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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Curly to Straight... With Motions Hair Care

Not only is Christmas right around the corner but so is the end of the year.  WOW.  Earlier this year, I challenged myself to not flat iron my hair until January.  Everything was going all well and good until I came across a giveaway on The Style and Beauty Doctor's Instagram page hosted with Motions hair care.  They were giving away a "Curly to Straight Kit" and the itch just came upon me to go ahead and straighten my hair.  Coincidentally, I actually won the giveaway so I felt even more compelled after that! LOL

Let me just say now, that I am actually contemplating staying straight for a while.  That's how pleased I am with how well these products worked for me.  Normally, getting my hair straight is a battle that sometimes doesn't seem worth it.  After just a few days, my hair usually becomes frizzy and it all just feels like a huge waste of time.  After using these products, my mind is completely BLOWN.  Now I have not tried any other products like this so I have nothing to compare it against except what I've used from my own stash in the past.  And, let me tell you... My products have nothing against this Motions Kit.

To start, I used the Heat Styled Straight Finish Leave-In Conditioner after towel drying my hair.  I applied liberally to each section (approx 5 sections) prior to drying my hair with the blow dryer.  Using a different Leave-In Conditioner other than my Holy Grail from Miss Jessie's was a true leap of faith for me.  Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this leave-in worked.  It softened and detangled my hair just as well as my Miss Jessie's Leave-In Conditioner!  After I applied it to each section, I used a paddle brush to dispense the product through evenly.  It made blow drying each section a breeze and my hair came out so soft, silky and still felt moisturized (not dry at all)!

Next, I applied the Heat Styled Straight Finish Sealer immediately after drying each section.  I wasn't too sure about this product at first because I thought it was going to weigh my  hair down.  It's not super thick or oily but it also didn't seem to sink into my hair quickly.  Instead of immediately moving on to flat ironing (with my Sedu flat iron), I decided to lay my edges down and put my head scarf on for about an hour.  When it was finally time to straighten, my hair had actually soaked up the serum and felt amazing.  In addition, once I started flat ironing my hair the shine and smoothness provided was incredible.  My hair felt so light and bouncy, yet silky and moisturized.  I couldn't believe that I had only used TWO freaking products!!  TWO!

I've straightened my hair quite a few times since going Natural and it always comes out great.  The biggest difference this time was how easy the process was for me.  Sometimes we try to take short cuts and end up with a hot mess.  In this case, the two products I used made me feel like I was taking a shortcut but the results were far from that.  I would highly recommend these products to anyone who struggles with straightening their Natural Hair.  The Motions Heat Styled Straight Finish Products get two thumbs up from me... One for providing Heat Protection and the other for providing amazing results!

So have any of you girls tried products specifically formulated to help Naturals straighten their curly tresses?  Or are you still very scared to apply heat to your hair?  Be honest!  XOXO
Monday, December 1, 2014

Mommy Monday: The Elf on the Shelf Tradition

Elf on the Shelf 2014- First Location

My favorite time of the year is HEEEEERE!  I could not be more excite that the season of Christmas is upon us.  This is my favorite Holiday of the year and its actually very hard for me to hide this fact about myself.  Well, one of the main reasons I love this Holiday is because of so many Family Traditions that come with it... One of which being The Elf on the Shelf.  Now this is a fairly new tradition to our family but once we started a few years back, it instantly became a hit.  Warning, if you have no imagination or spirit of family fun then this is not for you.  If you are all about the Tooth Fairy, Santa Clause and Easter Bunny then read on!

Elf on the Shelf 2013
So, the story goes that Santa Clause sends an Elf to your home to observe your behavior.  Every family has their own specified time as to when the Elf "arrives".  For our family, the Elf arrives on the 1st of December.  Each day/night the Elf comes into your home and observes the behavior so that he/she is able to report back to Santa that night.  When he returns, he is always "watching" from a different location.  Hence, Mom or Dad needs to move this Elf to a new "watch location" every night.  Essentially, your children will wake up in the morning eager to find the Elf.  I have children ranging from 4-11 years old and they ALL still love this "hunt" that occurs during the month of December.  Even though my oldest may be hip to Santa, she thoroughly enjoys looking for the Elf in the morning with her siblings.  Occasionally, things become serious real quick when I place the Elf in a location and in the morning he is somewhere else.  My husband needs NOT to play with me like that.  He swears he didn't do anything but come on... like the Elf doesn't move by itself!  Right??  Okay, I'm done questioning this and I can't believe I even brought that up.  Just let me know if any of you have had issues with Elves moving around your homes please.  LOL.  No seriously.

Does this sound like a fun tradition you think would be a fun addition to your family this year?  I promise it is lots of fun for the kids and can even become fun for the adults if you have a husband who's an asshole childish.  We purchased two of the Funko Pop Holiday Elf on the Shelf Figurines from Target last year which can be found here.  The real Elf on the Shelf dolls honestly look way too scary to have creeping around my home.  Judge me if you want.  This year since we are traveling to my husband's hometown, we plan to mail one of the Elves there ahead of time so that when we arrive the children have a bewildered look on their faces as to how the heck the Elf arrived there before us!  YES, this really excites me, LOL!

Let me calm myself down before I get too carried away.  Do any of you participate in this fun tradition?  Please share your twists or differences that you may add for extra fun!  Happy Holidays XOXO
Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Favorite Fall Nails: Berries


I tend to stick to darker shades pretty much year round with an occasional pop of color.  In fact, now that I write this it dawns on me that's actually my MO.  This Fall season I have been really into shades of Berry, Plum and Darker Reds.  It is all I have been wearing on my nails and lips since about September.  Below, I've compiled my favorite shades for nails this season.  Which is just perfectly timed for your upcoming Thanksgiving get together.

