How a Dermatologist Chooses Sunscreen #ChooseSkinHealth

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy and brought to you by Neutrogena. All opinions remain 100% my own.
It’s the middle of summer and for my family it’s time to be outside in the pool, a water park, a theme park or just a simple family picnic. We try to soak up every ounce of quality family time during the summer before the craziness of back to school begins. But to ensure a successful outing (and as an obsessive list maker), planning is key. Everything from a change of clothes to a first aid kit and snacks to sunglasses, I triple check the bag before leaving home.
With all of these outdoor activities, the first thing on my list is always sunscreen. But lately their has been a lot of confusion circulating about sunscreen leaving me staring at the plethora of options wondering which is best for me and my kids.  As with most of my skin health questions, I seek the advice of a dermatologist so I was thrilled to see that Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist in New York City, recently created a video to explain how he chooses sunscreen for his own family.

The video is easy to understand and has some really helpful tips for navigating the sunscreen section of your local store. Dr. Zeichner explains:

It can be really challenging to understand sunscreen labels. What I do, is go to the drugstore and look for a trusted brand. Make sure that it is labeled as broad spectrum and turn the bottle over and look for ingredients such as avobenzone or oxybenzone. For those with sensitive skin, look for a mineral sunscreen that only contains ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.

As a Mom, I always want to do what is best for my kids which can cause some stress when trying to choose the correct product for their skin. Dr. Zeichner put my mind at ease by explaining that while choosing a quality product is important, you should focus on applying the product correctly. If using a spray sunscreen, you want to hold the spray 1-2 inches from the skin, spray the sunscreen for 1-2 seconds until the skin glistens, and then rub in the sunscreen. If using a lotion, make sure you are using a golf ball size amount for all sun-exposed areas. He explains:

When it comes to Labor Day, if you still have the same bottle of sunscreen that you have been using since Memorial Day, then you are not using enough.

As a scientist myself, I know the every day long-term, harmful affects of sun exposure on the skin. And with skin cancer in my family, I am extra cautious about protecting our skin. For this reason, I have been a huge advocate of the Neutrogena #ChooseSkinHealth program which is a partnership between NEUTROGENA® and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery to fight skin cancer and save lives through education, early detection, and the empowerment to follow sun safe behaviors. To-date, this campaign has completed more than 13,000 free screenings and helped diagnose 1,300 cases of skin cancer.

This summer, NEUTROGENA® partners and brand ambassadors such as Bella Thorne have displayed how they #ChooseSkinHealth on social media throughout the summer in effort to bring attention to the skin cancer epidemic and inspire others to practice safe sun habits.

What are you doing to protect your family’s skin this summer? Share your tips in the comments and then enter to win 5 bottles of Neutrogena sunscreen below!

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Telling My Story with Soufeel Charm Bracelet

This post was written by contributing author, Erin of Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for some easy, non-expensive, non-bulky jewelry to wear daily to work and while running errands. Don’t get me wrong, I love to wear my pearls and diamonds but sometimes it’s a little much to wear for daily chores. I have been looking for an easy alternative and luckily I came across the Soufeel online.

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 2.53.42 PM The website is very user friendly and makes it easy to find just what you are looking for. The company offers a large variety of jewelry which is offered to their customers at an ultra-competitive price. The best part of Soufeel is they are backed by the class leading guarantee and customer service including free shipping on orders $50.00 and over and also a 365 return policy.

soufeel 1

Don’t think they only offer bracelets and charms! They have a large variety of jewelry including rings, earrings, necklaces, and more. I ordered a charm bracelet along with 4 charms that were meaningful to me. They arrived well protected and I have to say that I am impressed with the quality and durability of the product. I wore the bracelets and charms to work and have had no discoloration even after they have gotten wet. I also love the weight of the bracelets. They are so easy to wear all day while giving a casual outfit a bit of sparkle and flair. You can customize the bracelet to your own needs and create any look for any occasion (although the charms do move around the bracelet).

Soufeel’s mission is to celebrate life’s unique stories and precious moments by creating memorable jewelry that will be cherished forever. I personally think they have exceeded their mission. What story will you create with your jewelry?

