1/31/15

Influenster Frosty VoxBox


This is my first Influenster post of the year, even though it's reviewing my last box of 2014~!

 I was so happy to qualify yet again for the 4th year in a row (Holiday VoxBox '11, '12, JollyVoxbox & now Frost VoxBox), the holiday voxbox, and this one was called the #FrostyVoxBox.  This box was overall pretty good. It had a few products I had never tried before along with repeat products.  I love familiar brand names. I get so excited when I see anything from Rimmel, because it's a personal favorite!  Anyways, lets get into the good stuff!


Included was the following:

1. Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner
2. Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
3. EcoTools Volume Styler Hair Brush
4. Fruit Vines Bites in Cherry
5. Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea in Decaf (+coupon)
6. McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme
7. Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Sample +
7. Boots No Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum Sample
8. NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color in #418


Disclaimer: 
All of the contents of this box were sent to me for testing purposes courtesy of Influenster. 






 Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal Eyeliner

This eyeliner retails for $4.49.  I've tried it before. It's a great product and I'd recommend it to anybody. Very long lasting and the color is very pigmented.  5/5




 Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover

This makeup remover retails for $7.49.   I've tried this prior to this voxbox, but I still love it.  I find that it removes even the most waterproof and long lasting makeup, with ease.  5/5




EcoTools Volume Styler Hair Brush

This hair brush retails for $10.99.  This was my first time using an EcoTools hair brush.  I was not a fan of it for myself. I have extremely naturally kinky curly hair and this brush was no exception at getting tangled despite advertising that it can manage curls.  I do however, have children with straight hair and it's a great brush for them.  I give it a 4/5. 




 Fruit Vines Bites in Cherry

This snack retails for $1.79. I am always surprised at the edible items that are included in these voxboxes.  I had never tried Fruit Vines before and these were so good to snack on.  5/5





 Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Green Tea in Decaf 

1 box for 20 tea bags retails for $3.39.   This was a new brand for me. The sample was amazing and delicious.  I would recommend it to anybody.  I also got a 55 cent coupon to use on my next purchase.   I looked on their website Celestial Seasonings and found that they have a huge variety of teas to choose from. I will be a repeat customer.   5/5  



 McCormick Gourmet All Natural Thyme



This seasoning retails for $4.49.  I was the most surprised to see this product included in a voxbox. It's practical and I use seasonings all of the time, and often never think to try new ones, and I almost ALWAYS forget to include them on my shopping list.  I hadn't had any Thyme in my cupboards in a long time, so this was a pleasant surprise.  I love to use it to season potatoes.  I will recommend this to everybody I know. Plus, the glass bottle is cute.  5/5





Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Sachet +
 Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Advanced Serum Sachet

These serums retail for 22.99 for a full-size product.  These were only sample size, and there wasn't enough product in each sample to try for 2 weeks, about how long it should take to see your fine lines and wrinkles go away.  I want to try this product out eventually over a longer period of time to see if my skin looks younger.   I am starting to get lines under my eyes and that is where I applied these.   I cannot recommend this to anybody just yet.  I will give it a 3/5 for now.




                        NYC New York Color Expert Last Lip Color in Sugar Plum

This lip color retails for $1.99.   NYC lip products have been included in several voxboxes, however this was the first time I have tried their Expert Last Lip Color.  The color was perfect too. 5/5




Overall, I was happy with my #FrostyVoxbox.  I give it a 4/5.  I enjoyed trying out these new products.  I hope I qualify again this year for the 2015 holiday voxbox. It's always such a sweet treat. 

Remember, you too can join Influenster if you like to try products and review them for the sake of influencing others and letting companies know if their products are good or not!!  
Visit: Influenster


xo

1/29/15

Life Update!

Howdy Howdy.  

I am so bad at remembering to update this thing. Like seriously. I am a LAZY blogger.  That needs to change... so for right NOW, it is!  Hope this post finds everybody well.  I think I am well.  I have been ill lately. Exhausted.. don't wanna get out of bed but I have to... don't change my clothes for 2 days because I am lazy.. until I catch a whiff of my stinky armpit... hahaha... yeah. That really happened this week.  My life has been CHAOTIC, but good and blessesed.  It's a really good day when hubs buys me a bottle of wine that I don't have to share. :)  I've learned that I love beer and wine. Who would have thought?   We have family tequila nights where we sit around the table, play Cards Against Humanity or Aggravation on a home made board game Papa Bruce made, while we listen to music and enjoy the company. It's always such a good time.


