Beauty Battle: Shampoo

Very few things bring out opinions like beauty products.  Women will battle until the end to prove that their favorite lipstick, mascara or foundation is the best.  Don’t believe me?  Ask your best friend what her favorite beauty product is and tell her you hate it!  She’ll give you the 90 reasons why you’re using it wrong, you need to try it again or you bought the wrong shade.  Devotion to beauty products is unwavering.  The ladies at HtKS have decided to battle it out for you!  We’ll share our favorite and least favorite items and if we have a difference of opinions on one we’ll battle it out.

 The Item: Shampoo Beauty Battle: Shampoo Generic Value

Autumn’s Pick: So I’m one of those weirdos who doesn’t wash her hair. I wash once a week and use dry
shampoo in between! (I’ll be blogging about that next month so make sure to stay tuned!) I’ve always been a huge fan of Biolage Matrix shampoos and conditioners. I love the smell of them and love the way they make my hair feel but I DON’T love the price of them or how hard they are to find in my small town though. I have to drive at least 30 minutes to be able to purchase! By the time I spent money on gas and the shampoo, it just wasn’t worth it to me.

I was chatting with my hair stylist and she told me that Sally Beauty sells a generic version of Biolage Matrix shampoos (The brand is called Generic Value Products). What?!? I had to go check it out!! Sure enough, I found the generic version of my favorite Biolage shampoo (Ultra Hydrasource). The icing on the cake? It was only $7!!!

For $7 I could definitely give it a shot. I bought the Generic Value Products Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioning Balm and took them home to give them ago. You guys, I was SHOCKED! This stuff was exactly like my beloved Biolage!!! The GVP shampoo smelled the same, felt the same and lathered the exact same as the Biolage!! I started looking at the bottles and noticed on the back they have a comparison of the Generic Value Product Hydrating Shampoo and Matrix Biolage Ultra Hydrosource Shampoo. 99% of the ingredients are the same!!

I know some of you are probably thinking of the Suave version of Biolage that Walmart and drugstores sell. This is NOT the same stuff. The GVP products are have a much more creamy and thick consistency compared to the Suave version. If you’ve tried and love the Suave brand, give the GVP brand ago. You’ll be shocked at the difference!

If you love the Matrix Biolage shampoos, definitely give the Generic Value Products brand a try! You can use those savings to splurge on more GVP products. They make generic shampoos, conditioners and styling products for brands like It’s A 10, Kenra, Paul Mitchell!

Beauty Battle: Shampoo Living ProofKelly’s Pick: About a month ago I noticed that my hair was falling out in an alarming amount.  My doctor
immediately tested my thyroid and the results came back with no issues.  It seems my hair was just unhealthy and deciding to shed… a ton!  I had been kicking around the idea of trying out Living Proof‘s Perfect Hair Day (PHD) line after receiving a sample of their 5-in-1 styling treatment and loving it.  The hair loss pushed me to stock up on some Living Proof products to try.

Living Proof is all about using science to improve your hair.  They even provide you with a questionnaire based tool to determine which products best fit your need.  I settled on the Living Proof PHD shampoo.  The first week of use I didn’t love it.  It was just a shampoo to clean my hair.  The second week I noticed that my hair was shinier, in better shape and wasn’t shedding as badly.  I almost always purchase “salon quality” shampoo but typically it’s whatever is on the latest and greatest sale.  This is the first product I will spend full price purchasing because I love it.

The perk: A little goes a long way!  I have been using a 2 ounce sample for two weeks with a ton remaining.  I am using the entire Living Proof line – shampoo, conditioner, 5-in-1 styling treatment and nightcap treatment which could be contributing to the product’s success.

Try Living Proof today by saving $10 at Ulta using my referral link!

Jenn’s Pick:  When it comes to shampoo, if it’s on the shelf at Target I’ve probably tried it. Most leave my hair feeling dry, flat (thank you volumizing shampoo), and greasy. Since I’m still searching for that perfect shampoo/conditioner combo (or maybe because I like to try new products with pretty packaging), I change shampoos frequently. This week I’m using Pantene Pro-V Color Revival shampoo and conditioner. My thoughts? It’s just ok. It does the job without leaving my hair feeling too greasy, but I don’t feel like my hair color is being “revived” by any means. To get that added shine, I just resort to a coconut oil hair mask and it works every time.

Jenn’s Diss: The Not Your Mother’s Haircare Line’s Way to Grow Long & Strong Shampoo (wow, that’s a mouthful). Kelly recommended that I try this shampoo on one of our many Target trips, so I took the plunge. I tried this shampoo for a solid two weeks thinking the results would get better. Much to my disappointment, things only got worse. I can describe this shampoo with one word. Yikes.  Stringy and greasy hair for days, ya’ll. My recommendation? Just stay away.

beauty-battle-suave-shampooAlicia’s Pick: My favorite shampoo is a cheapy but a goody! Here is the details on my hair type and washing habits. I have wavy to curly thick but moderately fine hair. My scalp is on the dry side and I do tend to have some frizz.

