Skincare for  female skin

Skin care is an important part of your health and beauty maintenance. You should have an arsenal of products and well-established routines that will keep your skin youthful and radiant. Through many blogs, like the Amway Connections blog, you can find skin care tips that will help you in your pursuit of the perfectly preserved epidermis. There are certain products you should keep an eye out for, so you can get a glimpse of the best options on the market. These products include serums, moisturizers, masks, makeup removers and and tech-based therapy. Here is a list of the best skin care innovations you should incorporate into your skin care routine:

Collagen Serum

Collagen serums are one of the best skincare products that result in a youthful glow and smooth complexion. Your body produces its own collagen, however its production slows down with age, which leads to a loss of skin firmness. You can prevent this process from occurring with a serum that boasts this structural protein. The serum is ideal for all skin types, as it doesn’t have any additional oils that will clog your pores. The serum should be applied on a clean face before you apply your moisturizer.

SPF Moisturizer

UV rays can cause major damage to your skin, resulting in dryness, wrinkles and sun spots. Protect your skin with a SPF moisturizer that will keep you epidermis hydrated and protected from the sun. Don’t use a regular sunscreen formula that is intended for body coverage on your face. Choose a lotion that is specifically intended for facial coverage. SPF lotions shouldn’t only be worn on bright and sunny days, as UV rays can penetrate clouds and still affect your skin on overcast days. If you are concerned that your SPF moisturizer will interfere with your makeup, you can choose a tinted moisturizer that will make your skin look dewy and flawless.

Eye Masks

Bags, puffiness and dark circles under your eyes can be reduced with the proper eye masks. Use an under-eye mask that has wrinkle smoothing peptides and hyaluronic acid, so you can reduce the undesired complexion of this sensitive skin area. They hyaluronic acid will plump and hydrate your skin, which will help reduces the puffiness and brighten the eye contour. Most masks should be applied for 20-40 minutes, two or three times per week.

LED Therapy Mask

LED light therapy is the new kid on the block — used by beauty mavens and celebrities alike. This technology isn’t as new as it seems, as it’s been used by dermatologists for decades, however it is now available for consumers to use at home. These at-home masks deliver similar results as the professional treatments — reducing acne, providing skin healing and preventing aging. Different color lights are used for different treatments. Most LED masks won’t be able to fully eliminate acne if you have chronic outbreaks, so you will need to continue to use acne medication and creams.

Makeup Remover

Your nightly beauty regimen should always included the removal of makeup. If you leave your makeup on overnight, your skin is more prone to blemishes and looking more aged. While taking your makeup off is the last thing you feel like doing after a long, stressful day — it is a proper step you must take for the preservation of your skin. Use a water- or oil-based makeup remover, so you don’t dry out your skin. Cleansing oils will remove your makeup and also balance your skin’s natural production of sebum. Take care of the sensitive skin area around your eyes, with a makeup remover that is specifically formulated for eye makeup removal.



It's no secret that I love a good thriller. And this was a great one.

A combination of the excess of Hollywood and the evils that lurk behind closed doors is the backdrop for this novel. in 1980, Kelly Michelle Lund shot and killed famous director John McFadden, or did she?

Kelly spends 25 years in prison for the murder. But that's not the only murder. As we unravel the murder of McFadden, we are also unravelling the murder of his best friend, actor Sterling Marshall, Kelly's father-in-law. And of course, Kelly is the prime suspect.

What I love about this thriller is that no one is who they seem to be, and even though that is evident from the outset, it is still baffeling as the reader tries to piece together two murders, who everyone is exactly, and what the outcome will be.

I also love that while we dip into the Hollywood lifestyle, there isn't any fakeness about it. We don't look at the glitz and glamour, we look at the dark side. The side that no one sees. The side that can lead to murder.

The dual timelines are easy to follow and a few excerpts from TMZ and news reports help shed light on the storylines. I was drawn in from the beginning and Gaylin held onto me right up until the very end.


*I have been asked why I rarely give 5 stars to books I seem to love. I reserve the 5 star rating for books that change my worldview. For books that I can't stop thinking about. For books that I know will last in my mind for the rest of my life. So yes, I am stingy with my 5 star ratings. But for good reason.


Boxycharm March 2017

March 21, 2017

in Beauty,Videos

This was another fantastic box!


Man having his wife tasting pasta dish

Cooking at home provides plenty of benefits, like the ability to control the ingredients you use and the chance to portion out your meal perfectly. However, it can also be a less healthy habit than eating out depending on your techniques and ingredients. A study carried out by researchers at Rush University discovered that the more time middle-aged women spent whipping up meals at home, the more likely they were to develop metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk for diabetes and heart disease. Factors such as baking more sweet desserts, using more oils and fats like butter and consuming larger portions because of the effort that went into cooking the meal may all contribute to these risks.

If you want to make sure your home cooking efforts don't sabotage your goals for a healthy lifestyle, there are plenty of home cooking gadgets that connect your cooking with a focus on health. Here are five tools to help you stay on track.

Get Your Fruits and Veggies

Juicing allows you to get several servings of fruits and vegetables in one easy-to-drink glass. Consuming fibrous veggies in juice form is often easier on the digestive track and feel-good nutrients are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. To really get the maximum benefits of juicing, cold-pressed is the way to go, since blades that spin quickly and heat up can decrease the amount of nutrients you take in. The Juicero cold-pressed juicer uses an app that helps you connect to a weekly subscription of juicing ingredients. The app also shows you what nutrients you're consuming and where the ingredients are sourced from.

