DIY Decorative Mirror And Clear Skin Dreams

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeforeDifferin #CollectiveBias

This July, I will be turning 34. Now that I’m well into my 30s and have bought a home, have two kids and drive a minivan, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’m fully grown. Can someone please inform my skin that I’m an adult? I don’t think it got the memo! Those dreaded teenage years are behind me (long behind me….) and yet I still find myself looking in the mirror at a face full of acne.

To be honest though, I don’t remember having a lot of breakouts in junior high or high school. I had some annoying pimples but nothing out of the ordinary during that hormonal time when acne tends to be at its worst. I feel like my skin played a trick on me and, as soon as I became an adult, decided to go haywire. I don’t know if it’s the stress of “adulting” or what, but my skin has never been this bad. I feel like I’m always dealing with breakouts and as soon as some start to fade, new ones appear.

My acne keeps me from enjoying life to its fullest because I am so self-conscious about how my skin looks. In college I was the Student Council Social Chair of my class and so outgoing that I would pull people walking by me into conversations (even if I didn’t know them!) Nowadays, I avoid conversations with people mainly because I feel like people are staring at the breakouts on my face.

I also find myself avoiding cameras and video for the same reason. As a blogger, I’d love to start a video series. I used to be on the speech team and have no problem performing in front of crowds, but I hate how I look so much that the thought of doing so now gives me anxiety – not because I have to talk in front of people, but because I don’t want people to see me.

And mirrors? I avoid them because they show every imperfection. I’d rather not look at myself that much because I don’t want to see how bad my breakouts are.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change my mindset about my skin and not let it hold me back from being the best version of myself. I need to be able to look in the mirror and love the face I see looking back at me. It’s going to be a process but I’m ready.

The first thing I’m doing is trying a new acne product that I hope will clear up my skin. I have tried a number of products and none of them have worked but I’m excited to try this new Differin® Gel because I have heard good things about it. It’s the first and only prescription strength retinoid that’s now available over the counter for clearing and preventing acne. It actually clears breakouts where they start (deep in the pores), prevents breakouts before they begin, and as a result, restores skin’s texture and tone.

The second thing I did for myself was make myself a decorative mirror to look into every day. I do not want to avoid mirrors anymore. This was such an easy craft that I wanted to share the DIY tutorial so you could make one for yourself. It will look so pretty hanging over your table with some fresh flowers next to it!

Materials needed:

  • Mirror
  • Mosaic tiles (colors of your choice)
  • Adhesive created for mosaic tiles

Instructions:

Decide on how you want to arrange your mosaic tiles. Lay them out on your mirror so you can see how they fit. Depending on the size of your mirror and the size of your tiles, you may discover you need to cut some of the tiles or have some hang off the edge of the mirror a bit.

Use the adhesive to stick the tiles to the mirror. The adhesive dries quickly, so only do a small portion at a time. You can put glue on the mirror or on the back of the tiles. (I started putting it on the mirror but halfway through switched to putting the adhesive glue on the back of the tiles. Both methods worked, but putting it on the back of the tiles seemed to be less messier.)

Continue adding the tiles all the way around the mirror, straightening the pieces as you go so that the tiles dry in a straight line and aren’t crooked. Once the tiles are glued on, you will want to let the mirror sit overnight to dry before using it.

So now I have a new product I am confident will clear my skin and a beautifully decorated mirror to look into. I will be sharing my journey, along with a skin update, here on the blog in a couple months.

You can find Differin® Gel, along with Differin® Balancing Cleanser and Differin® Balancing Moisturizer, in the complexion care aisle at Walmart. Differin® Gel contains the dermatologist recommended retinoid, Adapalene. It’s the newest advancement and ingredient in the OTC acne category in over 30 years so if you feel like nothing has worked yet you should try this! Make sure that when you use it, you apply a thin layer all over your face once daily. Please use caution when using Differin® Gel with more than one acne treatment or glycolic acid product because this could lead to irritation.

If you are in a similar situation with the way you feel about your skin, I’d love to hear from you and perhaps even go on this journey {virtually} together! You deserve clear skin and to feel beautiful!

This product is dermatologist developed and tested. Please call 1-866-735-4137 for any questions you may have concerning the product. However, should you experience any problems while using the product, please discontinue use and consult your healthcare provider.

DIY Decorative Jewelry Tray

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StreakFreeShine #CollectiveBias

Spring is one of the most beautiful seasons. From budding flowers to pretty lace dresses to sparkling pastel colored jewels, beauty is all around us. As the weather starts to warm up and the sun starts shining a bit more, I love being able to admire the new growth of flowers and watch the birds sitting outside my window.

