Stacy B here! I'm still wary of this whole 'spring' thing. New Englanders out there, you know what I mean. Spring happens in odd fashion around here so it takes a few weeks for you to really let go of that 'but it really COULD snow one more time!' feeling and actually do spring stuff, like change over your closet.
I did that this week and it was equally exciting and depressing. I love having new clothes in my closet, even if they are already mine. It's nice to have something else to look at, another choice to ponder and more brightly colored options. However, I was VERY pregnant, and very post-partum last spring so I didn't really wear any of my spring/summer stuff until about July when I went back to work. Even then, I was still losing the baby weight so I stuck to my more flow-y shirts and dresses and kept it neutral with some fun new accessories. Now, I'm seeing all these clothes that I can fit into (yay!) and they are 2 years old!! Luckily my style is fairly classic and I don't overindulge in trends unless I see long-term potential, but still, it was a lot of outdated stuff!
And with two kids, my clothing budget is nearly zero! Spring panic! Luckily, I got a nice first quarter bonus from work and have been promised an outlet shopping and dinner date this weekend for my 7th wedding anniversary. I can't wait to restock my closet. And the best thing is, **bragging alert** ....I feel pretty good this year since I am officially 4 pounds below my pre-baby weight. And not my younger son, my OLDER son! That's right, with hard work, low calories, healthy recipes, and pinterest workouts I can do at home, I am under both pre-baby weights and only 3 pounds over my WEDDING weight. Let's get shopping!!!
Another thing that inspires spring panic? Besides bathing suits in a month (let's just skip right over that. I look good, but not THAT good!) is open toed shoes!! It's been a long, cold winter and my piggies are in rough shape. Neglected, dry, wintery and bare toes. I can't get a pair of peep-toes to even look my way. For Mother's Day last Sunday, I'm got a nice spa pedicure at a place in town but my toes are so bad, I had to start prepping them at least a week before!
I found this great peppermint foot scrub from Kiss My Face and have been using it every other day for the past week or so. It's been a big help! It smells SO good, which is not surprising. I've tried a few other Kiss My Face products to mixed reviews but the one thing I've always said is how good they all smell. This is a true peppermint smell and it fills the bathroom up and makes it smell like a really nice spa.
Stacy B here! Bangers and Mash! Fish and Chips! Jolly good time! Throwing out some British phrases because I just got back from London! What a city, and what a trip we had. Girls only, so my husband and boys stayed home. I had 5 days of quiet, making my own decisions, peeing by myself, waking up naturally and not by sticky hands touching my face, and carrying a small bag with ONLY my stuff in it! It was great. But I did miss those little buggers.
It was a rough week, we were there to watch my cousin run the London Marathon, and after what we went through with Boston, we were nervous and emotional. We wanted to unplug the day we got there and just enjoy, but with the lockdown and the manhunt and news happening so fast, were glued to our TV or iPad for a lot of the day. We did our best to get out during the days and walk, shop, sightsee and wander but as soon as we got home, it was BBC and iPad time.
We tried to enjoy while keeping our thoughts on those left at home in Boston. I think we succeeded, we had a great time and met a lot of locals that had so much support for their neighbors across the pond. And my cousin ran a very emotional PR in the marathon (personal record for those not in the running world) and funished in 3:53. Her fastest time by more than 10 minutes. WOW!
I was proud of myself for being able to fit all my stuff for 5 whole days in a small suitcase and carry-on that was pretty easy to manage while taking the Tube all over the place. I'm a great packer and I love to find small products in the drugstore that don't take up much room but still pack a punch. I hate packing shaving cream because I am always afraid the can is going to explode in the plane and get shaving cream all over my stuff. Which has happened to me once. Not fun. I had it in a plastic travel bag, but it still leaked all over everything.
This trip, I went with a shave cream that came in a tube, not a can. I brought Kiss My Face Moisture Shave in Key Lime. Yes, it smells that good. This is in a tube that's like a lotion containter, not a steal can that can't bend or move in the suitcase. I got there, unpacked, and no product explosion incidents!
