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Holiday Gift Guides

Gift Guide: For the Kiddos!

gift guide


Here’s my secret to holiday shopping – get it done! It doesn’t have to be stressful.  The key is to do it well in advance, then you can rest easy and sip hot chocolate in your cozy home when everyone else is stuck in line at the cash register.  Besides, shopping for kiddos is always my favorite.  I wanted to kick off my Holiday Gift Guides of 2017 with toys for the babes!  I concentrated on the toddler age but stuck a couple things in there for both younger and older kiddos.



Laugh & Learn Chair

Elliott got this chair for his birthday and absolutely loves it! For less than $25, it’s an absolute steal. He sits in it, stands on it and hides things under the seat cushion. Of course the best part is his laughter when he lifts the seat and sees what he hid!

There is also a pink version if you want something more girly!


Radio Flyer Retro Rocket

The beauty of this toy is its simplicity.  Sit.  Scoot.  Hit the buttons.  Laugh! At 15months, Elliott is the perfect size to be able to get on and off by himself and “fly” around the room. This is another toy Elliott was given for his birthday and what a hit it has been! The buttons light up and talk and he is big enough (at 15 months) to be able to actually sit on it and scoot around. It is one of his favorite toys for sure!


Lego Set

When you look around the room, how many of your kids’ toys did you play with as a kid?  None?  Me neither – except for Legos! They are one of the few toys to really have stood the test of time.  They’re just as awesome as they were then.  Also, you don’t need to find a poorly-fitting container to store all the Legos as this case is perfect.


Electric Hoverboard Scooter

This is the coolest gift ever! This would be ideal for those older kids who are hard to buy for or the kid that has everything. I would love this for myself even! It comes in a ton of different colors as well!


Sit to Stand Walker

This is a great gift to give a little babe. Both Emmy and Elliott played with this for months and months, starting from when they were just able to sit up on their own. This would also be great to gift a family with a newborn or one on the way!


Laugh and Learn Smart Phone

 There’s nothing cuter than hearing Emmy pretend to call the zoo to talk to the animals.  Kids love to copy what their Mama and Dada do and talking on the phone comes naturally to them!  (FYI we do not call the zoo to talk to the animals!)


Wooden Train Set

This would be my kids’ dream gift! There is a toy store near us where we shop sometimes and they have this train set out to play with. My kids could sit there for hours playing with it. Definitely an amazing holiday gift!


Play-Doh Ice Cream Castle

Emmy was recently at a friend’s house who had this Play-Doh set and it entertained them for hours.  At $15 you really can’t get a better bang for your buck. It is on the top of my Holiday list for her!


Radio Flyer Canopy Wagon

Do your kids ever seem totally bored in their strollers?  Here’s the solution.  Such a fun way to take the kids on a walk.  Also, plenty of room for toys!


Hatchimals Glittering Garden

This toy has been all the rage for a couple years now and is still such a big hit. My kids are not old enough to want one but if yours are, get one of these now while they are still on the shelves!


Activity Ball Pit

I wish I knew about this when my kids were a little smaller. They love playing in ball pits at play zones so how fun would it be to have your own little play zone at home with this toy?! Totally portable and so much cleaner than a sandbox!


These are just a few of the amazing gifts that Walmart has to offer! If you take a look at the Toyland section of their website, you can get lost with all the fun gifts for kids! The sky is seriously the limit with all they have to offer and the prices are cheaper than what I have seen elsewhere!





Thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post~!

Another Botox and Fillers Experience and Updates…

Since I got such amazing feedback on my two other blog posts regarding Botox and lip fillers- You can read my first experience HERE and Q & A HERE– I thought I would talk about my my recent experience- a few weeks ago. I posted on my IG stories when I was in the office getting my lips done again and got tons more questions and people asking to see before and afters- so here goes!

I made another appointment with my favorite Dr. Burke for a bit more lip filler and to see if I needed a maintenance treatment on the Botox. One thing is certain, I do not want that Botox to wear off too much. The results are TOO GOOD. So when I got there it was the same as last time. We took before pictures and I put the numbing cream all over my lips. Maybe I am over liberal with it but why not. The stuff starts working almost instantaneously. It’s such a funny feeling. I was SO numb, and apparently i licked my lips because even my tongue was numb. As I am writing this- 2.5 hours later, my lips are still pretty numb.

I have to say, I was WAY less nervous this time to get my lips injected than last time. I also will proudly say I did not get queasy or light headed this time around. The anticipation is way worse than the actual procedure which takes maybe 3 minutes tops.

So we started with the Botox injections. I was convinced i needed it everywhere but I guess I am still pretty ‘frozen’ in the 11’s (the area between the brows) but I had other facial muscles trying to make that scowl face like the muscles across the top of my forehead so he injected those and also injected the crows feet again. I am going back in about a month to have between my brows done. So I had way less Botox this time as maintenance than the first time around. He was done with it in 30 seconds.

