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Things I Love Thursday: Tide Washing Machine Cleaner

  • Posted on May 31, 2012 at 6:54 am

There are a ton of household chores and tasks that I just never seem to get to often enough – cleaning behind the fridge, vacuuming behind the couch, that weird spot behind the toilet… I could keep going all day.  But – it really bothers me when the place I’m supposed to clean things is gross.

So I try and keep the kitchen sink pretty clean, the shower and bathtubs clean, and my washing machine clean.  I mean, with two very small kids, the amount of yuck that I put through the washing machine on any given week is astounding.  I was cleaning the machine out with a rag and bleach spray, whenever I managed to get around to it, but it was annoying, hard to reach everywhere, and was one of those tasks I hated.

Then I saw Tide washing machine cleaner – I love Tide detergent, so I figured I’d give it a try.  It works, amazingly well, and leaves my washer smelling fresh and clean. I use it about once a month, and all I do is rinse out the fabric softener holder with hot water to remove the gunk, run a rag around the top of the washer where dust collects, empty a pouch of the cleaner into the washer, and run it with hot water.  I usually do this right before bed, and the whole process takes about 5 minutes.  Then I wake up to a clean washer!

I run an extra wash cycle if someone in the family has had a tummy bug or if I’ve washed something especially gross – it just makes me feel better.  I know there are probably some homemade versions I could use, but this is easy, and I need easy right now.

And that’s what I love about Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!


Catching Fire, and Mockingjay – Thoughts on the books

  • Posted on May 29, 2012 at 7:12 am

So my cousin loaned me the kindle copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay – the rest of the Hunger Games trilogy.  First, I have to say, these are the most consuming books I have read in a long time – I read Hunger Games and Catching Fire in one sitting each, and Mockingjay in two – only because I had to sleep.  They are very action-packed, and I had trouble finding a place to put the books down (obviously).  I loved them – really, just about every part of them.  You should totally read them, too.

I’m going to try and do this as spoiler free as possible, but be warned it may not make much sense if you haven’t read the books.

These books touch on an amazing number of current issues.  Reality shows. War. Celebrity. Rich people out of touch with reality.  Ethics, morals, and family.  I thought all were well-done, and made points without being preachy or obvious.  But the issue that I thought was the most well-done, and had the most impact on the story, for me, was the story’s treatment of PTSD and depression.  I mean, with everything that happens to these kids, how could they not go through those types of things?  There were times in the story where a character would describe how they felt, and I was like YES. That is how it feels. I never had the words to describe it before. I would be amazed if Suzanne Collins hasn’t dealt with these issues in her own life, or had family that has.

I was trying to explain it to Chad, and I said that’s the main difference between the Hunger Games series and something like Harry Potter.  I mean, in the last book, Harry goes through war. He, Ron, and Hermione, and their friends and family KILL PEOPLE.  They watch people, sometimes people they love, die. And yet, other than grieving their loved ones, they all appear normal 20 years later. No therapy needed, no mentions of any mental troubles after the fact. In the Hunger Games books, the kids are faced with the same type of kill or be killed situations – and come out damaged, broken, confused.  Which makes them more realistic to me, as people – and more interesting in a lot of ways.

So yeah, after reading all three books borrowed, I’m probably going to buy them.  They seem to be the kind of books I’d like to have in paper, on my shelves, to loan to people or reread on a whim.

Things I Love Thursdays: My Kindle

  • Posted on May 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

I am a book person.  Like, a physical book person.  I’m one of those people who likes the feel of the pages, the act of turning them, and the way books smell. So I took a long time to warm up to the idea of a Kindle.

When I was nursing Benjamin, and lamenting about my lack of reading time, someone suggested I check out all the free Kindle titles available – since I could read them on my phone. It was amazingly convenient for nursing/pumping – I had a selection of books, at my fingertips, without dragging paper copies everywhere.  But the screen was too small, and I had to flip pages a lot, and the screen would tire my eyes out after a while, since I basically just stare at a computer screen all day anyway.

I was griping about all of this one day, when someone asked if I had actually looked at a Kindle, and the display on it. They said it was different, and interesting – and wouldn’t wear my eyes out.  Being that usability is what I do, I had to test these claims.  I found one at a store, and it was really different – it felt like looking at paper.  No back lighting, no weird refresh rates.  And I loved it.