Left to Right: Deborah Lippman Single Ladies - Essie Carry On - Essie Berry Naughty


Left to Right: Paula Dorf Deeply in Love - Zoya Dakota - Essie Bahama Mama

Please don't think I'm crazy because of how similar some of these shades look.  We all are guilty of doing this... right?? LOL.  Well currently, I am wearing Zoya Dakota and I plan to change into Essie Bahama Mama on Wednesday evening for Thanksgiving Day.  She is actually my favorite shade out of the bunch!  So go grab you a Berry and get ready to eat this Thursday.  Stay tuned tomorrow for my favorite Berry Lip Shades!  XOXO
Monday, November 24, 2014

Mommy Monday: Traveling for the Holidays



So, the Holidays are upon us once again.  The cliche thing to say is that this year went by so fast but in all honesty, IT TRULY DID!  If you are like most families then you are likely traveling for one or all holidays this season.  Personally, my family decides each year which holiday we will travel for, Thanksgiving or Christmas.  It's such a burden to travel with three kids that I would drive myself crazy trying to travel somewhere for every holiday.  Below, I have compiled an easy peasy guide to saving your sanity while road tripping with the fam.  Should your sanity still be lost, drive yourself to the nearest liquor store once you reach your destination.



SNACKS:

Having snacks for everyone is an intricate detail of maintaining a harmonious road trip.  In my early mommy years, I would run to the store and buy bags of chips, goldfish, cookies... all their faves, ya know.  Then, I would just open the bags in the car and do a "pass and grab".  This option absolutely works if a riot is what you're trying to achieve.  OMG, kids will fight over anything when held in close quarters.  Someone is hogging the chips, someone took too many cookies, someone is breathing too much air.  Let me just help save you from one fight now.  Divide your snacks up into sandwich baggies before the trip and PUT NAMES on them.  This way everyone has an even amount of snacks of their own.  Place the food in a comfortable reaching distance for them as well so you don't have to turn around a gazillion times.  Keep in mind, if you are traveling a distance of more than three (3) hours to pack more fulfilling food options like sandwiches, fruit or veggies.



ENTERTAINMENT:

If your kids are anything like mine, they are always "bored".  One would think a scenic road trip to Grandma's house would cease this "boredom", but one would be wrong.  If you don't occupy their time with activities to do while on the road, they will occupy your time with endless nagging.  It's easy to throw every electronic they own into the car and hope for the best but there's an even better method to the madness.  Planning ahead of time is required so start this stage at least two weeks before the trip.  Think about each of your children's likes and decide on three options to bring for each.  If video gaming is what they prefer, plan to rent a NEW game that they don't already own or if it's cheap enough, just buy it.  If they haven't yet already played it, their attention will be kept much longer before boredom strikes.  Should you have an intellectual on your hands who prefers to read then buy them a NEW book that you know they will love.  The key word here is NEW.  The surprise of getting something new for the trip, coupled with that item actually keeping their attention for an extended period time should keep them out of your hair for a while.  But be ready with other items to rotate throughout the trip because as parents we know that the excitement of "new" lasts a maximum of an hour, maybe two.



MISCELLANEOUS:  Naps, Temperature, Rest Stops

If at all possible, try to plan your trip around normal sleeping hours.  We like to leave the house around 10AM because generally most people will take a nap around 12/1PM.  Believe me, those few hours of silence will be well appreciated!  Never load the family into the car with coats or sweaters on.  Instead, bring some individual blankets or have them place their coats/sweaters on the floor in front of them.  Everyone should remain comfortable but if they get cold then they can just grab an item to cover up with it.  It's much easier to throw a blanket on than it is to take a coat off without removing a seatbelt.  Safety first kids!  Lastly, don't be those parents that try to win some imaginary award by arriving at your destination in record time.  Plan for rest stops to give everyone an opportunity to get out of the car, walk around a bit and stretch their legs.  Even a short break outside of the car will reset everyone's tolerance levels.

This year, my family is traveling for Christmas. *side eye* I cannot stand traveling for Christmas because of all the gifts that must be transferred back and forth.  We haven't traveled for Christmas in many years and are only doing so because we are having our first "Blended Family Christmas" with my older kids Dad and his family.  I will definitely be putting these tips to use and planning well beforehand (which is key!!) so we can have a successful road trip to Grandmas.  Do you have any tips or secrets for your family road trips not listed here?  Share them with us!!  Sharing is Caring.  XOXO
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Protective Styling Isn't For Everyone...


Since I've gone Natural, one of the most common hair practices discussed is Protective Styling.  In case this is not a familiar term to you, Protective Styling refers to styling in which the hair is tucked away or "protected" from the elements and everyday manipulation for extended periods of time so as to promote growth and minimal breakage.  Examples of Protective Styles are braids, weaves, wigs, twists and buns.  Around this time of the year there are "Protective Styling Challenges" left and right!!  I have been Natural for over two years now and have not once tried a Protective Style.  Just because the masses are doing it doesn't mean it's a NECESSITY in order to maintain your Natural hair.  And, just because I don't engage in Protective Styling doesn't mean I don't find other ways to protect my hair.

