BELLAMI 6 in 1 Complete Curler Set Review

I am the first to admit that I can be a bit lazy when it comes to my hair. I wear it very long, so it tends to find itself pulled back into a ponytail much more often than I really like. Lately, I have been trying to switch it up a bit and actually wear a style.

My cousin really got me into curling my hair. I always loved how my hair looked pin straight, and until about 6 months ago, that was the “style” that I could really do myself. When I wanted curly hair, I had to have her come do it for me. This worked out okay when we were going out, but most people don’t want to curl your hair at 8am before you head into work while they are trying to get ready for work themselves.

So I finally learned how to do it myself. (Thank you YouTube video tutorials!)

And I am so happy that I did!

A big part of making the learning process easier was the tools that I had to work with. The Bellami 6 in 1 Complete Curler Set is beyond amazing.

6-in-1

It’s exactly what is sounds like — 6 amazing curling wands in one. So basically, its 6 different sized, clip free curling barrels that attach to one single handle. They come in a variety of sizes (19mm – 19mm, 25mm – 25mm, 32mm – 32mm, 9mm – 13mm, 25mm – 18mm, Pearl Wand) guaranteeing that you will find a few favorites.

I love the largest barrel — the 32mm gives me the perfect, big, loose curls that I love. But I have also used the smaller sizes for more defined curls. And the Pearl Wand gives a really fun, messy, beachy look.

My favorite feature is the ability to adjust the temperature. Most of the other sets that I looked at only had a high or a low setting. The temperature shows up as a digital reading, and is easily and quickly adjusted. This curling wand also heats up very quickly, meaning that it doesn’t take me too long to get it all set up for last minute curls in the morning.

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As for the curls — you are going to love how your hair looks when you use this wand. The tourmaline barrels are fused with ceramic, and in just a few seconds you have beautiful, silky smooth curls. Most of the time, I don’t even use hair spray — the curls just stay on their own and look fabulous. I even like how they look the next morning; still bouncy and defined, with just a hint of a messy look.

curly hair

All and all, this 6-in-1 set is an amazing value and a must have for anyone looking for the perfect curls. I absolutely love it, and I have recommended it many people. Plus, Bellami is always running special discounts for it, meaning that you will be able to get this set $300 set for much less (there is currently a $160 off coupon code available on the website!)

Head on over and check it out! If you already have one, let me know what you think of it or share some pictures of your fancy hair -do’s 🙂

Bowling!

Just wanted to give share with you guys …

My kids love bowling, and I just found out about a website that gives your kids free bowling games all summer long!

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Register at KidsBowlFree.com and each child you sign up will get 2 free games a day all summer long. This doesn’t include the shoe rental fee, just the games. You simply print out the pass before you head into the bowling ally and you’ll be good to go.

So check it out 🙂 Hope you guys have as much fun with it as we plan to!

The Last Day of School and 1 Year Work Anniversary

I cannot believe that today was the last day of school for my kids. It feels like this year flew by. I had such a hard time on E’s first day of kindergarten and now he is officially a 1st grader — crazy! And V is a 4th grader. That seems impossible to me.

My kids have learned so much this year. I feel like that is completely cliche, but it is so true. E started school not being about to read or write much more than his name. Now he is sounding out words, reading and writing us all little notes that we don’t need him to translate for us. V has excelled in Math this year, and continues to amaze me with the stories that she writes, and how quickly she reads! She is a total book nerd like her mom (something that makes me very happy).

While I am excited that the summer is finally here, I am also a little sad that this year has flow by so quickly. Not only is the school year over for them, but this week marks 1 year since I have been back to work.

I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on this last year, and a few things really jumped out at me. It is so easy to be bitter and depressed and unhappy. I don’t want to focus on the negative. I spent a lot of time doing that, and it did nothing but make me more miserable. So I have been focusing on thing that I am thankful for, and surprisingly enough, this year has given me multiple things to be thankful for.

