Swimming Pool In A Can

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At 5:30 yesterday evening there was absolutely no relief from the scorching sun. Out of all the days, it had to be extremely hot on the day of my son’s 8th grade graduation that was held outdoors with absolutely no protection from the heat. Though there were some dedicated parents sitting directly in the sun’s unforgiving rays, others like myself, sought refuge under shaded areas to keep cool. Normally, I would have been sitting in the front row to cheer my son on; however, the heat was too much for me, Mademoiselle, and Monsieur G to bare. This chic $6.95 traditional Chinese parasol (a sunbrella) would have been the perfect fashionable alternative for sun protection, but unfortunately it was left behind as we scrambled to get to the graduation on time.

Although we were sitting in the shade, it was still hot. It felt more like we were in Arizona, Texas, or Alabama rather than California. As I searched through my diaper bag for my wallet so that I could purchase a bottle of water from the school’s vending machine, I remembered I had a can of  Splash Cool, a purified water atomizer or a swimming pool in a can, at my disposal to provide immediate relief from the summer heat. Voila! Instant hydration. I sprayed the fine mist on Mademoiselle and Monsieur G to quickly cool their little bodies and make them feel more comfortable while waiting for the ceremony to end. My kids were so happy over this little can and asked why I had been holding out.

Initally, when Splash Cool was sent to me I found no use for it. It reminded me of Evian’s version I used several years ago to set my makeup and create a dewy look after I applied a powder over my foundation. It was a great makeup tool that I no longer needed since I stopped wearing powder. However, I’m so glad I kept this little can in my diaper bag because I don’t know how long Mademoiselle would have been able to handle the heat without fussing.


A Mini Facial Compliments of Mario Badescu

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Today, I received my samples in the mail from Mario Badescu. I was so delighted to find samples of seven different products I’ve never tried before and a personalized product application guide that listed the sample included in my package, a regime to follow in the morning and evening, and four illustrated pictures showing how and where to apply the products to be used a daily basis. I also received a detailed product guide designed to help you figure out what products to use. Though I’ve used Mario’s products before and received samples with my purchases, this was the first time I actually filled out the questionnaire and received free product samples tailored to fit my skin’s specific needs.

I found Mario by accident. I didn’t need to know that celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum, and Charlize Theron used his products. I was in a dire situation and was willing, at that point, to try anything. I’m happy I did because the products (with two products from Kinara) worked and corrected the problem within a week or two. Mario Badescu claims, “We make being beautiful easy.” He’s right! After witnessing first hand what the products did for my skin, my mother, sister, aunt, and cousin ran out the next day to purchase Mario’s products, and they too have had good results. 

Please take the time to find out what your specific needs are and purchase products accordingly.

Here’s what was in my sample packet:

  1. Seaweed Cleansing Soap
  2. Chamomile Cleansing Lotion
  3. Almond & Honey Non-Abrasive Face Scrub
  4. Enzyme Revitalizing Mask  
  5. Hyaluronic Eye Cream
  6. Protein Night Cream  
  7. Drying Cream

All the products I need for a DIY mini facial.


Five Things I Want Now

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Several years ago, I discovered and fell in love with the most adorable handbags made from old cigar boxes. At one point, I thought about making a bag of my own because I could never find one that I couldn’t live without until now. When I saw this bag with a vintage postcard of Dorothy Dandridge I almost fell out of my seat with excitement. It literally brought tears to my eyes. Now, you know I must get my hands on this bag.

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I’m ready to try Armani’s Hydra-glow foundation, especially since we are right on the heels of summer. I need a light weight, moisturizing foundation with an SPF-15 that will make my skin radiant and soft.

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A few years back, I stumbled across Tres Jolie (French for ‘very pretty’) while searching for a unique gift for a friend. The owner, Glenda Lugay from the Caribbean island of  St. Maarten, has exquisite taste when it comes to accessories. She has some of the most unique pieces of jewelry you’ll find in Los Angeles. If you want jewelry that will spark a conversation or an exclusive gift for someone special, then I recommend you visit Tres Jolie. I can definitely see myself wearing this Trisha Laurel bracelet.

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Loving this dress by Max Studio. I remember when this was the first place I’d go whenever I went shopping, and I went crazy after I discovered the outlet store.

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And, of course, I want a pair of these Jimmy Choo sandals.


A Perfect Face: Cleansers and Moisturizers

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As luck would have it, a few weeks ago I ran out of Mario Badescu’s Collagen moisturizer with SPF 15. Normally, I would be in a state of panic but was relieved because, a few days prior, a bottle of Skin MD’s Shielding Lotion had been sent to me to review. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I don’t have many issues with my skin. In fact, most estheticians and makeup artist swear I don’t need to wear a foundation; nevertheless, I exclusively wear Armani’s Luminous Silk foundation anyway. I just like the way my skin looks with it on. I usually mix a small amount with my moisturizer so that I don’t look as though I have foundation on. Don’t try to understand it, just accept what I’m saying. And yes, I know your not suppose to mix foundation with moisturizer because it’s best to allow the moisturizer to absorb completely into your skin first. But I digress…

In the beginning, when I used Skin MD’s Shielding Lotion; a light weight, non-greasy cream, my face felt extremely tight and dry for a few days and eventually started to peel. I was tempted to stop using it, but realized that it needed to be used as directed in order to achieve results, which for me translates into a nice glow. Healthy skin should have a dewy appearance; not oily. I was able to see my skin recover and the radience I was looking for after I got over the intial hump. The fact that the lotion needs to be applied every 2-8 hours is a problem for a busy mom like me and it lacks sun protection.  