I will admit that one of the main reasons I've not done a Protective Style is fear of my hair breaking off.  The length of my hair is fairly short so my options for Protective Styling are pretty limited... Braids, Weaves, and Wigs are really my only options.  All of these Styles require a certain amount of tension on the scalp that even the most blessed hands can't avoid if the style is meant to last.  I've really been interested in getting braids but not so much as Protective Style because I know they wouldn't last for more than a month.  So, how do I "protect" my hair in the colder months?  I simply alter my routine and regimen to accommodate the weather conditions.  For starters, I reduce the amount of times I wash my hair to no more than once per week.  During the more humid months, I find myself doing a cowash two, sometimes three times a week for Wash and Go styling.  Once the weather begins to cool down, I can immediately notice the change in moisture that my hair is able to retain.  Reducing my wash days is just one part of the equation though.  Just as skincare products need to be switched out for different seasons, so does your hair products... especially if you are not fond of Protective Styling.  What this means for me is that I can no longer just use Leave-In Conditioner and Coconut Oil as my Styling Products from time to time like I can in the summer months.  I MUST follow the LOC Method (Leave-In, Oil, Cream Styler) in order to maintain the moisture in my hair for an extended period of time.  Also, Coconut Oil doesn't do as well in my hair during the Winter months and I think it has to do with the colder temperatures causing the Coconut Oil to harden.  My hair just doesn't feel the same as it does when I use it at other times throughout the year. So I make sure to switch out the oil to my favorite (but unfortunately expensive) MoroccanOil Treatment which is an extra treat for my hair that it can definitely use during these harsh months. Sometimes depending on what products I've been using all year, it may also be important to opt for heavier products.  This year I've been using heavier products anyways, so there was no need to switch products out.  If anything, I've begun using just a little bit more product when Styling to protect my hair from drying out before Wash Day.  Obviously, you want to make sure you follow your basic rules such as weekly Deep Conditioning, Monthly Protein Treatments, Sleeping in a Satin Bonnet or using a Satin Pillowcase, etc.  Those are non-negotiables and go without saying.
Most Common Summer Regimen
Most Common Cold Weather Regimen
                 

Following the Natural Community will sometimes have you thinking that you either aren't doing enough for your hair or you are doing too much, LOL.  The important thing to remember is that you need to pay attention to your OWN hair and do what you feel is best.  Sure there are times I've felt like my hair would be longer by now if I constantly kept it in Protective Styles year round but that just doesn't seem enjoyable to me and I want to enjoy my Natural Hair not feel enslaved to it.  When my hair grows longer, I may feel different about Protective Styling but as of right now, it isn't for me.  I choose to instead find ways to protect my hair from the inside (lots of water, vitamins and eating right) and cater to my hair's needs by using the right Products on the outside.  I'm sure there are plenty of you who don't Protective Style for your own reasons as well.  Comment below if you're a Natural who doesn't Protective Style and leave your reason why!  XOXO
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Playtime Chic Inspo

Earlier this week my youngest daughter had a playdate with one of her friends.  Per the usual, she and I spent quite a bit of time deciding on her ensemble to wear.  And, yes she actually does enjoy picking out clothes and matching them together... she's such a girly girl.  The norm for a playdate is to dress comfortably in "play" clothes.  As we were deciding on what to wear, it dawned on me that being chic doesn't have to go out the window in order to make room for functionality.  The two can easily go hand-in-hand together.  So, we went with look layered with fun patterns and cute accessories.  She stayed warm under the layers while also allowing herself to express her fun side through the patterns.

Plaid shirt: H&M- Camo Jacket: Old Navy- Leopard Sneakers: H&M- Cat Ears Headband: Gymboree

Choosing her playdate ensemble inspired me to go in my closet and pick some options for an upcoming brunch this weekend.  Obviously, everyone wants to be "chic" for brunch but this is also a networking event so finding an option that is also comfortable to wear for a few hours is important as well.  I took a page from Kennedy's book and decided to sass it up with patterns as well.  In the first option, the pleated skirt has a jacquard print while the denim top has embedded stones all over.  Accessories can be scaled back for this fit since the blouse itself has built in accessories!

Denim Blouse: J Crew- Jacquard Pleated Skirt: Target


My next option has a pop of color with a pink pleated skirt.  I couldn't decide on a top so I laid two options out that both go very well.  The black and white floral print blouse didn't photograph well but it is so fun in person.  With either ensemble, I will likely wear my knee boots from Ann Taylor because they are sexy yet very comfortable to wear for hours on end.

Floral Print Blouse: Gap- Striped Blouse: Banana Republic- Pink Pleated Skirt: Banana Republic


So what do you guys think... which option should I go with?  There's still a chance that I don't go with either of these and opt for a cute dress instead but for now these are first choices.  Any suggestions for accessories?  I will definitely do a follow up post about the event so you can see what I wore!  XOXO
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Updated Wash and Go Tutorial


Although, I have another Wash and Go Tutorial up on my channel, I have not done one in quite some time.  So, I decided to post another now that my hair is a bit longer.  I discuss in detail the process I use to apply the products to my hair and achieve the best definition with minimal frizz.  It's a short yet to the point video (just like this post) for all you ladies out there trying to achieve a fabulous Wash and Go!  Hope you enjoy.  XOXO


Monday, November 10, 2014

Mommy Monday

BEING A STAY AT HOME MOM 
(MY EXPERIENCE SO FAR)





As you know, I've been home with my children since June of this year.  It wasn't a planned transitioned but rather the aftermath of a family decision that caused me to resign from my corporate job.  Surprisingly, there have been only a couple of times where I have regretted that decision and it has only been most recently.  A few of you have asked me on Instagram how I'm enjoying being a Stay at Home Mom so I thought I would just give you guys an update here on the le bloggy.

Pros:

Being at home with my family instead working outside of the home has been a great experience so far.  I feel so much more connected to them now that I'm spending a majority of my day physically doing things for them.  I know it sounds silly but I actually enjoy straightening up their rooms, making their lunches, and doing their laundry.  Being that I don't have to work a 9-5 and then come home and do these things at the end of the day, I don't mind doing them as much as I use to.  I had almost no energy for housework nor did I care to do it after a long day at work before.  My husband will be the first to tell you that I have done a complete 360 in the aspect of taking care of the home.  We also ordered out quite a bit before and cooked only a few times a week before, whereas now I cook a meal almost every night (or the Mister does).  Obviously this is the much healthier option and it's been nice experimenting with different recipes that the kids actually like.  Not to mention, we are saving a ton of money not ordering out so often.  I am way more involved in the kids schoolwork and making sure their assignments are completed well, studying is done for tests, etc.  Not to say we didn't care before but it was more of a "race" to bedtime when I was working full time.  I got home at 6, had to make dinner, get them in showers and go over homework all before 9!  This is a very common routine across so many families but I have to say that having more than 3 hours a day to spend with my children is such a blessing.

