Category Archives: Reviews

It just makes (Lip) Sense – {GIVEAWAY!}

I think I’ve mentioned several times before that I’ve suffered from severely dry/cracked lips for a while now. And by a while, I mean the last decade. For real. I cannot remember ever consistently having the problem until I got pregnant with Ezra, but ever since, it’s been a real (literal) pain. They peel, sometimes in chunks (sorry for the vivid image), bleed, and hurt like the Dickens. Not to mention look a fright (can you tell I’ve been listening to British books again?).

They’re definitely worse in the winter, but it’s pretty much a year-round problem. Even when I drank a gallon of water a day back in the fall (I’m still drinking between 60-90 ounces now), they were a little better, but I still dealt with pretty much constant dry patches.

So, when my savvy friend, Alissa, whom I’ve known for over a decade and whose impeccable taste in products I’ve always admired, told me about LipSense, I was intrigued.

Lip Sense is essentially a color stain that bonds with your lips, which means that it stays on for hours–even through sweating, eating, showering, etc.–but it comes paired with a Shea butter based gloss top coat that not only provides a nice sheen to your color but actually repairs your lips in the process of wearing it.

Let’s just say I was skeptically hopefully. Because I’ve tried pretty much every lip product out there–drugstore, spa, medicated, organic, homemade–with very little improvement, and it just seemed a bit too good to be true.

Except that it was Alissa recommending it, and Alissa–a meticulous personality and a careful researcher–would not recommend something she didn’t love and which didn’t work for her.

Long story short, I’ve been using my Lip Sense products for about 2 months now, and I love them!

Alissa set me up with a starter kit, which includes a tube of color, a tube of gloss, and a special remover, and then, because she knew I struggled so particularly with dry lips, she also hooked me up with the LipSense Moisturizing Lip Balm, which…drum roll, please…WORKS!

I was honestly shocked at how well the balm works. Like, my lips felt smooth and soft as a baby’s you-know-what the next morning.

Like a doofus, I sometimes go days without applying because I foolishly think that my lips will stay moisturized without adding extra moisture (huh?), but every time they start to dry out again, I just head back to the balm, and, sure enough, smooth lips within hours.


Couldn’t be happier with that.

Add that to the fact that the LipSense color + gloss combo actually does what it says: goes on easily and actually does stay on for hours (I average between 4 and 10 hours of wear, depending on my activities) IF (and this is key) you use it correctly, and I was pretty dang excited to have found something I loved that was so low-maintenance.

And pretty!

Wanna see?

I have two LipSense colors, but my fave is definitely Plumeria, which is a deep, pinky-red.


{Look, Mom! No unsightly peeling or lumps!}

I think I was getting ready to teach Combat in the above pic, and my participants were probably wondering why I was so dolled up for an exercise class, but, honestly, why not? It didn’t budge through all of the sweating, yelling, mike-adjusting, and water breaks.


{Oh, don’t mind me…just hanging out in my giant van, listening to a book, and wearing lip gloss whilst waiting for my children to get done with piano practice}

One thing I will say is that, since my lips were so dry/jacked up when I started using this, it stung quite badly when I first applied the color. There is some cosmetic grade alcohol in the color (see below for more info). As soon as I used the balm for even one day, though, the stinging went away completely.


Again wearing Plumeria (and gazing pensively out of an Anthropologie storefront window…naturally).


I asked Alissa for the low-down to help you understand more about the technical side of LipSense, and she sent me a paragraph, not knowing how much of it you’d want to know, but I honestly thought she expressed it so concisely that I decided to share the whole thing!

