Petit Vour April 2015 Unboxing

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 I'm so excited about this months box! The funny thing is, I'm actually swapping 2 of the items in my box but one item made it totally worth it. The box costs $15 a month with free shipping for US residents and the greatest thing is, if you find something you like, you can order it from their website and get free shipping. The free shipping has saved me a lot of money on the items I have fallen in love with. But enough about that, lets get into the box.

I'm not a nail polish kind of gal but when I saw this color I had to try it. I'm converted! The reason I hate nail polish so much is that it streaks on me like crazy, never lasts, and just down right looks awful. This is a very thick polish that even the novice can quickly master. I almost didn't need a second coat. I read many reviews that complained about quick chipping but this is not something I've experienced. I'm on 4 days and looking good. The added bonus is that this is a 5-free nail polish, vegan and cruelty free. $18 is a bit high but I had to try their color Venic Beach Venus and was able to get it from the for $15 with free shipping using a coupon code. Still high but it was totally worth it. 

Full Size 1.7 oz $45  Sample Size 0.25 oz $6.62 in color Fair

I've been with Petit Vour for over a year now and I'm starting to get tired of empty promises of soon to come complexion profiles. I keep getting very very light products that I cannot use, as have many others. I do not want to try something that is too light for me to wear. Its a waste! So I will be trading this like I should have done with the Juice Beauty CC Cream I recently received. 

I religiously use these type of sponges and at first I was going to trade it because I can't see a string on the sponge but after watching a few reviews I can see it does have a string to hand it on. I hate sponges that do not have a string to hang them by, like Eco Tools Konjac Sponge. It feels very unhygienic to lay your sponge down while its wet and then pick it up the next morning only to find that the underneath is still wet. 

Full Box of 12 $8.99

I haven't decided if I am trying these or not yet. I would never pay that much for travel towelettes and typically carry a thing of makeup wipes from Alba when I travel. However, I do like that these are not just makeup wipes. They work on your face and for freshening up your lady garden. That's right! I called it your lady garden, ha ha. If its that gentle then these should be perfect for those with sensitive skin. 

Total Value: $37.91

My Petit Vour Order

When you subscribe to Petit Vour you can give product ratings on their site which gives you PV points. Every time you rate a product you get 25 PV points. So you can typically get 100 PV points per box. This is not always the case but more often than not they include all the products in their shop. You also get points based on the value of your purchase. You receive 200 PV points for every $10 you spend. You can redeem your points in a $15 off (1,500 PV points) or $25 off (2,500 PV points). I was able to use a $15 off so I got this cleanser for $20 with free shipping. 

Most people will tell you not to spend this kind of money on a cleanser, and had it not been for my reward and birthday money I would not have done so. The Kimberly Parry Creamy Cleanser is a good example of and expensive cleanser that isn't worth your money. You get 50 ml for $58 and I personally think it does a poor job of removing makeup. On the surface it appears to but when I go back over with a cotton swab and witch hazel I pick up way too much residue. On the other hand Tay gives you 125 ml for $35, almost triple the amount of Kimberly Parry, and I find barely any residue if any on my cotton pad after using it. I love the way it feels on my face and its personally the best cleanser I've ever used. When I got the sample in Petit Vour I immediately went searching for others to swap with so I could get more. This is hands down my top choice for cleanser and one of the best things I've ever received from Petit Vour. 

Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys. A Lesson in Loving Detachment.

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I have a confession: I'm a control freak. And for many years an unapologetic one at that. The funny thing was I considered myself to be a mild one, especially after overcoming my battle with anorexia during my youth. I was now a helpful control freak! I could solve problems for people, take things off their hands they didn't have time for, and put things into a different perspective for incapable people in my life. Hell I was practically a guru! And with burdens of the world on my shoulders I felt I could handle them better than most, after all they weren't mine. Then came the lesson of a lifetime that has changed my entire outlook on what are and are not my problems, and the realization was magical. 

