Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling

*Product provided for review. All opinions are mine. Post contains affiliate links*
I had the awesome chance to try out the Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling in Sky. Ever since having Olivia, I wanted a good way to carry her around when out doing errands, or even things around the house. 

Here is a description of the sling from their website:

"Featuring a colorful print and a simple design, our wrap provides an elegant and traditional way to carry little ones. Promotes bonding and physical development as Baby grows. Our soft cotton construction are uniquely hand-woven to provide a bit of give so they mold perfectly to the body and create a very comfortable fit for Baby and Babywearer."

This sling is 100% cotton, machine washable, is also great for nursing on-the-go and for using as a nursing cover. It can be used for babies from 8 pounds, all the way up to 35 pounds. You can find them on their website here for $68, or also on Amazon here for $39.95 or $49.95 depending on the style. 

I adore this ring sling so much, and am tempted to get one in every color! I will say, there is a learning curve to figuring out how to use it properly and safely, so I recommend watching some YouTube videos on how to actually use one, if you've never tried a ring sling before. Now that I've used this a few times, I feel like I can safely carry Olivia around while grocery shopping, or doing some light housework. I even noticed that when she's fighting sleep, I put her in the sling and she's out in 5 minutes. Works like a charm! 

Hip Baby Wrap has so many different colors and styles to choose from! If you have a new baby, or an older one who likes to be held all the time, I highly recommend this sling. This would make an awesome baby shower gift as well for the mom who wants to babywear!

If you have kids, what do you think about this ring sling? Is it something you're interested in?

Friday, April 7, 2017

January, February & March 2017 Empties

As promised, I'm showing you all the products I've used up so far since the beginning of the year. It's not alot since I wasn't really taking care of myself because of being with my daughter in the hospital. Now that she's home, it'll be much easier using up products and caring about my health and happiness again. 

Starting off with skincare, I have finally used up the Clean & Clear Morning Burst Shine Control Facial Scrub. I used to like this, but over time I ended up actually hating it. The scent is overpowering and the scrubbing bits can be kinda harsh. 

The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser is something I'd buy over and over again if it wasn't so expensive! I LOVE this cleanser so much. It makes my skin feel clean, without stripping it dry. 

Jack Black lip balms are incredible. I had been trying to use up the Natural Mint scent since before Olivia was born. Granted, I lost it a couple times, but always ended up finding it. I have a few more of these in different scents to use up and would consider repurchasing once I go through my stash. 

Philosophy skincare is hit or miss for me, but the Renewed Hope in a Jar is a hit! I'm not a fan of the cult classic original moisturizer that everyone raves about, but this one is nice. I'd consider purchasing once I use up what I have. 

I got a sample of the Exuviance OptiLight Essential 6 Serum with a product I was sent to try ages ago. I got quite a few uses out of this, but I didn't find it to be anything special. Exuviance is a pretty expensive brand, and I'm sure if I had a bigger size, I would've seen a difference in my skin. 

I tend to get a few samples of the DDF Ultra-Lite Oil-Free Moisturizing Dew, and I think I may have another to use up. This is a pretty decent moisturizer that has a gel consistency, so it's great for Summertime use when my skin is more oily. 

You all know my love for Valentia and their skincare. I did a review of their Royal Rose Hydrating Serum, and completely love it. The rose scent isn't too strong, and it helps to hydrate my skin well. If I didn't have a million serums to use up first, I'd buy this again in a heartbeat. 

I didn't care for the Murad Oil Control Mattifier SPF 15. It smelled weird and made my skin look super pale. 

Philosophy body products are my jam, and the Gingerbread Girl body lotion is no exception. It's not the most hydrating moisturizer in the world, but it does the job well enough and smells like baked goods, which is a plus in my book!

The next four products I used up were hand creams. I went through so many handcreams while my daughter was in the NICU from all the hand washing. The Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Cream with Aloe is probably meant to be a body moisturizer, but it felt so nice and luxurious on my hands, and made them feel like soft baby skin. The Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream is far from luxury to be honest. It smells like nothing and didn't hydrate my skin at all. I think it made the dryness worse. Everyone talks about the Soap & Glory Hand Food and for good reason! The scent can be a little strong, but the hydration it gives is amazing. Out of all of these hand creams, the L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is my favorite. It smells like baby powder and hydrates like no other. It's expensive as hell, but worth it and I will probably repurchase when I use up my stash. 

Lastly, we have some random products. Bath & Body Works hand soaps are amazing, but expensive, even when there is a sale. Crisp Morning Air smelled nice and fresh, but I like sweet smelling hand soaps more. 

