2017: a recap

I really love doing recaps for my readers, but I also love doing them for me. I mean, in the past four years, this blog has basically become my scrapbook of advice, family pictures, and life archive. I have shared with you my super-awesome-can't-top-this-one moments and my I'm-going-to-cry moments. With each passing year, I pour my heart, soul, and nails (long nails + key board = chipping) into this. AND I HAVE LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

So since I have round-about thanked you for continuing to read, here's 10 moments (good & bad) of 2017.

one || In January, my baby Choc-Chip was born. My dog, Ellie, has a sister, and Chippy is from her first litter. No, I don't believe in breeding, but it was an oops litter, and well, I just had to keep him. 


two || In May, I cut like 4 inches off of my hair. Why? Because I just felt like I needed a change.

three || In June, we said good bye to our kitty, moved into my parents' house, and I started a full-time gig doing therapy with children with Autism. 


four || In July, my parents and I took Lil Man to see his first RailCats game. The Gary SouthShore RailCats are a minor league baseball team a few towns over. Lil Man loved going to his first sports game, and now even wants to learn how to play. 


five || Also in July, I was able to attend SheddBLU at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. The night was so fun, and for such a great cause. I really hope I can attend next year too!


six || In August, Lil Man started FIRST grade!!! I can't believe that he is growing up so quickly!


seven || Also in August, I was in a car accident. I was rear-ended and then pushed into the car in front of me. As a result of the accident, I had to get a new car (mine was totaled), have extreme muscle spasms in my neck and shoulder which cause migraine-like headaches, am going to physical therapy, and can only work part-time at work. I am still taking one day at a time- the pain sucks, but I know that one day everything will be better.


eight || In October, I dyed my hair pink! #15 on my 101 in 1001 complete! YASSSS!


nine || In November, I was diagnosed with Bi-polar II, ADD, OCD, and Anxiety. I am doing better, the doctor is trying to find a drug cocktail that will mellow out my symptoms and once that happens, I will be one happy messed up camper.


ten || Finally in December, we celebrated Christmas with a family picture and welcomed in the New Year. 


There has been alot of great moments for 2017, as well as some low moments. But that comes with the territory. As a blogger, I love to share the happy moments, as well as the sad, so here I am being true to myself.

I am excited to see what the next year brings me!


How was your 2017????




recap, blogger recap, monthly recap

Confession: I'm really not into the Holiday spirit


In a nutshell, I have been feeling kinda down lately. Especially with the holidays. 

Last year at this time, I had already taken my son to go see the big man in red, had most of my presents bought, was on the way to sending out my Christmas cards, and of course, already had decorated the house. 

At this moment in time, I have only done two of those things. 
And I am not sure if I have a need the other ones.

Well, of course, I did take my son to see Santa and I have bought Christmas presents for my family and friends, but I don't really want to decorate or send out Christmas cards.

Why? Because I'm not really into the Holiday spirit.

Most of the reasons that I have been so down stem from the big move in June and my car accident in August. 
We are currently living in my parents' basement. We had issues at our last residence and since I was starting a new full-time job, we decided to live with my parents. They welcomed us with somewhat open arms, and since we are actually helping them with the bills every month, they are happy with us being here. It's not ideal, but we are comfortable and making the best of it. 
I am still experiencing pain from my car accident. At the time of publishing, I have been out of physical therapy for a month, due to insurance issues, and I am in constant pain. I have a headache all of the time- it varies in intensity, but it's always there; and I am only working part time at work, due to cognitive issues.

Another slice of the issues can be attributed to the depressive episode that currently negates my life. About this time last year, I reached out to my GYN to help with my depression. I wasn't feeling like myself, and since I was going in for my yearly, I asked. He put me on a medication, and it helped. Somewhat. The past year has been a roller coaster to say the least. In November, I finally had enough crying, bad thoughts, and feeling down, so I went to see a Psych doc. She opened my eyes, told me that I actually didn't have depression, but I had Bipolar II and I was in a depressive episode. She also diagnosed me with OCD, ADD, and Anxiety, but that's for a different post. I am currently on meds to help with the episode, but it's too early to tell if they are going to help.

