Monday, January 28, 2013

A Little Love for Palmolive Fresh Infusions

One of the tasks that I hate the most is doing dishes.  I absolutely love clean dishes, but the process of washing and drying them just bores me.  The dish soap always dries out my hands and I can't get rid of that typical, antiseptic dish soap scent. Ew.  I always joke that one of the reasons I got married was to have someone to wash my dishes for me.  Ha!  (Hubs doesn't find that as funny as I do.)
I recently got the opportunity to try Palmolive's Fresh Infusions dish soaps, which come in Lime Basil, Lemon Thyme and Ginger White Tea scents. 
Aren't they pretty?

I've been a loyal Dawn dish soap user for years, but I never disliked Palmolive.  I just hadn't used it before, most likely because I didn't find coupons for it.  After giving these Fresh Infusions dish soaps a try, I can say that I've found a new favorite brand! 

When I opened the box, I was immediately struck by how pretty the bottles were.  Palmolive did a great job designing a bottle that looks attractive sitting out on the counter, which is important for those times when I'm too lazy to put the bottle back under the sink.  The bottles look more like expensive shower gel than a dish soap.  I also loved that they sent me three full-size bottles, which was incredibly generous.  Muchas gracias, Palmolive!

These Fresh Infusions dish soaps worked amazingly well on stuck-on food (thanks to Hubs, who leaves plates and bowls with crusted-on food sitting in the sink all day), and the fragrances are DIVINE!!  My favorite scent is the Ginger White Tea, which just smells fresh without being overly herbal.  The Lime Basil and Lemon Thyme smell more like typical dish soaps, but that wouldn't stop me from purchasing them.  My hands still felt a little bit dry after using these, but not nearly as much as they are after using my usual dish soap.  Overall, these were winners!

Because I'm an amazing sister, I'm going to give one of these to my twin to try, so she can experience the awesomeness that is this dish soap.  These are too great to keep them to myself.

Have you tried Palmolive Fresh Infusions dish soaps before?  What did you think??

This post was sponsored by Palmolive and She Speaks, but the thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Well gang, I'm heading to Philadelphia tomorrow.  On a 6:00 am flight.  You know that if I'm waking up at 3:30 am for a 6:00 am flight, things have to be pretty freaking serious.

My mother-in-law is still in the hospital, but will be moved to the hospice unit tomorrow.  The pneumonia isn't clearing up, even with high doses of antibiotics, and there's nothing more that can be done for her.  She can no longer swallow, but due to the condition of her lungs, she can't undergo the anesthesia or surgery to have a feeding tube inserted.  Now it's only a matter of time before she passes on.  It's such a heart-wrenching situation, but I'm so grateful to have friends and family supporting us during this time.

We will be going to Philly and staying all week, maybe longer, depending on how things play out.  We are staying with my hubby's illustrious Godfather, Tom, who is not only the world's best host, but a phenomenal cook and a shoulder to lean on when things get hard.  We <3 him.="" nbsp="" p="">
We will be there for my father-in-law, who needs us now more than ever.  To say that he was unprepared for this situation would be an understatement.  There's nothing like facing your parents' mortality by picking out burial plots and putting your name on their bank accounts.  But that's what needs to be done here, and it's not going to be easy.  I sense that the upcoming week will be one of mixed emotions, gratitude and heartache, with a little frustration thrown in for good measure.  Please keep us all in your prayers, since we'll surely need it.

I'll be posting from Philly, as time permits, because I'm sure I'll need a sanity check from time to time.  You know how difficult times are with families, sometimes people lose their cool or get testy with one another.  I just want everyone to remember how much love is around us while we pray for Jane and make her comfortable in her final days.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

January Popsugar Must Have Box

About a week and a half ago, I got the email I eagerly await each month letting me know that my Popsugar Must Have box has been shipped.  I wait for this package with bated breath, and feel a twinge of excitement when I see the box waiting for me on my doorstep. 

This month's box was unusually heavy, so my anticipation built as I hauled it inside.  I didn't even stop to put my purse down before I sliced open the tape and opened the lid of this baby. 