In her words:

-LipSense is a long wearing lip color that molecularly bonds to the lips.  It’s worn with a permeable Shea Butter gloss which transfers through the color to hydrate the lips. You get the benefits of a hydrating lip balm combined with all the benefits of a beautiful color.  
-LipSense is available in over 70 shades and 10 different glosses.  It’s applied in 3 layers and topped with a gloss.  The layers can consist of one color, or a combination of any 3 shades for a completely custom look.  It’s important to wear LipSense gloss with the color because other glosses will break down the color and they don’t offer the same moisturizing benefits.  
-LipSense provides a mechanical shield from the sun, so you get the benefits of a sunscreen without all of the chemicals.  It’s also lead free, and the color is wax free. It’s also gluten free and kosher.
-When a person first uses LipSense, they may feel a tingling sensation.  This is an indication that their lips are quite dry.  LipSense contains SD40 cosmetic grade alcohol which will kill bacteria and help the pigment to disperse evenly, but it can also sting as it evaporates from damaged lips.  The tingling or stinging should go away as soon as the soothing gloss is applied.  This usually only occurs the first few times the product is applied, if it occurs at all.
-The color should last anywhere from 4-18 hours.  
-The starter kit costs $55 and consists of a Color, a Glossy Gloss, and an Ooops! Remover.  Additional colors are $25, and additional glosses are $20.  The tube of color should be equivalent to 4 tubes of regular lipstick, and it will last the average person around 5 months.  The amazing lip balm that you love is $20, and mine has lasted me about 6 months so far.  I still have a little bit left.    
-I like to use the original Neutrogena facial bar to remove it at night, but the Ooops! Remover that comes in the starter kit is great for fixing mistakes.  If you use the Neutrogena at night then the Ooops! should last forever.  
I offer a 100% money back guarantee on these products.  If they don’t love it, they can exchange it or return it. 
And now for the best part!
Alissa is offering one of you lucky ducks the chance to win a starter kit–complete with color, gloss, and remover!
No offense to the rest of you, but I’m secretly hoping that one of you girls that struggles with dry lips like I do wins.
Entry is SUUUUUPER easy.
Simply pick a letter from the options below and comment.
FOR EXTRA ENTRIES: Head on over to Alissa’s Facebook page and give it a like, then leave me a comment telling me you did. I HIGHLY recommend doing this. She posts lots of good info and new colors and is very quick to respond to questions.
Okay, comment with either A, B, C, or D:
A) I have heard of LipSense but my interest ends with the giveaway
B) I have heard of LipSense but would like to know more
C) I have not heard of LipSense, but my interest ends with the giveaway
D) I have not heard of LipSense, and I would like to know more

Disclosure: if you express interest in knowing more, Alissa will follow up with you about this. She’s NOT pushy, is very efficient and helpful, and will happily return/exchange anything that doesn’t work for you.

Fine print: open to U.S. or Canada only. Giveaway ends Monday, June 29th  at 11:59 PM

That’s it! Happy entering, and happy LONG weekend (for the Americans, at least!).
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A Hammock and Some Thoughts on Rest

I’m tired, y’all. I fell asleep on the couch in between doing my Bible reading/prayer time and starting this post this morning. And not because I meant to.

I guess it’s kind of inevitable, what with the half a dozen children and the housework and the homeschooling and the fitness classes and a new business.

There are even a few other things in the works that I’m not quite ready to share yet, but they’re definitely adding to an already full schedule.

All good things, but I don’t ever really feel like I’ve “finished” anything these days.

That’s a hard feeling for a closet perfectionist. (You’d understand the “closet” part if you saw my laundry room some days or my flowerbeds pretty much every day). In an ideal world, I wouldn’t start another task before the job I’m working on is done. But that’s just not practical in this particular season. Either I’ll get halfway through organizing the girls’ clothes and transferring them to their new dresser, and someone will break/spill something, or I’ll have to interrupt homeschooling to feed/hold a fussy baby or break up a toddler cat fight. Or everything will just take twice as long as I hoped it would, and we’ll have to rush out the door to the gym, leaving piles of laundry on the floor until we can come back and put them away.

I rarely finish my entire list for the day–partly because I always put more on it than I know is realistic to achieve, and partly because…life, man. It never goes like it looks like it should on a piece of paper.

Add to this the fact that Shaun has had to work on weekends for the past month or so (and will for a while yet), which means even my beloved Sunday has been disrupted, and “rest” is a foreign concept at the moment.

