Tuesday, July 8, 2014

I do! I do! I do!

I have received a few boxes from Influenster to review and try out but by far my favorite one has been the most recent, the Vow Vox Box that came in a beautiful Teal Box. I'm almost certain I qualified for this box because I am attending my sister's wedding this month and my boyfriend's brother's wedding at the end of this year. 
These are the items that were included in this box:
  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in "Barracuda"
  • Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream
  • Riley & Grey (Code for 50% off a fabulous Wedding Website)
  • Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream 
  • EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge
  • Tide to Go Pen
Let me start by saying which item was an unexpected hands down favorite, the EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge. My initial expectation was that it was going to be like any other tool that I have used in the past to wash my face. That it would do it's job but it wouldn't be something I would be raving to friends about. I was SO wrong. (I am comparing this to the many brushes, sponges, washcloths that I have used.) The EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge is AMAZING. My first time using it I wet my face and applied the quarter size amount of face wash that I always do on to my face. I then ran water over the sponge to soften it and began using it on my face in a circular motion. It instantly began lathering and cleaning my face. It worked so well that I quickly realized I had used too much face wash. The sponge works so well that it requires less product applied. Every single time after I have used half of what I used to so it is saving me so much product and my face feels so clean now. I am beyond impressed and will definitely purchase again after the 3 months that it is good for. The only down side is that it never fully dries so I'm worried that there could be bacterial growth. I am only laying it flat side down so maybe I'm doing something wrong. Besides that, I LOVE this product. 

After washing my face I have been applying the Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream.

This has been my second favorite, but it was very close. I have been a long time fan of Olay because of their great quality and the fantastic smell of all of their products. I have a sensitive nose so anything that smells good but is not overwhelming is a winner in my book. I have long said that if Olay could make a body spray or perfume in their signature smell that I would be all over it. I'm getting off track though! The Olay Tone perfecting cream has been wonderful for my skin. I have never had great skin and have scars from blemishes. (I still break out as an adult, UGH!) I have very oily skin so I am always wary of moisturizers. This is a very lightweight formula and I think that it is helping my skin to stop producing excess amounts of oil. Some of the dark spots are slowly fading but I'm sure over time this product will work wonders on my skin. It retails for $30.99 which is kind of steep for me but if it continues to impress me this much I am sure I can justify it in my budget. 

I'm going to be perfectly honest, I had no use for the Riley & Grey code for a wedding website. I did check them out though and when I do get engaged (which will hopefully be sooner rather than later) I will probably use them. I would have shared this code with my sister but she got engaged two months ago and is getting married in a week. I think it is a wonderful idea to keep guests updated on your engagement and wedding plans. If you are getting married please check them out at Riley & Grey.

http://www.theswatchingsprite.com/2011/12/sally-hansen-barracuda.html
Picture above is from The Swatching Sprite because I forgot to take a picture of my manicure when I used Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure. She also wrote a great review so I would go check her blog out! My experience with the nail polish on a scale from 1 to 10 was about a 4. The color is beautiful in the bottle and looks okay after about three coats. On first application it was very streaky and it felt like I was having to drag the brush across heavily to keep it from becoming a streaky mess. I think a "complete salon manicure" is a great concept but I think I will always be a Seche Vite user for my base and top coat.


So don't hate me for what I'm about to say next but I don't really grow hair on my legs. Thanks to my mother I have naturally smooth legs so I typically only shave about once a month...sometimes every month and a half. That being said I did try the Pure Silk Moisturizing Cream and it worked well.

Last but not least I love the Tide to Go pen. I happened to use it the first day I received it because I was wearing a white blouse and had a mishap during lunch. It worked alright by fading the stain but it left a slight stain behind. Nothing too noticeable so the Tide to Go was still a winner in my book. It's a great fix when on the go but you will probably still need to treat the stain before you wash it at home.

Overall the Vow Vox Box was amazing and a great idea. Wedding prep can be stressful but these items can help you walk down the aisle feeling confident about your skin, nails, and any stains waiting to happen at your reception.

