Friday, March 28, 2014

Why I Love The Swiffer Vac

I have a very large house with a lot of square footage. Half of that square footage is marble floors. I knew what I was getting into when we moved in, as far as cleaning this house and the floors, so it hasn't been a surprise to me how much work it is to keep the floors clean. It has been challenging with marble, though. You have to be really careful what you use. As of this point, it's been a little bit of Dawn and water, which is what I found that was recommended. But, it's not so much "mopping" the floors, but keeping them swept that's been the challenge. With two large dogs that shed constantly, a 3 year old who loves to drop things all over, and just dirt and general, I was sweeping all the time and it still didn't really get that clean. Plus, I was only doing it about once a week because it took me forever and I hated it.
I had my eye on the Swiffer Sweeper Vac for a while now.
It was about $50, so I just couldn't seem to pull the trigger. Last weekend, I went to a going out of business sale. It was on clearance and marked down, to $16. It was too good a deal to pass up! It comes with only to of the sweeper pads, so I stopped at Family Dollar and got a pack of about 25 for $4 or so.
You have to make sure it is fully charged, otherwise it wouldn't even put a dent in my house. So, after about 1 day of charging it, it was ready. This vac doesn't pick up large pieces of trash like a regular vacuum, but I'll tell ya, it has some pretty good suction. What it doesn't get with the vac, the sweeper pad picks up. I can do my entire house in under 20 minutes. Do you understand how awesome that is for me? That means that I pretty much sweep my floors daily now.
I still would say $50 is worth it for this product. It makes me life so much easier! I guess it's worth it for a large house, for sure. If you only have a small kitchen or something, than a broom and dustpan would be sufficient. But I also have a large room with brick flooring, which means it has lots of grooves and indentions. Before, the broom would just brush the hair or dust into the grooves. This gets all of it.
I highly suggest this product! Especially if you have lots of wood floors or hard floors! It's not going to actually clean the floor (like, sanitize). But I am keeping my eye out for one of these bad boys...
But at a retail price of $240, I have to just wait until I see a good deal. It does carpets and hard floors!! Anyone have one??

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What is Your Skin Care Regimen?

Since turning 34 this year, I've been really trying to make sure I am taking care of my skin. I have been using Cover Girl Liquid Powder for years, but it always seemed to break my neck out. And full disclosure, my face cleaning routine consisted of using Avery's baby wipes (which actually do remove eye makeup surprisingly well). So, needless to say, my skin didn't always look its best.
So, I received some gift cards for my birthday and I decided to go ahead and spring for some better products. First thing I did was get something designed to clean my face. I ordered the Olay ProX Microdermabrasion System.
This system came with the battery-operated scrubber with both a brush and foam pad, plus every day face wash and microdermabrasion wash to be used twice a week. I have really loved using this system. The beauty is that you can really use any face wash you'd like. I will probably buy a pore-reducing wash after the tube they sent me is empty. This system really exfoliates your face and leaves it feeling very clean without drying it out. If I do have a blemish that pops up, I wash my face at night and actually put on Neutrogena Clear Pore Astringent and by morning, it noticeably disappears.
For moisturizers, I decided to continue with the Oil of Olay line and got two - one for nighttime and one for the day. For the nighttime, I got the Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting cream. I love this stuff - and it is a big pricey, at over $20 a jar. But a little really does go a long way.
For daytime moisturizer, I use Olay Total Effects 7-1 Moisturizer. I do like this moisturizer, and for about $12 a jar, the jar itself doesn't last nearly as long. The nighttime moisturizer I've used every night for over a month and still haven't put much of a dent in my supply. My daytime one, I've used just as long, and I am about to have to get another bottle.
Along with my new face care system, I decided to get some new makeup and makeup related supplies. The first thing I got was some face primer. I never would have thought this would have been necessary, but it really helps put on makeup evenly. I researched some affordable options online and found Elf brand to be the most highly recommended, surprisingly. But I really, really like it. It goes on light and it really helps. It's only about $5 a jar, I think?
I also did some research for some new concealer and found NYX brand to be a highly recommended brand, comparable to the higher priced brands. I like this concealer a lot and it blends with my makeup perfectly.
The next thing I was going to have to spend some money on was some good coverage for my face. Cover Girl Liquid Powder was not working for me anymore. The coloring in my skin has changed a lot in the recent past - I don't tan anymore, so the color that had worked for so long just wasn't working anymore, and neither was anything else. I was having to use a lot on my neck to make it blend correctly, and in the sunlight, it still looked like I was wearing a lot of makeup. So, after many recommendations on Facebook, I took the plunge and tried Bare Minerals. Sidenote - I LOVE this system. It has been amazing and it's totally worth the cost. I chose to go with a beginner system (Complexion starter kit), so I could get a brush, the foundation, the all over color (which is better than any bronzer I've ever used) and the finishing powder. This system also came with its' own primer, which I have used, and do like as well.
I am about to have to replace my foundation because I am almost out, but I will replace it with a much larger size. The all over color will last me a really long time. The finishing powder is amazing! I am so glad I invested in this. Not only do I love the way it looks when it's on, it absolutely makes my skin better. My skin has much fewer breakouts. Most of the time, I don't even feel like I am wearing makeup. I used to scratch my face and have a fingernail full of foundation - no more!!
 For the rest of my skin, I will probably always use lotion from Bath and Body Works. I love the way it smells and I feel like it is thick and doesn't ever make my skin feel dry, even by the end of the day. I try to buy a bunch when they are onsale.

