Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Audubon Free Online Guide to North American Birds #birds #birding

Winter is the perfect time of year to bird watch.  It is fun to watch and learn about these precious creatures, but sometimes, identification can be challenging.  But Audubon has a free online guide to North American Birds that is an excellent resource to help you identify the birds at your feeder. The guide covers bird identification and more as well as over 800 species of birds.  You can find the guide at

Happy Birding!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Clean Your Houseplants Naturally! #green #clean

House plants are excellent cleaners for the air we breathe, so why not do something kind for them?  To keep your indoor houseplant leaves shiny, wipe them off with the inside of a banana peel.  This will get the dust off of them and leave them shiny and healthy looking, naturally--with no chemicals!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dry Skin Solutions #skincare

A company (I can't remember which one) had a commercial years ago that likened dry skin to an alligator's skin.  During the winter months, that can be quite common as the dry air can be brutal on your skin.  Here are some tips to keep your skin looking healthy:

    dry skin care
  1. Take shorter showers and watch the water temperature.  Hot water can dry your skin out so stick with lukewarm.
  2. Exfoliate at least periodically.  You don't have to buy an expensive product.  A quick search on Pinterest offers many DIY recipes with things you probably have in your cupboard.  Exfoliation helps remove the dry dead skin cells while providing moisture to your skin.
  3. Only use soap in the hot spots (pits, groin area) unless you were at the gym and super sweaty.  Most days, you probably don't need to soap up your entire body and a quick wipe with water will do the trick.  Soap is drying to the skin.
  4. After getting out of the shower, towel pat your skin, leaving some moisture.  Then moisturize with lotion or oils to lock in the moisture.
  5. Eat your way to better skin.  Make sure you have plenty of antioxidants in your diet (think tangerines, sweet potatoes, peppers, citrus fruits, cherries, spinach, olives, and grapes to name a few).  You are looking for vitamins C and E, Selenium and CoQ10 in your foods.  According to WebMD, free radical damage is a factor behind dry skin.  Also consider essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet.  They naturally replenish your skin's protective oils. Olive and canola oils, salmon, albacore tuna, walnuts, and flaxseed (oil or ground) are good sources.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Safe to Use Skin Products--During Pregnancy and Beyond

Picky for a purpose

Disclosure:  I received sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

When I was younger, I didn't concern myself so much with skin products as I figured if they were on the shelf, they were safe to use.  However, as I have gotten older, I have learned that most of the ingredients in skin care and other personal products are pretty much unregulated and that many of these products contain known carcinogens (cancer causing substances), endocrine disruptors (substances that can affect hormones) and even teratogens (substances that can cause birth defects). No one can say for sure if any of these chemicals in skin care products actually cause any of these problems for a couple reasons: 1. it is hard to prove causation and 2. no one has extensively researched this.  However, the potential for risk is there.  So, I have started playing it safe with skin care products.  I figure better to be safe than sorry.

I just learned of a company I wish I had known about when I was pregnant and nursing.  Belli is a physician-formulated line of skin care that is focused on product safety, especially for pregnant and nursing mothers.  Belli screens all of its ingredients for potential teratogens so that mother and child are safer.  In addition, all of their products are allergy tested and free of parabens, BPA, phthalates and artificial dyes.

The Belli Pure and Pampered Body Wash is a nice, skin balancing wash.  Its fragrance is very light.  In fact, unless I put my nose right up to it, I couldn't smell the cucumber, green tea. lavender and chamomile extracts.  My skin felt clean and fresh--not dry or slimy.

One of my favorites is the Belli All Day Moisture Body Lotion.  It does provide great moisture and I love the fragrance of lemon oil and chamomile.  The scent is fairly strong, but pleasing as I apply, but once rubbed in, my skin mainly feels fresh.

The Belli Healhty Glow Facial Hydrator has a lovely citrus scent.  It applies smoothly and contains vitamin C and grapeseed oil.  Don't fear--the grapeseed oil did not make my skin any oiler.

The Belli Eye Brightening Cream is fortified with vitamin K and B and revives and illuminates tired eyes and minimizes the appearance of fine lines.

Another favorite is the Capri Clear all natural moisturizer.  This is a 100% coconut oil spray.  I like it because it gives my skin that more youthful glow.  It also rubs in quickly and is accepted by the National Eczema Association.  It is good stuff!

