Posted in BEAUTY, Birchbox, BODY, lifestyle, SKINCARE

Birchbox-May 2017

My May Birchbox had some familiar favorites and a surprise.

SAM_3004

I’ve received several Coola products in my monthly subscription boxes. They always work great, so I look forward to using this sunscreen/primer. Full-size $42

SAM_3008

I’ve used Whish body cream before and it smells luscious, but the sample tubes don’t have enough product to see if it works. This cream is supposed to help stretch marks and scars. Full-size $36

SAM_2976

I don’t know why Birchbox keeps sending me hair products I can’t use. Full-size $24

SAM_2990

I’m excited about this mascara by The Beauty Crop. Not only is the packaging adorable, but the mascara has argan and jojoba oils in it. Full-size $22

SAM_2984

This perfume is described as sophisticated and glamorous with notes of sandalwood and jasmine. I call it heaven. Full-size $105.

Stay blessed,

Barbie

Posted in BEAUTY, Ipsy, lifestyle, SKINCARE

May 2017 Ipsy Bag

Of course, this month’s Ipsy bag has a  summer theme.

 

333

I received a clear plastic bag decorated with ice cream cones and fudgesicles. This will be handy at the pool or beach.

wp-1462075719699.jpg

This is a repeat from Ipsy. I got this brush last year and it’s perfect for highlighting. I guess I have a spare now. In fact, I’ve received about four Luxie brushes from Ipsy over the months. No complaints here.

SAM_3015

This Manna Kadar bronzer and highlighting duo is another duplicate. I think I gave the other one away, so I’ll use this one. On the right side of the picture is a Hikara cream eyeshadow pigment. These pigments rock. A couple of months ago, I received a gold one and it’s one of the most gorgeous golds I’ve ever owned.  This month’s cream pigment is a metallic coral pink color. Just swipe it on and go.

SAM_3025

I haven’t bought a mascara in years, thanks to Ipsy and Birchbox. I usually receive great quality mascaras. If I don’t like one, I toss it and move on the next.

SAM_3020

How can you go wrong with coconut oil?

Nice bag, but I can’t wait to see what June brings. It should be good.

Stay blessed,

Barbie

Posted in BEAUTY, BODY, Ipsy, lifestyle, SUBSCRIPTION BOXES

Ipsy Bag-April 2017

I’m loving this year’s Ipsy bags. This month’s ticket theme is adorable. Obviously, it’s perfect for a trip to the movies or an amusement park or you could keep notes and receipts in it. I think I’ll keep it in my car to store my charger, pens, and other knick knacks. Let’s take a look at what I received in the bag.

SAM_2873

PS Cosmeceutical non-toxic nail lacquer in the color, Southern Sand. I like the fact that the nail polish is vegan, free of harmful chemicals, and infused with grapefruit seed extract which is an antifungal property. The nail lacquer cost about $15.00 a bottle. Check out the colors here PS Cosmeceutical.

SAM_2880

Hanalei Aloe Soothing Gel can be used on the face or body.  Hanalei is an excellent brand that I’ve received before from Ipsy. I love their lip moisturizers. A full-size jar of the aloe soothing gel costs $30.

I received a little sample of Elizabeth Mott’s  Show Me Your Glow shimmer eyeshadow and highlighter. This has a silver undertone which I’ve never used before. I usually buy highlighters in gold hues. So I’m anxious to experiment with this.

SAM_2879

Glamour Dolls x Lisa Frank Angle Blush brush. What is there to say? The synthetic bristles are soft. The handle is sturdy. But none of that matters because this brush is so damn cute. Pink with unicorns.

SAM_2886

TonyMoly lipcare in Honey Moisture. Since I have dry lips, I can never have too many lip balms. As you can see, I’ve already used this several times and it’s moisturizing but not too slippery.

I’m always amazed by the great products I receive from Ipsy for just $10 a month. Do you have a monthly makeup subscription service? If so, let me know. I want to try some new services out.

Stay blessed,

Barbie

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in DIY, lifestyle, Uncategorized

How I Salvaged My Scorched Stainless Steel Pot!

I’ve never burned a pan so badly before in my life. Long story short. I tried to make Mexican rice the authentic way which included putting foil under the lid and letting the rice cook until it was well done at the bottom. Well, mine did more than cook until it was well done. It burned to a crisp.

Since this is my favorite pot that I use for chili, soups, and pasta dishes, I had cooked up a full-blown tragedy.  My Schulte-Ufer pot that I bought on sale years ago and would cost me more than a hundred bucks to replace, was a piece of scorched stainless steel. But there was no way I was throwing my go-to pot away.  I had to salvage it.

For several days, I tried everything to clean my pot. Bleach. Dawn. Bleach and Dawn together. Tried scrubbing it with foil.  After days of letting the pan soak and desperately scouring the Internet,  I finally discovered a cleaning solution.

