3 Benefits Of Some Spa Time

Thanks to Groupon for sponsoring this post.

As moms I think many of us tend to put others before ourselves. Whether it’s our kids, our spouses or other commitments, it’s hard to prioritize time for ourselves and our needs- especially during this busy holiday season. I recently got out of the house for a couple hours and enjoyed a mani/pedi and that two hours completely changed my week and revitalized me. I want to encourage you all to get out and enjoy a bit of pampering, even if it’s just for an hour or two! Whether it’s a manicure, a massage or even just getting a haircut, I wanted to share three benefits a spa day (or hour) can do for you. (I’m sharing a giveaway below for a $600 Groupon gift card that should be enough to pay for spa services for a year so no excuses ladies! Plus use promo code MTFM10 to receive $10 off your first booked appointment.)

3 benefits of a little me time at the spa or salon:

Time to relax

Finding time to relax in a houseful of people is tough. Many times as moms we can’t even get some time alone in the bathroom without little fingers poking under the door or knocking. Each morning, without fail, when I’m going to the bathroom one of my boys always has a question they need answered (and of course it’s nothing ever important or time-sensitive that can’t wait a minute). Spa or salon time gives you time to relax.

Increased confidence

Whether it’s a new do or a fresh coat of nail polish on my finger nails, I’ve found that my confidence goes up. Though it’s just a small change in my look I always feel much better with freshly painted nails!

Leave in a good mood

I’ve found that whenever I leave the nail salon I’m always in a good mood. No matter what happened previously in the day or how stressed I am, I always feel refreshed and in a good mood when I leave.

Do you get spa or salon time often? Admittedly, I don’t go as often as I’d like to. When I went to get my nails done the other day I realized it had been almost five months since my last pedicure. (Yikes!) I found this new salon on Groupon called Elite Nail Care and easily was able to book my appointment and had a great experience there, too.

I wrote in depth about how Groupon’s beauty salon and spa booking works here but basically I used the app to find a salon I wanted to try, picked a time convenient for me, and then Groupon scheduled it and sent me a text letting me know I was all set. It was so easy. What I found most convenient of all though was that at my appointment I didn’t have to dig through my purse with my freshly painted nails looking for my wallet to pay. Payments are done through the app and set up ahead of time (even the tip) so I could just leave when my nails were done and then Groupon sent my payment for me and emailed me my receipt.

If you want to try out Groupon’s new service, and live in the Chicago area, you can use the code “MTFM10″ to receive $10 off your first booked service. Just download the Groupon app or, if you already have it on your phone, go here to book your appointment! And, as mentioned before, I’m sharing an awesome giveaway below for a $600 Groupon gift card so make sure to enter! Good luck :)

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How To Easily Book Spa & Salon Services In The Chicago Area With The Groupon App

Thanks to Groupon for sponsoring this post.

In the past when I’ve wanted to get my nails done I’ve had two options. I could call during business hours and try to book the appointment or I could walk in and hope the wait wasn’t too long. Neither of these options is very convenient for me because when I’m thinking about doing something for myself it’s either early in the morning or late at night (when salons or spas are closed) or when I have a bit of downtime and want to head out right away (which generally results in waiting around for an open chair).

Luckily I’ve discovered that I can book salon and spa appointments right in the Groupon app which means I can request my appointment any time that’s convenient for me and Groupon will do all the work of scheduling it. (Available only in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs at the moment.)

It was super easy to set up my appointment. I went into the Groupon app (available for both Android and iPhone) and clicked “salon and spa booking”.

Then I chose the service I wanted and searched all locations near me using my current location.

I found a nail place that looked nice and had reasonable prices and chose my service and picked the appointment time that worked for me.

All the terms of service are clear in the Groupon app before you book the service, like the cancellation policy if you need to cancel ahead of time if you can’t make it.

When you book your service you provide your credit card number but payment is not collected until after your service is complete. It’s nice to arrange everything, including the tip, ahead of time! My favorite part of using Groupon to book my spa and salon services though, other than the convenience factor, is that I know exactly how much I’m going to spend before I get there. In the past I’ve been surprised at the upcharges for nail services after my nails are done, so I really like that.

Once you click “request appointment” Groupon goes to work scheduling your appointment for you. The other day I requested an appointment for myself before the salon opened at 11am and half an hour later I had a text confirmation that my appointment was set.

Do you like to get your nails or hair done? Or maybe you need to relax with a massage or a facial. Whatever salon or spa service you need, if you are located in the Chicago area, book it on Groupon to save time! If you have the Groupon app on your phone, click here to go straight to the experience. Use code “MTFM10” and receive $10 off your first booked service.

Enter to win a $600 Groupon gift card below!
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Stock Up and Save At Walmart (Gift Card Giveaway)

Disclosure: The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.

It is finally spring! For my family this means we are spending more time outdoors. The kids have sports and activities so we are constantly on the go and that means I have less time to run my typical errands, like going to the store. Luckily I shop at Walmart so I can stock up and save on my family’s favorite P&G products with amazing savings. For a limited-time, Walmart has rollbacks and guaranteed low prices on our favorite P&G products, such as Tide laundry detergent, Charmin toilet paper, Bounty paper towels and more. The P&G line of products ranges from laundry detergents and paper towels to baby diapers. The stock up sale runs through Thursday, April 30th, 2015 .

