Work to be Done

So, I’m back after a bit a hiatus. I’ve been working on stuff at home and taking care of me and mine. I’ve finally started to feel like I’m getting a handle on things again and I can find the energy for writing. It’s been crazy and only likely to get crazier with the holidays coming up, so it’s a good thing I’m feeling confident.

My list of things to do is a mile long and my pace is that of a determined tortoise. This is a vast improvement on my previous pace of sleepy sloth. It’s funny how your to do list can be a million things but when you look at it more broadly, it’s really only a few things. Take care of yourself, your home, your family, and maybe try to find some time to improve yourself. When you look throughout the world and history, this is everyone’s story, over and over.

Right now I’m starting to make plans for Christmas and Thanksgiving and New Year’s. We’re watching our budget this year more closely than last year, but that’s okay. It’s been a tough year, and I’m more interested in time with family and friends than with things anyway. I’m certain my kids have more than enough stuff, and I know I do too. Of course knowing that and deciding how to handle gifts this season are two different things and I’m still in research mode. I do know some ladies on my list will be getting some nice AVON stuff!

However, it’s not December yet, and I’d like to get through Thanksgiving before tackling another holiday. I’ll be spending time with my family at their little house on the orchard and we’re making big plans for playing cards and doing crafts. In the meantime I’ll continue to get my home in order, and try to show my kids that there is more to life and the holidays than video games. Even in a very bad year, there are things to be grateful for.

As always, I’ll end this with a coupon code for my eshop. Receive a free Woodland Retreat Candle with online order over $45, and as with all order over $40, free shipping! Ends tonight!


Birthday Celebrations Continue

October is a big month for birthdays in my life. Not only my own, but many of my friends and family. Most importantly, my husband’s birthday falls near the end of October. Because of that, we’ve gotten in the habit of having a little getaway about midway between the two to celebrate both of our birthdays. This may have to be the last time for awhile though, because I really didn’t like leaving my corgi on his own, with only daily check-ins.

Still, we had a great time. We went to the fascinating B&B in California known as Vision Quest B&B at the Monterey Zoo. The Monterey Zoo is an amazing facility that is kind of in the process of being turned into a Zoo. For years it was Wild Things Animal Rentals Inc which hired out exotic animals for photoshoots, movies and television. Now, it is home to many retired show business animals and they are shifting their focus to education and conservation. Although, truth be told, they have been working in animal education for many years. I seem to vaguely recall them coming to my school when I was a kid with a very large boa constrictor.

The B&B portion of the business is great, with safari-like bungalows and a great view of the big elephant playpen outside the window. The playpen is a large enclosure, I think they said 5 acre, where their four African Elephants hang out during the day with their friends who consist of two water buffalos, an ostrich and zebra. I don’t think I’ve ever come across such a unique business and facility. It is owned and operated by some of the most dedicated animal lovers I have ever seen, and it was a great experience to stay with them for two days.

I’ll include a link to their website, although be forewarned, that it is a bit outdated. The very friendly and knowledgeable staff told me that updating it with more current information is in the works, although she had no timeline for that. They also have a Facebook page, which is updated with events, pictures and videos occasionally.

Vision Quest B&B

As always, I will leave you with an AVON coupon code.


Happy Birthday to Me!

I have started and not finished several blog posts recently, as well as other projects. It is October 11th and school is in full swing, we’re gearing up for the big block of holidays and I turn 42 today. It is so easy to let things fall by the wayside when you’re hip deep in homework, school fund raisers, and of course, the inevitable school age problems of lunches, learning and bullies.

I’m very positive about the whole aging thing, even though this year I have no actual plans for my birthday. I am not one of those ‘Oh no! I’m old!’ people who obsess over younger people, my own lines or grey hairs, or even about how successful I feel I ought to be by now. No, I’m firmly in the ‘Yay! I made it another year!’ camp. Hey, life in uncertain at the best of times, and I have always been clumsy. So every year passing, still alive, with no broken bones, is kind of a miracle to my mind.

