Free Mother’s Day Gift Basket Giveaway!

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As many of you already know, the POPPED family includes this blog and Popped Handmade, my up-and-coming natural skin care business. I encourage all of my POPPED ladies to enter Popped Handmade’s Mother’s Day Gift Basket Giveaway! It’s completely free, but it is only for lovely ladies living in the Chi or the surrounding areas because you will need to pick up your basket if you win. The basket will include Popped Handmade luxurious, whipped body butter and some yummy treats for your sweet tooth, including Treasure Corn Oreo-flavored popcorn and Mickii’s Sinfully Semi chocolate chip cookies. Check out the Popped Handmade Facebook page for info on how to enter and for more details! Good luck!

New Dreams

It’s 24 days until my husband and I will participate in the March of Dimes March for Babies in honor of the life and death of our son Izzy. I’m pushing myself to write and post on the blog each day until the walk—some days a little and maybe some days a lot—in hopes of shedding light on issues like miscarriage and infant loss so that other women who go through these types of things know that they’re not alone. Please share this post generously to spread awareness!

After I received the terminal prognosis for Izzy when I was about 19 weeks pregnant, I not only started to mourn the loss of a child that I desperately wanted, but also the loss of a dream. I imagined that I would be the mom at the park pushing a stroller with a newborn, while a preschooler and a toddler tagged along on both sides. I wanted stair-stepper children—one right after the other. I wanted to just push them all out now so that I could focus on myself later, professionally and personally.

But after a first trimester miscarriage and Izzy being diagnosed with bilateral renal agenesis (Potter’s Syndrome) right after that, I began to wonder if my dream of a swarm of little people hanging on me would come true. That’s when I started to dream a new dream—the dream of myself as a small business owner doing something creative that would eventually impact the lives of others someday through providing jobs and philanthropy programs.

On November 6, 2015 when I was about 22 weeks pregnant, Popped Handmade made its debut. It’s a luxury, yet affordable, line of natural skincare products for the everyday positively optimistic and powerful person. So far, I’ve only been focusing on whipped body butters, but my goal is to have a comprehensive line of moisturizers, scrubs, soaps, and more. Popped Handmade has kept me sane through all of the disappointment I’ve felt over the past few months. It’s a work in progress, but I’m so grateful for it. It has shown me that there are always new dreams to pursue even when one particular dream doesn’t seem to be working out. 

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The top picture is my table set-up at my very first vendor fair for Popped Handmade on November 6, 2015. The picture at the bottom is my set-up at a recent vendor fair on March 16, 2016. It’s only been 4 short months, but I feel like I’ve learned so much and have made so much progress. I’ve come a mighty long way 😉

 

My family and I would love for you to donate to our March for Babies campaign! Any amount no matter how small may help other families of premature infants. Click here and know that we’re so thankful for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Lush Cranberry Festive Face Mask

Greetings all my Popped Ladies & Gentlemen! You all have been on my mind more than you know. It’s been a while since I’ve published a full blog post. I’ve been preoccupied with launching my handmade, natural beauty product business, Popped Handmade, so I’ve been out at various vendor fairs or hunting for my next one via Facebook.

One cold Sunday evening after one of these vendor fairs, my husband decided to be spontaneous and suggested that we take our little family of three downtown to have dessert at Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Now since we hadn’t chilled downtown as a couple or family since 19-hundred-insert-a-year-a-long-time-ago, I closed my mouth (because it was hung open) and said, “Most definitely!”

After our delicious and diabetic-coma-inducing brownie sundae, we walked to Water Tower Place where I stumbled on the most beautiful display window I’d seen in a long time. There were handmade soaps of different colors, fresh face masks sitting on top of ice cubes in a long cooler, and people inside who were smelling beauty products and trying creams on. I was in front of the Lush store (Lush Handmade Cosmetics). My husband encouraged me to go in and I assured him that I wasn’t buying anything; I was only going in to get a little inspiration for new products and recipes to try out for my new, little side-hustle.