Analyze Every Element

Tellspec is an innovative food scanner that allows the user to scan any type of food and see data regarding calories, nutrients, ingredients and more. The device is set to be released later this year, but models that allow users to start gathering data and gain access to what has been uploaded are currently being shipped. If you're a part of this data-gathering group, you get free access to information for a lifetime, which helps you avoid an annual service fee in the future, and you have the unique opportunity to shape the product. Other calorie counting applications for smartphones include MyFitnessPal and FitBit.

Forgo Frying

To get the most nutritional value out of your food, besides eating it raw, steaming is the best option. Boiling can zap nutrient counts, while sautéing or frying means you'll be using oil or butter to coat your ingredients. The Heaven Fresh NaturoPure Digital Food Steamer allows you to cook entire meals at once by steaming them, with different compartments for various ingredients. The one-touch digital display ensures every meal component is efficiently steamed to perfection, no matter what types of proteins or veggies you load into it.

Nail Nutritious Cooking

If you still feel like a novice in the kitchen, the Hello Egg is a virtual kitchen assistant that keeps you motivated to stir, chop, whisk and bake healthy recipes and improve your cooking skills. The Hello Egg plans for you based on your family's dietary requirements, then creates shopping lists (and organizes home delivery, if you like) before coaching you step by step through the cooking process with video recipes controlled by voice command. An app companion visually displays recipes, too. Using a smartphone that is water-resistant, like the Samsung Galaxy S7 while you're cooking ensures any splashes or spills don't pose a threat to your device.

Shop Smart

Keep your kitchen humming with a smart refrigerator that helps you shop smart as you take control of the ingredients you have on hand. The Samsung Family Hub has three built-in cameras that take photos of what is in your refrigerator whenever the door closes. You can access these photos on your smartphone from anywhere, in case you don't remember if you have enough milk or eggs to complete a recipe, for example. You can also access apps on the screen that can help you while cooking, or even play music.

When cooking at home, it can be easy to slip into not-so-healthy habits for you and your family. With the tech listed above, you can get some smart and connected sous chef assistants to make your kitchen one that's focused on healthy habits.


American Irish Stew

March 10, 2017

in Recipes

Looking for the perfect St. Patrick's Day recipe? Try this American Irish stew!

American Irish Stew
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Servings: 6

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/4    pounds beef, top round, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3          medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2          medium parsnips, cut into large chunks (optional)
  • 3          cups low-fat, reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 4          medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1          leek, coarsely chopped
  • 2          tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. In large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add beef and garlic. Cook, gently stirring until meat is evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add onion, carrots and parsnips. Cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 75 minutes, or until meat is tender.
  3. Stir in potatoes and simmer another 30 minutes. Add rosemary and leeks. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender. To avoid potatoes falling apart, do not overcook.
  4. Serve hot and garnish with parsley, if desired.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 43 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 6 g dietary fiber, 427 mg sodium.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images



(Family Features) When you renovate an older home, the goal is not always to replace old with new. In fact, some renovations are all about preserving the past with a design that reflects and pays respect to the yesteryear features that make your home unique.

Whether you’re planning a renovation for a 60-year-old home, or working to infuse some retro charm into a newer place, the ultimate goal is capturing the nostalgic feel of older homes: the classic lines, hardwood, moldings and woodwork, and features like fireplaces or stonework, bannisters or windows and doors.

The kitchen can be a particularly challenging room to renovate because the blend of old charm with modern convenience and functionality can seem at complete odds. These ideas from the design experts at Elmira Stove Works can help you combine practical function with timeless features for a room filled with character and purpose.

Keep cabinet facades true to the era. Updating the cabinets is practically a necessity for any vintage kitchen remodel. Although many older kitchens lacked the cabinet space modern homeowners desire, you can still achieve a retro look with ample storage by focusing more on the shape and style than on the quantity. With this approach, you can add as much storage and as many functional amenities as your space allows while still capturing the right look for the era. Opt for sleek and understated styles, or for some extra flair incorporate exaggerated angles and curves common to mid-century design. Material and color options abound, so you’re free to go bold and glossy or more subdued.

Design with a focal point in mind. In a retro kitchen, standout elements such as colorful appliances can enhance the space and act as a focal point in the room. Stainless steel has become almost “default” in kitchens from coast to coast. Whether your home is on the beach, in the mountains or in a suburban neighborhood, for those who find beauty in the past, choosing a retro refrigerator or a vintage stove might be a better choice. These appliances act as a major design element in the space, and fortunately there are plenty of options when it comes to retro appliances with exciting pops of color. One example is the Northstar line offered by Elmira Stove Works, which offers the ideal blend of form plus function: soft lines, rounded corners and refreshing colors – including a dazzling Robin’s Egg Blue – along with the premium performance you'd expect from the most modern appliances. Visit to explore a product catalog and find more design inspiration.

Let the details bring it all together. Vibrant color is the signature of any retro kitchen, so don’t forget to carry that design element through the space with accessories like dishes, cookbooks and vintage relics that celebrate bygone days. Other details like hardware, small appliances and utensils that harken the past can bring a cohesive look to the kitchen for a seamless style that feels like stepping back in time.

Bringing old character to life can be a tricky proposition when it comes to remodeling, however, with the proper focus on appliances, major features like the cabinetry and small details that make a big difference, you can confidently create a new space that takes you to another time.

