Monday, September 26, 2016

Ice Maiden - Winter Beauty Made Simple

As the nights close in, and the weather is about to turn, its time we all started thinking about swapping our warm weather beauty routine to a winter one. Getting your beauty routine right in the winter can be a tall order. Not only do you have to change the shades to match this season's trends, your coloring, and your outfits. But you also need to make sure that your skin stays in excellent condition despite the foul weather. Luckily I have a few tips up my sleeve to help you get winter ready. Read on to find out more.

Lip Balm

The first weapon in your arsenal against the bad weather is the simple lip balm. Available from many different manufacturers, lip balms can help your lips and other areas be healthy during the cold weather.


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Of course, you will want to coat your lips liberally to protect them from drying out. But did you also know that if you are in a bind, rubbing an oil based lip balm on cracked or rubbing heels can make your winter boots feel a bit more comfortable?

Mascara

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Due to bad weather, mascara manufacturing companies have been making waterproof products for years. If you don't wear it during the summer season, then Fall - Winter is definitely the time to crack that waterproof wonder out! Remember Panda eyes when you have been crying is a bad look. Panda eyes because you had walk to work in the rain is just unacceptable!

Pressed Powder


The next tip is to make sure that you are using a quality pressed powder product to set your makeup. Again due to the likelihood of poor weather your makeup will be tested by the elements throughout the day. This means the better it is applied and set, the longer lasting wear you will get out of it. Set each layer with pressed power and then use a setting spray for a bullet proof finish.


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Lip Stain
A fabulous product to use in the winter is a lip stain. This is a lipstick that doesn't just sit on the top of your lips but sinks into them providing long lasting color. It works very well in the winter because applying and reapplying lipstick can irritate and dry out lips. In addition, you can easily use a nourishing lip balm over the top, without compromising the original color.

Nourishing Moisturizer

If there is one thing that you change about your summer beauty regime going into the colder months, let it be the type of moisture that you use. 


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We all know the devastating effect of environmental factors like wind, rain and snow can have on our skin. So if wrinkles are not on your wish list, it’s essential that you choose a moisturizer that counters these elements.

Don't forget to continue to choose an SPF formula too, as even when it's not hot; the can still be plenty of UVA rays about. Just think of all those people then get sunburned skiing!


This is a collaborative post written by a contributor

Must-Have Products for Surviving Your Baby / Toddler / Preschooler's Cold

It's going to happen.  It's just a matter of time.  Now or later, your child is going to get sick.  It may just be a little cold... but that little virus can disrupt an entire household in no time.

Discomfort and lack of sleep can make for a very cranky little one.  As parents, we want to help our kids feel better.  Not just for their sake, but in some cases, for our own sanity. (There! I said it!)

 It's especially difficult to help comfort your child when they are so young. Cold medicines are not recommended for kids under four.  So what can you do? Don't worry.  I got you. Here are the top products I use to comfort my son when a cold attacks. 



Johnson's Baby Soothing Vapor Bath

A nice warm bath is a go-to for many parents when trying to help their child relax.  Add some of this vapor bath to help your little one breathe a little easier.  The menthol, rosemary, and eucalyptus contained in this bath are a soothing addition to an already calming experience. (Recommended for three months and up.)

Pedialyte

If my son has a fever, we switch out his apple juice for apple flavored Pedialyte.  If the apple flavor isn't available (it's so hard to find!), then we get the unflavored one and add it to his apple juice.  Even without a fever, if I notice my son isn't drinking as much while he has a cold, I give him a little Pedialyte. Hydration.  It's the key to so much.  (Recommended for one year and up.)

PediaCare Gentle Vapors Plug-In

Speaking of hard to find, this product is only carried at one store (Publix) near me.  But it's so worth the search.  Unlike the Vicks Vapor Pads (which make you choose between menthol and lavendar), these vapor pads contain menthol, lavender, camphor, chamomile, and eucalyptus.  I prefer the scent and it seems to do a better job of lulling my son to sleep at night. (Recommended for three months and up.  Not for use during pregnancy.)

Vick's BabyRub

Vick's is getting SOME love here.  My son is old enough to use regular Vick's but he prefers the BabyRub.  It has a much more mellow scent (Menthol is absent here. Rosemary, eucalyptus, and lavender run the show.) and seems to comfort him at bedtime.  (Recommended for three months and up.)





