Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wake up.

It's 6:15 am. The house is still and quiet. I lay comfortably snuggled under our fluffy down alternative comforter. Brenton has left for the old coal mines a couple of hours before and I am thoroughly enjoying having our big king sized mattress all to myself.
(whispered) "Mama..."
I stir ever so slightly..
"shh... so seep... so seep... shh..."
*SMACK!* With full toddler force I am whacked in the face by Emma's tiny little palm (a trick my darling husband taught her very early on).
I crack an eye rubbing my cheek. "Ow!" Emma says with a grin "Hiiii Mama!!" There is something ever so disturbing about the amount of energy a child has in the morning. I mean, the sun hasn't even woken up and this kid is ready to climb Mt. Everest... or at least the obstacle course that is our house. "Good Morning Miss Emma" I say in my hoarse morning man voice. "Up!" she proclaims putting her little Brobee beanie baby on my pillow and climbing her way onto my once quiet and cozy sanctuary. "Up!" she repeats. I roll over and grab the iPad next to the bed and click on our lamp. I pull up a few books and Emma snuggles up next to me. The next two hours are filled with giggles, puzzles, and lots of smiles. As I laid there exhausted and half conscious I couldn't help but grin. Sure, I would have loved to have those extra hours of slumber, yes I wanted a giant cup of fresh pressed coffee, but that moment with my Ladybug was perfect in every way. It wasn't chaotic or scheduled it was my little girl waking up and wanting to see her mommy. There isn't anything in the world worth trading that for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July White Apricot's Green Grab Bag Review

So I have to admit. I used to be a product maven hunting down the hottest most super fantastic new beauty concoctions out there. I bought my makeup everywhere and I had a heap of it stacked not so elegantly under my sink. However, ever since cleaning up my makeup routine of toxic and potentially hazardous products I have found myself as a simplest. I have a routine, the same face wash, toner, moisturizer, and general makeup every day. Well, White Apricot's Green Grab Bag has brought out that new product diva in me with a natural twist and I am so totally stoked to see her again! What is so amazing about this subscription service is that it provides a little of everything. Face, Body, and Soul for the low, low, price of $15 a month!

So let's dive on in shall we?

If you'd like to see my unboxing video on this months bag just roll that mouse on over and click here.

So first off is EO Certified Organic Deodorant Spray. Now I have a disclaimer... after I started making my own deodorant about a year ago I have never really wanted to switch it up but this stuff is pretty epic! I've tried spray deodorants in the past like Weleda and I find that they are burning alcohol filled bottles of fury! Not so nice first thing in the morning. This spray is gentle and the citrus-y smell is divine! I will say that I did not feel that the smell stuck around for long.. however I didn't notice any foul mama odor which warrants two arms up!

Next gem on our list is Simply Bath Salts Lavender Blend! I am not a bath taker... If you are a mom and you have time to relax in a nice soak EVER I bow down to your feet! However I was a little down in the dumps this past week thanks to hormones and my upcoming visit from mother nature so Brenton (like a good husband) took the little ladies to the park while Mommy rested her weary baby chasing feet and enjoyed some down time. The soothing scent of lavender mixed with the little hints of Jojoba oil floating on the top of the steamy water... I was in paradise.  Let's all just sign in unison....

This next product has a bite! GO Skin Care Ginger Face Moisturizer is a spicy wake up call to your tired face! The smell of this tiny little tube will even make your sweet hubby notice! I tried this out for a whole week to really get the idea of how simply fantastic this was and I have to say that I was thoroughly impressed! It was light and airy but definitely packed a nice punch of moisture! This is going on my "to order" list!

Now we have Le Mellite Strawberry Lemon Sugar Scrub. First I would like to say I adore a good scrub... nothing better than sloughing off dead skin cells if you're looking for a good time but I was pretty disappointed in this one guys... The texture was nice as a body scrub but I tried this on my face ladies and I looked like I had a really really bad sunburn for at least a day. Its very very "scrubbie" (if that's a word) and the smell is artificially sweet smelling despite its natural intentions. I'd also like to point out that I used the scrub once and kept it in its original packaging and it is already completely dried out. Granted, I'm pretty positive if you were to buy the actual product it would be packaged differently.