Here are the goods from the January Must Have box:

Stott Pilates Merrithew Stability Ball - 65 cm ($38.99)
Remix TimeBomb Watch ($44.95)
Epicuren Discovery Tea Tree Oil Lip Balm ($10.00)
Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick - Milk Chocolate ($2.99)
Popbar Hot Chocolate on a Stick - Dark Chocolate ($2.99)
Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits - Vanilla ($1.49)
Think Thin Crunch Caramel Chocolate Dipped Mixed Nut Bar ($1.99)
Think Thin Divine Dark Chocolate Coconut Bar ($1.69)
Think Thin Creamy Peanut Butter High Protein Bar ($1.99)
Casetagram $15 Voucher for a Cell Phone or Tablet Case ($15)

Total Value:  $122.08
My initial reaction?  Not too bad!  It fit the theme of New Year's Resolutions and chilly weather, I'll give it that. 
The exercise ball wasn't something that was missing from my life, but having one will probably definitely be good for me.  This is a larger sized ball and it comes with an air pump, so there are zero excuses for not using this thing.  My diet loves Popsugar right now, but my mind is making me feel phantom muscle cramps in anticipation of my future workout routine.
I thought the Remix watch was interesting, and I'm glad I got the white rather than some of the other crazy colors out there.  The watch is really big and cartoon-y, but it will be good for when I work out (I usually don't want to sweat all over one of my good watches) or run errands.  I mean, it's a big-ass rubber watch... it's not like I can wear that to my job or out for cocktails, but it's cute for certain aspects of my life.  And the face is humongous, so I definitely won't need to squint to check the time.
The Epicuren lip balm was pretty nice, and had a very earthy, herbal flavor and scent that is soothing on a cool winter day.  The online reviews say that it's great for chapped lips, which I have right now, so I'm going to layer on more tonight before bed.  My one beef with it?  It's in a tub.  Lip balm in tubs kind of bug me because I'm always getting the lip balm under my fingernails.  I typically end up applying it with a Q-tip to avoid the mess.
The Think Thin bars were alright.  They're low in sugar so they make a good quick snack (or breakfast) for me.  I am actually stoked about trying the Hot Chocolate on a Stick and mini marshmallows, which will be used tomorrow at the absolute latest.  Yummy yummy in my tummy!
Finally, the Casetagram certificate was included in the box, giving me $15 off the purchase of a custom tablet or cell phone case, which can be made using one of my Instagram or Facebook photos.  Honestly?  It felt like a throw-in just to increase the value of the box, but that's okay.  It worked.  I will be making one of these (oh yes I will), but I haven't figured out which picture to use yet.  Decisions, decisions.
From a value standpoint, this was another good month.  Popsugar says that their boxes are regularly contain over $100 worth of products, and in my history as a subscriber, that has definitely been the case.  You spend a little more money ($35/month) to get better stuff.  If you want to give the Popsugar Must Have box a try, use the promo code REFERFRIENDS to get $5 off.
Did you like your January Must Have box? 
What was your favorite item?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

January Ipsy vs. Birchbox

I'm just going to cut to the chase this month:  Ispy won.  In fact, Birchbox got spanked by Ispy in the biggest way.   I don't think I got $10 worth of products in my Birchbox, but I got far more than that in my Ipsy bag.  And it's not just about value of products.  I think I'll use the products in my Ipsy bag much more than I'll use the items in my Birchbox.

Let's get to the compare-and-contrast, shall we?

