Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It Works and Alaska Glacial Mud!!!

I'm doing another review! You know I'm a huge sucker for the miracle thing!! The first thing I have been trying is the Alaska Glacial Mud.  I saw the lady on the show Shark Tank. She's right here in Alaska and goes to the Copper River and get's the mud herself, does something to it to make it ok to put in a jar and then she ships it out.  The Copper River may sound familiar to you and that is because some of the salmon in your super market is from that river.  The River boasts of having the best minerals and all that good junk for you.  I went to Sam's Club the other day and noticed that the Copper River salmon was $3 more then the normal stuff and I believe that's because of what that river offers to the fish. Ok so what I know about this stuff is the water and dirt running off the glacier and then the natural working of the river (I know I'm not very technical) makes this mud rich with vitamins and minerals. I bought a 3.5 oz jar for about $40 (that's with shipping). I think it's pricey!! FOR SURE! I have used it about 7 times and I'm only half way through the jar so I guess if you line it up with other face masks ... 14 applications for $40 is ok.  BUT when I go down to the Copper River myself I just might have a large ziplock bag and get it myself for free. ;) I really like the mask I probably use it twice a month.  I will say this about it that I usually use it when I get that one painful blemish ... you know the ones I'm talking about and they just stay for days! After using the mask when that happens it's usually gone the next morning or at least by the end of the next day. I don't really think it makes my skin glow more or anything like that, but it exfoliates nicely and then, of course, clears my skin up nicely as well.
The next thing I tried is that new craze It Works. I used the Hair Skin Nails product.  It comes in pill form and you take 2 a day.  I don't like pills and I definitely don't like pills that have a smell. These don't smell bad, they smell like herbs. I just don't like pills with a smell to them. Before I give my review I need to say ... with ANY product you put in or on your body you need to do research. Most things like this aren't regulated and so that means you need to be more on your game. So do your research with things like supplements and shakes and all that stuff. I made sure I talked to my friend/consultant and I also looked up things for myself. Ok I have been taking them for 2 weeks and I wasn't sure I notices anything with my skin or hair. BUT my nails ... I like my nails short and I have had to cut them about 4 times already in this 2 week time period.  I did take a before and after photo of my hair. I wanted to make sure that it was the same both times. I used the same brush, my chin was parallel to the ground, right after the shower, it was even the same time of day. I can see growth. The main thing for me is my hair feels fuller. I have curly hair which takes longer to grow and is naturally thick. I did chop my hair off a year ago and the lady did such a crap job that she "thinned out" my hair with the scissors. Which is going into your hair and making some pieces shorter. So now it's full again. I like this product and probably with use it until my hair gets to a length I like. I will stop using it after that because the nails are just insane! I need short nails especially if I'm going to start up massaging again and I can't have them long.
SO I have 2 great products here I think. I like trying things to see if they are actually worth the money. I still can't get over $40 for 3.5 oz, but I think the cost works itself out at the end. With the HSN, I think it's pricey UNLESS you become a preferred customer and that just means for 3 months you're on automatic shipping. I'll probably be taking the pills for another month and then they have wraps and shakes to try. So yes all those photos on Facebook are probably true!

I was photo bombed in this one, but this is the first photo.
 This is the second photo

