3 Benefits Of Some Spa Time

Thanks to Groupon for sponsoring this post.

As moms I think many of us tend to put others before ourselves. Whether it’s our kids, our spouses or other commitments, it’s hard to prioritize time for ourselves and our needs- especially during this busy holiday season. I recently got out of the house for a couple hours and enjoyed a mani/pedi and that two hours completely changed my week and revitalized me. I want to encourage you all to get out and enjoy a bit of pampering, even if it’s just for an hour or two! Whether it’s a manicure, a massage or even just getting a haircut, I wanted to share three benefits a spa day (or hour) can do for you. (I’m sharing a giveaway below for a $600 Groupon gift card that should be enough to pay for spa services for a year so no excuses ladies! Plus use promo code MTFM10 to receive $10 off your first booked appointment.)

3 benefits of a little me time at the spa or salon:

Time to relax

Finding time to relax in a houseful of people is tough. Many times as moms we can’t even get some time alone in the bathroom without little fingers poking under the door or knocking. Each morning, without fail, when I’m going to the bathroom one of my boys always has a question they need answered (and of course it’s nothing ever important or time-sensitive that can’t wait a minute). Spa or salon time gives you time to relax.

Increased confidence

Whether it’s a new do or a fresh coat of nail polish on my finger nails, I’ve found that my confidence goes up. Though it’s just a small change in my look I always feel much better with freshly painted nails!

Leave in a good mood

I’ve found that whenever I leave the nail salon I’m always in a good mood. No matter what happened previously in the day or how stressed I am, I always feel refreshed and in a good mood when I leave.

Do you get spa or salon time often? Admittedly, I don’t go as often as I’d like to. When I went to get my nails done the other day I realized it had been almost five months since my last pedicure. (Yikes!) I found this new salon on Groupon called Elite Nail Care and easily was able to book my appointment and had a great experience there, too.

I wrote in depth about how Groupon’s beauty salon and spa booking works here but basically I used the app to find a salon I wanted to try, picked a time convenient for me, and then Groupon scheduled it and sent me a text letting me know I was all set. It was so easy. What I found most convenient of all though was that at my appointment I didn’t have to dig through my purse with my freshly painted nails looking for my wallet to pay. Payments are done through the app and set up ahead of time (even the tip) so I could just leave when my nails were done and then Groupon sent my payment for me and emailed me my receipt.

If you want to try out Groupon’s new service, and live in the Chicago area, you can use the code “MTFM10″ to receive $10 off your first booked service. Just download the Groupon app or, if you already have it on your phone, go here to book your appointment! And, as mentioned before, I’m sharing an awesome giveaway below for a $600 Groupon gift card so make sure to enter! Good luck :)

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How To Easily Book Spa & Salon Services In The Chicago Area With The Groupon App

Thanks to Groupon for sponsoring this post.

In the past when I’ve wanted to get my nails done I’ve had two options. I could call during business hours and try to book the appointment or I could walk in and hope the wait wasn’t too long. Neither of these options is very convenient for me because when I’m thinking about doing something for myself it’s either early in the morning or late at night (when salons or spas are closed) or when I have a bit of downtime and want to head out right away (which generally results in waiting around for an open chair).

Luckily I’ve discovered that I can book salon and spa appointments right in the Groupon app which means I can request my appointment any time that’s convenient for me and Groupon will do all the work of scheduling it. (Available only in Chicago and the Chicago suburbs at the moment.)

It was super easy to set up my appointment. I went into the Groupon app (available for both Android and iPhone) and clicked “salon and spa booking”.

Then I chose the service I wanted and searched all locations near me using my current location.

I found a nail place that looked nice and had reasonable prices and chose my service and picked the appointment time that worked for me.

All the terms of service are clear in the Groupon app before you book the service, like the cancellation policy if you need to cancel ahead of time if you can’t make it.

