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Sierra

Influenster and the VowVoxBox

"Vow Vox Box"? Don't Panic!

You haven't missed any invitations or save the date notices.  There are no wedding plans, secret or otherwise.  However, #Influenster recently had another vox box program of products to sample that would go well with the pending blushing bride or possible potential maybe perhaps one day bride. Anyway, breathe.....

This was a smaller vox box but it was packed with some pretty great items from #SallyHansen, #Ecotools, #Puresilk, #Tide, and a coupon for a wedding website by #Riley&Grey.  So let me give you guys the run down.


The first item to try was of course Sally Hansen's the complete manicure nail polish in Barracuda Blue.  What a fun summer name for a pretty light blue polish.  Initially I tried it on both my fingers and toes.  As I figured, I'm not a color on my fingernails kind of girl.  I'm fairly boring in that department sticking with the tried and true french manicure.  But oh my little toesies!  They loved the blue, especially at the beach.  As you can see above.

It was just light enough to brighten up the toes, but not so dark to make people give your feet funny looks.  Well more funny looks.  Lets face it, feet can be kind of funny looking on their own.  But my little toes felt so pretty in pink.... er blushing in blue with this color.  It's a matte babyish sky blue.  Very pretty and feminine.  And definitely an option for the bride who might need that little "something in blue" on her special day.  Try doing a french manicure with Barracuda Blue colored tips instead of the normal white.  Elegant, colorful, and whimsical all in one.

Pure Silk shaving cream was the next up to try.  I've never been one to use shaving cream, instead opting for body soap, shampoo, conditioner, or lotion... Basically just what ever was handy.  I have latin (Cuban) blood in my so unfortunately I tend to have to shave my legs rather frequently, especially in the summer.  Every other day isn't unheard of for me.  The first thing I noticed with the Pure Silk was I got a much closer shave.  This was honestly somewhat of a surprise for me because I didn't think it would make that much of a difference.  So close in fact that it was 5 days before I had to shave again.  A few shaves latter I started with a fresh razor and that familiar dread as they always leave me with little nicks and cuts the first shave or two.  Much to my surprise I walked away without even the tiniest cut.  I was so surprised by this fact that I spend a full 5 minutes standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror looking at my legs examining them for any tell-tale trickle of blood and just flabbergasted that I couldn't see even one drop.  Yay for Pure Silk.  It has turned my shaving routine from a torture to just routine.

The Tide To Go pen was the object I was least looking forward to testing as I have an allergy to Tide.  After much debate and thought I decided it would be safe to try.  It is after all just a small amount on a small spot on a single item of clothing.  It couldn't possibly cause too bad of an allergic reaction.  Of course, I had just spilled coffee on my favorite white tank top that I sleep in.  Tide to the rescue.  Coffee and mornings.... no I wasn't coherent enough to take pictures.  I wish I had.  The pen took the stain out in just seconds.  When I washed the shirt, I did so with regular laundry and not whites with beach.  When it came out of the dryer it was all pretty white with no coffee spots on it.  The Tide To Go pen found a new home in my purse.

Sadly, I did not use the website offer as I have no wedding to plan.  I did look around at their site a little and their offers.  This seems like it would be a great thing to do, especially if you are a bride planning a large wedding, or have family and/or bridal party members who do not live close to you.  It's just another wonderful way to commemorate your beautiful and special day.

Once again, thank you to Influenster, Sally Hansen, Ecotools, Pure Silk, Tide, and Riley & Grey for the items in the Vow Vox Box and allowing me to sample and test them.  The VoxBox program is always fun, helpful, and every time I learn both about new products and known products with new product line that I might not have otherwise.

~sierra

Clear Skin and Blue Skies Ahead. It's Summertime!

It's summer time.  The weather is warmer.  The sun is out.  And you want to be out in that fresh air enjoying life.  Sunshine and the subsequent Vitamin D from sun exposure has its benefits.  We need a little bit of those UV rays to prevent things like Rickets and Depression.  Not all sun exposure is bad.  Moderation is the key to life.  But this post isn't about the pros and cons of lazy days out on the beach, in the sand and salt water, soaking up copious amounts of natural Vitamin D in the form of refreshing, warming tropical sunshine...... sorry, got a little sidetracked there with my day dream.

Ok, so you want to be out enjoying the summer life.  Lazy days on the beach, or lake, or any other outdoor activity.  But, if you're like me sunshine puts a nice spotlight on any problem areas on your face.  It's embarrassing to admit, but I have always struggled with acne and large pores.  I remember being in the 6th grade and begging my mom to let me wear make up so I could try to hide the large dark pores across my nose.  And as an adult, I still suffer from this less than flattering condition.

Another guilty confession:  I am addicted to Pinterest.

