Musical Girl

One of my daughter’s first exposures to music was her daddy playing bass guitar for her. She was fascinated by the instrument and couldn’t stop watching.  She was about 6 months old then.

She’s 3 now and has her own keyboard, her own bongos and her own xylophone. Her daddy just started giving her guitar lessons on his childhood guitar. She loves it.

I know he would love to give her a floyd rose guitar when she is old enough to appreciate it. I think they would make a cute little father-daughter band.

My First Ipsy Glam Bag

This was the longest wait EVAR.  I signed up for Ipsy in early July and found out I wouldn’t receive my first bag until August. They charged me on August 1 and then didn’t even ship my bag out until the 13th and I received it on the 18th. By then I was DYING to get it.

So here’s what I got:


Briogeo Blossom & Bloom ginseng + biotin volumizing blow dry spray (1 oz trial size).  I love the smell. I’m not much of a hair blow dryer but I’m about to get my hair cut shorter and it can always use some volume.  You can get a 5.1 oz bottle of this on Amazon for $18 so for the size the value is $3.50.

Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash (1 oz trial size). I have very sensitive skin, especially on my acne and eczema prone face, so this is perfect. I’ll try it tonight!  A 6 oz bottle on Amazon is $19 so for the size the value is $3.17.

Aila Nail Lacquer in Mister Pookies [looks to be a grey/purple] (full size). I love nail polish even though I rarely wear it. This looks like a great color for fall so I’ll be looking at it again in October. According to the website this color is “steel grey with purple undertones” and that the polish is “5 Free*, Gluten Free, Cruelty Free” – all good to know!  $17.

* I had to look up 5 Free, which is an Aila term meaning that their products don’t contain Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Toluene, Dibutyl phthalate (DBT), or Camphor

Starlooks Pro Luxe Longwear Eyeliner Pen (full size).   I’m going to guess the color is black, though there is no color indicator on the package other than it is black. I am not an eyeliner person but this might be fun to play with. $19.

Hikari Lip Gloss in Merlot (full size).  Love love love lip gloss.  This is avery nice color that I expected to not be as dark when I put it on. This is, however, high pigment so the color stays true from the tube to your lips. I had to blot a bit, but I like the color and will definitely wear it. $13.

That bag! The Ipsy black and white houndstooth bag with hot pink accents. Great quality bag, much better than I was expecting. I will definitely use this. I don’t know how much they cost but on ebay they are going for around $4.99 and up.

The Ipsy Glam Bag is $10 a month. All the samples and full size products come in a reuseable makeup bag, a different one every month.  If you sign up right now your wait won’t be as long as mine.


Things I Love: Bluetooth Keyboard

When I got my first Android phone I had to purchase a Swype style keyboard. I loved that thing, and even moved it to my second phone. Most phones and tablets come with a Swype style keyboard now so it’s not a big thing anymore.

As much as I love it, it gets tiresome in the middle of long conversations or when I’m just feeling lazy.  All of my devices have Bluetooth and I have a Bluetooth keyboard for the Kindle but it’s tiny and doesn’t lend itself to typing a lot.

I finally decided to get a full size Bluetooth keyboard and they can get expensive.  I found this one and I LOVE it!  This is the myKeyO Full Size Bluetooth 6-In-1 Keyboard, Stand and Organizer. I found it on eBay but it was $10 cheaper on Amazon with free shipping. The seller even sent me pairing instructions in English prior to the arrival of the item. A+

20150804_233144I got the white version, but it also comes in black and pink (for a higher price).

20150804_233154It has storage underneath (headphones not included, those are mine) and places for pens and business cards on top.  The holder on top holds both my phone and table with their cases on!

It paired easily to my Kindle, my cell phone and even my laptop (the one I recently spilled soda in, OMG). I think black or pink might have been prettier but the white works fine for my purposes.

PS. My laptop doesn’t have Bluetooth but I got this adapter several months ago. It works fantastically and is super cheap.