The most important essentials I love to stock up on are paper towels and toilet paper. Everyone knows that when you have smaller children they always overuse both. My boys are 5 and 6 and they go crazy with the toilet paper. Those were the first things I intended to buy in order to stock up and save with Walmart.

Buying paper towels and toilet paper and even laundry detergent is easy. The challenging purchase for any guy is buying tampons. P&G and Walmart definitely make that an easier task. Just stock up and then not only do you save money, but you only have to go to the store once. No more emergency runs to the store to get tampons when she runs out.

No matter what essential items you need to stock up on there are many choices and the shopping is made easy at Walmart’s Stock Up and Save event. So spend less money and time at the store and more time enjoying the warmer weather.

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win a $25 Walmart gift card

HOW TO ENTER:

Share this post on social media and leave a comment below with the link

Giveaway ends April 30, 2015 at 11:59pm. Must be 21 or older and a US resident to enter.

New School Year For Kids Means New Beauty Regimen For Mom

The new school year always brings as much promise for me as the New Year does. It’s a time to start new traditions and new routines. While that means new classes and activities for the boys, it means a new beauty regimen for me this year. Thanks to Johnson & Johnson for sponsoring this post and sending me products to remind me that I need to start taking care of myself better!

Many of you know that I work from home. It’s great and such a huge blessing but I must confess that I often get lazy having that luxury. I usually spend my whole day in yoga pants and t-shirts with no makeup on and my hair up in a messy bun. I hide behind my Avatar on Google hangout meetings with co-workers because I feel self-conscious. The casual look carries over into the evenings as I run to sports practices. (To be honest, the only times I look semi-decent are when I’m going to school events, Church or blogging events.)

I’m slowly trying to get out of that rut now that the kids are back in school. While I will probably still keep the comfy clothes most days, I will work on being more presentable in them. To start off, I will wash my face of the night-time grime. One product that I love and have used before is Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub.

I like that this product exfoliates but is still very gentle on my sensitive skin. I follow this up with Aveeno’s Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream on my dry patches of skin. I’ll go beyond toothbrushing with some Listerine Mouth Wash and comb my hair into a cuter looking ponytail. After I’ve taken care of my skin, mouth and hair I’m going to start putting on basic makeup. A BB cream will even out my skin, and then I’ll finish off with a little color- some lip gloss, a swipe of mascara and a bit of blush.

Will I look fancy? No. Will I look a little more presentable? Yes! This will help me not scare the UPS driver and the bus drivers and may just make me feel more confident throughout the day. At the very least, I will feel a bit more desirable when Sinisa comes home from work ;)

I also want to share that the J&J Healthy Essentials site has over $40 in coupons! Go check it out!

Preparing For A Long Awaited Date Night

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Sinisa and I on a date in 2007 <3

I am so excited to be going on a special date night this week! My mom is watching the boys and Sinisa and I are going on our first date night in a long time. It’s been at least a year, if not more, since we have gone out sans kids for more than the hour and a half that they are at Awana.

Sinisa is planning the whole date and made us reservations for a nice Italian restaurant. {He says it’s where we went for our first Valentine’s Day but my memory is so bad that I don’t remember that long ago.} I think we will be going out for drinks or a movie as well so it should be a fun night.

Since this is a special occasion I’m going to have to spend longer than 5 minutes getting ready. I plan to run to the store and get a nice top to wear for our date. I also am going to make myself up by doing my hair and makeup. He will be quite surprised seeing me transform from my sweats and ponytail!

I don’t normally wear more makeup than some mineral powder and lip gloss but I have some new Neutrogena makeup I’m going to use. I like Neutrogena makeup because it doesn’t irritate my skin and it looks natural.

I recently tried their MoistureSmooth color stick and was very impressed with it. It looks like a big lip pencil, has a texture like lipstick or balm but goes on smooth and feels like a lip gloss. This stick adds color I don’t normally get with lip gloss but doesn’t feel thick like I am wearing a lot on my lips. I also love that it isn’t sticky because I hate that feeling. The smell of this color stick was fruity which I liked as well. I was sent  the Sweet Watermelon color to review but will be going out and getting a few more colors since I really like it.

The mascara I was sent is their Healthy Volume Mascara. It has Olive in it which the package says helps plump the core of each and every lash. I don’t wear mascara often but thought this was a nice product. I liked that my eyelashes didn’t clump together like some mascaras make them do.

With both makeup products on and a nice, new shirt I think Sinisa will be surprised to see me when I come down the steps for our date night! If you want to treat yourself to some new makeup for your next date night, you can get a printable coupon for $1 off any NEUTROGENA® Cosmetics product at HealthyEssentials.com.

