Thursday, December 12, 2013

What's In Your Polish?

While I don't miss the chunky, fake looking acrylic nails that I used to sport, I do miss having a manicure that stays put for two weeks. That was really convenient. But the drill they used on my nails was scary, and if the manicurist was wearing a mask... shouldn't I be? Years ago, I decided to nix the acrylic nails.

Then I learned about the gel manicure that was supposed to last 10 to 14 days. This manicure supposedly doesn't destroy your nails, and there is no drill or mask used by the manicurist. I had to try it, and I was pretty happy with the results. They had pretty colors to choose from, and the manicure did last two weeks. Although they did not use the drill, they did buff the top of my nails pretty severely. The gel manicure is placed under a UV lamp, and it is literally completely dry in 2 minutes. Talk about convenient. So I enjoyed the gel manicure for a few months, but I could absolutely feel that my nails were getting weaker. I decided to give my nails a breather, and boy did they need it. They were very weak underneath. I don't think I will consistently get a gel manicure, but it is a great idea for vacations, special occasions etc...

So I was still on the search for a beautiful and safe manicure.  During my search, I found this line of nail polishes called Julep. 

The fun website is what drew me in. You can take a style quiz to find your style profile. They will then direct you to the line of colors available that they think suits you. My profile was "Bombshell". Love it. I started to read more about this line, and really liked what I was learning. Julep polishes have none of the 3 major carcinogens that many nail polishes contain. Those being, formaldehyde, toluene and DBP's. Scary. This is something I probably wouldn't have thought about in my 20's and 30's, but by 40... I have seen they devastating affects of cancer. I know better than to ignore the danger warnings of carcinogens. 

So I ordered a few of these Julep nail polishes, and I really like them. The colors are beautiful, and the brushes are a nice size to make them easy to use. I ordered the New Neutral pack.
  If you can remember, I tried another safe nail polish line awhile ago called Acquarella, that I absolutely hated. It literally began to chip within hours. While this polish does not last as long as a gel manicure, it does seem to have a fairly long lasting effect (several days, not hours).

What kind of manicure are you getting? Are carcinogens a concern for you? 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing

Along with the entire country, I have been closely following news this week, watching to find out more on the horrible bombing incident at the Boston Marathon. There was no doubt in my mind that we would catch the cruel terrorist(s) that was/were behind something so evil. I felt such anger and hatred for whoever was behind this, and painted the ugliest picture in my head of what they might look like. Of what evil might look like. Never in my mind did it look like this.

This is a little boy, with wide, innocent looking doe eyes. He is 19 years old, the same age as my daughter. I can't imagine what has happened in his short life to make him even think of doing something so horrific, let alone acting it out. His name is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and according to reports, he and his brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev (who died in a police shoot out) are responsible for the bombing. 

I am very proud of the city of Boston, for the way they responded to the bombing. I loved hearing all the stories of the people coming together to help those in need, both physically and emotionally. This is the only good thing to come out of the bombing. Instead of being discouraged by mankind (two lone people acting this evil out), I am choosing to be inspired by the hundreds of strong, brave and compassionate people that rallied around each other in this time of need.

The Boston city Police worked tirelessly to find the people responsible for this cruel act. I am so grateful to them, and I know the entire city of Boston has shown their gratitude to them as well.

The news reported that people were cheering in the streets when Dzhokhar was finally captured. 

I understand that the people must have felt so relieved that they were no longer in harm. They were showing their gratitude to the police for keeping them safe. I only hope that these picture don't translate differently in other countries. This was not a witch hunt, and these people are not cheering because they will get revenge on this boy. They are cheering because no other innocent people will be hurt by some one that was obviously out to do just that.

I am so sad for all those in Boston who lost loved ones, or were injured by this senseless act. But I am also sad for this 19 year old boy, who some how was so misguided and jaded. His life is over now too... and for what? 

The youngest victim of the bombings was Martin Richard. He was only 8 years old, but this picture taken of him earlier proves that he may have been the wisest of us all.

God Bless his precious little soul, as well as all the other victims in Boston.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Don't Judge a Bunny by It's Box

Milk chocolate, or dark chocolate? Hollow, or solid? Boxed or unboxed? So many considerations when trying to decide on the most perfect chocolate bunny for your Easter basket.

Last week I read a yahoo shopping article that wrote of the results of a blind taste test held to rate some of the top selling chocolate bunnies on the market. They tested eight different bunnies that ranged in price from $3.29 to $23.50. While Godiva did place third in the taste test (the most expensive bunny), the Lindt and Hershey bunnies, which are far less expensive, came in first and second respectively.

Here at the Rajewski house, we wanted to hold our own blind taste test. Seeing as I would never be willing to spend $23.50 on a chocolate bunny for an Easter basket, we decided to test three of the top placers, that were reasonably priced. After all agreeing that an Easter bunny was meant to be milk chocolate, we went with the Dove milk chocolate bunny, the Lindt milk chocolate bunny and the Hershey's Bliss milk chocolate bunny.