I was with an active alcoholic for eight years, and nothing will bring out the control freak in you like believing you have someone who needs you to fix them. He is now a recovering alcoholic, which is an entirely different journey littered with its own difficulties. I did not learn during his active years that he was not my responsibility. If I had it would have changed so many things for me. My controlling nature only punished me and those years of worrying are ones that I cannot get back. That is my fault, not his. The lesson I learned after he sought sobriety was profound when I heard these words: "No my circus, not my monkeys." It was so simple, clever, and made me laugh when I heard it and I use it every time I feel myself getting dragged into business that is not mine to deal with. When he had a slip up I did the oddest thing. I let go. Sure it was hard and frustrating, but I stepped back and told him that it was between him and his sponsor. Can you believe it? He was not mine to take care of!!! It was a weight lifted of my shoulders and I finally understood loving detachment. When I stepped back and let go I was able to support him, lift him up, without mothering him. It saved me from myself. But it went beyond the recovering alcoholic in my life.

I began realizing how much stuff was not my business. When certain family issues come up I always feel the need to insert myself and discuss it with both parties, not any more. Even if I'm asked I politely ask them to leave me out of it and deal with the person directly. I don't have to fix everything! When you're not meddling in other peoples business you wouldn't believe the time you'll have on your hands. I know what you're thinking: "But Liz, I'm just trying to help" or "They can't do it by themselves, the need me". Let me just stop you right there. No they don't. If they are an alcoholic you can't change that, only they can. If they can't confront someone, they'll have to learn to do it or do without. Its truly not your problem or place. I'm not saying I do not help people, there is a difference. I'm just saying once you're able to distinguish it changes everything. I'm much more worry free by learning to accept that there is nothing I can do about it. If there is, I do my best to rectify the situation, otherwise I let it go. I'm not a ringleader and this is not my problem. 

How I Stopped Taking Sleeping Pills and Got a Better Night's Sleep

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I remember back when I was a teenager spending hours trying to get to sleep. If I wanted to get to sleep at a decent time I had to start several hours before everyone else but I never remember anyone mentioning sleeping pills. They just weren't a thing. It wasn't until I began working night shift at a nursing home, shortly after graduation, that I could finally sleep. The minute I came home I was out and it was the best sleep of my life. But it was short lived and I eventually rejoined the day walkers. I had some issues with sleep but nothing like I did after my daughter was born. 

I couldn't turn off my thoughts. I tossed and turned all night long and was constantly getting up to pee. I figured my daughter had destroyed my bladder, like so many women before me, and getting up 7-10 times a night was normal. During my postpartum depression, the first night I was in the hospital they gave me an Ambien. I was not really asked it was more or less pushed on me. I was very nervous about taking a sleeping pill since I had never tried anything like it. They told me to make sure I was laying down within 30 minutes and I didn't even last that long. Within 10 minutes I had to leave my chair and crawl into bed and the next thing I remember was waking up the next morning. From there Ambien became a regular habit for several months. I was still able to get up in the night and heard my daughter every time she even made a peep. However, it was the minutes, sometimes hours, before I went to be that Ambien was all wrong for me. The more you fight sleep the more drugs like Ambien make you giddy, hyper, and you can even hallucinate. The one story I always heard was that people got up in the middle of the night and ate weird things like whole tubs of butter and other odd things. Luckily I did not get up and do weird stuff. But my husband and I decided I should find an alternative.

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I made the decision to get my B.A. while being a stay at home mom which meant many late hours. Even still I couldn't sleep and decided the best "alternative" was an over the counter sleep aid. I tried so many different ones but found I needed an extra push, as well as pain management, so I began using acetaminophen in conjunction with the sleep aids. That led me to Tylenol PM. At first it was one pill, then two, then three, and then finally four every night. As many will tell you tolerance to sleeping pills is a very likely scenario, although I'm sure that's with many things. I have not went a night without sleep aids for 5 years. I look back and can't imagine what I was thinking. But I was desperate. So I'm happy to report I not longer use them and it only took me two weeks to get off them. Here is how it happened for me. 

