pregnant, and there are many prenatal classes you can join. Pilates will help you build core muscle strength in preparation for labor. Classes will also help you stay fit and healthy throughout your pregnancy. There is evidence to support that exercising throughout pregnancy leads to a gentler birth and a quicker recovery. Pilates focuses a lot on improving abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Making these muscles stronger is vital for an easier birth. In the late stages of pregnancy Pilates classes are adapted to work for you. Rather than stretching too much, the focus is on exercises and positions that will be beneficial during birth.


The key thing to remember during pregnancy is to keep up a combination of cardiovascular and low impact workouts. Avoid, squash, tennis or any activity where a ball may hit your bump. Also, avoid any exercise where you may lose your balance. Weight training is beneficial if you use lighter weights and follow an expert pregnancy routine. Most importantly, keep active, fit and flexible, and enjoy this extra special journey.

This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Monday, August 15, 2016

A Realistic Life Plan To Managing Your Time

We all have those days every once in awhile where everything is hectic. From start to finish, we have barely a moment to breathe between tasks. Up early, get ready to go out, drop kids off at school, then on with our day. And whether that's working in an office, store, construction site or running errands, it's tiring. More than twelve hours after waking up, we're still just starting to get dinner going.


This kind of lifestyle is responsible for a lot of stress in working parents. You get to the weekend exhausted and even then there's still stuff to do. And you don't resent any of it, but you would give your right arm for a bit more of that time to spare. Because the main reason for our stress, so often, is that we feel we simply do not have time for everything. Finding a way to ease that time pressure can be vital.

1. Block Tasks Off; Don't Multitask Unless You Have To

Many of us are under the impression it will save time if we just do two or three things at once. So we pay our bills while we're cleaning the oven, or we fix a leaky tap while calling to book a doctor's appointment. It saves time, right? Well, experts say not. Multitasking can just be a big distraction and even unhealthy. It can lead to you doing things not as well while not saving much time. By all means, fill the dead time during a task with another task, but don't flit between. Use a schedule or planner to keep yourself on track.
2. Take Ten Minutes To Just Breathe Here And There


We've all said it at one point or another. "I have not had a moment to breathe today". And in a busy day, the routine can be unbelievably intense. However, by piling one thing on top of another, you can end up just sleepwalking through the day and not doing things well. By taking time out to breathe - meditate if you like, but it's not obligatory - you'll refresh body and mind for the tasks ahead.


3. Eat! Lunch Is NOT For Wimps


The famous quote from the movie Wall Street sums up to a T a mindset which is very damaging. There're many reasons so many city traders burn out and end up having nervous breakdowns or heart attacks. You need to eat during the day. Studies have shown that working hungry can be as damaging as working while drunk. Even a quick sandwich or healthy instant porridge for travellers will make a big difference.

It can be hard to find time during a busy day to eat, relax and do things right. Stress is hard to keep at bay, but you do owe it to yourself to make sure that you're able to keep doing what you do. You won't benefit by closing your eyes and putting the pedal to the metal. You may not have much downtime, but you do have time. Using it to the maximum is important, and that means taking a beat and thinking about things.

This is a collaborative post.

Back-to-School Cool: Easy, Healthy Lunchtime Snacks with Crispy Fruit

Crispy Fruit: Pineapple
Packing lunches for school is about to become part of your daily routine again, moms.  But not to worry, school lunches are a little easier with the help of Crispy Green's Crispy Fruit.  These easy to open pouches pack all of the delicious nutrition and sweetness of fruit, without the worry of  the fruit being bruised, smushed, or straight-up pulverized during your kids' travels.

Now, I've had freeze-dried fruit before.  But I've never seen such a variety when it comes to the selection offered! All of the flavors I tried are delicious but my favorite is the pineapple. (My son's favorite is the apple.)

Crispy Fruit is simply freeze-dried fruit conveniently packaged for on-the-go. 100% fruit. Nothing added. These are also great for those picky texture eaters who tend to prefer crispy, crunchy snacks like chips and crackers.  Crispy fruit is crispy, as the name states, and contains so much more nutritional value than a potato chip. (The tangerine actually has a texture very similar to a cheese puff!)

Try them for yourself!  Click here to buy Crispy Fruit online or to see where they are sold in stores near you.


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Back-to-School Cool: With the Office Depot Foundation's National Backpack Program

The start of a new school year can be an exciting time for both students and parents.  New supplies, backpacks, and clothes are often the focus of advertisements, sales, and shopping trips. But while many of us are going to Office Depot to buy our school supplies, Office Depot is giving school supplies back to those in need.

This year the Office Depot Foundation is celebrating its National Backpack Program's 16th year.  Through this program, Office Depot will be donating 200,000 sackpacks to schools, nonprofit organizations, and agencies internationally and throughout the United States. Each of these drawstring sackpacks features a colorfully fun design and contains a zippered pouch full of school supplies: Four crayons, a pencil, pencil sharpener, pen, eraser, and six inch ruler.

The Office Depot Foundation is also  hosting "Back-to-School Celebrations" across the U.S. this month.  During these celebrations, the foundation will be delivering sackpacks directly to children.

To see if a "Back-to-School Celebration" is coming to a city near you and to learn more about the National Backpack Program click here.  You can also follow the program through the hashtag #ODFcares. For more information on the Office Depot Foundation click here or follow them on Facebook , Twitter at @OfficeDepotFndn, or Instagram at @officedepotfoundation.











Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer Style: End of Summer Giveaway with Jamberry!

Jamberry Nail Wraps in Mermaid Tales
Back to school ads. School supply lists. Fall clothing lines appearing in stores.  All of these things mean one thing. Summer is coming to an end.  But don't be sad!  I've teamed up with Ashley of Jamberry and we've decided to celebrate the end of summer with a fabulous giveaway.

I've reviewed Jamberry in the past.  And, yes, they are still an easy, durable, and gorgeous way to get a full blown manicure in just minutes without any dry time. Simply apply the jams and be on your way.  But, there is something that is different about this time around.  Instead of using a hair drier to warm up my Jams, I used the Jamberry mini-heater.  I didn't think it would be that much of a difference but, honestly, I was able to apply the Jams so much faster! And it was so much easier (and quieter) than trying to prop up a bulky hair drier.



So let's get to why you're here: The giveaway!  Simply use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

We are giving away:

Mermaid Tales Nail Wraps,  a Mini-Heater, and an Application Kit


Make sure to visit Ashley at her Jamberry shop here and on Facebook.  Or contact her at JamsWithAsh@Gmail.com for any of your Jamberry needs.


a Rafflecopter giveaway