The lotion is designed to act as a protective barrier that keeps irritants out and moisture in. Although you will not see results immediately, with continual usage as directed, it is ideal for those who have dry skin because it doesn’t wash off right away and it will help to restore skin.  In fact, it is recommended for those who suffer from eczema or psoriasis. 

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 Now that I’ve also run out of my main face cleanser, Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Cream, a non-foaming gel cleanser that removes dirt and makeup and is a gentle exfoliate, I need to purchase another. Though I like the results of using the cleanser, I also like to change thing up since skin becomes less reponsive to products after long-term use. I’m placing an order for the Orange Cleansing Soap that I will use daily to help remove the build up from the skin’s surface.

Every 2 to 3 days I like to use a deep cleanser that not only exfoliates, but reduces minor discoloration. Badescu’s Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is perfect for that. As far as a moisturizer goes, I will continue to use the Collagen Moisturizer (SPF-15), a cream that pumps the skin and seals in moisture. At night I’m hooked on Kinara’s Skin Quencher and Skinceutical’s Hyaluronic Serum. You can read my post About Face for details on why I selected these products and where to find them.      

Though Mario Badescu’s products are used by celebrities like Naomi Campbell, they are reasonably priced and will last a long time. For example, the Orange face soap is only $12. If you fill out a skin questionnaire, you’ll get an email with a list of recommended products that they will send you free samples of. 


The Great Spa Escape

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In stressful times, some people turn to food and others turn to alcohol and I go to the spa. So during the chaotic time I was home in L.A. for my stepfather’s funeral, I took some time out to get a pedicure at Los Angeles’s premiere hand and food spa l.a. vie l’orange with Mademoiselle and my cousin Lorena.

After disposing and boxing up my stepfather’s belongings and dealing with his heartless niece’s, by any means necessary (including illegal), attempts to stake her claims to his property and money, the spa was a much needed escape for a few hours of laughter and relaxation.

Since I could not bare to leave Mademoiselle behind knowing that her attachment to me would make life for the hubby completely unbearable, I sent an email to Tina, the owner of vie l’orange, asking her if she would so kindly grant me permission to bring the little one. Immediately after Tina gave the green light, I followed her recommendation from my last visit and booked two Old Fashion pedicures, which included a yummy oatmeal mask.

Shortly after our arrival, I sat Mademoiselle on my lap as I soaked my feet in a very relaxing warm bath of milk and honey. And so for a few moments the world stopped; I was allowed to just be, not having the weight of the continent on my shoulders or the demands of life pounding on me. It was nothing but rest, relaxation, and pure fun.

Though Mademoiselle was with me, she behaved like an angel throughout my treatment. The other women were not discreet with the evil glances when they first caught sight of the pink and black Pliko stroller being pushed through the doors to a seemingly hidden oasis, a sanctuary of mental safety. But, I didn’t care because it was not the first time I had taken Mademoiselle O to a spa so I knew she was going to be a good girl and that she would have them eating out of the palms of her hands by the end of our evening of pampering.

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Before we left, we purchased a couple bottles of l.a. vie l’orange’s Orange and Cucumber body lotion. I knew immediately why this lotion was on Oprah’s favorite things list the second I smelled it and tried a little on my hands. The lotion is not only a good moisturizer, but it’s also like putting on perfume because it contains the right amount of orange and cucumber oils. The two combined make a surprisingly delightful aroma. I love that! I slather it on after taking a shower before bedtime, and when I awake in the morning the smell still lingers as if I had just rubbed it on.

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If you haven’t had a facial, massage, wrap, or pedicure, seize the moment now and plan your next great spa escape. Do it for your mental sanity. Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier if you do.

Where are the hot spa spots in your area?


So, You Want an Alternative to Miss Jessie’s Products

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In my post, Naturally Kinky, I raved about Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme as well as some of my favorite all natural hair products by Cornrows & Co. Based on emails and questions, it seems a lot of people either want to know if the quality of Miss Jessie’s products justify dishing out $60 for a jar of hair cream or if there are other alternatives available. 

Most of you know that I have a love hate relationship with my hair. Mainly because it’s difficult to manage my extremely coarse and very thick mane. When a friend turned me onto Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme, I was elated. It proved to be a good product for me. It’s a great moisturizer for dry hair, making it very soft and pliable, but note that it is not a natural product. 

I’ve read a lot of mixed reviews on Miss Jessie’s Curly Pudding, and I have to agree with those who say the product only works well on hair types 3A through 3C, and possibly 4A. It does not work for my 4B hair type nor does it make my hair easy to handle. Most people can achieve the same results by simply using the Buttercreme alone. 

