Thursday, December 8, 2011

I went to the kitchen

Thanks to L'Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out for beauty advice from the experts.

I have always had combination skin. The rich, nourishing lotions that my chin and forehead cry out for is anathema to my oilier nose and t-zone.  That part of my face likes an astringent, please, as sharp and as often as it can get away with.

It feels like I've spent most of my life carrying lots more lotions and potions in my little bag than the other girls. And dating was horrendous, all that hormone-enduced sweating and worrying that my nose was shining again.

I've tried everything. Noxema (mmm! How romantic when your girlfriend smells like Vicks Vapo-rub!) Bonnie Bell, Ten-0-Six, Ivory soap, egg yolks, egg whites, Neutragena, Caster soap, Lancome, cold steeped tea, masks and facials, Aveda, powders, potions and concoctions of every type. I even tried not wearing any makeup. (My skin didn't like that either.)

It began to feel that good skin was a long hard slog to nowhere.

Out of nowhere, a friend started looking radiant. That pure Pre-Raphaelite loveliness which usually comes from falling in love. When asked, though, she had a strange answer.


I recoiled. Oil was the reason my hair was limp, my skin cloudy and dull! Now she was telling me that she used oil everyday, that instead of wiping it away all the time, she was putting more - deliberately! - on her face.

But it was working for her. She easily looked five years younger. My skin hadn't looked that good since high school. I settled in. Maybe....just maybe...there was something to this??

Sara grinned and went on.

Oil dissolves oil. Really. Massaging in natural oils (a blend of castor and virgin olive) dissolves the oil trapped in your skin, letting impurities (hello, blackheads!!)  and toxins be released, opening those blocked pores breathe. 

Castor Oil, the first part of this blend,  is an anti-inflammatory oil that heals and cleanses. Since it is too strong to be used alone, though it's best mixed with olive oil - a lighter, silkier feeling oil that sends the castor oil deep in your skin. The best ratio for my combination skin was about 25% castor, the rest olive.

I was fascinated. 'You do this every day?'

'Well' she said, 'not now. But at first I was doing it every night.'
At night, Sara was taking her makeup off with oil. Using long, smooth strokes, she'd massage it in. Then she'd use a steamy washcloth and give herself a facial, wiping off the oil as the cloth cooled before she'd get another. When she got up in the morning, she swore she could see the change in her skin already, and it just kept getting better.

Now she just did her 'oil wash' twice a week, and was still amazed and gratified that she had reliably gorgeous skin.

I hate to admit that it took me a month before I tried it.

But now? Now I don't carry around wipes and bottles. I don't have to bother with concealer and powder.My nose isn't slick anymore, my forehead, not tight and dry. 

Don't believe me? I don't blame you. But try it. Go in the kitchen and find the answer to your skin problems.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

jack o' lantern teeth

I didn't have them.

But mine were bad enough to have to wear retainers all through middle school. These were the hated horrible type of retainers, the kind that forced you to talk with your teeth together. The kind that huuurt when you flipped them out (fellow retainer wearers remember the jarring thunk when that happened) and stank because you were forced to have them in your mouth all. the. time. To this day I can hiss out a clear instruction when the Mom-stink-eye has failed. (And my kids move then - they know I'm serious.)

I wish I'd had the opportunity to have Invisalign then.

Imagine - braces that you can take out! No yellow spots on your teeth! Brushable! And no avoiding certain foods! (I loved caramels. LOVED them. And couldn't eat them for three years.) No stink-mouth because they're easily cleaned!

And...the best part? It's not just for adults anymore. Developed with leading orthodontists who understand the unique treatment and compliance needs of teens and tweens as well as their active lifestyles, Invisalign is a great choice for kids who need teeth correction too. Invisalign is not limited to mild/cosmetic cases – Invisalign can help correct a broad range of problems:  Overly crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, crossbite, overbite and underbite.

Wow. I really, really wish this had been around when I was trying to wear my retainer and speak up for the school drama production.

Cass might need braces. Our dentist pooh-poohs it, but I remember how my teeth odyssey began, while still hoping  that I'm wrong. I'd feel a lot better (and so would he!) if he could take his braces off to go through his judo and soccer classes, to be able to smile without a mouthful of metal winking in every picture he takes.

Invisalign is offering one lucky Canadian a free treatment - for you or your child. Get into this by clicking here: (rules and regulations are there too) but HURRY - the contest closes soon!!!

Disclosure – I am participating in the Invisalign Teen program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Align Technology, Inc.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

i can be

anything I want to be....

The song is a little annoying (especially when it gets stuck in your head and you're making up bawdy lyrics and humming because you can't remember the original wording) but it's unabashedly bouncy. Also, true.

Rosey has decided she can do anything. Or several somethings, all at once. She's got grit and determination, that one.  She has several terrific non-traditional female role models in our family, and I think seeing that these women that she loves and admires can 'get 'er done' is a terrific lesson for her to absorb at such a young age.

My Barbie dolls were moms or cheerleaders when I was growing up. Roo has veterinarians that rescue avalanche victims on the side. Equestrians that still wear the prettiest dresses ever to the fair. She has Barbie the Builder that fixes everything with a tiny hammer and her yellow construction hat. There are teachers and test pilots, prom queens and gypsies. It was a complicated thing to teach her, that women can do everything but that not everyone believes that, and that there will be be people along the way that will question her when she says that she can. (It's a philosophy I didn't really think I was going to have to teach my seven year old.)

