Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Kick Winter Woes Away With BenGay And My 10 Piece Winter Toolkit For Your Family


I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc, McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division.  The opinions stated are my own.  This is a sponsored post.  

This shop has been compenstated by Collective Bias, Inc and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #WinOverWinter #CollectiveBias


After each autmn, winter creeps in.  Sometimes with gusto and sometimes accompanied by the illnesses that seem to plague our families in the chilly season.  I like to prepare each of my family members by building winter toolkits that they can keep bedside and in the car to combat winter's sniffles and aches while providing familiar comfort.   BenGay is central to our care kits for all that pains us, along with Extra Strength Tylenol.  I'd like to invite you to build your winter toolkit along with me.

The first step is to head out to Target, where I pick up Ultra Strength BenGay, Extra Strength Tylenol, lip balms, tissues and more.   Don't you just feel so welcome there with such a cheery entry?



You can find the BenGay and Tylenol in the front of the store, either to the left or right as you enter, and right by the pharmacy.  Head past the Beauty aisles to the Heathcare section.





In my closest Target, I can purchase Tylenol in aisle 37, directly in front of the pharmacy.  Look at all the varieties!



Just on the other side of 36 is aisle 37, where I can find the Ultra Strength BenGay.  I was fortunate on this particular day to find that it had a coupon!!!  37 is still directly in front of the pharmacy.



My winter toolkit begins with these two items and contains a few more that I'd like to suggest for your winter survival as well.  These have been essential to my family's health for years.  My guys are  dependant on me to make them winter toolkits that they can use at bedside, in the bathroom and in the car.  Let's take a look at these and why they are our favorites.



In our toolkits:

1)  Ultra Strength BenGay.  I started using this after workouts in high school.  I had a lot of sore muscles and joint fatigue from the heavy strength training and long hours running and it became essential to me then.  I've continued to use it for the rest of my life and having just come off knee replacement surgery, BenGay is essential to my comfort during recovery.  The doctors gave me a prescription pain ointment, which has been the ultimate fail.  Not so with BenGay.  I use it every day and apply it far fewer times throughout the day than I ever did the rx.  It works.  It soothes the muscle and arthritis pains.

During winter a couple of years ago, my son contracted mono while at college.  If you've ever had it, you know how ultimately miserable it is.  And how easy it spreads.  My husband got it almost immediately.  Having had it as a teen, I was free to administer a LOT, and I mean a lot of BenGay thru the next year.  The muscle aches of mono are terrible!!!  We treated them with BenGay applied to the skin and Extra Strength Tylenol...which brings me to the next item in the list.

2.)  Extra Strength Tylenol.  This is something I also started taking as a teenager when I had muscle aches or headaches.  My husband and son depend on it for pain relief as well.  Tylenol is a staple in our winter toolkits and was especially essential during the mono year.  Phew.  I don't know what we would have done without it.

3.)  Peppermint Tea:   My whole family also loves peppermint tea when we're sick, have a belly ache, or just because.  My guys like it with a little honey, which helps a sore throat.  If your sinuses are feeling lousy, breath in the hot steam because peppermint not only soothes the tummy but it also helps clear sinuses.

4)  Candy Canes:  The delicious wintertime candy is also part of my winter relief toolkits for the same reason that the tea is.  I put it in the car kits not only for the tummy and sinus benefits, but because you never know if you'll need a little extra breath freshening while you're out and about town.

5)  Favorite Candle:  I put these in the bathroom kit.  Who doesn't, right?  If we had small children, I would limit the access to it but we're all adults in my home.  A favorite scent can be very calming when someone isn't feeling well.




6)  Tissues:  Tissues are an everytime essential but especially for the winter toolkit.  There's something fun about getting cute wintery patterns for something a little special.

7)  Hand Sanitizer:  You know how quickly a virus can run through a household.  We use hand sanitizer for post-sneezing and nose blowing to try to stop the spread.  I put it in the car toolkits so that we can keep healthy around town touching various public door handles and shopping carts, etc.  Prevention is key to a good winter.