When I was contacted by the owner of Kinky-Curly, Shelley Davis, I was exited at the possibility of having more manageable hair. In fact, the website states to give Kinky-Curly’s products a try before considering a texturizer, silkener, or relaxer. Davis then sent me a full size sample of her Curly Custard and Knot Today conditioner

Initially, I had some problems using the products. I had been using Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme almost everyday so I had a lot of oil build up which did not go away after two washes, and since Kinky-Curly Curling Custard is an aloe based product, it does not work well if there is an oily residue present. I then used Federic Fekkai’s Apple Vinegar rinse to rid my hair of any oils, but to my surprise the Curling Custard sat on my hair and left behind white flakes.

After I emailed Shelley, I discovered that I needed to use a clarifying shampoo, which meant I was unable to use Cornrows & Co.’s Coconut Shampoo (love it) since it contains coconut oil or their Orange conditioner which contains macadamia and jojoba oils. I’m a true product junkie; therefore, I didn’t have to go out to buy shampoo since I have a ton of different shampoos readily available. I was determined to try anything to make the product work. Eventually, I found the winning combination when I used Aveda’s Sap Moss shampoo. Now, let me say that you don’t have to use an expensive clarifying shampoo, Shelley suggested using Prell from the local drugstore. In the future, maybe Shelley will consider adding a shampoo to her line that will best compliment her products. In addition, Shelley is really good at giving advice and helpful tips so don’t hesitate to contact her with questions. Before I forget, using a towel will make your hair frizzy. Use your hands to squeeze out excess water.  

Once I was able to find the right shampoo, I was amazed at the results. I applied the Knot Today herbal conditioner and vanilla scented Curling Custard, that made my hair very easy to comb out. It made my hair sleek as if I had used a gel, and actually laid my thick mane down and reduced shrinkage, making my hair easy to brush into a ponytail, which I’m unable to do with the Baby Buttercreme because my hair literally shrinks out of the palm of my hands while brushing it. I also love the way the Curling Custard slicks down my hairline without having to use a scarf. It’s a good moisturizer that does not leave behind a greasy residue.

I love the two products because they make my hair a whole lot easier to deal with. Even though I didn’t get the curls I wanted, this product is on my favorite things list. If I want curls I can achieve them by wrapping my hair around my finger as I’m applying the custard or using a rat tooth comb. I know you’re probably thinking that any product will work using those methods, but not necessarily; I’ve tried others and the Curling Custard gives the best results. The curls are much more defined.   

It’s definitely a cheaper, all natural alternative to Miss Jessie’s products, and well worth a try. The 16 oz. Curling Custard costs $25 and the 8 oz. bottle of Knot Today sells for $12. The ingredients (horsetail, chamomile, etc) are far superior and better for your hair. Be sure to check out Afrobella’s review since she had the opportunity to try the entire line.  


All Right, OK, You Win

For the past several months, I have successfully managed to drive by Jenny’s Beauty Supply and, I might add, without entertaining the thought of making a certain purchase. Yay, me!

That is…until yesterday.

My hair has been in its natural state for almost nine years now, but I’ve also struggled with styling my hair for every one of those years. I just cannot do it, and let’s not even mention how lazy I am when it comes to dealing with my ultra thick and super coarse mane. I just hate dealing with it, yet I’m still determined to remain natural. So, the easiest and less time consuming solution for me is to either wear braids, a scarf, or a wig

However, all that came to a screeching halt when I noticed my thinning hair line. I mean, it was pretty close to bald. I could definitely see a lot of scalp. My hair was shedding due to post-pregnancy hormonal changes. After I freaked out a little bit, I started using Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme every day to keep my hair moisturized and laid off the braids and wigs in an effort to prevent any further damage. I really didn’t know what else to do until someone suggested I try Phyto’s Phytocyane for thinning hair.

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I asked this unknown woman several times if the product actually worked because I was a little apprehensive about shelling out $48, but she insisted it did. Well she convinced me! I immediately purchased a box, and I’m glad I did. My hair has made some progress and is now starting to thicken around the edges once again. I’ve also been using Kinky Curly’s Curling Custard. This product is a good detangler and it makes my hair more managable and a whole lot easier to put in a ponytail. I’ll write up a full review in a much later post, but until then you can read about Afrobella’s experience with Kinky Curly.

I know you’re probably waiting for me to tell you what possessed me to go into Jenny’s Beauty Supply, right? Okay, I get this email in my inbox, telling me that I still have a chance to purchase tickets to attend this designer shopping event that includes cocktails, a goodie bag filled with free beauty products, and 60% off designer clothes and jewelry. I got excited, invited a friend, and purchased the tickets.

I really want to be cute for this event tonight, but with two busy boys and Baby Mademoiselle, I know I’m not going to have enough time to wash my hair and I don’t want to wear a scarf. As I’m driving down the street with all this on my mind I finally say to myself, “All right, ok, you win, Jenny.” And, I marched through the front door, straight to the back, sat down, and tried on some wigs. Oh what the heck, I figure my hair has recovered and I definitely need a brand new hair-do.  

Yay, for a quick and easy no fuss hair style for a busy mama.