Elmira Stove Works


(Family Features) Spring is a time of renewal and revitalization, but it’s hard to appreciate all the invigorating aspects of spring when your home still bears months of winter dust and dirt. Tackle your living space room-by-room for a spring clean that will leave you and your home refreshed and ready for a new season.
Although the kitchen is likely the room that gets the most cleaning attention, there are probably still areas for spring improvements. Cabinets and countertops make the biggest impression in your kitchen, so give them a thorough wipe-down, adding polish to the woodwork and natural stone, and repair any chips or damaged spots. Make your appliances look new again by wiping down and scrubbing hard-to-reach and heavy-use areas like the top of the refrigerator and the stovetop. They may not be immediately visible, but don’t overlook the inside of your cupboards. Discard expired food, damaged items and wayward pieces, such as lids with no matching container and vice versa. Finish off the kitchen with sweeping and mopping for squeaky clean floors.

Living Areas
Throughout the house, your biggest chore may be removing clutter. Finding storage solutions or new homes for accumulated items can make rooms seem instantly brighter and more welcoming. Dusting the blinds, lighting fixtures and fans can add a fresh touch, and clean baseboards make for a top-to-bottom clean. Vacuum cushions as well as under and behind all furniture, and if necessary, consider shampooing the carpets. Dust all the nooks and crannies, including any decorative items and accessories.

The closet is a good starting point in the bedroom. Sort your clothes and discard any you haven’t worn in the past year; these can be donated. Also check for any items that need repair and set them aside to mend when you take a cleaning break. This is also a good time to put away winter clothing and bring out your spring and summer attire. Additionally, you may find it helpful to add organization and storage containers to help control items like shoes, handbags and other accessories. As temperatures rise, your bedding needs will change, as well. Wash and put away blankets you won’t need until the weather turns cool again. Flip and rotate your mattress for longer wear before you add fresh, lightweight sheets. While the mattress is raised, you can take advantage of access under the bed to run the vacuum. A fresh new pillow will add the final refreshing touch to your spring-ready bed. Before you leave the bedroom, don’t forget to pull dressers and other furniture away from the walls to vacuum, dust each item thoroughly and wipe down baseboards and blinds or shutters.

Once all your cleaning is complete, take a few extra steps to make your home feel extra fresh and clean. On a warm day, throw open the windows to let the fresh breeze chase away stale winter air and add lightly scented candles throughout the house for a home that smells as inviting as it looks. Find more advice to make spring tasks simple at

Don’t Lose Your Natural Stone’s Luster
Durability is one reason homeowners choose natural stone for their kitchens and bathrooms, but the greatest appeal is often the sheer beauty of the material. Maintaining that luster and shine requires a bit of effort, but the ability to enjoy the unique character of natural stone makes it all worthwhile.

It’s important to understand the shine on granite and other natural stone is not from applying a wax, but a natural shine that reflects a rigorous process.

After being quarried from the earth’s surface, these stone blocks are taken to a factory for processing. The next step is a polishing line. It’s this factory finish that enhances the inherent characteristics of natural stone – the veins, swirls and crystals. From there the slabs are bundled and shipped to local stone manufacturers and installers to be cut to a homeowner’s specifications.

Once installed, you can maintain that luxurious factory finish with these tips from the experts at Granite Gold.

Clean often. Even miniscule particles could have a detrimental effect on your natural stone. However, it’s important to avoid common cleaners and abrasives as they can break down the protective seal and dull the natural finish, and result in expensive repairs. Also avoid using an abrasive scrubbing pad, which may leave unsightly scratches. Rely on scrubbing pads designed specifically for natural stone or look for “non-scratch” on the packaging.

Seal frequently. Frequently sealing natural stone surfaces maintains maximum surface protection, penetrating stone surfaces to provide superior, long-lasting resistance to staining, etching and soil buildup. It’s easy to test when to reseal. Pour water (about 3 inches in diameter) on the surface and let it sit for 30 minutes. If the water beads, then the stone remains sealed. However, if a dark mark or ring is created by the water, it is time to reseal. Be sure to repair any etching or stains before the sealant is applied.

Polish regularly. Polishing not only brings out the stone’s natural beauty, it reinforces the protective seal and provides ongoing protection against water spots and fingerprints. One time-saving but effective solution after sealing is Granite Gold Clean & Shine, which provides the cleaning power of the line’s Daily Cleaner and the luster from the Polish in one easy-to-use formula.

You can find the products nationwide at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon; check the product locator at

Photos courtesy of Getty Images



Seuss 2016

Today is National Read Across America Day! So I thought I would share with you 10 books I think you need to read. Each has it's own reason for being on this list, and I could make a much longer list of books I think you need to read. But these are some of my top books ever. Honorable mentions go to A Constellation of Vital Phenomenena, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Sherlock Homes, and Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being – This is one of those books where the whole world makes sense after you are done reading it.

unbearable lightness of being

Harry Potter – J.K. Rowling created an amazing world that everyone should participate in.

harry potter

Catch-22 – This is just a classic you can’t pass. It’s where the phrase Catch-22 comes from and I’m pretty sure your life won’t be complete unless you read it.


The World According to Garp – This book is hard to explain. It’s serious. It’s funny. It will make you find things that aren’t funny, funny. You will laugh at people. Just read it.


Pride and Prejudice – Ah Mr. Darcy. You can’t possibly expect to every have a true romance unless you have read this book.

pride and prejudice

On the Road – An adventure of the beat generation sure to make you find your wild side.

on the road

1984 – Big Brother is watching. If you didn’t catch this glimpse into the future in high school you should read it now. Even though it’s past 1984.


The Stranger – A philosophical novel that may make you rethink why people do the things they do.


The Secret Garden – We all need that place where imagination can run wild. Dreams come true, but the true reality of life is not completely forgotten.