The Colgate Cavity Protection Toothpaste is something both my husband and I used. He used it more than I did since I prefer toothpastes with sensitivity protection. 

Since having Olivia, I have been shedding like a German Shepard. It's so bad, but I know it's postpartum hormones that are causing it. I like the Natrol Biotin 10,000mcg because I feel like it really helps in normal, everyday life, and works great at making my nails super strong as well. 

Number of products used up: 16
Total used up for the year: 16

I'll be going back to monthly empties now that things are starting to settle down. Hopefully I can make my goal of using up 150 products, and that does include foil packets as well. I'm so bad at using my foil packet samples and need to make it a point to use some up this year. 

What are some products you've used up recently?   

Monday, April 3, 2017

April 2017 Goals

I haven't done a monthly goals post since November, which I had failed miserably at achieving any. My life was put on the back burner as our daughter was in the NICU, and then going through open heart surgery. I want to get back into doing things for me and setting attainable goals for the month of April. 

- Reach 2,000 pageviews on the blog. In March I had just a little over 1,600 pageviews. That's not terrible, but my pageviews definitely took a hit during my time away with my daughter. This month I want to work hard on reaching more people and set a small goal of just 2,000. 

- Have some ME time! I'm my daughter's primary caregiver being a stay at home mom. My husband works crazy hours, typically putting in 50-60 hours in a week. While I totally love being able to stay home with my little girl, there are times where this mama just wants a little time to herself, whether it be to just hide away in the bedroom reading a book, or taking a shower and doing a face mask after. No matter what it is, I want to be sure I'm taking care of me as well. 

- Continue writing 2 posts a week. This was my goal when I started writing here again, and for April, I want to keep it up. Eventually, I'd like to work up to 3 posts, but for now, 2 will have to do. 

- Organize our house. I feel like this is a goal I have every month! Seriously, before Olivia was born, I was doing so well getting things organized and throwing stuff away or donating things we don't need. Then she decided she wanted to meet us 10 weeks early, and all that basically went to hell. It's not her fault by any means, we should've taken more time beforehand to really clean up and have things ready for when she came home. I'm slowly starting to make our house look much better, and we're only a few days into April so far!

What are some of your goals for this month? 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Current Skincare Favorites

 *Post contains affiliate links*
You all know my love for skincare, and that it is my focus for this year instead of makeup. You always have your skin, and the better you take care of it, I always feel you need less makeup. Don't get me wrong, I still love makeup, but with having Olivia home now, I don't have the time to play around with colors or looks, let alone put any on. So today's post is going to be the skincare products that I currently have been loving. 

The Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash has been a favorite cleanser of mine for years. I pulled it out from my stash and fell back in love with it. It has teeny tiny scrubbing bits in it that helps with a little manual exfoliation, but it's super gentle enough to use on a daily basis. This has been my morning cleanser, and it's helping to get rid of all the dry, flaky skin I've been having lately. 

I'm obsessed with lip balms. I literally have a huge bag full of ones I have yet to open. This Lime Rocket scent from Badger is AMAZING! It's so incredibly hydrating and creates a nice barrier from everything; wind, food, drink. It lasts such a long time between applications, so I don't see myself using all this up very quickly, unless I slather it on a million times a day, just because. 

I was given the Monat Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive ages ago to review. It's an oil that can be used in your hair or on your skin. It's way to much for my hair, but when I add just 2-3 drops of this oil into my moisturizer, my skin is hydrated and has a 'glow from within' look. 

I have also done a review on this Derma E Firming DMAE Eye Lift. Loved it then, and still love it now. I pulled this out again because my eye area was really dry and irritated. This helped it after just one use and keeps the delicate skin around my eyes looking nice and healthy. The little lines and circles I have from being exhausted are slowly starting to diminish as well. 

My last skincare product is from Bath & Body Works. Now I typically am not a fan of B&BW body care products. I adore their candles and hand soaps, but their body products left little to be desired for me. Since being in the NICU with my daughter, I have still been washing my hands a million times a day and am dealing with rough, cracked patches all over my hands. The Island White Pineapple Nourishing Hand Cream smells divine, but also hydrates my hands well without making them feel greasy. 

What are some of your favorite skincare products currently?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Review: Keeva Argan Oil, Tea Tree Oil, & Coconut Oil Revitalizing Shampoo

*Product provided for review, post contains affiliate links*
After Olivia was born, I had little to no time for a shower. Honestly, I just let myself go and wanted to spend all my time in the NICU with her, dirty hair and all. I was very kindly given the Keeva Argan Oil, Tea Tree Oil, and Coconut Oil Shampoo to try just before Olivia entered the world 10 weeks early, back in October. The times I did wash my hair with this shampoo, I was pretty impressed to say the least. 