Destinee is my sister in law & I ADORE her. She's so good to me and she's become one of my very best friends over the years. Love you Des!


Drunken Kissy Shfaces! 


My amazing and funny father in law, Paul! 




Actually, as much fun as we have, My goal is give up the alcohol. I haven't drank since NYE! I decided that I want to get super healthy and lose 60 lbs!!  60lbs sounds like a lot, but really, I am starting to get super soft. Not "Fat" ...GOD, I hate the way that word sounds. But soft.  Soft sounds so much nicer, doesn't it?  Except I don't want to be soft. I don't like being super curvy. Obviously I can't avoid my natural curves, but after having children, I find that my body is changing. Particularly my thighs. When they get bigger, so do my boobs. I'm getting softer.    :(  Boooo. I don't like this change. I'd rather be smaller. Just a personal preference.  This year I want to get into a bikini and wear it proud!!  Havent done that in 8 years! I just started a new workout with  Destinee this week and it's gonna kick my bootayy! Idiot me did challenge day 15 on day 1, and on day 2 I let hubs talk me into adding 60 reps of Jane Fonda's.. smh.  Oh well!! Hurt so good! 



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Sooooo, I turned 27 back in September. This photo below was of me on my birfdayyy.  I don't feel like I should be 27 yet! I get often told that I look too young to be a mom of 3.  How old do I look?  My age is often guessed at 22, 23!  Wut?  Psshhhh. I wish. No, I lie. I like being 27.  It's my favorite age thus far. I still can't believe I am this old though. Seems like JUST yesterday I was 17 years old and trying to figure life out on my own for the first time.  I've come so far in 10 years! Being an adult is so much more fun than being a kid. Okay.. that was a generalized statement, but it's true for me!



Oh and one big, obvious change I made last year was going RED after my birthday. 
Never thought I would like it, but I do!!  I mean, my hair always has some kind of red undertone in it that I can never get rid of, so I figured why not?  Only downside, is the color is a lot to upkeep. Worse than going blonde!  Red fades fast, and stains clothing. Since October, I have had to redo my color 6x just to maintain it.  Like every 3 weeks max.   It's a fun color for sure, bu will be gone soon though. Going back to my dark side.  ;)





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Lets see.. recently I met my older brother Brandon for the first time EVER.  Yup. We met over Facebook in 2012 and over New Years, hubs drove me to Arkansas to meet my brother and his hilariously witty wife Kendra (see pic, of them kissing)! We spent the night at their house. We went out to eat a couple times at one of my favorite places to eat, Village Inn for breakfast & then we went for sushi the next day. On NYE, we stayed up all night playing games, goofing around, farting, listening to music & drinking lots of beer & wine. Yup! It was the BEST time ever. I couldn't think of a better way to start the new year. So grateful! My life had up to that point, felt so lost.  I felt like there was something missing, and when I met my bro.. that all changed.   I lost a brother in 2013 and that was so heartbreaking. I am still very sad about that loss and will always miss him, but now meeting Brandon & getting to know him made me realize how important family is.  My brother and I went 27 years without knowing each other.  Now that we've met, my only goal is to be the best little sister I can be and be friends too.  It's still bizarre for me to say that I am a little sister when my whole life I was the oldest.  Anyways, to my brother from another mother: if you find yourself reading this... Thank you for meeting me! I love you. You turned out to be so much cooler than I had expected.  :)




We gave each other piggyback rides in the rain. Hahahahhaha.. There's a first time for everything.  We made a few good memories! 







My brother is very awesome. He has a lot of the same mannerisms as our father & other brothers.  Kind of crazy.  


One of my favorite things was us playing 20 questions in the backseat together on our way to Fayetteville.  He's hilarious and we have so much in common.  He had even more in common with my husband and they got along so well. Go figure! 


Here was our first picture together.. I may or may not have had happy tears.  ;) Shhh!  


