Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lemongrass Spa - Review and a Giveaway!

So, what is Lemongrass Spa?  Some of you may have heard about it, but others may not.  Lemongrass Spa is a direct sales company that markets to women with its all natural and mostly organic skin care line.  Many products are vegan, which has its own market as well.  The line has everything from shampoo and conditioner (without harmful chemicals such as sulfates, parabens and phtalates), all the way down to foot scrubs.  You can literally remake your beauty routine over from head to toe.

I first used Lemongrass Spa for my son, when I tried out their Baby Wash.  I was searching for a natural product that wouldn't contain all those harsh chemicals that the typical store-bought baby wash contains.  Even some of the ones that are marketed as "natural" have some sort of additive that would irritate my little guy's newborn skin.  I noticed a friend of mine had begun selling something called Lemongrass Spa, so I asked her if they had a baby line.  She told me they did, so I ordered some of the baby wash.  She gave me a sample of the baby lotion to go along with it, and I tried that out as well.

The first time I used it, I wasn't sold.  It just didn't smell as good as some of those drug store baby washes.  It has a very mild scent, but it's not actually "scented".  The smell is from the natural ingredients that are found inside that cute amber colored bottle.  I continued using it because it was gentle on my son's skin, and it got him clean.  His skin was always super soft, and rarely did I ever need to put lotion on him, since the baby wash didn't dry him out.  I did try out the baby lotion on my own hands, and was surprised at how long my hands would stay hydrated after using it, even between washings.

When I ran out of his baby wash, I used some of the leftover store bought wash I had for a couple of days.  Immediately I noticed a difference in my son's skin.  It got splotchy, dry, and started to feel different.  I immediately contacted my friend to order some more, and I ordered the Baby on the Go Gift Set because we were going on vacation soon.  It contained baby lotion, baby wash, healing elements balm stick, massage oil, and a handy pack of 7th Generation travel baby wipes (as a mother of an infant, I was always up for extra baby wipes!).  I got the opportunity to try everything inside, and then I was wanting to try some other things from their product line.  My friend had included a sample of their Pink Grapefruit Body Polish, so I decided to try it out.  I had been using a really expensive body scrub from my local salon, which was also sugar based, and consisted of natural oils.  However, the Lemongrass Spa body polishes were about $20 per container cheaper, so I decided to give it a shot!  I loved the feel of the pink grapefruit body polish, but I really wanted to try a flavor that was more "tropical".  I told my friend what kind of scents I was looking for (something pineapple-y, mango-y, see the theme I'm going for here).  She told me there was a Coconut Lime Vanilla Body Polish that I would probably like.  I went ahead and ordered some of that, along with the Fresh Mango Body Polish.  They arrived within a couple of days, and I was hooked.  I LOVE the way they moisturize my skin in the shower.  I use them daily to exfoliate.  They are great to use before you shave your legs, since they remove all the dead skin.  Sometimes I wait until after I've shaved to use it, and then I love to see the water bead up on my skin (it's like when your car has a fresh wax job...the water beads up and doesn't affect the shine!).  When I step out of the shower to dry off, I just pat dry, and I can feel the towel glide over my skin.  It's amazing!  I don't even need to use lotion, which is awesome!  However, I still do use lotion because I also fell in love with the Lemongrass Spa lotions, body icings, and whipped body butter!

So, I've been using the Lemongrass Spa products for two years now, and little by little, expanding my collection.  I was about to place yet another order for Body Polish (Vanilla Latte has become my new favorite!), when that lighbulb in my head flickered.  Why not become a consultant?  I love everything I've tried so far, but there were still many products I had not yet tried.  This way I could get many of the most popular products in the consultant kit at a HUGE savings (around $500 worth of product for $139!), and then when I needed to re-order I would get an automatic discount of at least 25%.  I had a few questions before I signed on the dotted line, so I talked with my friend to ask her a few questions.  I have done direct sales before, and the ordering requirements were just too high for somebody who's doing mostly for the personal discount to meet.  When she told me I would only need to order $25 of product each month in order to remain "active", I was sold.   I signed up online, and my consultant kit arrived the same week.

I couldn't wait to dig in and try everything out.  I'm happy to report that I have quit using all my regular skin care products.  My expensive cleanser (I used to pay $38 for a 6 oz. bottle of facial cleanser, and $60 for 2 oz. of moisturizer!!) are sitting in my bathroom cabinets UNUSED!  The Ultimate Face Kit for Normal to Dry Skin contained equivalent products and then some to what I had been using.  There is a gentle cleansing gel, a toner, the eye cream (which I never used before Lemongrass Spa), a moisturizer, a face polish (for exfoliating) and a face mask all in this kit.  The entire kit retails at only $79!  This kit was included in my consultant kit, and I'm so glad it was!  I have used all of it for about a week now, and I noticed a difference in the texture of my skin after the FIRST use!  Now that I have used it twice a day for a full week, I am happy to report that my skin is much more supple (it feels like I have baby soft skin again!!), hydrated, and even-toned.  I've had no breakouts, which is awesome because I'm prone to them.