I’m so thankful for two healthy, smart, happy children. Watching my kids grow this year has been amazing. They have adapted to new situations with ease (school, teachers, me working, a new sitter) and taught me a few things about dealing with change in the process. They know how to keep me grounded, focused and motivated, and always give me a reason to smile.

I’m also very thankful for my job. I somehow managed to land a job where I get to work people that I truly enjoy being around, and doing some that I love to do. I was so nervous when I went back to work. I was originally trying to find a front desk job at a dental office — something I did for many years before having V, but I couldn’t find one. I was, however, offered a job as a dental assistant. I agonized over whether or not to take the job. I was so scared I wouldn’t like it and that I wouldn’t be good at it, and it was a huge relief (and a bit of a surprise) to find out that I not only liked it, I loved it, and that I was good at it. Who knew?! 😉

I truly am thankful for my struggles this past year. This has been one of the toughest years of my life… emotionally and financially. I have gone from being a stay at home mom to a full time working mom. I have spent many nights laying awake stressed over how I would pay our bills, worrying that I wasn’t being a good mom because I was so busy, and feeling bad about all the things I couldn’t afford to get or do with my kids. I have cried myself to sleep many nights, and struggled to find the motivation to even get out of bed some mornings. There are still days when the weight of it all overwhelms me and I am not sure how to shoulder it all. I have a good cry and just keep going when this happens. The silver lining? Looking back on my darkest days shows me how far I’ve come, and how strong I really am. And as weird as it sounds, I’m thankful for that self-knowledge.

For the time being, I am trying to live in the moment. I struggle to let the past go, and I constantly stress about the future. I miss a lot of the great things going on in the present because of this. So I have been making a more conscious effort to be present, to not worry about things I can’t change, and to just do the best I can day to day.

With that being said, I’m looking forward to a great summer filled with love and laughter, and many special memories 🙂

Just a Little Update

Hey all.

I feel like it has been a long time … a very long time … since I have written a personal post. Or any post for that matter.

Life has been crazy.

Honestly – that is a bit of an understatement. There have been a lot of big changes that have happened in my life in the past year and a half, and for the most part, they were not the positive, happy kind.

I am currently going through a separation, and it has been a very rough time for me and the kids. Of of the result of this was I neglected my blog, and kind of closed ranks around the kids.

We have been focusing on healing as a family, and as individuals, as we each processed the new changes in our daily routine and lives, and the reasons that we ended up here.

I have gone back to work full time … which has been a huge adjustment in itself. That was always the plan once both kids were in school, but it happened a lot sooner than I had anticipated. Both kids are in school now; E is finishing Kindergarten in two weeks, and V will be a 4th grader soon. Time flies.

Healing is a slow process. I’m not really ready to put it all out there yet. I’m sure I will be at some point, but it’s all still to new and raw and much to painful to fully dive into right now.

I mainly just wanted to say that my site will be switching gears a little bit. I’m planning on doing more personal posts — and hopefully it will be not only therapeutic to me, but helpful for someone else going through a similar situation.

Thank you all for hanging in there with me.

With love,

Jessie

Keeping Your Kids Engaged in Summer Arts

With summer here, many parents are wondering just how to keep their children engaged and occupied while they are at home. While trips to the pool and days spent playing outside can keep your child out of your hair, they don’t necessarily keep a child engaged and learning. If you are looking for something different to enroll your child in this summer, consider looking at the fine arts. Most lessons or camps are fairly priced and children get to work collaboratively, learn new skills, and find hobbies that may last a lifetime.

Music Lessons

Music lessons can be very diverse. Kids can start anywhere whether it be with classical string instruments such as the violin or brass instruments such as the trumpet or with percussion instruments like the drums. Piano or guitar lessons are usually a great route to begin with for kids because they teach the basics of music and serve as a gateway to learning other instruments. Piano and guitar lessons can usually be found at a local music stores or at the private homes of those in your community. Guitar lessons can also be found online if you want to provide your child with greater access to music education, and allow them to learn at their own pace while still being challenged.

