Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Real Skinny on Skinny&Co -- a reveiw you don't wanna miss.

(Once again, I received Skinny&Co products to review. Thanks Skinny&Co! All opinions are my own.)

Here it is, dear reader, the long awaited Skinny&Co review that I teased you with at the beginning of the month. As soon as I was certain I would be able to participate in the campaign, I gave you a photo teaser and revealed that I would be posting a review. I was excited enough, that I didn't even wait to get the products in the mail before I started talking about it.

Then came the unboxing. I loved diving into the box -- was like Christmas! I decided that I would give the products a couple of weeks of testing before I wrote up my thoughts.

And then life happened.

I injured my back and sciatic nerve and was laid up for nearly a week and a half. Hurumph! How dare life throw me a curve and thwart my plans for sharing these products with you! Well, I am up and at 'em once again, though considerably slower now as I recover. This, however, did not keep me from using the products and thinking about the review.

Well, wait no longer. It's time.

I will give you the upshot right away: I have mixed feelings about this particular collection of products: some I love and some I really, really do not love. This took me completely by surprise. At the unboxing, I was ready to fall in love with each of the five products.

There are many great things about Skinny&Co. Here are a few:

Skinny & Co. coconut oil and coconut oil products are 100% natural:

● Cold Processed: cold-processed oil, not just cold pressed. They use a patent-pending Nutralock System and never heat the oil above 97 degrees. It's the only 100% raw, alkaline coconut oil on the planet. Other coconut oils are acidic, but Skinny & Co.’s alkaline oil registers between 7.3 and 7.8 pH.

● Five Ingredients or Fewer: all of their beauty products have five ingredients or less, are non-toxic and edible. *Why would you ever put something on your skin if you wouldn't put it in your body?

● 100% Raw, Alkaline: cold-processed from wild-harvested coconuts using a patent-pending Nutralock System. Never heated. Pure.

● From Tree to Table: no chemicals. No fillers. No Preservatives. Skinny coconuts are pesticide free and handpicked from the jungles of Vietnam.

● Health Benefits: Skinny only uses the highest quality ingredients to handcraft products that benefit your entire body. Non-toxic and edible.

Edible! That's how you know you are getting a great product. Would you eat your shampoo? Not a chance. Would you take a bite out of the bar of soap sitting on your shower shelf? Uh,uh. Not me. Not even close. But you can with Skinny&Co products.

Let's go through each product, one-by-one. Here is a reminder of what they looked like:

The straight coconut oil (top, left) is great. Tastes like pure, unadulterated coconut oil because it is. It does not have that smoky, nutty smell or taste that we have been snookered into thinking is pure coconut oil. It smells a little sweet to me. Dont' like the taste or smell of coconut oil? Don't worry, the smell and taste is light -- a teaspoon of this to fry a mess of veggies and you will never know it's there. It doesn't taste like you've shoved a stick of butter in your mouth, like other coconut oils I have tried. Don't get me wrong, I like my butter, but I don't eat it by itself. With Skinny&Co you can. And I have. If I could only buy one product from Skinny&Co, this would be in the running.

The Skinny &Co oil pulling oil is my least favorite. It is pictured bottom, far right n the photo above. I was the most disappointed with this product because I thought I would be the most delighted with this product at the unboxing. I love peppermint and the oil pulling product has peppermint oil infused. Smells good, but after I pulled with it, it left a funny, sharp after taste. I have oil pulled for nearly two years and can go 15 or 20 minutes. After 15 min of oil pulling, I wasn't sure I wanted to try it a second time. But I did and I only pulled for 5 minutes. Same, funky after taste. It is in fact, in the trash can as I write. I have chosen instead to pull with Skinny&Co straight coconut oil since and like that experience much, much better.

Whirling Dervish doing Mom a solid by posing with the Facial Oil.

