A few weeks ago I received an email from a woman named Katrina Burbank, asking me to do a review on her hair products. Since I love to learn about new products, I happily agreed with an understanding that my review would be completely honest, as always.
As Katrina and I worked together at selecting a few products for me to try, I enjoyed getting to know her and asked if she’d be willing to do a little bit of Q&A as well. She gladly agreed, so this review will be a mix of my opinions and Katrina’s story.
The three products Katrina sent me to review were the Copper Butterfly You-Pins, an Enchanting Medley Hair Band, and a small Flexi in the Marrakesh Romance design. Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite hair tools.
The You-Pins are a tool for securing buns and twists of all shapes and sizes. I initially expected these to be my favorite product, as I love putting my hair up but am prone to headaches or just plain fine-hair-slippage-problems. These pins keep my bun in place, and are both simple to put in and quick to remove. (I’m a pregnant mama, so I let my hair down and take a nap at every opportunity).
Did you ever try Spin-Pins? These are so much easier and better. I do love these pins, and expect to make serious use of them during warmer months, but right now they’re more of my lazy-day option.
When Katrina and I discussed which items I should try, I expressed interest in the headband, but told her that I have a few problems: I talk my headbands off (Yes, you read that correctly: t-a-l-k. I guess my ears wiggle too much?), and I am super prone to headaches. She assured me that the band would stay in place, and was pretty certain I wouldn’t experience a headache.
Unfortunately, I can’t give my concrete opinion on this one because I suffer severe headaches during pregnancy, so I don’t know what wearing the headband would be like in non-pregnant mode. I do know that it stays in place. Seriously. The elastic band that sits under your hair is adjustable, so you can set it to your preferred level of snugness. I love that I can one day use this headband for my daughter, when she eventually has hair. (I’m planning for a bald baby so that I’m not disappointed this time around.)
The Flexi is like duct tape for hair—it fixes everything. You can do ponytails, buns, clip back a few wisps of hair, or do a full up-do, all while using a product that won’t damage your hair. Eventually, I’d like to collect some Flexis in all sizes and colors.
My current favorite style uses the Flexi as I would a claw, when I get hot and have to put my hair up partway through the day (or five minutes after putting on my makeup, as is often the case). I do a simple twist, throw on the Flexi, and look amazing. Plus—and this is a huge plus for me—the Flexi stays put and doesn’t tug at my hair or cause a headache.
“Well, the flexi of course! As far as which style, right now I am really loving the Hues of Blues, it’s just so bright and happy and perfect for a dreary winter. And the You-Pins are becoming a favorite, I use them a couple of times a week. I love how they hold all my hair up so comfortably. I just got a set of the Ruby Bouquet and they look so fancy, makes mopping and changing diapers a bit more glamorous.”
All in all, you can’t go wrong with any of the Lilla Rose products I’ve tried, and I can assure you that Katrina is a helpful consultant. I love that she balances her business with a busy home life (she’s a homeschooling mom of a handful of littles) and keeps her priorities in order. Here’s what she had to say about this balance:
“One of the things I learned early on was that I need ‘office hours’ or I lose control of everything. I also now have an AMAZING Erin Condren planner that I know will help me keep everything organized. Since I homeschool I make sure that when I am teaching, that all I focus on is teaching. When I’m doing an activity with the kids, then no work calls! This has meant a huge lesson in self-control for me, and has meant I need to keep the computer turned off during the day. ‘Quickly’ logging on to check messages turns into a pinterest session and means that the toddler turns herself into a tiger with a ballpoint pen. The great thing about this business is the ability to set my own hours, so if I am having a super-busy week with family I can let my team and customers know, and not feel pressured to always be ‘on duty.’ And at the same time I don’t feel like I am selling my family short and only giving them my leftovers after a day of work.”
How can you not want to give a person like that your business?
To check out Katrina’s shop, you can click here. She also has a great YouTube channel for walking you through the various ways to wear Lilla Rose products. Items take about a week to arrive, so there’s still time to snag some last minute Christmas gifts. Enjoy!
Click below to enter Katrina’s drawing for the Lilla Rose product of your choice. The raffle closes on December 19th.
Today’s quote is from a song which you can listen to here, and it runs through my head every November as I remember a friend who was lost in battle on Thanksgiving of 2010.
I’m posting this quote today because this past Tuesday we lost my 43-year-old sister-in-law after a long battle with MS. Michelle is now pain free and happy.
Do you ever take a look at all your photos on Facebook or Instagram and feel overwhelmed at the thought of organizing them for printing? Or, to make it even more painful, when is the last time you actually printed photos?