Easy Styling With Herbal Essences

I used to love wearing my hair down. I’d wake up in the morning, stick curlers in it and twenty minutes later my thick hair would be picture perfect and full of volume. Sometime during senior year of high school though, I discovered curls right at the nape of my neck and with each child I had in my 20s more curls appeared. Now at 30 my hair is always up in a ponytail because it takes forever to do and as a busy mom I just don’t have time to do anything with it. Once washed, my hair (if left alone) turns into a crazy mess of frizzy curls in the back and straggly straight hair in the front so I was excited to be able to work with Herbal Essences to try out some of their new products and share my honest thoughts with you all.

 

I was anxious to try Herbal Essences’ new “Naked” collection from Walmart that promised everything I needed for “irresistible volume”. The kit contains four items: shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo and Volumizing Souffle.

My first thought upon opening the shampoo was that it smelled amazing. The scent is a mix of grapefruit and mint which doesn’t sound like it would be a delicious smelling pair but it is. The shampoo gave me a nice lather and the conditioner made my hair feel soft.

Once I combed out my hair I worked the volumizing souffle through it. This mousse didn’t make my hair stiff and crunchy but instead kept my hair feeling soft to the touch. I also loved that instead of frizz I was left with soft curls.

The next day I tried the dry shampoo. I’ve never tried dry shampoo before but I was really interested in seeing how this worked to keep my style from one day to the next. It was really easy to use- just spray at the roots and comb through. My hair was super shiny after using this spray and I felt like the spray refreshed my hair.

Personally, I didn’t notice a change in the volume of my hair but my hair is so thick that it would take a lot for me to notice a change there. Overall, I would use this kit again. It made my hair smell great and gave me a frizz free curl along with confidence to wear my hair down again.

(Disclosure: As stated above, this post was written as part of a campaign for Herbal Essences and I received a gift card for my time.)

Herbal Essences Hair Care Kit {Walmart Gift Card Giveaway}

Moms, if you are like me and don’t always get to wash your hair every day, I have some new products to share with you! Herbal Essences recently contacted me about trying their new collection exclusively available at Walmart.com and they sent me a gift card to purchase it online. This collection features 4 products, including a dry shampoo for in between washes. I will be reviewing it next month and letting you all know what I think about it but here is some information about the new collection from Walmart’s website.

Bare your softest hair with the Herbal Essences Naked Collection Volume kit. The kit includes Naked Volume shampoo and conditioner with 0% heavy residues, dyes and parabens. Then finish your style with Volumizing Souffle to weightlessly boost hair. And to help keep that volume between washes use the volumizing Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo with natural tapioca to instantly absorb excess oil. It’s everything you need for irresistible volume!

About the Shampoo and Conditioner

Restore hair’s natural body with our Volume Shampoo and Conditioner with zero heavy residues, dyes and parabens. Start with Volume shampoo and gently massage into wet hair until it lathers. Then rinse thoroughly, working from root to tip so your hair is left with a weightless clean. Next, work in the Volume conditioner to keep hair detangled, conditioned to nourish, and full of irresistible volume.

About the Dry Shampoo

Refresh your look and experience lightweight clean hair, even on days you don’t wash. The natural tapioca formula absorbs excess oil, transforming lifeless, oily hair into fresh hair with the crisp essence of citrus and mint. Gently spray on and work into roots, and brush out as desired.

About the Volumizing Souffle

This weightless, volumizing wonder gives you a lift for fullness that lasts, while you delight your senses with a boost of grapefruit and mint. Gently work in this mousse through wet hair for touchable, natural volume you can run your fingers through.

GIVEAWAY:

Want to try this product yourself? Enter to win a $50 Walmart gift card!

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following. Leave a separate comment for each you do.}

1) Tell me which product you can’t wait to try

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Follow @herbalessences on Twitter

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends January 12, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

Trendy Looks And Soft Lips From Carmex {Giveaway}

(Disclosure: I received free products from Carmex but all thoughts are my own.)

Every woman has a style of her own. Some are more classic, some are edgier, and some are always showing off the latest trends. I used to be trendier but started to stick with a more classic look as I headed into my mid-twenties and beyond.

Carmex, wanting to help each woman embrace her own unique style, created a Limited Edition collection of lip balms. There are four designs: chic black & white, adventurous leopard print,  trendworthy purple, and a whimsical colorful print. There is a quiz online where you can discover which stick best aligns with your personal style. I took the quiz and got “chic”.

 GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win the collection of Moisture Plus lip balms

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me which design is your favorite

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Comment on another one of my blog posts

Giveaway ends December 19, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to enter.

How To Create Welcome Baskets For Out Of Town Guests

(Disclosure: This is a compensated post but all thoughts are my own.)

Everyone has scents that they love. For me, it’s pumpkin spice and vanilla. They make me want to curl up under a nice warm blanket, with some hot chocolate, in front of a cozy fire.

Scents bring back wonderful memories and Suave wants to help people create baskets for their out-of-town guests to welcome them and make them feel at home. What a nice surprise it would be to walk into a bathroom of a home you are visiting and find some special items just for you!

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For men, you can add the following items to your welcome basket: razor, clean towels, Suave 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, Suave styling gel, and a toothbrush/toothpaste.

