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Sunday Stealing: Love Me Some Questions Meme

Howdy do, neighbors. I've made it out of bed today, just before 1400, but that's not what counts. It took a lot of effort. If my bladder didn't make it imperative, I might still be in bed. But I digress.

First:

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I finished watching the Season 4 of Netflix's Queer Eye, and now I'm bereft as hell. I literally found myself looking through all the episodes from all the seasons, trying to see if I'd missed one. I hadn't. Boo! 😭😭

But moving along with life. Make sure you link up here if you're joining us this weekend!

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These are from Love Me Some Surveys.

a. Has anyone ever made fun of your taste in music?

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Of course! His taste in music runs with the likes of Bob Dylan, right?

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And this is more my frequency. (Also, that was some shady shit, Whit.)

Ya dig?

b. Is anyone’s birthday coming up?

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Yep. This boy, Robert Allen O, will be 47 in six days!!! 😳🤭🎂🎂 Happy early birthday, baby!

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But that's not all! A week after that, the curly girlie on the left, Chloë Raine O, will be 18! 🎂🎂

I cannot even handle that, y'all! I just cannot.

But wait, there's more! Her mother, the lady on the right (that's me!) is turning 43 (ughhhh) one day later. (Why can no one ever remember it's 9/8/76? Easiest birth date ever, y'all!)

So yup. It's birthday season 'round here!

 c. Do you remember who you liked in grade eight?

Mike Amati

Yup. M was a cutie! He still is... but that picture there is 11 years old. Nowadays, what hair is left is mostly just stubble. Still a cutie. Whatever.

d. When was the last time you burned any part of your body?

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Y'all may remember? I blogged about it back then, in January 2017. I had never cooked a real steak in my life (because making cube steaks for the dogz in my single days totally does not count, you guys), and I have not eaten beef since August 1995. No plans to restart. But my boy likes steak, so for our 15th anniversary, I thought I'd make him a proper one.

It did not go the way I planned, the HOT! oil splattered, and I ended up in the ER instead. In fact, I went in by myself so he could eat his steak, because I refused to ruin his steak dinner any further. 🤣 No lie, mesdames.

Anyway, 2½ years later, right now, it looks like this:

Burned Arm

Honestly, and I would not lie to you for one moment: it did not hurt. It did not hurt one bit, and the scarring isn't bad, is it? Truth: I used a shit-ton of straight Young Living lavender oil on that burn, raw, open, and errrrythang. Like, the whooooole bottle. Because lavender is used in burn salves, and you know what? That shit worked. And then, when it was all closed up, I used Jafra Royal Jelly to heal the skin. 

Not bad. Not too bad at all. I'd do it again.

e. If I gave you ten dollars, what would you spend it on?

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Gas. Seriously. I love our new house. Not gonna lie. Love, love, love our house. But all of my doctors are in Boise, so we're hurting for gas money constantly nowadays. Kinda sucks. Sometimes I have to cancel the week's worth of my appointments - and there are many - because there just isn't any gas to get out there. And then I get angry letters in the mail about my canceled appointments. Really?! Are you putting gas in my tank?

It's hard. I keep re-budgeting and re-budgeting, but when you're two disabled folks living on a retired enlisted veteran's pension... it's a challenge.

f. What are you most excited about right now?

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I'm excited to see what comes next for the adult version of Chloë. I know great things are in her future!

g. Does / did either of your parents serve in the military?

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My  p---y-@$$ sperm donor was in the CG for five or six minutes. He thought because he was "smart" (truth is, he only thinks he's smart, and this is from someone who actually is), he'd be able to get one of his superiors to set him up in OCS. Instead, he swabbed poop deck after poop deck and probably cried about it - literally - the whole time. How long was he in? One blink? Two blinks? Not long. Meanwhile, he tries to square up with my husband, who did 20 full years, some during wartime in the Middle East, in the Navy. And with my beloved grandfather (my mom's dad, mind you), who served in the Navy during WWII in Europe. And my uncle (mom's brother) who served in the Navy. And my FIL, who was a submariner in the Navy during the Cold War. You know? Dad. Ya weren't shit then. You aren't shit now. And ya ain't never gonna be shit.

h. Are you somewhat of a perfectionist?

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Oh, yeah. You could say that. It's taking me years, and it will continue to take many more, but I am trying to learn to accept good enough when that's all I need. It's hard going teaching Chloë this, as well.

f. Do you like sour candy?

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I don't mind it now and then, but I swear it's like one of the major food groups for my kiddos!

g. Are all nighters something you have grown used to?

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I have pretty erratic sleeping habits, so yeah, I've grown accustomed to it.

h. Do you usually wear sunglasses when you’re driving?

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I wear 'em whenever I need 'em.

i. Do you wear your shoes around the house?

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Since I have virtually no immune system, and the next major infection could very well be my last, I try very hard to enforce our strict "no shoes" policy.

j. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

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What this woman has on, I could live in. Now I want it!

k. Are you good at painting nails?

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I have no special skills. My sister's a pro, though.

j. Smoothies or slushies?

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I'm impartial, as long as the slushy contains real fruit and, if must be, a non-sugar sweetener, or if the smoothie contains almond or coconut milk or similar dairy substitute. I'm not being picky. I'm just allergic to life!

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Thanks for another fun questionnario, Bev! Hope you all have a great last week of August 2019. Maaaaaan, this year has flown by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Young And Beautiful

First of all, I have not heard of this song before, and I'm kind of out of the loop as far as entertainment news goes, so I had no idea Lana Del Ray was on the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby!! Very cool. It had already piqued my interest, so I think I'll definitely have to read, and then see, it now. Woot!

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{The formatting is so weird for Typepad sometimes. Apologies in advance for anything confusing to read!}

Link up here if you want to play along today. Seems like it should be a fun one!

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Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful (2013)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

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1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby?

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Admittedly, I have not. It's on my must-read list, though. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it. Maybe because raising three kids has left me too busy to even read a magazine? But one day I will.

2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raise funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity?

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Oh, goodness, yes! Very much so. I'm teaching the kids more about the environment and ecology this year in our homeschool, and of course, there are always intersections with each topic and the concepts of conservation, preservation, the five Rs:

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Although the "R"s do vary considerably from site to site. Most say  "Refuse - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Rot," but you probably get the point. I am an absolute stickler for reducing waste and for recycling like a maniac. If I find a recyclable item thrown away in the garbage can, I go a little berserk about it. But it's extremely important to me that the kids learn to be the guardians and shepherds of the world they are inheriting, not its destroyers. I think they are learning well. We play a fish game every few months that dramatically explores and explains the concept of conservation. It's really interesting; let me know if you want the (free) link to it!

3) Lana admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone?

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I can most certainly do that all in my head, but sometimes I write down the multiplication or division when it gets out to several place values - but only if I'm too tired to guestimate by rounding. Occasionally I'll use the calculator, but that's very rare and usually only when I am in a hurry and MUST have the exact right answer. Short answer? It depends.

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently?

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Oh, gosh. I've honestly listened to all four of them recently, but I do think that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the very last song of one of these fellas that I heard on the radio. Aaaaand... now I'm gonna have that in my head all day!

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world?

Well, again, that depends. I used to mandate (to myself) that I had to take a shower, do my hair, do my makeup, and generally have matching (and hopefully cute) clothing on before I left the house. Nowadays, NONE of that applies!  I'm lucky to get 3 or 4 showers or baths a week (because of my myriad illnesses), and then I usually just comb out my hair and let it air-dry. If I put on makeup, it's minimal; usually just mascara will suffice for me these days:

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However, the other night 13-year-old Sophia wanted to play with my (expensive, fancy, high-quality) make-up, so I let her. But she wanted to give ME a makeover. Needless to say, I did not leave the house after this one:

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I think I'm pretty much guaranteed not to be America's Next Top Model!


6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched?

Karen Joyce Collage

I don't really watch sports, per se, but when my Hurricanes are playing (particularly football, basketball, and sometimes baseball), I try to stop and at least pay attention to the scores. I don't have a whole lot of interest in most mainstream team sports; my family and I are not particularly athletic! On the other hand, my beautiful niece Karen, above, is a superstar when it comes to soccer and track! She's now in her freshman year playing on the team at SUNY Fredonia; I don't know if she continues with track, however. She's smart and beautiful, to boot! Her younger sister, Hanna, is just the same. 

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative?

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Nope; I got all of my jobs based on my own merits. Unless you count a babysitting job here and there because an older sister wasn't available; I don't.

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled?

This was a tough one for me; I actually had to check the latitude of two places in particular:

Guam 13ºN
When we lived on Guam, part of Micronesia and close to the countries of the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Australia, etc., from October 2002-February 2003, we were about 13ºN of the equator. A lot of the tiny island is beautiful, with its clear blue lagoons (the picture above is where we first stayed before getting into base housing, in Tumon Bay near the capital), waterfalls, and lush green foliage everywhere. Some wasn't, but mostly I feel like I would have had a much more delightful time if I wasn't enormously pregnant with a high-risk twin pregnancy! Hot, damp, huge... not a good combination! 😏

Boys' 16th Birthday Collage

[By the way, shout out to those aforementioned twins: yesterday was Jack and Robby's 16th birthday!]

Holland America Panama Canal 9ºN
However, even closer to the equator, at around 9ºN of the equator, I was on a Princess Cruise with some of my family as we went through the Panama Canal! That was a special memory, definitely. 

I have yet to make it south of the equator. What the hell; I guess I'd better live at least another 42 years so I can do all this traveling that's happening in my mind!

9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause?

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So that's, like, a completely impossible question for me to answer honestly! I'm in a three-way deadlock with those choices; 33.3333% of the time (mostly my childhood) I would gladly have taken the fast-forward button. Another 33.3333% of the time, I would hit rewind so I could go back and have my babies be actual babies again and not these big-ass teenagers I can't get used to just yet! (My youngest may be turning 14 next month, but I still sit and oooh and ahh in the baby clothing and shoe departments at various stores!) And now that I have so many chronic illnesses which contribute to a massive amount of brain fog, I'd hit that pause button constantly to give myself a chance to pick my words carefully while others don't try to supply them for me. It's so hard to form a cohesive thought sometimes, so I'd need that for the final third of the time!

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Phew! That took me a lot longer than I anticipated! Not Sam's or anyone's fault, really. Between birthday "doings" with Jack last night, my computer giving me the blue screen of death not once but twice in the middle of it, and finding myself getting busy with 1700 other things, it's a wonder I finished at all! But that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I always do! Crazy Sam, you write some great questions. Sometimes I ponder whether I'd ever be good at this duty if you were to step down, and I always come to the same conclusion: Nope. I could not measure up.

Hope y'all have a great weekend, and I'm delighted to finally be able to wish you all a very happy SPRING!

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Fin. 


Sunday Stealing: Bloggone Meme

Welcome back, folks! Time for some thievery. Link up here if you wish to play along today!

  1. What brand & flavor of toothpaste do you use?
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  3. I'm losing ground on keeping the enamel on my teeth due to extremely severe acid reflux, so whatever brand I buy is going to be enamel-building and -strengthening. I do what little I can to fix the problem. 

  4. 2. What is your earliest memory?
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I remember when I was three years old, running happily and excitedly from the living room down the hall to my bedroom. My hair was a mess, my arms were raised up in the air, and I was shrieking gleefully. I see this memory as if from someone else's viewpoint, not within myself. It was a moment of pure joy, and I have no idea why.

  1. 3. Hot Dogs or Hamburgers? 
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Well, vegan burgers. I haven't tried vegan hot dogs yet, because the concept just sounds too weird to me. I'm squeamish. But a good veggie burger, mm mmm mmmm... Especially the ones from Elevation Burger. They rock; they're actually crave-worthy, which is pretty crazy for a vegan food.

  1. 4. If you could bring any one famous person back to life, who would it be?
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Whitney Houston - but the good, healthy Whitney from the 80s era, before she got mixed up with Bobby Brown and all the drugs. I loved her. Definitely a sad story I wish could be undone.

  1. 5. What is one thing we would always find in your fridge... what one thing would we never find?
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  3. You'll pretty much always find a gallon or three of milk in my fridge. My teenagers go through about a gallon a day. I credit that much milk imbibement with helping my daughter Sophia's broken wrist heal better and stronger than the wrist was before the break! But you'll never find a jar of gefilte fish. <<Shudder>> There are a lot of Jewish foods I love (helLO, challah!), but that is most definitely not one I'm willing to try!

  4. 6. Did you have to go and look for the answer of #1?

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  1. If buy that you mean "sent my teenage daughter in to look for me," then yes! This is what she found. It's barely been used yet, so I forgot what it was.

  2. 7. Why don't watermelons grow on trees?
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  4. Because they don't! WTF kind of question is that? Although, this greenhouse idea is pretty cool.

  5. 8. What is something that you own that you should probably just throw in the trash, but you never will? 
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Between representing JAFRA for 20 years before deciding to end our relationship earlier this year, and now Young Living for the past three years, I have a shit-ton of very high quality skin care and cosmetics. Knowing how much they cost - whether you count my discount or otherwise - makes it difficult for me to part with any of this abundance. I mean, I could use a different moisturizer every day for at least two weeks, so things are a little bit in the 'superfluous' range now. I'm using things up, albeit slowly.

  1. 9. I push you into a room and lock the door. I leave you there for 6 hours. The walls are chalkboards and in the middle of the room there is a box of colored chalk. What will be written/drawn on the walls when I let you out?
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  3. If I'm the only person alone in the room, probably nothing - I would not do well in that situation and would probably cry until I hyperventilate and pass out. If 13-year-old artiste daughter Sophia was locked in with me, the whole set of chalkboard walls would be taken up with some very interesting and entertaining drawings, no doubt!

  4. 10. When was the last time you changed the oil on your car? 
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  6. January, maybe? February? I'd have to check the sticker, but I know we're overdue. Time to pick up another mystery shop for that!

  7. 11. In your extended family, who has been married the longest?
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  9. So, I don't have a huge extended family on my side, and I don't know if Hubs' side counts as MY extended family. Does it?  I was going to say my husband and me at 17½ years, but I completely forgot about my sister and her husband's marriage of, oh... 20 years maybe? I'm embarrassed not to know exactly, but I do know they have another wedding anniversary coming up.

  10. 12. Name one thing that is so normal to you now that someone who was your age 50 years ago would think was abnormal. 
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  12. Being able to surf the internet 24/7/365! Having a computer and cell phones in every household/hand. My 75yo father hates the internet. And it hates him.

  13. 13. Have you ever wanted someone or something so bad that it hurt?
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  15. Well, plenty of times over, yes. The thing that stands out is when, in that brief two-month period between meeting my husband and eloping with him, we were dating and living 9 hours apart. This one time, I drove up to go see him, and when it was time for me to leave and go back from Panama City Beach, FL, to St. Petersburg, my car kept wanting to turn back around to Rob in his barracks. It took everything within me to force me to drive back home. So hard; I loved him so much already. Well, of course I did; he'd given me an engagement ring and proposed! I stared at that ring on my finger the whole drive home. 

  16. 14. What do you dip your french fries in?
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Rarely anything, but if I do, only ketchup.

  1. 15. What was the last picture that you took? 

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Well, technically it was this photo of my latest Young Living essential oils order, but I think this one from the drive back to Boise from Coeur d'Alene on Friday morning is much more interesting for y'all:

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That was such a beautiful site!

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Thank you for stopping by, you guys! I promise not to make myself scarce like I did in May, health-willing! Have a great week!

Fin.


Product Review: Young Living Skincare Products

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So since I've decided to stop representing JAFRA Cosmetics, I've made the leap into fully committing myself to using Young Living skincare and cosmetics. I recently purchased this YL ART Skincare System, above, which includes the 3.38-oz Gentle Cleanser, the 4-oz Refreshing Toner, and the 30-mL Light Moisturizer

Let me just say that the packaging was beautiful! It always is with Young Living products, and this set certainly did not disappoint. I couldn't wait until the next day to start using the products.

