I so enjoy the little “mom tips” that I’ve come across in life – those little things that I’ve learned from my mom, or a mom friend, that just make life a little nicer.  Things that make the “daily-daily” just a little easier, or make me smile a little more, or maybe will be a time saver for me.  I’m not referring to the bigger projects like de-cluttering or re-organizing, (although those definitely make me smile)!  But just the small things – the “mom tips” that aren’t in the self-help books, they’re just life-experience things that I’ve gotten from a mom with experience under her belt.  Well I’ll share with you some of my Mom Tips for Prettying-Up Mom; I hope they bring a simple breath of fresh air to your regular every day patterns!  *smile*
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~ Really softy feet – finally!  The heals of my feet have always been extremely calloused and hard; to the point of having ninety degree angles on the edges.  Eww.  And so for years I had used Pumice stones, callous-scrubbing stones on my feet, trying to make them really soft.  They did absolutely nothing.  And then one day I discovered a miraculous tool at Wal-Mart!  It’s called a Ped Egg, and it actually removes the callouses completely!  I’ve enjoyed baby soft feet for about 2 years!  *cheer!*  *laugh*  This is totally thrilling to me, and my husband thinks my feet are wonderful, too.  *beam*  Here is a video about them.

The Ped Egg gently but effectively scrapes the callouses off like a cheese grater, leaving a couple teaspoons amount of dead skin to be thrown away from each foot.  It’s totally comfortable to use, not the slightest discomfort, and within minutes after a single use my feet were baby soft.  The initial removal took about 15 minutes for both feet, but now it takes me about 6-8 minutes total once a week to maintain softness.  I use it in the evening when I can then use Aquaphor lotion on my feet and have it stay on all night for even extra softness.  I also need to make sure that my feet are totally dry.  Sometimes when I’ve been wearing my furry slippers my feet are less hot and less dry and more soft than usual just from the slippers.  So I don’t wear them for a while before scrubbing my feet so that my feet are dry-dry.  I do put lotion on my feet every morning, but by the evening time this does not effect them at all and they’re “nice” and dry.

There is also a buffer part of the Ped Egg that is like a finger nail buffer, which smooths the slightly roughened feet to a nice, perfectly smooth state.  I didn’t use this feature for the first few months, feeling that it would be a waste of time, but once I tried it I saw that it does in fact give a nice final touch of smoothness.  I use it every time now.

~ Soft hands in the dry winter season.  In the winter time I’ve also had extremely dry hands, to the point of feeling scratchy when I stroke our baby’s cheek, or even feeling like the dry skin is catching on my clothes or socks.  This really bothers me, and I never found a lotion to heal it.  Aquaphor made them a little softer for a while right after application, but not all day, and never healing them completely.  Then a friend gifted me a Mary Kay product called “Satin Hands” as a birthday gift a few years ago – and my hands are so soft now all winter!  Hallelujah!  *laugh*  It’s a lotion hand scrub that contains crushed apricot pits which scrub away the roughness, and then a healing lotion to be applied afterward.  I do this at night sometimes, too, so that the lotion can remain on my hands all night.  After a couple of uses my hands were WAY softer, not snagging anything any longer.  I continue to use it about once-a-week as well, and it only takes about 3-4 minutes.  In the “Satin Hands set” there are 3 products: the hand scrub, hand softener, and hand cream.  I was only given the hand scrub and the hand softener lotion, but have never used the cream.  So when I recently purchased a replacement set when my original set ran out, I only purchased the scrub and the lotion because that’s all that seems necessary for soft hands.

~ Chapstick for the…nose?  Whenever I have a cold and am blowing my nose a lot my nose tens to get red and chapped without some protection and healing attention.  So I carry in my pocket a Medicated Chapstick that is strictly for the use on the outside edge of my nose, which I apply after every time I blow my nose.  This is so soothing, having a sort of eucalyptus  smell and coolness feel, and it prevent my nose from getting chapped.  I always buy 3-4 of them at a time at Wal-Mart as we like to have some around the house for everyone to use, but I also want to have a couple set aside to be used by someone who has a cold.  Nice-nice.

~ Lip Stain.  This is my newest discovery that I’m IN LOVE with, that a friend from church just told me about!  I like to war lip stick, I think it looks very nice, but I do not like it getting on the kids, or my husband, or my clothes, or getting smeared on my face by someone’s head.  *smile*  So I haven’t worn lip stick regularly for several years, except for the very rare occasion when I’m out somewhere without children.  I haven’t even been wearing it at church, because we keep the kids with us during the whole service.  Until now!  Ta-da!  *laugh*  Lip stain colors my lips for 16 hours and does not come off on anything.  It applies like a lip gloss and then dries within about a minute, and then I can apply the gloss/moisturizer that comes with it (or just apply chapstick for moisture).  And I apply the gloss quickly and easily and with out a mirror whenever I feel the desire or need.