That said, I’m a little on the introverted side, and generally only enjoy parties which are short, or where I know every single person there personally. I also don’t really enjoy throwing parties, as I wear myself to a frazzle during planning and set up, then once people arrive, I just give up. I just throw my hands up with a ‘whatever’ attitude and let it go. Then afterwards I have to basically rest for 3 days. I’ve thrown parties, both at my home and in restaurants. I’ve had impromptu dinners at the last minute so that I can enjoy my friends without the planning. I’ve also had years where I just stayed in and ordered out.

This year it’s on a Tuesday and I’m a mom. This is a school week. Kids have to be taken to school and picked up, homework has to be done, baths and showers, lunches, laundry, and of course, dinner. I had thought to take them out and celebrate with just my little family, but wowza does that seem like a lot of work for a school night. I think I may just order in and try to relax as much as I can. My husband and I do have plans for a little getaway midway between our two birthdays as kind of a Just the Two of Us joint celebration.

All in all, I’m glad to be alive, proud to have made it to 42 and although it is to be quite low-key, I’m not sad about my birthday at all. I have things to do, so many things, and at the very least, when your to-do list is miles long you really never have a reason to be bored. If you’d like, comment and let me know what your favorite low-key ways to celbrate are!

Here’s a great AVON coupon code!



More Fall Clearing Out

Well, with all my closets and accessories done, I can move on to bath & beauty products. Just kidding. I haven’t even started the closets. However, I do think I need to think about cosmetics and skincare products. I just tossed an old charcoal mask this morning. I threw it out, because I can’t remember when I bought it. I could have bought it last year, but I have a sinking feeling it was more like 2 or even 3 years ago.

My methodology for throwing out old beauty products is pretty haphazard, actually. I sort of randomly throw things out when I run across them if I can’t remember buying them, or they are visibly not good anymore, like a separated nail polish. I toss those all the time. I don’t even paint my nails very often, because I am not very good at it and I hate to sit still long enough to let it dry. I usually just go to the nail salon to get it done. Again, haphazardly. I don’t have a standing appointment or anything.

However, there are apparently rules for throwing away grooming products. I’m going to include the general consensus for your benefit and mine.

Mascara – Every 2 months

I know, it’s annoying to have to replace them so frequently, especially if you don’t use them every day. This is good reason, in my opinion, to find a great mascara at a good price. I’d be reluctant to toss out a $27 mascara after 2 months. Although, this time frame only pertains to mascara that has been opened. If you have a sealed backup, then the only thing you need to worry about is manufacturer’s expiration. Also, get rid of all eye makeup you’ve been using during an eye infection, or may have been used before you noticed it. Tools like brushes can be cleaned with alcohol. Some people suggest that pencils can be salvaged by simply shaving them down.

Gel Eyeliner – 3 months

Once again, a great argument for finding an affordable option. The reasons for this are the same as with mascara. There is an increased chance of bacteria and eye infection.

Cream Foundation and Concealers/Blushes/Bronzers – 12 to 18 months

It’s great that these last longer, as good shades are hard to give up.

Lipstick and Lip liners – One year

Of course these should be thrown out if you have cold sores or are ill. If you’re frequently ill, just be prepared to change these out often. Sharpening your lip liners can help.

Skincare – 6 to 12 months

Ideally you should be using most of this sort of thing daily, so you should actually run out before it expires. Unless, like me before AVON, you have a tendency to randomly buy it, try it out for a few days, then bury it in a cabinet. Then you should probably stay on top of the recommended time frames.

Liquid Foundation – 1 year

I’m glad you can keep these longer, as matching a shade is hard, but they aren’t meant to last forever, so a timeline is helpful.

Lip Gloss – 1 to 2 years

There is apparently some argument on this one. Some people suggest that the manner in which they are applied, via wand, or pot or even directly makes them more of a health risk so they should be tossed every 6 months.