Cons:

My family has always been accustomed to having two parents working full time so they pretty much were self sufficient.  But, since I have been home it has now become my "job" to do those things for everyone.  Everyone, including the husband, now depends on me for almost everything and at times it can be annoying.  I find myself snapping after I've done the sink full of dishes only to see that someone dumped more dishes in the sink just 2 minutes later.  Hello!  It only takes a minute to wash your plate... I'm not your maid!  The Mister and I have gotten into it a couple of times when he's asked me when the laundry is going to be done or why the house is a mess.  It's as if no one can do anything for themselves anymore now that I'm home.  So, this can definitely become frustrating if it's not addressed properly... And, by properly I don't mean screaming like a maniac in the moment.  LOL.  Essentially, all I want is to not be taken for granted.  Just because I enjoy doing these things for you doesn't mean I want to be taken advantage of.  Help a Mom out from time to time!

At this point I would prefer to stay home for another year or two if I can.  We are struggling financially to make ends meet sometimes so I don't know if this will be possible.  I have applied and interviewed for only one job that I felt would suit my experience and career path, only for the company to change and reduce the title of the position.  So, finding a job outside of the home is still on the horizon if something opens up that's a good fit.  For now, the best fit for me is being at home with my family until God directs me down another path.

How many of you are Stay at Home Moms?  Did you struggle with these same issues or do you still struggle with them?  Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!  XOXO
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sephora VIB Sale Shopping List

Per the usual madness, Sephora is hosting their VIB Semi Annual Sale this week from Thursday, November 6th- Monday, November 10th.  The sale offers an additional 20% off of everything in the store and online during this period of time.  If you're an avid beauty hoarder then this comes as no surprise and I'm sure you already have your list made.  I've compiled a few of the items I'm lusting after below.  I may or may not shop the sale, depending on the Mister's mood but either way I figured I would share my picks with you!



$59


$34


$32


$58




$48.50
These are just a few items that I have been eyeing lately.  What's on your lists?  Share your top picks below so we can equally be enablers to each other!  XOXO




Friday, November 7, 2014

FEATURE FRIDAY: Algenist Purifying and Replenishing Cleanser



In trying to maintain a schedule for my blog, I have decided to implement 'Feature Fridays' which I thought you Shopaholics would love.  The feature can be Beauty Products, Fashion Finds or even Products sent for reviews/consideration by companies.  I hope you guys enjoy the new changes coming to the blog because I'm really having a good time providing more content for you guys.

ALGENIST PURIFYING AND REPLENISHING CLEANSER

Not too long ago, I expressed a need for a new morning cleanser for my skincare routine.  I've been using Skinceuticals LHA Cleanser for the majority of the year and it has been amazing.  The reason that I've been looking for a secondary cleanser is because the Skinceuticals product is fairly strong and very effective.  Now that my hyperpigmentation and acne has diminished quite a bit and is no longer a problem for me, it was important for me to not over do it on my skin and end up ruining a good thing.  A friend of mine highly recommended the Algenist Purifying and Replenishing Cleanser and I literally was in Sephora checking it out the very same day.  At first, I almost did not purchase the cleanser after reading that one of the main ingredients is 'Microalgae Oil'.  For my oily skin girls, you know how much we try to stay away from ANYTHING that even hints at containing oil, LOL.  But, I went online and read the reviews which were all amazing plus the price point wasn't too bad.

Packaging
The packaging of the product is perfect.  I believe all cleansers should come in pump form but for some reason many skincare companies disagree.  Luckily, this Algenist cleanser comes in the perfect simple packaging I desire with a pump.  The texture isn't too thick or thin in consistency and allows for great coverage when applying to your skin.  There is a slight lather, very little if you can even consider it to be a lather at all.  It's gentle enough to use around the eye area yet quite effective in removing all of my make-up.  And, boy when you pair it with the Clarisonic it's like a spa facial has just happened!  I could be exaggerating just a tiny bit but it really is THAT good.  Last but not least, the price point is not bad for a Cleanser of this caliber at just, $26 here.
Consistency
So, if you are in the market to try out a new cleanser or you're just a product junkie who has about 10+ different cleansers in their cabinets, this one definitely deserves a chance.  I can't tell you how happy I have been with this product but now I feel a little empty because there's nothing else I really "need".  Something about being on the search for a product is just so exciting right? LMAO.  Anywho, I hope you continue to come back every Friday to see what I'm Featuring here in MyCandiShoppe.  XOXO
Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wash and Go Refresh Video

You ladies on Instagram have been asking for this video for quite some time now.  Shame on me that it took me 5 years to do it for you... LMAO just kidding!  Here it is finally and I hope I answered all of your questions.  The process is truly super simple and doesn't require much except to make sure you are adding enough moisture back into your hair.  If you have any questions though, feel free to ask.  Oh, and while you're watching the video don't forget to SUBSCRIBE to my channel!!



XOXO

The M Word... MELTDOWNS



Okay, so we are going to leave our pride, mom awards we give ourselves in our heads and pat on the backs we also give ourselves right here at the beginning of this post.  I'm discussing a topic that is very hush hush and frowned upon in child rearing.  Meltdowns.  They make our mothers cringe when they see our children having one, we stare at other moms in stores with pity yet we all know we have been there at least once before.  And, if you haven't been there yet, there's still time!