So, that's it! What do you do for your skin?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Resurrection, A Review

I have certainly been looking forward to catching Resurrection on ABC since I started seeing the commercials for it. I was able to catch both the first and second episodes on DVR tonight and for those who are interested in watching it also, but skeptical, I thought I would give it a review.
The premise behind Resurrection is not a secret - people have been inexplicably returned to loved ones after having been dead for years. After doing a bit of research, I realized that this was first a book called "The Returned," then it was a French mini-series with the same premise. (Apparently, all shows in American television have to be based on another European version first, but I digress). In the first two episodes, we see two people who are "returned," a boy named Jacob and a father named Caleb. Caleb, from what I gather, is seen throughout the first episode in a hoodie and red hat with a very menacing presence (very Satan-eque), but he is introduced to us as the father of a normal woman and her "not right" brother (show's description, not mine). The boy drowned 32 years before, with his aunt attempting to save him, or so the story goes. Omar Epps plays an FBI agent Bellamy working for immigration, assigned to bring the boy back across American soil after he is found wondering in China. The boy's cousin Maggie, his aunt's daughter, is the doctor working with Bellamy to figure out the mystery of why these people are returning from the dead.
It's quite an interesting premise and so far, the show has kept me intrigued. However, I don't see the interest continuing much longer. This premise is one that would make an excellent book, obviously, or a mini-series. It works in an environment with a definite end, and a small amount of time to keep the watcher interested. Shows like this, Lost, Once Upon A Time,  even The Walking Dead (at times), are ones that remind us that even though we are always a little intrigued by the mystery in the beginning, sooner or later, we all want a little closure to the story. And for me, five or six seasons of mystery is too much, and in the case of Lost, for example, the end of the story, or the beginning of the story, is never as interesting as it should have been or as it was when we began watching. Networks still have not figured out how to have a hit show that does not have to last season after season after season, so they make these shows that have slow arcs and unnecessary character plot lines, when the show could be a much-watched show, but for a short period of time.
Case in point - the first episode was incredibly interesting. This boy appears in a field out of nowhere, and is reintroduced to his parents after 32 years. We have indications that he is perhaps, possessed or other-worldly (staring out the window into the sun, opening his eyes after people leave rooms). I watched the show to figure out where he came from and why he is here. We are drawn into his character's death story by him telling a different version of how he died than has previously been told. Yes, his aunt drowned, but he was trying to save her, not the other way around. And behold, there was a man there that no one knew about before who might have pushed his aunt in. Ah, now there's a plotline. People coming back from the dead to help living people solve old mysteries. Wait, I have a sixth sense I've seen that in a movie sometime ago...
But instead of continuing down this path, in the second episode, we are given the plotline of how we will be reintroducing this boy into a normal life. He goes to play soccer with other kids, and lo and behold, other parents make their kids leave, because no one wants to play with "the dead one." And his mother is still clinging to the notion that at some point, people will just accept him for who he is and things will just be normal again. All the while, we have this other returned character, Caleb, who is digging up what looks to be a dead body and visiting a friend to beat him with a hammer, after screaming, "It's all gone?!?"
Either this is a show that has used a very intriguing premise to pull us in, in the hopes that we will gain interest in this small town of uninteresting characters, or its a show about this very intriguing premise of why people are coming back from the dead. In this case, I am guessing it's not the latter, which is unfortunate, because I think ABC is going to lose its viewership momentum very quickly. We've seen this show before, just with a different beginning. We've seen the small town cast of characters with lots of secrets to hide. We've seen the dopey, yet stubborn sheriff who refers to the stranger (Epps) as the one "coming to my town, asking a bunch of questions." We've seen the out-of-town federal agent (or lawyer, or cop, or investigator) who, for whatever reason, is drawn into the lives of these people and wants to know the truth (in this case, I think it could be for a good reason, if the writers did a good job with it). And honestly, I don't want to watch that show again and again. I want to watch a show I haven't seen, one where the writers have thought the idea out from the beginning to the end, and have a good story to tell me.
I will watch the third episode, but if it gets me no closer to the mystery of where all of these "returned" are coming from and why, then I won't watch after that. Epps is doing a great job with the material he has, other than that, I am not completely impressed with anyone else in the cast. For one thing, there are too many people I am having to keep up with at this point. For another, none of them seem slightly interesting. I really hope they can change that - it would be a good show if they could.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

