Work to be Done

So, I’m back after a bit a hiatus. I’ve been working on stuff at home and taking care of me and mine. I’ve finally started to feel like I’m getting a handle on things again and I can find the energy for writing. It’s been crazy and only likely to get crazier with the holidays coming up, so it’s a good thing I’m feeling confident.

My list of things to do is a mile long and my pace is that of a determined tortoise. This is a vast improvement on my previous pace of sleepy sloth. It’s funny how your to do list can be a million things but when you look at it more broadly, it’s really only a few things. Take care of yourself, your home, your family, and maybe try to find some time to improve yourself. When you look throughout the world and history, this is everyone’s story, over and over.

Right now I’m starting to make plans for Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We’re watching our budget this year more closely than last year, but that’s okay. It’s been a tough year, and I’m more interested in time with family and friends than with things anyway. I’m certain my kids have more than enough stuff, and I know I do too. Of course knowing that and deciding how to handle gifts this season are two different things and I’m still in research mode. I do know some ladies on my list will be getting some nice AVON stuff!

However, it’s not December yet, and I’d like to get through Thanksgiving before tackling another holiday. I’ll be spending time with my family at their little house on the orchard and we’re making big plans for playing cards and doing crafts. In the meantime I’ll continue to get my home in order, and try to show my kids that there is more to life and the holidays than video games. Even in a very bad year, there are things to be grateful for.

As always, I’ll end this with a coupon code for my eshop. Receive a free Woodland Retreat Candle with online order over $45, and as with all order over $40, free shipping! Ends tonight!

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Birthday Celebrations Continue

October is a big month for birthdays in my life. Not only my own, but many of my friends and family. Most importantly, my husband’s birthday falls near the end of October. Because of that, we’ve gotten in the habit of having a little getaway about midway between the two to celebrate both of our birthdays. This may have to be the last time for awhile though, because I really didn’t like leaving my corgi on his own, with only daily check-ins.

Still, we had a great time. We went to the fascinating B&B in California known as Vision Quest B&B at the Monterey Zoo. The Monterey Zoo is an amazing facility that is kind of in the process of being turned into a Zoo. For years it was Wild Things Animal Rentals Inc which hired out exotic animals for photoshoots, movies and television. Now, it is home to many retired show business animals and they are shifting their focus to education and conservation. Although, truth be told, they have been working in animal education for many years. I seem to vaguely recall them coming to my school when I was a kid with a very large boa constrictor.

The B&B portion of the business is great, with safari-like bungalows and a great view of the big elephant playpen outside the window. The playpen is a large enclosure, I think they said 5 acre, where their four African Elephants hang out during the day with their friends who consist of two water buffalos, an ostrich and zebra. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a unique business and facility. It is owned and operated by some of the most dedicated animal lovers I have ever seen, and it was a great experience to stay with them for two days.

I’ll include a link to their website, although be forewarned, that it is a bit outdated. The very friendly and knowledgeable staff told me that updating it with more current information is in the works, although she had no timeline for that. They also have a Facebook page, which is updated with events, pictures and videos occasionally.

Vision Quest B&B

As always, I will leave you with an AVON coupon code.

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AVON Palette Preview

I just got this beautiful new palette from AVON. I haven’t really been too big on palettes for awhile. When I was younger they were all terrible quality. Then, the quality got better but I had no idea how to use them. Now, palettes are everywhere. They can be good quality, nice selections, easy to use, and affordable. AVON’s is all of the those.

First off, there is a nice big mirror. I tend to use a lighted makeup mirror, but who knows when I’ll need one so that’s a useful feature. Next, there is a variety of very wearable eye shadows in matte, shimmer and metallic. I tend to prefer mattes at this stage of the game, but a little shine is nice if I’m going out or it’s a special occasion. There are five beautiful glosses, that can be worn alone or layered over lipstick. Then, there are the face colors. There is a matte contour powder, a shimmer bronze, and a shimmer highlight. Three shimmer blushes in both cool and warm complete the set.