8)  Allergy Treatment:  This item is just for me.  My allergies are terrible here in the winter.  I'm allergic to five large trees that bloom outside the bedroom during the winter.  I never had bad allergies before we moved here, so this is a newer addition to my own personal bedside winter survival kit.

The last item, and we use a lot of it, is pictured in one of the car kits below:





10.)  Lip Balm:  I like to use cute silly little lip balms in winter, with all the arctic characters.  It's just fun.  But my gosh, winter wind and air is so drying to the skin and lips that we all use a lot of these especially during winter.  I buy my guys regular looking balms, but for me...well, too cute to resist.

One thing to remember when building your toolkit and deciding where to store them is the ages of the residents of your home.  If you have small children, you need to keep the items high enough that they can't reach them.  BenGay should only be used by adults and children 12 or older to temporarily relieve the pain of backache, strain, sprain and arthritis.  Don't leave candles burning on the bathroom counter.

Also take into account what your climate is.  When I lived in Alaska, we never left BenGay in the car during the winter, and here in Arizona, during summer, we don't leave any of this but tissues in the car.  Everything else could be ruined or melt!

Do you build your family a winter survival toolkit? What's in yours?  I'd love to hear what your winter essentials are!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Fall Brings Reminiscence, The Pink Gellac Fall Collection of Gel Polishes - Swatches And Review




If you were following any of my social media channels this past July, you might remember seeing my social media reports from Cosmoprof North America.  And you might remember one of the pictures I shared from my introduction to the brand of gel nail polish called Pink Gellac.  If you've ever applied or worn gel nail polish, you'll recognize that this polish looks amazing in it's finish.  I was utterly captivated by the even coverage and shine of this polish.



My friend Andrea of Chickettes, who is a nail blogger turned pro, was working at the booth doing manicures and she told me to come by.  She introduced Pink Gellac to the US and is an official retailer for the brand.  If you know Andrea's work, her professionalism and her experience, you would run to the booth on her recommendation as I did.

While there, I was gifted with a gel polish starter kit, ($79.95), so that I could try their system for gel nail polish.  It contains everything essential that you would need to complete your Pink Gellac mani!   Click on the pictures to see the pics larger.

swatches review starter kit

In My Kit:
15 ml manicure base
15 ml nail color in the color 156 Tropical
Ultra Shine, a 15 ml no wipe shiny topcoat
15 ml bottle of nail cleaner
The Pink Gellac LED lamp
1 orange wood stick
20 Luxury lint-free nail wipes
1 nail file
10 Remover Pockets.

Before I tell you my evaluation of the Pink Gellac system and polishes, I want to show you the Reminiscence Collection for Fal 2016.  Pink Gellac has released six color stories a year in their four year lifespan and I was very fortunate to receive these polishes to test for you.  I also received a 15 ml bottle of their primer with it.  The nail primer is optional to use before the base coat to help ensure and better application, but is not essential.

swatches manicure review



I have worn all of these polishes at least once and a couple of them several times, so please be patient while I show you a bazillion pictures.  It is my goal for you to have as much information as possible.  I've swatched the polishes on clear sticks below and they are, left to right: Warm Marsala, (which is showing slightly lighter than it is IRL), Burnt Amber, Chocolate Brown, Black Velvet, Luscious Red.


Warm Marsala is a beautiful browned plun with golden copper shimmer.  It could easily be my favorite of the set, if the others weren't just as pretty.  One thing I love about Pink Gellac is that they have a color spot on the top of the bottle that matches the color very, very well.

Warm Marsala swach, manicure

Burnt Amber is, in my opinion, the best true orange gel you'll ever find.  Pink Gellac polishes apply like a dream!!!  They are opaque, not runny and streaky like so many others.  Because of the pigments involved in orange, it can be streaky but not Burnt Amber.  It applies perfectly every time.  It was the perfect orange on my nails.

Burnt Amber

Chocolate Brown is a delicious candy bar brown creme.


Black Velvet fooled me.  I thought it was going to be a dark creme, but with application the shimmer within the darkened violet is more evident.  Gah!  So pretty.

