Thursday, March 31, 2016

Thursday Thoughts on April eve

1. Covenant House PA made that $100,000 goal I mentioned. Thank you again to those of you who pushed for that! We all have a no money down opportunity to help this week! Covenant House has been chosen as a finalist in the IKEA Life Improvement Challenge, which gives IKEA US co-workers the opportunity to nominate a local charity to win an IKEA makeover of a space that helps to improve the lives of others in the local community. Co-workers and customers vote for their favorite charity, and the winner receives an IKEA makeover to help them in the important work they do to improve the lives of others in the local community.  You have the opportunity to vote for a makeover of Covenant House's common space...I've been in it. It could use it. These kids deserve more. To vote, click here, then when prompted, choose to see the PA - Conshohocken Store Projects and vote for Covenant House PA. I mean, really...who better to win a Life Improvement Challenge than a place committed to improving the lives of kids that have been forgotten by others? Covenant House helps these kids build a future that includes self love and respect, honesty, and trust; productivity in school and in the workplace; and permanent housing that is not on the street. This is the space as it exists now:
2. So Operation Purge and Reconfigure the basement is moving along. Tuesday night I got a wild hair up my ass and rolled up the rug and moved a couch from one room to another by myself. Then MFD got home and started working with me and witnessed two to three hissy fits about the fucking TV from the land before time that is being removed by Sunday or...else. The wood tables are going too. Sorry for the shitty, dark photos, and it's not remotely done, but it's in progress and progress feels good. Top two when I started and bottom two when we called it a night.

3. Two places that have killed it for me customer service-wise recently: Zulily and Wayfair. Both have credited my account and advised me to donate the items that were not working for me, and they did it with a lot of niceness.

4. Last day of my birthday month. I still haven't gotten to Abe Fisher. I'm coming for you, delicious foods. I swear.

5. Heeeee.

6. Seen on the train platform this week:

7. Since we're on the subject of reading, I finished Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga this week. One about women tortured in the Ravensbruck camp in WWII and one about teenage suicide partners. Just a little light spring reading. Please pass the book with photos of baby animals and no words. Show Us Your Books is on Tuesday, April 12.


9. Wear bracelets on weekdays and take picture proof, one of my spring goals, is on track...aside from Day 1, of course. I always fail on day 1 of something like this or a spending freeze. LOL. Instead of sharing all at once, I'll probably throw the pics for the past week in a Thursday Thoughts post like so.

10. E-card of the week...Tuesday morning a woman on the train was telling anyone who would listen that she had to come into work even though she has the are not that important, but you are now much hated by your fellow commuters. Stay home!

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for What's New With You?

What's New With You

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Growing Pains

I am not a person who expects anyone's life to be all roses regardless of what they have going for them. It's important to have perspective on where your problems fall in the grand scheme of things but also to recognize that everyone, regardless of where they are in life, has problems. Problems we create for ourselves and problems we're given, long-term problems and temporary problems. Sometimes they first feel like problems but are really just growing pains.

Owning a shore house is a tremendous blessing that has also brought a lot of added responsibility and required a lot of change: how we operate, how we spend money and time. I knew running this as an investment property would challenge me. I've been in need of a challenge. My life was running like a well oiled machine, cruising along on auto pilot, gladly entrenched on safe ground. That's one of the reasons I married someone who pushes me out of my comfort zone: to make sure I don't get stuck in neutral.

This week marked six months of shore house ownership. Part of me still can't believe we own this house. The other part of me knows we do when I look at our bank account and feel my tenuous hold on the reins of other areas of my life.

At times in this process I've found myself giving in to my old habit of worrying about things that aren't going to happen or things that are out of my control. Every time I drive away from that house I think about all manner of catastrophic events. Then there's the rental component. Will they like it? Will it be comfortable? Do they know it's a 116 year old house and that we can't change certain things about it? Will they notice its charm and not where it lacks? My logical self knows I could knock it down and build the Taj Mahal and still get complaints. Some people will complain about a picnic in heaven. My skin will get tough on that but right now I feel oddly exposed, unsure, and vulnerable like I do whenever I overthink things. 

