Saturday, June 8, 2013

Change is Good and brings me Back!

Well, hello, there!

Exactly 3 days after my last Blog Post, life as I knew it started to change dramatically, and in a great way. I ventured into something "new". Actually, not exactly "new". I had known about it for a year, I had known and read about the industry in general for at least 7 years and the industry has been around for at least 60 years.

I say "NEW" because I made a DECISION. I made a decision to start changing our lives and that was new. The decision was STRONG and came accompanied by a beautiful action plan I started developing in my heart and mind. The changes I envisioned coming are going to make all the difference. Not even 2 months have passed and I can attest that yes, life has been better already.

Now you may be asking yourself: "Well, I didn't know they were unhappy! I didn't know life was not good for them!" No, not at all. That was not the case! Life was good. In my opinion, though, life is an evolution and (good) continuous change is a big part of it we all shall seek no matter what. New dreams, new ideas, an enhanced personal development...No matter how great life is, why should we ever stop trying to better our lives, right? Why should we close ourselves to "the world"?

This is what I decided for me and my family, and this is why I've been missing in action here on the Blogosphere. I was dedicating much of my time to our new venture, however, now, I feel ready and comfortable in coming back to report more from the "Hip & Kind Mom" here on my Blog!

One thing I've been learning in these past 6 weeks: An open mind is one of our biggest allies in life. Negativity can never win and as I've "preached" for so long: being kind, giving back, supporting and helping great causes and great friends, strangers and yourself transforms your life "magically". And I love this.

(both images found on Google)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Multitasking for your Skin!

Last year I bought my first BB Cream. The funny thing was the moment when the beauty consultant and I were wondering, together, what the BB stood for! ...and you'd would think she had to know that! Well, she was partially right. She told me "I think it means blemish balm!" When the other beauty consultant came back from her break she added the other half: "It also stands for beauty balm!" This was a Clinique inside Nordstrom, last Fall! BB stands for both blemish balm and beauty balm, and there are many brands that carry a BB cream. This type of cream is like a bit of magic for your face!

Time went by and here we are: Spring 2013 with Summer right around the corner. If your skin is like mine, it acts quite differently when it becomes hot and humid outside. I may have more breakouts and definitely need to watch out for the harmful sun rays. My skin gets oily in a matter of seconds, and sticky too. While during the colder days I need a different approach for my skin, the warmer time of the year requires a bit of a shift.

I still don't want to give up the BB Cream in the hot weather! I like it a lot and it's quite beneficial for the skin. It acts like a multitasker, covering up imprefections and evening out skin tone making it possible for you to skip foundation and concealer, moisturizing the skin (even oily skin needs moisture!), protecting from the sun, adding antioxidants to the skin and acting like a primer if you're applying make up after it. Talk about the possibility of saving space on your vanity and your travel beauty bag! This BB cream was first developed in Germany and when it hit Asia, South Koreans were the first ones to go crazy about it!

So, what I decided to do was test out 4 different BB creams: Clinique, Maybelline, L'Oreal and Revlon. These 4 were featured last month in a popular beauty magazine, and I decided to give it a try.

While all of them have a nice tint (you can choose light, medium or dark) I believe the "dark" option is not truly a darker tone like you'd see in a foundation that has so many different color variations. So, the tint color may actually disappoint a few people. I am not too fair but not too tanned either, and I tried the medium tones, which worked best for me. The Clinique BB cream was too light for me and made my skin look a bit ashy. The Revlon one and the Clinique one had a very similar, thicker texture and I can see it working well for Fall and Winter time, if you have "oily issues" like I do. Both have a broad spectrum sun protection (SPF 30) which is wonderful! The L'Oreal BB cream was a nice surprise: It's actually white with grey grains that, when applied in light circular and even motions to your skin turn beige like the skin. Very light texture, but once applied (and when you wash your hands) you feel the moisturizing action in it. The only thing I missed in the L'Oreal BB Cream was sun protection! My favorite of all these 4 was the Maybelline BB cream! It's got great sun protection (SPF 30), the texture is not too light and not too heavy and the coverage is perfect! The price factor is also very appealing (these 3 except for Clinique range between $8 and $10), as you can find it in all drugstores and it's not expensive if you compare it to Clinique and others such as Estee Lauder, Boscia, Too Faced, Stila, Smashbox and other BB creams in the higher end (all $30 and up).

My advice is this: If you're interested in using a BB cream, protecting and beautifying your skin, look at your budget and "invest" in 2 or 3. Don't just do the cream on the hand test at the store. You gotta wear it for a whole day to approve it or not! If you don't like it, find a friend who'd like to try the ones you didn't like and she can do the same, passing on the creams around your friendship circle. That's what I will do!

I'm so excited already because the fun won't stop here: Have you heard of the newer CC Creams?

Treat yourself well and be happy! Have a wonderful Sunday!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dress for the SUN!