When you book your service you provide your credit card number but payment is not collected until after your service is complete. It’s nice to arrange everything, including the tip, ahead of time! My favorite part of using Groupon to book my spa and salon services though, other than the convenience factor, is that I know exactly how much I’m going to spend before I get there. In the past I’ve been surprised at the upcharges for nail services after my nails are done, so I really like that.

Once you click “request appointment” Groupon goes to work scheduling your appointment for you. The other day I requested an appointment for myself before the salon opened at 11am and half an hour later I had a text confirmation that my appointment was set.

Do you like to get your nails or hair done? Or maybe you need to relax with a massage or a facial. Whatever salon or spa service you need, if you are located in the Chicago area, book it on Groupon to save time! If you have the Groupon app on your phone, click here to go straight to the experience. Use code “MTFM10” and receive $10 off your first booked service.

Enter to win a $600 Groupon gift card below!
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New School Year For Kids Means New Beauty Regimen For Mom

The new school year always brings as much promise for me as the New Year does. It’s a time to start new traditions and new routines. While that means new classes and activities for the boys, it means a new beauty regimen for me this year. Thanks to Johnson & Johnson for sponsoring this post and sending me products to remind me that I need to start taking care of myself better!

Many of you know that I work from home. It’s great and such a huge blessing but I must confess that I often get lazy having that luxury. I usually spend my whole day in yoga pants and t-shirts with no makeup on and my hair up in a messy bun. I hide behind my Avatar on Google hangout meetings with co-workers because I feel self-conscious. The casual look carries over into the evenings as I run to sports practices. (To be honest, the only times I look semi-decent are when I’m going to school events, Church or blogging events.)

I’m slowly trying to get out of that rut now that the kids are back in school. While I will probably still keep the comfy clothes most days, I will work on being more presentable in them. To start off, I will wash my face of the night-time grime. One product that I love and have used before is Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub.

I like that this product exfoliates but is still very gentle on my sensitive skin. I follow this up with Aveeno’s Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream on my dry patches of skin. I’ll go beyond toothbrushing with some Listerine Mouth Wash and comb my hair into a cuter looking ponytail. After I’ve taken care of my skin, mouth and hair I’m going to start putting on basic makeup. A BB cream will even out my skin, and then I’ll finish off with a little color- some lip gloss, a swipe of mascara and a bit of blush.

Will I look fancy? No. Will I look a little more presentable? Yes! This will help me not scare the UPS driver and the bus drivers and may just make me feel more confident throughout the day. At the very least, I will feel a bit more desirable when Sinisa comes home from work ;)

I also want to share that the J&J Healthy Essentials site has over $40 in coupons! Go check it out!

Preparing For A Long Awaited Date Night

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Sinisa and I on a date in 2007 <3

I am so excited to be going on a special date night this week! My mom is watching the boys and Sinisa and I are going on our first date night in a long time. It’s been at least a year, if not more, since we have gone out sans kids for more than the hour and a half that they are at Awana.

Sinisa is planning the whole date and made us reservations for a nice Italian restaurant. {He says it’s where we went for our first Valentine’s Day but my memory is so bad that I don’t remember that long ago.} I think we will be going out for drinks or a movie as well so it should be a fun night.

Since this is a special occasion I’m going to have to spend longer than 5 minutes getting ready. I plan to run to the store and get a nice top to wear for our date. I also am going to make myself up by doing my hair and makeup. He will be quite surprised seeing me transform from my sweats and ponytail!

I don’t normally wear more makeup than some mineral powder and lip gloss but I have some new Neutrogena makeup I’m going to use. I like Neutrogena makeup because it doesn’t irritate my skin and it looks natural.

I recently tried their MoistureSmooth color stick and was very impressed with it. It looks like a big lip pencil, has a texture like lipstick or balm but goes on smooth and feels like a lip gloss. This stick adds color I don’t normally get with lip gloss but doesn’t feel thick like I am wearing a lot on my lips. I also love that it isn’t sticky because I hate that feeling. The smell of this color stick was fruity which I liked as well. I was sent  the Sweet Watermelon color to review but will be going out and getting a few more colors since I really like it.