Opalima Beauty Eyeshadows had the best of intentions with their little baggies of shadow but before I even tried these out I knew an empty pot was going to be needed. Once I transferred them over I grabbed my shadow brush and began. I was looking for a little drama with this VERY blue shadow but It came out rather light and was pretty hard to blend. On the description card it claims that it can also be used as a liner. So I dabbed my lining brush in some water and voila this product saved itself. I liked how smooth it became with just a dab of good ol' H2O. The best part is that it lasted all night. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the powder portion of my look. To sum it up this is great as a "convert to liner" eyeshadow but as a regular pigment it lacks depth and fades quickly.

CoTZ PURE Sunscreen is natural and boy is it effective! I rubbed this all over both Emma and Mila on a hot, Texas summer trip to our local park and they stayed their pasty white selves without the tiniest hint of red. I can also vouch for CoTZ 'waterproof' claims. Emma decided to play in the water section of the park and still she was fine! The smell was amazing considering there was none! Completely 'nasty sunscreen smell" free! It was also very easy to apply, not thick and pasty like other natural sunscreens.

Last but not least is Mighty Leaf Tea. I received the Organic African Nectar tea. It was full bodied and a little bitter but in the best of ways. I am a huge tea drinker so this was a nice change to my morning routine!

That about wraps it up guys! I loved most of the products in this month's box. This is a new one for me but I can say confidently that I will be a subscriber for a long time!

Friday, July 20, 2012

So... what next?

In today's world with bombings, continued racism, inequality and even the inability to go to a movie with the family without having the thought of a masked gunman firing bullets at the ones you love, how do we cope? I stopped watching the news about 3 years ago. I get most of my information from internet sites or through my radio-listening husband. I don't enjoy filling my brain with so much negativity from the world. Pain and suffering all provided 24/7 through your local broadcasters. In my life I try to live in the light. Focusing on the positives, the theoretical "silver lining". But when there is so much evil going on in the world how can I? I have two beautiful girls. They smile, laugh, play, dance, completely unaware of what they may have to face one day. Naivety in its purest form. How can I protect them? What can I do if someone decides to hurt them? When I decided to become a parent I thought of potty training, schooling, boy troubles, teaching them to ride a bike. Not how will I explain death? Hate? Deception? Cruelty? Its a heavy load on any parents shoulders. So... what next? How do we prepare this next generation for the what this great big earth has become? My only weapon is love, passion for life and the capability of doing what I so desperately try to do every day. Walk in the light. Acknowledge the darkness creeping around the corner, slipping through cracks and even sometimes beating down my door but try my very hardest to teach my children that though the massive, deep, thick, cloud of all that is evil constantly lingers if we fall to our knees in surrender. They win. Stand tall and proud, chin high and hands clasped tightly to your loved ones. Its a hard walk... but its worth it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The "unrealistic" mommy.

Brenton and I are spoiled.. there's really no way around saying it. Emma was an angel to us as a newborn. She would sleep for hours on end nurse like a champ then fall sweetly back to sleep for another 7 hours or so. When it came time to transition from co-sleeping to a real crib she settled effortlessly into a "by-the-book" 4 hour schedule as expertly suggested in Babywise. No crying no fuss simple and perfect. We had our evenings to ourselves, spent more often than not on the couch snuggling sweetly and watching various cooking shows and the latest episode of "Sing-off".

When little Mila came around it was quite a different story... from ground shaking, ear bleeding cries of colic to a milk supply drier than the cracked Texas dirt. But eventually after making the heart breaking decision to switch to formula and putting sweet Dovie on a sleep schedule all was well in our home. I had 2 hours to myself in the middle of the afternoon to blog, make videos, shower (I know... be jealous) and maybe, just maybe, sneak in a little catnap.

However, recently poor Mila has been riding the bumpy roller coaster of teething that has Brenton and I up at least twice a night and has diminished my 2 hour sanctuary to something more comparable to anticipating a bomb going off. I love my little (well maybe not so little) girl. But I've gotten used to my "me" time. I love knowing that I have a spare moment to relax and not worry about anything....

