My Quarantine Beauty Favs and a Giveaway!

Here in California, as well as all over the nation, many businesses that are not essential are closed. That means no hair cuts, manicures, pedicures, massages, all the fun stuff that helps us relax and de-stress. Lemme tell you, after 5 months (as of Thursday) of being home with the kids all the time without knowing what is going on most of the time (or what is coming up next), I’m feeling a little stressed.

Most of you, I’m guessing, are in a similar situation. Recently I took some of my side hustle cash and splurged. Well, for me it was a splurge. I spent money on myself on some self-care items that were very much needed. These are my favorite beauty/personal care items that are helping me get through these uncertain times. 

I’m in love with this scrub! Everything by Tree Hut is awesome, but this sugar scrub is tits. It’s got Shea Butter to moisturize, sugar to exfoliate, and it smells like summer. I usually buy it at Walmart, but Amazon has it cheaper (especially when you subscribe and save).

 

Nature Nut Hair Conditioner for Dry & Damaged Hair– I discovered this conditioner through one of the companies that I test and review products through, and for the life of me, I can’t remember which one. Regardless- I am HOOKED. First of all, it smells great. Second, and most importantly, it makes my hair feel great. Smooth, soft, shiny, all that good stuff. And that’s important because my hair has been through some ish this past year. Purple hair is a lot of work. The shampoo is good too, but the conditioner? That stuff is tops!

Speaking of purple hair, I use Ion Permanent Brights Creme from Sally Beauty in Purple. Of course, you gotta have a developer, and a bowl and brush, and gloves too. I color my hair with this about every 8-10 weeks. My hair grows pretty fast, and to be honest, my hair is coming in more and more grey, so it’s super noticeable. To stretch my permanent color, I’ll hit the ends with a semi-permanent dark pink about week 4-6, and refresh the remaining all-over color with a semi-permanent purple. Right now I’m digging Color Jamz ( Reapsberry Kamikaze and Purple Passion to be exact). I use the pink on Bitty Bird’s hair too- It washes out in about 2-4 weeks.

I’m a huge fan of good skincare products. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my self-care DIY facial flat lays. A couple of my go-to summer skincare products are:

Noexema– Seriously. It is incredible for soothing sunburned skin. I keep a jar under the skin for this very reason. Slather on a thick layer over sunburned skin and rest for about an hour. Rinse off any excess on a cool shower. Pat skin gently to dry.  

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater This toner is very soothing and calming. I stash this in the fridge in the summer and give myself and the kiddos a spritz a few times a day. And it smells nice too. 

I know that some extra time in the shower, scrubbing with some yummy sugar scrub isn’t going to make all the shenanigans going on in the world melt away. But if I can give myself some grace, chill the fuck out, and have a few extra minutes to myself, I’m going to do it. 

Oh, and if you are wondering what kind of hand sanitizer (called hanny-sanny by my daughter) we like- Usually I’d say whatever is on sale, but since there was a recent debacle about some imported Hanny-Sanny being poisonous (WTF?), we’ve got a couple of large bottles of Kundal Fresh Water Hand Sanitizer that are pretty good. And it’s not sticky. Having used many types over the past few months, I’ve come to discover that some types/brands are sticky. EW. Also, I’ve come to realize that most of it smells like cheap vodka, and now I have no desire to drink vodka. 

And now for the Giveaway- I want you to splurge and get yourself some awesome self-care goodies too. Leave me a comment on this blog post: What would you buy FOR YOURSELF with a $25 Amazon GC? You can earn a bonus entry by commenting on this Instagram post. I’ll choose a winner on 8/23/2020. I’ll notify the winner via email.

DIY Cloth Masks- Links and Tips

There are a lot of patterns and videos floating around the internet for non-medical personnel to make their own masks to keep safe in public when we have to go out for necessities.

These masks don’t filter all dangerous pathogens, but they are a good way to remind ourselves not to touch our faces, and keep our germs to ourselves.

MyBluprint has patterns and info here. There are several options/patterns, including a pattern for those who cannot or do not sew. MyBluprint is also hooking us up and staving off boredom by extending their FREE online crafting classes until 4/16/2020.

92393442_10157973738991061_532184793442418688_nIt’s a great way to learn some new crafts, or just watch the videos and plan for later.

I’ve been making masks for family and friends who are essential employees, you can see some of the pics of me making silly faces and modeling a couple different ones here on Instagram. *Warning*- Quarantine hair in the pics.

I used the pattern from Kaiser Permanente, which you can see here. There is a printable pattern on page 11 of the PDF.

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This fabric came from Dollar Tree!