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Suave® Naturals offers a variety of delicious smelling body washes and body lotions perfect for this holiday season! Have guests coming into town? Stock up the bathroom with Suave to make them feel right at home! Walmart has everything you need! What is your favorite scent?

My Secret Skin Care Struggles And The Only Product That Worked For Me

(Disclosure: I received the product mentioned to review but all thoughts are my own.)

My skin has never been perfect. I’ve suffered breakouts for years and I had learned to deal with them. A few years ago though I developed another skin condition that was even worse than acne. I started getting dry patches on my face. It first started out just on the sides of my nose. Then I got some on my forehead and then a spot about an inch above my lip.

The thing was it just wasn’t dry skin. It was red and itched. I tried product after product. I’d use exfoliating cleansers but that just made the portions of my face turn from dry to tomato red. I’d put heavy eczema cream on the areas after scrubbing and then I’d go to bed and wake up with not-as-dry {but still dry patches}. I tried not scrubbing them but then I was left with a flaky mess.

This went on for YEARS. It caused me to be more self conscious than I’d ever been in my life. I was miserable and hated leaving my house because I didn’t want anyone to see how horrible my skin was.

I was recently asked to review Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant and I honestly didn’t think it would help my skin issues since nothing I had tried did. This was what the email I received said: “Dr. Brandt’s lifesaving and powerful microdermabrasion treatment instantly brightens ALL skin types by gently buffing away dead skin cells, revealing radiant, healthy skin underneath. Over time, it even reduces the appearance of fine lines, acne marks, and discoloration.”

I used it once and immediately saw an improvement. I tried not to get too excited since some products I used appeared to reduce the dryness but didn’t really. The next morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw NO DRY SKIN. Four days later and still no dry patches and the redness has gone down. I went from never being able to cover the redness with makeup to being able to put BB Cream on and a little mineral powder and make my redness disappear. I’m no longer worrying about if people are staring at my dry patches or wondering why my face is so red.

I still have a ways to go since I’d love to feel confident while wearing just a little tinted moisturizer but I feel like it’s an achievable dream now. I have never made a beauty discovery that got me as excited as this one has. This product is $78 which is normally way more than I’d ever spend on anything for myself but I feel like it’s worth it. {I normally don’t spend more than $10 on any skin care product so I would never suggest that anyone spend this much unless I was absolutely amazed with the results!} I think what makes this product unique is that it is formulated with pharmaceutical-grade crystals so it mimics an in-office procedure. It also contains soothing botanicals which is probably why the redness subsided.

The product can be purchased on Birchbox’s website. If it’s too expensive for you to buy yourself, or you hate spending money on yourself, this would make a great item to put on your Christmas list :)

(Note: I am not a Doctor or a Dermatologist. I’m just sharing a product that worked for me. This is not medical advice. I hope this product works for you as well as it worked for me but I can’t guarantee that you will have the same results.)

 

Seasonal DIY Facial Masks

Pumpkin Facial Mask

This recipe is full of exfoliating enzymes that will brighten your skin, giving you a healthy, refreshed glow. Pumpkin is also rich in vitamin A, which can help heal skin and repair damaged tissue. The antioxidant properties of the vitamin A will also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • 2 tsp canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp heavy
  • whipping cream

To Make: Mix all ingredients together and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly. You’ll love the results!

Cranberry Mask

Cranberry juice helps detoxify the skin and is particularly useful for those who are acne-prone or suffer from psoriasis or have oily skin. In addition cranberries help reduce skin inflammation, redness, and itchy, irritated skin.

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

To Make: Mix ingredients until it becomes a paste. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to let the mixture thicken. Remove from the fridge and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Recipes and images courtesy of Erika Katz, beauty expert and author of Bonding over Beauty.

Ann Taylor’s New Fragrance

Ann Taylor introduces their first new fragrance since 2008, The Ann Taylor Signature Fragrance. I was sent a sample bottle of it to review.

Inspired by the kaleidoscope of colors and chic beauty of Ann Taylor’s fashion, the fragrance was formulated with special attention to ingredients such as plum, dewdrops, and magnolia. The heart of the fragrance is reminiscent of jasmine and sandalwood leaves a lingering scent of vanilla, musk and floral green. Personally, I really love this scent. To me it smells like a bouquet of flowers with a hint of one of my favorite scents, Vanilla, mixed in as well. It’s definitely a classic scent that I think has staying power.

The bottle was designed with a clean, and modern silhouette showcasing the new Ann Taylor brand mark with a simple but pretty ribbon tie-off. Available this October in stores as well as online, The Ann Taylor Signature Fragrance will retail for $25 for the roller ball, $45 for 1.7 oz and $65 for 3.4 oz.

Hold On To Summer With SoftSoap’s Limited Edition Scents {Giveaway}

Though it doesn’t feel like it here in Chicago, Summer is coming to an end. In a way I love Fall because that means my kids are in school, it’s football season, and I can enjoy Pumpkin Spice lattes. As much fun as all that is, Summer will always be my favorite season! I love playing in water, longer days, and sunshine. Thankfully, SoftSoap sent me some of their limited edition scented body washes so I can hold on to Summer for as long as I can while still being able to enjoy the perks of Fall. The two new scents are: Pacific Sunset and Maui. 

