From the category archives:

living on less

One thing I've realized over the past few years is that I have sensitive skin. All of those breakouts that I tried to combat with acne-fighting products weren't caused by oily skin -- in fact, these products just exacerbated the problem. Once I started treating my skin with a gentler touch, my blemishes became much fewer and further between.

So a couple of winters ago when I suddenly developed an intensely itchy, red rash all over my torso, I assumed that it was some sort of allergic reaction. I tried switching laundry detergents -- didn't help. I tried moisturizing with oils and lotions -- didn't help. I tried various essential oils -- they provided some relief, but overall I didn't find a combination that made the rash disappear.

Finally, just when I thought I was doomed to a summer of sitting by the pool fully clothed, the rash simply disappeared. I wasn't exactly sure why it went away, but I was grateful that it did.

But then fast forward to December 2014, my rash returned with a vengeance. Desperate for some relief, I tried an eczema lotion that a friend recommended, and it actually helped -- but I was never fully at ease with the long list of questionable ingredients it contained...

When Walmart asked if I was interested in trying SheaMoisture's Baby Care line, I almost said no. After all, we have no babies in our home anymore. However, I took a quick peek at the SheaMoisture website before answering, and after reading about the products, I started wondering if perhaps this was just what I was looking for to treat my itchy skin. So I offered to give the body wash and lotion a try -- on myself.

The SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Care line is made from century-old recipes passed down from the founder and CEO's grandmother, Sofi. These baby products are formulated with natural, certified organic and ethically-sourced ingredients from around the world, including shea butter, frankincense, myrrh, and argan oil. Targeted to a newborn's delicate skin, I figured the gentle and simple wash and lotion might be just what I need to pamper my skin during the colder months.

I used the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe Wash & Shampoo as a body wash. The first thing I noticed was how well this product lathers -- a very small amount is all you need for a thick, rich lather.

And the scent is simply ah-mazing! I'm not sure how to describe it. It's very clean, soothing, comforting and totally delightful. I love that this product didn't leave my ski feeling tight and dry, as so many soaps and body washes do.

I followed the body wash up with the SheaMoisture Raw Shea, Chamomile & Argan Oil Baby Head-to-Toe, and oh my, is this stuff thick and rich! In fact, it's so thick that sometimes I found myself having to vigorously pump the bottle to get the lotion to come out. But the extra effort is totally worth it...

The lotion has the same amazing scent as the wash, and it does an amazing job of soothing my itchy, inflamed skin and locking in moisture. My skin felt so much better just the first time I used it, and it's continued to improve with each use. Though this is about the time of year when my eczema disappeared on its own last year (I'm pretty sure mine's triggered by cold, dry temps), I really feel like this lotion has improved my skin dramatically, and I plan to continue using both products indefinitely.

My takeaway from all of this? Don't be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to searching out products for problem skin. If your skin is sensitive, like mine, perhaps a gentle product targeted at babies is the perfect solution.

Find both of these products at your local Walmart store and online:

Walmart Moms Disclosure


Taking the Burt’s Bees #28DayFaceCleanse Challenge

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 21, 2015 · 2 comments

I've long been a fan of the classic Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm and Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream, and I really appreciate their dedication to creating sustainable, natural products, while protecting our bee population. However, I've never tried any of their facial care products, so when Walmart approached me to take the Burt's Bees #28DayFaceCleanse challenge, I was totally game!

The Burt's Bees Renewal Claim

Every 28 days, your skin renews itself. Burt's Bees claims that their new Renewal line of skincare products, infused with Hibiscus and Apple Rejuvenating Complex, will help you see firmer, smoother, healthier-looking skin in just 28 days. The Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line contains five different products:

Take the Burt's Bees #28DayFaceCleanse Challenge

I soooo hate taking selfies, but above you can check out my before pic for the 28-Day Face Cleanse challenge. The challenge itself is really easy -- just sign up on the Burt's Bees website here (you can win some awesome prizes!!!), and then use products from the Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line for 28 days. At the end of the 28 days, share your results using #28DayFaceCleanse to win!

For the purposes of the challenge, I chose to use the Refining Cleanser and the Firming Night Cream. I quickly discovered that the cleanser wasn't a product suited to daily use for my skin. I typically prefer an all-in-one cleanser that will also remove my eye makeup while cleansing. Since this cleanser containts exfoliating granules, it couldn't be used in the eye area. Plus my skin is somewhat sensitive, and daily exfoliation leads to redness and irritation. So I decided to place it in the shower and used it every few days, which was perfect for my needs.

As for the night cream, I simply loved this product! It has a very pleasant light and refreshing scent, and it provides just enough moisturization without being too heavy and greasy, as often seems the case with a night cream. In fact, I actually started using it both day and night, because it was so light. Oh, and a little goes a looonnnggg way -- the container looks like I've barely touched it, even after a month's worth of twice daily use.

I'm not sure just how evident it is in this photo, but after the 28 days, I can definitely say that my skin feels softer, smoother, and more moisturized!

$3.00 off ONE Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care

The Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care line is available in Walmart stores and on If you're shopping your local store, be sure to print this coupon to save $3.00 off ONE Burt's Bees Renewal Face Care product -- this will make the cleanser just $6.76!

