April 30, 2012

Home Microdermabrasion Review

A while back ago, I was contacted by a wonderfully sweet representative for a home microdermabrasion kit.
She offered a free kit for me to try in exchange for my review.
I have had both a wonderful and a terrible experience with this product, so let's get to it...

First, let me tell you about the product.
PMD came with everything pictured below:

I can't tell you enough how simple it is to use!
I will tell you, though; the woman on the front of the box is using the body disc- which the directions clearly state not to use on your face. Following the directions is extremely important... don't copy the model, mmmkay?

According to their website:

Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive form of exfoliation and mild skin resurfacing that removes the dead skin cells from the Stratum Corneum, the outer most lay of the skin. The Stratum Corneum is the layer of the skin affected by fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, acne, and scaring. The concentrated microdermabrasion treatment exfoliates this skin layer to break apart these common imperfections. This then triggers the body’s healing mechanisms, causing the removed dead skin cells to be rapidly replaced with healthy, new ones.

I have read so many reviews claiming that this was the best product ever invented.
I couldn't wait to try it!

I loaned it to someone in my family before trying it myself. She said she loved it and had wonderful results. She had it for about five weeks, so I'm thinking maybe it gets better with use, because this is what happened when I used it last night:

Let me start off by saying that I had no redness as I was using it.
There was no discomfort or irritation.
I followed the directions properly and felt absolutely fine while doing the procedure.
And even afterwards, my nose and forehead felt amazing.
The lines in my forehead looked minimized after just one use- I was feeling really confident about my results.
And then the pain set in.
I used a mild toner like suggested afterwards, and couldn't follow the next step of applying a moisturizer because my skin felt like it was on fire.
I have small abrasions on my cheeks, and both cheeks are extremely raw and swollen.
I didn't go over my cheeks more than I did my forehead- I'm thinking maybe that skin is just super sensitive on me... not sure.
All I know is I am currently slathered in Neosporin + Pain Relief and if I wasn't pregnant, I would be applying intense burn cream.
I know that everyone's skin is different; I just really didn't expect this result.
Maybe I'll love my healed results in a week or more?
I do love my forehead.
(First time I've ever typed that sentence!)

So yeah, mixed review... someone near and dear to my heart used my exact same device and swears by it, my forehead and nose got fantastic results, and my cheeks make me look like a burn victim.

The worst part is that tomorrow night, I have an important PTA dinner to attend.
Oh yeah, and Sunday is my maternity photo session.
Super duper sad face, yo.

I read another blog that had similar results to mine, and she said, "I look forward to spending the day trying to explain why my face looks like I took a nosedive on the pavement. (Any ideas for a good cover story? Like, I ran into a burning building to save some puppies? Or I was pushed into an electric sanding machine while doing volunteer work building children’s Christmas toys?)"

Personally, I'm going with the puppy story.

Happy Monday.

April 28, 2012

Photography tips from a non-photographer.

Since getting my Canon 60D for my birthday in November, I've discovered a few things that can help someone who is learning photography. Or not. This entire post is pretty much based on nothing factual.

1. Read your camera manual and play with your camera while you read.
It helps if you can do this during sunlight hours; playing with the flash isn't as fun.

2. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
If you read a blog about photography, contact them with your specific question.
Send them one of their own photos and ask about the photo's details. Some regular photographers have some great photos- I recommend stalking them for advice.

3. Do not hesitate to love photos that didn't work.

Taylor had her eyes closed in this photo.
I cropped it in Photoshop and fell in love with her pretty little features.

4. Get as many free Photoshop actions as you can. If you Google "free Photoshop actions" you will get tons of results. Most of my favorites are from The Pioneer Woman and Oh So Posh Photography.
Play around with actions and see what your photo taste is like.

5. Learn how to use manual focus. This takes you back up to tip #1.
I'm still learning how to focus on manual mode, but love my progress so far.

6. Your white balance can really make or break a picture. I love brighter pictures and usually keep my white balance slightly higher than the halfway mark. This makes taking pictures indoors (without a flash) much easier. Play around with your settings each time so that your photos don't require a flash, but also don't look over-exposed. It's much simpler than it sounds.