Plus, it was not a big tube, so it didn't take up as much room or weigh as much. The formula is so good for you, no parabens, gluten free, no animal testing, all essential, natural oils, ingredients I recognize and can pronounce and nothing artificial. Good for my suitcase, good for me. And it really does smell so yummy.
It moisturizes, so I didn't have to pack a huge tub of lotion. I wouldn't completely stop moisturizing, but at least for my trip, I didn't have to worry too much. It held enough skin essentials in it that for the few days I was there, I didn't need to layer on multiple products.
Stacy B here! I'm not sure how to start off this post right now. Yet again, we have an unspeakable tragedy hanging over us, and makeup posts seem insignificant. But we must move on with our lives in order to restore some normalcy while dealing with tragedies.
Marathon Monday is ingrained in a Bostonian's brain from a very young age and is hard to really explain to those who have never experienced it. It's the start of spring, happier days, warmer weather, no more threats of snow, leaves budding, flowers blooming, people emerging from their winter caves, the Red Sox, school's out, BBQs, parties, friends, beers, sports on all day, runners, wheelchair racers, pace cars, legendary athletes, TV coverage, and for 26 miles, the best the human mind and body can offer.
And for those of us that live along the race route (I'm at mile 3!) the above is magnified a million times. There's a buzz in the air that only a true New Englander who's survived yet another long, cold, winter can truly understand. It's the season of optimism, hope and pride. And warm sun! And now, that day will be forever tainted.
I will not go into details, I'm sure you know them all. But I can tell you this. Boston will not crumble. This day will return in all its glory next year, with more pride, passion and love than ever. And we will get the person that shattered our perfect day. My husband worked through college at the store where the first bomb went off, and watched the marathon from that spot many times. I can't begin to express how grateful I am that we have not gone into the city for years, thanks to my two little boys. They give us an excuse to stay in the calmer suburbs! The hunny has vowed to run next year in support, and defiance. I am scared, but I want him to do it. I want everyone to do it to prove that this city will not back down!
I have no good transition here, so I'm going to jump right in to less important topics. My hair! Last week I told you about Tresemme's Keratin Smoothing Treatment and said I'd be trying the shampoo and conditioner from the same line. Well, I did. And it's not bad.
My hair is not one to be messed with (much like my fellow Bostonians) so I hesitate to jump into new things. This was surprisingly good. My hair has been smooth, frizz-free and manageable for the last week or so. That's something to be said! It's getting really long and hard to deal with again, despite a cut a few weeks ago. It just grows so fast, especially as the weather gets warmer. This set has kept me from that awful sticky, thick feeling. It's been fairly easy to dry and style and my style holds all day. I'm not sure I want to permanently switch from my previous brand, but I would say this was just about equally as successful. So since I have a lot of thick hair, the build up happens every few months. I'd be comfortable enough with Tresemme to swtich back and forth.
Stacy B here! It's spring! Well, sort of. I still have to bundle the kids in hats and mittens in the mornings, but the afternoons are starting to warm up! I swear I heard birds this morning.
I really want to be able to turn my heat off soon, it's been a few months of processed heat and dry air and it's taken a toll. My hair was acting up big time a few weeks ago, and I knew it was time for a change. My hair is very thick and wavy so when it feels sticky after drying it straight in no humidity, I know it's time for something new. If you have thick hair, you know what I mean by sticky...that feeling that your hair is clumping together and getting heavier and heavier. No matter how much you straighten it, brush it, blow it out, it just feels weighted down and stuck together.
When I get that feeling, it's one of two things. I need a cut (which I knew I was due) or my product has built up and I need to do some sort of cleanse or switch up my products. So, since I love my products now, I went for the cut option. In theory, it was a great cut. Long layers, thinned out, a little weight taken out of it...but the next day, I still had that heavy, flat feeling. Off to try some new product!
I've been hearing a lot about Keratin treatments (anyone who's had one, fill me in! Did you like it, hate it, love it??) so I thought I'd try a product that advertised itself as "infused with keratin" so I could test the waters. I didn't want to totally change my whole routine, so I stuck with my normal shampoo and subbed out my normal straightening serum for Tresemme's Keratin Infusing Smoothing Serum.