But, Kindles are not cheap.  So I hemmed and hawed and put off buying one.  And then Chad bought me one for Christmas (a nicer one than I was going to buy for myself, at that).  You guys, I am totally sold on this thing.  I carry 700+ books around in my purse, all the time.  My cousin in Alabama lends me books via email.  I can buy books anywhere (okay, this one is dangerous).

Now, I’m not going to give up my print copies of books anytime soon.  The lending feature on Kindle is still kind of weird, and I’d like to be able to lend my books to anyone I want whenever I want.  And I still balk if the Kindle book costs more than the paperback.  But – The amount that I get to read has doubled or tripled since I got it.  With Amazon Prime’s Kindle Lending Library, I can read an extra book a month, free. So I’m basically never without a book.

And that’s what I love about my Kindle.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

Birchbox Review: May 2012

  • Posted on May 22, 2012 at 8:36 am

Birchbox is probably the most well-known of the beauty sample services – it was the first one I heard of, and the first one I looked into joining.  They put me on a waiting list (they are very popular), so I decided to try some others in the meantime so I would have something to compare… and here we are.  I’ve already reviewed some of the other services: New Beauty Test Tube (and contents), myglam bag) – so on to Birchbox.

Birchbox is a subscription service, like the others, and runs $10/month with free shipping.  You receive one box a month, with four or five full or sample size products.   They arrive toward the middle of the month.  You can then get points for reviewing them, which you can trade for credit at the Birchbox store – where you also get a discount on anything that is in the current month’s box.

The box for May was inspired by Gossip Girl – a show I don’t watch or even know anything about.  Luckily, for me, that doesn’t really matter – the products are still useful and interesting. Here’s what May’s box looked like:

As a side note, I totally love the little gift box.  I’m stashing this one away (minus the Gossip Girl wrapper), because it’s very sturdy – enough to go through the mail, if I wanted, and pretty enough to be a gift box.

Everything was wrapped up inside, so it really was like opening a little present.  Super fun!

Once I unwrapped everything, here’s what was included:

A note card, a fragrance sample, a conditioner sample, nail polish, and an anti-aging moisturizer. Plus a card explaining what everything is, although no instructions on how to use the samples.  So, on the the reviews:


BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray (sample)

So, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a huge fragrance person.  And this one smells okay to me – not really too strong, but a little too perfume-like, if that makes sense.  (I was trying to explain it to Chad last night, and I think I hit on the idea – I like to smell like nice things that you could possibly smell like by accident.  Like fruit or soft flowers or vanilla).  This fragrance is billed as being fruity, but I couldn’t smell the pear scent in it at all.

BUT.  the sample bottle was way cooler than the other typical glass vials they send – it was the same shape on size, but actually had a spray top on it.  Which is awesome, and worth mentioning I guess.

Verdict? Nice fragrance, but not really my thing.  And more than I usually spend (isn’t that the story of my life?) $64 for 1.33oz – but something I might be willing to pay if I loved the scent.


Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream + (sample)

This is a moisturizer designed to fight aging and free radicals and all that other good stuff that moisturizers do these days.  While I;m not really noticing aging per say on my skin, I do have problems with certain parts of my face being super dry and/or flaky sometimes, while other parts of my face are really oily. It’s hard to find a moisturizer that balances them.

This one managed to do just that, for the most part.  I liked the scent – it didn’t smell artificial or gross, just clean. And it sent on really smooth – I just needed a tiny bit to cover my whole face and neck. It left my face smooth and clear, and didn’t make me break out (a big problem with similar products).  However – it doesn’t have any SPF, so I’m hesitant to use it as a day moisturizer.  As a night moisturizer is works fine, and I only find the tiniest bit of greasiness right around my nose when I wake up.

Verdict?  A pretty good product.  There are some other similar products I’m trying now as well, though, so I’m keeping my options open. $48 for 1.69oz is a little pricey, but not too bad for how good it makes my skin feel.  I’m not ready to buy today, but it’s in the running at least.