Thursday, September 22, 2016

Keeping Baby Safe: Sometimes You Need More Than Cotton Wool




Image: Pixaby
We’ve all heard the saying about wrapping children up in cotton wool. And while we want our children to gain independence as they grow, when they are babies, they rely solely on us for their safety and protection. Babies are a lot more malleable than first-time parents think. So we don’t want you to over-worry about the usual bumps and scrapes. But there are dangers that you do need to know about when it comes to keeping baby safe. And there also practices you can put in place to avert these dangers. Let's take a look at how to keep your baby safe, secure and gurgling away.


Image: Unsplash.com

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is also known as SIDS or ‘cot death.’ It occurs when an otherwise healthy baby passes away unexpectedly. SIDS is rare but it does happen, so it always best to be aware of what you can do. And to take all the precautions outlined. SIDS is most likely to occur in the first six months of your baby’s life and usually (although not solely) when they are asleep. It is not known exactly what cause SIDS, but it is believed to be an amalgamation of things. A lot of these factors are environmental. And sometimes the stresses of environmental problems cause baby's heart rate, temperature and breathing to not regulate properly. What precautions can you take against SIDS? Always make sure your baby sleeps on their back. Adopt the ‘feet to foot’ pose and place your baby with their feet at the very bottom of their cot or sleeping basket. Make sure they are dressed coolly and that the room is at a moderate temperature. Overheating can cause SIDS. But also make sure your baby is not too cold. Have your baby sleep in their cot in your bedroom for the first six months. Use a firm waterproof mattress and always keep your baby’s head uncovered.

Babysitting

There will at some point be a time when you are ready to venture back into the big wide world and leave your baby happily at home. No matter how confident you feel, there will still be worries at the back of your mind. Rely on close friends and family to babysit in those first few months. But if you are employing a babysitting, always make sure to call a reputable agency or use a reliable friend’s recommendation. For extra security look online so that you can buy the best nanny cam available. A nanny cam is a device that enables you to dial in and watch what is going on at home. They have 2-way conversation access so you can talk to your babysitter or sing to your baby as they fall asleep. A nanny cam provides you with extra comfort and security while you are out. Some nanny cams also come with night vision, temperature sensors, and motion alerts.


Image: Unsplash.com

Traveling
If you are traveling with your baby in the car, always make sure you buy a car seat that is federally approved. For the first two years, your baby should sit in their car seat facing the rear of the vehicle. You can attach an extra mirror in the car so that you can still check on your baby while driving. Also position the car seat in the middle of the back seats, not on either side, if possible. If you are going on an airplane, the best way to carry your baby is in a front carrier sling so that she feels safe and secure. If you are traveling on both planes and in cars, invest in a stroller that incorporates a car seat. Carry blackout blinds for the hotel room and a baby sun pod if you are going somewhere hot. Also, make sure your stroller has a sun canopy too.

Choking and Strangulation

Never put strings or necklaces around your baby’s neck, even to hold a pacifier. Make sure none of the blinds in your house have chords. And also be sure that there are no lamp cords that baby can reach. Check baby clothing carefully for button and strings and avoid at all costs. Thoroughly inspect your baby’s toys to make sure they are unbreakable and have no small parts. Always make sure all toys are bigger than your baby’s mouth. Mash and spread all food that you give to your baby. Babies are unable to cough forcibly enough if they are choking and therefore can’t dislodge anything caught in their throat. Also keep small everyday objects out of reach. Do a sweep for loose coins, pen caps and buttons. The best way to do a sweep is to crawl on the floor at baby height to search for any hazardous objects. And always make sure you and your partner have taken a first aid and CPR course as a precaution if anything does happen.


Image: Unsplash.com

Baby Falls

To prevent falls, make sure that your baby carrier is placed on the floor and not on a table or counter top. Never leave your baby unsupervised on a bed, sofa or changing table. Another great precautions is wearing flats when carrying your baby. If your baby does fall and hits their head, don’t panic. If it’s a small fall onto a soft surface, they will most likely be fine. Keep a close watch on them for 24 hours and observe any changes. If you ask around, you’ll find that baby falls are not uncommon. However, if your baby falls and hits a hard surface, it is best to seek medical help straight away. Babies are tough, but a fall on a hard surface can cause retinal hemorrhaging, swelling, brain damage or internal bleeding. These cases are rare, but it is still better to get baby checked out, just in case. If they do not cry after a fall, then something is likely to be wrong. And while most people worry about baby’s head, also check their arms and legs to make sure they are all moving fine too.