Here are a few helpful hints that I’ve discovered in making over 20 masks this week:

  • Make a few masks per person. They need to be washed after each wearing in hot water.
  • If you don’t have any fabric in your home, you can use cotton bandanas, old sheets or pillowcases. The fabric needs to be tightly woven like cotton pillowcase fabric. Avoid sheer and or gauzy fabric.
  • Elastic is very hard to find these days, so I used new elastic hair ties, like these in the kids masks (I made the ear loop masks for them). I got hair ties at Dollar Tree (some Dollar Tree locations have precut quilters cotton fabric too). The majority of the masks I made have ties and are for adults. We are keeping the kids out of public as much as possible.
  • If you want to make the masks a little more protective put a layer of shop towel or interfacing between the layers of mask. I couldn’t find either at the time, so I skipped this.

I’d love to see what your DIY masks look like! Leave a comment. If you need masks but don’t sew, there are a lot of local seamtresses and costumers that are out of work right now who are making masks to help pay their bills.

March is National Craft Month! Free Crafts & Crafting Deals!

MyBluprint.comI learned today that March is Craft Month, which is awesome because I am always down for a good craft!

If you are looking for craft supplies on a budget, here are my top five tips:

  1. Thrift Stores are a great place to start scouring for craft supplies. Frequently thrift stores bundle up craft supplies.
  2. Sign up for rewards programs at your local craft stores and/or download their apps. Both Michaels and Joann Fabric & Crafts have apps with coupons to save you more!
  3. Dollar Tree has great craft supplies. Our favorites are their wooden boxes, craft kits, pom-poms, chenille stems, and hot glue sticks!
  4. Craft supply swaps are a great way to trade supplies. I host once a year or so, right before school lets out. Everyone brings their excess/unwanted craft supplies and it’s a free for all swap. Leftovers are donated to a local school or scout troop.
  5. If you have liquid/wet supplies (like ink pads, glue, paint, etc), make sure to check them before plotting out a project. Nothing is worse than sitting down to do a project to discover that your glue/paint/whatever is all dried out. BUMMER!

If you’ve got kiddos, check out the free week of crafts at Michaels, starting today.

AllFreeKidsCrafts Spring Crafts eBook is now available for download here. I found 3 new crafts for the kids to do today- they are going stir crazy because it’s raining here.

I know some of my readers love their wine, and if you are one of them, FaveCrafts has something just for you! Their latest free eBook, 25 Cool Things to Do with Old Wine Bottles is available here.

If you are looking for something different, perhaps learning a new skill or skills, check out Blueprint!

Blueprint has all kinds of online classes, videos, and articles that you can access with an unlimited membership, or you can take a singular class online. They also have a great selection of free articles and patterns here. Whether you want to learn about sewing, cooking, quilting, embroidery, art- Blueprint has classes for everyone!

In celebration of National Craft Month! Get ANY Blueprint class for just $10 with coupon code “CREATE10”!

 

Getting Crafty with Dollar Tree!

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Now through 4/4/2020, Dollar Tree is hosting a Best DIY Spring Wreath Photo Contest! You could win a $100 Dollar Tree Gift Card. To enter or learn more, click here.

I’m going to check out the Dollar Tree next door and see what I can make!

Did you know that you can order from Dollar Tree Online and have it shipped for just $4.95 (*Restrictions apply. See website for details.)? Perfect for planning Easter events!

pick.pngI just discovered that if you don’t need an entire case of 1 item, Dollar Tree has “Pick and Pack” service. This would be great for restocking up craft supplies, household goods, or picking up seasonal or holiday goods!

 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Frugal Home Repairs…

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Drip…Drip…Drip. Just the thought of that sound gets my hackles up! Recently, our master bathroom faucet started to drip. In a matter of a few days, the drip became a tiny stream.

Armed with our trusty Home Depot Repair guide, I looked through the plumbing section and found the section that applied. I headed off to Home Depot to buy a faucet puller.

Sometimes home repair manuals aren’t enough. Thankfully there are so many great videos on Youtube. These videos are often made by professional plumbers or tool/hardware companies. They can be a very valuable resource, especially if you are a visual learner.

This is the video that was the most helpful. Step by step directions, helpful tips, and it was realistic as to how much work it would take.

I am a DIY-er from way back, but even I know my limitations. Working as a team, we were able to take the faucet apart, install the new part and put it back together. Now it’s dripping a lot less.

The problem isn’t 100% fixed, but we’re still working on it. That’s the other thing about DIY home repair- Sometimes it’s not a quick 5-minute fix. Sometimes it’s a multiple-day, multiple trip to the hardware store, watching lots of Youtube videos, googling the same question in different ways.