I don’t say all of this to whine. In the midst of this especially hectic season, I’m reminded of things I need to work on. Like: I’m really, really hard on myself and am prone to mentally hiss: “You’re a failure!” if I don’t manage to “fit it all in.” (Which, as I just admitted above, I rarely do). Also, I can be a very anxious person. I don’t worry about the usual things, like whether someone will come and hurt us when we’re home alone while Shaun is traveling. But I can wake up feeling short of breath, like an elephant is sitting on my chest, if I am facing a too-full day of tasks I know I won’t be able to finish.

But I’m also learning, bit by bit, how to cast all of my cares on the Lord. I’m actually pretty awful at it, naturally. I will shoulder as many cares as I can find, then borrow a few that aren’t even mine, and lug them around, feeling my chest squeeze tighter and tighter under the load, until I wonder if my heart will explode.

But, thankfully, the Lord doesn’t leave me to wallow in my fretful tendencies. When I turn to Him, desperate for reprieve from the buzzing static in my brain (because all of this running does not lend itself to mental clarity, believe it or not), He is so faithful to remind me not to worry about tomorrow, since today has enough worries of its own (no kidding, Lord) and to cast all of my cares upon Him. He reminds me that he has shown me what is good and what the Lord requires of me–not more activity or more social media presence or more blog posts–but “to do justice to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.” He gently whispers that there is now therefore NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (when I’m busy shoveling condemnation into my lap with both hands).

And then, sometimes, He gives me genius ideas like buying a hammock for my husband’s birthday.


Shaun’s birthday was last Sunday, and I was completely stumped about what to buy him. I don’t usually feel like this. I’ve mentioned before that we love to give gifts, and we both keep running lists of things that the other needs or has mentioned in passing. But I bled my list dry at Christmas and wasn’t conjuring up any new ideas. Until the thought of a hammock popped into my mind. Pretty much out of the blue.

So, I did a little research on Amazon and came up with this little gem.

It has over 2,500 almost five star reviews (more like raves), and it comes with a stand, which made it ideal for the deck outside Shaun’s office (he works from home).

So, I bought it. I honestly didn’t know what Shaun would think.

Turns out, he loved it.


{Please don’t hate me for our insanely gorgeous weather. I promise Theo was warm as could be in his skivvies}

Sunday (his birthday) was the most restful, relaxing day our family has enjoyed in months. We didn’t leave the house. We didn’t get dressed in real clothes. We ate and played and napped. In the hammock.

Seriously. Shaun and I took a nap outside, in the sunny, slightly breezy 75 degree weather, and it was glorious. (The hammock is super-easy to set up and adjust. And it’s crazy comfortable. That is my 5 star review in a nutshell).

And the entire family spent a significant portion of the rest of the day taking turns in the hammock.

We have yet to name it, but I think we all know that will change. (Harper? Hope? Hallie?)

After such a wonderful day, Monday morning felt like one of those Bugs Bunny slaps in the face with a glove full of bricks. The familiar vice around my chest started to tighten. There was no way I was going to get it all done.

And I didn’t.

But you know what? The Lord graciously reminded me of all the things I mentioned above, and I asked him to help me do the next thing and allow that to be enough.

And it was.

It was more than enough at around 4:30 when we had finished our afternoon chores but still had some school left, and I said, “Come on, kids, let’s go outside. Mama calls the hammock!”


{I chose the Ciao color scheme in cotton, in case you’re wondering}

Yup. I homeschooled from a hammock, y’all. And it was ah-mazing.


{It didn’t take long before everybody climbed in with me. You can’t see her, but Della was in there too on the other end. The hammock has a 400 lb. weight limit, but you can pile a whole lot of little bodies in there without too much discomfort. ;)}

I’m thinking I may have to prescribe myself some daily “hammock time.” It works wonders!

Do y’all struggle with feeling overwhelmed with your daily tasks too? I have a feeling I might not be the only one.

If you do, you can let me know in the comments, and I will add you to my prayer list. I’m already praying for my own rebelliously anxious heart. I might as well pray for yours too. 🙂

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