Monthly Archives: May 2010

Body, Face and Hair Product Reviews

Recently I purchased some new body, face and hair products. I LOVE every one of them! I thought I would do a review for each one for you in case you are in the market for some new fun stuff!

1. New Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash – Pink Grapefruit

From the Neutrogena website –

“Neutrogena® Body Clear® Body Wash Pink Grapefruit is a refreshing, clean-rinsing body wash that treats and helps prevent body breakouts with an uplifting blast of pink grapefruit. This unique formula features the maximum strength dermatologist recommended acne medicine Salicylic Acid boosted by oil-blasting MicroClear technology. It’s specially developed to treat body breakouts such as those on your back, shoulders and chest without over-drying. The bubbly lathering formula contains 100% naturally derived grapefruit extract plus vitamin C and treats skin without sacrificing your shower experience.”

My review-

 For $5.84 at Target, this is a great deal for a body wash that not only helps fights acne but smells delicious!  If you love the scent of grapefruit, this is the body wash for you! It’s a fresh scent that helps wake you up in the morning. If you shower at night, and are looking for a body wash with a soothing scent, this isn’t the one for you.  This body wash has a kick! It really does help fight acne also. I have had bad acne on my shoulders, back and chest for over 15 years, and when I was in highschool, I tried using the Original Body Clear Body Wash, but I couldn’t get past the medicinal scent. This new scent is amazing! I have noticed since using it, my skin is much clearer. With summer just around the corner, I’m excited to have found this body wash!

2. Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant, light and fresh scent

 

The Secret website has a great video explaining how this deodorant works!

http://www.secret.com/ClinicalStrength.do?gclid=CLP-gprg-KECFRJWagodxU8-FA

My Review-

I purchased this deodorant at Target for about $8.00. It killed me to spend that much on deodorant when there were plenty of other brands for less, but I have hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating) and before using this product, I would have to apply my deodorant 3-4 times a day so I would not smell. I used to keep a stick in my purse so when I started to smell myself, I could run to the bathroom and reapply. Not any more! I love this deodorant so much. You are supposed to apply it before bed and that’s all, but it makes me too nervous, so I apply it in the morning and it keeps me fresh all day long! If I am going out for the evening, I might reapply just to be safe, but if you don’t have excessive sweating you wouldn’t need to do this. The scent is really nice. It is “light and fresh”, just like it says. You do need to either apply it after you have put your shirt on or wait about 5 minutes for it to soak into your skin before putting your shirt on. Otherwise, it will leave white streaks.

3. St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub, Invigorating

From the St. Ives website-

From America’s #1 Scrub brand, this award-winning Apricot Scrub deep cleans, instantly leaving skin smooth and glowing.

My Review-

I have moderate (to severe on bad days) acne, so I use acne medication on a regular basis. This can leave my skin dry and flaky. I have been looking for a good scrub to remove the dry, dead skin, but also leave my face moisturized. This Apricot Scrub is amazing! It is oil free so it doesn’t clog my pores and the ground walnut shells and corn kernel meal does a great job of exfoliating, while the apricot oil moistuizes and keeps my skin from drying out. For those of you with nut allergies, make sure you read the ingredients very carefully! My sister is allergic to tree nuts and is not able to use this scrub. The scent is nice and clean also! About $4.00 at Target.

4. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Volumptous Washable Mascara, very black

 

From Maybelline.com –

Why you’ll love it

Now long lashes don’t have to be skinny.