I found a couple different brands available at Wal-Mart and Fred Meyer.  I chose Cover Girl just because I’m familiar with that brand and like it, and there was a greater selection of the colors I would wear.  The product is called Outlast All-Day Lip ColorIt isn’t terribly inexpensive at $9 for the color and the gloss together, but I only wear it when I’m out so it should last a long time, and like I said, I love it – it’s totally worth the price to me.  I can eat and it stays on, kiss on children and Hubby and it stays on, and I don’t even have to think about lip color all day.  Perfect.

Here’s a few additional tips I’ve also learned while using lip stain.  I tried using 2 coats one day for a slightly darker color, but it felt pretty dry on my lips and I didn’t like it.  However I can use the lip liner pencil that I previously used with my lipstick for more lip definition and a dressier color.  So I chose a nice color of lip stain for an everyday look – and then I dress it up a bit more with my lip pencil for a dressier look for church.  I bought one set for home, and one set for my purse.  Love-love it!

~ Less dry & itchy skin In the winter time my face also feels dryer and a bit itchy.  To solve this problem I learned from a dermatologist that I should use face cream, instead of face lotion.  This is just a richer, deeper moisturizer.  I use Olay, purchased from Wal-Mart.  I also use Aloe Lotion on my legs (also purchased from most grocery stores).  These have been great products for me, and they still absorb equally as well as lotion, not leaving any greasiness at all.


~ Smell so nice, without expensive perfume.  I like to smell special every day, but I don’t want to wear expensive perfume every day when I’m just home.  So I have a nice scented lotion or cream that I put on my arms some days, especially the inside of my elbows and my wrists, which put off extra scent from my pulse, and on my neck which also pulses off the scent. I have tried and liked the brand s at Bed, Bath, and Beyond; Bath & Body Works; Linens & Things.

~ Pretty toes.  I like to keep my toenails painted, feeling and looking pretty to my husband and our children.  I also like to use cute toenail sticker flowers or “diamond bling” on my big toes.  I don’t paint my finger nails, however, because the paint on them only lasts for 2-3 days, which is not worth the effort to me.  My toenails will last pretty and painted for 2-3 months.

(These are not my toes. *smile*)

Here is a question I received from a reader which I’ll answer as well.

“From hair, to make up, etc. I’d love to hear how you keep up with this, how you purchase your make up and what you use (if you wear it) how you keep your hair looking nice, etc.”

Okay – here we go! *laugh!*

I purchase everything I can from the grocery store – hair and make-up products – because it’s inexpensive and easy to purchase without going to an extra store.  Some products for myself however, just need to be purchased in higher quality for reasons I’ll explain.  But I always pursue time efficiency.  *smile*  I don’t want to waste time purchasing things, and I don’t want to waste time re-applying make up or touching it up late in the day before Bob gets home; I’d like to put it on once and not think about it the rest of the day, but be able to rest in my make-up looking nice.  And I like a natural, casual but pretty look for myself.  I try to accent the features I already naturally have, rather than try to create features the Lord did not give me.


Hair I get my hair cut by the same lady all the time.  I chose her for her price (only $23, compared to some salons which charge $80) and for her quality.  Short hair cuts can be really bad or really excellent, and both last for a full month.  *laugh* So I never experiment with anyone new.  She gives me a great cut, and then I can style it well.  And I need to get my short hair style cut every 4 weeks, making the appointment for the next month in advance so I can be sure to get the exact day and time that I need, that works with the children’s schedule and my own.

I wash my hair with Paul Mitchel’s Volume building shampoo and conditioner.  This makes a huge difference in the “stylability” of my hair.  *smile*  I buy the liter size on sale as it’s by far the most cost effective.  This high quality shampoo and conditioner also do not leave any residue on my hair or our daughter’s hair, like grocery store shampoos do.

When our daughters went through puberty they started having huge problems with deeply oily hair.  I could not even get it clean for them!  I couldn’t figure it out.  I sought advice from a friend who owns his own salon and he told me how to get rid of the oiliness, but it took treating their hair 3 times per week!  Then we discovered it was oil build up because the grocery store shampoo was clogging their poors and scalp.  So we treated the oil one more time, switched to Paul Mitchel shampoo – and it’s been shiny clean ever since.  *whew*  I was sold on Paul Mitchel shampoo anyway; now I’m doubly sold.

When I style my hair in the morning I put Paul Mitchel (purchased from a salon) styling mousse on it while it’s wet.  This way I can blow dry it with a round brush and the mousse adds great body, helps it holds curl, and this mousse does not turn flaky or sticky by the hairdryer heat.  With the mousse and the round brush I do not have to use a curling iron.  I can just blow it dry, style it with my fingers, and set it in place with Panteen “Touchable” (purchased from the grocery store) hair spray.  I like this hairspray because it holds my hair well and yet if I run my hand over it, it becomes still soft to touch.  It’s also a pump not an aerosol (which covers a bathroom with hairspray, nasty to clean off, and is bad to breathe).  Blow drying and styling takes 8-10 minutes every morning.

