Striking Oil – My 5 Top Oils for Hair, Skin and Nails

As a teen with oily skin, you learn to fear the oil. I invested in a lot of products meant to soak up, blot, dry out and suck the oil out of my skin. As an adult, I’ve learned to not be afraid to embrace the idea that oil is not all bad. In fact, it’s probably my skin’s shiny nature that has kept me from having more fine lines at 40 plus. My toddler is trying to accelerate things to catch my face up with my age, but I’m fighting back and learning to keep my skin, hair and nails soft and healthy with oil based beauty products.

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I was always into beauty product DIY when I was younger, so Olive Oil was my first exposure to using oils for hair and skin since it was always around and my mom didn’t mind me using it. It was easy to heat up a little olive oil with a few drops of essential oil and make myself a hair treatment at least once a month. I still occasionally try and fit in a homemade hot oil treatment, and I always massage a little into my cuticles when I’m cooking. And if I use to much then I rub the extra on my knees and elbows. Olive oil is pretty good head-to-toe, inside and out!

deep cleansing oilSince I was already familiar with the benefits of olive oil, DHC , a Japanese skincare company, caught my eye years ago with their olive oil based products. I fell in love with their Deep Cleansing Oil, and been using it now for about 15 years! It was the only thing I found that could take off all my heavy duty cosplay make-up, false lashes and mascara and gobs of liquid eyeliner, and leave my skin clean without scrubbing it three times. I also love that their catalog comes with free samples every time!

My next favorite oil is Jamberry’s Cuticle Oil. While I do really like this one, to be honest, I used to always use Delore Nails cuticle oil and was out of it when I hopped on the Jamberry train and tried out a bunch of wraps and got the starter kit. So I started using the cuticle oil like the Delore Nails and found I liked it better than I ended up liking the wraps. I peel those things off in less than 24 hours. So I have yet to run into a cuticle oil I haven’t liked. I have some serious cuticle issues.

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A new favorite was recommended to me at Cortello Salon, where I recently went to get my summer blond back. To protect those pretty highlights from the sun and smooth my color treated hair, they rubbed in a few drops of their ReForm 4U Hair Oil before blow drying and styling. reform hair oilI took a bottle home and use a few drops when I get out of the shower, and then a few more if I am heat styling. On top of being free from all kinds of harmful chemicals, vegan, not tested on animals and made in the USA, it also smells beautiful. I’m very sensitive to scented products and I think this smells clean and fresh, but not in an overpowering way.

And now for my last and most recent oil, a facial oil by Beauty Counter called the #1 Brightening Facial Oil. It’s a blend of seven natural oils with a fresh citrus scent and it soaks right in leaving my skin nice and soft. You can use it alone, or add a few drops to mix with your usual nighttime moisturizer for an added boost. I really like the way this stuff leaves my skin feeling- soft but with no greasiness like you might think would come from an oil.

BC_No1BrighteningFacialOil-SKU1041_Alt01In fact, overall I think that’s the message here: oils do not have to be “oily.” A good facial oil doesn’t leave you slick and gooey and a good hair oil doesn’t make it look like you need to wash your hair. Beauty oils are made to soak in and are amazing moisturizers. So don’t be afraid to try an oil, even if you feel you are producing plenty on your own!

Do you have a favorite oil to recommend? Let me know!

* Post contains Amazon Affiliate links *

Can Simulated Diamonds Be a Girl’s Best Friend?

ring1When Modern Gents sent me some sparkly simulated diamond rings to review, I thought they would make a great substitute ring for when your fingers swell during pregnancy. Then out of curiosity, I posted a simple question on Facebook and a shitstorm of responses ensued. I asked, “How would you feel if you were proposed to with a fake diamond?”

The responses were all over the place, ranging from “It’s the sentiment behind it that counts,” to “No way, I want the real thing.” I found it interesting that a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that I meant the proposer meant to trick the proposee, which wasn’t my angle. The imaginary person with the imaginary ring may or may not have made a point to be clear about the ring’s source before, during or after the proposal. I didn’t specify those parameters.

There was also a LOT of diamond bashing- mentions of them not being rare, the blood diamond business and the whole engagement ring thing behind them a scam perpetrated by the De Beers family. So diamonds are not on the top of every girl’s list when it comes to ring preference.

I think what it all boiled down to is, most people would be OK with it if the proposer was open about the stone’s true nature. Some even preferred it to not be a diamond at all, but some other stone that might have a more special meaning.

So there you go guys. You don’t have to spend a thousands of dollars to make a girl happy. You just need to be honest about what she’s getting!

This obviously isn’t a review – I actually sent the rings back because they were too big (my fault) but I wanted to post something because I was surprised at the amount of responses the post got. People had some pretty strong feelings about it!

My blog readers usually aren’t quite as passionate as Facebook posters, but I’ll pose the same question here – How would you feel if you were proposed to with a fake diamond?

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I think this guy is on to something…

 

Sweet Potatoes in the Copper Crisper

My grandmother surprised me with a Copper Crisper, so I had to give it a try right away. My husband keeps getting sweet potatoes with the intention of cutting them up and making little tater tot type things for his lunch, and then doesn’t follow through with it, so I figured this would be the perfect thing to use for that.

I chopped up three sweet potatoes into cubes, and in hindsight that was too many to fit on the pan but I went through with it anyway!

I didn’t want all the sugar and sweetness so I just tossed the potatoes in a little olive oil and sea salt and then put them in the oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, as per the directions. I was very skeptical that 20 minutes was going to be enough, and I was right, so I put them back in for 20 more. And then a little longer.

