VT Mommies

Love your family, love yourself

Category: MELISSA

Have you heard about Birchbox yet? If you’re a social media geek (as I am), you’ve probably seen tweets, pins and posts about this beauty-sample-box craze.

For $10 a month, you get a package of “beauty, grooming and lifestyle products.” Some of the samples go to everyone, others are selected based on the profile you can fill out when you sign up. I said that I’m a mom, I like natural/organic products, I’m concerned about aging skin, and that if I was going to splurge, it would be on haircare products (I’m trying to grow it out).

Some of the products they sell on the website are rather expensive, so I figured if I could try some decent samples, I wouldn’t have to dish out money for products that just don’t work for me. Try-before-you-buy is a definite perk in the world of beauty products! So I signed up and waited. And this weekend, I was rewarded with my first Birchbox:

The package was quite light, and I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be many good samples, but once I opened it all and spread it all out, I was quite pleased. Here’s what I got:

Schick Hyrdro Silk Razor – Is Birchbox spying on me? I had just put razors on my grocery list. A good razor can sell for $10 in the grocery store, so I feel like I scored on this one. Plus it came with a coupon for $4 off my next Schick razor purchase. Double-score.

Viva La Juicy – Le Fleur – I don’t wear perfume often (my husband has no sense of smell – seriously, it’s a real thing), but when I do it’s always Chanel No. 5. What can I say – it’s classic. Anyway, I wasn’t all that impressed with Le Fleur, personally. It isn’t terrible, but I think I expected something a little sweeter. Maybe I’ll wear it for a day and see how it is after sitting for a longer time.

Stainiac – Two-in-one lip and cheek balm. Kinda freaks me out. So let’s just assume I will only be using this as lip gloss, it’s actually not bad. Quite glossy, doesn’t taste terrible and there is a hint of red. My 3-year-old daughter had to try it on immediately and has worn it every day since it arrived, so that says something I guess. Not sure what.

CleanWell All Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes – I get it … I said I had kids and liked organic. Oh, Birchbox. You kiss-up. I haven’t tried these yet (although I was tempted to after my daughter’s first attempt at putting on her own lip gloss), but I threw them in my purse and I’m sure they’ll get used on the next long car trip.

DDF® Brightening Cleanser – Honestly, I think this was my favorite sample of the month. The product description on the website reads, “A cocktail of potent active ingredients works to fade the look of brown spots, scars, and redness while also leaving skin fresh and smooth.” I’ve used it a few times thus far and while you can definitely feel the astringent, it isn’t Sea Breeze. It definitely feels more gentle, and my skin does feel quite soft & smooth afterwards. As for getting rid of spots & discolorations, I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Beauty Secrets Book – I’m not sure if this is a regular Birchbox feature, though it seems like it might be. Anyway, this handy guide actually contained quite a few helpful tips, including How to Read a Label, 5 Tips to a Better Shave, How to Paint Nails on Your Non-Dominant Hand, Eyeliner Tips and tips for picking the right beauty tools. Good stuff.

All in all, I was quite pleased with my Birchbox, and I can’t wait ’till next month!

You can read about what one of our other featured writers, Jana, got in her August Birchbox here. (I admit, I might be a little jealous of her haircare products. She’s got four kids – doesn’t she need organic wipes too?

Join in the fun – Click here to sign up for your own Birchbox! (Then we can all compare goodies!)

I always look forward to this time of year – when school wraps up for my son, the days are long and the pool is open. I think summer is going to be relaxing and I picture myself sitting in the sun with a big fruity drink, chatting with my girlfriends while our children play happily.

But then June actually rolls around and I find myself wondering what part of all of this chaos was the part that I was waiting for.

Maybe summer is relaxing for some people, but I’m definitely not one of them.

The end of the school year means the dreaded 2-month-long planning & coordinating process, figuring out camps and grandparent visits and vacation days for every single day of the entire summer.

It means shelling out thousands of dollars (that I don’t necessarily have) to pay for all of these programs up front.

