Product Review: Bare English & Co Lip Balm

I didn’t really want to do two lip products in a row for Product Review Friday but a  friend recently introduced me to the most amazing lip balm ever and I just have to share! It’s the Bare English and Co lip balm and it, my friends, is amazing.

This wonderful little tube of joy isn’t sticky but is luxuriously moisturizing and leaves a very gentle sheen to the lips. Available in 12 flavors, there’s truly something for everyone. The company is proud to use only natural waxes, oils and tea infused flavors. I have tried the Fresh Grapefruit, and am now using the Vanilla Coconut – and I am IN LOVE with this lip balm! The flavors are amazing, and the two I have tried have definitely smelled exactly like the description, without being fake or syrupy sweet as you so often find with flavored lip balms.

The only SLIGHT issue I have with the balm is that it is packaged in an oval container so applying it can be a wee bit messy, either overlapping your lips with product or having to manuever the tube sideways. This is something super easy to get over however since it is such an amazing product. And the thing that makes up for it is that THE TUBE WON’T ROLL OFF YOUR COUNTER! Amazing. Brilliant. Buy this product!

Product Review: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Lip Nectar Lip Gloss

Those who know me well – or actually even a little – know how much of a makeup junkie I am! Lipsticks and glosses in particular. My lip collection had grown to 66 shades at last count and I may or may not have picked up a few more this summer. But while it is nice to have many options to grab from I find myself wearing the same shade for weeks at a time, before I move on to another.

This summer my go-to lip gloss was the Body Shop honey bronze lip nectar moisturizing lip gloss. I lost track of how many times I was asked ‘what lip gloss are you wearing?!’.  It’s nothing fancy – it just adds a hint of color, and wears fairly well.

I have a love-hate relationship with the Body Shop. Let me explain – I do like their practices, I always go for cruelty free, their prices are quite reasonable, and I’m surprisingly impressed with most of the makeup products I’ve tried from them. Over the last few years I’ve moved away from their body care products for my own pursuit in using more natural products, but if that’s not something you care about, their soaps foam and rinse well and their body butters do their job to moisturize without being overly greasy.  Here’s where the issue comes in – they discontinue SO many products! Every time I find a product I truly love from them it’s discontinued shortly after. It all started years ago after a teenage love affair with fuzzy peaches and dewberry (although they do offer these products occasionally as re-promotes) then moved to the colored mascaras of the early 2000’s, a leave in conditioner I was quite fond of, the amazing hair brush they once had, the original rose lotion, then the major one I’ve still not been able to get over – the cream eye makeup remover in the bottle (reformulated to the tin, which is not nearly as good of a product IMO). And now here we go again – after buying this lip gloss twice, loving it, and recommending it, it seems to have disappeared from their lineup!

They do have a similar product in actual lip balm (egg shaped) form, which I tried in store. This one seems to be creamier and healthier for the lips while adding a similar sheen to the lips so I may look into this further. However a friend recently told me she saw the original product I’m referring to at her local (Vancouver) store and she picked up 2 tubes, so I’m really not sure if it’s still out there or not.

If you can find it pick it up! It’s a great price, a quick, easy, inexpensive color to add a wee bit of sheen to your lips – and gain a lot of compliments!

Product Review: Lavanila Healthy Deodorant

Happy Fall (my favorite season)!

With fall officially starting this week, today is a great day to review one of my most favorite natural products of all time – the Lavanila Healthy Deodorant.

The jury still seems to be out on whether antiperspirants actually cause health problems, but there is definitely enough grey area to make me think twice about using them. So this is why I have turned to natural based deodorants. I’ve tried no less than 10 kinds and the Lavanila Healthy Deodorant is the one I always come back to because it seems to work the best. Keep in mind that even the best natural deodorant isn’t going to stop sweat if you push it to its limits – so on the hottest days of the year, or if I’m going to be quite active, I slap on the ‘traditional’ antiperspirant, but for day-to-day typical use I use the Lavanila and it keeps me feeling fresh.