Color Club® Summer Pastels Collection – Clambake Coral

First, coral is not a great color for me.  Other than that, this was a pretty decent polish, it sent on smooth and even – although it takes a while to dry.  It needs a clear topcoat, or it will chip – but a good topcoat seemed to keep it in place pretty well.

Verdict?  I liked the quality of the polish, and at $8/bottle, it’s not very expensive.  Some of the other colors look interesting, so I may pick up a bottle in another color for the summer.


Ojon damage reverse™ Restorative Conditioner (sample size)

Y’all, I am a sucker for salon-quality hair products.  Especially conditioner.  My hair is frizzy, and tend toward being dry – but too much product makes it limp and weird.  I love deep conditioners, but hate when they leave my hair feeling oily or weighted down.

So i was anxious to try this one.  It’s billed as being natural, and it smells kind of organic – not unpleasant, but a little on the green side.  It’s thick, but I managed to get it distributed through my hair, as well as fully rinsed out several minutes later (the rinsing was a little difficult).  And…  my hair feel softer, more manageable, and not too weighted down.  I like the way it feels, and the scent didn’t stick my my hair.

Verdict?  I wouldn’t use this every day, but it’s the type of thing I’d keep around to use once a week, or less often if my hair didn’t need it.  At $25 for 8oz, this is similarly priced to some salon brands – so not something I would buy all the time, but a nice treat now and then.


Birchbox Notecards (1 sample card)

These are actually kind of cute, and very simple.  They don’t say Birchbox anyplace obvious, and would be cute for a thank-you note or something similar and handwritten. The hot pink envelopes make them kind of fun, too.

Verdict? I liked it, and will use the card they sent me (it says XOXO on the front, so probably not for a thank-you note, lol) – but I don’t do enough real correspondence to buy a package of them

Regarding the Birchbox service in general, I wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be with the number of products I got – and half of them, while nice, were not really things I use a lot of or am really looking to buy.  But – I think I’ll give them one more month to try it out.  Getting points for reviewing things is a nice incentive, and given a different set of products, I might feel differently.

The Hunger Games – The Book

  • Posted on May 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

I said I was going to read the Hunger Games last week, since I had finally seen the movie.  And read it I did – pretty much all in one sitting, on Wednesday, home with Brianna while she was sick.

It. was. awesome.

I love how watching a movie before reading the book gives me a good overall top level view of the story – and make me appreciate all the details and back story and other things they have to cut out of a movie, almost like I’m rereading the book. I think this will be my preferred method of reading books that are movies now – and since I’m like, 5 years behind in my reading, that actually works out pretty well for me. (we’ll ignore the fact that I’m still for the most part 2 years behind on my movie watching).

So, I loved how book-Katniss was a little more in the game than movie-Katniss.  And ever so slightly more calculating – and at the same time more confused. She was just pretty much more everything in the book, really.  And I liked having more details about her and Gale, as that part of the movie was really fuzzy for me – and her history with Peeta, only told in the movie through one scene that we kept going back to.

I actually liked Peeta more in the book, too – he seemed stronger (as a person), and more good, all around.  And his feelings for Katniss seemed more real, and less planned.

And that is why I like books more than movies.  Because although a good movie can move you and make you feel for the characters, a good book can do so much more – by being in the character’s heads, you an actually be them, feel what they are feeling, and really immerse yourself in the story – making books so much more real to me than movies.  The fact that I now have actor faces for each character and don’t have to think of what they might look like? A bonus, for me.

In short, I think the book was awesome, and having gone from movie to book – I think the movie was actually a pretty good adaptation.  I’d like them to make the sequels, but I might feel differently about the movie adaptations of those because:

I borrowed Catching Fire, via Kindle, from my cousin.  And she’s sending me Mocking Jay today, because I read the second book all in one sitting as well.  Because movies? They take years to produce.  And I want to know what happens, now.

MyGlam Bag: Review

  • Posted on May 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

So earlier this month I reviewed the New Beauty Test Tube, and mentioned i was trying several of these type services to see which one I liked best.  It turns out, all of the monthly subscription ones arrive at basically the same time in the month – pretty much all in the past week.  So I have several of thee posts coming up, where I’ll review first the service and then the products I was sent for May. In the meantime, I get to decide which service I’ll keep!

