The Video in Which I Pitch a Fit Over Lip Products

Products provided for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own (which is probably obvious…).

Y’all want to see me get madder than a wet hen? And over something that is probably not worthy of my level of outrage? Thought so! Check out my review of the April 2015 Beauty Box 5 offerings in the video below:

You guys, I honestly do love this subscription box. It’s like a fun, affordable little surprise in the mail every month. You can order month-by-month, but the best deal is the year subscription for $99, which equals just $8.75/box shipped to you. You can’t expect to love everything, all the time, but I think that’s understandable. And besides, if you don’t like something you can always post a YouTube video where you pitch a fit about your over-abundance of lip products and sound like a brat! ;-)

Curious to learn more? Check out my other Beauty Box 5 reviews below.

July’s Beauty Box 5

November’s Beauty Box 5

December’s Beauty Box 5

January’s Beauty Box 5

February’s Beauty Box 5

March’s Beauty Box 5

The Little Black Dress for 2015: Mine Has Pockets!

Dress provided for review consideration. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

One of the things on our 2015 vision board is to go on more dates. That means that I actually need to have a dress that doesn’t date back to 2010, when I last worked in an office setting and therefore couldn’t rock yoga pants 24/7.

I turned to eShakti to find a dress that might serve multiple purposes (date night, a memorial service, media events) and I was definitely not disappointed. I got exactly what I was looking for in this leafy vine embellished crepe dress and I got it customized so that it would fit me just right.

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The fit-and-flare look flatters my figure, so I started with that silhouette in mind. Then I customized this dress in a few ways. I believe its default pattern is to hit in between the knee an the ankle. This is a really bad look for a short, curvy figure, because it just cuts you off. So I told eShakti my height and asked that the dress be knee-length for me (knee-length for someone who is 5 foot 10 is different, hence the need to specify how tall I am).

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I also had these sweet little sleeves added. I thought it made the dress a touch more conservative and season-less, which is what I wanted. I thought it turned out great!

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And finally, I went for pockets, which I LOVE SO MUCH! Dresses with pockets are so smart and so practical. I was thrilled to be able to include that in the order.

But here’s the thing I want you to know: adding in all these customized elements was as simple as entering a little bit of information and clicking some options. You don’t have to be an amateur dress designer to come up with something that will work for you. eShakti walks you through the process and makes it simple to get what will work best for you. Also, customizing is just an additional $7.50 fee, which is crazy affordable. The dress I got, for example is currently on sale for $71.95 and if you customize it, the price goes up to $79.45. That’s pretty much paying an off-the-rack price for a custom dress. I don’t think you can beat that price!

I definitely recommend that you give eShakti a try the next time you find yourself in need of a dress. You’ll be able to find a look that fits you like a glove! Want to learn more about the brand? Connect with them on FacebookPinterest & Instagram.

Making Summer Road Trip Plans? NOW Is the Time to Get Your New Tires

This post brought to you by Cooper Tires. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Stuff Parents Need.

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I’ve got summer plans on the brain right now. I’m looking up fun things to do in the Phoenix area, and I’m also hoping to take my crew to the panhandle of Florida to enjoy those white sandy beaches!

You might be making your own summer plans, too. One of the items that you should definitely have on your list to take care of before hitting the road is making sure your tires are in good, working order. How’s the tread looking? It might be time to trade them out, and if so, the timing couldn’t be better because right now is the Cooper Tire Spring Event.

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Cooper Tires has a great set of tires for every vehicle and for every budget. If you have an SUV or CUV, you’ll want to check out the Discoverer SRX, which has been noted as a best-in-class product. This particular type of tire comes in 30 sizes, so it fits a very wide selection of models. One of the things that makes it unique is the Wear Square, which is a visual tread life indicator, and is exclusive to this type of tire. There are six points of reference around the tire, and as the tire is worn, the shape will gradually change from a square to an exclamation point when the tread is low and it is time to replace them. Pretty clever, no? The squares can also signal uneven tire wear and possible wheel alignment issues. In addition, the Discoverer SRX comes with a 65,000-mile Tread Wear Protection Warranty, as well as a 45-Day Road Test guarantee. Cooper Tires is confident that you will love these tires, but they want you to feel confident that you will love them, too, which is why these guarantees and warranties are in place.

