I’ve had my hair long for years.  Darren prefers long hair and I do too.  But mine was damaged from too many highlights and too few trims.  Plus it’s thin and stringy when it gets very long. I rolled over it one too many times with my stability ball while doing some Fit Yummy Mummy exercises and was annoyed with the longness of it all.

So I whacked it off.  What I mean is I hired Susan Guthrie to whack it off.   I had intended to go blond, but I showed Susan so many photos off pinterest that it was a little confusing.  We decided that the next time I go in she could lighten it.  But for now, I love it. This was a big decision for me simply because I usually get my hair done in the shop once a year.  A dramatic change in color, means more maintenance, more time spent, and more money.  Darren said he’d work it out since he’s been curious how I’d look blond for awhile.

I’m glad to get some time before seeing it very blond.  I’ve always believed there was a little glamour to being blond and my business coach and fitness coach–have it. That’s them below.

Carrie and Holly

And then there’s my first business mentor ever–Andrea Whitcomb, my Mary Kay director who is a gorgeous blond too–and just as pretty inside as out.

Maybe because I admire these ladies so much that I don’t feel quite worthy of the blond.  But I’m getting enough gray that a little lightening helps to bring it out.

Any way, Here’s some before and after photos:

book day, granola 048


Update on Cleaning Week

I blinked and lost a week!  I’ve been crazy busy here making the final switch over to a new menu website.  And I’m super excited about it.  The menu service is now being hosted at which gives me the ability to offer discounts for subscribing for longer periods at once.  You know how I love a good discount!

I’ve also been on the phone a lot interviewing programmers to make the site even more amazing.  That’s all I can say about that, until everything is closer to finalization.  But IF all the new stuff means prices go up on the site, those who are already subscribers won’t be affected by the increase.  Hmmmm, not a bad reason to jump on board now :).

Also, I’ve been busy planning Heidi’s 13th birthday party.  I’m going to use the printables above to make the table super cute. The guest list was the hardest part.  She could have easily invited 30 girls, but that just wouldn’t work out. We did NOT want to leave anyone out–what’s to do? Originally we were hoping for an indoor pool party, but our local pool had swim meets every weekend for 2 months and we just didn’t want to wait that long.  A pool party could have had unlimited guests. We decided on a Mystery/Treasure hunt party at our home.  My mom came over this morning and helped me plan all the clues.  Oh My!  I’m still giggling.  It’s going to be a fun time with a small group of girls.

cleaning supplies

I missed cleaning week last week so plan to pick up where I left off this week. I’ve had some requests to see pictures of my kid’s bedrooms and what we are doing for organization there.  I hope to do that this week too.  I feel pretty inadequate in that area.  I have so many plans for their spaces but am severely limited on time and money right now.  But I have good news!  We have a contract on our old house.  Inspections are done, and all that is left is for the financing to come through on their end.  It will feel very good to have that chapter in our lives closed and then we will be able to talk about what’s to be done in our new house!

So anyway, next week I’ll share some of my favorite cleaning recipes.  And some of the new beauty recipes I’ve seen to help us get through dry skin season and get ready for Valentine’s Day.

So the two questions I have for you are: What cleaning recipe would you love to find most?  And what is your biggest beauty trouble spot you’d love to solve naturally?

Jamberry Nails

Have you noticed my new advertiser? Heidi Perkins, Jamberry Nails Independent Consultant.  A few weeks ago, Heidi sent this cute little kit in  the mail.

I didn’t try them right away because I was afraid it would be time consuming and hard to learn to do.  I was so WRONG! I broke a nail a few days ago which forced me to do something quick.  And these nail decals seemed like the perfect solution.  They were!

These are super easy to do and while prep was really important (buffing and cleaning) it took less time than I expected. Plus there is no drying time like with nail polish, so I could get up and get back to work right away.  There are a ton of cute styles. I chose the red with white polka dots for Christmas, and this style would also be amazing for Valentine’s day.

Here are some of my other favorites:


The nail sets are $15 each, but are good for 2-3 sets of toes or fingernails. Shipping is just $2.99 on most orders. And it’s buy 3 get 1 free! These would make really cute end of the year teacher gifts with some pampering manicure set items.

Each set of decals comes with 18 individual nails in various sizes. I was able to get two fingers out of each decal by cutting them in half down the center–making 36 decals.  Which means 2 sets of fingers and 1 set of toes for me, plus some for my girls to play with.  The decals are supposed to last 3-4 weeks.  I’ve only had mine on for 3 days, so I can’t say yet how long they last for me.  I have washed dishes and showered with no trouble.  Peeling stickers off of new toys lifted the edge on my most used finger but it smoothed down afterwards just fine.

