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A Better You in 2013: My Favorite Beauty Products

1 Jan

Happy New Year! I hope today is the first day of a truly fantastic year for you, full of enough joy and laughter to make the tough moments more bearable.

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I’m not a big “beauty” person. I don’t spend a lot of money on makeup, don’t think I take an excessive amount of time getting ready in the morning (in fact, I hate the routine and the amount of time it does take), and I don’t obsess about how I look. However, there are some beauty-related products that I LOVE and I thought you might like them, as well.

1. Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream

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This cuticle cream is quite literally, a miracle worker. I have the worst cuticles in the world – dry, brittle, and just horrible looking and feeling. It only takes one or two applications of this cream to get them looking and feeling gorgeous. The kicker is that you have to use it regularly. You can’t use it until they look nice and then stop. It works best if you use it on a regular basis. If you suffer from Ugly Cuticle Disease like I do, give it a try – you will love what it does for your nails.

2. Mac Lipstick in Frou

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This color goes with everything and I’ve seen people on Pinterest say it looks good on everyone. I can’t vouch for that because I’m just one gal, but I can say that it looks great on and really does complement virtually any outfit. Plus, it’s Mac so it feels great on your lips.

3. Suave Dry Shampoo

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I started using this when I went through my first-line chemotherapy treatments. My hair did not completely fall out, but it did thin significantly. Thankfully, I have ultra-thick hair naturally and it was not noticeable, but I tried to be as gentle as possible to my hair during this time to prevent the loss of any more. Even though I’m back to my normal, ridiculously thick hair, I still like to use it every now and then when I’m in a hurry and don’t have time to wash and dry my hair. This stuff smells great and allows me to skip a day of washing while still having decent looking hair.

4. Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System

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This was something that I’ve wanted for a while. Now that I’m deeply entrenched in my forties, my skin is really showing my age (and then some, I think!). {You know what’s really interesting? I had great looking skin when I went through my first-line chemo – did that happen to anyone else??} But now that I’m “just” doing maintenance, my skin has gone back to it’s dull, lifeless self. That was, until I started using the Clarisonic. This miracle brush makes my skin ridiculously soft. And the bonus is that it works great on your neck and hands, too. I’ve only been using it for about a month, but I am positive the age spots that were beginning to show up on the back of my hands are starting to fade. I’m not kidding! :)

5. Sonicare Essence Rechargeable Toothbrush

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I never, ever, ever dreamed a toothbrush could work as well as this does. Our dental hygienist has told us for years that we should use an electric one (a good electric one, not one of those spin-type brushes you can get for $10 at the drugstore) because it helps promote gum health. Neither Barry or I liked it at first. It felt weird and tickled when we used it. But after several days, we got used to the feel. I can honestly say that my teeth feel and look cleaner. I didn’t tell my hygienist I was using it when I went in for my last cleaning and she commented on how great my teeth and gums looked! It works.

6. Aladdin 16 oz Double Wall Water Vessel

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Drinking water is one of the keys to healthy skin and a healthy you. This water bottle is ingenious. It has a small screw-on cap that you can take off when you want to drink from it. It also has a larger screw-on top that allows you to get ice cubes into the bottle. This was a Christmas gift from one of my stepdaughters and I love it – brilliant design in a convenient, spill-proof bottle.

Have a beauty-full New Year!
Rachel

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Christmas Card Shoppes {A Round Up}

28 Nov

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of another stinking migraine. :( This one was worst than the Thanksgiving Day migraine. Not fun at all. But once the migraine meds started working late in the afternoon, I was fine. I am crazy grateful for those drugs.

So, here’s a blessing in disguise of lymphoma. When I was going through my first line treatment – I didn’t have headaches. Have no idea why unless the chemo was attacking everything including the little boogers that cause migraines. As my friend, Florence, would say – there’s a perk of having cancer. :)

Because I love all things paper, I am enamored (when was the last time you used the word enamored??) with Christmas card designs. I like the custom ones that allow you to add a photo – or two or three – because they feel so personal and original. With all the print and design choices available, my biggest challenge is selecting which one to use! It can take forever, so I was glad to encounter a great deal yesterday that was only good for one day – so I had to decide quickly and just order them.

I’ve come across some great sites that produce really quality Christmas cards (and invitations, graduation announcements, etc.) and I thought I would share them with you to maybe help you along with your Christmas preparations (if you’re not already familiar with them!).

1. First up is CardStore.com which I used for the first time to create this year’s Christmas card. Can’t wait to get the shipment and see how they turned out!

They are having a GREAT deal right now – 70% off holiday cards (including their folded cards) when you use the code CCN2770 + free shipping. The offer ends today 11/28, so act fast! (I have noticed they’ve been doing lots of good offers, so if you miss this one there will likely be more.)

2. Another favorite is Tiny Prints.

Their designs are classic, modern, and everything in between. I really love them. These are two of my favorites from their 2012 collection.

3. Hallmark is the Grandfather of Christmas cards and they have a nice selection of customizable cards.

They are running a 40% off personalized cards + free shipping special when you use the code CYBER40, which is an excellent deal at Hallmark. They have a very nice selection of non-photo cards that can be personalized which I think is nice because we all know how hard it can be to get everyone together for a photo, right?? :) They also have postcards sizes which could help you save on postage if you are sending out a truckload of cards. Here’s two of my favs.