That very first sunny spring day though, when I open up my curtains, I am reminded of the one chore that gets a little neglected during the colder months- cleaning my windows. It’s amazing how dirty they get over the few months we are stuck inside while the sky is gray and the trees are barren. I grab my Windex® Original Glass Cleaner from under my kitchen sink and, as soon as I spray it on my windows, I start to see the dirt fading away. A couple swipes of a paper towel later and my windows are shiny clean and I can see the beautiful spring day through them.

I also like to bring the beauty of spring indoors and I do that by decorating my home with seasonal decor and fresh flowers. To bring a touch of spring into my bedroom I made a decorative jewelry tray to hold some of my favorite pieces. It was easy to make and doesn’t require a lot of materials so I wanted to share the tutorial so you could make your own.

Materials needed:

  • Round tray
  • Glass or mirror a little smaller than your tray
  • Glue or adhesive
  • Beaded necklaces made for craft projects

 Directions:

Put glue/adhesive in the middle of the tray, spreading it out the width of your mirror.

Place the glass or mirror piece in the middle of the tray and gently press it down to adhere it to the tray.

To see how long your string of beads will need to be you can put it along the bottom edge of your tray. You’ll want it long enough to go all around the bottom of your tray but not overlap. I had to tie two beaded necklaces together and then take some beads off the one end because, as you can see in the picture, it was too long.

Use your adhesive/glue to glue your beads onto the tray along the inner bottom edge of the tray. If you still have space between your beads and your mirror/glass, you can glue on a second string of beads.

This tray will get a lot of fingerprint smudges on it but it’s easy to clean with Windex® Original Glass Cleaner.

Windex® Original Glass Cleaner is my favorite product to use on glass because I know that it will always leave my glass surfaces with a streak-free shine. Thanks to its formulation with Ammonia-D®, it starts working on fingerprints, dirt, and other messes even before you wipe. Whether you need to clean the smudges on your bathroom mirror, your windows, or the glass of your jewelry tray, you can trust America’s #1 glass cleaner to get the job done!

I found Windex® Original Glass Cleaner and Windex® Vinegar Multi-Surface Cleaner in the cleaning aisle of my local Food4Less store.

Now you can see the beauty of spring outside (thanks to your clean windows) and inside, sitting on your jewelry tray.

What is your favorite thing about the spring season? Get more spring cleaning ideas here.

Be The Snack Mom MVP

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PureLife40pk #CollectiveBias

With spring baseball season just around the corner, I’ve already started planning for what I need to do to have a smooth sports season. From trying on last year’s cleats ahead of time to pulling the bat bag out from it’s winter hibernation in the garage to making sure that I’m stocked up with plenty of water for practices and games- I’m hoping to be more prepared this season than I have been in the past. (So I can avoid an issue like I had last year when I discovered on the first day of fall baseball practice that Jake’s cleats didn’t fit from the spring season that had just ended a few months before!)

My boys play sports year round which means I’m also responsible for team snacks at least once a month or so. That’s just one more thing to think about during our busy spring sports season when I’m balancing the schedules of two baseball teams and a soccer team (along with all of their other activities and school events). This year I decided to buy a small cooler that was the perfect size to hold enough water bottles for the team so that I could have drinks for snack time ready to go.

And because I’m a crazy sports mom I decided to decorate the cooler a bit to show my team spirit :)

Materials needed to decorate the cooler:

  • 1 to 2 cheer bows in the sport of your choice (or thick ribbon in the sport of your choice)
  • Sports themed stickers

Tie the bows on the handle of the cooler and put the stickers on where you’d like to. I used two big cheer bows on the handle, a “baseball” sticker on the front of the cooler, and then put a long scrapbook sticker that looked like the lace of a baseball on the handle of the cooler.

I also personalized the water bottles and had fun sports themed bottles in just minutes.

Materials needed to decorate/personalize the water bottles:

  • Colorful paper
  • Foam sports sticker
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Marker (optional for personalizing)

To decorate the water bottles cut strips of paper about the size of the label on the bottles. Tape the paper on to the bottle and add a foam sports sticker to the front. To personalize the water bottles even more you can write the name or initials of each child on the ball of their label.