These are different than the real polish strip on the market.  There are more than one set of nails in each package, but they don’t come with application accessories like a cuticle stick or buffer-things we should have on hand anyway.  Jamberry nails are vinyl and odor free unlike the real polish strips.  And they are more durable too.  You will need manicure scissors or clippers, a good file, a buffer, a cuticle stick, a hairdryer or other heat source (like a microwaveable heat pad) and polish remover to apply. This might sound overwhelming, but don’t let it be. Gathering all the items together was the hardest part of the process.

Here’s a video to show how easy these are to use:


Bodywrap Giveaway!

The giveaway has ended. Thank you to everyone who participated.  Congratulations Megan, our winner!

You’ve seen the hype and may have wondered if it would work for you.  Here’s a chance to find out for free!  If you get the same results from the wraps that many customers have, you might consider making a business from it and helping others improve the appearance of their skin too.

Here are some more before and after pictures of real people using the wraps.

Check out the improvement in her stretch marks.

Amy has generously donated a wrap for one lucky reader who wins our giveaway! If you live near Kansas City, she will come and wrap you personally.  If not, she will ship it to you with ample instructions.

If you would like to become a distributor, it is only $99 through August 31. The kit comes with 4 wraps, which  sell for $30 a piece. Amy sold her 4 wraps her first week and made her money back from her kit very quickly.  The thing she loves is that It Works is a team environment, so they all help each other get to their goals! Their slogan is One Team, One Mission!

You can enter by leaving a comment on this post; friending Amy on Facebook (one entry) and sending her a facebook message with your info and/or sending an email to: amy dot teachingenglish at gmail dot com with your contact info.  She will never share your personal information and will only use the info to send you the information you want.

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Do Ultimate Body Applicators really work?

You know the ones I’m talking about.  The body wraps that claim to tighten, tone and firm.  To reduce the appearance of cellulite.  Is it to good to be true?

I invited a local consultant, Amy Castillo, to my home to give it the test.  She brought one wrap, and I elected to use it on my stomach–my troublesome area after having 6 babies.  She spent some time with me ahead and explained that the wraps contain an herbal cream designed to reduce the fat cells.  She said I could see some results after 45 minutes, but I could reapply the wrap for up to 8 hours for maximum efficiency.   She said to make sure I drink a lot of water during the process as this would help expel toxins.  (I ended up drinking about 32 oz in 45 minutes.)

First we cleansed the skin with a witch hazel spray. This helps clean the skin and keeps the pores open so that nothing blocks the skin from absorbing the gel from the werap. Then she applied the wrap to my trouble spot and wrapped it securely with plastic wrap to help it stay in place.  While we waited for the 45 minute timer to ring, I nursed Grant to sleep, and drank water while we talked.  She mentioned that the wraps could be cut and used anywhere on the body. Popular places are things, arms, and special wraps are even used on the face.

It smelled minty and tingled like applying a muscle rub.  The wrap was very thin and had a plastic type back to keep the cream from coming through to the back side. It did not look smooth like the pictures, but did the job just the same.

I looked through the pamphlets she brought and saw some pretty dramatic before and after pictures.  Amy was up front with me and said those ladies used several wraps to achieve their results, each done 3 days apart and kept on for up to 8 hours.  A 4 wrap value pack is sold for $60 which is $15 per wrap.

I should reveal that my air conditioner was broken in my home during this time and it was pretty warm in there.  (Over 100 degrees outside for several days running.) The heat was helping me retain more water than usual.  I asked Amy if the wrap worked by getting rid of excess water in the fat cells.  She said, “No.”  But that the inches lost were from toxin removal.  My weight had been steady for over a week, despite my efforts at eating right and exercising.  The heat was kicking my tail!

After the 45 minutes, we took measurements and photos.  Then I reapplied the wrap for the rest of the afternoon.  I used a lycra maternity belly band from Target to hold it on the second time.  That was more comfortable for me than the plastic wrap.  After 5 more hours, I was ready to be done.  But it was REALLY hot in my house.

Amy had a fancy tape measure from the company that made sure you couldn’t measure incorrectly. The before and after 45 minute measurements were taken by her with the special tape measure. The after 1 day and after 3 day measurements were taken with my normal dressmaker’s tape.  I wish I had thought to follow her measurements with my own tape so I could have a comparison with the same tape for all. Also she made lines on my back with a sharpie so we would be sure to measure in the exact same spot each time.

So here are my personal results:

Upper Waist before:  32.25″ After 45 minutes: 32″ After 1 day: 32.5″ After 3 days: 32″  Total lost  1/4 inch

Naval Before: 35″ After 45 minutes 34.5 After 1 day: 35.25 After 3 days: 34.25  Total Lost: 3/4 inch

Mommy Tummy (below waist) before: 37.5 After 45 minutes: 37.5 After 1 day: 36.5 After 3 days: 36.5 Total Lost: 1 inch

Total overall losses:  2 inches.  Not too shabby.