The other night I had a sudden inspiration for a blog post for a freelance client. My Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was paired with the keyboard (I had just gotten the keyboard and was fooling around with it) so I opened Google Keep and quickly typed nearly an entire blog post on my phone!

I plan to keep it in the kitchen area, which is where I spend most of the day. It’s a great stand to look at recipes and I can send messages and type things up when inspiration strikes.  I was worried I wouldn’t use it much but it has proved to be invaluable I highly recommend it.

Some notes:

  • Apparently the number keys on the side don’t work with iPads, so take that into consideration.
  • This is not rechargeable and requires to AAA batteries.


Things I Love: Google Keep

I’m one of those people that has notes everywhere. I write on the backs of envelopes, scraps of paper, sometimes even notepads.  Then when I need them? I can’t find them.

I recently discovered Google Keep when I upgraded to a new phone (my beloved Samsung Galaxy Note 4).   It is a great place to make and keep lists, notes, etc.  It works on phones, tablets and computers and whatever you put on one device shows up on all of the others when you use the same account for all.

t list(a sample of my Trader Joe’s list)

I use it for EVERYTHING. When I am on a phone call I open Google Keep on my laptop and take notes.  Here are the things that make Google Keep great:

  1. Tags (Labels). I can make a title on a note and then add tags (labels) to make things easier to find later.
  2. Reminders.  Fantastic, wonderful reminders. If I take notes on a conversation that requires follow up I can set a reminder and I will get a notification on my phone when I need to follow up. This is SO HELPFUL.
  3. Pictures. You can add pictures to grocery lists or notes or anything. I love to take screenshots of items I see on Trader Joe’s blogs and put them in list so I can remember to get them when I make my monthly trek to TJ’s. You can either look at a list that says Edamame Hummus or you can see a picture of a package of edamame hummus. I like knowing what I’m looking for.
  4. Sharing. If I’m sick or home with the kiddo I can share a note or list with my hubby at the store so he knows what he needs to pick up.

Google Keep is a fantastic resource and I can’t get enough of it.

I Tried It: Vertical Folding

I’ve seen on several blogs posts recently that a lot of people are reading and recommending The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I actually haven’t read the book yet but I have it on reserve at the library. Maybe I should buy a copy instead?

One of the things the book espouses is vertical folding, which allows one to see everything in the drawer at a glance.  I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, too, so I decided to try it.

I started with my top drawer of tanks tops, and looked up some Youtube videos so I could figure out the process. I only planned on doing the one drawer but I ended up doing all 9 drawers of my dresser and even discarding several items of clothing in the process.

Here are the videos I used:

How to fold tank tops:

How to fold t-shirts:

How to fold shorts:

So how did it work out for me?  Well, I LOVE the way it looks:

vertical fold

And even more I love how easy it is to get dressed in the morning now. I can open the drawer and see everything and pick what I want without digging.  During the refolding process I even found 4-5 shirts I hadn’t seen in a while because they got shoved to the bottom of the drawer.  It was like shopping in my own dresser!

Folding does take a few minutes longer per load, but I cannot get over how great it is to open the drawer and see everything nice and neat and ready for me to make my selection.

I loved it so much I even did my husband’s drawers.  No word yet on what he thinks of it, but he hasn’t complained so I’ll call that a win.

July 2015: Walmart Beauty Box

In my effort to start using beauty products more frequently and shed my stay at home mom image, I subscribed to a couple of beauty boxes. One of these is the Walmart Beauty Box, and it arrived last Friday.

07-15 WM BB Loot

This is a pretty nice box of stuff.  Included are:

Vaseline Intensive Care Healing Serum Radiance Restore With Pure Cocoa Butter. This is a 6.8 fl oz. tube so full size and it smells so good. I’m going to use it on my legs.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel. Sample size of 0.25 oz. I had never heard of this stuff and I’m always wary of putting something new on my face so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll try it on the back of my hand first.

Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick in #875 Gladiolus.  Full size lipstick. I am not a lipstick person but I did try this on. It goes on very smooth, doesn’t feel like traditional lipstick and it smells divine, like maybe it has coconut oil in it.  The package says “Revolutionary wax-free gel technology for true color clarity in one smooth swipe.”  I did only do one swipe per lip.  This is definitely not my color (looking at the color palette on the package I would choose Snapdragon).  When my 2-year-old daughter saw it on me she looked at me curiously and said “Momma, you got wed wips!” (Sample picture of this on my inner arm, below.)  I don’t hate the color. I would probably wear it for a fancy night out, if I ever had fancy nights out. PS – the back of the package includes a $1.00 off coupon.

lipstick sample

Burt’s Bees Renewal Intensive Firming Serum.  This is a sample pack. I’m going to test it on my arm to make sure I don’t have an allergic reaction before I try this on my face.  This is part of a 5 step Renewal program from Burt’s Bees.  I’m not a 5-step program kind of girl so I doubt I would ever buy this.

Simple Micellar Cleansing Water.  This is a sample, basically a small square soaked in the liquid sealed in a foil packet.  Since it was so small I used it to clean the lipstick off my lips and it worked great. I am already familiar with micellar cleaning water since I use the Trader Joe’s Micellar cleaning wipes.  I’m almost out of those and TJ’s is a trek so I might buy this to tide me over.  There is a $2.00 off coupon on the sample flyer. Micellar water is a great cleanser for sensitive skin.

L’oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5. This is a sample packet of Restoring Shampoo, Restoring Conditioner and Damage Erasing Balm. This couldn’t come at a better time. I just overprocessed my hair when coloring it and the shampoo I had wasn’t making it any better. I finally got some Tresemme Luxurious Moisture (my fave) which is helping a lot, but I can’t wait to try this Damage Erasing Balm.

All in all I think this was an ok box. There were $3.00 worth of coupons, about $13.00 worth of full size products in a $5.00 box. I’m interested to see what the next one brings.

You can sign up for the Walmart Beauty Box by clicking here.  It is $5.00 including shipping, and ships quarterly.




On The Floor

For about 9 years my husband and I lived in 3 different houses. Each of these houses was predominantly tile or some other non-carpet flooring.

In Florida, especially in our area, non-carpeted homes are the rule rather than the exception.  Sand is a lot easier to get out of the house when there is no carpet.  However, we also found this to be the case in Louisiana when we lived there.  The first house we lived in was stone and/or tile and the second home was completely hardwood flooring.

The home we currently rent has carpet in all rooms except wet rooms, which is nice.  However, I do prefer non-carpet.

We will be moving again in the next year or so and I expect the house we move to will not be carpeted. I have been looking online at wool area rugs. I think the best way to decorate a home when you don’t want to decorate the walls is to decorate the floors.

I plan to put bold colors in the living areas and muted colors in the bedrooms.  Wool area rugs are a great way to give your home some personality.

Makeup? Who Me?

I’ve never really been a makeup person.  When I was in high school I wore lots of it because I had bad skin and it covered it up.  It also made it worse.

When I finally figured out how to get my skin clear (first with Proactiv [great product – until I developed an allergy to benzoyl peroxide] and then with Cetaphil antibacterial bar soap [something I still use to this day]) I was loathe to wear makeup at all.  My skin was beautiful, practically perfect, and I revelled in it.

The fact is, a little makeup does make me feel more polished.  For years now I’ve used Covergirl tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush and some sort of lip balm.  As a mother, I don’t find it necessary to use makeup at all, ever.

As a couponer I enjoy getting a good deal. A week or so ago there was a great deal on Physicians Formula at CVS so I went over and spent some of my ExtraCare bucks on new makeup, including a tube of CC Cream, some bronzer/blush and some loose mineral powder.