7. Focus on the eyes, not the smile. I have ten zillion photos that I absolutely adore with big cheesy grins. And although I know that I want to look back on those photos one day, I also want to remember their little faces while they "just be". 

8. Backdrops are not difficult. This one is a crappy Ikea blanket draped over the backs of two crappy Ikea chairs. She's sitting on the playroom floor. Surrounding her are boxes of old toys, a large TV, and piles of unorganized fabric. You'd never know.

9. Be quick. Sometimes subjects move. Laughter is one of my biggest culprits when it comes to movement. I usually don't catch the perfect shot, but so far, I love all of the mistakes I've captured.

10. My tips are based solely on my own experience. You can easily find an online photography workshop right now and become a master photographer within hours (or at least gain 99% more knowledge than I have). I'm just telling you what works for me and what I feel the most important things are for beginners. If you plan on using these tips to become a professional paid photographer, your business will more-than-likely fail. Just saying.
These tips are from a non-photographer- keep that in mind.


April 27, 2012

In case you missed it...

This week...

On Tuesday I opened up the linky party.
On Wednesday I announced the features from last weeks' party.
And on Thursday I posted about May Sponsorships. 

Happy weekend!!

April 26, 2012

Advertise in May!

It's that time again... time to wipe the board clean and start with all new sponsors for a new month.
I always get sad seeing those buttons go.
So many of them are friends of mine.
Friends I have made through blogging.
Through my words.
Through their hearts.
It's not all about business on my blog.
I keep my rates low and hope that you get traffic; simple as that.

Today I am now 25 weeks pregnant.
Which means that if this pregnancy ends like Taylor and Warner's pregnancies, I will deliver in exactly 11 weeks.
Which means that I have 11 weeks to get as many baby items in this house as I possibly can.
No baby shower for this little guy means lots of shopping.
Lots of second hand and consignment store shopping.

So to gear up (literally) for Baby, I'm making my rates crazy low for May.
And the super crazy part is that my stats have doubled in the past two weeks.
Which means that you are getting the most views than any sponsor has ever had here before.
Ready for the price?

$5.00 for the entire month.

I'm serious.
This gets you a 200x200 button on my sidebar and the opportunity to host a solo and/or group giveaway.
Most blogs charge tons to host a giveaway and get your name out there.
Some of them even require double giveaways- one for the blog owner, and one for their readers.
Keep your products or give them away... totally up to you!
Like I said before, this blog flows so well with your involvement.
Be as committed as you'd like to be.

Please email me with any questions!
I look forward to working with you!

April 25, 2012

Wednesday Features!

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week!
Are you ready to see some of the amazing links from last weeks' party?!
Let's get to it!

Nancy from Nancy's Couture put together this stunning fancy dress tutorial:

Rebecca from The Crafted Sparrow made these lovely washi tape tin cans...

AND... this rad DIY coin ring:

Julia from Stars and Sunshine stitched together this happy baby quilt:

Amy from Home Happy Home showed off her lovely powder room:

Brit from These Happy Times whipped up these yummy breakfast biscuits:

Gabby from The...Late Young Family turned a closet into an office:

Elise from Grow Creative gave you all a fun watercolor stencil tutorial:


And Lindsay from Little Mudpies made this easy peasy covered diaper box:

If you were featured today be sure to grab a button off of my sidebar!
And if you haven't joined this weeks' linky party, you can do so HERE.

Happy Wednesday!

April 24, 2012

What I Whipped Up Wednesday

I hope you are all having a wonderful week so far!
Spring Break is over for us, and I am swamped with PTA work and homework.
All I can think about is not being the PTA President next year and finally getting my degree.
 But yeah... things are busy over here.

There were so many great links last week!
I can't wait to see what you've come up with this week!

PS- I have gotten quite a few emails asking about linking back to the linky party.
I do not require a back-link to Sugar and Dots. That being said, when I click through all of the links and see tons of parties mentioned except mine, I will admit that my feelings do get a little hurt.
(Isn't that silly?!)
This party is for you... I am here to help you showcase your hard work! I love hosting the party and don't ever plan to force credit back to my site. I hope that answers some questions!