And my pictures (before and after 45 minutes only):


My final thoughts:  The wrap smelled great, had healthful ingredients, and did remove 2 inches in 3 days.  My skin looked a tiny bit smoother, and I’m interested to see what a full 4 wrap program would do for my stretch marks.  Would I use these wraps alone as a weight loss regime?  No.  A healthy diet and exercise are important for building muscle and for continued health–but I would use them along side a good fitness program.  And to help the appearance of the skin. Amy noted the company does not promote only using the wraps for weight loss, etc. They state that maintaining a healthy lifestyle (ie. eating well, exercise, etc) is important or like any weight loss program, if you don’t make a lifestyle change, you won’t maintain any results. The wraps help give individuals a jump start or encouragement to continue to see results WHILE they continue on their way to a healthy way of life. The wraps helps to tighten, tone and firm areas that regular exercise may not (i.e. stretch marks, saggy/excess skin).

The company Amy represents also carries vitamins, powdered greens, face care products, defining gel and more.  She can ship products anywhere in the US and can help you earn money for your family by selling your own wrap products (and getting a nice discount in the process.)  She says:  “I am really looking for distributors in US, Australia, Canada, UK, N. Ireland, Sweden, Holland, Scotland and Wales (those are the countries we are currently in). Readers can buy one from me for $30 (if in KC area, I can wrap them personally)….if not, we can arrange payment (like by Paypal) and I can mail it and send them youtube videos and info on how to do it.

You can reach Amy at (816) 813-7022, her personal email at or through her website:

For Kim–My beauty routine

Kim left this comment on a previous post: Angela, my daughter and I enjoyed this post so much, she is the weekly pizza maker in our home, such a great idea, but the one thing my daughter mentioned was how beautiful your skin is, which I already happened to notice, I know you have already posted some beauty tips, but we thought it would be fun if you gave your readers your beauty regimine and what you use on your sakin daily, nightly and maybe if you do some monthly treatments as well. Enjoy your family, and your blessed new addition. Thanks for taking the time Angela, I am sure you are so busy. Sincerely, Kim

Your comments totally made my day, so I’d be happy to share what I do to my skin. I’ll be 35 in a few weeks and have a history of severe acne. I have tried a lot of things to try to get beautiful skin (or even normal looking skin) and finally found something that works for me. I don’t have a lot of time for myself, but I consider my skin routine as essential as brushing my teeth at night.  I use a variety of different products and makeups, but most of them last me 6 months to a year.  I also sell the brand of makeup I prefer so get a dealer discount, plus have money from teh sales to buy my personal products with.  I spend very little actual money on product, but I would if I had too–it’s that good.

Morning:  Shower–last thing before turning off the water I wash my face with Mary Kay Timewise 3-1 skincare bar–It costs $18 and lasts me about a year.  Once a week, I follow up with the Microdermabraision Set.  It’s so easy to use in the shower.  I use leftover product on my arms which tend to be red and bumpy.

Right after I towel off, I apply Timewise Age Fighting Moisturizer in normal to dry, and follow up with Oil Free Hydrating Gel.  If I will be outside all day, I use Timewise Day Solution under my moisturizer.

My makeup routine includes Concealer under my eyes and in the corners of my nose, Mineral foundation in Beige 1 (I use Ivory 2 in winter, and Beige .5 in between times.)  On Cheeks I like mineral cheek colorin Shy Blush or Bold Berry.  Occasonally I’ll use Sunny Spice or Mineral Bronzer instead for a super natural look.

On my eyes I use 3 mineral colors, a super light highlighting eye color (that I make sure blends into the corner and slightly under the eye), a medium tone on the lid and dark color in the crease which I blend all together with a clean powder brush.  Some of my favorite combonations are:  Moonstone, hazelnut, and chocolate kiss; Crystalline, Granite and Coal; and Crystalline, Blue Metal and Navy (discontinued but midnight star is a good substitute.)

I follow up my eye shadow with eyeliner in brown or black. If I want another color, I use a wet eyeliner brush with my mineral eye colors.  And top it all off with black ultimate mascara (but can’t wait until my lash love arrives–I think I’ll like that even better.)  One coat over all the lashes and several additional coats on just the tips to make them look longer. 

On my lips I use Nourishine Lip Gloss.  My favorite colors are Beach Bronze, Bronze Bliss, Fancy Nancy, or Sweet Raisin.  For evening I use a neutral lip liner under my gloss.