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The bottles inside were gorgeous as well, and I appreciated their aesthetics. I used the ART™ Gentle Cleanser in the shower first, of course. Described by Young Living as using "a mild foaming action to lift and capture impurities without irritating the skin or stripping its natural oils,"  I have to say, I'm not a fan of it. It is too gentle! It's all fluff and foam and no substance. If you're like me and <ahem> frequently forget to take off your makeup before bed, this cleanser is NOT the one you're looking for to remove it (particularly mascara) the next day. I came out of the shower looking like Ozzy Osbourne. So that was a disappointment.

Thank goodness I had the ART Refreshing Toner to back it up. Young Living says it "removes any residual impurities without drying out the skin. With a perfect blend of essential oils, our toner will help balance your skin's natural pH." The toner helped remove the traces of mascara that were left under my eyes, as well as the rest of the little dirt or oil or whatever that remained. I did get some in my eye (with contacts in), and that stung a little but only for a moment. Oops!

The ART Light Moisturizer was nice and creamy, but not a rich, thick cream. The description reads, "works with your skin to help retain and maintain proper hydration. The proprietary blend of essential oils and natural ingredients will leave your face feeling soft and supple." Overall, I would say this is a decent starter system for someone getting their feet wet with Young Living, all of which products are made with their pure Seed-to-Seal essential oils. But... make sure you cleanse your face both morning and night!

YLEO Skin care collage

I had originally started out with this 4-oz Young Living Orange Blossom Botanical Face Wash, which I loved. I felt it worked much better than the one in the ART Skincare System. I didn't have any problems with it -- except for accidentally leaving it in my hospital bathroom (from my recent week-long pneumonia stay) when I was discharged, so that was a stunning loss from which I barely recovered. ;) I decided to try the ART System after that, but once that cleanser is gone, I'm definitely going back to the Orange Blossom wash.

Thankfully, I still have the 2-oz Mint Satin Facial Scrub. I love this scrub! Sometimes I even use it when I'm not particularly feeling like I need a good sloughing, because the Peppermint essential oil in it really wakes me up and helps me get started on my day! It feels amazing afterward. I highly recommend this one.

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Now, those aren't the only Young Living skincare products I have used. I also use this fine-looking set of goodies. I'm going to switch it up and describe these from right to left, from the picture above.

I really like the Art® Intensive Moisturizer, seen in the white tub with gold lid. The pump system inside is fun, with a hole in the center where the product comes out when the top is pushed. I don't know why, but this brings me joy now that I know what to expect. I like the innovation. Little things, I guess... ;) About this moisturizer, Young Living says, "This deep, ultra-hydrating lotion recaptures the qualities of younger-looking skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping skin feel smoother and more pliable." It's a nice, thicker cream than the Light Moisturizer in the set at the top, and I use it when my skin is feeling a little drier and/or less supple. These Idaho winters are so dry - and Idaho already has a much drier climate than I became accustomed to in Miami, so I probably use this one about 2-3 times per week. It absorbs nicely and after a minute or two, I don't feel like I've caked my skin in moisturizer, you know? 

The ART® Sheerlumé is a lovely cream that helps make my sometimes-dull skin feel much brighter and fresher. The description provided by Young Living reads, "An advanced formula powered by a sophisticated, proprietary blend of alpine botanicals and pure essential oils, Sheerlumé™ will visibly brighten and balance skin tone." I feel like it really lives up to that description, and it'll last a good long while since I only use it once or twice a week. It's a nice addition to my Young Living ART® Skincare System.

Now the next product, the Essential Beauty Serum with the purple label in the small bottle, is one of my favorites. If you're not used to using essential oils, the scent may be off-putting for the first few uses, but you quickly get used to it and, I found in my case, come to like it. Plus, it blends in quickly, so that scent is not overpowering in my opinion. Young Living says it "contains essential oils like Blue Cypress and Lavender, known for their ability to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance." To mix things up a bit, instead of using the Intensive Moisturizer, I sometimes add a drop or two of this serum (it's next to impossible for me to only eke out one drop without a second drop sneaking out) to the ART Light Moisturizer to add moisture and sheen to my skin. Like all of the Young Living skincare products I've tried, it blends into my skin quickly and beautifully, so that I don't feel greasy or oily afterward. I can recommend this product highly, as well.

Wolfberry Eye Cream

Every single day, I use the Young Living Wolfberry Eye Cream. "Wolfberry Eye Cream is a natural, water-based moisturizer. Containing the anti-aging and skin-conditioning properties of wolfberry seed oil, this cream soothes tired eyes and minimizes the appearance of fine lines." Now, at 41 years old, I can honestly say I've been using an eye moisturizer for 20 years, because I know that the eyes and the hands are usually the first parts of the body to show signs of aging. For 19½ of those years, I used a Jafra eye moisturizer, but now that I'm switched over to Young Living skincare, the Wolfberry is my go-to for this need. Believe me when I say that when you get to be about my age (or older), if you're not using an eye cream particularly targeted to this delicate skin area to provide specifically targeted moisture, it's obvious and noticeable. #SorryNotSorry if you're not using one, but if you're in need, I heartily recommend the Wolfberry Eye Cream. I was leery at first because I used the JAFRA Pro line, which is top-notch, but the Wolfberry stepped up and is a winner in my book. 

Finally, I don't use the Rose Ointment™ on my face but rather on the really dry areas of skin that sometimes pop up on my overly-moisturized body. If you can't tell by now, I am a lotion fanatic and abhor any kind of dry skin, so this rarely happens to me. But for some reason, my left elbow in particular needs extra moisture, as well as the occasional kneecaps and heels or whatever. I've also repeatedly told my kids that if they don't moisturize their hands during this dry winter, they may eventually dry out, crack, and bleed. Just a few days ago, Sophia came to me and said, "Mom, you were right," and sure enough thrust her dried and cracked hands in my face sadly. I handed her the Rose Ointment™, described as "a deeply nourishing blend for dry skin. Rose essential oil improves skin texture, while Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) works to soothe rough, irritated skin," and she immediately felt relief with just one use. I wouldn't call it a miracle cream... or would I? ;)

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So there's my bare two score and one year-old face after using the Young Living ART Skincare System products mentioned above. (Note: Obviously, I didn't use all the products I described, as I pick and choose each day which ones I feel are most necessary. I always use a cleanser, the toner, the eye cream, and a one or more of the facial moisturizers, though.) You can tell my face is still puffy from all the fluids - oh, my gosh, all the fluids (!!!) I received during my two weeks in the hospital, but never mind that. I can pretend it's not visible if you can. Please? [I started this post over a week ago, right after I was discharged, so things have eased out quite a bit since then. But I digress...] But not so bad, eh?

~♥~♥~♥~♥~

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Now, on to the Savvy Minerals by Young Living cosmetics line! I have to admit, after 20 years of using almost exclusively JAFRA cosmetics, I was hesitant to make the leap when Savvy Minerals came out. I mean, look at my make-up case, which is entirely JAFRA except for the products above - and it's not even a complete look at the whole kit 'n' kaboodle:

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But anyway, I made the leap. Young Living states: "A Savvy woman should never have to compromise quality for beauty. That’s why Savvy Minerals by Young Living™ was formulated to include only the most pristine ingredients." Our site goes on to say, "Every Savvy Minerals product was carefully crafted so you can feel fabulous about yourself and what you’re putting on your skin. Our range of products is developed with an unwavering standard of purity and quality, giving you a full variety of naturally derived products made without cheap fillers or synthetics." Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty good to me. I'd much rather have these products on my skin, all day long, day in and day out, than something ... else.

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So now, a few months later, I own a Warm and a Cool Foundation Powder (I use the Cool normally, but when I have a bit of color in the summer, the Warm is more appropriate); two of the Blush and also a Bronzer; the powder Eyeliner (please use this sparingly - there is a definite learning curve with this one, so take your time!); seven of the different Eyeshadows, the Veil for a glowy, air-brushed look (seriously, this product is amazeballs); and a gorgeous Lip Gloss. I really want to get the Mascara, because I wear my fall-back JAFRA one every single day, but it's been sold out for months! Come ON, Young Living, make some more! If you go on the Savvy Minerals page, you'll see there are plenty more cosmetics to from which to choose, which I don't have yet ... but I'll get there! ;) There is definitely something for everyone, every preference, and every skin tone. I can honestly say, I love this cosmetics line and feel good about wearing it, too.

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So that's me - oh, that puffy face, though! <cringe> - wearing all the Young Living skincare and Savvy Minerals products I deemed necessary that day. Note, I am also wearing JAFRA mascara, for the reason mentioned above. Except for my moonface, I do love these lines of skin care and cosmetics enough that I have shut down my affiliation with JAFRA after 20 years and am exclusively repping the Young Living brand. I can't say enough good things about it, so I'll end here. Hit me up here if you are interested in hearing about more!

Thanks for your visit!

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Sunday Stealing: Happy New Year

Hey, y'all! Welcome back. I'm thrilled to be back after missing the last few weeks due to illness. Glue me down, because hopefully I'll be sticking around for a while. Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!

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End of Year Questions

1. What did you do last year that you had not done before? 

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I moved out West! Rob and I packed up our three kids, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, one guinea pig, and as much of our stuff that we could fit in the remainder of our little crossover SUV, and high-tailed it cross-country from Miami to Boise in four days. It was a crazy, amazing adventure and aside from a few misadventures, I think we kind of had the time of our lives!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

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I always make New Year's Resolutions. However, I honestly don't remember now what I resolved for 2017, so I can't say whether I kept it or not. Probably some konmari decluttering, in which case... sort of. For 2018, I'm not making any resolutions. I just aim and hope to live a healthier life from here on out, much more so than the way I disastrously ended 2017!

3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant?  Or adopt?

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My friend got married and had a baby boy, named Aaron! Sadly for me, I left Miami before she gave birth, so I haven't met the little love. Domenica asked me to crochet or knit something for her baby, but I've been in so much pain and stuff, I haven't had the ability to do it, yet. I think this year, I resolve to knit and crochet more again. Gotta put all the good yarn I own to good use, right? I'll make her baby something to keep him warn soon, especially now that freezing iguanas are falling all over the sidewalk in South Florida.

My brilliant mind fails me now, so I can't remember who is pregnant at the moment. Oh, my friend Lisa Keeney is expect #6, I think. But I am positive I don't know anyone who adopted last year.

4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?

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I don't think anyone I know personally died last year? I hope I'm not forgetting somewhat, sheesh. As far as having a serious illness or injury, that would be me. I wrote all about it in my last post. If you care, I detailed that experience here. I know there are lots of typos in the post, but I'm just not in the mood to go fix them right now, sorry!

5. What places have you visited? 

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We were invited to hang out with new friends at Lucky Peak Reservoir here in Boise, Idaho. It was intensely beautiful, just like everywhere we've gone in Idaho. I can't wait to go back again this summer and see more of it. 

6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?

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We gained 12 chickens, but after a few runaways and a couple of deaths, we're down to half that.

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Chloë also adopted a new guinea pig buddy, Alex, for her first little guy, James. Those two are SO noisy!

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?

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I will continue my pursuit of this grand idea of Contentment, rather than Happiness. I am often content, but those moments are often overpowered by thoughts of "now what? what's next? what else?" and I want to learn to be satisfied with the right here and now.

8. What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why? 

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Probably January 20-21, 2017. Not-my-President Trump was inaugurated (ugh! puke! barf!) and my family and I all participated in the Women's March to protest. I made three pussyhats, for my girls and me, and I was proud to wear them and represent. 

9. What was your biggest achievement last year?

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We struggled a lot in Miami after Rob retired from the US Navy, and our financial picture changed drastically for the worse. It was really hard to find housing to rent here in Boise, from Miami, and I worked tirelessly for months to do so. Home after home after home slipped through our fingers due to the three-digit credit scores of ours that, frankly, aren't so pretty right now. But we're rebuilding, and I saw this home online right after it was listed. I jumped on it, and asked to speak the Lessor by phone, rather by email or text. He agreed and ended up talking on the phone to Rob when the time came, because I had to leave for some reason I now forget. Anyway, we landed the house, and it has been perfect for us. Such a blessing, and for it I am most grateful.

10. Did you get sick or injured?

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Oops, I already answered that in #4. Scroll up if you forgot?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

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We've had a very NERF Christmas here at Casa de Odette. Except for me, everyone received some NERF hyper-powered weapons (these things take lots of batteries now?!). We finally received all of our household goods from the Miami move on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and boxes and boxes were piled everywhere. While I was trying to work on unpacking and clearing the chaos out of our house (it's still here, by the way), the rest of Team Odette were busy ambushing each other with NERF wars. Micro-teams were built, alliances were formed, people were trying to wheedle each other's secrets out of me... these people were/are intense! And crazy. They all asked for more NERF weapons for Christmas, and Mum delivered. Even Hubs has been involved. It's been a daily thing. I'm not a fan of war and weapons and fighting and stuff, but this is actually good, silly fun. I don't participate - I can't participate, because of my Fibro or whatever - but I have to admit I enjoy this nonsense.

12. Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)? 

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Generally it goes to having experiences and creating memories. A large part of that is Sophia's showjumping lessons, which she used to do at Miami International Riding Club back in Florida, and now does at Wasatch Sport Horses here in Eagle, Idaho. I'm trying to get the other kids more involved in things, too, because it's important. Jack wants to go go-karting, so we'll do that again very soon, and Chloë wants to take self-defense classes (we are starting with a class at the local Krav Maga studio) and get involved in archery. All are coming up, but at a more relaxed pace then the frenetic one I've tried to keep up until now. 

13. What song will always remind you of last year?

I think both the songs "Woman" and "Praying" by the new-and-improved Kesha will be my girls' and my anthems for 2017. Jack doesn't really listen to music much (except for his obsession with the Imagine Dragons), and Rob listens more to Classic Rock than anything else. The girls seem to have captured my affinity for current Pop, and the three of us are all fairly decent singers. "Praying" really spoke to me, and "Woman," despite the cursing involved, really struck a cord with me increasingly independent 16-year-old Chloë and always independent 12-year-old Sophia. And me. I've been pretty much a wimp my whole life, but I have stood up for myself in 2017 in ways that I have never done before. Kinda proud of that.

14. What do you wish you would have done more of?

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I really wish my health had been strong enough to go hiking and exploring more in our new Idahome. I am going to build it up, slowly but surely, so that when warmer weather returns, I can do exactly that in 2018.

15. What do you wish you would have done less of?

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Getting sick, dammit! This shit is for the birds. Sirrusleh.

16. What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?

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We saw a number of movies - some I slept through - in the theater in 2017, but Despicable Me 3 and The Secret Life of Pets were my favorites. Yeah, yeah, we still watch a lot of movies geared more toward a younger audience, and I actually like those a lot. I like more adultish movies, too, but I'm a kid at heart and frequently love the animated ones just as much.

17. What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?

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I honestly didn't read any books last year. I read some of some books, but I didn't go from cover to cover on anything. Not proud of that. Used to be such a bookworm; what happened to me?! I'm still not making any resolutions, but I plan to change that abysmal record in 2018. ;)

18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently?

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I turned 41 in September, and neither Rob nor I can remember what we did on or around that occasion. Must have have been a real big whoopty-doo.

19. What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

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The #MeToo movement was a pretty powerful one, obviously, both publicly and personally for me. It stirred up some things that have happened to me, which I've never dealt with. I now realize that I need to, because they're coming out and looking to be dealt with whether I want them to or not.

20. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Our neighbor a few houses down on the cul-de-sac, Gladys, is pretty interesting. She's elderly, has more facial hair than my husband, talks herself blue in the face, is part Native American, converted to Mormonism, and is never at a loss for words for something interesting to say. I love her. It's hard not to stare at her beard (please, God, let me have the sense to pluck that shit if I get to be 75 and that happens to me), but I love her. She brings us treats now and then, has invited us to this luau and the Christmas party at her LDS church, is just an all-around good soul. 

