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A Christian Tarheel homeschooling family with special needs travels in their converted school bus.

Ooh La La! Glossybox October 2015 Review

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I took 2 years of French in high school. I honestly don’t remember much of it (not my teacher’s fault because she was wonderful) but it did leave me with a love of French-inspired things. I was very excited to get my Glossybox for October 2015 in the mail today because I knew it had a Parisian theme. Please pardon my lack of the correct accent marks in the product names – this post is coming to you from my phone. Most people that have knowledge of cosmetics subscription boxes already know Glossybox has some of the best packaging in the business, and this is definitely true with this special edition printed box. It has the structure and appeal of a nice gift box. I love the whimsical mademoiselle featured on the box – she looks so fun! This gorgeous box is protected by an outer corrugated cardboard box.

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Inside the box the items are nestled in a sheet of tissue paper and shredded paper with a ribbon wrapped around it. Then there is a card detailing the items and their retail prices. It is such an amazing deal to get this subscription box for $21 a month considering how high the retail value always is of the items included. It is a subscription that can be cancelled at any time.

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I absolutely love being introduced to products that are new to me. I have not ever tried one of these products before that are in this box. I also paid for this box – it was not gifted to me. My opinions will always be truthful.

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The Votre Vu Oh Lighten Up! Intensif Treatment Spot Creme (full size 0.51 oz $59) is the product I was most excited to receive. I have some sun discoloration on my face and this creme is supposed to diminish the appearance of that. At a retail of $59, I have high hopes for this product. I definitely loved being in the sunshine when I was younger, and I have the sunspots to prove it.

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Sabe Masson Le Soft Perfume (full size 0.17 oz $25) I received the scent Umabel. I will be looking around on some trade boards to see if I can snag more scents – I am in love with this formulation. This smells heavenly to me.
Top notes of peach and bergamot
Middle notes of freesia, rose, and iris
Bottom notes of sandalwood, musks, and amber.
It is a soft stick perfume, which I love, because I can put it where I want it and my allergic little boy can hug me and it not touch his skin. This does contain shea, but in our family the rest of us can use shea and we just don’t put it on him. (I have been told Shea is the least allergenic nut, and he hasn’t ever been sensitive to it. Of course your own experience may vary.)

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De Bruyere Paris Red Lipgloss (full size 0.17 oz $17.50) is wonderful! I am am open hater of gloss. I generally cannot stand lipgloss because it is usually sticky. I was very pleasantly surprised to try this and find it is not sticky at all! The color is so pretty – I’m wearing it right now. It’s a beautiful red, and even with my dark hair, widow’s peak, and pale skin I can still wear it and not look like a vampire!

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Lollipops Make Up Paris Nail Lacquer in “Voyage A Paris” (full size 0.4 oz $10) is the perfect red. I have two acrylic containers full of polish and was surprised to find I did not have a perfect red already, so this is a keeper.

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Phyto Phytokeratine Mask (full size is 6.2 oz $39 – I received 1.7 oz size.) I can always use a great hair mask to revitalize my hair. I have curly and crazy long hair, so I’m excited to try this.

I am very pleased with the contents of my Glossybox this month. Everyone does not always get the exact same contents – sometimes one or two of the items differ. If you are interested in subscribing, leave a comment and let me know, and I’ll get my link for you.

After reviewing all of these French products, I really want to eat some crepes now. It’s too bad I did not pay enough attention when my French teacher made them for us. There’s always IHOP ūüėÄ

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Coffea and The Stripper

For those of you that believe I misspelled coffee, because I know you are out there, rest assured that I meant to spell it that way.   I myself am often quick to wear the Grammar Police hat, even though I know I do make mistakes.

For those that are only reading because you are wondering what I am doing with a stripper, keep reading. ¬†It’s not what you think, although I was indeed in the shower with The Stripper.

I am writing this at 3 am, because everything about my experience tonight is fresh in my mind.  All of the people I live with are also currently asleep, and it is blessedly peaceful.  That is, until my kids wake up, anyway.  I do love those little loud turkeys despite the noise.