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lupita Inspired

I listened to the speech she gave this weekend for the Essence gathering she attended. It was very touching and really something I already knew about. For those of you who didn't hear about it or don't know what I'm talking about, she talked about how she felt as a child. She didn't feel beautiful because of her dark skin. There's a saying that says if you're white, you're alright. If you're brown stick around and if you're black get back. This isn't just something from before the Civil Rights Movement. I've heard people make comments about darker skin and how lighter is better. I didn't hear these things until I left home and joined the Army. This is where I was truly mixed with all sorts of characters.  My husband told me a story the other day he went to basic with a guy who claimed he'd never seen a real black person before ... WHAT?! When you live in one place for so long you assume every place is like that and it's crazy when you hear other things.
I think my parents did an outstanding job with how they educated me on what it means to be a minority and what it means to be a good person and how 1 shouldn't influence the other. It's no secret I have a white mom and a black dad, I married a light skinned black man and we have 3 beautiful black children. I make this statement because in my adult life I have been asked many times what I am and I say I'm half and half. People have actually said to me "Oh then you're black. Where do you draw the line? You have to be one!" No I'm both 50/50. I draw the line at 50/50. I don't have 1/4 white and 3/4 black kids ... I have black kids, I am a mixed woman. It's simple. My mom carried me and both my parents raised me. It's BOTH their voices in my head telling me to do my best not just one or the other and to say I'm black denies my mother and to say I'm white ... well, no one would believe me and that would deny my dad which I refuse to do on any level at any time for any amount of money. Will not do it.  Being what I AM is OK! and beautiful. My background is beautiful and it's not beautiful because it makes up this fabulous natural tan that people pay money to get. It's beautiful because through the filters of generation my background has produced fabulous human beings (and not just on the outer layers).
No matter how great my parents did and really growing up I don't remember thinking that I wasn't enough. That I wasn't beautiful or at least cute. It was drilled into me that being kind and polite was beauty not my face.  With that said, in my adult life especially in my 20's, like Lupita, I felt that mixed wasn't ok. Again I wasn't going to claim one side or the other, but there's no one like me. There was Halle Berry, but she fell into the "must choose" hole of doom. I think as people and not just women we need to sit down and answer the question "can you describe yourself?" and if you start with your skin tone or a physical feature then there needs to be a re evaluation of self. I did this test on myself and I started with things like I have black hair, brown eyes. No, no, no, no. That's not ME! I'm kind, I'm strong, I love my family. THAT'S what matters. Not what you're outer is. Leave that for your driver's license (even some of that information maybe false).
I used to hate that question "What are you?" "What are you mixed with?" because then it was usually followed with "Oh then you're black". I hate the saying "Big, Black, Beautiful Woman". Do you see how it's written? Black comes before beauty. Being a color doesn't make you beautiful or ugly. It's a physical description that should have no barring on how people really see you. REALLY see you. Beauty is something you have inside, like this glow that you're holding on to. It's almost like playing a sport. Either you're good at tennis or you're not. I can buy the tennis outfit and the gear, but that doesn't mean I'm good. I can put on makeup, workout and wear the in style and doesn't mean I'm beautiful.  You can practice that sport or being kind and that comes from INSIDE! You know I haven't worn makeup in about 2 weeks and yesterday at the drive through I got an actual wink! Yes an actual WINK! Does he do it to all the gals? Possibly, but if I got a wink it means I was enough to get a wink, right? If I was not polite at the speaker would I have gotten a wink? Probably not.
You ARE enough ladies and gents! You can be as dark as you want or as light as you want and it does not matter. I KNOW I'm saying things people already know, but I don't think people actually believe it so until people believe it I will drill, drill, drill this in to at least my kids. 
I know this blog is off my usual topics, but Lupita really spoke to me and what I have been thinking for awhile. So what if I say I'm mixed, so what if you choose one side or the other. WHO CARES! What matters if you're a productive and kind member of society. And once you TRULY get that you will feel so much better. Makeup, smakeup ... I mean really!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Gardening in Alaska?

