Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yves Rocher Product Reviews

Disclaimer: The following is a review of Yves Rocher products. I am not paid by Yves Rocher nor solicitated by them to review their products. The opinions below are strictly my own.

Hi friends,

Have you ever heard of YVES ROCHER? This French Skin Care company has been around since 1967. So what's the big deal about it? Well, I absolutely love their products and was very happy to find them online here, in the US!

Here are a few things to know about Yves Rocher as a brand:

  • Products are all BOTANICAL & ORGANIC
  • Super affordable - There are always some great choices on sale and I am not talking about 10% off, many are 50% off or more!
  • Excellent quality (I mean that, they are excellent for sensitive skins like mine)
  • For the majority of the products you purchase, the Yves Rocher Foundation will plant a tree. What? Yes, not only you are doing something good for your skin, you are also planting forests!
  • No matter what your order is, there are always freebies coming your way. Some of the freebies this month are two adorable mugs, a mascara, a trio of travel size products  or a $33 value surprise gift . Last month I received a free knitted beret and matching scarf along with two full size products (Apricot Botanical Body Scrub and Almond Body Lotion - simply amazing)...not to mention the samples. 

In other words, Yves Rocher is not only a great brand, it is also a great deal!

Here are this month's freebies:

When you order (depending on your order level) you get to choose either one or more of these gifts.

Before I go on and review these products, let me tell you a little bit about my skin:

I am 42, very fair skin with freckles. I do not tan, instead I will burn to a reddish hue that later peels off to reveal new pale skin underneath it. 
I have combination skin in that my T-zone tends to be oily but my jaw line and eye contours tend to be dry. I am also prone to large pores, blackheads and occasional blemishes. 
I am a makeup and cosmetic addict in that I will try anything at least once. Over the years I have tried every brand under the sun from your regular drugstore choices to Department Store brands. For years I found that I was never satisfied with whatever it was I was using and as a result became increasingly frustrated with the Skin Care industry constantly re-inventing itself. 
Last year I developed serious allergies to pollen, rag weeds etc. I also found out that I was allergic to copper and nickel. So I had to adjust to organic products. I went to Whole Food Market and bought oodles of products, never found something I liked or leading to brand loyalty, until now!

Here are some of the Yves Rocher products I am currently using as part of my daily routine:

Lifting Bio - Day Cream. 1.7 oz. ***

This product is currently 41% off - Original price $39, current price $23.
I use this cream every morning after applying the 7.9 serum. It is a white, thick yet very light and nourishing anti-wrinkle cream. The scent is absolutely divine, almost like fresh cut wheat grass. The formula is enriched with organic alfafa extract and is 100% natural fragrance. 
I have been using it since late November and the jar still has a lot of product to go. I find my skin to be nourished and supple after using it and it is also a great base for my foundation makeup (MAC). I am not breaking out using this product, my pores are not enlarged and I also find my skintone to be more balanced.

Lifting Bio - Night Cream. 1.7 oz. ***

Same price as above, also on sale. I use this every night after applying the 7.9 serum. This is a deep penetrating cream similar to the Day Cream. The formula is also enriched with organic alfafa extract and is 100% natural fragrance. I have to say that I love calling it a night with this cream on my face, again the scent is just wonderful to me. I wake up with my face still moisturized and funny I even noticed but also less wrinkled from pillow creasing.

Click the link below if you want to try both products as a travel size duo for only $7:

                                                 Kit Lifting BIO

Elixir 7.9 (collector's edition - silver). ****

I never get to the bottom of any jar and this one, I not only finished, I am reordering it as well! I call it my alternative to the pricey Estee Lauder Intensive Repair Serum. This product is not currently on sale ($25). But it is a generous amount. I started using it late November as well and may have two more applications left. Here are some of the benefits (as listed on the website):

-Smoothed wrinkles
- Boosted radiance
- Protected, redensified, revitalized and relaxed skin
- Refined skin texture
- New skin effect
- Firmer looking skin.

They are not kidding! After one month use, all the pores on my cheeks have shrunk! It comes in a very pretty bottle with a dropper and squeeze pump to keep the product from cross contamination. The only caveat is that the dropper is made of glass, so you need to be careful with it. This is a great product with excellent reviews.