Let Dove Help You #LoveYourCurls

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy in partnership with Dove and The Motherhood. All opinions remain 100% mine.

I was born with a massive amount of hair. The nurses actually put bows in my hair before bringing me to my Mom from the hospital nursery.  Even though I had lots of hair, it was stick straight. On the other hand, my husband was born with ringlets that were the envy of every girl.  Naturally, my youngest daughter got qualities from both of us and was born was LOTS of CURLY hair.

Y’all, I could not get enough of her hair. I loved every last curly strand of it. Often, people at her daycare would ask if I put her hair in hot rollers before coming to school everyday (yeah, curling irons and toddlers would not be a good idea). The only problem? She hated it.

Both her older sister and her Mom have straight hair and she was not going to be the odd girl out. She tried to make her hair as straight as possible by brushing out the curls to no avail.  But as time has gone on, she is embracing her curls and realizes they make her special and unique.

Did you know that only 4 in 10 little girls with curly hair think their hair is beautiful?

Dove Hair wants all women and girls to love their curls and started the “Love Your Curls” campaign! In partnership with best-selling author Taiye Selasi and illustrated by Annick Poirier, Dove launched a poetic tribute to curly hair, “Love Your Curls.” You can download the free e-book and even personalize it for your favorite curly haired girl!

I think part of Aubrie’s transition to embracing her curls has been to learn how to manage them. As a straight haired Mom, I knew very little about how to care for her locks which ended up a frizzy mess.  Fortunately, we had the opportunity to try the Dove Quench Absolute system which nourishes hair and provides 4X more defined, natural curls. The four products that are part of the system are infused with protein, nutrients and Buriti Oil.

Our favorite product has been the Dove Quench Absolute Supreme Crème Serum. It is Dove’s first curl leave-in nourishing treatment which contains high levels of glycerine and can be used on wet or dry hair. After Aubrie’s bath, I towel dry her hair and apply the serum. It is lightweight and does not leave the hair feeling greasy or heavy…plus, it smells fantastic! Finally, we blow dry with a diffuser and her hair is princess ready!

Do you love your curls?

Packing for 3 Days in the Skip Hop Forma Backpack: It Can Be Done!

This post was written by Linzy of Crawfish Tales. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% honest.

With a four year old, we were in the system of leaving the house with no supplies. No need for diapers, wipes or extra clothes. But now that baby #2 just entered our lives three months ago. We are getting back into the routine of packing up enough for a weekend trip just to leave the house for a couple of hours.

I will admit that I hate diaper bags. I don’t like all the baby patterns or the hard plastic. I mean come on, why can’t it look like it has some style? So I am a tough candidate to test out a diaper bag. But I have had the opportunity to check out Skip Hop’s Forma Backpack Diaper Bag.

YES! Not only does it look cute, it is a backpack. When you are trying to navigate two kids, one being mobile you need all the hands you can get so I LOVE the backpack feature. On the back, out of sight, out of mind.

And when I said pack enough for a weekend trip I meant that literally. I did pack up the Forma Backpack Diaper Bag for a weekend trip for Easter. Here’s what I managed to fit in it:

  • outfits and spares for three days
  • shoes and socks
  • diapers, nighttime diapers and wipes for three days
  • pack n play sheets and a blanket
  • pacifiers, toys, a baby monitor
  • formula for three days, bottles (in the exterior pockets)
  • and the sleep suit. And it was not even busting at the seams.

I love that it has the two pouches in the front. One is insulated which was great for snacks and a juice box for my older kiddo. I am all about convenience and the fact that it can hook on to a stroller is amazing. This makes it even more convenient and would be great for anything from an amusement park outing to navigating an airport.  Another perk? I have seen that the changing pad pocket can also hold a laptop which means that this would be useful to mommy even after the diapers are gone.

The Skip Hop Forma backpack comes in two colors: black and peacock and retails for around $70.00. I am impressed with this diaper bag for sure. It has long term use and can go beyond the baby stage and grow with the child. Thumbs up to Skip Hop for this for design and function!