What Happens In Vegas, Stays in Vegas!

We just got back from a fun filled, 5 day walkathon, otherwise known as a trip to Las Vegas! Jason's company had a meeting and there was no way I was letting him go without me! Most of you probably didn't know I was even there because I am not one of those people who tags locations of where I am when I am not at my house - doesn't it scare you that you are basically telling the world that you aren't home, and are no where close? I feel like it's an open invitation to everyone to say - "Please, come rob me!" Anyway, I digress.
It just so happens to be our four year anniversary month and this was our very first vacation to take with just us. First trip on a plane with just us and no kids, first trip to Vegas as adults, it was Jason's first trip to a casino, and our first time away from Avery for so many nights. Boy, were we missing her when we got back.
Just a picture review from our previous anniversaries - Avery has always gone and stayed with family at lease one night away while we went out to dinner, but this was the first year we both actually went on a trip on a plane. 
First Anniversary...
Second Anniversary (my hair got long!!)...
Third Anniversary...
And (Almost) Fourth Anniversary. Still not quite here yet.
Is it just me, or do we just keep getting better looking?
So, Jason had to be there from Monday - Wednesday. We decided to go early on Saturday to get a few more days out of it. Since we were paying for it, we had to get a hotel on a budget. Las Vegas on a Saturday night on the first night of Spring Break ain't cheap, so we ended up staying at Circus Circus. You'll notice, we have no pictures of us there. For a reason. I know, I know. We were warned. You live, you learn. Just for future reference, if you are ever planning a trip to Vegas, whatever you end up saving from a hotel like Circus Circus, you end up spending in transportation back and forth to the rest of the world down the strip. You also end up with a bunch of kids running around everywhere (strollers, with little babies, in a smoky casino at 10 pm with their parents drinking a 45 ounce margarita just isn't the stuff dreams are made of, folks.)
Monday - Wednesday "we were movin' on up!" to Bally's, which is tied to Paris. We felt like we were in a different country. I actually think Paris was my favorite hotel. I am not sure if it was the ambience, or the really, really cool casino with the beautiful ceiling (not that we spent much time gambling, but I loved walking through it), or the beautiful restaurant with the Bellagio fountain view. OR the fact when you walked through the casino, you weren't instantly hit with the smell of cigarettes. Either way, Bally's/Paris was a great place to stay with a great location. We loved it once we got there!!
This is us (drinking water, I swear) at the Venetian. We ended up going to see Rock of Ages there and it was an awesome show. The Venetian was gorgeous too!
If you like 80's music and aren't afraid of a little inappropriate language, this was a really fun show to watch. We got moved up to the fourth row, so that was a nice surprise!
This is Jason's first bet at the airport....

Greased lightning! I played the Sex and the City game, but sadly, it disappointed me. Mr. Big, you and your ways.

The Bellagio was obviously breathtaking. It has this really pretty butterfly habitat with these gorgeous gardens in the middle of the hotel.

This was Bally's/Paris from across the street...

And of course, the spectacular water show. I could spend hours watching this, it was beautiful and completely relaxing. And what's amazing is that all of the people stop what they are doing and just silently watch.