Follow the link below if you want to check it out for yourself:

I could go on and on as to how great these and other products are since I use so many. If you love Bath and Body Works shower gels, Yves Rocher has a collection of Exotic Botanical gels with scents far more intriguing than the usual cotton candy or apple cranberry.
If you want me to review more products, either in a blog post or youtube video, don't hesitate to make a request (comment below or email).

Until then, here are some of their current sales (valid until 2/8 use Code: 5OFF25 to enjoy an additional 5%) you may click on the picture links:

                                           Yves Rocher Creator of Botanical Beauty

And you may click below to check out the shower gels:

I hope you have found these to be helpful reviews.  I recommend these products, but again, this is solely my opinion.

Thanks for sharing,

You can also find me on FACEBOOK.


Sophia, NJ

For more information about Yves Rocher and/or order products, check out their website:

This post contains affiliate links. I only chose affiliate programs for products I have tested and use on a regular basis. I am not solicitated by any affiliate to post reviews.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Speed cleaning the Kitchen

Hi friends,

Since I am becoming more comfortable with filming around the house I made this video yesterday to share with you how I speed clean my kitchen in 35 minutes.
Speed cleaning does not mean that you fake "clean", you do clean, it's just a more methodical and obviously faster way to clean for those of us who are home management challenged and also too busy with the rest of our lives to spend an entire week end cleaning around the house.

This method is very similar to my bathroom cleaning routine in that I multi task - while something is soaking I do something else , etc. It allows me to quickly go through the entire area in a relatively fast manner...It does require some energy but as I mention in the video, it is energy well spent!

I do apologize for the dogs and cats whining in the background, apparently they do protest when I am doing something that does not involve them!

To make things easier, I am including this free printable which follows the steps I took to speed clean my kitchen. You can click on the link to download it as a PDF for your Home Management Binder or for quick reference.

I hope you enjoy this video.
Thank you for watching!

Here is the template (you can either click on the picture for a larger view or click the link below for the downloadable version):

Kitchen Template Link for Download
Here is the video: 

Thank you for subscribing to my YouTube channel, you can also find me on FACEBOOK.

Sophia, NJ.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Adventures in Vloging...

Hi friends,

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever thought video bloging (vloging) would be so hard to accomplish!
The video taking and editing are not an issue for me as I have had plenty practice with our two boys, however, for some obscure reason I simply could not decide whether I should be included in this very first MGC vlog! In itself I don't think it is all that insane for anyone to be camera shy. That said, I have never been one to shy away from cameras and I am also known for bombarding others with camera flashes and microphones everywhere we go. While I can facilitate a lecture for over 100 inmates or train new employees on any topic, what was wrong with me when I found myself completely freaked out by the process of putting myself in front of my own camera to talk about something I love doing: taking care of my home!
Well, long story short, I pulled myself up and did it, but wow! THAT was hard!!!

In any event, here you have it, my very first (and not last) video for MGC!
If you don't want to miss the next one(s), don't forget to subscribe to MGC YouTube channel!

So what is this first adventure about in the first place?

On January 6th 2013, we had friends over to our home for lunch, it was also the Epiphany and we had planned on celebrating the French way with a Gallette des Rois, since it was Kings Day!

We took on the very refreshing task of decluttering our living room, removing all manner of knick knacks, magazines etc. to clear out the space (not that it needed much clearing) as we felt we were a tad stuffed!
The biggest project of all was to transform our tiny dining room table (only 4 chairs) into a large 10+ seater. So this video is not only about decluttering, it is also a how-to on "faking" a large dining room table.

I hope you enjoy this video, I sure did enjoy putting it together for you. And since it was my first non family related video ever, please excuse the "hmmm....uh...yeah, so...." etc. throughout.

Thank you all for your support.

Sophia, NJ

Find me on FACEBOOK.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

50 % off Vera Bradley Patterns - HURRY!

It's that time of the year when Vera Bradley launches it's new collection (Spring 2013) and gives us great sales on past patterns. Five selected patterns  are  now 50% off  until  Monday January 21, 2013 at Midnight (EST)!