I’m quite impressed with the whole Lavanila line (lotions, perfumes, etc) and will likely review all of the products in the future. Each product in the line comes in a vanilla based scent (pure vanilla, vanilla blackberry, vanilla passion fruit, etc…) and also scent free. I have tried most of the vanilla scents but usually buy the pure vanilla the most as it seems to be the most subtle, and it mixes well with other lotions I may be wearing that day.

This product is a wee bit pricy (about $14 US/$20 CDN I believe) but it’s worth it! One tube lasts a while (you don’t need to use a lot) and it provides great moisturizing benefits for your underarms as well as good odor control. The scent lingers a bit but isn’t too overpowering. The roll on goes on as a thin white paste but I’ve never had any issues with it coming off on my clothing – and I wear a LOT of black!

Two thumbs up for this awesome natural deodorant!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Honest Co Shampoo and Body Wash

A few months ago the soap/shampoo combo I was using on my daughter was discontinued. It was a lovely, natural product that worked well, and smelled great. I’m not going to name names but this local company totally fell out of favor with me as this was the second popular product in their line that was discontinued within a few months.

Looking around I found other natural products that either ‘smelled like mud’ as my BF put it, or were at an extremely high price point for just a small bottle. Not wanting to use just any old soap on her I kept searching.

I’d heard about the Honest Company and had some friends who ordered them online and loved them. I didn’t want the hassle of ordering something online (actually more so the waiting for it to arrive!), so I put them out of my mind.

One day while shopping at Costco I spotted an Honest Company display! They were featuring a 2 pack of their Shampoo and Body Wash – and it was a great price – so of course I picked it up!

We’ve since gone back to buy more. We all use it! It has a gentle vanilla orange smell that foams up just enough, and rinses off cleanly. I don’t use it on my hair, but it gets my body clean – and I’ve also been using it as a shave gel for the last few weeks. We do use it on my daughter’s hair and it rinses nicely and leaves her hair fresh. The bottles are fairly large and come with pumps so it’s easy to use and each bottle lasts a surprisingly long time, even with all 3 of us using it daily.

So no matter if you have kids or not head down to Costco – or go online – and pick this up! Two Thumbs UP!honestshampoo

PRODUCT REVIEW: Joe Fresh Fresh Glass

I’m going to go back to my beauty roots and sharing some of my favorite, and least favorite, products with you over the next few months!

First up is the Joe Fresh Fresh Glass lip gloss. Unfortunately we are starting off on a bad foot here because although I usually feel the love for Joe Fresh cosmetic products – they are an innovative brand, who is cruelty free, and sprouting up everywhere at a decent price point – this was not a great product. I’ll have to review some of the other products which I’ve tried and loved at another time because I really do feel this is a great brand, despite this product.

I received a tube for free straight from Joe Fresh, and another tube from Shoppers Drug Mart who is carrying the Joe Fresh line now. Typically free products are top-notch as the companies are looking for a review, and are introducing you to their brand, but this was a HUGE exception.

STICKY is an understatement! I actually don’t mind a bit of tack to my lip glosses (a la most M.A.C. lip glosses) but this product takes it to the extreme unfortunately. And although the color goes on fairly sheer the product is thick, so you get those nasty clumps and strings from even 1 or 2 coats.

In their favor, the colors are nice – in addition to the 2 I’ve tried I’ve swatched all the colors – and it is fairly long lasting…but I just can’t get by the extreme stickiness. I wore this out a few days ago and was constantly conscious of how sticky my lips were. There is a slight minty scent, which was a big thing with companies a few years ago, and while it is better than the chemically, musty smell some lip products give off, this mint scent is more of a gimmick than anything else.

The price point on these is quite low – but in my opinion you can get a WAY better product at the same price point if you are looking to experiment with some new colors.

So sorry Joe Fresh – I’ll shop your line again, but Fresh Glass was a HUGE thumbs down.

Breaking Up with KonMari

Dear KonMari,

It is with deep sadness, but also extreme relief, that I feel I need to break up with you. It’s not you – it’s me. Your method sounds perfect for some, but you’re not the one for me.