This is a collaborative post written by a contributor 

Post is not meant to give medical advice: Always speak to your pediatrician/a medical professional with any concerns you have for your baby and his/her care. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Common Skin Imperfections and How to Treat Them

No one is perfect. Even though you can do your best to get perfect skin, everyone has to deal with various "imperfections." There are several types of imperfection you might want to disguise or get rid of. Most women deal with scars, stretch marks or cellulite at some point in their lives. Your skin changing is just a result of your body changing, which it will continue to do as you get older. Some changes to your skin might be as a result of skin conditions such as acne. Others might come from pregnancy, putting on or losing weight, or getting older. If you want to address a skin imperfection, there are different methods for different types.

Stretch Marks

Most women have stretch marks of some kind, although some are much more noticeable than others. They might be pale, barely visible and only covering a small area. On the other hand, they can be extensive and might present in a red or purple color. They can result from growing during puberty, pregnancy, or weight gain. Stretch marks will often fade with time, but you might want to find a faster way to help them fade. Three options to consider are creams, laser treatment, and surgery. There are many creams on the market, although they may not be effective. Laser surgery is more effective, although more expensive too. Surgery is an option to consider for stretch marks on your stomach.


Source: phio

Scars

Everyone has scars, although some are larger than others. When it comes to scarring, most people worry about the scars on their face more than anything. Sometimes they might be a result of an injury, but often they come from acne. Acne scars can knock your confidence, and you might be determined to get rid of them. Like stretch marks, many people turn to topical creams to try and fade acne scars. Laser treatment is an option too, and many are satisfied with the effectiveness of laser treatment for acne scars. Other options include dermabrasion using a wire brush instead of lasers or surgical treatment.

Age Spots and Discoloration

Your skin can get darker in places, especially as you get older. This happens to most people, but it can be especially noticeable if you spend a lot of time in the sun. It's important to keep an eye on darker spots, as they may be warning signs of skin cancer. However, if they are healthy, you still might be concerned about their appearance. Some people use bleaching creams to help lighten the color. Using intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is another option. You could also explore chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

Cellulite

Cellulite is a collection of fat under the skin, which makes your skin look dimpled. There are many treatments that claim to treat cellulite, but you have to be careful. It's difficult to tackle cellulite, and many treatments don't work. However, there are ways to reduce its appearance. Weight loss is one option, helping to reduce fat and strengthen your muscles. You can also consider liposuction, as well as laser and radiofrequency systems.
There are a number of ways to treat skin imperfections, depending on what it is. If you want to get smoother skin, you might consider seeking one of these treatments.

 This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Lillypost: A Children's Book Subscription Box That Gives Back

Do you all remember when subscription boxes FIRST started hitting the market? It was this fabulous new concept of a monthly (or quarterly, yearly, etc.) surprise in the mail.  I've reviewed several subscriptions; Some beauty related, some mommy/baby related.  But this one is different than any of the other subs I've seen out there.

Lillypost is a sub-box, created by Book Depot, filled with children's books.  So... no guilt over spending money on that (...in my mind at least.  What? It's an educational purchase for my son!)  Not only that, Lillypost has partnered with an organization called Project Night Night.  Project Night Night is  a charity that provides nighttime essentials (blankets, stuffed animals, and books) to homeless children throughout the United States. For every subscription box purchased and shipped each month, Lillypost will donate one new book to Project Night Night. So really... no guilt over spending money on this box.

The box itself takes the "surprise in the mail" aspect to a whole new level.  You can choose from a box of five books appropriate for ages 0-3 years or a box of four books appropriate for ages 3 and up. Each book in the box will be wrapped (like a present).  I don't know about your kids, but my son just loves opening gifts.  No matter what is actually inside, just unwrapping the paper is a thrill for him.  The fact that there were these four really cute books inside was the icing on the cake for him. Adorable book tags are also included in the box.

Love was the overall theme of the books we received in the box. Heartwarming and fun, they are stories my son wants us to read to him over and over.  (Where you go...I go. is his new favorite).

So what's the cost? I've included the price breakdown below.  For four - five books delivered to your door, it's a great deal.

Subscription Options:
1 month: $26/month
3 months: $24/month
6 months: $22/month
12 months: $20/month (1st month free!)

For more information on Lillypost check out their website here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Three Surprising Things You Can Get Done At Your Local Store


Got a lot of errands to run? Most of us have. Many of us find ourselves splitting our time between working, cooking, and taking the kids to a million after school classes. Little jobs such as posting that overdue letter or picking up some medication can often turn into big jobs if left for too long. If you live out of town, or in a large city, this problem can become even more difficult. Allowing extra time for traffic doesn't always seem worth it when you get cornered in the street by one of the soccer moms and you can't get away for half an hour. Before you know it, it's time to take the kids to ballet, or hockey, or choir - and as usual, your to-do list is mounting. This is why having everything you need to deal with in one place can be incredibly helpful these days. Many large superstores now house everything under one roof. You avoid walking or driving between different stores and can save time as well as picking up your groceries. Here are some of the surprising things you can do in the store that can save you time and money.

