Category Archives: Products We Love

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Pinterest Weekend Wrap-Up

During the school year, I have my kids primarily at my house during the weekends. It’s a bit of an unconventional set up, my ex and I share 50/50 custody, rather than the traditional; all week at moms, weekends with dad. I end up at dad’s house once or twice during the work-week as well to give him a break, and help the kids with school stuff, snuggle, play etc.

It works for us.

Now that my kids are able to busy themselves with books and games, I have some serious down time for Pinterest lollygagging. Here are the cool things I’ve found over the last few days…

 

1. Pixie Geldof by Stefan Zschernitz for Ponystep Magazine Winter 2013

pixie-geldof-ponystep-10

 

2. High Waisted Jeans – I resisted these for a while but I’m coming around…

highwaist

 

3. Guy Bourdin. My boyfriend turned me on to this fab photographer who shot for Vogue. I love me some vintage Vogue.

guybourdin

 

4. Big, round sunglasses. Just big, round sunglasses.

sunnies

 

5. Jessica Comingore | Broccoli Lemon & Parmesan Soup I want to try this hot and cold.

soup]

 

6. Knitting Pattern: Leftovers Cowl by Wendy D. Johnson. I’ve been scared to learn the fair isle technique for a long time, but somehow this feels less daunting.

knit

 

7. Jan the Happy Marshmallow. Just try to be mad after you look at this.

marshmallow

 

8. Wrapper Clutch by Stitch and Hammer. The perfect bag for Spring.

bag

 

9. Yucca With Garlic Sauce (Yuca Con Mojo). There’s something about yucca that makes me very, very happy. It soaks up flavor really well and the texture is just pure comfort.

yucca

 

10. I die for bold rugs in simple rooms. Gorgeous. Rug LOVE | The English Room , Sari Silk Moorea Fuscia 8.11 x 11.

rug

 

Follow me on Pinterest, here…

The Pursuit of Slim -or- Shapewear That Doesn’t Make You Wanna Scream

A couple of years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to get a real, grown up job. One that required me to sit in an office, wear a blazer, and talk to other human beings, unlike the work-at-home job I’d been dealing with (and since, went back to).

The benefits of being gainfully employed did not quite outweigh the drawbacks. And, as a result of the stress, timesuckage, and daily takeout lunches (with a coworker whom I believe I was in competition with to see who could eat the most. Why, I will never know.) I ended up gaining about 20 extra pounds within a few months.

My clothes were too tight, and I really didn’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe, since I wasn’t planning to keep that 20 pounds, so I started seriously considering purchasing some type of slimming shapewear, which is a very serious and important decision, indeed.

So, I did a little research and found this gorgeous piece of aesthetic finery!  The fact alone, that I thought this would somehow improve my appearance, is a straightforward testiment to the level of cuckoory that I was experience during my stint as an office professional:

spanx2

Pure sex.

I wore it one time. It was hot, itchy, it created strange bulges on my thighs and belly, and when I leaned over to pick something up, was noticable to anyone checking for plumber butt (and yes, there were cries of disapproval from my honest-to-a-fault coworkers).

So when I was approached by Leonisa to review their Slimming Control Cami (yay, perks of blogging!), I was curious to see if the above is the type of thing one can expect from their shapewear. So, I put it to the TEST. Since there are all types of women, doing all types of jobs out there, I wore the cami for 12 hours on a day that included sitting at a computer, driving, walking, working in a kitchen, and taking care of children.  The results?

- I like how this cami looks. Unless you’re savvy to these kinds of things, no one would know that it’s shapewear, and not just a simple black tank.

- It’s good for layering under just about anything.

- It doesn’t flatten my chest any more than it already is.

- It didn’t cause me to overheat on an incredibly hot day.

- It’s cut on a nice bias, so it nipped my waist in, and wasn’t so tight that caused any weird blobby bulges.

- It’s comfortable, as long as you don’t mind having to pull it down from time to time, as tight things seem to want to creep themselves up into the smaller parts of your curves.  This was the only drawback for me, but wasn’t a huge problem, and mainly only happened while sitting and driving.

- I have willingly worn it again!

Don't look at the streaky fingerprints on my mirror. Dont.

Don’t look at the streaky fingerprints on my mirror. Dont.

All in all, if you’re looking for a nice, comfy way to give you a more toned looking body on days when you might be feeling a little fluffier than usual, I’d totally recommend this little number. You can check it out HERE

Great Skin Giveaway with Sibu Beauty!

seabuckthorn

I have a confession. Big surprise, right?

I am completely ridiculously inconsistent. I change my mind at the drop of a hat. My husband frequently says, “you sure don’t mind changing your mind” .