I received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster but all opinions are my own.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Raise Your Arms

Dove Advanced Care with NutriumMoisture
(2.6 oz-Full Size!)
New dove advanced care deodorant delivers 48-hour odor and wetness protection with nutriummoisture for the ultimate care after every shave. 
 How to Use: Apply Stick on your underarm area daily.
Benefits Include: 48 hour odor and wetness protection. It has "NutriumMoisture" which is supposed to help moisturize. It has a light floral scent that is not overwhelming. Over time you should feel a difference on your underarms and should gain confidence to Raise Your Arms.
Will I use it?: I have been using the Dove advanced care with NutriumMoisture interchangeably with my Dove Go Fresh deodorant. It goes on smoothly and the advanced care version has a lighter scent. This one seems to have a longer staying power which makes me more comfortable to go about my day without worrying that I smell. After a workout it almost seems to be working "overtime" and keeps me dry and smelling fresh. I will use this and may just make the switch after I am done with my go fresh deodorant. Both are wonderful products and I am very happy with both Dove products. 

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes
 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Waiting for the rest of our lives

I suck at blogging. Legitimately, I have all the time in the world to do something productive and finally get to do all the crafty creative things I want but I lack motivation and words. I'm in a rut and I don't know how to jump out of it. On a brighter note, I'm happy. I have small flashes of heartache when I think about what it was like when I knew my time with Jacob was limited. We'd typically have two weeks together at a time and I felt like I had to accomplish everything in those moments. Long Distance Relationships are HARD. If you're in one right now my heart goes out to you. I thought I'd post some sort of inspirational post to give some of you some hope out there. I'd like to start with, I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND HOW YOU FEEL RIGHT NOW. Jacob and I dated for five LONG years apart. I lived in Austin, Texas and he lived in Ohio. We're young, and financially couldn't afford a ton of trips to see each other. So it was usually two-three times a year tops. We skyped, talked on the phone, texted daily. We lived in the same country so we didn't have the international phone call expenses that I know some of you encounter. (My heart hurts for you guys the most!) So we had consistent communication and it worked for us. But when I would fly here everything would just feel right. I know you guys will agree that when you're apart something feels "off." You can't put your finger on it but nothing ever really feels complete. If that makes any sense.  Then I would be here with him. And it would just click, like he was always the missing link. Like for the first time I could take a full breath and I didn't know I had been taking small ones for months. I would literally fill my lungs up with joy and it just felt right.

Then the vacation would end. I would have to go home to the job that didn't appreciate me and go back to feeling like I was only functioning at half capacity. I would hate the drives to the airport. I would usually pick a fight with him so that I could be angry instead of allowing myself to sit in my own despair the entire ride there. I would hold it together almost every time up until we would walk to the security line. You know, I'd have the perfect timing. I would break down and hold on to him like he was my only anchor to this planet and if he let go I would float away into dark space. My knees would buckle. I would lose my breath. I would have to drag my burdened body through the line and try to not look like a lunatic while security looked at my boarding pass and I.D. I would usually instruct my boyfriend to leave as soon as I began to go through the line because if i looked back and he was still there I would lose it again. Sometimes he'd leave. Sometimes he'd stay. Sometimes I could feel my body being tethered back to him. But I would keep trudging forward. I'd make it through the screening and board my flights home. Heart broken until I could see him again. 
I've been living with him here for about a month now. I have so much I want to say and explain and I will soon. (I promise!) There's a lot I have had to overcome and more that I still struggle with. I am a Christian woman with strong convictions living with her boyfriend. (STRUGGLE #1) I miss my family. Desperately. 

And I want to explain how we made the jump. How I never felt ready to move away. I still don't know if I am. But I couldn't continue waiting. 

More later. 

Valerie

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Unemployed

I am still very much jobless. Eek! I have lived in Ohio for four weeks now. This is the longest I have....

  • not had a job
  • been away from Texas (consecutively, I have gone on several mission trips where I was gone for months but there was always small breaks back home in between!)
  • Been with my boyfriend in the same city! We were long distance for five years!
  • Not had a church home (Calvary Baptist in San Marcos, Texas will always be home for me!)

I know the list is longer but I am just getting kind of depressed thinking about it. 
I still don't have my truck here and don't exactly have the funds to get it here. I have applied for a few nanny jobs but I don't know what the game plan is for me getting to said job when I have it. Anyway my bank account is dwindling but luckily my boyfriend and his family have picked up the tab on most expenses. I am quite lucky to have them but I need to figure out what I'm going to do ASAP. 