Before we did our blind taste test, we all came to the conclusion that esthetically, the Hershey's bunny looked the best. The Hershey's packaging was adorable. The box makes the bunny appear chunky in size, and it would look perfect nestled in a child's Easter basket. 

While the Lindt bunny is also attractive, it appears much smaller in size, and looks like more of an adult version of the Easter bunny. Very sophisticated.

The Dove bunny was our least favorite. It looks more like a cat than a bunny, and it is a yellowish mustard color, instead of a metallic gold like the other two.

Of the three bunnies, the Dove was the only solid bunny, and was a bit larger than the others at 4.5 ounces of chocolate. The Hershey's weighed in at 4 ounces, and the Lindt was 3.5 ounces of chocolate.
All three were comparable in calories/fat, as well as price per ounce. 

Moving on to the blind taste test. We had a unanimous first place winner! The results were a huge surprise to all of us. Without looking, or knowing which chocolate we were biting, we all chose the Dove milk chocolate bunny as the best tasting chocolate between the three.

Huh. Don't judge a book by it's cover, or in the case, don't judge a bunny by it's box.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Be a (Part-Time) Vegetarian

I can't believe I am actually writing a blog on this topic. I was raised in the midwest, on a true meat and potatoes diet. Normally, if I haven't had a meat protein at a meal, I feel like I haven't eaten. Lately though, I have been unable to stop thinking about the animals these meals come from, how they are treated, and what they are pumped full of that is really no good for me.

After doing some research online, I have learned more about the many benefits of the vegetarian diet, and why I may want to include more vegetarian meals in my future.

Vegetarians tend to stay slimmer naturally. 
No crazy fad diets, no yo-yoing (my specialty). I'm not crazy about the way our country idolizes stick skinny women, but the lovely lady in this picture looks fit and healthy and ideal to me.

  It is really better for the environment.
Who knew? I would have guessed that eating more meat would be saving the plant life, which would be better for our environment. Over grazing livestocks hurts the environment through soil compaction, erosion, and harm to native plants and animals.

  It's important to stand up for animals.
This one is probably the most important to me. Raising animals in confinement is cruel, and about 50% of meat produced in the U.S. come from confined animal feeding operations where animals live in filthy, over crowded spaces. They are also pumped full of unhealthy hormones to produce more and larger animals. Many are slaughtered in an inhumane way. All of this breaks my heart, and not just because of the picture of the baby pig below. But look at that face. Damn you bacon.

 The vegetarian diet will shrink your risk of getting cancer.
I HATE cancer. There have been countless studies that show that those who ate the most red and processed meats were found to have the highest risk of breast cancer, as well as colon, prostate, pancreatic, and gastric cancers.

  Your heart will thank you for eating a more vegetarian diet.
Meats high in saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases your risk of coronary heart disease.

Eating vegetarian is easier than ever!
For just about every item on the market, there is a meat -free version that's surprisingly good. This can really help you decrease your meat intake, without feeling too deprived. You just need to remember to eat them sparingly, because they are often loaded with sodium.

My defense for eating meat has always been that it's "the circle of life", and just take a look at our human canine teeth. We were meant to eat meat. I still believe this to be true, but I will not contribute to the abuse of animals, the abuse of our environment, or the abuse of my health. I have made a commitment to spend the extra money and buy only organic, cage free, hormone free meats and also to incorporate more vegetarian recipes into my diet. If we all did this, I think it would make a big difference. 

So choose a day! How about Meatless Mondays? Who's in?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Make Up For Grown Ups

Until the invention of the time machine, or the discovery of the fountain of youth, we will all have to accept the fact that our skin is constantly maturing. Time marches on, but there is a lot you can do with skin care and makeup choices to help you look as good as you ever did. The way to do this is with color and care, and by forgetting what used to work for you at 18 or even 28. Learn what will work for you now.

I have noticed that as skin matures make up can either be your best friend

Or your worst enemy

Make up can not be used to mask your aging skin, and trendy bright colors will only draw attention to your fine lines and wrinkles. But all make up is not your enemy. It can be a powerful tool in helping you look young, and feel beautiful. 

Here are some tips from make up guru Bobbi Brown's book entitled Beauty Evolution, along with my two cents worth of advise and recommendations, of course.

Essentials for beauty regimen after 40:

1. SPF Lotion- It's never too late to prevent additional sun damage. My personal preference as of late is Avene High Protection 50.

2. Eye cream- It's a must to make your concealer go on smoothly. Again, I like Avene and it's very reasonably priced.

3. Concealer and/or Corrector- It wakes up tired eyes. I use both from Bobbi Brown.

4. Foundation- It can cover redness and even out skin tone. This tinted moisturizer from Bobbi Brown is my best kept secret for younger looking skin. It is super hydrating, and has an SPF of 35, so you can skip step number 1 if you use it.