It means that my kids, who have every toy, video game system, book, art supply and piece of outdoor sporting equipment they could ever need, will repeated tell me how bored they are.

It includes packing great big lunches every single day (because my son can’t buy lunch at camp like he does some days at school), and then listening to “Why did you pack that? So-and-so’s mom packs him nothing but brownies and soda and Cheetos. You’re so mean!”

It means carting kids back and forth to inconvenient places every day instead of just having them hop on the bus.

Summer means longer daylight, which makes my toddler’s 7:30 pm bedtime that much more challenging, and cuts into “mommy quiet time.”

It means beautiful, sunny, 85-degree days that I’ll enjoy only from my office window.

It means that when I’m not working, I’m outside with the kids longer – and ignoring my filthy house more.

It features more kids than usual around the house every day, because we’re the ones with the pool and that automatically makes my kids popular from June ’til September.

It means BBQs and gatherings where I’ll be expected to wear a bathing suit in front of people.

It means that for 3 months I’ll be subjected to Facebook photos of my non-mommy friends regularly enjoying drinks at Breakwater’s or at concerts or on vacation or wherever it is that I’d love to be if only I didn’t spend all my money on camps.

It means that I’ll see these Facebook posts and get all inspired (or as my husband would say, “obsessed”) with the idea of taking the kids to more big events more often and so then we’ll… well… plan and pack and and get someone to watch the dog and spend money and endure whining and lose favorite toys and repeatedly yell “Stop hitting your brother for 2 minutes and just smile so I can get a nice $#@%^ picture for Facebook!” and remember why we don’t do this every weekend.

It means everyone will see my daughter’s legs – which are covered with cuts and bruises because she is super-fast and has no fear of anything – and I’ll have to explain it all so people don’t think we beat her.

It means my son will go visit his dad for a few weeks, and while it will be a little less stressful for me, I’ll also be losing my built-in “mommy just needs to take a shower” toddler watcher.

It means that my kids will tan like their fathers and I will freckle like my mother.

And it means that just about every single day, when I’m broke and exhausted and my kids are running around, filthy and tired and smiling and yelling and giggling and enjoying every moment of summer, I will find myself thinking “Man, I wish summer could last forever.”

These are the smiles that make it all worth it for me

I wrote a big long post on how horrendously I failed at yesterday’s Great American Grump Out. About the anticipation, the stress, the reality and ultimately, the guilt. Full of shame and sadness, I deleted that post before it was published.

The truth is that even though I’m not a grump all the time, I am a grump more often than I realize.

This motherhood business is hard. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. And the additional stresses we all face (work, family, finances, school, running a few websites, whatever), just compound it.

I couldn’t keep it together. I started the day just hoping I could keep my mouth shut, even if I was meh-ing inside. By about 6 pm, after everyone seemed to push every single one of my buttons, I completely caved and I was huffing and puffing and yelling. Back to normal.

And then, after all the chaos of the evening, there were a few moments of peace. Silly faces and great big goodnight kisses from my daughter. My son’s eyes lighting up as he told me about what a great day he had, even though nothing special really happened. A few laughs with my husband.

These are the moments I’ll always remember. These are the moments I hope they will remember long after I’m gone. These are the moments that matter.

And, at least for me, this is what the Great American Grump Out was all about. It was a smack in the face, reminding me how much my stress becomes their stress. It was a lesson on self-control, empathy and true priorities.

When I’m a grump, I am stealing potential moments from the ones I love the most.

Ok, so we’re never NOT going to be a little stressed. It’s just part of the job. But we don’t have to let it build over things we can’t control or things that don’t matter.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reminded of how amazing my family is and how lucky I am to have them all. I am reminded of how much they love and support me, even when I’m not at my best. I am reminded of how much they give to me every single day. I’m reminded of the way they smile when I smile. I’m reminded that I’m not a perfect mom, but that I’m trying. And I’m reminded that all the stress, all the exhaustion, all the frustration – is totally worth it.

And suddenly, I don’t feel so grumpy.

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