21. Describe how a relationship changed.

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My relationship with Hubs and the kids is ever-evolving the longer we're all together, of course. Now that Chloë is 16, she's maturing and more and more, developing a mind of her own. Unlike me at that age, she is not afraid to stick up for herself when she feels like she's been wronged. I admire her for that, and I encourage her to do it when she has a valid point. We had a tough time when she had a major depressive episode in mid-November, but it brought us more closely together as a family. And we're already a close-knit family. I think she'll be just fine. I think we all will.

22. Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  How so?

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Definitely not. I have moved my family from the East Coast to almost the West Coast. Life is completely different here; we risked everything for it, and it panned out. It was complete culture shock coming to Boise, Idaho, from Miami, Florida, but in a good way. I planned on not getting sick anymore, but as soon as I attempted to get a job and started working, boom! I got hit with Pneumonia #7 in a year's time. I've had two more and more severe cases of pneumonia since then, and I could have died from this latest bout from which I'm still recuperating. I've learned that my daughter and I are both immunoglobulin A deficient, and while most people with this somewhat common genetic defect (lol) are asymptomatic, Chloë and I get sick quickly, frequently, and seriously. I will need to get IgA infusions, and she may, too. I've been sick my whole life, and this is the year - I hope - that I figure out all the pieces of that puzzle. Oh, and ICYMI, I stood up for myself and set boundaries with my father - something I have never in my life done. I'm proud of that.

24. How have people around you changed?

Sophia and Bing

 We all change, everyone does, every year... or so I imagine. However, I feel like I ought to shine a light on 12-year-old Sophie for this one. As the baby of the family, she's really not used to being in charge of something or someone, and she has a habit of being, I don't know, a little passive when it comes to riding. That doesn't always work with the more strong-willed horses she's ridden, and in August 2016, she badly broke her wrist after her horse, Lacey, threw her when she dodged a jump. That led to over a year's break in riding, during with both she and I suffered from a lack of confidence when we finally found her current showjumping barn, Wasatch Sport Horses.

She's ridden a couple of strong-willed mares, Sunny and Daisy, up 'til today when she rode this beautiful boy, Bing. I didn't take her; Rob did, but Sophie described Bing as being "very jumpy," with a sly smile on her face. I talked to her, and she revealed he has quite the playful personality when being tacked up and down, too, like he has a secret song in his head! Anyway, my point is, she regained her confidence and got back on the horse's back this past Fall. She didn't let the broken wrist keep her down, and she has managed to figure out - with her coaches' help - how to show dominance over both mares in order to get them jumping and following her lead, not their own. Ultimately, she and Connie (her current coach) agree that Bing is a better fit at 17.1 hands high for those long legs of hers. And she fits well with his silly, "jumpy" personality. I hope she'll get a few more tries on Bing soon, and then we may consider leasing him for her to ride whenever she wants. I'm so proud of her!

25. What have you learned throughout the year?

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I've learned that I have boundaries and how to set them and stick with that. What? Who knew?!

26. Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made?

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Nope, I didn't learn anything new that was crafty. No new techniques on the old ones, either, unless you count a new cast-on technique in knitting that I didn't know before. Maybe that counts. Chloë and I want to go take a glass-blowing class soon. I keep seeing Groupon deals come up for it here in town, but I haven't jumped on it yet. I think that'll happen this spring.

27. What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc.)

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Well, you know how I've been peddling JAFRA cosmetics for the past 20 years or so? (Well, now you do.) I started using Young Living Essential Oils at one of my BFF Shana's urging. I've gotten a lot of benefit from my YLEOs, so when they came out with the (admittedly pricey) line Savvy Minerals cosmetics, I eventually decided to come around and give it a try. Little by little, I've accumulated more Savvy Minerals items, and I've come to love them. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to end my two-decades-long relationship with JAFRA and focus my efforts (whatever little they may be) on Young Living. I have a shit ton of JAFRA makeup that I'm selling off little by little, in order to buy more Savvy Minerals. They're perfect. They feel so clean and healthy on my skin, and I know that Young Living doesn't sacrifice quality for profits.

As for hair, I'm growing it out and have been auditioning different hair colors in the brown-auburn ranges. Regarding wrinkles, not so much, but I am getting BOTOX for my migraines on the 23rd of this month. I'm pretty vain, so I don't mind dropping a pretty penny on my various and sundry creams and serums, but not so much so that I would get BOTOX to feed that vanity. I've been offered this migraine treatment more than once in the past, but I was so self-conscious about the idea that someone might think I'm using it for anti-aging purposes, I haven't gone forward with it. By this point in time, however, my various neurologists over the past 20+ years have tried every single headache/migraine medicine on the market, and nothing stops the daily onslaught. It's BOTOX time, y'all.

28. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions: family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)

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I want to be cleared from this freakin' MRSA pneumonia that totally kicked my ass all around the block last month and now, and get and stay healthier. I want to be consistent with getting the healthcare I'm supposed to get, and not be procrastinating or postponing the things I haven't wanted to "bother" with because they just didn't seem so important at the time. I want to explore more of our new home state of Idaho, and hopefully get up into a road trip up North to Coeur d'Alene, into Canada and over West to Vancouver, B.C., and south into a Seattle, Washington, and then Portland, Oregon, before coming back East to Boise. I really hope this happens.

Chloë wants to visit Niagara Falls - on both sides of the border - so maybe we'll attempt that trip, too. The childrens' passports will need to be obtained, clearly! I want to pick up my knitting habit again and learn more techniques such as entrelac. I'd like for Rob to finish building our chicken habitat - an injury to his hand caused a setback, and then snow fell, and, well, it sits incomplete in our backyard at the mo' - so we can double our six-pack of chicky babies by Summer. And I'd like to shed at least 30 of the pounds I've put on in the past two years, thanks to medication changes and complications with my 9-year-old gastric bypass procedure. Lots to look forward to!

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Welp, that's mah post, you guys. Hope you enjoyed! Or at least stayed awake... ;)


Young Living Essential Oils: Products Reviewed Series, Episode 1 #YLEOs

August Promos Collage

Hey, guys. So you may or may not know, I have been a distributor for Young Living for just over a year, having been introduced to some pain-relieving oils of theirs by my awesome friend, Shana. Shana knew I was suffering daily with pain from what we didn't know (at the time), and she desperately wanted to help me. 

Since that time, after being helped tremendously by the little kit Shana put together for me, she signed me up as a Distributor for Young Living so that I could reap the full benefits of the products. I've been gung-ho ever since, but never more so than I have since the 2017 International Grand Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, this past June.

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After Convention, my fervor was renewed, as well as my desire to branch out and try more of our many products aside from the oils I have been mostly concentrating [pun intended] on buying and trying. Plus, we've had so many new products come out this year, I was eager to broaden my horizons and give some of them a try. 

Full Disclosure: This post includes links to my personal Young Living Distributor page. I have not received ANY compensation from YLEOs for writing this post. All opinions expressed herein are, as always, 100% my own.

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Instead of JAFRA, which has been my mainstay in skincare since I first signed up with them in, like, 1999, I've decided to give some of the Young Living skincare items a try. I've been using them for about a week now, and here are my impressions (left to right, as shown above):

  • Satin Facial Scrub Mint; 2 ounces and retails for $21.38, or you can also sign up under me as a wholesale distributor and get it for $16.25

From the website: "Satin Facial Scrub™, Mint is a water-based exfoliant. It contains jojoba oil, mango butter, MSM [Dimethyl Sulfone], aloe, and Peppermint essential oil to minimize the appearance of pores and invigorate dull skin."

My take on it: Oh, my gosh, I love this scrub. The minty aroma really wakens up my face as well as me for the day, so I am ready to go as soon as I use it. Just don't get it in your eyes, like I have - eek! It really works well to slough off dead skin, leaving my face soft and touchable. I can definitely recommend this.

From the website: "This gentle, soap-free facial wash cleanses the skin without stripping natural oils. It contains MSM [Dimethyl Sulfone] for softening and Lavender essential oil to soothe skin."

My take: Well, at $41 my cost, it's quite a bit pricier than I'd like to spend. However, the orange scent is plenty and also, it's highly concentrated so I only need to use a tiny amount per shower. I just started using it, so I don't know how long it'll last me, but I'm guessing at least two months. That softens the blow of the high price a bit. It does not leave a residue, leaving my face squeaky clean, so I do like it. I just wish it weren't so costly.

From the website: "An advanced formula powered by a sophisticated, proprietary blend of alpine botanicals and pure essential oils, Sheerlumé™ will visibly brighten and balance skin tone."

My take: Well, at $68 (my price), this was another big chunk of moolah that I wasn't quite ready to spend, but since I'm running low on my (also spendy) Jafra Royal Jelly skincare, I decided to bite the bullet and get the Sheerlumé™. It is very rich and creamy, and again, highly concentrated. I barely need more than a fingertip's dollop to cover my whole face and neck, and then I need to let that air-dry before I put my moisturize on top of that. I absolutely abhor dry skin with a passion, so I'm delighted with the moisturizing properties of Sheerlumé™ and the next item, and my skin actually does seem brighter and more balanced. If blotchy/spotty/irregular skin tone is an issue for you (I have lots of scar tissue on the sides of my cheeks from allergy booboos, tons of freckles, and what-have-you), then I would say you should give this a try!

From the website: "Add Young Living’s moisturizing cream, ART® Intensive Moisturizer, to your daily skin care and discover the perfect way to pamper yourself. This deep, ultra-hydrating lotion recaptures the qualities of younger-looking skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and helping skin feel smoother and more pliable.

"Made completely from naturally derived ingredients, ART Intensive Moisturizer nourishes the skin with ingredients such as pracaxi seed oil and blue bird hibiscus leaf extract to even skin tone and promote hydration. We also add five premium essential oils to create a light floral scent and luxurious experience that leaves your skin feeling soft, refreshed, and radiant. Clinically tested and non-irritating, ART Intensive Moisturizer is sure to be a welcomed addition to your morning or evening routine!"

My take: Well, since I am admittedly vain about my facial appearance and just turned 41 this past Friday, fine lines and tiny wrinkles have become a BIG DEAL for me. I don't have many, but I do have some. Fortunately, since I have taken good care of my skin over the last 20 years, my wrinkles aren't so bad compared to some of my same-aged peers, but I do see crow's feet and smile lines when I, y'know, smile! I haven't been using the ART line long enough to notice any difference other than while it's actually being applied, and then I really do notice a less papery, more hydrated texture that makes making those lines harder to see.

If super-dry skin, or being in your 40s is not yet an issue for you (you pooper), then maybe the light moisturizer would be the way for you to go. If aging and/or fine lines and wrinkles are an issue, though, go for the Intensive. I really like it, but I will warn you that with this and many other YL products, the scent takes some getting used to. It's a natural, botanically-based aroma, obviously, not lab-created, and so you may not be accustomed to a natural fragrance such as these products provide. Take some time to get used to it; I think you'll be glad you did.

From the website: "Wolfberry Eye Cream is a natural, water-based moisturizer. Containing the anti-aging and skin-conditioning properties of wolfberry seed oil, this cream soothes tired eyes and minimizes the appearance of fine lines."

My take: Well, maybe like some others who are kind of, erm, obsessive about skincare and vanity, I tend to take notice of people - women especially - who are getting up there in years and whether they are using a (good or not) eye cream. So many people don't, and since this is the one area of the body that shows the first signs of aging, it mystifies me that people don't! Believe me, we can tell; it's altogether too obvious. I don't mean that to be bitchy, but rather to convince you to get one! Whether it's from Young Living, JAFRA, or some entirely different brand, just make sure to get one. As far as this wolfberry cream goes, I LOVE it! I sleep for crap lately - okay, I always have - and it shows up in my puffy, tired eyes. Using this cream makes an enormous difference! Also highly concentrated, it packs a punch in just a tiny, fingertip-sized portion and will last at least two months also. Blending into the lower lids - more like on the cheekbone and upward, and on the browbone down with the ring fingers for the lightest touch is what works best. This is a MUST-HAVE item!

 

From the website: "Rose Ointment™ is a deeply nourishing blend for dry skin. Rose essential oil improves skin texture, while Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) works to soothe rough, irritated skin."

My take on it: Now, this isn't really a facial skincare item per se, but I'm including it here because it does, well, get applied to the skin. I use it on my dry heels and the rest of my feet, my elbows, sometimes even my lips and hands. I have sensory issues and hate the feel of touching paper if my hands aren't exceedingly well moisturized. This Rose Ointment solves that problem well! Just a tiny amount is all that's needed to coat a large surface area. I put it on my feet and then wear socks, and my feet stay nice and cozy and well-moisturized for a long time. Love it!!

From the website: "Young Living’s Essential Beauty™ Serum for dry skin contains essential oils like Blue Cypress and Lavender, known for their ability to restore the skin’s natural moisture balance."

My take: Well, you either add a few drops to your moisturizer or spot-treat it without adding it to anything, for difficult to treat dry spots. i have been adding it to my Intensive Moisturizer, and that kind of seems like overkill. Especially when I add the Sheerlumé™ into the morning's regimen! So definitely be picking and choosing what your needs are and then you'll find it's not necessary to use each and every one of these items - unless, like me, you really love having a lot of choices and want to switch up your routine from morning to morning. 

From the website: "Promote healthy skin with LavaDerm™, Young Living’s refreshing Lavender spray. It’s made with skin-loving ingredients such as aloe, Lavender, Northern Lights Black Spruce, and Helichrysum to gently support healthy-looking skin. Its mild and gentle formula lightly moisturizes while also soothing and rejuvenating skin. Incorporate its refreshing feel and calming aroma into your nighttime routine or use it as needed throughout the day. The compact and convenient design of this skin moisturizer spray makes it easy to store wherever you need it, whether in your purse, travel bag, bedside table, or office desk."

My take: Well, I had a hysterectomy in April 2008, which threw me into semi-menopause at 31, so hot flashes are definitely a THING for me. I keep my LavaDerm Cooling Mist in the fridge, so that when a hot flash hits, I am ready for that puppy. A spritz or two here and there is all I need, keeping my skin hydrated and better yet, cooled down! The price isn't bad for how well it works, either. LOVE THIS!!

  • YL Lip Balm Trio; Retails for ?? $5.26 or wholesale $4 per lip balm. It's not letting me see the price for the whole Trio at this time, for some reason. Shenanigans! It's a good deal, though.

From the website: "Give your lips the best with this set of three lip balm varieties—Cinnamint, Lavender, and Grapefruit. Each with their own unique blend of essential oils and other nourishing botanicals, these hydrating lip balms seal in moisture for smooth, soft lips."

My take: Well, I'm addicted to lip balms, so I have the Lavender one stashed in my purse, the Grapefruit one in my bathroom, and I've yet to use the Cinnamint since I'm still finishing up my Dr. Bronner's Naked Organic Lip Balm (which I also like) here at the desk. These are great, since they work well and combine with my beloved Young Living Essential Oils! If you're also an EO fanatic, like I am, these are also a MUST GET.

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(Excuse the damn hair.) So here I am, at the ripe old age of 41, having just used all of the above products, and some of the cosmetics which I'll get to in the next post. Not too bad, I guess; I did get my ID checked the other day when buying beer for the Hubs!! lol. That made my day.

So if you're interested in becoming a Distributor for Young Living, or have more interest and questions about the products, please shoot me a comment (form below) or visit my personal web page for details.

Next up in this Review series: cosmetics and a few new-to-met oils!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Mommy Time Meme

Sunday Stealing

I stole Bud's Sunday Stealing logo right off his blog! I clicked that instead of the ... well, long story short, it was un accidente, and now that it's there, it amuses me because it's in keeping with the idea of the meme. Sorry, Bud. ;)

Link up here with the rest of us if you're playing along this Earth Day weekend!

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Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Money Time Questions

1. What are five passions that you have?

a.  EarthDayEve052a

These three knuckleheads. <3

b. Image may contain: 1 person, beard and drink

This chump of mine. <3

c.  EarthDayEve050aCrafting/creating/making in general; knitting, specifically.

d.  SelfiewithSophieMother Earth (and Science #FTW!)

e.  Pea falafel etc

Experimenting with food! I love to cook!