Softsoap® brand Pacific Sunset Refreshing Citrus

Capture the summer sunset in your shower with the new Softsoap® brand Pacific Sunset Refreshing Citrus Body Wash. The moisture-rich formula leaves skin feeling soft and smooth while the fresh scent of blended citrus fruits takes you on a mini-vacation to a beach in paradise.

Softsoap® brand Maui Coconut Splash

Escape to the beaches of Maui with the new Softsoap® brand Maui Coconut Splash Body Wash. The moisture-rich formula will leave skin feeling soft and smooth while the coconut scent provides a relaxing shower experience, transporting you straight to a lounge chair on the sand.

My favorite body wash is the Maui Coconut Splash scent. I love coconut scents and this one has a slight floral scent added in. It smells amazing! If I had to pick one scent to represent Summer it’s definitely coconut.

Want to try them yourself? Enter the giveaway below!

GIVEAWAY:

One reader will win 2 bottles of body wash (1 of each scent)

HOW TO ENTER:

Leave a comment telling me which scent you’d try first

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY:

Share this giveaway on a social network

Giveaway ends September 3, 2013 at 11:59pm Central time. Must be 21 or over and a US resident to win.

(Disclosure: I received products from SoftSoap but all thoughts are my own.)

Mark Hill Haircare at Walgreens

While at BlogHer I got a complementary hair style by Jarrad, a UK stylist who was in Chicago to share about the new line of Mark Hill haircare now available in Walgreens (and Duane Reade, too). Mark Hill is one of the most well-known celebrity hair stylists in the UK and I’m so excited that I got to meet him and his whole team.

I woke up early Thursday morning and headed up to their Presidential Suite (which, by the way, was absolutely gorgeous with a nice view of the water). I had washed my hair the night before and slept on my wet hair. My hair has a natural curl to it and is extremely thick so once I took it out of the ponytail this is what it looked like:

Obviously, I can’t go anywhere with my hair looking like that! Jarrad first washed my hair with the MiracOILicious nourishing shampoo and conditioner.

Once my hair was towel dried he applied the “straight talking” straightening cream and used a round brush as he dried it. When he was done he put a couple pumps of the MiracOILicious Moroccan Argan Oil in his palms, rubbed them together, and then worked the oil through my dry hair. Before looking at my hair I touched it and felt how soft and sleek it was. I couldn’t believe how it looked when he brought me over to a mirror. It looked amazing!

Can you believe the change in the before and after picture!? No hair straightener was used to create this look. It was simply due to having great straightening products (okay, and an amazing stylist!). I loved the products that were used and I was so excited when they gave me some to take home so I could recreate the look.

You can find Mark Hill professional products in Walgreens and Duane Reade. Learn more about Mark Hill, his team, and the new products here.

(Disclosure: As stated above, my hair was styled at no cost and I received complementary products to take home. All thoughts are my own)

DIY: Heart Hair Braid

If you have a little girl with some hair, and know how to do a french braid, you have to try your hand at this heart hair braid! How cute would this be for Valentine’s Day? Cozy Friedman, author of Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair, shares how to do the heart shaped braid with us!

What You’ll Need:

Wide-tooth comb, fine-tooth comb, decorative hair clip, ponytail holders

Directions:

Step 1: Starting with damp hair (either towel-dried or misted), use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.  Then, using a fine-tooth comb, part the hair down the middle of the head.  Clip one side up right above the ear.

Step 2: On the other side of the part, use the fine comb to gather a thin section of hair from the crown.  This section should measure about 2 inches from the hairline to the top of the head.

Step 3: Divide this section into three, and begin a French braid starting at the crown and curving toward the temple, then toward the back of the head, like the top lobe of a heart.  You will be lifting hair into the braid only from this side of the part.  Leave no loose hair in front of the ears.

Step 4: When you reach the center part at the back of the head, secure the braid with a ponytail holder.  If the hair is very long, end the braid about mid-ear; the ends will hang down the back.

Step 5: Unclip the hair on the other side of the part and repeat the process.  Secure with a ponytail holder.

Step 6: Join the ends of the braids together in the back

(Disclosure: This content was sent to me to share but I was not compensated.)

 

DIY: Chocolate Flavored Lip Balm

You know what’s better than soft lips? Soft, chocolate flavored lips :) Enjoy this DIY recipe provided by beauty expert and author of Bonding Over Beauty, Erika Katz. This lip balm contains shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil, which are all excellent natural emollients. You can get creative and add other flavors like peppermint oil, tangerine oil, or raspberry oil.

Ingredients:

·         1 tablespoon shea butter

·         1 tablespoon coconut oil

·         2 teaspoons grated beeswax

·         1 tablespoon vitamin E oil

·         15 chocolate chips

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Put all the ingredients into a double boiler on the stove or in a microwavable container.

2) Warm the mixture until it melts. Stir until smooth.

3) Pour the mixture into a lip gloss container and refrigerate until it hardens.