All throughout my life, I was CERTAIN that when the time came for me to get older, and start getting wrinkles and flab, I would accept it. I would grow old gracefully. (I am not afraid, however of a little preventative maintenance, and also not opposed to surgery if I can afford it and do it in moderation.) So I’ve never really been overly afraid of looking older.

Well, that is until about 2 months ago. I turned 34, and it’s like something switched inside of me, and I found myself terrified at the prospect of
aging.

Suddenly I’m frowning at my frown lines, and worrying about the way my jaw is starting to look a little different, more like my grandmom’s, who is BEAUTIFUL let me just say, but… grandmom’s…

So the dabbling began. I did research. I am into natural stuff. I hate gross artificial fragrances.  I have skin that starts out dry and gets oily by the end of day. Sometimes it’s a little flaky and oily at the same time, which is the WORST.  I wear makeup, and I want to be able to wash ALL of it off without hurting my skin.

I found a few really lovely things that I plan to share (and offer for a giveaway, below!), starting with a cleanser.  I can honestly say this cleanser has solved a lot of problems for me. It’s made by Sibu Beauty, and it makes me happy.

facial_cleanserBeing the natural-product-making mad scientist that I am, I really like the fact this one is natural. I get requests to make facial cleansers, and I’d like to someday, but do you know much work and money goes into new product development? OMG Let me tell you, it’s a lot. I can’t just wave my magic wand and POOF, cleanser (YET, we’re doing some R&D on a magic wand, which will soon be available on Etsy… just kidding).

But I digress. This stuff has a few ingredients that I had to Google, but from what I found the preservatives and agents pretty much come from corn, coconut, fruit sugars and/or fennel, and are considered generally safe, bonus!

I also really like that it has Sea Buckthorn Berry in it, because that’s actually one of my favorite skincare ingredients. This berry contains a large concentration of Omega 7′s, which are incredibly beneficial for skin. You can read about Omega 7′s on the Sibu website, here: http://www.sibubeauty.com/omega_7.php

Lastly, and importantly, it works well. It has little beads of something nice that give a very gentle exfoliation, it smells nice, it doesn’t quite foam, but doesn’t quite not foam. It feels good, and my skin looks clean, shiny and smooth, and not irritated in any way. It looks healthy, like you just had a good run. I like it.

It’s helped me to change my mind again, I don’t mind getting older. Yes I do. No I don’t…

SO, now for the important part. You can win one of your very own. There are multiple ways to enter, which you will do with this handy-dandy little widget from Rafflecopter, below.  You MUST either like Sibu on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. The tweeting option gives you a bonus chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

So… Frankincense.

frankincense

Last week I was in Pennsylvania to be on Good Day Fox Philly with Allie, which was surreal, and more on that another day. In between filming segments, I was going on and on about Frankincense essential oil, which I’ve been doing a lot of lately, and yes, I was getting some eye rolls because my claims are a little out there. When I’m in PA, everyone thinks I’m this big hippie, which is funny, because my hippie friends in CT think I’m the most mainstream person in their lives.

But, I don’t care, the stuff has literally been life changing for me, and I don’t claim to be sane.

So, what’s so great about this stuff? Let me tell you a little story…

As an entrepreneurial-type, I get hit up a lot to sell stuff. Mary Kay, Market America, that kind of thing. I always kind of roll my eyes, because it’s just never felt right to me. I know a lot of people make a good living selling that stuff, and I don’t judge, it’s just not stuff that I feel comfortable pushing people to buy, so I always politely decline.

When I got a message from my cousin recently, that he’s selling essential oils (doTerra), and that he thought I’d be a good candidate to be a reseller as well, I gave him my typical response, and said I’d take the samples, because I’ve always liked essential oils (clary sage really helped me get through natural childbirth), but I have no interest in being a reseller.

So, he sent the samples.

At that time, I was thisclose to launching my online store for my graphic design business. I’ve been talking about it and working on it for about a year. It was taking me forever to finish. I was my own worst enemy. I kept revising and re-revising. My head felt clouded and stressed. I was worried that once I launched, my life was going to change for the worst. I worried that I’d be so busy running that business that I wouldn’t have time for anything else. I’ve been a designer for 11 years now, so I’m kind of not that wowed by it anymore. BUT, ultimately, it’s good money, and I have a family to provide for, so I felt I needed to grow up and just do it, fulfillment be damned.

Being a pretty crazy meditator, I kept focusing on gaining clarity. Clarity, clarity clarity. Just unfog my brain so I can think clearly and ultimately run my life/career from a balanced perspective. It was coming here and there a little bit, but mostly I felt like I just couldn’t quite find what I was looking for. I didn’t even know what I was looking for, but I knew there was something in the back of my mind, waiting for me to find it. It was pretty frustrating, to be honest.

