Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Best Sunscreens?

I was reading the July issue of Consumer Reports called Shop Smart and I came to realize that many of my friends probably don’t read this magazine or know about it’s amazing benefits. Consumer Reports always promises to tell you the truth and they do their own tests by buying products we all buy and testing them in any of their 50 labs or at their 327-acre Auto Test Center. They also state that they don’t just test the products, they “work for change in the marketplace to protect you from dangerous products and unfair sales and advertising practices”. Their mission: “To help you make the best choice every time”. Now, I like how they are non-profit and don’t take ads or free samples and I also like that they do all their own testing and they have been around for quite some time. You can get a year subscription online for $30.00 and you can also buy the Magazine for about $27.00 or combine the both and its cheaper. I have always found their magazines helpful and informational. This specific magazine was all about the ways to shop smart, stay safe on Facebook, find freebies and the sun screens. I want to write this blog on the sunscreens first. It wasn’t a big article in the magazine, but the study tested 18 sunscreens and they picked 7 as their ‘Smart Picks’. They tested natural sunscreens such as Alba Botanical and Eco Organics to brand names such as Aveeno, Neutrogena, and Banana Boat. There were two categories, Best Sprays and Best Lotions and to make the ‘Smart Pick’ list the sunscreen had to protect against UVA and UVB, whether it stained or not, had to work well after testers applied and soaked in a tub, and how the sunscreen felt and smelled. All their picks stained as with most sunscreens, so use caution. Their best spray list was Banana Boat Sport Performance SPF 30, Coppertone Sport High Performance SPF 30, Walgreens Continuous Spray Sport SPF 50, and Coppertone Oil Free Foaming SPF 75. There were three runner ups; Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist with Helioplex SPF 45, Coppertone Ultroguard Continuous Spray SPF 70 and Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport Clear SPF 30. They were picked because they provided excellent UVA and UVB coverage and they kept working even after the tester soaked in the tub of water for 80 minutes and you can buy them for between $8 and $10 dollars. The best lotion picks were All Terrain Aquasport SPF 30, No-ad with Aloe and Vit E SPF 45, and Eco All Natural Sunscreen Body SPF 30. They liked these lotions because they also gave great UVA and UVB protection and met SPF claims after testers soaked for 80 minutes in water. Although they provided good protection, testers thought they smelled a bit like paint and it wasn’t easy to squeeze out of the tubes, but the later could be from already slippery hands from applying and they are more expensive, the Eco All Natural being $25 for a 5.3 oz tube. The runners up were Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50, La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 with Mexoryl SX Spf 40 (never heard of this one) and Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Regular SPF 30. Also, you should probably not use sprays on children because of the possibility of inhalation and when you use them as an adult, try not to inhale the fumes. If you want more information on whether your current sunscreen provides the right coverage with minimal chemicals, you can always check www.ewg.org and see what your sunscreen rates. A 1 is great, a 10 is bad. When I search the sprays to see their numbers this is how they correspond; Banana Boat – 7, Coppertone – 5, Walgreens – 7, and Coppertone Oil Free – 7. As you can see, even though you will be covered well from UVA and UVB rays, there are a medium amount of chemicals you are putting on your body and some may be absorbing to get that protection. But, in contrast, if you are one who is not diligent about putting on your sunscreen every two hours of after each swim, then this should be a must for you as well as a cover-up ,hat and sunglasses. Lets see how the lotions stacked up; All Terrain Aquasport SPF 30 – 2, No-ad Aloe and Vitamin E SPF 45 – Couldn’t find, and Eco All Natural – couldn’t find that one either. Ive always heard lotions were better for use because they have to be rubbed in whereas people may believe sprays don’t need to be rubbed in, but they do, especially if you want to right coverage. In the end, if you like a more natural sunscreen with less chemicals, play around with the website and choose one that is right for you and remember you will have to apply more often. If you are not as diligent, then I would go with one of the sprays listed above. Did you know that sunscreen containers are changing the way they advertise because of new regulations brought about by the FDA? Sunscreens can no longer claim they are a sunblock, waterproof, or sweatproof. The companies can still use water resistant, but they have to also state how long the sunscreen will be effective, either for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating. They also will not claim that they are All-day or provide instant protection (all sunscreen should be applied deliberately before heading out in the sun). If the company want to claim ‘broad spectrum’ they have to prove it to the FDA before throwing that label on and sunscreens will only go as high as SPF 50 because above that, there is not enough evidence that shows that a higher SPF protects more. The sun has become no joking matter. When you get a tan, you are killing your skin cells and causing free radical damage, premature aging and an increase in age spots and sunspots. You are increasing your chances of cancer and from what Ive read from a friend of mine who is a Melanoma Warrior who still travels to New York for tests. Read her blog and see if it changes the way you view your tan - http://adventurewithmelanoma.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Today, I AM Loved!