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

a.  Profile

I have had my nose pierced twice, but what I really want is a septum piercing. I told Hubs I would do it after my dad dies. When Hubs asked me why I didn't just go ahead and do it before Dad dies, I replied, "I don't want to kill him!" (The piercing was really hard on my father. His precious little girl... it was right as I was getting out of college, and he saw it and said, "I didn't send you to school so you could become some kind of hippie Bohemian!") lmao

b.

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I'm married to a "hippie Bohemian." Seriously, my husband's maternal family is from Bohemia, which is now the Czech Republic. So, lol to that, too!

c. 

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I've had four pregnancies and four live births, but there is not a 1:1 relationship (for those of you who know your math) there. One of those live births is now our little angel baby, waiting for us...

d.

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I have so many medical issues, my last neurologist labeled me "complicated" when trying to medicate me for migraines. The last med nearly killed me, so we're on to Botox next.

e.

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I have Lyme disease, Fibromyalgia (maybe) and, I suspect, ME/CFS. (myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for those who hate acrobreviations) ;) And that only accounts for half the shit medicine I'm on.

f.

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I also have Bipolar Disorder 1 w/ Psychosis, but I suspect it may actually be Schizophrenia - and so does my current psychopharmacologist. Thing is, the same drugs I'm on are used to treat both, I take my drugs, and I'm more or less stable (that's a myth, like a unicorn achievement, with serious mental health issues, really). I'm not going to go off my meds to find out, so we'll never know unless my chemistry raucously changes. Hey, I'm due for menopause in about 10-15 years, so...! (Hush yo' mouth, I'm not hoping!)

g.

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My surviving kids are 15.5, 14, and 12, and I'm already looking forward to being a grandmother one day. Which damn well better be in a decade or more. ;)

h.

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I'm a permanent Idealist/Optimist, despite all the trauma and abuse in my history. I'm a rainbow-seeker wearing my rose-colored glasses, I'm sensitive, and I'm splendidly naive. Please don't take advantage of me, or I will cry. And I didn't pack the waterproof mascara, 'kay?

i.

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I consider myself a Biologist, a scientist who just didn't finish her Ph.D., as well as a Christian. This throws people way the hell off. 'Specially since I curse like a sailor - since long before I married one. Pretty sure God's okay with me the way I am. <3

j.

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I have a (Young Living) essential oils addiction that about mirrors my JAFRA addiction... I'd love to share them with people, but I'm painfully shy and not at all a salesperson, so my only real clients are on the Interwebs. I keep thinking the older I get, the more my scaredy-cat nature will crack, but that's a Big Fat Nope.

3. List five people (personal, historic, living or dead) who have had a major impact on your life or the way you think.

All right, well:

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a. My mother (RIP), whom I have put on a pedestal of perfection when it comes to motherhood, since her early death at age 33;

b. My father, whom I have not with respect to fatherhood;

c. My stepmother, AKA "The Bitch From Hell," who played an enormous part in my becoming Bipolar/Schizo while "helping raise" me from ages 7 to 17 and beyond...;

d. My maternal grandparents, without whom my childhood would have completely sucked and who rescued me from my miserable home life many times (RIP, RIP, and THANK YOU!)

e. My U-Miami physics professor who, during exams, always used to write, "WAEFRTGDQ" on the chalkboard before starting. The meaning, "When All Else Fails, Read The God-Damned Question!" and which I have used many times in my own life. His surprising addition to this short list startled even me.

4. List 5 things you'd tell your 15 year-old self, if you could.

a.

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While life might suck, at least you have your (relative) physical health and strength. Getting older can be quite painful!

b.

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There actually are some blessings in your life, and you should appreciate them. Some of them won't always be there.

c. 

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Yes, studying and good grades matter, but let loose every once in a while and try to enjoy yourself.

d. 

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Don't cheat on Ben. He's a decent guy, and he cares about you. And don't ever do that again, either! >:(

e.

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You're in Syracuse, New York, one of the most perfect places to learn to ski, so do it, you bonehead. One day, you'll end up in freaking Idaho!

5. What is a major strength that you have?

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My husband will disagree, but he's only right when I'm pissed: I have the ability to use logic and reason in a Euclidean sort of way.

6. What is a major weakness that you have?

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I lose my freakin' shit when I'm really mad. (When I'm happy-manic, yay, baking is happening! When I'm angry-manic, you'd better watch the F out.)

7. Describe the family dynamic of your childhood versus your family dynamic now.

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Huge pile of shit (then)

versus

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Unicorn farts... Capisce?

8. What popular notion do you feel that the world has most wrong?

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That Climate Change is not real, and Global Warming is not happening. As a scientist, this one kills me the most, I think. These are the people in charge of legislation, FFS, and they are ruining mankind for the rest of us. Oy vey. Don't even.

9. Name three things that always cheers you up when you are down.

a.

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Seeing one of my kids accomplish something that I know was difficult for her/him to do

b.

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Coming to an understanding with someone who might ordinarily not have connected with me on a mental or emotional level

c.

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CHOCOLATE!

10. Name three things would you like to be remembered for?

a. 

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Being a good mom to my bebes (and holy crap, my favorite author says what I say all the time to people, too!)

b.

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Being kind

c.

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That I did my hardest to protect the natural resources that have been bequeathed unto me.

~*~*~*~*~

That was a long one, but fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Sorry

Hey Beliebers and non-Beliebers ! Link up here if you want to play along with this fun Q & A!

~*~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Sorry (2015)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here

1) This song is a plea for a second chance. Are you good at forgiving/forgetting?

I feel like I just answered this here in this space recently. Since I'm kind of doped up on pain relieving medications at the moment (forgive any typos or inappropriate remarks, as it's taking all my effort to make this post sensible), I'm glad to not have to think too hard about my answer! YES, I do forgive and forget easily on one condition: the offender has to acknowledge the problem, take responsibility for her/his part, and genuinely apologize. Otherwise, NO.

And yes, the image I posted above is random, but it was so funny I wanted to keep it... ;)

2) Justin asks his girl to "forget this." What have you done/said recently that you wish could just be forgotten?

Oh, everything. Literally, everything I say or do. I'm a neurotic mess, and I know I am so annoying to people. Hubs loves me and accepts me the way I am, and that's a big part of why I married him. Other people, I feel, really just don't like me. And that's saying it nicely...

3) Mr. Bieber says he needs just 6 hours sleep every night. How about you? How much sleep do you require to feel sharp?

Part of being a night owl neurotic mess is that I'm also an insomniac. I honestly don't know how much sleep I require, because my sleep so erratically. I have no clue. It could be four or five hours, or it could be 10+!

4) Justin prefers D&G underwear, which can cost as much as $102/pair. Sam may be crazy, but there's no way she'd spend that much on underwear. What's something you're willing to splurge on?

also have OCD, so I'm SO complicated and fun (said no one ever), and one of the things that I'm OCD about is my skin. It has to be well-moisturized and extremely soft, clean, and well, perfect, or I can't function. Seriously, I just cannot even. So I splurge on my skincare products from JAFRA, using our Pro line as well as the (actual) gold-infused supplemental products. And my skin is... yeah. It's good.

5) He may be picky about underwear but not cuisine. He loves Big Macs. If we were going to McDonald's, what would you order?

I'd really rather not, but on the odd occasion where I haven't gotten groceries yet, and I'm super pressed for time and stuff, I'll swing through the McDs drive-thru lane and order a 20-piece McNuggets (maybe more) for the rest of Team Odette to pass around, large fries (I like the long, squishy ones; they can have the rest) for everyone, and probably a Coke for Rob.

6) When it comes to healthier fare, Bieber has told fans he enjoys snacking on bananas and grapes. What do you reach for between meals?

I'm definitely a grazer, so there is no in-between meals. I'll have a slightly hungry moment between sips of whatever I'm drinking at the moment (I have to constantly be drinking something or I'll dehydrate, thanks to my gastric bypass surgery) and wander into the kitchen for something. I'll eat a piece of cheese, or a banana, or hummus... Ooh, thanks for the reminder, I want to make some hummus up tonight!

7) Performing in Germany, Justin Bieber told a girl who approached the stage, "Ich liebe dich” ("I love you") and she fainted. Have you ever fainted?

The first time I fainted, that I know of, was in choir in 8th grade. We were all standing on risers, singing our little hearts out, and boom, from the second or third riser up, down I went onto the floor. Our choir director, with whom I'm now good friends with on Facebook, actually sort of sarcastically corrected me for not singing and standing up! I did not respond, so they got me up and rushed me to the nurse's office. I can't count how many times I have passed out since then.

8) As a kid, Justin was teased for being one of the shortest in his class. What do you recall being teased about in school?

In school, I was ridiculed for being smart. I was quite the nerd. Definitely not "popular." I was teased for years in the classes I had to take that were not Honors or AP classes. I'm not bitter about it, though; I think I'm over it. However, I'm still very self-conscious and self-aware when I'm in public situations. I'm paranoid that people are always laughing and talking about me. I hate it.

9) Random question: Will you be watching this weekend's Super Bowl?

LOL! If I do watch Super Bowl 50, it will probably just be for the commercials. I don't care about either team, and I couldn't really care less about professional American football. Meh.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Well that's it! Thanks for stopping by. And if you did, and you read this whole thing, then I want to tell you something. You've maybe been reading this blog for Saturday 9s for a while, and mabye Sunday Stealing, too. And you may know that I've been sick for months and have been really bad about replying back on your blog to your Sat9 and Sunday Stealing posts, though I've been promising to do just that. I have to apologize. I really am sorry. Truly. But I'm getting exponentially sicker, and I'm not taking things even day by day anymore.

Now it's hour by hour, and sometimes minute by minute. It's killing me. Literally, I honestly feel like I am going to die and they will figure out what's wrong with my autopsy. I have yet another doctor appointment on Monday, and I am trying to get in with an Infectious Diseases specialist here in Miami to get things figured out. I think it's mold, which I've been jokingly suggesting to Hubs since the beginning of this. Now I think it's forreal, folks. Gah. If you pray, please pray; if you don't, please think good thinks and said positive vibes, juju, or whatever our way. Thank you. Peace out.

Fin.

 


Saturday 9: Let's Dance

Perfect song choice for this week, Sam! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend.

Saturday 9: Let's Dance (1983)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

In memory of David Bowie (1947-2016). 

1) In this song, David encourages his partner to "put on your red shoes and dance." When did you last dance?

I dance nearly every day, even for just a few moments. Rarely in public, but I danced on South Beach on New Year's Eve in a red dress, barefoot. Fun night!

2) Mr. Bowie recalled that he and choreographer Toni Basil developed a dance step now known as "the moonwalk" for his 1974 tour, nearly a decade before Michael Jackson performed "Billie Jean." Can you think of something you should have gotten credit for, but didn't?

Not really. I'm sure there are things, but I guess I don't need credit for them that badly!

3) Similarly, the band Roxy Music was upset because Bowie copied their "catsuit look" for his own stage wardrobe and made it famous. What do you usually wear, Monday through Friday?

Normally, as my daughter's riding instructor jokingly put it this week, I'm in "little dresses." However, we have had some rather crazy El Niño weather here in Miami this week, and it's been downright chilly for us. (I admit it, I'm talking about 60ºF here, and I am a wimp.) I rarely wear jeans, but I have been living in them for about six days now. Warm and toasty, I am!

4) David Bowie was particular about the aftershave he wore, and one of his favorites was by Guerlain. Do you regularly apply cologne or aftershave?

I have a lot of different JAFRA scents, and right now Hubs is loving the one I have been wearing especially for that him: Risqué. Likewise, he wears a JAFRA cologne I like, when he wants to come at me. Hee.

5) In school, David's best subject was art. Think back to your own school days. In which class did you excel?

Science, which is a "duh" for anyone who knows that I have a degree in Marine Biology. Physics is my downfall, though, and I think it's because I have lack any understanding of spacial relationships without a serious amount of thinkering devoted to it. History is my least best subject, especially when it comes to the subject of war. Kind of surprising that I married a military guy, then, eh?

6) In addition to art and music, David Bowie displayed a keen head for business, leaving a fortune of more than $600,000,000. Would you describe yourself as "good with money?"

Absolutely not. I would say more like "bad." But I keep trying!

7) Bowie also appeared in a variety of movies from The Man Who Fell to Earth to Zoolander. Who is your all-time favorite movie actor?

It's probably Tom Hanks, and I like him as much for being a decent human being as I do for his thespian artistry.

8) One of Bowie's hits is "Life on Mars." If you had the opportunity to travel into space, would you take it?

Oh, hell yeah. I have dreamed - literally in my sleep as well as in my waking moments - of going up in space since I was a young girl. I would go in a heartbeat, no hesitation or thinking required. Ciao!

9) The creators of SpongeBob Square Pants are huge Bowie fans and were thrilled when, in 2007, he appeared in an episode. Sam suspects that she may be the only person who hasn't seen that cartoon show. What about you? Have you ever watched an episode of SpongeBob, start to finish?

Nope. I have seen it, as the kids and even Hubs will sit still for it on the occasion I don't protest too much or too loudly, but never a full episode. It's... not for me!

*

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Why Do You Want To Know That?!

Link up here if you're stealing along with the rest of us today!

***

List 5 things you want to do before the year ends:

  1. a. Bake Christmas cookies with my family,

b. Go to Christmas Eve candlelight services together,

c. Get our veritable mountain of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away for once,

d. Get everyone's Christmas presents wrapped, and

Buy more groceries and make sure we use up these ^^^ veggies & tilapia from the farm where we get our weekly CSA shares!

  1. What color are your pants?

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They're a bit more red than in this picture, but cherry red not tomato red, on top, and black on the rest.

Favorite motivational quote:

 Believe-there-is-good-in-the-world

I have this posted on my wall, here in my little office area of the living room. Whenever I'm feeling like poo, I look up at it and remind myself to BE the good, etc.

When was the last time you drank coffee?

  1.  Last night, Chloë and I made a run to Starbucks. She ordered a Java Chip Frappuccino, I ordered an Egg Nog Frapp "Light" with Coconut Milk (minimal dairy for me), and I brought home a Café Mocha for Rob. Technically, I don't think there was any coffee in mine, but I probably had some earlier in the day... maybe?

    What was the last thing you ate?
  2. I've been eating a lot of ice chips lately, so that was the last solid "food" I consumed. I'm not eating much else aside from the ice! It took me a few days to realize I probably have Pica from being extremely anemic. :\
  3. Favorite animal:

So, my favorite overall animal is of the sea: Shortfin Mako Shark.

  1. My favorite land animal is the African Elephant.

    1. And my favorite animal of flight is the soaring Bald Eagle.

      Favorite song:

  1. "Near You Always" by Jewel - though I adore that entire album!

    Last movie you watched?
  2. Well, I rented five movies (for FREE!) from the Redbox last night, but we only managed to get two watched (Paper Towns and Shaun The Sheep), but the one I'm really looking forward to watching today is the newer Vacation movie! Yes, I'm totally allowing my kids to watch it. C'mon, it'll be fun..! ;)

    Any turn-ons?

Nicole nailed it - in that order, too!

  1. Any turn-offs?
  2. Arrogance, lack of sense of humor, and stupidity are my major turn-offs.

    List 4 big words off of the top of your head.
  3. Okay... extraneous, superfluous, garrulous, expediency
  4. What are some meaningful movies?
  5. Jodie Foster in The Accused, and

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious really meant a lot to me.

  1. The two most important people in your life right now?
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  2. IMG_20151203_043657
  3. No. I cannot do just two. It's these four folks: Rob, Jack, Chloë, and Sophia. They are my life!

    What are 3 things you want for Christmas?
  4. I really, really want the Cards Against Humanity game!

  1. THIS new printer, which Rob already gave me, because I desperately needed it, and

  1. OF COURSE I want peace on Earth. Please, please, please, let there be peace.

    When was the last time you read a good book?
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce A Confederacy of Dunces Boo: A Novel
  3. These are the five books I just purchased from Audible. I hope I have time to listen to all of them in the next few months!

