Friday, February 5, 2016

My Top 5 Hair Hacks

*This post was written by me. While I was compensated for my time and effort, all opinions remain 100% mine.*

Everyone is always asking me about my hair. It is really long, so it always attracts a lot of comments and questions. The questions are always: "How long did it take to grow that long?" "When was the last time you cut it?" and, of course, "What products do you use?"

This post is meant to answer all the questions, as well as I can. I have had my hair long for many years, but I cut 6-8 inches of dead ends off pretty regularly, so I can't really way with any certainty how long it took to get to this length. The last time I cut it was sometimes last year. As for what products I use, it really is not as simple as just specific products, so I decided to list my top 5 "Hair Hacks".

1. Wash hair as little as possible.

This is going to sound weird to a lot of people, and maybe will even sound gross, but I wash my hair only when it needs it, which is not that often. Washing too often strips natural oils that would otherwise promote smooth, shiny, healthy hair. Also, many shampoos have harsh ingredients that are even more damaging to hair. If my hair starts getting oily at the roots, then I was it, otherwise, I just wear a shower cap.

2. Rinse hair in cold water.

It is a good thing I don't wash my hair every time I shower, because another trick I use is to rinse my hair only with cold water. I despise cold showers. I like the water as hot as I can stand it. Warm/hot water is good for opening the hair cuticle, so at the beginning of the shower it is great, but when it is time to rinse, using cold water closes the cuticle, which locks in the moisture from the conditioner.

3. Use products that treat a specific need.

There are tons of wonderful hair care products on the market, and choosing can be very difficult, but I found it is always best to choose a product targeted for a specific problem. For example I am using the KerMax system, which is designed to stop hair loss. While I am not balding yet, and I clearly have a lot of hair, I experience a drastic amount of hair fall, and it is not only an annoyance, but it worries me that soon I may noticeably lose my hair.

While being so concerned with looks does not make me beam with pride in my ability to focus on the important things in life, it is an unfortunate fact that thick, full hair is seen as beautiful and thin, flat hair is not. With 40-50% of women suffering from hair loss, I have to use KerMax in my beauty routine, even if only for my peace of mind. KerMax is all natural. It is drug-free and available over the counter. KerMax is available in Canada at all Shoppers Drug Mart locations, and in the United States at all CVS locations, and CVS online.

4. Keep hair up, gently. 

When I wear my hair down, it gets caught on everything. In the zipper on my jeans, necklaces, even rings or bracelets. It gets tangled around my kids and snacks on the knobs of my lower cupboards. There is almost nothing it won't get stuck on. Of course, when it gets stuck, it also tears and gets split ends, which is the quickest way to do irreparable damage. I keep my hair up basically all the time unless I am sleeping, washing it, or going somewhere special.

I keep it in a bun or a sloppy "bun", but I have to do it gently and even stop and start over if I give it a wrong twist. I have felt and heard some out of place strands rip or try to rip right out, just by me trying to put it up. There is so much that some goes one way, and some goes the other, and when I try to pull through, it starts to break and I have to stop, and start again. It is sometimes quite a hassle, but it is much better than the damage it would otherwise cause.

5. Use a detangling brush.

This may seem like a simple one, and perhaps even a no brainer to many of you, but a brush made specifically to be detangling works so much better. I will never go back to a traditional brush. I can handle any pain that brushing may cause, but the pain means damage, and I am not going to subject my hair to that. Detangling brushes have bristles of varying lengths, so they separate tangles without tearing, and they make hair looks smooth. Also, they don't add static like some brushes do.

Obviously these tips are probably not life-changing, and they may not work for everyone, but I am always asked about my tips, and these are what works for me. I hope they will help someone achieve the hairstyle they want. I just might be able to help in another way as well. KerMax has been generous enough to sponsor a giveaway for one KerMax system (Shampoo, Conditioner, Day Foam and Hair Serum - a $150 value.) Enter below for your chance to win. Good luck!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

FREE Unlimited 4×4 or 4×6 Photo Prints with the Shutterfly Mobile App

If you are anything like me, your phone is full of thousands of photos, many of which are very precious. Especially with the holidays having just passed, there are bound to be tons of holiday photos just sitting on your phone.