Local Theatre

Summer is a great time to enroll your child in the local theatre. Most theatres have week long camps and they offer your child an opportunity to try out acting and see if drama is something that genuinely interests them. Some camps will even offer more diverse programming which allow children to not only try their hand at acting, but also costume creation and play writing.

If your child finds that they are truly interested in pursuing theatre, consider having them enroll in theatre for the upcoming school year. Doing so is free, and it affords your child a great way to collaborate and socialize with other kids.

Art Lessons

During the summer, most community colleges, universities, and even community centers will host art courses or art camps for children. These lessons range anywhere from beginner to advance, and a variety of courses can be found. Watercolor, acrylic, or oil painting, figure or still life drawing or painting, ceramics or sculpture – you name it and there is most likely a course that offers it. Art offers children a way to fully capture their world and to practice their expressive and perception skills.

If you know that your child is interested in pursuing art but can’t find any art courses available, consider reaching out to individuals in your community. Some people may offer private lessons out of their homes, and college kids enrolled in art are always great resources and usually offer low cost lessons.

Choir

If your child likes to sing, and seems to do so nonstop, enroll them in voice lessons or choir. Voice lessons will give them the opportunity to gain control of their voice, and allow them to better use it as a true instrument. Choir will also help your child gain confidence in their voice, and will teach them to work collaboratively others. Like many fine arts groups, choir is usually offered through a local community center or community college. Because of the private nature of voice lessons, they are typically offered through music stores or through individuals who give lessons from their homes.

Dance

If your child is a mover, sign them up for dance. Dance is a great way for children to learn to express themselves through movement, and can help them burn off some of that extra energy. Like all the arts, dance is also very diverse. Children can be enrolled in anything from basic tap to hip hop dance to more traditional dance forms such as Irish or African dance.

Create A Beautiful Fresh Flower Arrangement

There’s nothing better than a fresh flower arrangement to add beauty to your home. Whether you create a small vase of flowers on a side table, or a large stunning centerpiece on your dining room table, fresh flowers are a great way to bring natural color and scent into any room.

Healthy Environment

Fresh flower arrangements need a healthy environment to survive. Cut flowers need clean air to thrive and last their longest. Polluted air will quickly diminish the life and beauty of cut flowers. Fresh flower arrangements placed in a room where the air is too dry, dusty, smokey, hot or cold will not last very long. An arrangement placed by an open window where there’s a draft, hot sun, or heavy street traffic will wilt and die much faster.

Water Temperature

Cut flowers and arrangements respond quickly to the temperature of the water they’re placed in. Warm water encourages closed flowers and new buds to open, while cool water slows down the natural development of the flowers, increasing the longevity of the arrangement. Always avoid water temperatures that are too hot or too cold, as they damage plants. Flowers placed in hot water will droop and wilt right away, and flowers placed in cold water will die quickly.

Proper Nourishment

Floral preservatives are special chemical mixtures developed specifically to prolong the life of cut fresh flowers. They contain chemicals that reduce the pH factor and promote water absorption. Mixtures are made from a sugar base that keeps the energy level of the flowers high and inhibits the growth of bacteria that can damage flowers and leaves. You can purchase various brands of liquid and powder preservatives from florists, nurseries and home improvement stores. When ordering fresh flowers provide flower delivery in Melbourne, consider beautiful cut flowers and arrangements for special occasions.

Helpful Tips:

* When cutting flower stems, cut them under running water to preserve them longer.

* When using gardenias, mist them with full-strength lemon juice to keep the flowers from turning brown. When creating your arrangement, keep your hands wet, otherwise the natural oils from your hands will cause brown spots wherever you touch the flowers.

* When working with tulips, let closed flowers sit in a vase until they open to desired fullness for your arrangement. To prevent the tulip from opening further, dip the head of the flower in egg white

Tax Deductions Can Be Helpful

Taxes are often a complicated issue, and no one wants to end up owing a high amount or paying penalties. There are a few ways to reduce tax liability. Tax deductions can reduce the amount of taxable income, and this could mean a possible refund when taxes are filed.

