Friday, December 27, 2013
I love to take bubble baths--as in if our water bill wasn't affected by filling up our garden tub on a daily basis, I most certainly would. I also love facial masques. More accurately, I have an addiction to facial masks of any and every kind. I typically judge which of my collection to use based upon what the weather is like (humid, dry) and what my face has been up to lately (sweating, out in the wind, breaking out, dry, oily, etc.) And I have a masque for no kidding each of those individual elements, and in addition, there is a fabulous database of DIY masques online that I reference frequently if I feel like my face is in need of a pick-me-up. ANYWAY, getting my hair out of the way is always a must--slopping masques on is rarely a clean affair. I typically wind up with bits and pieces getting crusted in my hair, surfacing even days later after I've showered multiple times. If I could eliminate one element of my pamper night to save myself an unnecessary headache (and some time and sticky, gooey fingers!), this would be it. If only there were a way to make this step simpler...cleaner...and more efficient...
The facial masque fairies have granted my wish! I was recently given a Montagne Jeunesse Clay-Infused Masque to try for testing purposes (courtesy of Influenster), and I was shocked at what I found when I ripped into the package of (what I thought to be) clay mush!
Okay, okay, let's back up a few steps and get into Montagne Jeunesse masks themselves prior getting specific with this one in particular.
Next, take a peek at the ingredients. See anything you can't pronounce? See any wonky chemicals that probably shouldn't be in a beauty product, let alone one you're putting directly on your face? I sure don't. Another win point for MJ!
Lastly, clay-infused. What does this mean? That I'm not just buying a package of mud that will make its way underneath my fingernails, into my hair, and into other body crevices that are completely mind boggling? Um, yeah, pretty much! Take a look!
Things keep getting better too--look at how easy this is to apply...Warning: Brace yourself for what appears to be a swamp monster below. You have been warned.
Trying to look cute in a facial masque quite obviously is not happening for me here. A for effort though, right!? :)
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
I am very excited to introduce you all to a fantastically heartwarming Christmas tale about the journey of Ranger the reindeer, younger brother to our old-time buddy Rudloph, learning to believe in himself and aspiring to achieve his dream of flying among Santa's reindeer. Ranger's story is one that will become a hit with your family (all ages included!) and is sure to become an instant Christmas classic in your home with it's beautiful depictions by award-winning artist Roberta Baird and wonderfully worded pages by author Alan Salisbury. What's even more great is Mr. Salisbury, retired Commanding Officer in the US Army, has dedicated all profits of from The Legend of Ranger, the Reindeer Who Couldn't Fly to the Antonia J. Giallourakis Endowed Fund in Art Therapy for Children with Cancer, erected to help children with cancer cope with and survive their bouts with cancer through innovative art therapy programs.
Without further ado, a word from Alan Salisbury on his inspiration for and journey through penning The Legend of Ranger:
Mr. Salisbury was kind enough to provide me with a copy of The Legend of Ranger as well as the CD of the single Dream and Believe (Ranger's Song) along with the complete Audio Book of the story to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. To enter, simply check out the widget below. Good luck everyone, and thank you to Mr. Salisbury for sharing his beautiful story with us!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Friday, December 20, 2013
Today after sinking what is now coming to hours into school things, I felt inspired to make a post about all of the time that goes into being a student (particularly a military spouse student) completely separate from taking notes and test taking and cramming our brains full of information. School is exhausting! The entire process! I remember first enrolling in college fresh out of high school and having my dad to walk me through every step of the way--Financial Aid, books, registration, dealing with the schools--it all seemed so much more simple back then!
Now I'm finding that investing large chunks of time into getting things taken care of and ready to go for school is taking up tons of time! Hopefully what I am able to share can help at least one person shave some seconds off of their administrative school time. We spend enough time studying as it is--we need every other valuable second to do something not school related for our sanity's sake!
Registering for classes. Registering can be a real headache, but it depends on your school. If your school is like mine (and I hope for your sake that it is), you are able to register for classes online. Your school should notify you in some way, shape, or form when class registration will open (exact open/closing dates), and oftentimes schools will let students who have more completed credits under their belts register earlier than those who do not. For example, this fall I had 6 (ish) credits, so I was able to choose my classes a day before those with no credits, giving me a greater likelihood of securing a seat in classes of my choosing. Tip #1: Write these dates down on your calendar and set a reminder! I can't even begin to explain how frustrating it is to not make it into a class and have to wait an entire semester until you can take it.
Paying for classes. This is where the migraine starts to take the stage. Schools are sticklers about their money--can you blame them, though? If you have qualified for Financial Aid or intend to use a scholarship, you want to make sure that all of your bases are completely covered. Tip #2: Call your Financial Aid office and inquire as to whether you need to fill out a tuition deferment form; this is essentially a document that informs the school that you are paying, but your money may come in late since it is coming from another entity in the form of scholarships/loans/grants/etc. This is extremely important, especially if you are using any military related funds! My first semester I had no idea about the tuition deferment form, and thus I was dropped from my classes for "not paying" since MyCAA had not actually cut the school a check to cover my classes by the date when fees were due. It was a nightmare, and I had to spend hours playing phone tag with the Financial Aid office to try to get everything straightened out. Just save yourself the trouble, and invest 5 minutes of your time into completing this form. You'll be thankful you did!