However, this incredibly gifted saleswoman of a sista got a hold of me and started rubbing different face and body scrubs on my hands and I walked out not only inspired to make my own beauty concoctions (and maybe even apply for a job at Lush), but also with a little red and white Lush Handmade Cosmetics bag with their Cranberry Festive Face Mask (and a few free samples of other products!) inside.

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I must say that I really had no interest in buying a face mask. My skin is in better condition now than it’s probably ever been (except for maybe pre-puberty). I used to struggle with managing acne as a teenager and even in my early-mid twenties, I dealt with a few flare-ups around that special time of the month that all of us ladies love. But now, thanks to a few different things that I will share in a separate post, my skin is doing great in my opinion. It looks bright, soft, and smooth with the exception of a few acne scars. However, because my Lush homegirl was so great at her job, I decided to buy something so I chose the Cranberry Festive Face Mask.

Things I Love about the Lush Cranberry Festive Face Mask:

  • Love, love, love the SMELL of this stuff. It has a floral and kinda fruity fragrance. It has a very feminine and pampering scent.
  • Liked the thick, mud-like consistency of the mask. This made it easy to put on and spread without making a mess.
  • Really liked how my face felt after rinsing it off. My skin felt soft, but clean. I didn’t have that really tight feeling that I’ve had with some facial masks in the past.

Things That I Wasn’t Too Crazy About:

  • My face felt a little too tingly when I first put the mask on. I felt a somewhat burning sensation for a few seconds, but the sensation went away after a while. I know that my skin has been very sensitive lately, even after washing I get some redness on my cheeks every now and then, so I don’t think this necessarily says anything bad about the product.
  • As the mask dried, little powdery crumbles of the mask fell off of my face every time I moved my facial muscles. This wasn’t a big deal because I was able to brush it right off my shirt and I was only in PJs anyway but I just thought I’d mention it.
  • However, the major concern that almost stopped me from buying the mask in the first place is the fact that “talc” is in the ingredient listing. Talc has been under scrutiny by a few organizations in the natural cosmetic industry for sometime because it can possibly be contaminated with asbestiform fibers, which has definitely been linked to cancer. While the FDA considers talc safe in cosmetics, talc is restricted/prohibited in Canada because of organ system toxicity concerns. According to an article by the American Cancer Society, talc used in U.S. cosmetics has been asbestos-free since the 1970s. However, there is still a possible connection to ovarian cancer for those ladies that still put talcum powder (baby powder) in their underwear (if it were to travel up the vagina).
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Overall, I love that for the most part Lush tries to use all-natural ingredients that are good for your skin and overall health (the fact that my mask needed to be kept in the fridge shows that it wasn’t loaded up with synthetic preservatives), but the company does use a few questionable ingredients from time-to-time (parabens come to mind here).

Yet, as someone who continues to research ingredients and create recipes without any of the questionable stuff, I can see their dilemma. They produce mostly natural beauty products on a mass scale so it has to be extremely difficult to keep products free of bacteria/yeast/fungi, aesthetically appealing, and convenient to use while still making enough profit to grow the business, use fair-trade/ethically-sourced ingredients, and keep people employed. I applaud them for what they’re trying to do and have been doing for the past 20-plus years.

Have any of you tried the Lush Cranberry Festive Face Mask? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on Facebook 😉

Make Sure YOU Win

Hello all my popped loves! I hope that you haven’t forgotten about me! I know that I’ve been a bit M.I.A. but Lord, if you knew what I’ve been going through…I had some really bad news a couple weeks ago that really threw my world upside down. I’m sure that one day, I will share more details about it, but all that I have the will to say right now is that it was news that shook the very foundation of my vision for the next few years of my life. You see, I had a plan, but of course, it’s often said that God laughs at our plans and does what He wants to do anyway! Have you ever been there? Have you had something happen to you that shook the foundation for your future or maybe even made you question your identity?

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“Don’t let disappointment or tragedy be the end of your story. Use it to make you even more determined to win.”