Last night while waiting out my frequent visitor, insomnia, I was scrolling through Pinterest when I spied something that really caught my attention.  A natural skin treatment to help reduce large pores (blackheads) on the nose and smooth skin.  I couldn't wait to try it.  In my haste I failed to take a picture for before and after results.  My apologies.

What was this remedy?  Something most of us have in our kitchens.  Lemon juice and baking soda!



After doing a little research on the subject and finding many variables to this "recipe" I decided to go with the simplest method.  Hey, simple is better!  I used a small ramekin,

These are Ramekins!


squeezed in about a Tablespoon of lemon juice (the recipe said to squeeze a lemon for fresh juice.  I didn't have one on hand but I had a bottle of lemon juice *not from concentrate*)



then started adding baking soda a little at a time, stirring to make a paste.  Don't be alarmed, it will fizz and foam.  It is a chemical reaction between the two ingredients and shows that your baking soda hasn't gone stale.  Just keep adding a little at a time and stirring until the foaming goes down enough to add some more.

Baking Soda foaming when mixed with Lemon Juice


The goal is to create a thick, creamy paste.  Then using my fingers I smeared the paste all over my nose, cheeks, chin, and center of my forehead (typical T-zone areas).  Basically anywhere I suffer most from acne and large pores.  I spent a few minutes scrubbing it in (for exfoliation) and then I let it sit on my face for 20 minutes.  Like most face masks the paste dries and pulls at your skin.

*If you have sensitive skin, 20 minutes might be too long.  Start with 5 minutes and work your way up to what you can tolerate.  It will burn a little but shouldn't be terribly uncomfortable.

After 20 minutes I simply rinsed my face with cool water and patted dry.  I could immediately feel the change.  My skin felt noticeably smoother.  Grabbing a mirror and standing in the sunlight to examine my nose I was happily surprised to see a very noticeable shrinkage in the diameter of the pores across my nose.  Not gone, but yes smaller.

I let my face breathe for an hour or so and then applied a little bit of coconut oil, which is fantastic for skin care, especially for oily skin.  The coconut oil absorbs into your skin completely after about 5 minutes leaving it soft and supple, not greasy.  And it has antibacterial properties to help fight against breakouts.



I am thinking the lemon juice/baking soda scrub/mask is a bit too harsh to use every day, but perhaps once or twice a week.  Also of note, both lemon juice and baking soda have whitening/lightening properties.  It may take some time, but over time with continued use these ingredients may lighten skin blemishes and spots.

Of course, there are many other uses and benefits, as well as side effects.  If you have skin sensitivity test in a small area for a short amount of time first.  If you are allergic to either ingredient don't use at all.  It probably wouldn't be the best idea to use this skin scrub/mask immediately before heading out into the sunshine either.  Be good to your skin.  Be kind.  Be gentle.  Take care of it and it will take care of you.

I've also read where people have splashed their face with a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar as a toner.  ACV is another one of those handy kitchen items that has so many practical uses and is great for the body, skin, and hair.

Perhaps I'll cover uses for ACV and other kitchen items another day.  In the meantime you can do your own research and tests.  Here are a list of some great natural products to keep in the house for use on your skin, in your body, or around the house.

Baking Soda
Apple Cider Vinegar
Coconut Oil
Honey
Sugar
Turmeric
Lemons/Lemon Juice
White Vinegar
Sea Salt
Essential Oils

I am sure there are many others I am forgetting to list.  Know of some or have your own experiences and tips?  Leave a comment.  I would love to hear your stories.

~sierra sugar

The Next Step from Vitamin Shoppe

I was excited to try these protein shake samples received in my‪#‎GoVoxBox‬ from Influenster




Having used Whey protein shakes in the past to help manage my weight and blood sugar levels, I am hypoglycemic.  I also used them as nutritional supplements for my mother when she was struggling with cancer and unable to eat.  There are many benefits to protein supplements and they come in a variety of types and flavors.  Even weight loss brand names have gotten in on the hype - Weight Watchers and Adkins.  

Having used many different brands in the past and tried almost every flavor, I have learned that I am not a fan of most flavors besides chocolate. That being said I started with the flavor I usually like least.  Just like our mother's used to tell us when there was something on our plate we didn't like... eat it first.  I mixed up half of the vanilla one as was instructed with water, not milk as many other brands of protein supplements suggest.  One sip and I had to throw it out. It was bitter and very watery.  




On to plan number two. Taking the remaining vanilla mix, I  mixed in some frozen peaches and a little milk to make it more like a smoothy. Again, I ended up throwing it out after one sip. 

Having confirmed my absolute dislike for the vanilla I moved on to the chocolate.  This time however, I started with skim milk instead of water, and a little ice for thickness. I was sure I would like this one.  Just about every other brand of protein shake I've ever tried I liked in the chocolate flavor.  However, after the first sip I was ready to toss it. Instead, I let it sit for a few minutes and cleaned my palate with some water just incase I was still tasting remains of the vanilla and/or peach, then tried again.  Still no improvement. After trying a few more sips just to be sure I came to the conclusion there was no possible way I could finish the shake.  The taste of these shakes was just too horrible. 

