Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Influenster VoxBox - Nurture VoxBox

I recently received from Influenster their Nurture VoxBox. Now, in case you do not know what a VoxBox is, or even what Influester is, I'll give you a short explanation. Influester is a website that collect reviews of different products or brands, pretty much anything. You grow your 'social impact' by writing reviews, answering questions and talking about it on your various social media outlets. Influenster will occasionally send out surveys to see if you qualify for it's upcoming VoxBox, which contains different products, complimentary, with the hope that you will review the products and share your opinion on social media. 

So, as stated before, I recently received their Nurture VoxBox. This box seemed to be geared towards mothers. Upon opening my box, this is what I found.

The back of the card on top listed the products in the box, a description of the product and the suggested retail price.

'Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive uses only high quality natural minerals, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, for broad spectrum UVA and UVB skin protection. Dermatologist recommended and specifically formulated for everyday protection on face and body, involving no potentially irritating chemicals, Blue Lizard Australian Sensitive Sunscreen in effective UV protection but gentle on sensitive skin. Our packaging is a bit unique too! The patented BPA-free plastic cap on our 3.0 oz tubes is UV photo sensitive, changing color in the presence of harmful UV rays, reminding you to cover up. The deeper blue the cap becomes, the more UV rays are currently present.' 
3 oz tube - $14.99

'Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sport is very water resistant , meeting Australian Standards of 240 minutes in whirlpool water. It is designed for daily, full-body protection for the most active of people.'
3 oz tube - $12.99

Both of these lived up to the claims, keeping me from getting burnt during two separate outings at the beach. Living in Florida, I use sunscreen all the time, quite often having 3 or 4 different sunscreens that I'm rotating through. While I liked the protection the sensitive sunscreen provided, I wasn't a big fan of the 'unscented' scent. It smelled a little like clay to me. But if that doesn't matter to you, this is a great product.  The Sport version worked great! I used it when I took my son the beach. So we were  playing in the water, in the sand and running around. I definitely put the 'sport' aspect to the test. And it worked great! Unfortunately, there was only one application worth in the package and needed to reapply after a few hours. Remember, I live in Florida and it's June. That means full on sunshine! I will definitely consider purchasing this.

'Soft single-use, 100% cotton mask drenches your skin with an entire bottle of serum to instantly boost hydration, smooth fine lines, and restore firmness and bounce to your skin. Clinically prover to increase skin's hydration 2.5 times in only 10 minutes. the sheet works to trap all the goodness into the skin: It offers an intense yet gentle infusion of Super Hyaluronic Acid, Soy Peptides, Collagen and Vitamin E for immediate results. Perfect for travel-depleted skin or if you've been negligent in your skincare, it's like playing catch up - a mini facial on the go!'

This was the first sheet mask I have ever used, so I was a little weirded out at first. But once I placed it on my face, rested for 15 minutes and took it off, I thought my skin felt so soft and moisturized.  I have naturally oily skin, so I was a little concerned about breaking out, but nothing happened. This is a great

'ATTITUDE Hair Care products were developed with uncompromised safety in mind, using only worry free ingredients. While cancer causing chemicals, mutagens, and reproductive toxins are still legally tolerated contaminants found in hair care products, you won't find them in ours. Now found at Target.'

At first, I though the product had a very strong scent to it, and one that was a bit masculine for my taste. However, it worked well, leaving my hair and body clean. I haven't looked in my local Target yet to see if this product is there. But with so many quality-comperable, less expensive options, I don't know that I would purchase this.

'Dramamine Non-Drowsy Natural, Dramamine's first truly non-drowsy offering. Prevents and treats symptoms of motion sickness (nausea and vomiting) without drowsiness.'

This was the only product I was not able to try, as I have not had any opportunity to use it. 

'RedVines candy is the deliciously rewarding treat that has been making special moments even sweeter for generations. Always fat free and made with only five ingredients, Red Vines candy offers exceptional flavor without using any preservatives. Whether you pick up the classic tray at the movie theater concession stand or bring them on a family road trip, Red Vines candy has been an essential part of celebrating life's sweet moments for decades.'