Brandon was playing with his food. 

video


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I am on my 2nd year as a home-school mom. That's going well, for the most part. I had to do a lot of stuff to get them registered as home-schoolers through the superintendent's office & the county recorder of deeds office, and get a formal release from the school district they would regularly attend. I have ALL 3 of my kids enrolled in my home school with me as their sole teacher.  I re-enrolled them in their online schools. Right now we are on our 3rd year of ABCmouse.com, we also use Starfall.com, Smart Tutor.com & we work from tons of workbooks. Thankfully Pinterest helps & so does the online Homeschooling Community. I have made so many "Mommy Group Friends" & the girls have new friends to play with for play-dates & stuff.    My girls are enjoying it almost as much as I am. Hubs wants to put them in the same public school we went to as kids, but we do not live in that district unfortunately, and we are not in the market to move again for a little bit.  We have been in our house for only about a year now.


Here you see Jocelyn working from one of her wookbooks.  She does so good on her lessons and activities. As you can tell, she does not hold a pen or pencil correctly YET, but we're working on it.  


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 Lets see.. my photography has really taken off in the last year!  I am still not very good at it (per my own opinion), but for some reason, a lot of people seem to want me to take their pictures!  I did one session for a friend who has TONS of friends and I ended up with 250+ messages in my inbox requesting information & bookings. I did 26 sessions last year and I have several booked through this fall!!  I hosted a mini session day this past fall at the park & has 19 people show up for me.  That was pretty amazing. I did 10 minute mini sessions & it was so much fun. Made new friends! Met some of my online friends from mommy groups too.    I find myself extremely comfortable meeting new people & being behind the camera. I am always awkward when I am in front of it for some reason so taking photos comes extremely natural to me.   I have loved it for as long as I can remember.   The very first memories I have of taking photos began at about 9 years old.  I would ask my parents to buy me those disposable cameras so I could take pictures of my friends, my old porcelain doll collection, my other belongings, MY FEET...(Seriously.. I have like 100s of pictures of my feet for some reason, home videos too.. .saying... "Aren't my feet pretty..?"  LOL )..etc.   Anyways, I told you all that I was a strange one!


Here is are a few photos I did of my beautiful sisters and their men:












Right now, I offer free photography. You read that correctly. Most people seem shocked when they inquire about my prices and learn that I do free work.   I get, "You're kidding?" or "How come?"  "You should start charging!"  That makes me happy, because FREE attracts. I don't do free work to piss off my photographer friends, or compete & take potential customers away. Trust me, I have 6 friends who are established photographers. (Talking to you: Jessica, Lauren, Reanna, Louise, Erica, & Emily)  ^.^  I sometimes am not able to work with people and I refer them to my friends.  Tonight, I was asked to photograph the Harlem Globetrotter game tonight at the JQH arena, by a friend whos editor is of the local paper the Springfield Newsleader, but because I have other plans, I passed the buck & asked my photog friend Jessica to cover it instead.  Hope it works out for her. Such a great opportunity!  I know I will have more opportunities for more published & paid work. Until then, I will continue to offer my work for free also. I think of it as my way to give back to those who are giving to me. Each time I meet up with new people for photos, I have to see them through my lens & hope that I can capture their essence in some way that they will appreciate.  Most of them do, too. Really makes me feel good.   


Here, I met with Springfield's Wonder Woman aka Jasmine Rice & did a cosplay photo shoot with her. She was a goddess in person. 


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I really don't sleep much these days. I can stay up for 4 days straight just because my mind will not shut off.  Hubs kicked me out of our bedroom the other day bc I would not stop making lists outloud instead of in my head.. hahah. I cannot help it! My brain is constantly turned on, and never goes off.  Even when I am sleeping, I am thinking about things I need to do. Is that weird?    My anxiety is super high and I wish it had an off switch!  I might write a dedicated blog post to my anxiety soon!

Anyways...  Here is what I really love talking/bragging about- my girls!!


My daughters are growing SOOOO much.   I look at them every day and wonder how in the hell I got so lucky!?  I ask myself constantly how I survived what I thought was the hardest years of my life. I am willing to bet life will get a whole lot harder the older they get, but I pray we are lucky & do great!    I have been through some difficult times, but we have managed to stay positive and persevere!  I make time every day for one on one with each of them, and we do so much together. Like last night was board game night. We got out their favorite games and layed on the floor together with snacks and played games. I lost everytime too btw. ;)    Their happiness is all I want. Without getting too mushyyyy here,  after they each fall asleep, I pray over them, cover them up and give them each one of their stuffed animals to hold if it's fallen from their arms and lastly, kiss their foreheads.   It's the little things. They don't even realize I do those things, but I do.  I am so proud to be their mother. 



