Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Coconut Oil Hair Mask for beautiful, healthy tresses!


In case you have not heard of the great benefits of coconut oil, allow me to fill you in! You can cook with it, use it for it's healing properties (including improving digestion and immunity against a plethora of infections and diseases), and it is also good for healthy skin and hair!



Good to hair? Umm, heck ya! Coconut oil helps in healthy growth of hair and gives your hair a shiny quality. You can use regular coconut oil as a hair conditioner, however, it can be greasy. Anytime I have tried, I have to wash my hair once or twice before I can style as usual. To me, the double washing is sort of defeating the purpose.

I recently got the opportunity to review an amazing coconut oil hair mask, by First Botany Cosmeceuticals. The main ingredient is Coconut Oil, but it also contains Ginger Extract, and Rosehip Seed Oil, with Vitamins like E and B5. It is a special combination to create the perfect hair conditioning mask, without leaving your hair greasy! I have naturally curly hair and always blow drying and using a flat iron can be very rough on it. I often notice split ends and frizz. Ugh. Two things I really hate. This product is Sulfate free and Paraben free, and made with natural ingredients so it is safe for all hair types. I used this product for the first time this week...



Now wait a minute! Before you scroll down any further and see  my weird photo, let me explain! This is my secret to deep conditioning.

Yes, you can apply the hair mask while in the shower, and let's say shave your legs or something while you leave it on for 5 minutes or so. Then just rinse it out and be done with it. That will work just fine. But, what I find to give a really amazing deep conditioning?

This is what I do...


I take a shower and apply the coconut oil hair mask just before I'm ready to get out of the shower. Squeeze access water from your hair so that it is not dripping wet. Dry yourself off as you normally would and put on a robe. Then, take a plastic bag, like the kind you get from a grocery store, and use it to wrap your hair up in. The heat that naturally comes off of your head will be held in by the plastic bag and this heat increases the conditioning power. You can also wrap a towel on your head, over the plastic bag. Yes, you look a bit silly, but it is only for a few minutes. I left the plastic bag on for 15 minutes, then just rinsed out my hair by leaning over the tub. (no need to hop back in the shower this way)

Ok, now that I have explained why it is that I am wearing a plastic bag on my head, I can share the picture...pardon the lack of make-up as well. As I said, I had just gotten out of the shower. The plastic bag thing is probably distracting enough to cover up the no make-up thing anyhow, lol. Ahh, what we do for beauty, right?


This deep conditioning mask left my hair feeling soft and silky. I really enjoyed the light coconut scent as well. I noticed that my hair was easier to style, less frizzy, and no need for use of additional products. It looked and felt healthy and amazing without having to do another thing!
My results after using this Coconut Oil Hair Mask :)

I would recommend this product to anyone who needs some extra conditioning for their tresses! A big thank you to the First Botany Company for allowing me to try their product! If you are interested in trying their Coconut Oil Hair Mask for yourself, visit this link!



Disclaimer; This is a sponsored post and I received this product for free, in exchange for offering my honest and unbiased review, and blogging about my experience.


Friday, April 22, 2016

Our Earth Day Fun, plus some tips on how to Go Green!

 
Earth. There is only the one. This one, the one you are on right now.
 
No matter a person's nationality, religious beliefs, or political stand...one thing nearly everyone can agree on is that we need to take care of our planet. So, perfect time to acknowledge this?...
Earth Day :)
 

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.

 
As adults we know the basics. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse. However, it is also our job to teach our kids, the next generation, about taking care of our environment. So, every year around Earth Day, I remind my son about being kind to our planet. It is also the perfect time to do some planting of flowers and picking up garbage we see laying around outside. I know it might be slightly old-school, but the "Give a hoot, Don't pollute!" slogan still sticks with me from my childhood and I continue to say it to this very day!

 
This week, we got a jump start on some planting. Since we live in Western New York, where it tends to have crazy weather, we were not comfortable planting flowers in the ground yet. In case temperatures drop low and we get a frost, they would die. So, we took the safe route and planted some flowers in pots and then we will transplant them outside once the flowers have started to grow and we know we are safe to plant them outside as far as the weather goes.
 
 
 
 
My son, who is 7 years old, absolutely loves flowers! He always has. When ever we go for walks, he loves to talk about all the different types of flowers we see. So, for him, planting flowers is always a super fun activity to do! His favorite? Shasta Daisies! I imagine most 7 year olds would not know specific flowers, like Shasta Daisies, but mine does!

Some beautiful weather allowed us to do our planting and soak up some sun!

 
 
 
 
So, since it is Earth Day and all, let's dig deeper than just simply planting flowers. We have all heard the term "Living Green", but what does that mean to you? What steps can you take?
 
 

Go Green!

 
Driving Green? In this day in age, we have the option of Hybrid cars! Perhaps you can consider trading in your gas guzzler for a hybrid or at least a compact car that is good on gas. If we all did this, it would potentially have a huge impact on the environment!
 
