Friday Faves - Beauty Products | July 10, 2015

Happy weekend! This week's faves are all beauty product related (plus a bonus *fave* at the end) and are items I am using pretty much daily since I tried them. Let's have a look at'em:

this week's Friday Faves - all products I use

this week's Friday Faves - all products I use


I got a small sample packet of this Shea Moisture baby lotion and shampoo/wash from PinchMe a few weeks ago - I don't have any babies anymore! so I planned to use these on myself. I loved the dual wash & shampoo, but I REALLY LOVED that lotion! I am all in with aromatherapy and essential oils, so I liked the fact this lotion contained chamomile, frankincense and myrrh essentials, and argan oil and raw shea for moisture. It smells LUSH and is really quick to absorb and leaves your skin nice and soft, a wee bit scented, and - as I use mine at bedtime on my legs, hands and feet - I think it really does have calming properties that make a for a peaceful, pleasant drift-off. The only downside is the packaging - the first one I bought (I get mine at Target) was way too thick to pump out, and eventually the pump-tube came off and got stuck in the lotion. I took that one back and got another, which has been working fine, so I maybe got an odd batch or old product the first time. VERDICT: I'm buying! but making sure to check the product date


my free full-size sample of Dove sent via Influenster

my free full-size sample of Dove sent via Influenster

Oh, wow - this Dove Advanced Care anti-perspirant, I just can't believe! This is another one that I got as a free sample to test, this time from Influenster via a VoxBox I qualified for, and it was a full-size product (the one shown is the one they sent). From their website product page:

Featuring a light coconut scent with jasmine floral notes and NutriumMoisture that helps skin repair itself from shaving damage, this antiperspirant deodorant delivers 48-hour odor and wetness protection for the ultimate care after every shave.

I will say up front I really dislike deoderant/anti-perspirant and kinda rarely use it even though I should. (I live in Florida and am a sweater - and not the fun & hilarious knitted Christmas Cats kind!) I think it feels gross, usually irritates my sensitive pit-skin, and doesn't seem to work (I'm not just a sweater, I'm a "breakthru-sweater", wheeee). So anyway. I went ahead and tried it - and it's their kinda corny hashtag but it really was #LoveAtFirstSwipe - has a soft but not perfumey scent, it felt nice and smooth going on, it didn't leave white residue or chunks of gunk, and the kicker? I am in the middle of a double bathroom reno so showers are at a premium lately - not only did I not have breakthru sweat at any point the first day - but, after a non showering second day and no reapplication of product - I STILL had no breakthru sweat OR ODOR. That's pretty significant to me 'cuz I can always smell pit-funk thru even a fresh application of deoderant. I haven't been using it long enough to really tell if it's doing the underarm skin-repair thing, and mine are super sensitive and shaving makes them so much worse, so if that claim works even a tad as well as the others, it'll be a bonus. VERDICT: I'm buying!


Younique 'Refreshed' Rose Water 

Younique 'Refreshed' Rose Water 

Y'all know I am into my essential oils, and I had heard great things about rose oil for skin, like getting redness under control - but MAN, rose oil is super duper expensive! and outta my reach for now. My good friend happens to be a Younique presenter, and I saw where she was using this rosewater facial spray they make, so I asked what she thought of it, and ended up buying one. And I! LOVE! IT! firstly, I mean - just look at it, SO pretty! I know you're not supposed to buy stuff based on packaging, but (sorry. I'mma sucka for pretty package design! or, if the labelling says "NEW!", heheh). Anyway - I'm not a super big fan of the scent of roses, but this one is quite bearable - nice and soft but not powdery, just floral enough but not sickeningly so. And the way it feeeeeeels and makes my skin feel, more than makes up for any scent issue I have. It's quite light, feels so wonderful to spritz on (especially on a hot summer dayif you've just come in from the garden, say) and I am definitely noticing reduced redness and softer feeling skin overall. It does NOT irritate or make my sensitive skin breakout, and while it's marketed as an under-and-over makeup prep and setter, I don't wear a lot of makeup so I use it as a after cleanser moisturizer and skin refresher throughout the day. VERDICT: I'm buying! on repeat!