The facial oil feels great as you smooth it on. It doesn't take long to absorb into the skin and I didn't have to wait to finish my regular make-up routine. I can even overlook the lavender smell. I detest lavender. I run from it. It makes me light-headed. But the facial oil absorbs quickly enough that the lavender smell doesn't last long. I have used it every day since. I love the way my face feels after I smooth it on. It's way better than any store bought moisturizer I have used. That is saying quite a bit since I tend to have the dry skin that comes with middle age. I also have parts of my face that are oily like a teenager's face. When I use Skinny&Co's facial oil, my skin feels like the dry spots and the oily spots have balanced out. Nice.

Next on the list is the sugar scrub (bottom, middle in the first photo). Smells good enough to eat. And I did, in fact, taste it. Tastes like gritty brown sugar. That may sound unpleasant, but it's not. Since I am not a fan of sugar scrubs in general, I would rather eat it than use it on my body. I just have never had much luck with any sugar scrubs feeling like they did much of anything. It feels like it would exfoliate well, but I couldn't truly feel a difference in my skin after using it. My shower smelled heavenly. Trying to clean my shower after using it, not so much. Perhaps, for those who find sugar scrubs worth using, the cleaning up afterward is not a big deal.

And now we come to the Body Butter.

The Affectionate One showing off the Body Butter.

You can see in the photo that after two weeks of showers, only half of the 2oz jar is gone. That is really saying something because I use the Body Butter liberally. Lavishly, even.  I love it, love it, love it.

The feel of the Butter is closer to a lotion than an oil because it's a whipped formula. Once smoothed on, it feels like you have used a cream, that is how soft it makes the skin feel. My knees and elbows have never felt better. It has a light, almond scent as you open the jar, which is fine, but I didn't notice that my skin smelled like the almond oil -- which is perfectly fine also. I'd rather have it that way personally.

My favorite of all five? It might be a toss up between the Body Butter and the straight Coconut Oil. The practical side of me would choose the Coconut Oil because it is the most versatile and I can use it as a body butter. But the part of me that wants to be pampered would choose the Body Butter in a heart beat. There is no getting around how luxurious it feels and how soft my skin is afterward. And I would definitely use it on my face also. Since I have found other coconut oils that I like to use in cooking and oil pulling, I think I would choose the Body Butter if I could only choose one. But who says we only have to choose one?! That's just crazy talk!

Want to know more about Skinny&Co? You can read about how they process their coconut oil, their philosophy, and other interesting FAQs by clicking here.

Thank you, Skinny&Co for allowing me to review your products. Look for my order in the near future. ;)

Counting it all joy,

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Skinny & Co Unboxing -- Join Me!

(Skinny&Co sent me these products to review.  I have been compensated in no other way.  All opinions are my own.)
Dear reader, this arrived at my doorstep just a short while ago:

(Woot! Woot!)

This is the official unboxing and my initial thoughts regarding the Skinny&Co products.

Let the fun begin.

First of all, let me say that I am a total sucker for minimalist packaging and advertising. Love It.  Probably because I so often feel pushed and pulled in many directions every day. Skinny&CO has nailed the calming, streamlined packaging. I opened the box and immediately felt like not only had I been given a gift, but a generous gift that breathed serenity.  Who couldn't use a bit more serenity in their lives?

Sign me up, baby!
After the small flurry of packing peanuts immediately gracing the floor, because I could not even take a moment to dispose of them before grabbing the products, this is what I found.  I love that the products were double boxed in heavy duty cardboard. This is a company that has given thorough attention to detail even in shipping.  Impressive.

 These are the cards that sat atop the products.  You can see that Skinny&Co is determined to be clear and concise about which of their products provide which specific benefits.

All of the cards are double sided, but for the sake of brevity, I have only included one side of each card.  You will notice that several of the products have benefits that overlap each other.  This tells me that I can get more bang for my buck with each product. A company that caters to my frugal nature and my desire to be pampered -- hello!