I've used several different brands of Whey protein and diet supplement shakes to include both Weight Watchers and Adkins among others from our local health food store. The‪#‎NextStepShakes‬ have a bitter taste that lingers on the tongue. I could barely swallow the first sip much less an entire 8oz. After completing the taste tests and cleaning up the kitchen I still had this lingering bitter taste in my mouth and coating my tongue and I had to go brush my teeth thoroughly.  

While I appreciate the samples sent through the ‪#‎Influenster‬ ‪#‎VoxBox‬ program and the cooperation with ‪#‎VitaminShoppe‬ and ‪#‎NextStep‬, this is one product I will not be purchasing.

~sierra


Two Happy Feet

Ok, so it is no secret that I LOVE #Influenster! In the most recent GoVoxBox I received two items from PROFOOT to try, ProFoot Triad Orthotic shoe inserts and the ProFoot Pedi-Rock. They are both wonderful!


I have suffered with Plantar Fasciitis since 2012 when I started walking at lunch and after work for exercise.  It was frustrating to have to slow and at times even stop my addictive routine.  At the suggestion of the pain management doctor I worked for I started using orthotic inserts to help the pain and healing.  And it worked!  So now I regularly replace the orthotics in my shoes to help control the plantar fasciitis with another trusted brand.  So while eager to try a new insert I was also nervous and a bit skeptical, afraid of return PF pain, especially now that I also have developed pretty severe sciatic pain on the right side (oh the joys of growing older!).  But thankfully I was in for a very pleasant surprise.  I have short wide feet and the inserts still fit nicely in my Nikes and were quite comfortable. The arch support was great for everyday walking, standing, etc...  I haven't tried them on the treadmill yet, but considering how well they feel with everyday activities I am hopeful they will hold up well under more strenuous activities.  I will be switching out the orthotics in my other shoes (boots) to the Profoot brand.

Also tested in this #GoVoxBox from #Influenster was the Profoot pedi-rock.  



I struggle with severely dry skin and rough heels ever since I was a child.  This pedi-rock is by far the best I've ever used, even better than what is used when I get a professional pedicure.  I love that it can be used both dry and wet.  Taking it out of town with me when I was working in Tampa I first used it on the go for a quick dry buff before rubbing lotion into my feet.  Then again I used it most recently at home while soaking my feet in warm water.  The pedi-rock is easy to hold with its large contoured shape fitting nicely in your hands.  It is firm yet not hard, kind of soft but not squishy so it holds up to vigorous scrubbing.  Even when it's wet it holds its shape and dries quickly.   It left my feet soft without irritating them.  No nasty scratches or "burns".  It will be interesting to see how well it holds up over time with repeated use.  But this is another item I will be adding to my shopping list.  I'm thinking one for the tub for wet use only and another to keep around for a quick dry buff to the heels before lotion and slipping on socks and shoes.

Thanks Influenster and ProFoot.  #GoPROFOOT !!!




Greek Yogurt by Muller

Muller display at the Publix in Tampa, Florida. I got the strawberry (YUM!) using the complimentary coupon sent to me in the #Influenster #GoVoxBox to try. 

In this age where fast food, processed foods, GMO's, "Low fat" but high sugar or sugar substitutes abound, choosing healthy food options is a must, yet often times a challenge.  I like to cook from scratch and avoid boxed or canned goods that are heavily processed and contain preservatives and artificial ingredients.  I also prefer natural sugar over sugar substitutes.  And along those lines I avoid "High Fructose Corn syrup"  (HFC's) like the plague!  Many of the popular brands of greek yogurt have lots of extra added sugar, and even *gasp* HFC!  So they never make it into my shopping cart.  

Yogurt is one of those healthy food choices that always find its way into my regular shopping.  Being hypoglycemic (chronic low blood sugar) I have always been advised to follow a high protein/low carb diet.  In a fast-paced world this is sometimes difficult to do.  Enter greek yogurt.  Discovering Greek yogurt a few years back I developed an even deeper love for this healthy, delicious, and very filling snack.  It has double the protein of regular yogurt, high in calcium, and can be paired with fruit like tradition yogurts or used in place of heavy cream, sour cream, etc... when cooking and baking. So needless to say, I LOVE greek yogurt.  However, I usually stick with another brand (Chobani). 




After receiving a coupon for a free sample of Muller's yogurt ( #MullerQuaker ) in the recent GoVoxBox from Influenster, I decided to give this brand a try.  To be honest, I had never even heard of it before Influenster.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how yummy and filling the Muller yogurt was.  The yogurt was creamy and there was just enough fruit to mix in to give it that sweet burst of flavor without being over powering.  The strawberries were sweet, not tangy, and had good texture, not too mushy.  And bonus, no HFC or artificial flavorings!  There is added sugar, but at least its not HFC or some other artificial sweetener. So overall I was pleased and Muller greek yogurt will definitely enter my regular shopping list.