Pencil Eyeliners or Brow Pencils – 1 to 2 years

I think we were all aware that these last a long time. Although some of us with brow pencils from the 90s should really get a new one. Not that I do.

Powders, like foundation,bronzers, blush or eye shadows – 2 years

Apparently, powders are remarkably stable. This is good to know. I may have to start putting the year on the bottom of these. That way I will know when I bought them and neither let them sit around forever, nor toss out a good powder before it’s time is up. And again, there is some concern over eye products and safety.

Perfumes – 6 to 18 months

Okay, I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that one. Especially not my mother, who buys expensive perfumes, saves them for special occasions, and keeps them for decades. However, fragrances are delicate and degrade with time and exposure to air. The key is, find something you love and use it! Don’t save it for once a year! Use it. Also, remember there are a lot of wonderful, beautiful perfumes at a lot of different price points. If you can’t afford that $400 perfume, then notice what you like about it, what type of scent it is, and find something with similar notes that you can afford! And use it. It even okay to have a scent wardrobe! A lot of us love a lot of different scents. Just make sure it’s not quietly fading away in a drawer somewhere. You and your perfume deserve to be together. If it starts to smell stale or acidic, it is time to say goodbye.

As for other products like bath products, hair products and sunscreen, rest easy. Apparently, these often have a lot more stable ingredients and are usually labeled with an expiration date. The expiration date is a good guide, although if you want them working in tip top form for as long as possible, you should keep them someplace cool and dark. Maybe under the sink or something.

In any case, if you’ve been sick with something contagious or bacterial based you should probably replace your makeup, at least anything used around the eyes or mouth. Also, if something changes in texture or color or has a funny odor that wasn’t there before, it could be compromised and it’s a good idea to get rid of it.

As always, I leave you with a coupon code.

  • SSS – Free Skin So Soft Original 4-piece set with your online Avon order of $50 or more plus free shipping – Expires: midnight September 16, 2016 



Fall Wardrobe Overhaul

It’s been a crazy week. I have all the laundry in the world in my house and I’m behind. I know it’s only Tuesday but  with school starting, the weather just cool enough so that every morning there is a debate about jackets, then Back to School Night, and all the usual husband, home and kids nonsense, I’m just running crazy. This is especially true because I don’t want to deal with any of it. I just want to crawl into a book and sip coffee. Mmm, that sounds great.

On the last post, I was talking about Fall Fashion. I love Fall for fashion. Summer is fun and all, but I love the rich colors, the boots, and all the layers. It’s hard to start making plans though, because my wardrobe is full of summer things, which at this point, I still may need some days. However, there are things I don’t like, things that don’t fit, and things that have been around way too long that I really need to get rid of. And that’s just my wardrobe! I really have to get in and dig out all the stuff from my kids’ clothes that is old, ragged, or just doesn’t fit those rough and tumble boys anymore.

So, here’s my method. First, the kids. I sit down in front of their closet and chest of drawers with a couple paper grocery bags. Sometimes I write donation on one or more of those bags. I dump all clothing  2 sizes smaller (or more!) than the last clothes I bought them into the donation bags. All except cut-off pants or stained or ripped clothes – those go in the trash. Then I go through and check the sizes only 1 size smaller than their newest clothes. Those I check carefully. Sometimes those still fit, and sometimes they don’t. It turns out children’s sizes are no more uniform than women’s sizes.

Now the hard part. My clothes. These are annoying because I have to try things on. I have to look at pretty party dresses, and try to remember when I last wore them. I have to think about how often I wear things, whether they are flattering, and of course, check for damage. I have to look over my regular everyday  clothing and wonder, am I wearing this too often? Does this even look good on me? Did I get a stain on it last time that cannot be removed? And of course, maybe I should wear something else? This is frustrating. So, my current method is not the most efficient but it works better than throwing my hands up and walking away.