This was the 3rd home repair I had tackled in the past 6 months. The other two were pretty easy, relativity speaking (replacing the flushing mechanisms in two separate toilets- both were different).

Here is my advice if you endeavor to tackle home repairs:

  • Google is your friend. Look up information before you get started.
  • Youtube can be a lifesaver! Check out multiple videos, especially videos made by professionals.
  • Check out the home repair book selection at your local library. While I linked to the book we used on Amazon, most branch libraries have all sorts of books on home repair.
  • Ask the dudes at the hardware store. The guy in the plumbing section of our local Home Depot told me he was a plumber, but he retired and picked up a couple shifts at Home Depot a week to keep busy. He gave me a bunch of tips, talked me through the process, and congratulated us on doing a job ourselves.
  • Hit up your tribe! Post a request for help on Social Media, shoot an email out to your peeps. You would be surprised how many people have done their own home repairs and may have tools to borrow, tips to share, or can lend a hand.

Talk Back: Are you a DIY Home pro, or are you intimidated by a toolbelt? Brag about your best home repair!

 

 

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, thank you for clicking through my links! For more information about affiliate programs and the links I use, check out my disclosure page.

Easy Home Maintenance: Cleaning Your Box Fans!

Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 7.35.48 PM.pngRecently, we noticed that our box fans weren’t providing much cool air. Before dropping over $150 to replace them all, I decided to see if cleaning them would improve their airflow capabilities. After all, they were still functioning mechanically, they weren’t putting out the air flow they used to.

With temperatures in excess of 80 degrees almost all year round here, box fans are a needed appliance in our home. We can’t go without them, as running the AC is cost-prohibitive.

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Oh dear.

These fans are all about a year old, and while I have vacuumed the front and back of them previously (I do it once a week), they had never been taken apart and cleaned.

Gather all the tools needed before you start. For this job you will need:

  • A sheet to cover your work area.
  • A screwdriver (our fans all have Philips head screws)
  • A dish to hold the screws while the fan is disassembled
  • All-purpose cleaner. I used Comet Lilac Bliss- it’s what we had in the house, and it worked really well.
  • A stiff-bristled brush. I used the brush I use to scrub the soap scum/hard water deposits out of the bathtubs (like this)
  • Rags or really scratchy paper towels. You need something that will trap the dirt.
  • Vacuum Cleaner with a brush attachment.

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Before: This stuff was tough to scrub off!

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Once again, my Dyson Vacuum saves the day!

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After: So fresh and so clean!

Here are my tips for deep cleaning your fans-

    1. UNPLUG THEM! It seems like a no-brainer, but I’m going to remind you to not clean appliances that are still plugged in.
    2. Remove the front and back plastic pieces of the fan. Ours were held together with 6 screws.
    3. To remove the dirt/fuzz/cat/hair/whatever grossness that was on the fan front and back, I placed them in the bathtub and sprayed them down with all-purpose cleaner. I allowed them to sit for about 20 minutes while I cleaned the fan blade and fan case.
    4. Using all-purpose cleaner and a rag, carefully spray and wipe the fan blades, both front and back sides.
    5. Using the vacuum hand tool with the brush attachment, clean the interior of the fan case, as well as the backside of the fan motor. I was amazed at the amount of fuzz, dirt, and hair was around the intakes for the fans.
    6. Once the fan blades and fan case are clean, return to the bathroom and scrub the fan front and back. Rinse and dry completely.
    7. Reattach the front and back to the fan case, plug in and test out. All 6 fans worked 100% better after being cleaned. This is now a chore that has been added to the end of season home cleaning list.

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Re-assembled and working like new!

Cleaning all of the fans took about 2 hours, and that included time to make snacks for two very starving kids, let the cat in and out a few times and help with math homework. Without distractions, I could have gotten done in about an hour.

In the future, I may invest in some of these Box Fan Filters, which until today I had no idea existed.

Taking care of appliances, like these box fans is just another way that we are able to extend the useful life of often-used items in our homes, and that saves us money in the long run.

Talk Back: What types of small things do you do to extend the life of your small appliances?

5 DIY Spa Treatments for Your Hair

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links.

I love DIY beauty treatments. Most spa-grade products start with natural ingredients or extracts of natural ingredients. Why not skip the pricy treatments and mix up some fun hair treatments in your kitchen!

Sneaking in a spa getaway before the holidays is easier than you think. Madison Reed wants you to know about these 5 swanky spa treatments for your hair. The best part? These deliciously healthy hair solutions can be found in your own kitchen!

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1. Beer is the Silver Bullet for Fine, Limp Hair

Believe it or not, beer is full of protein, which enhances shine, strength, and moisture.