It took almost 3 pumps of this stuff to get through all my thick hair, but it smoothed in very nicely. The serum was more liquid than I thought it would be, so I had to be careful not to let it run between my fingers and onto the floor. But I liked that, because it didn't feel like I was adding any weight to my hair and it felt like it blended in well and got to every piece of hair. This didn't add to my drying time (which I found some heavier products can do), and definitely made a difference.
My hair was less sticky and heavy, and moved a bit more. It felt a little smoother than normal, although I didn't notice any extra shine at all. And since it's still very low humidity out here in the Northeast, I can't tell you if it passed the frizz test. But, it accomplished what I wanted it to, my hair feels light, swishy, manageable and it held my style all day. While I'm sad to see my old product get moved to the back of the shelf, this is a good replacement. And knowing my hair, in a few months, this will become built up and I'll have to switch back. But I've been doing that my whole life, so my products know to just wait for their turn in the rotation!
Stacy B here! Happy Valentine's Day! What a weird, poloarized and kind of pointless holiday. I get the 'you should tell your loved one you love them everyday, not just today' argument, but I also get the 'it's such a nice reminder to do something special in a world that's totally busy and overwhelming" argument.
Yes, you SHOULD appreciate your loved ones everyday, but life is hectic and DOES get in the way. So yeah, this day is a good reminder for us all to slow down for a bit, hug your special someone, call your mother, support a local business by buying overpriced flowers or chocolates and enjoy it. Single or paired, there are people in your life you should show love for, and today's a great day to do it.
Thankfully, it's only one day. Red is not my color. I am wearing a nice red sweater with an adorable white button down shirt with black polka dots underneath it but I feel pale and washed out. Red just really gets me! No bold, sexy, red lips for me today! Or ever!
I hear over and over that "anyone can wear a red lip" but I just can't. I look terrible. No matter what shade I try, my skin looks pale and yellow against it. And they always start to look orange on me after a while. Once, I found a burgundy shade that almost worked, but it was just too bold for me. I like to play with my eye makeup, not lips. I've always been an eye girl, not a lip girl.
But, in the spirit of St. Valentine, I decided to try a red gloss from Wet n Wild. Of course, Wet n Wild because it's cheap, fun and a great brand to experiment with. Their quality has really improved but their prices have stayed the same so what better brand to try something new for less than $5.
Today, I'm wearing Wet n Wild's Mega Slick's Lip Gloss in Red Sensation. It's not bad. It's still red, but it's a gloss so the pigment is not all that strong. I layered it over a nice gold/nude color I have and that dulled the orange that always seems to come out when I try on a red. I still feel a bit self-conscious, it's redder than anything I'd wear normally, but so far no one's given me any crazy looks.
Stacy B here! I missed you all last week! My house was under quarantine, every one of us got the 24-hour stomach bug...and each on different days. I missed 3 days of work, partially for my own healing and partially because I couldn't leave my 4-year-old home with a husband who was just as sick, too!
It was gross. Luckily, it was a fast moving bug, so we really were better after a day or so, but that one day was not fun. My kids bounced back fast, they are so resilient. My husband and I took a little longer but I think we didn't heal as fast because we were focused on making the little guys feel OK. I spent $40 at CVS on Pedialyte, Gatorade, crackers, soup and Tums over the course of the sickness. Even the cashier commented that I must have been having a rough weekend. Thanks lady.
At least I lost 3 pounds...it was worth it, right? (Sure, until I'm rehydrated and back to normal...what a fad diet sickness is.)
Needless to say, there were lots of hot showers, hand washing, face washing, anti-bacterial use and teeth brushing. We were trying so hard to stay clean!
Normally during winter I need a stronger, thicker lotion for around my eyes and face and when I'm sick, or taking care of a sick person, my skin gets even worse. I'm dehydrated, taking hot showers, doing lots of washing and generally stripping my skin of all moisture. It's tough. I'd been using Nature's Gate Grape Seed Eye Cream off and on over the last few months with mixed results. This was a true test of this product and I'd give it a passing grade. Not an A+, but a pass.
Stacy B here! I'm freaking cold. It's 10 degrees with a wind chill of 1 right now as I write this. One. ONE degree. We are dangerously close to negatives. And I mean dangerous literally, if you are outside for too long, you can damage exposed skin! No make up can cover up frostbite so get inside!!
