Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Benefits of apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is one of my top two natural remedies that I use every day along with my coconut oil obsession.  I recommend it to my friends and family and use it personally for several reasons including detoxification, improved digestion and for a quick burst of energy. Also, apple cider vinegar has many uses for personal care reasons like conditioning my hair, whitening my teeth and as a household cleaner.
  • One of my favorite apple cider vinegar uses is to soothe a sunburn. Living in Florida, I deal with this quite often. Put 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in a lukewarm bath along with 1/4 cup of coconut oil. 
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural teeth whitener. Take your finger and rub apple cider vinegar on your teeth for 1 minute.  Then rinse mouth out with water.  The pH of apple cider vinegar can remove stains from your teeth which helps naturally whiten.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used as a natural hair conditioner and makes your hair shine naturally!  Take an old shampoo bottle or spray bottle and fill it will 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.  You can pour or spray this on your hair after shampooing three times per week for best results.
  • As you may already know, bad bacteria and yeast are a major cause of body odor.  The armpit can stay damp which also makes it a breading ground for bad bacteria. By simply dabbing some apple cider vinegar into your armpit you can kill yeast and neutralize odors, keeping you smelling fresh all day
  • Use it as a facial tonerThe pH of apple cider vinegar makes it an excellent remedy for skin issues. 
  • Acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar can not only detox your body from the inside out but it can speed up your metabolism, balance blood sugar, and improve diabetes. Put apple cider vinegar on salads or consume 1 tablespoon in water before meals.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Roscoes adoption story


Beginning the search for the most perfect pup can be overwhelming, but one thing is definitely a very simple choice to make: adopting a pup is a much better idea than purchasing one. There are countless reasons to choose adoption over buying from a pet store or a breeder, but here is my number one reason:

Adoption saves lives
It's absolutely tragic how many potential pets are put down each year simply because there isn't enough space for them at a shelter. About 2.7 million dogs are euthanized each year due to overcrowded shelters. Each time someone adopts from a private humane society or animal shelter, rescue group, or the local animal control agency, that's one more free spot and one more chance at life. Adopt. Don't shop. 




My adoption story:


I would like to happily introduce you to my to my baby boy. Roscoe is my little "human". My spoiled little "human". I love this little guy so much it's disgusting. Roscoe was adopted into our family in April of 2016. My boyfriend and I had just finished the renovations on our home and were ready to add to our family. Since neither of us are ready for children yet we decided that a furry family member would be best.



Roscoe's first trip to the park with his new Humans. 
He loves visiting with other furry friends.


Roscoe's story: 

Scrolling one Sunday afternoon through a Facebook group I came across a woman who was looking to re-home her fostered 4-ish year old Shih-Tzu. I reached out immediately. She sent me pictures and I fell in love. I had no idea what his personality would be like, all I knew was that he was meant to be with us. We sent her pictures of our home and gave her references. After speaking on the phone and about an hour later (Around 1:00 pm) we were in the car beginning our 5 1/2 hour trip to Jacksonville, Florida. We met with his Foster at a park and immediately fell in love. His Foster gave us his vaccination records, some potty pads, food, two small toys, and one month flea/ heart worm prevention. We took him home that day. 

He was scared. Shaking most of the way home. At one point I even think I saw a tear. This broke my heart. It took him a few days to warm up to his new home but bonded with us almost immediately. Roscoe's foster had him on a pet insurance plan that was transferred into my name so we booked him a vet appointment immediately just to be safe. Roscoe checked out fabulously. 

We learned early on that Roscoe HATES cages. Anytime he sees another animal in a kennel, cage, or glass enclosure he tries to break them out. His first time to the groomers they took him right back and had him ready to go in no time at all. However, the second time we took him to the groomer there was a wait. I had to get to work so I dropped him off as it was only a half day and I would be back within a few hours. People drop their pets off at the groomers all the time! What could possibly go wrong?

