When skin care meets skin protection!

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I was diagnosed with my first melanoma 9 years ago and I’ve had several since then, so I am constantly vigilant and protective of my skin. I have been a Neutrogena devotee for years now and all my friends and family know that I treat the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen like foundation. It’s the first thing I put on my face and neck (and hands, arms…) every day and the last thing I take off. So, clearly I’m in love.

But, when I got the opportunity to also try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair products provided to me by Neutrogena, I leapt at the chance to do even more for my skin. These thoughts and opinions here are completely my own and I hope they can help others when shopping for good skin care products.

photoFirst things first: after I clean my face every morning, I start with a little Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream to help smooth out the fine lines and add some moisture. Then, of course, it’s sun protection time! I smooth the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer with SPF 30 from the top of my forehead down below my jawline and onto my neck. The remaining bit goes on the tops of my hands – don’t forget that area! The SPF 30 in there makes the world of difference in my comfort level. Just knowing I have that protection during the day eases my mind. And, I reapply often!

When it comes time to remove the day from my face, I alternate between smoothing on Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum. What I love about all the products is the super light feel to them. Nothing feels too heavy or clogs my pores. My skin seems to glow and I could swear that my fine lines are disappearing! Best of all (to me and all melanoma survivors!) is that my skin protection is being taken care of during the day. These fabulous Neutrogena products don’t breaking the bank, even though the moisturizer with SPF 30 is pulling double duty!

I’m still a committed Neutrogena fan for life and you better believe my two young sons are already rocking their Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen! Now I’m hooked on these Rapid Wrinkle Repair anti-aging products and am confident that I’m doing the best I can for my fair skin!

Every Mom Deserves a Little Pampering Every Now & Again

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When Influenster asked me to test some new products and pamper myself while I was at it, I wholeheartedly said “YES!” Chasing after 2 and 5 year-old boys is exhausting… whew!

When I received my box of goodies, I was thrilled. A little something to perk up my face in the mornings, luxurious soap products to soak in a tub with at night and everything in between!

A haven’t used Avon products before, but I’m a believer now. The Avon Anew Reversalist is the perfect little pocket compact to keep in my purse. Dabbing a little under my tired eyes every morning keeps the creeping age fine lines and dark circles at bay. Love!

And the other day, when I 2 year old fell on our walk along the trail by our house, we came home with scraped knees, scraped palms and tear-stained cheeks. The cheeks were the easiest problem to resolve. Then I remembered the super-handy pocket-sized Neosporin Neo To Go. It literally is the length of my finger and sprays Neosporin on “owies.” I think he was more entertained by the fact that I sprayed him than anything else and lo-and-behold, he was running around a minute later. Win for mom!

Another “mom to the rescue” moment recently was when both boys were battling summer colds. (Sidenote: ugh, so not fair!) Thankfully, I had my Puffs To Go tissues at hand for every sneeze they had. And the best part about those Puffs were that despite using tissue after tissue, their little noses didn’t get irritated!

While you may think all it does is rain in Portland, Oregon, you’re wrong. But I don’t tell too many people that because otherwise everyone would move to this green paradise! Anyway, I digress… We’ve been having a heat wave recently. And 90+ dIvoryegree temps on a regular basis calls for ice cream. Well, gelato in particular. And Breyers Gelato Indulgences to be even more specific. This creamy, super chocolately heaven on a spoon has been amazing. I know my fair share of ice creams, but this one tops the list of ice cream available at grocery stores. The slightly higher price tag is more than worth it. Trust me!

Shell is one of my preferred gas stations, so when I learned of their Fuel Rewards Network through Influenster, I signed right up. Now I get points for purchasing this common necessity and feel good about getting a deal whenever I fill up the tank. Thanks Shell!

When I peeked at the bar of Ivory soap, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. The packaging is so cute! I kinda wanted to just leave it sitting on the side of my bath tub so I could admire it every day! But, glad I finally opened it up. It’s fresh scent, good “clean” (yes, it’s a pun) ingredients and decades of being in business continue to make Ivory a go-to family soap. And now it’s just prettier!

Overall, I’d say I’m a more-prepared, better smelling and maybe even bearing fewer fine lines around my eyes. I’d call that TLC I received from Influenster successful!

It’s a Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask #PowerofPlants kind of Friday night

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So, things have changed. Friday night excitement now revolves around relaxing and putting the week behind me. Tonight I turned to the new Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask I recently received from Influenster to try out. Showered and then applied the dark green mask to my clean face. The best part was that the bathroom was still a bit steam room-like (I know, I know, I shouldn’t take such hot showers…) so my pores were super open when I put on the mask. I highly recommend trying that approach, or just using a warm washcloth on your face before applying the mask!

