Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...

At 41 years old, I have never really bought "stuff" for myself. At least, not since I was a babysitting teenager with extra cash. I have always sort of thought that skincare and beauty items were sort of silly, and made do with Suave and Ivory soap.

Last year, when I turned 40, I gave myself permission to buy Dove soap. My mom and grandmother have always used it and the smell evokes lovely memories of both ladies. I LOVED it.  I still bought Ivory for the rest of the family, and kept my Dove all to myself...seemed a little greedy until I realized I was buying Doug the shampoo, soap and toothpaste he requested, the girls all bought the products they wanted, and I was buying special shampoo and lotion for the little guys. And honestly, the big boys just don't care what's in the shower...I am pretty sure they use the first bottle of whatever is handy. So, I bought Dove and suddenly my skin wasn't itchy all the time. I went all winter without the winter itchy, dry skin I usually have, even though I am a big lotion applier. Happy with my purchase, but soon started seeing little white marks on my face  - my sister said to switch soaps as Dove has moisturizers in it that were creating the bumps. So, while I use it for the bath, I don't for my face...

Soon after that I was invited to an Arbonne party. I was super skeptical because the price tag was pretty darn high, but after hearing how their products were made, with all natural ingredients, like for real, not just for talk, and how they were Ph balanced, we decided to give some of the products a try.

The first set we bought was for my 15 year old daughter. She has had extremely bad acne, and nothing helped. Not the prescriptions from the dermatologist, not ProActive, nothing over the counter. Nothing. Within a month of using the Arbonne Clear Advantage line her skin was 100% better, and the scars were starting to fade. We spent $68 on the whole set, and then repurchased 6 weeks later because it was working so well. Money well spent, considering how much we had spent on doctors, ordering products, and the drugstore...

As for me, I at first only let myself have one product... the RE9 Advanced Facial Smoothing Cleanser. Within 3 weeks all those annoying white bumps started clearing away, and some that I had assumed were from aging or whatever stared to disappear. I decided to have an Arbonne party of my own so that I could order more stuff, I was that tickled. In the end, I am not sure if it is just buying quality products, or Arbonne itself (though my mom has given me Clinique as a gift several times in the past, and I couldn't use it...too harsh, leaving me with dry, tight skin), but I have been thrilled with the results. I honestly don't think I have ever looked better. My skin has been almost entirely clear, and even while pregnant - which is a miracle for me. I haven't had smoother, nicer skin since I was a kid.

While all this was going on, my oldest daughter was finishing up her cosmetology license. She came home and threw out all my Suave and brought me some fancy schmancy shampoo called Sebastian. Now, this stuff is pretty darn pricey, and I couldn't figure out a way to say, have a party and get a discount, but for what it does, I honestly think it is worth it...except that I have run out and can't bring myself to go buy more. She brought me shampoo, conditioner and some kind of cream in a can  - like mousse, but super soft. My hair hasn't been cooperating while pregnant - dry and all kinds of extra growth and just frizzy. Plus, I have always, always had dry scalp...this stuff cleared up all those problems. It is soft and silky now, and I haven't had the dry scalp problem at all. I thought I had dandruff - turns out good shampoo will do the trick! That, and a great little stylist who comes home to cut and color your hair for free - Thanks Megs!

New bras are something every expecting mama needs, there is almost no way to get around it. I usually buy some on the web, mostly Ebay, and hope for the best and end up with the worst. This time, my sister Dana introduced me to She ordered a bra for me that is the most comfortable, softest and best fitting I have ever owned. Apparently, it pays to know one's bra size and order a quality bra. Who knew?

Sensodyne toothpaste has been another product that has brought our family a lot of relief in the last year or so. I have super sensitive teeth, and this product as almost entirely reversed that problem. It has also helped with some enamel issues I have from too frequent brushing with too hard brushes...BUT, the best part is that there is a version without Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. This is the stuff that makes soaps, shampoos and toothpastes foamy. What is also does is change the chemistry in your mouth, making you 80% more prone to mouth sores and ulcers. My kids were getting them so often, and it was breaking my heart. We switched to Sensodyne, and it is very, very rare now for one of my kids to get an ulcer/canker sore. Just one time using regular toothpaste, though, and the next day they have one. If your family has this problem, I really, really recommend Sensodyne. It makes a world of difference!

Some of the little kids don't like the Sensodyne - too spicy! So I have found that the Burt's Bees kids toothpaste is a fabulous option. They love it. It is very hard to find, so if you have any other suggestions, I would love to hear them!

I have never been super green, or super crunchy, but I have learned recently that a lot of the things we are putting in our bodies really do some harm. I am really enjoying the more natural Arbonne products, as well as the results I am seeing for my whole family through a more natural approach to skin, hair and teeth care. What are some of your favorite, more natural products? I am especially wanting to find some baby skin care products...Arbonne does have infant products, but they are again, pricey. Do you know a less expensive, but equally good option? Anyone use Burt's Bees?

But you know what else? I have been really enjoying letting myself have some of the products that make me feel a little pampered, and pretty and just smell good. At 41, I need all the help I can get. I was also able to buy some cute maternity clothes this time...justifying the expense by selling some of my youngest daughter's clothes on Ebay. It is amazing the difference cute clothes, nice skin and hair care, and some good make up can make in one's self esteem. I can honestly say that I have felt about as cute and pretty as a 41 year old, chubby, pregnant lady can possibly feel...and that's pretty darn great! Kinda wish I had let myself do it sooner...And ya know what? My husband has been so thrilled to see me in decent clothes and looking good - poor guy. He has wanted me to do this for years, and I just never could bring myself to spend the money. So, he would go out and buy me things...and I would return them. This time, I just did it. And I have been really glad I did - so mamas - do you let yourself have some things...clothes and make up? Or do you just keep skipping yourself in favor of the kids and the house and the..... ?