I called within the hour to see how he was doing and thats when I was told that Roscoe was not having a good time. He had been hyperventilating, knocked over the water bowl, was throwing himself against the door, crying, and had thrown up... I was in shock and immediately ready to drop everything at work to go and get him. The woman was very sweet and had told me she taken him out of the kennel and kept him up front with her until the groomers were ready for him. This put me at ease but I decided in that moment that it would be the very last time he would ever look at a kennel if I could help it. We now have someone come to the house to groom him, groom him ourselves, or ensure he will not be placed into a kennel if we take him to the groomers. There's a wait? I will wait with him. This incident reminded me that he's a rescue and made me think what on earth happened to him to make him react to a kennel the way he did. I probably will never know and maybe that's a good thing. So far, having someone come to the house has been successful. He truly loves to be pampered. Metrosexual if you will. 

He loves to snuggle. He loves people watching; He will sit on the porch or in a park with you all day long and people watch. He loves kids! The first time he had a baby pull his hair he let out a little yelp before rolling over onto his back and putting his paws in the air in surrender (insert "Awhhhh" moment). He loves playing with other animals and seriously gets along with EVERYONE. His personality is absolutely amazing. 

We are so unbelievably lucky to have him in our life and I wouldn't trade him for the world. Adopting is such a beautiful thing. 


Now I will overload you with cuteness:



 

Left: Roscoe snuggling with Daddy 
Center: Roscoe enjoying the ride down to Key West, Florida 
Right: Roscoe enjoying a lazy Sunday.


Above: Roscoe showing off his new haircut

 

Left: Roscoe doing what he loves best 
Right: Roscoe helping Daddy move boxes


Above: This was sent to me while I was at work. This is where he waits for me to get home.


Left: My furry nugget and I.
Right: I have no caption for this. I don't even know what their doing (LOL) 




Okay, enough pictures. It's obvious we're proud parents to a rescued furry baby <3

If you have your own rescue story, I'd love to hear from you!





Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Target fashion steals




Who doesn't love Target?! Just after Christmas I managed to snag up some pretty good deals. Go figure, I only went in for one thing and came out with three new outfits...  




The first thing I found was this Dark grey sweater. It's very thick and will be sure to keep you nice and warm. I did not buy the scarf at target, however I did find one similar to my pink and grey scarf. I thought it to be the perfect pop of color. This adorable light grey sweater is unbelievable comfortable and very stylish. The material is so soft and feels great on your skin! I paired a black infinity scarf as the perfect accessory to complement these black SAM&LIBBY ankle boots. By the way, these are on sale right now for $19.99! Grab a pair at this great price while supplies last! 



This light pink turtleneck is so comfortable! The material is so soft and luscious. This top is a bit see-through so you may want to wear a tan tank underneath. The leopard scarf was a gift from my lovely sister, Holly. She purchased this on Amazon. These super stylish cognac colored boots complement the leapord scarf perfectly and are on sale right now for $19.99!







Sunday, January 8, 2017

Coconut oil benefits



Hey Guys and Gals! Shanna here. If you know me, you know how much I love my coconut oil. If you ever come to me with a problem, I will more than likely tell you to get some coconut oil. 

Do you remember how Windex was the cure all for Gus Portokalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? This is how I am with my coconut oil. From rough skin to bad credit, coconut oil is my cure all. 


Below are my top 10 favorite uses for coconut oil.



1. In-Shower body oil

Hello hydration! Living in cold or hot climates can do a number on your skin and it's important to take care of it! I personally mix 2 parts coconut oil, 1 part aloe vera gel, and 1 part grape seed oil in a spray bottle and keep it in my shower. After my shower routine, I spray my body and rub the oil all over before rinsing the excess off. Once I am out of the shower I pat my skin dry and dress normally. My skin is hydrated all day and smells fantastic! 

Disclaimer: I would be very careful as this can make your tub VERY slippery. Be sure to use caution. I have an automatic shower cleaner which assists with cleanup.

