Just be… YOU!

d5b635c2a38c538b18cddbbf797e93c0.jpgThere is a lot of talk lately in the media about being your “Authentic Self”. And while some of you might think that is new fangled hippie nonsense talk, in truth, it’s all about being you. Being who you REALLY are.

For so long as a kid and teen, we are taught to fit in, or be ostracized and teased (oh hi there, that was me), and at some point in our lives, we realize that fitting in SUCKS. Doing what you want, finding a group of people who think like you, are interested in what you like- That’s a true way to find happiness.

In that vein, I was recently approached to get my hair done by Mai at  Plaza Hair Salon. I’m a pretty hardcore frugal DIY’er and that goes for beauty as well. But the chance to get my hair done by someone else, and try something that was beyond my skill level was so tempting.

For YEARS (more like decades), I’ve had shoulder length red hair in one shade or another. Which I like, but deep down, I’ve wanted to have purple hair. I had purple hair in high school for about eight weeks, until the choir director flipped his lid (whatever- The school colors were purple and yellow- I was just showing my school spirit), and then I stripped it and dyed it red again.  Sadly, few photos of my purple hair exist. I was very camera shy in High School. Ya know, since I wasn’t a “cool kid”. I was a goth choir dork.

I figure I’m at a point in my life, where if I want purple hair, I’m going to do it, dammit.  I don’t have a “real job” (aka an office or 9-5 job), and if purple hair is who I feel I am, then let’s do it.

Mai at Plaza Hair Salon selected three sweet colors- a dark purple (to cover my natural hair color aka my grey roots), a vibrant purple, and magenta. She and her awesome assistant started their magic, and about 5 hours later… I was done! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen some of my photos during the process.

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The before- sitting pensively thinking Deep Thoughts.

If you’ve never had your hair colored brightly before, it’s a process. Thankfully, I had fortified myself with caffeine, and I brought my phone charger with me! The time passes quickly too.

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 2.37.43 PM.pngAny dye is stripped from your hair (that takes about an hour), then your hair is washed and dyed. After the red hair color was stripped from my hair, I looked a little Like Jem. My hair was shades of light yellow and pink.

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Unflattering Selfies FTW!

After my hair was dried, Mai and her assistant set to making me my Authentic and purple self. They applied the purple and magenta dyes and I chilled while the dye processed.  After it was rinsed out and my hair was washed and conditioned, Mai and her assistant blow dried and styled my hair. I have never been happier with my hair.

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So soft, so purple-y!
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Holy Crap- It’s amazing!

Now that it’s a color I’ve wanted for so long, I find myself doing all kinds of fun stuff with it. Like this, and this.

Taking care of purple hair isn’t much different than taking care of any other color treated hair. I wash my hair only 3 times a week- Really, you don’t need to wash your hair much more than that. I use a sulfate free shampoo for chemically treated hair, and a moisturizing mask 2 times a week to keep my hair soft and tangle free.  I also use this Pureology spray as a de-tangler/leave in conditioner daily. I’ve got really fine hair that tangles really easily.

I get a lot of compliments on my hair, mostly from older women who tell me that they wish they had the guts to do it. I’ve been telling everyone who says that to me that it’s never too late to give yourself crazy hair, even if it’s clip in highlights like these (I also have some too. We usually use them for halloween). Kids love my hair too. I had a gaggle of third graders at my sons school tell me I looked like Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony!

I do plan on keeping up with the maintenance on the color. It’s permanent dye and the vibrancy hasn’t faded too much. I may not be purple haired for as long as I was a red head…But then again, you never know!

Whether you decide to color your hair, get a tattoo, buy a new outfit that isn’t what you usually wear (I’m totally buying this dress next week), it’s ok to do what makes you happy, and what makes you feel like your authentic/real self.  Life is what you make of it, there is no sense in spending it unhappy.

I received a free hair color/cut in exchange for this review, but all opinions and ideas expressed are my own. There may be some affiliate links sprinkled in the post- if you click on them and purchase items, I may receive a commission. You can learn more from our Disclosure page here.

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Review- The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go

Screen Shot 2018-06-07 at 10.13.47 PM.pngWe are big into outdoor cooking: Grilling, Dutch oven cooking, heck, even sometimes cooking over fire (ok, so that’s usually just s’mores, but that’s cooking, right?). When Laura Bashar, the author of The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go offered me copy of her book for review, I jumped at the chance!

If you’ve never cooked in a Dutch Oven or over coals, Laura gives you the primer! She goes over all the deets: How many coals you need to achieve specific cooking temps, various cooking techniques (over flame, over coals), and how to translate the recipes to be cooked indoors (just in case you want to try these awesome recipes and aren’t planning on camping any time soon).