And then the hard slap of reality comes in with her cool head and rational attitude. I'm a mama, of two beautiful little girls both of which are under the age of two I should be so grateful for what I have! I have a 19 month old that takes a 3 1/2 hour nap plus sleeps soundly for 13 hours at night, has never bitten or hit anyone, and already knows her lefts and rights! I also have a chunky butterball of smiles that despite the fact that she is having a hard time with those annoying bones growing through her gums has the best personality and still takes 2 fairly solid naps during the day and after a little soothing around 10 pm is usually down for the night! My 5 month old sleeps through the night! How many mom's can say that!? (Not that I'm bragging ladies :) ....) I have it good. Its so easy when you have an older child to expect more from the little one. In all reality Emma is still a baby too!

I have come to this all mighty awesome realization that I should live my day with no expectations, to fully intend to have every second I have devoted to my precious little girls. That way if I do happen to get that much needed shower, or 15 minute catnap it comes as a happy surprise.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

PPD and how to deal...

After I had Emma I had one episode of Postpartum Depression. It was after being on some crazy medication to increase my milk supply. It was scary and weird. I have however experienced PPD in its minor state ever since Mila was born. Its hard to explain the way you feel but the closest I can get is to compare it to one of those gas station car washes. All of this crazy stuff is going on around you and you are in the inside completely aware that everything is crazy but you cant do anything about it. Does that make sense? I know that I am being irrational when I all of a sudden start crying because I cant get the lid off of Emma's sippy cup, or when I suddenly get the urge to throw poor Brenton out the window because he asked if he can have mustard instead of mayonnaise on his sandwich. PPD effects loads of women in many different ways. In my case, I just have a big case of the ups and downs. To be honest it just feels like I'm pregnant or experiencing really bad PMS.

Now that we have the car wash analogy in our minds, how do we "deal" with all that craziness? Well, I'm gonna be honest... it may sound cheesy but the first step is to admit you have a problem. Not only will it bring the whole thing into the light, it might also be a big sigh of relief for your hubby knowing that your constant frustration with him might not 100% be his fault. I take it one day at a time and constantly check myself by asking these questions.

"Am I upset?"
"Why am I upset?"
"Is it THAT big of a deal?"
"Can I fix it?"
"Do I need chocolate?"

The chocolate is just a personal preference and possibly the reason for the last 5 lbs of baby weight that magically keeps coming back. PPD is all about knowing what is going on around you and keeping yourself in check. Its not hard but eventually things will get easier. 

These tips aren't for everyone. PPD comes in many different forms and if you are unsure about yourself and feel that you are at risk of harming yourself or others please consider medical help.

The main tip I can give you and that I constantly tell myself is that I am an amazing mommy, I love my children and I would do anything for them and that MUST include taking care of myself.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

July 2012 Conscious Box

I have seen loads and loads of subscription box reviews.  From Birchbox to Glossy Box, VoxBoxes to Jewelmint but I've never been more intrigued that when I found out about Conscious Box. This subscription service provides a box chock-full of all things natural. Cleaners, make-up, snacks, sweeteners they have all you need to expand your eco-friendly company list. I was so stoked to try it out and to be honest... I'm pretty impressed! The box was filled to the gills with samples and some full sized products!

Here's the low down on the products included and my honest opinions.
If you'd like to see my unboxing video you can just roll that mouse over and click here

The first product on the list was an eyeshadow by All Natural Face. The color was Peach Ice and after looking on I realized it was a full sized product! I have to say guys I am in love with this company! Their prices are phenomenal and their products are eco-fantastic! I applied the shadow with a simple shadow brush and the shimmer blew my mind away. It was subtle but beautiful! It's also very long lasting! I applied it at 9 am before going to the store and later lunch with a friend and I sit here at 6 pm with perfectly shadowed lids.

Next is Aura Cacia Sweet Orange essential oil. What can I say about Aura Cacia they are great at what they do. Although I am not a huge citrus fan this EO is light and refreshing! Great for a morning shower or to add to a simple sugar scrub.

I have tried a lot of Fruit/Granola/Whatever bars. I have found a choice few that I love but most of them just taste plain weird. Betty Lou's Just Great Stuff Super Berry Acai Bar blows most of those bars out of the water. It has a soft slightly chewy texture but it is so sweet you think you're eating candy! Emma ate half of it and about tackled me for every bite! This was a nice change from our oat filled date based bars. Delish!

