Wednesday, April 9, 2014



 Well, life has been busy, as it always is. Holidays, school, family, temporary viruses that came and thankfully went.  Life is soo, so busy.  For everyone it seems.  The word "just" has been on my mind for the last few months.  Seems I would say it a lot to myself or to others.  "I just want to sit down."  "I just need a break."  "I just need to go to the store."  "Can you just listen?" 
After hearing myself say it so much, I stopped and realized that JUST is such a powerful word.  Probably one of the most powerful words in the English language.  Adding it to a sentence does so much!  It can build up or break down.  Don't believe me?  Think of one of the most long-standing advertising slogans of at least the last three decades.  Nike's "Just Do It!" If it was "Do It!", it almost seems bossy and more likely to be ignored, but add the word "just" and it touched something deep down in people.  It said, "Stop making excuses and go out there and do it!"  Yes!  The word "just" said all of that. 
But the word "just" has another side, too.  People can use it to try and bring someone down, make them seem less than, or make something seem less than what it is.  Examples:  "Oh, you're just a kid! What do you know?" "Oh, you're just a mom." "Oh, they're just a store clerk."  "It's just a thunderstorm, don't be afraid." "Just another school shooting."
Interesting, huh?  One little word; working so hard.  However, over the last few months, the word "just" has become a part of my daily mantra.  How so?  I use it to remind myself that sometimes we need to JUST step back from life and be "just".  Just be in the moment.  I feel like we all pigeon-hole ourselves too much.  Both to ourselves and others.  Tagging ourselves as "working mom", "breast-feeding mom", "organic mom", "stay-at-home mom", "hippie mom", etc.  We set ourselves up in these categories that come with "definitions" that others made-up through pop culture or preconceived notions.  I feel like we should just be.  Because that is JUST what we are down at the cellular level.  Parents JUST doing what we feel is best.  
I have also applied it other aspects, like cleaning products other household products.  I am trying to use items that just do what I need it do to.  Like using a vinegar and water solution to clean with instead of harsh chemicals that add so much more danger.  Getting rid of sulfates and artificial colors, fragrances, etc.  I just need it to clean, not add harmful chemicals to our household.
I have also been trying to apply it to our food.  I did that by looking for what I call, JUST foods.  These are foods that are just what they are, nothing added, nothing man-made.  Whole foods added where I can.  We joined a co-op and I have enjoyed using new veggies in our family's diet and am excited to see that else they give us each week. 
So, I invite you to try and add a bit of JUST to your day.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Why?! Bona Clara, WHY?!

Okay, so doesn't it seem like nowadays everyone is trying to sell you something.  Candles, wax melter thingies, make-up, bags, etc. Annoying, right?  I think so, too.  Then something happened.  I joined the ranks of those "annoying people".  Yup, I've crossed over into the dark side (ok, not really)....but let me explain.

Like any good tale, I have to go back a few years.  About three years ago my second daughter started her battle with eczema.  At first, I was kind of in denial.  I thought, "Oh, it's just dry skin. It will clear once the weather gets warmer."  But it got warmer and she kept scratching.  She would scratch so hard that she broke the skin.  It was horrible.  I finally gave in and started to use the steroid cream her doctor prescribed.  I hated putting that stuff on her. *sigh*  It was then that I started to research into what exactly I could do to help her not get to that point.  I researched and what I found was quite alarming.  I have found that the main culprits that seemed to cause the flare-ups were dyes, fragrances, and sulfates.  What was even more amazing that that those things seemed to be in EVERYTHING we use.  I began shopping, reading labels, and becoming more knowledgeable of what is in our products.  I also started to learn more about parabens (which have been found in breast cancer tumors) and what is in our food, how our food is grown.  It's quite amazing (knowledge-wise), but also quite sad to learn about what's in these products.  I also wondered why companies put these things in products because they really aren't good for anybody.  While it is hard to replace everything we use, I have been able to switch key items that we have in our house and she only suffers from the occasional flare-up when the weather gets drier and I don't have to use the steroid cream but maybe two to three times a year, which is awesome!

Fast forward to this summer.  My nieces introduced Bona Clara to my world.  They were having parties and selling to friends and family and doing well.  I watched from afar, because I am a big skeptic and weary of skin products, for obvious reasons.  Plus, these were items for adults and well, to be honest, I never think about my own skin very much. But, like I do with most skin products, I decided to learn more. 

