Beauty Rhi-view: Mario Badescu Skin Care

This isn't one of my traditional reviews because it's not for one product, but rather my experience with a particular company and their overall approach to skin care. I know it's long but if you're considering any new skin care please give it a read, these products seriously changed my life.

My ancestry has blessed me with the most frustrating complexion. I'm fair with BOTH pink and yellow undertones which makes finding foundation colors a bit challenging. To make it more complicated I'm naturally rather oily but thanks to the climate I live in I'm extremely dry for at least 8 months a year and then greasy in the T-zone. My skin is also quite sensitive and very acne prone, but we're not talking the really obvious and easily treatable whiteheads... I suffer from painful cystic acne in a very specific area. I had hoped that by the time I hit my 30's the acne would bid me farewell and I could focus on preventing wrinkles but it actually just changed tactics. My cheeks and jaw never used to break out and suddenly I was getting it there and even down onto my neck and chest!


The Friday Five: Bloggers & Subscription Boxes

Happy Friday dear readers! There's just something magical about a Friday isn't there?

Earlier this week I was inspired to write this Friday Five. I receive only 2 subscription boxes myself, though I would love it if I had the budget for more. But as I pondered my frustration with one of them and I considered canceling it, I reminded myself why I signed up for it in the first place. Because I am a blogger. There is method to this madness! Method that I wanted to share with you guys.

Today's Friday Five is the 5 reasons bloggers should subscribe to at least one subscription box.

1. Instant Content

It's simple. You get a box of mystery goodies and you share them. Whether it's just an unboxing video or reviews of the products once you've tried them, you get fresh content to share with your audience every month. The downside is that you won't be the only one doing it so your content may not be overly unique. That said, I find that it's often just good filler for weeks when I really don't have anything special to write about. We all need that sometimes!

2. Staying Ahead

While it's not true with every subscription box, I've found that many of them give subscribers the latest products from brands. You might be one of the early adopters of a great new product which will let you be a bit of a go-to-gal for consumers looking for reviews and info about new products/brands. It's great for bloggers in all niches to occasionally find themselves ahead of the trend and sometimes this is a great way to do it.

3. Small Investment, Big Reward

I can be a little obessive about whether I am getting my money's worth with my subscription boxes. I usually calculate the actual retail value of my box's content (even deluxe samples can be figured out with the weak math skills I have). If you're getting a decent subscription box they'd better be giving you at least a 20% higher value than what you paid for it. Ideally, 50% is what I hope for. That said, investing $10 a month into a box of 4-5 items that I can use and that gives me content for my blog is worth it to me. Only you can decide what cost vs. content/value ratio is worth it to you as a blogger.

4. Community Resources

Not every subscription box company has a good social media presence. One that does can actually become a great resource for you. All it takes is one re-tweet of your review on a product from one of those boxes and you're getting a few new glances. Recently for example, I posted a link to a review on the Facebook page of a subscription company. I received comments from non-followers that same day! Those are just the ones who commented. Built in communities can mean little trickles of new audience for you with minimal effort.

5. Giveaway Opportunities

One of my subscription boxes was a major bust for me this month. One of the products is something I can't consume because an ingredient in it makes me sick, another I can't use because I don't have the neccessary equipment for it. Instead of throwing them away I'm sending the one to the hubs' work so his coworkers can enjoy a break-time treat and the other I'm passing along to someone I know can use it. While in this case I chose to give mine away privately oft times you could easily do a little giveaway on your blog.

Subscription boxes are certainly not for every blogger and there are many that are quite expensive but I think they're worth looking into if you're a smaller blog (like me) looking for some fresh content. I highly recommend visiting subscriptionboxes.com and reading reviews of the various ones there to find one that works for you.


Foodie Rhi-flection: Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies

Okay, admit it moms... baking isn't the most enjoyable way to spend your time when you've already got a ton of coupon clipping for grocery shopping, changing and washing bed linens for every bed in the house, and overseeing homework, practices, and scouting troops. Personally, I'd rather sit down with a glass of wine and read a book that isn't shelved with the children's books. Unfortunately, I'm also a fiend for cookies. They have a very short life span in my house. So what's a mom with no time and a hankering for something round and crumbly-like to do?

Enter Quaker Soft Baked Cookies. Admittedly, oatmeal cookies probably land under my Top 10 favorite kinds of cookies but if you've worked your butt off (literally) over that final 15 lbs. of baby weight it's not worth splurging on cookie without some kind of healthy point right? I've been making a point to slip in cookies with raisins or other dried fruit, nuts, or whole grains to make sure I'm both satisfied with a treat and getting some fiber too.

It's true, the company we've known for ages is FINALLY making Oatmeal Cookies!