Naturally Its Clean is a company that creates eco-friendly and environmentally conscious cleaning products for every place in your home. I was excited to try this sample out on my newly acquired tile floors and though I really liked the scent I don't know if it cleaned the floors better than my usual vinegar concoction. I did however in a pinch use it on our wooden countertops and really liked it! It was streak free and didn't seem to leave any residue. Thumbs up!

Next we have Jadience Herbal Formulas Muscle and Joint cream. I have always used Arnica gel for strains and sprains in my house, seems to do the trick. However this herbal formula smells very very nice I don't know exactly how much it helped. As I mentioned in my video Brenton recently hurt his back during the move and I just knew this cream would help. It worked well as a massage cream but as for its healing properties I can't say much. Great smell though!

Madhava included two samples in this months box. Coconut Sugar and Agave Nectar. Both samples gave me a satisfyingly sweet addition to my morning cup of tea. Very happy with these products! Gotta love my agave nectar yum!

Mighty Leaf is all over sustainability! From biodegradable tea pouches to their initiatives in places like Sri Lanka and Morocco they are clearly an awesome company! Since we live in the south I was STOKED to find their pretty little whole leaf iced tea packet. I literally brewed this the day I got my box and it was a hit with everyone! The flavor was Calypso Mango and it was naturally sweet and refreshing. Perfect for a hot Texas day. You just can't go wrong with iced tea!

Ever since Emma was about 6 months old she has been devouring the pouches of assorted fruit that you can slurp right out of the packet. GoGo squeeZ provides an easy to eat applesauce on the go. Emma loved it and Mila even tried some too! Definitely a staple in our home.

The next company was Tea Forte. They create delicious herbal blends of teas to suit your every need. The samples included Cherry Marzipan, Cucumber Mint and Honey Yuzu. Since I'm vegan I stood clear of the honey tea but Brenton seemed to really like it! The Cherry Marzipan was a little sweeter than my usual morning tea but it was calming and had a slight nutty flavor to it and the smell reminded me of a sweet cherry tart right from the oven. The Cucumber Mint however had to be my favorite.  The mint clung to my tongue refreshing my mouth and preparing me for the day. A win in my book!

It's always nice to have a tin of mints in your purse to cast away coffee breath. I really like St. Claire's Organics mints. They are refreshing and strong but lack that weird artificial flavor that you get from similar mints like Altoids.

I have been using Vega Protein Powder every morning for the past 2 years. But Sun Warrior Protein Powder just might win me over. This yummy creamy vegan shake is sweet and pairs great with berries. One sip and I thought I was treating myself with a milkshake! No weird flavors commonly associated with protein powders and the most delightful texture! I've already placed an order for more!

And finally we have my bonus product for this box Powbab's antioxidant vitamins! This little bitty chew had a soft slightly pillowy texture and flavor that was sweet and satisfying! I mentioned in my video that most people forget about their antioxidants, but they are SO important! Powbab's tiny little chew has all the antioxidants you need in a single great tasting chew. Perfect for moms on the go!

That about raps it up guys! I loved this box and I cant wait to share all my goodies in next months box with you!

The Joys of Moving

"Where's Emma's other shoe Brenton?"
"What shoes?"
"Her navy ones, with the flowers"
"Aren't they in that box?"

This is my life right now. Everyday I feel as if I am playing Where's Waldo with everything I own. Emma and Mila have each been bought new pajamas, shorts, and shirts because of the hectic mess I have been surrounded by. Boxes. Loads and LOADS of boxes. None of them labeled in the efficient way I had seen on Pinterest. Each room having its own color and itemized lists of containments. Nope. They have my husbands less than legible handwriting scrawled it whatever space he felt was appropriate and contain random items from random rooms all over the house. Nothing is nice and organized like I planned. But lets be honest there is no planning for moving. You can buy all the supplies and have all good intentions but once moving day comes its a thick cloud of tape, lost sharpies and the keen realization that I should have dusted more often. Now we play this game. Searching for the beloved night light or the must have Cinderella DVD. But I have hope. I know that eventually everything will have its spot. Everything will be nice and organized with labels and charts and the faint smell of lavender and vinegar cleaner will waft through my beautiful home. Until then however I continue my search hunting through mounds and mounds of boxes and carelessly filled brown Whole Foods bags until I find that lost treasure.