L to R:
My Multi-Purpose Mattifying Moisturizer
Nuxe Body Fondant Firming Cream
Ojon damage reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum
Viva La Juicy Perfume Sample
Item Missing:  Eyeko Skinny Liquid Eyeliner
When I opened this box, I was supremely disappointed.  A single use body cream sample, another perfume sample, a tiny vial of hair serum and a little tube of moisturizer? Four skimpy little samples??  C'mon Birchbox.  Get your act together.  Then I read the card and noticed that Birchbox had forgotten to include the liquid eyeliner sample.  That would have helped, but since it wasn't in there, I have to judge this box for what it is.
The hair serum is nice and helped to smooth some flyaways.  I didn't love that the vial was so tiny, but the product did work well, so there's that.  The Nuxe moisturizer is okay.  I can't tell if it's doing its anti-aging, firming thang, but the scent wasn't overpowering and the formula wasn't greasy.  The My mattifying moisturizer was actually a really nice product, and a decent sized sample. Yay for that!  This was like a primer and moisturizer in one, which is great for me.  I like simplifying my morning routine with fewer steps.  Take note,  Birchbox.  We want more samples like this!!  I might actually buy the full-size if I can stomach the $68 price tag.  The Viva La Juicy perfume sample smells alright, but I'm not buying the full-size version of it.  I just wound up smelling like a French whore after the top notes wore off.
Like I said, the eyeliner may have made this a better box, but there's no way to tell.  I did let Birchbox know that they shorted me an item, and they deposited 100 Birchbox points into my account for the trouble.  I'd have rather had the product, but they claimed that it was out of stock.  Hmph.

Clockwise starting at upper left:
Sexy Hair Spray & Play Volumizing Hairspray
Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Organic Moisturizer
Nailtini Nail Polish in Bloody Mary
Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Body Butter
SOHO Beauty Concealer Brush
This month's bag was pretty great, in my opinion.  I'm glad to finally get an Ipsy bag that isn't just make-up, and I think they chose a good selection of products.  All of the products were generously sized or full-size which was a huge bonus.  This month's cosmetic bag was plain black and boring, but it's larger than the typical Ipsy bag so I'll probably use it again.
The Sexy Hair hairspray worked great and is joining my travel bag this week.  I would consider buying the full-size version when my current Aveda Air Control hairspray runs out.  I've been wanting to try the Jose Maran argan oil for awhile now, and I loved getting this large sample.  And guess what?  It's awesome!  I used it as a facial moisturizer, but you can also use it to treat split ends, moisturize your body, smooth your cuticles or add to your bath.  I am definitely buying the full-size of this product!  The nail polish was a great cherry red, and it will look great as temperatures begin to warm up.  The blood orange body butter was a surprise for me in a good way.  I always think I'll be disappointed in new moisturizers, but not this one.  This moisturizer was thick, creamy, smelled lovely and I have enough for several widespread applications.  Winner winner chicken dinner!  Finally, the concealer brush was a fun addition to the bag and will get added to my brush arsenal. 
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Ispy bag and give kudos to Ipsy for upping the ante on the quality and size of their product.
The Winner:  Ipsy!!
For $10, I can either get 4 disappointingly small samples with Birchbox or I can get 5 large sample or full-size products with Ispy.  There was just no comparison this month that Ipsy knocked it out of the park. 
If you get either of these subscriptions, which did you prefer this month?? 
Was there a hero product for you?  For me, it was the Josie Maran argan oil.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Heartbroken But Still Standing

I've been a bit of an absentee blogger recently because life has happened.  I'm coping the best I can, but I'm heartbroken on a number of fronts right now. 

The first situation has to do with my husband's mom.  I don't talk about it much, but she has an advanced stage of Alzheimer's disease and isn't doing well.  You might be wondering how she got Alzheimer's so young, since Hubs and I aren't that old.  Well, Hubs's mom was in her early 40s when she had him, so she is considerably older than my parents.  She's now in her mid-70s, but the onset began fairly early, when she was in her late 60's.  I can't begin to tell you how much I hate Alzheimer's disease for what it has done to my loved ones.  Hubs's mom had a wonderful life, and it was stolen by this awful disease that took away everything--her voice, her passion, growing old with her family, and more. 

Hubs's mom was put in the hospital last week after choking on oatmeal and subsequently getting pneumonia after she aspirated.  The doctors did a CAT scan and found that her brain is shrinking and the part of her brain that controls swallowing has deteriorated.  She choked on the oatmeal because her brain is forgetting how to swallow.  So. Sad.  She can no longer eat solid foods, and my father-in-law was told that her returning home was not a possibility.  Now we are having to decide, along with Hubs's dad, about what kind of nursing home she should go to, whether she should go on a feeding tube, and other difficult decisions.