If so, I want you to remember something, no matter how bleak things may look right now, your story doesn’t have to be over. You may not be able to control everything that happens to you or around you, which is frustrating to the control freak in us all. However, we have full control over our reactions to whatever does happen to us. We can let something defeat us and make us kiss the game goodbye. Or we can use the disappointment, frustration, or [insert expletive here] to propel us forward. Don’t let disappointment be the end of your story. Use it to make you even more determined to win.

The inner pain I felt due to my situation made me want to crawl under my bed and stay there forever. But, I realized that if not anything else, I have a family—a daughter—that is relying on me to keep my ish together to be there for them. Instead of focusing on the things I couldn’t control, I decided to throw myself into starting Popped Handmade—a luxury, handmade, natural beauty product line for the everyday positive, optimistic, & powerful woman or man like yourself. Do I feel completely ready to take on this venture? No. Do I feel a bit overwhelmed at the mere thought of it? Yes. Will those fears stop me from giving it a shot and doing the very best that I can to perfect my products and grow my business knowledge? Hell no. The thing about feeling like you’ve hit a rock bottom of sorts is there’s nowhere to go but up. If this project fails, I will be right back where I started in the first place, yet I will have gained knowledge about business and myself that I would never have acquired otherwise.

If you, like me, are going through a valley in your life right now, use your experience as motivation to flip the script and make your story have a better ending. Don’t let the struggle win; make sure YOU win.

Check out the Popped Handmade Facebook and Instagram pages and let me know what you think!

Let’s Not Get Serious

Even though it still feels like summer and won’t technically be fall until September 23rd, I think cool breezes, pumpkin patches, and autumn leaves are on everyone’s mind this week. The start of September means Labor Day weekend is coming up. Better fire up that grill while you can! Plus the last batch of kids are going back to school soon if they haven’t already. I don’t have any kids in school yet, but I’m oh so ready for the kids near where I live to be at the school house all day, ya feel me.

I’d been feening for summer long before it arrived, but now I’m at peace with cherishing the summer memories that were made and I’m ready to embrace the beauty of fall. In addition to looking forward to all the fall activities that I get to do with my now 2 years old, L-Boog, I’m also getting a little anxious about my bday in October. I’m really getting into these late 20 years and while it’s a little scary, I’m also full of anticipation. I’m curious about all that good ish that’s supposed to happen in your 30s—you’re supposed to be more stable, more comfortable with who you are, or something like that—but I’m in no way trying to hurry it along!

I love to reflect on how I’ve changed and grown over the years during my birthday season. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how important it is not to take myself too seriously and to learn to brush those awkward/uncomfortable/”what just happened?” moments off right after they happen instead of looking back and having a pity party. I definitely enjoy being silly and relaxed when I’m in my element with my besties, but more often than not I would say I’m more serious-natured or intense. Blame it on my Scorpio-ness. (Um, did I mention that Scorpio season is coming up? Just wanna make that clear.) However, I’m getting better and better at this as the years roll by, but I will say it’s a lot easier to laugh at my old self than the me I am today, but I’m getting there.

One time of my life that I have no problem laughing at is my phase of beauty/fashion experimentation during college. Man, oh man the pictures I could show. Like most people, I came to college ready to try new things and experiment when it came to my appearance. I went natural. I got a nose piercing. I coordinated thrift store/co-op jackets with most of my outfits. And…cue the music…I made my own wigs. Gasp! This would not be a big deal if I was creatively-inclined when it comes to things like that. I’m not the worst with hair, but let’s just say I don’t think I should try to do hair professionally…at all. I would watch countless YouTube videos of girls making wigs and thought “I can do that!” Did it, I did.

Why do I look like I should be at the casino instead of a college dance?! This thing made me look twice my age...smh

Why do I look like I should be at the casino instead of a college dance?! This thing made me look twice my age…smh

Thank God that one of my apartment-mates/besties was really into hair and could make some of the horrible wigs I made look decent-looking. I still crack up to this day when I see certain pictures of myself wearing one of those wigs in college. I think to myself, “Wtf was wrong with me?!” It feels good to laugh about my beauty and fashion faux pas now, but I probably would’ve burst into tears back then if someone said something about them.