I received three samples from a Perfectly Posh representative, and I’ve been excited to try them. ¬†Complexion Perfection, The DTox Body Mud Stripper, and Moisturizer 911. ¬†The very sweet rep, Victoria, enclosed a note card with the samples with instructions and her contact information. ¬†She said I should pamper myself. ¬†I was in complete agreement, however I live in a house where 6 people share one shower. ¬†There are several bathrooms, but this is the one handicapped accessible shower and therefore easy to use with my bad back. ¬†Plus my brother and Daddy recently remodeled it and it is gorgeous in there. ¬†I also received my Glossybox subscription today, and in it there was a body scrub named Coffea. ¬†For those that don’t know me, I have a love affair with coffee. ¬†This scrub contains coffee, Demerara sugar, cocoa (I’m also a chocolate lover), cinnamon, dead sea salt, coconut oil, and olive oil. ¬†No weird ingredients, and it’s all natural. ¬†I decided this was a must have for my spa night. ¬†For those that aren’t familiar with Glossybox, I’ll go more in depth on that another time.

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I waited until everyone was asleep, and took my Complexion Perfection, The DTox Body Mud Stripper, and the Coffea into the shower with me. ¬†I lathered up my face with the Complexion Perfection, and smelled and felt the peppermint and the gentle scrub of the walnut shells. ¬†I ordinarily will not use products with nuts as my son is extremely allergic, but it was one time use and I was very careful with disposing of the container. ¬†I really liked the cleanser. ¬†I’m a peppermint fan and I like a cleanser that lathers well.

Here is where things start to get a little interesting. ¬†I rinsed and then dried my face with a washcloth, and applied The Stripper. ¬†I was told beforehand that it tingled. ¬†I will say that was an understatement. ¬†I have somewhat sensitive skin and as soon as I put it on (avoiding eyes and mouth) I was thinking I should rinse it right back off. ¬†It was not exactly painful, but it was quite intense. ¬†Directions said to leave it on 5 to 15 minutes. ¬†(I did read later it is best to test it first on the inside of the wrist, which you should do, but thankfully it turned out okay for me because I didn’t pay attention to that part.)

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I decided I would try to last 5 minutes and while I was doing that, I would open and use my new Coffea scrub.  The scrub comes in a plastic resealable packet that looks like it will be easy to rip the top off. Looks can be deceiving. That thing was like trying to break into Fort Knox.  I could not get it open to save my life.  I finally start using my teeth, trying to rip it open.  I could smell the coffee and it smelled heavenly and I was like a rabid squirrel trying to get into that thing.  Every once in a while, I would taste a little of the scrub, and I was very glad that the ingredients are all edible (although I am sure the manufacturers do not recommend that.)  Remember I still have The Stripper on my face, so I keep smearing that on the Coffea bag.  I would have hollered for a family member to bring me some scissors, but they were all sleeping. If I had yelled it would have scared everyone to death, and there goes my Serenity Now spa vibe.  I finally realize I have been trying to break into the Coffea for at least 15 minutes, so I rinse The Stripper off my face.  My face feels smoother than it ever has in my life, no joke, and not irritated, which I was concerned about.  The intense tingling was manageable for me, and I was very interested in seeing the results.

I contemplate getting out mid-shower to go find scissors, but that seemed far. ¬†It was after 1 am at this point. ¬†I keep working at it, and Eureka! ¬†I finally get it ripped open. ¬†I started slathering it all over myself and it is amazing! ¬†All that work was worth it. ¬†The coffee smell was so wonderful to me. ¬†I’m scrubbing away and I look down and realize it looks like when my brother and I used to play in the mud as kids. ¬†Then I look at the floor of the shower and panic a little, as it is a brown mess and my Mama does not like a mess. ¬†My back is not healthy at the moment, and I know I’m not able to scrub it up. ¬†I could just see my Mama taking one look and concluding someone had fleas, because the coffee grounds kind of look like that. I finished scrubbing and rinsed, and looked down again, and all traces of the scrub had rinsed down the drain. ¬†That was a huge relief!

I finished up and got out of the shower. ¬†I looked at my face in the mirror, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it looked like someone had taken a vacuum cleaner to my pores. ¬†So clear and smooth, and I have tried a ton of products and haven’t ever gotten results like this. ¬†My blackheads are gone. ¬†I put on the Moisturize 911, and I can say I love it, too. It isn’t heavy, but does the job, with a very light pleasant scent.