If you take a look at my photographed life outside of Facebook, evidently I fell off the face of the earth between 2001 and 2010. Nine years of my life—missing. I seem to have resurrected around the time of my first cruise in 2010, simply because I traveled with friends who like to dress up and we took tons of pictures that I wanted physical versions of, and one of my birthday gifts on that trip was a beautiful photo album entitled “Cruise Memories.”
Thankfully for me, my brother got married a year before me and gave my parents a wedding album he’d made on Blurb for their Christmas gift in 2010, so I knew that would be our gift to them the following year. But after that? I knew I’d fall off the photo wagon.
When we found out in the fall of 2011 that we were expecting the Little Butt, I thought—for about ten seconds or less—about keeping a baby book. But I knew we wanted more than one kiddo, and I also know myself. There is no way on this earth that I would ever be able to keep up with a baby book and photo albums for one child, let alone (hopefully) three.
That fall while we were both suffering from morning sickness, I visited my friend Christy of Whole Foods on a Budget. At the time she was working on two photo book projects: a family cookbook, and her annual photo album. When she told me how she kept up with an annual photo album with three-going-on-four kids along with the rest of her busy life, I was sold.
While this idea is completely stolen from Christy, I’m going to tell you my personal system down to the nitty gritty.
First of all, I organize my photo album to run December through November. I use this as a Christmas gift for my parents and grandmother, so that pressure forces me to get it done. I strongly urge you to have some reason for a deadline. Every Black Friday I try to wrap up the album Thanksgiving pictures because all the best photo book specials end by Cyber Monday. There are more specials during the month of December, but I kind of freak out if we get too near December 25th without the books in hand.
Secondly, I keep two files in the pictures folder on my computer. The first one just has the year as the title: 2014. The second has the album title: 2014 Xmas. As I upload pictures to my computer or download them from Facebook, I organize them into files within 2014: 00 December, 01 January, 02 February, etc. I use the numbers because it keeps the files in order.
Third, as I work on each consecutive month (which in a perfect world would be in the month following so I’m always up to date, but who lives in that world?), I move my absolute favorite pictures from the 2014 file to the 2014 Xmas file, which also has matching sub-files such as 00 December.
Fourth, I work month-by-month in filling, organizing, and decorating my album. I use Snapfish, but any reputable photo service works just as well. With Blurb you have the advantage of downloading their free software and working offline, but their prices are much steeper, so for the time being I stick with Snapfish.
Sixth, if you’re willing, wait for the special. Snapfish has regular specials, and lots of BOGO deals, so you could even get two photobooks for the price of one.
Enjoy! The Little Butt has loved looking at our photobooks since he was about a year old. Each Christmas I order an extra copy for him (which I keep in the wrapper for the time being) and plan to do the same for our daughter starting next year. That way they each will have a photo history of their lives, and it’s no extra work for me.
Do you have tips or tricks for organizing your photos and keeping up to date? I’d love to hear them!
*Please understand that this is not in reference to clinical depression. Focusing on blessings, while always an excellent idea, does not take the place of professional help.
It seems to me that I should have stopped struggling with acne about fifteen years ago. I’m in my mid-thirties, for crying in the sink! And yet in the past few years, I’ve suffered some of the worst, most painful breakouts of my life.
Like 90% of Americans, I’ve given Proactiv a try. Maybe even two or three tries. It works for a while, but then my skin ends up dried out and all my favorite shirts and towels get bleached out. I’ve lost more tops to Proactiv than I care to number.
But alas, last spring I had again reached the point of desperation and decided to give Proactiv one last try. My finger was poised over the “submit order” button when I decided to do a quick search to see if I had any other affordable options.
Exposed Skincare immediately popped up. Even better, there were charts comparing the two products. I love charts! No, seriously, I L-O-V-E charts. After looking over the comparisons, the ingredient lists, and the refund and cancellation policy, I switched screens and ordered Exposed.
Please understand, I’m usually an optimist. It’s a fight for me to expect the worst of a product, a person, or an event. I want to believe everything is rosy. So I kept telling myself that it was just a fluke that my skin looked so healthy. First I told myself to wait for PMS to make my judgment. Then until I was eating more junk food. Then until I was farther into my pregnancy.
My skin condition just kept improving. Not just my acne—my skin. I started liking myself without makeup. Not that you’ll probably ever see me that way in real life, because that is not the American way, but still—it’s nice to be at peace with my naked face.
Oh, and did I mention that I haven’t bleached out a single thing? Not a one.
