Life... Health... Reviews...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Beauty Secrets Tag

I've been tagged by my new blogging buddies over at Virtuous Blue. I think I'm stretched out on a limb calling them beauty secrets, but I'm game...

Petula's Beauty Secrets

My Foundation: If I wear any it's Sheer Coverage Mineral Foundation, but now that other brands have their owns mineral options I'll probably choose something more cost effective when I run out.

My Mascara: I love MaxxFactor XXXL. My lashes, which are short, never looked as lush as they did when I use this brand.

My Day Cream: Olay Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 (Remember when they were called Oil of Olay?). The combination one works best for me.

My Essential Beauty Product: Tinted lip gloss. I don't remember the brand I'm using now and I'm too lazy to get up.

My Favorite Makeup Product: I don't really have a favorite.

My Perfume: Donna Karan's Gold (This is what I'm wearing now, but I prefer oils.)

My Nails: I just like my nails neat and clean. I prefer polish, but hate keeping it up. So bare has been best as of late. (My remember when moment: From the time I was about 18 until about 22 I wore my nails long and painted them every Thursday while watching the Cosby Show and A Different World.)

My Feet: A creamy foot lotion is a must and absolutely no going barefoot. Age is not kind on the feet so you have to make sure you care for them right.

My Hands: A good lotion is essential for hands and all over. Right now I'm using Dove Cream Oil and Dove ProAge. The cream oil does wonders on the feet and other hard to moisturize areas.
Three Products to bring on a deserted island: I'm with Kenya on this one... Vaseline (what can you NOT do with this product?), body/face cleanser and sunblock.

Women I admire for their beauty: Well, as I woman who is about to turn 40, I have been really admiring the beauty of women who are 40 and older. I am amazed at how vibrant, alive and young looking a lot are including Tina Turner, Oprah, Angela Bassett, Cher, Mya Angelou... and many others. They inspire me to maintain my youth (inside and out) despite my age.

Women with the Best Sense of Style: Hmmm... I don't think there's a particular woman who I like their sense of style. When I see a woman who rocks her wear and is confident in herself as a person (or at least carries herself confidently) then I notice them as best in style.

My Ultimate Dream: To continue to educate, entertain and enlighten with my writing AND make money doing it! :-)

How Do I Define Womanhood: Reaching a point in life where you're comfortable with who you are, confident enough to be yourself and honest enough to tell it like it is.

My Favorite Fashion Publication: I don't really read fashion mags, but as of late I've been checking out Harper's Bazaar. Although the prices are outrageous I am learning a lot about myself and the things I like.

I would love to see what your beauty secrets are; I'm not going to tag anyone in particular so if you do it then let me know 'cause I would love to read it.

How to Zap Stress

For the past several days I've been fighting a migraine and tension headache that keeps threatening to take over. My head, shoulders and neck hurt, and any sudden or loud noise is like stabbing me in the head. Although I've tried to physically relax I know that I haven't done it because when I wake up in the morning I am sore from being so tense.

A lot of people have different ways they recommend to relieve stress. The most interesting thing I've heard of so far is the Stress Eraser, which they talked about on The View the other day. From what I understand, it's a device that regulates your breathing. Although that sounds great, I don't think it's something I'll spend my money on.

At they recommend some quick ways to relieve stress and here are a few from their list:

Take a catnap - Just 10 minutes can be refreshing. I don't know if this works for me or not, usually when I do get a chance to get some sleep I want a minimum of 30 minutes to an hour.

Visualization - Take a quick "mental break" by envisioning your favorite place. Concentrate on what you would see, smell and hear if you were really there. Although I've always liked to daydream I haven't been able to get a good one in because my mind is so busy with everything I have to do and everything that needs to be paid.

Massage - Close your eyes and use your fingertips to vigorously massage your forehead and the back of your neck in a hard and circular motion. This helps me a little bit... I think it would work a lot better if someone else could do it for me.

Concentrate on breathing - Increased tension results in rapid, shallow breathing so to relax inhale slowly, hold your breath then exhale slowly. I'll have to try this more often to see if it works.

Sing in the shower - Loud singing demands deep breathing, which relaxes the singer. So, hold the notes for as long as you can. If nothing else this sounds entertaining and a good laugh will help with relaxation.