Stressed out in the Midwest,

Valerie


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Moving 1,300 miles from home

I knew that moving away from my home would be hard. I have always had a deep love for Texas. From my small town Buda where I grew up running around barefoot in fields to the dazzling skyscrapers in Austin. They sparkled enough to make me woo every SINGLE time I drove on Mopac. I'm a woman in love with Central Texas. So you'd think that was what would be the hard part. Leaving a magnificent area and all the festivals, outside activities, food (trucks!) behind. 

It's been two weeks since I flew to Ohio. I have no job and I've leapt into the unknown. I love my boyfriend. My heart is full and I am happy to be here with him. But my heart is also very much in pain. I keep blocking it from my mind. I've kept myself busy. But good grief do I miss my family. I just want to hold my niece right now. I want to kiss her hard on the face and hold her hand. I want to brush her hair and snap a giant bow on her beautiful head. I want to lay next to my momma and rub her hands when they ache. I want to sit in the car with my sister and talk about life, boyfriends, makeup. I can not believe I missed the day my older sister got to walk in to a bridal shop and try on dozens of gowns until she picked the one she plans to walk down the aisle in. I missed that. I miss being able to ask my daddy for help. He would have been complaining about it but I know that he likes to be the go to man for all of my handy needs. I would have laughed while he grumbled about hanging these new ombre curtains up in my bedroom. He would have scoffed at the spoon art I picked for the dining room. He would roll his eyes at the mailbox key rack I picked out. But he would have loved helping me. That's what I miss. I miss MY family. I miss my niece and nephew giggling and squealing throughout my house. I just plain miss them. I miss all the annoying things they did all the time. I miss holding all of them. I miss hugging them. I miss bickering with them. I miss loving on all of them. 

I'm sad. And Lord, I need some peace in my heart. I wish it didn't have to come down to picking between the man I love and my beloved family. I wish growing up wasn't this hard. I wish I could curl up in my parent's home for one more night and everything remain the same. Even if it were for only one more night.

Valerie

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tentacles vs Love

It's not so easy for me. Control freak. I can do it on my own. How do I let things get so out of my own control. My hands are tied. I am always wrong. I am always right. I need to practice letting go. Or I'm going to continue slipping into the all too familiar slump of depression. I've got a dark cloud that likes to settle above my head.

It doesn't belong there. I am a daughter of the King. I am loved. I am more than this dark depression that wraps it's tentacles around my heart and attempts to squeeze the very air out of my lungs. It makes me believe I'm going to lose my mind. That this battle will be lost as it pulls me down. But I know better. I can't fight this war alone. I can't thank Jesus enough for the peace he brings me. I just have to let him.

God bless,
Valerie

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Uncomfortable Scripture

Today is the 15th and although I just submitted my first scripture verse yesterday I am playing catch up and needed to submit my second verse in today. That's alright--a little extra scripture memory never hurt anybody. 

I've also joined the ladies at She Reads Truth and am following them on their journey through "Fresh Start." I decided to use their choice of scripture from yesterday for mine on Siesta. I said something about uncomfortable scripture...oh right...

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is FAITHFUL."
-Hebrews 10: 23

Well that was simple, and beautiful. It is a verse that clearly states God is God--and when he makes a commitment he will follow through. I chose it because it fills me with such joy and appreciation to know that the bible says that God means what he says. In this verse it shows one side of that, our loving and merciful father. That once we are his we are his forever. What a promise! Salvation is never lost, hallelujah. 

So this is the tender God, the loving father that I tend to get in the habit of focusing on. I don't think I am the only one. But as the ladies at She Reads Truth said, our God is not all warm & fuzzies. Straight from their blog, "For those who hear the Word and turn away from it, who refuse to accept Jesus’ offer of salvation, “…no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” (Heb 10:26-27 NIV) That’s pretty heavy stuff. How often do we hear this in the same paragraph as a loving God?"
(Click on the word blog above, it takes you to their site, and it is SUCH a joy to follow these sisters, they are doing wonderful works for the Lord!)

It is so easy to think, surely God wouldn't send the good people to hell? But Jesus made it very clear, he did not create a task list or hurdles for us to jump over to reach heaven. He is the ONE AND ONLY way in. No amount of charity work nor fundraisers will get you in. I pray that this year allows us to look internally and really see the transformation Christ is creating us. If we're not changing, if we're trying to "good" our way into heaven. Well God have mercy on our ignorant souls and wake us up to the reality that we need Jesus. We will never be worthy on our own. 

Our kind words and actions should come from our sincere thankfulness for our salvation. Not a way to buy our ticket into heaven.

God bless,
Valerie