Black Velvet swatch

Black Velvet, Luscious Red, swatch

The final polish in the collection is Luscious Red, and boy is it ever!!!!  It is a blood red that becomes a darker crimson with each coat.  It has delicious shine.

Luscious Red swatch, manicure

It's beautiful and it's the one I've worn the most to this point.  That says A LOT because I don't normally gravitate to red polish on my nails.  The next picture shows it in the house with no special lighting.  No flash.  It should be noted that in this particular manicure, I have one coat on my ring finger and two coats on the others to show you the difference you can achieve in depth, but also the opacity of a single coat of the polish.

Luscious Red, swatch, manicure

Luscious Red is perfect for an artsy picture.

Luscious Red, swatch, manicure

And it is true perfection when you're goofing in the car for an Instagram photo.

Luscious Red, swatch, manicure

It is the perfect classy red gel polish.  And like other Pink Gellac gel polishes, I find that it lives up to the 14 day claim with NO chipping, which is something I've never experienced before this brand.

Luscious Red,swatch, manicure

So let me give you my thoughts about the Pink Gellac three step system.  It's my opinon that Pink Gellac has raised the standard of gel nail polish in every way.  Here are the things that I love:

1)  Application is just three easy steps.
2)  The polish doesn't streak; each color is opaque
3)  The brush in the bottles is perfect for a professional application.  The width makes it so that I can do three easy strokes and cover my nail completely....with no streaking.
4)  They have different finishes of top coat:  Shiny, matte and satin
5)  The shiny is the shiniest beautiful finish that I've used.

gel light, LED light

6)  The light is large enough for me to comfortably rest my fingers and be able to lay my fingers flat without smooshing them up to fit them in, like I have to with some lights.


7)  I can get a great guestimate of what the color will look like on because of the matching color button on top of the bottle.
8)  There is a 14 day guaranteed trial period
9)  The polish wears for 14 days, with no chippping, and looks fresh every single day.
10)  Removal is really easy and it doesn't tear up my nail surface at all, as I've had happen with other brands I've used.  Seriously.  Really.  Truly.
11)  No matter how hard I try, there is not one single thing that I can come up with in that I don't like about it.

Pink Gellac says on their website that this is the gel polish of the future.  Well, the future is here and now.  Pink Gellac has set the bar high with a new industry standard.  The look and the wear are incredible.  It just doesn't chip on me at all.  The polishes are rich and non-streaky.  With other gels I've used, after I gel top coated, I would continue with shiny top coats to ensure max wear and shine.  All I use with Pink Gellac is one quick coat of the no-wipe top coat.

I'm so impressed with this brand, their polish and their light.  You have to try it!!  You can purchase Pink Gellac online at Chickettes.com, as well as Amazon.   By the way, Andrea has AWESOME swatches of every color on her site to help you choose a new favorite.

You can also find helpful hints and instruction on the Pink Gellac website.  Be sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  Give this leader in gel polish a try and let me know what you think.  I think you'll be impressed with how easy it is to apply and how beautifully it wears.

My thanks for Chickettes for telling me about this brand, and to Pink Gellac for sending me samples to share with you.  I have never ever had a more professional looking and wearing gel manicure either at home or at a salon.

I'm still wearing Luscious Red.....what's on your nails?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Unboxing the PopSugar #MustHaveBox for October 2016!



Hi guys...so I was away for awhile having a knee replacement.  Man, that is ROUGH!  If you follow me on social media, you probably saw me about to loose my marbles the first month and whining about how hard it is.  I had unrealistic expectations going into it...didn't think it could be much worse than my neck surgeries, (they go in thru the front and pull your trachea and esophogas out and work on the neck bones from the front...ew), or my shoulder surgery.  (I ripped all the muscles and tendons off the bone and they were reattached with screws).  I honestly thought I'd be back to blogging within about two weeks while I recovered but was sadly mistaken.