Almost two months ago I finally got sick of everything. Its an odd feeling when you look around at your life and want everything to be different immediately. I wanted to be more active, be out more, have a schedule, everything. That sounds overwhelming and it was. There was only so much I could do at once so I started walking. It was nice and I took advantage of my daughters school hours. Mind you my aim was not to get off sleeping pills. The the weather got too cold and nasty for a while and I wanted to move so bad that I started working out in the house. I didn't want to be stopped. So I looked for free workouts and decided I would do what I could, no reason to push myself. A few weeks after that I moved toward watching what I was eating and starting counting calories like I do now and then. I am not someone who drinks soda, fruit juice, or other sugary drinks. I also do not consume caffeine so many of the pitfalls others run into have not been an issue for me. 

Then my husband came to me with the idea of the Keto Diet or low carb high fat. I thought he was crazy, and as you can see from my last post its expensive. I had been scared of fat my whole life, after all I'm a heart patient. But as I started reading what other women had experienced on the diet something caught my attention. They were sleeping better. So I figured I'd give it a go, what could a few weeks or month hurt. So I did, went through the awful Keto flu where your body is switching from carbs to fat, and had the worst sugar cravings of my life. I broke a few times and wolfed down a few Cadbury Eggs while I cried, ya know cause I'm a girl and when we go off the rails we go OFF THE RAILS. Eventually the sugar cravings were no more. I made it through the worst part and worked my way down from four Tylenol PM a night to two and then switched to Sleep Sheets natural sleep aid. After a week, or more, on those I ran out and then I just went to bed. I'm not going to say I never struggle but I was actually tired and most nights never got up for anything. Yesterday I broke my diet and had some honey and some fruit pretty high in sugar, and you know what? I couldn't sleep! I didn't get to sleep until 5 am!

I personally think its a combination of things for me. I have to move a lot through the day, including exercise, I'm very sensitive to sugar and most forms of carbs, I have to have a set schedule, and I have to give myself enough time to just think before going to bed. So many people want to stop the thinking process so they can sleep but I enjoy it and always have. I have forgotten some of the greatest ideas, i'm sure. Its part of my personality to think a lot and having that time to think helps me and I feel more relieved so I can sleep. A simple list will not take care of everything swimming around in there. 

So I would suggest to someone if what you are doing isn't working change an aspect, then another, and another until its right. I'm not saying everyone can do without but most probably can. How is it that we ALL need them now when we didn't have this issue a few decades ago or a century ago. Part of it is we're humans and were meant to be moving not sitting all day like many of us have to. Even that little bit of movement in the morning is critical for our health. How can we expect our bodies to rest when the day is done when it more than likely thinks we've been resting all day. Its like being bed ridden, when we're sick we get tired of sleep. Our bodies are tired of sleep and turned on high gear with sugar and caffeine. Maybe, just maybe, the pills aren't necessary. 

Why I'm Giving Up the Keto Diet

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I was very leery when I began the Keto diet because the idea of so much fat in my diet scared me. I was petrified to try it. It also had very little appeal to me as it made me think of a grease laden diet and to be sure there are plenty who practice the diet as just that. I'm also a stickler for counting calories while dieting which Ketoers typically shun. I was also disapointed that many of my favorite fruits and veggies were either big no no's or "treats". This is not to say I never found anyone taking things in moderation, like Martina from, but she's a rare bread as far as I'm concerned. I also find that women bloggers are more likely to incorporate food items that perhaps men are more than happy to give up. The minute my husband went on the diet he barely touched a vegetable unless I made him. So what is the Keto Diet, for those of you unfamiliar with it?

What is the Keto Diet?

