Sep 30, 2009

1-Minute Shower Facial

There are a lot of products out there that I really love, but I'm a real sucker for multitaskers.  Anything that saves me time, money, and especially, cupboard space, makes me totally weak in the knees.  Thanks to the completely impulsive purchase of a magazine at the checkout stand, I recently found a new multitasker to love, and I'm all aglow.

This magazine had asked scores of women to try various hair, skin and makeup products (both drug store and department store varieties) and then vote for their favorites in each of the various categories.  I love articles like this because it saves me a ton of money and time experimenting with every product under the sun.  I especially love it when the drug store products beat out their department store counterparts.   How cool is it when a product performs better but costs half as much?

So what is this new love in my life:  Drum roll please.........................................

Clean & Clear Morning Burst In-Shower Facial!!!

This product does everything.  It's a cleanser, exfoliator, and mask all in one.  You put it on like a mask in the shower and let it sit for 1 minute.  It works with the steam in your shower to really deep clean your pores with clay and glycolic acid.  Then you massage it gently into your skin to exfoliate, and rinse.  My skin not only felt incredibly clean and soft, but it felt all tingly and cool, even after I started applying my makeup.  What a morning pick-me-up!

I purchased a 4-ounce bottle at Walmart for $5.44, but it is available anywhere Clean & Clear products are sold.  If you try it and love it, please let me know.  lotsalove!

Sep 26, 2009

DIY Nursing Cover Up

Most of you have probably heard of Hooter Hiders, the original nursing cover up with corset boning sewn into the top hem so mother and baby can see each other while staying discreet.  However, with such a simple design and at $35 each, they were just begging to be knocked off.  And they have been, like crazy.  In fact, sewing your own is a project even craft-challenged people like me can handle.

I paid $8 for this same easy-to-follow pattern, but you can get it here for FREE with very detailed photos of each step.

The corset boning and D rings are available at most sewing/craft stores like Jo-Ann's.  Besides saving a ton of money by sewing your own, you can choose from an endless array of fabrics and personalize it as much as you want.  Just make sure the fabric you choose is lightweight and breathable.  Also, if you're going to be using it outside in the sun at all, you may want to go for a lighter color of fabric so baby stays cool.

Even if you don't plan on breastfeeding any time soon, these make great gifts for moms-to-be.  I've used mine everywhere and have been asked by several people where they could find one.

 To be completely honest, because I'm not much of a seamstress, I did have some frustrating moments making this.  However, after studying the pattern several times, I eventually got it, and I must say, it looks pretty good.  I hope this pattern works well for you.  Have fun and let me know how yours turns out.  lotsalove!

Sep 24, 2009

The Best Blotting Tissues

When I was pregnant, I had beautiful skin.  It was clear, glowing, and shine-free.  However, as soon as my little bundle-of-joy was born, my T-zone resumed its former identity as an oil slick.

I've been fighting oily skin since my teens and have tried several products that have promised an oil-free complexion, but have been disappointed most of the time.  I recently read that because of hormone changes, women in their 30's have oilier skin than when in their 20's.  Seriously, how wrong is that?  So, since oily skin is caused mostly by hormones, unless I can find a product that will send me into early menopause, I'm stuck with it for a few more years.

Several years ago, I saw a glowing review for a brand of blotting tissues in a magazine, and marched right down to my neighborhood Sally Beauty Supply to find them.  The brand is Palladio and the product is called "rice paper" .  They've worked so well for me, I've been using them religiously ever since, buying them several at a time.  I've got a pack in the car, one in the diaper bag, one in my purse, and one at home.

Here's the manufacturer's description:

"This very unique, oil-absorbing two-sided, tissue is made with Natural Rice which is much gentler for the skin compared to pulp. With added Rice Powder to eliminate shine and to leave skin feeling and looking smoother. Use to blot off excess oil that causes skin blemishes. The Matte side (without powder) is for blotting to absorb the excess oils and the Powdered side is for finishing. Packaged in a pull out tissue component with the convenience of fitting in a purse."

