April 29, 2014

Review of Paula's Choice Exfoliant

So I’ve been using Paula’s choice for over a month now and I really do like it! I see a difference in my pores, my skin tone and the blackheads I had. The leave on exfoliant has made a world of difference to me at least who has struggled consistently with large pores due to genetics. I’ve used numerous products from brand names to generic names, nothing seems to work. I either am left with extremely dry skin or it turns red and hurts. When Bzzagent allowed me to have the chance to try this new Exfoliating serum I was more than excited! But I was also nervous as I didn’t know what to expect. I received my kit with my bottle, samples and literature. It comes in a 120ml bottle, and believes me when I say it will last! You sure don’t need very much of it! I wanted to use it right away but I knew first I had to cleanse my face. So I pulled out my Clearasil pads (yes that’s all I can find that was helping me keep most pimples at bay). Cleaned and dried my face, then poured a generous amount of Paula’s on a cotton ball. Well first lesson learned that was way too much! Oops! Oh well I rubbed it all over my face and instantly felt tightness. I thought ok hope this is right! The only downfall I noticed was that it had a sticky/tacky feeling afterwards that lingered. That bugged me some but I definitely felt it working! Sweet.. I can’t wait to see how this works! For me I was using this daily every morning, I’ve read some people who were using it twice a day that I do not recommend at all. The directions said once a day, which was more than enough for me. From website: What makes this product unique? Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant rapidly exfoliates both the skin's surface and inside the pore, reshaping the pore lining, unclogging pores and improving skin cell turnover rate. The result is a dramatic improvement in the skin's appearance, feel, and function which leads to healthier skin. There is a great deal of research indicating that BHA (beta hydroxy acid) increases collagen production and drastically smooths the surface of skin. Additionally, BHA has antibacterial properties that attack blemish-causing bacteria. The lightweight, non-occlusive formula allows for a faster and deeper exfoliation rate than our gel or lotion BHA products, so it's an ideal choice for stubborn clogged pores or blackheads. This product is 100% fragrance- and colorant-free with a pH range of 3.2-3.8. Every Paula's Choice BHA product is formulated with additional soothing agents. Who is this product for? All skin types may use this product, but the texture is especially suited for those with normal to oily or combination skin, stubborn blackheads, and blemish-prone skin. It can also be used regularly to eliminate calluses on feet, elbows and knees. Moving on to a month later, I was looking and checking and noticed that I had nowhere near as many blackheads as I normally do. I thought hm.. wow that’s new for me. The pores while still larger than most people are downsizing which is tremendous for me as that has been a thorn in my side since I was a teenager! And unfortunately I’m one of those who has a few small acne scars from back in the day. **sigh** I also have noticed that my skin is looking healthier overall and I’ve seen less breakouts even during that hormonal time of the month, which has been a big success. I will continue to use this and had originally hoped I’d see some miracles happen, BUT while I am seeing some changes, everything takes time. I’ve read many people saying it’s instant, it is not. It also does not work on everyone’s skin tone either. Always better to try first. Here are my pros/cons for this product: * bottle lasts a long time * Reduced blackheads * Minimal breakouts * No acne * Clearer skin in general * No dryness Cons: * Expensive. Slightly expensive - $23 on amazon * IF you have a tender area it’s likely to sting some. * Still trying to determine if it will actually reduce/eliminate pores and lines. Unfortunately I have no before/after pictures anymore as my son left my cellphone in the rain the other day and well now I’m without a phone and all my pictures… Children.. I tell ya! They have a whole product line and I plan to do some more research to determine if there’s anything else that I can use in conjunction with this and make my skin even better! Give it a try! Thanks to Bzzagent for allowing me the chance to really give this product a try and give an honest review and I have a feeling I will be definitely checking out Paula's other products! All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this post.

February 3, 2014

My honest and unbiased review of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.

It’s been quite a while since I've been on here, busy busy busy!  However,  I've decided to get back into this blogging thing to keep myself in line with goals I've set for myself for this year.

Recently I told myself and my husband that things had to change, for the sake of ourselves, our family, our marriage and our finances. We fought about money All. The. Time.  It was ridiculous; he said he felt like a broken record, I’d agree to change my ways, but in reality I was kidding myself and I’d go back to doing what I was doing.   I've always tried to be thrifty, to some point, using coupons, shopping sales, etc. but I admit I got roped into the Extreme Couponing craze and was super jealous of all the stockpiles of food those people had.  I wanted that I would tell myself!  When I actually started to really focus on extreme couponing (2010), it was like an addiction.  I mean I grew up with my mom clipping coupons on necessary items, so it was normal for me to use them.  However, I soon came to realize I spent more money out of pocket on things that I did not need or  would ever use;  hmm I would think to myself, they didn't do that on the show.  It took me quite a while before I really listened to my husband when he said do we really need 20 tubes of toothpaste?  Umm.. Well, no not really I suppose I would say, but I just kept on a trucking. 