Recycle? 1 in 20 adults admit they never recycle. Thankfully, that sounds fairly decent because that means 19 out of 20 are doing some sort of recycling! Thank you! But, my guess is, we could all do better!
 
Water usage? Do you leave the water running while you brush your teeth? Do you constantly water your grass all summer long? Yes, I understand you want your yard to has grass and not a crispy burnt mess, but good water management is important. Try to not waste water is all I'm suggesting.
 
Who turned out the lights? Don't forget one of the most simple ways to do your part is to just turn off the lights when you don't need them. Unplug electronic devices when you're not using them. For example, keeping a microwave plugged in will continue to use a small amount of electricity, even when you are not using it.

 

Bottom line is we can all try to help, and not hurt our planet!

Today, my son is supporting the cause with this "Go Green" t-shirt. A simple (and cute) reminder to all to try and live an environment-friendly lifestyle, which includes recycling, reusing, and reducing our waste!

 

 
You can find many "Go Green" t-shirts at by clicking here!
 
 

What things to you do to recycle, reduce and reuse?

Do you do anything special for Earth Day?

 
This is a sponsored post and I may have been compensated for my time,
but all opinions are genuine and my own.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

8 Tips for Buying a House

 
 
These last few months have been crazy! My hubby and I have been house hunting and let me tell you, it is no easy feat! There are so many things to consider when making what could possibly be the largest purchase of your life...and it can be very stressful. When we first sat down with a mortgage broker, we had this "we got this" attitude about the home buying process, but we quickly got a reality check once we started. There were times we left the bank with our heads spinning! Ahh! Sleepless nights, loss of appetite, and hours of research later, we are getting closer to the end result...obtaining our dream house!

So, since I have been going through all of this recently, I figured I would write an article about some of the things I have learned during this process, perhaps sparing you a bit of the stress when you are house hunting. It is now spring time. A time when the housing market becomes flooded with new listings! This is a popular time of year for people to buy and sell. Many of you may be in the market to purchase a house. Whether you are first time home buyers or have been through the process before, there is no doubt, you will have a lot to do!
 
First thing before we really get into the meat of it, just take a deep breath. House hunting and buying is stressful, but you can make it less stressful by being prepared, staying calm, and staying level-headed. Purchasing a home is different for everyone. Are you buying a house with your spouse? Or alone? Do you have children that require a certain school district or number of bedrooms? Is there something specific your home must have? Maybe you require a home office or a room for guests to stay in if you often have visitors? All these different factors will play a huge role in your own personal home buying process.
 
 

So, let's start with tip number one...


  1. Create a list of must-haves, wants, and would-likes. If a specific location is a must, make sure that is right at the top of your list. If you really enjoy cooking, perhaps a kitchen equipped with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops is something you would really like your home to have. Perhaps large walk-in closets would make you swoon? But is it a deal breaker if you find a great house that does not have walk-ins? Make sure you carefully consider wants and needs. If you are making your home purchase with a spouse, you might not agree 100% on every aspect of your needs and wants. Be prepared to compromise. You may have to let go of something you wanted. That is not the end of the world. Talk through your options and keep communication open with your spouse during the entire process.
  2. Know your credit score. This can be a huge factor in getting approved for a mortgage. Most likely, you will find anything below a 640 is going to cause you trouble getting approved for one. Everyone would love a credit score of 850, but we know in this world of student loans and credit cards, most of us do not hit so high on the score board. Shoot for a 700. Realistically, this score is obtainable and will almost insure you can get approved. In some cases a better credit score will be a factor in your interest rate and the down payment required.
  3. Get Pre-Qualified for a mortgage. The first thing you should do is go to a bank and see if you can get pre-qualified for a mortgage. If you get a pre-qualification, they will give you an amount they determined you would be approved for. I will tell you though, this is not a guarantee of a mortgage. However, a pre-qualification is the starting point for the process, and gives you a good idea of what price range you should look at. Don't dream about that perfect house, getting your hopes up and heart set on it, only to find you won't qualify for a mortgage for it. Knowing your price range first can save you a lot of unnecessary stress.
  4. Create a budget. You might want the moon and the stars...but what can you really afford? Comfortably? Without making yourself house-broke? Keep in mind that when you buy a home, other expenses come along with it, aside from the mortgage. Will you have to purchase any appliances? How about furniture? Are you going to hire a moving company or a U-Haul truck? These things can quickly add up so make sure you give yourself a little wiggle room.  
  5. Closing coasts can hit souring amounts. I did not realize the cost of closing on a home until we actually got into the process. It can get expensive! Very expensive. Talk to the bank you are working with and get a soft quote on the expenses. A lot of the cost will depend on the type of loan you are going with. Some require 5% down, where others can be 20%. Other factors are what the lawyer fees are, the home's property taxes, and so on. The one thing that was news to me was that the first year's property tax needs to be paid up front. I always heard the taxes were rolled into the mortgage, which is true, after the first year. So, for example, if the home you want has annual property taxes of $3,000...you will need that 3k up front in cash, on top of everything else. Start saving!
  6. Find a good realtor to work with. Just like in any field, there are people good at their jobs and others that are, umm, not so much. Talk to others in your area that have been through the process. Often times word of mouth is the best way to find a really good realtor. Once you find one you feel comfortable with, and let them know everything you are looking for and what your price range is. They will be able to help you find contenders and set up showings. You want someone who will work for you and with you!
  7. Once you start touring homes that you are interested in, go in with your eyes and mind open. Take it all in. Inside and out. If a home is currently lived in, try not to focus on the current owner's furniture or decorations. Those things are not staying with the home. Look past them. Try to envision the rooms empty or with your own touches in it. Look at the major points...The layout, the condition of walls, windows, floors, foundation, and roof. Ask a lot of questions. How old is the roof? What sort of heating and/or cooling system does the home have? Does it have well water or a septic tank? Is the home in a flood zone that will require you to carry flood insurance?
  8. Once you decided on a house, made an offer and the offer was accepted; having a home inspection done is a great idea. Make sure you include it when you make an offer; simply stating that it is contingent on the home passing an inspection. This will cost you approx. 300-600 dollars, but is well worth it. This professional home inspector will look for any major problems in the home. Often times if something is found, for example the home needs a new roof, the home owners can be asked to make the repair before the sale goes through, or you can use it to lower the selling price and have the work done yourself. If worse comes to worse, it gives you the option to walk away from the deal. If a home has many unseen issues, a bad foundation, termites, leaks, etc...it could have just saved you from buying the biggest problem of your life!