I also went to Sam’s Club and bought a 40 pack of Nestlé® Pure Life® Water (available in select Sam’s Club stores, ask your Club Manager about getting Nestlé Pure Life Water in your store if it’s unavailable.). I like that I get 40 bottles for the price of 35! Nestlé Pure Life Water is filtered through a 12-step quality process and enhanced with a unique blend of minerals so it tastes delicious and refreshing.

I keep the cooler stocked with water and bags of snacks in the car so now all I have to do the day I’m snack mom is grab some ice or ice packs, stick them in the cooler and head to the game. The cooler sits near the dugout and I’m ready with cold waters and a snack for the kids when they are done playing their game.

How are you getting ready for spring sports season?

My Gourmet Inclusive Nickelodeon Getaway In Mexico {AKA That Time I Got Slimed}

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I am thankful to have had the chance to be invited on a press trip to Azul Beach Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico. If your family is looking for your next vacation spot, read on below for all the slime-tastic fun that you can experience in a beautiful all-inclusive resort.

ABOUT THE RESORT

Azul Beach Hotel by Karisma is a beachfront oasis that caters to families and couples who desire a more intimate experience. The resort has 148 deluxe rooms and suites (including some swim-up rooms), six restaurants, five pools, four bars, a Nickelodeon themed kids club and a spa. They feature a Gourmet Inclusive® Experience which means gourmet meals, premium drinks and excellent service from beach butlers to room service.

THE LOCATION

Azul Beach Hotel is situated on the beautiful Mexican Caribbean in the heart of Riviera Maya. The hotel is located 20 minutes south of Cancun International Airport and 35 minutes south of downtown Cancun.

THE ACCOMODATIONS

The suite was large and spacious as you can see in the video above. I loved the large bathtub, the comfy beds, the sitting area and the view from my balcony.

THE FOOD AND DRINKS

Karisma Hotels pride themselves on offering The Gourmet Inclusive® experience throughout their resorts. Azul Beach has five restaurants. Blue serves a variety of world cuisines along with a delicious assortment of food at their breakfast buffet. Chil offers an array of burgers, salads, wraps and tacos for lunch and has a patio that overlooks the water.

Latino offers a variety of a la carte dinner options, all with a latin flair. Tainan is the place to go if you are in the mood for Asian food, including my favorite, Sushi. Roma is the resort’s Italian restaurant, serving large portions at dinner-time.

The resort also has four bars. Agavero, their Tequila bar, serves 30 different tequilas served straight, frozen or mixed. Aquanox bar and Chil bar serve my favorite fruity drinks. Try a Miami Vice while you are there (it’s a layered strawberry daquiri and pina colada drink). They also have a swim-up bar called Bubbles which lets you enjoy your drink without even getting out of the pool!

Along with the restaurants and bars they offer room service and service at the beach. One of my favorite times on the trip was sitting on the beach in a cabana with some of the other bloggers and getting drinks and lunch delivered while we enjoyed time by the ocean.

THE FUN FOR KIDS

I loved vacationing alongside SpongeBob, Dora, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We had breakfast with the characters, found them walking around the resort during the day and danced with them at night. We even got special Nickelodeon goodies delivered to our room.

Azul Beach features a couple places just for the kids. The Azulitos Playhouse by Nickelodeon has themed activities planned for every day so that parents are free to enjoy some kid-free time.

For children 4 to 12 years old, the My Gym Center at Azulitos Playhouse offers daily classes and programs designed to help children develop physically, cognitively and emotionally.

And, in true Nickelodeon fashion, I got slimed. Green goo was dumped all over me and I was brought back to my childhood.

Another thing that sets Karisma hotels apart is that they really think about the needs of families with little ones and do everything they can to make the trip as smooth as possible. From having baby food readily available to providing baby monitors for parents who want to relax on their deck while baby is napping, they provide so many amenities so you don’t have to pack them.

THE FUN FOR ADULTS

Azul Beach features a number of activities for adults such as yoga, Tequila tastings, live music and beach volleyball. They also have excursions people can sign up for, like swimming with the dolphins or scuba diving.

The spa at Azul Beach is the perfect place to relax while getting treated to a massage, manicure, or one of their other services. Adults would even enjoy just relaxing while they soaked in the tub right in their room.

EXPLORING NEARBY, AZUL SENSATORI HOTEL

While in Mexico I had a chance to visit Azul Sensatori hotel which was nearby. Here are some pictures from my visit there!

Looking for your next family escape? You will find it at Azul Beach!

We Love Family Time Around The Campfire

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Thanks to CustomInk for sponsoring our camping trip and providing us fun shirts to wear as we made great memories!