  • Only our dual action brush stretches as it thickens each lash for dramatic length and volume
  • Our rich cream formula adds the most seductive finish
  • Contact lens safe and Ophthalmologist tested

My Review –

 I hate mascara comercials. Only a fool would be duped into believing those are the model’s real lashes! Most of the time I can see the false lashes glued to her eyelid. With that said, this mascara does give you great length and volume. You won’t look like the models on TV, but it does a really good job. I hate when mascara clumps, so I am very picky when it comes to mascara (I have 4 or 5 tubes in my drawer right now – all of them left me with clumps!). This mascara is clump-free. I’m not sure if it is because of the shape of the brush or the consistency of the mascara itself, but this one is a keeper! I tried the regular Lash Stiletto mascara (Not the volumptous one) and I really disliked the smell of it; it smelled like old mascara. I made sure it wasn’t expired. That was just the normal scent. I am extremely sensitive to scents and this one bothered me all day. I liked the results the mascara gave me, so I decided to try another formula, and BINGO! This one is great! I use the very black one. About $6-$7 at Target.

5. Garnier Fructis 3-Minute Undo Dryness Reversal Treatment, Triple Nutrition

From the Garnier Website –

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition 3-Minute Undo: Dryness Reversal Treatment includes the 3 nutritive fruit oils plus apricot seeds that massage and stimulate hair from the root for the ultimate nourishing experience. In just 3 minutes, it helps reverse the signs of dryness for sikly hair that’s full of life.

My Review-

I love this deep conditioner! It smells great and leaves my hair feeling healthy and shiny. I use Nioxin Cleanser and Scalp Treatment to fight my thinning hair, and although it works great to give me volume, it dries my hair out so badly. I use this 3-minute deep conditioner about 3-4 times a week. It isn’t too heavy and doesn’t weigh my hair down. For about $6.00 at Target or Walmart, the price isn’t bad for a good deep conditioner. I think it works better than most of the stuff I got talked into buying at the salon after a hair cut!

6. Tresemm’e Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray

From Tresemme.com-

To guard against heat styling damage and friction, spray this multi-use protective spray to keep your hair shiny and incredibly soft. It’s a fantastic tool for instantly transforming all hair textures, enhancing hairs’ flexibility to reform and hold shape.

Also, the moisture-locking vitamin complex hydrates and is heat-activated to guard against harsh styling damage.

My Review-

I have heat-styled my hair for years; the blow drying, curling, and straightening all zap my hair of moisture. I didn’t even realize until a couple of months ago that there were even products like this to protect my hair. I bought this product because of the price. It was only about $4.00 at Target and I figured if it didn’t work, then I wouldn’t be out too much money. I can tell you though, that I have noticed a big difference! I can go a little longer between trims and the ends don’t get as frizzy. I like the way the bottle sprays really evenly and the scent is light and fresh.

7. Tressem’e 24 Hour Body Foaming Mousse

From Tresseme.com-

Lightweight, maximum hold mousse that will pump up your hair’s volume to incredibly new heights. Volume Control Complex builds body that will outlast even your longest day. This product gives your hair  a light, fluffy texture and weightless volume that never feels sticky or stiff. The foaming formula works in tandem with your heat styling tools to maintain optimal body and bounce.
 
My Review-
 
I love mousse! I love making my hair as big as possible. When my old mousse ran out, I was so excited to buy a new one. Not that the old one didn’t do the trick, but I love trying new products to see if the new one is better than the old one. This product is great! It gives me great volume and it doesn’t leave my hair feeling sticky. Plus, I loved the way the bottle looked. I was contemplating buying two different ones, and I picked this one, which was about $4.00 ($1 more than my other option) just because the bottle was cool. 🙂 I am so glad I bought this one! The scent is really nice, but if you are sensitive to scents, this may not be the mousse for you. I can smell it all day long, even after I have applied my hair spray. I like the scent a lot, but make sure you like it too or you will get tired of smelling it every time you turn your head!
 
 
8. Aussie Sun-Touched Shine Hi-Hold + Hi-Shine Hair Spray

From Aussie.com-

Sun-Touched Shine Hi Hold + Hi Shine Hair Spray gives you super-duper hold, must-have shine and all-day style.