SAM_2745

Pour equal parts of white vinegar and water into the burned pan, put it on the stove and turn the heat on medium high. Use a wooden spoon to lift the burned pieces off the bottom as the vinegar and water heat up.

Once that’s done, you’ll need to dump out the burnt pieces. I poured lemon juice and coarse salt into a pan and used a scrubber to get the rest of the residue off.

SAM_2756

After some elbow grease, I was able to get the pot looking good again. I’m still going to work on it some more so that it’s shining and glistening again, but I’m so happy that  I was able to salvage the pot and put it back into use. Hope this helps someone else.

Stay blessed,

Barbie

Posted in FOOD, Health, lifestyle

Clean Out Your Fridge & Clean Up Your Diet

The refrigerator is the life source of a home, yet most of us don’t know what we have inside it. Every week something goes bad: milk, lettuce, leftovers. Most people keep their fridge clean for the most part. It’s just not organized. Things get lost or forgotten and go unused. If you have a small apartment fridge like me, every bit of space counts. I’ve got a solution and it looks like this…

sam_1981

 

The first thing is to clear out your refrigerator. If you don’t use it, toss it. It’s taking up valuable space. I suggest creating a two-week menu plan and shop according to the plan. That way you’re only buying what you need and you will eat it within a two-week time period. Less clutter and less waste.

sam_2015

I’ve organized my refrigerator by using red and green containers came from the Dollar Tree. Yep. They cost one dollar each. A portion of this bottom section is used for leftovers. I try to make sure I don’t have a lot of leftovers sitting in my fridge, rotting away. I’ll tell you more about that later. I prep my fruits and vegetables the day I bring them home. The strawberries pictured above were sliced and frozen with bananas for smoothies.

sam_2158

sam_2012

The bins can be easily pulled out and the contents adjusted depending on what type of groceries need to be stored. This fridge has two bottom storage spaces (not pictured) which hold my lettuce and various vegetables and fresh herbs.

sam_2141

I have a trick that I use with my eggs. I eat about four eggs a week which means a dozen of eggs lasts me about three weeks. Each week I boil four eggs for snacks or my salads, and then I slice off the empty section of the carton. I save space in the fridge, and I can quickly tell when it’s time to buy more eggs.

sam_2160

A freezer can turn into a nightmare quickly. Mine was simply a place to store food until it went bad. Now it’s organized.

sam_1992

On one side of the freezer, I store poultry and seafood. I’m on the Mediterranean diet so most of my food is plant-based and meat is a side dish. In other words, I don’t eat a lot of meat. I use shoe boxes from the Dollar Tree for storage.

sam_2000

Here’s the fish which fits perfectly in the box.sam_2155

This particular week, I caught a good sale on chicken so I bought chicken breasts and ground chicken.

sam_2156

I had some leftover fresh rosemary so I packed it with a couple of chicken breasts. I’ll show you what I did with that in another post. In this shoe box, I have enough chicken for eight to ten meals if not more and there’s turkey bacon.

In the middle section of the freezer, I have gluten-free corn tortillas and my favorite frozen fruit mix that I get from Costco. There’s also a pizza tucked in there for a quick dinner.

sam_2162

Here’s where the bulk of my food is stored in the freezer. These are fresh vegetables. Squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes…all prepped and ready to add to a recipe. The trick is to use good Ziploc bags and freeze the food flat so that it lies down in the freezer which uses less space.

If I cook a dish, I freeze a couple of portions for future use. This chili was so good even after it was frozen.

sam_2002

I also prep meals. This is going to be bourbon chicken. It’s got seasonings and herbs in it, and all I need to do is put it in the Crockpot.

sam_2003

I really like to freeze chopped green pepper and onion or celery, garlic and onion. If I want to make a quick meal, the chopping is already done.

sam_2149

I store quite a few goodies in my freezer side door. All this goes to show that you can get a lot of food in a small space and keep from wasting food when you see it and know that you need to use it.

sam_2017

I was too lazy to photograph my refrigerator side door but it contains miscellaneous things such as beets, salad dressings, salsa, and a pitcher of lemon water. I have limited condiments because they’re loaded with sugar. On this top shelf, I keep my prepped work-week meals: breakfasts, snacks, and lunches. I generally only do two days worth at a time. That way several times a week, I’m checking through the fridge to see what I need to eat before it goes bad, and I make my lunches accordingly.

So I know this looks like I’m a neat freak. I’m not. I like a lived-in home and that’s what this refrigerator reflects. I know what’s in it and it helps my stay on track with my healthy living plan.

Let me know if you use some of these tips to organize your fridge and freezer. I’ve got a huge healthy grocery haul coming soon. I can’t wait to share that with you as well.