Simply follow the link below to shop online:

Here are the patterns on sale until Monday:

Tea Garden Party


Deco Daisy
Night and Day
Plum Petals

Vera Bradley Designs, Inc.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Easy DIY Kitchen Counter

Hello friends!

Today I am finally showing you how I built my own counter top in our kitchen as a way to hide my dog crates and also create additional storage, not to mention a pretty decorated spot to look at!
This project was super easy and in all took only a few hours from start to finish. All you need is: 

  • a sheet of particle board cut to size (one large for the top and two rectangular counter-height panels for the legs), 
  • a 2x4, 
  • deck screws, 
  • long nails,
  • a Dremel and sanding paper,
  • wood stain in a color of your choice,
  • high gloss varnish

For those of you who have not followed some of my kitchen issues, here is the biggest one: there is no space for a breakfast nook or even a small table with chairs. We do have a bar style counter with two stools and quite frankly I'd rather get rid of it (long story). Since we do not have much space for ourselves, we have decided the kitchen would be a good spot for our two dogs, Elektra and Le Chiffre. These two have been crate trained since they were pups which has worked great for us since we both work and they can be a handful. Dogs are natural den animals and they really do love their own space, so we have them here, against the empty wall in our kitchen...But it is an eyesore to say the least!

So of course the issue is that there is not much we can do with the actual design of the crates themselves (unless I build my own) but they fit side by side and right in that corner of the kitchen.  We really did not think through what to do with the space above it hence the mess you can see in the picture above. Basically we keep dog and cat stuff there as well as our recycle bin which tends to fill up pretty much every other day, and that too is pretty horrifying to look at!

My goal was to find a way to make the crates less visible, provide additional storage above them and also find a place for some of the cookbooks we tend to refer to most of the time.
After much thoughts and consideration,  I decided to build my own counter using particle board and pretty much repeated the same process I had used to build the Lego Table, only the legs would be much taller and the top would also be affixed to the wall.

I also did not want to damage walls or cabinets and wanted to be able to remove the entire thing with little effort. So here goes, this is what I did:

After measuring height, length and depth needed, I went to The Home Depot and had them cut three pieces of particle board to size. I needed on large flat piece for the top and two rectangular pieces (smaller width) for the legs. I also had them cut a 2x4 into three pieces, two small ones to attach to the leg panels and one long one to attach to the top panel. The goal was to have the top panel attached to the legs and affixed to the wall, thereby minimizing the amount of damage to walls and cabinets.

Here, I have used deck screws to attach the long piece of 2x4 onto the top panel.

I then repeated the process with the two leg panels using the smaller pieces of 2x4.

I then proceeded by attaching the top panel to the two legs, again using deck screws and once in place and stable, nailed the long 2x4 directly into the wall.

This is what it looked like from the top once the counter was installed.

Scott used the Dremel to round the corner near our cabinet (nobody wants to get hurt here)...We also sanded the entire surface and edge of the counter before applying the wood stain.

Our cat, Vesper, found this project to be quite interesting!

Here is the counter once sanded with its rounded corner:

So it looked good enough as is, but I felt it needed an extra oomph and went back to the Home Depot to buy a piece of pine chair rail to use all around the counter for aesthetic add-on...

Once it was all installed, it was time to stain the entire top. I used MinWax wood finish stain in a color similar to my cabinets and molding (turned out to be a bit darker).

I only applied two coats and let it dry overnight. On day two, all I needed was two coats of high gloss varnish and voila, job complete!

Here is the before ...

And here is my counter after it was complete and decorated!!

For additional storage I purchased three similar baskets to place under the counter. One contains all our dog supplies (leash, bags , etc.) another houses some miscellaneous stuff and the taller one above the smaller crate contains all our potatoes, onions , etc.
We now use a large garbage bin for our recyclables, it is located outside the kitchen, right under one of the easily accessible windows...All we have to do is open the window and toss the item to recycle into the bin underneath it, when it is recycling day, the bin is already outside and ready to be placed on the curb!

On top, I added three glass containers (with lid) to keep dog food, dog treats and cat food. I then decorated with some items I had around the house. You may recognize these country pots from my previous Fall Decoration Post. 

To contain some of our most used cooking books, I purchased this mail sorter from Home Goods. It fits right in between the window and cabinet, providing easy access to favorite recipes.