But believe it she does. And is quite happy to tell you that when she grows up, she's going to be a doctor. And a veterinarian. And a fireman, too.

And somehow, I'm sure she will be.

 There's a new website devoted to inspiring girls. uses Barbie to involve girls into learning all they can do and be. Parenting experts write articles geared to foster the adventurous spirits of girls and teach them that there are no limits - that the sky can be as high as they want it to be. 

It's a great lesson.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Barbie I Can Be campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Mattel Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

whoo's coming for Halloween?

One of the best things that happen every Halloween night after trick or treating is the big candy swap. Everyone empties their bags, the grown-ups sort, and the kids swap.While I'm a sucker for caramels and flavoured tootsie rolls and Cortland apples (and will steal those if I can!), the two monsters are wildly different in which treats are their favorites. Cass tends to like chocolate (we raised him right) and those peanut butter toffees while Rosey likes the colorful stuff - candy corn, Smarties, Skittles, jellybeans. And while neither of my two has peanut allergies (we're lucky that way) they do have friends that are, and who knows who will come on our door looking for treats?

So we've found a good choice.  Gummy candy. In sweets, sours, and tangies. And who doesn't appreciate a Big Green Thumb or Red Hot Lips on Halloween?

Allan Candy, made in Canada.

This Halloween, we're stocking up on Intense Jubes & Jellies, Big Foot, Sour Big Foot, Green Thumbs, Hot Lips, Sour Watermelon Slices, Peach Slices, Sour Cherry Slices, Tangy Wild Strawberries and Sour Grape Slices.

for more than 25 years.
-       Peanut Free, individually wrapped candies that are available for Halloween are:
o       Allan Intense Jubes & Jellies – delivering an intense sour flavor and a soft & chewy bite.
o       Allan Chewy Rascalz – these childhood favourites will keep your taste buds happy!  Packed in one bag, and of course, peanut free – you’ll find Big Foot, Sour Big Foot, Green Thumbs and Hot Lips!
o       Allan Fruit Buddies - offering a variety of fruit flavoured candies that are also peanut free! Indulge in 5 great fruit flavours: Sour Watermelon Slices, Peach Slices, Sour Cherry Slices, Tangy Wild Strawberries and Sour Grape Slices.

We're all excited for Halloween. Aren't you?

Disclosure – I am participating in the Allan Candy Company program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

be positive in small ways to delve big rewards

Energizer has a great new campaign, with the premise that if every person did something little for the environment, together we would reap huge benefits. It makes sense. If I'm not using as much hot water, there's energy left over for you.

Together, we can make this a better place for both of us.

Energizer Canada and Evergreen (the school yard is no longer concrete commercial people) are working hand in hand to make cities more liveable. Energizer has contributed $100,000 to Evergreen, and for each pledge that is made under this iniatative, will donate a dollar more. That's not chump change (for change!)

Want to help create a more sustainable future by pledging your support through five kind acts? Visit here.

I'll go first, shall I? I'm making a pledge with Energizer to:
1. Use less plastic and more paper. Let's bring back the paper grocery bag! They biodegrade instead of just falling to smaller and smaller pellets. Plastic, while very convenient and all-pervasive, isn't the best thing for our world.

2. Use more things twice. Yes, that odd-shaped jar is headed for the recycle bin, but maybe if we gave it a nice coat of blue-white paint, it would look lovely as a vase in the upstairs hallway. That bread that was going into the compost? We should take a walk down to the park and feed the ducks.

3. Do chores at night. The kids go to bed - there's no reason I can't toss in a load of laundry that will churn on while we're all sleeping. Less energy, too, if I use cold water and don't overwhelm the washer with giant loads.

4.Write more letters. Real letters, not just email. This would delight my relatives that aren't email comfortable, and getting a letter in the mail is really such a treat.

5. Turn lights off. I think sometimes that should be engraved on my forehead. Did you turn the light off? It's deeply rooted in me, my dislike of giving the power company extra money.

You can submit your own positive acts at the Now That's Positive Energy website.

Go, please, and look at all the ideas that other people have. Ways we can change our lives for the better, a little bit at a time.  Now that's Goooood Energy.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Energizer Canada & Evergreen “Do Something Little, Help Something Big” program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Energizer Canada & Evergreen. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heart for Haiti

It was a year ago. Already a year ago.

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the devastation that happened in Haiti?

Canada sent help. We sent lots of help. But not enough.

And then we couldn't shield our children any more, and we couldn't figure out how to tell them. But when they found out, they showed us unexpected beauty.

The world shuddered in recognition of how quickly a life could change and tried to extend a hand of compassion.

It's a year later now, and Haiti is still recovering. We're still discovering new ways and new opportunities to help, and discovering things about each other we never realized. Like how one person can make a difference. Or how simple, silly things like having a toothbrush and some candies in a shoebox can make a destitute child grin.

We're also discovering that joy lives on in the souls of Haitian artisans and craftsmen. That even the stunning blows of the last year haven't erased the colour that they fill their day-to-day lives with.

Look at these:

The Heart Of Haiti store is full of gorgeous crafts like these. Heart of Haiti was set up to bring art from Haiti and make it available to everyone - artists receive 22% of revenues, enabling them to make money in an area of the world where little is left to make a living with.

One more thing we can do to bring joy back to Haiti. One more thing.

I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own.