I normally don't complain much about the cold, I live in New England and choose to stay here. I accept the winter cold, I love the snow and I enjoy the changing seasons. But, every year, we get a 1-2 week stretch of bitter cold that really tests my decision to live here. My husband is from LA so we do have an out if we were desperate, but so far, he's happy here, too. In fact, he just left to go out in downtown Boston to meet up with a friend who's in town for work and happily put on his warmest coat and gloves knowing the wind chill is even worse with all the steel buildings creating wind tunnels.
This kind of weather really does a number on your hair, nails, skin and overall demeanor. Especially after the holidays, there's such a letdown. After I took off my holiday red nail polish my nails were so awful. They kept breaking and chipping and splitting, it was gross. The extremely dry air didn't help, along with making my skin crack and my hair static-y. The skin I fixed with some heavy winter lotion, the hair I run a dryer sheet over before I head out and that keeps it fairly tame. But the nails, I had no quick fixes.
I was so fed up I said, "that's it, I'm cutting them all down to the skin!" and looked down and realized half of them were there already. I didn't even have to cut them. I just filed them so they were smooth, even, and unbelievably short. Like, can't even scratch an itch, peel off a label or tap out a fun little tune on my desk, short.
I knew a fix would take a week or so, so I went with a trusty Sally Hanson polish that my husband put in my stocking for Christmas. He chose Sally Hanson's Green Tea and Bamboo Strengthener. He definitely had no idea what it was, just told me "you drink green tea a lot and say it's good for you and the box said green tea so it must be good for you, too". Smart guy.
Stacy B here! I wish I had a cute lead in story to this post that linked my fabulous life with a great product all with clever anecdotes and witty comments that will keep you coming back for more.
I don't. It's been a fairly boring week.
Everyone is finally healthy (mostly) so you'd think we'd be getting good sleep, feeling better and living life to the fullest. Nope. Enter night terrors. My poor kid. And poor us. No one sleeps when your baby is screaming at the top of his lungs, thrashing around like someone is killing him and there's NOTHING you can do. Nothing. You aren't even supposed to pick them up, wake them up or anything. You just have to let it happen. Last night was 30 minutes between 12:15 am and 12:45 am. The night before was midnight to 12:25 am and I'm praying tonight doesn't happen. It's been 3 of the last 5 nights. Poor kid.
My only relief is that our doctor says that even though there's nothing we can do, we should be comforted by the fact that he doesn't remember anything when he wakes up. I know this is true because once he finally stopped screaming last night, he quietly sighed, opened his eyes, blew a giant raspberry at me, giggled, and rolled over to sleep the rest of the night peacefully. Thanks kid.
Ugh, I just want us all to sleep!
My creative juices are just not flowing this week so I'm going to jump right in. Buy a makeup brush from EcoTools. No, it will not cure night terrors, croup, sinus infections or world hunger but it's an awesome tool to get some makeup on those tired eyes and get you through the day looking good and feeling good about an environmentally friendly tool.
I used the Bamboo Eye Shading Brush this week and loved it. It was so soft, smooth and easy to use. I told a coworker about it and she said she bought these expensive brushes from Sephora and they were terrible. Stiff, didn't pick up the shadow and were too prickly to spread what little shadow was on the bristles evenly. She was so mad she wasted money on them. I just gushed about this brush, and I think I may have convinced her to buy one! And why not? It's only $4!
The whole line in cruelty free and made with resuable materials. The bamboo handle is light and easy to grip. I really like bamboo, I've been using it in my kitchen mostly, for cutting boards, cheese servers, etc. It's a great looking, good for you, easy to take care of wood. I was pretty excited to use it in my bathroom, too!
Stacy B here! "This year's flu season could be the worst in decades" uh, what? You're kidding me, right? I have two kids who attract germs like a Kardashian attracts papparazzi and now I have to worry about the flu!? They just got over coughs last week!
Break out the kiddie pool, I'm using it indoors and filling in with sanitizer. We will NOT get the flu. We WILL NOT. OK, maybe I can get it, I hear it helps drop the holiday weight. Kidding!!