Hey, it’s true that you live and you learn. As I countdown to my bday, I’m grateful to God for the entire part of my journey up until this point—the good, the bad, and the hilarious. All the mistakes and blunders I’ve made so far (whether physically, socially, or professionally) have made me who I am today no matter how cliché it sounds. I’m just glad that nothing was so tragic that God’s mercy couldn’t cover it and that I can shake my head and laugh at it now.

Do you find it easy to laugh at yourself and keep it moving? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Trial and Error

Lotion-making like life is trial and error. You can research as long as you can. Get a bunch of different advice. Yet, there are some things you only learn and get better at by doing.

I’ve been feeling encouraged by random people and a friend commenting on how soft my skin looked (or felt in the friend’s case) after consistently using the first batch of lotion I made. It felt good to know that it was because of my own little homemade concoction. I’d never really considered myself good at making things with my hands. This new hobby of mine is one more reminder of my little internal theme for this stage of my life: no limitations (cuz “I’m a No Limit Soldier known to keep it rowdy”–virtual dap if you know what song that’s from) and no labels.

Last weekend, I decided to make a Vanilla Shea Butter Lotion. This was the second time that I made lotion on my own and the third time I’ve made it in general (remember that class I took at Magalie Naturals?). I still had a teensy bit of those little butterflies of excitement that I had the first time I made lotion during Memorial Day weekend.

This time, I was very pleased with the consistency of the lotion. I used a little more sweet almond oil than shea butter this time. For some reason I thought the result would be a lighter lotion. However, the lotion was actually a little thicker and creamier. My skin absorbed it pretty quickly, but I did notice a little more dewiness (or shine) than from my last batch, which actually doesn’t bother me. It just means I can use even less of it at a time to have soft, glowing skin!

The only thing that I wasn’t super crazy about is the scent of this batch. I wanted to get all fancy and make some kind of green tea vanilla lemon goodness but wasn’t able to. Hopefully next time though!

Check out my ingredient list for my latest batch of Vanilla Shea Butter Lotion:

  • 70%    Distilled Water
  • 12%    Shea Butter
  • 10%    Sweet Almond Oil
  • 3%      Stearic Acid
  • 3%      Emulsifying Wax
  • 1.25% Vanilla Extract (McCormick brand)
  • 0.75% Optiphen Plus (non-paraben/non-formaldehyde preservative)

For more info on the equipment I used and measuring methods, check out my first post on lotion-making. I never got a more precise scale, btw, for those of you that remember my measuring dilemma from the first post. Oh well.

ingredients vanilla lotion

I gathered my ingredients together on the kitchen counter. You can see the regular-ole McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract that I used to add fragrance to the lotion. I’m wondering if I would have liked the vanilla scent a little better if I’d used a fancier brand/quality or even better figured out how to incorporate actual vanilla beans in some way. But hey, I’m lotion-making on a budget for now. I hope to use the A+++ ingredients one of these days though.

oil phase vanilla lotion

This is the oil phase. I melted the emulsifying wax and stearic acid in the microwave in 30 sec bursts, then added the sweet almond oil and shea butter. Since the mixture was warm, it didn’t take long to stir the shea butter until it melted completely.

two phases vanilla lotion

Here you can see the bowl with the oil phase and the other with the water phase. It may be hard to see the water in the second bowl. I tried to warm them in the microwave just a little to get each mixture to be about 70 degrees Celsius before I added the water to the oils in the large bowl. This is why I believe the consistency was so much smoother than the first time I made lotion at home. Remember in the post, Lotion-Making: My Very First Time, I said there were tiny waxy pieces throughout the lotion that needed to be rubbed in the skin a little bit longer than the rest.

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Mix. Mix. Mix.

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And voila!

