Quality Time with Your Teenage Daughter

Want to spend time with your teenage daughter?

Yesterday, my 17-year-old daughter texted me from a friend’s house, “Can we go to Ulta later?” I responded soon thereafter with, “Anytime today is fine with me. Just let me know.” I didn’t want my response to sound too excited, but I was.

I had been waiting for this day for quite some time. Our daughter started driving in 2019, and if you have a teenager who drives, you know that once they start driving, quality time together can be hard to come by. But I had an ace up my sleeve…my Ultamate Rewards points. I’ve been reminding her for a few months that I have lots of points, but she has to go with me to cash them in, because I have to show ID to use them. I’ve used my points before, but this time, they accumulated over a greater amount of time, and I had more points than ever.

I’m big on rewards systems. I have a credit card that gives me great points for purchases, and I love to combine that with other rewards, so I’m getting points in two places with every purchase! I signed up for Ulta Rewards a few years ago. I shop there anyway, so I might as well get points for shopping I would do anyway. If you’re not familiar with Ulta, it’s a store that sells cosmetics, skincare, and haircare products, and the stores near me also have in-house salons. When you shop and give them the information for your Rewards account at checkout, you get points. The base level is one point per dollar spent, but once you’ve spent $500 in a calendar year, you become a Platinum level member, and you start accumulating 1.25 points per dollar spent. Spend $1200 in a calendar year, and you reach Diamond level to start earning 1.5 points per dollar spent.

All these points add up to free money (100 points = $3 off, and 2000 points = $125 off)…and it happens more quickly than you would think, if you’re smart when you shop. By “smart,” I mean you should check the Ulta app for special deals…and activate them on your account…every time you shop Ulta. Often, there are brands on which you get two times points, three times points, or even five times points. And in your birthday month, shop Ulta and get 2X points, a free gift, and a $10 coupon. At the highest level, Diamond, you also get a a Diamond Gift (not diamonds, but something else), a $25 services reward, and free shipping on all online purchases over $25.

If you think you’d never reach Platinum or Diamond status, you might surprise yourself. There are lots of items you might be purchasing at other stores that you could be purchasing at Ulta and getting rewards for it. Shampoo? Get it at Ulta. Need a new hairdryer? Get it at Ulta. (I just purchased the Dyson Airwrap Complete System after several friends recommended it, and just that purchase alone would put you into Platinum Status with Ultamate Rewards. You can see the Dyson Airwrap here. It’s very pricey, but my friends assure me it’s worth it.) Need nail polish? Ulta. Need cosmetics? Ulta. (They even carry higher end brands like Laura Mercier and Lancome.) Need perfume or cologne? Ulta. Need skincare products? Ulta. Think about how much you spend on your hair, makeup, and skincare over the course of a year…you could be getting Ultamate Rewards for those purchases. For more info on Ultamate Rewards, click here.

As for the quality time with my teenage daughter, it was great. She met me at the store, where I was waiting outside so we could walk in together. We each grabbed a shopping basket and moved around the store together, separating when necessary, but coming back together to discuss purchases throughout our visit. I asked about concealers, and she asked me about bronzers. We consulted the app to see which items came with free gifts, just in case anything we needed or wanted would get us something extra. We talked. We laughed. I will admit it was more fun to shop for cosmetics when we could sample them in-store, but things still aren’t back to “normal” for that yet. We had fun anyway, and it was an easy way to spend time together. I find my daughter sometimes chats with me more during an activity, and shopping is a good distraction for free-flowing conversation.

At checkout, we got a lot of free cosmetics using my points and even had some points leftover for another visit. We walked out to our cars together and stood in the parking lot talking for a while before leaving. I know it sounds silly, but it really was quality time. If you have a teenager daughter who drives, you get it. We have family meals together, but sometimes we need mother/daughter time.

Thanks, Ulta, for the quality time with my daughter (and the free stuff too)!

Choose Joy

Choose joy.

In my collection of hoodies, I now have a tie-dye one that says “choose joy” across the front. I bought it for myself recently, because sometimes I need a reminder to choose joy.

I like to be happy, and most of the time, I choose to be happy. I’ve had sad things happen and my own struggles in life, just like everyone else, but I try to process that sadness and find joy again. Sometimes it take a while, and sometimes it doesn’t, but I do believe we can all make a conscious decision to be joyful. If we try to see a silver lining, we can usually find one.

And in my experience, choosing joy for yourself makes other people joyful. I find that, if I am happy, the people around me tend to become happier…joy is contagious. No doubt. Just like anger and bitterness are contagious. I know that, because sometimes I’m downright angry and bitter. Occasionally, something will get under my skin and stay there. I get angry or upset about something, and it seems I will never shake it. When that happens, I tend to spread that bad mood…till I realize what I’m doing…and then I try to turn it around. I choose joy.