The Alchemist – What is the meaning of life? Of struggles? Of hard work? And how important is it to know?



February Empties

I am actually quite surprised at how many empties I had in this short month!



Pretty young woman relaxing reading a book

Your home should put you at ease, soothe you after a long day, recharge your creativity, and wash away any tension you picked up throughout the day. Give yourself some room to breathe and organize your home in a way that puts you as ease.

Infuse a Sense of Calm

Every room has potential. Don't close the door on a room and leave it for later just because it's cluttered. Throw out or donate extra stuff. If you think you might use it "someday," chances are it can go in the donation bin. Let your family know that if they want to keep something they need to put it away or it might end up at the local Goodwill. Once you've made space, you can organize and arrange each room how you've always wanted.

Color evokes emotion, so decorate your house with colors that bring out the best in you and your family. Toss out any item that has bad mojo; certain items may have bad memories and these items should be thrown away. On the other hand, there are also items that make you smile and remember the best times of your life. Place these possessions around the house and make them the focus of many different rooms. When you enter each room, you'll be greeted with a boost — a calming memory of your past.

Consider Safety & Security

Check your fire alarms. Make sure they work. Just because new batteries are in them doesn't mean they are reliable. Test them. Have your appliances and heating unit inspected by professionals. Fuel-burning home appliances can be potential hazards if not serviced annually. Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed in all rooms and sleeping quarters of the house. Carbon monoxide is only slightly lighter than air, and due to airflow in most homes, achieves a neutral buoyancy. Therefore, install carbon monoxide detectors up high on lower floors, and near the floor in upstairs bedrooms.

Keep your family safe from intruders with an HD security camera system set up. While security cameras were once overpriced for all but commercial use, home security has seen a drop in price over recent years. Lorex Technology offers an HD camera system in several various packages to meet whatever security needs you have.

Make It Soothing

Flowers and other decorations from nature have a soothing effect on people's lives. Indoor plants provide an ambiance that connects you with a larger living world. Pets can also soothe their owners, as dogs and cats are intuitive creatures. They pick up on stress, fear, frustrations, and often give their owners moments of joy in an otherwise busy life. However, house plants and pets don't always mix. If you have indoor plants and animals that roam your house, make sure your plants aren't poisonous to your dog or cat.

The sense of smell is often overlooked as a soothing sense, but an aromatherapy unit can provoke happy memories and tranquil emotions. While natural light and a quiet atmosphere can soothe you, the sense of smell triggers memories more often and more powerfully than any other sense.



This was a Book of the Month club pick.

Jenna's life has been altered. Drasticically, devastatingly altered. So she leaves everything behind and moves to the Welsh coast, off the grid.

The interesting thing about this novel is we have no idea what Jenna is running from. We have no idea what happened to her. We just know she is scared and hiding.

There are also a pair of Bristol police trying to solve a hit-and-run. We know the two are related, but not sure how, until the very end.

There are a lot of plot twists in this book that will keep you interested right up until the very last page. And even the last three lines will keep you guessing.

Jenna gains sympathy from the reader from the start and you will be pulled in so many different directions as you try to figure this one out.









Parents don’t need anyone to tell you how hard it is to keep a clean house while your kids are still young—you already know all about it. Sometimes, it may seem like the task is impossible. Don’t give up, though. We’re here to help. Keep reading for some tips on how to keep your house clean even when its default state is chaos.

Sanitize Everything

If someone in your house has been sick, eliminating all traces of germs in your house is imperative. Even if everyone has been healthy lately, you can take steps to try and keep it that way by regularly sanitizing your environment. If you have babies who are formula-fed, then it is imperative to clean their milk bottles and then use a sterilizer to blitz the germs.

Armed with disinfectant spray, bleach, and cotton balls, tackle every place in your house that gets touched frequently—doorknobs, countertops, handles, levers, etc. Make sure that you have a set schedule for washing and drying bedding as well.

Don’t forget about objects that often come into contact with germ hotbeds, like toothbrushes, dishes, and tissue. Throw out the garbage, wash whatever’s reusable, and regularly change out the rest.

Staying Environmentally Sensitive

If eco-friendliness is a priority for you, just remember that vinegar and baking soda can marvelously clean pretty much anything. Also, check to see if your community has a recycling day for toxic and electronic items so that you can make sure they’re safely discarded.

Little things like making sure that shoes are cleaned on a doormat and not worn around the house can also go a long way towards stopping filth before it passes through your door in the first place.

Get Preemptively Organized

Although it takes a little extra effort upfront, organizing your house in a way that anticipates mess can save a lot of time and tears. Color code your files in your cabinet so that you don’t have to squint at the labels, keep items in pocketed wall hangings (and teach your kids to return the items to them), and designate a small space specifically for dropping everyday things.

Reusing items like peg boards, Tic Tac boxes, extra hangers, jars, and plastic bottles can be lifesavers for storage purposes. That way, you can cut down on trash and keep everything straight at the same time.

Your kids can help, too. If you make cleanliness a game for them or come up with a reward system, they may be more inclined to pick up after themselves.

Get Creative

Dare to think outside the box. Rise to the challenge of keeping a clean house and happy children all at once. Let us know if you have any other tips you’d like to share, too.




The Widow has been compared to Gone Girl just about everywhere that books are talked about. So of course, I NEEDED to read this book.

While this is an interesting thriller and does have some twists and turns, I think the comparison to Gone Girl is unearned.

Jeannie is our main character. A mouse of a woman who stood by her husband even though he was accused of a terrible crime, kidnapping and murdering a two year old girl. But now her husband is dead. And she wants to tell her story.