Get your eyes tested

Booking an eye test at an opticians practice is something we all know we should do regularly. However, not many of us can honestly say that we actually do it. It is recommended that we get our eyes tested every one to two years, although people rarely follow this to the book. If it's been a long time since you had your eyes tested, it might be the right time to go back to the optician's chair. Luckily, many major superstores now have an in-house opticians, meaning you don't need to go out of your way to get your vision tested. Many also offer free eye check-ups. For a breakdown on prices, you can visit websites such as www.wallyworldprices.com which will be able to help you add things up.



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Get your car serviced

Noticed your warning light came on when you were driving down to get groceries? Simply take your car into the auto care centre at your local store. They may even be able to look at your car while you shop. If you are concerned about your tires, tire replacement can cost as little as $12 per tire if you choose the standard installation package.



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Visit the pharmacist

We all know the hassle of visiting the doctor. If you want to avoid multiple trips to the clinic every time you or you children need a prescription, why not open up a family account at your store's pharmacy? This way, you can have your medical history on record and can get your prescriptions made up for you whilst you're at the store. Certain stores also offer home delivery. Speak to your store's pharmacist about what will work best for you and your family. Remember store pharmacies have all the same features as an external one - so you can even get vaccinations done there.



This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Shopping Hacks All Parents Should Use To Save Money

From buying groceries to replacing worn out shoes, shopping is something that many families do on a weekly basis. But if you have a tight family budget, you may find it difficult to afford everything your family needs. But shopping for yourself and your kids doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. You just need to be smart with how you shop and spend your money. Try these shopping hacks for parents to see just how much you can save.


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Take advantage of promotions
The majority of stores will hold promotions throughout the year. From sales to one-off discounts, there are plenty of promotions that your family could take advantage of. So before you hit the shops, check online to see if there are any promotions currently available for you to use. You might discover a Carters promo code that can save you money on buying kids clothes and toys. A local department store might have a sale on beauty products or electronics, which could be useful for Christmas and birthdays. Whenever you find a coupon or code online, carefully read through the terms and conditions. This should tell you exactly what you need to do to get the discount or freebie and when the promotion ends. As well as using the internet, also ask the staff at your favorite stores to get an idea of when their next promotion will be.


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Don't always buy brand new

It’s likely that some items you need to buy for your family don’t necessarily have to be brand new. Secondhand stores sell a multitude of quality items that have only been lightly used. You can find anything from baby toys to clothing which are often sold at a fraction of their original price. This makes them more affordable for families who are trying to save as much as possible. So take a visit to these stores to see what you can uncover. If you prefer shopping from home, why not take a look at eBay and other similar selling sites too. These sites can also provide quality items at bargain prices.



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Save your change
Every time you receive change, put it into a jar at home and encourage your family to do the same. Even if you only add a small amount each time, you’ll be surprised just how quickly it can build up. Once you’ve filled your jar, get your change turned into notes at your bank or use a coin converter machine. You can then use this money to pay for your groceries, birthday presents or fuel for your car. This is money that many people overlook, but it can take the strain off your family’s expenses. Get into the habit of filling up the jar regularly but remember to spend the money you save on things you really need.

With these hacks to help you, your family can save money rather than pushing your budget to it’s limits. The money you save can then be used to start a college fund for your kids or to pay for a vacation. So try them out for yourself to discover just how effective they can be.

This is a collaborative post with a contributor.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Use These Must-Have Fall Pieces to Get More Use Out Of Your Summer Clothes

Fall is approaching!  And this Florida girl could not be happier.  The cooler weather may have already arrived by you, but I am still waiting for the 90 degree weather to STOP.  Hurry up, fall! It's your turn now.

One of biggest transitions from summer to fall happens in our closets.  Goodbye tank tops and short-shorts, hello leggings and boots.  If you're looking to stretch your summer wardrobe this fall (or maybe you just don't want to spend more money on clothes right now) these two clothing items can turn your summer go-to's into fall must-haves.  Check it out below!



Chambray Button-up Top

Chambray Fall


Remember that cute chambray top you bought to wear with your shorts and over your swimsuit?  Keep that baby out for fall!  Wear buttoned up or leave it open to wear it over a cute tank with jeans for a casually put together look.

