From the category archives:

living on less

Buzzle Ball | The New Puzzle Challenge!

by Tara Kuczykowski on August 26, 2014 · 0 comments

I've loved puzzle games for as long as I can remember. I don't recall when I got my first Rubik's Cube, I do remember getting a Rubik's Magic for Christmas when I was 8 years old... I loved that thing and played with it frequently -- until I wore the wires out.

My 11-year-old son is very much the same, and he's always loved any type of game or device that challenges you to solve some a puzzle. So when Walmart asked if any of my kids would be interested in trying out the Buzzle Ball, I took one look and knew he'd have a ball with it (no pun intended, lol).

The Buzzle Ball is similar to the Rubik's Cube in that you twist it, trying to align certain colors, but that's where the similarity ends. The Buzzle Ball is obviously round, but it also adds a ring around the outside, adding another dimensional challenge. The pieces twist in all directions, making figuring out how to align them difficult to say the least.

In fact, we're still attempting to solve it a week later! I mixed the Buzzle Ball up for my son after we first received it, and apparently I did a very thorough job on it, because my husband, my son and I've all tried it on and off to no avail. We've all come very close, but those rings seriously throw a wrench into the mix!

But honestly, that's what we love most about the Buzzle Ball. It's a fun little puzzle game that's ultra portable, very challenging, which stimulates and engages the mind, and you can pick it up and put it down at will. Add in the fact that it's made in the USA, and it's definitely a product that I feel good about purchasing for my kids.

The Buzzle Ball will be available in Walmart stores this month priced at $19.97!

Walmart Moms Disclosure


Despite the state of denial I've been living in for the past few weeks, my two oldest boys headed off to middle school earlier this week. I'm not even sure how it's possible -- it feels like they were just born yesterday!

I'd be lying if I said I let them go without a trace of anxiety. I remember middle school all too well... struggling with more difficult classes, the insecurities, trying to find my "tribe", made all the more difficult by raging hormones that wreak havoc on your body and skin.

Gah, that's one period in my life that I have absolutely no desire to revisit!

I guess it's the mama bear in me, but I'll do whatever it takes to protect them from the worst of it whenever possible...

I've noticed some minor issues with pimples and blackheads with both boys over the course of the summer, so I was very grateful when AcneFree introduced themselves to me and asked if I'd be interested in having my boys try their 24-Hour Acne Clearing System. I figured it's never too early to teach them good skincare habits, hopefully saving them from some of the acne issues that both my husband and I experienced when we were younger.

The AcneFree system uses micro-sized benzoyl peroxide, which is designed to work faster and penetrate deeper into pores. Their studies show that you can see results in as little as 1-3 days, and my boys did see impressive results by the third day.

Though the system is designed to use all three products daily, my boys have found that they don't need to use the lotion every day. Washing their face with the face wash and using the toner daily, while adding the lotion on alternating days, has been very effective at keeping their skin relatively clear without overdoing it.

And the best part -- the AcneFree 24-Hour Acne Clearing System is on rollback right now for just $13.97! The weekly dermatologist visits that I needed in high school were at least twice that -- and likely much more (obviously I wasn't footing the bill).

AcneFree has also partnered with SoftLens to help students put their best face forward this year. Though my boys don't need contacts, I've heard great things about the SoftLens daily disposables. With benefits like the following, I'll definitely consider them in the future if we have the need!

  • No daily cleaning, storage, or care required; wear them for a day, then, throw them away
  • Simple packaging makes it easy to pack contact lenses in your travel bag, gym bag, or your purse
  • High Definition™ Optics help reduce blur, halos, and glare across a full range of conditions
  • Slow release packaging solution delivers outstanding all-day comfort

Be sure to ask your doctor about a 5-day supply of SoftLens daily disposables, as well as a $20 Contact Lens Fitting Fee Rebate with the purchase of a six-month supply!

I know I can't protect my boys from all of the difficulties that middle school will entail, I'm glad I can at least help ease the way with products like these.

Walmart Moms Disclosure


You're probably wondering what this rather strange-looking mask is all about... The illuMask is an innovative skincare device that was developed to gently improve your skin's appearance via light therapy.

Yeah, it sounds a little too good to be true, but the truth is, light therapy has been widely used by dermatologists to reduce acne and improve the signs of aging for years. In fact, when I was going through a particularly rough patch of breakouts during high school, I went to the dermatologist weekly for light therapy -- at a much higher price tag than the illuMask, which can be purchased at Walmart for just $29.97.

There are actually two versions of the illuMask -- one that targets anti-aging and another that targets acne. You can actually use them concurrently if you're struggling with both issues. Each mask is good for a total of 30 treatments, meaning you can get results for less than $1 per day.

The illuMask is designed to be used once per day, and each treatment session lasts for 15 minutes. I find myself actually looking forward to my nightly treatment, using it as an excuse for a little me time. I plug my headphones in and listen to music and just veg out -- something I probably wouldn't do otherwise.