My Review –

I mainly bought this hair spray because I liked the scent. Obviously I couldn’t try it out right there in Walmart, so I bought the best smelling hairspray. Plus it was an aerosol spray. When I got home and tried it out, I was pleasantly surprised! The hold is good, and it doesn’t freeze your hair as soon as it goes on. I like that. I am still able to style it after I have sprayed it on. The mist is fine and coats evenly, and like I said before, it smells great! About $3-$4 at Walmart.

A Journey Rediscovered

This week I started on a new journey, well not exactly new, but rediscovered I guess you say. I went to the gym for the first time in about a year. Last year, I was working out 5-6 days a week, feeling great, thinking maybe the Lord was going to heal me. Then I got a little too adventurous and tried a Dancing With The Stars workout with my sister. I was cautious and we did the easiest routine with the least amount of hip movement. Still, it was too much. I didn’t feel bad while I was doing it, but the next morning, I knew I had really messed myself up. The consequences of that workout were severe pain, pain like I had 10 years ago, unmanageable pain. My sister would come on her lunch break and do my laundry and take out my trash. I was unable to do much of anything for myself. There were mornings Mike would have to help me get dressed. I went back to the Neurosurgeon who wanted to do a 3rd major surgery on my back, this time fusing it. I hired a team of housekeepers (my wonderful mom and sister!) who come once a month and do all the hard stuff for me. My husband and friends really kicked in and helped me keep my house in order. It became a really depressing time for me. I felt like I was losing myself all over again. I had learned to live with the pain, being cautious of my movements, knowing my limits, but with the new flare up, I felt like I was in high school again, hearing my life would never be the same.

The last year I have been concentrating on doing everything I can to heal as much as possible. I have lost some weight, 15 pounds to be exact. That may not seem like much, but for me it has been huge – you try losing 15 pounds and not even being able to walk to the bathroom on your own! It’s been really tough! We decided to put off another surgery until I can not take the pain anymore. There have been days I have been close to throwing in the towel. But the last couple of weeks, I have felt almost normal- not the average person’s normal, but my normal. Some pain, but mostly energy and happiness. So I took the plunge. I went to the gym – which I have been paying for every month, in hopes I would be able to use it again one day, and I did 10 minutes on the elliptical and 15 on the treadmill. Before the DWTS workout fiasco, I was up to doing 45-60 minutes 5 days a week! I was a little disappointed with the first workout, but also over joyed the next day when I woke up and felt ok. So I tried it again. Still ok. This morning  I am meeting my sister and brother in law at the gym (in 20 minutes and I’m still in my jammies! Yikes!  Better wrap this up!) So yes, this morning I am giving it another try. Still being cautious, but excited about the possibilities!

This Weekend

Well, this weekend was amazing! 

Mike was home. I weighed in at my Weight Watcher’s meeting and lost 2.6 pounds this week. Two of my besties came over to help me prep for my mom’s Birthday Brunch; we had such great fellowship. Mom’s Brunch went awesome! She looked happier than I have almost ever seen her. I cleaned out my car; and oh man, did it need it!! I went to church and since my pain was only at a 3 I wore heals and looked super cute in a new dress. Mike and I went to Claim Jumper for lunch to celebrate the semester of Seminary ending – and Mike getting all A’s! Came home with a terrible tummy ache. Ok, so that wasn’t great, but it made me relax and watch home decorating shows. Mike and I took a little trip to the bank to deposit our pay checks. This may not seem like such a wonderful thing, but spending ANY time with him, even going to the bank, is like Heaven for me. Came home and Mike helped me pick up the house.

I am so incredibly thankful to the Lord for this weekend! I never want to take for granted the little things that are easily overlooked, like time spent going to the bank with my hubby, or being able to wear cute shoes. My pain was so low this weekend, I almost felt normal. People at church even noticed a difference. Someone said I looked happier. Another told me he could see the relaxation in my face. Amazing.

This coming week, be on the look-out for those little blessings you may normally miss. Our God is faithful. He is in the business of miracles and healing. He loves us more than we could ever imagine.

I am praying for everyone who reads this. May God richly bless you as you seek HIM!

Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. I have been busy planning my mom’s birthday brunch for the last couple of weeks, so I don’t think I really realized Mother’s Day was coming so soon. Friday I started thinking about it and the emotions (and tears) began!

This morning  my alarm went off at 5:45 and the tightness was already there in my chest. We got ready for church, got in the car, and the tears began. I told Mike he needed to be really close to me today or I wasn’t sure I would make it through. Mike played for first service at church, while I stayed in the choir room, then we went to Subway for breakfast. As I was paying for our breakfast, I got the question every longing-to-be-a-mother woman dreads on Mother’s Day. 

Subway employee: “Are you a mom?”

Me: “No.”

Subway employee: “Oh… ’cause I was going to say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.”

Me: “Umm, yeah, I’m not a mom.”

We ate our breakfast and headed back to church. Second service was a little harder than the first. Today our church, as I am sure many churches did, had a baby dedication. I saw a friend who struggled for infertility for 9 years and was dedicating her perfect new son. I gave her a big hug and told her Happy Mother’s Day. When I pulled away, I saw in her eyes that she understood what I was feeling. Pastor talked about how children are a blessing from the Lord, and that the fruit of the womb is a reward. As I sat through the babies and their parents and extended family being called up to the front of the stage, accompanied by the darling little babies’ pictures up on the screen, my silent pleading began.

Me: “Why Lord? Why won’t you give us a child? How long does my heart have to feel like it is crumbling in my chest? Why do all of these people get children, but we don’t? Why reward them with an open womb and not me? Is it something I did? Please Lord, please.”

God: *Silence*

Pastor had all of the moms stand so we could honor them. I clapped along with everyone else as the tears rolled down my face. He prayed for the moms and I can genuinely say I prayed with him, thanking God for them asking God to bless them.

At the end of Pastor’s prayer I slipped out the side door and into the bathroom. I couldn’t control my sobbing. I felt angry, helpless, and incredibly heartbroken. A poor woman came into the bathroom and asked if I was ok. Through my sobs I just said that Mother’s Day was a hard day for me. I told her we had been trying for a long time. She did what a lot of well-meaning people do talking to someone with infertility. She told me a story about friends who tried for a long time and almost gave up hope, but then they got pregnant! Yippee!!! Whooo Hoooo!!! Fireworks go off in the sky above! —For those of you well-meaning people, please don’t do this. It does not bring us comfort. It is just another reminder that God has given them a child, and not us. I understand you feel awkward and don’t really know what to say. Just hug us. Tell us you will be praying for us. Don’t tell us it will happen when we stop trying so hard and relax. Don’t tell us that we’re still young. Don’t tell us a story. Please. It doesn’t help.

I composed myself, grabbed a wad of toilet paper and sticking it in my pocket for later tears, I went back into the choir room. Worship finished and we headed over to our Sunday school class. I sat through the class in a daze and my wonderful husband kept his hand on my arm or leg the whole time.

Third service was as hard as the second service. I didn’t really want to sit through another baby dedication, but our friends Jody and Jeff were dedicating  their new daughter and I wanted to be supportive and pray for them. I cried through the whole thing, crying out to God to answer. Again, nothing. As Jody was walking back to her seat, she saw me and asked how I was doing….she knew I was a mess. I snuck out the side door again and waited in the choir room for Mike to finish worship. Third service was spent in the choir room trying to ignore Pastor’s sermon on Hannah and Mary. Jody was there with her daughter and I was able to hold the baby and love on her. It helped to ease my pain. Jody also mentioned she was thinking about asking me to babysit her baby when she went on a retreat. She told me she hadn’t even asked her husband about it, and she didn’t know if it was even possible with my work schedule, that it was just a thought she had. She then told me that she wouldn’t trust many people to keep the baby for 2 nights, but that she trusted me. I can’t begin to tell you how her words were salve on my aching heart. She will never know how much those words meant to me, how the Lord used her words to reassure me I would be a good mom.