As a person who LOVES Twizzlers, I was excited to try these, thinking they would be just like Twizzlers. I was disappointed. They were okay, but nothing stand out. They weren't as sticky or sweet as Twizzlers, two aspects I was looking for. I would definitely eat them again, but not go out of my way to get them.

'Introducing a new way to change up your dinner routine-UNCLE BEN'S Flavored Grains. These delectable mixes of sophisticated grains are great as a side dish or in your favorite recipes. UNCLES BEN'S Basmati Medley Savory Herb is a unique blend of basmati rice, orzo, and wild rice. UNCLE BEN'S Brown Rice & Quinoa Roasted Red Pepper brings you the goodness of brown rice and whole grain quinoa. And they both cook to perfection in just 25 minutes.'  
'So you want the golden crispy finish of oven cooked fries, and the unbeatable flavor of America's highest quality potatoes... but from a microwave and in just 4 minutes? No problem! With three Extra Crispy Easy fry varieties, you can enjoy perfectly crisp fries in the time it takes to preheat your oven.'  
I personally do like Uncle Ben and OreIda products. I think the quality is good and prices are reasonable. I have not yet used my coupons, but you can be sure I will be soon, and seeing the products as part of some of my meals. 

Over all, I feel that the products in the box were really good and useful. However, I did not see how the grouping of items necessarily catered toward a mother's 'nurturing' side. A single, childless person would have found these products just as useful. With that said, I did enjoy the products in the box.

Please let me know in the comments below if you have ever received a VoxBox.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - How Did You Do & Feel?

I have really enjoyed doing this challenge so far. It has made me look at my life and how good I have things. Sometimes we look at our situation and think it's bleak and that nothing is good. I'm glad I decided to do take a second look at the good things in my life, really put some thought into it and share it with all of you!

This week my challenge it to think about how I did and how I felt. I'm going to assume that it is referring to last weeks challenge of expressing gratitude to three people. Last week I expressed gratitude to my son's three teachers.

Like I said last week, I expressed my gratitude for each of them by writing a hand written card, telling each of them why I appreciate what they have done for my son. I explained how important each of them are to him and how I feel each of them have impacted my son. My son has had a dramatic change in his vocabulary and comprehension since starting at his new school in October. I attribute that to his teacher's dedication to the students. I explained this in each of the letters. Also each of them have strengths that I appreciate. One of them is very nurturing, which is helpful in the morning when my son is having a tough time saying good bye to me. His primary teacher is a no-nonsense kid of teacher, which is good for him, and I appreciate that. 

Communicating all of this to each of them made me feel good. It is true that complimenting people makes you feel better about yourself. I've worked in childcare myself and there is nothing better than a parent who tells you 'Thank you for taking care of my kid.' I wanted to express that to the ladies who take care of mine and it felt great doing it. 

How do you feel when expressing gratitude to someone?

Have a great Sunday!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude - Express Gratitude to Three People

This weeks challenge is to express gratitude to three people. It was actually not very much of a challenge for me, as it is habit for me to show people in my life appreciation for the things they do for me.

I wrote a handwritten note to each of my son's teachers, thanking all three of them for the impact they have had on my son. When my son started at the school he is currently at last October, he was behind where he should have been academically. In the almost 5 months he has been at they school, I have seen a dramatic change in not only his learning ability, but his personality as well.

I make sure to have a conversation with his teachers when I drop him off in the morning and when I pick him up in the afternoon. Having worked with children in the past, I know how important those short conversations are. So in the morning, I make his teacher aware of any issues that came up after we left the prior day, if my son told me of any troubles with other children. And in the afternoon, I always check to see how his day was.

Even though there is a constant flow of communication between us, I wanted them to know how important they are to my son and me. And I know that most people appreciate a hand written note, especially since it rarely happens anymore.