I enjoyed this book, but I never felt fully engaged in the story. It wasn't a page turner I couldn't put down. And I think that is for two reasons. One – Jeannie is so mousy and I just can't get on board with her. I don't feel any empathy for her. She is an unlikeable heronie. Two – There was a lack of surprise throughout the book. Every twist, every turn was predictable.

This is a nice, watered-down thriller. Some of the minor characters were my favorites, like Eileen, the detective's wife and Kate, the reporter. If you are looking for an easy, lazy Sunday read, then this is a great choice. If you are looking for the next Gone Girl, this just can't compare.

3 Stars





If you have a child between the ages of 0 and 18, you are probably worried about screen time. Whether it be a phone, computer, TV, tablet or video game, we’re all guilty of occasionally (or always) spending too much time consuming media and of letting our children do the same. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 18 months have no screen time, with only one hour per day for children between 2 and 5 years old, and no more than two hours a day for all other kids.

In reality, 29 percent of babies under one are watching TV and videos for an average of 90 minutes a day, children between 2 and 5 average two point two hours per day and 8 to 18 year olds consume more than seven hours a day, according to a campaign for a commercial-free childhood. The dangers of too much screen time range from increased childhood obesity, sleep problems, and learning delays. Like most parents, you are most likely aware of the issues, but not sure how to correct what can be an unwieldy problem. Here are six suggestions for implementing a two-fold solution; reducing use and encouraging alternative activity.

Set a Good Example

This one is easier said that done, but is so incredibly important. From the earliest age, kids are modeling their behavior off of their parents, so the more time you spend looking at your phone, checking email and watching TV, the more you normalize that behavior. If you set limits for your kids, you should also honor those limits when you are with them.

Set Time Limits

To that end, you have to set time limits for your kids. Children are mesmerized by TV and internet videos from the youngest age and it only becomes more tempting the more access they have and the older they get. Set a rule that embraces the AAP guidelines of two hours of screen time a day and then, and this is the important part: enforce the rule.

Schedule Screen-Free Time

Make some spaces and times screen-free. There should be some times and places where all screens are off limits. Making a rule that there will be no screens on during meals (that includes your phone) will give you a chance to talk as a family without the TV or phones as a distraction. Also consider taking all screens out of your children’s bedroom. This will not only help you monitor any internet activity but cut down on their TV viewing time. Kids with TVs in their rooms watch an hour and a half more a day.

Insist on Sharing

Make devices shared devices. To the extent possible, given your child’s age and needs, make things like gaming devices, tablets, computers family property.

Provide Alternative Activities

Screens are such an easy form of entertainment for all of us that we often forget that there are alternatives. Help your kids come up with other options. If the weather is too cold or rainy, suggest an art project or board game. However, if it’s at all possible, encourage your kids to get outside. More than just being away from screens, time outside has very real health benefits for children. Among many other benefits, outdoor play decreases obesity, raises levels of Vitamin D and lowers stress levels.

A Family Affair

As with all things, you are the role model. Active parents are more likely to have active kids. Plan an outdoor family activity for at least one day of every weekend, from going for a bike ride, to hiking, to flying kites, to exploring a local park. Make your backyard an inviting place for kids to play before and after school with sports equipment, outdoor art supplies, or even a trampoline with a safety enclosure that is big enough for the whole family to get in on the fun.



I love a good historical fiction book. The Velvet Hours is set in Paris on the brink of German occupation. Goodreads says, "Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved."

There are two main characters in this book. Solange and Marthe de Florian.

Solange is 100% relatable. She is trying to find her place in this world, but doesn't want to just be average. We can pretty much all relate to that. She meets her grandmother Marthe de Florian who begins to tell her story to Solange. Marthe is less relatable because she is rather self-absorbed. She was a courtesan and has spent her life surrounding herself with beauty. Time stands still in her apartment and it seems untouched by the outside world. It is a good contract to the reality that Solange faces outside the apartment every day.

It is somewhat jarring to move back and forth in time as well as back and forth from this dreamlike apartment to the reality of WWII looming. But that's really the point of the transitions.

I truly enjoyed this book right up until the very end. I felt as if the ending was wrapped up too quickly. Then again, it could just be that I didn't want it to be over.

If you are a fan of historical fiction with a romantic side, this book is definitely for you.

3 Stars




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You’re the luckiest in the world if you have an affectionate mom, and there’s no way she can be thanked enough for being the reason of your existence. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Presenting her with thoughtful gifts is the best way to show her how much she means to you.

Don’t look into the wallet, you don’t need hundreds of dollars to buy her a gift. You see, that’s the thing about mothers, they don’t need expensive commodities! Even a single flower from you can make her day.

Want to gift your mom something special even though you’re under a tight budget? You’ll be surprised to know how many gift options are available under $20 to express your love.

Here are some exclusive options to select from:

1.    The Personalized Approach

Nothing speaks of your emotions better than personalized gifts. They’re exclusive, thoughtful, and remind your mother of you every time she looks at them. The good thing is that personalized gifts are easily available with quite a good number of options under $20. Whether it’s a bespoke keychain with your photo, a monogrammed diary, or a coffee mug with a special message for her, she’ll love unwrapping a gift customized by you just for her. Hit the Internet and check out a few amazing personalized gift options for mothers.