I just don't feel the need to send out Christmas cards or decorate for all of those reasons. Well, and the fact that the majority of my decorations are in storage right now. The hubby did go and get a small table top tree and some ornaments for me, but other than that, I don't even want to hang stockings. Hell, I don't even want any Christmas presents.

I think I may take a break from blogging for the holidays. If you have been an avid reader, you shouldn't be surprised at this. Of course, I will still be around on Snapchat & Insta- tl_tinywishes, and Facebook.

I do have some pretty neat-o things planned for the new year: think more posts, more vlogging, more awesomeness. But right now, the whole not being into the holiday spirit has kinda gotten me down. AND in reality I can't concentrate. So, I will see you all in 2018, and you better be ready, cause I will be coming out with a BANG!

four masks your hair NEEDS this winter


News flash... winter is coming. Well, in some parts, it may have already arrived, but in my parts, I have yet to see Jack Frost's ugly head. But, I have started to see the beginning of winter, in terms of the cold. AND my hair is frizzing up because of it!! 

The one thing that the cold does to my hair is dry it out, which creates static, flyaways, and even a straw-like appearance (aka damage). The one thing that I always do for my hair in the cold season, is to treat it to a mask. I love how a deep conditioning mask can moisturize the driest of hair and make me look like I belong on a beach.

Hask

Currently, my favorite deep conditioning hair masks are from HASK. If you have been a long time reader of my blog, then you know that HASK is one of my FAVORITE lines. I have tried many products of their's (both bought and by brand collab) and have fallen in love with each one. 

For those of you who don't know what HASK is or have never heard of the brand, HASK is a cruelty-free hair care brand, all of their products are made in the USA, and are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten and artificial colors. With HASK, you get more bang for your buck. All of their products are relatively cheap, and can be found at stores like Ulta, Walgreens, Target, Walmart- you get the picture. *To learn more about HASK, visit their website

HASK's new deep conditioners, which are available at TARGET, are FREE of: sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten and drying alcohol, cater to different needs and hair types, and claim to bring the damaged dry hair back to life. There are 4 types: Argan Oil, Keratin Protein, Macadamia Oil, and Coconut Milk & Organic Honey. 

Argan Oil Repairing Deep Conditioner

  • a super strengthening, hydrating treatment
  • restores and smooths dry, damaged, chemically treated or over processed hair
hask

Keratin Protein Smoothing Deep Conditioner

  • an ultra-restorative, moisturizing hair conditioner 
  • leaves all hair types smooth, shiny and frizz free. 
  • special ingredient blend repairs damage, reduces breakage and helps reduce static and drying time
  • perfect for over processed and color treated hair
hask

Macadamia Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

  • an ultra-restorative, moisturizing treatment that rejuvenate dry, damaged, chemically treated or over processed hair
  • a nourishing reconstructive conditioner
Hask

Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner

  • an ultra restorative moisturizing treatment that will revitalize all hair types
  • Monoi Coconut Oil, native to Tahiti, is known for its re-hydrating and softening qualities and for leaving all hair types nourished, moisturized and revive
HASK

Each one of the deep conditioners smell incredible. My favorite is the Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Deep Conditioner. It smells like summer & the beach, made my hair feel so moisturized and smooth, and the packet was big enough for 3 applications. The product itself was so luxurious and ultra-thick. I definitely recommend it!


BTW, all of the deep conditioners are available at TARGET! To keep up with HASK, follow them via InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Have you ever tried a hair mask?
Which one is your favorite?


Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post. I was given the HASK Deep Conditioners shown in the photos above via Brandbacker in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed in this post are 100% my own.

#haskdeeps  #haskhair  #behindthehair  HASK

7 Beauty products that are worth the hype


When it comes to beauty products, I love a good deal, but sometimes there are beauty products that are marketed as cult favorites and they are occasionally expensive. Today I am sharing a few of my favorite beauty products- high end & drugstore- that I truly believe that are worth ALL THE HYPE and money!

one // Becca Soft Light Blurring Setting Powder in Golden Hour

What is it? Cruelty-free and formulated without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, the Becca Soft Light Blurring Setting Power is great to use with or without makeup. Essentially the feather-light power works like a veil to blur skin imperfections, and it does not cake or settle into fine lines.