I don’t color my hair often. I had balayage done about a 6 months ago and it is still going strong.  I also don’t wash often. One to two times a week max, but I use dry shampoo in between washes.

On to the good stuff! I love Suave Professionals Mint and Rosemary shampoo. It is a dup of Aveda Rosemary Mint and sells for $2.94 for 28 ounces at Walmart. The mint is so cooling on my scalp and the scent is not artificial smelling like a lot of hair products. It does the job and cleans my hair without leaving a residue or drying it out. It is a quality shampoo without the bells and whistles at an amazing price!

The Results: It doesn’t look like there’s a standout winner amongst us this time.  We each have our favorites however we definitely have a battle on whether Not Your Mother’s Hair is amazing or meh!  What say you internet?  Have you tried it?  Whose side are you on the love it (Kelly) or hate it (Jenn)?

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Meatball Nirvana Spaghetti | Tasty Tuesday | Recipes

A few years ago I was on the hunt for the perfect meatball & spaghetti recipe when I stumbled upon an amazing recipe on Allrecipes.com  called Meatball Nirvana.  The recipe was the perfect mix of traditional meatball deliciousness with a kick of spice.  I was instantly in love!  Sadly the meatball recipe took much more time than I usually have when cooking for my family.  On most nights I’m lucky to throw together spaghetti sauce after work if we’re being honest.  One night I decided to try something a little crazy and mix together the meatball recipe and my spaghetti sauce to create a quick and delicious sauce.  It’s was delicious and hence my own version of the recipe was born.

Ingredients you’ll need from the Meatball Nirvana Recipe (I made some adjustments):

1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
A few dashes of Frank’s RedHot sauce

And a few items I added:
Ragu sauce
Can of tomato sauce
Crushes tomatoes (if you like chunky sauce which I don’t.)

meatball-nirvana-spaghetti

Now, let’s put it together!

  1.  Brown the ground beef in a skillet.
  2. Drain the meat and put it back in the skillet.
  3. While cooking the meat on low heat mix in the sea salt, onto powder, garlic salt, italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes and RedHot sauce.
  4. Mix the seasoned ground beef with the Ragu sauce and tomato sauce.
  5. Allow to simmer until your hunger gets the best of you.
  6. Serve over spaghetti noodles… thin whole wheat ones are my favorite!

If you love a full flavor spaghetti sauce with a little kick then this will be your new go to recipe.  If you have little people in your house be cautious of how spicy you make it with the red pepper flakes and hot sauce!

 

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How Exercise Completely Changed My Pregnancy! | Pregnancy

I just want to gush for a minute about one of my passions. Exercise has made my life so much better with baby number 3. When I found out we were pregnant again, I was slightly depressed at leaving my fitness routine behind, but I have found that maintaining my habits through out pregnancy have made all the difference about how I feel. Even if you are a couch potato go out and walk! Do some prenatal yoga! I swear your body and brain will thank you!

I will admit I am not your average mom when it comes to exercise. I’m a little bit obsessed with gym time so adjusting has been a planned effort. I am writing this to share with you, how much physical activity has improved my prenatal experience. During each trimester I have made changes as needed to my program to keep myself safe and healthy. I did this by talking to my doctor, researching safe prenatal exercise, and most of all listening to my body. Now at 32 weeks I can report that I am still Spinning three times a week, although a little less intense than before. It’s worth it ladies! Plus, post work out cookies are definitely a thing. I made them a thing. Here is what I have learned:

pregnancy exercise There are major physical and mental benefits:

  • Less nausea during my first trimester. Something about those endorphins really helped me keep it together. Honestly, it was the only part of the day I didn’t feel like death warmed over!
  • Less hip and back aches. Actually almost none. I was plagued with pain during my first and second pregnancy, but now I have very little. Maintaining activity has kept me feeling way less achy even now at 32 weeks. This has been a revelation for me! I am sad I didn’t discover how much less my strong body hurts during my other pregnancies.
  • Mental and physical release. Sometimes pregnancy can feel overwhelming and never ending. When I am getting it in at the gym, as they say, I feel like I am in control of myself for that time. That makes a huge difference for me and baby. We are both happier when momma is taking time for herself.
  • More regularity. That’s right people. I am at 32 weeks and I’m not constipated. That is a miracle in and of itself. No need to explain! Sorry for the tmi, but it’s a bid deal.