Bona Clara was developed by a MIT grad to be natural-based, age-specific skin-care products.  What does that mean?  It means that their cleanser, toner, scrub, anti-aging serum, treatment cream, night creams and even make-up removers are tailored to four specific age groups.  There is a 20s, 30s, 40s and 50+ skin care line.  There is not a "one size fits all" for your skin.  If you are 30 or over, you know that your skin has changed and keeps on changing.  It's because your skin is getting older (boo, I know) and has changing needs.  What you did for it in your 20s may not work anymore in your 30s or 40s or 50s because, well, you aren't 20 anymore.  Makes sense, right?  Plus they also make body treatments for scars and stretch marks and eye creams to help with puffiness and lines.

What I also learned about Bona Clara was that they are gluten-free, synthetic dye-free, paraben-free , fragrance-free, sulfate-free and they don't use animal testing.  After learning that it was free of all of these things, I seriously couldn't believe it.  I thought, "How is that possible?  How can it even work without all of those chemicals?"  Because that is one thing I have found is that a lot of products that don't have those chemicals don't seem to work as well.  I still use them because it was best for my family.  So, after talking to my niece late one night about my interest and skepticism she decided to let the products speak for themselves. 

She sent me sample sizes of 30s Level 3 Kit which has a cleanser, scrub, toner, serum and treatment.  I started on a Monday night and decided (especially since I was very skeptical it would work) that I would take "before and after" pictures*.  I took my before and decided after I was done that I would take an after picture, just after one skin routine.
I couldn't believe my skin already looked better. My skin, especially on my forehead and cheeks, looked smoother and younger even.  It couldn't be.  The skeptic wanted to see more, because surely this had to be a fluke.

I waited a week before I took my next picture.  Skeptic me decided that I would take this picture before I even I had done that night's skin routine and to see how it held up all day.  I thought obviously I had seen a change before because I had just washed it, right?
 Once again, I was surprised.  My skin looked better and smoother!  I couldn't believe it.  These products that didn't contain all those harmful ingredients and that was naturally-based was working.  Really, really working.  I decided that it was time.  Other people needed to see these products and needed to help their skin and STOP putting potentially harmful stuff on their face.  It's skin care that not only HELPS you look your best, but is bringing you their BEST, too.

I know some of you may still be skeptical ( don't worry, I TOTALLY understand), but give it a try.  They have a 30-day money-back guarantee (that I know you won't need).  Also starting on November 4th they will be selling great holiday gift packs including one with that has a smaller sizes for you to try out the skin line kit first before you commit to the bigger sizes (which by the way, can last up three months because a little goes a long way).

Here's my link, browse around, ask me questions, but let your skin try it out.  Become a "Bona"liever, too!

*Results may vary

Monday, June 10, 2013

Free Summer Reading Programs 2013

Just wanted to share a couple of the reading programs I hope to successfully have my kids participate in over the summer.  I really liked these three the most, but there are so many out there (check your local library, too)! Each program offers the reader great prizes for reading as little as 15 minutes a day over the summer. Prizes range from shirts to books. I went ahead and printed out the log sheets and stapled them all together with a blank cover sheet so each kid could decorate it. 

The best part is your child can read one book and it counts for all of these. Check out the reading program (Click the links on the titles and read their terms) and enjoy some reading time!

H-E-B (Texas Residents Only)
This one is pretty simple.  Your child reads 10 books (little ones can be read to) and fill out the log.  Parents must initial the log and you send it off to H-E-B.  We've participated in this one before and got a free shirt and other smaller goodies, so I suspect it's the same since they ask for shirt sizes.

Barnes & Noble: Imagination's Destination
This one is quite simple, too!  According to their web page, read eight books, fill out your log, take it to your local store, and pick out a FREE book from their list. 

Half-Price Book: Feed Your Brain
This one asks for a longer commitment from the child, but also offers some neat rewards.  They want each child to read 300 or more minutes a month in June and July (works out to at least 15 minutes a day).  Once they hit the 300 mark they can turn in their log and earn Bookworm Bucks that can be used to buy books.  The top reader at each store per month also receives $20 dollars in Bookworm Bucks. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Influenster Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox 2013

PLEASE NOTE:  The following blog post is my opinion on several products.  I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Last week was quite exciting!  I received my first ever VoxBox from Influenster!  If you would like to check out what Influenster is all about please CLICK HERE.

