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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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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More Fall Clearing Out

Well, with all my closets and accessories done, I can move on to bath & beauty products. Just kidding. I haven’t even started the closets. However, I do think I need to think about cosmetics and skincare products. I just tossed an old charcoal mask this morning. I threw it out, because I can’t remember when I bought it. I could have bought it last year, but I have a sinking feeling it was more like 2 or even 3 years ago.

My methodology for throwing out old beauty products is pretty haphazard, actually. I sort of randomly throw things out when I run across them if I can’t remember buying them, or they are visibly not good anymore, like a separated nail polish. I toss those all the time. I don’t even paint my nails very often, because I am not very good at it and I hate to sit still long enough to let it dry. I usually just go to the nail salon to get it done. Again, haphazardly. I don’t have a standing appointment or anything.

However, there are apparently rules for throwing away grooming products. I’m going to include the general consensus for your benefit and mine.

Mascara – Every 2 months

I know, it’s annoying to have to replace them so frequently, especially if you don’t use them every day. This is good reason, in my opinion, to find a great mascara at a good price. I’d be reluctant to toss out a $27 mascara after 2 months. Although, this time frame only pertains to mascara that has been opened. If you have a sealed backup, then the only thing you need to worry about is manufacturer’s expiration. Also, get rid of all eye makeup you’ve been using during an eye infection, or may have been used before you noticed it. Tools like brushes can be cleaned with alcohol. Some people suggest that pencils can be salvaged by simply shaving them down.

Gel Eyeliner – 3 months

Once again, a great argument for finding an affordable option. The reasons for this are the same as with mascara. There is an increased chance of bacteria and eye infection.

Cream Foundation and Concealers/Blushes/Bronzers – 12 to 18 months

It’s great that these last longer, as good shades are hard to give up.

Lipstick and Lip liners – One year

Of course these should be thrown out if you have cold sores or are ill. If you’re frequently ill, just be prepared to change these out often. Sharpening your lip liners can help.

Skincare – 6 to 12 months

Ideally you should be using most of this sort of thing daily, so you should actually run out before it expires. Unless, like me before AVON, you have a tendency to randomly buy it, try it out for a few days, then bury it in a cabinet. Then you should probably stay on top of the recommended time frames.

Liquid Foundation – 1 year

I’m glad you can keep these longer, as matching a shade is hard, but they aren’t meant to last forever, so a timeline is helpful.

Lip Gloss – 1 to 2 years

There is apparently some argument on this one. Some people suggest that the manner in which they are applied, via wand, or pot or even directly makes them more of a health risk so they should be tossed every 6 months.

Pencil Eyeliners or Brow Pencils – 1 to 2 years

I think we were all aware that these last a long time. Although some of us with brow pencils from the 90s should really get a new one. Not that I do.

Powders, like foundation,bronzers, blush or eye shadows – 2 years

Apparently, powders are remarkably stable. This is good to know. I may have to start putting the year on the bottom of these. That way I will know when I bought them and neither let them sit around forever, nor toss out a good powder before it’s time is up. And again, there is some concern over eye products and safety.

Perfumes – 6 to 18 months

Okay, I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that one. Especially not my mother, who buys expensive perfumes, saves them for special occasions, and keeps them for decades. However, fragrances are delicate and degrade with time and exposure to air. The key is, find something you love and use it! Don’t save it for once a year! Use it. Also, remember there are a lot of wonderful, beautiful perfumes at a lot of different price points. If you can’t afford that $400 perfume, then notice what you like about it, what type of scent it is, and find something with similar notes that you can afford! And use it. It even okay to have a scent wardrobe! A lot of us love a lot of different scents. Just make sure it’s not quietly fading away in a drawer somewhere. You and your perfume deserve to be together. If it starts to smell stale or acidic, it is time to say goodbye.

As for other products like bath products, hair products and sunscreen, rest easy. Apparently, these often have a lot more stable ingredients and are usually labeled with an expiration date. The expiration date is a good guide, although if you want them working in tip top form for as long as possible, you should keep them someplace cool and dark. Maybe under the sink or something.

In any case, if you’ve been sick with something contagious or bacterial based you should probably replace your makeup, at least anything used around the eyes or mouth. Also, if something changes in texture or color or has a funny odor that wasn’t there before, it could be compromised and it’s a good idea to get rid of it.