Having photos on your phone is great, but it takes up a lot of memory. Not only that, but you can't hang a picture file on your wall. And pictures should be enjoyed, not just stored. I cannot even download apps at this point because so much of my memory is occupied by photos. I have concert photos, family reunion photos, holiday photos, school events and so much more just sitting in my phone.

That is why I am so excited about the amazing offer that Shutterfly has going on right now. For a limited time you can get UNLIMITED 4x4 or 4x6 photo prints from Shutterfly using their mobile app. All you have to pay is shipping, and you can get literally as many photo prints as you want. I am going to clear out my phone.

The Shutterfly app is available on iPad, iPhone and Android. Download it now and clean out those old photos, to make room for all the new memories you will make this year. There is no better excuse than free prints. Shipping is a small cost to pay. Hurry, this is a limited time offer.

How many photos are on your phone? How often do you erase them? Do you still print them out, or do you just save them like I usually do? Have you ever run out of storage space right when you needed it most (like I have?) I would love to discuss with you all.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Christmas Wishes - Dyson V6 Absolute Review + Gift Card GIVEAWAY!

Santa Clause is on his way. We have been preparing for weeks. We have been decorating and baking cookies. The kids have been making wish lists and writing letters to Santa. The stockings are hung. We are certainly ready for Santa's arrival, and our home is almost ready.

Of course, I do not wish to welcome Santa or any of my other holiday visitors into a dirty home. I have been doing a lot of cleaning lately, to clear out my kids' old toys and make room for all the new ones on the way. On top of that is all the every day messes and of course the added messes that the holidays bring, like fallen evergreen needles, glitter falling from ornaments, flour & sugar from holiday baking and more.

Thankfully, I have not had to handle all of that on my own. Santa's not the only one with a little helper. With the Dyson V6 Absolute Cordless by my side, holiday messes are history. I love being able to focus on the memories, not the messes.

The V6 Absolute is amazing. With messes happening so frequently, I hate pulling out a big, bulky corded vacuum. In the past, though, a cordless did not have the power I needed to clean thoroughly. A cordless vacuum is only convenient if it actually gets the job - the whole job - done.

I have always known tat Dyson was a superior brand of vacuum, but I was still a bit unsure if the 6V Absolute would be able to handle all our messes as completely as a corded vacuum, but not only did it keep up, it blows our other vacuum out of the water.

The V6 Absolute works seamlessly on carpets and hard floors, but it does so much more than that. From superior suction on floors, to precision pickup in corners with the crevice tool. The V6 Absolute offers huge suction in small spaces, with attachments like the mini motorized tool, which is great for furniture. My couches love it. The crevice tool is great for between cushions too. Mine are attached, but still have an indent between them, so they collect everything.

The combination accessory tool is great on windowsills and for things like counter tops. The mini soft dusting brush s great for cleaning dust of ceiling fans and even works to clean computer keyboards and such. Of course, the extension pole also comes off to make a mini handheld vacuum with all the power of  the full sized cordless. That is great for stairs, the car, and getting underneath furniture, like beds and couches.

The V6 Absolute is just so versatile. It cleans everything I need it to and more. It runs for 20 minutes on a full charge, which is plenty of time since it pick up the mess on the first pass. It is bag-less and is so easy to empty. You just push a button, so you never have to fumble with touching the dirt. It even has a docking station, which is not only convenient, it saves a lot of space, which is crucial to me.

The Dyson V6 Absolute is not just the gift of a clean home from top to bottom. It is the gift of time (since cleaning up will be so much faster), of stress relief (when the messes are gone [quickly], so is the stress.) It is the gift of a healthier home, no more breathing in dust or dirt, the whole machine HEPA filtration really makes a difference.