There have been times in my life that I’ve stepped back and realized I’ve been “spitting venom,” and that’s not good. When I’ve realized it, whether someone pointed it out or I realized it myself, I’ve tried to walk it back and change my attitude. When I was a little girl, if I had a bad attitude, my parents would tell me, “You need to put a smile on your face…now.” Sounds silly, right? But here’s what usually happens when you put a smile on your face: you start feeling a little happier. It goes with the old “fake it till you make it” theory…start acting happier, and you will become happier. I learned that valuable lesson in my 20s, and it’s a lesson I’ve always remembered…and one I’ve tried to teach my teenage daughter. I’ve had to force myself to “fake it till I make it” a lot more through the COVID pandemic, because honestly, it’s downright depressing. But if we look around and find joy somewhere, it makes it a little easier.

About a month into the pandemic isolation, I was looking out the window onto my patio when I realized the trees behind our patio were becoming greener…sprouting tiny green leaves. Because we were all searching for things to do during that lockdown, I spent some of my time taking photos of the trees as we moved into spring. Sounds boring, right? I agree, but somehow it was fun at the time…and it brought me joy! I also got my garden started way earlier than usual…finding joy where I could…watching seedlings grow into flowers and vegetables. I chose joy that way.

Did I still have times of sadness? You bet. The pandemic shutdowns and isolation have been hard on me. But I refused to give in. Sure, occasionally, I had a breakdown here or there…or I made a big deal out of something that wasn’t a big deal. But when I realized it, I adjusted my attitude and chose joy.

That “choose joy” hoodie I mentioned earlier? Well, I found it on a website called Elly and Grace. I got one of those Facebook notifications that a college friend “liked” the Facebook page for the company, so I checked it out, and I was glad I did. Elly and Grace is a small company in Missouri whose mission is “to provide the softest, highest quality Christian apparel, designed to uplift, inspire and point others to Jesus.” Indeed, they do! The hoodie I purchased is the softest ever, and it certainly promotes an inspirational message! They have other items that feature other great messages and Bible verses. You can see what they offer here. I will definitely be shopping with them again very soon, and I know I will purchase some Christmas gifts from them too. I love to support small businesses…and this one seems special.

So thank you, Facebook, for leading me to Elly and Grace, and thank you to Elly and Grace for reminding me to “choose joy.” I am trying to make that conscious choice every single day.

Choose joy.

Working On My Tan

Yes, it’s September. Even though temperatures are still in the 90s in Charlotte, leaves are beginning to fall. Autumn is officially here. But this year, fall is going to be different.

Usually, as summer comes to an end, I watch my summer tan fade quickly. I look like a ghost by Halloween. This year, though, is going to be different. I plan to work on my tan year-round.

Nope. I won’t be sitting out in the sun in a swimsuit in frigid temperatures. I won’t be going to a tanning bed…no way. I won’t be getting a spray tan at the local spray tan salon…not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just too time consuming for me.

I plan to work on my tan in the privacy of my own home. I’ve tried lots of different self tanning products, but this year, I found one I absolutely love. I first purchased it in Target when it was displayed on an end cap. It’s called Tanologist. According to the Tanologist website, it is “the future of self-tanning, created by makeup artist and beauty influencer, Lottie Tomlinson.” You can see the website here.

 

 

There are multiple Tanologist products. I have tried two, and I will be trying more in the near future. I’ve been pleased with the results from both products I’ve used…one is the Tanologist Face + Body Drops, and the other is the Tanologist Self Tan Water.

The drops were the first product I tried. I’m going to admit something here that I’ve only admitted to my daughter: the first time I used it, I didn’t read the directions. I simply put a few drops in my hands and rubbed it all over my face. The next day, my daughter remarked on my “tan” and said it was really dark. I went back to take a look at the Tanologist bottle and read the directions, and they said to “add two to three drops to moisturizer.” Eek. No wonder it was too dark! I did it wrong! So the next time, I followed the directions, and I was very pleased with the results. For me, I have found that it’s best to add a few drops to my moisturizer and apply it to my face…then wait 15 or 20 minutes before applying foundation. And if you’re not wearing gloves or a tanning mitt when you apply it, wash your hands thoroughly immediately after using it. I learned the hard way…

For use on my arms/legs/chest, at first, I preferred the Tanologist Water. It’s a spray, and I’ve found it easy to use.  I spray a few pumps on my arms and legs, rub it evenly all over, and then quickly wash my hands (unless I’m wearing gloves). No one wants the insides of their hands to be tan, and this stuff will definitely tan the palms of your hands if you don’t wash it off quickly. Don’t ask me how I know. Like I said, at first, I preferred the water on my arms and legs, but I later discovered I prefer using the drops with my body lotion. I have friends who swear by the water, though.

A word of caution: after you use it, wait a while before putting on clothes. I usually wait for it to air dry a little before I put on an old bathrobe. If it stains the inside of my old bathrobe, it’s OK, because I’ve had it forever. But the stuff will stain your clothes if you aren’t careful.

I love the color it gives my skin, and I also love that it doesn’t have the same odor that a lot of other self tanners have. It does have an odor, but I actually like it! To me, the color seems more natural than other self tanners I have used in the past…and I’ve used a lot of them. And if you have those tiny white spots that show up on your skin at a certain age, Tanologist helps blend those spots to match the rest of your skin! Therefore, even when I have a real tan, I use it occasionally to help even out my skin tone. It has only looked streaky one time, and that was because, when I washed my hands after applying it, some water ran down my forearm, so as the color developed, there was a white streak on my arm. So just be careful when you wash your hands.