                                Source:  Amazon.com


Fast-forward to today, 2014 almost 4 years later.  I still coupon, not to any extreme, but I try to match sales to ads and double my coupons when I can for things I know we will use or need, but you know what.. It doesn’t always work out.  And that’s OK!  My husband pointed out once that I went with a grocery list of 5 basic weekly items: bread, milk, lunchmeat, fruit and cheese.  I came home with 10 bags of other stuff and forgot most of what I went for.   He’d ask me do we really need 4 packages of Oreos? Well they were on sale I’d say, he’s like and your point is?  Took a while but I finally got the understanding what he was saying.  We didn’t need those Oreos, I wanted them.  Things HAD to change.

So at the beginning of January I started reading Total Money Makeover based on a lot of recommendations from the LWSL Facebook group Ruth had started.  There were various views and opinions.  I considered every one of them and decided I will read the book, see if I can garner anything out of it and go from there.  So I read each page, each chapter, and each baby step.  And I started to understand what others were saying about his book.  So in my words here are my honest key points about it:

  1. Set a budget – definitely needed
  2.  I think his baby steps are great suggestions, but not for everyone.
  3.  Build an emergency fund – definitely!
  4. In today’s world I believe we still need some sort of credit card to have.
  5.  Emergency funds excellent example!
  6. Building your retirement – great for those that have matching 401Ks (I do, but my husband does not).
  7.  Building your kids college – I think it’s a great idea if you can do it.  Some people I’m sure can’t.
  8.   Envelope system – I think this would work great for variable expenses such as eating out, groceries etc.



Now here’s my honest down points about it:
1. I wasn’t crazy about how he ‘talked’ like we are all idiots, yes we may be mismanaging money we wouldn’t be reading the book if we weren't but still we are not idiots. 
2. I believe we still need at least 1 credit card (not bank debit cards) for larger purchases such as flights, appliances etc.
3. I don’t quite agree with sell everything you can such as a car etc.  I’m sorry I bought my truck because I need the space, I have 3 dogs and 3 kids, I can’t just sell my truck to alleviate payments.  *now if I couldn’t make my payments that would be a different circumstance*
4. I am underwater on my home, just like mostly everyone probably is today.  But you know what it’s my home, I am making my payments, and honestly I’m not going to find anywhere else to live with a family of 5, 3 dogs and 3 cats. 

Overall, I think the book was valuable, a lot of it was information I had already known and probably just needed the reminder or refresher.   I am taking some of his thoughts/ideas and implementing them for myself.  I’ve created my budget, started to build my emergency fund (which I’ve already had to dip into) and have a genuine plan in place.  I know the budget will need to adjust as we move forward and pay off the few bills we have.  My largest debts are a HELOC due in 2 years and my student loan, which is like a mortgage payment.  I would never push getting student loans on anyone.  I wish someone had educated me on them when I first started school; I made A LOT of mistakes with these loans and now have a lot of regret.  But all I can do is move forward.

So my new plan starting Feb. 1 is I created a budget together with my husband using the form found here Budget form and I created a Debt Snowball Calculator as well for us to review.  I also created a weekly bill payment schedule since he’s paid weekly and I’m paid bi-weekly.  It works for us and it helps us know if we need more money one week vs. another week which allows us to adjust accordingly.  We are building our emergency fund while still living our life and enjoying our days we have.  As soon as the emergency fund is established I will start with the envelopes for certain expenses and savings throughout the year.  


I have learned that life is too short to pinch every penny and I believe in spending the time I do have with my family and enjoying myself even if it means spending some money.


Til next time ~

Frugal Momma


*This post is by no way shape or form associated with Dave Ramsey, I was not provided compensation for this review or any sort of monetary payment.  It is strictly my thoughts and opinions on the book, they are my own and where credit is due credit is given.*

December 17, 2013

Thredup Earn $10 for FREE clothes! Paid only $2.99 shipping for Levi's jeans!!

Thredup – Excellent place for used children’s clothing! 