Caity sat unassisted briefly around Christmas time!! First time in 10 months she had sat!! Yayyy!! And below are Caity's xrays which show improvement comparisons from April to January.  You can see how much she's straightened out!! 




Caitlyn is doing as good as she can. Not a whole lot to report. Seizures are still crazy. That's not a surprise. Her life hasn't changed much apart from surgeries. She just had her 15th surgery!! Another growth rod lengthening. To those not familiar with her, or her surgical history, she has severe scoliosis & had growing rods placed in her back to correct her 90 degree curve & improve her breathing.  Her surgeries have all went well and have drastically improved her quality of life. Down time this past couple weeks was a pain in the ass, but it always is.  She's pretty much all healed. She has slight bruising and more scar tissue than before, but her old incisions were re-opened.  She's a little straighter.     Caity has her rods lengthened every 6 months at this time.  We're going to have all her hardware replaced this year for magnetic ones so she won't have to constantly go through rod adjustment surgeries.  It's so hard on her fragile little body.    I'll post updates when that happens.

Hubs and I considered our options really heavily last year about placing Caitlyn in a nursing facility and we were in contact with one but I am so attached, I couldn't commit. What's best for her is to be with me. There is no way around that. I simply break down and cry like a baby every time I imagine her life without me in it. I always have to consider mine without her too.   :(   We belong together.  I truly believe GOD blessed us with each other for a reason.  I need her as much as she needs me.    Having a disabled child is very serious.  Until you've had one yourself, you have no idea what it's like to live with fear of the unknown every single day and worry that all of your choices could be wrong.  I pray daily for guidance in our choices of activities, choices for her healthcare, etc.  Uhhhh writing all this is making me emotional. I gotta share some more photos. Here are some from Caity's recent surgery: 




Before & After Caity's surgery. 



Recovery Post-Op



Getting Caity dressed to come home was sooooooo awful. Words can't describe how much it hurt me to hear her cry those painful cries. Luckily, she slept most of the way home when her pain meds kicked in.   Oye!


Real life.  Caity is almost as big as me! She's heavy & getting taller.  It's not every day Caity has milestones like a normal child, so her surgeries are just as special as they are necessary.  The aftermath is exhausting for BOTH of us. I love her so much.



Caity's lower bandage on day 5 started to turn colors. We sent these photos to her doctor and he sent a prescription to our pharmacy for her called Keflex just in case it was infected. Turns out, it was. It had a foul smell around the area after we were instructed to remove her bandages.   


 You can see her current incision lines.  :(



This lower incision is the worst.  It was pretty awful. This was also 2 weeks ago mind you, so it is all cleared up and healed almost fully now. I'll do a new update later! 

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Jocelyn is going through a phase that confuses & concerns me. Her pediatrician says she's normal! Wut?   She's introvert as heck. Super shy about 90% of the time. Quiet. Wants nothing to do with Caity. When it comes to her daddy, she absolutely hates making eye contact with him. When we ask her about it, she says she loves him and doesn't know why she's shy around him.  She will hide behind Evangeline and do whatever it takes not to look him in the eyes.  When she gets upset, she has full on panic attacks.  She cries super hard, her heart beats go crazy,  she shakes & twitches, and then it takes FOREVER to calm her down.  She completely shuts down to anybody around her when she's upset. She used to be a mommy's girl, but now she's a Nana's girl. She loves to call her Nana and talk to her on the phone and she is always to the point on the phone. She says a couple things and hangs up. It's so sweet. She doesn't act up, like at all.  We missed the terrible 2s, & 3s with her. What a blessing!  She's really well behaved and sweet to me.  She asks me all the time for a baby sister or brother.  She is convinced if we have a boy baby, his future name will be Rikker.  (lolwut??)   Not sure where she got that, or why she likes it so much.    Her reason for wanting another sibling is so she's not the baby anymore.    Awww.  :(  I love her being my baby.  But I have to face the music.. she's going to be 5 in May, and 5 is definitely not a baby anymore.   