2.    Think about Her Den – the Kitchen

If she spends a lot of her time in the kitchen, gifting her a thoughtful present to help her in the scullery makes complete sense. The happy hostess of your life needs the right tools to cook amazing dishes for you. Try kitchenware for her. You can find amazing options in the kitchen appliances section within $20. Further, giving her a book with sumptuous, easy-to-cook recipes is a great way of helping her with planning the weekly menu. Even a personalized apron with a cute message will bring a smile on her face every time she wears it.


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3.    Something for Your Net-Savvy Mom

Electronic gadgets and accessories are year-round buys and always needed. Believe it or not, there are numerous tech accessories to buy under $20 for your mom. These inexpensive accessories assist in making her day-to-day computing easier. Whether it is to charge multiple devices at the same time or to keep her stuff uncluttered and safe, a few small accessories can make a huge difference.  Consider gifting her a Bluetooth keyboard that allows her to work on her tablet easily, or a portable power bank ensuring her phone never goes out-of-charge. Browse a little and you’ll find great technology gift options for her.

4.    Refresh Her Memories

Every moment spent with your mom is a moment to cherish, and some priceless flashes can let her know that she means the world to you. Gifting a collage of such utterly nostalgic moments or a personalized photo frame with her delightful picture will make her day every time she looks at it. Custom photo albums that narrate a story through some great pictures or just random clicks of the entire family will come within $20 and still be exceptional.

5.    Add to Her Hobby of Home Decor

A hobby common to every mom relates to decorating her home. Gift her something that adds beauty to her household. Her home is where her heart lies and gifting a piece that accentuates the splendor of her home can never go wrong. From garden accessories, decorative candles, and pretty wall decors to table linen and decorative vases, the options are innumerable. Be creative, choose the colors and patterns she likes and suit your home as well. Moms love it when you care about how the house looks.

6.    The Gift of Time

A little of your time is what her heart yearns for. She’ll be okay if you can’t take her to a fancy dinner because a late-night coffee date with your mom is enough to lift her spirit for days. A mother devotes her entire life to her family. The least we can do is give her some of our time. If you can’t bridge the distance for now, give her a bit of ‘me’ time with herself. Book her a spa or a parlor session that allows her to pamper herself for a while.


Your mother is the one who teaches you the act of giving selflessly. She never waits for an occasion to do something special for you, and you shouldn’t either. The gift of love doesn’t come with a price tag. Think no more, anything you gift her will make your mother happy because you matter to her the most and there’s nobody quite like mom.

Author Bio

Korie Cantor is a writer who writes about living and lifestyle. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and it’s latest trends. Follow her @koriecantor




Project 10 pan update

February 6, 2017

in Beauty,Videos

I’ve used up 4/10 products so far.

Project 10 pan




What if you woke up one day and your life wasn't yours. You are still you, but everything else is different. You are in an entirely different world.

That's exactly what happens to Jason Dessen in Dark Matter.

It's difficult to talk much about the story without giving too much away. So I'll tell you what I can then you just have to go read this book.

This is a thriller that will make you question everything. I don't just mean your life, I mean EVERYTHING. Every decision you make. Every step you take. Everything you love. Everything you hate. Everything you take for granted. Every dream you ever had.

What makes you happy? And what will you go through to have what makes you happy?

There is a lot of high level science in this book, but it's not science-fiction and the science is easily accessible for those of us who aren't geniuses. The book is fast-paced and a quick read because it just pulls you along effortlessly.

It's better in this review that I tell you less and let you experience more. You just have to trust me on this and jump on this wild ride.







Log homes, cape cods, colonial style homes… The kind of homes one could build literally falls under a never-ending list. While beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, the aesthetic outlook of a home is not the only feature a home owner should be focusing on. With the financial health of economies and the housing market looming ever so often, the amount of money being pumped into building a home needs urgent consideration as well. The common misunderstanding, however, is that quality is compromised when the wallet is tight. This is where making informed choices comes in handy.

Energy efficient

Concrete homes are often made using a system known as Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) where concrete is poured into insulating agents such as panels. This system that is being adopted when constructing this style of homes allows for the overall household to save on energy and heating costs.

Homes built using concrete require an average of 25% less energy in both warm and cool climates as compared to other forms of housing. Although architects may warn that the construction of concrete houses may be a little higher, it is only but an initial concern since cost-savings are made on a literal day-to-day basis where one gets to save a significant amount of money on extensive heating in harsh winters and air-conditioning in warmer times.

Weather resistant

Storms and hurricanes with high wind speeds and strengths are always a concern for home owners, especially if the region is prone to such natural calamities. However, owners of a concrete home can set their hearts at considerable ease knowing that concrete walls are proven to be able to easily manage wind code requirements of even 146mph.

In the event of such natural disasters, homes built out of concrete can be counted on to stand sturdy while providing reliable shelter to the family for a significant time period. As compared to wood homes which often offer little to no protection in such times, a concrete house is more than just a budget-friendly option.

Low maintenance costs

Over the long run, maintaining the quality and livability of a household takes both effort and money. Cleaning and maintaining the outlook and interiors of a house is not an easy task nor is it avoidable. This being said, one other benefit of a home built using concrete is how lowthe maintenance costs can be expected to be from time to time. Mold, fungus and even insects are known to be common household problems that often are not easy to resolve. Houston Ready Mix never has any issues with continued home maintenance. This concrete expert enjoys the stability of providing materials which ensure durable, long-lasting homes.

Having said this, a great cost saving of a concrete home is the virtual non-existence of such problems due to the very nature of concrete itself. This strong composite material does not allow for mold or fungus to grow and does not attract or encourage the breeding of insects such as termites. Spending large sums of money to engage the services of pest busters or extensive cleaning up of the house will no longer be a concern should one own a house made of concrete. In fact, here are a few tips on how to make your house a home.