The recipes are easy to follow and follow you through the day: Breakfast, lunch, appetizers, dinner, desserts, and even side dishes. And it’s not just the typical camping food, there are recipes for the kinds of food you eat at at home! Just because you aren’t at home, doesn’t mean you have to live off of hot dogs, Dinty Moore canned stew, and cold cereal.

My family poured over this cookbook during our last camping trip and we have planed an outdoor cooking afternoon to try out a lot of these recipes in the coming weeks. Check my Insta Feed in the coming weeks for pics of some of the dishes we create.

 

Why I Love…. My Smartphone

purple crocus

I am not what is referred to as an early adopter of technology. I held onto my flip phone until about 2 1/2 years ago. Seriously. My Flip Phone didn’t even have a camera.

Now that I have  smartphone, I don’t know what the hell was wrong with me. My phone does everything! My purse is a lot lighter now that I no longer carry a planner, memo pad, and a few dozen pens with me. I also carry a lot fewer coupons too.

That is mostly because of all of the amazing apps out there. Check it out:

This is just the first page of the Money Saving screens. I have one other that’s mostly grocery store apps (Ralphs, Food4Less,), and also apps like Shopkick.

What I love is that a lot of these apps can be used together, and with paper coupons in some cases.

I recently posted about Dosh. I love that I was able to take advantage of a 10% cash back offer from Denny’s through Dosh, after I had used a $5 off coupon in the restaurant. Then I uploaded the receipt to Receipt Hog to earn points (that I redeem for cash sent to my paypal account), and there was a Cash Dash offer of 2% back.

My full list of Smartphone apps can be found here. 

In addition I use my talk to text multiple times a day. I also have “Hey Siri” enabled, so she can send texts, take notes (frequently ideas for posts or articles), and answer stupid questions while my hands are occupied. I do a lot of work while I’m driving. Siri is like the secretary I’ve always wanted.

I’d like to think that I am more productive with my phone- and my hands free phone holder.

 

Review: Sun Tail Mermaid Monofin & Shark Fin!

IMG_7128.jpgAbout a month ago, I posted that we’d be getting Henry a Mermaid tail or Monofin and Shark Fin from Sun Tail.

 

It arrived about 10 days ago, and I am just now posting because the kids are FINALLY in bed at a reasonable time and I’m not exhausted.

Ok, so i can’t wait until Christmas to give this to Henry! The monofin is super sturdy and well-made.  I tried it on, I won’t lie! Both feet slide into the center area and it’s very snug. I’m not worried about it falling off during an upcoming “shark Henry attack”.

IMG_7129 (2).jpgThe Shark fin is made of lightweight foam and has straps that snap around the wearers torso. From their website, “It provides buoyancy and functions as a floating device for kids just learning to swim, and it’s loads of fun for older, stronger swimmers who just want to play shark in the pool. SwimFin is also a flotation device that complies with international safety standards. And after it has done its job as a learning aid, SwimFin will always find use as a fun water toy!”

If you are looking for a fun gift that encourages your kids to be active, check out SunTail! They have monofins, mermaid tails, shark fins, and all sorts of goodies for the active kiddo (or adult) in your life! Right now my readers receive a 10% discount on your order at www.SunTailMermaid.com by using coupon code: BestGiftEver

http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13540&dealid=3452 .@usfg

 

Holiday and Game Day Fun with Hormel Gatherings Party Trays!

I received free product in exchange for my honest review. I love this time of year- We go to and host so many events: Holiday Parties, Craft Play Dates, College Football and NFL Watching Parties, and of course Coupon Meet Ups!

Snacks are a huge part of any event, so I was stoked when Social Insider and Hormel asked me to review Hormel Gatherings Party Trays. If you’ve never heard of them before, it’s basically a party in a tray! They are an easy, stress-free appetizer option.

IMG_7110.jpgThere are three varieties: Hard Salami & Pepperoni Party Tray, Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray, and Supreme Party Tray. They all contain Sargento Cheeses and Hormel Meats.

I chose the Honey Ham and Turkey Party Tray for our recent dinner party. We got together to play games and hang out.

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The tray is super sturdy, which is definitely a plus. Each component is packed up in the tray. All you do is open each sealed bag, and arrange the tray in a manner that suits you. Because of the tray and great snap-on lid, I think this would be a great addition to any tail gating event or potluck! Super easy to transport and store any leftovers- But who am I kidding… There won’t be any leftovers.

If you are feeling fancy, you can set out condiments that would go with the meats and cheeses. I mixed up some honey mustard and opened a jar of spicy stone ground mustard.

IMG_7116.jpgHere is the plate that Henry made for one of our guests. For a 6 year old, I’m impressed- He also took the picture with my phone. I love having the kids help with holiday events. It helps them get into the spirit too, and reminds me that these kind of events should be low stress.