Moving onto the lips. There is definitely still filler from the last time I did it (which was about 2 months ago) but I just wanted more. Specifically when I smile, I didn’t want my lips to disappear like they tend to do. He showed me the before and after pictures he had from before I ever put filler in and it was definitely a noticeable difference, I just wanted a little more. I told Dr. Burke I didn’t think my bottom lip needed much if anything. He agreed but said as he does the top, if he thinks the bottom needs a little too he will let me know. So we started with the lips. He used Volbella on me just like last time, starting with the left side first which was a series of two injections. Again like last time, I really only felt the initial prick but it wasn’t painful at all. As he was doing the other side he said he didn’t think my bottom lip needed any filler so we put the whole vial in my top. After he sort of molds it to his liking with his fingers and asks me to smile and make like I am blowing out a candle. After a little manipulation I was done! It was so quick and easy and really painless.

One of the most inconvenient things about getting your lips done is the after care. For one, it’s best to stay really hydrated because it helps the filler. I am so bad at hydrating throughout the day so I find this to be a big challenge. The other part that is a bit of a pain is that you have to avoid getting your lips warm/hot for 3-4 days. This means no hot coffee, no tea, no soup etc. This is really the most challenging part for me but again in the grand scheme of things, it’s not bad at all! Iced coffee through a straw is totally fine though so that’s what I am currently sipping on at the moment.

So this time around my lips definitely feel more swollen and more voluminous. I have been icing them on and off since I got home about an hour ago. I have NO pain whatsoever. I can see the tiny needle holes on the sides of my lips but I did last time as well but they went away very quickly.

Overall another A+ experience with Dr. Burke. I am excited for the slight swelling in my lips to go down and the numbness to wear off. I think I will have finally achieved the look I was going for!



Update: It has now been about 3 weeks since my lips were done. Swelling is gone (and has been for a long time) and they are exactly what I wanted and was hoping for. The After pics of the lips were taken about 2 weeks post procedure. You can see that my top lip does not disappear when I smile which is what I was going for. All in all, another success and I could not ask for a better experience with Dr. Burke.

You can visit Dr. Burke’s Facebook page for more information and to see what other kinds of procedures he performs. He also sends out very informative blog posts/newsletters which I always look forward to reading!

Here are a couple other Before and After pictures I have already posted but still- the before and after of the crow’s feet area is pretty crazy!



Q & A: Botox and Fillers…

Here is my Q & A I did with Dr. Burke- from Maine Laser Skin Care. He is the doctor that did my Botox and lip fillers. At the bottom there are some before and after pictures as well! Enjoy- and if you have more questions for Dr. Burke- please leave me a blog post comment and I will do my best to get your questions answered! If you missed part 1, you can read all about my experience actually getting the Botox and lip filler HERE.



1.) How long have you been doing cosmetic procedures?
I have been doing cosmetic procedures since late 2003. I first started with laser procedures and then added Botox and fillers in 2004. Many other newer procedures were added over time as they were developed. I was one of the first group of doctors in Maine to perform some of the newly developed products such as Kybella (for the double chin area) and Volbella for the lips.


2.) What procedure do you perform the most?
Laser hair removal is our most common procedure but Botox is a close second in terms of number of patients.


3.) When should someone consider getting Botox or other cosmetic procedures? Can you be too young or too old to see benefits from Botox? Fillers?
The age for considering cosmetic procedures varies with the problem area and the technology used. I have used lasers on many teenagers to treat acne breakouts and acne scars. I have also seen many seniors even into their 80s who wanted to get rid of spots caused by years of sun damage. My rule of thumb is that someone should consider cosmetic procedures when the problem bothers them enough that it becomes distracting to them whether it is a specific wrinkle or spot or hair growth.


4.) What’s the best noninvasive thing you do for peoples’ skin in their 20s, 30s, 40s?
Best noninvasive procedure we do in the 20s and 30s is generally the Hydrafacial which is a facial which cleans out the pores and moisturizes the skin by infusing serums. The 40s is the best time to start Botox although many people start doing Botox in their 20s and 30s now when lines first start to develop as more preventative.


5.) For someone who’s not ready for Botox yet, what do you recommend?
For someone not ready for Botox yet, the primary action should be protection of the skin with sunscreens which limit sun damage which increases lines. obviously, if someone smokes, stopping is a top priority as it does horrible things to the skin (as well as everywhere else on the body).


6.) What’s the difference between Botox and fillers?
Botox and fillers differ in the way they treat wrinkles and lines. Botox does it by relaxing the muscles that cause lines which smooths out the area over the muscles. Fillers replace lost collagen and lift up the skin underneath the lines by replacing the lost volume.


7.) Does it hurt?
Botox uses a very small needle and feels like a very small sharp pinch followed by some pressure. Fillers are thicker and need a larger needle to inject so we generally use a Novacaine-like numbing cream over the area to be treated. The fillers I use also have a Novacaine-like substance mixed in with the gel and numbs the area further as we inject. With both Botox and fillers, there is no pain after the procedure.


8.) Is it safe with breastfeeding?
Since Botox and fillers are injectable products and there has not been any testing on them with women breastfeeding, it is not recommended to use these products while women are breastfeeding.