Walmart Moms Disclosure


Fight Hunger Spark Change With Walmart

by Tara Kuczykowski on April 12, 2015 · 1 comment

In a perfect world, every family would have access to affordable, nutritious and sustainably grown food. Unfortunately, reality is that one in six Americans is unable to secure adequate nutrition. Imagine having to make the choice between putting food on your table or other basic necessities -- where would you turn?

Thankfully there are networks, like Feeding America, that offer hope to families experiencing food insecurity. But Feeding America relies heavily on donations from food and grocery industries, government agencies, individuals and other organizations to serve their communities, and that's where Walmart has stepped up to the plate.

To assist in supporting the need for donations, Walmart developed the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign. Along with six suppliers -- Campbell's, ConAgra Foods, General Mills, Kellogg Company, Kraft, and Unilever -- Walmart hopes to make an impact by educating and raising awareness about the issue of hunger to the more than 250 million people that shop at Walmart each week.

3 Easy Ways to Get Involved and Help Fight Hunger
Walmart customers can get involved by choosing one, two, or all three of the options for getting involved below!

  • Purchase: Purchase one of the 239 participating products in Walmart stores nationwide, and the supplier will make a donation to help Feeding America secure a meal on behalf of a local food bank. For every item purchased, a meal will be secured for the local Feeding America food bank.*
  • Donate: Customers will also be able to donate on behalf of a local Feeding America food bank at the cash register during check out.
  • Share: Grab friends, family or co-workers and take a picture of six people who share your commitment to fighting hunger. Then, publish the picture on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, make the post public and include the hashtag #WeSparkChange. For every public post connected to the #WeSparkChange hashtag, Walmart will donate $10, up to a maximum donation of $1.5 million, to Feeding America and their member food banks.

This campaign will run in U.S. Walmart stores from April 6 to May 3, so get out and get involved! Learn more at:

*DISCLAIMER: For every participating product purchased at Walmart between April 6th and May 3rd, 2015, the manufacturer will donate $0.10 to Feeding America® -- enough to secure 1 meal on behalf of local food banks -- up to each manufacturer’s maximum donation. Each manufacturer’s maximum donation is provided on the participating packages. See package or for details.

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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As a mom of a larger-than-average family, I'm very conscious of my family's ecological footprint. With a quick glance at the curb each trash day, it's pretty evident that we produce substantially more waste than our neighbors. So we're always looking for simple ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

But practicing sustainability at home is only one small step in a larger global issue, so I believe it's vitally important that we, as consumers, start voting with our wallets by supporting manufacturers and retailers that practice sustainability.

As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has set some pretty lofty goals with regards to sustainability:

  • Energy -- Be supplied 100% by renewable energy
  • Waste -- Create zero waste
  • Products -- Sell products that sustain people and the environment

You can read more about the steps they're taking to achieve these goals here, but the one that really stood out to me is the Acres for America initiative, a 10-year, $35 million commitment to purchase and preserve 1 acre of wildlife habitat in the U.S. for every acre of land Walmart develops. I'm grateful that Walmart has such a vision for preserving land for my grandchildren and beyond.

In addition to maintaining a set of corporate sustainability goals, Walmart is also looking toward promoting brands that have been deemed sustainability leaders. Walmart believes that consumers shouldn’t have to choose between affordability and sustainability when shopping in a Walmart store or online. To make it easy to shop for products produced by companies deemed as sustainability leaders within an industry via Walmart's Sustainability Index, they've developed a Sustainability Badge which makes it easy to identify these brands in a crowd.

Taking it one step further even, Walmart has created the Sustainability Leaders shop on which simplifies shopping for products produced by Sustainability Leaders within a category. Within the shop, you'll find more than 10,000 products made by companies identified as leaders in a category. Here's a video that gives a quick overview on how to navigate the shop:

Visit the Sustainability Leaders shop at For more details on the Sustainability Index, please visit

Walmart Moms Disclosure


If you're still on the hunt for some adorable and inexpensive Easter basket stuffers, have I got a suggestion for you... Have you seen the itty bittys line of adorable, pint-sized plush characters?

Available exclusively at Hallmark stores, itty bittys are the perfect size for collecting -- and I have no doubt that my kids are going to want to collect them all! Featuring iconic characters from film, comics and television, you're sure to find an itty bitty (or two, or even three or more!) for everyone on your list.

My girls went wild for Frozen's Elsa and Anna, while my youngest son flipped for the Marvel characters. My personal favorite are the Wizard of Oz figures, but you should really check them all out for yourself!

By the way, Frozen fans will be thrilled to know that Olaf and Sven are scheduled to make an appearance in May. Can you hear my girls squealing?!? We'll be adding them to our collection for sure...

Hallmark Itty Bittys Coupon

Remember how I said "inexpensive"? Well, Hallmark itty bittys are only $6.95 -- so pretty inexpensive. But right now you can get them buy one get one 50% off! But you'll want to hurry -- this special B1G1 50% off offer is only valid through 4/5/15. Note that this offer is not valid on itty bittys sets or on jumbo itty bittys.

Tucked into an Easter basket filled with grass, along with a few packages of candy, itty bittys are definitely a budget-friendly treat! Now excuse me while I head to Hallmark to pick up a few more characters to round out our baskets -- Tinker Bell, Ariel and Iron Man have been requested...

Which ittys bittys will you be picking up for Easter?

This post is brought to you by Hallmark. Follow Hallmark on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the latest itty bittys news and more. All opinions are 100% mine.