1. Roxy Lido II They are so comfy and perfect if you have a wider foot or higher instep. They have them in many different styles on Zappos. I might just have to get another pair :)
2. BRAGG Apple Cider Vinegar I've been adding just 1 teaspoon of this in my tea every day (3 times a day) for the last couple years. I swear it wards off sickness (especially the stomach bugs). I buy this locally at Common Ground downtown Bloomington, but I've recently seen it at Meijer too. It keeps your bowels regular too (here we go again, all this talk about poop, ha!)
3. Nike Training Club App My sister got me hooked on this while on vacation. It's perfect if you need an "at home" workout and there is so much variety at all different levels and the app is FREE! I love my bootcamp classes and this is a great addition to it, especially if I can't make it to a class or on days I have off. And sometimes, I can get my boys to do it with me!
4. BRIK-A-BLOK These things are awesome and my kids still play with them, even after having them for 2 years! They are on the expensive side, but they last a long time (if my 2 crazy boys haven't broken one yet, then they are made well!) and they are a lot of fun. Endless hours of creative playing at its best :) I would recommend splurging for the 46 set because they'll use every last one of them! It's about $180 for the set.
5. Lettuce Knife Did you know that cutting your lettuce with a metal knife will cause it to turn brown? So, they make a special lettuce knife that is actually plastic! I found mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I'm sure they sell them just about anywhere. They're about $5-$8.
After the winter we've had, my skin hasn't seen sunlight in months, so I was dreading wearing a swimming suit and blinding everyone around me with my white-white legs! So I googled "spray tans in Bloomington, IL" and I found "Spray Tan Lady" on Facebook. Jessica seemed legit and had good comments from other followers on Facebook so I gave her a call. I booked it for the day before we left for vacation, per her suggestion.
Now, I had never had a spray tan before (well I did one of the automatic ones about 8 years ago and I was NOT a fan), so I had LOTS of questions. I called her at least 3 times before she came. Jessica was so nice and friendly, which made getting naked in front of her a lot less awkward.
So just in case you're a newbie like me, here's what I found out.
1. She's a mobile spray tanner, so she comes to you! She has a fabulous pop-up tent that she can set up anywhere in your house.
2. You want to exfoliate beforehand, but not within 24 hours of getting your spray tan. That includes shaving!
3. If you plan to wear a swimming suit at some point afterwards, you'll need to be in the buff for the spray tan. Don't worry, she assured me she's seen it all, ha! The most awkward part is that little line under your butt cheek, so you have to stick your butt out for about 3 seconds while she sprays it.
4. The spray does not get anywhere in your house because you're inside a tent.
5. She can go as natural or as dark as you'd like. AND she can contour your body to make your waistline appear smaller and your boobies bigger!
6. It doesn't matter if you've just had a manicure or pedicure :) It won't ruin it or discolor it.
7. It takes about 45 minutes from the time she gets to your house, set up, spray, tear down.
8. It costs $40 and if you have a spray party and invite 4 of your friends, yours is free!
9. For an added $5 you can get any of these add ins: slimming, anti-aging, fragrance, opalescent or bronzing shimmer.
10. You want to wait as long as possible before showering and when you do, don't use a loofa, just hand wash and pat yourself dry. Also if you don't take a hot shower it will extend the life of your tan. This doesn't mean you have to take a cold shower, just not a steaming hot one.
11. You should moisturize your skin at least 2 times a day to increase the longevity of the tan.
UPDATE: Now that I've returned from vacation, I can add a couple comments on how the tan wore on. I was most happy with how my legs looked. Legs just look so much better when they are tan! My only complaint is that you could tell where I crossed my legs because the tan wore off in 2 little circles where they touched. It's a habit and don't even realize I'm doing it! No one else noticed until I pointed it out, so I wasn't really worried about it. But something to pay attention to in the future.
I was well aware that getting a spray tan before going on vacation where I knew I'd be swimming would decrease the life of my tan but I was happy with how long it actually lasted. I'd say I got 5-6 days out of it. Obviously it would have lasted longer had I not been in a pool everyday!
I'm sure you're wondering about the smell... When I've used self tanning lotions, one of my biggest complaints is that I smell like self tanner all day! The spray tan wasn't anything like self tanners. I could still smell it a little the next day, but it wasn't as strong as self tanners. My husband couldn't smell it, so it might have been my heightened sense of smell :)
All-in-all, I would definitely do it again. It's a great value for what you get and you really do look naturally tan afterwards.
Here's a before and after picture (the after picture was taken the next morning). I can't believe I'm showing a picture of my stomach, but I wanted you to see how the contouring looked.
I made this dessert on the day that the weather man said we'd get another 6-8 inches of snow. We are totally sick of winter and we needed something that reminded us of summer - lemons and strawberries! My son and I made up this recipe from another similar recipe, the Chocolate Lasagna (which, by the way, is amazing! Here's the link for that if you'd rather go the chocolate route.)