Five jars, two ounces apiece, of  this loveliness.  Now, don't let the two ounce weight fool you.  A little bit of coconut oil goes a long way.  The jars themselves are glass with metal lids and have a nice heft to them: reminding you that this is no fly-by-night, cater to the lowest common denominator kind of product.  In other words: this is NOT the Wal-Mart of coconut oils!  Rather it's a top of the line product system that is serious about providing quality.  Let's take a closer look, shall we?

You will notice that in this photo, the coconut oil is white (apart from the sugar scrub which is a lovely, earthy brown).  If you are familiar with coconut oil, you will know that at a slightly cooler temperature, it may appear cloudy, though it's not truly cloudy.  It's just the nature of the oil and it certainly does not affect the performance of the product.  At slightly warmer temps, purity of the product is evident by the fact that it is completely liquefied. Though slightly more of a challenge to use, again, the performance of the product is not diminished in any way.  An inferior coconut oil, even when liquefied, will sometimes have chunks or small pill-like bits floating.  Annoying.  When this happens, it takes actual rubbing to press out the bits so your skin is able to absorb the oil.  Not so with Skinny&Co.  Just dip your fingers in and smooth it on. Easy-Peasy.

The first jar in the top row is straight coconut oil that can be used however you wish.  In my opinion, it's the most versatile of all the products.  You can moisturize face and body; you can consume it to boost your metabolism and energy and the enhance your mental clarity.  You can oil pull with it and use it in your every day cooking and baking.  You can even smooth it on before your shower to help give you the closest shave possible.

Right next to that is the Facial Oil.  Skinny&Co has added lavender, roman chamomile and other essential oils to this formula.  This is to moisturize your face and neck, remove make up and calm any areas of your skin that tend to get a little cranky.  C'mon, you know you have those cranky spots, just like I do. And if you don't, just wait, you will.  This Facial Oil will help with that.

The bottom row on the left is the Body Butter.  It is a whipped formula that includes organic almond oil.  And it smells great.  The difference in this particular jar is the whipped consistency that feels like a clarified cream when applied.  Nothing heavy or clogging in this Body Butter!

In the middle of the bottom row is the Sugar Scrub. It's like you opened a jar of your favorite sweet pastry.  Like you walked into a gourmet bakery.  Like you want to lick it right out of the jar.  It's tempting, believe me.  And, you could do just that since all of Skinny&Co products are edible.

The last product is the Coconut Oil Pulling.  Oil Pulling is the act of swishing the coconut oil in your mouth and between your teeth.  It is used to freshen your breath, whiten your teeth and improve your oral heath.  Did you know that many, many diseases start in the mouth?  Why not prevent as many as you can by swishing a bit of 100% raw, alkaline coconut oil? It is infused with refreshing peppermint. If you've spent any time here on my blog, you wouldn't have gotten far without reading about my love of peppermint.  I look forward to  using it.

So, there you have it: my initial analysis from just the unboxing.  It won't be long before I will share with you how these products actually worked for me.  I have extensive experience when it comes to coconut oil because I have tried so many different brands. I look forward to sharing my findings with you.

Counting it all joy,

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Coming Soon . . .


I am excited to try a new product and then share with you my thoughts. I think it may change the way you see an everyday staple in your pantry. Here's a big ol' hint:

Stay tuned for my review of Skinny&Co!

Counting it all joy,

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Oops. I Almost Did It Again.

Well, I almost did it. Again.

Sounds like a song I wish I didn't know the lyrics to . . .

Anyhow.  I almost got caught up in the trap of comparing myself and our journey to the journey of other families.  In particular, the journeys of other home schooling families. 

Recently, as I was contemplating the school year and curriculum, I was persuaded by several other well-intentioned adults that my child needed a particular class.  I quickly realized that the cost was prohibitive for our family.  Just couldn't do it.  Not only could I not afford the class, but it involved a time commitment that I could not in good conscience allow.