The lip balm Lasts up to 3 months at room temperature. Find other great recipes for DIY spa treatments on the Bonding Over Beauty site here.

(Disclosure: The above recipe was provided to me for use on my blog. I was not compensated for posting it.)

Carmex Lip Conditioner Review

Here’s a great idea for a stocking stuffer: Carmex Lip Conditioner. I love the flavored lip balms that Carmex has so I wanted to try the lip conditioner because it’s orange flavored. The flavor and scent reminds me of the orange and vanilla ice cream bars so it won points there. I found that the lip conditioner was creamier and not as sticky as their regular lip balm. This Carmex lip conditioner could be worn under lipstick or lip gloss or alone. I’ve been wearing it alone and like the shiny look of my lips and I feel like my lips are protected and stay moist when I’m outside in the cold weather. My lips still felt nice and smooth hours after the product had worn off.

Here are more details about the product from Carmex’s website:

Like your lip balm on the lighter side? Our Lip Conditioner absorbs quickly and doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, plus we blend a hint of natural orange flavor with 13 moisturizers to deliver extra-soothing results.

  • Your skin’s lipid bilayer is made up of two layers of fatty acids; its job is to help keep moisture in the skin. Our Lip Conditioner includes lanolin, which replicates the way the lipid bilayer in your skin retains moisture.
  • Our formula includes dimethicone to aid with moisturization and protect the tender skin on your lips.
  • Our Lip Conditioner uses allantoin to effectively aid with moisturization plus help healing.

(Disclosure: I received products from Carmex but all thoughts are my own.)

Pamper Me Fabulous Chicago {Event Ticket Giveaway!}

Pamper Me Fabulous is the ultimate women’s day event – for one day only on Sunday, July 22nd, savvy Chicago influencers come together at the River East Art Center to network, be empowered, educated, celebrated and pampered by the best brands in town. Think of it as a modern day “sex and the city” for your mind, body and spirit!

It’s everything you and your girlfriends love, under one chic location: Free flowing Qream liquor, Hypnotiq champagne, healthy goodies from Think Thin and Sokenbicha, face mappings from Dermalogica, makeovers from Mirabella Beauty, Aveda treatments, and skin care consultations from Beyond Clear, fun lounges and food samplings and an awesome gift bag, this event you do not want to miss! Each guest is also gifted with a coveted KlutchBox, full of swag!

There’s more! In the fitness area, women will get opportunities to take yoga classes and meditation classes from Chicago’s favorite studios, attend workshops about fashion, health and wellness topics in the Expert Corner from speakers like Valeo Spa’s Katie Hurley and nutrition authority Dawn Blatner.

GIVEAWAY:

Four readers will each win a pair of tickets to the event in Chicago

HOW TO ENTER:

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Tell me why you want to attend this event

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Like Pamper Me Fabulous on Facebook

5) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

6) Follow @PamperMeFab on Twitter

7) Enter another one of my giveaways {found here}

8) Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email {look in the upper right corner}

Giveaway ends on July 16, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only. Transportation to/from event not provided. This giveaway is just for admission into the event.

(Disclosure: I am receiving compensation for posting this information in the form of tickets to attend this event.)

StyleUnited Review

Do you love reading beauty and fashion articles? Finding out about the latest styles and the newest makeup products? I do. Many of the tips and trends I find on them don’t work for me though. The clothing style isn’t right for my body type, the lotions recommended don’t work with my combination oily/dry skin, and the makeup doesn’t work with my complexion.

With StyleUnited I can get product recommendations personalized for me and also customized fashion and beauty tips. I explored the site a little and took a few quizzes. The first quiz I took asked me six questions about my skin and after answering the questions I got a list of products that would be good for my skin type at my age. Next, I took a fashion quiz to find which silhouettes would flatter my shape the best. I really liked that part of the quiz asked for height, dress size, shoe size, and bust size so it was more than just asking what “shape” I was. I also got to look at fabric patterns, styles, and other fashion related items and had a chance to choose my favorite so that the program knew what kind of syles I liked. It also asked about my thoughts on price when it came to fashion so I am sure not to get items suggested with really high price points if I say that I like to find great fashions at great deals.

Other than having everything customized for me I really liked that I could ask my friends opinions on things and could share my favorite products and tips with my friends or on social media. Another great feature is that the site offers one on one beauty consultations via webcam. If you have a style or beauty question you can just ask one of the experts from StyleUnited. It’s like having your best gal pal in your computer!!

I think StyleUnited is a fabulous website for both style mavens and newbies alike. Nowhere else can you find personalized suggestions on any fashion or beauty subject you can think of. If you join make sure to also enter the “New View, New You” giveaway and enter to win one of two $500 gift cards to go on a shopping spree at Macy’s or Nordstrom.

(Disclosure: I am being compensated with beauty products in exchange for checking out the site and giving my honest opinion of it. All thoughts are my own.)

$25 Beauty.com eGift Card Giveaway

Welcome to the $25 Beauty.com eGift Card Giveaway!