At one month out, I was still barely mobile.  In my second month, I was trying really hard to come back to the blog and longest story short, I've had to dedicate myself to working hard on my leg and make that, not only my first priority, but a life consuming project.  The only way to get better with this surgery is too work as hard as you can as much as you can.  There's a period of time of only 3-4 months to get movement back and if YOU don't work it as hard as you can, you can't make it...and you'll never walk right again.

So anyway, that's what I've been doing.  It's very hard, but I feel like Rocky every time I finish a physical therapy workout.  And we have a right knee club there now, too, so we watch each other's scars heal and can talk to each other about things our SO's just can't relate to.  It sort of makes me feel old, but then again, I'm the youngest person there with a knee replacement.

Which brings me all to this:  The youtube video I made of my PopSugar Must Have Box unboxing for the October 2016 box!!!!  I love the PopSugar Must Have Box.  It's got such nifty items in it and the value always far exceeds the $35 monthly fee.  AND, they are full sized items!!!  Subscribe at the link and use the code SAVE5 for $5 off the first box.  Check my other videos for more.

You can subscribe, comment and even thumbs up the video.  I won't be mad.  Be sure and leave a comment and tell me what other kinds of videos or blog posts you'd like to see.  And follow me on social media for even more!




PopSugar sent this box free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.  The box has a suggested retail value of $153 all for just $35!  You can follow PopSugarMust Have on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, for more fun information.  ORDER here and use the code SAVE5 for five bucks off the first box!!!

Which was the item you're most interested in this month?  Are you following the "Fall Classic"...the World Series?  Who are you rooting for?  I'm pulling for the Cubs to break the losing streak!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

POPSUGAR Must Have Box For September 2016 Unboxing

The September PopSugar Must Have Box was provided free of charge to me in exchange for my honest opinion.  #Press Sample


Hi welcome back!!   And welcome back to me!  If you've seen my other social media in the past six weeks, you might remember I had a knee replacement surgery.  It was brutal for the first 5.5 weeks but I finally can move around enough and sit long enough to get some work done!!!   My inaugural post surgery welcome back post is a video on YouTube showing the Must Have Box for September.   Check it out!   It's one heck of a value!!!!!


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review! KB Shimmer & Color4Nails Exclusive Nail Polishes Berried In The Sand And What The Shell



Today's post will blow your socks off!! I have the two KB Shimmer nail polishes which are exclusive to the Color4Nails website for you!  They were just released in August '16, and are only found at Color4Nails.com.

First I want to bring What The Shell to you.  This is a taupe crelly nail polish with holographic glitter bits and a light pink micro-shimmer.

holo, holographic

Do you see the holographic particles in the bottle?  You won't see a strong holo on the fingers, but rather a sparkle bit here and there.  The color of this polish is totally on trend and will be completely appropriate from home to work to a night on the town.  It's pretty, applies very well and wears like you'd expect a KB Shimmer to wear.  What you see on my hand is two coats.

holo, holographic

The second exclusive polish is called Berried In The Sand.  It is a raspberry toned polish with flaming linear holographic-ness.  Hold onto your shorts for the pictures because this baby is HOT FIRE!!!  I'm going to show you a few pictures from different angles so that you can kind of get the varying shades as the light hits it.  I think the first picture shows the tone of the berry pretty well.

holo, holographic, swatches, hot fire

But wait!  There's more.  Move your hand around and really indulge in the holo!!

holo, holographic, hot fire

holo, holographic, hot fire

holo, holographic, hot fire

This polish has the most flaming red and orange holo that I've seen.  It totally confuses the camera as it dances like an aurora.  It's amazing.  And the best raspberry shade I've ever had the pleasure to own.  You want it, you need it, you better get them before they're gone.

I thought you might like to see if the polish is holo or not inside...because sometimes the holo isn't as vibrant inside until sun hits it.  The following picture was taken at night in my dining room with no flash.

holo, holographic, hot fire

RIGHT?!!?  I'm wearing two easy coats which practically applied themselves.  It's SO smooth.  Both of the KB Shimmer exclusives for Color4Nails.com are necessary in your nail wardrobe, in my opinion.  Each retails for $10.