9.) When can you expect to see results? (for both Botox and fillers)? How long does it last?
Results with fillers can be seen right away with further improvement seen within 2 weeks. Botox takes 3-4 days to kick in with initial improvement but is maximum usually in 1-2 weeks. Once Botox’s effects kick in, they continue for about 3 months whereas fillers will last 1 year. The exception is Voluma for cheeks which lasts 2 years.


10.) What’s the upkeep like?
Upkeep for Botox is retreatment when it wears off which starts off around 3 months but lengthens in time if you retreat as soon as it wears off. Fillers generally last for a year and the very gradually wear off so you have plenty of time to be treated again.


11.) When the filler wears off, does it wear off evenly or will it look lumpy?
When fillers wear off, it happens very evenly. If you let it wear off completely, it will return to where you were before the filler in appearance.


12.) When can I wear makeup again? On my face and lips?
You can wear makeup immediately after most of the treatments I do here including Botox, fillers and the type of laser you had. It would probably be better not to use lip gloss right away due to some of the swelling initially but you certainly could use it the next day.



Here are some before and after pics-


Botox: Crows Feet

Botox: Crows Feet

Juviderm Volbella Filler:

Thank You Dr. Burke for taking the time to answer all of my questions. If you are interested in getting a procedure done with him, his office is located in Augusta, Maine. He has a ton of great information on his website and also on his Facebook page.

Skincare: Kiehl’s- New & Old Favorites…

If you asked me what skin-care brand I have had in my bathroom cabinets the longest, it would have to be Kiehl’s. I have been using different products from them for YEARS now. Maybe 10 years? It all started wayyyyy back when I needed a new face wash and tried their Ultra Facial Skin Cleanser. From then on, I was hooked. At one point I think I had tried EVERY single product the company had out.



Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($46) This is one item I can’t live without. I tap it on my face before bed and when I wake up my skin is brighter, softer and more supple. Another great thing about it is that a little goes a long way and one bottle has lasted me close to a year!



Pure Vitality Skin Renewing Cream ($60) Manuka honey is supposed to be incredibly healing so I have been using this on my skin at night after cleansing and before using the recovery concentrate. It is very hydrating and smells so good!



Buttersticks ($19.50) I have also been keeping this in my purse and at my bedside- the rose one for day and the untinted one for before bed. I have been using it ALL THE TIME. It’s so hydrating and just a great lip product. It’s a constant battle to keep my lips from getting chapped but this does a great job.



Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Mist ($17)-This is an amazing skin refresher/makeup setting spray. I have been keeping it in my purse to give myself a little spritz throughout the day. It also helps make me feel more awake and refreshed.



Ultra Facial Moisture Balm ($27.50) This stuff is INSANELY good for dry skin! It is so thick like vaseline but absorbs into your skin in like one minute. It’s amazing stuff! One of the best products for dry skin I have ever tried.



Creme de Corps Lightweight Body Lotion ($25) The Creme de Corps line of lotions is my absolute favorite. I have been using it for years and will continue to use it for years because it’s just that good. It does it’s just to hydrate and smooth your skin and that’s it. No bells and whistles, just a fabulous product.



The Dry Shampoo Awards…

I am a HUGE fan of dry shampoo! I have difficult hair in that it is dry but the roots get oily so if I wash it TOO much it dries it out to a crisp but if I don’t wash it enough I will look slick and greasy. So needless to say I am a big user of dry shampoo! I have tried out a TON of them and wanted to round up my favorites for you and WHY!


Ouai ($24)-This one is right at the top for best dry shampoo out there for one simple reason- it sprays CLEAR which is amazing for people with dark hair! I have tried dry shampoo for brunettes but yuck- the dark powder gets all over your fingers and leaves you with a mess. I love that this stuff is clear and it also smells amazing.



L’Oreal Extrordinary Clay ($6)-This is the best drug store one by far! I have raved about the Clay Shampoo and Conditioner and this stuff is the same. It is just such a good product and for the price, I will most definitely be repurchasing it again and again.



R + Co Death Valley-($29)This one is the biggest of the bunch so it already gets bonus points for that. It also smells amazing and gives great volume to your hair. It is a finer powder that comes out which is very easy to work in, even if you have dark hair.



Kerastase Powder Bluff ($38)-The smell of this stuff is intoxicating. This is my second bottle so you know I love it. This is also what my hair dresser uses on me after she washes and blow dries my hair to give it added texture. I tend to use this one sparingly because it is the most expensive but it works wonders and if I could, I would use it all day everyday!



Elizabeth and James Nirvana White ($28)- This one to me is like the OG of perfume dry shampoos. I repurchased it twice. I love the scent it leaves behind and it does a really great job of drying up my roots. It does spray white so if you have dark hair like me- you need to really work it in.



Philosophy Amazing Grace– This one is such a good pick me up in the morning. I will spray it into my hair and immediately feel much more refreshed. The scent is so clean and amazing. I like to layer this with the actual Amazing Grace perfume. This also sprays white so again, if you have dark hair, you have to work it in.