I was thinking I’d try swatching in on my arm, like I’ve seen so many make-up mavens do online. However, I’m pretty pale, so I don’t know if that’s a good idea of how a color would look on a normal human. Plus my arms are freckled with other scars and marks, and I just didn’t think it would look good. So, I swatched them on plain white paper to just see how the color looked, how pigmented, or how well it blended. I think this was a much better idea for me.

For reference, these were swatched on plain white printer paper, late afternoon. I did not use any filters during or after. I added a white border for contrast in editing. The first 3 pictures are the eye shadows, followed by the face powders, then the lip glosses. I have to say I was pretty surprised by this palette. I expected this to be one of those ones where I end up using 3 colors and never touch the others. However, I think all the colors are really pretty and wearable, and with occasional help from Youtube, I have every intention of finding ways to make every single one of them work for me. I apologize for how poorly the lighter shades showed up. The light neutral shades are so strange in that they are not exciting, but you tend to use them until they are gone because they are so great for blending, for base, for highlight, for just so many makeup uses.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful for those of you looking for a nice palette to round out your collections, or to experiment with. It’s only $19.99 right now, so it’s a great deal, and AVON does offer a money back guarantee.

Get yours here!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

I have started and not finished several blog posts recently, as well as other projects. It is October 11th and school is in full swing, we’re gearing up for the big block of holidays and I turn 42 today. It is so easy to let things fall by the wayside when you’re hip deep in homework, school fund raisers, and of course, the inevitable school age problems of lunches, learning and bullies.

I’m very positive about the whole aging thing, even though this year I have no actual plans for my birthday. I am not one of those ‘Oh no! I’m old!’ people who obsess over younger people, my own lines or grey hairs, or even about how successful I feel I ought to be by now. No, I’m firmly in the ‘Yay! I made it another year!’ camp. Hey, life in uncertain at the best of times, and I have always been clumsy. So every year passing, still alive, with no broken bones, is kind of a miracle to my mind.

That said, I’m a little on the introverted side, and generally only enjoy parties which are short, or where I know every single person there personally. I also don’t really enjoy throwing parties, as I wear myself to a frazzle during planning and set up, then once people arrive, I just give up. I just throw my hands up with a ‘whatever’ attitude and let it go. Then afterwards I have to basically rest for 3 days. I’ve thrown parties, both at my home and in restaurants. I’ve had impromptu dinners at the last minute so that I can enjoy my friends without the planning. I’ve also had years where I just stayed in and ordered out.

This year it’s on a Tuesday and I’m a mom. This is a school week. Kids have to be taken to school and picked up, homework has to be done, baths and showers, lunches, laundry, and of course, dinner. I had thought to take them out and celebrate with just my little family, but wowza does that seem like a lot of work for a school night. I think I may just order in and try to relax as much as I can. My husband and I do have plans for a little getaway midway between our two birthdays as kind of a Just the Two of Us joint celebration.

All in all, I’m glad to be alive, proud to have made it to 42 and although it is to be quite low-key, I’m not sad about my birthday at all. I have things to do, so many things, and at the very least, when your to-do list is miles long you really never have a reason to be bored. If you’d like, comment and let me know what your favorite low-key ways to celbrate are!

Here’s a great AVON coupon code!

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Pamper Yourself

So, it’s been too long since I’ve posted. I really want to post at least twice a week. I love this blog and don’t want it to die. Perhaps at some point I will set up a schedule and organize post ideas or something really professional like that. In the meantime, I’ve been out of sorts and not feeling great and just let it slide too many days.

As it is on my mind, I’d like to talk about ways to pamper yourself and help lift your spirits when you are feeling down or just irritable. For me, I find music often helps. Currently, my favorite ways to get music is in my car with my XM radio, or at home, via my computer, with Amazon Music playlists. Don’t judge too much, but my favorite playlists are often classic rock, or 80s mixes. I dance, I sing along, loudly and off-key, and just skip over anything remotely sad.