4. All of the traditional photo sites also have tons of card designs to choose from. Most will also let you upload your own design/image if you are feeling ambitious and want to design your very own card this year! Shutterfly and Snapfish are two of the bigger ones, but you can also order photo cards from most drugstores or mass retailers such as Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. In my experience, Shutterfly really has good quality cards and they usually have specials running throughout Christmas so you can always get a deal.

Right now, Shutterfly is offering 40% off holiday cards + free shipping. Here are a couple of my favorites from their selection this year:

5. And lastly, for our technology-driven folks who can’t bear the thought of addressing and sending tons of paper cards, there is an excellent (and non-cheesy) option for you now. Paperless Post has created some fantastic designs (including Kate Spade!) that you can personalize with your own photos and words, then email to as many people as you like. The very best – some of these cards are FREE to send. :) There is a charge for other designs, but it is less than what you would pay for print cards. Check it out:

Do you have a favorite card shop? Please share in the comments – I (and others) would like to hear your recommendations!

Have a great day, friends!
Rachel

What’s So Great About a Kindle?

15 Jun

Well.  Pretty much everything, in my opinion.  :)

I’ve been using a Kindle for almost two years and haven’t found anything I don’t like about it yet.  I’ve not used the Nook or even the iPad for reading, so I can’t tell you why the Kindle is better than those (or if it’s better than those).  I can only tell you that, as far as reading goes, I love my Kindle Touch.

Here’s why:

Instant access to any book.  I don’t have the 3G version, but as long as I am somewhere with wi-fi access, I can buy and download a new book in a matter of minutes.  No more driving to the store or ordering it online and waiting two or three days for it to be delivered.  My impatient self doesn’t have to wait.

Sample chapters help me select books.  I don’t have to buy a book to see if I’ll like it.  Each Kindle book has a sample chapter that you can read for free before buying the book.  Love this feature!

My whole library at my fingertips.  I don’t know why I like this, but I think it is so cool to have all my books in one little device.  My particular Kindle can hold up to 3,000 books.  If I don’t like a book I’m reading, I just stop and open another one – no matter where I am, home or away because they are all there with me.  And for the ultimate in laziness – I don’t even have to get up and walk to the bookshelf or reach over on the nightstand to get a new book.  I just touch the screen!

It’s portability means I am never bored.  The Kindle Touch is tiny at 6.8″ x 4.7″ x 0.40″ and weighs a light 7.5 ounces which makes it perfect for tossing in my purse or bag.  If I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, having a solo lunch break at work, or have a few extra minutes anywhere, I can read.

Syncing means that I can read my books from any device.  Thanks to Kindle apps, I can continue reading on any device – phone, iPad, laptop, or home computer – and it will automatically sync to the last page I read.

Passages can be highlighted and pages bookmarked for future reference.  I can also add notes to highlighted passages and pull them up on my private Kindle site if I want to reference something I read.

The battery lasts forever.  Well, not quite forever, but almost.  Well, not really almost, but a very long time.  :)  If I read 30 minutes a day, every day, a charge would last two months.  (That’s what Amazon says – I haven’t tested that feature, but I know I don’t have to charge it very often.)

The screen is not back lit. Reading on the Kindle is just like reading a print book – no glare, no squinting, and no eye strain from a back lit screen.

Do you use a Kindle or other e-reader?  Which one do you use?  What do you love most about it?

Happy Friday, Friends!  Have a fantastic weekend!!
♥ Rachel

A Public Service Announcement [Video]

3 Apr

Somedays, I get to have way too much fun at work. :)

Full disclosure:  I work for the company that makes BullFrog Sunscreen.  In my humble opinion, this is the best sunscreen you can buy.  Surfers have used this stuff for years because on stays on great in the water, but it’s not greasy or slimy.  It’s good stuff!  Yes, I am biased, but I’ve also had lots of opportunities to use the BullFrog and it’s never let me down.  :)

One of my favorite things about BullFrog is, well, Tad.  Who’s Tad, you say?

Tad has been a part of BullFrog since the beginning, but has recently been promoted to Social Media Director.  And let me tell you, he’s doing a fabulous job!  You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  He is quite entertaining.

Tad is a cool kind of frog.  He’s fun, yet laid back.  He’s confident, yet kind-hearted.  There’s been a little discussion going on around the office about his abs.  He loves to spend time in the water and obviously gets a lot of exercise, but some people have been wondering, “are Tad’s abs real?”  So, we made a little video to answer that question for all of his fans.

{If you are reading this in email, you may need to click over to my blog to watch the video.  This is the last video for a while.  :)}

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I guess that was my 15 seconds of fame. :)

Ok.  Enough silliness for one day.  Now to the serious stuff.  Because I’ve experienced cancer and its Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde sidekick known as chemotherapy, I do not want to develop another form of cancer – skin cancer – because I neglected to wear sunscreen.  Not gonna happen.  And I don’t want YOU to get skin cancer, either.

So whether you wear BullFrog (and I really think you should :) ), at the very least, wear some kind of sunscreen!  Because I love ya.  :)

Have a beautiful, sunny day!!
♥ Rachel