Things you need to know:pregnancy exercise 2

  • You will overheat more easily. Don’t push it when the weather is hot. I found my body had a lot less tolerance for heat even in the first trimester, so any time I wasn’t in the cool gym, I gave myself extra rest and time to cool off.
  • Your muscles will take longer to recover. I have found lifting weights more challenging for that reason. I would be sore for at least a day longer because all of my nutritional resources go to baby and not my muscles. I made the decision to back off of weight training for that reason after 20 weeks, but I know lots of mommas who keep it up all the way to then end. In the end you have to decide what your goals are and how much energy you have to expend, and for me sticking with cardio was more important during this time.
  • You will need a good support belt. Especially if this is your second or third pregnancy. It is hard to move when the bump isn’t secured properly. I used this one.
  • You will need extra time to rest on work out days. If I know it is gym day I plan down time because I am tired. I don’t over schedule and I plan an easy dinner for the family. It can be tough on a busy schedule, but the benefits far out weigh the extra planning.
  • If it doesn’t feel right don’t do it! This goes for everyone no matter what fitness level. If I feel like I need extra rest, I stayed home; if I feel like I am pushing too hard I back off; if I need to pee I pee! Haha! All jokes aside. Listen to your body. It’s important!

I want to this this blog by saying that you should always follow your doctor’s recommendation for exercise during pregnancy. There are several circumstances where physical activity should be limited during pregnancy for the safety of you and your baby. I’ve included a couple links at the bottom for more information on exercise during pregnancy.

http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy#1
http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/

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Shiny, Sparkling Diamonds! | How To

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend until they get dirty.  Dirty, dingy diamonds not only look icky but can also cause irritation. Gross, I know…

A year after my husband & I got married my diamonds started giving me a strange rash.  Anytime that I would use a lot of lotion, wash my hands frequently, etc…  After some research I figured out that it was a mix between never taking my rings off and build up from products irritating my sensitive skin.  I set out to find the perfect way to clean my rings and remove all the build up that was irritating my skin.

My first stop was to try the cleaning solutions you purchase in store.  They made my ring sparkle but I could still see my diamonds were “foggy” when I looked at the underside of my channel set band.  I moved on to DIY solutions that I found on *gasps!* Pinterest.

After a few concoctions involving everything from baking soda, vinegar, boiling water and in-between, I was removing my contacts at night and it dawned on me… I put my contacts in peroxide solution so the bubbles clean them!  What would happen if I used peroxide on my rings?  A little Google searching assured me that my rings shouldn’t turn weird colors.  I decided to give my little experiment a try.  Years later I still stand by this method of cleaning my rings!  I haven’t had any irritation on my finger since I started to use this method and my rings are so shiny and sparkly.

So, let’s dive into the process!  It’s so simple that a toddler could do it.  I don’t advise that though since, well, peroxide.

diamond cleaning how to

Step 1: Gather your supplies.  The list is comprised of items you most likely have in your house.  A shot glass, peroxide and toothpicks.

Step 2: Fill shot glass with peroxide.

Step 3: Put rings on toothpicks and lay across top of shot glass.

Step 4: Watch & wait.  Be prepared that you most likely will see some rather gross chunks coming out of the depths of your rings.  Don’t fret.  After an hour if you’re still seeing some gunk be sure to shake your rings a little.  It will help some of the loose gunk float to the top.

Step 5: Rinse.

diamond cleaning how to

A few note worthy of mentioning.  I’ve done this with my rings for years and never had any adverse reaction but, like all things on the internet, proceed with caution.  I’m not responsible if your ring does something funky.  I’ve only tested this on my white gold and diamond rings.   And finally, I do this every couple weeks to month.  You’ll be amazed at all the build up you acquire in just a month!

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos | Tasty Tuesday | Recipes

I love quick and easy recipes I can throw in the slow cooker on my lunch break. Chicken tacos are a staple in my house so I thought I’d share my favorite recipe on this Tasty Tuesday! My husband and I LOVE this meal because we can eat on it for two days. Any other leftover lovers out there?? 😉 Let’s get down to business!

Slow cooker chicken tacos
(Sorry for the crappy Instagram photo, it was all I had. Doesn’t that taco meat look delicious though???)

Here’s what you’ll need:
4 boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 package of taco seasoning

1. Place your chicken breast in the bottom of your slow cooker.
2. Pour the package of taco seasoning over your chicken breast.
3. Pour the can of Rotel on top of the chicken breast + taco seasoning.
4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
5. Serve with whatever toppings you like!

-If you haven’t tried slow cooker liners, you are missing out. These make cleanup SO easy!!!
-You can use fresh or frozen chicken breast. I prefer fresh but have used frozen before too. When using frozen, I’d cook for 4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low!

I always serve these with sour cream, Mission Extra Fluffy Fajita Flour Tortillas and Quesadilla Cheese (all of which I purchase at our local Kroger.) You can also top with salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, etc! I also make a pot of Knorr Rice Sides Spanish Rice and a pot of refried beans to go along with our tacos! If you feel like putting in an little extra effort, fry up some white corn tortillas to serve your tacos on. In the words of Dora the Explorer, delicioso!

This is a quick, easy and cheap recipe that kids love!! I hope you guys enjoy!

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