Jocelyn is also quite the little artist these days. She's always drawing pictures and they're hilarious.  I mean, for a 4 year old, she has quite the imagination.  When I ask her what is going on in her pictures she will tell me things like, "One day, there was a frog. He ate all my icecream when I was on the phone & so I ate the frog. He tasted like nasty ice cream. Then I pooped. "   Wut?   (Real story by her & the picture is her drawing of poop btw..)






Her smile tho.  :D

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Evangeline loves to climb all over me!! :) 




Evangeline is the sweetest child right now.  Her Papas, & her Daddy are her favorite people in the world. She has outgrown all of those toddler behavior issues she used to have.  I thought she was going to be my difficult child, but she did a complete 360 and she is obsessed with kindness.  She is always trying to make sure nobody gets their feelings hurt. Her manners are really good too.  She uses the word "appreciate" now. She told our UPS man yesterday that she appreciated him & he said to her,  "Thank you! You know something young lady, I have been delivering your packages since you were itty bitty. You've turned into quite a pretty little girl & I can't believe how big and smart you are!"  to which she replied.. "Duhh, I am 6 now, Jojo is 4, Caity is 8, Mommy is 27, and Daddy is 29."    The UPS driver then said, "Wow. You are so smart to know all those ages!"   lol    She is quite the conversationalist.  I freaking love it.  She must get it from me. ;)         Right now, she's obsessed with cars.  She wants to be "just like her daddy" and work on cars. She likes to hang out with Daddy & his buddies in the garage when they're working on car stuff.  It really surprises me!  At dinner tonight we discussed future vehicles for the girls.  I suggested Voltswagon beetles because they are sooo cute and I have always wanted one, and he said, "Angel is just like me. She is going to want a Honda."   Hahaha.. probably.   Probably.     (Speaking of cars.. Adam just bought me a red Honda CRV. Go figure.)   


(The Princesses aka: Evangline, Jocelyn & their cousin Grace with their Papa!)


Evangeline is also obsessed with doing things all by herself.  She's in that independent stage right now.  She likes to climb on the kitchen counters & fix her own popcorn in the microwave.  She does a great job too.  She likes to fix Caity a bottle & she likes to make me coffee.  She proudly peels potatoes with a potato peeler now too. She is BEGGING me to get her an Easy Bake Oven, so that comes next.  The age requirement on one is like 8 years old I believe. Hubs says no.. but I'm going to try to convince him that it'll be okay as long as its supervised... DUH.  :)  I had one as a kid and it was sooo fun.  

Evangeline is the messiest child ever. She cannot, and I mean CANNOT eat dinner without dropping her food on the floor, or spilling drinks. Every. Single. Day.    Jocelyn can eat and keep her clothes clean and never make a mess, but Evangeline, that child needs a bib.  :)   When she puts on lipstick, lipgloss, nail polish, perfume... she over does it and makes the biggest messes ever!  lol She also has issues keeping her homeschool & play areas clean. She will start picking up things and then she always says to me, "I am soooo tired. Mom, I appreciate you, when you clean up my messes."   Oh boy. 


Evangeline got her very first loose tooth tonight after she bit into an apple. She was so excited, she was taking selfies with her tablet of her teeth.  I am excited for her. She is really excited about her first visit with the tooth-fairy.  She informed me tonight that when her tooth comes out, she will put it under her pillow & pretend to fall asleep to see if she can see the tooth fairy.  Hahaha.  :) I remember being little and loving when my teeth came out & getting money for them.   I have already had to pull out several of Caitlyn's teeth so she doesn't choke on them, and sadly, the tooth-fairy has never paid her a visit with money, but I have gotten her new chew toys!  :)    Jocelyn is jealous of Evangeline's loose tooth.  She sat in front of the mirror on our bathroom sink checking all of her teeth to see if any were lose.   She's 4. :)   What a cutie.


Hubs and I are doing well.  He's such a sweetheart these days.  He keeps posting these hilarious videos to my facebook page and pointing out how much they resemble our lives. He cracks me up. 



Anwyays.. uhhh yeah. It's like 6am and I have a book to read & photos to edit, so I gotta end my blog post.   Yay for long life updates.


Bye Felicias! ;)