HOW: Just open up a can or bottle and let it sit open for a couple hours to release the carbonation. After you shampoo, gently massage the beer into your hair, let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse. You can also put the beer in a spray bottle and spritz onto dry hair. The protein residue from the brew will help strengthen your hair.

2. Honey is The Bee’s Knees for Split Ends

Don’t worry, we’re not leading you into a sticky situation, you can safely put honey on your hair! In fact, it can be a miracle worker for damaged hair. Honey is antibacterial, contains vitamins and minerals, and is a humectant, which means that it attracts moisture to improve dry hair.

HOW: Using half a cup of honey, saturate your hair. Put on a shower cap to capture natural heat and put your feet up for half an hour (you deserve it). Rinse out the honey to reveal glowing soft, silky hair. This treatment will help reduce split ends and fly aways.

3. Baking Soda Gets a Rise Out of Your Hair

Time to apply our science class know-how to hair care! Baking soda is an alkaline base (the other end of the spectrum from acids). This is important for hair because excess oils and styling products get trapped in the cuticle of your hair, making it feel greasy and flat. Use baking soda to lift out those unwanted oils and product build up.

HOW: Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with small amounts of water until it forms a thick paste. Work this paste into your hair and let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing. Your hair will gain volume and feel bouncy and clean!

4. Avocado to Bring Down the Frizz

The oils in avocados are very similar to the natural oils in our skin. Combined with its proteins and nutrients, this is one hair-enriching fruit! Use as a smoothing balm to tame frizz and fly aways. In winter months, it can also reduce that annoying seasonal static.

HOW: Mash half an avocado until smooth. Massage into damp hair and leave it on for 20 minutes before rinsing. Your hair will be deeply conditioned. Bonus: if you have curls, this treatment will make them soft and defined.

5. Let the Light in with Yogurt

Yogurt does wonders for dull, lifeless hair. It contains lactic acid, which gently cleans off the environmental film that can build up on our hair, and milk fat, which adds incredible shine.

HOW: Massage a half cup of plain yogurt into damp hair. Put on a shower cap to capture natural heat. After 20 minutes, rinse your hair. Your hair will look like it’s glowing!

Treat yourself to one of these kitchen spa treatments once a week on rotation to relax and get healthy, gorgeous hair. Follow up with Madison Reed Radiant Color Kit that is healthier for your hair for a full beauty routine that leaves you feeling great, inside and out!

Free Credit Score and Monitoring with Credit Sesame!

Just like your home, your finances need to be cleaned up regularly. If you haven’t taken a look at your credit report lately,  it’s time to give your finances a fresh look and get your credit in tip-top shape.

Did you know that the recent FTC study found that over 20% of Americans or 40 Million credit reports have reporting errors that are costing consumers money in credit card interest rates and loans?

Start by making sure that your credit report does not contain erroneous information that could be impacting your credit score. Keep tabs on your credit report activities and your score by signing up for free credit monitoring and score services like Credit Sesame, so that you can easily protect your financial good standing.

* Receive daily credit monitoring alerts
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What are you waiting for? Click here to register for free in under 2 minutes. You’ll get your free credit score and a complete view of your credit and loans. Plus, when you turn on the Credit Monitoring feature, you’ll be notified of changes to your credit profile, along with $50K identity theft insurance and live agents to help you restore your identity in case of theft. All for free. All in one place.

 

Home Maintenance: Cleaning your Vacuum

IMG_6712.jpgI know, I know. It’s hilarious to think that you should clean an appliance that is designed to clean, but really, if you think about it, if a vacuum cleaner is clogged with dirt and hair it can’t do its job.

And that sucks (see what I did there?).

After reading the manual that came with our vacuum, I set to work.

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Freshly Cleaned

First, I took the canister off, dumped it in the trash, removed the filter, and washed them both. I used the blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. For the canister, I used a brush like this.

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Strings, hair, and a PIPE CLEANER???

Then I removed the brush housing assembly, removed the soleplate, and clipped the hair and thread off the beater bar (that’s the thing that goes round and round and has little brushes on it). Once the beater bar was clean, I washed the soleplate and brush housing assembly.

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Before being cleaned, but after being de-fuzzed.

I used a smaller brush like this, and also a straw cleaning brush to get into the tiny nooks and crankies. I think for next time I’ll be ordering a set like this:

It’s got all the size brushes you’ll need to clean out vacuum cleaner’s various parts. 