 

One of the best parts about summer is all of the quality family time that it brings. Every time we have a day or two without anything scheduled I try to schedule a road trip to somewhere within two to three hours. A few weekends ago we spent a couple days camping as a family.

Camping, to me, is the ultimate family trip because there are no tvs and lots of time spent telling stories around the campfire, talking in sleeping bags as we fall asleep and playing games at the picnic table.

We ended up picking a rainy weekend to enjoy nature but we were in a cabin so we just relaxed on the porch and under our tent as we talked and enjoyed an early lunch.

Thankfully the rain tapered off and there was some sunshine for us to get out and enjoy the day. The boys clamored to get in the pool and had fun jumping in and playing games in the water.

After the pool they wanted to check out the playground. They immediately found other kids to play with and started playing tag, one of their favorite games. There was also a tetherball pole so Sinisa and I took turns playing with the kids. It was a fun game I remembered from my childhood but neither of the kids had played before.

After exploring the campgrounds we headed back to our cabin for dinner. While the burgers were on the grill we played a game of Uno and some of the fun toys we had brought.

After dinner it was time for a camping favorite- smores! The boys laughed as daddy accidentally caught the marshmallows on fire. When they were nice and crisp we’d squish them between graham crackers and chocolate to make the best dessert!

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I’ll have the memories of our amazing camping trip for years to come. I’d like to thank CustomInk for sponsoring our family trip and also sending us some fun shirts to wear. I created them myself online in less than 5 minutes and each was personalized with our name on the back of them.

CustomInk is the leading online provider of custom apparel and accessories for groups and occasions. CustomInk believes that t-shirts and other custom products have the power to bring people together and strengthen their sense of community. CustomInk combines an easy online Design Lab with personal customer care to help its customers create the perfect design for any club, school, business, team, or charity.

Let CustomInk help you make your next family reunion or family outing even more special! What would you create shirts for?

Vacation With A Purpose At Best Friends Animal Sanctuary

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(Disclosure: Best Friends invited me on an all expenses paid press trip to experience the sanctuary first hand but all thoughts about the sanctuary and charity are my own.)

Recently I went on an amazing trip to Utah. It was my first time in the state and I was there for a very special reason- to learn more about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Located outside of Kanab in Angel Canyon, this sanctuary is the largest in the United States and is home to about 1700 animals. Best Friends is a leader in the no-kill movement with a mission to end the unnecessary killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters and to ‘Save Them All’.

I’m excited to share all about it today because I think it’s the PERFECT volunteerism trip for families. Your family can enjoy the beautiful views while spending time with animals and supporting a wonderful non-profit.

Let’s talk about those views…. I’d always thought no view could be better than the beach but I don’t know anymore… the beauty of Utah really amazed me! Angel Canyon is famous for being the backdrop of famous westerns, including ‘The Lone Ranger’.

As much as those views were a highlight of my trip, they were nothing compared to the people and animals that I got a chance to spend time with. I loved chatting with the founders of the sanctuary and learning how Best Friends Animal Sanctuary came about, how they have grown and what plans they have for the future. They told stories of the animals that they had rescued, from hoarding situations across the US to taking in some of the dogs from the Vick dog-fighting case (that they nicknamed “Victory” dogs).

I enjoyed visiting all of the animals that lived at the sanctuary and even got to spend some time volunteering in one of the cat houses that housed cats with special needs. I enjoyed taking one cat named Bob on a walk. He is said to love his leash so much that he will come running when he hears it and he sure did like to rest in the sun. I also got to spend some time with a three-legged cat and hear how brave she was.

Another fun thing I was able to do while I was at Best Friends was visit their puppy preschool. This is where the young puppies go to play and get used to household things (like the noise the vacuum or doorbell make) and how to interact with other people and animals. The puppies were so sweet and it was fun watching them play. A few even attempted to ride skateboards which was seriously the cutest thing I’ve probably ever seen in my life.

You can tell each staff member truly cares for each animal by the pride in their voices when they spoke about them and by watching the way they interacted with them. The staff takes great care of the animals there but the main goal is to get all of the animals adopted. I loved seeing signs in each building that showed how many animals had been adopted.

While Best Friends has an amazing team, they couldn’t function without the help of volunteers. From taking animals for walks, cleaning their homes, or just cuddling with the animals, there is lots to do at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! You can learn more about volunteering here. I think this would make a great trip for the whole family. You can enjoy the breathtaking views while making a difference. This is truly a vacation your kids would remember for the rest of their lives.