please note: this product is only available through a Younique presenter. I've included the link to my friend AimΓ©e's presenter page here, but I get nothing in return for that, it just happens to be where I got mine :)


Young Living Lip Balm Trio

Young Living Lip Balm Trio

Another total fave-rave here! I got this 3 pc set of essential oil infused lip balms (they no longer offer the 3pack, that was a special promotion - but you can get each one seperately) in one of my recent Young Living orders, and that's IT. I am in LOVE. The smooth and silky application, the all natural ingredients, the benefits of essential oils. It's all good! I am a HUGE lip balm user! I don't wear lipstick, but I balm it up all day long! I keep the Lavender one by my bedside, the Grapefruit one in my bag - and my son, who is also on the balmwagon ;-) usually keeps the Cinnamint one with him (I had to go searching for it to get the photo!) They don't irritate, they dont really have a flavor, but a mild aroma, and they keep my lips soft and moisturized for hours. I've replaced all other balms with these *EXCEPT* for my tinted BabyLips balms - I still love those and use'em when I want just a kiss'a'color. VERDICT: I'mma keep buying! though I'm bummed they're not offered 3-up any longer

note: these lip balms are only availble for purchase through the Young Living website via a Young Living distributor, of which I am one. If you don't know a YL distributor, feel free to message or email me and I can help you out :)

and finally, the bonus: THIS VIDEO!

I saw it this week, and say what ya want, I don't care! I LOVE IT! Makes me happy <3
Have a wonderful weekend, people!

Friday Faves! July 3, 2015

Heyyyyy stranger! (you know - YOU, the one person who reads this stuff. Mom? That you? haha nope - I don't think even my mom reads my blog. HOW. SAD. is THAT?) Anyway, 3 months later. Hi.

Working up the energy to revamp things around here (turns out I DON'T like this template I chose after all the testing and previous decision making, isn't that awesome.) and in the meantime I was looking up old Facebook posts and remembered a thing called Friday Faves! which, is - exactly what it sounds like. My favorite things I've read or saw or whatever from the week. So let's bring it back! And awayyyyyyy we go!


Baby Bear Chatting Up His Ma

Baby Bear Chatting Up His Ma

One of my very very favorite nature (specifically, the Smokies!) photographers is Bill Lea. He documents (among others) the lives of black bears, and his images are beautiful to be sure, but the stories he shares about them are what really set his photos apart. He is all about teaching us humans how to responsibly interact with and appreciate these wonderful creatures, and for that, I thank him <3  You can find more stunning images of bears and nature in general at his website: Bill Lea and on Facebook: Bill Lea Photography - I promise, you will not be disappointed.


Apt. 9 Oversized Envelope Wristlet

Apt. 9 Oversized Envelope Wristlet

GAH! I KNOW! ISN'T IT GREAT?! So, I had to go to the DMV on Wednesday - they have this whole new check-in process using your cell phone and text messaging, where you can essentially check-in, get in the queue, and then YOU CAN LEAVE. They update you with current wait time periodically then alert you about 15 minutes from your number being called so you can get back. Pretty spiffy! I didn't trust it at first ;-) so I only went across the street to Kohl's to kill some time and $pend some of my birthday giftcard money. I saw this and my heart went ZING! plus it was on sale AND the only one left so I snapped that sucker up! B&W stripes on one side, B&W polka dots on the other. Bigger than a regular wristlet, not as huge as a fullsize envelope clutch. Plus interior pockets for cell phone and assorted other girly paraphernalia. All the wins. Get it here: Apt. 9 Luna Travel Wristlet @ Kohl's

OH RIGHT! the DMV - well, let's just sum it up by saying I ended up trusting the system, going home, coming back when they texted me - easy peasy! And then they were unable to solve my issue anyway. HAH! Whatever.  I gotta cool new bag!