Bitty Bird “helped” by stacking up paper napkins and announcing when guests arrived (“Mommy and Daddy, Peoples is in our HOOUSSSEEEE!!”), and Henry helped me by picking up the toys in the living room, taking coats, and getting drinks. He pretended he was a waiter. It was pretty funny. He refused to let me take his picture, but at one point he had a kitchen towel draped over his arm. He has asked that we serve PB Sushi at our next “fancy grown up party”.

Hormel Gatherings Party Trays are available at Walmart, so you can pick one up on your next visit while gathering other party supplies.

I’m giving one reader a chance to share Hormel Gatherings Party Trays at their next get together! One lucky reader will win a coupon for $15 off the purchase of any one Hormel Gatherings Party Tray 28 oz. or larger.

Entering is easy: Just leave a comment with your favorite holiday beverage to serve at parties. I’ll choose one winner on December 5, 2017.

The down side of reviewing….

 

I love reviewing products. If you want to start reviewing products, I have a list of sites here.

Every once in a while the product isn’t awesome. When that happens, there area few steps you should take:

  • Email the company or your point of contact and tell them know there are issues. Be precise as to what the issue is- being vague helps nothing. Often times they will not ask you not to review the item.
  • Offer to ship the product back if they email or send you a shipping label (The reviewer shouldn’t have to pay to send an item back). If the company doesn’t want the item back and it is not broken, consider donating it to charity or giving it to a neighbor on your local Buy Nothing group.

Most review websites give you a timetable in which to complete your review and other social media mentions. If you can’t get an answer back from your contact prior to the completion date and you can’t get an answer, you have to post some kind of a review or risk losing your account on the platform or having a negative effect on your standing. And that is where we are right now. I don’t want to lose my account or standing with Tomoson, because for the most part I have had great experiences with their site and tried some really cool products.

IMG_7020.jpgI signed up to review InstantPeel via Tomoson. I was hired to review it on 11/8/17 with 14 days to complete all of the activities (write a blog post and share on social media).  The company was supposed to ship the item to me directly. After 12 days (that leaves me 2 days to try the product, take pics, write a review and post to social media). I messaged the company via Tomoson right away to let them know I was allergic to two of the ingredients and that I needed some advice on next steps ASAP.

That was last night.  I have not heard back from them yet, and since I only have until 12:01AM to complete my tasks, here we are… I have messaged them again, but without any other way to contact them, I’m at an impasse.

img_7021.jpgIMG_7022Yeah, Shrimp Extract. For someone allergic to shellfish, that’s not something I want to rub on my body.

And yes, I did look online for the ingredients before I signed up. The ingredients listed on this Amazon listing for the product are completely different.

And this isn’t really a peel. It’s a gommage (which is French for erase or eraser). A peel sloughs off the dead layers of skin generally by using enzymes or acid (sometimes fruit based like Alpha hydroxy acids). A gommage is treatment applied to the skin, then after a length of time, the skin is rubbed and the product balls up and flakes off the skin.

So here is my review: I don’t have one because I can’t try a skincare product that contains allergens, and given the time frame I was given, I don’t have time to find someone I can test this on.

 

Gorgeous Watches from JORD (Enter to win $100 off!)

One of the perks of blogging is that I get to work with INCREDIBLE brands. I was recently blessed to work with JORD, maker of INCREDIBLE wooden watches.

Wooden watch you ask? Yeah. JORD creates beautiful timepieces focuses “on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. We make our watches for people who don’t just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go.”

I love that in this culture of disposable stuff, JORD watches are made sustainably. The watches are so well-made, crafted and shipped with care. I mean, check out this cool box:

IMG_6880.jpgThe lids slides off to reveal a lovely Dark Sandalwood watch nestled perfectly on a herringbone pillow. I love the Sandalwood watch- The dark, warm wood looks so rich paired with the black and silver face.

In addition, each JORD watch comes with a small brush tipped bottle of finishing oil and a microfiber cloth to clean it.

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JORD makes watches in 13 different woods from Acacia and Koa to Zebrawood! There is really something for everyone. JORD has watches for men and women, and they are offering my readers such an incredible deal: Score 25% off with coupon code”abbyhewes.”

OH, BUT IT GETS BETTER!!! Enter to win a $100 off your JORD watch here. The Sandalwood watch I received has a starting price of just $139 (You can make upgrades to it for an additional amount).

I cannot wait to gift this watch- I have someone special in mind. I know they will love it, just as much as I do.

I’d love to thank Bill and his entire team at JORD as well as the awesome peeps over at USFG for the opportunity to review this beautiful watch. All opinions are my own, and I was not financially compensated.


Ladies Wood Watch
—————————————————————————- Wood Watches by JORD