This particular beauty box is from myglam.  These subscription costs $10/month (which is pretty standard, and about as inexpensive as they come), and boxes are delivered towards the middle of the month.

First off, I totally need to know where to get these pink bubble mailers.  Because they are awesome.  Now that I got that out of the way… The make-up bag the samples came in is cute, but I can see where I might run out of uses for them if I got a new one every month.

I received a full size sample of rhinestone nail decals, two small make-up brushes, a full size lipstick, and a sample size fragrance. Which doesn’t seem like a lot when I compare it to the Test Tube, but this one is every month not every quarter.

So, on to the products:

Miss Beauty Nail Bling (full size)

You guys, rhinestone nails are just not my thing.  And my nails aren’t long enough for these particular designs, either.  I suppose that’s one of the things about these type bags, is that sometimes, you get products that just aren’t really things you use.  I gave them to a friend, though, and she said they were easy enough to apply and stayed on fairly well.

I can’t find them for sale anywhere, though (even from the myglam website!), so if you want to buy them, I have no idea what to even tell you.  Not the greatest marketing.

Verdict? Not for me, but not a bad product.


Philosophy Love Sweet Love Spray Fragrance (sample)

This is described as a fruity, flirty fragrance – which I’ll agree with, it had a strong hint of pears, maybe? when I first smelled it.  I liked it, although I’m not really a perfume person in general. However, on my skin it didn’t smell as good – still not bad, but more perfume-like and less fruity.

Verdict?  I could see buying this as a gift, though, if I knew someone who liked it – $42 for 2oz.


Studio Gear Complete Color Lipstick (full size) – Audition

This lipstick was high-quality, and I liked the way it felt on my lips – it was smooth and had some moisture, but wasn’t sticky.  It also didn’t taste very artificial, like some brands I’ve tried.  The color was fairly neutral, but a little warmer than I usually wear – not bad on me, just not the best.  I’m sure they have a color in their line that would suit me better, though.  At $15, this lipstick is less expensive than department store brands, which is nice.

Verdict? If I can find it some place where I can see the colors in person, I might look into getting this brand in another color.

myglam Concealer Brush & Defining Eyeliner Brush

These are actually pretty nice brushes, and I’m a sucker for makeup brushes.  But you can’t buy them, so I’m not sure what benefit my review has for the general public.

I’m wondering if you stay subscribed for some time, do you get the whole set?  Do they repeat?  I’m not sure. At any rate, they are fun to play with.


In general, I don’t think this was my favorite beauty bag, but it may have been because some of the samples weren’t really things I use.  I’ll review the others, and let you know which one I decide to stick with!

Date Night: Hunger Games Movie

  • Posted on May 15, 2012 at 10:11 am

So Chad and I went out on a date night last Friday…  our neighbors graciously offered to trade babysitting with us and watch our kids, and we took them up on it!  So we dropped the kids at their house after work, and headed to the theater.

We decided on Hunger Games, since we figured there would be more opportunities to watch Avengers in the future, and I really really want to read the book – but have been burned so many times by the book-to-movie translations that I wanted to see the movie first. This is actually why I still have not read The Help – and Chad refuses to watch it with me because someone told him it might make me cry.  But that’s another story.

And there were two notable previews, worth mentioning if only so I don’t forget I want to see these movies:

  • Spider-man: Totally not sure about the new guy they have playing Peter Parker.  But?  Emma Stone as MJ?  Sign me up.
  • Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter: I think this movie will be AWESOME.  Chad disagrees.  But I think I can convince him… I mean, Honest Abe has an axe – that turns into a vampire killing GUN. HOW COULD THAT NOT BE AWESOME?

So.  Yeah.  On to the actual movie, Hunger Games.  I went into the movie kind of cold, because honestly?  All I knew was:

  1. It’s a movie where kids have to compete to the death
  2. As such, people die
  3. Some people wear weird costumes
  4. Peeta was played by the kid that was in Bridge to Terabithia, and he’s not a little kid anymore. Yikes!

I expected action, and some gore, but amazingly they kept well within the PG-13 rating.  Not having a whole lot of expectations, I would have been hard pressed to be disappointed.