We are all heartbroken but want to do what's best for her, to give her dignity in her remaining days and show her how much we all love her.  Hubs was a momma's boy (and I mean that in the nicest sense of the term), so he is taking this really hard and so am I.   Life just isn't fair sometimes, you know?  If you could spare any thoughts and prayers, our family would really appreciate it.

In other (less significant) news, I've experienced several disappointments lately related to my work that have gotten under my skin.  I am trying to let them go and move forward in a productive way, but that's easier said than done.  I just keep reminding myself that in time, good things will happen.  Sometimes you just have to keep trying and wait it out.

Finally, I've experienced car trouble recently, with my car battery dying on me at work.  I went to get my battery replaced, and while the tech was doing the job, my car key broke in half in my hands.  I had to have Hubs take me all the way home to get my spare key, then take me all the way back to pick up my car.  Hubs and I met up at Outback Steakhouse for dinner on the way back because it was late and I was too pissed to cook a decent meal.  Thank God for gift cards and cocktails!

When it rains, it pours, as my momma always says.  Thankfully, Hubs and I are positive people who try to view life with a glass-half-full attitude.  We know that good things are around the corner for us, so we will get through the challenging times together.  We're a solid unit that way.  And we'll do it with grace, empathy and a dose of humor, like we do best.

Much love to all of you who have checked in with me recently.  You girls are the best!!  I appreciate the love and support.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Healthy Goals Progress Report

Now that we've settled comfortably into the new year, it's time to give myself a check-in on my healthy living goals from October.  I've been working at them steadily and I've been doing pretty well!  I haven't been an angel about them over the past couple of months, but I'm pretty consistent with them lately and that's what really counts.

My Progress Report

#1 - Get better sleep habits!
Grade:  B
I'm doing better on this one!  I take medication at night that has the side effect of making me drowsy, so I started taking it about an hour before I plan to go to bed.  This makes me nice and sleepy by the time I hit the hay.  I still sometimes lay in bed awhile trying to fall asleep, but at least I'm resting.  I have seen a big difference in the mornings where I've taken my medication early and gotten to bed by 11 pm, so I'm sticking with it!  For awhile, I was slacking and taking my meds aroung 11, meaning I wouldn't fall asleep until at least 12.  The next mornings always sucked hardcore.  I hate being Zombie Kari on those mornings, so I decided to move back to taking my meds at 10 and going to beddy-by at 11.

#2 - Watch that waistline!
Grade:  C+
Ugh.  I have good days and bad days.  My breakfasts and lunches are still going great, but to be honest, I don't eat a lot before 6 pm.  I have  a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and maybe some pears for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch and a yogurt as an afternoon snack.  Dinners have been split 50/50.  Half are nice healthy, low-carb dinners, the other half are... well, they're not healthy, low-carb dinners.  I'm getting better about fixing healthier meals, and my crock pot has been a lifesaver.  I must break it out more often!  I have kept my weight consistent with my pre-holiday weight, so that's a good thing... but I haven't lost as much as I would have liked by this point.  It probably had a li'l something to do with the BOGO Ben & Jerry's sale at Publix last week.  I feel like rejoining Weight Watchers may be in my future, you know, just to keep my food choices in check.

I know that exercising would definitely help in the weight loss arena.  I have noticed that women either have amazing genetics or they work their asses off to be slim.  I have neither good genes nor the desire to be on a crazy-strict diet and exercise plan.  So what in the hell am I doing?  I've been taking the pup on long walks in the evenings again. She LOVES them, and they're great to get me back into exercise mode.  When I get back from the walk, my legs are tingling and sometimes sore, so I know I'm feeling it!  A win for the pup, and a win for me!  My hope is to keep challenging myself with greater speed, longer distances and bringing Hubs to help push me farther.  I may even join a gym later this Spring if I get my schedule in order.