Stretch - Standard stretching exercises are good for relieving tension. I have found that a good stretch in the morning works wonders for the tension.

Let me know if any of these stress relievers work for you and share your own in the comments.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Make money with Bloggerwave

One of my favorite things to do is working on my blog. I like writing posts, reading your comments and realizing that something that happened during the day is perfect to share on my blog. I would say, one of the fringe benefits of that is to make money at the same time and a little extra change always helps.

That's why I joined Bloggerwave. If you have a blog and would like to make money doing something you love (uh, blogging) then Bloggerwave may be just the right advertising media for you because it gives you the opportunity to make some extra money.


Mother's Day plans

Almost 17 years ago I became a mother for the first time and now, four children later, I'll be celebrating another Mother's Day. I don't have any plans -- just hanging out with the kids, I guess.

I must say that when my husband and I were together he definitely made Mother's Day special for me. He would fix me breakfast even though he wasn't that great of a cook. (He learned a lot about cooking after we were married and everything he prepared -- except one failed experience -- turned out fabulously.) And there was always a special gift and treats AND he would let me take a break from the kids by making sure I took a nap, a bath or just did something I wanted to do.

I think it's important to have plans for Mother's Day. Whether it's plans to honor a mother in your life, plans to do something for yourself or someone else making plans for you.

If you recognize Mother's Day, what have you decided to do? To ensure (well, almost ensure) that you'll get a gift, why don't you enter my Mother's Day contest? Ten people will win so you have an excellent chance!

If I forget to tell you on Sunday, have a wonderfully Happy Mother's Day!

Do you have the look?

It's a world-wide beauty contest! Look of the Year is looking for people from all of the world to send in their pictures for a chance to be the next model working in Paris, New York or Milan. It's the latest way to get recognized... All you have to do is join Look of the Year to start your new life together with beautiful people from all over the world.

Even if you don't win, you might be discovered by modeling agencies. You never know, you may become a famous model. If you think you have what it takes then don't delay, register for Look of the Year today.


Money, money, money

Sometimes ... well, a lot of the time, money can cause sadness, anxiety, stress and even happiness. I know my current relationship with money is a little stressful, but there was something I read in the May issue of The Oprah Magazine that really made me stop and think. It was under the Live Your Best Life section:

Settle Your Accounts
"Money will command your attention. Allow it a proper place in your life, but deny it a throne. Money means many things, but nothing so much as a yardstick by which your measure will be taken. The need of it, the use of it, the power of it, the love of it will be used by others to define who you are and who you are not. Even you may use it to determine how you should perceive yourself. Be careful: Money is also known to be a relentless slave master. If I have learned anything from this balancing act it is the importance of defining your worth in your own terms." This quote was from Sidney Poitier and included in his book Life Beyond Measure: Letters to my Great-Granddaughter

I don't know about you, but I wish I could define my worth in other terms besides money. That, I must confess, is an on-going battle for me. What about you? Are you a slave to money or are you footloose and fancy free? LOL!

Fiber-full, sweet & tasty, but...

I received a sample of Fiber One's Caramel Delight cereal (from and it is so tasty. I gobbled it down and was pretty pleased with myself for enjoying a fiber rich cereal. I was happy up until the point when I read the nutritional facts. It seems that the one cup of cereal I'd just inhaled had 180 calories with 25 calories from fat and 10 grams of sugar. Not quite a healthy alternative.

When snacking, I've tried to stick to 100 calories or less unless it's a mini meal like fruit, crackers and lean meat with four ounces of juice. Although the Caramel Delight was tasty it is not a cereal I would buy given the calorie count because, knowing me, I won't be sticking to just one cup.

However, I would recommend it for it's fiber content (9 grams in about one cup; 3 of those grams are soluble), the 0 grams of cholesterol and the 140 mg of potassium. Not too bad on that end, huh?

If you've tried Fiber One, what's your take on it and if you haven't, do you think you will try it now?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Honey for the baby

My 11-month-old, who will be 1 in less than three weeks, likes to eat what everyone else is eating. So, tricking her into thinking that she's eating the same thing can be a challenge. In the morning, my two middle children normally have waffles with a little butter and honey with fruit. Although the baby is almost 1, I haven't wanted to take a chance with giving her honey yet because of the risk of her contracting infant botulism.