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And no matter what type of vehicle you have, from now through April 15th customers at Cooper Tires are eligible to receive a prepaid Visa card worth up to $70 when purchasing a new set of four qualifying Cooper Tires. That can help you pay for gas for your road trip, and that $70 will actually go further than you might think because new tires = better gas mileage! You could also use the Visa gift card to help with the grocery tab when you arrive at your destination (we always make a trip to the grocery store while on vacation, do you?). 

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Even if your summer plans just involve relaxing in your own hometown, the winter we all just experienced was likely VERY harsh on your tires, so you should still take a close look at them and perhaps head in to your nearest Cooper Tires (here’s the Dealer Locator if you aren’t sure where to go!) to see if you can get a great set of tires for a great value.

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Got a Mess on Your Hands? Of Course You Do, So Stock and Save (Giveaway!)

The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own. All messes are those of my little toilet-paper hogging resident artists. 

If you have little ones in your house, then I’m guessing that you also have toilet paper hogs running amuck. The truth about how much toilet paper one needs during a typical potty session is a matter of much debate around here. My children seem to have reached a very different conclusion than mine, and so, I find myself running out of toilet paper frequently.

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Fortunately for me, Walmart is currently running a Stock and  Save event on a variety of great P&G products, including the Charmin rolls that equate to 72 standard rolls of toilet paper. Boom! Now through April 30th you can find some great savings at your nearest Walmart on all of the following products:

  •        Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent
  •          Tide Simply Clean and Fresh Liquid Laundry Detergent
  •          Charmin Ultra Soft or Ultra Strong Toilet Paper
  •          Bounty Mega Roll Select-A-Size Paper Towels
  •          Luvs Super Absorbent Diapers
  •          Pampers Swaddlers Huge Pack
  •          Tampax Pearl Plastic, Super Absorbency
  •          Always Ultra Thin Long Super Unscented Pads
  •          Always Discreet Maximum Underwear
  •          Always Discreet Moderate Regular Length Pads

I also made a point to get some Tide and some Bounty on account of all the art happenings around here. We’ve been working on a new art center for the girls (post forthcoming!) and the good news is that their art supplies are getting used a whole heck of a lot more! The bad news is that there more mess to clean up after all those creative sessions.

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Big messes are no problem, now! I should have enough paper towels to last me through the summer, and my girls will be home more often than not over those months, so that’s really saying something!

So before your next big mess or your next toilet paper emergency, be sure to head over to Walmart to get stocked up on great products for a great price. Your future self will thank you! 

Win it!: One lucky Stuff Parents Need reader is going to win a $25 Walmart gift card! Woo hoo!

Please remember, while Facebook rules prohibit me from requiring a “like” for an entry, know that your likes help increase the odds of more great giveaways just like this one, so they really do matter! :-)

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Be sure to enter the other current giveaways, found on the right sidebar of the blog.

Essential Oils for Weight Loss (6 Pounds Down in a Week!)

Don’t miss the info toward the bottom on the 2015 Weight Loss and Wellness Challenge which kicks off in early March! I hope you’ll join us! 

Disclaimer: I am sharing my own personal experience, but I am NOT offering medical advice of any sort. And while I mention this in the post below, I want to mention it again right here: PLEASE take great care when deciding whether or not to ingest essential oils, and if you decide to do so, carefully research the brand you choose. 98% of essential oils on the market are not safe to be ingested. Please consult your physician should you have any questions or concerns. Essential oils have not been tested by the FDA. 

Affiliate links included. I love promoting what rocks my world! 

Originally posted April 23, 2014. 