This past weekend Kennedy was invited to Birthday Party that she hounded me about every single day leading up to Saturday.  She even forced me to pick out her "party ensemble" a couple of days early because she was just that excited.  Well we arrive at the party, after taking 57 pictures for Instagram obviously, and I was all ready to just drop her off and leave like the other parents were doing.  I mean, she had been invited to this same girls' party last year and was the LIFE of the party so I figured this year would be no different.  WRONG.  She hung off OF me like little leach and would not let go.  I talked to her in the high pitched, super annoying, baby voice trying to sound like a nice mom but in all honesty, I was freaking embarrassed by her behavior.  She is my third child and I pride myself in how well behaved Kennedy is... I can't always say the same for the other two... but, Kennedy is the child I had the most experience with!  Anyways, I've been through this situation a time or two before with my older children so I had to dust my skills off quickly.

The first thing you have to remember at the beginning of a meltdown is that it can get much worse, very quickly.  Those stares you might be feeling can turn into gasps in no time if you don't work fast.  Bending down and talking to Kennedy in front of everyone was my first mistake.  She already felt uncomfortable with me leaving and now I'm directing all the attention to her crying which didn't make anything better.  Once my instincts kicked in, I grabbed Kennedy up and took her to more private corner for us to talk.  That's when the baby talk came to a complete end.  I spoke to her with concern in my voice, eye to eye, while also making sure I came across as serious as a 4 year old can take me.  She explained she didn't know anyone and didn't want me to leave.  It didn't dawn on me that maybe she didn't remember these same girls from last year since she doesn't see them regularly.  So, I agreed to stay with her until she felt more comfortable.  As moms, we have to keep in mind that our children have their not so good days as well.  I'll be the first to admit that I've attended networking events as an adult where I didn't know anyone and didn't feel 100% comfortable.  Imagine, how a 4 year old toddler must feel in a similar environment.  So, I walked back out with her after we dried her tears and held her hand until she let go.

The next thing you have to keep in mind is that controlling a meltdown is a bit like weaning.  They may be okay for 10 minutes and then the tears begin again.  Remember, do not get upset and do not try to discipline/talk to your child in front of everyone in the hopes that they will suck it up and stop.  Always remember, things can get much worse.  LOL.  Take your child to the side again, give them a little pep talk.  Express how happy you were with how well they were doing, give them a kiss/hug and encourage them to try again.  Each time you do this, they will exhibit the positive behavior longer and longer.  Children LOVE having the approval of their parents and they literally live to impress us.  I know you may be thinking that if you are out and about you don't have the time to do this.  Yes you do.  It doesn't take that long at all.  Just like weaning, you put in the work now and you will be grateful you did down the line.

Once I stopped caring about the looks I was getting from other people, I was able to focus on how to be there for my kid and get her past this moment she was having.  She started feeling more confident and before she knew it, she was talking to the other girls and being the social little girl she usually is.  We even set up a play date with one of the girls to come over and play with LaLaLoopsies next week!  It took me a while to figure out what contributed to Kennedy's meltdown and sudden shyness and then it dawned on me that she had not taken a nap before the party.  ding ding ding.  Granted the party was only at 1pm, a nap would have helped to combat any poor behavior.  I'm not sure how I forgot this cardinal rule, especially on a Saturday.  I guess I just got caught up Kennedy's party excitement myself! LOL

This post isn't meant to be the Holy Grail answer to all your Meltdown problems.  You are the Mom and you know what is best for your child and what will work for your child.  Many times we forget to be patient and put ourselves in their shoes.  Sometimes, all it takes is calmly ASKING them what is wrong.  We get so frustrated with how their Meltdown may be ruining our plans that we overlook simple solutions and jump to more aggressive tactics.   I hope I've been able to help you Moms out there that may be at your wits end when it comes to Meltdowns.  Don't give up, Stay calm and Give your kid a chance!  XOXO

FYI:  Check back every Monday for the 'Mommy Monday' post each week beginning next week!
Monday, November 3, 2014

October Faves




Another month has passed which means another month of favorites, right?  Well if I posted monthly favorites then that would be the case but we all know that I don't!  It seems like the easiest thing to do at the end of each month but honestly I don't have "new" products that become favorites every single month.  In addition, with me not working I have really been cutting back on  purchasing anything that isn't truly necessary.  So, these faves are more like my third quarter favorites as they are products that I've been using for a few months now.  Hope you enjoy and if you want me to post more of these types of posts, please comment below and let me know!

Multicultural Curls:  One of Miss Jessie's newest products and quickly became one of my latest go to products.  As expected, it works extremely well with the Leave-In Condish that I use from them.  It's an amazing Styling product that just makes your curls POP POP POP and the shine, OMG.  Now this will not allow you to maintain a week long Wash and Go as it does not have much, if any, hold at all.  But if you are looking for a good 2-3 days to have a damn good Wash and Go, give this a try.  Also, if you have curls that need a little "help"... you know, feeling a little limp... This here will do the trick!

CoverFX BB Gel:  I've been using this baby since May of this year.  Recently, I went to go switch to another foundation because I ran out of this and immediately ran back.  This foundation has been helping to keep my skin clear and that just isn't something I was ready to let go.  The formulation is made so that it adjusts to match your skin tone as best as possible, given you have the right shade.  If you are in the market for a foundation that enhances your skin, helps to control oil, medium coverage and feels lightweight on then you need to go test this one out at your local Sephora ASAP.  I HIGHLY recommending testing it out in store because of the way the foundation adjusts once applied.

NARS Blush (Desire):  If you follow me on Instagram and have wondered what blush I've been wearing lately, 9 times out of 10 it's been this NARS blush in Desire.  I came across this blush by chance and wasn't really looking for anything in particular but it has quickly become my go to.  Now, usually Mata Hari is my go to and so you  might be wondering how this pink is different from that one.  Desire is more of true pink whereas Mata Hari is mauve pink. It's a great shade to use when you're going for a clean look and need just a nice pop of color on your cheeks.