The mascara I was sent is their Healthy Volume Mascara. It has Olive in it which the package says helps plump the core of each and every lash. I don’t wear mascara often but thought this was a nice product. I liked that my eyelashes didn’t clump together like some mascaras make them do.

With both makeup products on and a nice, new shirt I think Sinisa will be surprised to see me when I come down the steps for our date night! If you want to treat yourself to some new makeup for your next date night, you can get a printable coupon for $1 off any NEUTROGENA® Cosmetics product at HealthyEssentials.com.

Seasonal DIY Facial Masks

Pumpkin Facial Mask

This recipe is full of exfoliating enzymes that will brighten your skin, giving you a healthy, refreshed glow. Pumpkin is also rich in vitamin A, which can help heal skin and repair damaged tissue. The antioxidant properties of the vitamin A will also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • 2 tsp canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp heavy
  • whipping cream

To Make: Mix all ingredients together and apply to face. Leave on for 10 minutes then rinse thoroughly. You’ll love the results!

Cranberry Mask

Cranberry juice helps detoxify the skin and is particularly useful for those who are acne-prone or suffer from psoriasis or have oily skin. In addition cranberries help reduce skin inflammation, redness, and itchy, irritated skin.

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

To Make: Mix ingredients until it becomes a paste. Cover and refrigerate for 45 minutes to let the mixture thicken. Remove from the fridge and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Recipes and images courtesy of Erika Katz, beauty expert and author of Bonding over Beauty.

Mark Hill Haircare at Walgreens

While at BlogHer I got a complementary hair style by Jarrad, a UK stylist who was in Chicago to share about the new line of Mark Hill haircare now available in Walgreens (and Duane Reade, too). Mark Hill is one of the most well-known celebrity hair stylists in the UK and I’m so excited that I got to meet him and his whole team.

I woke up early Thursday morning and headed up to their Presidential Suite (which, by the way, was absolutely gorgeous with a nice view of the water). I had washed my hair the night before and slept on my wet hair. My hair has a natural curl to it and is extremely thick so once I took it out of the ponytail this is what it looked like:

Obviously, I can’t go anywhere with my hair looking like that! Jarrad first washed my hair with the MiracOILicious nourishing shampoo and conditioner.

Once my hair was towel dried he applied the “straight talking” straightening cream and used a round brush as he dried it. When he was done he put a couple pumps of the MiracOILicious Moroccan Argan Oil in his palms, rubbed them together, and then worked the oil through my dry hair. Before looking at my hair I touched it and felt how soft and sleek it was. I couldn’t believe how it looked when he brought me over to a mirror. It looked amazing!

Can you believe the change in the before and after picture!? No hair straightener was used to create this look. It was simply due to having great straightening products (okay, and an amazing stylist!). I loved the products that were used and I was so excited when they gave me some to take home so I could recreate the look.

You can find Mark Hill professional products in Walgreens and Duane Reade. Learn more about Mark Hill, his team, and the new products here.

(Disclosure: As stated above, my hair was styled at no cost and I received complementary products to take home. All thoughts are my own)

DIY: Chocolate Flavored Lip Balm

You know what’s better than soft lips? Soft, chocolate flavored lips :) Enjoy this DIY recipe provided by beauty expert and author of Bonding Over Beauty, Erika Katz. This lip balm contains shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil, which are all excellent natural emollients. You can get creative and add other flavors like peppermint oil, tangerine oil, or raspberry oil.


·         1 tablespoon shea butter

·         1 tablespoon coconut oil

·         2 teaspoons grated beeswax

·         1 tablespoon vitamin E oil

·         15 chocolate chips

·         1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1) Put all the ingredients into a double boiler on the stove or in a microwavable container.

2) Warm the mixture until it melts. Stir until smooth.

3) Pour the mixture into a lip gloss container and refrigerate until it hardens.

The lip balm Lasts up to 3 months at room temperature. Find other great recipes for DIY spa treatments on the Bonding Over Beauty site here.

(Disclosure: The above recipe was provided to me for use on my blog. I was not compensated for posting it.)