Why I love it: I am a simple girl, and my make up is the same way- simple and natural. There are some days I want to just use some mascara, fill in my brows, and use a powder. The Becca powder does wonders on my face. Not only does it blur out my pores and sometimes uneven skin tone, but it also gives me a nice glow.

*see my Instagram review here

two // Biossance Weightless Wonders

What is it? The Weightless Wonders is a set that includes travel sizes of Biossance's best selling products: Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Face Oil, 100% Squalane Oil, Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, and Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Cloths. 

Why I love it: I can't even begin to gush about my love for the Weightless Wonders set. I use the Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Face Oil almost daily, and my skin looks like it loves me. Not only does the oil smell so good- like roses, duh, my skin feels hydrated and looks glowy. I also really like the Squalane Oil. It's very moisturizing to my hands and when I put it on my hair, my husband told me my hair smelled good.

three // ORIGINS Original Skin Matte Moisturizer with Willowherb

What is it? A mattifying moisturizer for hydrated, healthy-looking skin. Formulated with pink rock rose and willowherb to boost radiance, refine texture, even tone, and visibly minimize pores for a soft, smooth feel and a positively luminous look.

Why I love it: When I use moisturizer on my face, my face tends to get a bit oily. BUT not with the ORIGINS Original Skin moisturizer. It dries matte and keeps my face oil free all day. ALSO- the moisturizer smells so darn GOOD!

*see my Instagram review here


What is it? Since Rihanna came out with her new namesake beauty line, people have been going crazy for Fenty Beauty. Cruelty free and made without Parabens or Phthalates, Fenty Beauty's foundation comes in 40 shades, gives medium to full coverage, and is buildable.

Why I love it: I totally understand the hype behind Rihanna's foundation- it's sooo lightweight! I love how the foundation effortlessly blended, felt amazing, and gave me a beautiful finish. Considering how much I loved the foundation, I would definitely try out other beauty products in the line!

What is it? The first of its kind, the Kenra Professional Shaping Spray 21 is essentially an alcohol free hairspray. It also provides maximum moisture retention with an extra firm hold and high shine finish.

Why I love it: Kenra makes some really great hair products and the Shaping Spray 21 is no different. The Shaping Spray not only smells ah-mazing, but it has a firm hold that I can still run my hands through and doesn't weigh my thin hair down. The best part: I am able to spray it on my dry hair, curl it, and the curls ACTUALLY stay!!


six // NYX Makeup Setting Spray- Matte

What is it? The NYX Makeup Setting Spray - Matte leaves a beautiful shine-free matte finish that is lightweight and comfortable while making sure your makeup stays put. The spray is also cruelty-free.

Why I love it: I'm a girl that has tried a lot, and I mean A LOT, of setting sprays- I really hate when my mascara moves. So when I saw a review of the NYX spray online, I was interested in trying it. I bought it, used it, and it's now my HG setting spray. Not only does it mattify my shiny skin, but it keeps my makeup from moving an inch.

seven // PMD Personal Microderm

What is it? The Personal Mircoderm is an at-home skincare tool that gives you professional microdermabrasion results. You can use the tool on your face, arms, legs, and feet. 

Why I love it: I can't even begin to tell you how easy the PMD Personal Microderm is to use. After one use, my face felt so much smoother and healthier. The best part: even though I have sensitive skin, the PMD Personal Microderm did not irritate my face. 



Have you tried any beauty products lately that you think are worth the hype?






Jet Blue Giveaway

What is one thing that everyone wants to do after the holidays? For me, it's just to get away and take a vacay! So guess what? I've teamed up with a bunch of bloggers to help give you that chance with a $150 gift card to Jet Blue!!