2. Makeup remover

Ugh! Oh how I hate fighting with the removal of mascara! I use to have the hardest time with this until I started using coconut oil. It used to be that no matter how much make up remover I would use I would still have mascara left on my lashes. And the price tags on some of these make up remover's were cutting into my pocket pretty deep. 
Remove make up easily by simply taking a cotton ball with some coconut oil and gently massaging into your make up. Follow up with your normal facial cleansing routine. 

3. Hair mask

I'm blonde. Need I say more? Ok, fine... my hair can suck. There. I said it. If you've suffer from frizzy hair, split ends and/or dullness you'll thank me. 
Apply a dime to quarter-size dollop to your hair (this depends on your length and thickness), comb it through your ends and work up to your roots and massage into your scalp (which will also stimulate hair growth), and then pile it into a loose bun. You'll want to leave this on your hair for at least an hour. If you plan on keeping it on over night you'll want to place a soft towel over your pillow or sleep in a shower cap. In the morning (or when your ready), shampoo as usual with a gentle cleanser. Note that you may need to shampoo more than once to get all of the coconut oil out depending on the thickness of your hair. 

4. Scrub-a-dub-dub body scrub

Did you see Holly's post about South Florida Organics luscious body scrubs? My love for coconut oil pushed me to begin making my own organic skincare and was basically why South Florida organics was created! 

Want to make your own at home? Warm ½ cup of coconut oil at very low heat in a double broiler. Pour it over 1 cup of organic sugar or natural sea salt and stir well. If you have some on hand, add in five drops of your favorite essential oil or some pure vanilla extract for a scrub so fragrant you'll want to eat it! Because theres no preservatives you'll want to use this up within 3 months and ensure you keep it tightly sealed. 

5. Fresher breath!

Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Take a table spoon full of coconut oil and gargle for 15-20 minutes (also known as oil pulling). This can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.

6. Makeup-Brush Cleaner

Cleaning your makeup brushes should be (at the least) a monthly ritual. You can use a DIY cleanser that's two parts antibacterial soap (I like this one from Dr. Broners) and one part coconut oil. Blend your brush into your cleansing mixture, rinse, and repeat until your brushes rinse clean. 

7. Stretch-Marks

Expectant as well as new moms (Holly!) should keep a jar of coconut oil nearby to help ward off stretch marks, but anyone can use this as a topical treatment for scars. While the coconut oil won't fade any marks right away, it can help prevent dark spots and blisters from forming. When mixed with shea butter and cocoa butter, you're more likely to see a fade of marks overtime. 

8. Itch relief 

Burns, bug bites, and bruises can all be soothed with a topical balm of coconut oil.

9. Natural deodorant 

Yes, you can make your own natural deodorant at home (and it works). Mix coconut oil with arrowroot powder, cornstarch, baking soda, and a natural essential oil for a DIY odor fix.

10. Undereye Cream

Don't want to spend the extra money on eye cream? Use a dab of coconut oil on undereye bags and fine lines. It's light enough for the most delicate skin on your face.

What are your favorite coconut oil fixes?



Sunday, January 1, 2017

JANUARY GOALS


It's January 1st again!? How did this happen? I can still recall last new years like it was yesterday and now we're already in 2017! I know most of us were ready to give up 2016 though, it seemed like the year of death with the amount of talent and even personal losses we were faced with. Political "deaths" and what felt like utter chaos at times. A lot of us were left both mentally and physically beaten by 2016. I have mixed emotions about it myself, with so much bad and then a burst of light came 11 days before the end of the year with the birth of our beautiful little girl.