So there you have it: my super easy DIY kitchen counter project!
You could easily do the same in any area of your home that has a "lost or not usable space." Our dog crates are not jumping in our face as we come in to the kitchen anymore, the counter itself is very sturdy, easily removable and the high gloss provides a surface that is easy to wipe off.  When cooking, we can also lay a book on top or use it as a food prep area. In essence, we have created a new working surface in our kitchen!

I hope you have enjoyed this project. If you do decide to make one of your own, I would love to see it and link it below this post for all to see.

Thank you for spending this little bit of time with me and sharing this post and MGC with your friends. You can find MGC on Facebook and stay in touch with all the new updates.

Sophia, NJ

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013- New Year - New Us!

Every year on this day, we find ourselves super charged with good intentions. I call this the “New Year Collective Resolution Syndrome”. It is that fleeting moment, though it may last a week or two, when we bombard ourselves with all the should-have and ought-to we can think of. At the same time we pardon ourselves from last year’s faults or complete fails. Yes, we do that! We say “oh well, I was a bum last year, but this year I will be a bum no more, there is a brand new me in town!” Really?
And so we begin this endless list of things we want to stop doing, start doing, keep doing and on and on it goes. The truth is that it can get pretty overwhelming. If you have ever tried to quit smoking while going on a diet and paying off a huge credit card debt - all in three month time, you know what I mean. This symbolic “New Year-New You” can become unreasonable, tyrannical and rather self-defeating to say the least.
I am not against choosing a symbolic day to start brand new; it gives us a sense of community and shared enthusiasm. That said, any day is a good day to start improving your life, but for now let’s keep this January 1, 2013 as the day we all take a good look at ourselves and become agents of change.


If you ask me, I would tell you that the biggest issue with New Year resolutions is that they always come in the form of wishes and blurry visions. Such as:
“I wish I was THIS thin (visualize Victoria Secret model), I need to lose weight”
“I wish I was this rich (visualize Kardashian’s lavish lifestyle), I need to save money”
“I wish I was happier (visualize Uncle Joe’s great family), I need to have more fun”.
While all of these “lose weight, save money, have more fun” intentions/resolutions are fine, noble intentions, they really break down to simple wishful thinking. Why? Because they miss on two very important factors:


Let’s start with SMART: this is a well-known theory for goal setting which requires for a goal to follow rules in orders to become a reality/success. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.
For example, “My goal this year is to lose weight!” is not a SMART goal. (I think I wrote about that already in my Motivation post).
This year I will lose 25 lbs., 2 lbs. per week, over the next 6 months for my own well-being” is a SMART goal because it is Specific (25 lbs.); it is Measurable and Achievable (2 lbs. per week -no drastic starvation mode here); it is timely (time frame is clear:  6 months - totally reasonable time frame); and it is Relevant (for my own well-being, not because I want to look like Katie Holmes – which may or may not be a fact!)
The same works for every goal and here is another example:
Instead of “My goal is to save money in 2013”, write down or say “I will (intention) save $200 per month towards a savings account (name Bank) for a period of 12 months starting on such day, ending on such day”. That’s $2400 per year folks, nice!
In order to achieve that goal you also need to have clear steps on how you will achieve it: for instance, save on XYZ items. Because it is not enough to set a bar at $200, you need to have a plan as to how you will save that $200 in the first place. And here is the biggest and most problematic part of goal setting:
We are very good at setting goals, writing them down etc. Us ladies will go as far as purchasing specific journals and cute to-do list pads, spending money, so we can write down our goal of …you guessed it…saving money!
Do we really need a cute Made in China polka dot memo pad to makes us feel committed to saving money? Most of us are clueless as to how to achieve our goals, in other words, we have goals but no plan! Fill in the blank…A goal without a plan is just a ________.
A goal without a plan is not just a dream; it is next year’s guilt and shame platter right under your nose on December 31, 2013! But no worries, new goals will be reset on January 1, 2014 when we get brand new again!
Here is a tidbit from good old Wikipedia:
“A 2007 study by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning”. Sound familiar?
While goals, to-do lists and other wishful thinking abound this time of year, how many of us are actually spending the time to think through our patterns and habits which led us to make these resolutions in the first place?
Had I not binged on buttered toasts every night I entered my home after work, I probably would not have to set a “weight loss” goal in the first place.
If you had not spent endless hours on the computer playing mindless video games all year long, your goal today would not be to make “drastic repairs” to your home. The stuff would have been done in the first place, when it was needed, it would never become a goal, as it would be a done deal already! Instead, your home is falling apart and you are all embarrassed about it; So you have kept beating your own highest score at video game X, all year long, but does it really cut the shame and guilt when you look at your beat up yard?
In other words, we have to learn to tie our shoes before we start making all sorts of grandiose goals and inevitably set ourselves up for failure. It begins with implementing the most basic habits, small stuff folks, NOT 25 lbs., $5000, new DIY roof goals; SMALL, SMART and based on KNOWING THY SELF first!
Before we go about making our New Year Resolution list, how about we, to the very least, start by making a list of those things we do, habitually, and were proven to be working against us. Without eliminating these nasty habits, we cannot move forward and create new ones, never mind setting up goals. It would be like trying to be warm in a windowless home. As the snow storm rages outside, we can bundle ourselves and pile on as many blankets, chances are we will still feel cold and pretty lousy.