You know the feeling of overwhelming love where your heart feels as though it has grown three sizes too big and it causes tears to well up in your eyes? I felt that today and realized that I AM loved! As my daughter was waking up from a late nap, she was crying. I had just put down my book in my bed and rolled to my side to try and get a few min of shut eye myself when she awoke. I found her staring at the wall with a head of hair in a sweaty mess. She must have had a bad dream and was overly warm, obviously and if she was sleeping on her back and if she is anything like momma, that is when dreams become most prominent. I sat on the foot of her bed (she is currently napping in a twin size bed on the floor) and picked her up and hug-cradled her. I leaned back on the big body pillow that’s props up against the wall with her big Tigger pillow under my back. It was not the most comfortable position with Tigger’s massive heard poking me in the back, but moments like these are fleeting and get shorter and less frequent as she ages so I was not going to move; I would endure the uncomfortable position for a little while. She had her head on my left shoulder and reached with her left hand to have a handful of her ‘blankey’ and fell asleep. My daughter was never one to fall asleep in strange places (not my arms or her bed) when she was an infant and even a baby. She didn’t fall asleep in her walker, her high chair, her bumbo chair or anything else. The only place she fell asleep that was neither my husbands nor my arms was the floor in front of her playpen. I have that picture because it was such a shock. As I was laying there relishing the moment, eyes closed in thought, I was glad she is content to know that mommy is always there to calm her fears. I also wondered if she was listening to my beating heart and hat helped soothe her back to sleep. Did she remember doing the same thing when she was an infant? I told her right before she fell asleep on my chest that I loved her and she told me she loved me too in a whisper. I knew I should be waking her up because it was almost 4 in the afternoon and she would be getting ready for bed in four to five hours, but I could not make myself move her. As I was sitting there, relaxing and thinking my dog left the comfort of her bed in my husbands and my bedroom to come lay at my feet. All I had to do was barely life a foot and she was right there. Then she laid her head on my right foot. At that moment, I felt such unconditional, innocent and freely given love. When it comes to my daughter and my dog, they do not care what I look like, how much money I make, or what brand of clothes I wear. They love me because I care, I understand, I provide, I listen and I love them just as much as they love me! All this from a 2 year old falling asleep on my shoulder. It’s a magical moment and I welcome it when it comes and I pray I never miss a beat!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Avon-Foundation for Women; Improving the Lives of Women Globally
Biggest supporter of Breast Cancer Research

I became an Avon representative about a month ago. So far I have had five orders. I think that's pretty good since I started such a short time ago. The reason I wanted to become an Avon representative was for a few reasons: I wanted to make some income while also being a stay at home mom (I sometimes can't believe I get to stay home and hang out with my daughter!), I wanted to meet people and make friends, and I really like their products. I've ordered from Avon few times and have had absolutely no complaints. Their prices are fantastic and easily comparable to store brands (if not better, they have been around for 125 years), the products are up to date and they have an outstanding return or exchange program if you're not satisfied!

I will say that some of the people I have met have been really awesome and helpful and full of smiles and wanting to help in any way they can. Ive also come to realize there are some who (sorry for my initial judgement) I would have never suspected they sell (and are apparently very good at it) Avon. I know one woman who is older who does a great job selling, is kind and helpful, has amazing ideas and even has a mini Avon store in her garage. The guy who recruited me does great in sales, recruits well, but is a rather big gentleman and doesn't get back to my emails as I think he should consider how new I am to the world of being in business for myself. The district lady is quite amazing. She's extremely knowledgeable and goes above and beyond helping everyone she can. She's probable in her early 40's and very pretty and well spoken. I've met a younger girl who has been selling since September of last year. She seems younger than me, but answers my questions with a smile. I believe her mom is her guinea pig when it comes to using a product and then she can yay or nay it. I think its a great idea. She's very nice too. Regardless, everyone I have met is very nice and has great ideas. It's hard not to compare yourself with those you see around you selling and representing for the same company. I do hope that I can definitely make something of this pursuit. I may even pick up the My-Thirty-One after six months or so of selling Avon. My thoughts is that they would compliment each other well.