I also like to pamper myself physically a bit. For some, that might be a massage, or a hot bath with bubbles. Those are both great ideas. I set aside some time on Saturday to give myself a mani/pedi. I used AVON’s Gel Finish 7-in-1 Nail Enamel in Roses are Red (on sale now for 2 for $8.99), and my new obsession, Foot Works Beautiful Toasted Macadamia Nut collection. I used the Exfoliating Scrub, the Relaxing Foot Soak and the Moisturizing Cream. It smells so good, like kinda sweet and nutty and a little bit like toasted coconut. I don’t know, but I love it. They’re pretty fairly priced now, but I am nearly positive there will be gift sets or sales closer to Christmas. Anyway, so that little self-care session helped a lot.

When I’m really cranky, I like to hide away from my friends and family to prevent myself from getting annoyed with them, when they are not really my problem.  I don’t like to share my bad moods with those I love. So, I like to read, play video games or watch TV or movies. Its just a little exercise in distraction and getting out of my own head for awhile. I recently read books from The Parasol Protectorate series, which are fun novels with a steampunk setting. I rewatched Downton Abbey, on Amazon Prime. I’ve also been playing The Sims 3, which I know is not new, but I have all the expansions and I love it.

Now, you might be wondering. If you’re doing all this pampering and dancing and goofing off, how are you getting anything done!?! You’d be right of course. It’s sometimes hard to focus in the midst of all this self-care, but to be fair, it’s hard to focus when you’re grumpy or sad too. I use timers. I set timers when the boys are at school to go off at regular intervals. Sometimes, it’s 15 minutes of play, then 15 minutes of work. The times vary, but the reminders help me to not get too lost. I also use Mindbloom, which is a great website for tracking habits. When I feel a bit out of it, I check Mindbloom for hints of what to do next. I find it really helps, especially when I remember to open it.

Anyway, I hope you found some of this helpful. Please comment or message me if you have any bad mood busters to suggest!

As always, I leave you with an AVON coupon code.

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Skin So Soft to the Rescue

Skin So Soft is an iconic AVON product. It was released in 1961 simply as a bath oil for women. It is still a wonderful bath oil, fragrant and moisturizing and available in several different scents. Of course, there is another use for it that most people know about. It repels bugs. Of course, AVON now makes Skin So Soft Bug Guard with and without sunscreen for expressly that purpose. However, a lot of people still swear by the original Skin So Soft bath oil as a great way to keep those annoying pests at bay.

It would seem the wrong time of year to discuss this. Most people are looking for this sort of thing in the summer, where warm nights lead to hanging out late chatting, or families and friends venture into nature. Perhaps for most people that is true. Here, in California, and I would guess other places too, it is still very warm. It was 91 degree here yesterday, and we are expecting it to be almost as hot today. California is also experiencing a drought, so over the course of the last 6 months our backyard lawn has died down to nothing. Also, the warm nights seem to excite local wildlife and we are often woken by Raccoon Parties on our roof.

All this to say, that for the first time since I’ve lived here, about 11 years, we have fleas. I’ve considered myself very fortunate that my dog did not have fleas this whole time. Fleas and dogs generally go together. We checked him, and groomed him and never saw any until this summer. Then, there they were. Now, we have hardwood floors, but we do have a few throw rugs, and of course, the dog. We have been treating him, and the yard for fleas this summer. His treatments fell by the wayside a bit when I was ill though, and now they are back in full force. He’s now wearing one of those plastic cones to keep him from licking the hot spots on his flank, while we treat him with steroids and topical spray. Also, my own legs look terrible from itching what I am now convinced is an allergic reaction to flea bites.

Which brings me to AVON. I have been using AVON Moisture Therapy Calming Relief Spray for the itchiness and it’s wonderful and moisturizing and it helps. I don’t think I ever want to be without it again. However, we’ll still battling the fleas. While there are still fleas, there are still bites. Treating the dog with pills, the carpets with sprays, and the lawn with professionals who come every 3 months (they are due again any day now). I suddenly remembered about Skin So Soft in the Original Scent. I bathed the dog and myself using the shower gel. Then I used the spray on oil on both of us. It smells pretty strong at first, but good. It smells like walking through an herb garden on a hot summer night. I hope it will help during this trying time, but at the very least it smells good and feels good. The dogs fur and my skin have never been so shiny and moisturized.