When was the last time you made something from scratch? It may be a little confidence-booster after you see how crafty you can be 😉 Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

Lotion-Making Fun: My First Class

Magalie Naturals Storefront

Magalie Naturals, Chicago

Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of taking my first real, lotion-making class at Magalie Naturals, a French handmade cosmetics boutique in Chicago. The class was called “DIY Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion!” and it was taught by the CEO and owner of the boutique, Magalie D. According to her website, she has been making natural, handmade cosmetics since she was a 12 year old girl in France. She offers several classes on an ongoing basis that range from learning how to make “Shiny Smooth Conditioner” to “Sweet Chocolate Night Scrub.”

I must say that I enjoyed the class and learned a lot, especially about different kinds of ingredients and when to use a certain kind. In addition to being extremely informative, the class was also pretty laid back. It’s BYOB so you can bring liquor and Magalie is super-friendly and has an adorably thick French accent that I’m sure you will love.

During my small class of 4 (the class usually has up to 15 people I believe), we made Wild Verbena Lotion as the title of the class suggests. Here are the ingredients we used:

Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion Ingredients from Magalie Naturals

The set-up and all of the supplies looked extra professional and clean.

The set-up and all of the supplies looked extra professional and clean.

For the Aqua Phase

–   Aloe Vera Juice
–   White Verbena Floral Water
–   Floral Water infused with Dried Grapefruit
–   Caffeine Powder
-for toning (must be added in the aqua phase to release benefits)*

For the Oil Phase

–   Avocado Oil
-great for a moisturizing body lotion*
–   Rice Bran Oil
-10x more antioxidants than Vitamin E oil and less expensive*
-good for fine lines and for under the eyes*
–   Karanja Oil (with Urucu Macerate Seeds steeped inside)
-the urucu macerate seed has more beta-carotene than carrots, has antioxidants, and offers UV protection*
–   Emulsifying Wax
–   Soy Lecithin
-not mandatory but helps make lotion creamier*

Additives added to the Oil & Water Mixture

–   Honey Powder
–   Guar Gum
-thickening agent*
–   Benzyl Alcohol & Cedarwood Essential Oil
-to help extend shelf life*

The * means “according to Magalie.” Magalie was great about explaining the benefits of all of the ingredients and the role each one played in the final outcome of the lotion.

The final product.

The final product.

While I have no doubt of the hydrating and other benefits of the ingredients used, I wasn’t crazy about the scent of the lotion after all was said and done. At first I really liked the scent, but after applying the lotion at home over the last few days, I ‘m definitely not crazy about it. It reminded me of green peas and smelled earthy in a not-so-good way. Despite the fact that the scent didn’t mesh well with my naturally sexy and poppin’ scent, I wouldn’t change a thing as far as signing up for the class. Different strokes for different folks; what smells good on you may not smell good on me and vice versa.

The Wild Verbena Lotion is very moisturizing and a little bit goes a long way, despite the fact that it is a little thinner than the Lavender Shea Butter Lotion I made Memorial Day weekend. Another difference is the Wild Verbena Lotion may only have a shelf life of 1-2.5 months since no chemical preservative was used. I don’t see that being a problem since I’ve already used about a quarter of the bottle a mere 2 days after the class. I can’t wait to use everything I’ve learned from Magalie’s class to experiment more on my own.

I’m going to leave you all with some general tips and insight from the class in case you want to try making lotion or for when you’re out checking product labels on lotion you’re about to buy at the store.

Tips from “DIY Natural Protective Wild Verbena Lotion!” Class at Magalie Naturals

  • Grapefruit is good for toning skin.
  • Quality floral water should require refrigeration.
  • Floral water can be used in place of a toner and it’s usually much cheaper
  • Know the difference between a dry oil and a regular oil.
  • Regular oils don’t penetrate the skin well on their own and should be mixed with a dry oil.
  • Dry oils can be applied on the skin as a moisturizer without adding anything to them.
  • It’s good to use a regular oil when making lotion. If using a dry oil, mix 50/50 with a regular oil.
  • Some dry oils are coconut, hazelnut, sesame, and macadamia nut oils.
  • Some regular oils are olive and avocado oils.
  • Hazelnut oil is good for oily/combination skin (like mine!) because it balances sebum production.
  • Add the oil phase to the water phase when making night creams and other products designed to penetrate and nourish the skin–for denser products.
  • Add the water phase to the oil phase when making a protective lotion like the one discussed in this post.
  • It’s best to mix the oil and water phases when both of them are at 70 degrees Celsius.