You forgave me a few weeks ago when I admitted I was going to break one of your rules and hang more instead of folding, and that was kind of you…but I feel that the rest of your rules are a little too rigid for me as well. I have tried – hard in fact. I’ve tried to dive in head first on a few different occasions, even bending the rules a bit by starting in different areas of the home, and taking breaks. The pep talks I have given myself are overruled by the voice in my mind that tells me this isn’t for me.

I have admitted before that I am a bit of a hoarder – but wait – I do often find uses for things I hold onto, and truly believe that re-reading my books, old journals, old work material, and even scraps of paper I still have from 20 years ago, helps me to be the creative person I am today. Words ignite sparks in me. I have boxes of clothing that even if I could snap my fingers and magically wake up 4 sizes smaller tomorrow I wouldn’t want to wear, but since fashion cycles every 20 years my daughter may LOVE them. Maybe she will wear them, or maybe they will spark a creative project in her.

I’m reminded of 20 years ago when I was a teenager and my Mom offered me 4 pairs of knee high boots in different heel heights and colors that she had worn, and kept, from when she was a teenager. I wrinkled my nose and said ‘who the heck would wear those?!’ so she got rid of them. Fast forward a year or so to me shelling out over $200 to buy 2 pairs of knee high boots which were practically identical to the ones she had offered me. Lesson learned…and apparently never forgotten.

In this age of Pinterest we can learn to re-use almost anything in our house – and should be encouraged to do so both to help with saving money and to assist in unleashing our creative sides. Old clothes can become new clothes, or at least patchwork blankets. Art supplies and empty jars, cans, etc can be used in multiple other ways as well. And have you seen what they’re doing with milk crates and old wooden pallets lately?!

I admit I am still intrigued by your claim of feeling an incredible release, and an increase in creativity upon purging items and not having too much ‘stuff’ and yes, maybe that would work for me. My creative side has had NO problems sparking as of lately so perhaps clutter isn’t a problem for me there…as for the release, well I’ll have to find that some other way.

But the stress – oh the stress – feeling like I HAVE to get rid of everything and that I’m ruining my life by not being able to let go…I know that’s not your intention to make me feel like that – but I do. It was last night I ‘woke up’ and realized that things are working for me, my creativity is as high as ever, and I need to concentrate on being a Mom and doing good work these days – not to spending time stressing and crying over ‘stuff’ that is actually just fine where it is right now.

My last post was titled ‘my mess is waiting to be a masterpiece’…but maybe it’s not waiting for anything. I think it’s a masterpiece just the way it is. The calmness I feel right in this moment, knowing I have let go of organizing and purging, tells me that I am likely right.

Maybe in a few years I will return to you for guidance, but at this point in my life I think we need to take a break. Go on, find other people to love you – so many already do.

Yours truly,

One happy cluttered creative

My Mess is waiting to be a Masterpiece – my KonMari update

It’s been 2 weeks since I’ve officially started organizing using the KonMari method and I am starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel – as well as some floor and chair space previously being taken up by discarded clothing!

One of KonMari’s rules is to start with one item (clothes – then broken down into further categories, makeup, bags, etc) and gather every like item in that category and organize it before moving on to the next. Another rule is to hang very little – that folding is the way to go.

I admit I get distracted easily, and I’m dealing with so much clutter right now that it’s extremely hard to force myself to only work with one group at a time…sweaters, sweaters…hey there’s that book I want to read next! I can see the validity of this method however, and am trying hard to stay on track. It does suck when you get everything put away perfectly in a home…then you find 2 more items that you Just. Can’t. Fit. In. And it ruins everything.

In what feels like I’m giving the middle finger to the no-hanging method, I have bought 200 hangers. These are thinner and sleeker than the wooden ones I had before, and they all match. I own a lot of dresses, skirts, jackets, and other items that truly would look better hanging, so although KonMari asks that we hang very little – I NEED to hang! Forgive me KonMari I have sinned…but this truly is a compromise as I normally hang just about everything other than underwear, so please bear with me.