I'm not sure what else I can do within the realm of normal parenting behavior. Everyone washes their hands when they get home, sheets are washed weekly in hot water, scarves, hats and mittens are thrown in there occassionally, both boys (and adults) are eating lots of healthy veggies and vitamin-c packed fruits, adults take multivitamins, we all drink lots of water and exercise regularly. We can't live in a bubble.
In case the bug gets us, we do our best to make the duration of the cold or flu as short and pleasant as possible. Steamy showers, hot tea, lots of rest, chicken soups, doctor's visits, if necessary, and for the adults, cold medicine (which you know never works). I definitely feel bad for my youngest who, at 8 months, can't take any medicine or drink tea and soup. My 4-year-old has a few more options but still. I try to find non-drug ways of making them feel better.
I found some body wash from Kiss My Face called Cold and Flu Shower and Bath Gel. Sounds way too good to be true. And it kind of was. I didn't love this. I liked it. Just liked it. Which was tough because I loved the company, the message behind the products, their environmental responsibility, the innovative products, even the price.
It started out really promising. The bottle is huge, and only about $11 retail price. I was intrigued by the eucalypus and menthol blend and the advertising on the back. It says "While it doesn't provide a cure, it sure does provide a dose of soothing comfort."
What? A company being totally honest with you and not trying to trick you into believing they can cure the world? Set my expectation right away: this wouldn't work miracles, but would offer a break from the annoying cold and flu symptoms we all hate. Perfect. We all know there's no cure for the common cold, or flu, so a break is about all we can ask for as we let these things run their course.
Stacy B here! Happy New Year everyone! Fresh start, new year, better tomorrows. Hopefully.
The last two years have been a bit trying for my husband and I, for many reasons, including a rough pregnancy, the increased cost of two kids in daycare, a job change for my husband that turned out to be a terrible move thanks to some corporate decisions made just after he was hired that essentially changed not only his job, but his salary. Not good, and questionable business ethics if you ask me.
That's as much detail as I'll bore you with, but we are confident this new year will bring us much more happiness and good luck. We have healthy boys and a nice place to live so I shouldn't take that for granted, but a happy work environment for the hubby and a boost in our economic situation would be icing on the cake.
We're not big on resolutions at our house, I feel like they set you up to fail. They are always too big and a year is just too long to hold yourself to something that could be a major life change. I'm sticking with what I know and just vowing to stay on my healthy eating and gym workouts plan.
I was at the gym last night and saw a bunch of New Year's Resolutioners huffing and puffing on the treadmills in their new gym clothes looking like they were about to throw up. I admire them for taking that first step, but if you don't start out slow, you'll never made it past January. It took me 6 months to work up to 45 minutes of cardio and 25 mintues of weight training 4 nights a week and while it was frustratingly slow, in 6 months I lost 23 lbs and every ounce of baby weight I put on. I'm pretty proud of that and I know it was because I took it slow, didn't expect miracles and pushed myself just enough to see results without hurting myself or getting discouraged.
One thing that helped was taking walks during lunch at work. I have a gym right down the street and I can get there, walk on an incline for 30 minutes and get back to work in an hour. I don't over-exert, there's just no time for showering so I do just enough to get off my butt, burn some calories and boost my energy without sweating like a pig. Thank God for dry shampoo and makeup wipes! My favorite wipes are Neutrogena's Pink Grapefruit Oil Free Cleansing Wipes.
I have these in my gym bag and I love them. They smell so fresh and citrus-y. I use them when I'm changing to do a quick wipe down of my skin, especially around my hairline which does get a little sweaty, even though my workout is very low impact. They are also perfect for around the bands and straps of my sports bra that can also get a little sticky. Just a quick swipe and my skin is clean, sweet smelling and fresh.
I know these are primarily for your face, but they work everywhere else, too. They are not sticky at all, they wipe away clean, although it does take a minute or two for them to totally dry. I don't have time for a full moisturizing ritual after my workout but these are not drying at all. That's one of the reasons I like them so much, I can use them without feeling my skin tighten up and get cracked or itchy. And since it's 8 degrees today as I write this, the air is dry enough, I don't need a wipe sapping any more moisture from my skin.