Consider Itemizing
While itemizing taxes is not as simple as taking a standard deduction, the extra forms can be worth the small hassle. Itemizing provides more of an opportunity for claiming deductions. While the standard deduction can be claimed in conjunction with some other deductions, itemizing offers a wider list of possibilities. For example, homeowners can usually receive a sizeable deduction for interest paid on a mortgage loan. This deduction can often result in larger savings than the standard deduction. Other deductions include for college expenses, childcare and property taxes.

Don’t Overlook Donations
Giving to charity can feel rewarding, and it can also result in paying less income tax. Donations made throughout the tax year can usually be deducted from taxable income. Be sure to keep records of donations that are made since many gifts reduce income tax liability. For example, UNICEF charity gifts are able to be deducted from taxes. Donation receipts are required to claim the deduction.

Consult a Professional
Hiring a tax professional to look over taxes before filing is a great solution to understanding tax regulations. Since tax laws can change from year to year, a professional can be a valuable resource. Tax professionals can provide advice and will have knowledge of all the deductions that are available. Tax preparers can also determine whether itemizing taxes will be beneficial over claiming the standard deduction. Professionals can also offer advice on adjusting the amount of taxes withheld from each paycheck if necessary.
Taxes are one of the necessities of life that can’t be escaped. It is better to find out ways to reduce taxable income than to end up owing excessive penalties and interest. Utilizing deductions and seeking professional advice are ideal options to help increase the amount of pay that can be kept.

Awesome Fashions From Oshkosh for the Holidays #GIVEHAPPY #MC

{I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’gosh. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.}

I have said it before and I’ll say it again — I love Oshkosh B’gosh clothes. And so do my kids. The fit is spot on, and the quality can’t be beat. Any time the kids need new clothes, the first place I check out is my local Oshkosh store.

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And let me tell you — the new holiday line from Oshkosh is amazing! Bright colors, soft and comfortable fabrics, and lots of options to mix and match.

Before heading out to the store, I checked out some of the new holiday fashions online. I like to have a bit of a game plan before I go – actually, I like to start planning out the outfits I want to get for the kids.

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I am always impressed with the large selection that is available in the store. So far – I have never been disappointed on my Oshkosh shopping trips. They always have the items that I’m looking for, and it is very rare that they don’t have my kids sizes in stock. This is a huge plus for me because the store is a bit of a hike from my house.

Love these dresses!

Love these dresses!

My husband always gets a bit nervous when I go clothes shopping for the kids. I tend to get a bit carried away, and this past shopping trip was no different. Thankfully, I hit the store during a huge sale and I had a 25% off coupon (score! You can download your own coupon here). I ended up getting $405 worth of clothes for $113! Yes – I did a happy dance 🙂

oshkosh holiday clothes

I love that there were so many great holiday options. I found some items that will be perfect for holiday photos, and to wear to the numerous parties that we will attend. The best part about everything I got for them is that not only can they wear it for all of our holiday get togethers, but they will also get tons of use afterwards as they make great “everyday clothes” as well.

This holiday season, Oshkosh is spreading the cheer with their #GIVEHAPPY campaign. It’s a simple message that has a big impact. #GiveHappy is all about celebrating the holidays and delighting in the simple joys of childhood. Oshkosh wants to remind all families to look for and create those simple, everyday moments that generate feelings of joy, happiness and smiles.

#givehappy

So are you ready to check out the Oshkosh holiday line for yourself?! Head on over to the website and get shopping 🙂 Or use their handy store locator to do some in-store shopping. Don’t forget to print out the 25% off coupon found below!

oshkosh coupon

Coping with a Loved Ones Addiction

Unfortunately, substance abuse is something that I know a lot about. Having had many friends and loved ones that have suffered from addiction over the years, I have been forced to learn as much about the topic as I possibly could.