My house is a mess waiting to be a masterpiece so let’s hope KonMari is the answer! Stay tuned!hangers

LET’S DO THIS! Organizing with KonMari

A few years ago I wrote a post about how I was going to get organized and de-clutter…as you may have guessed knowing I have a toddler – that was easier said than done!

I’ve been reading a lot of organizing advice lately in hopes that something will finally snap into place. But sadly I seem to have been taking 2 steps forward – then 2, or even 3, steps back – over the past few years. My toddler doesn’t help – she believes it’s her right to dump EVERY toy out of her toy box in order to play with the one which was already on the top!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention that people who gift toddlers items that include many small items and tiny parts should be banned from your life immediately – unless they would like your child to play with their toys at THEIR home!

The ‘KonMari’ System of Organization entered the scene about a year ago and I’ve heard buzz about it – and seen the book around – but for the most part ignored it. Then, about a week ago, I stumbled upon a few blog posts from people raving about this system and how it actually worked for them.

Long story short – I’ve now got the book in my hot little hands and am ready to go! Am I skeptical – HELL YES! Am I hopeful – again, HELL YES! I’ve already started flipping through it and the advice IS totally different than anything I have seen before – so maybe this IS it – the solution me, and my family, have been looking for all along.

So I’m putting it to the test – and will share the good, bad, and likely ugly, as I go along.  If this works for me – after 37 years of messy, semi-hoarding, behavior, and with everything a toddler comes with – then you know it is truly a life-changing system.

Watch out closets – here I come!konmaripic

And It’s Tough to Have a Two Year Old!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!!

Now that I’ve gotten that out let me explain!

I have a 2 year old.

If you also have, or have had, a 2 year old, I’m sure you understand.

My last post is full of love and understanding, and gentle reminders to myself that she is only 2 and I need to be patient.  I take it all back! I still love her of course, but understanding has gone out the window…and patience – well that packed up and relocated without a forwarding address!

It’s hard to believe that one minute she can grasp my face in her little hands and give me a kiss – then the other 59 minutes are her running around, yelling, chasing the cat, dumping toys on the floor, and touching things she shouldn’t – all with a smirk on her face.

Add in trying to potty train, fighting with her to get her teeth brushed, and reminding her nightly that she needs to sleep in her own bed  – well parenting isn’t quite the joy that people claim it to be.

I KNOW I’m not alone, so I’m guessing that people who have children have blocked out these years, and are fondly reminiscing on the days of babyhood where cluster feedings were your biggest problem, then jumping ahead in their minds when their kids were firmly enrolled in school and gone for 7 hours a day!

There have been a few days where my body longed to be pregnant again and have another child to love…but the last few months those days have gone away, to be replaced with looking into permanent forms of birth control.

I’m just thankful for those tiny (seriously TINY) occasional glimpses into how sweet she is – which makes it a little easier to keep control during the tough moments.

Maybe tomorrow she’ll let me put her pants on without a fight, or when she asks for an apple she won’t say blech and hand it back to me.  One can always hope right!

 

It’s tough to be 2!

Sigh…my daughter has been 2 for a few months now and it has been an emotional time for her – and, of course, US! She’s really growing into an actual little person now and has her opinions – oh boy, does she ever have her opinions! And now she knows how to test her boundaries.

When I mention the ‘terrible twos’ to people, most of them respond with: ‘just wait until 3!’ So, I guess this goes on for a while…We should just try to make an action plan now and hope for the best!

I’m trying to remind myself that it must be tough to be 2, to realize that you want to do something, then you are told no or that you have to do something else now, yet not really be able to grasp WHY you can’t or why you have to stop. We’re also still in the midst of potty training and transitioning her into her big girl bed – so maybe there’s too many changes going on right now. WE don’t think they’re major – but for her, at this particular time especially, they’re likely overwhelming.

I think we need to back off her a little – to remind ourself often that she’s learning to be 2 and we should learn with her. We’ll let sleeping in the big girl bed slide until potty training is more under control, and remember that one step at a time will likely get us there faster than trying to take a giant leap all at once.

The ‘terrible twos’ won’t likely go away – and will still frustrate her, and us, but we’re sure hoping the understanding will make it a little smoother for all of us!