Turning Back the Clock with Neutrogena #RapidResults

With New Year’s Day just a few hours away, I am reflecting on all that 2014 has been to my family and I.  My girls are growing up before my eyes, we had the opportunity to travel to some great destinations such as Disneyland, Canada, Honduras and Jamaica and the real eye opener was that I turned 40.  Yes, 40.

So, for my 2015 New Year’s Resolutions, I am focusing on me (something I have been ignoring for the past decade with two small children in my home).  But it is time to put some of my energy into self development: learn more, eat better, get exercise, and take care of my skin.  Fortunately, Neutrogena is helping me develop a skin regimen that will keep my skin nourished and healthy.

I took the Neutrogena Anti-Aging 7 Day Retinol Road Test to see if I could verify the clinically proven claim of noticeable improvements of fine lines and overall skin tone in just one week. The products including Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer (Day and Night), Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum and Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream contain a unique combination of three key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glucose complex and Retinol SA.

The latest breakthrough Retinol technology developed by Neutrogena®, Accelerated Retinol SA combines the highest concentration of Retinol with Glucose Complex and Hyaluronic Acid. This nourishing formula boosts the efficacy of pure, stabilized Retinol, making it highly effective yet gentle. Skin is left feeling smoother and younger-looking. In fact, it’s clinically proven to visibly improve the look of wrinkles, fine lines, tone, and texture.

Time for the test drive.  For the first time, I took a really close look at my skin, searched for wrinkles and identified problem spots.  Apparently, I have more wrinkles than I realized! The worst areas for me are wrinkles in the forehead, crow’s feet and dark circles around my eyes.  Could Neutrogena help me in just one week? I was skeptical.

The system is quite simple. I started with the serum, followed by the eye cream and topped with the appropriate moisturizer (day or night). All of these products work great under your foundation.  I immediately noticed that my skin just felt healthy.  I think my skin literally drank in the moisturizer and I have never felt my skin feel so soft and smooth.

After one week, some of the fine lines on my forehead were definitely diminished (I think the deeper wrinkles will take more time).  My eyes looked more “awake” and overall younger and more vibrant.  I was concerned that the number of products used on my skin would feel heavy or greasy but that was totally not the case.

If your New Year’s Resolution includes taking better care of yourself and your skin, check out the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair for immediate results.  To help you get started, one of my readers will win a YEAR’S SUPPLY of the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair line.  Enter below:

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Fashionably Festive with American Girl BeForever

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

It’s no secret that my own American girls love American Girl. The brand has been featured on this blog numerous times over the past 6 years and now my daughters are including the dolls in their very own gift guide for girls.  As a Mom of two daughters and because American Girl celebrates girls, all that they are and all that they will become, this brand is one I truly love.

My husband is a history teacher at an all girls high school so he helps to encourage leadership in young women at work and at home.  So it is no surprise that he loves seeing our daughters excited about learning history through the American Girl BeForever line which connects girls to timeless stories, inspiring characters and endless possibilities.  Building on the historical characters, my husband uses them as a starting point for conversations about the past and what we can learn from them.

The BeForever line will debut with eight characters; all-new, historically accurate outfits and accessories for dolls; new and refreshed fiction books; and an original line of historically inspired clothing for girls.  But I absolutely love that the BeForever line is including contemporary fashions for girls inspired by the historical characters in sizes 6-16.

My daughter could not wait to try on the American Girl BeForever Pretty Plum Dress inspired by Rebecca.  About the outfit:

Inspired by Rebecca, this herringbone dress features a Peter Pan collar and cap sleeves with velvet trim, and decorative side buttons on the bodice. A kicky knife-pleated skirt and velvet sash finish the look. Dress is lined, with in-seam pockets and a back zip.

It was the perfect out for a Girl Scout Mother-Daughter Tea!  The quality was top notch and the style of the outfit turned quite a few heads.  My little one was proud to wear the outfit and told her friends all about Rebecca and the character’s story.

If you are still in need of a holiday gift that will make you the best Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle/Grandma/Godfather, head to a local American Girl store and check out these adorable outfits!