The essential oil samples arrived. I liked them. A lot. At home, alone every day, I would just sit there and breath the frankincense, non-stop. There was just something about that smell that just seemed to reach into my core and grab me. I was like an addict, it was crazy.

One morning, sitting on the floor meditating, breathing it in, I was overcome with something similar to a vision. Thoughts suddenly just filled my entire brain, it was like a voice telling me, “you don’t have to launch that graphic design website. You don’t want to, and why should you? You’ve been working as a business owner for 10 years, you know how to do it right, and you can do anything you want. You can do it on your own terms. There’s plenty of room for another successful entrepreneur in any field you choose”. It was staggering. THERE WAS MY CLARITY!!!! It was something I was so certain of, immediately, all my wishy-washiness was GONE! I became ecstatic, and honestly, a lot of that ecstasy is still running through me. It was an epiphany, and those are awesome, and should be listened to.

SO, (not to brag or anything) after working conflictedly for a year on a website that was never finished, I dove in, made skincare products (which I’ve been dabbling with and giving away to friends over the past few months), and opened my Etsy shop. It took me two weeks to design all the packaging, make all the products, and set up the website. Two weeks. I was like a girl en fuego. Now, a little over 4 weeks later, I’ve made 57 online sales, and 15 in-person sales. I’m set up to sell at several local shows/events in town here, and have 5 offers to sell in retail establishments. This is the kind of turn-around I’ve been wishing for my whole life.

All in all, after reading about the benefits of frankincense, I am convinced that all of this positive change was a result using it. I think it would have taken me at least another year of hard core reflection to even come close to the decisions that I came to in a few days. So, I don’t mind if people roll their eyes at me, because I feel like the proof is clear.

There’s my frankincense story. And to be honest, since trying out some other oils, I’ve had similar results. Patchouli gets rid of my nervous stomach. Rosemary gives me confidence and gets rid of self destructive thoughts and guilt. Grapefruit makes me feel like life’s just one big party. Seriously. It’s pretty awesome. I’ve successfully fought off several colds that went around my house, without Airborne. I could go on and on.

I did end up signing up as a reseller as well. The investment to do so is very low, compared to a lot of the multi-level marketing programs I’ve researched in the past, and the discounts you get on the oils are substantial, so at the very least, that’s enough for me. (I am in no way being paid by doTerra to write about any of this stuff, although that would be nice. Anyone want to pay me?)

So, if you’d like to learn more about frankincense, here are some interesting links.

http://doterralife.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/fabulous-frankincense-the-king-of-essential-oils/

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/health-benefits-of-frankincense-essential-oil.html

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/natural_healing/frankincense.html

If you’d be interested in checking out doTerra, which are super high quality, can safely be ingested, applied directly to skin with no adverse reactions, here’s that:

http://doterra.com

And for the science-minded: http://modernessentialoils.com/Resources/SAB_Compendium.pdf (particularly interesting is the part on page 3 about Vanderbilt University Medical Center).

And if you have any questions, or want to share a similar experience, please chime in!

xo,
Mere

A Question…

I’ve had a few people ask me if I could send them a jar of the anti-perspirant I wrote about last week (see it here), so they could try it out before making a big batch.

I’m just curious if anyone else out there would be interested in buying a jar.  A 4 oz. jar is $10 + postage.  Please comment if interested, or send me an email at mk@goodkoi.com with your info.

Enjoy this beautiful Sunday, you beautiful loverlies!

xoxo,

Mere

Pinterest? Bueller? Bueller?

I would really love it if people would share their Pinterest pages with me!  The marketing fool in me wants to know what y’all are into so I can stay relevant and fun, and I could use some good inspiration!  So if you’re feeling like sharing, send me your links in the comments and I’ll follow your butt!

Here’s mine.  The categories are a little weird, because I make mood boards for clients. http://pinterest.com/bluefishy/

xoxo, Mere

Uh Oh.

Polyvore.  I may never do anything else again, ever. Thank you Allie, I am so feeling this!

Perfect for work on Halloween!

I die for this. I call this one “Sassy Lady”.

Here’s my page, if you want to look.  I only have 4 up there now, but there will be more! http://meredith-porretta-knechel.polyvore.com/.

xoxo, Mere

Anti-Depressant Lip Gloss

Let me preface this by saying, modeling for yourself, and then putting the photos up for the world to see is seriously the most embarrassing thing in the world.

I have to say, I kind of hate Fall.  I know I’m alone here.  When I was a kid, I had extreme anxiety over going to school.

So, now when I feel Fall weather coming on, it sort of subconsciously brings me back to those days.

Plus, I have an old drafty house with oil heat, so I dread all those oil bills.