Meet Willow Rose Campbell-Smith
Born 20th December 2016

PERSONAL GOALS
  1. Have a smooth birth experience
    We did it! I had a relatively smooth delivery of our second child on the 20th of December 2016. I went into labour on the evening of the 19th after my waters broke naturally, which may I add is nothing like how they portray in the movies, and while I did end up having an epidural around 6 or more hours in, after 20 hours of labour she managed to arrive without any struggle, tearing, or intervention. 
  2. Enjoy Christmas
    Oh boy did I enjoy Christmas! It was a relaxed affair, maybe not for my husband who did all the cooking, but he seemed to be enjoying himself. We all casually sat around the living room rather than formally eating at the table. Lots of giggles and games. Good food, gifts and company. Willow was passed around like pass the parcel, I loved watching everyone trying to get as much cuddle time as they possibly could before someone nudged them saying "can I hold her now?
  3. Post all our Christmas Cards in time!
    First year I've managed this, can't believe I did it while being pregnant and then giving birth. I put it down to the system I created in order to get them all together in time and successfully posted. Want to know the secret formula? Check out how I managed to post all of my Christmas Cards in time here.
BLOG GOALS
  1. Keep up the blog posts
    I posted 2 blog posts in December.... so no didn't keep this goal. 
  2. Have a little bit of the load taken off me
    While the blog posts were pretty much non existent, The wonderful Shanna did manage to keep our Inside a Blue Moon facebook page updated, which I know you all appreciated. Thank you Shanna



JANUARY GOALS
PERSONAL GOALS
  1. Get back to my Jewellery Business.
    One of the reasons I started this blog with my sisters was so I can show people my Jewellery creations (Before you say anything Jewelry = USA. Jewellery = UK spellings) and possibly start teaching others how to make these creations too. But I can only do that if I can get back into my office and start creating again. 
  2. Recover from giving birth.
    Even though I had a smooth delivery, giving birth to a baby still takes a lot out of you. I did end up pulling a few muscles in my stomach from pushing and separating the muscles in the middle of my stomach which over time will fix itself (with a little help from gentle exercise). This might take longer than a month though. 
Photo courtesy of Bellefit.com

3. Continue to breastfeed.
With my first child I hated breastfeeding, I'm still not impressed with it, I'm never going to be one of those people who "loves" breastfeeding and thinks it's the best thing in the world, blah blah blah. I didn't have much trouble per-say with the actual breastfeeding the first time, I was suffering from PPD and our son was constantly attached to my chest, he liked to feed for comfort and would not let me put him down to sleep, this constant demanding and not being able to sleep made me resent him for being continually stuck to me like a parasite. I was in pain from a c-section gone bad which added to the discomfort. All of this just contributed to me expressing and formula feeding (mixed feeds) and then eventually giving up on expressing as it was inconvenient and just switching to formula all together. This time I had a bit more trouble with the actual breastfeeding but I've managed to push through it as mentally and physically I am fine, probably because I didn't have a crappy delivery experience and have not been left crippled by it like last time. So far I have managed to get through that horrible first week of excruciating nipple pain, I've survived mastitis, which fingers crossed I've learned how to prevent from ever happening again, so why stop now? I'm not having to pay almost £10 every 4 days for formula, while I do have to sterilize things like the breast pump and bottles etc. I don't really have to take those things with me every time I go out, or worry I didn't bring enough. I'm producing enough milk that we've already managed to freeze a reserve. So in the long run it's actually going pretty well. Which I'm kind of surprised at. Now to see how long I can keep it up? 

BLOG GOALS
  1. Post more!
    I actually do have a lot to post topic wise, but I'm letting not only myself but all of you down by not making the time to post these on a regular basis. I promise at some point I will get the formula to managing our blog completely down. 
  2. Not take so long to research topics.
    You might be surprised to learn that we actually have a ton of blog posts in our drafts just waiting to be finished. Why you ask? Because of research. Sometimes posts require back up data that you can prove during a post, not after when challenged. If the post is about fashion we have to research the current retail price verses where we bought it, locations of where you can purchase both in the UK and USA. If it's about a specific topic like, say pregnancy, we have to look up statistics, links to information and facts etc. Balance up the statistics and facts by making sure more than one intel can confirm the data etc. All of this takes time, a lot of time, sometimes more time than I really want to spend on a blog post. But the journalist in me loves hunting down the information, my numb bottom and strained eyes on the other hand don't love it as much. 

What are you January Goals or should I say New Years Resolutions? 