I first started using the illuMask Anti-Aging Light Therapy Mask when we returned from a weeklong beach vacation. My skin was parched, peeling slightly, and definitely in need of some TLC. I saw results within the first few days -- my skin was brighter and smoother. And I've continued to see improvements in the texture and tone of my skin.

A couple of important notes:

Once you initiate an illuMask treatment, you cannot pause it during the 15-minute session. The lights degrade over time, so after 30 treatments, you will no longer be able to activate the device. Because of this, make sure you can complete an entire 15-minute treatment before starting a session, and I'd also recommend keeping the mask away from little fingers that may accidentally trigger a session.

Also, the illuMask has not been tested for use while pregnant of breastfeeding, so if this applies to you, use it at your own discretion.

As I mentioned, the illuMask is now available for purchase in-store at Walmart or online on

I'm about 15 days into my treatment sessions at this point, and I'm very excited to see what the results will be like once I complete the 30 days. I'm definitely considering making illuMask a regular part of my skin care regimen indefinitely!

Walmart Moms Disclosure


Updating My Skincare Routine for Summer

by Tara Kuczykowski on August 11, 2014 · 0 comments

Perhaps you recall my post sharing my simplified skincare routine using POND'S Cold Cream Cleanser and POND'S Towelettes a few months ago. At that time, I was using the cold cream for cleansing at night and the towelettes to refresh in the morning and after workouts.

As I'm sure you're aware, skin care is not one size fits all, and even when you find a routine that's working, it still may need some tweaking from season to season. So I wanted to share a quick update on how I've modified my routine for the hot summer months!

I'm still using both the POND'S Cold Cream Cleanser and Towelettes in my routine; however, I've found that the cold cream can be a bit heavy for my skin in the summer month, because it's naturally more oily this time of the year. I do think it's more effective at removing my stubborn eye makeup, so I use it for that, PLUS it provides the extra hydration that I do need in my eye area.

I cleanse the rest of my face with the towelettes, which do a fantastic job of getting my skin deep clean, PLUS they instantly provide just enough hydration to keep my skin glowing in the summer months.

I alternate between all three varieties -- Original Fresh, Exfoliating Renewal, and Evening Soothe -- depending on my skin's needs on any given day. Original Fresh is a great all-purpose formulation, while the Exfoliating Renewal is perfect for using a few times a week to gently polish away dull, dry skin. Evening Soothe is my go-to product on those evenings when I realize that I may have gotten a little too much sun earlier in the day. On these days, I also use a little extra POND'S Dry Skin Cream to soothe away any redness.

As the weather turns colder, I'm sure I'll be adapting my simplified skincare routine yet again, but the beauty of using the combination of POND'S Cold Cream Cleanser and POND'S Towelettes is that both products pair to keep my skin beautiful year round!

Try POND'S Cold Cream Cleanser or POND'S Towelettes for yourself with this $1/1 POND'S Product printable coupon!

I'm thrilled to announce that I'm partnering with POND'S for the year as part of the POND'S Beauty Brigade to share how I've been able to PLUS UP my beauty routine with their timeless products!


Seriously, where have these pens been all my life? If you haven't tried Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pens yet, you really need to pick up a pack....

The FriXion Ball Clicker is the world’s first retractable, erasable gel ink pen. These pens write smoothly and erase cleanly -- and they come in eight gorgeous, vibrant colors, including Turquoise, Purple, Green, Pink, Black, Blue, Red, and Navy.

If you've tried erasable ink pens in the past and been disappointed (I know I have been), you're in for a real treat. I was curious about how the FriXion Ball Clickers can possibly erase so cleanly, so I did a little research on their site. It turns out that Pilot has developed a special thermo-sensitive gel ink formula that disappears with erasing friction -- which means that you can erase and rewrite repeatedly without damaging documents!

I've got so many ideas for how to put these amazing pens to use! I mean, the possibilities are endless, especially for students...

  • Easily write color coded to-do lists, while still being able to erase and move items around as needed.
  • Color code your class notes with the ability to erase as necessary.
  • Mark up your child's schoolwork and erase your notes after they've corrected their mistakes.

How am I going to use these pens? Being a bit of a perfectionist, it drives me crazy when I write due dates and events in my planner and then they get rescheduled. Now I can write my notes and events freely and without worry, because I can easily erase and move things around -- and my planner looks perfectly organized!

Give these amazing pens a try for yourself at a special FriXion Clicker event taking place at over 850 Walmart locations tomorrow. You can even pick up a coupon toward the purchase of a package of these pens.

Exclusive Walmart FriXion Clicker In-Store Shopper Event:
- Saturday, August 9th
- 11am - 4pm
- At the testing station receive a coupon for $1 off a 2-pack or larger of Pilot FriXion Clicker pens

You can also purchase Pilot FriXion Clicker Erasable Gel Pens online on!

Do you have any other ideas for ways to use these colorful, erasable pens?

Walmart Moms Disclosure