I set up a few paper grocery bags – donation, out of season, and throw away. There are two ways to deal with out of season. The lazy way is just to decide what you do no want to wear in the Fall/Winter and toss them in the bag. This is a good method. The harder way is to decide what you do not want to wear during Fall/Winter, then try them on and check them for damage and fit and how well you like it on you. Then, separate them into the Out of Season bag and the Donation bag. This is the better method, but best done when you have more time, patience or wine. After that is done, then you can attack the rest of your clothes looking for damage, trying them on, and judging how flattering or fashionable they are then separate them out accordingly. The winners get put back in your closet or moved to the laundry room or car for repair, dry cleaning, or attempted stain removal.

Then of course, one has to tackle the shoes. Then the belts. Maybe purses after that. Then, the worst, the jewelry. Do I really need that clunky pewter bracelet I picked up in 1998? I love these shoes, are they really ruined? Where did I get this belt anyway, is it even mine? I tend to do this in stages. No, wait, I mean, spurts. I do this randomly, occasionally, with no rhyme or reason. Also, if you can, play happy music, preferably loudly. When you are done, it is a good time to reward yourself. Personally, I am planning on this woven bag from Mark. Or maybe these new Moto Boots?

As always, I leave you with a coupon code, good today only. It’s Customer Appreciation Week at AVON, so there will be new specials every day on my eshop. Orders today over $60 will receive a 8-piece Customer Favorites Set with code DAY2 – remember today only for this code!



Fun Stuff on the Horizon

I’ve been very busy with my AVON business. I’ve been planning and learning and generally getting pretty excited by things. I think one of the best things about starting your own business is getting really excited about it. You have direction and motivation. It’s actually pretty fun.

I’m sending out my first Sample of the Month club packets today, as well as my first customized skincare sample set. They were a lot of fun to put together. I’m going to borrow my husbands little photographer’s lightbox that I got him for Christmas a year or two ago and take some shots of my sample sets. I’m not a great photographer, but I am good at research, so I can easily find hints and tips for that. Having my own business helps direct and focus my research urges in useful and fun directions. Left to my own devices, I end up randomly researching things, like the history of roses in America, local haunted hotels, or the use of leeches during the American Civil War. While that is fun, it is good to have a reason to research something.

One of the best things about having an AVON business is the community. I get so many great ideas, and good advice from websites and Facebook groups. There are live conference calls, and Youtube videos. There are even in-person meetings and events sometimes, although I haven’t been to one of those yet. I have signed up for a local AVON event that’s happening in my town in a month or so. So many women, and some men, helping each other and cheering each other on. I really love that.

So, I’ll end this post with the big news that my customized skincare regime sample set is now available. It’s only available in the continental US and it’s $15, which includes a travel sized cleanser,samples and shipping.


Mama’s Day Off

Well, technically it’s not a day off. Just like usual, I got the boys up, fed and dressed, then off to school. I took care of the dog and the husband. I did some online work for my AVON business. The normal SAHM stuff. I even emailed my doctor for some advice.

What makes this Mama’s Day Off, is that instead of continuing to work until it’s time to pick up the kids, I’m going to spend time with one of my closest friends. She is moving to Southern California soon and we are making the effort to spend some time together before she does. Of course, we will still be friends. Distance cannot break true friendship apart. However, our Sunday Breakfasts together will be much more rare.

I’m kinda excited because the skies the limit! Well, not the sky. More like 2pm is the limit because I have to pick up my kids and go back to the Mom Gig at that point. Still, there is a lot of fun to be had in a few hours by a pair of determined women. After the coffee of course.

So far our ideas include a trip over the mountain to the beach, shoe shopping, brunch, or a local museum. The beach is a 45 minute drive from here with no traffic. We may have to scratch that one. There are also outlet stores about 40 minutes away. Museums could be good, because this would be a good chance for her to see something local before she’s no longer a local. There are several amusement parks within easy drive. We’re pretty central to a lot of things here.

Anyway, this is what I’m excited about today. Friendship should be treasured. I’d end this post with my usual AVON coupon code, but I’ve got two, so pick your favorite!


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