The Keto Diet is essentially a low carb high fat diet in which you are more concerned with counting your micros, like grams of fat taken in daily, than calories. The point of this diet is to get your body from running on carbs to running on fat. During the transition period you get what is known as Keto flu and you'll feel pretty crappy while making the transition. Also if you are not careful and have a carb day you can throw yourself out of ketosis and have to essentially start over. That's essentially the jest but it is far more complicated than I can explain and will require further research if you are truly interested. 

Did it Work for Me?

 I began the diet a little over a month ago, a few days before my husband cruelly brought home 15!! Cadbury eggs. A challenge to say the least. I did this in combination with Toneitup Workouts from Youtube and made sure to work out 5 days a week and walk 2 times a week. I also made sure to increase my water intake to around 64 ounces a day. For me the most beneficial change was my sleep. I had been one sleep aid or another since having my daughter 5 years ago. Its a very unhealthy habit but I just couldn't sleep. I didn't drink caffeine or sugary drinks but I still couldn't sleep on a nightly basis. That completely changed once I started the diet and within a week I was sleep aid free. I had more energy, I could tell my body composition was changing and leaning out. Needless to say I was tickled pink.

Over the last 5 weeks I have continued to count calories and using the KetoDiet Buddy figured out that I needed a daily intake of 1395 calories, 15 g carbs, 70.7 g protein, and 116.9 g fat. I was actually able to maintain that on a regular basis but its time consuming!! Even if you are not watching what you are eating your days are utterly swamped with prepping meals, cleaning up after those meals, and scouring the internet for new recipes. I realize it's suppose to be a lifestyle change but its also a very expensive one.

 The Cost of the Keto Diet

For example one evening I made a cauliflower pizza crust. It was fabulous and was seriously the best tasting pizza I've ever had but it was cheap. I typically have my cupboard stalked with everything I need for pizza crust which is pretty simple: flour, yeast, salt, water, and oil. We're talking pennies since I typically buy a bag of flour when it goes on sale for $0.99. Needless to say the cauliflower crust requires a great deal more: 
whole head of cauliflower $3 
2 free range eggs $0.60 
1/2 cup grated parm $1.50
1/2 cup mozz $0.75
garlic $0.10
So that brings us to $4.80 for pizza crust when I was paying $0.99. 

Needless to say that's a hard and expensive pill to swallow. Don't get me wrong I'm all for whole food and I understand the need to reduce carbs and I really don't want my carbs back, for the most part. I miss oats and granola the most. I don't even miss sugar. I enjoy being able to actually taste the sugar in real foods. And don't even get me started on the cost of nuts!

Bacon and Eggs

This will be one of your biggest expenses as bacon is pretty much your go to breakfast. Don't get me wrong I like bacon but geeze is it expensive, a pain to cook, and I'd rather buy it from a local farmer which would be ever more expensive! Most of us can't afford good quality, free range, meats and we're just upping our hormone intakes as well as bad fats (from grain fed). We buy free range eggs which cost around $3.50 a dozen! Gone are the days of $0.99 eggs and I have no intention of going back, but I won't consume 2 dozen a week either! I'd like an apple and granola for breakfast or a ruby red grapefruit without added sugar. I'll admit meat and eggs are filling and I'm not starving but I will be if I can't afford food anymore. 

There is No Good Substitute for Chocolate

Keto chocolate is awful. It's too dark for my taste and is bitter. My husband likes it but why would you eat something like that if you didn't enjoy it. I get the whole its a lifestyle thing and food is nutrition etc. etc. but come on. Why torture yourself? There are plenty of healthy individuals eating chocolate IN MODERATION, key word, who look a feel better than I do. I can't gripe about what I've been eating, since I've had no cravings, but this is not chocolate. 

Did Keto Work?

