Saturday, May 31, 2014

Necessary Support

There are all different types of support, but I've found that my local Lupus chapter's support group is necessary for me. I know not everyone likes support groups. However, it works for me. It only meets once a month, and I love being able to spend time with people who really get it. While my husband, family, and friends try to understand (and are amazing), there's nothing like hanging out with people who are dealing with the same issues. I've also made some good friends.

Each month, we have a topic that we focus on and chat about (plus we catch each other up on what's new in our lives and get to ask questions). This past month, we had two new people, which is always nice when there are new faces. Even though I said it's nice to have someone who understands, we don't all have the same issues. For example, most of the people who attend the group I go to have systemic lupus (so, it can involve the whole body). There are at least two people who have discoid lupus (the type that Seal has - it involves just the skin). Still, we are on similar medications.

My husband comes when he can (he works probably half of the time), and I think it's helpful for him not just as the spouse of someone with lupus but also since he is a nurse. He said that since we started dating (and more so after he started going to the lupus group and getting to know the people there), his patients with lupus are some of his favorites. While his floor is more of a stroke and telemetry floor, lupus patients can end up there either because of those things, or if there are empty beds, anyone can end up there.

If you have lupus, check to see if there is a chapter in your area - they probably offer support groups. If you aren't into support groups, it may be worth talking to your local chapter to see if they offer anything that can help you. My chapter has had pamphlets I've used to help explain lupus to people, and they have given me lists of the names of doctors. Their patient navigator (Leslie, if you're in Ohio) is amazing! She also runs the new patient education classes, which I haven't been to (I've been diagnosed since I was 10) but I have had many friends attend and say it's very helpful.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Beauty Box 5 - Free Box

A few weeks ago, one of my friends posted that you could get a free box for signing up with the beauty subscription service Beauty Box 5. I figured what did I have to loose, plus if I liked it, it's only $12 a month. While it didn't look to typically contain higher end products (like Glossy Box), it still looked interesting enough.

My box arrived over the weekend, and honestly, I will not be subscribing. For free, it was fun and there are a few items that I will use. However, if I had paid the regular price ($2 more than Birchbox or Ipsy, if you get those), I would be really disappointed.

The first thing is three packets of Just Being Sexy! body bronzer. You'd think as someone who shouldn't be out in the sun body bronzer would leave me thrilled, but I tried one of these once (I got it in a swap) and it was much darker than I'd like and pretty orange on my fair skin. I received 3 packets, that are each 8 ml. The estimated value is $6.63 so half the value of the box.

Next up is a travel size Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming Body Wash. It has a nice lavender scent, and I will likely put it with my travel stuff. I've used Aveeno body wash in the past, and they've never irritated my skin or left it too dry. This travel size has an estimated value of $0.87

The other item that I am sure I will use is some travel face wipes from La Fresh. The travel pack has 8 wipes ($2.49). I haven't tried anything from La Fresh, but have seen their products in a few different subscription boxes as well as have friends who use them. If I'm feeling achy or am in the hospital, I like having similar wipes to freshen up. When I was in college, I used baby wipes to help take off my makeup and didn't think that there was a big difference between baby wipes and face wipes, but now that I've given some a try, I definitely see a difference. If you're looking to just freshen up (really nice on a hot day if you're sweaty!), baby wipes do the job and are cheaper but face wipes are great at taking off makeup without irritating or drying out my skin.

There is also a face mask from Montagne Jeunesse, and they sent me the Glacial Cooling Facial Mask. This isn't a packet that contains a face mask, but rather a sheet face mask. If you haven't seen one, I will take a picture next time I have one on. It's basically a sheet with spots for your eyes and mouth - you take it out of the packet and the best thing to do is recline or lay back, and relax, while you wait for it to work its magic. The last time I had one on, my dogs would sit near me. This one is mud infused. I've seen masks from this company (they have a huge variety) at my local drug store for $1, although Beauty Box 5 says the value of this is $2.49.

The last thing is a sampler eye palette from BH Cosmetics. They gave me 3 small shadows from the California Collection (the full size palette has 16 shadows and 4 face powder, and runs $18.95). I haven't used anything from BH Cosmetics, so this may be fun to play with. I like that you could easily use the three shades together, or mix them with what you already have. I estimate the value a little under $3

Adding it up, if you go by my price on the face mask, the value is around $13.99 (I think Beauty Box 5 would put it closer to $15.48), which is more than what I would have paid. However, I feel like even the worst Birch Box I've received was a better deal. I like my little surprises and pampering things, but this just missed the mark for me. However, I've seen a few other people's April and May boxes and preferred them, so it's all about what you like.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Influenster Mary Kay box

I joined Influenster a while ago, and have had plenty of friends get free boxes of goodies sent to them. I like that you can review pretty much anything on their site (recently I've reviewed face wash, dog food, a dog brush, yogurt, etc). I don't log in more than a few times a week, just because I prefer other social media sites and don't have as much experience (if you're interested in joining Influenster, send me a message and I will get you an invite). I was pretty excited when I got an email that Influenster would be sending me one of their "Vox Boxes", and a makeup one at that! I wasn't as excited about it being a Mary Kay box than if it had been Urban Decay or Hourglass, but since I haven't tried a ton of Mary Kay I didn't want to pass a ton of judgement - and this is a great opportunity for me to try out some of their products. When I pictured getting a Mary Kay Vox Box, I imagined a small box that likely wouldn't have anything full size, but some generous deluxe sized samples. Imagine my surprise when I received a box bigger than my usual Birch Box.

I opened my box, and boom! Totally full of FULL SIZE stuff. Whoa, Mary Kay definitely was generous. Plus, I couldn't help but smile a little at a box that greets me with "Hello, gorgeous!"

On top was a Mary Kay catalog that was full of pictures, and even some nice makeup application tips. I still wasn't sure what all was included until I moved the catalog out of the way. Basically, Mary Kay gave me everything to do a whole face application minus foundation and concealer (although that isn't for everyone, but I'm a fan). There are even three brushes included!