Slowing Down with Rituals TryaBox from Tryazon

We do little things every day, automatically, without thinking about them. As a mom with very little time to stop and think about anything, I sometimes exist in a constant mom brain buzz just “getting things done” and moving on to my next task. So when applying for this Rituals TryaBox from Tryazon, I wrote that my idea for reviewing this product would be take a moment every day for a week and enjoy using the product and just enjoying the moment of a simple ritual like taking a shower or putting on lotion.

All the moms reading this are probably now laughing at me since you can probably figure how this went. I also gave this a try during the summer, while my husband was out of town, so I had no relief from the constant kid-induced state of chaos that comes with parenting. But you know what? I still enjoyed trying.

On the first day, I invited my friend Effie and her son over to help with the unboxing. It’s always more fun to do with a friend! And we took an everyday playdate and made it an event. We unboxed, ooohed and ahhhed over the nice smells and products, tried a destressing ritual on the kids and just embraced the general chaos that is our daily lives. Click here to watch our unboxing video on YouTube.

The two products I got to sample were the Foaming Shower Gel and the Natural Dry Oil for skin and hair. Both smelled wonderful – light and slightly herbal/floral but not overpowering for a sensitive nose like mine. The Indian rose and himalaya honey used in the collection are supposed to help create a balancing effect.

I tried to take photos of Effie spraying on the dry oil. According to the website, the dry oil is to be used to “discover the magical world of abhyanga (self-massage) … Enriched with nourishing herbs and specially designed to balance the Vata dosha, this 100% natural dry oil nourishes the skin according to Ayurvedic tradition.

This is how that went:

After our initial hectic product testing, it was up to me to try and make the time to stop and enjoy the little rituals. I’ll be honest and say it took me three days before I got to try the shower gel. I kept forgetting to put it in the shower. Also that was the only time in three days I managed to fit in a shower.

 

img_2623-1I got my son to watch an episode of PAW Patrol so I knew I had a good 20 minutes to enjoy my shower. The gel comes out pretty fast, so you just want to do a little squirt at a time. It comes out clear and then foams up into a nice lather. It also doubles nicely as a shaving gel. I was all sudsed up when I heard squealing from the other room and the thump thump thump of little feet running by. I quickly rinsed off and jumped out of the shower soaking wet, to discover the dog had stolen my son’s entire lunch plate off the couch and he was quite upset about it. So I made another hot dog, put on a new episode and got back in the shower to finish “relaxing.” Five minutes later there was a knock at the bathroom door. It was my son, letting me know I got the floor all wet. Thanks kid!

img_2624-1While the shower gel was a bit of a challenge, I did manage to fit the dry oil in every day. Sometimes more than once, just because I really enjoyed the smell and the way it soaks right in so you don’t feel oily. I have dry skin on my arms and legs and can always use a little more moisture. I kept the bottle out where I could see it so I wouldn’t forget to stop, spray, smell and take a moment. On one evening I decided to sit down and follow the massage instructions on the little tag that came with the bottle. I put my son to bed, put on a movie, sat down on the couch and took a moment to relax. About halfway through the experience, a little head popped up from behind the couch. My son decided he couldn’t sleep and then proceeded to scream, cry and flop around on the couch for the next hour. He was also not cool with me trying to spray him and massage away his obvious toddler stress.

On Sunday my husband finally returned home and I got a little break. That evening I took a nice long hot shower and enjoyed the luxurious shower gel with my scrubby sponge from head to toe with no interruption. After toweling off I sprayed the oil all over and was able to appreciate the lovely smell and the way it soaked in, leaving me moisturized and with a slight sheen, but not like an oil slick. I was finally able to really slow down, just for that moment.

And then the banging on the door began and I snapped right back into mom mode…

 

Slow down and enjoy the chaos of motherhood

 

 

A Review: Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner

I was sent the Dessert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner along with the Anti-Breakage Hair Mask from Moms Meet to try for free in exchange for posting my honest opinion on my blog.

I’m going to do a rare straight-out review, because I can’t think of a funny story or way to turn talking about shampoo and conditioner into an engaging tale. I accepted this blog campaign because I have a thing for hair products and am always trying different stuff and hoping for miracles. I have kind of frizzy, damaged, color-treated, half curly, half straight hair that drives me crazy most of the time so it’s always up on a ponytail.

The Dessert Essence anti-breakage products are formulated with Country Life Maxi-Hair® plus Biotin and are supposed to reduce breakage up to 61%. I feel like there must be a product around boasting 60% and they were like, let’s push this to 61! Because that 1% just might make all the difference. According to their website, “Country Life Maxi-Hair®, rich in a multitude of B-Vitamins and Biotin, has been one of Country Life’s best-selling supplements and a consumer favorite for more two decades.”

All the products have a very herbal scent, like tea tree oil. It leaves your hair smelling fresh and clean, not overly perfumed. I first tried the shampoo and conditioner on its own, then next time I added the deep conditioning hair mask.

I noticed a difference on the first round, although I will admit that often happens when you switch shampoos at first. So I made sure to use these products for two weeks before reviewing. My hair seemed smoother and easier to comb, which inspired me to actually style it and try wearing it down for the day.

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After a few heavy sun/pool/beach days, I gave the hair mask a try. The instructions say to leave it in for 20-30 min. and to maximize benefits, wrap it in a hot towel. It was kind of hard to squeeze in a shower, plus 30 min. of hair conditioning, and then a short shower to rinse it out, but a few extra episodes of Paw Patrol kept the kiddo entertained long enough to pull it off.

The hair mask is a nice thick formula with the same clean herbal scent. It made my hair easy to comb in the shower, but the real anti-breakage test came when I got out and tried to comb it wet. I have a few spots (the ones with the lightest highlights) that get a little snarly. I’ve even had to just chop some pieces off because they look terrible. I could still see a couple of weak spots, so before combing them I took the tiniest bit of the hair mask and put a little extra on those strands. After that I was able to comb everything through nice and smooth, no snags.

