FabFitFun, Spring 2017 box

A few months ago, I wrote a post on FabFitFun, a seasonal subscription box filled with lifestyle, fitness, beauty, and skincare products. This subscription comes four times a year, and you can choose to buy each box whenever you want or pay the annual fee in January, which saves you roughly $20 a year. I will put a referral link below if you are interested in trying out this subscription service. I get $15 credit, but you also get money off your first order. It’s like a surprise at your doorstep four times a year! This spring box was valued at $374, which is insane since I paid $45 for it. If you try it out or have tried it, let me know what you think!

Referral Link: http://xo.fff.me/fiFNX

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Best box ever. The round blanket is gorgeous and valued at $50!

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The box is always well packaged and organized.

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Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray, Valued at $20

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Deborah Lippmann nail polish set, Valued at $19. This is a cruelty free product! 

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Shade #1

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Shade #2

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator, Valued at $79. This scrub has aluminum oxide crystals of parabens to polish your skin!

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Karuna Hydrating Sheet Masks, set of 4, Valued at $28

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RealHer Lip Kit in Neutral Pink, Valued at $48

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Milly Zip Pouch, $45

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LuvAJ, Diamond Kite Crawler Earring Set, Valued at $85

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ADD IN: Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies

 

Shea Moisture Bathtime

Baths are not just for children anymore. A good bath can calm the mind, cleanse the skin, and provide the ultimate state of relaxation at the end of a long work day. Today, it was just what I needed, and I want to share the two products that made it so wonderful.

First, purchase a bathtub pillow that suctions to the tub. It will make laying down so much more comfortable. I found mine at TJ-Maxx for $6 and it works great. Second, invest in quality bath products that are more natural and not filled with toxins. It is very easy to get an infection due to sitting in still water for an extended period of time, so it is best to use natural products that won’t cause irritation or aggravate your skin. Essential oils work wonders, but if you’re like me and enjoy bubbles, there are tons of high quality bubble baths on the market. I love adding Epsom salts to help soothe any tight muscles and help me relax. Tonight, I used a new Bubble Bath and LOVED it. I’m very familiar with the Shea Moisture brand and am usually impressed with their products. This one was no exception. It provided more bubbles than any other one I use, which is saying something for sure. Shea Moisture products are cruelty free, nontoxic, and consist of fair trade and organic ingredients. How is that for something you can find at your local drugstore?  I highly recommend their products!

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My bath pillow with the bubble bath. The stuff works wonders.

Details on the bubble bath can be found here: http://www.ulta.com/african-water-mint-bubble-bath-body-wash?productId=xlsImpprod15691657

*What are your favorite ways to relax and/or products? Please let me know! 🙂

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A Spring Wreath

It is hard to believe I made a spring wreath yesterday when we are supposed to get 10 inches of snow tonight, but I am ready for spring. Ready for the warm weather to stay. Ready for the sun to be out until 8pm and my dog walks can last longer than 30 minutes. Believe me, I need spring.

That is where this DIY wreath comes into play. Our Christmas lights were taken down last week (we are THOSE people who keep them up for months after the holidays), and I felt like my life needed some color again. I picked up 20 fake flower bouquets from Dollar Tree along with the wire holder and made a wreath with really no game plan on what I was doing.

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If you decide to do this at home, cut off as much of the stem as you can without the flower losing it’s pedals before you even figure out the layout on the wire. I made the mistake of putting half of it together and then realized the long stems were 1) going to be extremely difficult to cut and 2) messing with the layout because they kept overlapping each other. Thankfully, hot glue is easy to pull off depending on the material.

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Simply arrange the flowers however you desire and put hot glue wherever you feel it would need to be held to the wire. Use your creativity, especially when picking out your flowers.

After a few burnt fingertips, the wreath was finished! The whole process between cutting the stems, arranging them, gluing them, and finally rearranging them once glued, took about an hour. I feel I have made better wreaths in the past, but I still wanted to share this relatively simple and beautiful (not to mention affordable!) spring craft idea with you. The whole project cost me about $20, depending on how many flowers you choose to buy.

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Enjoy!!

Rest, Oh Sweet Rest.

