How I Got Longer, Thicker and Darker Lashes

Everywhere you look eyelashes are getting longer and thicker with the growing popularity of eyelash extensions. My lashes are naturally on the longer side, but I wanted to get a little more length and fullness. While a lot of eyelash extensions look great (and others like cartoon characters), some have bad experiences including eye irritation and damage of natural lashes. The cost for extensions is no joke at $150 bucks per set with required refills every few weeks.

Not liking the risks and cost associated with eyelash extensions, I decided to give Latisse a whirl. The product is managed by a medical professional with more natural yet effective results vs. possible the daddy long legs effects of lash extensions. Due to the 2020 lockdown, I opted to use an online delivery service and had a positive experience with SkinSolutions.MD. A 10 week supply, cost $134. An MD reviews your driver’s license and face photos, fulfills the order and it ships out to you. The entire process took about 10 days from order to receiving.

I’ve now used the product for the full 10 weeks and am happy to share my before and after photos with you. I am definitely going to continue with the product but will get it from my local medical spa as I like to support their business. See below for my great results and what the application process entails.

Top image before. Bottom image is 10 weeks of Latisse once per day. No mascara.

The growth process is slow, considering it takes 10 weeks to get these results versus the instant results provided by lash extensions. I do like that the results are natural and you can see my lashes are not only longer, but also darker and thicker.

A few caveats are that you must continue to use Latisse at least every other day to maintain these results. You apply a droplet to each top lash line once per day. The kit provides a separate, sterile brush for each eye, for each day. I did not experience any eye pain, headaches, redness, itchiness or irritation. Overall, I highly recommend and am delighted with the natural results, cost and easy application.

Six Game Ideas For Fun Zoom Calls

Amidst this pandemic, Zoom has become a household word and something I never thought my 88 year old grandma would be savvy at. Since we aren’t able to travel to see family this year, we’ve implemented a weekly Saturday morning Zoom call with our extended family. It’s become something we all look forward to and has helped us stay more connected in each other’s lives than ever before. As the host of these calls, I’ve made it my weekly challenge to keep the calls fresh with at least one activity planned.
This helps keep the kids engaged and also creates some structure so we don’t go down the conversation trail of how much 2020 has sucked (easy to do!!). I’ve rounded up the activities we’ve done so far and hope they spark some great conversations and fun amidst your own family Zoom calls.

  1. Name That Tune

This was fun to put together. The hubs and I put together an Apple play list of songs from movies and all genre’s and generations. We then played them over the call and whoever shouted the name out first got a point. You could easily use a Spotify playlist as well. Each household was a team and we sent the winning team a surprise prize. In this case it was a tie dying kit complete with shirts to tie dye. If you need some inspiration, we used the Harry Potter theme, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5, Ed Sheeran’s You Look Perfect Tonight and The Beetles Let It Be, to name just a few.

2. Bingo

This was a bit of a labor of love as I made up Bingo cards for each person and then sent them via email before the call so they could print them out. We then used this site to generate the bingo numbers to call. The winner got a prize worth $10 (fro-you gift card in this case) and a $10 donation to their charity of choice.

3. Jeopardy

This is by far the best game that we played together and worth every penny I spent on the pre-built Powerpoint Jeopardy template that you can buy here for $9.99. You do have to make your own categories, questions and answers but the template is all programed and you only have to type in the info. It worked flawlessly and was so much fun. To inspire you, some categories we made up were Star Wars, Disneyland, All About Cats, and Young Adult Fiction.

4. Virtual Baking Show

For Fourth of July, we gave everyone the challenge before the call to bake or cook something with a Fourth of July theme and share their completed product with everyone on the call. The kids got to play judges in the style of the Great British Baking Show. Would also be fun to send everyone a recipe ahead of time and share/eat the results together on the call.

5. Pictionary

Zoom has a great whiteboard option that makes it super easy to allow anyone to share their screen and then draw. People on the call get to guess. We just used whatever popped into our heads as ideas of what to draw, but you could easily keep to a theme if you wanted to.

6. Birthday Party Ideas

Over these last few months, there have been tons of Zoom birthday celebrations. We’ve dressed up, worn silly hats, used fun birthday Zoom backgrounds and created birth year quizzes using Kahoot. Kahoot is an online quiz/game platform that allows users to submit answers from their phone or the website, making it a fully interactive experience as you can see the answers they submit and rankings.

I hope that gives you some inspiration to jazz up your Zoom calls as we might still be having these for a long time! Take care.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday. I know it might feel a bit like Groundhog Day lately, but I hope you have some fun weekend plans even if they aren’t as exciting as you would have hoped because 2020 has shaken up all the plans. We’ll be working in the yard this weekend and watching my nephew play some tennis in La Costa. He’s so good and we love cheering him on.

I have a few things to share that I’ve been loving this week including a new vegetarian dinner recipe we loved.