That being said… I really liked the movie.  A female heroine, who sacrifices herself for her sister and then totally wins the competition, potentially starting an entire revolution in the process? Don’t mind if I do.  I thought the awkward teenage love story portions of the movie played out well, and I enjoyed the performances by all the actors (probably because I had no preconceived notions of what they should look like or how they should act).  They left it open at the end for the sequels, and I liked the fact that not everything was neatly tied up – but they didn’t leave you hanging on a cliff, either (Twilight, I’m looking at you here). The action was good, but there were parts were the camera action threatened to make me sick, and it was difficult to follow through those scenes.

Rant: Seriously, if I had a time machine, I think I would go back and destroy Blair Witch Project before it ever made it to the theater – that style of action shot, that looks like people running around with handheld cameras, is my least favorite cinematography trick.  Rant over.

Short version: Great movie. I am planning on reading the book tomorrow, no joke.Now the only questions is: should I read the whole series? Or wait on the movies? Hmmmm.


Spring 2012 New Beauty Tube Review

  • Posted on May 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

So here’s my review of the products that were in the New Beauty Test Tube for Spring 2012.

First, the disclaimer: I purchased the test tube myself, and while I was encouraged to share my opinions of the products with friends and family and online, I was not provided any extra products or incentives for doing so. But this post does include Amazon affiliate links.  Alright, on to the products!

NeoStrata® Skin Active Cellular Restoration
(sample size)

I was eager to try this, as my skin has been looking a little dull lately, and I was looking for something to counteract that. When I first used it, I noticed it smells very chemically – almost like the chemicals you use when getting a perm. But the smell only lasted a minute, and the product seemed to soak into my skin fairly well, not leaving any greasy feeling.  After two days, I could see a little improvement in my skin, so at least it is doing something.

Verdict? I don’t know if I will buy the full-sized product when I run out, though – it’s fairly pricey (list price: $79 for 1.75 oz) and the chemical smell was a real turn off.


Mally® Evercolor Shadow Stick – Platinum (full size)

I adore this!  I had tried similar products from less expensive product lines (CoverGirl, etc), and was never pleased with how they blended, or how they stayed on during the day.  But the Mally Evercolor Shadow Stick was amazing – I could put it on, and had time to bend with other colors or lighten it up before it set.  Once it set, it was there for the whole day, no creases or anything like that. The color is build-able for a really dramatic look, but I am able to put it on light enough to wear to the office.  The sticks come in a variety of colors, as well.  It is a little pricier than the brand I had been using (list price: $25), but looks like it is totally worth it.

Verdict? I will probably be buying at least one more color of this (probably violet!) as soon as I have money in my cosmetics budget!


Moroccanoil® Frizz Control (full size)

I have to say, this was the product I was most anxious to try, and probably the one I tested most thoroughly.  I mean, I have amazingly frizzy hair, and I live in constant humidity.  The instructions said it worked best when used alone (ie, no other products.  So, Saturday, I showered and put 4-5 sprays in my hair, combed through to distribute, and “styled as usual” – usual being to scrunch my hair until it curls a bit, and let it air dry (straight hair in Houston humidity? No way).  Annnnd… it was less frizzy than if I had used nothing, but still very frizzy.  More frizzy than my usual mousse and scrunch routine.  But! my hair felt really silky and was shiny – not greasy looking, just healthy shine.And it smelled nice, when I put it on – but didn’t leave an overwhelming scent in my hair, which was nice.

So Monday, I tried the curls again – this time with mousse as well.  Noticeably less frizzy, and still kept that silky feeling and shine. Winner!

I haven’t tried straight hair yet, but may try that this week sometime.  If it can keep out the frizzies when my hair is straight, that is a miracle. :-)

Verdict? I love the way it makes my hair feel, and it does help with the frizz factor.  I’ll have to see how long a bottle lasts to determine if it’s worth the price, though (list price: $32 for 3.4 oz).


Olay® Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex (sample size)

Hey! A brand name I recognize! And the sample size came with a coupon for $3 off!  Yay!

I don’t have a huge problem with wrinkles, honestly.  I mean, I have a few starting, but they are super faint, mostly related to laughs or smiles, and it’s not like they bother me.  But I thought I’d give it a whirl… that’s what this test tube this is all about, right?