After church was over for the day, around 12:30p.m., we headed to have lunch with Mike’s mom and family. I enjoyed lunch with them and then dinner with my mom and family. I talked with my mom and sister about church and kind of how I was feeling, but I knew I really couldn’t get into it without losing it again. When we got home from dinner, Mike gave me a hug and told me I did good today. I made it through. I truly hope my mom and mother-in-law felt special and I am praying that they know how much they are loved. But I have to say, I am so relieved for this day to be over. Now I have 365 days to prepare for next Mother’s Day. I am praying for a miracle, that God would give us the blessing of a child, that He would open my womb and heal the heartbreak I feel everyday, but if He doesn’t, I know His plan for us is good, He loves us with an everlasting love, and He will carry us through the storms of this life until we get to go Home.

Mom’s Vegetable Soup – with pictures!

Here is my mom’s recipe for Vegetable Soup. She made it last week and when I was over, she made me a bowl and WOW! It was so good! I thought I would share it with you!

Mom’s Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:

  • 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1 package of Knorr French Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 lb of carrots
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 zucchini squash
  • 1 yellow summer squash
  • 16 oz. package of frozen white sweet corn
  • 1 large can diced mexican style (with pepper and onions) tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt to taste ( I used about 1/2 a teaspoon)
  • 3 cups water

Directions:

1. Chop celery, carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, and onion. Try to make them all close to the same size, except for the onion – smaller is better!

2. Dump all of the ingredients into the biggest soup pot you have and stir it up.  Here are the brands I used.

3. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 2-3 hours. Taste the soup before you serve it and make sure there is enough salt and pepper. I added a little more at the end. How easy is that!? It makes a huge pot so you can eat it all week. It is really low in calories and fat free! 🙂 Enjoy!

Home Sweet Home

Lately I have been struggling with Mike being gone so much at work and seminary. I understand that this is just a season in our life, and most days that understanding gets me through until the next time I get to see Mike. Lately though, and it could just be hormones, I miss him so much. The only time during the week we get to spend together is the drive to and from church on Wednesday night, and a little on Sunday afternoon. He leaves before I get up in the morning and he isn’t home until after I go to bed. It is taxing on our relationship, to say the least. I am so looking forward to the summer when he will be home with me.

When I am feeling lonely, the last thing I want to do is stay home by myself. I spend a lot of time at my mom’s house, visiting with her and my sister and brother or out shopping. I have been neglecting the house, letting the dishes and laundry pile up. Today I was reading Elizabeth George’s, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. I don’t think I have ever read the entire book all the way through, but I do pick it up time to time and read chapter or two.

 Today’s chapter was called “A heart that makes a house a home.” Elizabeth tells this story – As the center of family life, the home ministers to our family far more that we might imagine. I remember a time when my husband made this fact very clear. He’d had “one of those days” that has stretched him to his absolute limit. A seminary student at the time, Jim had left the church parking lot at 5:00am to attend classes and deliver his senior sermon. After his commute back to the church through downtown Los Angeles traffic, he had officiated at a funeral and graveside service for a women who, having no one to help bury her husband, had called the church the day Jim was “pastor of the day”. All of this was topped off with a late meeting at church. I had the porch light on and was watching out the kitchen window as I waited for Jim. When he finally got to the front door, he didn’t walk in, – he sort of slumped in, half falling. On the way in my exhausted husband sighed, “Oh Liz, all day long I kept telling myself, ‘If I can just get home, everything thing will be all right.'” 

Mike’s days aren’t filled with exactly the same things Elizabeth’s husband’s are filled with, but they are filled to the max, nonetheless. I feel like maybe because I have been holding on to some bitterness about Mike being gone so much that I have been neglecting my job as a wife to make our home a sanctuary for him. As I mulled this over in my head and heart, I felt really convicted. I apologized to Mike and I committed to do the best I can to make our home a place he where, If he can just get home, everything will be alright.”