 $2.99 for Levi’s jeans!   Earn $10 for signing up!


I have 3 boys ages (10, 8 and 5) and well as many parents of boys know they are rough on clothes.  I’ve been pretty lucky until about now.  My 10 and 8 year old have been pretty easy with hand me downs, my 5 yr old on the other hand hasn't followed along with his brother’s clothing sizes for the seasons here in the Midwest, so I spent a lot of time trying to find reasonably priced clothing.  My main focus for my kids is jeans, jeans are so expensive these days and it’s even harder when I need the slim with adjustable waist kind. 

My 8 year old is super slim and everything pretty much falls off his waist if he doesn't have adjustable buttons on the inside.  Recently I moved him up to size 10, mainly for the lengthy as the 8’s were getting too short and well pretty much all the knees were worn out between him and his brother.  Luckily my oldest just moved to size 12 for length as well so that freed up a few 10’s at least.

When I placed my first order with Thredup I was a little nervous, as I wasn't sure what to expect as I’I've never ordered from a online consignment before.  Is the pricing good? Is the product going to meet my expectations? Do I have anything to worry about?  I took my chances when they had their cyber special going on two weeks ago. 

Here’s what I got:





Boys size 12 Levi’s jeans - $15.49
Add shipping                         $2.99
Total:                                      $18.48
(minus cyber deal)    -      $15.00   credit
Total due:  $3.48

Not bad for jeans that normally run $20 or more!  I got these for practically FREE!

  Better yet I referred my family to the site as well and my grandmother ordered my 5 yr old a pair of jeans too and only paid shipping charges of $2.99 for a pair of Levi’s!!   This one indicated a tiny flaw she said but figure it was ok.  I’m not overly picky!



If you are interested in signing up for thredup you can earn $10 to spend and I will also too!  Click on the following link to check it out.  You will earn $10 off your first order ( this could be FREE clothes!).


May 1, 2013

Review of Lysol Touch of Foam soap


I signed up a few months ago as a Bzz agent and I will tell you they have not disappointed!  My first trial Garnier Review I did not care for the product much, but they appreciate honest feedback.  So when I was invited for the campaign for Lysol Touch of Foam I was super excited to give another new product a try.  First, as a mother of 3 boys I know how important it is to keep your hands washed with a good soap.  Face it kids are messy, boys are messy and 3 boys plus their friends, oh boy!  However, it became even more evident the last month because of the stomach flu bug going around.  It just seemed to be hitting everyone everywhere I went.  So I made sure to have this new soap available for everyone to use.  I love Lysol for the fact they have the products that cleanse, kill bacteria and delivers on what they promise.   One downside of continually washing hands is that your hands get dry and rough.  You constantly are running and putting lotion on.  With this Lysol Touch of Foam soap they promise clean and soft all in one and they definitely deliver in my opinion! 
Creamy Vanilla Orchid

Checkout that FOAM!

Years back I was one of those nuts who was spending top dollar for ‘foaming’ soap dispensers, yeah those lasted oh so long (not!).  They became more of a nuisance then anything, for the constant refilling, making sure you had the right amount, etc.  I finally gave up and bought the cheapest soap around.  Then my boys came along and they started growing up and the germs multiplied as they grew.  Then I started gardening again and well that just added a whole new level of germs and dirt to the washing of hands in my household.  With handling fresh veggies from the garden and canning/preserving food it’s extremely important to avoid germs as much as possible.  Garden season is starting here in Illinois and I can’t wait for it and I feel even better now knowing about this soap! 
So we’ve now been using this soap for a few weeks and oh my goodness.  I am never going back to regular soap!  I LOVE this soap!    My kids love the foaminess of it and they wash their hands longer and I love the smell, the texture, the foam and the cleanliness of it!  I love that it leaves a lingering scent on your hands and you can smell the clean!  From now on this will be the soap in my house!
Touch of Foam comes in 3 scents: Creamy Vanilla Orchid, Rose & Cherry in Bloom and Wild Berry Bliss.  You can visit Lysol’s website or Facebook page to learn more and obtain coupons. 
For us as of right now this is  THE soap and my family has all enjoyed it.  I think my 4 yr old likes the foam as he has a tendency to over pump the soap dispenser.  But his hands are very clean! J
*I was provided a free sample of Lysol Touch of foam from Bzz agent for my honest review.  All opinions and thoughts are 100% my own*

March 7, 2013

Product Review - Fructis Triple Nutrition

So I recently signed up wtih Bzz Agent and I was invited to a campaign.  The campaign was to try the new product Garnier Triple Nutrition.  I got my sample bottle about a week ago and I was super excited to try this new product.  I have really dry brittle hair and very dry skin during the winter time especially.  Well I opened the package and went to give it a try and the spray didn't work.  It is a spry bottle, the spray should work right?  Well this bottle was missing the tube attachment that attaches to the sprayer, you know the tube that should get the oil to the sprayer and then out.  So what do I do well, I improvise!  I may not be able to spray as I'd like but I did use the oil by pouring it in my hand. 