Less expensive insurance policy

Housing insurance policy is something home owners always fear and shun. The premiums on these policies are no simple sum and can skyrocket based on the kind of house built, the neighborhood, susceptibility to natural disasters and especially fire. This is where concrete steps in to seal a lower premium on housing insurance policies.

It may not be known to all but it is a given fact that concrete is fire resistant, making it not only a budget-friendly material to build a home out of but also a safe one. Due to this characteristic of the material, the premiums on a housing insurance policy fall significantly. Coupled with the other benefits of concrete housing such as protection from pests and natural disasters, the home insurance can be potentially bought at an even cheaper amount, much to the delight of future home owners on a budget.

Concrete is where it’s at

Every home owner has a vision of how his or her ideal home should be and what look it should entail. While this may be the case, it is not necessarily a given to sacrifice the aesthetic component of a home when operating under a budget. Houses built out of concrete just look like any other regular house down the street but offer various pluses as mentioned above.

Concrete is merely the structural material that forms the development of the building but can be adapted to suit the tastes and preferences of home owners, all but for a much cheaper sum as compared to a similar style of home but built out of a different material. Concrete homes can offer affordability to future home owners on a budget but more than this, are also capable of introducing comfort and safety.

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Boxycharm this month was an interesting collection with some real hits and some terrible misses.

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Drinking tea

Becoming an adult is the classic “grass is always greener” scenario. When we're young, we pine away for the days when we’ll be grown up and seemingly able to do, eat and watch whatever we want. But, now that we've officially entered into the realms of adulthood, we may wish to go back to the often carefree days of our youth.

While you might feel at times like you're still a kid inside the body of a grownup — and find the challenges of “adulting” difficult — you can still embrace your life as a grownup, while still honoring your inner child. Check out the following tips that will help you do just that:

Trade in Impulse Buying for Planned Shopping

When you were a kid, you might have taken your allowance money and immediately spent every penny on candy or toys. While it can still be fun to splurge on things that you want instead of need, as an adult, it’s important to spend your hard-earned money a bit more wisely. Rather than heading to the mall on payday to shop ‘til you drop, think about what essentials you really need to keep on hand — and have fun shopping for those.

A great example is essential clothing items. Stock up your favorite jeans, capri pants and those oh-so comfy T-shirts you wear on your days off. Or, instead of buying some gadget that will ultimately end up collecting dust on your shelf, spring for an extra set of tires for your car. Websites like TireBuyer have a great selection of tires at affordable prices — and they will deliver them right to your door. Other essential items to stock up on include batteries, light bulbs, paper products and more. If you notice any of these on sale, buy some extras and use your savings for an occasional splurge.

Put Away Your Phone at Bedtime

Your smartphone, tablet and laptop are chock full of short-wavelength blue light — the same type of light found in the morning sunlight that helps us wake up. As Entreprenuer notes, if you consistently catch up on texts or watch a movie on your laptop before bed, the blue light is probably messing with your body’s ability to produce melatonin and get a decent quality of sleep.

To embrace your inner adult, put these devices away after dinner and return to the days of your youth when you enjoyed a good book or maybe some relaxing coloring before bedtime. Choose books that you want to read — not only those you feel are “good” for you — and stock up on a few grown-up coloring books, magic markers and colored pencils. Your adult body will thank you for the better nights of sleep — and your inner child will feel like it has traveled back in time.

Start a Retirement Savings Account

Retirement might seem like it’s light years away, but do your adult self a favor and start planning for it now. As All Day notes, most people start setting aside money for the future when it’s too late, so talk to a banker about starting an IRA, and if your employer offers a 401K plan, sign up for it.

While you're busy saving for your golden years of retirement, honor your inner kiddo by buying a bright and cheery piggy bank and putting all of your change into it. At the end of a month or two, count up what’s in there and spend it on something fun, like maybe a dinner and movie night with your spouse or a good friend.

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Have you ever wondered what type of dog is the right breed for you? Check out this flowchart to find the perfect dog for your household.

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If you are having a problem with pests in your home you may be wondering whether it's best to employ barrier control or baiting to resolve it. The answer to that question is not completely straightforward. The method of control that is chosen is often dictated by the details of the individual situation. If you speak to a Corpus Christi exterminator they will put their experience and expertise to use advising you on the best solution for your particular problem.

We are going to take a look at what they might tell you about both means of pest control. Hopefully, this information will be of help when it comes to making a decision regarding pest control in your property.

Using a liquid barrier

If you want to protect your home against pests such as termites you may want to consider using a liquid barrier solution. This type of solution is used to treat the soil around and under your home. If there is concrete present this may involve drilling through the concrete to gain access. This drilling can take place both inside and outside of your property and it can be a disruptive process.

The good thing about barrier protection is that it can work at a quicker pace than using baits; this because it can obviously take time for pests to locate and feast on baits. If you need a quick solution to your pest problem then using a liquid barrier may be a good idea.

Termite Damage Termite Damage

Using baits to get rid of pests

Baits are definitely a less intrusive means of pest control; there is none of the drilling and upheaval that can sometimes be associated with using a liquid barrier. One thing you do need to consider is that the use of baits normally necessitates more visits from the pest control experts. This is because baits need to be replaced and pest activity needs to be checked.

This usually means that pest control using baits is the more expensive option. You should not let this put you off as this might be the most appropriate method for your circumstances.

As you can see, there are two very different methods which can be used to control pest activity in your home. Both of these methods can have effective results so you should really trust the pest control professionals when it comes to deciding which method will work better in your circumstances.