Blogger Giveaway
GIVEAWAY DETAILS
Prize: $150 Jet Blue Gift Card
Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 12/19 and is open worldwide. Winner will be notified via email.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!



a Rafflecopter giveaway
GOOD LUCK! 

Finally a good night's sleep: an HONEST Nectar Mattress review


Truth is: my husband and I suffer from back pain and it sucks. I have been dealing with back pain for almost all of my life- I have herniation from a work injury in 2008. Most of the time it is hard for me to fall asleep. My husband, on the other hand, has had two back surgeries in his lifetime and has only slept well on a recliner. Needless to say, due to back pain from both of us, we were not sleeping at night. 

A few months back I started to do research on a new mattress. I had been seeing all sorts of bloggers and product influencers promoting "bed in a box" type of mattresses, and I just had to figure out what all the buzz was about. 

Once I completed my research, I came to the conclusion that my husband and I NEEDED a memory foam mattress. We had been sleeping on a hand-me-down pillow top that we have had since maybe 2009 (and when we got it, it was already like 3-4 years old). The mattress itself wasn't comfortable, and just provided a place to sleep. In fact, more nights that not, my husband would get up and sleep on our futon. After discussing with my husband, I just knew that our beat down coil spring mattress would be saying bye-bye and a memory foam mattress would be in our near future. 

our old mattress
And I was right. About 6 weeks ago, NECTAR Sleep reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing one of their mattresses for 30 days. When I read the email, I actually jumped for joy. I said yes and for the last four weeks, my husband, the kid, dog, and I have been sleeping back pain free (I have other issues not related to my back) through the night. 

The unboxing and setting up

When the NECTAR Mattress arrived, it arrived in a blue like duffel bag, and the dogs went absolutely crazy. I was ecstatic, went out on the porch to drag it in, and almost collapsed because it was so tall and heavy. Thankfully, my husband was home because I was in a bit more pain- in my neck and shoulder (due to a car accident in August 2017). My husband was sleeping- so I, of course, woke him up. He drug the mattress through the house and sent it down to the basement (we live in my parents' basement currently).




Once down in the basement, we removed the old mattress and then unwrapped the NECTAR one. The mattress was secured inside of a blue sheath, a duffel bag, and then in was compressed in plastic. Nectar sent along a cute little letter-type opener for the plastic, because it's safer than using a knife. Once the plastic was cut and removed, the bed started to fill almost immediately.


The whole unboxing process took about 15-20 minutes (including removal of the old mattress), and then we had to wait 3ish hours for it to be ready to sleep on. Wait- scratch that- my husband had to try it immediately AND actually fell asleep on it!

Our mattress review: 4 weeks later

To be honest, I thought that I would immediately love the mattress from day one. Truth is: it took me about two nights to get used to the feeling of the memory foam. Yes, I thought the mattress was comfortable, but I wasn't sure about the whole "imprint" thing. What can I say, I had never slept on memory foam before. 

Once I was used to the NECTAR mattress, I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning. Sure, I have sleeping issues due to my car accident, but that didn't mean that the mattress wasn't comfortable. I actually felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. My husband told me that he loved the NECTAR mattress and never slept on a more comfortable thing- futon included.


Sleeping on a memory foam mattress has changed my whole perspective on sleeping. I am able to fall asleep faster, don't toss and turn as much, and if I am in the right position (due to my muscle spasms) I am almost pain free. My back does not hurt when I wake up in the morning anymore, and I can't even begin to tell you how much of a relief that is. 

ALSO: the best thing about sleeping on a NECTAR mattress is that since the memory foam "swallows you up"- you aren't disturbed by anyone getting in or out of bed. That right there is a Godsend. 

Conclusion

If you are someone that suffers from back pain, trouble sleeping, uncomfortable sleeping, or anything else related to horrible sleeping, then you NEED a memory foam mattress in your life. In a nutshell, memory foam softens in reaction to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body in a few minutes; aka feels like someone is hugging you. Since the foam molds around you, it's able to support the areas that need supporting. 