I purchase most of my make-up from Wal-Mart, and a few pieces from Clinique at Macy’s, or M.A.C. Cosmetics at Nordstrom (the only items I purchase from Macy’s or Nordstrom at all).  I order the M.A.C. Cosmetics online as the nearest Nordstrom to us is about 45 minutes away, and I’d rather spend the extra money on shipping than on gas.

I have had a few (free) professional make-overs done in my life and I learned everything I could every time and I still apply those tips.  Before my wedding, I had a make over from M.A.C. Cosmetics upon a friend’s recommendation, and I was thrilled with it and have stuck with it for the past 15 years.  The make up is more expensive than grocery store items, however it lasts for years!  So the cost probably evens out, and the quality of these cosmetics product is really significant in my opinion.  So, here’s what cosmetics I wear and why:


Foundation – Clinique “Superbalanced” make up, from Macy’s.  It’s important to me that my make up does not disappear, run, or make my skin oily over the course of the day.  I learned that base make up is not intended to add color to one’s skin, but rather to blend all of the variations in the skin (freckles, red marks, slight blotchiness, etc.) to give an even, smooth appearance.  Clinique has the only brand that carries a color that is ivory and fair enough for my skin.  And this make up feels so nice – like a liquid powder – and it stays this way all day long.  And because it’s the same color as my neck there is no obvious distinction between my face and the skin on my neck, so my whole appearance is very natural.

Medicated concealer – Almay “Clear Complexion Concealer” (from Wal-Mart) makes a nice, liquid concealer that is not only a good color and product, but this is medicated so it dries out any blemishes instead of clogging the poor even further.  This make up actually heals any blemishes.

Face powder – Loreal “Hydra Perfect – Translucent” loose face powder (from Wal-Mart) is very nice.  I put this on all over my face after the foundation and concealer, and it “sets” them, taking away any shine and leaving a “flat”, matte look.  And I like the “translucent” one as it doesn’t add fake color, just a softness in feel and look.

 

Blush – M.A.C. “Matte” type, which is soft and not sparkly (from Nordstrom).  A nice color for me, looks natural, and stays on just like I put it, all day.  And applying after the face powder helps the blush apply softly and without too much distinction or differentiation between my cheek bones and the rest of my face.

Eye brow and eyeliner powder – M.A.C. “Velvet” eyeshadow, “Espresso” (dark brown) color, again soft, not sparkly (from Nordstrom) makes a really nice powder that I apply to my eyebrows with a tiny, thin, angled application brush, for color (my eye brows are so fair they’re almost invisible, despite my dark brown hair).  I like this powder because it sticks to the eyebrow hairs but not so much to my skin, so it’s a natural look, not a drawn-on, fake look.  With this same brush I apply the powder as a line of eyeliner on both the top and bottom eyelids, also a nice definition for my eyes, but still a soft, natural look, compared to the line that a pencil or a liquid often creates.


Eyeshadow – M.A.C. “Veltet” type, light “Vanilla” color, soft, not sparkly or shiny.  This adds “light” to my eyes and disappears the pinkish eye lids which make a person appear tired.  I also put some of this underneath the center bottom edge of my eyebrows, adding more “light” to my eyes.

I usually just like a simple eyeliner and mascara look with this little bit of vanilla on top of my eye lids; but to dress up my eyes for church or going out, I use a little of the dark brown “Espresso” eyeshadow at the top of my eye lid to reveal the shadow of my eye socket, then use a little of the blush color on the outside of my eye, just under the edge of my eyebrow, to add some color and blend the Vanilla, Espresso, and blush colors.


Mascara – Cover Girl – “Black” (from Wal-Mart).  This is nice quality, applies to both lengthen and thicken my eyelashes, and does not flake in to my eyes or on to my cheeks over the course of the day.

Eyelash Separator – (from Rite Aid) I use this little finger-held comb to separate my eye lashes from sticking together in clumps, and it works beautifully.  I separate the lashes and then put on another coat for greater thickness.

Face wash – Olay (from Wal-Mart), face wash and face toner (followed by Olay’s hydrating face cream.  Mmm – feels nice, smells nice.

Face cream – Olay (from Wal-Mart).  For the morning, underneath make up, and for the evening after washing my face.  It’s very soft, and absorbs quickly, but still deeply moisturizes (more so than lotion does).

This might seem like a lot of hassle with pieces coming from 4 different locations for all of these items I talked about (Wal-Mart, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Mary Kay), but really I only purchase one item at a time here and there, and the non Wal-Mart locations hardly ever (literally, every couple/few years, and only one item at a time).  All of the items that I go through regularly come from Wal-Mart.

Hoping you feel prettier already!  *smile*
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