Exposed Skincare is delivered bi-monthly, and you’ll probably still have a little bit to a lot of everything left over when your second box arrives. I get the expanded kit, because it includes moisturizer and I definitely need that. The cost is $59.95 per shipment, which comes to about $34 per month when you add in shipping. This is just about $6 a month less than Proactiv, but you’re still saving on a superior product.
You can order Exposed directly from the company here. I received no compensation for this review–I just feel passionate about this product and think everyone who suffers from acne needs to know about it.
Last week I was shocked to receive an incredible job offer. This arrived in my in-box completely out of the blue. I’m not looking for work—I love my roles as jeweler, trainer, teacher, and stay-at-home-mom.
The friend sending the offer my way prefaced it by saying, “Your sister and I think you’re probably not interested, but…” Simply brilliant, for those of you in sales. Because he offered me an immediate out, I began to mull the offer over.
To discuss it with My Guy.
With my best friend and sisters.
With my dad.
And to mull some more.
Yet every time I thought of taking the job, I wanted to cry. You see, this job would require me to be in DC at a government agency five days a week. After my commute, that would put me leaving home before my babies woke up and returning after they were in bed. Even if we opted for My Guy to quit his job so I could pursue mine, I would only get to see my kiddos on Saturdays and Sundays.
The offer tempted me.
A quick call to my dad helped clarify the decision most.
He asked me, “What do you want?”
Thankfully, I know exactly what I want, and My Guy wants the same things. We want to raise happy, healthy (emotionally, physically, spiritually, and relationally) children. And I can’t do that in two days a week.
Over the past few weeks I’ve seen a lot of posts reacting to the president’s sideways slam against stay-at-home moms, and I’ve felt my own simmering anger. Now, this is not because I think the only right thing to do is be a stay-at-home mom. Everyone has a different life to live, and not every woman is lucky enough to have that option. My personal reaction is based in the fact that that decision is an American right, and we should not be belittled for that choice.
With a twinge of sadness and a great sense of flattery, I turned down the job offer. Why? Because I choose to put time with my kids over a bigger paycheck, a bigger house, better cars, and prestige. Because I choose to spend my days with an energetic two-year-old who wears me down to the point of a migraine, all because I believe God put me in his life as one of his most vital teachers. Because I choose to take my kid on field trips and do silly crafts with him rather than go on exotic vacations or do extreme decorating, knowing that he will remember these moments more than the color of our living room or a world tour. We can afford to live with less, and so we do.
This reminds me of something a therapist friend of mine told me back around my 30th birthday.
Every change in life—good or bad—signifies some sense of loss, as well. Mourning that loss is okay and healthy.
My children have changed my life, placing limitations on my freedoms, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m choosing to embrace the loss and limitations and to focus on the joy.
Last month I commandeered a small secretary’s desk from my dad for my kitchen. Being a work-at-home-mom with a toddler and having a basement office just don’t seem to mix, so this is my current solution. The beautiful thing is that it’s a roll-top desk, which means I don’t have to move a single thing to hide the mess.
This desk also boasts five separate drawers. When I was in the process of stealing said desk from my brother’s room (he’s away at college, so why would he need a desk?), these drawers excited me with their endless uses. Stamps, post-its, stickers, pens—I knew I had plenty of room for everything I could possible need.
Try pens, pens, post-its, more pens, and finally—wait for it—pens.
But here’s the thing. I don’t even buy half of the pens I’d like to own. And if I have a pen that doesn’t make me happy, I either give it away or trash it. There are no unsavory pens hanging around in these drawers.
According to my Google search, an average pen produces between 1-2 miles of writing, so let’s go with 1.5 miles. That means that my pen collection, if I only count the pens in my actual desk, will write for 117 miles. That’s 7.4 million inches.
That’s a lot of paper.
Now, I write a lot every day. I really do. It starts around 5:30 am with journaling and Bible study. It continues the moment I’m out of the shower and start checking things off my list. I write thank-you notes, lists, copy quotes, Zentangle a bit, doodle some more, do craft projects with my son, and who knows what else. But 117 miles? How many years will it take me to accomplish that?
My choice of pen is based up on my mood. Isn’t everyone’s? This week I’m using a Pilot G-2 07 in blue. Last spring I couldn’t get enough of PaperMate Flairs. Sharpies are always a favorite, but they only work with certain projects. Do you understand my dilemma? Perhaps it’s not an addiction problem but quite literally a need. Plus, I have schizophrenic handwriting. Some days it’s legible. Some days it’s beautiful. Most days it’s a hot mess.
My name is Kendra and I am a pen-aholic.