The product went on smoothly, didn’t really have a scent at all, and didn’t irritate my skin or make it greasy.  So thoe were all wins.  But after a week?  Honestly, I really can’t tell a difference.  Maybe that’s because I don’t have many wrinkles to fight, or maybe it’s doing something to prevent them, I have no idea.

Verdict?  While I’m all for fighting aging, this product just didn’t do much for me.  I would be willing to try it again, though, if my skin care needs change.  The fact that it can be found in Walmart, and Target is a bonus – and at $28 for 1.7 oz, it’s certainly on the less expensive end of things.


ybf Eye Liner – Plum Noir (full size)

So most of my experience with cosmetics is limited to mass market brands – Cover Girl, Revlon, etc.  A few products from Clinique, but those are few and far between.

That being said, this eyeliner was seriously the best I’ve ever tried.  It was soft enough to leave a good line without tugging or scrubbing, and hard enough to make a good line and not smear.  The color was awesome, too!  Not too dark on me, which can be a problem.  And it came off easily with the different eye make-up removers I tried.

Verdict?  Yes, please.  I’ll probably buy more of this in other colors – and at $14.50, it’s a steal.

Memoire Liquide Soliel Liquide Fragrance & Vacances Liquide Fragrance (sample sizes)

I was totally unsure about these… despite being hung up on smells, I’m typically not one for fancy perfumes.   These claimed to “evoke memories, or create new ones”, and everything was in French, which was odd and makes them sound more expensive I suppose.

The Soliel fragrance claimed to smell like a sunny day.  I liked the smell, it was citrusy and a little outdoorsy (I’m told that’s sandalwood), and very energizing.  It did kind of smell bright like a sunny day – I’m thinking this is due to the citrus.  Overall, very pleasant.

The Vacances fragrance claimed to smell like a vacation, on a beach, on an island.  Sure, I like beaches, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out this smelled – not like salt water, seaweed, and sunscreen, but like coconut, white flowers, and a tiny bit of vanilla.  It was really nice, and sure enough, made me think of cruises and days at the beach.

Both fragrances went on well – not too strong – but dissipated through the day.  I would need to freshen them up if I wanted them to be noticeable for a night out or something, I think.

Verdict? I think I liked the Vacances scent the best, but since I don’t wear fragrance that often, it’s pretty pricey (list price: $95/bottle).  Not sure if I’d buy it for myself, but I might suggest it as a gift or something.


Memoire Liquide Amour Liquid Body Cream (full size)

By the same company as the fragrances above, this body cream is supposed to evoke memories of love.  It smells like vanilla, and something else… but it makes me think of college (I liked vanilla a lot back then).  Which is where I fell in love. So that works, I guess?

The scent is light enough to wear to bed, but very nice.  And the body cream itself is super rich and thick, but doesn’t leave my skin greasy or slimy.  It absorbs very nicely, and leave my skin soft and smooth.  I love this body cream!  I’ve used it mostly on my hands and elbows, as I don’t typically use a lot of lotion anywhere else, and it is divine. This is seriously the best lotion I’ve used in a while, if not ever.

Verdict? At $48 a bottle, I’ll have to consider carefully before I buy some – but I would certainly consider it for a treat once in a while!  I’ll be sad when my current bottle runs out…


SkinCeuticals® Phloretin CF and Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 (sample sizes)

Ok, so the description on these sounded super-sciency to me.  Basically, the Phloretin CF is an antioxident that helps combat your skin’s reaction to the sun, preventing sun damage.  And the Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 – is a sunscreen. So the name of the game here is avoiding sun damage.  I’m all for that.

I tried applying the Phloretin CF to my skin, after washing and moisturizing, and was surprised that it came out of the dropper a little greasy.  It absorbed into my skin quickly, not leaving a greasy feel, but it smelled awful – like canned chicken? Or spam?  Not sure.  Honestly, I didn’t see that it made much difference – but I don’t spend a lot of time outside. The smell was such a turn off, I only used it a couple of times.