NARS Mie Brush:  It only makes sense to discuss the NARS Mie brush while we on the subject of blush/cheeks.  OMG, I never thought I could be so in love with a brush... I don't even think it's normal how obsessed I am with it.  It applies my blush so perfectly every single time!  I've heard that you can use it for application of other products such as powders but I just haven't tried it yet.  If you have the Yachiyo brush from NARS, you probably think that it can't get any better than that... I beg to differ.  One thing I didn't like about the Yachiyo brush was how stiff the bristles are and that issue has been solved with this Mie Brush.  The bristles are so much softer than the Yachiyo brush which I think is what allows it to give such perfect application.  The brush is also tapered so you essentially could use it for contouring as well.  I feel like the only thing this brush does not do is pay the rent!  LOL

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker:  Since I have already spoke in depth about this product, I won't bore your little ears off again.  But, just know that if you are a Wash and Go girl and don't have this product yet, you are doing yourself and injustice for sure!  Remember, I said that Multicultural Curls is not meant for long term Wash and Go styling, well this product is!  In fact, I top my Multicultural Curls with the Curl Maker if need to push my curls a little longer.  It works quite well with a multitude of different products that I've tried.

Curly Kids Frizz Control Paste:  I truly need to do an entire blog post on this product as well as the entire line once I get my fingers on it.  So for now I will just RAVE about this one product in particular.  I received this in the CurlBox Kids box that I ordered for my girls back in August.  We have so many products that many times they just don't get used right away.  Well I couldn't find the gel that I normally use for the girls' edges so I grabbed this product instead and I have looked back.  I don't use anything else on their edges at all anymore.  It's a cream that slicks and holds JUST like a gel but there is absolutely no stiffness or stickiness.  I haven't used it on myself yet because I don't do styles that require me to slick my hair back but I imagine that it would work just as well on adults as well.  This baby was a very pleasant surprise and is now Holy Grail status for my girls.

Well that's it for my current favorites.  Sorry, if it was a bit lengthy as I like to really explain why I recommend a product as opposed to just telling you 'GO BUY IT NOW'! LOL.  If you have any questions about these products, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.  Do you use any of these products already?  How do you like them?  Please share.  XOXO
Thursday, October 23, 2014

Skincare Update...


If you follow me on Instagram (and you should if you're not lol), then you know that I have been battling some hyperpigmentation issues.  Although, treating my hyperpigmentation was a huge battle for me, an even bigger battle was minimizing my acne.  The hyperpigmentation was a result of scarring from the acne so as you see it was a vicious cycle that needed to come to an end.  Nobody cares to have acne or scarring from acne at the age of 30.  Finally, I've been able to get control of my acne prone skin with a few new products and lot of consistency.

Battling Hyperpigmenation
Skinceuticals LHA Cleansing Gel:  This product is a God send!  Along with my Clarisonic, it gently exfoliates my skin daily.  It also prevents Acne breakouts (as best it can) and helps control my oil.  I use this cleanser morning and night but I'm currently looking for something to replace it for the morning now that my acne is under control.  I do suggest using this twice a day until your acne is under control and perhaps a bit longer after that even.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads:  I believe I've spoken about this product before and I am still hooked.  I've been wondering when my skin did a complete 360 and I have come to the conclusion that it was when I started using this product!  I went from not being able to keep breakouts from happening on my chin area to barely getting a pimple ever... even during that time of the month.  I am almost on my third jar of this product and I don't plan on switching this product out of my line up any time soon.

Lush Vanishing Cream:  I am beyond surprised by this moisturizer.  I have never been able to find a moisturizer that did not clog my pores eventually and cause breakouts.  This moisturizer has been the exception to all of that!  Not only does it actually help in keeping my skin clear and acne free but it visibly reduced my hyperpigmentation.  Obsessed isn't even the word to explain my love for this product.  It is a bit pricier than any moisturizer I've purchased but it's worth every penny.  Plus, a little goes a very long way.  I purchased this back in June (I believe) and it looks like I've barely made a dent!

Super Goop 30+ City Sunscreen Serum:  This is another skincare product that I went out on a limb for.  Sunscreen is another product that I have never had a good history with due to it clogging my pores.  Fortunately, this product has not caused any skin problems for me at all.  In fact, I do believe it improves my skin when worn!  Crazy!

Acne free and Hyperpigmentation is just about gone

I went from having problematic skin to normal skin (besides it being oily which doesn't bother me as much now that I don't have an issue with acne).  Consistency and finding the right products was key.  Having the best products and not using them consistently is just a waste of money when you have acne prone skin.  Every product that I have in my lineup (including foundation) combats acne breakouts which helps out a ton.  This also means that nothing that goes onto my face will clog pores which is a main culprit in acne.  I will continue to post updates on my skin and skincare regimen to help anybody else out there who may be struggling with the same issues.  These products are working wonders for me but more than anything, I believe the consistency in which I use them has contributed the most to my success.

Do you have any suggestions for my morning cleanser?  What products do you have in your arsenal that are miracle workers?  Please share the wealth below.  XOXO
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Finding Cold Weather Staples (on a budget)



The fall chill is here which means it's time to start pulling out our cold weather accessories.  I'll be honest, I started pulling mine out at the beginning of September.  LOL.  I don't know about you but I don't do major shopping every season.  I may pick up a few basic items but if I need larger staple items then I don't shop for them until the end of the season when they go on major sale.  The "need" to have these items immediately isn't usually a concern of mine because I have a nice wardrobe to hold me over.  I want to just share a couple of tips I've picked up on to help build a solid cold weather wardrobe on a budget.