I have to be honest I do a lot of things, like crocheting, baking from scratch, sewing and now gardening, because I am afraid that one day those things will no long exist to everyday people. I was actually horrified at MY parenting when Madd Hatter didn't know ham was pig. She asked what the ham for Thanksgiving was and where it came from. MY child asked that question. I couldn't believe it. I think I saw my mom or grandpa chop off a roosters head for the first time when I was 4 or 5. My most memorable was when I was about in 1st the roosters were bullying me and wouldn't let me out of the pen. I will never forget (this is how I remember it, PROBABLY not exactly how it happened) ... the 2 mean birds stood in from of the gate and every time I tried to leave they would jump on my shoulder and flap their wings. So I just hunkered down in the coup because it was warm and eventually my mom would come out. I heard her call my name and I yelled from the door "They won't let me out". (This is the part that MAY not be accurate, but this is what I remember) My mom went to the wood pile that was right in front of the pen got a stump and her ax. I swear she came into the pen yanked the chicken up walked over and WACK! chopped that suckers head off and let it bounce around the desert. I don't know if she killed both. I just remember she yanked it up by the neck and chopped it's head off in 2 seconds. Then we went inside like we just didn't witness the execution of a bird. The point of my story is I've always known where things came from. I've always known that in order to get food, you take care of the animals otherwise you'd get bloody eggs or soft shell eggs or whatever you're trying to yield.
After MH declared she had no idea ham was pig I decided that I needed to take things up a notch. I know I can't have chickens and I certainly can't go around chopping their heads off here on the AFB. SO the next thing is yielding our own vegetables. I tried last year in TX, but we were ROBBED by some slick rabbits. This year is serious. I feel I need to be on my game because we are in such a drastic climate now.
My tips so far would be ... Have a buddy! I have a buddy in Canada. We have similar seasons, she's done this before and is able to give tips. I'm sure after this season I will have some tips of my own I can share.
Shop around. With my rose obsesses in TX I learned that the nursery is most expensive, BUT if you're nice a frequent at your nursery then they some times throw things in the pile. I'm talking mom and pop nurseries, not chains.
You don't need high tech to get the job done. I read an article that said even if you talk to your plants or even have then in everyday life (not just sitting in a corner, but on the table or something) then they will grow better for you. I talked to my roses and they grew BEAUTIFULLY in that humid hot climate.
What I planted today was just carrots, cucumbers and green onions. I bought a kit from the local nursery (this is where my shop around tip comes in). I got several packs of seed, 10 qts dry soil, a 24in light and a plastic planter with cover ... $76!! I chat with my gardening buddy and she did something SO simple, cups, light bulbs and silver disposable baking pans. I go to Walmart & Lowes and I got a 24in light (it says 24 inches, but it's longer than the other one), small solo cups and more seeds and soil ... wait for it ... $35! And that was because I got the organic soil and seeds. I think regular seeds are $.50 to $1 cheaper. Now I'm finding out about straw gardening and houses and all this stuff so this will just be blog 1 in many for gardening. My kids had fun, my husband not so much because he's a clean freak. The point is even if we don't yield anything, if we get 1 carrot or 1 cucumber my kids will have be there through the entire process. It starts from the seed and now it's food. Oh one more tip ... hand held vacuum was AMAZING for cleaning up the dry soil LOL Also ask your nursery for YOUR regions planting schedule. The schedule on the seed packs are generic and could be updated. HAPPY GARDENING!!
This MAY have been a mistake! LOL 
 I put the remainder of the seeds in cups. Will plant the rest of my packets this week. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Adding length

Buying pants for my kids is extremely difficult.  They are too tall for their waist or they're too thin for their hight. BUT as the saying goes ... you can never be too young, too thin or too rich. We try to buy leggings or skinny jeans. Even if they are too short we can pass them off has capris or those flood pants. Mak had to have these bell bottoms with bedazzled pockets. As usual they are too shorts. I remember seeing on pinterest someone taking lace and lengthening short shorts or cutting slits on the sides of shorts then putting lace between the slit to add width. So I just took ribbon and sewed it to the bottom of the pants. It added about an inch to 2.
I hand stitched the ribbon because I never have luck with my sewing machine going through denim hems. Everyone should know how to hand stitch. With jeans you need a thick needle that has a pokey tip. NOT a quilting needle because those aren't very pokey.  These took me 2 episodes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, but I made lunch, put in a load of laundry & put a kid to sleep so I'd say maybe 45 min was actual stitching. 
I hope this saves some jeans for you! Ribbon and 45 minutes is cheaper than buying your kids pants every 3 months. Plus when we find pants that actually fit the waist then those we need to buy!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Kids V-Day