Photojojo Wide-Angle Macro Lens Combo for iPhone 6

Photojojo Wide-Angle Macro Lens Combo for iPhone 6

Couple Christmases ago "Santa" brought the boys and I a set of cell phone lenses he apparently got on sale at Photojojo. There were three - a fish-eye, a polarizer, and the wide angle / macro combo lens (guess which one Mom got, heh.) Fast forward to me getting a new iPhone and BooHoo my old lens won't fit cuz it needs a different type of attachment piece (they're magnetic, so you apply the attachment ring or plate to your device, then the lenses interchange off of that. Plus they come with little keychain type holders and lens caps). This week PJo had a flash sale that I happened to be right on time for, and nabbed a new combo lens AND attachment for the iPhone 6 for like $10! It came yesterday, and save a tiny issue where my current case won't let the lens sit *quite* flat againt the phone - it still works great and I AM SO HAPPY to be back in macro action! Here are a few quick pics I took with just the phone + lens, no filters or edits.

The flash sale is over but even at the regular price it's a good buy for a sweet lil cell phone lens. And they have other lenses and are available for a buncha phone models, even Android. PLUS! If you go thru this link you get $5 off (I think it's a min $25 purchase) and then *I* get a $5 buck coupon for next time. An' not to put any pressure on ya, but - I been eyein' up a Gorillapod Mobile stand, sooooo ... jus'sayin' ...

Okay! That's the faves this week - (I know - short 'n sweet, that's how I do! ... well, not really  - long & convoluted is usually how I do, concise and succinct I really gotta work at) Tune in next week when I rave about new faves! WHEEEEEE!
And oh yeah - hey USA - Happy 4th of Fireworks and BBQs and junk! Hurrah! (uh, where's the dog?) ...

A Month of Oils - Part 2

So, where'd I leave off with? - oh yes, the ordering of a starter kit of everyday essential oils from Young Living - After reading up on the company, and their Seed to Seal process, and knowing a couple people who were already using (and loving) them, this is the brand of oils I chose to go with.  I know there are other brands and companies out there, but this is the one I chose for myself and my family, and the one all my forthcoming experiences are based on.

When they arrived (hooray!) the first thing I did was line'em up for a pretty, pre-seal breaking, modified rainbow order photo shoot - 

Young Living Everyday Essentials - 10 Oil Set from Premium Starter Kit

Young Living Everyday Essentials - 10 Oil Set from Premium Starter Kit

and I know, I know - I've shown this picture before, but - C'MON! IT'S SO PRETTY!
Anyway, right after that, I cracked open all those lil tops and gave each one a sniff - a bit surprised as none of them were particularly "whoa!" strong smelling, as I'd experienced with the store-bought ones. Just, kinda fresh and soft, and - natural, if that makes sense. My order was missing the diffuser as it was backordered, but since I already had one of my own, I went ahead and diffused some Purification (a Young Living blend that contains Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Mel A, Lavandin, Myrtle) in the front hallway area - it's a big open space connecting my art studio room, the living room, my library/office and the boys' bedroom hall including their bathroom (which houses the Cat Toilet). So yeah it always has a "smell"! and I noticed a real difference within minutes of running the diffuser. So - I kept a little journal over the first days to keep track of which oils I used, for what, and how they did or didn't work or affect us. I'm gonna break it down by week instead of daily, and just give a few ways I used the oils, to (try to) keep this short(er)

WEEK 1 - JAN 19-25
Diffused Purification in main living area - smells great!
Used PanAway on arthritic dog - he didn't seem to notice or care
Diffused StressAway in bedroom at night, "swiped" on husband's feet - liked it
Applied Frankincense & Lavender (w/sweet almond carrier oil) on face after washing - enjoyed the scent, felt relaxing
Used drop of Thieves on toothbrush - YEOW! that kinda burned actually (I do have a sensitivity to cinnamon)
Added few drops Purification to spray bottle of distilled water - used as room & fabric freshener
Gave boys (20 & 17) a cotton round with few drops of Lavender to keep by their beds at night
Used Purification spray-bottle mix spritzed on pad while I steam mopped - smells great!