I am grateful for these women. Their patience and caring nature is appreciated by me immensely. Knowing how difficult some children can be, especially my own, it means so much to me that they treat my son and the other children so well! 

How do you show the people in your life gratitude? How you like to be shown gratitude? Do you appreciate an overt gesture or is a simple thank you enough?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitiude - A Friend

Happy Sunday Everyone!!!

This week I'm writing about a friend that I am grateful for. This is very tough, I have several very close friends whom I love very much! So, I decided to share why I'm grateful for the friend I have had the longest. 

I am grateful for my friend Krista. We met during my senior year of high school, on New Year's Eve. (Funny side note, I had a crush on her younger brother, who is my age, while I was in middle school.) We didn't meet that night and just become best friends, we started becoming friends because some other friends of ours asked her to call me to convince me to have a party at my house. For some reason, even though we barely knew each other, she was able to convince me and we started hanging out from then on. 

Looking back, I kinda think we were an odd couple. I was still in high school when we met. She was 20 at the time, working full time and had a two year old son. I guess we just 'clicked' as you could say and enjoyed hanging out with each other. 

Since that time, we have shared so much of our lives together, gone on several road trips together, been with each other through our pregnancies. (She threw me the most amazing baby shower!) We've been there for each other through relationships good and bad. (Happy to say that she's in the best one I could ever imagine for her!) 

One thing I actually love about Krista, she in unyielding in her honesty with me. And while it may appear to others that she is being a bit of a bitch, I know she is being brutally honest with me, and most likely, correct. Which is why I view our friendship as more of a sister relationship than a friendship. We will fight and not talk for several months and go right back as if nothing happened. I love that, we are not scared to make each other mad. There is no walking on eggshells here.

I am eternally grateful for my friend Krista, she has been there for me through thick and thin, good and bad. I think anyone would be blessed to call her a friend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My January 2015 Favorites

So, I decided I'm going to try a new thing and start doing a monthly favorites post. This will encompass beauty, food, kid products, media, pretty much anything that I (or my son) have been enjoying for the past month.


*Naked 3 Palette - I purchased this a few months back and didn't use it too often then. But I have been using it regularly in January. I really enjoy the colors, as they are beautiful, but fairly neutral and appropriate for an office environment (where I work).

*Nivea's A Kiss of Olive & Lemon Lip Care - This has been my go-to lip balm. I had a cold for a few days, which forced me to use a lot of tissues. This in turn dried out my lips, adding to them already being dry because the air is a bit drier during the winter here in Florida. Nivea's A Kiss of Olive & Lemon has really helped keep my lips soft and I really like the smell. 


*Bigelow Sweet Dreams - I have been loving this tea this past month. It's a chamomile and mint tea and is caffeine-free, which makes it appropriate for bedtime. I usually drink it before bedtime, before I do my final tooth-brushing. I really love the way this tastes, and to me, it does taste different than Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.

*Quest S'mores Protein Bar - These are DELICIOUS! I have been eating them on my way to the gym, before I work out. I have been a fan of the Quest bars for a while now, but these are my new favorite. They are not vegan and do have added sugars.


*Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford - I am always on the look out for a good personal development book. I came across this when someone in one of my Facebook groups was reading it. I haven't finished it yet, as I only have about 30 minutes a day to actual feel decompress enough to read, then I am ready for bed. However, I am enjoying the book, it is really opening my eyes to the amount of time I spend on my phone and computer and doing other tasks and how I could be using that time to connect with my son. So far, I would recommend this book to any parent.

So this is my first try at a monthly favorites post. I hope you enjoyed it and will possibly try some of these things. I enjoy and use all of them and definitely recommend them.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - The City You Live In

Happy Sunday Everyone!

This weeks challenge is about the city I live in. I live in the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State,   
St. Petersburg, FL. I love living here. 

Most people know my hometown as a vacation place, with great beaches. And that's so true, the beaches here are AMAZING and I love the fact that I am 20 minutes from the beach. I honestly feel sorry for people who have never been to the beach. There is something so therapeutic about the ocean (But that's a whole other topic.)