Yes, I did loose 11 pounds and am now at 142.5 lbs. Some have said when you quit you will gain it all back like that but I have no intention of pigging out and eating more than 1400 calories a day. I still plan to work out, eat good fats, take in protein, and eat low carb. I just have no intention of living off protein and fat. I want fruits and veggies and when I decide to include carbs I will eat quinoa and whole oats. The diet is just too much work and I want a balanced lifestyle. For some it would seem I'm taking the easy way out; but I don't see working out 6-7 days a week, with calorie monitoring, as the easy way out. I was never a big sugar person. My weakness was potatoes any way they came, wheat, and anything breaded and fried. I feel if I can keep away from those I'll be doing great. 

Clean Cauldron Review

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 I was lucky enough to receive products from Clean Cauldron to review for you guys. I was sent a trove of beauty products to try for myself. Clean Cauldron is an Etsy shop run by Viv and I've known about her products for a while now after hearing about them from Leti (xoLoveLeti). Her products are cruelty free and vegan. As I pointed out I did receive these for free, but as you'll see some products were a huge hit for me, while others didn't match my particular needs/preferences. You can find Clean Cauldron on Etsy or follow this link: The current coupon code for 10% off is CAULDRON. If you're interesting in Clean Cauldron's response to my questions regarding their policy on animal testing it will be at the end of the review.

I love the packaging. Its very rustic and its not every day your order comes with a wax seal on it! That added touch, for me, was very nice and made me feel like the package was extra special. Everything inside was in its own individual zip baggie, so had any item broken open the rest would be safe. 

My package also included a hand written note which I really enjoyed. I find that more companies are going toward this approach and its nice to see companies putting in this effort, especially when its only one person doing everything. Its one of the reasons I love shopping on Etsy! Etsy sellers always seem to go the extra mile. 

Ingredients: Shea Butter Fruit, Virgin Coconut Oil,  Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Sea buckthorn Seed Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Rosemary Essential Oil, Grapefruit Essential Oil. (Also contains for fragrance essential oils or Fragrance oil blends).

 I have been looking for a good whipped body butter ever since I tried flo+theo Body Butter but at $7 an ounce its hard to justify. Plus they only have four scents and for some that might be an issue when paying out $28 for 4 ounces. The reason I gravitated toward flo+theo was because it was so light but because its so light, and they are measuring by volume not weight, your 4 ounces from them is not the same as 4 ounces from someone else. And when you're looking at a product that only has 5 ingredients that anyone could get, $28 is a bit rich for my blood. So I was very happy to get so many different samples of Clean Cauldron's Whipped Body Butter. You can get 2.5 ounces for $10 or 4.5 ounces for $18 making it only $4 an ounce. It isn't as airy so you are getting more for your money and the amount of scents available is insane. Some include fragrance oil blends while most contain only essential oils for scents. My only issue is i'd like to see a list in the description that tells which ones have fragrance blends and which ones have essential oils. Otherwise I was happy with the application, the level of hydration, and the variety of scents. After trying Nourish Organics body butter I know what too heavy is! So I felt this hit the mark.

Ingredients: Carrot infused jojoba oil, Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Essential Oils of Jasmine, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Rosemary, Myrrh, and Lavender.

 I am a serum junkie and love trying new ones. This absorbs into the skin beautifully and is so hydrating. The thickness reminds me a bit of Caru or MUN No. 1. It feels that luxurious! At first glance it looks more expensive than Caru; but if you take into account the current discount code, and the shipping, Caru comes out to $37 while Clean Cauldron come out to $35.40. Its always difficult to judge how well a serum works unless you've used it for a month or more but I'd say this is definitely one worth giving a try. First impressions puts this in my top 2!

Left to right: Forest, Firedust, Unity, and Clay. 
It appears that Forrest and Unity are being discontinued once these sets sell out.