Overall I thought the products did a nice job of taming my frizz and making my hair look healthier, even when it was up in a ponytail. It took some getting used to the herbal scent. At first I thought it was more “medicinal” smelling, but it grew on me. I will definitely keep using these throughout the summer, while I’m trying to grow out my hair and see if they do reduce the usual breakage that results from the harsh summer environment of sun, chlorine and salt water.

Right now you can save 20% off all Anti-breakage and Smoothing hair care products on Desert Essence with promo code DELovesMomsMeet

 

First Time Trying Contouring with Guize Face FX

I’m pretty behind on the contouring craze, but I’ve been wanting to try it for a while. When Guize Face FX contacted me about trying out their Signature Contour Collection, I let them know I had no experience with the technique and pitched the angle of showing how easy it is for a first-time user to give it a try and get good results.

Guize face fx contouring collection in moonlight sewgeekmama

I chose the Moonlight Powder Collection for lighter skin, and then got the idea to do a video for YouTube with my friend Effie, who had also never contoured. We both have toddler boys, so there’s a lot more screaming and squealing than I’d like in the video, but that’s what you get when two stay-at-home-moms get together and try to accomplish anything.

It is definitely NOT a how-to video! But it does show the product in action and how easy it is to follow the little instruction booklet and actually get good results. We both definitely learned something from our little experiment and have incorporated a little more contouring into our make-up routine. I’ve actually started using the moonlight palette as a quick all over the face boost, especially around my eyes, because it goes on so smoothly and doesn’t settle into creases.

So I hope you enjoy our slightly goofy, non-instructional, contouring experiment video:

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 *

Gift Crushes for Mother’s Day – or Just Treat Yo Self!

Mother’s Day is coming up fast! Maybe you’re trying to figure out something really good to ask for, or what to get your own mom this year besides the usual flower bouquet. Babbleboxx has assembled an impressive collection of gifts sure to please any mom on Mother’s Day. (or really, any woman, any day!) Read on for product details and special discount codes from Sandisk, Dermaflash, Maidenform, Bellame Skincare, Davina by Vince Camuto and Edible Arrangements.

mothers day gift ideas

1) First up is the iXpand Flash Drive from Sandisk
I think I took about 50 photos a day after my son was born. Photos of EVERYTHING! I would burn through my phone’s memory and have to find time to download them all the computer. The iXpand Flash Drive for iPhones makes it super easy to save all your photos and back everything up! The little device plugs right into your phone and works with an app to quickly free up your phone space so you can take even more photos and videos. And if you don’t have an iPhone, there’s also the Ultra Dual Drive m3.0 for Android users so every mom is covered!

2) When mom’s skin needs a little pampering, look no further than the Dermaflash 2.0, which is a unique tool for an exfoliation process called dermaplaning. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and peach fuzz, leaving a smooth prepped surface that lets skincare products absorb more easily and make-up glide on smoothly. My skin felt super smooth after just one use!

Click here to shop the Dermaflash website and use code MOTHERSDAY to save 20% on your purchase!

3) After mom gets done dermaplaning, she’ll need to pamper her skin with some luxurious skincare products and Bellame Skincare has just the thing – the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Cleanser and Hydrating Serum. The ultra-luxe European style cream cleanser is known as the “dream cleanser” because it packs a powerful punch from a high-powered hyaluronic acid to lift away impurities and omega-rich oils to nourish and hydrate. It’s so luxurious it even doubles as a moisturizing mask! Bellame also has the softest bamboo washcloths great for massaging the cleanser into skin and wiping away all make-up and impurities lifted by the cleanser. Right now you can receive a FREE set of six luxurious washcloths with the purchase of the Acqua Lumiere Collection on Bellame.com.

After cleansing, follow-up with the Acqua Lumiere Hydrating Serum, a liquid anti-aging powerhouse that delivers a highly concentrated dose of mineral anti-oxidants, collagen, omega-rich oil and Vitamin C to boost firmness, block inflammation and repair sun damage while targeting fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. The very definition of “good things in small packages!”

4) Next up is something way better than flowers – a gift basket from Edible Arrangements! I absolutely LOVE getting these. I don’t know how they do it, but their fruit tastes better than anything I get at the grocery store, and not just because some of it is drenched in chocolate. It’s all so ripe and perfect – this fruit basket actually made me like melon! So not only is it delicious, but it’s good for you too. Our whole family has been eating fruit all week.

The fruit arrangement shown here is the Mother’s Day Swizzle Bouquet and it makes an impressive gift! Packed full of fruit, including melons, grapes, cantaloupe and chocolate covered strawberries and topped with a special Mother’s Day Gourmet Belgian Chocolate Pop. This is all sorts of YUM! Use code BESTMOM for 15% off $65+ purchases until 5/11. And if you wait until the last minute – no worries! They can deliver treats the same day!

5) Now that mom has transferred her photos, taken care of her skin and has a belly full of chocolate dipped strawberries, she’s ready to lounge around in her new Maidenform Loungewear Cami and Tap Pant Set. The cute and comfy microfiber and lace set is soft and easy to wear with an elastic waist and adjustable cami straps. The collection also comes in five different versatile options and is currently on sale!

6) And finally top it all off with a spritz of Divina by Vince Camuto. A summer scent that evokes a bright cheerful day with lots of floral notes. This long lasting fragrance is a blend of grapefruit, mimosa blossom and musk but had me thinking of gardenias in full bloom.

Hope you all have a very happy Mother’s Day!

What are you hoping to get this year?

* Post sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com  * SanDisk provided by Western Digital*