 

How to Prep and Polish Your Holiday Look

Finding the perfect gift, addressing cards, cleaning house, baking treats and wrapping presents consumes my holiday season leaving very little time to this about my own holiday style.  Of course, the kids have coordinating outfits and accessories but as the big day draws near, I realized I have nothing for myself.  At all.

Thankfully, the celebrity makeup artist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador Amy Oresman is on the case. Commence Operation Holiday Prep and Polish by following the tips below:

•       Rushing from party to party with minimal prep time? Use multitasking products like the NEUTROGENA® Crease Proof Eye Shadow, the three-in-one is infused with a primer, eye shadow and eye treatment to condition the delicate eye area while you celebrate.

•       The secret to applying eyeliner is getting as close to the lash line as possible, making it slightly thicker as you move outwards. With subtle light diffusers, NEURTROGENA® Nourishing Eyeliner makes the whites of the eyes appear even whiter, giving that extra pop that we all want.

•       Just because the holidays can get expensive, doesn’t mean your beauty routine has to pay the price! NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup is not only silky and ultra-lightweight, but it is also comparable to similar products in the prestige category.

•       All too often this time of year we rush to transition from day to night looks. The NEUTROGENA® Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a quick and easy way to make the switch (and make a great stocking stuffer, too!).

•       I’m always a fan of products that have dual uses. The NEUTROGENA® MoistureSmooth Color Sticks serves as a moisturizing lip color and can give the perfect touch of color on the cheeks.

Insider Tip: MoistureSmooth Color Sticks are on Rollback at Walmart for just $6.97.

Now that we have flawless skin and a glowing holiday face, let’s tackle hair! Follow the tips below from hairstylist and Neutrogena Brand Ambassador, Sam Leonardi:

•       This time of year, the wind and cold weather can wreak havoc on hair. It’s important to protect overall hair health against not only the elements, but also heating tools and products used to primp for holiday gatherings.  Try the  NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Fortifying Shampoo and Conditioner into your routine for 3 times stronger hair after just one use.

•       From buns to braids, be sure to use bobby pins with coated tips for reduced breakage, and keep blow dryers at least seven inches from hair to minimize heat damage.

•       For longer, thicker hair, use a small amount of NEUTROGENA® Triple Repair Leave-In Treatment and reapply as needed, especially when using flatirons, curling irons, etc. frequently.

•       Conditioner should be focused on the mid-length to ends, where strands are most damaged and at their weakest. After applying, rinse with cold water to remove residue and static, giving it more shine.

Ready to get the look?  One of my lucky readers will win a selection of Neutrogena holiday staples and a $50 Walmart gift card! Enter below:
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How to Select the Perfect Pair of Boots this Winter

This post is written by the Experimental Mommy.  While a sample was received to facilitate this review, all opinions remain 100% mine.

Inspired by one of my favorite fashion bloggers, Ellen from That Chic Mom, I decided to tackle a fashion post myself (believe it or not, sometimes I shed the lab coat for real girly clothes).  Given that I live in New Orleans, I have tons of summery outfits and my closet is full of an assortment of flip flops.  But, my winter wardrobe consists entirely of a pair of jeans, one sweater and a scarf I have no idea how to tie.  Fortunately, my friends at Shoebuy.com are coming to the rescue with some great tips on how to pick the perfect pair of boots this winter.

As for this season’s top boot styles, booties are leading the way, with harness boots, over-the-knee boots and western-inspired styles falling closely behind. But which ones are best for YOU?

Booties:

A great pair of booties is a MUST this season. Perfect for pairing with a skinny jean or matching with a pencil skirt, this style can be worn day or night. For your first pair, try a neutral color like beige or black. Once you have a chance to break-in your “go-to” pair, go a little bolder with a flashier color like red or dark blue.

Over-the-Knee:

If you’re looking for a more glamorous look, say for a night on the town, you gotta go big or go home! Over-the-knee boots can add the perfect amount of spice to any outfit, specifically when paired with a sleek pair of black jeans, leather leggings, or a fitted dress.