At bedtime I start with Oil Free Eyemakeup remover on a cotton pad.  Then wash with Timewise 3-1 cleanser for Oily to Combination skin.  Then apply Timewise Night Solution; Timewise Moisturizer for Normal to Dry Skin, and finish off with Oily Free Hydrating Gel.

Whew, It took me a lot longer to write all that down than it does to actually do it :).

I also rub cocoa butter all over my stretch marks, feet, arms and elbows before getting into bed.  I’d like to start dry brushing before my shower to help tighten my after baby skin and get rid of cellulite, but I seem to think of it after I’m already in the shower.

Other things that help my skin:  Exercise (I do 15 minutes of intense exercise every day) and diet–plenty of water to keep skin from drying out and forming lines.  Also I’m avoiding sugar (for weight loss) which makes my immune system stronger and prevents breakouts.

When I do get a blemish, I brew a cup of peppermint tea before bed and press the hot tea bag on the blemish–holding it there until it feels tingly from the mint.  When I wake up it is much improved.

Whenever I take a bubble bath I use the Even Complexion Mask while I soak.  It is amazing and makes my skintone look smooth and even.

This post was not designed to sell any products, but if you do decide to try something, I offer free shipping anywhere in the contiguous US and off a money back guarantee for up to 1 year after your purchase date.  (You can even return it if you aren’t using it like you thought you would, or if the color is bad for you.)


More Help with Feet

In summer, it’s refreshing to let our feet breathe in some airy sandals, but wearing sockless shoes for very long can create an odor problem.  The foul smell is caused by natural sloughing off of dead skin cells while we walk, which attach to our shoes and rot.  Not pleasant at all.  To keep your shoes smelling sweet, choose shoes that do not have cloth foot beds.  Look for something smooth (like crocs) or a smooth leather or vinyl.  After wearing before putting them away at night, wipe the foot beds with a damp cloth (baby wipes work well.)  Then spritz with an alcohol based  body spray.  The alcohol will kill any lingering bacteria and have your shoes fresh and ready for wearing next time.

A little tip:  I bought an inexpensive pack of white wash cloths.  I use a clean one each evening to wash my face (Reusing a face cloth without washing can cause acne by reintroducing  bacteria to the skin.)  Right after washing my face, I rinse the cloth and wash off my feet.  Then I can go to bed clean and still shower in the morning for better hair during the day.

Though not pleasant to talk about, foot fungus can also grab hold in summer.  There’s nothing like tea tree oil for killing foot fungus, even on the nail.  To use, place 2 drops of tea tree oil on a moistened cotton pad and apply to the affected area.  There are also commercial products out there with tea tree oil, labeled for specific purposes.  A good alternative is wild oregano oil–as a bonus, you’ll smell like pizza :).

On a different note, you can strengthen the arches of your feet by being conscious of putting weight on your little toes instead of your big toe.  Try not to let your feet roll towards the center.  When you have a chance to sit, practice pointing your toes hard (like a ballerina) and flexing them back.  Keeping your feet flexible can stop foot pain and give you more endurance on your feet.

Frugal and Fabulous Feet

It’s sandal weather and if your feet are like mine, they need a little attention.  There’s nothing delicate or feminine about heels so cracked they’d look at home in an elephant herd.  It’s not healthy either.  Dry cracking feet are gateways for infection. When I snggle up to DH at night, I want him to smile not yell ouch! if I touch his leg with my foot.  Dead skin and callouses soak up all your product and prevent lotions from nourishing the young healthy skin underneath.

For minor foot dryness, slather on a thick ointment like Mary Kay’s Extra Emollient Night Cream or Cocoa Butter and slip on cotton socks.  The heat from your body will soften the cream and help it move deeper into the skin.  If you tend to have poor circulation with cold feet, get moving as soon as your socks are on.  Exercise will move blood down to your feet and help heal.

1.  If you have serious foot problems, it will take a little time to get them up to par.  Place a dishtub over a bathtowel and fill with warm water (as hot as your feet can take.)  Add 1/4 cup epsom (Dollar Tree has this) or coarse sea salt and a squirt of shampoo or your favorite body wash.  Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes while you read your favorite book or magazine (or catch up on earlier Grocery Shrink posts!)

2.  After soaking, use a pumice stone, lufa sponge, or sugar scrub to begin to remove the layers of dead skin.  If it’s very bad, it’s best to do this over a period of several days. (A great commercial product for this is the Mary Kay Satin Hands Set.)

3.  Follow up with an intense moisturizing cream and cotton socks while it soaks in. 

4.  Repeat these steps every other day until your feet are soft and smooth, while using a nightly intense moisturizer and cotton socks. 

If your DH doesn’t like you to wear socks to bed, start the treatment early enough that you can remove the socks before slipping into bed.  Otherwise, it’s okay to wear them all night.