Definitely notice difference in way house smells - fresh, clean - not perfume-y or like fake smelling chemicals. No headaches or sneezing issues with any scents / blends tried. Need to BE MINDFUL of the cinnamon/clove mixtures for my sensitivity to it! Noticing a difference in my facial skin feeling much softer. Husband says he is sleeping better - really likes the aroma of the oils at night. Boys don't seem to notice other than house smells better.

My "spaceship" diffuser that lives in the main living area, and runs daily with whatever mix I "need" or am in the mood for&nbsp;

My "spaceship" diffuser that lives in the main living area, and runs daily with whatever mix I "need" or am in the mood for 

WEEK 2 - JAN 26-31
Daily diffusing different mixes - Home Diffuser arrived last week, using that in bedroom at night, moving it to diff rooms in day - my big "spaceship" diffuser stays in the hallway area
Trying "Allergy Trio" (Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint) - taken internally: 2 drops each in spoonful of raw, local honey - Lavender is not real tasty! 
Adding Lavender to StressAway mix in bedroom diffuser at night - nice! using same mix on bottoms of feet (I call it foot swipes)
Using MelA (Melaleuca Alternifolia or Tea Tree) with either Frank (Frankincense) in the AM or Lavender in the PM on face after washing - diluted with almond oil - treating breakouts directly with extra dab of MelA neat (undiluted)
Bedtime routine = whatever oil residue left on my hands after face treatment or applying foot swipes - rub rest into my hairline/scalp
Swabbing stripe of PanAway down dog's back - I don't think he likes it and I don't think it's helping him - big dog, allergy issues, arthritic hips - so I'm going to stop

House smells fresher and clean, even when you come in after being out all day - handles the catbox odor well! The "allergy trio" REALLY seems to be helping me with the sniffy, sneezy itchies - and they are BAD this season! But I noticed I started getting a burning feeling in the upper part of my esophagus so I stopped. Pretty sure that was user-error (too many drops, too often) so I am off that while I let my throat get back to normal. My daily face cleaning routine is yielding some nice results; softer, smoother texture, clearing up the breakouts. That I *still* have.  At forty-something. {eyeroll} And the mister & I are definitely sleeping better with the bedtime diffuser oils. 

The Young Living "Allergy Trio" of Lavender, Lemon &amp; Peppermint!

The Young Living "Allergy Trio" of Lavender, Lemon & Peppermint!

WEEK 3 - FEB 1-7
Continuing my daily diffuser mixes (now a hashtag! #dailydiffusing on IG @gemgirlartist) and trying out different blends
Cat pee'd on my bed (uhhh, thanks?) - used couple drops Purification in laundry and spritzed my spray mix on the mattress (it didn't even soak thru the mattress pad, just being extra diligent!)
Swapped out Stress Away for Peace & Calming in the bedtime diffuser (still w/Lavender) and LOVE it
Using Thieves before toothbrushing - SMALL, teeny, tiny, miniscule! amount on QTip, swab along gumline then brush as normal
Couple of us had headaches this week - drop of Peppermint, rubbed into temples - they disappeared within 20 minutes

Daily battle of a fave oil for scent between Thieves and Purification - they are both so GOOD! Loving our nighttime ritual of getting the diffuser ready, doing my face cleansing routine, "swipe"ing our feet. Kids are coming around - youngest son keeps asking for his own diffuser! They still don't want to try the oils on their faces. Thrilled with quick results from air freshening, pain alleviation protocols. 