As always, I leave you with a coupon code.

  • SSS – Free Skin So Soft Original 4-piece set with your online Avon order of $50 or more plus free shipping – Expires: midnight September 16, 2016 

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Fall Trends

I like to keep up with fashion and beauty blogs online. I even pick up a magazine every now and then. Sure, most days I look like the tired mom that I am, but I do pay attention. I appreciate a good outfit when I see one, and every now and then I even wear one! So, I’ve been seeing new Falls trends being discussed and I’d like to illustrate how AVON can help you, and me, enjoy some of those too!

First up, is Monochrome Outfits. Monochrome can be a little difficult to pull off, but it is everywhere right now. You can alleviate it by breaking it up with soft shades that accentuate your main color, or with bold accessories. Basic black accessories with gold accents are also great for adding drama!

Brown outfit by AVON, Grey by MARK. AVON uses adult women’s sizes, MARK uses juniors.

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Next up is leopard print! Leopard print is everywhere, but it really is a classic that everyone can wear. If you’re not fond of leopard, other animal prints are great too, and easy to work into your wardrobe. If you prefer a touch of animal style, accent pieces like jewelry or handbags are great and have more impact than you’d think!

All of these pieces can be found in the current AVON catalog or online.

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Also hot this Fall are romantic styles and soft colors. Add some sweetness to your wardrobe with delicate jewelry or pretty florals. A soft colored bag or a lace-edged camisole layered into your warm outfit will bring the romance.

Some of these are AVON and some are MARK, and those camis are on sale, in AVON’s adult women’s sizes, for a four pack that includes all four colors!

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Vivid green is a hot transition color to Fall’s warm browns, tans, and burgundies. Whether you build your outfit around it, or just use it as bright accent to your neutrals, this color can have a lot of impact. Think emeralds, not limes, for this transition color.

The dress and top are AVON, the jewelry shown is MARK.

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All this and a lot more. AVON has fashion clothing and accessories as well as wonderful makeup and cutting edge skincare! Time to start thinking about that fall wardrobe! As always, I’ll leave you with a coupon code!

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Anew Cleansers Review

From time to time, I’m going to review products, AVON and probably Not AVON products as well. I will endeavor to be completely honest, but I’m not personally interested in negative reviews, so if I don’t like a product I will most likely just not write about it. I wouldn’t enjoy writing a blog post about how much I hate something. I will try to add as many details of the products as I can. For instance, if something has a strong scent, a vivid color, a thick texture or anything one might notice when testing new products. These are just characteristics that some may like, and others hate.  If I have some reason you shouldn’t consider me totally impartial, I will mention that. Also, if I do not review something, there is no reason to assume I hate it, because that would be a ridiculously large number of products worldwide that I probably have never used.

All that said, I’d like to talk about the AVON Anew Cleansers I’ve been using. As I have mentioned before in this blog, I spent much of the summer unwell. My already sensitive skin went a little crazy on me due to illness and medications and became even more reactive and sensitive. You wouldn’t think this would be a great time to try new products, and you’d probably be right. Still, that’s what I did anyway.

There was a sale on, so I bought two Anew Cleansers. I got the Anew Clean Illuminating Rich Cleansing Foam, and the Anew Clean Comforting Cream Cleanser & Mask.  I immediately started using the Illuminating one. The first thing I realized was that AVON is not kidding when it says you only need a pea-sized amount. It foams up a lot and I ended up with soap all over the place due to using way too much. Also, when my skin is at it’s most sensitive, this cleanser was a bit drying, but did not actively irritate my skin. I like that AVON’s new cleanser line is so gentle.

After that, I switched to the Comforting cleanser. This does not foam or bubble at all, and is more a thin cream in texture. I found this one actively soothing for my skin. It was not drying at all, and my skin felt very soft afterwards. I have not used it in its other capacity as a light moisturizing mask, because I also picked up an AVON Clinical Overnight Hydration Mask, which I’ll review another time. I do think that the Comforting cleanser would work nicely as a moisturizing mask, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to pamper yourself. You only leave it on for a few minutes when using it as a mask.