After everything was clean (it took about an hour, that included interruptions from the kids who needed snacks, cartoons, etc. And of course, the cat was starving and needed food RIGHT.NOW), I set them out on the patio bench on an old worn out towel that I use for cleaning. IMG_6706.jpg

The next day everything was bone dry and I re-assembled the vacuum cleaner and took it for a test drive. It was like using a brand new vacuum!

I clean my vacuum about once every six months. It helps keep it in good running order, which means it will last longer. Our previous Dyson lasted us 11 years, and I’d love for this one to last at least 11 years!

If you want to try it, I recommend that you check the owners manual for tips and instructions!

DIY Ombre Hair!

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Proof of my blonde-ness & that I had bangs

Last August, I had my hair professionally colored purple and pink, You can read about it here. As awesome as it was, it really damaged my hair. Bleaching your hair sucks.

I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 13. That’s… a long time. My hair has been pretty much any color you can think of- blonde, brown, red (so many shades of red), black, purple, blue, green….

In the resulting 10 months, I’ve been babying my hair. That means washing my hair twice a week with sulfate free, color safe shampoo, deep conditioning mask, including a weekly overnight leave-in mask, buying a new blow dryer that has a cold setting (which is awesome). And coloring my hair at home with very gentle semi-permanent depositing color in addition to the color (7IR Medium Intense Red Blonde) I’ve been using on my hair for the past few years. The red color blends well with purple and the damaged ends take color a little differently, so it’s usually a surprise what color they turn out- Some sort of purple-y pink most of the time.

I’ve cut off most of the damaged ends-  Right now the last 2 inches of my hair are all that remains of the bleached hair from last year. My hair grows fast.

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August 2018

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June 2019

I wasn’t interested in something as dramatic as last years transformation, especially since I am trying to get my hair to grow healthy again.

If you’ve never colored your hair before at home or if you have a job where funny colored hair isn’t allowed, I don’t recommend this at all!

If you’re new to hair color, especially funky colors, I do recommend Overtone. It’s a color depositing conditioner, and you can use it on any color hair. It won’t lighten your hair, but if you have dark hair, it will give you a cool colorful shine in the light. If your hair is lighter, The Overtone will give you a more obvious color.

So when I re-did my hair the other day, I didn’t take pics because my gloved hands were all goopy with hair color, but here’s what you need:

  • Gloves. I buy latex-free gloves by the box.
  • Hair color. I use this color (7IR Medium Intense Red Blonde).
  • Any developer that your color needs.
  • Glass bowl
  • Plastic spoon (you cannot mix hair color and developer with a metal ANYTHING)
  • I also use a plastic fork to apply the color (It’s a Dinglehopper!!)
  • Funky color- I use Splat 30 wash- it’s semi-permanent depositing color No bleach required. It comes in a bottle- there is no mixing.
  • Plastic shower cap

The Splat needs a longer time to process in your hair, so I apply that first.

I apply it to the ends of my hair and then I pour a little into my palm and rub my hands together and run my hands through my hair like I’m applying mousse. That gives me some highlights through my hair.

Or if I’m feeling crazy, I’ll dip the fork into the color and comb it through in a few places. I channel in inner Ariel.

Put my hair up in a shower cap and dance around the house, embarrassing my kids for 20 minutes.

While it’s processing, I mix together the other hair color and developer. Once the 20 minutes is up, I pull off the shower cap, and apply the dye to the rest of my hair, making sure to blend the areas where the colors touch.

Slap the shower cap back on and hang out until the second color processes (it depends on the color, what color your hair was to start with, etc. The instructions will tell you how long to let the color process (in my case, it was 45 minutes).

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Half-dried. It’s very bright under the vanity lights!

Then rinse, condition, and blow dry.

The Splat hair color is supposed to last 30 washes, but I find after about 15-20 washes it’s faded enough where I need to reapply. If you use Overtone, you can re-do it in the shower whenever you need to (it’s a lot less messy, but requires more frequent touch-ups. It’s a trade-off).

Other semi-permanent crazy color companies include Arctic Fox,  Pravana (it’s kinda messy), Manic Panic (this is also messy).

Most mainstream/drug store box hair color brands make more interesting colors these days, including Garnier, Schwarzkopf, and L’oreal.

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Car selfie of my fab hair

It’s all about being you- If having funky colored hair speaks to your soul- DO IT. If having tattoos or piercing is your self-expression, do whatever makes you happy! As long as your happiness doesn’t infringe on someone else- DO IT. The past year has been really hard on me, emotionally, but I’ve been able to express myself more, and in the end, I am a lot happier than I have been in years. I finished college, met new people, and I’ve been able to better care for myself and my kids.

 

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No filter- my camera lens was dirty!

My take away for this post is: Engage in Self-care that speaks to you!