I got it home and decided to try it all out before we went out for the evening.  The CC Cream was awful, It went on super thick and pale and I ended up wiping it all off (with a Trader Joe’s Micellar cleanser wipe – an item I adore) and used my usual tinted moisturizer.  The bronzer/blush had a weird shaped applicator brush that I still don’t know how to use but I tried. Then I put on the powder, which come with a handy dandy applicator brush that really sucks.

I read up on the CC Cream and the company website has a video showing how to apply it with a foundation brush.  Next trip out I picked up one of those, as well as some makeup sponges (those have to be moistened, which I never knew until a couple of years ago) and another Physicians Formula product, the pH lip gloss.  LOVE this stuff.  I got it in Natural.  It has a cute little mirror and lighted applicator, and I love the color.

When I got home I did one side of my face with a moistened makeup sponge and the other side with the foundation brush.  Both looked MUCH better than just applying it with my fingers, but I definitely liked the makeup sponge side better.

Since then I’ve tried to wear makeup most days, especially when I’m going out. I usually use my tinted moisturizer since I’m lazy, but I plan to use the CC Cream more often.

One of these days I will attempt eye shadow.  In the meantime I am currently waiting for my first ipsy glambag.  Can’t wait!


Tune In, Tune Up

Can I tell you a secret? My husband couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.  He’s a horrible singer, though he can sometimes manage to carry a tune as long as the notes are really low.  Sadly, I think our daughter has inherited his inability to sing.

He’s trying to teach her to be musical in other ways.  We have keyboards, drums, guitars and bass guitar to play with and introduce to her.

The best way to keep in tune all of those instruments? Having a tuner handy. My husband has one that our daughter calls “calculator” because it looks kind of like a calculator.  There are many different kinds to choose from: clip on, pedal, even some that do things besides tune.  Find the best one for you by clicking the link above.

Yum Yum or Yuck? Trader Joe’s Products

My car is fixed! My car is fixed!  What does that mean?  Well, it means I’ve made 3 trips in the last two weeks down to the town where friends and family lives.  It also means I’ve been to the Trader Joe’s in that town 3 times in the last two weeks!

I picked up a few things and wanted to get my thoughts down here on what I liked and didn’t like.

The Good

(image via

Trader Joe’s Chicken Fried Rice. This is in the freezer section.  You cook it by heating oil in a pan on the stove, dumping the rice in and covering it with a lid, stirring every so often for the short cooking time (5ish minutes). This comes with scrambled egg already in it but I added more (beat two eggs with seasoning in a bowl, push rice to the side in the pan, add a small amount of oil, dump beaten eggs into the oil, scramble and incorporate with the rice).  Contains red peppers (very small), corn, peas, edamame, scrambled egg and chicken.  The chicken is dark meat.  It comes with microwave directions but it is so easy to cook on the stove, don’t bother.    This is good stuff!

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice.  As with the chicken fried rice above, this is super easy to cook.  Contains red peppers (very small), corn, peas, edamame, and carrots.  I added scrambled egg to this one, as well.  There are tons of vegetables in this and it got rave reviews from all family members.  I plan on buying this one again and again!

Trader Joe’s Cleanliness is Next to Godliness multi-purpose cleaner.  I usually use Honest Company’s all purpose cleaner, but I decided to pick this up on one of my trips.  I’ve primarily used it in the kitchen and it works very well on grease and kitchen grime.  The smell isn’t overpowering.  I may pick up another bottle for my pantry soon.

The Bad

Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Speculoos Cookie Butter Cups.  Now, I love Reese’s.  I love cookie butter.  This seemed like a match made in heaven.  Not so much.  The chocolate tastes waxy and cheap.  The cookie butter isn’t creamy, it is crumbly, and tastes like a bunch if spices were added to it for this product.  I won’t be buying these again.

I’ve got some other products in my cabinet to review as soon as I try them.  Can’t wait!