It is such a cliche to say that cleaning products make a bad gift. Even if that were true, the V6 Absolute is so much more than a cleaning product. The fact that you care enough to make their obligations easier, leaving them more time for the more important things in life, is pretty thoughtful in my opinion. I would be thrilled to get the V6 Absolute as a gift, and anyone who wouldn't be grateful doesn't deserve a gift that nice anyway.

I wish I was able to give away one of these amazing vacuums so you could see how amazing they are. Unfortunately this is the one review I don't have a giveaway item for. Not to worry, though, I have decided to offer up a $50 Walmart gift card for the giveaway. You can use it toward the purchase of the Dyson V6 Absolute or whatever else you wish. Enter below for your chance to win.

Be sure to check out all the other Christmas Wishes giveaways HERE. There are 10 fabulous blogs participating, and thousands of dollars in prizes to be won. New giveaways are added all the time, and you won't want to miss any of them.

*Although I received the Dyson V6 Absolute at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Wishes - elo My Storytime Pillow Review and GIVEAWAY!

The holidays are nearly here. Your little ones are sure to be dreaming of sugarplums and a visit from Santa. Of course they can only dream after they have fallen asleep, which at times is quite impossible to achieve, especially with the holiday excitement.

My little ones do not specifically protest bedtime like some kids do. They are usually ready to start the process as soon as I say so, but it's the process that takes a long time, especially when we get to story time. My kids love stories, and being so far apart in age/maturity as well as opposite genders, they usually want different stories, at the same time.

Obviously that is quite impossible. My son is 8 and, although he has autism, is incredible intelligent. He can read to himself on at least a 5th grade level (he is in 3rd grade), but he still prefers to be read to. A love of literature is something to be treasured, so I always want to encourage that as much as I can.

I hate not being able to read to them both at once unless I read the same story. I am so glad that I discovered a solution to that problem. A fabulous, cuddly, soft, comforting, reading solution. The elo My Sotrytime Pillow is exactly what I needed.

Of course, I still want to read to my kids myself to bond and spend time with them, but elo makes it much easier for kids to be patient. Now, while one kid is waiting, elo can tell them a story too, so they are not feeling bored or left out while I am busy with the other child. There is much less fighting over me, but of course, now they both want elo.

I will just get a second one, though, and then things will be very happy around here. Then they can have all the stories they want, they can keep listening until they fall asleep. And to ensure they won't play(not that they would), Elo Pillow only reads if the child is lying on it.

This is such an amazing product. I wish that this had been a round sooner, but I am so thrilled to have a reading helper that my kids love so much. A love of reading is priceless and the gift of elo is like the gift that keeps on giving. I think every child should have one.

While I can't give one to every child, elo has been generous enough to offer an elo My Storytime Pillow to one very lucky reader. Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this incredible prize. Good luck.

Be sure to check out all the other Christmas Wishes giveaways HERE. There are 10 fabulous blogs participating, and thousands of dollars in prizes to be won. New giveaways are added all the time, and you won't want to miss any of them.

*Although I received an Elo Pillow at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Wishes - Society6 Review Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Do you have an art lover on your shopping list this year? If so, Society6 has you covered. In fact even if they are not already supper interested in art, the amazing products from Society6 will change that. Take me for example, I appreciate art, but I have never really desired to have art in display in my home. I think that is because alot of art is personal to the creator, but not necessarily personal to me.

That is why I fell so in love with Society6. Thousands of artists have their work for sale on there. The art work can be placed on traditional art prints, but also on clocks, pillows, blankets, phone cases, shower curtains, leggings and so much more. That alone make the art more accessible.

What really speaks to me about the artwork on Society6 is that a great portion of it is fan art. There are many artistic interpretations of all the pop culture stuff I love. It may seem kind of superficial to say that I prefer art based on a TV show or movie, but in reality it is because I have connected so deeply with those stories and characters that they truly speak to me.

Because there are so many designs created by thousands of artists, it is easy to find a piece that you will love, but it is incredibly difficult to choose only one. I could literally purchase hundreds of pieces and still want more. If only a had a bigger house.

As it stands, I recently acquired two incredible pieces and I am so in love with them. I chose to pick artwork created in honor of Breaking Bad. While the show is great entertainment, and often sets an example of how a person shouldn't act, it is still very personal to me. Jesse's character is especially relate-able to me.