I'm going to be honest here, my kids Valentines Day cards are not REALLY what my kids want.  They are a way to express MY crafty. Yes, MY crafty. And yes, this is the only time I judge. I'm being honest here ... your kids give my kid just a card from the Walmart pack ... massive FAIL. At least make a gum butterfly or cut out mustaches to put on suckers because what happens to those boring paper cards? They get trashed the minute the kids walk in the door.
AGAIN, being honest I did but Mak 2 packs of those lame cards. She has 2 classes to give to and my crafty only goes so far. Her mainstream class is getting little cards, but we added pencils & tatoos. Even if you're not crafty glue gum or a kiss to those cards for fun! Her main class is getting bubbles that say "your fabulousness blows me away" we haven't finished those yet so no photos. I wanted to get this blog out incase people needed last minute ideas. Walmart has 8 packs of bubbles for less than $3. Print out a cute saying, hole punch and tie around the bubbles with ribbon. CUTE!
Madd Hatter decided she would like to do the fortune cookies from my Martha Stewart mag. Luckily I had everything! You need ...
Felt (cut into 4 inch circles)
Wire (cut into 3 (ish) inch pieces)
Ribbon (same color as the felt)
Craft glue
We cut the felt into circles, glued the wire in the middle. Glue ribbon to cover the wire. I let it dry while I watched Last Vegas and the girls played. So that's 2 hours I guess.  Then we bent the wire at the middle and folded the felt over to make the cookie shape. I think we are going to have glue the corners shut or else the candy falls out. We are using 2 caramel fill kisses to fill them and, of course, a strip of paper she wrote Happy V-Day on.
Ok so tips I learned would be 1 sheet of felt made four 4" circles and I glued the wire, put another stripe of glue then put on the ribbon. Seemed to work better that way.
Valentines is a fun holiday.  There's nothing really connected to it. It's not Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter so there's no lesson that the kids need to keep in mind. I love all holidays and teaching my kids about why we have them, but after THE holidays it's fun to have one that is just about candy and telling your friends "I like you! You're a neat person" ...... aaaaaand showing off your crafty. I hope you all have a fun V-Day and you do FUN cards with your kids.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Churro cheese cake?

This has been a very run of the mill week. House is a mess, trying to get laundry under control, but there's that troll that keeps putting clothes in the baskets, art class for me, school for the kids.  Madd Hatter started art this week. She really likes it.  Now to get the other two in swimming.  You wouldn't think this, but swimming is really popular up here in Alaska. I have to be on top of it since it's a first come first serve type of thing.  What I did want to blog about is this amazingly sinful creation a friend pinned on pinterest. A churro cheese cake type thing.
What you need -
2 Pilsbury crescent rolls
2 blocks of cream cheese
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of sugar (split in half)
1 egg
2 tablespoons cinnamon
You put one sheet of rolls in a greased 13×9 baking dish. Like its a crust. Mix cheese, vanilla, egg 1/2 cup sugar. Lay the mixture on your crust. Lay the other roll sheet on top. Mix rest of sugar & cinnamon and set aside.
Now the webpage says 350 for 30 minutes. It took mine closer to 45-50 min. It looked golden on top, but the under crust wasn't even cooked at 30 min.  It also said to sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar after it was baked. I took mine out at the 30 min mark to check it. I sprinkled half of the mixture on and put it back in. Then once it was done baking I sprinkled the rest. That gave it this crispy sugar shell on top that was really good.
Did this taste like the churros I eat at an amusement park? No, but this was really goooood! Glad I made it. Plus it was a different dessert!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wen, Meaningful Beauty & Younique