Sunset, no filter added. Yes, this is what I get to see almost every night!

But what you may not know about St. Petersburg, commonly referred to as the 'burg by us locals, is that there is so much culture here and it's continuing to grow all the time. We are becoming home to many great restaurants and local craft beer breweries. St. Petersburg is also home to the Salvador Dali Museum, which has the largest collection of Salvador Dali's works in the world AND the building is also an amazing piece of artwork as well! The Chihuly Collection is also here, displaying Dale Chihuly's works of art and they are INCREDIBLE! There are so many other museums here, it would take forever to talk about them all. There are just my favorite two.

The Salvador Dali Museum

The Chihuly Collection
But, despite the amazing sunsets and beach and versatile culture, my favorite part about the city I live in is the fact that it is MY home. I love the fact that I know so much about the history of this area, I love the fact that I know where everything is and I love that I know so many people here. We moved here when I was 4 years old, so we've lived here a long time. Even though I'm not a native, I consider myself a Floridian. I would never want to live anywhere else. Anyway, so growing up, my parents were not privy to all the 'local secrets' like all the great restaurants or different events. Most of the stuff we knew about were touristy. As time went on, and they met more people, they started to learn about all the neat places that people who grew up here have known about forever. As a parent now myself, I'm glad that I know so much about the place my son is growing up, I feel we are rooted here. And I love it!

Tell me about the place you live! What do you like about it?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - Something Someone Gave You

Happy Sunday and Happy February!

I cannot believe it's already February! It seems like 2015 is going so quickly, I feel like I've hardly had time to stop and take a breath. Which makes this post that much better, as it's giving me the time to stop and think. I really get a lot of of stopping and thinking about what I'm grateful for in my life. 

This  weeks challenge is something someone gave me. This really made me think, as I normally don't get too many gifts from people. I'm more the kind of person, that if I want something, I go buy it. Also, my son is still young, and does not like arts and crafts, so he hasn't made me too much. I'm sure once he starts actually making gifts for me, I will cherish those!

So, on to the 'something someone gave me.' Last year for my birthday, my two closest friends went in together and bought me a Pandora bracelet with two very special charms.

One is a best friend charm, the other a baseball. They actually gave me the gift on Opening Day last year right before we went into the TB Rays home opener, which was the day after my birthday. We kind of had a theme for that day 'Best Friends and Baseball.'

The reason this gift meant so much to me was the thought that went into it. It meant so much me that they would do something so special for me!

What special gift have you received from someone? Please let me know below.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - A Family Member

This week I will be writing about a family member that I am most grateful for.

Hands down, the family member that I am most grateful for is my mother. She is my best friend, biggest supporter and cheerleader. She is the shoulder I cry on, my go-to for any advice. I could go on and on about how valuable she is in my life.

As a teenager and young adult, it's true that I may not have valued her sacrifices as much as I should have. At times I was dismissive of what she had done for my sister and me. I thought she wasn't 'cool' because she didn't always seem to care about looking good or buy herself nice things. But the reality of it was that she was more focused on making sure she put my sister and me first. We had what we needed and what we wanted.

I'm a mother now and see things from her perspective. This has given me an incredible amount of respect for her. I now understand the internal dilemma's she dealt with, especially in regards to my father. (They divorced when I was 11.)

I only hope that I can be the kind of mother she is, the kind that is supportive and loving throughout my son's life.

If you have a particular family member that you are especially grateful for, please tell me about it!

Hope you have having a great Sunday!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - Family

Welcome to week 3 of 52 Weeks of Gratitude! Week three focuses on FAMILY. 

My family consists of my son, two biological parents, a step-mother, sister, niece, nephew and a slew of other people that are not related to me by blood or marriage, but that I love just the same. And I also have a ton of friends that are like family to me, but that's a whole other topic!

I have an amazing family! I just want to put that out first and foremost. We do have the normal family arguments, I do fight with my parents and my sister. But at the end of the day, we love each other and would be there for each other, no questions asked. 