I could go on and on, even more so than I already have, but you're not interested in what I have to say!  You just want me for my giveaway!!  So, here's the deal.  Enter the giveaway below, and one lucky winner will be chosen at Random, via the Rafflecopter app, to win their choice of ONE of the following sets.

Ultimate Face Kit for Normal or Dry Skin ($79 retail value)
Ultimate Face Kit for Oily or Acne Prone Skin ($79 retail value)
Pampering Baby Gift Set ($38 retail value)
Coconut Lime Vanilla Spa Ritual Collection ($54 retail value)
Men's Private Reserve Gift Set with Body Wash ($38 retail value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Raw Peanut Butter Cups - Veganized!

I saw a recipe for Raw Peanut Butter cups (think Reese's!) pop up in my news feed on Facebook a couple of weeks back.  I figured it was worth a try!  First, I had to get a couple of the ingredients because I don't normally keep them on hand.  They're really quite easy to make though!

You'll need 1/2 cup cacao powder, 1/4 cup coconut oil (I had to heat mine up a tad to liquefy it), 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, 1/4 cup all natural organic peanut butter (or any nut butter of your choice), and 12 mini-cupcake wrappers (the size of the bite size Reese wrappers!).

Mix the cacao powder, coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl until it's a smooth consistency.  You may need to heat your coconut oil to liquefy it (because I don't care how much you "mix", you're never going to get that hard pressed coconut oil to liquefy without a little heat).  Scoop the cacao "chocolate" mix into the bottom of each of the 12 wrappers.  Layer a scoop of the natural peanut butter on top, then top with a scoop of the chocolate mixture and smooth out on the top.  Immediately place these into the freezer and let them set for at least an hour.

I may have placed a little too much chocolate mixture into the bottoms of the wrappers, because I ran out of the chocolate for the top layer.  Mine were nowhere near as good looking at the photo I saw on the recipe (which you can find HERE), but I'm pretty sure the taste was the same.

Even if yours turn out as ugly as mine did, don't let that deter you from trying them!  Mine sat in the freezer for two and a half days before I worked up the "courage" to try them.  OhMyGoodness!  They were BETTER than the store bought peanut butter cups!!  My kids loved these too, and they were super easy to make!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pinteresting Find January 16, 2013

This week's Pinteresting Find is the Husband's Healing Stew from the Oh She Glows food blog.  While it's true that I didn't actually FIND this recipe on Pinterest, I did PIN it, so you can all check it out when you have a minute.

Oh She Glows is a great source for finding delicious, healthy, VEGAN recipes.  I love this particular site because most all of the recipes I have found are tofu/tempeh/seitan free!  Her recipes are labeled according to type of diet (Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Soy Free, Nut Free, etc.) which makes it really easy for those with special diets and food allergies to find something wholesome and delicious.

I decided to try this recipe partly because I had a majority of the ingredients on hand (I did have to run to the store to purchase some pearled barley, fresh parsley, frozen edamame, and zucchini), and partly because my mom (who I'm visiting at the moment) is a bit under the weather with a cold.  Angela from Oh She Glows claimed it helped her in her recovery from the flu last year, so I thought we would give it a shot.  It's packed full of healthy ingredients.  Go ahead and give this recipe a try!  It made about 10 cups of soup, which lasted 3 adults and one toddler through 2 meals and leftovers for one of us to have a pretty large lunch.  If you think it can't possibly be filling, guess again!  My meat-and-potatoes loving father filled up on just one bowl, and said he didn't miss his meat and potatoes at all!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

52 Week Money Saving Challenge

I hadn't realized that Pinterest had come out with a re-vamped app making it so much more user-friendly on my iPad. I've been all about pinning my favorite recipes this week. This article is not recipe related, but rather, challenge and money related.

 Every year, I say I'm going to save up some money by the end of the year. When the end of the year comes around, I'm no closer to saving money than I was at the beginning of the year! Seriously! I saw this great idea that can be quite feasible for almost any budget!

The chart below should be used as a guideline.  The idea, put away $1 for week 1, $2 for week 2, and so on, for each of the 52 weeks of the year.  You'll never have to put more than $52 a week into your savings account, which to me, makes it pretty feasible!  I know I spend AT LEAST that much eating out each week.  The first few weeks will be pretty easy for us.  If you are paid bi-weekly (like we are in my family), then on week 2 of January, I will put $3 in our savings account. Then on week 4, I will put $7 in our savings account.  Get the idea?  Adapt the schedule and make it work for your family!

I would like to modify this to place money into my childrens' savings accounts as well.  Since I have 4 children, I know that realistically I can't afford to put $52 in 5 separate savings accounts in one week at the end of the year (which will be right after Christmas when I'm typically broke!).  I will set a goal for each of their accounts for the end of the year, and divide that amount by 26, and they will each get the same amount every pay day.

If I am only able to stick to one of my goals for the new year, I hope this is the one!  Happy saving everyone!

From the blog