After my experience with NECTAR Sleep, I would with out a doubt recommend their mattresses. When I was researching a memory foam mattress, I did see that NECTAR Sleep is the lowest priced, they offer a 365 sleep trial (meaning that you can sleep on the mattress for 365 days and if you don't like it, then you can get a refund) and a lifetime warranty, free returns, free pillows, and more. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. 

If you are hesitant on getting a memory foam due to the price, don't worry, because NECTAR has a solution. They offer a six month, no credit required, and no interest financing plan. Everyone is approved, and once you are done paying the "lease", the mattress is fully yours. Plus you get to enjoy the mattress while you are paying for it. 



Have you ever slept on a NECTAR mattress? 
What are you waiting for?




Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post. I was given the NECTAR mattress shown in the photos above in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I have expressed in this post are 100% my own.

nectar mattress review

A color story & 3 time saving hair styles to try this season

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf. #FashionColorExpert #sponsored 


A few weeks ago, I dyed my mom's hair. Why? Well, because I felt like she needed a change. And guys, let me just say that a $10 box dye gave my mom a change alright- meaning it made her look 20 years younger! 

My mom and I are no strangers to box dyes... we have both tried too many to count. My mom, like me, likes to change up her look every now and then, and well, even though a box dye isn't permanent, it's a great way to change up your look on a budget. For my mom's hair, I decided to try Schwarzkopf Color Ultime. A few months back, I had tried a Schwarzkopf's sister products- Keratin Color, and was very pleased. The reason that I wanted to give the Schwarzkopf Color Ultime was because it defies fading for up to 9 weeks of color shine, has vibrant, fashion shades, gives a “True to box” color result, and of course, long lasting color. 

My mom decided on the color 5.22- Ruby Red. She had a lot of greys, so I also agreed with her- for the coverage factor. 


Using the Schwarzkopf Color Ultime was so incredibly easy. The box comes with an instruction sheet, gloves, and three bottles- color, processor, and after color conditioner. To mix the color, all you have to do is add the color tube to the squeeze bottle and shake. Once mixed, then slather on hair and wait 30 minutes.

*When I was applying, my mom told me that she actually liked the smell of the dye. Most box dyes have a nasty smell, but I also can tell you that the Schwarzkopf Color Ultime smelled nice. AND the after color conditioner- OMG, yum!


My mom's hair turned out beautifully!!!!


And here's a little before and after -> -> ->


Since I shared my mom's color story, I wanted to also share 3 time saving hair styles to try this season- 

I am a huge fan of time saving hairstyles. I don't like to flat iron my hair every day- it's too damaging, and pony tail is cute, but sometimes it can be a bit dull. I really love to do the next three hairstyles for two reasons: I love to braid and they are cute.

1. Half Up Flower Braided Bun

The half up flower braided bun is a cute way to have your hair half up and half down. To create the style, separate the hair, and put the top half in a hair tie. Then make a hole in the hair, tuck the pony tail into the hole, and braid the pony tail. One the pony tail is braided, put a hair tie at the bottom and then roll the braid into a circle. Pin and you are done!

*I have shorter hair, so my bun didn't look like a flower, but it's still cute.

2. Three little buns

The three little buns is a great way to disguise dirty hair. To create the style, separate hair into three sections and braid each one. Once braided, roll each section into a "bun" and pin. Easy and cute.

3. Mega Braid

The Mega braid is a pretty cool hairstyle, in my opinion. To create, separate hair into three sections and then braid. Once all three sections are braided, braid the three sections into one braid. After braiding, secure with an elastic and take out all the other three elastics from the three braids.


I hope you enjoyed my three time saving hair styles and if you are in the market for a great box dye and want to try out the Schwarzkopf Color Utime, it's available at Walmart in the hair color aisle. BTW if you are interested in trying it for free... here's some info!! AND earn up to $5 on Ibotta when you purchase any shade of Schwarzkopf Color Ultime


If you want to learn more about Schwarzkopf and their other products, you can visit their page, like them on Facebook, or even check out their Insta!

Have you ever used a box dye? What was your favorite brand?
What's your favorite hair style for this season?


Schwarzkopf Color Ultime review

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