What. A. Week. It was one of those weeks where Friday night couldn’t come soon enough. I bet my husband wishes he would have stayed at his rotation dorm all week instead of coming home!

To begin, we were hit with a massive windstorm that took down 1/4 of the humongus pine tree in our front yard. All the limbs are now out of our driveway, but one section of our yard needs a ton of work to clean up the mess. Thankfully, it fell sideways and not backwards…we wouldn’t have a place to live if it had. I went home to PA over the weekend, and although it certainly wasn’t a wasted trip, I was upset I took a day and a half off of work for something that didn’t even happen. Driving is exhausting. Then Monday night around 8pm, our dogs start going nuts, growling, hair on end, etc. A car broke down in front of our house and two young guys’ Subaru let them sit. Matt will back me up that these guys were not with it AT ALL. Can’t say what drug(s) they were on, but it was obvious it was something. They were covered in mud, as was the car. Turns out they were at the river and the car was stuck in a mud hole. I’m shocked they even got the car out of a mud hole as big  as they one they were in! We gave them until the morning to get their vehicle towed out of our yard. Sure enough: We were woken up the next morning at 5am to the sound of a car trying to start and the dogs barking like crazy. They left by 6:00 and we haven’t seen them since. We got the car towed the next day after much arguing with the Sheriff department and towing company about why they should receive a bill and not us. Do they know their car is in the impound lot? Have no clue, but am thankful it’s out of our yard. Now I just hope they don’t come back….. There was usual chaos at work too, but that’s bound to happen when you are working with people.

Having tonight to myself gave me some time to reflect on this past week and how I get so caught up in the business and stress of life that I don’t take time to do nothing and enjoy it. According to John Lennon, time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted. I better start taking his advice. My self-care is terrible, and as a Social Worker, that’s one thing that’s so important to teach our clients. I work out and eat healthy, but when it comes to actually relaxing, I need to follow the examples below:

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Ahh, the life of a hound dog. Check out Meadow Mutts and Mew Mews blog for more laughter on this rescued pup!

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Why use a dog bed when the pillows are available?

I have coloring books, board games, cards, my computer, and lots of bath bombs to help me relax, but what are some other ways you turn off your brain?

Generation Good

Last year, I discovered Generation Good from a pamphlet sent in the mail. I usually shred anything that resembles junk, but I saw that you can receive products in exchange for reviews and I immediately went to Google it. Sure enough. You can take surveys and leave reviews in exchange for Seventh Generation items, which is awesome because 1) who doesn’t love free stuff? and 2) that is a brand I trust and use anyway. Med school families could always free things 😉 The brand is cruelty free, which automatically makes them a winner in my book, and are free of any of the toxic chemicals found in traditional household cleaners. If you are not into or don’t have the time to make your own, their laundry detergent and dishwashing powder are awesome replacements for conventional brands at the drugstore.

In exchange for a review, I received 20 dishwashing tablets to try and put to the test. I swear by their dishwashing powder, so I have high hopes these will work just as well. I will test them out over the next few weeks and give feedback. If you are interested in becoming a member of Generation Good, try it out here.

*This item was sent to me for free in exchange for a review. I receive no compensation for this product and am not affiliated with the link posted above.

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Love Grown

I am not a big cereal eater, but my husband certainly is. Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios…he loves (almost) all of them. Did you know that so many of the cereals found in the supermarket contain ingredients that are toxins to our body? A common one is sugar. Look at any ingredient list or nutrition facts and you will be astounded at how many grams are in each serving. Way too many. Another common additive is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), an ingredient that contains mercury and is known to lead to obesity and diabetes. BHA/BHT (preservatives), artificial coloring, and hydrogenated oils are three other common additives in cereal, but one would not know it without thoroughly examining an ingredient list. It’s common for the words “WHOLE GRAIN” to lead a consumer to think the product must be healthy when in reality, the cereal can be just as toxic as those not labeled whole grain.

I don’t mind my husband’s love of cereal, but I have never been okay with him eating food for breakfast that only spikes his blood sugar and makes him hungry again in two hours. While at Kroger last week, I found a cereal called Chocolate Power O’s and figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Guess what? Matt loves it! It has the sweet chocolate taste he craves in a cereal, but what it doesn’t have is even better. No preservatives, no gluten, no chemicals, non GMO, and fills him up longer than your average cereal. Would you believe beans can taste so good?