My mother is the most amazing person I know. She has sacrificed (and still does) for her daughters and grandchildren. As I've grown up and become a mother myself, she has become one of my best friends. I feel so blessed to have her as a mother and consider her one of my best friends.

My sister and I have a very odd relationship. We aren't very close and yet we are. We get very mad at each other and may say some harsh things, yet we are very quick to defend each other when someone else tries to talk badly. It's like 'I can call my sister a bitch, but I'll kick your ass if you do!' True, there are times I wish she was my best friend. I am jealous of women who can say their sister is their best friend. Who better to be your closest friend in life than the person who's been through all of it with you? I am praying and hoping that one day we can close those gaps and obtain that friendship. Most importantly, she loves my son. And that to me is the most important thing. 

I have a good relationship with my father and step-mother. My parents divorced when I was in fifth grade and my father married my step-mother a few years after, so she's been a part of my life a long time and has been part of my 'growing up.'

There are so many people that I consider 'family' that are not related to me by blood or marriage, like I said before. I am very close to the family of my son's father. My ex and I don't always get along, but I love his family and think they are wonderful people who love my son SO much. I am also close to the family of my niece and nephew's father. They are also very good to my son and treat him like he is part of the family. I feel blessed that I have such a large network of people that I can turn to anytime I am in need. I actually had someone say to me the other day that I've had it so good that I don't appreciate what I have. That's completely untrue. I know I am blessed to have such an AMAZING group of people around me. 

Leave a comment below about your family and why you are so grateful for them. 

Please join me each Sunday for another post of my Gratitude Challenge!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - Spouse/Significant Other

Happy Sunday!

This week was a little bit difficult. Not only do I not have a spouse, but I recently became single. So I don't have a spouse currently to gloat about.

However, I am grateful for my son's father. My relationship with him spanned the most time, and was the most seriously relationship I've had to date. AND he is the father of my amazing boy! 

I'm not going to lie, we have a horrendous relationship currently. A lot of hurt and anger between us. But I did learn a lot from being with him, and not just 'what I don't want in a man.' I learned a lot about myself, especially recently. I learned that in order for a relationship to be successful, you must both be in love with each other. I know that sounds obvious, but I don't think we were. I loved him very much, I still do, but that feeling of being 'in love' faded and I don't know why. 

I can admit that I made mistakes and I can say, with complete honesty, I will never repeat those mistakes. I will not let my relationship get to the point that I just don't care enough to do the stupid things I have done. 

And most of all, I am grateful for the amazing gift he gave me, our son. I love that little guy more than life itself. I may not like my son's father most of the time, but I do love him for helping me create the most perfect human being. (in my opinion.)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

52 Weeks of Gratitude Challenge - Why Start This Challenge?

Like many other people, I can waste an obscene amount of time on Pinterest. Let's admit it, it's addicting. 

Well, I can across the below a couple days ago and thought, 'Hey, this would be a great writing prompt for my blog.' Plus I can write several at a time and schedule the post.

So, the first weeks challenge is 'Why Start this Challenge?' Well, this is two-fold. Like I said it gives me a writing prompt at least once a week. But the deeper meaning is that I will now be forced to really look at what I'm grateful for. Stop and smell the roses if you'd like. 

The past month and a half have been extremely rough on me, personally. I questioned a lot of my choices, been depressed, really felt that I'm just not doing life the right way. On New Year's Eve, it just came to me, I need to just turn my life over to God and let him lead me. (That is a whole separate topic itself.) After finding this challenge, I really believe it will help me to see what amazing things I already have in my life. Sometimes when you think things are just not going well in your life, that there is nothing to be grateful for. But once you actually sit down and think about what you DO have, you realize you really do have a good life and you need to see things from a different perspective. 

So, that's why I'm starting this challenge: to see things from a different perspective and appreciate all the good I do have in my life.

Have you ever done a challenge like this before? Let me know in the comments!

Happy New Year, Happy New YOU!!!