Spring is here and Summer is right around the corner!
I grew up in a city where this means it's time to buy a new bikini! I grew up in a city where bikinis are quite small and cover up just the necessary. Contrary to popular belief, going topless at Rio de Janeiro's famous Ipanema or Copacabana beaches is illegal! Actually, this is illegal at most Brazilian beaches - there are, however, designated "hidden" nudist beaches for those who enjoy it!

Anyways, I'd like to keep up the tradition of buying one or two new bikinis every year, but honestly, usually don't spend big bucks on this. I find that variety and quality is much more important than the brand name behind it, most of all, however, I look for something that fits me well.

I say this because I have a "tricky" body: I have a very small, tiny upper body and a more womanly, curvy lower body. I decided NOT to insist on having my Mom send me Brazilian bikinis over to the U.S. anymore. "That was so my early 20s...before I got pregnant!" I love the bikinis I can find over here because they fit me much better!

I got the inspiration to write this post from my quick trip to Target today. Yes, Super Target! I mean, have you seen the variety and prices on those bikinis? Bottom fro $14 and Top for $14! The GREAT, wonderful thing about buying bikinis at Target is that you can choose to buy an XS top with a M bottom. Mix & match without any issues. Or, if you're bustier (well, maybe one day I'll be, right?) you get the L or XL one and pick out the bottom you want, the one that fits you the best. I love it over there also because they have so many different cuts. Wanna cover up your belly? No problem! They got it! Want to go strapless? They got it too!

Same goes for buying bikinis at Victoria's Secret online. You can also mix & match sizes, for most part of it, and the bikinis are SO gorgeous. A bit pricier, yes, but what I do love about Victoria's Secret bikinis is the "enhancement" part: They really got me looking twice when I read "look 2 cups larger in your bikini"! That one can't seem to escape my mind! LOL...I wonder if it's comfortable?!

It's really about feeling comfortable, right? Most of us are a bit (or  lot) body conscious - we're all  on the same boat. We don't like our legs, but love our boobies. We don't like our bootie, but love our belly. We don't like our belly, but love our legs...and so on and so forth. If you don't like bikinis, that's alright, too! Target and Victoria's Secret have beautiful one-piece swimming suits!

Last year I became a pro in using self-tanning lotions to fake a tan. I'll look for some more natural alternatives, if they're out there, and will try them out. I'll report back to you soon!
For now, enjoy your Monday and just know the weekend is only 4 days away! :)

(image from Google Images) 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Give back program!

I love companies that give back! It's a real big deal for me. As everything else in life, there's just so much more of an impact if more people are involved, giving out that same great, powerful energy to make a difference.

Kohl's, which is one of my favorite stores for very good deals in clothes, purses, shoes, other accessories, gifts, kitchen equipment, home decor and kids' clothing (beautiful dresses...the cutest outfits!), and which you can  visit in every single State here in the U.S. has a great Give Back program! Kohl's began offering great deals in 1962 and keeps expanding its locations nationwide. They just opened 9 new stores in March of this year!

I had bought 2 gifts over there as a Thank You for Marija, who had made many delicious goodies for my little one's birthday party back in January. Our daily life "got in the way" for them and us didn't allow us to go visit her until last week. Before going to their house, I wanted to get her granddaughter Mia and my dear friend Jeje a little something as well, so I took my girls to Kohl's with me.

Upon entering the store my little one immediately picked up this stuffed alligator "by" Dr. Seuss. We decided right there baby Mia would get the Dr. Seuss stuffed elephant. Then I (for the first time!) spotted the "Kohl's Cares" sign, and saw a tag on each of the stuffed animals. Intriguing...The cost of the Dr. Seuss "Kohl's Cares" products was very affordable and made for a very nice gift to a child. At home I wanted to learn more about this program and here is what I learned:

Kohl's comes out with different products that make part of their "Kohl's Cares" program. After all expenses are paid, 100% of the net profit from the sales of these items are given to kids' health and education initiatives nationwide, as well as environmental initiatives and the fight against breast cancer. That is a very nice and easy way we can all make a difference, right? Examples of programs include College Scholarships, hospital partnerships, fundraising gift card programs, installation of solar power, buildings with LEED certification, volunteer programs and more.

This is a quote directly taken from their corporate website:

"We envision a future where kids are healthy, resources are plentiful and disease that affects women and their families is eradicated. Because the way we see it, giving back also means looking ahead."

Our $10 spent are just the beginning of MY personal partnership with Kohl's Cares to help make a difference!

What a great way to shop and be kind!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Too much paper in my life?

I have a confession to make that won't impress my Planet Loving friends too much: I love PAPER.

I know, I know, we are all trying to live a greener life, eliminating as much paper from our daily life as possible. We have electronic books that can be read on an e-book reader (no need for paper books!), we have a tablet or a smart phone (or both!) where we can keep all of our appointments, take notes, send mail and store pictures (no need for any paper here!). We barely remember our friends' telephone numbers because we all have cell phones and all cell phones store their contact info - forget about the old address book we used to use! Invitations to a party? Yes, we still receive some in the mail, but the majority comes as an e-vite, an electronic invitation sent to us online! You save time, paper and the trip to the post office. So MUCH of our life can be done without any paper. We seem to be adapting pretty well, as smart phones become smarter and information doesn't simply flow anymore - it's instantly passed on. One click and you get it.