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Infants younger than 12 months are at risk of infant botulism from eating honey. Infant botulism is a rare but serious form of food poisoning." Honey is a known source of baterial spores that older children and adults are resistent to, but when infants ingest it the spores, which produce Clostridium botulinum bacteria, make a toxen that causes infant botulism.

The botulism attacks the baby's nervous system and causes death. The symtoms include:

Persistent constipation
Floppy arms, legs and neck
Weak cry due to muscle weakness
Weak sucking and poor feeding

Since I had my first child in 1991, I've known not to give honey to babies before 12 months of age, but I never knew all the details. Moms, and other caregivers, need to make sure that anyone who watches their children is aware of this. I remember when my husband and I had our first child together, he was about to give him some honey. He had never heard that before.

Do you think two weeks shy of 12 months is old enough to have honey?

Grand Dutchess...

I saw this at LadyJava's so I thought I would try it out too.

Which Grand Duchess Would YOU Be?

You are Olga, the serious, compassionate poet; eldest of the four Grand Duchesses. You can be moody, but you have a heart of gold. You always try your best to help others. You are highly intelligent, and are something of a book worm. You are honest to a fault.

I think this kind of describes me; I don't think we favor though. LOL! Are you gonna give it a go?

My blogging personality

I'm not sure if this is completely true, but I like it. What about you?

Your Blogging Type is Kind and Harmonious

You're an approachable blogger who tends to have many online friends.

People new to your blogging circle know they can count on you for support.

You tend to mediate fighting and drama. You set a cooperative tone.

You have a great eye for design - and your blog tends to be the best looking on the block!


You & your tax rebate


Favorite chocolates

I am crazy about Harry & David. I first discovered their decadent goodies when I received a sample late last year (read my post here) and I've been hooked ever since. Recently, while on a shopping trip to a nearby outlet mall, I discovered a Harry & David store. Now, when I want a high-quality treat I can go by there instead of having to order online.

The news now is: Harry & David have released their 2008 Mother's Day Gift Collection and it looks as good as it sounds. They have a reasonably priced Butterfly Treats Box that is absolutely adorable -- it's shaped like a beautiful butterfly. Also, for a good deal, is the Springtime Tea-for-One with Treats. I can picture myself using the quaint teapot and cup as I sit on my deck in the early mornings or late afternoons.

There are many other treats that I think any mother (or someone you're honoring this Mother's Day) would love. I think my favorite (because you know I love flowers) is The Case for Confections and Roses; the miniature pink roses are in a gorgeous, classic cosmetic case. Included are three gift boxes containing Chocolate Truffles, Holland Mints® and Bing Cherry Chocolates.

Order today from to get your goodies in time for Mother's Day or find a Harry & David's near you.

And, while you're thinking about Mother's Day, enter my contest! You could win a Cruzer Gator flash drive.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cheap phone cards

With Mother’s Day less than a week away, many people will be calling long distance and internationally to get in touch with the women who mean a lot to them. There are grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins, godmothers, birth mothers and more across the world that will love to hear from the people they love.

One way that a lot of people are making calling economical is by using phone cards. Phone cards are a great way to budget your calling and ensure that you don’t get a surprise phone bill after a long international call.

Don’t let the holidays pass without getting in touch with the people you love. And, for that matter, a phone call is a great gift to give to college students, enlisted military members or those who travel for a living. You never know when your cell phone battery will run out of charge or when there isn’t a public pay phone available. Or, what about when you find a pay phone, but you do not have any change? Just avoid that and be sure to keep a phone card on hand.

Phone Cards Avenue provides cheap international phone cards and allows customers to save 80 percent or more over regular long distance providers like AT&T and Sprint. If you do not have unlimited long distance calling or discounted international calling on your home phone and you do not have unlimited long distance minutes on your cell phone then getting a phone card is a smart option for you.

Prepaid phone cards are a great way to save money on long distance bills. Finding and buying a cheap phone card or calling card online can be frustrating and Phone Card Avenue makes the task easy with pre-sorted international calling cards. Their phone cards and calling cards not only offer great voice quality but also great value. You can start saving on long distance calling right now.