*************  2013  *************

This year, I will not only add on SMART goals to my list, I will also go about a process of elimination. One of MGC readers mentioned to me that very often we are “very good at staging an area of our home, not so good at keeping it up”. That is true and pretty much speaking to this idea of eliminating the bad habits first. It is nice that we can completely redo our living room area, de-clutter, rearrange and make pretty. But unless we address procrastination, not putting things back where they belong and our continued trips to Home Goods or Wal-Mart for emotional purchases, guess what? Give it another two months and your living room will end up looking just the same as before.
Again, this process of elimination needs to be specific in that you need to be very honest with yourself when assessing those areas of your life which you feel need improvement (yes, it is hard). For instance, if losing weight is your 2013 goal, instead of jumping into a diet, any diet, ask yourself how you got yourself into that overweight state in the first place. If it is emotional eating, take care of that. If it is boredom, find new ways to entertain yourself, if it is food choices, educate yourself and begin your supermarket trip with the right mindset, that of making healthier choices.


Here are two habits I am committed to eliminating this year:

1)      Stop the procrastination habit: DO IT NOW. This applies to many areas of my life: billing, clutter, important appointments, and work. I am already on this path, having started alongside this blog for support. But there is always room for improvement, so for me, 2013 will be a continuation of my commitment to building efficiency in my life.
2)      Interrupt negative ego states as they occur: that is a tough one and we all are guilty of this. A negative ego state is the way we beat ourselves up all the time, feeling “not good enough”, “not important enough”, “not this, not that”. I am done competing with the rest of the world, the only one to “beat” here is me, so 2013 will be the year I will continue to challenge myself in the direction of personal growth, P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L growth, not to impress, not to appear…To be real, to be me.

Here is what to expect from me in 2013:

I am committed to expanding this blog with a YouTube channel and bringing on sponsors. While this has been an incredible experience thus far, there is no doubt in my mind that I can further expand and build a community of House Management Challenged folks like me! (LOL, we're all in the same boat!)
I also have a couponing website and its accompanying blog in the works; I have procrastinated enough on this one, which is ridiculous because the website itself is 80% complete. That should come to a computer screen near you in a few months.
More how-to and efficiency building tools you can all use. If anything, I am committed to being a creature of output (giving and producing) rather than a creature of input (buying and taking).
All these goals I broke down into SMART components (no need to share that boring part with you) alongside more personal/intimate goals for self and family. To break it down simply: expect more from me in 2013.


To all, I wish you the best for the New Year. This blog would never have made it if it wasn’t for MGC faithful readers and supporters. Though it is still in its infancy stage (less than a year old), I am very grateful each time a new member joins our community and am truly excited and thankful for all the emails and comments I receive from readers. Thank you all, I am blessed!

Join us on FACEBOOK! Thank you for sharing MGC with your friends and family members. Happy New Year, may it be prosperous, healthy, filled with joy ( and a clean house).

Sophia, NJ.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Pin It button on image hover