Each pack contains 40 tissues and each one can be used at least twice.  I typically buy the translucent shade but it is available in several other shades if you want one more compatible with your skin tone.  They are available at any Sally Beauty Supply for $3.99.  If you have a Sally Beauty Club card, you may be able to buy them cheaper than that.  They're also available online at Sally's website.  If you try them out, please let me know how they work for you.  lotsalove!

Sep 21, 2009

The Best Glass Cleaner You've Never Heard Of

Is it just me, or does it seem like the best products on the market are the ones most of us have never heard of?  There are no incessant commercials for them, no internet pop-up adds, and no annoying jingles.  My theory is that the companies that make truly superior products, like SprayWay glass cleaner, don't need to spend a gazillion dollars on advertising because the product sells itself.  Trust me.  Once you try this stuff, you'll see what I mean.

I actually came across this product by sheer chance.  I was in Costco, not even looking for glass cleaner, when I saw a 4-pack of blue cans.  The label itself was pretty nondescript, but what caught my eye was this sticker on the front of the package.

I still don't know which "leading test publication" that sticker's referring to, but it sold me.  I figured, at $6.61 for four 19 ounce cans, I wasn't going to lose much if I hated it.  And yes, I said cans.  This product comes in aerosol  cans instead of a trigger spray bottle.  But, don't let that deter you from buying it.  No ozone-depleting chemicals here.  And the product itself, comes out of said can as a foam, reminiscent of those scrubbing bubble cleaners.  No more mad dash to wipe off the glass cleaner before it drips.  This stuff stays put.  Here are some other fantastic facts about Sprayway copied from their website.
  • The most versatile glass cleaner available - cleans glass, windows, mirrors, windshields; enamel surfaces, chrome, tile, porcelain and other hard surfaces. (I would add stainless steel to this list.)
  • Dissolves dirt, grease, grit, and grime.
  • Guaranteed to leave no film.
  • Contains perfume-grade alcohol for best performance
Man, I love multitasking cleaners!  I did an internet search, and discovered all kinds of rave reviews about this product, but as they say, the proof is in the pudding, so I put it to the test.  With four grimy kids running around, I had plenty of surfaces on which to test it.  Some of the toughest jobs it conquered at my house were the sliding glass door which we use constantly, the back inside windows of the minivan (which I tend to neglect, so they were downright filthy), the microwave oven door above the range (it cut right through the greasy film), and our stainless steel kitchen trash can.  And of course, it does a fantastic jobs on mirrors and any other glass surfaces.

There are two different can designs for the same product.  The one I bought looks like this...

...and the one online looks like this.

Sprayway glass cleaner is available at Costco and Sam's club as well as several online sites like and amazon.  Oh, and did I mention that one 19 ounce can cleans as much as two 32 ounce trigger sprayers of that blue liquid glass cleaner. So much to love!

If you give this product a try and love it as much as I do, please let me know.  And do your friends a favor and please email this post to them.  Then, they'll love you as much as they'll love this glass cleaner!  lotsalove!

Sep 18, 2009

Unique and Affordable Costume Ideas (No Sewing Required!)

Tired of pirates and princesses?  How about dressing your trick-or-treater as a piece of sushi this year?

Or a cute little toadstool?

These cute costume ideas and a ton of others are the brainchild of Family Fun Magazine.  I was given a subscription as a gift a few years ago and am eternally grateful!  But you don't need a subscription to check out all of their great ideas.  Just visit their website, click on "Halloween", and then "costumes".

I have saved some pretty big bucks making my kids' Halloween costumes instead of buying the packaged, polyester, pieces of (fill-in-the-blank) that tear within the first few hours of wear.  Now I know what you're thinking.  Or, at least I'll try to guess.  You're probably thinking that you have neither the time or the ability to make a costume that your child will actually be willing to wear.  Let me put your mind at ease by telling you that I have the crafting and creative ability of a kindergartner (although I'm pretty sure I'm better at cutting with scissors).  The step-by-step instructions are very easy to understand and execute.  In fact, your kids may even be able to help, depending on their age.