Creeping down

My health and weight loss journal

As you can see my weight loss ticker has inched down just a little. I know it doesn't seem like much, but let me tell you what has really been going on. I haven't changed my ticker in awhile -- not because my weight has been the same, but because it had went up and I didn't want to acknowledge it.

So, it's not just a one pound weight loss for the week; it's about 3-4 pounds over the past two weeks or so. Now, maybe I can keep on track. Weird thing though because when I work out more it seems like I gain weight and lately I've hardly worked out at all.

Puzzling. Well, whatever it is I'm not complaining.

A tribute to moms

Tina, my sweet blogging friend from the UK, tagged me with this and I want to share it with all my blogging mommy friends. Here's to you:

A mother's love determines how
We love ourselves and others.
There is no sky we'll ever see
Not lit by that first love. Stripped of love, the universe
Would drive us mad with pain;
But we are born into a world
That greets our cries with joy.
How much I owe you for the kiss
That told me who I was!
The greatest gift--a love of life--
Lay laughing in your eyes.
Because of you my world still has
The soft grace of your smile;
And every wind of fortune bears
The scent of your caress.

Monday, May 5, 2008

So sad...

To my dismay my daughter's digital camera has taken its final breath. In the past, the small silver photo capturer had stuttered, popped power pills like candy and generally performed in a dysfunctional manner.

When it failed to turn on tonight with two-day old techno batteries in it, my daughter tried to revive it with brand new batteries. It failed to respond.

It will be missed. At the beginning of its life it performed excellently and gave us all it had. My one regret is not getting the pictures I took this morning of the kids downloaded onto my laptop to share with you here.

Please keep us in your prayers as we mourn this unexpected loss.
Now, um, can you guess what I want for Mother's Day!?

Honor mothers, enter a contest

I happen to think that Mother's Day is one of the best holidays. Now, don't laugh, I don't think that because I am a mother. I think that because it is a day dedicated to honoring, remembering and paying special attention to the mothers in our lives: grandmothers, adoptive mothers, birth mothers, biological mothers, mother figures, women mentors, god mothers, play mothers...

On this day it's extra delightful to get special gifts and treats. If you want to win a special gift or treat check out the Mother's Day Giveaway Event at HipMamasPlace. But, before you go, won't you take a moment to enter my contest? Ten winners will receive a SanDisk Cruzer Gator Flash Drive.

Now, check out the Mother's Day Giveaway Event.

Good luck.

24 years of marriage

Congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law who are celebrating their 24th wedding anniversary today. I spoke to my brother yesterday, "Wow, 24 years... that's a long time."

"Yeah, it's a lifetime," he said with a little laugh.

My brother is just 49 years old and his wonderful wife will be 52 tomorrow. I remember years ago I asked him about marriage and one of his responses was: "I've matured a lot!" I don't recall him going into detail, but he indicated that the ride hasn't necessarily been smooth.

So, how do you "survive" 24 years of marriage? I can give you a list of things not to do -- given my current situation, but I think a little insight from someone else is in order. According to Family Builders Ministries, Dear Abby got the following list from a couple who had been married for 50 years.

Ten Rules for a Happy Marriage
1. Never both be angry at the same time.
2. Never yell at each other unless the house is on fire.
3. If one of you has to win an argument, let it be your mate.
4. If you must criticize, do it lovingly.
5. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
6. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
7. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled.
8. At least once every day say a kind or complimentary word to your life partner.
9. When you have done something wrong, admit it and ask for forgiveness.
10. Remember it takes two to make a quarrel.

What are your rules for a happy marriage? Do share.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Yummy sample

Not too long ago I received a sample of Kashi's Mountain Medley Granola. I was a little skeptical because a lot of Kashi products are very... uh, healthy tasting. The sample came at a perfect time because I was running errands in the car and needed a quick snack. It was filling and tasty.

I don't really like granola with milk so it's the perfect snack for me: filled with healthy whole grains and protein -- fuel to get me up and going.

To learn more about Kashi products, check them out at

Happy snacking.


I've gotten a little behind on posting due to being a little under the weather and a lot busy so I thought I would do a few quick updates.

My day substituting
I was feeling really positive about substituting for 7th grade Science on Wednesday. I was comfortable with the school because my daughter attended middle school there about four years ago and I generally had a good attitude about the day.