    What was the last thing you studied?
  4. I studied the ecological and functional morphology of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus of elasmobranch fishes, with this guy:

  1. Dr. Philip J. Motta, at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
  2.  
    Do you have any nicknames?
  3. Aside from Smellyann? It's pretty much "Mom," or "Honey."

    Favorite kind of perfume?
  4. It changes. Right now, I'm really digging my JAFRA blends, which have some fruity elements, a little bit of floral, and a little bit of ... allure. I can mix and match which one(s) I use, depending on my mood. Love them!

    Do you have any international friends / friends who live out of state?

Yes, of course I have tons of friends (and family) from out-of-state, but I also have lots of international friends. Some of them, I have never even met. I'm hoping to meet Pammy, here, in the next few months. I have "known" her since 2004. She lives in Canada; I shall have to pack warm!

  1. 20. What is something unique that you do every single day?

I'm in a lot of pain these days, so I am trying to do gentle yoga as much as possible. Sometimes, it's a simple stretch or two. Other times, when I'm having a better day, I get more active. But I have a ways to go before I look this beautiful whilst doing it!

  1. If there was a movie based on your life, what would it be called?
  2. It would be called Does That Make Me Crazy?

  3. When was the last time you bought a gift for someone?
  4.  
  5. I bought a drift fishing trip for Rob and Jack for Christmas, last. Shhh, don't tell Jack!

    Are you a shopaholic?
  6. In-store, not so much, but online... I have to be careful!

    What are some songs that always make you feel better?

The #1 song to get me in a good mood, up and dancing on my feet is "Kiss" by Prince. Guaranteed.

***

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Product Review: Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Creams

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Recently, I was engaged by Smiley 360 on a mission to try the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15, Nighttime Serum-in-Cream, and Eye Cream by philosophy. Here's my delivery, right out of the package. I couldn't wait to get started!

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These are the samples I was given. They're itty-bitty, but they're very concentrated, so a little bit goes quite a long way, and I still have a lot left. 

As many of you know, I'm not only a longtime JAFRA Consultant, but an exclusive JAFRA skincare user myself, so I'm always skeptical about trying other brands. But this looked promising, and so I have been giving it a shot.

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I used my JAFRA face wash to get ready, since I didn't have anything from philosophy for that purpose. Here's my "BEFORE" photo.

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And here's my "AFTER" photo from using the Ultimate Miracle Worker Day Cream SPF 15 and the eye cream, as well as, yessssss, JAFRA cosmetics. Not bad for being 39 years old, am I right?! You better say yes. Ignore the jacked-up hair; I needed a haircut and that was what it wanted to do at the moment. Hee.

So I'm still using the philosophy samples I was given, and I really like them. I would say, if you can, give them a shot. My favorite of the three is definitely the eye cream, but I do like all three.

If you'd like to try it out for yourself, click here and use promo code: welcome15 to receive a philosophy welcome gift (includes 1oz purity made simple facial cleanser, 1oz amazing grace shower gel, and 0.4oz hope in a jar moisturizer) with any $25 purchase - I hope you'll let me know if you do!

Full Disclosure: I was given these samples in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are - as always - 100% my own.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Harper Valley PTA

Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Saturday 9: Harper Valley PTA (1968)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's featured artist uses her middle initial (C. for Carolyn) all the time. Do you use your middle initial very often? 
 
I used to, for a long time, but I stopped when a "friend" started teasing me endlessly about it. Just wasn't worth the hassle.

2) In this song, a mother tells off the local PTA. What's the most recent school event you attended - whether as a parent, a teacher or a student?
 
I'm a homeschooling mom, so pretty much every day is something school-related for us!

3) The lyrics reference the mom's miniskirts, which were trendy in the 1960s. The website Popsugar reports that gingham checks are trendy for 2015. Tell us about the most recent addition to your wardrobe.
 
I was at the local outlet store here {in Florida City}, and they had some crazy-awesome clearance deals. Combined with my military discount, I paid rock-bottom prices at G.H. Bass for two adorable denim skirts, a black crossbody purse (my Thirty-One satchel finally gave up the ghost), and a wallet to go IN that purse.
 
 
{I didn't have a wallet for ages, because my Thirty-One crossbodies are itty-bitty wee-tiny.} Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

4) Thinking of moms, Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
 
 
Claire Huxtable!

5) Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
 
When I get my really bad migraines, they go all the way down my spine to my coccyx, and around my clavicle, and they hurt in my jaw and pretty much my entire skeleton. {I'm now thinking I have an auto-immune disorder, actually.} Anyway, when my Fioricet doesn't take away the migraine pain, I've found that a really hard knuckle massage from my oldest kiddo, Chloë, helps. She has to massage my ankles to my wrists and everything in between, and it wears her out, so I only ask beg her to do it when I'm desperate.
 
{P.S. to CountryDew: Yes, I have had acupuncture for depression, but not for pain. It helped marginally. I'm willing to give it a go for this, but I haven't sought out an acupuncturist here in Flah-riddah yet. Stay tuned, I guess!}

6) Sam's mother always tips 15% in restaurants. Sam has worked in food service and is more judgmental, tipping between 10% and 25%, depending on the quality of the service. What's your tipping policy? Are you more like Sam or her mother?
 
I'm more like good ol' Sam. However, I never tip less than $2.00 for anything, unless the service was so crap-tastic that I don't leave a tip at all. That rarely happens. When I mystery shop, I'm often specifically instructed to tip 15-18-20% regardless of the quality of service, and so I do what I am told. Left to my own devices, though, I let my tip do the talking.

7) When the tip of her shoelace becomes frayed, Sam's mother snips off the end and then paints the tip with clear nail polish. Good as new! Sam thinks that's crazy because you can just buy new laces for less than $2. Are you more frugal like mother or spendthrift like daughter?
 
It completely depends on the circumstances. I am mostly the frugal type, and I am a hard-core couponer (please don't call me "extreme," though; I'm just a smart shopper) from jump street. My mama taught me how to use coupons, and I am teaching my young'uns the same way. It absolutely kills me to pay full price for something that I know I can get for  nearly free or better-than-free, so I avoid it at all costs (pun not intended).
 
However, there are times when I'm extremely brand-loyal, such as my JAFRA skin care regimen, and I will not use anything else... because I'm worth putting only high-quality products on my skin, and I feel good about that! (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!)

8) Mother Winters loves how French vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
 
I absolutely adore fruity scents and will burn those whenever I can. We can't burn any candles right now, because Sophia's kitten, Sugarplum Yogurt (yes, that is her real name, and yes, Hubs and I have lots of creative nicknames we use instead of that one!), is in the "leap before you look" phase of exploratory development. Having her land in a burning candle would be no bueno, especially after her littermate Spike's recent untimely demise. :(
 
{P.S. I absolutely loathe French vanilla and cinnamon-y scents. They make me gag, truthfully! I'm mostly apathetic about pine-y and floral scents, but I lean towards "no, thanks" on those, also.}

9) Sam is celebrating Mother's Day with her mother's favorite, Hershey Bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate with almonds?
 
Chocolate with almonds sounds nice, please. As a motherless daughter from a young age, and also as a mother who has lost a son, I have mixed feelings about Mother's Day, myself. I celebrate it mostly for my living childrens' sakes, but I would not care if we did not.
 
On that note, thanks for stopping by today!
 
Fin.

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Wedding Day Bliss

Greetings!

Yesterday (Wednesday), Team Odette headed up to Clearwater in Pinellas County, Florida, for me to visit a potential new JAFRA Consultant of mine. (That appointment went great, even though I forgot to take my anxiety meds. She's going to sign up next week!)

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Afterward, the children were starving, so I took them nearby to Steak 'n' Shake for dinner. Surprising absolutely nobody, and true to form, Sophia ordered mac & cheese, Jack ordered chicken fingers, and Chloë ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Par for the course. Robert had to stay outside in the car with Paco - voluntarily, of course. He spoils that pooch something awful (and I'm a bit of an enabler, myself)!

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Since we were already in Pinellas, and St. Petersburg was on the way home, we offered to take the kids on a slight detour through St. Pete Beach and show them where we had our second wedding on the beach at sunset fourteen years ago. They were all over that like white on rice.  Our first stop was to visit where Mama used to work before going to graduate school: Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. (I gained so much weight snacking on the Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavor!)

Since the kids had already had shakes with dinner, I simply ordered a vanilla cone for our ice cream-lovin' spoiled pooch, Paquito, and let the kids get a chocolate-covered pretzel. And, come to find out, the same owner(s?) are still there from when I was 22 and heading off to University of South Florida to work on my Ph.D. in shark feeding ecomorphology with Dr. Phil Motta. (Totally name-dropping there.) She didn't recognize me, but when I told her that I had been there 16 years earlier, she said I must have been a baby, so I was too flattered to remind her that she fired me because I was leaving for grad school four months later!

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And finally, we meandered down Gulf Blvd along the coastline to Pass-A-Grille Beach, the site of that fortyear post-nuptial wedding ceremony.

You see, we had originally planned for that sunset-on-the-shore wedding to be the actual nuptial ceremony. However, circumstances changed in that I had to rush up to see Rob unexpectedly a week or so after my previous visit to see him for a Navy Christmas party, wherein I found it almost impossible to drive away back to St. Petersburg at the end of my visit. For this latter drive up, I already knew by the time I arrived in Panama City Beach, where he was at Coastal Systems Station, that it would be utterly impossible for me to leave him again.

So, after we returned to PCB from Missouri to bury his stepfather, Gene, we hauled ass back to St. Pete together to put in my notice at work, pack up my apartment, get my dog Johnny... and elope! We filled out our marriage license paperwork on the 30th of December and had to wait until the 2nd of January to get married. Rushing to the courthouse after I finished work on that 2nd day of January, 2001, hand-in-hand and laughing our fool heads off, was the absolute best moment of my life.

We got married at the courthouse that day, just us and the Justice of the Peace. She shut the blinds, left, and let us smooch to our hearts' content after we exchanged the rings.

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By that time, however, some of our family and friends had already made their travel arrangements for the planned beach wedding. We decided to go on with it and get married in front of them, our pastor, and God. (Not that He wasn't present the first time, but, you know.)

On February 17th, 2001, which also would have been my mommy's 50th birthday, we had our beach wedding after all. I had found out sometime around January 20th - just a few short weeks after we eloped - that Chloë was on the way! So I went to our wedding pregnant and, kicking off my shoes, finished the scenario barefoot to boot. I knew people would think my pregnancy was the reason we got married two short months after we first met, and that wasn't helped by her arrival a month early! Haha! But no matter, because Rob, God, and I know the truth. (And my OBs, natch.)

Anyway, 14 years later, there we were at twilight, with 13½-year-old Chloë, along with nearly-12yo Jack and nearly 10yo Sophia cavorting in the sand on Pass-a-Grille Beach. And just like we had those years ago, Rob and I kissed in the moonlight whilst dancing to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." However, with Paco in Rob's arms, those kisses turned into puppy licks and, um, eww.

Once we gathered up the children, who were disappointed not to have seen any sharks or cownose rays as I'd suggested might have happened, we decided to head up to St. Petersburg's 34th St S and visit where I used to work at the Law Offices of James M. Brickley.

Jim died while watching the attacks on September 11th, just four days after Chloë was born, so sadly the law firm was no longer there. It was replaced by a dental office. The Gold's Gym in that plaza was another gym chain now, but the Domino's was still there. The bagel shop that had the best bagels and cream cheeses on earth (which I've been craving ever since our elopement) was shut down and empty inside, and the plaza had expanded to include many more shops including one of those ubiquitous Dollar Tree stores. I got a little teary-eyed remembering Jim and his wife Pam, who I had considered my mom-figure once upon a time.

Anyway. All-in-all, it was a pretty rockin' day, and we had the best time. The kids and Paco snoozed almost all the way back home to Miami, and Rob and I held hands and rocked out to songs on the radio. And I drove entirely too fast.

Thanks for strolling with me down Memory Lane!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The One Thing Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

The One Thing Meme

 
Stolen from: Survey Haven

One Thing ..... 

 that makes you smile: 

my family being happy

that makes you cry: 

I don't cry often unless I forget to take my meds, because they prevent me from doing so. That being said, having my heart broken is a guaranteed tearjerker for me.

that you love to do on the weekends: 

Image result for JAFRA freedom to be you

Work my JAFRA business

that you do for only yourself: 

buy excessive amounts of Diet Coke. I need to quit that shit. :\

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear: 

Nothing, just undies. Well, I think I mistakenly put my body-shaper in there, but it doesn't belong there.

that you do before going to sleep: 

Take off my makeup and do my bedtime skincare routine, ever since Conference: I learned that for every night you sleep with your makeup on, you age your skin five days. No thanks!

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking: 

a. Look at my phone to see the time and whether I have any important messages. b. pee. c. drink a swig or three of Diet Coke. 

that's in your purse:

Image result for purse funny

I can't live without my lip balm, so I have it with me wherever I go. I have, like, six open tubes around the house.

that you actually LIKE to clean: 

I don't mind cleaning. I just don't do it very often, because I don't prioritize it in my busy life. It's always on my to-do list, though!

that you DETEST cleaning: 

My daughter Chloe's curly hair

that other people would find odd about you: 

I can't stand rubbing or scratching on fabric. If Hubs tries to rub my leg and I'm wearing pants, for example, he'll inevitably hear, "Don't rub fabric!" And scratching your legs through your denim jeans? That is a may-HAY-jor no-no in front of me! GAHHHHHH.

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill: 

I'd probably go crazy and buy some groceries. Hey, I got kids to feed, man!

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die: 

 

Buy my husband a boat. He really wants a boat. I want him to have a boat!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Mysterious Ways

Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Saturday 9: Mysterious Ways (1991)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In honor of St. Patrick's Day (this coming Tuesday), we're featuring one of Ireland's most successful exports, U2. What else is Ireland famous for?

Potatoes. Political and religious unrest. Beautiful green pastures. Castles. Whiskey - and pubs.

2) The Dublin studio where U2 recorded this song (and all of Achtung, Baby) is now a music store called Claddagh Records. U2 pilgrims from all over the world travel to the spot (Celia Street, Dublin 2). If we were to visit your neighborhood, are there any landmarks you could direct us to?

Right down the road from me is the famous Homestead Speedway. if you're a NASCAR fan (I'm not), you'll have heard of it, surely. When a big race is on, we can hear the cars zooming 'round the track from inside our abode.

3) Lead singer Bono is rarely seen without his trademark sunglasses because he suffers from glaucoma. How is your vision? 20/20?

I have glaucoma, too. And nooooo. I am never without my spectacles or my contacts. My vision is about 20/200 in one eye and 20/250 in the other. No bueno.

4) Bono and wife Alison were married in 1982 and are still together today. Who is the longest-married couple you know?

My grandparents celebrated over 50 years of marriage. They're both gone now. I am not sure who else has been married that long, but I hope to get there one day with Hubs!

5) When Bono inducted Frank Sinatra into the Grammy Hall of Fame, he applauded the older man's "swagger." Do you think you have swagger?

No way. I'm supposed to, though, according to JAFRA USA President Paulo Moledo. Because of our superior product line and excellent commission structure, he says, we should carry ourselves with serious swagger. I'm workin' on it!

(P.S. Please "like" my JAFRA Facebook page!!)

6) Bono has been honored by world leaders, including President Obama and Nelson Mandela and the Pope, for his philanthropy. Here's your turn to brag: tell us something you have received praise for recently.

My friend Patsy complimented me on my brilliant children, saying they "think outside, under and around the box" or something similar to that. Loved that - since we homeschool!


8) On St. Patrick's Day, will you wear green?

Normally I don't, because I'm not even the least bit Irish, but this year I will be doing a St. Patty's promotion for my JAFRA business, so I will get into the Irish spirit with that.

9) Will you enjoy a glass of green beer or maybe a Shamrock Shake from McDonald's?

Negative. I don't like beer and can't have all that sugar. Although I did have a sip or two of Hubs' Shocktop at the Mardi Gras festival we went to today! 

Thanks for your visit!