Now let's get this party started!
Link up below.

April 20, 2012

In case you missed it...

Last week...

On Monday I posted a photo of my 23 week baby bump and showed off my Pink Lemonade necklace.

On Tuesday I opened the linky party.

On Wednesday I announced the Wednesday features and a giveaway winner.

On Thursday I wrote about my husband's ability to walk again, and how a date's meaning can change.

And earlier today I left a little note to my daughter Taylor after listening to a lovely song.

Thank you for your continued support and friendship through this blogging journey of mine.
Have a wonderful weekend!


I have been loving Priscilla Ahns' song, "Dream" for a long time now.
The melody is calm and dreamy, and the lyrics are beautiful- relatable, or not.
Whenever I hear it, I focus on my baby girl growing up so quickly.
It makes me both proud and sad- the most difficult combination of emotions in motherhood.


I was a little girl alone in my little world who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees, and fed my houseguests bark and leaves, and laughed in my pretty bed of green.
I had a dream


That I could fly from the highest swing.
I had a dream.


Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I'm supposed to be.
The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep.
I had a dream

That I could fly from the highest tree.
I had a dream.

Now I'm old and feeling grey. I don't know what's left to say about this life I'm willing to leave.
I lived it full and I lived it well, there's many tales I've lived to tell. I'm ready now, I'm ready now, I'm ready now to fly from the highest wing.


We may be adding another baby to the family soon, but we promise to only love you more and more every second of everyday.
Continue to dream, gorgeous girl.
And when all of your dreams come true, no one will be happier for you than we will.

What song makes you dream, friends?
What song makes you freeze time and think about every ounce of love in your heart?
I would love for you to share.

Happy Friday.

April 19, 2012


Last weekend, my dad bought Warner an airplane.
It's made entirely from styrofoam and is nearly the same height as my little guy.
My dad, Sedric, and Warner put the plane together and then let Warner do the finishing touches by himself.


Of course, within seconds of the last sticker being placed on the wing, someone begged us to walk to the park to test it out.
Done and done.







I didn't participate.
I stayed back and let everyone else do their thing.
I watched the fun through my camera lens- zoomed as far as it would allow me to zoom from a grassy spot in the distance.

The last photo made me cry.
Now, it's true that I am normally a totally emo girl.
Pregnancy however, makes this emo girl all kinds of sad.
I cry during commercials.
Like, cereal commercials... thinking weird things like, "This little child actor is going to grow up and not live with their parents anymore. And they'll miss each other. Wow. That's so sad."
I am a freak.
But seeing the above moment take place in real life made me turn into Freak Kimmie in public.
While other normal people did things like walk their dogs and fly kites.

I was watching my husband run, and started thinking, "Look how much fun they're having! Running at the park on this gorgeous day... this is lovely!"
And then I was daydreaming about another little boy coming into our lives, and envisioned everyone running at the park together; picturing what color hair the next little guy will have.
I suddenly saw my due date in my head in the most awful form.
I am due 8.9.12.
On 8.9.10, our lives were forever changed.
I was told by a crew of doctors that I shouldn't expect my husband to walk within a year or two, and that once extensive surgery is healed and physical therapy is completed, he still may never be able to run.
I signed forms after hearing that sentence.
24 hours later, we were on a plane from South Dakota back to our home in California.
The last time we were on an airplane together was hours after Sedrics' surgery.
And here I was, remembering everything in detail and how very different life is compared to how we envisioned it would be at this point.
Crying at a park watching a foam airplane and remembering our trip.
Picturing the date 8.9 on a piece of hospital paperwork and then seeing it again in my head on new happy doctor paperwork.

Life is so crazy sometimes.
I am so grateful to have such a determined husband.
The man worked and paid the bills with no savings account and no help from anyone else immediately after his accident.
What a wonderful provider I have.
What a glorious Summer this will be- hitting the two-year mark.
And although he lives in constant pain, I have blurry, random photos like these that I get to keep forever to remind me how good God is.
How lucky I am.
How lucky we are.

And I might have never thought about all of this had we not been gifted with a toy airplane.
What a glorious gift.
I love this toy plane.
I also love little old ladies who keep tissues in their pockets and hand them to sobbing strangers at the park.