Just as with registration dates, I find it extremely helpful to write down the specific dates when fees are due by. The thing about these dates, though, is that you will be dropped from your class, meaning you are no longer going to be taking that class the upcoming semester and your seat is now up for grabs, if you do not pay your fees on time! Tip #3: Check, double check, and triple check that your fees have been paid! My school has an option available online to view and pay fees, which I frequently use. Most of the times, Financial Aid and scholarships will not cover all of the fees involved with classes--for example, distance learning fees for online classes, lab fees, etc. Thus, it is extremely important that you keep on top of what you personally owe the school. I pay my fees as soon as they are calculated and displayed online. I set a reminder in my phone 3 days prior to their due date and on the due date and verify that my fees are still shown as paid in full on each of those days. It may sound a bit excessive, but like I've already said, being dropped and having to beg and sob your way back into a class is not a fun (or quick) ordeal, nor are you guaranteed any results from it!
Book vouchers. Some institutions allow full-time students to get a voucher to cover their books, but they must be purchased from the college book store. Weird, I know. What I've found to be the best bet for books is to rent them (thank you, thank you to the person who told me about Chegg!) unless it is for a class that you have a particular interest in and want to hang onto the book from (like me with my revered A&P book...I don't even let Hubby touch it!) Financial Aid "leftovers" are mailed out a couple of weeks into classes, so hopefully your books aren't too awfully expensive and you have enough of a FA reimbursement to cover them!
Transcripts. Tip #4: Always, always, always be sure that you know what scholarships require you to submit a transcript after you've completed your courses to A) Prove that you did in fact make it through B) Didn't drop out C) Passed as a lot of FA and scholarships will require you to pay funds back if one or more of the above are not true. You want to do this in a timely matter--I typically send them off as soon as unofficial transcripts are posted online. Make sure to verify whether the funding institution wants an official or if an unofficial transcript will suffice. Unofficial transcripts can be sent via .PDF or a Word document whereas an official transcript will be submitted either electronically or by mail from your college directly to the funding institution. With being a transient student this past semester with A&P, I had to go through the process of requesting transcripts to be sent to my home school, and after playing phone tag for a couple of days with the Student Records Department, I decided I would do an investigation on the school's student portal online. Come to find out, I was able to print an unofficial transcript and request official transcripts (electronic or hard copies) to be sent to wherever--schools or scholarship offices. This was a huge time saver, just make sure that you've got the correct address or electronic institution ID!
At the end of the day, you probably will feel like you've taken on a part-time job with all of the things that have to be done and squared away for your classes, but hopefully these pointers can help to steer you in the right direction and away from potential time-sucking pot holes!
What's been the most beneficial thing that you've learned throughout your college career? Did you learn it from a friend or the hard way?
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Although I have already dug into most of the products, I wanted to post my first impressions of them with some more in depth reviews on a few of them later on. Here's my loot:
In case you can't quite make everything out, here's what we've got:
Montagne Jeunesse Masque (Dead Sea Mud Spa)
Goody Athletique (Adjustable!) Headband
Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo
Sally Hansen Triple Shine in Pixie Slicks
SoyJoy Dark Chocolate Cherry
To avoid getting too ADD here, I'm just going to go through the products one by one with my first impressions. I have to admit that mostly all of them have been good thus far!
Montagne Masque: I LOVE FACIAL MASKS! The fact that these aren't tested on animals and are actually affordable is very appealing to me! Additionally, this isn't just a blob of clay in a package--it's a clay infused fabric masque, so 100% less messy than traditional DIY and drugstore masques. First impression: LOVE!
Goody Athletique Headband: THIS HAS VELCRO! Elastic bands constantly roll off my head, so I'm having to readjust them far too often; if I don't, my head ends up looking extremely awkward. The Velcro is a sure sign for a perfectly customized fit, less time spent adjusting, and more time spent getting your sweat on! First impression: Super cute!
Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo: I have thin hair and not a whole lot of it...I seriously put my hair through the wringer far too often, especially when it comes to heat drying/straightening. A dry shampoo is something that's always caught my eye--I love the idea of being able to revive my hair the day after I've straightened it without having to invest all of the time it takes into recreating that look. I typically just use flour as a dry shampoo (primal, but gets the job done!), so I am SO STOKED to try out a legitimate dry shampoo product! Plus NYM is a well-known company! First impression: Excited!
Sally Hansen Triple Shine: Of course, this was the first product that I used from my VoxBox. I am such a polish junky! To me, nail polish is typically just nail polish, but what did perk my interest about TripleShine was the idea that I may not ever need to use a top coat again...and that would be almost unreal! I love having painted nails, but hate when they chip and hate actually having to invest a big chunk of time into painting/dry time. First impression: Interest perked!
Lastly, SoyJoy: I love SoyJoy, so this really isn't a fair first impression per se... I haven't, however, ever tried this flavor. I typically stick with Strawberry and Pomegranate, so this is quite a leap for me. First impression: Hesitant and skeptical...not a huge cherry fan :-S
I will keep you posted on my final verdicts of the above! I absolutely love trying out new beauty products!
I RECEIVED THESE PRODUCTS COMPLIMENTARY FROM INFLUENSTER FOR TESTING PURPOSES. ALL OF THE OPINIONS ABOVE ARE MY OWN.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Some other things that have been traditions in our family are baking--namely Chex
It's so terribly easy to skip over some major things when we are counting our blessings--especially the things that others may be longing for this Christmas season and would do anything for, meanwhile we are taking them for granted.
I was sent an e-mail from Dropcam to a blog post they put up a containing several Christmas surprise homecoming videos last week, and I wanted to share it with you all. Brace yourself for tears of joy--maybe go get a
The Six Most Heartwarming Holiday Soldier Homecomings Caught on Video, Dropcam