Fin


Sunday Stealing: Threes Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Threes Meme

From Remember the Stars

1. Three things that scare me: 

a. Losing another one of my children

b. Being laughed at and rejected by people I care about

c. Being laughed at by complete strangers


 2. Three people who make me laugh: 

a. Larry David (he's totally my unaware boyfriend)

b. Hubs (hysterical!)

c. My children, every single day


3. Three things I love: 

a. hearing children laugh

b. not being able to control my own laughter

c. homeschooling my kids


4. Three things I hate: 

 

Aw, only three?! ;) Okay:

a. being behind a slow, bad driver

b. people who think my homeschooled kids must be awkward and weirdly unsocialized people (they're not... any more than awkward and weird public-school kids, anyway)

c. intentional litterbugs. (P.S. If you're a smoker and toss your finished butts on the ground, THAT'S TOTALLY LITTERING!!!)


5. Three things I don't understand: 

a. Republican values

b. people who have their head in the sand and don't understand global warming and global climate change are real and really happening. but let's not get me all worked up about it, shall we?

c. intolerance, racism, and pretty much all -isms of that ilk


6. Three things on my desk: 

Business cards

a. my beautious new bilingual business cards for JAFRA (they look better than the scan, heh)

b. a can of Diet Coke

c. my ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S5

7. Three things I'm doing right now: 

a. this blahg post (duh)

b. moderating my auction page on Facebook

c. sneezing (this cold sucks butt)


8. Three things I want to do before I die: 

a. SCUBA dive Australia's Great Barrier Reef

b. gain forgiveness and compassion for the woman who broke my brain

c. quit drinkin' the damned Diet Coke!!!


9. Three things I can do: 

a. knit, and well

b. bake, and well

c. drive, and uh...


10. Three things I can't do: 

Image result for parking funny

a. park my car well, especially when parallel parking is involved. thankfully, I nailed it on my road test 20 years ago!

b. design my own knitting patterns that work

c. sit still and relax


11. Three things you should listen to: 

a. ME, when I talk about the important issues like those mentioned above (get yer heads out of the sand, already!!)

b. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (and just try not to bounce around to it)

c. your conscience


12. Three things you should never listen to: 

a. people who tell you that you can't

b. people who tell you what to do when you know better and haven't asked for their advice

c. the metal band Cannibal Corpse - it's horrid


13. Three things I'd like to learn: 

a. how to relax and, in tandem with that,

b. how to be patient

c. how to design my own awesome knitwear!


14. Three favorite foods: 

NEW YORK-style all of the following:

a. pizza

b. cheesecake

c. Italian bread


15. Three beverages I drink regularly: 

a. Diet Coke (duh)

b. fruity, girly rum drinks (but usually only when I'm being paid to evaluate a bar or club)

d. a Cosmopolitan (when I'm evaluating a classier bar. Hee.)


16. Three shows I watched as a kid:

 

a. The Cosby Show (shame about Bill, isn't it?! Ugh)

 

b. Perfect Strangers (who didn't love Balky and his "dance of joy"?!!)

c. Full House (because Uncle Jesse, mmmm)

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


2015 JAFRA National Conference - Orlando

JAFRA

I've mentioned a few times now that we went up to the Orlando area this past few days so that I could attend the 2015 JAFRA National Conference. There, many new things were revealed to us, and it was fabulous and exciting in so many ways! The logo above ("JAFRA" is really in purple, but it didn't Instaphoto well), in our new colors and proprietary fonts, was among them. This sign was actually on the ground in several places throughout the property where the conference was held.

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The conference was held at Orlando's LOEWS Royal Pacific Resort near Universal. After Rob, who drove me there from our Kissimmee hotel on Friday morning, dropped me off, I walked from the valet area to the lobby. This was the first view I had of the Royal Pacific. I think I literally said out loud, "Wow, we should have stayed here!"

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Stepping into the lobby, I found several different displays of parasols in an Oriental style. There were gift shops in the sprawling lobby as well as an abundance of other candy. It was truly beautiful. I couldn't wait to show the children, which I was finally able to do on Sunday before we departed for Homestead.

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Elephants are my favorite land animal, so of course I had to photograph the beautiful fountain full of them out in the lobby center. The pictures just don't do this hotel justice. It was a sight to behold.

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JAFRA really went all out in decorating our area of the conference center for this event. There was signage, there were banners, there were ... ahh. Parts of it were truly breathtaking. Unfortunately, I left my Nikon's SD card back at our hotel on Friday and some of the displays were only available that day, so I missed out on a lot of potential.

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The first exciting workshop I entered was about our new online platforms. It was awesome and contained lots of information about our ability to reach various social media audiences, often at the click of a button. For instance, you can now shop online with me right on my JAFRA Facebook page, pay for your order, and have it shipped directly to you. This is wonderful because, until now, my clients had to wait for me to place their orders, receive them, ship them out myself, and risk damage. I am loving this!

If you'd like, you can also sign up for my JAFRA newsletter here, or you can read my JAFRA blog here!

New Products

In my next workshop, I learned so much about new products that will be revealed - soon! We took a skin age test, and I discovered that my skin age is about the same or maybe a few years younger than my chronological age of 38. Yay, thanks JAFRA!

I gave the skin age test to Hubs later and, since he hasn't really used all the JAFRA products I've given him while dealing with his brain tumor saga, understandably his skin age was about a decade or so older than his real age. But no worries! We have several options to treat that, and now that he's in full-on recovery mode, we're going to get him looking younger and healthier than he has been, too. ;)

Mascara

We had two professional makeup artists come in next to show us a few tips and demonstrate a day and night look on a couple of Consultants in the audience. One of my favorite tips was that you should air-dry your mascara before each application to prevent clumping. My favorite product, which I wear almost every single day, is our Black Lash Maximizing Mascara. It really makes my eyes pop, but I often glop it up and have to re-do parts of my eyes! I tried drying out the wand for a minute or so before applying mine the next morning, and lo and behold, it worked like a dream! Let me know if you try it.

I also learned that for every night you go to bed without taking off your makeup and cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your face (something I'm often guilty of - 'til now), you age your skin five extra days. Eek! I shared that with my girls that night; Sophie, who is notorious for not wanting to wash her face and hands, asked me immediately to help her with some cleansing and moisturizing. Hee. Of course, I was happy to obliged. (Chloë already uses our teen line of skin care; she has beautiful skin.)

Diamonds

In our Fragrance training, I learned so much more about perfumes, colognes, and such. For instance, you know about those people with the best noses in the world, who can perfectly distinguish scents from a complex mixture? Kinda like musicians with perfect pitch? Well, there are only 31 of these perfumers in the whole world, and JAFRA works with them right along with Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and all of the other fragrance designers. We use the top three fragrance houses to compose our extensive line of fragrances with the help of these perfumers. I am so impressed by this; I had no idea!

* * *

I learned a lot about Leadership Development that day and Saturday, too. I am super excited about this and want to become a third-level manager by Christmas. I'm looking to build a team of motivated people who want to come right along with me into leadership! Comment below with your email address for more information on this fantastic opportunity, and I'll get right back to you. I'm so stoked!

* * *

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Friday night, I arrived at our big Freedom Party a tiny bit late, just as stilt-walkers and other performers were dancing down the center aisle of the huge Pacifica Ballroom. They moved too fast for me to get any great pictures, but I snagged this shot from the big screens showing the action:

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Some of the dancers coming down the aisle were dancing with the Consultants, and they were so fun! What an energizing event. I loved it!

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A couple of the stilts performers posed for me. I love this snap!

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Everyone was wearing purple. I didn't know that I was supposed to wear purple until I checked in at the event - a bone of contention for me - but I happened to be wearing something passably close anyway, so I fit in. Phew!

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It was great listening to our Ambassadors - the top-level Consultants in JAFRA - be introduced. I knew a lot of the names already, but some were new to me. One day, maybe I'll be up there...

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The lady with the microphone - in the reddest of the dresses - was Vickie Hacking. I've known about Vickie since I joined JAFRA 16 years ago, but I've never had the courage to go meet her. She's amazing, earning an average of $22,000 per month with her business! Nothing to sneeze at, eh?

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On Saturday morning, during our General Session for training, I took this picture with my Manager, Priscilla [LEFT] and my District Manager, Martha. Lovely ladies, and I adore Priscilla with all my heart. I hadn't seen her in some 13 years!

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Our JAFRA USA President, Paolo Moledo, took the stage again during this session. He's such a character! He wants us all to walk and talk about Jafra with serious swagger, because we deserve to. You may not have heard of our company yet, but you should. Our products are of unbelievably high quality, and our opportunity is amazing. I love, love, love it - and this is THE year to join us!

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We were given a great deal of information by our Marketing, Sales, Sponsoring, and other executives, but I really loved listening to our Chief Scientific Officer, Pragna Chakravarti. She's extremely intelligent and has developed a line of skin care for JAFRA that is as good as any you'll find in the top department stores. It is as good as any out there. We even have a line of skin care in which every product contains 24-karat gold! All of our products meet and exceed all of our performance tests, dermatological, allergy, and clinical tests. She has high standards - as do I.

Overall, it was a fun, exciting, and informative event, and I'm so glad I was able to go to my first JAFRA event in well over a decade. This year, 2015, is a great year to be in JAFRA, and I'm so glad to be a part of it. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Kiss Me In Kissimmee

Link up here if you want to join Unknown Mami in this fun blog hop this week!

Unknown Mami

 We spent this past Thursday through Sunday in Kissimmee and Orlando, Florida. Our hotel was the Champions World Resort in Kissimmee, on which I got a great rate from Expedia. It was an okay hotel, nothing really wrong with it, but next time I'll take JAFRA's recommendation (we were there for the National Conference) on accommodations. Now that resort was amazing!

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I took a few snaps of Rob - who has dropped the puffy weight he gained from being on steroids from his brain tumor saga nearly overnight, and I am so not jealous - and Paco on the bed one night we were there. Paco actually cooperated! I had to turn off the flash, because he blinked every time, and then he just looked and posed for me. What a love. He sorely needs a bath, though, whew! Definitely going to do that later today...

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These three nincompoops more or less cooperated for a quickie snap or two. Sophie is almost always the one to do "bunny ears," and as you can see, she is completely incorrigible. I love this picture of my three, because for once I think it's easy to see the resemblance among all the babes!

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Speaking of incorrigible, I had told the children that it would be cold on Thursday and Friday, but they should bring their bathing suits anyway, because they could swim all day Saturday when it warmed up again.

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Sure enough, Friday came, and it was only 44°F out (as I mentioned in the previous Sunday Stealing post). They begged and inveigled and cajoled and all of that, and I finally caved, telling them we could go to the heated pool only, dip their feeties in only, and if they absolutely MUST jump full-bodily into the water, I would be waiting there with towels for them to come right back out and get dry.

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Yeah, they didn't really hear that. They heard, "You can jump right in." And so, that is pretty much what all three of them did.

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Jack is my edge-clinger. He stays in the shallow end, always always always. He can swim for short distances, pretty much underwater, but he knows how tall he is and doesn't like to go in water deeper than that!

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Sophia, on the other hand, swims like a fish. She's been swimming since she was two or three - and she's the baby of the lot! She lives in the deep end. It's next to impossible to get this child out of the water, and just as soon as you do, she's begging for the next swimming occasion already. She sets random athletic goals for herself, but she has reiterated several times her desire to be an Olympic swimmer. I really need to look into getting her on some kind of team.

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Chloë, who is braver than Jack in that she will go to the deep end but still only against the wall, is very timid about learning to swim. She's just afraid. She was afraid to walk - as was Jack - and she's afraid to let go and just swim already. So she's 13½ and still clinging to the wall. It took her until last year just to jump in!  But as you can see, she loves it, so maybe one day she'll get brave and go for a real swim.

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Jack loves to do a cannonball and the Dead Man's Float. I told him he's not allowed to do the float unless he tells me first, lest I jump in with all my clothes on - and my Nikon - to rescue him! He's good about following this rule.

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And like I said, there is just no stopping Sophia! She walked at seven months without a fear in the world, and she is still fearless and full of non-stop energy. She doesn't even stop moving in her sleep, often hopping from bed to bed to bed while she's half-unconscious. She did this several times in the hotel this weekend, which was nothing unusual. Oy vey, this girl!!

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Chloë, who has the least amount of insulating body fat, was the first to get out of the water. While the other two swam and then dried off, she danced to the calypso music being piped out over the pools at our resort. Girl loves to get down! ;)

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I'll have more pictures from the JAFRA conference - and the resort where it was held - later. We drove home from about noon to 4:30 on Sunday afternoon, and there were two packages on our porch when we got there. (I never held the mail - oops! - and our box was quite full, too.) Anyway, my Crazy 8 clothing order for the kids had arrived, so I had them all bathe and try on everything. They all looked too cute! I gave the girls each a kitty-eared headband, and Sophia was quick to don this adorable red outfit and then go paint a cat face on herself. She's always drawing, whether it be on paper, the sidewalk (I can never keep enough chalk!), or her own body.

More to come from the conference...!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Colorful Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along this week!

Colorful Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven

Could you tell me please, what color each of these things are?
~ Your hair: 

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Well, I was born a blond and had blond hair until I was five or so. Then it turned mousy-brown. I color it auburn, though; I've done so since May 1995!

~ Your eyes: 

Image result for shit brown eyes

 

My sister is always telling me she misses my "shit-brown eyes." (Hers are blue. Hmph.)

~ Your shirt: 

I just got back from the 2015 JAFRA National Conference in Orlando, and my shirt is exactly this color purple, with exactly this logo.

~ Your socks: 

I wear socks extremely rarely. I'm not wearing any now.

~ Your shoes: 

Image result for barefoot

I rarely wear shoes in the house, either...

~ Your purse: 

I have this 31 Gifts teeny-tiny crossbody, which I wear every single day, except when I use the brown one. The black one recently broke on me, though, but I love it so much I'm going to have it fixed by a seamstress soon. Should cost less than $10, so it's worth it. I'd like ten more, one in every color! They are so small but fit everything I need - except my phone.

~ Your wallet: 

The only wallet I own, separate from my crossbody, is my mom's vintage orange leather one. My dad gave it to me when I was a wee lass, after she died. The only thing I keep in it is a vintage handkerchief, hand embroidered and given to me by a dear friend of my grandmother. 

~ Your phone: 

My Samsung Galaxy S5 is better than the iPhone 5S, from which I upgraded. I'm completely enamored with it. And I have exactly that color of Otterbox Defender protecting it.

~ Your computer/laptop: 

 

I have an HP desktop and printer. I adore them both. The desktop is super-duper fast, which I need. On the contrary, my husband has a Panasonic Toughbook laptop, and it's the slowest processor on the planet. I use it when we travel, and it drives me apeshit. I could seriously write a whole novel in the time it takes that thing to load one page.

~ Your earphones: 

Image result for i hate earbuds

 

I hate earphones and earbuds, partly because I like my music on the loud side and don't want to go deaf, partly because I like to hear what else is going on around me, and partly because I find them uncomfortable!

~ Your best friend’s hair: 

Image result for the rachel

I remember when "Dr. Lisa" got The Rachel Haircut while we were in college. It looked so good on her. She has it a little different now, but I still thing she's a beautiful woman.

~ Your best friend’s eyes: 

 

They're a lovely shade of dark blue.

~ Your sky today:

Weather

When we were in Orlando, and it was 44°F on Friday, the kids wanted to go swimming something awful. So, I let them! But we didn't stay long. They pouted, and I promised we'd go to our pool back here at home on any day this week that it's warm enough and doesn't rain. Guess we'll be living at the pool all week! 

Thanks for visiting!

Fin.


Random Tuesday: Baseball, #Jamberry Nails, And Pancakes?!

Stacy

This may be only the second or third time I've participated in Random Tuesday with Stacey Uncorked, but I'm feeling it today, so here I am! Link up if you're completely random on a Tuesday, yes?

Shall we?