Now that I am off my antibiotics and firmly on the mend from my summer, I’ve been switching back and forth between the two cleansers. I use the Comforting one when my skin is feeling more dry or sensitive, and use the Illuminating one on other days. They both work great, and leave my skin clean and fresh looking. AVON also sells one for oily skin, which is not appropriate for me, called Anew Clean Purifying Gel Cleanser. All of these cleansers can be used with AVON’s Anew Clean Cleansing Brush, pictured above. I just got mine yesterday and used it for the first time today.

Disclaimer – I am a Independent Representative with AVON

Anew Clean Illuminating Rich Cleansing Foam

  • Foaming
  • Light, pleasant scent
  • Gentle
  • A little goes a long way

Anew Clean Comforting Cream Cleanser & Mask

  • Milky, creamy texture
  • Light fresh scent
  • Moisturizing
  • Gentle
  • Dual Use

 

As of today, both cleansers I reviewed are $10, but below is a coupon code for you if you’d like to get an Anew cleanser of your own. Currently, you get a free cleanser when you buy a new Anew skincare regime online. Also, they are available in travel sizes.

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If you do check in at my website, don’t forget to sign up for the Fall into Cozy Sweepstakes!

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I’m Not Mysterious

So, I think it’s time to address my current situation. I have sacroillitis, as a result of infection of the sacroiliac joint. No idea what any of that means? Neither did I until about 5 weeks ago. In the time since then I’ve met nurses who had to look it up, so unless you’re a healthcare professional or you know someone who’s had it, it’s unlikely you’d have heard of it either.

So what is it? It’s not as mysterious or interesting as it may seem. Apparently, there is a very small joint in your pelvis area called the sacroiliac joint. It may seem insignificant but when something goes wrong with it, it is excruciatingly painful. The things that usually go wrong with it are rheumatoid arthritis or an over abundance of pregnancy hormones, stiffening or loosening the tiny joint respectively.

I do not have either of those conditions. I have an infection. It is rare but apparently sometimes a random floating bacteria that everyone carries, all the time, will settle in a vulnerable area and just dig in. They think maybe the vulnerability in my case may have been a tiny touch of arthritis there. Although it’s uncommon, my case was textbook. I even had a week of being treated for something else, as this is almost always mistaken for sciatica or spinal disc problems.

I had 3 MRIs in those first two weeks and so many doctors that I lost count. It worked out though, and with my correct diagnosis I was prescribed  IV antibiotics and pain management medication and sent home after a few days. For awhile there I felt like a guest star on House!

I have been steadily on the mend. I was walking with a walker before I left the hospital, and in three weeks without the walker. Today, I switched to a new antibiotic and stepped down the pain killers, both of which are taking some getting used to, but are both good things as well.

Now you might wonder how Avon comes into this. I had a lot of time where I couldn’t move around much, and I got bored. My mom was here to help take care of me and my twin sons, so my husband could go back to work. So,  we started watching vlogs on YouTube. Well, I started watching vlogs and she joined me when I watched the beauty tutorials.

We both realized that we sucked at makeup, so we ordered some and started playing with it. We had to order new stuff because all of our makeup was old because we hadn’t used it in years and I was in no shape for shopping. At one point we started talking about Avon, and favored products we used to get. We reminisced about that time I sold it for a short while and various reps we used to know. She said there wasn’t a rep in her small town.

So that was it. I decided to be her rep. I dived in and found it interesting and fun and vastly more internet friendly than my last foray. In some ways I am starting very slow, because new reps are generally out there working it in ways I’m unable to right now. I consider it an advantage for me personally though. I’m learning all about Avon, skincare, all the products and continuing to learn about and practice makeup application techniques.

I’ve always liked Avon as a company. The catalogs and products are fun and fresh and on trend. They put a lot of R&D into their skincare. They support causes for women and offer so much support for their reps. It even has history, which I love because I’ve always been a history buff.

If you’d like, check out my eshop. If you’re not into it, that’s cool, too. Thanks for stopping by, and maybe come again. While Avon is what I do, it’s really only part of what this blog will be.

I do like to end posts with a coupon code, even if it’s not the topic. I’ve been away today though, so I’ll just mention that the Friends and Family 20% off code FRIEND is still good for at home delivery from my eshop.