The nightly "filling of the diffusers" pre-bedtime -- this was after I'd gotten the boys their own for their rooms

The nightly "filling of the diffusers" pre-bedtime -- this was after I'd gotten the boys their own for their rooms

WEEK 4 - FEB 8-17 (yes, I know that's more than 7 days)
Using my Purification + water spray on everything - even a quick armpit spritz one day when I realized I forgot to put on deodorant!
Made Lavender "sleep spray" to replace a commercial made spray I'd been using
Made husband a Stress Away & Lavender roll-on to take to work - and I used it when we did a day @ Disney, for the "scary" rides, haha!
Sent sample packet of Ningxia (it's Ning-Zsha, but I call it Ninja!) Red in hub's work lunch (we didn't read packet directions/servings - he drank whole thing at once and said he felt "weird" afterwards)
Tried Pan-Away for some knee & wrist pain - wow, I kinda love that stuff!
Added Purification to night face routine - OUT! of Lavender (I think I am overusing it - adding too many drops) - not sure it's doing any more than other mix
Back to allergy trio since my throat is fine - but using it on a QTip & swabbing inside mouth, and diffusing, rather than ingesting drops in honey - I have some gelatin capsules but haven't tried filling those yet!
Tried Thieves concentrated cleaner (my first Essential Rewards order!) in the dishwasher - not super impressed, but could be a good "booster" - however, I have been using it diluted in a spray bottle as an all-purpose cleaner and HOLY. COW. I will not ever be without it, now. NEVER.

SO LOVE-ing! the way the house smells - and it isn't "scented" - it just smells fresh, clean, and with a hint of natural fragrance - nothing we've used so far has overpowered, or caused headaches or sneezing or any other issues. (other than the day I mixed too much Joy with CitrusFresh and GAG it was super flowery gross, like your "Nana from Teh Old Country" 's house would probably smell) Adjusting to using the allergy trio in smaller doses, as well as the Thieves for oral care - and again, I think that's just me & my moderate cinnamon sensitivity.  And yes, we ALL have our own room diffusers now! The kids are on board and like when I run a mix for them, and youngest is all about doing his own, I think it's pretty cool how he's into it - right now he likes just Lemon. (and he works pizza delivery, so his room used to always reek of Italian Ristorante! hah! but not anymore ...)

Overall thoughts for my first full month on Young Living Essential Oils

I am really really pleased that I took the plunge to start using essential oils in my home and for my family, and even more so once I found a high quality, superior grade oil and company that I trust. If I never used them for anything other than naturally freshening and cleaning my home without chemicals and synthetics and harsh materials, I'd be happy & satisfied and feel I was getting my money's worth. The fact that I feel we as a whole family are all benefitting from the oils in many different ways - both physically and mentally, large and small - I'd say is a bonus! and I look forward to continuing to learn about the safe, effective use of these oils and the gradual working of them further into our daily lives as part of our goal to live a more natural and healthful life. 

Since I started using the essential oils in mid-January, I've gotten rid of ALL synthetic and chemical scent sprays, room deodorizers, air fresheners - including all my candles, wax melts, burners and electric outlet pluggable warmer units. I've stopped using a number of different spray cleaners and have added the essential oil infused cleaner to my laundry, household and floor cleaning routines, and not only do I think they smell better, but I feel they do a better job at ACTUALLY cleaning surfaces, and keeping them cleaner (and fresher smelling) much longer. I even just washed my OUTDOOR windows with my Thieves cleaner spray!

All in all, I'd give them a big thumbs up - the only real issues I've had in fact, were caused by my own error in either overusing product or not reading the instructions /dosing / labels correctly (or, at all) - I'm now about 2 months in, and am getting more knowledgable and more adept at using these essential oils every day. I love this new way of living and I wouldn't go back! And would be happy to share what I've learned with you - so let me know if you have any questions on essential oils - what they are, what they do, getting started using them, etc., 
and I will hook you up with some info and links and all that jazz :) Just email me -> lemondropgem @

Next up? I'll be sharing the assorted things I've MADE with my Young Living essential oils
- (like the snazzy bottled sleep spray ^ up there ^) So until then, have a super day!

OH! and if you DIDN'T see Part 1 - here it is