The problem was not that others persuaded me that my child needed this class.  He could benefit greatly from a class that developed these particular skills. The problem was the guilt I felt over not being able to put my child in THAT class. The class that everyone else is taking or has taken in the past. My, oh my, what we put ourselves through when we compare our lives with the lives of others . . . We are not meant to live our lives the way others live their lives.  We are meant to live our lives so that God is glorified.  And that just might look different for each family.  No one will have the same journey or be called to live out the same details as another family.

The best part of all is that:

I don't have to explain my reasoning to anyone else.

I don't have to justify my decision to anyone else.

And good gracious, I certainly don't have to feel guilty over it!

The bottom line is that I had to take a step back and remind myself why I home school.  It's not to adhere to a secular worldview of what kids "need to know" these days.  One reason I home school is to avoid the secularization of my children.  I want my children to live each aspect of their lives through a Biblical world view.  No compartmentalization.  No compromise.

But the biggest reason I home school is to teach my children to love the Lord our God with all their heart, soul, strength and mind.  To love others the way Jesus loves us.  And to be spiritually strong, emotionally healthy, responsible adults who find their security, not in this world, but in Christ alone.

In Christ Alone . . .

Now there's a set of song lyrics I can get behind.

Counting it all joy,

Monday, April 18, 2016

Ending the Cycle of Entertainment Central

Not long ago you, dear readers, indulged me while I dove into my ruminations concerning the fact that many parents have gone a little nutty when it comes to our efforts in making our homes a haven.  Some of us have somehow filtered that through a "bigger is better" attitude. Certainly, these are all things that our culture has greatly encouraged.  But we are still responsible.  We cannot take the easy way and shift blame and claim, "that's just the way it is."

So, what do we do to combat this overindulgence and make sure our children are well grounded with heads that are screwed on straight?  While it would be nearly impossible to cover everything, please allow me to share some things that I am learning.  And remember, I am working on this too. I have in no way perfected these methods.  We can agree that we are all works in-progress -- and there is no shame in that.

Firm Foundation

The foundation, of course is a firm faith in the One, True God of the Bible. This should go without saying. Alas, I have said it anyway.  Romans 2:15 states that we were created with God's law written on our hearts and that our conscience bears witness of God's law.  Whether we acknowledge that or not is a different matter.  We are without excuse (Romans 1:19, 20) when it comes to knowing that God exists (He does) and if we have a right in whether or not to obey (we do not). We have do a choice; which is different than a right. Food for thought.

Diligence in teaching our children to love Jesus, when we rise, when we sit, when we go places (Deut. 6:7 and Deut 11:19) helps our children to not depart from the faith (Prov 22:6). As an aside, dear reader, don't get caught up in the misunderstanding that that verse is talking about the prodigal child coming back to the faith.  Not departing means never leaving the faith in the first place. Another discussion for another time, perhaps.

Without this firm foundation, our efforts (and the suggestions below) will be in vain.  The world is teaching your child their version of the truth, you can count on it.  Teaching them who God is will lead to an unwavering faith that will shore them up when the world is against them.  And, more importantly, it will point them to a right relationship with God.

Practical Application

Besides teaching a firm foundation there are things we can put into practice that will help counteract the chaos if you find yourself caught up in the cycle of making your home "entertainment central."  These suggestions may be painful to hear and more painful to follow through with, but it will be worth it.

Delayed Gratification. This is a tough one since so much is geared toward having what we want when we want it.  Fast food, express lanes, intimate relationships without the benefit of marriage, two day shipping, 140 characters or less . . . the list goes on. 


No one ever died from delayed gratification. 

My opinion?  The anticipation of something amazing increases the pleasure of finally receiving that amazing thing.  There are many instances in my life where that has proven to be the case.  A hard fought victory is much sweeter than a quick and easy one.

I'm just sayin'.