Anyway, after it dried (about 15 minutes) and I could feel my face tightening, I rinsed it off with warm water and then smoothed on my revitalizing face cream. My skin is baby soft and I feel renewed and refreshed. Might have to do this on Sunday night too, just to ensure I tackle the week with my best face forward!

J’adore my delightful Valentine’s Day Treat Box

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It’s a couple weeks post-Valentine’s Day, but I was lucky enough to receive a delightful and complimentary “sweet” treat from Influenster to try out. (Want to be an “Influenster,” too? Let me know, I still have some invitations I can share!) It included so many great products, and I’ve been busily testing/trying them recently. Where do I start? I adore chocolate, so I’ll be honest, the first thing I opened was the HERSHEY’s kisses. Love the Valentine’s Day colors of pink, red and silver. They’re currently sitting in a cute bowl on my counter and look very “spring-ish!” And, I actually made cookies with them – perfect accessory to a cookie.J'adore Vox Box Looking for recipe inspiration? The HERSHEY’s website has some great ones!

I’ve unluckily been hit with a nasty cold over the last week, and warm drinks have never sounded so good. Thankfully, I’ve been able to try my simply indulgent Creme Caramel Red Rose tea. And once I finished those tea bags, I went out and bought more. I mean, Creme Caramel? It’s like dessert in a mug. Yum. Bonus: my cold seems to be retreating. Coincidence?

My Kiss Looks So Natural “faux lashes” were great fun to try. True story: I hadn’t used lashes before as I have pretty long natural ones. But, it was fun to try these and they really were a great addition. They just made my existing lashes seem that much fuller and were totally natural looking. Not fake at all. I highly recommend these lashes if you’re in the market!

While I worked to beautify myself, I excitedly used the Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask one evening. I surprised my hubby when I came downstairs with the dark green mask on my face, but after 15 minutes, I washed it off and then truly had some of the softest skin I’d ever felt! Best part is that I’ve used it several times over the last 2 weeks and can definitely tell my face is healthier, softer and more kissable. And since I have wavy hair, I’ve been thrilled to use the Frizz Ease 3 Day Straight spray. I spray it on while my hair is still wet and then dry it as I usually do. It seems to stay more straight and a bit more shiny than usual. Can’t beat it!

And, as a little bit of a surprise for the hubby, Influenster included Vaseline’s Men Spray Lotion. For some reason, he seems to be really into this. I think it’s likely because it doesn’t have a strong scent, he can easily just spray it on, versus having to rub on lotion, and it’s keeping his skin soft. But, whatever the reason, clearly he enjoys it – I catch him spraying it all over every time he gets out of the shower. I might have to steal some myself, just to try it out for myself. Shhh, don’t tell!

Suffice it to say, I truly did “adore” the J’adore Vox Box from Influenster this month – and I’m already hooked on so many new products!

Tea’ing it up

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Anyone who knows me well, knows that I drink 2-4 cups of tea a day. I’m always cold (veins not pumping blood as well?), so a warm mug of something is my constant companion. So, I was super excited to pick up a pack of Celestial Seasonings Green Tea this morning, and try this variety for the first time. Since I woke up with a sore throat, I figured it’d be a win-win.Celestial Seasonings Green Tea

And, I was right. It’s not overpowering (as some green teas can be), is very smooth (I guess the white tea component gets the credit for that), and I’m ready for another mug. Talk about a way to easily get my 8 glasses of water every day!

On top of everything, the art on the box is wonderful. I know it doesn’t really change the taste of the product when the packaging looks better, but the artistry here is really something else. Props to Celestial Seasonings and thanks to Influenster for the initial complimentary tea bags that have me officially hooked!

Happy New Year! May it bring you many shining moments!

It’s New Year’s Eve and I am officially done with work for 2013! It feels good to now begin to look forward to 2014 and all it will bring. Here’s to a prosperous and fabulous new year for you and yours!

Since we were all sick all of last week, we cancelled our plans for dinner at one of my favorite spots in Portland, Ox, in lieu of relaxing at home. Disappointed, but looking forward to a low-key evening with my family. Featuring Trader Joe’s tamales and my husband’s delicious Spanish rice tonight. The kids will be in bed by 7pm and then we’ll sit in front of the fire and reminisce and look forward. photoCan’t wait.