Follow Color4Nails on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  You can follow KB Shimmer on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Aren't these colors great?  What do you think?  What's on your nails??

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Boy, A Girl, And A Life With Cystic Fibrosis

This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.

It was a beautiful summer night.  Two weeks before, I had just began to date a young police officer that I had been introduced to at a local restaurant where I was working for the summer.  We both worked night shifts and usually met up after work to play tennis, basketball or soccer as we were getting to know each other.  I'm sure you've heard about the nearly 24 hours of daylight in an Alaskan summer.  It helps young people to have no good sense about being loud outside in the middle of the night.  My belated apologies to the neighbors!!

This night felt different.  As my cousin was dropping me off to his house after work, I told her that I knew I was in love with him, and that I might tell him.  She said it wasn't possible, that it had only been two weeks and I should wait to say anything.  But this was different and I knew it.  I knew that I was in hook, line and sinker and there was no turning back.  I was young and I was in love!  Surely there's a song about that, right?

 As we were talking, he said I have something to tell you.  Imagine my butterflies when I said "I have something to tell you, too".  It was so exciting!!!!


Until he said "I have a terminal illness and I thought I should tell you"  Umm, excuse me???  What?  My stomach felt like a horse had kicked me in the gut.  It physically hurt as I tried to understand what he was telling me.  It was such a shock that I couldn't process it.  I asked what he meant.  And he said "I have Cystic Fibrosis."

It was the first time I'd heard those words and I didn't know what they meant.  Many times, the diagnosis of CF is the first time a person and their family have heard of it.  Cystic Fibrosis is a complex disease which mainly focuses on the lungs and digestive system.  It is caused by gene mutations and is something that the patient has their entire life.  It must be managed every day.  With CF, there is no such thing as a common cold.  Such a simple virus to others can cause a very serious pneumonia or worse.  My boyfriend was just 26 when I met him and a few years before, he was told that he wouldn't live to see 30.

I had to make a choice.  Would I choose to live with CF in my life or would I choose to live without it.  I already told you that I was head over heels for him, so I took the path of living with Cystic Fibrosis.  I knew immediately that I wanted to spend any time he had with him rather than miss it all together.

Thanks to research and progress in medicines, he has already doubled the life sentance he was given as a young adult.  He was told that CF was a terminal childhood illness and through the years of our marriage, we have seen incredible genetic discoveries and the great progression of medicines and therapies to treat the condition.

Here he is at 60.  How is he still not grey?


CF is still very serious and a strict adherence to the medications to treat various aspects of it is mandatory, and sometimes can be overwhelming.  We've had hospital stays, IV at home treatments, physical therapies...you name it, he's gone through it.  I help him to remember to take the medications and I nag encourage him to do the therapies.  If you are a care giver to a CF patient, remember that the end result is worth any arguing they might do about doing any of their therapies.  I have a hard headed husband but I want him to stay alive so I help to get his medicines and therapies arranged.

He has a medication that he takes for 28 days and then takes a 28 day break and starts again.  Sometimes it has been difficult to remember when to start.  I'm extremely thankful for the Walgreens CF Champions, Navigating the Journey together program.    20 years ago, we had a difficult time obtaining his medicine.  It's called Tobramiacine or Tobi and we've been through insurance denials and inability to physically be able to purchase anywhere when we were in Alaska.

The Walgreens program is fantastic.  Every month at just the right time, they call to ask if we're ready for the next delivery of the medicine.  They tell us what day and what time it will arrive.  They are never late, always on time.  We know when to make sure we're home to sign for the delivery.  The medicine comes in a styrefoam cooler with cold packs ensuring it stays cold and dark until use.  It's very important that he has it on time and Walgreens pharmacy CF program makes it happen.  It helps relieve some of the stress of counting out the 28 days and being afraid I might miscount.

Even though he lives with Cystic Fibrosis, my husband is a determined man.  He wanted to be a police officer when he was young and he determined to do so even though he had recently been told his life would be short.  He was determined to survive when he was shot as a young officer.  He was determined to be a SWAT cop and solve difficult homicide cases.