Smaller parties.  Not every party has to be a blowout.  Have a friend or two join you for your child's birthday dinner and cake.  Take one or two children to the local pool or bounce house instead of the entire neighborhood.  Watch home movies instead of going out.  Play minute-to-win-it type games where the props are easily gathered and the laughs are sure to be plentiful. 

Growing up,  I rolled my eyes at the suggestion of  any activity that only involved my parents and my brother.  Yet some of my most poignant memories are of just the four of us.  One of my most cherished memories is one of my brother and I laying on the floor with the upper halves of our bodies in a huge cardboard box, legs and slipper-ed feet hanging out and gazing at a beautifully it Christmas tree.  My parents were sitting on the couch behind us.  Dad has his arm draped around Mom's shoulders and they were probably sneaking in a kiss or two.  Pure contentment bathed those moments.  Excited anticipation and the security of a loving family were the overriding emotions.  I have no idea what I got that particular Christmas -- and my point is that it wasn't about the presents.

Cutting down on screen time.  It never ceases to amaze me that when the electricity goes out, people exclaim over the great memories they made when they were forced to interact with their family members face to face -- even if it was with a flashlight between them! 
We have a saying in our house: Too much tv is bad.  Too much reading is good.  My children love to talk over their books with me.
At length.
In great detail.
Sometimes until my eyes glaze over.
But I love it when they talk books and not tv.  Their imaginations have taken off and expanded all because they read instead of watched. Playing a board game with the family is so much more fun than holing up inside your own little world.  Spending time together is where we learn about ourselves and our children and they learn about us.

Not making sports an idol.  And this is where I lose some of you.  Our culture is obsessed with sports and the athletes that play them.  There is something seriously wrong with a society that is willing to pay athletes obscene amounts of money, but not pay soldiers a decent wage and then take away health care on top of that. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34). Sports should be an extra curricular activity, not the goal in life.  That's all I am saying.

Limiting social media. My children (and I for that matter) are so much more content when we aren't regularly involved with social media.  There are fewer chances for falling short of an unrealistic ideal when we aren't constantly comparing ourselves to someone else. There are other benefits to limiting social media, of course: another post for another time.

Teaching our children a good work ethic. We have to teach our children how to become indispensable to the company they work for. My kids are learning that you show up early, work your tooshie off, don't complain and then you get paid a fair wage.  Not an inflated one to suit your ego.  And then when you own a company yourself, you treat your employees the way you want to be treated.
Which leads me to . . .
We have elevated certain types of jobs over others.  Sometimes there is disdain associated with jobs that aren't computer related or jobs that don't require a college degree. What the heck?  We aren't all created with the same talents and gifts.  There is nothing wrong with honest work in whatever form it takes.  There is no person who is 'less-than' because he or she holds a job that you personally wouldn't want to do.  Doesn't make you better or them worse. 

This is what it comes down to:  We all eat, sleep, poop, and have to fill our fuel tank.  The jobs that allow us to do those essential things are the most important jobs as far as I am concerned.

Sanctity of life. It is quite evident that we do not value the lives of the unborn, the homeless, the abused, the sick, the aged, the widows and the fatherless. They are the first to be forgotten because their voices do not ring loudly in our ears. We must teach our children and retrain ourselves to be aware and compassionate toward our fellow man.  We need to give of ourselves to others.  Not because it will enrich our lives, though that is often the case, but because it's the right thing to do. 

We are, in fact, told that caring for the widows and fatherless (and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world) is what pure religion is all about (James 1:27). Notice: not man-made religion, but pure religion.  How we implement pure religion in our families may look differently from the family next door, of course.  Sponsor a child, visit the sick and the aged, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate goods to a battered women's shelter, or answer phones at a crisis pregnancy center. But do something, anything -- or even better, all these things.

I hope this post encourages you to re-examine your family goals. A peek into what it can be like when we step off of the crazy cycle of making sure we are entertained every moment of every day.  Perhaps developing a family mission statement gives you something to aim for and follow through with as you grow your family in faith.

Counting it all joy,