Monday, December 12, 2016

How I sent my XMAS cards on time this year!


Each year I am determined to write, envelope and send all our friends, family and those special acquaintances (like the postman) Christmas cards and each year I only manage to send maybe just over half? So this year I had a plan, this would be the year where I wouldn't have any missed deadlines for sending overseas, I wouldn't be running around frantically looking/trying to buy more Christmas cards because I ran out! I would also NOT be stumbling upon cards I had written but somehow didn't make it in the send pile and fell into a drawer, back of the office desk or under the bed? Never to have reached it's recipient!! *Insert angry face here*

No, this year I had a system!



- WRITE A LIST -
I know, pretty obvious right? But seriously, without a list this isn't going to work. Also, without the proper kind of list, it wont work either. You need a formula for your list to work. What is it you ask? Well you write your list by location. Starting with the people furthest away from you.

For example, I categorized all my card recipients by their location, furthest away from me being Australia, then America, then France, then England, then Scotland, and finally ending with those I could literally walk down the street or hop in my car and post through the door myself!
This is the best way because the cards you should be writing and sending first will be the ones furthest away from you as they take longer to arrive.

It also helps to write two of the same list, one as written then as sent.
I used onenote.com notebook section to make up my list so I could check off as I went, plus there was no way of accidentally losing the list in a pile of papers (which is what I usually do)



- BUY/MAKE YOUR CARDS IN ADVANCE -
Another pretty obvious one, but it helps. I bought my cards last year after Christmas when they all went on sale and managed to keep them in a safe place until I needed to pull them out this year. My only problem was I was a little short as usual, but again I was prepared and gave myself time to make some extra at home.


- UPDATE YOUR ADDRESS BOOK -
Seriously, it turns out I'd been sending a Christmas card for the past two-three years to the wrong address because I hadn't bothered to ask if that person had moved and they had assumed they'd given me their new address. It's probably good to check each year just in case, people forget who've they've told or assumed someone passed the new address on.

Also, try and include your return address either on the envelope or inside the card each year, you might be surprised to find out how many people have been doing the same thing as you, sending you cards but to your old address!


- CHECK LAST POST/MAIL DATES -
A good way to keep and meet a deadline is to be for-warned. Make sure you know the last day to send that card by air mail so that it actually makes it there in time for Christmas! For those of you sending from the UK you can find these dates here. For those of you sending from USA you can find these dates here

- MAKE IT FUN -
Like anything, if you're not enjoying it even just a little then you're not going to do it, or at least you wont do it well. I decided I enjoyed writing my cards more because I used some metallic Gold and Silver pens to write the addresses on the envelope all fancy.
I did this by typing the address into ipiccy.com in the 'make a design' section, picking out the font I liked and copying it by eyesight onto the envelope. If that's a bit too difficult you can print each one out and then trace it onto the envelope instead. Learn how to do that here.


- SORT YOUR CARDS INTO PILES -
Sort written cards into location piles, In other words you should have a pile for Australia, a pile for USA etc. So they all stay together ready to be sent all together. To make things even easier, attach a list of each name to the card piles so after you've sent them you have reference of what cards you've sent instead of wondering "hold on, did I send Auntie Jacky that card or not? If I didn't where on earth is it?" no, this way you can physically see you've checked it off the list there and then!


- KEEP YOUR CARD PILES IN YOUR BAG -
Chances are if you're like me, you keep forgetting to pick them up when you leave the house. As soon as you've finished all your card piles, put them in the bag you regularly take with you when you leave the house, or put them in the car so they remind you to post them each time you see them.
This is also great if you bump into Sally from two towns over, guess what!? you have her card with you so you can hand it to her right there and then.... if you remember ;)

- SAVE ON POSTAGE -
Having your cards in your car means if you so happen to be a town over or you traveled down south/up north you can physically post cards through the door at the same time, rather than pay to post and also waste petrol (gas).

Another idea is that if you have kids you can make it a bit of an adventure and drive or walk around letting the kids post cards through the letterbox.