Chocolate PB cups

So first things first, let’s start off with some chocolate. I have a sweet, sweet friend in NY who sent me these delicious Perfect Bar dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I love everything I’ve had from Perfect Bar and these are no exception. They do need to be refrigerated, and while they aren’t exactly “healthy”, they are a delicious whole food alternative to Reese’s. They have a tiny sprinkling of sea salt which is a marriage made in heaven with chocolate and PB in my opinion. You can order directly from Perfect Bar with free shipping (they send with ice packs) and get 15% off your first order.

Eye Sleep Mask

Next is a sleep hack that I just discovered. The hubby has been staying up later reading with his bedside light on making it harder to fall asleep. I also was waking up before the alarm as light comes through our cheapo blinds. I decided to try an eye sleep mask that I got for free on some Jet Blue flight and I love this thing. It’s like a light switch for my mind and I can instantly fall asleep once I’ve drowned out the light. I’ve ordered a silk one from Amazon (only $7) hoping it’s a bit more comfy, but this might be something you want to try if you’re having issues falling/staying asleep.

Hint water

So when this first came out, I did not like the blackberry flavor I tried and wrote it off. They’ve since come out with a flurry of flavors and they are delicious. It’s still water that is lightly and naturally fruit flavored. My favorites are the apple, black cherry, pineapple and watermelon. There is a peach flavor, but I have not been able to find it at my local stores yet. If you don’t like sparking water or like me, you can’t drink due to reflux issues, give this a try. Ensure it’s super cold as it’s not very good at room temp. You can order off Amazon, but I found mine at Target and most grocery stores do carry.

And for the recipe we tried and loved this week…..I’ve tried a few black bean taco recipes and this one was similar but the cilantro pesto made it stand out. So delicious and good on a hot day.

Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Pesto

Here’s to a gorgeous weekend!

Low Acid Coffee Hacks

If coffee is your love language, the thought of giving it up due to acid reflux, GERD or gastritis is a nightmare. I’ve been there and after lots of trial and error, I can offer some tips on how to enjoy a lower acid version of your coffee. Here are the tips:

Select lower acid beans/grounds:

I personally have had great success with Trader Joe’s Low Acid French Roast. You can also pick darker roast coffees which have less caffeine and can be less irritating. Look for beans from Brazil or Central America which tend to be naturally lower in acid.

Use a coarser grind:

It is better to use a coarse grind vs. a fine grind as less acid is released.

Use a cold brew method or let the coffee sit overnight:

I have used both of these methods, and am currently brewing my coffee at night and letting it sit before I drink it in the morning. I have also used a cold brew Hario coffee maker and this is also a great option. If you prefer a bottled cold brew, I have tested most of the major brands and Chameleon Cold Brew has the lowest acid that I have found.

Mix your coffee with a substitute:

Since I am an all day coffee sipper, I brew in my coffee maker, a scoop of Trader Joe’s low acid coffee with a scoop of Teecino (an herbal coffee substitute). It tastes great and I still get the enjoyment of sipping on my iced “coffee” all day. I prefer the Teecino Java, Hazelnut, Vanilla Nut or Maca Chocolate flavors. I buy mine on Amazon, but you can find it in most natural grocers.

Modify your coffee order:

If you’re ordering at Starbuck’s or another shop, always modify to one shot of espresso vs. the 2-3 that go in a grande. You can even have them substitute some cold brew for the espresso which will have lower acid. Also, try almond milk vs. dairy milk as some have reported that dairy exacerbates their acid issues.

Hope these tips help allow you to still enjoy your coffee habit!

22 “Clean” Adult Shows on Netflix and Prime

We all have a lot more time at home lately which allows for more streaming binges. The hubs and I currently have Netflix, Prime and Disney + and I’m looking at adding Hulu into the mix too. While I’m not judging others, we try to watch shows that don’t contain lots of graphic sex stuff. It’s what we feel is in line with our Christian beliefs and it’s hard to unsee something once you’ve seen it. It’s also really hard these days to find good shows that don’t contain over the top nudity. If you’re like us and looking for some cleaner options, I wanted to help you out by compiling a list of shows we’ve really enjoyed that you don’t have to worry about seeing stuff you’d rather not. I won’t give a synopsis of each one, but hope you enjoy. Keep in mind these aren’t necessarily family friendly as some might have violence, language and/or more adult themes. ¬†Also, there might be implied scenes in these shows, but they are all graphic nudity free. I’d love to hear any options you recommend too.

Netflix

  • The Blacklist
  • Rebellion
  • Colony
  • Wanted
  • The Umbrella Academy
  • Secret City
  • Somebody Feed Phil
  • The Staircase
  • The Killing (season 1- can’t speak to season 2)
  • Fallet
  • Safe
  • Hinterland
  • Shetland
  • Limitless (similar to movie with Bradley Cooper)
  • Longmire

Amazon Prime

  • Detectorists
  • Homecoming
  • Dickensian
  • Unforgotten
  • Endeavour
  • The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
  • Little Dorrit