Müller Yogurt USAInfluenster @MullerQuaker, #MullerQuaker

~sierra sugar


Goodbye traveling stress, Hello relaxation!


Working out of town last week and I took my   items with me, including  Bath Salts to help me relax after traveling over 400miles to work then busy days in a strange office processing 360 charts.  Whew!  

I am usually a shower person and not very big on Lavender. HOWEVER, I have to say the   +   Bath Salts sent to me from  to try for free was a pleasant surprise. The lavender was not overwhelming, but subtle and chamomile has a long documented calming effect both in western medicine and   approaches.  

Running a hot bat in the hotel room tub, I sprinkled a good handful of the salts into the running water and watched as warm scented bubbles filled the tub and a light pleasant aroma filled the room.  Reminded me of being a little girl with the big pink bottle of Mr. Bubble bubble bath and I had to smile.  I wasn't even in the tub and  was already working it's magic.  After sinking into the tub full of hot water and bubbles I could feel my whole body relaxing.  I can't remember the last time I took a bath instead of a shower, much less relaxed in one.  

After resting and soaking until my fingers and toes were adequately pruned I found the remaining bubbles easy to rinse off even with the soft water of the Tampa area.  I felt calm and relaxed as if most all of the traveling and other stress I'd been carrying around simply washed down the drain with the last of the bubbles.  Needless to say, I found myself using the Aqua Spa bath salts every night during my stay and still had a good bit left over to bring home to save for when life gets to be a little too overwhelming.  Forget the old saying "Calgon take me away".  Aqua Spa Lavender + Chamomile does the trick nicely, gently washing away the stress and leaving a mild, unintrusive relaxing scent.

For those that are unsure about the efficacy of such a treatment, aroma therapy is proven through many studies to be an effective tool in mood altering and stress/anxiety reduction.  It's not a dramatic change, but it does help.  Lavender and chamomile are calming, peppermint is soothing to the stomach, etc...  (though I do not have the sources to site them at the moment, google search is a good tool for those that wish to look it up)

coupon for $1.00 off: on.fb.me/1kQ2RFX

@AquaSpaBath #MyBeautyBreak #RelaxWithAquaSpa

~sierra sugar


PersonalDNA

I want to thanks LillyAnne Crystal for sharing this on her blog and on plurk. Following her lead I took this test (takes about 30 minutes) and for the most part I think it's fairly accurate. Those of you that know me and have known me for some time now let me know what you think.



My personalDNA Report


You are a Creator

Your imagination, confidence, willingness to explore, and appreciation of beauty make you a CREATOR.

•You are independent, and you enjoy your self-sufficiency.

•Defying convention, you are very innovative, and you have a vivid imagination.

•The look of things is important to you, and you have a keen eye for aesthetic beauty in multiple arenas.

•You have a strong interest in what is new and exciting—and that includes forging ahead with new ideas, not simply discovering what is already out there.

•Your eagerness to seek new and varied experiences leads you into many different situations.

•You're not set on one way of doing things, and you are creative when it comes to finding novel solutions to complex problems.

•You trust yourself to be innovative and resourceful.

•Your confidence allows you to take your general awareness and channel it into creativity.

•You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.

•You're not afraid to let your emotions guide you, and you're generally considerate of others' feelings as well.

•Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different.

•Appreciate the earthly, practical elements of things—there is beauty in form as well.

•While you are good at thinking abstractly, focusing on details a bit more may help you discover things about the world.

You are Considerate

You trust others, care about them, and are slow to judge them, making you CONSIDERATE.

•You value your close relationships very much, and are more likely to spend time in small, tightly-knit groups of friends than in large crowds.

•You enjoy exploring the world through observation, quietly watching others.

•Relating to others so well, and understanding their emotions, leads you to trust people in general, even though you're somewhat shy and reserved at times.

•Your belief that people are generally well-intentioned contributes to your sympathy regarding their problems.

•Although you may not vocalize it often, you have an awareness of how society affects individuals, and you understand complex causes of people's behavior.

•You like to look at all sides of a situation before making a judgment, particularly when that situation involves important things in other people's lives.

•Your close friends know you as a good listener.

If you want to be different.

•Because other people would benefit immensely from your understanding and insight, you should try to be more outgoing in social situations, even when they make you uncomfortable. Others will want to hear what you have to say!

A little bit of sugar

Reposting this from a recent Surf Watch entry, check out the full article Here. One little, very little, kitty DJ was spotted doing a unique spin on the decks.



And just when you thought it was safe to go back in the waters...