I hadn't actually seen Quaker's Soft Baked Cookies until Influenster sent one my way with the Mom Voxbox. The Oatmeal Raisin is classic and tasty but boring in my honest opinion. Thank goodness there are other yummy ones like Chocolate & Almond and Cranberry & Yogurt too! (Yeah, I like to pretend I'm having a big ol' coffee house cookie, sometimes). ;)

And I suppose if I really had to I would share them with my kids but heck with that! They have enough cool kid foods I have to sneak lest I get in trouble for 'stealing' their snacks. :P Quaker Soft Baked Oatmeal Cookies are for moms! You hear that tween and tot. MINE!

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.


The Friday Five: 5 Shades of Sex-Positivity

I've had one crazy busy week and found myself exhausted and completely stumped for a Friday Five topic. Trolling through the latest few days worth of Facebook mumblings I noticed that Fifty Shades of Grey—which I still have no intention of reading—continues to be a trending topic. The world is sex obsessed and always has been but it seems that in this case FSoG is opening the bedroom door on the kinkier flavors. Not only that, it's got people openly talking about sex positively again!

Because today's Friday Five touches on the topic of sex it's probably considered 'adult content' so if you want to continue reading follow the jump, if not please ignore today's Friday Five...


Product Rhi-flection: The Many Uses of Ivory

One of the products sent out in Influenster's Mom Voxbox was a bar of the classic Ivory bar soap I've been using as long as I can remember. But the thing is, I never really thought about doing anything with it other than having a bar in the shower. I'm just not that clever. lol Hearing about some great alternate uses for Ivory I decided I wanted to feature the one that saved me some serious $$ and was easy to bring into my routine: washing my makeup brushes!

While none of my brushes are particularly expensive or nice the cleanser that had been recommended to me for brushes isn't cheap. I found that everytime I used it my brushes would lose hair and over time that all adds up. I like to clean mine a couple of times a month since my skin is acne-prone and sensitive and I don't want a lot of germy build-up.

Washing your brushes is a pretty simple process but difficult to photograph on your own. lol  (I recommend having a few papertowels and a flat towel for drying ready to go by your sink before you start.)

Before I get into how easy it was I wanted to make a quick note about process... I noticed some other Influensters tried washing their makeup brushes with Ivory too but found that many of them rubbed their brushes on the bar itself. Not to say they're doing anything wrong but I would discourage that because it could damage the brush by pushing moisture and soap into the handle (read on for more about that).

Instead, I recommend building a thin lather in your hand and gently massaging your brushes' bristles with them always facing downward toward the sink. Rinse and repeat until you're no longer seeing cloudy water rinse from your brushes.

Notice the angle here... downward! Gently massage the bristles with the Ivory lather.

Look at all that foundation, blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow gunk!

Again, keep the angle downward as you rinse to avoid damaging your brushes.

Lastly, lay your brushes flat to dry. (Preferrably more spread out than I show here). Again, sticking them upright to dry lets water get down into the handle where it can cause rusting and bacterial growth—yuck! Once they're dry they can go back to being stored however you prefer. ;)

Not only was Ivory so gentle on my brushes, it's so economical it's crazy! Being one of the least expensive brands available has been one reason I've always preferred it.

Now that I've found a new way to use Ivory I'm excited to get out there and see what else I can do with it outside of the bathroom. Someone mentioned shaving pieces off to put in their washing machine which I would love to try. We haven't had much of a bug season up here in Montana but one of the other unexpected uses I have to try is rubbing a dry bar on a bug bite. Seriously, the things you can do with Ivory seem to be endless!

Want to find more uses for Ivory too? Check out the Ivory community on Facebook.

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.


Fashion Rhi-view: IntiMINT First Purchase

It took me forever to make up my mind which IntiMINT pieces I wanted to splurge on but after much debate (& getting an email from Cosmopolitan magazine with the 20% off first purchase code: INTI20) I did it!

IntiMINT is a monthly subscription site featuring exclusive lingerie and loungewear styles from the company that brought us Jewelmint. Visit the website to learn more about how it works and to create a free style profile with personalized picks for you. (Until you make a first purchase/enter your CC info you won't be charged).

Waiting for my package was super difficult! Even though this year I made a goal to not spend all day in my jammies it's so tough giving up the comfort. I figured at the very least IntiMINT might help me find some loungewear I could swap for my pajamas on days when getting dressed is torture. I practically clobbered the poor mailman when he showed up because my tracking # wasn't working so it was a surprise arrival. You can see the gorgeous packaging awaiting me when I opened the outer box. Inside the first one I found this pretty purple floral package and a promo code for my next purchase.