Stay Blessed,

Barbie

 

 

 

Posted in BEAUTY, lifestyle

Candles that Heal, Crackle & Relax

sam_1929

Candles are a necessity in my home so I’m always looking for a deal. Recently, I took advantage of the Bath and Body Works $10 off candle sale. I purchased two of their new scents. The White Gardenia is heavily aromatic and intoxicating. It was a must buy. So was the Wild Sage and Aloe. Sage is one of my favorite scents and combining it with aloe creates a smooth aroma that’s perfect for creating a relaxing atmosphere. Also, the mint green hue of the glass container is gorgeous once the wick is lit.

sam_1936

Years ago, I discovered a line of candles that smell incredible and are potentially good for your spirit. They are Crystal Journey candles which are great for meditation. Each candle is created with a positive intention and includes an inspirational message. I bought Protection which is a blend of  frankincense, sandalwood, rosemary, and clove. Angel’s Influence is comprised of honeysuckle, sweet heather, rose, and peppermint. Peace has a combination of vanilla, clove, myrrh, ginger root, and caraway seeds. The candles are usually found at small trendy stores or you can get them here: Journey Candles.

sam_1935

Like many people, I have an anxiety issue that causes me to grind my teeth. I saw this worry stone and decided to give it a try. It’s basically a smooth stone that fits between my fingers and thumb. I rub it to alleviate anxiety. So far it’s working for me.

sam_1942

Next, I came across a nice supply of WoodWick candles at Marshall’s. These candles crackle as they burn. They’re amazing and extremely calming. I paid $10 for this candle. It usually costs between $26 to $30.

sam_1938

Lastly, I found a LAB flameless candle at Marshall’s. I love this candle. I mean, I really love this candle. It’s made of scented wax and Himalayan salt. There’s a timer on the candle, so it turns on at the same time every night and stays on for four hours. My candle turns on around bedtime. When I walk into my room, I’m greeted by a delicate flowery scent. Once the lights are off, the soft illumination of the candle soothes me to sleep. The best part is the candle cost less than eight bucks. I love a great bargain, especially one that helps this insomniac sleep.

Stay blessed,

Barbie

 

 

 

 

Posted in lifestyle

Welcome 2017 & Thank You 2016

Happy New Year!!! 2017 is here and I’m ready for it.

2016 was a challenge for me, but I refuse to call it a bad year. It was an opportunity to learn…and learn I did. My biggest challenges were health issues. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears…literally, but I survived.

This year, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis/RA after years of suffering from the symptoms. This led to having a complicated and what I would call gruesome surgery which included having my Achilles tendon cut and a joint fusion procedure. You can read about it here: Joint Fusion Surgery Part 1  and Joint Fusion Surgery Part 2.

I put on a brave face; however, this surgery and everything related to it was and is incredibly difficult. I had the surgery six months ago, and my surgeon says I’m only half way through the healing process. So I’m currently dealing with a very bad limp, grotesque swelling, and nearly constant pain. The surgery had a negative impact on me spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially. But I’m getting better and that’s all that matters.

Lessons Learned  for 2017 and the future

Plan for emergencies such as surgeries or illnesses. If your health goes, you will have to rely on a solid support system. Make sure that you have people who will be there for you. The people who came through for me were dear friends, and I’ll be forever grateful. When you can’t walk and someone stops by to cook for you, do household chores or simply call to check to see if you need anything, it means the world. I’m so thankful to everyone who prayed and thought about me during a very difficult time. I won’t forget it.

Put yourself first. I learned that there comes a point where you have to put yourself first in order to become a healthier person. Whether you have high blood pressure, diabetes or any other health issue, take it seriously. Research the illness, join support groups, and stay on top of your illness.  No one knows what you’re going through unless they share your condition. They might critical or unsympathetic. These are people you must remove from your life. Only surround yourself with people who care about your well-being. Keep yourself in a positive space because stress or drama will be detrimental to your condition.

Focus on finances. Establish a solid nest egg for emergencies. Although my healthcare covered most of my expenses, I still had to shell out a lot of money related to my surgery and my RA treatment. I also had to buy a new car last year. With two unexpected expenses, I had to learn the difference between a want and a need and trim down my luxuries. In the end, I made a few changes to my household budget and cut the fat.

Set Personal & Professional Goals. I operate better when I’m working towards something. A personal goal could be to buy a new home or take a luxury vacation. We all work hard and deserve to treat ourselves. A professional goal could be to take a course, attend a conference or even enroll in college. I plan to begin writing again, starting with short stories and expanding from there.

My New Year’s resolutions are relatively simple. Getting healthier is key to managing my Rheumatoid Arthritis. My biggest issue is my diet, so I’m working with a dietician and implementing a fitness plan. Reaching a healthy weight and sticking to a nutritional diet reduces the chances of a painful RA episode. So my motivation is real.

2016 was a rough one, but we all survived and now it’s time to flourish in 2017 with God’s blessing.

Stay blessed and thank you for your support. I love and appreciate you all.

Barbie