This giveaway has been sponsored by CouponCabin and hosted by the TheItMom.com and other awesome bloggers! CouponCabin.com works directly with Beauty.com and more than 3,700 other retailers to offer incredible savings on quality goods. Their Beauty.com online coupons save shoppers $9.49 on average. Users can grab a code quickly (less than 90 seconds on average), or sign up for CouponCabin Rewards to earn points toward gift cards.

Here is your chance to win a $25 electronic gift card that you can spend on Skin Care, Make Up, Fragrances, Hair Care, and Gift Items at Beauty.com. The winner can apply their coupons to their gift card purchases for an even BIGGER value. They even have an exclusive $10 off $50 and free shipping coupon too!

You may also want to browse for additional Mother’s Day offers at http://www.couponcabin.com/mothers-day/coupons.htm

Entering is easy! Enter on the rafflecopter over at TheItMom.com for your chance to win! The giveaway will go live from midnight (EST) on April 21 and end at midnight on April 28, 2012 (EST). This giveaway is open worldwide. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE TO BE TAKEN TO THE RAFFLECOPTER PAGE WHERE YOU CAN ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!

*NOTE: By entering this promotion, each participant agrees to release, indemnify and hold harmless the Sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates and subsidiaries and their respective representatives, officers, directors, shareholders, agents and employees from and against any injuries, losses, damages, claims, actions or liability of any kind resulting from or arising from participation in this promotion.

Theraderm Skin Care Giveaway {$280 Value}

I’m so excited to bring you another “Super Events” Giveaway! This giveaway is hosted by Full Price? Never! with contributing blogger CuzinLogic. This week we are happy to introduce you to Therapon and their amazing skin care products!

Come Meet Therapon: While treating severely burned patients, Dr. Beckman, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, set out to improve the quality of life for his post- surgery patients by finding solutions for restoring full function and mobility to skin-grafted hands. He developed a highly-specialized restorative crème formulated with ingredients proven to penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin, allowing the skin-grafted hands to bend normally and grasp objects again. The specialty crème also had the unexpected effect of erasing fine lines and restoring a youthful appearance to aging facial skin. This single product led to the creation of several other products that together comprised the Theraderm® Skin Renewal System, a daily skincare system designed to restore skin health and natural beauty while enhancing skin’s ability to restore itself. It was a natural progression to create Therapon Skin Health, a company that provided these products to other physicians and their patients. New advances in cellular biology have allowed Therapon to create additional products that address a wider variety of skin concerns, including acne, deep wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and dry skin. Therapon continues to explore the latest advances in bioscience to develop products that will optimize skin health, resulting in beautiful, radiant skin. Check out Therapon: Website, Facebook, Twitter, The Blog {sign up for specials} Personal Review: Heather from Full Price? Never! had the pleasure of trying the Theraderm skin care line from Therapon and she really liked them. Here are her thoughts ” I’m a total skin care fanatic! Sunblock and high quality products make my heart sing and my skin happy. I really loved how I could feel the results after the first use. I’m lucky and don’t really have any wrinkles {yet} so I couldn’t see a change in that respect, but I could feel a difference. My skin was ultra smooth and soft. It also appeared brighter. My favorite discovery was The Theraderm Platinum Protection Facial Sunscreen (SPF 43) of UVA/UVB sun protection. I use a sunscreen everyday but I’m picky in that I don’t want to feel like I have one on… this one was perfect! ”

Here’s the great part! You get the chance to win a huge collection of these luxury skin care products! This giveaway starts on 4/1 at 9:00pm est and ends on 4/9 at 12:01am est. Open to residence of the US with a US shipping address over the age of 18.

What you can win: (over a $280 value)

***Ready for your chance to win? Enter over at Full Price? Never! HERE***

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for posting this giveaway and I have not tried these products before.)

$125 Visa Gift Card Giveaway {And Eucerin Professional Repair Lotion Review}

I am happy to announce that I am 1 of 4 Chicago area bloggers that was chosen to be part of the Eucerin Skin First Network as a blog ambassador. You should be excited because you know what this means for you? It means that over the next year or so I will be sharing about Eucerin’s new products and offering a $125 Visa gift card to one of you every month! Just think of all the skin care and beauty products you could buy for yourself {yes…yourself!} You could, of course, spend it on your kids or buy something for your home but I think that you deserve something special! ;)

The first product I’d like to share with you all just came out in select stores this month.  Eucerin Professional Repair Lotion for extremely dry skin has gotten great reviews from people that have used it so I was excited to try it out on my family’s skin. I was first up. I tried the lotion on my driest skin- the sides of my feet {weird dry skin area, huh?} and saw an improvement in that area between the time I went to bed and the time I woke up. The dry skin was so much smoother! Next up was Sinisa. His hands are always very dry since he works in the food industry and washes his hands constantly. He thought the lotion was “calming” and liked that it wasn’t oily. He said that he immediately felt like he could move his hands without feeling like they were cracking.

This lotion from Eucerin has a special ingredient. The website says “it features groundbreaking technology that combines your skin’s own natural moisturizers and Ceramide-3, a component of a healthy skin barrier, with Gluco-Glycerol, an innovative moisturizer—to improve the condition of skin and fight extreme dryness.” This means it helps prevent dryness from reoccurring. I love that it keeps working even after it’s disappeared on my skin. It also won’t clog pores which is important to me since I have skin that is prone to breakouts.