A couple of years ago, I tried the costume for the "Fab '50s Waitress" for my girls, and my toddler son went as the "Good Egg".  They turned out so cute!!!

Family Fun also has ideas on how to make traditional costumes (like pirates and princesses) as well.  I hope this fires up your excitement about DIY costumes.  If you try any of these ideas, let me know how they turn out.  lotsalove!

Sep 16, 2009

Give me a head with hair....

When I was four, my parents chopped off all of my hair to make it easier on my dad in the morning since my mom had to leave early to go to work.  My first day of kindergarten, the little boy sitting across from me at lunch asked, "Are you a boy or a girl?".

The humiliation continued all through elementary school with one bad haircut or perm after another.  For this reason, every Christmas I'd ask for the doll or Barbie with the longest hair I could find and then spend hours combing, braiding, and styling it.  I promised myself that if I had daughters, they would always have long, beautiful, perfectly styled hair.

Then I actually had daughters.  Cue reality.

I've been blessed with two little girls, ages 8 and 6.  My older daughter's fine hair breaks very easily, and if not trimmed regularly, she begins to resemble something from Fraggle Rock.  As a result, she's never had her hair past her shoulders.  My younger daughter has a head of thick, beautiful hair, but wails like a banshee whenever I even begin to comb it.  If you could hear her, you'd think I was simultaneously combing her hair and sawing off a limb.

I'd tried several different drugstore detanglers, all of which fell short of getting the job done without breakage and tears.  Then I found a miracle Actually, that's what it's called, Miracle Detangler for Babies and Up by Original Sprout.  The kids' salon where I take my son carries the Original Sprout line and the stylist talked me into buying it.  No small feat considering a 4 ounce bottle costs $10.95.  "A little goes a long way," she said.  And she was actually right.  I use a fraction of this stuff compared with the drug store detanglers I used to buy.  But the point is, it's amazing.  No more breakage, no more tears.  Life is good.
Click here to find a retailer near you or purchase it online.  This is the 4 ounce spray.  They also sell a 12 ounce bottle for $24.95.  It's available through other online retailers, but all of their prices are pretty much the same.

All of Original Sprout's products are soy, honey, and gluten free, biodegradable, made with 100% natural vegan ingredients and are used by many celebrity moms..blah..blah..blah..blah..........  Oh I'm sorry, I must have dozed off.  Now don't get me wrong.  I am grateful that this stuff will not seep through my child's scalp, into her bloodstream and cause hormone disruptions, but otherwise, all I really care about is that it works.

Well there, you have it, my first official "Love These Products" post.  Please let me know what you think.  I have a million other amazing products in my head that I can't wait to tell you about.  lotsalove!

About Me

I'm the kind of girl who becomes completely giddy when I find a product that improves my quality of life (which isn't too hard to do) and doesn't leave a hole in my bank account large enough for my husband to notice. Once the giddiness subsides and my ability to form coherent sentences returns, my next impulse is to shout my new discovery from the rooftops, for all the hardworking, under-appreciated women of the world to hear. I just love to share. Hence, the idea for this blog was conceived.

Now, I'm new to blogging so I have a lot to learn. I'm sure my initial posts will look positively medieval, but hopefully, the information contained therein will be enough to bring you to new heights of giddiness as well.

I'm a mostly stay-at-home mother of four children, ages 8, 6, 3, and 7 months and I'm also a registered dietitian, so I may include a few posts about feeding the little ones. But mostly, the products I'll be reviewing have to do with making our lives easier. Anything from cleaning and cooking, health and beauty, and caring for kids and babies are fair game. And besides telling you why I love them, I'll also tell you where to find them and how much they cost.

Please keep in mind, the opinions shared on this blog are just that, opinions. So if you disagree with one of my reviews, or know of a better product out there, please share.

So you see, this is a win-win situation all the way around. I do the research and sharing, and you just check in from time to time to see what's new. And who knows? Maybe this week's product will be the one, that once you try, you'll wonder how you ever lived without.
My first review ever is coming soon, so stay tuned!!

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