I definitely like Perfectly Posh, and will purchase more. ¬†I can’t use this particular cleanser again, due to the nuts, but I definitely recommend it for those who don’t have nut allergies. ¬†I believe I will be purchasing The DTox Body Mud Stripper and the Moisturize 911. ¬†I am excited to try more Perfectly Posh products. ¬†Victoria did send these to me free to try in exchange for my honest review. ¬†The Coffea scrub was in my Glossybox this month (September 2015) and I paid for it. ¬†They did not request a review, but I’m giving one anyway, it’s an excellent product. ¬†I do suggest you cut the top open with scissors before you get in the shower. ¬†Those that know me know if I don’t like something, I’m honest about it. ¬†I can’t promise the same results I had, but I loved each of these products. ¬†Hint hint, family and friends – I LOVED these products and my birthday is in October. ¬†Just saying ūüėČ

Victoria DiViesti is my Perfectly Posh rep, and you can purchase from her site http://www.perfectlyposh.com/VictoriaD.  My face is so smooth and hydrated right now РI can hardly believe the change.  The products I tried and loved tonight were the Complexion Perfection cleanser, The DTox Body Mud Stripper, and Moisturize 911.

Coffea Scrub is $16 for 7 oz and it can be purchased through http://www.coffeascrub.com. ¬†I looked on their site briefly and saw they have pumpkin spice and coconut versions! ¬†I’m in love with the original, but I know there are some pumpkin fanatics out there this time of year. ¬†I am going to sleep now, smelling like coffee and smiling.

Please let me know if you try or have already tried any Perfectly Posh or the Coffea Scrub and what you think.

I

Motherhood

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One of my earliest memories is my Daddy helping me get into a striped shirt and little corduroy pants and my leather moccasins. ¬†We got into the car to go pick up my Mama at her job. ¬†She was working at The Yarn Spinner. ¬†To a very small child, this meant she was magical like Rumplestiltskin. ¬†I was pretty sure she spun yarn out of thin air at her job. ¬†Of course, it was a yarn store and she didn’t make the yarn, but I truly thought she did.

At this time in Mama’s life, she should have been fragile. ¬†I don’t remember her being that way, though. ¬†It had to have been around the time her own mother passed away, because she went on to her heavenly reward when I was 3. ¬†She was very close to her mother.

My Mama also raised the four of us kids with my father most often working second shift, or sometimes third. ¬†This meant that she dealt with the lion’s share of the everyday parenting, the in-the-trenches sort of stuff. ¬†She and my Daddy lost twins during a pregnancy. ¬†Then one of their children was born with developmental and intellectual disabilities and my Mama was a special needs parent before the term was ever coined, and certainly before there was much tolerance or acceptance. ¬†She actually had people she loved tell her that she or our Daddy must have done something to deserve having a child that was different. ¬†There was no knowledge about how long life expectancy was for their special child, and decisions about anything weighed heavily on their shoulders because no one had any helpful answers. ¬†There was no advocacy group, no Facebook group, no Internet forums. ¬†She had to blaze her own path. She also had 3 other children at the same time, “normal” children to take care of. ¬†I think most of us realize by now that “normal” is just a setting on the washing machine. The other three of us are willful and full of mischief, just as our “special” sibling was and is. ¬†In other words, my Mama has had her hands full since the minute she became a parent.

I still remember so many small and big things that she took the time to do. ¬†Cooking meals, reading with me, turning my brand new earrings around and swabbing them with the cleaner so that they healed perfectly and I’ve never had trouble putting earrings in. ¬†Before Mama had to stop working due to disability, she had a passion for elderly folks. ¬†She took every kind of care of them, from bathing and diapering to playing Bingo and attending sophisticated social functions with them. ¬†She really shined as an activities director, probably because she’s a fun person. ¬†They all loved her so much, and I know I got special attention when I went to the nursing home with her because I was her daughter.

These days she spends at home with us. ¬†We are fortunate to be spending some time living with her, my Daddy, and my sister. ¬†I am so glad my children are getting this time with her and their Papaw. ¬†My Mama always showed strength, even before I knew what strength was. ¬†She has overcome some hard things that I don’t even want to contemplate what it must have been like for her. ¬†She has always trusted in The Lord, and I’ve been so blessed to have her as an example. ¬†She has always taught us to follow Jesus, and I remember learning to pray early on. ¬†My Mama has unshakable faith and unconditional love. ¬†She has a lot of pain now due to things her doctors still don’t quite have all sorted out, but she still got out of her own bed the other day to rub my leg and back down with cream when I was crying in pain from a pinched nerve. ¬†She has always helped others, always given of herself. ¬†We haven’t always seen eye to eye, but we do love heart to heart. ¬†I’ve always known she was here for me. ¬†These are the best things you can give your child.