So yes, I plan keep a bit of a tan year round. I just don’t like the ghostly look on me. You can purchase Tanologist at your local Target or online from Target here. I’ve checked other places, and Target had the best pricing I could find. If you opt to try Tanologist, let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

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My not-so-superpower

There was a time I had excellent vision. I could see anything up close, far away…I almost thought of it as my superpower. And then I turned 40.

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The decline in my eyesight was the first clue that I really was, in fact, growing older. I realized I am not the Bionic Woman (her superpower was her hearing). I realized I am going to age just like the rest of the population. I have no superpower. Well, maybe I do, but it’s not my eyesight. (We’ll get to my superpower on another day.)

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I still see things far away really well, but I started needing “readers,” or eyeglasses for reading things up close, in my early 40s. I would purchase the cute little drugstore readers and get them out of my handbag any time I needed them. But then, I realized I could never find them when I needed them, so I started walking around with them pushed down on the bridge of my nose.

That changed when my daughter said, “Mom, you look like a grandma.” There’s nothing wrong with being a grandma, if you ARE a grandma, but I’m not. And I certainly wasn’t a grandma in my early 40s. I had a small child, for goodness sake!

I’ve seen lots of people who wear their readers pushed up high on their noses, but I don’t know how they walk around! I do not need to be looking through a magnifying glass for distance vision.

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I found a website a few years ago that, at the time, I thought had the perfect readers for me. Bifocal readers…clear on top with magnification in the bifocal lens on bottom. Turns out, they were cheaply made, and they were always breaking or the cheap lenses were scratching.

A few months ago, I was visiting my mother and broke the only pair of cheap bifocal readers I had with me. There is a Walgreen’s near her house, so I went to “the corner of happy and healthy” in search of some new readers.

I was in luck. They had some glasses on sale…buy one get one 50% off, and the original price was only $34.95/pair. These particular glasses were on a Foster Grant end cap. They were advertised as computer glasses. I had no idea what that meant, but the discount  lured me in. I was going to investigate.

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What I read was that they were multi-focus glasses, meaning the bottom part of the lens is for reading, the middle for computer work, and the top for interacting. There is a blue blocker in the lens, so it reduces the strain on your eyes from computer work. Here is where I need to add the fine print: “ready-to-wear non-prescription glasses are not intended to replace prescribed corrective lenses or examiniations by an eye care professional. Continous eye check-ups are necessary to determine your eye health status and vision needs.”

Since there was a “buy one get one 50% off” deal, I purchased two. The frames on both are bigger than I usually like, but I needed some glasses immediately!

My friend, Angela, and I had dinner plans that night, so I went back to Mother’s, where I changed clothes, and drove to pick up Angela. We have been friends for more than 30 years…since college. I once had a boyfriend who hated being in the same room with the two of us, because he said, “Y’all talk without talking. It’s weird…like you can read each other’s minds.” Of course, we thought that was hilarious, and we have laughed about it ever since. Our friendship lasted, but that boyfriend is ancient history.

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Turns out he might have been right! When I arrived at Angela’s, she met me at the door. We hugged, and then she backed up and said, “We have the same glasses!” Indeed, we did! Serendipity? Extrasensory perception? When we got in the car, we took a selfie, and I posted it on Instagram, and then we laughed and laughed again at that old boyfriend and what he had said. Maybe we have the superpower of ESP! The fact that she had the same pair made me like the glasses more; I guess I think she’s a Cool Kid, so the glasses must be OK.

“Who’s that behind those Foster Grants?” Some of you will remember that ad campaign from the 60s and 70s. The funny thing about these Foster Grants is that I purchased them in a BOGO deal, and I get compliments all…the…time! A few nights ago, I was at dinner with my teenage daughter, and we ran into some friends. One of them said she and another friend had been talking about my great glasses! What?! My Foster Grants? My daughter said, “You get compliments on those glasses ALL THE TIME!” It’s true!

I know…I keep talking about how they look. Well, they work well too. First, the construction seems to be good quality, and the lenses definitely don’t scratch as easily as the others I used. Also, I’ve noticed a big difference in eye strain when using the computer, so I guess they actually do what they’re designed to do!

So, I’m giving y’all the scoop. Want some great multi-focus glasses? These are awesome. You can purchase them directly from Foster Grant here, or you can purchase them on Amazon here. They offer lots of different styles, but for me, the style that receives the most compliments is called the Conan, and it  appears (today) to be sold out on the Foster Grant site, but it’s still available on Amazon. It’s a bigger frame than I usually buy, but I love them. Angela likes hers too. I had to wear them for a day before I became accustomed to the “multi-focus” lens, but that’s all it took.

So yes, they are my new favorite glasses. As for my superpower…I could tell you, but I’m saving that for another post.

What’s YOUR superpower?

Kelly