***

Do you have a dry skin tip? If you share them with Eucerin on Facebook or Twitter {links below} you may see your tip featured on their page!

GIVEAWAY

One reader will win a bottle of Eucerin Professional Repair Skin Care Lotion and a $125 Visa Gift Card

HOW TO ENTER

(Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do)

1) Tell me why you want to win

2) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

3) Like Eucerin on Facebook

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Follow @EucerinUS on Twitter

6) Share this giveaway on a social network

7) Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email (look in upper right hand corner)

8) Enter another one of my giveaways (found here)

9) Comment on a non-giveaway post

10) Follow me on Pinterest

Giveaway ends on April 15, 2012 at 11:59pm Central time. US Only.

(Disclosure: I received compensation and a review product but all thoughts are my own.)

Viviscal Giveaway {$150 Value}

Welcome to the Viviscal Review & Giveaway Hop Event! MamaNYC is hosting this event, which is going to run for 3+ months and follow 25 bloggers as they experience hair growth, nourishment, repair, and damage control with Viviscal! According to the website, Viviscal has been clinically tested and proven to reduce hair loss and strengthen hair and is drug-free and does not cause harmful side effects.

I am looking forward to using Viviscal because the product has gotten such wonderful reviews in magazines and from celebrities. My hair is dry and full of split ends and I’m hoping that after using this product I will see less split ends and hair that is healthy. I don’t think my hair has been healthy since before I had children so it’s finally time to do something for myself! In June I will share before and after pictures and my thoughts on Viviscal so be sure to check my review then.

GIVEAWAY:

One lucky reader will win a 3 month supply of Viviscal.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

This giveaway is going to run from March 24th through April 8, 2012 @ 11:59PM (EST). Open to residents in the U.S. only; 18+.

ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER OVER ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE

{CLICK HERE TO ENTER!}

NOTICE: All participants are encouraged to hop down the linky list below! 25 bloggers are each giving away 3-month trials of Viviscal. You will only be eligible to win on ONE of our blog giveaways. However, I hope you will finish all our giveaways because the MORE giveaways and entries completed – the BETTER your chances will be at winning! It’s better to be the selected winner on five of our giveaways instead of none! Once you are selected as a winner from one of these blogs, you will receive a winning email!


(This post is part of a review and giveaway event hosted by MamaNYC in conjunction with Lifes2good. I have received a free promotional 3-month trial of this product in order to compose and share an honest review based on personal experience.)

Fitness/Beauty Prize Pack Giveaway {A New Year, A New Me}

A New Year A New Me Giveaway Event

Welcome to A New Year, A New Me Giveaway Event hosted by Daily Mothering, Mommy of Two Little Monkeys and Mommy Digger! Do you want to become a healthier, fitter, slimmer, more beautiful YOU in 2012? Over 55 blogs have come together to present this exciting fitness and beauty event January 24th-31st! Each blog is giving away a fitness and/or beauty related prize worth $25 or more (and some are worth more than $100!). Enter my giveaway and then hop to the next blog on the list at the bottom of this post to have a chance to win more exciting prizes!

MY GIVEAWAY:

Book: The Dorm Room Diet by Daphne Oz

Nail Polish Stick by O.P.I

Fekkai Glossing Cream {for hair}

POP Beauty Sunscreen

HOW TO ENTER:

(Do any or all of the following, leave a comment for each you do)

1) Leave a comment telling me your favorite beauty product

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Like Making Time For Mommy on Facebook

4) Follow @aliciamarie112 on Twitter

5) Follow me on Pinterest

6) Circle me on Google+

7) Enter another one of my giveaways (found here)

8) Subscribe via RSS or email (look in upper right hand corner)

Giveaway ends January 31, 2012 at 11:59pm EST. US Only.

FIND MORE GIVEAWAYS:



Mary Kay {Giveaway}

Felissa is offering 25% off everything in her Mary Kay store. The discount will come off before the order goes through but will not show in the cart. You can also connect with her on Facebook to keep updated on new promotions she runs.

GIVEAWAY:

Enter  to win TimeWise Night Restore & Recover Complex- a new Mary Kay product (valued at $40) that was awarded the Good Housekeeping Seal. The winner will choose which product they want: the one for oily skin or the one for normal to dry skin.

MANDATORY ENTRY:

Look in Felissa’s Mary Kay store and then leave a comment telling me what other Mary Kay product you’d like to try.

ADDITIONAL ENTRIES:

(Do any or all of the following, leave a comment for each you do)

1) Share this giveaway on a social network

2) Tweet: “Win a great Mary Kay product from @aliciamarie112 at www.makingtimeformommy.com ”

3) Subscribe to this blog via email or RSS (look in upper right corner)

4) Blog about this giveaway

5) Enter another one of my giveaways (they can be found here)

Giveaway ends December 27, 2011 at 11:59pm. US Only.

(Disclosure: I was not compensated for running this giveaway.)