Western influence:

If you’re looking to step out of your traditional style comfort zone, try incorporating some fun, western-inspired looks. This year, cowboy boots are making a name for themselves in the fashion world and we can’t help but love it!

Harness Boots:

To complete your leggings/sweater combo, skip the Ugg boots and turn to a pair of harness boots. This classic equestrian-inspired style can liven up any casual look with comfort and ease!

After checking out the rules, I decided on the perfect pair of black leather booties.  Turns out, they really are quite versatile.  One pair of shoes, three totally different looks.  I found ways to where my booties with leggings, dress pants and jeans and make them work!

When shopping for boots online, it’s important to shop early if you want to snag the most popular fashion trends, as those styles often sell out first. If you find a pair you love, don’t hesitate! Make sure you do your research to guarantee you are getting the best deal – after all, who doesn’t love to save a few extra dollars here and there!

This year, we’re seeing more people searching for wide calf boots. How do you know if that style will work for you, you ask? Fortunately, Shoebuy.com, makes it a priority to feature the Shaft Height and Circumference on our product pages. If you see a style you like, take a fabric measuring tape and measure your calf circumference. If the numbers are only a few inches apart, you should be good to go.

Go Forth and Conquer your winter wardrobe!  Tell me in the comments which is your favorite style of boots?

Neutrogena Face-to-Face Foundation Challenge {Big Reveal}

This post was written by the Experimental Mommy. While I am an Ambassador for Neutrogena, all opinions remain 100% honest.

As a Neutrogena Ambassador, I have had the opportunity to try lots of the brand’s products but never done an actual head to head challenge with any other brands….until now.  To participate in the Face-to-Face Challenge, I was sent two identical bottles of foundation just labelled “A” and “B”.  I was instructed to use each product for at least 2 days and report back on the results.

Up first, Foundation “A.”  The texture of this product was fairly thick and I was surprised at how light it actually felt on my skin. This product provided great coverage without over drying my skin.

The following week, I tested Foundation “B.”  This product was was noticeably thinner in texture (almost watery).  While this foundation provided good coverage initially, I feel like it did not stay put throughout the day.

At the end of the testing period, I chose Foundation “A” due to its’ staying power.  At the end of the day, I felt like my makeup still looked fresh which is essential for this busy working Mom.  After providing my results to the people at Neutrogena, it was revealed that Foundation A (the one I chose as superior) was NEUTROGENA® Healthy Skin Liquid Makeup SPF 20 which sells for $12.50 and Foundation B was actually NARS Sheer Glow which sells for $45.

Neutrogena Healthy Skin® liquid makeup takes over where your skin care leaves off. Silky-light coverage glides on for a perfectly natural look, while the exclusive blend plus Broad Spectrum SPF 20 work together to visibly improve skin’s luminosity, tone, and texture.

Lesson learned: a higher price does not always equal a better product.  What’s your favorite foundation?

 

Fall into Fashion with RUUM Amercian Kid’s Wear

Some days, I think I have a runway in my home.  Oh yes, I have two fashionistas who are NOT shy about expressing their fashion style and strutting their stuff.  You can imagine the squeals when they had the opportunity to check out Fall looks from RUUM (pronounced room) American Kid’s Wear.

RUUM is built around style, trend and comfort and has been seen on the backs of mini celebs such as Suri Cruise, Harper Beckham, North West and the twins of Sarah Jessica Parker. But above all, RUUM strives to help boys and girls look their best by feeling their best.

Lily paired a RUUM floral raglan shirt with super soft skinny cords which was a perfect compliment to the first Fall day here in New Orleans.  The shirt and pants retail for $26.50 each but right now the entire site is 25% off!

 Because we don’t expect Fall to last too long here, Aubrie’s layered look is perfect when the temps rise again here in the South.  She loved the sequin heart tee which is on sale for less than $12. As the sun went down, she reached for the High Low Cardigan to fight the chills.

Don’t miss any of the latest fashion trends for kids by following RUUM on Twitter and Facebook.  What are your kids wearing this Fall?