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

IHOP 1

Last week, Sophia and I spent a good 3½ hours at the pediatrician's office to get her bloodwork done. She's completely traumatized by doctors and dentists and especially their needles, so she spent that whole time screaming and carrying on about getting the blood drawn. It was exhausting - for her, for me, for the poor bewildered doctor, for the staff, and maybe even for the next office over, some of the staff of which had to come in and help hold her down to end the whole episode.

I had promised Sophie pancakes at IHOP, having gotten a certificate for a free stack in my email inbox a few days prior, but by the time we got home from the doc's office, she just wanted to go to sleep. I couldn't blame her; so did I! And that we did.

By the time we were both ready to go to IHOP for a short stack of flapjacks, it was about three o'clock in the morning. But we went anyway, and as you can see, the trauma had subsided and she was all about getting her stawberry hotcakes on. 

I don't quite have the heart to tell her she needs more bloodwork and some immunizations in the very near future... :\

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Crafting 2

I've been doing a buttload of planning for this upcoming homeschool year, 2014-2015, and the kids have been kicking around the house kinda bored. I had stocked up on craft supplies for Sophie's birthday party, but we never held it, to her utmost disappointment.

I had also had a ton, give or take a few hundred pounds, of both cardboard and styrofoam egg cartons saved up for a crafty occasion. Actually, I was hoping to Freecycle them to someone who needed them for chickens or what-have-you, but such a person never materialized. Enter Pinterest! I found oodles of egg carton crafts on that wondrous site, and behold, two or three days of crafting were born.

Crafting 1

All three kiddos started out with the supplies, which included pompoms, feathers, glue, patterned crafting tape, paint, and so much more aside from the egg cartons. Jack, my least crafty kid, wanted to join... but he finished with slap-dashery that was hard for me to encourage. And so, in a rare (I hope?) moment of shoddy, discouraging parenting, I asked him why he bothered. Admittedly, that was pretty shitty of me, and we both agreed to have a time-out from each other for the remainder of that afternoon. #MomFail

Chloë is pretty crafty, but I think it's Sophia who is the most talented in this arena. Not that Chloë isn't artistic, because she is; however, she's a complete perfectionist like her mother, and therefore she finds it harder to break loose and just have fun with the process with no perfect goal in mind. The above pompom family was Sophia's creation, with no inspiration form Pinterest or anything else but her own imagination.

I could wrap up this segment of post in numerous ways, but suffice it to say that I learned something about the kids and their different abilities and learning styles, yes, but more about me and how I parent differently to them. Fortunately, I think I grew from the experience!

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Somehow, I managed to lose my entire post and get it back again without having saved it myself. Whew! I tend to give up when that happens. Yay for Autosave features!

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Profile

Another difference between Jack and his sisters is that he does not generally enjoy being photographed, whereas the girls love having a camera lens aimed at them. So when I changed my Facebook profile picture to this, my dad started condemning the lack of Jack, talkin' 'bout how he (my dad) applauds Jack for being a different kid, etc, blah blah, yakkety yak, and I shouldn't exclude him.

Really?

It touched a nerve, as parents and their comments are wont to do. I bend over backward - occasionally literally, even! - to make sure my kids feel recognized for their individuality and their strengths. Rob and I both have abysmal self-esteem, and so it is high on my list of priorities to develop a healthy sense of self in all of my children. Furthermore, I try to spend time with each of them, alone, every single day, and honestly, I do the best I can do be the best mom I can be for them!

I think we're doing all right. So my message for all the grandparents in the world, if you happen to come across this is: Unless you have cause for grave concern, step aside and let your kids do their job with their kids. You raised yours, and now it's our turn to raise ours. Not that input isn't necessary or even desired, but come on. Wait until we ask, if you can, and in the meantime, be as positive and supportive as you can manage.

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Baseball 1

On Saturday, Chloë and I took Sophia over to baseball tryouts at a park in Miami. How cute is she here?! I love this picture of her.

She was "trying out" (which really meant having her skills assessed for placement on the best team for her) at the oldest age group, 9-10 years, in the league we're joining, so really she ended up being one of the very few with no experience playing baseball.

I don't think she cared. She's got confidence to spare, that one!

She was also the only girl we saw on the field, the only one not fully decked out in a uniform from season's path, and from what I could see, the only Southpaw. That didn't stop her! She went up there, swung her bat three times at the pitches, ran around the bases, and practiced catching and throwing with an assistant coach.

She thinks she did poorly because she didn't hit the ball, but that will improve. I think she did fine because she showed up and bravely tried something new!

Baseball 2

After Sophie's try-outs ended, the three of us ran across the park to the playground for some fun. Both of them made friends, as per usual, and they played until we ran out of water and heat exhaustion became a threat. I haven't heard back about the baseball team yet, but I'm sure there will be more on that in future posts. Watch this space!

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Jamberry 0

Apropos of not much, I painted a French manicure on my nails the other day. I'm sharing partly because I just like the picture, and partly as an intro to the current state of my nails (I know you're waiting with baited breath to find out).

Jamberry 1

My friend Tiffany sent me this awesome package on Saturday, so that I could experience the Jamberry phenomenon! As a JAFRA Consultant, I haven't had the pleasure of being introduced to Jamberry nail wraps until now. I couldn't wait to get started... but I did until yesterday, because I didn't open the mail until late Sunday night and discovered the treats contained therein!

Jamberry 2

How cute is this manicure I did all by little ol' self, with Berries and Gingham? I love it!

Tiffany sent me more "grown-up" adult-sized nail wraps, with these in mind for Sophie and Chlo, but I kinda stole them because I thought my nail beds were too tiny. Luckily, there are still plenty left for the girls, because each sheet comes with enough for several manicures. We'll have to do theirs tomorrow!

A few observations I've made so far about my Jamberry mani:

☼ There's just a very slight learning curve! I did my left hand first, starting with the thumb, and I immediately realized upon application that I could have gone with the larger size and dealt with minimal trimming of the wrap. I did my index finger second, and I accidentally wrinkled the wrap. I'm going to try to use my hair dryer, which is used to soften the wraps to make them easy to manipulate, to smooth that down. ☼

☼ There are SO many designs in the catalog, even for little girls' hands, that I know I'll be getting more in the future. Plenty of mature, adult designs (please, get your minds out of the gutter!), along with lots of whimsical themes. I love them all, and I can't wait until the Collegiate set includes one for my UM 'Canes! ☼

☼ For my oddly-shaped upside-down triangular nail shapes, I realized I could either go to the larger, regular size and trim the decals down easily, or paint my nails to match the wraps before applying them, so the gap's not so obvious. Tiffany assured me the wraps go on just as well over painted nails as bare ones. I'll be trying both methods soon, and you know I'll be reporting on that! ☼

Have you tried Jamberry nails yet? I'd love it if you would check out Tiffany's site and tell me what your favorite design is. Stay tuned for a special offer in the near future!

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Halloween

Finally, we had a bunch of burnt-out light bulbs in the house, so we ran to Lowe's to get a bunch of new ones. What did we spot but this huge Halloween décor display?! Seriously, mid-August is way too soon for that. Do you agree?

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Flintstones Theme

Link up here if you want. I'm not pushy. ;P

"Meet the Flintstones" (The Flintstones Theme) 
(Recommended by Harriet)


Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.
  
1) The song promises that, "When you're with the Flintstones, you'll have a yabba-dabba-doo time." So clearly Wilma was one accomplished hostess. What about you? Do you enjoy having company?
 
No. Not usually; I'm a nervous wreck,

2) Since the lyrics say, "Let's ride with the family down the street/courtesy of Fred's two feet," we're assuming the pedal-powered Flintstone car didn't require much gas. Are you loyal to a particular brand of gas? Or do you fill up with whatever is nearby, or least expensive?
 
The Racetrac down the road is the cheapest, but it doesn't like our debit card for some reason, so we go just a teensy bit farther - in the opposite direction - to hit up the Exxon that charges the same price. Any farther, and we're hitting either the expensive parts of Miami-Dade County or Monroe County, where the Florida Keys are, so I hate it when I need to fill up anywhere but near home!

3) Clearly a sharp-dressed man in stone-age Bedrock wore a long tunic and no pants. What are you wearing right now, as you answer these questions?
 
Head to toe: An orange kerchief on my head (bad hair day); two pairs of silver hoop earrings; pink nose ring; Victoria's Secret sports bra; VS undies; VS one-piece swimsuit cover-up, which I attempted to wear into the store tonight and was told by Hubs that I can't; a silver-and-pearl bracelet and an açai one; my wedding and engagement rings; and my leopard-print Crocs flip-flops. Obviously, I don't give a lick if I match!

4) Pebbles Flintstone grew up with Dino the Dinosaur and Baby Puss the Saber-Tooth Cat. Did you have any pets as you were growing up?
 
What's this about petting Baby Puss? Sorry, mind in the gutter... Um. Yes, we had a skinny, scaredy-cat, ugly little Terrapoo (poodle terrier mix) named Leo. The lack of admiration was mutual; he hated kids.

5) Mr. Slate is Fred's blustery boss at quarry, and he frequently threatens to fire Fred. Have you ever had a bad-tempered boss?

Have I! Bob Barton, the Store Manager at the Publix where I worked in college, was fearsome. But he liked me. One time, he prank called me, where I worked in the customer service office, from upstairs in his office. He got me so flustered and upset, as he was pretending to be a very irate customer. I almost lost it with him, and then he started chortling, and I knew it was him. Another time, he took my beeper out of my uniform pocket and sent me on a wild goose chase to find it. Oh, good times, good times.
 
6) It's estimated that during The Flintstones original run (1960-1966), it was viewed by as many adults as kids. Now that you're a grown up, do you still watch cartoons?
 
We don't have TV, but when we're staying in a hotel or otherwise traveling, sure. The kids watch some on Netflix and have their DVD collection, too, so I sometimes watch.

7) In 1961, The Flintstones was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award as Outstanding Comedy Series. Do you watch awards shows?
 
If we're traveling... I watched the season finale of Season XXXVIII of American Idol while we were in Orlando last week. I might have been the only one who did!

8) There are at least two Flintstones-themed amusement parks currently in operation. Do you enjoy scary rides?
 
Nope! Chloë, my beautiful almost-teen daughter, gets her chicken-shittiness from her mama!

9) Flintstones Vitamins are still on store shelves. Do you take a vitamin each morning?
 
I take my Royal Jelly (JAFRA) and probiotic vitamins at night. Close enough.
 
Thanks for stopping by! Have a swell day.
 
Fin.

Double Whammy: Saturday 9 & Sunday Stealing

"Wow, I can't believe Smellyann is late with her memes," said no one ever. :\

Link up here if you're late on Saturday 9, like I am!

 
1) Sam has affection for this song because, when she was very young, she tap-danced to it for a Christmas recital. Her parents told her she was wonderful. Do you have any memories from a school/church program or pageant -- either as a child onstage or an adult in the audience?
 
I have lots of them. My first really big show was as the Caterpillar in a 5th grade production of Alice in Wonderland. My stepmother sewed me a kick-ass costume with lots of arms and legs (hey, no one is 100% evil), and I completely stole the show when I came out. I sang, I danced, I won over the crowd. It was awesome. I'll have to find a picture of that some day.

2) Ok, she admits it: After too many cups of holiday cheer, Sam did a few steps of her "Jingle Bell Rock" routine at last year's company Christmas party. Have you ever done anything at a co-worker get-together that you now regret?
 
I've never been to an office holiday party. However, I have done some things with my boss(es) at various jobs. I was unattached at the time, but... they weren't! :\ I think I will keep the rest of those stories to myself. For now.

3) Since that unfortunate Christmas 2012 incident, Sam can't even look at a cup of egg nog. How about you? Do you like egg nog?
 
I like egg nog, always have, but I've never had it spiked. I can no longer drink Goldschlager for a similar reason, however, after having to live with the smell of puked-up cinnamon schnapps outside my college dorm window (I didn't quite make it OUT the window and had no way to clean up the mess) for an entire semester! Blergh.

4) For special events, Sam slips on her favorite piece of jewelry: a charm bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother. Do you have a special treasure from a previous generation? 
 
I have all of my mom's vintage costume jewelry. My dad held onto it for over 25 years after she died and finally gave my sister her "good" jewelry and me the costume pieces. I can remember her wearing some of them, which is wonderful because I have so very few memories of her at all. ♥

5) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far in 2013 is from her insurance agent. How about you? Have any holiday cards arrived yet?
 
I just have one from Jafra HQ and one from the University of Miami Alumni Association. I sent out our cards early, knowing no one would have our new Miami address yet, but.. it doesn't seem to have mattered. It doesn't matter. I still love sending them to our loved ones!

6) Because of the chill in the air, Sam gave her dog his Christmas gift -- a sweater -- early this year. He's already gotten compliments on it. Are there any pets on your gift list?
 
Our three male cats need to get neutered, but I'm putting that off until 2014. Getting your nuts whacked off isn't much of a gift, after all. We did get our five cats some catnip treats, which we've already given them, and they went appropriately crazy for them!

7) Do you need snow to get "into the spirit?"
 
Fortunately, no, because it'll be a sad thing if we get snow down here! I do like the lights, trees, music and all o' that, though. Just no schnae, please. ;)

8) Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year?
 
I got one in September. I confess, I totally got it just so I could get a 20% off coupon for my entire shopping trip!

9) December is an important fundraising month for charities. Here's your chance to plug a worthy cause that means a lot to you.
 
We donated several dozen toys in our son's memory to U. Miami's Holtz Children's Hospital this year. We'll donate more for Robby's birthday in March, too. We also donated oodles of toiletries, along with coffees and sugars, to the local Ronald McDonald House, which I'm glad for because we stayed at the one in Pensacola when our oldest daughter, Chloë, was admitted to the NICU for ten days in 2001. And finally, I donated more toys to the Toys For Tots bin at a local retailer a couple weeks ago. All great charities. Thanks for the chance to plug them!
 
* * * * * * * *
 
And now, link up here if you're playing along with Kwizgiver and the gang today!
 
The Blerp Meme
 
from Lucy B.'s Surveys

When you get a headache do you take painkillers right away or try to wait it out?  
 
Generally, I treat as soon as I recognize an oncoming brain pain. If I don't, mine almost always turn into full-blown migraines. They almost never just go away on their own.

 Is there a really funny YouTube video you’d like to recommend to me?  
 
I'm not much of a YouTuber unless I need directions for a knitting or a baking technique or something. I rarely watch it just for kicks. 

Did you watch Sesame Street when you were little?  
 
I did, along with my sister and our then-BFF, Ursula. Her mom babysat us, and we watched it every morning!

What’s the last thing you touched, other than your computer?
  
 
I just put the plate from the cheese-and-onion omelet Hubs made me into the sink. Delishamus!

When was the last time you talked to your best friend?
  
 
We chat on Facebook more than on the phone anymore, except when I have a medical question and she's not online. Which isn't all that infrequent, but I don't think since Summer. I'll have to call her for Christmas and remedy that!

How often do you listen to music?
  
 
I always have the I Heart Radio playing on my iPhone while I'm sitting here at my desk, which is daily, and the same station on the car radio whenever I'm driving. Rob and I have a rule - whoever is driving gets to pick the station.

What color is your cell phone?  
 
It's white, but the Otter Box covering it is pink, because they were out of Orange and Green (go 'CANES!!), boo.

What is the last non-alcoholic beverage you drank?
 
I made a 7-Eleven run tonight with Chloë. I refilled my Enormous Gulp and my Super-Humongous Gulp with Diet Mt. Dew. It's better than Diet Coke, but not much... I drink the organic stuff when I can, but that shit's 'spensive, and I chug a LOT.

Do you like to wear sweatpants?  
 
I do, but you know what? Apparently it's not cool to wear them in public. I didn't really know that until the interwebs told me. And to think I wore them with Tevas, t-shirts and a ponytail in my college days, along with all my designer label-wearing co-eds. Heh. (Toldja I wasn't very cool.)

What song are you currently listening to? Who sings it?  
 
I've got Katy Perry singing "Hot N Cold" in my ear at the mo'.

Have you ever gotten a black eye? 
 
I have walked into my share of things, but I've never gotten them from a fist, fortunately!