 Denim Jacket

Denim Jacket Fall


The denim jacket is an accessory that never really went away. It was super hot in the 90's and the 90's are coming back.  Wear it over sleeveless or short-sleeved mini-dresses paired with leggings and boots for a trendy, comfortable fall look.


Orlando Pride: Family-Friendly Fun, Giveaway, & Discount Code!

Image Source: Orlando Pride Facebook
Family-friendly fun. We all know when people think of this in terms of Central Florida, they think of that infamous mouse. But what about a more affordable family fun event? An activity that not only provides a positive, entertaining environment, but one that also gives kids role models to look up to.

Image Source: Orlando Pride Facebook
Orlando Pride is Orlando's new professional women's soccer team. And if you are looking for an uplifting event to attend without breaking the bank, Orlando Pride is the way to go. The team is filled with talented athletes including Alex Morgan and Ashlyn Harris from the US Women’s National Team. The Pride had a total of six players featured in the Olympics; Morgan and Harris for the U.S., Monica Hickmann Alves for Brazil, Josée Bélanger for Canada, and Laura Alleway and Steph Catley for Australia. Head Coach Tom Sermanni, the former manager for the U.S. and Australian women’s national teams, is also no stranger to talent and success.

Image Source: Orlando Pride Facebook
The entire team is invested in the Orlando community; Giving back through active participation in community events.  This includes raising money for grants to be applied to organizations with the intent of bringing soccer programs to under-served areas in Central Florida.

The games themselves are a thrilling mix of excitement, good sportsmanship, and the sense of strong community ties.  After everything this City Beautiful has been through the past year, an encouraging sense of community is something we all could use.


Now, to the moment many of you have been waiting for.  The giveaway! I have four (4) tickets to the Orlando Pride VS. FC Kansas City game on September 24th to giveaway. Enter below!
Orlando Pride Giveaway

You can also get discounted tickets for BOTH Orlando Pride and Orlando City games using this link and the promo code MOMMY. 

For more on the Orlando Pride check out their website or follow them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

Monday, September 5, 2016

End of Summer Skin Care Favorites: Fade Spots, Even Tone and Texture

"What's that brown spot on your forehead?"  Before even looking in the mirror, I knew what my bestie was referring to.  We had just come in from laying out on the beach in the beautiful Florida sun...and the time had come for me.  The time for "sun spots" to start appearing on my fair skin after prolonged exposure to the sun.  My skin has officially been affected by a life in "the sunshine state." I wear sunscreen, but it's not always enough.


After all of that fun in the sun, it's time to give my skin a little TLC before any more damage was done.  Below are the skincare products I've been using to fade those sun spots, even skin tone, and protect my skin.


Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

I'll be honest... I was hesitant to use this product.  Normally Neutrogena's products don't work well with my skin.  It's just one of those things.  But after reading reviews, I decided to give it a shot.  This moisturizer is the only SPF 30 moisturizer that doesn't break me out.  After several weeks, I noticed my skin was smoother and much more even.  Definitely found my new go-to daily moisturizer.











Now for my three (yes, three) night creams.  I know it sounds like a lot... ok, it's a lot. But it's whats working for me.  Plus, it means more product reviews/choices for you!



Olay Pro-X Wrinkle Smoothing Cream

This is my go-to night cream.  I've been using it for years and have yet to find an anti-aging cream I like more.  It does help overall with skin texture and tone, but it can't handle sun spots alone... So I started rotating this cream with the other two below.

Alpha Hydrox Enhanced Lotion 10% Glycolic Acid

I know it says Anti-Wrinkle...but if I'm honest, I've never used this lotion for anti-aging purposes.  I've used it to calm acne and, in this case, to fade sun spots.  If you have sensitive skin like I do, you'll want to be careful with this lotion.  It does burn a little when applied.  And, unless you have very oily skin, it can also dry out your skin if used it daily.  But used in rotation with other moisturizers, this lotion is probably the most effective in both fighting pimples and evening skin tone all in one shot.

L'Oreal Ideal Moisture Even Tone All Skin Types Day/Night Cream

And here is the newbie.  I don't usually buy the L'Oreal brand (no real reason -- just tend to gravitate to Olay since it's what I know), but at under $6 on Amazon (and with awesome reviews), this moisturizer was worth a try.  Overall, I like it.  It gives skin a subtle glow.  It does burn a little when applying, but if you're nervous about trying the Alpha Hyrox, I would recommend this one as an alternative.  It's a bit more moisturizing and about a quarter of the price.