Excited to start the new year with my new Sally Hansen #TripleShine manicure, thanks to the complimentary gift from Influenster. Love this shade and I feel like the bright optimism is going to be a great way to kick the year off. My shining moment with this manicure will be our casual celebration this evening, surrounded by the people I love most! Until 2014, be well! xox

Favorite New Travel Accessory

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ImageJust have to give a big shout-out to Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak refreshing dry shampoo as my new favorite travel accessory. This dry shampoo is so light and compact and easy to tuck into any bag and totally comes in handy when traveling. When we travel, we want to be taking advantage of the locale we’re in, and not staying at the hotel primping. So instead of washing and blow-drying and re-doing my hair every time, I just spritz a little Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo and I’m good to go to get out there and explore wherever I am! Highly recommend to my fellow travelers or anyone looking to cut down on the morning beauty routine and give your hair a much-needed break from washing and drying!

Holiday Stress, Beware!

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ImageLucky enough to try my Montagne Jeunesse Clay Spas mask tonight, courtesy of Influenster, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Holiday stress has officially melted away! The cool, moistness of the mask as you put it on your face starts relaxing you immediately. Then, the refreshing scent keeps you in a happy place, all while the mask works its magic! And, it’s not messy at all since the mask is “clay infused fabric!” When I removed it, my skin felt uber clean, fresh, soft and about 5 years younger. No joke! I know what I’m getting folks for stocking stuffers this year! :)

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New middle-of-the-night thermometer is great!

With two kiddos under 5, the new Braun Forehead Thermometer is fantastic. It’s my third thermometer for my boys and my search is over. I received this complimentary from InfluensterBraun Forehead Thermometer to test it and so glad I was lucky enough to. Basically, it’s an accurate reading, simply and quickly. What else can a mom ask for? The biggest thing for me is that it has a “night light” mode and is so easy and quick that you can use it on your child’s head while they sleep. Remembering the old days when I’d fret by their bed and then wake them up when I tried sticking a thermometer under their arm… so glad those days are over. My search is definitely over. This accurate battery-operated unit is great!

Dining Month in Portland Offers 3 Courses for $25

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Eating in Portland can perhaps be compared to being on safari in Maasai Mara Game Park – so many great options, too little time, and the scenery changes quickly. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the Africa mention…)

But with Downtown Portland’s new June dining month deals – the incentive to go out and try this city’s amazing fare by our well-regarded chefs increases dramatically! That’s because during the month of June, you can enjoy 3 courses at a long list of restaurants for only $25!

Here’s where the deal works, and the altruistic bonus is a donation to Oregon Food Bank if you book your reservation online through OpenTable!

  • 23Hoyt
    529 NW 23rd Ave.
  • 50 Plates
    333 NW 13th Ave.
  • Accanto
    2838 SE Belmont St.
  • Aquariva
    0470 SW Hamilton Ct.
  • Aviary
    1733 NE Alberta St.
  • Bistro 921
    921 SW 6th Ave.
  • Bluehour
    250 NW 13th Ave.
  • Brix Tavern
    1338 NW Hoyt
  • Cafe Castagna
    1758 SE Hawthorne Blvd
  • Chart House
    5700 SW Terwilliger
  • clarklewis
    1001 SE Water Ave.
  • Cocotte
    2930 NE Killingsworth St.
  • Davis Street Tavern
    500 NW Davis St.
  • Departure
    525 SW Morrison, 15th floor
  • East India Co. Grill and Bar
    821 SW 11th Ave.
  • Fratelli
    1230 NW Hoyt St.
  • Gilt Club
    306 NW Broadway
  • Heathman Restaurant and Bar
    1001 SW Broadway
  • Huber’s Cafe
    411 SW 3rd Ave.
  • Jake’s Grill
    611 SW 10th Ave.
  • Lauro Kitchen
    3377 SE Divison St. #106
  • London Grill
    309 SW Broadway
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Harborside
    0309 SW Montgomery
  • Meriwether’s Restaurant & Skyline Farm
    2601 Northwest Vaughn Street
  • Metrovino
    1139 NW 11th Avenue
  • Nel Centro
    1408 SW 6th Ave.
  • The Original
    300 SW 6th Ave.
  • Portland Prime
    121 SW 3rd Ave.
  • Porto Terra Tuscan Grill & Bar
    830 SW 6th Ave.
  • Red Star Tavern & Roast House
    503 SW Alder St.
  • RingSide Steakhouse
    2165 W Burnside
  • RingSide Steakhouse Glendoveer
    14021 NE Glisan St.
  • Salty’s on the Columbia
    3839 N.E. Marine Drive
  • Saucebox
    214 SW Broadway
  • Serratto Restaurant and Bar
    2112 NW Kearney St.
  • Tabla Mediterranean Bistro
    200 NE 28th Ave.
  • Urban Fondue
    2114 NW Glisan Street
  • Vindalho
    2038 SE Clinton St.
  • Yakuza Lounge
    5411 NE 30th

The girls and I are kicking it off next week at clarklewis and then the world is my oyster – at least for June! Bon appetit!

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