I am the person that infomercials aim to hit. I soak up everything.  I totally need a bacon bowl maker, even though all it really is is a muffin pan upside down. I seriously need that knife nothing sticks to because, let's be honest, I'm too lazy just to peel the piece of food off. I mean these products are AMAZING so when there's a 30 minute infomercial ... the products have to work, right?
I started the Wen hair care line and Meaningful Beautiful before I decided to start my blog again so no photos.  Let me be clear this is just my own opinion about these products. I've tried them out and am just saying how they feel, look and how easy (or not) they are to use for me and my family. I didn't do a poll or look at other data to come up with my conclusions. I simply used to product as directed. So take my opinion for what it's worth ... a mom of 3 who saw these products and decided to try them out. 
I'll start with Wen. This is a hair care system that is supposed to give you better hair then you would get with the regular shampoo/conditioner you buy in stores. I ordered the 90 day package. Wen is a reoccurring order, you order then every 30 or 90 days you get charged and a new order shows up at your door. They have different scents, I got winter cranberry. Smells really good! My bonus products are scents like vanilla mint and I have a lemon something too. All smell really great and even though I mix all the scents my hair smells really good. Even on the days I don't wash (washing everyday is bad for your hair)
Let's do some hair background! I'm half white & half black which gives me hair not like either side of the family.  It was kind of fly by the seat of your pants hair care growing up. I don't have black hair so grease and that stuff doesn't work. I don't have white hair so I need more than just conditioner, a leave in is a must.  I was iffy about Wen because my hair care routine (when my hair is down and out) is a tad complex.  Wash, condition, leave in conditioner, let sit, a little more conditioner, moose, let sit, style then hairspray. I thought IF Wen can cut out some steps it would be worth the money.  I'm on week 2 with Wen. They say results in 3. Right off the bat I like it! I do the conditioning cleanser and that's it in the shower. Instantly 1 step down! No shampoo. They do suggest you use a lot of pumps. I think they said 10 or something.  I use about 4 to 5 for my shoulder length, thick curls. Keep it in for your whole shower then rinse. I also got the extra conditioner, Sixthirteen. 2 pumps on soaking wet hair. I towel dry and with those 2 things I can finger comb. My hair is knot free and smooth. On a regular day that's all I do. For my "down hair" I add the anti frizz gel and replenishing spray. I still put some moose in, but really the Wen products all I need.
I was worried about no foaming action when cleansing. My super scientific experiment was simply this ... to scratch my head to see if I get that "stuff" under my nails like if you didn't wash for a couple days and I don't.  I never wash on Sundays and usually my hair gets that crunchy feel. Not with this product. My hair is soft and my ends aren't all crazy in the morning. Even my whispies (that fringe hair around your face) are calmer. So I'm sold with this.  I even use it on my girls. I no longer need detangler. I still use hairmilk on them, though. I just don't like how it's an auto order product. BUT Wen is great!
Now Meaningful Beauty. This is Cindy Crawford's Europeans, melon extract blah blah skin care. Being 31 I'm not really concerned with wrinkles, but I do have dark circles. I decided to watch the space between my eyes and my dark circles. Again I went for the gusto and bought the larger package. It's A LOT of steps. Once again the cleanser does not foam. I'm thinking foaming may only be good for your laundry and your dishes. The cleanser is REALLY great. The bottle says to put it on your dry face. I wet my hands then put on the cleanser. It removes makeup (including eye makeup) REALLY well. If I don't buy anything else this is my new cleanser. The eye cream is good too. My circles are several shades lighter. I also got some serums and neck creams. They feel really nice, but again being the age that I am fading wrinkles isn't a need for me right now. The product smells really good and fresh. My skin does feel smooth and moisturized. I don't get the oil sheen later on in the day or when I wake up. The jury is still out on some of the products, but the cleanser and the eye cream are great. The space between my eyes is a little smoother when it comes to that crinkle you make when you frown. The bad thing is that this is another reoccurring ordering product. If you want to just order one or 2 items then you can't be a "member" and you'll pay more for the products. BUT I don't know how you can get to the part of the webpage without being a member with a password. So maybe the higher prices are just to make us members feel better.
Younique is a makeup direct sales company. I have seen all over facebook about their 3D mascara. SO you know I had to order. The girl I ordered from sent me a couple of instructional links. My case didn't come with instructions, but by the youtube tutorial I watched I think I was supposed to get one. You get this nice case with 2 mascara tubes in it. One has the gel and the other has the fibers. You're supposed to put mascara on, then the gel, then fibers, let sit, then gel, let sit. Repeat gel, fiber, rest sequence until you get the effect you want. Problem ... I couldn't do it. I don't know what I did wrong, but I didn't get it. Looked like I was wearing my regular mascara. I tried it twice and it ended up the same both times. Once with a mascara base and once without. I decided to give it one last shot today for the sake of giving it a good review on here! It looks THE SAME! I don't know what else to do about it. I'm a simple makeup gal so if it takes 3 to 4 tries and I still look like I'm wearing my $6 mascara instead of the $30 set then I say fail. Here are some photos. I did 1 photo without anything and 1 photo with 1 eye with my drug store mascara and 1 eye with the 3D. My 5 year old couldn't tell the difference.  I did 3 coats of each.  I really want this product to work so I will continue to try it out, but I've googled more tutorials, I've read things on their website. I mean it shouldn't be this hard, right? I'm supposed to look like I have full lashes like I'm wearing falsies and I just don't.  I even had Mad Hatter hold my phone so I can go along with the youtube tutorial. You decide =) excuse the flattering photos ... I was trying to get a good photo of the lashes lol

The photo below is the 2 different mascaras. The eye on the left side of your screen is the 3D (3 coats) and on the right side of your screen is my drugstore mascara (3 coats) 
And here is my naked lashes =)