Skin So Soft Bath Oil is currently on sale – Skin So Soft Bath Oil – 2 for $22. Any 2 for discount to apply.

AVON Moisture Therapy Calming Relief Anti-Itch Spray Lotion is also on sale, for $3.99 right now. (regular price $6.00)

Fall Wardrobe Overhaul

It’s been a crazy week. I have all the laundry in the world in my house and I’m behind. I know it’s only Tuesday but  with school starting, the weather just cool enough so that every morning there is a debate about jackets, then Back to School Night, and all the usual husband, home and kids nonsense, I’m just running crazy. This is especially true because I don’t want to deal with any of it. I just want to crawl into a book and sip coffee. Mmm, that sounds great.

On the last post, I was talking about Fall Fashion. I love Fall for fashion. Summer is fun and all, but I love the rich colors, the boots, and all the layers. It’s hard to start making plans though, because my wardrobe is full of summer things, which at this point, I still may need some days. However, there are things I don’t like, things that don’t fit, and things that have been around way too long that I really need to get rid of. And that’s just my wardrobe! I really have to get in and dig out all the stuff from my kids’ clothes that is old, ragged, or just doesn’t fit those rough and tumble boys anymore.

So, here’s my method. First, the kids. I sit down in front of their closet and chest of drawers with a couple paper grocery bags. Sometimes I write donation on one or more of those bags. I dump all clothing  2 sizes smaller (or more!) than the last clothes I bought them into the donation bags. All except cut-off pants or stained or ripped clothes – those go in the trash. Then I go through and check the sizes only 1 size smaller than their newest clothes. Those I check carefully. Sometimes those still fit, and sometimes they don’t. It turns out children’s sizes are no more uniform than women’s sizes.

Now the hard part. My clothes. These are annoying because I have to try things on. I have to look at pretty party dresses, and try to remember when I last wore them. I have to think about how often I wear things, whether they are flattering, and of course, check for damage. I have to look over my regular everyday  clothing and wonder, am I wearing this too often? Does this even look good on me? Did I get a stain on it last time that cannot be removed? And of course, maybe I should wear something else? This is frustrating. So, my current method is not the most efficient but it works better than throwing my hands up and walking away.

I set up a few paper grocery bags – donation, out of season, and throw away. There are two ways to deal with out of season. The lazy way is just to decide what you do no want to wear in the Fall/Winter and toss them in the bag. This is a good method. The harder way is to decide what you do not want to wear during Fall/Winter, then try them on and check them for damage and fit and how well you like it on you. Then, separate them into the Out of Season bag and the Donation bag. This is the better method, but best done when you have more time, patience or wine. After that is done, then you can attack the rest of your clothes looking for damage, trying them on, and judging how flattering or fashionable they are then separate them out accordingly. The winners get put back in your closet or moved to the laundry room or car for repair, dry cleaning, or attempted stain removal.

Then of course, one has to tackle the shoes. Then the belts. Maybe purses after that. Then, the worst, the jewelry. Do I really need that clunky pewter bracelet I picked up in 1998? I love these shoes, are they really ruined? Where did I get this belt anyway, is it even mine? I tend to do this in stages. No, wait, I mean, spurts. I do this randomly, occasionally, with no rhyme or reason. Also, if you can, play happy music, preferably loudly. When you are done, it is a good time to reward yourself. Personally, I am planning on this woven bag from Mark. Or maybe these new Moto Boots?

As always, I leave you with a coupon code, good today only. It’s Customer Appreciation Week at AVON, so there will be new specials every day on my eshop. Orders today over $60 will receive a 8-piece Customer Favorites Set with code DAY2 – remember today only for this code!

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