Staples are going to be the most expensive items in your closet more than likely.  Even if you purchased them on major discount, they will still likely cost more and that's okay because these items should be able to last for years!  I start shopping for my staples during the season... this is what I consider window shopping.  Look for solid, well made items that are timeless.  Staples are not in style this year... those aren't staples.  Staple items will be items that will be in style this year, next year, even 5 years from now.  When you find those staple items during the season, they will likely be full price.  They may go on promo (40% off) but hold out unless the promo price is right up your alley.  Personally, when I find staple items even the promo price is not low enough for me to purchase.  The next step I do is take a picture and write the item number down.  This will save you a lot of time when you come back in a few months to find the item(s) on sale/clearance.  Many times, you can even call the store ahead of time with the item number and have them tell you the current price to save you a million trips back to the store.  Decide what's the highest price you will pay and try to stick to that.  This step requires you to be reasonable and to take into consideration the popularity of the item you are interested in.  Lastly, attempt to make your purchase during a time where it's on sale AND there is an additional promotion happening (such as 30% off clearance items).  This is where you are going to get the most bang for your buck.




Ann Taylor is a great place to find some great items on a great deal.  The items pictured were all purchased from Ann Taylor at a fraction of what they originally cost.  Fur, Leather Boots, a Classic Tote, Booties and heavy fabric Dresses are all staples for me.  I have a few other items that I consider staples but I will list them in another post.  The faux fur vest was originally over $200 and is the only item that I did not purchase on clearance.  Ann Taylor had a random offer of 75% off the original price for one day only  and I immediately scooped it up on that day.  This is what I was referring to when I said sometimes the promo price is right up your alley! LOL.

Take your time building the staples in your closet.  You may have a bad season or two while you patiently wait for certain items but it will all be worth it.  I can't think of one item that I feel I actually "need" this winter because my wardrobe is pretty solid right now.  It may have taken me a minute to build it up but that's the thing about staples... Once you have them, they should last a very long time.  Stay tuned for a future post on other stores to catch a great deal on solid wardrobe pieces.  XOXO

Thursday, September 25, 2014

LottaBody Products Review: Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk and Wrap Me Foaming Mousse


Finally, I am able to review a line of products that are BUDGET FRIENDLY!  I saw this line floating around Instagram on different IG accounts and they had achieved some BOMB Wash and Go results so I knew it was a must for me to try.  Unfortunately, where I live there are NO beauty supply stores besides Sally's so it's super hard for me to find smaller brand products. Graciously, LottaBody sent the entire line for me to try and review for you guys.  So, thanks again LottaBody!  I didn't use all the products at once, obviously, so I will cover the products across multiple review posts as I use them.  This post will cover the Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk and Wrap Me Foaming Mousse.

Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk
This product has the consistency of a regular lotion type product.  It's nice and creamy, not too thick and not too thin.  I used the Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk as my leave-in for the Wash and Go.  I sectioned my hair off into six sections and applied the product using the raking technique making sure to apply enough from root to tip.  It took about 2 pumps of product to saturate and coat each section of my hair.  I did notice the product defining my curls slightly but more than anything it softened my hair and prepped it well for the rest of the LOC process.  Before I move forward I MUST share how AMAZING this product smells!!  The smell isn't too heavy but it's also not faint and does have sort of a tropical scent to it.

Wrap Me Foaming Mousse

This was my first experience  using a Foaming Mousse, or any Mousse for that matter lol, in my Wash and Go process!  So this here is history being made... right? LMAO.  I was entering new territory with this product but I decided to use it just as I would any other styling product.  When applying, I used the Smoothing Method and made sure to apply from root to tip.  I constantly talk about applying products from root to tip because this is my secret to decreasing frizz!  When the hair strands are properly coated from root to tip then the amount of frizz that forms as the style sets is decreased immensely.  Immediately I noticed an incredible shine that this product provided my curls as well as nice soft hold.  As for definition, the product did a great job but did not provide the amount of definition I need to maintain a long lasting wash and go.  This could be just for my hair type though as I've seen other girls on Instagram rave about getting days out of this product.

OVERALL


I was thoroughly impressed by the results of this product.  In fact, I was impressed by the actual products themselves.  The quality, packaging and price are ALL on point with this line.  The only downside for me was that I would not be able to get more than 2 days of results.  I would HIGHLY recommend these particular products for Naturals with TWAs!  Seeing as these products are roughly $5.00 and under at the stores they are sold, they is an incredible value!  For all my girls trying to find budget friendly staple products I would HIGHLY suggest starting here.  Although my Wash and Go came out really good, I am looking forward to using the other products in this line on a Flat Twist Out next!  Be on the lookout for the results and the full review on those products soon. XOXO
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Handling Different Textures Within Your Family...



Managing more than one head in your household can be difficult and frustrating.  What can add to that frustration is having a multitude of different textures to deal with.  No worries, we are going to tackle that minor hurdle as well as discuss product options for the whole family in this post.

More Than One Hair Texture

This is actually very common among families.  In my own home, my two girls and myself all have different textures and hair types.  I learned how to care for each of our heads by paying close attention to how certain products affected our hair.  For instance, my youngest daughter Kennedy has the most course hair out of us all.  She has a texture most closely related to Type 4B hair which produces very tight coils and kinks.  I noticed early on that her hair doesn't hold moisture for very long so its necessary for me to add moisture into her hair more frequently than for myself or my other daughter Taylor.  I would say, every other day I need to add moisture and seal with an oil in order for her hair not to become dry feeling.  Speaking of Taylor, her hair type is more close to my own but still quite different.  Her curl pattern is slightly more loose and is most similar to a 3C Hair Type, although, she does have some 4A in there as well.  As far as caring for her hair, it's very similar to caring for my own hair.  I use the LOC (leave-in conditioner, Oil, Curl Cream) Method and usually only need to add moisture into our hair maybe once a week.