Also if you manage to buy your postage online it can sometimes be cheaper, especially if you're sending a parcel along with your card. It's always good to shop around/double check the prices before you send as the postie doesn't always give you all your price options but instead ones that will make him/her the most money. It's also good to know that Royal Mail use outside help to send parcels so they'll add an extra charge onto the price for profit, if you bypass the Royal Mail and go straight to the postage courier they would be using you may find you save money as the courier will charge you the same/similar rate they would have charged the Royal Mail.

- SIT BACK AND RELAX -
If you've manage to follow everything above then you'll have successfully sent your Christmas cards on time so now all you need to do is put the kettle on, sit back with a nice cuppa and smile. Until you realize you probably missed someone... just kidding, you're fine, you kept your lists and you checked them twice right?


Too late to accomplish this year? Pin this so you're prepared for next Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

DECEMBER GOALS


It's a little late I know!
We're almost half way through December and I've only just gotten around to updating the blog! Where is the time going? It was only yesterday the leaves were changing to their bright orange and reds, laying out crispy carpets upon the pavement and pumpkins lining each door! Now it's Christmas lights, sprinkles of snow here and there and the same Christmas song playing on the radio over and over again! I think I'm in a bit of denial that it's the end of the year already so I have not allowed December to sink in until now. Which is why you are getting the December goals and November recap a week and a half to two weeks in rather than the first week of December.


NOVEMBER GOALS RECAP
PERSONAL GOALS
  1. Stop Doubting What I Want To Do
    I'd love to say I stopped this, but I didn't really. I managed to doubt somewhat less. It's a work in progress that will take longer than a month me thinks!
  2. Learn The Basics In BSL (British Sign Language)
    We know the whole alphabet, which helps when you don't know a sign for something! I can have the shortest conversation in history, so it's getting there. I just need to stick at it. It's been a big help that I've been learning it both with my son and husband which has kept me motivated and made it easier to practice.
  3. Get My Energy Back!
    It came, it went again, it came back, and now I've hit the 1 week before my due date and I'm trying to hold on to that energy as much as I can! 
  4. Complete Most Of My DIY Christmas Presents
    Well shoot me, I managed it! Some were bought in the end as worked out cheaper to buy than make (not that I'm cheap *cough cough) but I really enjoyed making the presents that I did.
BLOG GOALS
  1. Consistent Posts
    Who am I kidding, this happened for all of two weeks haha
  2. Build Up A Following
    This did happen, with what we did manage to keep updated and with some great networking groups via facebook we're slowly but surely going in the right direction!
  3. Get Into A Routine
    Nope, not yet, probably not for the next 6 months to be honest. We'll see, I will try but I'm not going to beat myself up if I do not manage this with a newborn baby...I think I owe myself that much at least. 

DECEMBER GOALS
PERSONAL GOALS
  1. Have a smooth birth experience
    For those of you that don't know I'm expecting our second child, due this month on the 18th. My first birth experience I'll just say was not a positive one, so much so I was reluctant when I found out I was pregnant again. But like each baby, each birth and pregnancy is different, it's my goal to make sure this one is a lot smoother than the first!
  2. Enjoy Christmas
    This one should be particularly easy, we'll be surrounded by family, possibly have a new baby in arm? and well, it's Christmas! But there's a possibility it might not be as easy to do as I think, especially if I'm in hospital on Christmas Day, away from my family :( 
  3. Post all our Christmas Cards in time!
    Each year I have trouble managing this, I've usually missed a few, and as we speak we've still not sent any! Fingers crossed they all get there before the day!
BLOG GOALS
  1. Keep up the blog posts
    It's going to be hard I know, trying to keep up with blog posts, advertising, emails, and the rest of life with a newborn and a four year old. I don't expect to keep this goal, but I will definitely try. I also apologise in advance to our regulars if I don't manage it.
  2. Have a little bit of the load taken off me
    After all I'm not the only one posting to this blog? ;) hint hint sisters.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR DECEMBER?