5. Blush- Your skin may no longer have a natural glow, so add it back. I like the beautiful choices of blush from GloMinerals.

6. Eye shadows- Light shades with a nice contour and highlight color look beautiful. I love the eye trio's from GloMinerals because you don't have to guess which colors to use... it's sort of like paint by number. 

7.  Eye liner and mascara- It can add definition to your eyes. Bobbi Brown makes a wonderful gel eyeliner, but my favorite mascara is probably the cheapest one available from Maybelline.

8. Hair color- It can brighten your face whether you add just a few highlights or do all over color to cover the gray. I've tried several different colors and colorists, but I am always happiest with a Redken Color Specialist. If you need a new stylist, you can look up a Redken Color Specialist from the Redken website.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A T.A.M.P.A Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm feeling grateful for all of my relationships today, but especially for a group of my close girlfriends.

This is a very special group of ladies that I met while my kids were young, and we were all stay at home moms. We call ourselves T.A.M.P.A., because we all met when we lived in Tampa, Florida, and because each letter in T.A.M.P.A. is the first letter of our names.


You could not possibly imagine a more diverse group of ladies. Soon after we met, we quickly realized how different we all are. Of course sometimes this will cause conflict, but truly, I believe our differences bring us together more than they drive us apart. Each of us has something to offer that we can't get from anyone else.

I am a bit conservative, although I do have a wild side. I am a girly girl, and I'm so not athletic. I am thoughtful, and kind most of the time, but I can be competitive.

Alex is fit, and healthy. She is honest and moral, and is comforted by her spiritual beliefs. She is a "regal beauty" (she will gladly tell you herself), and she makes me laugh more than anyone else I've ever known in my life.

Melanie is electric and fun. Her energy can be crazy one minute, then be chill the next. She will definitely keep you young. She'll admit she can be vain, but she is quite a hottie. She is definitely someone you'd get into a bar fight for. 

Paula is the oldest of us (although she doesn't look it, no fair). She fully understands and appreciates the importance of family and responsibility. She probably won't join in your shenanigans, but she will gladly watch with a smile. She is generous, and kind, and gorgeous.

Amy can be a homebody. Sometimes she has to be pulled away from home in order to spend time with her, but she is so worth it. Once she's out she is fun, and hilarious and can cut a rug with her "round up" dance move. She is far from lazy, her projects are ongoing and amazing. Her smile literally lights up a room.

I love and respect all of our differences and I feel very Blessed to have found such a wonderful group of forever friends.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Acqua-scuze me???

I fully intended on writing a blog this morning on a wonderful product I have discovered. I was so excited to share it with you. I woke up happy, had my coffee, then jumped in the shower before sitting down to write. That is when huge devastation and disappointment set in. Let me start from the beginning.

I have blogged before about this cool site called Beauty Army at When you join, you get 6 great beauty samples sent to you based on the results from a beauty quiz you take while signing up. My most recent shipment was a full sized nail conditioning treatment system from a brand called Acquarella.

It contained a nail file, buffer, cuticle stick, nail polish remover and the conditioning polish.  I loved the idea of getting my nails into shape, so I followed the directions, and did the treatment for three days.  My nails did look better.  I was pretty pleased. So naturally, I went to the Acquarella website to learn more about this product. The site looked promising and educated me about all of their polishes. They promised to do the following:

 1. Dry fast (LOVED this idea). 
2. Not need base or top coat (even faster, love it).
 3. Be a safe- water based and non-toxic polish with no odor (I have worried about the toxins in nail polishes, and my husband can't stand the odor... seems to be getting better and better).

The only draw back I could find is that they cost $16 a bottle. YIKES!  But I had to try it. I love the look of healthy nails, and I was excited about being able to paint my nails and have them dry quickly. Manicures, and gel nail polish would cost a lot more, after all. So I bought a color called Vixen. That's right, this Cougar is a Vixen.

Last night, I followed the directions exactly. Clean and buff bare nails. Swab nails with Acquarella remover only. Rinse using clean water, dry throughly. Apply two thin coats of the nail polish. OH MY GOSH... it was gorgeous. It dried super fast. I thought I was in love. I woke up this morning... no smudges. I was thrilled. This was the answer to all of my manicure dreams. I lovingly gazed at my nails over coffee.

BUT THEN... I jumped into my morning shower. Horror and devastation set in (if I'm not being dramatic, I'm not being me).

Apparently, the only thing wrong with using a water based nail polish, is that water removes it.  This is what my nails looked like after my shower, less than 12 hours after I painted them. And yes, I did retouch this picture of my hand to remove some wrinkles... don't judge.

I am so glad I didn't order any other shades. I just threw out $16... ok actually more than $16 because I got excited and upgraded to 2 day shipping (I want it... and I want it now Daddy!).

Ladies, if you should come across this product... look the other way. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and in this case, it definitely was.