If your child has a different hair type from your own and you are lost in caring for their hair, I would suggest starting with the LOC Method.  Monitor how well their hair retains the moisture and also how their hair reacts to the products.  Adjust the products according to positive or negative results achieved.  Trial and error plays a huge part in caring for their hair as well!  Lastly, I recommend finding a Naturalista on Instagram or YouTube whose hair texture most closely resembles your child's hair type.  Find out what products are working for them and what their regimen is.  But wait, this doesn't mean go asking a million questions.  Many times this information can be found in looking through old posts, comments and videos... Just take a minute and READ.

Hair Products For The Entire Family

Never have I sought out hair products specifically made for children except for maybe No Tear Shampoo when they were infants.  Obviously, when they are infants and very small children using a ton of products is not really necessary... A little water and oil can go a long way.  But then they grow up and their hair gains more texture which requires a little more work.  At this point, there is no need to go out and purchase an entire line of products just for children.  Very seldom are these "age based" products any different from the products you use in your own hair and are commonly more expensive.  If product ingredients are your concern, that's one thing.  Even still, you can find regular products with safe ingredients for the minis.  Brands such as Shea Moisture, Camille Rose Naturals and Trader Joes all make hair products that you can use on both yourself and your children safely.  Don't be afraid to open your cabinets and use those same products that you use on yourself, on your own children.  The upside to doing this is the knowledge you have about certain brands can help alleviate the trial and error process with your child.  Why go through 3-4 different children's brands trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.  Start with the brands that you know and love!  Obviously, the biggest setback is the wash process as we don't want to blind the children with the shampoo that isn't 'tear-free' but this too is just another process that takes a little tweaking.  I stopped using tear-free shampoo on my 4 year old just this year.  She now understands that when mommy says "keep your eyes closed" then you better!! LOL

Taylor: 3C Hair Type























Although Taylor has thick hair, it isn't very course.  Her curl pattern does detangle easily with the right products and tools.  The biggest issue I have with her hair is the thickness and length.
I literally sweat during her wash day process and sometimes have to break it up between two days to save my hands!!



Kennedy: 4B Hair Type



 






As you can see, there is a significant difference between Taylor's and Kennedy's hair in regards to texture.  I use the EXACT same products on both of their heads.  The way in which I use them are a bit different but I try to stick to products that work for the ENTIRE family, not just one person.

My Hair: 4A Hair Type
















I've talked a lot about my own hair texture and type both here on my blog and on Instagram.  My hair is amazing when moisturized well.  That said, the LOC Method is the key to success for maintaining lush curls.



The goal of this post was to hopefully give you more confidence in maintaining the different textures in your family.  I am not a professional or even considered a "guru" when it comes to this category but I am a mom of two young girls so these are tips I've learned along the way.  Not to worry if you're looking for more in depth knowledge about hair care, I will be doing my next post on the Top 10 Resources for information on Natural Hair.  XOXO
Monday, September 15, 2014

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker Review


Recently, Camille Rose Naturals reached out to see if I would be interested in trying and reviewing their new Curl Maker formula.  Although, I had not tried the Curl Maker yet, I actually had a brand new bottle in my cabinet from a recent Curlmart.com purchase!  The gorgeous BeautybyLee from Instagram had convinced me that I needed it for my wash and gos.  So, it was definitely already on my radar to test out.  The timing couldn't be more perfect!

PRODUCT REVIEW



Texture:

This product has a very thin gel consistency.  It reminded me a lot of the Kinky Curly Curling Custard actually.  The scent isn't too heavy and has a sweet marshmallow smell like other Camille Rose Naturals products.

Application:

For the application of this product, I decided to use the Curl Love Moisture Milk as the leave-in (or base).  I find that when trying a new product, it's always great if you can use other products within the same line.  Usually, brands create products that work well together so you don't have to take any chances wondering if this new product will play well with others.  Using the Curl Love Moisture Milk as the base proved to be the right idea.  As I applied the Curl Maker in small sections, raking and smoothing through my hair from root tip, it glided through effortlessly.  The important thing is to make sure you coat each curl very well with this product to avoid frizz and achieve max definition.  Unfortunately, I used too much in certain sections due to a faulty pump on my bottle.  But, unlike other products, using too much didn't give me any negative results!  In fact, it allowed my wash and go to last even longer I believe which was a win win in my book.  Once my curls were fully coated in the Curl Maker, I let my hair set by air drying and minimal touching... I couldn't help but touch my hair while waiting for it to dry.  The curls were so shiny, defined and somehow had much less shrinkage than most other curl enhancing products I have used.


Results

The curls I achieved with this product were like no other.  They were perfectly defined ringlets with almost no frizz and minimal shrinkage.  It didn't take my hair any longer to air dry than usual which is approximately 6-8 hours depending on the weather.  With this being a gel I'm sure many are wondering if it left my hair crunchy.  The answer is NO.  There was a "cast" left behind which wore off a little bit each day.  My hair was flexible and soft to the touch but you could feel that the curls were "set".  In my opinion, the Curl Maker is fantastic product to achieve days of great hair without really having to do much to refresh the style at all.
Cons

The absolute ONLY downside I experienced was the defective pump.  Getting the product out of the bottle without the pump wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and actually frustrated me a bit.  After seeing the results though, the struggle was worth it 110%!!

Staple Status: (Scale 1-5)

5. This product has definitely made Staple Status in my regimen.  I look forward to experimenting with using this product with other favorite products that my hair loves to see what results I can achieve.

It's always great trying a new product that gives you amazing results.  In this case, I found a product that I have fallen head over heels in love with.  Let me know if you've tried the Curl Maker from Camille Rose Naturals in the comments below!  XOXO

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