He has made a lot of mistakes. He ends up making friends with someone who seemed to be a role model and the person ended up leading him down a much worse path. He has suffered extreme heartbreak in the deaths of people close to him and being shunned by his parents. He tries to better his life and gets pulled back down by other people who don't want him to. Even in the end, he overcomes a horrible situation, but does not live happily ever after.

It is so much like real life. It is not a fairy tale. Life is hard. Even when you try to do good, bad things happen and bad people come after you. Your actions have consequences.  Sometimes there is nothing you can do to change your situation, even when you're trying. To me, it is just so real.

Anyway, having such amazing artwork that represents a story that may be fictional but is so really to me is wonderful. It makes me so happy every time I see the pieces and anyone who knows the show loves them. I get tons of comments from visitors about how amazing they are. I chose a Framed Art Print and a Wall Clock and they look perfect in our living room.

I was amazed at how great they look in person. Even my 4 year old was impressed. She called the art print "beautiful" and gave it a kiss.

Not only does Society6 have a great selection of products and a huge catalog of artwork, but each time you purchase an artist's work, that artist gets paid for it. I have no artistic ability, but I know how important it is not not only get credit for your work (which they do, their name is on all of their pieces), but to also be compensated for it. That just makes me so happy. I love knowing that I am helping a smaller artist make some money and gain a little more appreciation for their hard work.

If you are shopping for an art lover or almost any pop culture fan, I think you must check out Society6. Star Wars for example is so huge right now. Well, Society6 has thousands of Star Wars themed works of art just waiting to be discovered. One of a kind designs, some are more traditional to the style of the movies, some are abstract. There is something for everyone and more.

I could honestly find a fabulous piece from Society6 for every single person on my list. I bet almost anyone could.

While I am, unfortunately, not giving away anything from Society6, I was able to get a $100 credit good for any art print at Saatachi (their sister company.) They also offered a 10% off code for everyone. GIVEART10 will take 10% off originals through 12/31/15. Enter below for your chance to win the $100 credit. Good luck.

Be sure to check out all the other Christmas Wishes giveaways HERE. There are 10 fabulous blogs participating, and thousands of dollars in prizes to be won. New giveaways are added all the time, and you won't want to miss any of them.

*Although I received this artwork at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas Wishes - iCoffee Opus Review and GIVEAWAY!

December is always my busiest month of the year. I have to finish up the holiday shopping, plan for family gatherings, clear out my kids' old toys to make room for the new ones. There are school functions and parades and presents to wrap, cookies to bake and much more. Not to mention the kids get out of school about half way through the month.

Needless to say, most days I am running on prayers and coffee. I drink a lot of coffee and I often need it at a moment's notice. I usually rely on k-cups to get my caffeine fix fast, but I don't want to sacrifice quality for convenience.

With the iCoffee Opus Single Serve Brewer, I get exactly what I need. I get a super fast cup of coffee that tastes incredible. Not only does the iCoffee Opus use their exclusive SpinBrew™ technology that steams and stirs the coffee to eliminate acidity and any bitter aftertaste, but it also allows me to customize my brew to the strength and volume I need. Since I almost exclusively drink iced coffee, that is very important to me.

Usually when I use a single serve cup to brew my iced coffee, it ends up getting too watery. That is because my Keurig only brews 6, 8 or 10oz cups but the coffee is always the same amount. The iCoffee Opus has a unique Dial-A-Brew feature that allows it to brew any size from 4-12oz in .5oz increments with a simple turn of a nob.

The 4oz brew is perfect for my iced coffee. It allows for more concentrated flavor that is perfect when cream and ice (and Splenda) are added. Watery iced coffee is basically the worst thing ever, so I am so in love with the Opus for this reason alone.

However, as I briefly touched on above, the SpinBrew™ technology also puts the iCoffee Opus in a league of its own. Steaming the coffee extracts all of the incredible flavor while leaving behind the acidity that can cause bitterness. Bitter coffee is also the worst thing ever.