Me in front of New York New York - Sadly, I didn't get to go inside. This was our fourth day and I was on my own for a few hours and had the hardest time getting around. My feet and legs were absolutely killing me. I know what you are thinking, it's right across the street! Well, let me tell you. On the Strip, NOTHING is right across the street. You have to go inside hotels, get on an escalator, walk across a sky bridge, go into another hotel, find the exit and the find in the part of the hotel that you are looking to see. The hotels in Vegas are incredibly large and everything is really hard to get to. We saw about 15 hotels and still didn't see them all, it would have taken us days upon days. But, I've heard the outside of this hotel is the best part, anyway.

The Flamingo was also right next to us and I got to see the flamingos - I have to say, this was the coolest outside area. It was lush and had waterfalls and was close to the large pool. It was really, really neat. Unfortunately, Margaritaville was in this hotel also, but I didn't get a chance to make it there, either.

We ate at Mon Ami Gabi in Paris...
...which I loved because it bore a striking resemblance to the restaurant that Diane Keaton eats at in Paris in the movie "Something's Gotta Give...
Caesar's Palace was probably the most disappointing. Call me a spoiled sport, but I'd heard great things about the inside of this hotel. And I had to go see the Forum Shops! Forgive me, but it was basically just the Galleria with a much nicer ceiling. And the statue show? Ok, we got to where this show was, which was no easy feat, because Caesar's is probably the largest of all the hotels, plus the most confusing. We got here and saw these four statues. I am thinking, how cool! They move, this will be neat!
What we got was this...
Three animatronic "gods" and you could barely understand what they were saying to each other. I am sure back in the day, when animatronics first came out (I saw the Halls of Presidents in Disneyworld in the 90s, animatronics were cool back then) this was a show to watch. We waited 30 minutes for this show to start and when it was over, we were like, "Huh?" The Bellagio fountain show is worth walking and waiting half an hour for, especially at night. If you aren't already in Caesar's, and aren't already eating there or something, this is so not worth the walk or the wait. Just a word to the wise.
Anyway, after all was said and done, we had a really fun trip. It was tiring and my 23 year old self would be ashamed as we were quite literally in bed every night by 11 pm (yep, I still got it, folks) but I really enjoyed myself. I am glad we got to do it and it got a little vacationing urge out of my system for a while. And while I was gone, this happened...
Brooke cut her hair! I told her to cut it while we were gone and when I saw her tonight, I swear, she might as well have been wearing high heels, she looked so old. My baby is growing up.
Have a good night, everyone!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Long Time, No Blog!

I guess I just haven't had a lot of interesting things to say lately, because it's been a while since my last post! I feel like I am slowing down on my posting lately, not because I don't want to write, just because I guess I don't have stuff to write and blog about every day anymore. Maybe I've just been busy. Who knows.
Anyway, we took some family pictures of my side last weekend and they turned out beautiful! Props to my sister Brooke for organizing it and making it all happen!
I always bribe my children when we take pictures and it always works. I told them we could have donuts afterwards (it was early), so afterwards, we went to Glazed. This is them on electronics after they ate. We really don't ever seem them like this, but I was OK with it, since they were so cooperative during pictures!

I asked Avery to make a mean face. She did a good job.

Brooke, Gigi, Pops and I took the girls to Pump It Up last week for open play. It was a good way to spend $6 and a morning!! Avery rode this slide over and over.

Colbi didn't quite know how to jump and wasn't big enough to get up the slide on her own, so she mostly just sat, then got up, then ran around, repeat.

I took a pic of Brooke taking a pic.

Last Saturday, I had signed up for the Choose Life 5K, but wasn't able to participate in the race due to my recent surgery. But, we did go to cheer my friends on!

Avery got her face painted.

Avery's been really obsessed with the dogs lately. Bella is my black lab, she is so easy going, and will generally do whatever Avery tells her to do, and since Avery is so bossy, I think it proves just how good Bella is. Molly, the one below, isn't so easy going. She isn't a fan of the kids crawling all over her, especially in her own bed. Well, Avery is doing her darndest to get Molly on her side. So the other day, she took pillows and blankets and laid down with Molly. Molly wasn't thrilled, but she did lay with Avery. Until I came over and I got this look, "Mom, why??" I think it's adorable. But, we do talk about dogs liking certain things and other dogs liking others. Avery could literally walk all over Bella, put stuff on her like crowns, cover her with blankets, annoy her to no end, and Bella would still sit patiently, wagging her tail, just taking it. Molly isn't that way, and while we trust them both, I think it's important kids know that you can't make dogs do things they don't want to do.

So, that's been our time lately! Have a great rest of your hump day!