Contrary to many stereotypes, anyone can suffer from substance abuse. Many of the friends that I have seen go through it were what is considered privileged, “upper-class” kids … and for some reason, being of that social standing leads many people to ignore the problem.

Doing a quick Google search will bring up tons of information about substance abuse, how to recognize and treat it, and how to help the person dealing with the addiction lead a normal life after rehab. While all of this is very valuable information, you don’t often find much about how to cope yourself when you are in a relationship with someone that has an addiction.

From my past experience, it is very important to be as involved as possible in your loved ones rehabilitation. This includes making lifestyle changes and even helping to locate a rehab the will offer the right program for them. Some rehabs are outpatient only, some are in-patient with no follow up after release, and some offer placement in half-way houses and follow up meetings. All are good options — you just need to figure out what level of help and care is needed.

Thankfully, much of this information can now be found online. Many rehabs, including Advanced Health in New Jersey, offer an abundance of information about their treatment process and recovery programs. This makes finding the right location much easier.

So now you’ve helped your love one get into a great rehab center. Now what about you? I promise you this — you will be feeling so many emotions that it will be a complete and total overload. The best thing that you can do those first few days and weeks is focus on yourself. Patients often have limited time to contact the “outside world” as they are focusing 24/7 on their recovery. You need to do the same thing.

Take some time to be angry and sad, and then some time to work through forgiving them for what has happened and the situation that you are both now in. I know this may sound crazy — but you will be angry, and holding onto that anger isn’t going to help either of you. Once you “come to terms” with everything that is going on, you can start to think about the changes that you will both have to make once your loved one comes home.

Check to see if the rehab you selected offers family counseling. Many places will help you and your loved one work through issues and feelings caused by their addiction, so that they can be resolved prior to them getting out of the program. This can help with their recovery, and with yours.

A big thing to remember is that your loved one will need to live a completely sober life once they are in the “recovery” phase of their treatment. This may mean that you need to rethink date nights, the places you go, and even some of the friends you both may share. Saying no is going to be hard enough for them without temptation, and it is important to make it easier for them to make the right choices.

Sometimes the hardest thing about recovery is finding new things to do, and new people to spend time with. This will definitely be an adjustment for both of you, but it also can lead to some pretty great things. It gives you a chance to explore new hobbies and meet new people together.

The biggest thing to remember through all of this is that it will get better. Yes, it seems overwhelming. But with the right drug and alcohol rehab center and a strong support system for both of you it can definitely work.

 

 

Minimize Drafts in Your Home Before Winter Arrives

When we think of winter, we have the classic images of huddling by the fireplace and getting cozy with a hot cup of cocoa in our warm, relaxing homes. In an ideal world, this is exactly how things would unfold. Unfortunately, winter is a battle against nature and the elements as much as anything, and our home is our first and only line of defense. And while it usually gets the job done, there a few issues that seem to pop up in even the most well-kept homes. Perhaps the most annoying of all are drafts.

Living in upstate NY, winter is something I take very seriously. We get tons of snow, ice, and what can seem like endless days of cold. I currently live in an older house and it definitely takes some preparation to get it ready for winter.

When wind and breezes gain access to your house, particularly in the winter, there is bound to be a substantial change in temperature between the internal and external air. Not only will this make for uncomfortable living, the impact of your furnace having to compensate for this dip in temperature will quickly shoot your heating bill through the roof.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to help minimize drafts from entering your home, both around doors, and windows.

The easiest way of all is to make sure all openings to the outside world seal as tightly as possible when closed. This could mean adding new or additional sealant around windows, where it has shrunken or cracked over time. In a similar fashion, weather stripping plays a big role in temperature and draft control as well, as doors and windows snugly fitting into their jambs means you won’t have gusts of air sneaking into your home.

 

Article submitted by The Foam Factory, an online retailer of foam, sponge, and rubber products, helpful for insulating, weather stripping, and stopping drafts in the home.