If you read my posts, please take the time to visit my website. Shop for yourself, for your mom, for friends or even the fragrances for men. And even of you dont want to shop, please remember me and would love referrals!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Boredom's Attention

You would think that being a mother of a toddler, boredom would be gracious gift. Mwehh...not really. I mean, being with my toddler is great on many levels, but when I actually get some me time while she's napping or finally playing by herself, I dont know what to do with myself. I love reading, but that can get boring too, especially when I read so fast (three books in one week). I suppose it can only engage my attention only long enough. Im reading the Game of Thrones Series now after finishing the Hunger Games Series, but I need something else to give me something to think about and do. Ive been trying to find what my niche is in the world and I have only come down to realizing Im good with children and I feel I would be a good teacher, but that comes down to spending more money to get a degree or certification (whatever the case may be in VA) and who knows if I would even get a job. Besides, I really dont want to work until my DD is in school anyway and I would really only like to do part-time. Ive thought about writing a book, but where and how do I start. I have such an amazingly vivid imagination and my dreams can hold amazing keys to giving me stories. What about selling Avon, Mary Kay or Pampered Chef or another one of those kinds of jobs?
I am starting a garden this year so that will give me something to do. I am learning more and more about sewing and hopefully I will get good enough to make my own skirts and clothes for DD. What about making my own jewelry? would it be worth selling?
I suppose my biggest issue is I need to just do it, but I believe Im worried about failure, but then again, I do know that it could happen, so maybe Im more worried about wasting the money. I suppose I need more justification....(writing a book would be fun, anyone know how I would even begin this?)
Until next time...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First House

We have moved to our first 'real' home. It only took me 12 years to get to this point and quite honestly, it's really all thanks to an amzing husband who is such a wonderful provider. Compared to where we were living, this is 1000 times better. Granted, there were really no 'house' bills to pay, we were blessed in having that kind of opportunity to get to where we are now. From a 'cave' to a home that has so much natural light that I only need to turn on the lights in the evening. We have a two car garage and a full un-finished basement, which also has a set of french doors AND a full size double window! The kitchen is nice and functional and we have a dishwasher! I wash pots and pans and my daughters dishes by hand still, but Oh My, we can use more than two plates and bowls and just put them in the dishwasher and still have more to use. We dont have a formal dining room, but more of like a dining area or eat-in kitchen and it's spacious. The living room is small compared to the rest of the house, like the builder was focusing on a large kitchen instead, but I honestly cant wait until we get at least the den complete downstairs, because this is just the right size for a living room/sitting room without a tv; just for conversating with friends and family.
We even have a small view of broadway and surrounding area, not grande, but its nice.
The three bedrooms are all a good size, two rooms have queen size beds with room to definately spare and my daughters room has two twin size beds, plus a playpen she is currently sleeping in until her 2nd birthday. The hall/guest/my daughters bathroom is huge with a double sink with lots of space. Its a long bathroom. The master bathroom is kinda small, but hey, we have two bathrooms and one is all our own.
The front porch is small, but its our small front porch and did I mention all the sun the front of the house gets?
Moving is very stressful for me. Ive done it quite a bit in the last 12 years. I think living in our previous place for 2 1/2 years was the longest Ive ever stayed in one place. Luckily, this time around, I didnt get as stressed as I normally do and we have accumulated many more things. I like the unpacking part and packing certain things, but all the rest is just...so...anoying...thank goodness we wont have to do that again for a very, very long time.
Ive debated on painting, but I think it can wait until I get tired of all white walls. I already have a color palet in mind and on paper, I just dont feel its necessary and I like the clean fresh feeling of white walls in a brand new home.
Most things have been unpacked and we are slowly getting pictures and such on the walls. I made the curtains for the living room, dining area and my duaghters room and the only room that still needs some work is the spare room, which may become a baby room sooner than later :)
The town we live in is small. It seems like its kinda 'country ghetto' if that makes sense. When I got to the Food Lion, people a bit younger than I are dressed in what looks like loungewear or just not put together well (sweat pants and sweat shirt that doesnt match). If you have ever living in a small town, you know where Im getting. Its alright, I just need to get used to it coming from near a big city, bigger than Harrisonburg, VA.
Anyway, I think I will really enjoy living here. I think it will grow on me :)