I've been operating far out of my comfort zone. I've made a lot of mistakes since October. I've realized I know jack shit about home improvement. I've wasted time, money, and energy. I've done things backwards and fucked things up. I've been reminded of the fact that I cannot have everything done the way I want it, which invariably means immediately. I've doubted myself. I've been completely at a loss more than once. I've had to ask for and accept help (best work crews ever). I've had to learn how to deal with my husband as a business partner, and how to be a reasonable business partner in return - not easy for my burn it down personality. There are a lot of things we should have known and didn't. Things we should have thought about and didn't. It's been a trial by fire but as Emerson said, our strength grows out of our weaknesses. This list is not for self flagellation or to say I didn't do's to say I had to change to meet this challenge and that taking on new things means making a mess and making mistakes along the way.

Operating outside of my comfort zone makes me uh, uncomfortable. Change, even when it's a change for the better - starting a new exercise program, quitting smoking, embarking on a new career path, bringing a baby home, purchasing a house, moving in with someone, welcoming a puppy to the family - is a huge stretch. It can feel bad even when it's for something good. We are changing to meet challenges, adding facets to our personality, removing things that don't serve our purpose. We're becoming what we need to be and that process is not without its twinges.

One of my predictable life patterns is that I flounder while I'm getting my bearings after a big change. Honestly? I didn't expect to still be floundering six months later. I'm not floundering as much as I was in October, but still feel not on top of my game or like I'm watching myself manage my life from behind a sheet of glass.

Why am I telling you about it?

It feels dishonest not to, a sin of omission. I can't post a million times about time management, organizing, and cleaning and then fail to mention that at times I am also totally unsuccessful at those things. I don't always have my shit together. Sometimes it's falling out of my bag as I walk. Focusing on this, I've had to let some other stuff slide. After the weekend that was, plenty of stuff is left undone, usually on purpose so I can sit on my ass and do nothing because that's important too. I think we do each other a disservice when we act like we can do it all. We can't. I can't. And I'm okay telling you I can't.

So this is me six months later, acknowledging that it's been rewarding as hell, that I'm so grateful that I still cry about it, and also that it's been harder than I thought in ways I didn't anticipate. I'm not looking for head pats or reassurances. I just want to let the universe hear that I'm working on adapting to new routines, assimilating this into my life, learning from my mistakes... that I'm stretching and reaching for my balance again. It will get easier as time goes on and I settle into it. I'll grow from these growing pains. I just need to have patience.

Do you guys know where someone can get some patience? Asking for a friend. 

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Pineapple Stuffing

I'm not typically a fan of fruit where it doesn't in stuffing or with meat or in salads. I'm not much for mixing my sweet and savories. I make an exception for this pineapple stuffing. It's sweet but delicious and good for holidays since it's a total fatassery dish. 

Ingredients - this makes enough for the 8x8 above, you can double and make enough for a 13x9
6 slices potato bread, cubed
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained (I found no crushed so I used cubed)
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1 stick of melted butter
a few grinds of salt from a grinder

Preheat oven to 350. 

Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Mix gently with a plastic spatula. Spray an 8x8 with nonstick spray and bake for 45 minutes.

One of the reasons I share recipes on here is to have my own place where I can always find them instead of having to save photos like this from my mom. LOL

The Return of Haikuesday
Savory or sweet?
This leans right. Consequently, 
Spring means smelly feet.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

TWTW - the one with Easter

Noon dismissal on Friday, holler. I got home around 1, changed the sheets, ran the dishwasher, packed up the car, and hit the road with the dogs before 2. Mae was my co-pilot. When we got there we went right to the beach so the dogs could frolic. I organized the efficiency unit with stuff we need for the season (tools, extra lightbulbs/batteries/etc). My label maker was afire.
Debbie arrived around 6 and we went to the Big K and Shop-Rite before having dinner at Piccini and admiring the newly installed exterior lighting that is so bright you could land planes near our house if there was room. We watched Pretty Woman and I painted my nails and called it a day at 12:30.
I was up at 6 and had the dogs down at the beach for about 50 minutes. They do not share my appreciation for watching a peaceful sunrise. They prefer to jackass around.
I putzed in the kitchen for a while, then Debbie and I went to Sunrise Cafe for breakfast, then stopped back at home to finish making ribs and walk the dogs. We spent the afternoon strolling on Asbury Avenue and found a new favorite shop: Blue Eden. We also picked up cookies from Crazy Susan's Cookies and went to Rite-Aid twice because it's like my second home since Wawa is still closed for repairs from the January flooding.
MFD arrived and Jimmy Mac joined us for dinner.  MFD was aghast that I had no marshmallows and improvised with Peeps on top of the mashed sweet potatoes. MFD and Jimmy went fishing and Debbie and I watched the Villanova game. We were supposed to do face masks but I passed out on the couch around 10 and slept until 8:15 the next morning. The dogs were pooped too.
So no Easter sunrise, but it was overcast. The dogs and I headed to the beach at 8:30, then we crapped around and had a lazy morning. MFD went to church, I cleaned the top two floors and made sweet potato treats for the dogs, Debbie made her famous deviled eggs, and we read magazines and relaxed and snacked.
Simple and early Easter dinner - ham, pineapple stuffing, steamed asparagus, and deviled eggs. The two blondes immediately passed out.
I took my bike for a spin and took the dogs down for a beach walk.
I got home at 6:30 and emptied the dishwasher, picked up around the house, did laundry, applied a face mask, showered, and was in bed reading by 9. Ahhh. The shore house has no central heat so it was nice to be back in mine.