My husband was determined to experience all the other areas of the department.   He was determined to make our department a better place.   He was determined to improve his abilities and rose to the rank of Deputy Chief over a department of about 500 people.  He was always known as a hard working, determined officer.  Here he is as a Captain of Patrol.


Even with CF, he has been determined to survive and take care of our family.  He worked almost 40 years as a cop and is now taking on the next task of retirement.  If you have CF, I want you to know that you can still make your dreams come true.  You can accomplish the things you want to, you just have to be determined.  Be determined to adhere to the modalities your doctor has prescribed and then just go for it.  If you are the parent of a child with CF, just know that my husband is proof that your child can do anything.  If you are the spouse of a CF patient, then high five, cuz you know my journey.

Last picture.....this is a picture of him being honored for the shooting when he was young and his determination to survive along side of a picture from the summer we met and started dating.  *butterflies*


That's my superhero.  A superhero living with Cystic Fibrosis.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Miss Spa Bee Venom Plumping Mask Review


You may have heard a lot about sheet masks lately. having been introduced to western markets from eastern skincare cultures.  The sheets, which are soaking in an essence or treatment, are laid on the skin for about 20 minutes after opening the package.  Upon removal, the remaining treatment is patted into the skin.  I had been looking at the influx of sheet masks in Ulta a lot recently, but I was never sure which I wanted to try first.  I was sent the Miss Spa Bee Venom Plumping Mask, ($7.99), for consideration and my decision was made so much easier!  Why not start here?


It's important to note that there is bee venom and royal jelly used in this mask, so please, DO NOT USE IF ALLERGIC TO BEES.

According to Miss Spa, a woman owned compamy, the royal jelly and bee venom work together to help improve texture and firmness while aloe and honey sooth and mositurize the skin.   It's supposed to make your skin look smoother and firmer, and I found it accomplishes that.

You can find the ingredient list HERE.  The mask itself is made of nice silk proteins.

Now for my experience:  The mask is in a nice white foil packet inside the outer cover.  It makes a beautiful spa presentation.


Even tho it was sitting at room temperature, it was freaking cold when I opened the package!!  A friend told me to warm up the package in warm water the next time I used something like this.  It had an unusual tingle that I found really intriguing and not uncomfortable at all to my not-so-sensitive skin.   It has a faint aloe scent and I liked how my skin felt afterward.

But I had one problem.  I read the instructions so I knew to remove the sheet from the outer paper and carefully set it on my skin, pushing it so that it would follow my facial contours.

The first one that I used kept falling off my skin.  It wouldn't adhere like a second skin to my face at all, and I thought it should, according to what I'd read about sheet masks.  When I took pictures and posted on Snapchat, I figured out what the problem was.  I think.   Looking at the picture, I saw that there was a white paper sticking out at the sides under the green.


As I removed it, I realized that I had two sheets of thickness on my face.  I was slightly, ok really, confused.  It seems this has a backing paper that was easy to figure out, as well as the mask paper, and a top paper.  In the picture below, you can see the green pliable sheet and the harder, more obvious throw away sheet.


So I figured I messed up, headed to Ulta and bought another to try again, even though I liked the results of the serum, I wanted to do it correctly.

My second time, I used the white sheet as the mask and I figured since the green paper had a lot of serum on it, why not give my chest a little help, too.


I confess to confusion over why there are more than one sheet of paper in the package.  For a sheet mask newbie like me, it causes doubt about one's sheet mask abilities.  I still don't know if I did it right, but the serum was infused anyway.  I do like how the mask felt and I'd like to use this more often.  It's one of the more expensive sheet masks at Ulta, but you can feel it working.

I really liked it and I plan to buy it again.  There are all kinds of Miss Spa skincare products at Ulta, and you can research them on the Miss Spa website.  You can also follow them on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Since I'm a sheet mask newbie, I'm wondering if you've experienced a sheet mask with multiple papers like this.  Did I do it right?  What are you're favorite sheet masks?

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