Have any of you taken a DIY cosmetic class? If so, what was it and what did you think? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. And as always, keep it poppin’ 😉

Lotion-Making Fun: My Very First Time

As you all may remember from a few of my previous posts, especially “Happy Mother’s Day from PBWB,” I have wanted to try making my own lotion for some time now and I ordered lotion-making supplies last Mother’s Day weekend. Well, my supplies have arrived and I made my first batch of lotion this weekend! I was so excited! And the more amazing thing is that I was able to eat lunch, plan and calculate ingredients, and make my lotion all within the timeframe of my daughter’s nap time on Saturday afternoon!

I used a recipe that’s been on my Pinterest board for awhile from a blog post called “Gift Series-Lotion Tutorial (from Scratch)” on a blog called Soap Queen. I used many of the same ingredients as Soap Queen except for the type of preservative used. I also left out avocado oil. I used her recommended percentages of ingredients for the most part. The process wasn’t too bad at all. There are definitely some changes that I would make for next time that I will explain later, but as I said it was a pretty quick process. I probably spent no more than an hour to an hour and a half actually making the lotion, including planning and a lazy cleanup (I didn’t wash all of the dishes right away.)

Carla’s Lovely Lavender Lotion Ingredients 😉

–    70%    Distilled Water
–    15%    Shea Butter
–    7.75% Sweet Almond Oil
–    3%      Emulsifying Wax (to bind the water and oil/butter together)
–    3%      Stearic Acid (for texture–known to make lotion thicker and fluffier)
–    0.75% Optiphen Plus (a paraben and formaldehyde-free preservative)
–    0.5%   Essential Lavender Oil

Tools & Equipment

I used the same items as the Soap Queen with the exception that I used three (expected to use 4 but I’ll explain later) 4 oz jars and plenty of paper towels. I also used pH strips because of the type of preservative I used.

Ingredients with website
I had a pot of boiling water on the stove. I used a strainer on top so that the steam could help melt the emulsifying wax and stearic acid. Looking back, it would’ve been a lot simpler to just use the microwave to melt these like the Soap Queen blog suggested. That was me doing too much. Smh.

The emulsifying wax and stearic acid before I melted them.

The emulsifying wax and stearic acid before I melted them.

Once the emulsifying wax and stearic acid were in liquid form, I added sweet almond oil and Shea butter to the warm mixture.

I stirred the shea butter in until it melted. For a few seconds, I put the mixing bowl inside the strainer that was on top of the pot of boiling water I had on the stove to speed up the process.

I stirred the shea butter in until it melted and even heated the bowl a little on my makeshift double-boiler on the stove.

Once the oil/butter mixture was liquefied, I measured and added distilled water. I didn’t warm the water first, but I definitely will next time. The distilled water was room temperature, but it caused some pieces of wax to form in the bowl, which could’ve been avoided if I’d warmed the water. The lotion turned out pretty smooth after mixing, but I have noticed some tiny clumps that feel waxy. If you try making your own lotion, avoid my mistake and HEAT UP YOUR WATER!

After adding distilled water, I stirred the mixture with a spoon, then used a hand mixer until it seemed well blended.

After adding distilled water, I stirred the mixture with a spoon, then used a hand mixer until it seemed well blended.

During the mixing process, I wished that I’d used a bigger mixing bowl because tiny drops of lotion splashed from the bowl from time to time. It wasn’t a ton, but I think it could’ve been avoided by using a deeper bowl.

The pH looked okay to me. Optiphen Plus can work above a pH of 6, but that's not an optimal environment for it.

The pH looked okay to me. Optiphen Plus can work above a pH of 6, but that’s not an optimal environment for it.