So, I'm here to tell you, however, that "some things will never change".

I don't buy e-books, and while I do have a tablet, I dislike reading a book electronically. Call me a book-nerd, but I like to make notes, fold the corners of pages, highlight important passages - the student for life in me can't seem to let that go.
I don't record any of my appointments electronically. I have an awesome, pretty (and pink) Day-Timer "Flavia" daily planner, with pretty paper and tons of space for me to record everything.
My daily to-do list travels with me physically, as I write it down in my calendar.
And I have an adorable Vera Bradley address book that brings me joy to fill! I love adding new addresses to it, and it wouldn't even look half as pretty had I stored everything in my phone or tablet. Not to mention the super nice address labels we can order left and right, right?

(my oh-so-pretty Vera Bradley address book I bought at Barnes & Noble!)

Some things will never change. Or will they? I recognize the utility of technology and understand the importance of cutting our paper consumption. I can't live without my phone. I love technology, but love the real deal as well. If I decide to travel, I see the issue: Carry ALL that with me, while I could pretty much just take my phone and my iPad? I have used e-vites in the past, but simply prefer the paper invitation sent and received in the mail. I love letters and postcards! But, we all can make emotional sacrifices that can have a bigger impact on our resources on Earth.

I'm willing to make an effort to become less of a paper dependent person. I am unsure how successful I will be at first, but it will be interesting to comment on this post 12 months from now and see what "improvements" have been made. Are you as much of a paper lover as I am?

For now, I'm not willing to give up my planner
, address book and books, but will try this:

Read magazines on my tablet instead of buying them all the time!
Send E-vites when necessary!
Record my To-Do list on my phone!
Turn ALL my bills to online bill paying (we have done that for half of our bills)!
Eliminate bank statements sent in the mail and go with online statements!
Skip the Christmas Family Picture Card (oh, wait! Don't know if I'm ready for this one yet!...)

Take it easy, right? One thing at a time!...I admire the all-tech-no-paper-ever-necessary folks!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013



It's OK to feel like you need a break.
It's OK to feel exhausted.
It's OK to feel like you can't do it all, after all.
It's OK to call it the day and say "tomorrow will be a better day".
It's OK to find comfort in a hot shower, in the couch, in your pillows.
It's OK to eat that piece of chocolate if you want that piece of chocolate.
It's OK to cry. It's OK to cry a lot.
It's OK to not want to talk to anybody. Right now. The entire day.
It's OK to feel so overwhelmed that all you can think of is how overwhelmed you feel.
It's OK if that this overwhelming feeling makes you numb for a moment.
It's OK if you prefer to be alone the entire day.
It's OK if you want to be in your pajamas the entire day.
It's OK if you want to lay on the couch the entire day.
It's OK if you can't find any motivation to go workout today.
It's OK if you "don't care" today.
It's OK if you're sad today.

However, know this:

It is NOT OK if everyday you feel like this. It is NOT OK if you feel like that most of the time. It is NOT OK if you don't pay attention to what you feel and ignore the signs that something may be wrong.
It is NOT OK if you don't seek professional help.

It is NEVER OK to feel ashamed.
It is NEVER OK to assume "things will get better".
It is NEVER OK to not take care of yourself.
It is NEVER OK to live a sad life.
It is NEVER OK to not want to be happy.

You DESERVE to be the happiest person you can ever be.
You DESERVE love, no matter how you feel.
You DESERVE help, because help can make you stronger, better and happier.
You DESERVE to be listened to.

Ultimately, LISTEN to YOURSELF first and if something doesn't feel right in your heart and/or mind, never ignore it.
Only you can know YOU and allow yourself to HEAL. Allow yourself to HEAL. Start NOW.

With much love from me...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

The oldest Christian holiday is here: Easter! Calling it "Jesus' Ressurection Day" would be far more appropriate for expressing what it truly means, but it seems our kid & chocolate loving self is heavily drawn to the commercialized Easter as "the world" usually celebrates it: Welcoming Spring with a hint of Paganism (even though unknown to many) and yummy, colorful candy and chocolates - maybe adding the Easter Sunday Church visit, and most definitely dressing up to look very pretty on all those family pictures, right? Let's see the beauty in all of this, enjoy it and blame all the genius Marketing gurus who help make all those Easter eggs so irresistible to us all, little ones and big ones!

Here, a few pictures of our Easter morning before the kids got up!
Happy Easter!

How are YOU spending Easter Sunday this year?

These bunnies are so adorable...

These are Brazilian Easter Eggs! Tons of chocolate, for sure!

 Decorating the house with a few colorful pieces catches our attention and brightens up any room! The kids love it!

...give plants a little accent!

And last but not least, our Easter Tree entirely decorated by the kids!

Have a wonderful Sunday! Most of all, remember to share LOVE!