Inside the package was this nifty zippered mesh laundering bag—a FREE gift with purchase! Perfect for the bralette and panties I'd purchased.

One of the things I was paying very close attention to when I made my purchases was the washing instructions. I can handle a cold water wash and hang dry bit of laundry but beyond that I don't have time. Thank goodness for the hand-wash cycle on my machine.

So what was inside the packages? I promise not to model any of them! I had intentions of modeling the Geranium Pink Convertible Maxi because I thought it would work as a date-night ensemble with the Malibu Cardi in Sunset Stripe over it but it's going back. If you have a tummy at all it will show every lumpy bit. I almost cried looking at myself in it. I might be skinny but two kids worth of stretchmarked belly flab that won't budge need not be showing in detail in public. ;)

Anywho, you wanted to see the goods... here they are!


Influenster Mom Voxbox Unboxing

What is it about summer that just drains the life out of moms? Oh yeah, it's those little things that make them moms in the first place—kids!

I am utterly exhausted. The 12-year-old is fighting to stay up past midnight every single night. It's a sign of my exhaustion that I—who normally cannot fall asleep unless EVERYONE is sound asleep first—fell asleep at midnight while reading last night. As my eyes fell shut and my iPad dipped dangerously toward my nose I could faintly hear the television in my son's room still going.

This momma is in need of a little TLC... or maybe a labotomy?

I had full intentions of doing an unboxing video but my Mom Voxbox arrived in the middle of a very busy week offline-wise. Forgive me, but I was too eager to dive in and see what I got to put on make-up, something other than a tank-top, and attempt to reign in my hair for a vid. Ya know what? All my guesses for my guessing post ended up being wrong but I am really thrilled to see Stash and Impress products again!

So let's dive in and check out the list of products for the Mom Voxbox together!

There are few things more classic than good old fashioned Ivory soap. It's been around since 100 years before I was born and is an iconic part of my childhood. I distinctly remember soaking in the bathtub playing with a bar of the soap famous for the fact that it floats. Just the smell of it takes me back to my childhood home. It remains on rotation in our shower for the simple fact it isn't full of perfumes and dyes which bother our sensitive skin. I'm considering trying a soap carving with this bar just for fun and then letting our little one play with it in the bath.

Another classic brand with a product I actually haven't tried. Quaker is always coming out with delicious stuff from their Quakes rice cakes to their delicious Oatmeal Squares cereal. I'm waiting for an afternoon when I can sit down with a cup of tea and savor this one slowly.

I just cleaned all the polish off my nails because my first French manicure was getting all chipped and ugly. During summer I tend to go for bright colors on my nails but this shade is called Stiletto and is very vampy looking which is VERY me. I've really enjoyed the ease of the Impress Manicure in the past but I always wore prints. I'm definitely excited to try a solid. I wish we'd gotten some prints from the Nicole Scherzinger Signature Collection though! Seriously, they're perfect for summer with bright neon prints like By My Side and bold stars like Don't Wanna. Maybe the Summer Beauty Voxbox recipients (which I'm not) will get them eh?

As I'm sure you remember if you've been following the blog for a while, I don't do artificial or 'alternative' sweeteners. Give me sugar or nothing... with one exception. I love honey. All due respect to anyone who can go vegan because honey is one of the most delicious things in the world next to butter and bacon. What made this inclusion especially exciting for me is that I was JUST thinking how much I wish honey came in a form like this so it'd be easier to use. If only they'd sent a bigger sampling—I would love to try baking with this!

*looks around all shifty eyed* Alright Influenster, how'd you get a camera into my bathroom? I don't waaaaanna floss! Okay? *sigh* I am a bad mommy when it comes to flossing. I'd rather go to the gyno than floss. Seriously. I know how important it is and I do have bad teeth and I do take really good care of them because of that... it's just the flossing I avoid. I hate it. But for you, I will try and be a good mom and challenge my older kid (the toddler really can't handle this one) to a floss off since there's a pack for him and one for me. We can do it!

Lastly, my favorite part of the box is the Stash Superfruits Sampler! Why? Well... if you've ever seen the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World... okay, I'll save that reference for a post about just the tea. ;) Anyway, it's iced tea time and even though I really don't care for green tea I've recently added it to a list of things to consume daily for better health. Which means three of these flavors meet that goal.

There are also coupons for Stash, Impress, and Dentek in with these products and some of the other Influensters who met certain demographical criteria received other products so be sure and drop by Influenster's website and Facebook page to check them out! I'm off to get the little one down for her nap and get the big kid working on his chores.

Note: I received this product through Influenster's Voxbox program which provides members with free products in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by the freeness of the product. If you'd like to know more about how Influenster works please visit their website.

The Rhialist (Rhianna Walker) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.