After the lotion looked smooth and fluffy (despite air bubbles that eventually went away as the lotion settled), I checked its pH and temperature. The preservative I used, Optiphen Plus, is most effective in products with a pH of 6 or below. The temperature of the product must be below 176 degrees Fahrenheit/80 degrees Celsius before adding Optiphen Plus as well. Once everything seemed fine, I added the fragrance (essential lavender oil) and preservative.

me pouring lotion
Overall, I consider my first try at making homemade lotion to be a success. I love how it feels on my skin. Hubby even likes it too and we tend to differ in our lotion preferences. I’m usually #TeamAveeno while he’s #TeamVaselineBrand all day, everyday. My skin feels very moisturized, but not too greasy. The consistency of the lotion is good for warmer weather. It’s not heavy, but not too watery either. It absorbs right into the skin after rubbing it in for a few seconds. Because of the Shea butter, a little bit of this goes a long way. I can’t wait to experiment with scents! The lavender smell is present in this batch, but it’s kind of overpowered by the Shea butter scent.

Besides for the things I’ve already mentioned, here are a few more things that would’ve made the process run more smoothly.

For next time…

–    Get a scale that has .1 g or .01 g precision! It was tough to get the measurements right because my scale would only show me 317 g instead of 317.5 g, which is kind of a big deal, especially as I start to repeat recipes and need the same results each time. I was able to get a little more precise by checking my weights in ounces, but I think my lack of precision is why I didn’t yield as much lotion as I expected. I planned to make 16 oz, but only yielded about 10 or 11 oz.

–    Think about using a pipette to remove and add ingredients while weighing things on the scale. This would make it easier to go from say 0.11 oz to 0.12 oz when measuring ingredients. Yeah, I definitely have my Type A personality moments. I like things to be just right.

–    Use a larger beaker for measurements, especially for measuring out the distilled water, and use a large beaker for making the lotion itself so that it will be easier to pour the finished lotion into their jars or bottles.

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That’s one more item checked off of my 101 Things in 1001 Days list! Will any of you try to make your own lotion? Have you made some in the past? Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook!

Happy Mother’s Day from PBWB!

It’s Mother’s Day! Woot woot! I hope you all enjoy loving on all the mothers or mother-figures in your lives today by sharing something that’s more precious than anything you can buy: time.

Kind of in honor of Mother’s Day, but not really, I decided to treat myself to something that I’ve been wanting for a long time. No, it’s not a necklace from Tiffany’s, but hopefully I’ll make that happen one day.

Jar of cream sunshinecity via flickr

Image by SunShineCity via Flickr, CC By 2.0

I decided to take the first step towards making my own lotion by ordering a few supplies from Amazon. This is a huge deal for me because as a stay-at-home mom, or maybe just as a mom in general, it’s so hard to not be overwhelmed with guilt when I buy something just for me.

I’ve been wanting a new hobby for some time and I think lotion-making will definitely get my creative juices flowing. It doesn’t seem too difficult, judging from the recipes I’ve found on Pinterest. Yet, it seems to involve just the right amount of chemistry and experimentation to put my brain to work. Also, maybe this can lead to that profitable business I want to start or at least a nice little side hustle! (Remember #’s 1 and 45 on my “101 Things in 1001 Days List?”).

At the very least, this may be a way to ensure my family is exposed to a few less potentially harmful cosmetic ingredients on a daily basis. Often, I’m  disappointed with the cosmetics I find on store shelves, even the ones for babies. Most cosmetics have questionable preservatives and too many chemicals with long names. The products with ingredient listings that I like tend to cost too much to buy on a consistent basis. I can’t wait to make products how I want them at a fraction of the cost of quality store-bought products! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated once I make my first batch.

On another note, I would like to leave my popped mothers with just a little something I wrote for Little L that I’m sure many of you can relate to.

To my Poo on Mother’s Day 2015:

I think of you even when I’m not thinking of you;
We are so entwined that I could never not think of you.
No longer attached by a cord, but tied by spirit,
I feel you when I can’t see you.
Hear you before you even make a sound.
Your laugh is the music that makes my heart beat;
Your smile dances in my dreams.