The sunscreen, on the other hand, was very nice.  It had a little tint to it, but blended well with my skin tone and went on without making my skin really oily.  my current moisturizer only had SPF 30, so 50 is a step up.  I felt like this protected me from the everyday sun I get – in the car, outside with the kids, etc.  And it didn’t really have a scent at all.

Verdict? No to the Phloretin CF – at $152/bottle, it would be out of my price range even if it didn’t smell like canned meat products. But maybe a yes to the Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 – at $32/bottle, it’s about the same as what I was currently using, and less greasy.  I may be getting more of this soon…


Dr. Brandt pores no more® vacuum cleaner™ blackhead extractor (sample size)

I was sad to find out there is no actual vacuum in this.  However, blackheads and large pores can be a problem for me, so I moved past my disappointment and tried it anyway.

The instructions say to put it on every 2-3 day after cleansing, and let it dry for 2-3 minutes before rinsing off.  I followed the directions exactly – and sure enough, I noticed less blackheads than before.  It didn’t burn my skin or make it really dry, either.  It did have a little bit of a chemical smell, but dissipated quickly as it dried.

Verdict? Given that I saw such good results, I’m certainly tempted to buy more.  At $45 a bottle, though, it is a little more than I usually spend.  I wonder how long it lasts?


Perlier Peach Foam Bath (sample size)

This bath & shower gel was sadly disappointing.  It didn’t have much fragrance at all, and was difficult to lather in my water.  The whiff of peach fragrance I got was nice enough, but it was just a hint, even when I was smelling the minimal lather I managed to get on my skin.It left my skin soft and smooth, but not any more so than many other body wash products I’ve tried.

Verdict?  Probably not.  It’s not that pricey (list price: $15 for 16.9 oz), but I just didn’t like it that much.


Overall, I really enjoyed this beauty test tube, and am looking forward to seeing how other beauty box companies stack up.  Like anything of this sort, there were products I liked and others I didn’t, but it gave me a great way to try things I would have otherwise missed out on.  Since the Test Tube is delivered every 3 months, I have more than enough time to evaluate and cancel if I decide to stick with another company instead.

Things I Love Thursday: Sun Catcher Paint Pens

  • Posted on May 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

Brianna loves crafts.  I mean, loves. Them. Seriously.  And I… love not making a mess.  But! I want her to have fun, and to be able to make things for other people, which she loves to do.

So I do a fair amount of shopping at Oriental Trading Company.  They have a ton of craft kits and supplies for little ones, and Brianna has loved everything we’ve tried from them (and so have my Cubbies at church!).  Their prices are reasonable, and other than having to buy sets of kits, and paying shipping, we’ve had little problems with them

But my latest find is these:

Marvelous Sun Catcher Paint Pens

That’s right.  Sun Catcher PENS.  Brianna can now paint sun catchers, using these great squeeze pens. Sometimes, she goes overboard and overfills a section, or gets paint on her hands, but – for the most part – these things are way less mess than regular paint and brushes.

Brianna loves these.  And uses them every chance she gets.  I actually had to go out and buy her more sun catchers to paint!  And I love that she can make things, and have fun, without creating a mess that takes all night to clean up.

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

Disclaimer: I didn’t get anything for posting this, free products or otherwise.  I just really like these pens!

Things I Love Thursdays! Downy Unstopables

  • Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Apparently, it is laundry week here.  We have to celebrate our wins, I suppose, and laundry is about the only win I can think of at the moment.  So here goes!

I have totally fallen in love with Downy Unstopables. My mother-in-law gave me some at Christmas when she was culling down her coupon stockpile, and neither of us was really sure we needed “extra scent” in our laundry, but i figured I would try it out.

It works amazingly well!  The scent stays in the clothes after you dry them, but it’s not so strong that  it’s over-powering.  I love using it on my towels and sheets, because it makes them smell so fresh!  A bottle lasts a long time, too.

It comes in two scents, Fresh (which is kind of spring smelling) and Was Lush (which is kind of lavender-ish).  I prefer Fresh, but both are good.  Brianna loves putting it it the wash though (we call it “laundry sprinkles”, because that’s just fun – and laundry should be as fun as possible.)

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

I didn’t get anything for posting this, free products or otherwise. But that is an Amazon affiliate link.