These products, all made right here in the USA, are sold in stores as well as

Disclosure:  I received sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

"And Yet, The Past is Always With Us"

Happy New Year!  I have been pretty quiet for the most part for about a month or so now.  The holidays, volunteering and health problems have kept me busy and tired.  The two weeks I had off work afforded me the chance to catch up a bit.

So hear I am, at the start of another year.  Reflecting on the past, gazing towards the future.  Learning from past mistakes and struggles and vowing to become a better person every day.

I read something that showed up in my Facebook feed the other day from A Field of Wild Flowers that eloquently expressed my views and I thought I would share it with my readers.  Enjoy and blessings for the new year!

"And yet, the past is always with us.  

It's the ground upon which we stand, the compost heap that feeds the future.  To “let it be” is not to simply forget, but to let it be what it will be, let it unfold, decompose the good, the bad and the ugly into something more fertile, more useful, adding wisdom and depth, riches to the year to come."

Friday, December 19, 2014

Free Full Size Body Wash From CVS

Grab a coupon for a free full size body wash From CVS.  Just simply like and fill out the form on the Minute Clinic on Facebook. Giveaway runs through 12/23 or while supplies last.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Great Book to Help Girls Discover Themselves: Elements for Girls #book #review

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Elements for Girls to facilitate this review.  As always, I express my honest opinions.  Links in post may contain affiliate links.

Girls today have many more challenges to growing up than in my day.  Kids still have some of the same issues, but they are bombarded by more messages in the media that tell them to be a certain way than I was 30 years ago.  Add to that social media, and wow--it is a challenge.  I think the more positive messages and influences we can give our girls, the better they will fare.

Having worked with teen and tween girls and having two girls of my own (one a tween and one who thinks she is), I know they love books with activities and questionnaires about friends, growing up and everything in between.

Elements for Girls is just that type of book, only better, in my opinion.  Elements is "a fun and engaging self-discovery project."  Authors Mary Ellen Young and Sandra McDonnell have dedicated this book to adolescent girls to help them slow down and take a look at who they really are.  The book explores 10 elements of self-discovery and growth, using 10 beads, each with meaning, to create a bracelet.  This bracelet is a reminder of the skills they have learned.

The chapters/beads are as follows:
  1. Uniquely Me:  focuses on strengths, abilities and weaknesses
  2. My Ancient Reptile Brain:  activities inform about our brain and how it works
  3. Fixing Stinking Thinking:  the focus is on how powerful our thoughts are and how to get rid of stinking thinking
  4. Ocean of Emotion:  discusses recognizing, managing and learning from our feelings
  5. Your Body:  covers advertising/media messages about our body and learning to love your body
  6. TTYL--Talking, Texting and Other Tools for Communicating:  explains how we rely on nonverbal communication but that is lost in e-communications as well as covering pitfalls
  7. In Your Shoes:  focuses on developing empathy for and acceptance of others
  8. Yin, Yang and You:  activities help with ways to deal with stress, including caring for your health
  9. Black and White:  focuses on conflict and problem solving
  10. Shoot for the Stars:  activities cover goal setting in a variety of areas
The design and layout of the book is very appealing for young people.  The pictures are cute.  The book itself is spiral bound like a notebook, making it easy to use.  The pictures are black and white, so girls can color them in if they want.  It is well written with easy to understand language for young girls.  I feel it is appropriate for pre-teens to teenage girls. The only thing I did not see in the book was any mention of God or religion.  I am sure the authors purposely left it out to make it neutral, but they could have added "pray" as a suggested way to cope with stress.  Overall, as a mother and a counselor working with children, I highly recommend this book.  I love the inclusion of "stinking thinking" as I am believer that our thoughts are very powerful.  The messages in the book are very  positive and will help girls learn to like themselves better and to deal more effectively with their challenges.  The inclusion of the bead bracelet is a fun bonus to encourage girls to finish the book.

I think this book would be great to use for a book club for girls, with guidance from an adult, but it is also great to use solo.

The book and bracelet, priced at $24.99, are available online at or $18.90 at

Disclosure:  I received a copy of Elements for Girls to facilitate this review.  As always, I express my honest opinions.  Links in post may contain affiliate links.

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