Me and London at Pepe's

Happy Mother’s Day! Have any of you mothers out there decided to treat yourself to something special this weekend? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

The Chubby Tummy Chronicles

Lift your virtual hands if you’re #TeamNinja! I see you out there 🙂

I was pretty much strong-armed into buying a Ninja because my friend over at Fit2Luv kept bragging and sending pics of all the gorgeous fruits and veggies she was putting into her smoothies. She would go on and on about how great her Ninja was until I finally said, “I GET THE POINT” and bought one. I’m so glad the peer pressure worked because I love my Ninja. It gets the job done without too much fuss.

One of my green smoothies. I remember this one was delicious also. Something about when that lime juice hits that avocado. Yummm.

One of my green smoothies. I remember this one was delicious also. Something about when that lime juice hits that avocado. Yummm.

When my Ninja Pulse first came in the mail, I started throwing as many ingredients into my smoothies that would fit—celery, avocado, carrots, spinach, cranberry juice, yogurt, banana. Frankly, I just had way too much going on. Sometimes, I would make smoothies that I liked, but other times, they weren’t hitting it. I finally found a combination that I LOVE. You may already know it, but I discovered that less really is more when it comes to yummified smoothies.

The recipe for my fav green smoothie at the moment is below. Keep in mind that I don’t actually measure things when I make my smoothies so the amounts are estimates. I’ll call this smoothie…

The Popped Woman Dream

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Kiwi (optional)
  • About 1 cup of Spinach/Power Greens Mix
  • About ¼ cup of The Greek Gods Greek Yogurt (Honey Vanilla)
  • About ¼- ½ cup of Coconut Water
  • 3 Ice Cubes

The Popped Woman Dream makes me wanna holler and throw up my hands in a good way. For the last few days, I’ve been drinking this smoothie before and after my workouts when possible and I’m absolutely lovin’ it.

Even though I’ve been consistent (except for the 2 White Castle double-cheeseburgers last night and the fried chicken with barbecue sauce last weekend), I still feel a little blah about the progress of my slim and toned tummy goal. I remember a quote that said something like “weight gain doesn’t happen overnight, neither does weight loss,” which I keep telling myself. However, it didn’t help that a lady at church asked me if I was pregnant last Sunday for the second time within the past 4 months. I left it at “No” but I wanted to say all kinds of ungodly things to her right after service. Just pray for me.

Even though the question annoyed me, it didn’t sting too bad because although I don’t have abs like Jillian Michaels, I know that I’ve made huge progress from the state my body was in before I started working out consistently. I may have added some muscle instead of losing a lot of fat, but I know that if I stay consistent with getting to the gym and eating healthy, I will get to where I want to be.

Shameless gym selfie. April 10, 2015.

Shameless gym selfie. April 10, 2015.

Most importantly, I’ve realized that no matter how toned I become, it won’t matter if I don’t change my negative self-talk. The reality is I will never look a way that is pleasing to everyone. We all have our preferences, which is o.k. What matters is the way we view ourselves and the way we treat ourselves. If I don’t choose to love and accept myself when I look in the mirror, it won’t matter if I change my perceived imperfections. I would just find another thing that I don’t like that needs to be “fixed.”

If we don’t already love ourselves before we lose weight, get that eyebrow wax, or [insert the blank] we will find something else wrong with our bodies. We will focus on that perceived negative thing until we “fix” it and the vicious cycle will just continue. It’s fine to lose a few pounds, thread that unwanted facial hair, or make other adjustments to our appearance that we see fit. However, we won’t know when to stop if we don’t learn to love ourselves before making the changes, no matter how big or small.

While I look forward to seeing the fruit of my workout labor, I know that six-pack abs won’t be enough if I don’t like me how I am now. So more than a slim tummy, my goal is to not only like, but to love me.

Here’s some Colbie Caillat for your Thursday.

How do/did you learn to like/love you? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook. Keep it poppin’ on this beautiful Thursday!