I took them out and mix them in the butter like the recipe said, but I probably would’ve been better off skipping that part. They were OK, but not as crunchy as I’d hoped. I realize this was probably my fault for overloading the pan, although I did go in and move them around every time I added more time so that they could all cook.

Here’s the recipe if you are interested in trying it yourself!

I do plan on giving it another try but with less sweet potatoes next time and no butter! I have started using the Copper Crisper for other things like breaded fish and chicken and it actually works pretty good so I’m sure I can get a crisper potato if I adjust the amount.

Anybody else use one of these? Any tips or favorite things to cook in it?

Getting Cozy with CozyPhones

I’d been wanting to try a set of CozyPhones to see if they would block out my husband’s snoring. It’s loud and awful and always interrupting my sleep. I bought some expensive ear plugs that worked great at blocking out every noise except the snoring. It’s like he snores at some special frequency immune to sound barriers. (As a side note, I recently found some nose plug thingies that actually work great to stop him from snoring)

CozyPhones are a soft headband with earphones inside. They come both wired and Bluetooth capable. If you are using them for sleeping, I’d suggest going Bluetooth. It’s kind of weird being connected to your phone while sleeping if you flip around like I do.


They also make some really cute Paw Patrol headphones so I was hoping to convince my son to wear them in time for our summer trip to Ireland, but no luck yet. He just hates having anything over his ears!

I found them really comfortable to wear, even for side sleeping. Ear plugs bug me and I usually have to take out the one that’s pressed into the pillow, so I was impressed that I couldn’t feel the earphone part inside! I used a white noise app and they blocked out almost everything. Everything except the full-throttle roaring from the other side of the bed.

So while they failed the snore test, they do have many other uses! They do work great for sleeping when you want to block out most noise, they would also be great for winter time running or snowboarding. But then, I may have found the best use of all. Helping me find a little peace and calm when my son is losing it in extended tantrum mode:

I’m sure I’ll be using my CozyPhones a lot on our upcoming trip. The name suits them well- they are really soft and cozy! They also make lycra ones for activewear. You can find them on their website CozyPhones.com or on Amazon.

*  Any Amazon link is an affiliate link  *

A Geek Mama Review of Darkarta: A Broken Heart’s Quest

I’m excited to welcome one of the geekiest Geek Mamas I know, Emily Parker, as our first game reviewer! I’ve been wanting to expand the site with more contributors and content, so this is the first step in that direction. Hope you enjoy!

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As a mom, my hobbies seem to be cooking, cleaning and begging my kids not to leave their clothes on the floor. But, I used to like to play video games. Granted, when I was an active “gamer,” it was Centipede and Space Invaders, then later, Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But, after kids I moved on to those other exciting hobbies. Recently I got to resurrect my gamer skills and test out a new game called Darkarta: A Broken Heart’s Quest, which is currently available on Steam and releasing on BigFishGames.com June 5. I was a little worried since I hadn’t played in so long but I jumped at the chance to try this new adventure!

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Darkarta is known as a HOG (Hidden Object Game) and played from the perspective of a mother (Mary) who is trying to save her daughter. I downloaded the demo and immediately called my 11-year-old son over to help because I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own.  But, I soon realized that I could totally handle it!

It starts with a couple traveling by boat with their little girl. They are on their way to learn more about Mary’s past. Everything seems fine until it’s not. Here comes Darkarta to kidnap her daughter, Sophia, as her husband is thrown overboard. Mary soon finds herself in a foreign place (Indus Valley) and in a foreign situation. It’s the classic scenario of an average person thrown into a crazy situation and forced to survive it. So, it was instantly intriguing.

My only critique would be that the mother didn’t seem appropriately freaked out that a giant demon looking guy on a flying buffalo just stole her child, otherwise, the content was great. My son and I were soon fighting over the mouse as we tried to solve the puzzles, interact with the characters and figure out where poor little Sophia was held captive.

I soon discovered the game has a wide age range appeal. My kids could successfully navigate the game and work on the puzzles, but it also was challenging enough to keep an adult engaged. I found myself ignoring my responsibilities and continuing to play it after the kids went to bed. I’ll even admit to cheering for myself when I created a dynamite potion and blew up a door to escape the treasure room.

After that, I was able to get the key to the boat so I could get off the island and continue to look for my daughter. I had been looking for the key for a while and it’s possible that I called for my children (who had finally settled down for bed) so they could come out and see what was going to happen next.

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Turns out that was where the demo ended and what happened was me yelling “Noooo! I want to see what’s going to happen next!”

So, the upshot is it’s fun. There was a lot of background character information available so you felt connected to them. The tutorial successfully helps you get around, but the game could also be navigated without it for those independent souls. There are great hints along the way as well. In my opinion, they found the right blend of challenges that were difficult enough to keep the player engaged, but not so difficult that it would be impossible to solve and, therefore, cause the player to lose interest. I would absolutely get the whole game. I want to know what happened to Sophia and learn the truth to Mary’s past!

(After letting them know that we were hooked on the game, they were kind of enough to provide me with a link to the full version. So, I’m happy to say that I can continue on my quest which is way more entertaining than folding laundry!)

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emilyEmily is a stay-at-home mom in Jacksonville, FL. She lives with her husband, four kids and a ridiculous amount of animals. Her family, her animals, and all things nerdy are her passion and she enjoys blogging about all of it at www.the5parkers.com