Weekly food: leftover ham and ribs for dinners along with steamed veggies and the rest of the pineapple stuffing. Breakfast is breakfast burritos from the freezer and baby sweet peppers, lunch is leftovers today and I need to figure it out for the rest of the week.

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I hope you had a fabulous Easter. 

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Weekly Wrap Up

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday Thoughts - this week is still happening

1. Ladies, I need to recommend these Lou & Grey pants from LOFT to you for bumming around in this summer. Relax, enjoy.

2. Thanks so much for the love on my Tuesday post about not waiting in this life. In times of loss, writing is cathartic for me. It helps me work through things. If it helped you too, I'm glad.

3. The online Stella & Dot party I'm hosting is still happening. Click here to shop, 40% of the proceeds go to Paw Works, a no-kill animal rescue in Los Angeles. Do it for the doggies. Some of my favorite Stella & Dot stuff is actually not jewelry - I love their Getaway bag for weekend trips (mine was a gift from Lori a few years back), and this little elephant bag to carry my weekend stuff back & forth to the shore.
4. Speaking of the shore, this is the second weekend in a row I was supposed to be there but am not able to be. I'm learning how to work out needs of incoming renters without physically being there, which is important in a pinch. I need to get down there at some point, maybe a quick down and back Saturday night. Debbie and I are heading down next weekend for sure. I need to zone out and the shore is a good place to do that especially when I can't get into the main house to do any work in there. LOL

5. I scored Bruce tickets for September 7. 

6. I have heard the word shart at least 10 times this week. From different sources. I could include many shart week memes right here but I'll spare you even though like farts, sharts are always funny. You're welcome.

7. My skin has reverted to super dry winter skin and I've had to pull my vitamin D body butter back out. Where are you, spring?

8. My house is a wreck but I got to sit outside in a rocking chair with my wonderful niece for a while last night and watch her watch the world. It was better than cleaning by a mile.

9. It's carnie week on my street. If you get home late you get to park far from your house and retrieve your car in the dark of night in your pajamas, dodging the late carnival leavers (stop looking at me Swan), scurrying through your neighborhood like a sewer rat, and hoping the Glamour Don'ts crew is not on patrol.

10. E-card of the week:

Thursday Thoughts before Easter

1. I like to think about the people we cross paths with in life, especially when they are so different from us. I liked this passage from Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, which is what I'm reading right now. The next Show Us Your Books is April 12.
2. I am remiss in announcing that I did pull a winner from my birthday giveaway. Christine C from Philly won, and I donated $25 to the charity of her choice this week. She chose The City of Elderly Love Rescue, an organization helping elderly pets here in Philly. Huge thumbs up to that pick Christine! I am assembling her box of fun things and will mail that out next week. I'll show you guys what was in it after she gets it. Thanks to all who entered!

3. Tuesday was library day. I have a shit ton of books to get through from Netgalley...did that stop me from plucking two off the shelves based on the covers alone? No. It did not. I try to always use my dorky tote bag on library day.
4. I preach a lot about self care but my follow up regarding monthly massages sucks. So Tuesday night when I got my massage, I made appointments for three months out. Boom.