These are great lip tints! I was not disappointed. I just wish there were more colors to chose from. The price is incredible and the texture is so smooth and hydrating. I don't see Forest as a stand alone color. I tried wearing it by itself and it is not flattering. However, over top the right color or just as a highlight on the lip, its great. Clay is by far the richest in pigment and is very smooth. It's too dark for me so I will be gifting it to my grandmother. Firedust is a little easier to wear on its own than Forest but I think it depends on your skin tone. I love Unity but I'm not sure she will continue carrying it as it is only available in the four pack which will soon be discontinued. Overall these were great but I'd like to see a few more practical/traditional colors for everyday use.  

Ingredients: Organic Green Tea Infused Aloe Vera Juice, Shea Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Jasmine Essential Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Potassium Sorbate, Arrowroot Powder, Xanthan Gum, Essential Oils of Lavender, Tea Tree, Vetiver.

 I'm not a huge fan of Aloe on my face because I don't like how it dries but this product does exactly what it claims. It is very light while moisturizing and for a moment if reminded me of Clean & Clear Morning Burst Hydrating Gel without the silicone feel and matte finish. It feels a little more like a serum to me which she also recommends it as for those with really dry skin. I think this is great for anyone looking for a light moisturizer who likes Aloe.

Ingredients: Carrot and Sea Buckthorn Infused Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils of Lavender, Tea Tree, Clary Sage

 This is a win for me. I'm a big proponent of using oils to treat breakouts and the essential oils give it an added punch. I did notice a reduction in size the next morning. Now I just have to stop myself from popping them, a bad habit I know, and let this do all the work. At that price its a steal!

Ingredients: Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Pumpkin seed Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Vitamin E Oil, Essential Oils of Jasmine, Tee Tree, Sandalwood, and Frankincense, Carrot Seed Oil.

 I will actually be letting my husband test this one out for me as he has severe (needs shots) dermatitis and his hands are horrible. I like the consistency much better than Lush's Ultrabalm and at $3.75 an ounce compared to Lush's $9.96 and ounce it's a steal worth trying! As simple as Lush's 3 ingredient Ultrabalm is you'd think you'd pay less whereas Clean Cauldron really packs this moisturizer full of the good stuff. I have no doubt it'll do the job.

Ingredients: Sodium Bicarbonate, Citric Acid, Dried Flowers, Essential Oils, Purified Water

I used this as soon as I received it, even though I'm not a fan of dried flowers in my bath fizz's/bombs. Everything else about it was great and you could really tell there were essential oils in it. I think it would be great for someone who enjoys flowers floating in their bathtub, I'm just not one of them. 

Ingredients: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Tin Oxide, Ferric Ferrocyanide, Ultramarines, chromium Oxide, Magnesium Stearate.

Colors: Mercury, Full Moon, Pluto, Ice
Diamond, Amethyst, Disguise, Hunted
Garnet, Lantern, Venus

I was very pleased with the quality of the eye shadows. I don't work with loose pigments very often and the ones I've tried in the past have been a big disappointment. Case and point, when I tried Honeybee Garden's eye shadow samples they swatched very sheer and all I had to do was sneeze and they were gone. I was actually able to wipe all the pigment off my arm with my hand. This was not the case for Clean Cauldron. My pictures do not do them justice and they are highly pigmented. I had to remove them with a makeup wipe and a few took a little extra work. When I applied them today, on my eyelids, the applications was easy, smooth, very bendable, and minimal if any fallout. I can imagine using the right base would make these pop even more. I was worried at first they would be too shimmery after swatching them, but the shimmer is so tiny that it looks elegant not gaudy. Even better if you want pressed shadows you can buy a quad for $30 with your choice of colors or 12 shadow pallete for $85. 

Cruelty Free and Vegan

Here is Viv's response to my questions regarding their policies and ingredients in Clean Cauldron's products:

"Hello Liz,

Thank you for your question. Non of the ingredients I use are tested on animals. My suppliers do not test any of the ingredients I use on animals. I do not sell or distribute products in china. I do not commission testing on animals. These are no animal or animal byproducts in the products I make for clean cauldron.  I hope I answered the questions satisfactory  please don't hesitate to ask if you have any concerns"