#3 - Wean off diet soda!
Grade:  A- 
I have successfully cut back on soda!  I drink less than half the soda that I used to when I made the commitment to cut back in October.  What this really means is that I drink two diet sodas at work every day, but I don't drink soda after 5 pm, only water (or an occasional beer or glass of wine).  I cheated tonight at dinner and had a soda with dinner, but that was a one-off situation.  I swear.  I haven't noticed my weight changing as a result of the cut-back, but the additional water intake has to be helping.  I know that I have doubled my trips to the restroom during the day thanks to all of that water!  (That may have been TMI.)  My ultimate goal is to reduce further so that I'm only drinking one diet soda a day.  This is a new 2013 goal!

I am happy to report that I am feeling a bit more energetic and optimistic.  I feel good about where I'm headed with my goals, but it's time to kick them into high gear!

What goals do you feel most passionate about for the new year?
Have you committed to a new weight loss program or fitness routine?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I Don't Set Resolutions

That's right, I don't set any resolutions for the New Year.  Resolutions suck.  You probably want to know why I staunchly hate the idea of resolutions.  It's because resolutions are absolute.  They are inflexible.  Not keeping them makes me feel like a failure when I don't meet them in the course of a year.  In short, resolutions for the birds.

Instead, I believe in setting goals.  Goals are fluid, and can be adapted as shit in my life forces me to make changes to those well-laid plans.  Because we all know that life has a funny way of messing things up just when we think we've got it all figured out.

Is it just an issue of semantics, resolutions versus goals?  Well, you might think so.  I think they're different, or at least that's what my gut tells me.  I believe that goals give me a target but without making me feel like my year was a total loss if I don't perform like I should (like those pesky resolutions do).  So yeah, goals and I go together like peas and carrots.  Or Bartles & James.  Or Kim and Kanye.

I have, in fact, set a few goals for myself this year.  Some of these plans include my husband, so I'm sure he'll smirk when he reads this.  Men love it when their wives make plans without including them!

Goal #1:  Lose weight.  Don't we all want this for the new year?  It's because we just finished a 5 week food fest and all of our jeans are tight.  I really just want to lose some weight and get healthier before Hubs and I start talking about babies.

Goal #2:  Get our condo ready for renters.  We need to paint several rooms, caulk, and a bunch of other little things.  I wanted to do all of this last year but life had other plans.  This means that Hubs and I are going to work on the weekends, but it's all for a good cause.

Goal #3:  Buy a new house.  I really hope we can make this happen this year because we are so ready to get into a bigger house.

Goal #4:  Declutter the casa.  Like, all of the closets and bookshelves need an overhaul, and I'm donating our extra stuff to charity.

Goal #5:  Read 5 books.  This probably seems like child's play to some of my hardcore reading friends, but since I only read 2 last year, 5 seems better but still attainable.  If I crush the goal of 5, then I may make it 10.  We'll see how it goes.

Goal #6:  Cook dinner at home at least 5 nights per week.  It's healthier and easier on the wallet than going out all the time, and I know that Hubs will appreciate my sensitivity to such matters.

Goal #7:  Continue to pay off more debt.  This went well last year, so I know I'm going to kill it in 2013!  Hear that student loans??  I'm coming for YOU!

Goal #8:  Visit our families in Michigan and Philadelphia.  Hubs and I were just talking about taking a road trip from Philly to Boston to hit a bunch of his family sometime this year.  I love Philly and I've always wanted to visit Beantown, so I'm geared up for that!

Goal #9:  Go to at least one Detroit Tigers spring training game and two Rays games.  I have to set a baseball goal since hockey is likely a no-go for this year.

Goal #10:  Get recertified professionally.  I have to act fast because I'm due for recertification at the end of March!  I've slacked for way too long.

Sounds like a pretty good list to me.  I am going to work toward accomplishing all of these things this year because checking them off my list will feel so very good.  I can't wait!

Have you set resolutions for yourself? 
If so, what's the one resolution that you're most intent on keeping?

Happy New Year!

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Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!

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