5. Terrorism. As an individual, it's hard to fathom what I can do to combat it. Then I think, be mindful. Be mindful of what I'm putting out in the world. Be mindful of my words, my thoughts, my energy. Look for the light. Don't dwell in the dark next to the fear and the rage and the cowardice and all the lesser emotions that can combine and give small groups of maniacs a foothold and a gathering place. I'm not praying for Brussels today - I'm praying for the whole damn world. Thanks to my friend Brie of A Breezy Life for sharing this on her instagram:

6.  Our shore renters for this weekend cancelled Monday due to a hip break. Not mad about it since we're still having issues with our gas wall heater despite getting it looked at twice. Given that we're not getting the electric wall heater/AC installed until April, my overactive worry drive can take the weekend off. I'm going down there this weekend with the intention of only organizing the efficiency with owner's stuff for the season and not doing anything else except trying to act like a part-time resident.

7. Yesterday was bananas. I was solving a major technical work problem in the Target parking lot at 9 p.m. AFTER saving $32.76 in Target like a fucking boss. I also got rid of the couches in the basement, successfully giving them to someone, so Operation Reconfigure Basement can fully commence Sunday night. My soul feels lighter already. I had someone claim them and then continue to never pick them up for two weeks...I didn't think it would be that hard to get rid of free furniture. But they ended up going to a home that is happy to have them so all's well that ends well.

8. I rickrolled Laura the other week. It makes me laugh. So does this t-shirt.

9. Did you guys read Jill's blog on LUSH products? Don't forget to enter to win $25 to LUSH by following her on instagram (@kicksandlipsticks), uploading a pic of your favorite LUSH product or one you want to try (grab a shot from the website here), and use the hashtag #lushtastic.

10. E-card of the week...

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for What's New With You?

What's New With You

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Covenant House Sleep Out, and a few thoughts on charity

Let me start off by saying that I don't ever do any charity-related thing so people will tell me "that's great/you're awesome." It's nice to hear, sure. But that's not why I do it. Since the dawn of social media there are people out there who say they do good deeds all the time and don't share anything about them because they're not doing it for recognition, implying that the person who posts about good deeds *is* doing it for recognition. I call bullshit. I want people to talk MORE about the good they're doing, and to talk about it with a full heart that spills over onto other people. When I participate in a charity's big event, I post about my experience on social media because
a) I'm passionate about causes I believe in and I want to spread awareness
b) I want people to know this charity exists and the good it brings to the world
c) I want people to donate or support the charity with non-monetary donations in kind if they are so moved to

I hope you're out there stumping for your pet causes too. We don't think twice about sharing a photo of dinner or a gym check in, but we consider refraining from charity posts because we might seem braggy? Don't even. If you're posting about charity for altruistic reasons like normal, good human beings, please keep posting about these worthy organizations and the important work they're doing.  If you're posting about charity work to pat yourself on the back or act like you're better than others, you're going to get a hot poker shoved straight up your ass by karma. Your motives are up to you to work out.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program: the Covenant House Sleep Out.

Friday night we arrived at Covenant House at 7 for a Sleep Out. We were voluntarily going to sleep outside for a night to raise awareness and money for homeless teens. We were handed papers that had half hour workshops on them. I was tired from a long week. Irritated. Hot in the building. Listening to the staff and the over 18 kids at Covenant House speak about what their lives were like snapped me out of my petty grievances pretty quickly.

One of the things that struck me was how they describe life on the street as your body either being in a constant state of flight or a constant state of fight. The adrenaline that is not a rush but a consistent flow. After one night of sleeping outside - in a contained parking lot with a cop in front of it, with cardboard for shelter and a warm sleeping bag, which is more than these kids have on the street - I really cannot imagine how they go through their days. And yet that's exactly what they do - they get up, they make themselves presentable, they go to school, they hold down jobs...all while trying to figure out where to sleep that night. And with adrenaline that never stops rushing through their system. I don't know about you, but I feel ill after adrenaline bursts. What if I felt that all the time?

These are not the homeless people most of us see in our minds - dirty, smelly, incoherent, mentally ill or on drugs or drunk. These are kids that were forced out by circumstance or because their parents changed the locks and told them they had no more homes. They are kids that do their best to hide in plain sight and not be fingered as homeless.

After sleeping out one night, all day Saturday I was off of my game. My brain was fuzzy. My heart was racing. This is meant to mimic how there is no sound sleep on the street - every steetlight, every car that goes by, every loud own subconscious let me know I was exposed all night, even though I was surrounded by 40 other people, a fence, and a cop. What is it like for people who don't have those safeguards? Not too fucking good.