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Even though I don’t eat much cereal, I catch myself eating a bowl for breakfast too!

Navy, lentil, and garbanzo beans -all beans high in protein- are the superfoods behind this delicious cereal. It only has 9 grams of sugar per serving, which is much better than the 15+ in an average children’s cereal. Below is the ingredient list:

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All things that a consumer can pronounce combined with the great taste of chocolate makes this product a win-win. Try it and let me know what you think!

A Shelter’s Wish List

Those who know me know my love of animals. More importantly, my love and desire to rescue animals. There are way too many unwanted animals in the world and not enough adopters, which is absolutely devastating when you think about the love that animals give us. Below is one of my favorite pictures of my dogs, adopted seven months a part from our local humane society.

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Miner (L) found his forever home with us after having two other owners previously. Leia (R) was a stray who found her forever home with us after no one claimed during her month and a half stay at the humane society.

Anyway, this post is not about the benefits of adopting a pet (although I will gladly write one if desired),  but more so on the ways humane societies need our help to continue running. They do incredible work and depend heavily on the support of the community to keep their doors open. You don’t necessarily have to donate financially, either. There are lots of other ways to get involved.

  1. GIVE YOUR TIME. If you have an extra hour a week, why not walk some dogs or play with the cats? Not only are you socializing the animals and exposing them to people, but you’ll be getting a workout as well. If you walk four dogs in an hour, think of the cardio workout you’re getting without even trying! With cats, socialization is extremely important. They are cooped in cages all day and usually do not get out as much as the dogs. Providing interaction and exposing them to people is a fantastic way to teach them to be social and more friendly than if they were never around anyone at all.
  2. VOLUNTEER AT AN EVENT. Often throughout the year, humane societies host adoption events or fundraisers and could use help with the event. At an adoption event, you could be needed to transport animals back and forth, take pictures, advertise, plan, or actually participate in the event. Fundraisers could use your help with advertising, planning, or running the event while it is going on. If you desire to get involved that way, you can call your local organization and see when you would be needed.
  3. TRANSPORT. Depending on where you live, there may be an online Facebook Transport Group where you help transport animals to local rescues or adopters. It’s a great way to network and meet fellow animal lovers, as well as know you’re saving lives one car ride at a time. I transport sometimes for I-81 Transports and highly encourage you to look into it if you are able.
  4. JOIN THE BOARD. Are you into budgeting, nonprofit management, or simply want to be behind the scenes instead of on the frontline? Joining a board may be perfect for you. You will have a say in how the facility is run and can work towards change for a better environment for so many lives.
  5. DONATE WISH LIST ITEMS. It takes a great deal of items and manpower to run a facility of 50+ dogs and 30+ cats, and some shelters have many more than that at a time. Items such as laundry detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, sponges, rags, blankets, and towels are always needed. Leashes and collars are always welcome as well. This is a short wishlist from my local humane society, although this particular list is not inclusive to everything they need. 16716313_1338494486188705_5167446215428147941_o
  6. MONETARY DONATIONS. Not everyone has money burning a hole in their pocket (a med school family knows this all too well), but if you do have some extra cash, feel free to donate it. I am a firm believer in donating to local smaller agencies instead of larger corporations simply because then I know exactly where my money is going.
  7. SOCIAL MEDIA. In this day in age, the majority of people have a cell phone, iPad, or at least a laptop. If you have a camera, snap a picture of animal needing a home and share it. With the way posts are spread online, your post could reach someone three states away who falls in love with the picture. Boom. The animal could have a home. Social media isn’t all bad!

This list certainly could be more involved, but I hope you get the point that there are many ways to help out animals in need. It gives you a purpose and sense of happiness as well knowing you are playing a role in changing their lives. Are you involved in any way with a humane society or rescue group? I would absolutely love to hear your stories or suggestions! Sirius, Eris, and Harper say thank you 🙂

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Sirius, rescued from a hoarders home of 32 cats.

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Eris, adopted from a feral organization.

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Harper, loving life after being saved during the flood of 2016.