I was dressed comfortably and, in my opinion, teacher-like. So, nothing was left to do but arrive on time, maintain order, follow the teacher's directions and go home. The substitute system had notated that I needed to arrive at 8:15, but I arrived 15 minutes early. I didn't want to take a chance being late or having to deal with students before I figured out the teacher's instructions.

She had everything clearly laid out and I had time to ask the lead teacher across the hall some questions. (The teacher next door wasn't that welcoming, but I didn't let that bother me.) I found out that the students were on block schedule, which means each class would be with you longer than usual -- about two hours or so.

With the first class I gained control pretty quickly before they went to their connections (music, art, gym, etc.) and returned to the classroom for the planning time. I wrote the teacher's assignments on the board, inquired in the office about the attendance, used the restroom, read the paper... and then it was time for the students to come back and the next class arrived.

As the second class came in I noticed something out of the ordinary. I said to the teacher next door (each teacher stands in front of their door during class changes). "Is this entire class boys?!"
"Oh yea, I think they have some gender class or something like that."

OMG, I thought. Needless to say that entire class was difficult to keep under control. There was one boy who continually tried to show another boy his penis! Yes, you read that right. He thought I didn't know what he was up to, but every time I turned around he had his pants unzipped and would say something about his shirt being untucked.

The resource teacher (a man) who was supposed to be in the class during that period had a meeting. I kept the child in his seat as much as possible, but after about an hour it was useless to try. He ended up moving right next to the boy and the only time I could keep him in control was if I stood right next to him. Well, I had to move away once to help another student and when I turned around the other boy (who I'm almost 100 percent sure is gay) had this shocked and excited look on this face.

The flasher slid his chair back up to the table when I looked at him and they pretended to do their work.

That was such a long class! The third class wasn't any better because of the clique that formed in one corner of the room and they wouldn't do their work. Since all the work needed to be handed in I knew the teacher would know who had followed directions and who didn't.

By this point I was feeling really bad physically. My feet and legs (from the knee down) had started to go numb and tingly and I was feeling really terrible. I had noticed the decrease in my physical feeling, but had been trying to ignore it. I had only been able to sit down about 15 minutes during the entire day and I was scheduled to be there until 4:15.

I could barely walk by the time it was time to go and realized that I would need to be careful with the types of assignments I chose. I've discovered that the fibromyalgia is worse in those types of situations.

Which leads to...

My health and weight loss journal
It has taken me about four days to recover from my day at the school. Thank God for my teenager because when I arrived home I could barely function... I was so sore and foggy. I ate and went to bed. I didn't sleep well because of the pain and numbness in my lower legs, but sometime during the night I felt the numbness lift and I was able to rest a little bit.

From that day up until today I've been really exhausted, but each day has gotten better. It's a little discouraging to know that I have such limitations, which hinder me for so long. However, at least I know now and can be very aware of the types of situations I put myself in.

I've noticed that too much of being in one position is not good with the fibromyalgia. Even sitting at a desk, but because I'm often up and down with the baby I hadn't realized exactly how painful it could get.

With the weight loss, I've had a few setbacks. I'm back above 180. I think it's 180.5 right now. I hope that Tuesday's weigh in (with Carrie) shows some good numbers.

My weekend
The teenager and I have been hanging out all weekend and we've been having a lot of fun. We started off Friday when she stayed home for Take Your Child To Work day... She had her assignments to complete and then she went out with her friends for the afternoon. We've eaten breakfast together each morning and laughed about everything and nothing.

Yesterday morning while we ate breakfast we watched Practical Magic, which was really good. It stars Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. I think it came out in the late 90s.

We've sorted our jewelry, she's tried on her prom dress, cleaned up each room together, listened to music and watched recorded tv.

Today we're trying to finish a Monopoly game we started last night around 7 p.m., but we're pausing to do different things in between. Like laundry, blogging, mail, bill paying, etc.

All in all (despite a little of feeling under the weather), this was a very good weekend and I hope that you had a good one too.

I won! Yes, it was a long hard game and Amber gave it all she had, but I won... and I won big! the game finally ended last night (Monday). Thanks, Amber, for such a fun -- albeit long -- game!
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