These are the kids we all point at for wanting a hand out. We wonder why they can't stand on their own at 18, 19, do we expect them to when no one taught them the skills to survive in normal life? And surprise! Not one of these kids that I heard talk on Friday night wants to live off of the system. In fact, even after all they've been through, they want jobs and positions that will enable them to HELP OTHERS in their community. THEY were worried about US sleeping outside for ONE night. The difference between a life of crime and depravity on the streets and a life as a productive, contributing member of society is a place like Covenant House. They show these kids their worth and praise their resilience. The first girl I heard speak said "I know no matter what happens I can rely on myself. I learned that here."

This is a program and a place and people I can get behind. Covenant House does not stop at offering an immediate safe harbor. They strive to move each young person forward down the path to an independent adulthood, free from the risk of future homelessness. Every young person receives individual attention from caring adults who are ready to lend a hand up to a better opportunity.

I could go on forever praising Covenant House and their role in the lives of these kids. They are the only shelter for kids under 21 with families who can't or won't care for them. I know, you're thinking 21, shit they should be on their own...coming from where they're coming from, it's about 100 times harder for them to be on their own at that age than it is for 95% of us.

Covenant House feels less like a shelter and more like a family home that's also a school of life. They teach these kids how to get on another path. Covenant House also attempts to help the kids outside its walls, doing outreach on the street in the most dangerous neighborhoods. They are also the leading member of the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition. I left on Saturday morning thanking the universe for the existence of Covenant House and crying much of the way home. The stories I heard and the experience itself was really emotional.

I also left knowing that I have found a cause worthy of my time and money, a place I want to spread the word about. Thanks to our friends Joe & Catie for putting our team together and putting Covenant House on my radar.

For those who want to know more about the tenants Covenant House operates on:

The first workshop was structure. Street life is very unstructured. Covenant House has curfews, phone rules, and wake up rules (6:30 a.m.). As a person who only functions at my best with a routine, this spoke to me. How can you have a routine if you're going through every day wondering where you're going to sleep that night, if the few possessions you have are safe, where your next meal is coming from, where you might use the bathroom? You can't.

The second workshop was immediacy. Young people are welcomed without question or cost. The foremost goal is to provide quality services to youth in need in an immediate fashion. That means no long intake forms. No need for ID. Unsafe, right? Something I didn't know: most kids are kicked out of their homes without ID. Some have previous foster families hold their birth certificates for ransom. You're 18, get a job, right? Pretty hard to do without any identification. I would not have known how to go about getting my ID if my parents withheld my birth certificate and social security card. One of the things Covenant House does is get these kids proper identification so they can navigate life...and the job market.

The third workshop just about broke my soul. It was sanctuary - a safe haven from the street is one thing, but the important thing is that Covenant House emphasizes the inherent worth of these kids. Many of them arrive at the door without anyone ever making them feel like they're worth anything. We have all made mistakes. Most of us have a support system that let us know that we are not our mistakes. These kids don't come from that. The two that spoke in this room just astounded me. A tall black kid without a father since he was seven, killed in the drug trade. An aunt who molested him. A mother who beat him with every available object, and when he was 16 demanded that he face down a gang with guns to be a man and protect his family. He had nowhere to go except Covenant House and now he's going to college to be a nurse. And he was quick to smile and joke...after all that bullshit. A girl with a psychologist father who put her in the hospital more than three times. A mother who kicked her out starting at 13 and banished her for good at 16. She slept under slides in Camden, was assaulted on the street, and hospitalized again. She went to the state and was told they couldn't help her. She ended up at Covenant House, got her dental assistant degree and is going on for more schooling. She was so passionate in her belief that she is in charge of her life and what she becomes, not her past. Her voice shook with emotion but she was resolute. I was so proud for her.

The fourth workshop was value communication - communicating values which are life enhancing and not destructive. Kids know they need to lie, cheat, and steal to survive on the street. Covenant House enters into a relationship with them based on honesty, love, trust, and respect. Simple, right? Not if you didn't grow up with those values.

The final workshop was choice. Covenant House's goal is to empower the young people they serve. They must choose to enter this relationship freely and choose to change how they operate in life.

Covenant House is 99.9% publicly funded and a little under $3,000 from reaching its goal of $100,000 raised from this sleep out. If you are inclined to donate, please click here and if you're local to a Covenant House, check out the link above for in-kind donations.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


My great friend and personal product guru Jill, a professional makeup artist and cosmetology educator at PB Beauty School in NJ, is back today! Beauty is her passion and she's gracious enough to stop by here once a month to share her knowledge and favorites with us.Last time she covered bargain beauty buys and this time she's talking about LUSH. 
Follow Jill on Instagram: @kicksandlipsticks

Let's talk skincare. I am sure all of you have a beauty routine of some kind involving a facial cleanser of some sort. I used to use bar soap before I got into the beauty industry so my skincare regimen has changed dramatically over the years. But the biggest change came just within the past 2 years. I was turned on to a company called LUSH by one of my students and I, as well as my skin, have been singing their praises and reaping the benefits ever since.