What caused it?  
 
Oh. See, I never read ahead. I like each question to be a surprise. I did have an ex break my two front teeth, once. Smelly's no stranger to violence, but thank God it isn't something my children experience, let alone on a regular basis. The buck stopped here.

How many times have you checked up on your ex?  
 
The aforementioned chops-busting ex isn't even on my radar, even though a mutual friend informs me about his life on the regular. I really don't care to know. I did care, however, when I learned he was tracking me! I had to put a stop to that with some Facebook blockage. As for others, I'm still friends with several of them, and the few that aren't in my life aren't worth mentioning.

If you had to get a tattoo what would it be?  
 
I can't imagine a scenario other than being in a concentration camp where I would be required to get a tat, in which case I wouldn't have much of a choice, so I'll have to plead guilty to not understanding this question. HOWEVER, if I wanted to get a tattoo, it would probably be a sirrusly artistic rendering of my four children's initials.

How many tabs are open right now?  
 
On Chrome, I have three - this one, the Sunday Stealing one, and the Saturday 9 one. I also have three tabs open on Internet Explorer, which I prefer but which doesn't allow me to do everything blahg-related that Chrome does. I hate Chrome in most cases, though, which is why I refuse to use it most of the time. Don't even speak to me of Firefox!

Are you scared of needles?  
 
Nope. I have no qualms. Which is good for the Red Cross and the local bloodmobile, since I'm a proud donor of my O-neg blud, as often as I'm allowed. It took me months upon months to find a place to donate here in Homestead, but I'll be back every 56 days, like clockwork, now that I know where to go! (Okay, I admit, even I have to turn my head away while that big, fat needle is going in my arm.)

Do you believe love can last forever?  
 
Of course I do. Rob and I have been together 13 years now, and I know we're going to grow old together and turn into trees, rooted into the ground, with inseparable branches. Our grands and their grands will have picnics under our shade! ♥

Are good-byes easy or hard for you?
 
Oh, very hard. I suck at good-byes. Hellos are much more Smelly-friendly. I'm one who says, "So long, see ya later," rather than "Good-bye." :) 

Would you rather sing or dance?
 
I can do both fairly well, but I'd rather be exceptional at both - and frequently, I daydream that I am!
 
Here's to another fun week ahead! Tomorrow, I have to pretend I'm the richest of the super-rich, which should be fun, since the most expensive thing I own probably comes from Old Navy. Ha!
 
Fin.

Thursday's Sunday Stealing: The What's What Meme

 

I'm late, I'm late, to a very important date... Link up here!

The What's What Meme 

What is on your bed right now? 

 

Absolutely nothing - not even sheets. Maybe a couple pieces of laundry, but that's it!

What’s your favorite word or phrase? 

"Word." Or, if I'm questioning the veracity of something, "Word?" It's a dual-edged sword. ;)

What is the best ice cream flavor? 

Usually, I'd say chocolate with chunks of peanut butter, but I'm feelin' pistachio right now.

Did you wake up smiling this morning?


I woke up around 8 AM after sleeping since early evening the night before. I slept well, but man, I kept my contacts in and they were gross! So, not quite.

Is there something in your life you used to have, and now miss? 

Yes. My son, Robby, and my mom.

What major company would you like to work for? 

I know this sounds silly, and I don't really work for them (though I would in a heartbeat), but I was literally just telling Rob the other day that I love being a JAFRA consultant. I love every product we make, I love what the company stands for, and I'm proud to be associated with them! Truly!

What time do you wake up on a typical morning? 

Well, I have the oddest sleeping schedule. I don't sleep well at night (it's 4:03 AM now), and I don't stay asleep well. I usually stay up for a day or three in a row and then crash, burn, repeat. Sucks, I hate it, but that is the way it is and I no longer try to fight it.

What holiday makes you sad? 

Get the picture? ;)

Where does a good night’s sleep rank on your priorities? 

Ew!! I can SMELL that!

It doesn't rank very high (see above).

One song that makes you cry? 

Three songs do, actually, and we played them at our son's memorial service: "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton, "The Day You Gave Me a Son" by Babyface, and "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban. I'm crying now, just thinking of those songs.

 How old was your mom when she had you?

 

She was 25. I wanted to be 25 when I had my first baby, too. Chloë came the day before my 25th birthday. Rats, so close!

When is the last time you went to the beach? 

We were in Miami's South Beach at the end of August, hanging out with my friend Kellee who was in from Vegas. Good times - until the sky opened up, and then we ran!

What is the most random object around you? 

Probably my 8yo daughter, Sophia's Twilight Sparkle My Little Pony... loves those things!

 What is your favorite sushi? 

I love anything with avocado in it. Sushi = yum!

What food do you find disgusting? 

Lots of things, but speaking of sushi, do NOT try the sea urchin kind. OMG, YUCK! Even my gastrically-adventurous husband thinks it's nasty. Take his word, if not mine.

If you could have any type of dog in the world, what would it be?

I would give anything to have a long-haired chihuahua puppy!

What was the last meal that you made for yourself? 

Does driving to Pizza Hut last night count? I mean, I dialed the phone, placed the order and drove over there to pick up the food. That totally counts. Right?!

Is the hard drive on your computer full or getting close to being full?

No, but I constantly have to delete things off my iPhone to keep that from getting full. It's tres annoying.

Are there any songs that you prefer the acoustic version over the regular version?

 

Unplugged was my first (of many) Eric Clapton albums, so I fell in love with the acoustic version of every song on the album. "Layla," maybe? I don't know. I love them ALL. 

Fin.

 

 


Aloha Friday: Boys Will Be Boys

Aloha Friday Blog Hop on @PamelaMKramer
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So last night, we were sitting around as a family when Sophia mentioned that she had always wanted to have a mud mask. (Apropos of what, I don't know; it was pretty random.)
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Since I'm a Jafra Consultant, and we have an incredible spa line, I told her that we could make it happen right then and there! She lit up - and so did her sister, Chloë. I had just gotten some nail goodies on super-dee-duper clearance at Aeropostale, so I asked them if they wanted pedicures, too. (Sophia still sucks her thumb, so I don't like to paint her fingernails.)
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IMG_6803
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Anyway, they hopped into the tub to soak for a while - and I decided to join them - before I applied the mud mask. Then, while that set, I had them sit on the couch so I could do their pedis.
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IMG_6804
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I was just finishing up Sophia's piggy-toes (ignore the blurps; I'm the kinda girl who makes a big nail polish mess and then cleans it up in the next shower or bath, so sue me!) when Jack decided we were having way too much girly fun.
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"Can I have a mud mask?" he sheepishly asked.
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"Sure! Do you want your toenails painted, too?" I responded.
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He did:
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IMG_6806
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Doesn't he look adorbs?
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IMG_6807
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Here are Chloë's day-glo green piggies, pre-clean-up. And as for Jack,
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IMG_6808
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He chose magnetic brown paint. (It really is magnetic!)
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So my question for you this week is:
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If you have - or had - a son, would you do this with him, too?
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Or do you find it "wrong?"
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As for me, I have no problems with gender role-bending. This mama has no problem letting her girls play with dirt and trucks and giving her son dolls to play with!
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Now, your turn!
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Fin.

Romancing The Hubs

All day Wednesday, Rob and I both had migraines. It was awful. I slept and he slept, but every so often, he would get up to get sick, waking me up. I felt so bad for him, but I was useless to help him. And then the Mormons came and knocked on the door, waking me up again. Dudes. I was polite, and they were nice, but all I wanted to do was lie back down on the couch. I was dizzy and shaking, and I could not get rid of them. They insisted on praying for me, and then they put the enormous boxes that were on our porch in the dumpster for us. It was okay, but I have no intention of becoming an LDS just because... I mean, really. I was only wearing a tank top and underwear, and my hair was spiked up all over the place. Go away, already!!

(Seriously. They kept asking me to join their church and get baptised. I've alreadybeen baptised, what, just last year? They didn't care. Ugh.)

So anyway. After the kids went to bed, I decided to take a warm, relaxing bath. Rob came into the bathroom, and with a slight twinkle in my eye, I invited him to join me. I knew his head was still hurting a bit, so I didn't expect him to accept, but he did! All riiiiiight. We used to do Spa Night all the time during my pregnancy with Chloë, long, long ago when JAFRA first came out with their Spa line. We only had a few products then. I can probably count on one hand how many times we've done it since then, and our Spa line has way expanded since then, so I had to teach him as we went along with our romantical night in the tub. 
He kept laughing at me. I said, "You don't really care, do you?" I expected him to agree, but he surprised me by saying, "I like listening to you talk!" He probably wasn't listening, but I know he's always enjoyed me babbling and chattering away as I do...
1 Rhythmic Retreat CD
We queued up our relaxing JAFRA "Rhythmic Retreat" CD on my iPhone's iPod, lit a bunch of scented tea light candles, and hopped in. Now, I highly recommend doing this together if you have a bigger tub, but it was definitely a little compact in there with our standard size bath. I honestly don't know HOW we fit in there together and did this with my big ol' huge belly back in the day! Yet, we managed.
2 Soothing Mineral Bath Salts
While the water was running, I poured in a handful or two of Soothing Mineral Bath Salts. Oh, my gosh, you guys. One of the things about JAFRA's Spa line is that it's a full-sensory experience. (Except taste. But get yourselves some white zin and some chocolate-covered strawberries, and you're good to go.) The aromatherapy component is key to relaxation, and you'll see what I mean throughout this post. The bath salts are really strong-smelling, but in a good way. You know how some things knock you over and are just too much? Not these. They're not subtle, but you'll love it. I swear.

3 Tea Blend Cleanser & Toner and Nightly  Moisturizer
There isn't a face wash and moisturizer in the SPA line, so I decided we should use our new Tea Blends for this purpose. I normally use Royal Jelly and our PRO line on my face, but I'm loving this simple, clarifying Tea Blend Cleanser + Toner and Nightly Moisturizer at night (along with the Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 in the mornings). It's so gentle and clean-feeling, leaving my face feel nothing but clean and soft. So we washed our faces in the bath and saved the moisturizer for later. I thinked Rob liked it, but he was like, okay, whatever. Hee.

4 Detox Shampoo
After washing our faces, we washed each other's hair with the Spa line's Detox Shampoo. If you like to use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a week, you'll know what this does. If not, let me tell you: it's great, because it cleans out all the product build-up and gunk, stripping your hair back down to its natural, soft sheen. It revitalizes and purifies. I find there isn't much scent to it, so it doesn't compete with the rest of the aromatherapy going on with our Spa experience. Rob's hair is getting long and curly again, and it's quite thick, which I'm not used to after 12½ years of Navy life with him! 
5 Scalp Massage & Hair Treatment
After I rinsed the Detox Shampoo out of Rob's hair, and vice versa, we massaged each other's head with the Scalp Massage and Hair Treatment. It's rich and creamy, perfect for some luxurious pampering. I've had a professional scalp massage or two before, and I didn't like it too much because it left my hair feeling greasy and oily. This doesn't - it's just clean and simple, like everything else. Rob massaging my head felt so nice; I loved every minute of it.
6 Split-End Repair Capsules
Neither of us have damaged hair, but I still like to use the Split-End Repair Capsules because it leaves my hair super-soft and touchable. We rinsed the Scalp Massage and Hair Treatment out and then applied a capsule to each other's hair. We left that in for the remainder of the bath to let it work its magic. 
7 Ginger & Sea Salt Body Rub
The Ginger and Sea Salt Body Rub is probably my favorite product in JAFRA's Spa line, and that's saying something, since there are very few JAFRA products I don't absolutely love. I mean, really, it's that fantastic. It smells SOOO good, and it leaves my skin feeling amazing. I noticed Rob's feet were feeling more than a bit rough, but he doesn't like anyone messing with his feet (though that's not the word he normally uses), so I let him rub his own feet with the Ginger and Sea Salt. I did my own, too, but I did scrub his rough knees for a while. We did our own elbows and hands, too.
When I do the Spa by myself, without the hubs, I usually scrub my whole body with it (except my face and, you know), but we were too squished for all that. Plus, I was getting a little impatient, I have to say. My tailbone sticks out ever since I lost all my weight, and it was digging into the tub drain, so I was kind of uncomfortable. We stuck to the rough spots and moved on.
8 Ginger & Seaweed Bath & Shower Gel
At that point, I let the water out of the tub, because who wants to rinse their hair and wash up in dirty bath water? Not I, said the fly. So we stood up and ran the shower then (hey, I didn't say this night was about water conservation), and rinsed the Split-End capsules out ourselves. I asked Rob if he wanted to wash himself with the Ginger and Seaweed Bath and Shower Gel or let me do it, and, devil that he is, he let me do it. Let's just say... he liked it. A lot.
I let him soap me up, too, and... it was quite enjoyable. Hot, even. ;)
9 Mud Mask
Less hot and more funny, we did the Mud Mask together after we got out of the tub and dried ourselves off. I begged him to let me Instagram a picture of our faces slathered in mud together, but he would have none of it. For 20 minutes, he snoozed on his back in the bed while I wondered if he'd roll over and make us have to change the sheets - but he was good! I sat and checked email, because I knew he would be out like a light for that 20-minute respite. 
It was fun, though, doing a mask with my husband. He was so cute, asking how to apply it, why mine was thicker, where to put it (everywhere but near the face and mouth, even on the neck). To rinse it off, I started him off with just hot water, but he didn't like it so much, so I gave him a warm, wet washcloth. He can't see at all without his glasses, so he missed a lot. I went in with the cloth and cleaned off the rest for him before doing mine. I asked him how his skin felt compared to usual, and he said, "I don't know, I don't normally feel my face!" 
Well, I do! I am like a mama gorilla, always picking at him, and I feel his face. It's not normally as soft as it is now, not by a long shot. So, totally worth the 20 minutes worrying about the sheets. I caught him admitting that he didn't use his regular "JAFRA crap," as he calls it, on a daily basis, because he doesn't know where it is! Stinker. We'll find it; he really needs it. (We are 40 and 36 now, after all.)
10 Hand Treatment Trio
The next part of our relaxing, romantic evening was really quite nice. It's not part of the Spa line, but I threw it in there thinking it would be a special touch - and I was right! I'm showing the whole Hand Treatment trio, though we only used the Night Care with Shea Butter (Step Three). First, I massaged his left hand, and then his right, slowly and while looking lovingly into Rob's eyes. It was sweet. After he massaged my hands in return, I laughed when he said, "My nails are so shiny!" Ha! Too much funny.
Later this morning, when Rob gets up from his peaceful slumber, I'm going to use Steps One and Two on his hands - the Hand Scrub and then the Day Care SPF 15 with Intellishield. Listen, it's important to use SPF all over, especially on the hands and face, because that's where we show our age first. Lots of people only use facial products but neglect their hands, and it shows! You can totally guess their age by their hands. And of course, it helps avoid other damage done by the sun.
After the hand massage, combined with the Ginger and Sea Salt Body Rub, I told Rob his hands were "fit to touch me now." I was joking, but it's true - I can't stand rough hands on my soft skin. It gives me the creepy-crawlies! His hands felt so good on me for this last step:
11 Ginger and Seaweed Body Massage Cream
Speaking of HOT, we really steamed things up giving each other massages with the Ginger and Seaweed Body Massage Cream. I rubbed him all over with it, and then we switched places. Let's just say that what happened next was no surprise. (I'm not going to spell it out! I do keep some things private, and after all, my mother-in-law reads my blahg!)
I will say this, though: the whole time you-know-what was going on, I loved smelling Rob and feeling his soft skin on mine. The spa treatment was definitely a winner for both of us. We'll have to do that again, maybe make it a weekly thing like back in the days of our first pregnancy. We have no problems keeping things spiced up, but I know that if we did, this would be just the thing to kick things back into high gear. I'm totally blushing right now, but it's true. On my own, the Spa line leaves me feeling really soft, relaxed, and yes, sexy. But together? There's a whole new element of sensuality that I really love.
Rob, baby? Thank you. I adore you. ♥
Fin.