I am so blessed to be your child, Jennifer Louise Griffin Smith.  It is a wonderful and precious gift that you gave me, teaching me to be a mother.  I wish you another Happy Birthday.

Fresh Start

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¬† ¬† ¬†You’ve probably seen the meme by now that says for children to patiently teach their parents how to use technology; after all, their parents taught them to use a toilet. ¬†This is definitely true for me as I am something of a technophobe. ¬†I do have a smartphone that was passed along to me, but I am certainly no expert at using it. ¬†Lucky for me, I am sure my husband or one of my kiddos can help me figure out how to get my ramblings onto the interwebs. ¬†Not sure if that’s lucky for you or not. ūüėČ

     I took this photo with the phone about a week ago.  It had just stopped raining, a steamy afternoon after a flash summer storm, and my husband was driving us down the road. We had just left home and I looked over and saw the rainbow.  I definitely needed to see it.  My little family has been through a lot lately, and I always see a rainbow as a reminder of the promise from our Lord.  I am reminded of His faithfulness to us, and how He has carried us through so many things that might have torn others apart.  I am so grateful for His blessings, and even in the midst of the storm I try to hold those blessings close to my heart.

¬† ¬† ¬†Of course, I’m not privy to His exact plans, and I’m human and I admit I become frustrated and brokenhearted at times when life’s events spiral downward so quickly that it feels like I’m drowning in quicksand. ¬†I don’t always give things to Him in prayer the way I should. ¬†Learning to lean on Him can sometimes be hard when a mother is used to being “the glue.” Funny how you have to take a step back from your hopeless situation and remember that can’t solve everything yourself.

¬† ¬† ¬†Of noteworthy importance, I am not the most scholarly Christian you will find. ¬†If you stumbled upon my writing expecting to find extremely well-versed teachings on The Word because the name has the word “blessed” in it, you are in for a surprise. ¬†I won’t say in for a disappointment, because God can even work in His mysterious ways through someone like me. ¬†I pray that He might choose to do that. ¬†I am merely doing what a lot of others decide to do at some point – it’s time to “get some things off my chest.”

¬† ¬† ¬†Remember the word “broken” in the blog name? ¬†Well, that word can be taken a lot of different ways. ¬†Christians sometimes refer to themselves as “broken sinners, saved by grace, or something similar. ¬†I definitely fit that category. ¬†You’ve heard the phrase “broken spirit”, but that doesn’t describe me anymore. ¬†It did for a while. ¬†Broken, in this case, actually mostly refers to a family joke. ¬†My sweet husband Tim often refers to himself as broken, because of his health. ¬†He is disabled with Type 1 diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. ¬†It’s a family joke, because all four of us have actually been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. ¬†Tim and I didn’t know when we married almost 15 years ago that we both had a connective tissue disorder. ¬†I have also been told I have fibromyalgia and I have some other health issues that are likely related to the EDS. ¬†Our son also has Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE, and is fed mostly by G tube (a tube in his belly.) ¬†He also has quite a few anaphylactic food allergies. ¬†He and our daughter also have asthma, eczema, and other gastrointestinal problems. ¬†We’ve also been learning how to best live with ADHD and SPD. ¬†I’d love to spread awareness through my words here, but I’d settle for spreading some tolerance for people who are differently abled.

We have some hobbies we enjoy, and I’m sure I will share about that here. ¬†My daughter and I have a shared love of many things – reading, sewing, and makeup are a few of those. ¬†My son enjoys science activities, nature, Minecraft, and Legos. ¬†The last two I will admit I know next to nothing about, but he’s doing his best to teach me. ¬†We do homeschool our kids, and it has been a very fun adventure so far. ¬†My husband and I spend our time together doing such scandalous and interesting things such as going to the grocery store and doctor appointments together. ¬†If the timing is right, we might even catch a show or two on Netflix together! ¬†We’ll celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in September. ¬†God has blessed us with a beautiful relationship (that we treasure and do our best to take care of) and a beautiful family.

     I hope that my words might end up as inspiration for some, as education for others, and at least a laugh for the rest of you.