The iCoffee Opus works with any k-style cups on the market including  K-Cup®, OneCup™, and RealCup™ plus every private label brand. It also includes an iCup reusable cup to use with any ground coffee you like. Most brewers don't offer that at all, or only do as a separate purchase. I love never having to limit the coffee I buy.

Every type of coffee tastes better when made in the Opus. The steam brewing really makes a huge difference. I literally never knew how "bad" some brews really are until I tried the same thing prepared in the Opus. It is like going from hamburger to prime rib.

I can't wait to impress all my holiday guests with the iCoffee Opus. Coffee and dessert has never been so customized. In fact, I wish I could let all of you try an amazing iCoffee beverage. While I obviously can't do that, iCoffee has been generous enough to offer up an iCoffee Opus to give away to one very lucky winner. Enter below for your chance to win this fabulous prize.

Also, make sure you check out all the other Christmas Wishes giveaways HERE. There are 10 fabulous blogs participating, and thousands of dollars in prizes to be won. New giveaways are added all the time, and you won't want to miss any of them.

*Although I received the Shark Rocket Powerhead at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*
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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Christmas Wishes - Shark Rocket Powerhead Review and GIVEAWAY!

The holidays are here. It's time to deck the halls. As much fun as the decorating is, we cannot how important it is to also clean the floors. Of course that is not as glamorous as hanging lights and stringing popcorn, but it is even more vital.

From fallen tinsel to evergreen needle to gingerbread crumbs and more, holiday fun can quickly turn into a Ho Ho HOrrible mess. The added mess along with the extra 10 things added to your daily to-do list can make for a not so joyful time. At least it could if the Shark Rocket Powerhead did not make holiday messes into holiday memories incredibly fast.

Remember when there was flour all over the floor from the cookies you let the kids help you with? Well you can easily forget the mess, the Shark Rocket Powerhead has already made it disappear. The memories of baking and bonding aren't going anywhere though.

The Shark Rocket Powerhead is so powerful. It proves that a vacuum does not need to be big, bulky or heavy to get the job done right. The Rocket Powerhead offers deep carpet cleaning. With fingertip controls on the handle, you can easily take it from carpet to hard floors and back and always get a thorough clean.

The adjustable telescopic wand ensure ideal comfort for all users and makes it even more storage friendly. With very limited space in our home, every bit of space is important, so I love the small footprint this leaves in that respect. Of course since it is also so light, you can store it almost anywhere, because taking it out will not be difficult at all.

I really love the unique pop up dust bin. All it takes is a tap of the quick release foot pedal to access the bin and the press of a button to empty it. It could only be easier if the vacuum walked to the trash for you. It's in cases like this that simplicity can be the biggest luxury.

What I really love is that the brush roller is removable. Not only that but you can even rinse it off. That is a huge perk for me. A dirty roller really degrades the cleaning quality, so I love being able to thoroughly clean my roller. not only that but there is even a separate gentle touch hard floor brush roller. And there is even an optional on-board brush roller holder.

Not only is the Shark Rocket Powerhead an essential for holiday prep (a clean home is the best decoration), but it would make a fantastic gift, especially for any moms and/or pet owners on your list. Everyone wants to spend less time dealing with messes and have more time for enjoying all the better things.

I know, people think a vacuum is a bad gift. I have seen it portrayed on so many many shows, gifting a cleaning supply is like asking to sleep on the couch, but that is ridiculous. Anyone would be thrilled to have a vacuum as awesome as this. And anyone who would get mad at such a thoughtful gift deserves coal and nothing more.

Shark knows just how generous it is to gift the Shark Rocket Powerhead. That is why they have been kind enough to give one away to a very lucky winner. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win this fantastic prize.

Be sure to check out all the other Christmas Wishes giveaways HERE. There are 10 fabulous blogs participating, and thousands of dollars in prizes to be won. New giveaways are added all the time, and you won't want to miss any of them.

*Although I received the Shark Rocket Powerhead at no cost to facilitate a review, all opinions are 100% my own.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway