My Love for 100% Pure Makeup Products

There’s no wavering in my commitment to nontoxic and natural beauty products.  One of my favorite nontoxic companies is 100% Pure. 100% Pure has a wide assortment of products ranging from haircare to makeup. So far I have only tried their makeup:

Fruit Pigmented Foundation Powder in my shade, Golden Peach

This is such a natural-looking foundation. My skin breathes while wearing this. It’s the perfect everyday foundation for all your activities. My husband knew exactly which shade to choose for me – Golden Peach. I apply it with a foundation brush and it melts right into my skin. I feel like I’m wearing nothing, but look extra finished.

Long Last Liquid Eye Liner: Dark Chocolate – smells amazing (like chocolate!), works beautifully, and lives up to its name!
Fruit Pigmented Ultra Lengthening Black Tea Mascara – separates & lengthens, smells great, and no smudge!










Maracuja Mascara: Blackberry – adds volume. Although I had my reservations about the deep purple, it looks natural and voluminous!

I’m beyond impressed with the 100% Pure beauty products, and I can’t wait to try 100% Pure’s Lip Caramel in the beguiling color: Truffle.

The New Jumanji – Old and New

Since I was a little girl, I’ve enjoyed books and movies where the impossible occurs – being transported to another world, switching bodies, and riding a large dog-like dragon – any movies come to mind?

Like most of the planet, I was devastated when Robin Williams died. It was like losing a friend. After watching Mrs. Doubtfire and learning about the heartbreaking effects of divorce, I couldn’t wait to show my kids the fun romp that is Jumanji. They enjoyed it very much as well! Who doesn’t love jungle and savannah animals in their living room? Remodeling would have been a bitch, though. I’d forgotten how action-packed that movie is!

When I found out the new Jumanji was coming out, naturally, I was excited as well as a bit apprehensive. How can you top the original? Or even match it side by side? Nostalgia is hard to beat, but as in Star Wars, an effective tool as well.

Fast forward to the casting: The Rock? Wow, this was going to be different! I didn’t know anyone else who was going to be in the movie, so I just waited until the trailer came out.

Holy mackerel! I enjoyed the trailer so much, I was laughing again the second time I saw it. Ever since his Shallow Hal and Nacho Libre days, I’ve been a fan of Jack Black’s work. Imagine when I saw he’s playing a modern teenage girl! See for yourselves: with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson,

See for yourselves: with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart (bless his hart – haha), the always entertaining Karen Gillan, and Jack Black, this movie promises some belly laughs..! Nostalgia punching me square in the gut, I watched as these millennial teens were fascinated by our old tech – a video game which looks like it dates to my era.

There must be a lot of us in-betweeners out there – that micro-generation born during the release of the Star Wars movies from 1977-1983. Nostalgia punching me square in the gut as I watched these obviously millennial teens on the screen fascinated by our old tech – a video game which looks like it dates to my era. Wait, why is Jumanji now a video game? My daughter, all of 9, was annoyed by this: “Mama,” she said with a critical expression on her face. “I liked it better when Jumanji was a board game. Does this mean these new kids wouldn’t bother playing a board game? I would.” Hmm.. good point. Would the typical teen nowadays play a board game? Probably not. These semi-rebellious teens seemed to be in trouble for something.

Wait, why is Jumanji now a video game? My daughter, all of 9, was annoyed by this: “Mama,” she said with a wrinkled-up nose as if she smelled something foul.”I liked it better when Jumanji was a board game. Does this mean these new kids wouldn’t bother playing a board game? I would.” Hmm.. good point. Would the typical teen nowadays play a board game? People wouldn’t expect them to. After all, this is a potential blockbuster. These semi-rebellious teens seemed to be in trouble for something, and a board game wouldn’t hold the same attraction as old tech, anyway.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle aptly has Guns n’ Roses magic tearing its way through the action-packed sequences of the trailer with its signature title throughout. Love it! As a teen growing up in the nineties – turned 13 at the start of 1990 – I was headbanging with a huge smile on my face.

With a realistically-looking jungle surrounding them, these kids-turned-characters- in-an-old-video-game don’t know what they’re in for. Don’t want to give away too much. For those who haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a treat. I know what I’m going to be doing this Christmas!

The Struggle to Exercise Consistently

Get out and move!


The Center for Disease Control (the CDC) says adults over the age of 18 who meet its Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity is 49%, and the percentage of adults of the same ages who meet both aerobic and strengthening exercises is only 20.9%.

This means most of us are lying around on the couch – or are we?

Most of us have good intentions. Take me, for instance. When I say, “I’m going to exercise (walk, bike, play tennis, swim, dance) four days a week”, I mean it with all sincerity. What’s more, I can see myself doing any of those activities, no problem. So why when the moment comes to actually get off the couch, bed, chair, is it tough to follow through?

Inertia is defined as “a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Inertia is not just a physics term. We as humans have a tendency to keep doing as we’re doing. If, as in my case, you haven’t exercised consistently in years, it’s infinitely easier to continue not exercising. Like rolling down a hill, staying on the couch or bed is what’s natural for me.

Getting up and doing something is fighting this sense of ease and complacency, which requires more energy and willpower than I muster on many days.

The best days are when the physical activity is so fun and compelling, you can’t help but want to join. For example, yesterday my family and I played catch with a football and baseball outside, then went on to play Frisbee and swim. It was so much fun and didn’t feel like exercise at all!  Today, I feel my sore arm from throwing so much, but I don’t mind.

Let’s schedule more of these days with family and friends so we achieve two of most people’s goals at once: building relationships and exercise. Let’s build momentum and consistency! Sure beats lonely reps at a sweat-smelling gym.

Sex, Love, and Relationships à la Esther Perel

If you’re a member of Audible, you’re in luck. Esther Perel is here to demonstrate some of her unique techniques in couples’ therapy.

Back in 2013, Esther Perel hit the nail on the head with her famous Ted Talk on desire in a long-term relationship:   The ingredients of sex are imagination, playfulness,  novelty, curiosity, and mystery. No wonder it had reached five million views in its first year. Her truths, together with her matter-of-fact but mesmerizing delivery, hit a nerve.

I listened to Esther Perel’s talk back in 2015. As I had minored in Psychology in college, I wanted to know more. I’ve been meaning to read her book, Mating in Captivity (2017).

It’s not until 2017 when Audible came out with a new series called, “Where Should We Begin?” that I jumped on the chance. As an Audible member who has been enjoying listening to The Lord of the Rings trilogy with my son and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, it was my turn to listen to something more adult.

I’ve only listened to three in her series so far, but they come out every Friday. Each episode is an intimate invitation to one of her couples’ session. As she herself says, “Too often couples live like isolated islands.” Each session has been an eye-opener, as many couples experience similar and intensely familiar, issues.

It’s akin to being a new mom and thinking, in a tangle of exhaustion and fragile emotions, that you’re the only one going through the agony and the ecstasy. Meeting other moms, getting support and talking to other new moms and more experienced moms make you feel you are not alone, that you can handle this.

In a similar way, Esther Perel gets to the heart of the issue in a surprisingly novel yet down-to-earth way, and you can hear the couples connecting to each other in a more intimate way in a span of around a mere 40 minutes.

Homeschooling Eighth Grade Next Year: A Lighter Touch

Florida Virtual School Homeschool Flex: another option for the homeschooling student


I’ve been homeschooling my son, now 13, since he was in Kindergarten. Aside from the myriad of activities he’s been in and the occasional class at the local public school over the years, he’s been educated at home all his life. Last fall, I signed him up for an online writing class. He adjusted well, and in the end aced his course. He liked his teacher, an upbeat young woman.

We’re going in a different direction this year. First, a bit of background information.

Since he’s been a teen, almost a year now, he’s been predictably wanting to broaden his horizons and looking for new experiences outside the home. He plays clarinet and is going to be band captain this coming fall, he’s a second class Boy Scout, and has just received his red belt in taekwondo.

In addition, he just passed the Florida Boating exam a week ago and now possesses a boating license. Neither hubby or I have one of these or any experience boating besides having gone on boats before as passengers.

He’s been working on his merit badges, too: camping, cycling, geology, Indian lore, and forestry.

Son also practices his sailing, boating, kayaking and fishing skills with a good friend on free-roaming, minimally supervised Saturdays. This August, he’ll be embarking on a two-week campout in the gorgeous Western North Carolina mountains. I feel blessed he can take advantage of these amazing opportunities!

Back to school: son will be in eighth grade and beginning the homeschooling flex portion of Virtual School. This is public school online and something I was on the fence about at first. Virtual School Homeschool Flex allows for up to six classes. He’s doing five.

These are the classes he’s taking through the Virtual School:

  1. Language Arts 3
  2. Comprehensive Science 3
  3. Spanish Beginning (he needs to start here, but I hope, given the background n in Spanish he’s had over the years, he’ll progress fast through these courses)
  4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Learning Strategies
  5. Comprehensive PE – Health, Nutrition, and Fitness

I like the fact he’ll learn how different teachers operate and different styles of presenting the materials. I also like that I’ll have more time to devote to teaching my girls – ages 10 and 6.

The rest of his classes he’ll have at home:

Math: Pre-Algebra – we’re finishing last year’s book

History: Pirates, The Renaissance, and Slaves (my own concoction)

Writing with Skill Level 2 by Susan Wise Bauer

Geography: Evan-Moor Seven Continents – South America

Spelling & Vocabulary w/ Spelling City using Natural Speller as resource

Religious Education: Grade 8: Our Life in the Church through My Catholic Faith Delivered

I’m looking forward to help Son through his last middle school year to grow in character, deepen values, and sharpen basic life and academic skills to be successful in his adult life.


As I wrote a few days ago, I use a notebook to record all thoughts, ideas, running lists and conversations that don’t fit in my daily planner. I do have a nice, practical, hardcover Moleskine notebook, but my heart desires something in-keeping with my tropical elegance theme beginning school year 2017-2018.  Temptation’s a cruel mistress – if you allow her to rule.

My first Day Designer planner ever is in Palm, and I’d love my large notebook to coordinate with it – and my island planner stickers. The other side of me, the environmentally conscious and utilitarian one, wants to finish writing in the black notebook completely before I even hope to acquire a new one.

But.. but.. this Palms and Parrots notebook from Etsy shop NotebookLoveLtd is so pretty! What do you think? Ditch the plain black notebook (not even halfway written in) for this one, or stay faithful to my Moleskine until it’s full?

Swooning over this notebook on Etsy – wouldn’t it look amazing with my flagship Palm Day Designer?

The Notebook

I love my daily Simplified Planner – my planner which ends this July – and I love my new flagship Day Designer, which I’ll begin using in June. No matter what planner I have though, some days there are just way too many thoughts swirling in my head and meeting notes, phone conversations, etc. to jot down to write on a daily planner page. Here’s where the notebook comes in.

Moleskine Large Hardcover Notebook – my stay-at-home, everything-else notebook

I purchased a black Moleskine Large, 5X8.25 in. hardcover notebook five years ago, but I never got around to using it much. I honestly had forgotten about it. Then in summer of 2016 I decided to use it as my dedicated notebook for everything which doesn’t fit into my Happy Stripe Simplified daily planner. The paper is nice, archival quality if I wanted to store it for future generations to shake their heads at, and the hardcover means it can take a beating.

I jot down:

  • class notes (I take a few online courses each year)
  • meeting notes
  • important info I need to have on hand
  • business ideas
  • schedule ideas before they are formalized
  • running lists of things to buy
  • gift ideas
  • musings
  • lists

This large notebook stays at home. I keep it on my desk, and instead of having multiple papers which ended up getting lost, this keeps everything in one place. A friend gave me a wonderful idea the other day: she told me it may be helpful to create a table of contents and write the page numbers so I can retrieve what I write. Genius! It sounds so obvious, I don’t know how I didn’t think of this myself! Since I’ve already started and I’m just finishing my homeschool year, I have deferred this task until a later date, but it sure beats rummaging through pages to find one bit of information!

4 Etsy Shops for Cute & Functional Planner Stickers

Flagship Day Designer in Palm, the Midyear planner I chose


My Day Designer has arrived! After I dove into unwrapping, I was so excited, I started taking pictures immediately. I mean, this thing is a beauty! This year I’m in the mood for tropical elegance, and the Flagship Day Designer in Palm is just what scratches this itch. Of course what really attracted me to the Day Designer were its signature daily pages, but that’s fodder for another post.

Today I’m talking Etsy planner stickers. Now hear me out. I’m usually not one for scrapbooking or even compiling albums, but planner stickers, when used in a functional manner, can be a good tool for highlighting events you need to see at a glance and another way to make the process more fun so you’ll actually stick to planning. I’m learning how to be both effective and aesthetically pleasing, but I don’t lose it if one day my daily page is sticker-less.

Here are the four Etsy shops I ordered from and received terrific service from. Some of them don’t design specifically for Day Designers, but I didn’t let this deter me.

FayeCreates music icon stickers
  1. FayeCreates

FayeCreates has been one of my favorite shops for more than a year for a reason. Faye creates cute, colorful, and functional stickers to coordinate with both flagship and mini Day Designers and other planners ranging from habit trackers to planes to mini church icons to track your attendance. The quality is high, and she’s very responsive to your messages. Did I say cute? It’s fun and motivating to use these stickers.

I still had some rainbow-colored birthday cake icons I had ordered from FayeCreates last year and used in my 2016/2017 Simplified Planner, so I ordered music, paw print, church, and book icon stickers. I also picked up a Habit Tracker sticker sheet designed for Inkwell Press planners, but after checking the measurements, I concluded each sticker could be used successfully on the flagship Day Designer monthly sidebar next to a particular week when I need to track a habit.

These are my favorites.  A bit pricey when you add multiple sheets, but it’s worth it: high quality, great stick.  If you’re using planner stickers, you’ll love these!

PoppyPrintShop Deluxe Tropical Paradise Full Boxes

2) ThePoppyPrintShop

This is another one of those cute Etsy shops which sell bundles of planner stickers. Thepoppyprintshop specializes in Erin Condren and Happy Planners, but with a little advanced planning and measurements, I was able to get coordinating stickers for use in my brand new flagship Day Designer.

I really like Mandi Marin’s designs, and to coordinate with my Palm Day Designer, I ordered the Tropical Paradise Full Box, Weekend Banner and Page Flag/Checklist & Dots kits. Aren’t they beautiful? I asked Mandi if I could have an exclusive dots sheet, and she was happy to oblige. This way, each of my children is designated a colored dot and I can track their activities and appointments. In another post, I can show you how I use these stickers to complement my Day Designer, but since my DD doesn’t begin until June, that will have to wait for later.

LisaVCreations Camping

3) LisaVcreations

Not only are Lisa V’s creations adorable, but like the aforementioned Etsy shops, she provides excellent customer service. My son is in Boy Scouts, and I wanted stickers to denote his camping trips. LisaV has these cute camping stickers destined for Erin Condren planners, but I couldn’t resist. I pasted them as decorations around the time my son’s going on his big camping trip.

PlantasiaPrintShop Steampunk Collection

4) PlantasiaPrintShop

Granted, I haven’t ordered from this shop yet, but I am drooling over her Steampunk collection (just the excuse I need for the fall!). I get weak at the knees at the sight of hot air balloons, so I’ll be itching to order as soon the new school year rolls around! Tropical elegance is lasting all throughout the summer and even throughout the year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little Steampunk fun from the first week of October through Thanksgiving 😉

So these are the four Etsy shops I’m recommending. Go and check and them out and leave a comment if you like any of their products for use in your planner!

Moana Sails Across The Screens

Disney’s much-anticipated new animated feature Moana, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as demi-god Maui, is sailing across screens throughout the US.  Moana is a spectacular visual feast and an audiovisual homage to the beautiful islands of the South Pacific.


As in Disney’s Frozen, the team who worked on this film has stayed true to the culture of its locations. The South Pacific islands take center stage under the helm of Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, and Chris Williams. Musical genius Lin-Manuel Miranda also traveled on location with Mark Mancina (score composer) and Opetaia Foa’i (a celebrated Pacific artist who helms the New Zealand band Te Vaka) to some gorgeous islands in the Pacific – Fiji, Tahiti – to gain inspiration for their music.


In terms of plot and story, Moana delivers. The introduction may appear long to the untrained eye, but it was deftly done to immerse you into the South Pacific world and time.  As far as characters, each has something interesting and are believable. My oldest and youngest especially enjoy Maui, the disgraced demi-god who joins Moana (reluctantly, at first) to journey on her quest. The visual treats are everywhere, the capturing of a culture spot-on, and compelling musical numbers bring Moana to the ranks of a masterpiece.

First Look: Au Naturale Cosmetics

Au Naturale Stick Foundation in Mumbai
Au Naturale Stick Foundation in Mumbai

Recently I ordered some samples from Au Naturale Cosmetics, a company which offers non-toxic, vegan, non-nano,  gluten-free, ethical, cruelty-free and paraben-free cosmetic products. Wow! No wonder I had to try them. I like its philosophy of “green meets glam”.  I admit I’m also a sucker for pretty packaging, and Au Naturale delivers on this front, also.

My order came in a box with an Au Naturale tape draped over it, which I thought was a nice touch.


When I opened the package, this chic little black package fell into my hands:


The two foundations I had ordered in the shade Cali and one of the powder blushes were packed like this, which I felt was a good way to protect both the creme and powder formulas. See the satin silver finish on those samples? These and Lily Lolo are the most luxurious samples (which includes packaging) I’ve received so far. I ordered both the creme and powder foundations, because although my skin tends to be oily and I prefer powder, sometimes I feel I need the extra coverage of a good stick foundation, and Au Naturale is one of the few companies which offer non-toxic, safe foundation sticks. Foundation sticks are so convenient for travel, too.

Check out the ingredients on these foundation and blush samples:



The blushes I ordered are in Fig, Apricot, and Pink Champagne. Even the names are pretty. These shades complement my tan, warm-toned skin beautifully, blend easily, are long-lasting and feel so good on my face. So far the blushes are my preferred products from these samples.

Below is an example of one of the blushes, Apricot:

img_1871 img_1870

As for foundations, unfortunately,  Cali is too dark on me. When I put it on, it looks like I’ve tanned nicely, but a shade or two removed from my own shade color. I can see using this as a contouring shade. I tried both the solid (stick) and powder, and I like both. The warmth of the shade does complement me, however, and I hope one of the next samples I order, Mallorca or Mumbai, have the warm undertone of Cali. The reason I chose Cali and not the Mallorca or Mumbai is because, on the Au Naturale website, Cali is described as such:

“For medium tan skin tones with warm golden undertones.”

Well, folks, that describes me. Although Cali appeared a smidgen darker on the site than Mumbai, here’s the reason I hadn’t picked Mumbai initially. It’s described as:

“For medium deep skin tones with gold undertones.”

See the deep there? When describing Cali, there’s no deep. Hence, going by the descriptions, I (mistakenly) thought Cali was lighter. I could kick myself for not contacting Au Naturale customer service sooner. After I ordered, I contacted the makeup artist and she replied cordially that Cali was, in fact, darker than Mumbai. By the time I had contacted her, though, my samples had already shipped.

After I had sent her a few of my photos with no makeup on, the courteous lady at Au Naturale told me I was most likely Mumbai, but I could also be Mallorca. I can’t wait to order these samples, because as far as formulation goes, I have a soft spot for stick foundations, and Au Naturale does a beautiful job. Au Naturale’s formula is nice and solid, but smooth when it goes on and blends in so nicely. It feels weightless on the skin, and like I was wearing no makeup at all. I can’t detect any obvious smell, and although I can’t really tell as the shade is dark, I can tell it’s at least medium coverage. I think I’ll be able to use it as a concealer as well. It blended in so smoothly, I looked like I had a rather deep tan instead of something artificial (no Oompa Loompas here!). I even wore it to an outing, and my husband thought it looked natural, too.

As a bonus sample, Au Naturale gifted me Sangria, a lip color that to me looks like a bright shade of fuchsia. On the site, Sangria is described as “a deep, cool pink with a hint of shimmer”. I wasn’t sure how it would look on me, as I tend to stay away from shades which are too bright (ten-foot pole away from bubblegum pink). However, when I did try it, it seemed to be a more delicate color on my pink-brown lips, which looked quite nice. I was happy Au Naturale was generous to give me an extra sample. Thank you, Au Naturale!


I can’t wait to try more foundation samples and I want to also try the concealers. I think Au Naturale is a wonderful choice in non-toxic makeup, with pure ingredients and reasonable prices.


All these opinions are my own and I bought the samples with my own money. No freebies.