Info on the product from Amazon:

- THE ULTIMATE COMBO: Tea Tree Oil, Argan Oil, Coconut Oil! Keeva contains the most potent Tea Tree oil sourced from select Chinese steam distillation plants to ensure the highest level of quality, purity and effectiveness against dandruff. Most people think the best tea tree oil is from Australia, it's actually originally from China! Our Argan oil and coconut oil is also the highest quality as we hand select our ingredients from FDA manufacturing facilities only. It is also SILICONE-FREE 
- HYDRATES AND RESTORES THE MOISTURE LEVELS OF YOUR HAIR REVITALIZES YOUR HAIR AND SCALP. People find Keeva as the best source of the following: shampoo with tea tree oil, moroccan argan oil shampoo, shampoo with coconut oil, best natural shampoo, best organic shampoo, best sulfate free shampoo, dandruff shampoo.  
- 100 DAY BETTER HAIR GUARANTEE: Thanks to its high potency and purity, Keeva provides a unique combo of essential oils unlike any other product on the market. The soothing and hydrating properties, unlike other shampoos, will not damage your hair and scalp. Used regularly, Keeva will give you better looking and healthier hair. Our Shampoo has Anti dandruff benefits for all hair types and can be used as a treatment for dry hair and dry scalp. 
- 100 DAY AMAZON REFUND POLICY: If you can't honestly state that this product hasn't improved your hair at all, AMAZON will give you a full refund within 100 days. 
NO PARABENS AND HARMFUL CHEMICALS: We don't use dangerous chemicals or do any animal testing. Our natural shampoo is paraben free, sulfate free, cruelty free, and safe for color treated hair. For men and women of all ages. Keeva Organics prides itself on producing products that actually work.

Because I hadn't been washing my hair that often, I had dandruff buildup and greasy hair, but horribly dry ends. After using this just once and without conditioner, my hair was so soft and my scalp was flake free! I couldn't believe it. The texture of this shampoo is like a thick cream but it foams up rather well for a shampoo that is said to be sulfate free. It's got a light fragrance to it that isn't overbearing at all and also doesn't linger. 

I still don't wash my hair often, twice a week at most since I have a ton of postpartum hair loss. I just adore this shampoo and use it whenever I notice my scalp is more itchy and has more dandruff. The price is right at just $19.99 for a huge 28.2 ounce bottle. It's got a pump on it which make it easier to get the product out. When you're an exhausted mom, that's important. I highly recommend this shampoo if you have dandruff or an oily, itchy scalp. 

What do you think of this shampoo? Does it seem like one you will try?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

October, November & December 2016 Empties

*Post contains affiliate links*
With my daughter being born early, I had no time to write up empties posts every month, let alone any posts really. I did still keep all the products I used up, and I'll have another empties post for the first 3 months of this year so far coming in the next couple weeks. 

I'll start off with some bath and hair products. The Pantene Volume Shampoo is one that both my husband and I used. I'm a big fan of Pantene shampoos and conditioners, and this one was no exception. I was sent the Derma E Scalp Relief Shampoo a while ago, and I did really enjoy it. It had a tingly effect on my scalp and made any dandruff I had go away. 

Two deluxe sized body washes I finished up were the Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief, and the other was the Dove Deep Moisture. I LOVED the scent of the B&BW body wash and am considering buying a full size once I use up my stash. The Dove I didn't care for. It really wasn't moisturizing to me and left my skin feeling rough. 

We used up two toothpastes the last 3 months of the year. A Colgate Total Whitening, and a Colgate Enamel Health. The Enamel Health was mine and I really liked how it made my teeth feel. I would occasionally use the Total Whitening, but it made my teeth too sensitive. 

While I was pregnant, I took the Thorne Basic Prenatal vitamin. I liked these because they contain Folate, not Folic Acid. Folic Acid is the synthetic form of Folate, and I have a disorder where my body cannot process the synthetic version. These are more expensive than other vitamins, but they were worth it to me. 

Lastly for health products, is a mini Degree deodorant. Since I was in and out of the hospital for the better part of 5 months with my daughter, I would take travel sizes since they were easier to manage. I liked this enough, but probably wouldn't buy again. 