First I used it on my hair, which is very dry and brittle.  It seemed to help some, but left a greasy feel to it.  I' not sure if it's because my hair is so dry or if it's just the oil it helped some but not extraordinary.  I did notice though as I was pouring the oil on my hands for my hair that my hands were alot softer after this.  My hands get very very dry during the winter months, sometimes they crack and bleed they get so dry.  Well this oil (even with the greasy feel) left my hands so soft, I was shocked!  I then started to use it on my face and continue on my hands.  It has made a huge differenc on my skin.  I plan to start using it on my lower legs next as I have bad excema there during the winter.  If it helps with that I'm hooked!

The bottle is attrative and clear, it comes with a pump that should theoretically work, if the bottle is assembled right.  Mine wasn't but I can't complain the overall product still works. I've looked forit in the stores and it seems a little pricey at $5.99 typically for a 6oz bottle.  I guess it will be the ultimate question on how well it continues to work if I will consider buying it for continued use. 

Overall I give the product a B, mainly because of the greasiness of the product that it leaves behind.  It's a very thin oil, so it's not thick or heavy. 

Disclosure:  I received a free bottle for trial, I was not paid to write any review and all reviews are soley my opinion.

February 6, 2013

Strawberry Cream Cheese Bread

Thanks to my quest for breakfast ideas I found this recipe and tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes.  Turned out pretty good.  I used a bag of strawberries that my mom had given me from her patch over the summer, glad I froze them and found a use for them!

I've been eating this bread almost everyday at work for breakfast, right now they are giving out free oatmeal and well i'm not a big fan, it's free so I'll get it, I'll eat it but I am already getting burned out on it.


Ingredients

·         ½ cup butter – melted

·         ¾ cup sugar

·         2 eggs

·         3 oz. cream cheese

·         1 container of Greek yogurt

·         1¾ cup all purpose flour

·         1 tsp vanilla

·         ½ tsp baking powder

·         ½ tsp baking soda

·         ½ tsp salt

·         ¼ tsp cinnamon

·         1 cup strawberries – chopped (fresh or frozen and thawed)

Instructions

1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the melted butter and the sugar.

2.     Next, mix in the eggs and the Greek yogurt.

3.     After those four ingredients have been mixed together, add cream cheese, and add the vanilla.

4.     Mix in all dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5.     Fold in chopped strawberries.

6.     Pour mixture into individual mini loaf pans (or 1 large loaf pan) and place in the oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes (55-60 minutes for a large loaf).

7.     Once cooked through, remove from oven and allow to cool.

8.     I stored these in small Ziploc bags inside a big freezer bag for extra protection.

 

February 4, 2013

Sunday Football Chili

~Sunday Football Chili~
 
 

A very simple, quick & easy, yet delicious Chili recipe for those cold fall days or football Sundays, (which is the case at my house!)   This recipe is very versatile and you can add or remove various options to your taste.   I used home canned tomatoes but you can use store bought as well.   This was enough to feed my family of 5 and still have 2 bowls for leftovers to freeze.  You could easily ½ this and it would be a smaller amount or make a big batch and freeze it!.


1.5 lb ground beef or chuck
1 lb Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1qt. home canned tomatoes (or 3 sm cans tomatoes)
1 can 15 oz tomato sauce (or 2 8 oz cans)
1 (15oz) can kidney beans or Chili beans
1 Chopped green peppers
Red Pepper flakes – just a pinch or to your taste
1 tsp. worschestchire Sauce
½ tsp cumin
1 Tbs. brown sugar or Grape Jelly

  1. Brown ground beef, Italian sausage, onion, garlic & green peppers in large stockpot, cook and stir over medium heat until browned, drain.
  2. Stir in chili powder, salt, oregano, tomatoes, sauce, worschestchire sauce & cumin.  Cook stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
  3. Stir in the beans and grape jelly, pinch of red pepper flakes (more if you like it hotter), simmer uncovered for another 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

~ENJOY~