She loves it!

This year, however I feel a little differently about Fall.  Brooke is in Kindergarten now, and she absolutely loves it.  She’s helping me change my attitude about school.

Also, I’ve figured out a few tricks to keeping warm in my house.  A small space heater and a heating pad are making me feel very happy (but also a little bit old, oh well…).

And lastly, never underestimate the power of looking hot in the Fall! I recently did a little shopping for beauty products, and they’re helping me stay positive. I’ll tell you about them one by one!

First, let me just share with you, the ultimate, absolutely best lip gloss I have ever used. If I buy something more than once, you’d better believe it’s because it’s fantastically awesome.  I’ve just purchased my second tube. What is it, you ask?  It’s NYR Organics.  Not only does it make you look and feel pretty, but it’s full of healthy, safe ingredients.  And, it smells so nice, not too strong, just lightly citrusy.  And it tastes nice.  It’s awesome.

Here are more awesome things about this magical lip gloss that cures seasonal depression:

- It gives you lips a sheer wash of very flattering color (no matter which color you use, I swear, they all look good on everyone) that can be layered for more impact.

- It sort of dries on your lips, so it stays, but your lips just feel hydrated and smooth.  I have lips that can get dry and flaky, and there’s something in this gloss that keeps that from happening.  It protects them!

I call this one Blue Steel.

- The tube makes it really easy to put on while you’re driving.  I’ve used glosses that have a little brush thing, and you need a mirror.  The kind you put on with your finger is a mess and you need both hands.  The fact that it’s easy, makes me put it on even when I’m rushing, so I always feel put together.

The color I just bought is called Damson, and it is so perfect for Fall.  I’ve had 2 people stop me and ask what I’m wearing.  That is good!

See how I purposely didn’t clean the mirror or fold the laundry? It’s for effect, TOTALLY intentional. ;)

If you want to try this, pretty please order from my rep, Jennifer.  She is awesome, so pretty and nice, and she helped me decide on which color to buy.  She is good, and here is her website:
https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/jennifer_mariano
And more specifically the link to the glosses would be:
https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/jennifer_mariano/area/shop-online/category/lip-gloss/

Happy Fall! xoxo

tutu

Girly Party Package Giveaway!

We’ve hit a major milestone, and reached 200 posts on Yin Mom, Yang Mom! Allie and I have learned so much about life, support, community and artistic expression in the last 10 months.  This blog has been an adventure for us both, and we have so many more milestones that we’re looking forward to reaching.

As a special thank you to the amazingly supportive, friendly and sweet people who have followed us on this journey, we’re offering a big, amazing giveaway!

One lucky reader will receive……

A SUPER SPECTACULAR GIRL’S PARTY EXTRAVAGANZA PACKAGE!!!!!

Here’s what’s included:

1. You’ll receive this absolutely adorable, gorgeous, sassy and sweet tutu (size 2-5 years), hand crafted by Whitney at Little Dreamers Tutus. My daughter sported one of her beautiful creations on her 5th birthday in June, and she was such a shining star!

Pink Poetry Tutu: http://www.etsy.com/listing/61666735/pink-poetry-tutu-nb-to-5t

2. You’ll also receive 2 dozen custom cookies, made by the cookie genius herself, Yin Mom, Yang Mom’s own ALLIE!  If you haven’t checked out her Flickr stream yet, you’re missing out, here it is:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetiebirdbakeshop/sets/.  She offers an assortment of flavors and can do any design/theme you’d like, which you can discuss during your consultation.  Please plan for a 2 week lead time + 2-day shipping on your order.

Allie made beautiful cookie’s for Brooke’s birthday, and since they were gluten, dairy, soy and nut free, everyone got to have a very special day.

3. And lastly, 1 custom designed party invitation made by moi, Mere!  Here is an example of the invite I designed for my Brooke’s 1st birthday, but we can figure out the details as far as colors, theme, etc. during our consultation.  Once the design is ready, I will provide you with the final artwork files in digital PDF format.  Please plan for a 2 week lead time.

Here’s what you need to do in order to enter:

1. Please click here and Like us on Facebook, or Follow Allie and/or Mere on Twitter (click here for Allie) (click here for Mere).  Also, please be an email follower of this blog.

2. Please Like Whitney’s Facebook page for Little Dreamer’s Tutus: http://www.facebook.com/littledreamerstutus

3. And lastly, please visit Little Dreamers Tutus Etsy Shop, and then come back over here, and leave a comment on this post letting us know which one of her creations is your favorite!

One winner will be picked at random, and all of the steps listed above must be followed to qualify.

One entry per reader, please.  This giveaway closes September 7th, and the winner will be picked at random.
Best of luck! xoxo!