Basement transformation: The disaster phase

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The basement at phase 1. Oh, and Penny wanted to say hello! 🙂

Remember those 3 months I was MIA earlier this year? Well, we were in the process of moving and travelling and dealing with a sick kiddo. Don’t ask me which one was harder but the combination of all of them within the two months was challenging to say the least. We were not planning on moving out of our rental apartment but decided to do so given some very frustrating situations with new neighbors. I won’t bore you with the saga, but we did not want to sign up for another full year and be stuck in a bad situation. So, we moved.

We’ve been in our new place for about two months and we are finally starting to feel like we are settling in. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still a lot of boxes that need to be unpacked but most of the day-to-day things are out, somewhere around the house.

The basement of our current house is basically one decent sized room. Clay and I both agreed that this space would be the perfect playroom for Alex. I have plans in my head of how this room will look once we are all done, but I wanted to share with you all the current status. I know it’s a mess but, trust me, it looks much better than it did before as this was our landing zone for most of the boxes early on in the moving phase.

This also made me think of all the stuff we keep around. We have quite a few “maybe” items that just continue to get stored from one place to the next. There’s also the things you forgot you had or no longer have interest in. I love a good Spring cleaning and this move has helped us start the process of getting rid (donate or throw away) of things we don’t need or want in our lives anymore. I get a lot of satisfaction at decluttering. Thankfully, I have Alex to help me sort things from one pile to the next.

Lulu

Are you a Spring (any season, any reason) cleaner? What is your approach? Do you have items you’ve stored for years with a certain purpose/use/reason in mind that never seems to come around?

The No Bueno List: Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

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Nars Radian Creamy Concealer – Ginger

I know! Please don’t hate me for this one. Everyone and their mom loves this product. I have tried so many different ways to apply it, differently amounts, different setting powders, different eye bases. Nothing, bupkis, nada seems to make it work for me. Here’s the deal – my under eye circles can been seen from the International Space Station. I have always need a corrector and a good coverage concealer. This product goes on like a dream – easy to blend, good coverage. I also like the color shade of Ginger on my skin tone. However, in just a few hours I get a ton of creasing and the coverage seems to have faded. I can’t tell if it’s just oxidized on my skin or if has literally melted away. You can’t see the corrector but there is a darker shadowing in my under eyes that is almost worse that if I had left it without any makeup. I normally love NARS products so not liking his was a little surprising to me. There is still quite a bit of product on this tube and I am determined to finish it – mostly because I can’t return it. I also have a small glimpse of hope that I will be able to find a way to make it work for me. For now, though, I am not loving this and don’t have plans to repurchase.

Lulu

Do you love this product? How do you recommend that I apply it? Please – I’d like to make this work. 🙂

Sephora Haul: VIB sale

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My latest Sephora Haul!

Hello My Loves!

Sephora had a sale going on recently which offered VIB members 15% off their purchase. I just happened to be low on a few things so the timing was perfect! Here are the items I picked up.

The first item on my list was Clinique’s Liquid Facial Soap. I have been using this guys for years now. No matter what I use to remove my makeup – I always follow up with this soap. It is super gentle on the skin but gets the job done. My husband has also used it for a few years now so I go through quite a few of these in a year.

The other item I was actually low on was Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer. I use the shade Warm Medium. This is a product that I have been using for a little while and it’s definitely worthy of the A-list status (stay tuned!). I have me some mean dark circles (curses genes!) so I need to use high coverage products. This concealer does the job and it stays put all day long. It has replaced my beloved MAC Pro Longwear concealer. I HAD to get a refill!

The Benefit Gimme Brow was a last minute click before submitting my order. I have used samples of this product a few times and loved how easy it is to use. I have naturally thick brows with some sparse spots. This product fills those areas and sets the brows in place in one step. Done!

The NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation. You guys know I have been loving Too Faced Born This Way foundation. I love everything about this foundation but I am not sure how it will perform in the North East’s scorching Summer. I believe this is advertised for oily skin so we’ll see how it sets on my skin in the warm months. I have not tried it yet but I have high hopes given that both Arshia and Megha speak highly of this product. I will definitely give you guys an update soon.

I used some of my points to pick up a sample of Algenist’s Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum. I have used this a few times and I think I like it – the smell is not the most pleasant to me but I think I can get past that. No real opinions on the performance yet but will update on this later. The Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating serum was another sample I picked up. I’ve used this in the past and I pick up samples of this when available. It’s easy to travel with too. Lastly, I picked up a sample of The Estee Edit’s Dissolve the Drama 2-in-1 Makeup Remover + Cleanser. This is an interesting product. It is oily when you apply it to the skin and then turns milky once you add a little water. It does a good job of removing makeup and cleaning your skin – it also smells really nice. Not sure if I will purchase a full size bottle, but so far I like it.

Lulu

Did you take advantage of the Sephora sale? What did you get?

The A-List: Too Faced Born this Way Foundation

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The Born This Way Foundation by Too Faced.

I know I am late to the game when it comes to talking about this product, but I am here to tell you now that all the hype is true. This foundation has become my go to skin base product and I have been using it non-stop for the past 4 months. Why? Well, let’s see…

The packaging is gorgeous! The frosted glass bottle with black cap has a really nice weight to it. The gold lettering is also nice and gives it a fancy look. This was definitely not an afterthought for this product. It also comes with a pump that dispenses the right amount of product. So nice!

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The foundation, while liquid, is not runny like some of the new products out on the market. I don’t really get a scent of anything particular, which is kind of nice for me. I don’t need my foundation to smell like roses. I would prefer other things like coverage, how it sits on the skin,  and longevity. And this foundation delivers in all these categories. For me, I get a solid medium coverage with about 2 pumps. I usually dot it all over my face and then apply it with a beauty blender. It also matches my skin perfectly! I can still see my freckles and I don’t mind that, especially for everyday use. I love the satin finish too. It just gives your skin a healthy glow that does not turn greasy a few hours later.

It sits on the skin beautifully! Once you blend it in it can be hard to distinguish that you have any product on your skin. It is also nice because you don’t feel the foundation on your skin. This does not sit on my fine lines and pores either. The coconut water helps to keep your skin hydrated, which my combination skin needs during the late Fall through early Spring timeframe.

As far as longevity – it’s pretty good. I would not put this in the same category as Estee Lauder’s Double Wear foundation in terms of longevity. I can see that it has faded a little around my nose towards the end of the day. But considering I have been wearing makeup for over 12 hours, this is still really good performance.

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This is a product I will definitely continue to repurchase.

Specs:
Too Faced Born this Way Foundation
Coverage: Medium to Full coverage advertised
Price: $39.00 for 1oz of product
Where to buy: Too Faced website and Sephora

Have you tried this foundation? Do you love it?

 

Entertaining a Toddler on a plane

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On approach to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

You may have read my previous blog about our trip to Puerto Rico. Alex is now old enough to get his own seat and, while it makes for a more comfortable trip, it comes with it’s own set of challenges. I wanted to share with you our approach for traveling with a toddler.

  • We try to book our flights as early as possible. I know this is not realistic for all scenarios, but whenever possible we try to purchase tickets 2 months in advance. Paying for three tickets gets expensive, especially when our families are on opposite sides of the country.
  • Direct flights. This is something Clay and I have always preferred. It’s just so much more simple to board a plane once and get to where you need to go. We don’t “waste” time in between flights and this also reduces the chance for canceled connecting flights. Let’s not forget the odd chance of having to rush through a terminal to get to our next gate. Some people love this part of the travelling experience, but it’s not something enjoy doing any more. After we had Alex we also thought this would lessen the time his tiny ears had to adjust to the pressure of takeoff and landing.
  • Timing. This is not a must, but we find that getting a flight close to Alex’s nap time works great! He can spend some time with us either eating or using his toys (see next two bullets) and then he can sleep the rest of the flight. This also allows Mommy and Daddy to take a break. Everyone is somewhat refreshed by the time we land at our destination.
  • Food. Depending on the time of the flight we will try to eat before we board the plane, or fairly soon after departure. We also bring lots of snacks – puffs, crackers, puree pouches, pretzels, etc. Alex loves apple juice, which we can get on the plane so we just make sure we have enough water to keep him hydrated. I have tried getting milk at the terminal but it’s been tricky at some locations/terminals. It also goes bad after a few hours so we don’t do that any more.
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Coloring and sticker books.
  • Entertainment. This is a big one! The flights we take to visit family average about 4 hours per leg. We have to bring stuff to keep him busy. Our biggest fear is for him to have one of those epic toddler tantrums on a plane. The things that have worked best for us are coloring books and sticker. These are fairly lightweight but are a big help to keep him entertained. They are also quiet toys so we won’t annoy fellow passengers. Alex really likes the 555 Sticker Fun Animals. The scenes are really cool and you can really let them use their imagination to customize the various habitats included. We’ve gone through several of these books, but they also have a version of this book with vehicles, dinosaurs, and pirates.
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Can you find the tiny tiger that lives in the garden? What about the deer? 🙂

I know these are not earth chattering tips but I wanted to share them in case they would be helpful to someone.

Lulu

What is your experience traveling with your little ones? Please share your tips with me.

Let’s go for a ride: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike

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I have to admit this was an impulse purchase. At the time, Alex was refusing to spend any amount of time on the stroller and he was getting heavy, so carrying him was tiring. I figured that this would be a benefit for both parties. He can start learning to pedal and we don’t have carry him all the time.

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Alex loves to use the bell!

Alex was a bit older so we didn’t really use the first two steps advertised. The assembly process was super easy and took less than 30 minutes. We got a lot of use out of it last Fall, in the “pedal locked” mode. This mode allows them to ride the tricycle without doing the pedaling motion. So far this Spring it has been very well loved, and Alex is almost to the point that he can pedal by himself. As you can see we still use the “parent guide steering” system but we are working on letting Alex do most of the navigation. Once he is comfortable with this we will remove it and he will be free to roam the world. The compartment at the back of the tricycle also makes it easy to carry a water bottle and a few “friends” that Alex might want to bring around.

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All-in-all, this was a really great purchase for our family and we know we will be able to use this for quite some time as the seat is adjustable. If you are on the fence about purchasing this product, or something similar, I would encourage you to take the plunge. Your kid(s) will love it!

Lulu

The Herb Garden

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Our first herb garden!

We finally live in a place where we get enough sunlight to have our own herb garden. So, last weekend we took a trip to the hardware store and bought a few things to make it happen. The best part was that Alex was involved in the process. The herbs that we picked may seem kind of random but these are the ones we love and use on regular basis.

The planting process was fairly simple. We got the planter, some miracle grow, a few potted herbs (the basil and rosemary) and cilantro and tarragon seed packet as we couldn’t find them potted. We placed the miracle grow in the planter and de-potted the herbs on one side of the planter. We spread the seeds on the other half of the planter.

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I think Penny likes them… 🙂

If you ask Alex he will tell you that the rosemary is for yummy meats and the basil tastes like pizza. We use tarragon in our scrambled eggs and cilantro is for tacos. Our thought was that giving him examples of the dishes we will fix with these herbs would get him even more excited. Turns out that just having him use the gardening tools would’ve been motivation enough. We are hoping to see the cilantro and tarragon seeds sprout soon. I am looking forward to gathering some of the herbs and fixing a dish with Alex.

Lulu

What herbs do you like to use? What are your favorite dishes to prepare with them?