For anyone that doesn't know, NICU's are very warm and very dry. My lips, hands and whole body took a beating, and I went through all these lip balms the last three months of 2016. I love The Body Shop lip butters, and this one was the honeymania scent. Families who have had babies in the NICU tend to give gifts here and there throughout the year,and in a gift bag I had gotten, there was the Blistex Fruit Smoothies lip balm in the Berry Explosion scent. I kid you not when I say I went through this tube in just two weeks! Last lip balm is the Serious balm in the Snickerdoodle scent. I love these balms and was sent a few, I wanna say last Spring. I still have the other two to use up and I'm sure I will get to them soon. 

Last up is some skincare! I'm fairly certain I used the BioRepublic Green Tea Detox sheet mask just before having Olivia, because I had zero time or energy to do any kind of face mask after she was born. I finally used up the First Aid Beauty Daily Face Cream that I had been working on for probably a year. I love this face cream because it's fragrance free and simple to use. The White Tea Facial Cleanser from Korres was nice, but slightly drying. I liked the scent, but this is better for me to use in the warmer months. 

I've used up more hand creams since, but the one I had finished up before the end of the year was the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream in the fragrance free version. I adore this hand cream as it's nice and thick, but is gel-like and sinks right in. I washed my hands probably 20 times a day, at least, while tending to my daughter, and needed something that would help heal the dryness and cracked skin I had. 

Total number of products used up: 15
Total for the year: 128

128 products used up in 2016 is not too bad! Considering having my daughter early, I'm pretty proud I did as well as I did. My lofty goal was to use up 250 products, and I initially wanted that to be my goal for this year as well, but I decided to be nice to myself and lower it to 150. Olivia has only been home for 2 weeks now, and we're still figuring out a good routine, so it may take a bit to get into a groove of using products efficiently. My husband and I would also like to move, maybe in the Summer, and I'd like to use up as much as I can before that. Anyway, like I said above, I will have an empties post for the first 3 months of this year up very soon, and will go back to monthly empties after that. 

Did you keep track of how many products you used up last year? 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sephora VIB Sale, Ulta & Birthday Haul

*Post contains affiliate links*
This post is coming quite a few months late, but for very good reason. My birthday was back in December, and Sephora usually does their VIB sale sometime around late November or so. I decided to treat myself to some beauty bits while my daughter was still in the hospital. 

After Olivia came along, I was mainly into skincare and getting my skin in good shape. I hadn't worn makeup in ages, and still haven't worn any since she was born. I still have boatloads of makeup that I slowly want to get back into doing, but skincare is my main focus. During the VIB Rouge sale (which I am no longer part of Rouge), I had picked up 3 of the Sephora Favorites sets: Soko to Tokyo, Scouted by Sephora, and Beauty Sleep. All of these sets came with brands that I had been dying to try, and now that Olivia is finally home, I can really focus on getting my good skin back. 

After the VIB Rouge sale, I got one of those $25 off of $50 giftcards sometime in December, so I ended up buying a few things for my birthday. I got the Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask set that comes with 6 sheet masks. Ever since I learned how to properly use a sheet mask, they've become so much more fun to use. I also got the Tony Moly Coconut Face Mask Sheet in the 2-pack. 

To get to the $50, I purchased two lip balms from Smith's: one in Minted Rose, and the other in Rose & Mandarin. I've used these balms before in other scents, and love how they smell and feel on my lips. They're nice and thick, and perfect to use before bed to really soak in and hydrate dry, cracked lips. 

Since it was my birthday, I chose to get the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser as my birthday gift. I really like how there are options to choose from now, versus just a one product for all people. I also had 500 points to burn, so I chose the Glamglow face mask and cleanser set. I love the masks in the white and blue jars, but not so much the black one. I have yet to try their cleansers, but will probably save it for the warmer months when my skin gets more oily. 

I need more eyeshadow palettes like I need a hole in the head, but everyone and their dog was raving about the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette. Since Ulta gives you double points during your birthday month, and it was a time where I had a 20% off coupon, I treated myself. The colors are super pretty, but more warm toned than I'm used to. I honestly still have yet to try it with all the stuff going on with Olivia. 

Since I was on a skincare kick, I got some individual sheet masks from Tony Moly: Refreshing, Skin Purifying, Moisturizing, Pore Care, Skin Soothing, and Clear Skin. These sheet masks are so inexpensive and I always hear great things about them. I can't wait to dig in and try them!

I hope you all didn't mind my ultra late haul from my birthday and the VIB sale! Since these purchases, I haven't bought a single thing and have put myself on a spending ban for the entire year. Maybe once December rolls around again, I'll treat myself for my birthday, but other than that, I truly don't need a thing beauty related. Is there anything you've bought recently that you're liking?