April 18, 2012

Wednesday Features + Winner Announced

Last week...

Kate from A Creative Cookie had the most-viewed link with her easy blog button tutorial:

Desiree from The 36th Avenue showed off her gorgeous hutch makeover:

Kim from Oh Sweet Joy put together a rad turban headband tutorial:

Tausha from Sassy Style put together this awesome pool noodle wreath tutorial:

Meg's Everyday Indulgence whipped up this cool cucumber dip:


Esther from Happy in Red showed off this adorable little elephant:

And Karyn from Kayboo Creations showed off these happy ruffled aprons:

Thank you to everyone who linked up!
If you were featured today, be sure to grab a featured button off of my left sidebar!
And a HUGE thank you to those who linked-back to the party or mentioned What I Whipped Up Wednesday in your post... those posts make me incredibly thankful when I read them!

Now for the winner of the Macrame Project giveaway:

# 33 - Haili Hunter
(I will email you soon, sugar!)

Happy Wednesday!

April 17, 2012

What I Whipped Up Wednesday


April 16, 2012

Unfashion: Pink Lemonade

Paige has to be one of the sweetest shop owners I have ever come across.
She graciously sent me a necklace from her shop, and when I saw the craftsmanship, I was blown away.
Not only is she talented with an amazing blog, but she's also a teenager.
When I was a teen, I can guarantee you that I wasn't making jewelry or designing websites.
This week I paired a regular tee with a tube top dress and my lovely new necklace.
The dress is my mother-in-law's, but I've never felt confident wearing anything strapless.
The regular ol' t-shirt made me feel comfortable, and the necklace boosted the look as a whole.
I paired this look with baby pink flip flops.





I am so thankful for this necklace!
There are tons of times in blogland where people get free gifts and tell you to purchase the same item as part of their "exchange".
I will never host a review of that nature for my readers.
I can't tell you enough how much honesty means to me!
You can trust my words when I write that this necklace is sturdy, it doesn't itch, and it has gotten me more compliments than I can count on all twenty digits.
Pink Lemonade is legit.

Happy Monday, friends!

April 13, 2012

In case you missed it...

This week:

1. On Monday I showed off my 22 week baby bump and opened a new giveaway.

2. On Tuesday I opened the linky party.

3. On Wednesday I listed last weeks' linky party features.

4. On Thursday I revealed my familys' names after two years of blogging.

5. And earlier today I uploaded some new buttons for your sidebar.

Thank you for another wonderful week of support and friendship!
Next week is full of happy things; I can't wait to share them with you!
Have a wonderful weekend.

New buttons!

When I changed the look of my blog not long ago, I added a new blog button and a new featured button on my left sidebar.
I opted not to have actual photos as buttons until I took more photos that I liked.
While booking my maternity session this week, I realized that I had an entire album of family photos that could work great as blog buttons.
After a few edits to our 2010 Drew B photographs, I was done.
Yes, these are old.
Warner is 2 and Taylor is days shy of being 6 in these pictures, but these photos shouldn't be locked up in a random Facebook album of mine.
Sharing them with you makes me feel like this moment in our lives could be forever frozen in time.
I love that feeling.

I will be editing the "buttons" page soon, but until then, feel free to grab any of our new buttons!
These are all 200x200- if you would like another size, please email me and I'll whip it up for you.

Happy Friday!

April 12, 2012

Meet my family.

I've mentioned lots of times that one day I hoped I could gain the courage to reveal my family's names.
You have read about our most fragile moments... our happiest memories... yet you have no idea who they really are.
It's time to meet the people I live with- the people who make my heart whole.

This is "Hubby":

This is "The Girl":


This is "The Boy":


Thank you for continuing to read about our lives, and for always supporting my journey through motherhood.
We don't have a name for the new baby yet, but I promise that his name reveal will take place once he arrives.
And if you have name suggestions for us, we would love to hear ANY of them!
All of our names have an 'r' in them (since my name legally is Kimberly, not Kimmie).
I would love the baby to have a name with an 'r' in it, but I'm stumped!

Enjoy your Thursday.