I must admit, it was exciting to see this orange box of goodies in my mail box.  I quickly got it home decided to open it up right away (of course)!
Inside I was greeted by a bunch of neat looking products.  I am not gonna lie....opening up that box felt kinda like Christmas!

I went ahead a labeled the picture with numbers so you can see what it is I am talking about as I go through each item.  Also feel free to click on the title of each product to be led to their webpage! 

1. belVita Breakfast Biscuits:  I must admit, I was little skeptical about this item.  At first site the words "breakfast biscuits" sounded a bit boring.  I imagined it tasted like some plain, flavorless wheat product.  When I opened the box I decided to leave this item til' morning since it seemed I should try it at breakfast time.  The next morning it was raining and I was in a rush, so I grabbed the package and ate as I rushed around.  OH MY GOODNESS!  This stuff was actually pretty good!  It's made with all these whole grains and is so crispy and crunchy.  The flavor is awesome too.  My particular sample was cinnamon and it tasted like a really good crispy graham cracker.  If you eat the whole little individually wrapped pack it really fills you up and helps you feel full until your next meal time (at least I did).  I loved it so much that I went and bought a big box.  That box has disappeared and I went and bought two more of their smaller boxes.  Those smaller boxes have all been devoured, too! My kids and even my hubby have been eating them for breakfast or snacks.  If you love a light breakfast, belVita might be a good addition to your routine.  I loved it with coffee!
2.  Colgate Optic White Products:  This was a really neat surprise in the VoxBox.  They sent whole line of products to use together!  It included the mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrush!  First, I must warn you.  The flavor is pretty intense, so if you are one to shy away from strong flavored toothpastes, you may want to steer clear.  However, it really does leave your teeth feeling clean! And when all the products are used together, you can see whitening results as little as five days.  I really loved the toothbrush.  Mine was about ready for replacement and the Optic White toothbrush has all these really neat bristles that really help you get in there and get your teeth clean.
3.  Vaseline Spray 'n Go Moisturizer:  If you haven't seen the commercial for this, check it out HERE. I just love how quickly this girl gets ready!  It really does go on pretty fast and absorbs well, especially after a shower.  It leaves my skin pretty soft all day.  However, on my drier spots (like my knees, elbows, etc.), I sprayed a little more just to moisturize that area properly.  I loved the light, clean scent this lotion has. 
4.  nectresse:  This was literally the "sugar" part of the Sugar 'n Spice VoxBox.  I love that this sugar alternative is made from natural elements.  It made from Monk fruit which is found in Asia.  I have been enjoying it in my coffee in the morning while I eat my belVita breakfast biscuit.  The VoxBox also came with several recipes.  I am hoping to give them a try soon!
5. Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil-Controlling Towelettes:  This product left me feeling so nostalgic!  How so, you ask?  Well, when I was a pre-teen I used to use witch hazel as an astringent and when I opened on of the Dickinson's towelettes the smell of witch hazel brought back many memories.  I had forgotten what a wonderful product witch hazel can be, especially for your skin.  I really liked these towelettes.  They come individually wrapped so you can toss them in your purse, diaper bag, backpack, etc. and use whenever you need to freshen up your face.  The towelettes also contain aloe, so your skin is left feeling soft and clean.  I would really like to check out the rest of the Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel line and try out some of their other witch hazel products.

Well, that's my review of the products.  Please feel free to leave me any questions or leave a comment if you have tried any of these products, too!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Global Green USA Green School Makeover Competition Presented by Pureology

Hey there!  Just thought I would share some quick information on a really neat competition out there for schools.  The deadline is coming up in a couple of days, but I believe it's worth sharing.  The Global Green's USA Green School Makeover Competition presented by Pureology (try saying that 10 times fast) is a neat competion where you can win money for your school to take steps in the greener direction! 
Ever since I was a kid I've always had a drive to be more green and learn about new ways to recycle.  Though I do try to do little things around the house, I think it's a neat idea to really teach kids about at school to the point where it becomes a part of their daily routine.  That's why I decided to enter my daughter's school.  After entering and exploring the competition's website I also found some other neat facts that make having a greener school that much better.  For example, did you know that having greener schools can improve student performance!  Also, greener school have usually save more funds for student resources all while reducing their carbon footprint!  Sounds like a win/win to me!