One thing you should never do is just leave pest control to chance. Pests such as termites can cause a considerable amount of damage if you allow them to infest your home. It's always better to have regular checks carried out and invest in a pest control method that will work for your property, if you do this you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your property is protected. You should not be faced with the trauma and cost of damage caused by pests.



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I have wanted to give planning in a traveler's notebook a try for quite some time and I am LOVING it!


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When it comes to skincare treatments, the options are practically limitless. However, there are certain tried and true methods that the majority of people turn to when they need help with their skin. Among those methods are laser treatments and Dermaroller devices.

Differences Between Laser Treatment and Dermaroller

Much like laser treatments, Dermaroller procedures have many uses in the skincare industry. However, those uses vary a bit. For example, lasers are typically used for precise treatments of a small area of skin, such as the treatment of a small scar or wrinkle. Although, there are some types of lasers that treat the skin as a whole by getting down into the deeper layers and encouraging cellular repairs through the use of the body's own natural collagen.

Dermaroller procedures can both encourage collagen and increase general blood flow to certain areas of the skin. For those and similar reasons, Dermaroller can sometimes be effective at regrowing hair in balding areas, while skincare lasers equipment is usually used to get rid of unwanted body hair.

Dermaroller and Laser Treatment Similarities to Consider

Even though they are used in opposite ways in the world of hair removal or growth, lasers and Dermaroller procedures can treat similar skin conditions as well. For example, both can be used to treat wrinkles and scars in certain situations. Both can also be used to remove blemishes on the skin's surface. Additionally, Dermaroller devices and laser machines can both be used to create delivery conduits for creams and lotions that can fortify your skin's defenses.

How the Dermaroller Process and the Laser Process Differ

Another way in which the Dermaroller and laser processes differ dramatically is in how the actual appointment is conducted. If you make a Dermaroller appointment at your local clinic, they won't be treating you with a light or heat-based device like a laser. Instead, you will be treated by a technician who will roll a hand-held roller device across your skin. That device will be covered in teeny tiny needles, which will break through your skin during the rolling process.

Obviously, having your skin punctured by a bunch of tiny needles sounds painful, but your technician will reduce the pain by numbing the area first. Nevertheless, you should expect a little temporary bleeding or oozing during and directly after the treatment. That's why, even though at-home Dermaroller kits are sold in stores, many people would rather have someone else treat them in a clinical setting, as opposed to treating themselves.

Dermaroller's Healing Process and What Results to Expect

When you have a Dermaroller treatment, you should expect it to be the first of many. You probably won't see the full results that you want immediately. However, that doesn't mean that you should schedule multiple appointments close together. The reality is that your skin could take a few weeks, or even over a month to heal itself fully after one treatment. Only when it is healed up properly should you go in for a second appointment.

If the Dermaroller process still sounds confusing, the best course of action is to schedule a consultation at your local skincare clinic that offers micro-needling through the use of a Dermaroller device. The clinicians there should be able to assess your skin and explain exactly what type of treatment you need. They can even give you a rough idea of how many appointments you will need and how spread out they should be.

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Project 10 Pan

January 5, 2017

in Beauty,Videos

I decided to start the new year off with a Project 10 Pan. This is a project pan where I will be trying to completely use up 10 makeup products.


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(Family Features) Families across America want to make sure that they’re starting the day strong, and getting enough high-quality protein in the morning is a simple way to do so. A breakfast with protein is a great way to energize the morning, and adding it to your family’s routine doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simply add an 8-ounce glass of milk with 8 grams of natural protein plus other essential nutrients to your favorite breakfast foods for an easy, delicious way to help meet your morning protein goals.

Kids already love milk and it’s a naturally nutrient-rich, wholesome food that moms can feel good about pairing with breakfast. Plus, experts recommend 25-30 grams of protein for adults at every meal – so getting a high-protein breakfast, including milk, gives moms the energy they need to cross everything off their to-do lists. Parenting expert, pediatrician and mom of three, Dr. Tanya Altmann, recommends serving milk at breakfast for a source of high-quality protein in the morning.

“The morning is a great time to bring the family together and start the day off with a tasty breakfast. As a mom of three, I need breakfast options that are quick and easy but also nutritious,” Dr. Altmann said. “Serving my children whole-grain cereal and milk, healthy oatmeal with fruit or a smoothie made with milk guarantees that my family will get high-quality protein and other essential nutrients to start their day off strong.”

Bring a smile to your child’s face with this charming twist on a breakfast standard. Simply make instant oats with familiar flavors – cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar – and top the bowl with a friendly bunny face. For more recipes and ideas, visit

Bunny-Faced Microwave Oatmeal
Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Edwards of Creme de la Crumb

  • 1/3       cup instant oats
  • 3/4       cup fat free milk
  • 1/4       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4       teaspoon vanilla                                                           
  • 1          teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2/3       small banana
  • 2          fresh blueberries
  • 1/2       small strawberry
  • chocolate syrup (optional)
  1. In microwave-safe bowl, stir together oats, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Microwave on high 30 seconds-1 minute and stir.
  2. Cut banana in half crosswise. Cut 1 1/8-inch thick coin slices from flat end of each banana half. Place slices in upper-third of oatmeal bowl, side-by-side, to make eyes. Top with 1 blueberry on each banana slice.
  3. Place remaining banana halves at the top of the bowl, hanging off edge, to create ears.
  4. Place strawberry in the middle of the bowl to make the nose then drizzle chocolate, if desired, to make mouth and whiskers.
  5. Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.


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