Last week I joined a small group of folks who were interested in supporting and encouraging each other (and even engaging in a friendly competition) as we work on our weight loss goals over the next 12 weeks. I have 25 pounds of baby weight still  hanging out with me, even though my “baby” is about to turn 2. I need some serious encouragement to help me get moving. And I need a little help, too!

You guys know that I’m really getting into essential oils (they are kicking my allergies to the curb and preventing my snoring!). So I heard about folks using a combination of oils as a natural weight loss aid, and thought now was a good time to try it. The only problem is that I have to actually make the capsules myself. That’s a little bit of a pain in the rear, but thanks to Amazon (shout out, Prime!) I had everything I needed on hand within 2 days.

Essential Oils for Weight Loss (6 Pounds Down in a Week!) - Stuff Parents Need

My Results

After week 1 in the group, I had improved on my water drinking (I used to drink 0-1 glasses/day…yikes. Now I drink 2-3 glasses a day…progress!). And I had REALLY good intentions of getting to the gym and of counting my calories. Neither of those things happened, though I did notice that I wasn’t snacking as much. I wish I could credit my awesome discipline, but I have no discipline when it comes to snacking. I’m a grazer, people. It’s what I do.

I DO give credit to these pills, though, which I take once a day, just after breakfast (speaking of which, check out this weight loss trick associated with the first meal of the day…blew my mind!). They successfully curbed my cravings throughout the day, causing me to not want to snack as much. You guys, this is not a normal feeling for me! I couldn’t believe it worked! But given the fact that I didn’t do any exercising and that I didn’t watch my calories carefully, I still didn’t expect to drop much, if any, weight. Maybe a pound?

At my second weigh-in, exactly 1 week after I started, I was down 6 pounds. 

SIX!!!! That’s not even fair! I never broke a sweat! I’m in third place in the entire group behind someone who was sick and suspects that might have something to do with the numbers, and a woman who worked out faithfully all week. Me? I remembered to take my pill and drink a glass of water.

BOOM!

(Edited to add: 2 1/2 weeks in and I lost 11 pounds, friends! I ultimately credit the oils with helping me lose 17 pounds after regular use for a few months, though please remember that these should be considered part of a weight loss regimen, not the entire weight loss regimen. Eating right and exercising are important!) 

Now, I’m not an advocate of weight loss that doesn’t come with a change in lifestyle. So I’m still planning on getting to the gym. In fact, I’m more motivated now than ever because I had a win right out of the gate.

I documented exactly how I put them together for you to check out if you are curious!

How I Mix the Weight Loss Trio

Ingredients

  • Young Living Lemon essential oil
  • Young Living Grapefruit essential oil
  • Young Living Peppermint essential oil

(Here’s more about why I use and trust Young Living essential oils. And here’s a direct link to the website to purchase them, though we’ll talk more about ordering later on. ) Please know that I would personally NEVER EVER recommend ingesting any other brand of essential oil, and that 98% of essential oils on the market are not safe to be ingested. Putting something in your body is serious business, so DO NOT choose something based on price, folks.

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The ratio of coconut oil to each essential oil is 2:1. So for every drop of essential oil, I need 2 drops of coconut oil. One capsule needs 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of grapefruit, 2 drops of peppermint and 12 drops of coconut oil. If I were to make every capsule by measuring out each oil, I would want to hurt someone. But there’s an easier way! :-)

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Since I already knew the ratio of essential oils to coconut oil, I started measuring by glass dropper fulls of oils. In a small glass container I added 2 dropper fulls of lemon, 2 of peppermint, and two of grapefruit (and a dropper full for me is when you put the glass dropper into the essential oil container with the top of the dropper squeezed, then let go so that it naturally fills…that point at which it fills on its own is 1 dropper full. Make sense?).

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Now that my essential oils are all combined, it’s time to put them together in the amber vial. I didn’t make very much since I wasn’t sure if I would like it or not, but next time I will make a large amount so that I have my essential oil blend ready any time I want to make a new batch!