We finished an entire 9x13 pan of this in 1 day! My husband LOVED it and has asked for me to make it again already.
So here's the recipe.
1 package of lemon Oreos
1 bar of cream cheese (8 oz)
1 container of Cool Whip (12 oz)
2 Tbsp of milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 package 3.4 oz Lemon instant pudding
1 package 3.4 oz Vanilla instant pudding
3 1/4 cups milk
6 Tbsp butter
1. Crush the package of lemon Oreos (either in a food processor or in a plastic bag).
2. Mix the crushed Oreos with the 6 tablespoons of melted butter. Once it is all combined, pat into a 9x13 pan. Place it in the refrigerator while making the other layers.
3. Next whip the softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl. Once light and fluffy add the powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp of milk. Then add 1 and 1/4 cup of Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the crushed Oreos and place it back in the fridge.
4. In another bowl, mix both pudding mixes with 3 1/4 cups milk. Beat until it starts to stiffen. Let sit a couple minutes and then spread it on top of the cream cheese layer. Put it back in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to let it thicken a bit more.
5. Finally add the remaining cool whip on top. Refrigerate for a couple hour and it's ready to serve with fresh strawberries or blueberries on top.
My family is going to Florida for spring break this year and we're driving down - 22 hours, with a very energetic 3 year old and an impatient 6 year old. (Say a prayer for me now!) Knowing these lovely qualities of my children means I've got a lot of planning to do to survive this 22 hour road trip. I've been scouring Pinterest to get ideas and running all over town to pick up... well, everything under the sun it seems. My husband thinks I'm crazy and totally over thinking this, but I know that after 18 hours and we're all tired and ready to be there I'll need some tricks up my sleeve to make time fly by!
So, this is what I'm packing to keep the littles busy....
1. COOKIE TRAY - This is a must! It's perfect for keeping all their stuff on their lap. I found these at the Dollar Store and they are smaller than most, so it's perfect for little laps.
2. ART SUPPLIES - I'm bringing plenty of crayons, markers, paper, scissors, stickers, etc for any art projects. I did buy 2 new coloring and activity books to pull out if they get bored with just paper.
3. TREAT NECKLACES - I bought this blue plastic string from Hobby Lobby to use as the necklace, then they can string on Gummy Life Savers, Fruit Loops, Cheerios, Pretzels, and cut Twizzlers and enjoy an evening treat.
4. POPSICLE STICK SHAPES AND LETTERS - I also purchased popsicle sticks at the Dollar Store and put velcro on them so my 3 year old can work on SHAPES AND LETTERS. The leftover sticks I wrote the alphabet in upper case and lower case so he can match which goes with which.
5. TOOTHPICK MODELS - Marshmallow and spice drop shapes and models with toothpicks. This is always a favorite activity with my kids, I think because not only do they get to build stuff, but they also get to eat marshmallows and spice drops :)
6. CUTTING - My youngest loves cutting things and I found this Melissa & Doug activity book made specifically for cutting, at the Gingerbread House! I think he's going to LOVE this!
7. WATER WOW! - Melissa & Doug travel pads that just use water to paint the picture. Much easier than taking paints on the road! Another Gingerbread House find. (They have tons of travel stuff that they just got in - lots to choose from for all age groups).
8. BACKSEAT BINGO - my oldest LOVES bingo, so I'm hoping he gets in to this. This is from the Gingerbread House too and there are 2 game boards in 1 pack - perfect if you have 2 kids :)
9. MANAGING BEHAVIOR - I happened to find a package of fake dollar bills at the Dollar Store (imagine that!) and I'm going to use these as an incentive for good behavior. They can earn dollars along the way for being good (not whining, not fighting, asking for things nicely, sharing, etc), then they can use that money while we're at Florida for their souvenir.
10. CALCULATOR - My oldest is obsessed with math and numbers, so I picked up a cheap calculator for him to play with. As odd as it sounds, little things like this go a long way if they don't always have access to it. I might regret packing this device because I'm sure this will end up a math game in which I'll be adding as many numbers together as possible.... and let's just say I don't share his enthusiasm for math equations!
11. LEGOS - My kids our all about legos right now. We have an entire bin full of them, so a small portion is coming with us. All I have to do is dump them on the cookie tray (and hope they don't drop the tray, ha!)
With a couple new DVDs and new apps for the Ipad, I think this trip will go smoothly. I'm not expecting perfection, but hoping we all make it there still happy to be around one another, ha!
P.S. - I should do a whole other post about the snacks I'm bringing - I'm a snack queen and always bring way too many, but my kids LOVE this about me :)
Melissa Ash - mom of 2 energetic boys, wife, and business woman. Just trying to "do it all".