What is LUSH and what makes them so extra special? Here are a few great reasons.

My absolute favorite thing about LUSH is that they DO NOT ANIMAL TEST! I am an animal lover and think it is completely unnecessary for any company to practice animal testing. They have a very strict policy and will only buy products from companies that also practice safe testing alternatives. I am not an expert in the area but I do know that with advances in technology laboratories have been able to develop tests that will exhibit the harmfulness of a product on a human and the environment without needing an animal. To learn more about their policy and their slogan visit:  LUSH.

The ingredients they use are almost all natural. They have little to no synthetic ingredients. Think about that for a second..... that is amazing! They use only the freshest of ingredients including fruits, veggies, and essential oils. They make the most wonderful fresh face masks. They only have a shelf life of about 2-3 weeks and must be kept in the fridge because the mask isn't being packed with preservatives and chemicals to last longer. To see a full list of the ingredients they use, you don't have to look much further than their website: Lushopedia

They are huge on charitable contributions. They have donated over 10 million since 2007 to grassroots charities. They sell an amazing hand and body lotion called  "Charity Pot" in the store and use 100% of the contributions of the price (minus taxes of course) for charity. The price ranges from $6.00-$25.00 depending on the size of the container you purchase. I love a company that is so popular doing the right thing and giving back.

ON top of all of that- the packaging is simple and made of 100% recycled plastic. They will even reward you for returning 5 empty and clean pots with a free fresh face mask.
I am going to share my LUSH routine with you guys and if you get into one of their stores or have a minute to shop your website pick up one of their products. You won't regret it!

I use this facial cleanser every single night, it is gentle and smooth, smells nice, and works great at cleaning my skin and removing makeup that a wipe didn't get completely : 9 to 5

One night a week I give myself a facial mask, I have used this on other areas of my body that just felt rough including my hands and elbows. It is absolutely amazing, makes the skin feel so smooth and it has a beautiful glow to it after. My must have mask is : Mask of Magnaminty (Steph's note: I had to run out and buy this on the day Jill sent me her blog post!)
After my cleanser or mask (depending on the day) I will use a toner water. This is great for helping to remove dirt deep in the pores and will also help to close the pores to keep dirt and makeup out. I prefer a spray toner and so the ones LUSH sell are ideal for quick and easy usage. The one I prefer is: Eau Roma Water 

After my toner, I will apply my moisturizer. I have dry skin and have a sensitivity to many moisturizers but this one is perfection and has never given me any issues. I also will use this on many of my clients prior to applying their makeup and they always comment on its fragrance. My top moisturizer is: Celestial
The last piece of my facial routine is my lip scrub. I can't imagine life without one. I think it tastes good and it makes my lipstick lay smoother on my mouth. I have tried many of the lip scrubs they offer but my favorite is : Bubblegum

My product collection doesn't stop there, in the shower I use Ocean Salt for my body exfoliator and have since turned everyone in my life on to this product, including my boyfriend who uses it on his face as well.

After a long day working in the salon atmosphere my body is aching and I don't always want to grab for the aspirin. I found a nice alternative in their massage bar. It has a combination of a perfect cinnamon smell and a massaging feel from the beads on the one side. It is very soothing and I have gone through 3 bars in the past year or so.

 In honor of my good pal Steph's birthday I am going to keep the gift giving going! Here is how you can win a $25 GIFT CARD to LUSH.
To qualify: 
1. Follow me on my instagram @kicksandlipsticks
2. Tag me in a pic of your LUSH favorite or a new LUSH product you're trying or would like to try
3. Use the hashtag: #Lushtasticgiveaway
The photo with the most likes by April 7th wins!
wearing my most favorite mask!

LUSH is full of goodies that you and your whole family, kiddies included will love. If you are already a LUSHie like me then please let me know some of your favorites! If you haven't tried them before give them a shot and check back in to let me know what you've used! 

Thanks so much to Jill...I had to rush out and get MagnaMinty the day I read through this email. I hope you win the $25 LUSH giftcard!

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