If you are interested in entering your school please visit their website by clicking HERE!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Loca for Local: Froyoski's Frozen Yogurt

Hello, blog world and all that inhabit it!  I am back!  I really do wish I made more time for this blog.  I have so many ideas that I would like to share, but alas I just don't get too.
I thought I would share something I am a passionate about. That is local businesses.  Not that I don't give my business to big chain retailers and restaurants, but I also enjoy finding that great local place that makes a town unique. So occasionally I will share some of favorites that I think are great in my humble opinion.
Anyway, today I just wanted to share a cute little fro-yo place my family and I found.  I am a big fan of a business (especially a small business) who can get a concept that has been done by other big chain and in my opinion make it better.  Froyoski's seems to a family-owned business selling one of the hottest food trends out there....self-serve yogurt.
So here are my TOP TEN reasons why I love Froyoski's:
10.  FLAVORS Galore- They usually have a chocolate and vanilla flavor, but they always have some yummy flavor that you would never think of as a fro-yo flavor.  They also seem to change them up often so you can try something new.  Recently this was their flavor choices:  Chocolate Banana Split / Strawberry Shortcake, Watermelon / Hawaiian Pineapple, French Vanilla / Pumpkin Pie, Custard / Coconut, Dragon's Blood / Green Apple
9.   The FreeSki-  They usually have a neat challenge on their chalkboard.  They put up a random weight and if you can get your yogurt to weigh exactly that, it's FREE.
8.    Cones-  They offer ice cream cones for those who aren't fans of the bowls.  It's also great for those of us with kids.  I like that I can give my kids a small amount of yogurt I know they can eat, instead of letting them fill a bowl that will mostly go to waste.
7.   Supporter of Students/Arts-  They have several art pieces on their wall created by local students.
6.   Friendly Staff - The staff always welcomes you in and offers you some sample cups.
5.    More than just Yogurt-  They recently added hot coffee, tea and hot Chocolate to their menu.  They have all kinds of syrups you can add in too.  This makes it a great place to relax especially if the kids want fro-yo and the parents would rather enjoy a hot beverage.
4.    Relaxed Seating-   Another thing that sets these guys apart.  They have a comfy sofa and chairs along with their tables and chairs (including outside seats).  They also have soft and warm lighting.  There is games to play and a book exchange. They also usually have a doggie bowl with water outside for your four-legged friends. The feel is more relaxed than the chain fro-yo places I have been to. 
3.    Open Mic Night- On Friday night they have a Open Mic night.  I personally haven't been to one, but it a great idea for people to go and have a place to share their talents.
 2.   Double-Dare-ski-  Every week they offer a new double dare topping.  You go in and add their double topping to your yogurt.  You get a card to keep track of them on.  Once you complete 20 double dares you get a discount and a giveaway.  So far I have tried Wheat Thins, Town House Crackers, BBQ Kettle Potato chips and Pickles.
My frozen yogurt creation with a that week's Double Dareski:  Dill Pickle
Frozen Yogurt with Wheat Thins!

1.    Frioski-  I named a drink there!  Okay, I may have selfishly added this one in, but it's true!  They recently had a  contest to name their new line of frozen yogurt blended drinks.  I went in and gave and few never thinking my would get choosen.  So, if you go in and have a Frioski....I named it!

NOTE:  Froyoski's has not paid me to share my opinions of them, nor do they know I did until after I post this.  This is just my opinions of a local business so it can be different from yours.  Their offers and promotions may change.  So, double check with them.

UPDATE: 4/25/2013 Sadly, Froyoski's closed it's doors at the end of 2012.  They struggled to stay open, but costs were just too high.  It's such a shame.  It was a great locally-owned business!  Please folks, don't be afraid to try local businesses.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  Please visit my other blog to find out about more local places in the Houston area.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guess who's back?

Okay, that was a lame question, I know.  It's been a crazy last 6 months or so.  It was the holidays and then having a baby, then end of the school year and moving took up a great deal of my time.  Not that I am making excuses, right? Anyway, been missing my blog and said to myself I would get back to writing once summer started.  Well, then summer started and here we are, it's mid-July and summer is almost over.  Seriously, who the heck has the clock and calendar on warp speed?
So, I had some great ideas for a new blog.  I was terribly excited and was about to start it all up with my clever play on words title and everything.  However, something told me to do a quick internet search and see if anyone had been just as genius as me.  Turns out, I am not a genius...or maybe I am, but I am not a lone genius.  Well, needless to say, that sucked and now I am back to the drawing board.
So, with that said, I hope to be writing a bit more on here.  Wish me luck!