The next step is to heat the coconut oil in a glass container in the microwave EDIT: I recently learned that microwaving the oil might eliminate the health benefits in the oil. I’m going to heat it on the stove next time. Should take no more than 30 seconds!. It heats fast, so it won’t take long. No need to measure right now; I’ll do that when we add it. Here’s what melted coconut oil looks like:

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Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, and that is why I did not add it to the essential oils blend that I put in the amber vial.

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Now it is time to fill the capsules! I remove the small end of the capsule, and take the glass dropper and fill it with your essential oils blend. Each capsule should have 6 total drops of essential oils added. Then take another glass dropper (I bought a set of vials and just borrowed one) and fill it with coconut oil. Each capsule should have 12 drops of coconut oil added. 

I was able to make 25 pills with this amount of essential oils. I put the capsules in the freezer. I don’t fear them going bad, as essential oils (other than citrus) don’t go rancid, and even that takes a long time. It was more about safe keeping. Also? I think they go down easy when they are cold! But maybe that’s just me… Edit: I’ve also learned from other folks that if they aren’t frozen, they will quickly start to break down and leak, so freezing them is the only way to go if you don’t want to be making these daily as you take them. 

Still confused about how to make your capsules? This essential oils for weight loss video might help…I show you the “speedy” way I put my oils together! :-)

How to Order The Weight Loss Trio

I can only speak to the effectiveness of Young Living Essential Oils. That is what I choose for my family, so that is what I recommend for you to use! Lemon and peppermint essential oils both come in the premium starter kit, which I talk about in detail here. It is the VERY best value in the entire catalog, and purchasing gives you automatic wholesale customer status, which means you can order anything else for a 24% discount (now, later, whenever!). The grapefruit oil is not in the kit, but if you have a wholesale member discount, you can get it for $16.75 plus tax and shipping.

If you aren’t ready to commit to the premium starter kit, I do offer folks new to Young Living the opportunity to try it out by joining in on the order I place for myself once a month. You can take advantage of my wholesale member discount, and even save a bit on shipping. The downside is that it will take a bit longer to get to you as it will ship to me first, and then come to you later. But I can order all 3 oils you need for $49.50 plus tax and shipping. Email me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com if you want in on my monthly order, or if you need help getting signed up as a wholesale member! 

Before I Commit, How Expensive Is It Per Pill?

So glad you asked! I’m not a big math person, except for when it comes to figuring out how much stuff costs, and then I whip out the calculator with glee! $49.50 gets you 3 bottles of oils that each contain 300 drops of oil. Each capsule requires 2 drops of each oil. So you have enough oils in each container for 150 days of weight loss pills, which is 5 months! This breaks down to just .33/day. $49.50 for a natural, drug-free weight loss aid that will last for 5 months?! That’s AMAZING!!! Please note that this figure does not take into account tax, shipping or any other supplies you may need beyond the oils.

Challenged by the price? I’ve got some great tips to share on how to get the price down as much as possible for Young Living essential oils!

Join the Weight Loss Challenge!

In early May 2015 a group of folks will be meeting together (via Facebook) to challenge each other, encourage each other, and to get educated on how essential oils can help us on our journey of weight loss and wellness. If you are ready for a change, join us

Want to Read More Oil Info?

I’ve done several posts on my oil journey, so feel free to grab a cup of coffee and do a little reading! And email me at stuffparentsneed@gmail.com if you have any questions at all. I’m here to help!

Starting My Oil Journey as a Skeptic

How to Get Started with Essential Oils

Natural Allergy Relief

My TV segment on natural allergy relief and Young Living

DIY Shower Disks for Congestion

Sugar and Essential Oils Scrub for Keratosis Pilaris (bumpy skin)

How to Get Rid of Hiccups with Peppermint Oil

How to Get Free Essential Oils Without Starting a Business (It’s EASY!!!)

Use Lemon Essential Oil to Safely Remove Crayon Marks

Fighting Germs with Essential Oils

How to Strengthen Brittle Nails with Essential Oils

How to Neutralize Bathroom Odors in a Flash