Take your time (if possible) and make sure you feel comfortable with your end decision. Whether you plan to live in the home the rest of your life or just a few years, it is going to be a major part of your life. I hope these tips can help you to make a wise decision and ease the tension of the process.
 
Please feel free to share any additional tips or tell us a personal experience you had :)

Happy House Hunting!

 
 
 



 

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Goulash Recipe



Sometimes a fairly simple dish can be the most delicious! I'm bringing back an old favorite from my childhood with this one! I really don't know many who wouldn't like this for dinner.  Serve with some fresh bread and perhaps a salad and you have a perfect meal!

Let's get right into how it is made so you can serve this to your family tonight!

 

Ingredients:


1 pound ground beef
1 large green pepper
1 onion
1 box elbow noodles
1 large jar sauce
garlic powder
olive oil
salt
pepper
mozzarella cheese

Instructions:


  1. In a large pot, fill half way with water and bring to a boil. Add about 2 tsps. of salt. Add 1 box elbow noodles and stir occasionally.
  2. Dice 1 green pepper and 1/2 onion. set aside.
  3. In a large pan, add a tsp of olive oil and bring to a medium/high heat. Add 1 pound of ground beef. I used 90/10 so that it is less fat. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 2 tbsp. garlic powder. Cook meat thoroughly, stirring often.
  4. Add diced green pepper and onion to the meat and continue to cook.
  5. Once meat is cooked, add sauce into the pan. I used a spaghetti sauce that had red peppers, wine and Spicy Italian Sausage in it. You may use any sauce of your choice (but the sausage gives it an amazing flavor!) Lower heat to medium and allow the meat and sauce to cook for approx. 5 additional minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Once elbow noodles are fully cooked, drain and place them back onto the large pot.
  7. Add the meat and sauce from the pan, into the large pot, and mix with elbow noodles until well blended.
  8. Put the goulash into a serving dish a add shredded mozzarella cheese on top (and more on each serving if your dinner guests wish!)




 
 


 



 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Don't Settle for another Boring Breakfast!



I know many people who always stick to the same boring breakfast most days a week...and many times that is just a quick bowl of cereal. Or, like my son, who would gladly eat scrabbled eggs and toast about 360 days a year lol. Well, if you want something fairly simple but yet off the everyday and ordinary trend...why not give this a try!?!
 
I have been trying to come up with a name for this special breakfast treat, since there is not a specific one for this exact creation that I am aware of. Maybe y'all can help me some up with a name for this. You start off by making pancakes. Yep, see?...I told you it really is simple. So, make as many pancakes as you and/or your crew will scarf down! But we won't be stopping there.........

 
 
Ok, so pancakes are good when done in the traditional way; with syrup...but, don't settle for another boring breakfast! Take those boring pancakes and make them something special! So, in addition to the pancakes, you will need some sour cream and strawberry jelly. If you rather go with a different fruit spread, go for it!...we just like strawberry best!
 
 
Simply take each pancake and spread on a thin layer of sour scream. Next, spoon on some jelly and spread evenly on top of the pancake. Then, nothing is left but to dig in! It takes a boring pancake to a whole new level! This is so good, it almost could be considered a dessert! The combination is so delicious!
 


 
A few people have seen me make this and I think the sour scream seems to throw them off...I get a reaction like, "you're putting sour cream on that?" - along with a weird scrunched up face. But I swear, the combo is great! If you feel more comfortable using a whipped scream cheese, by all means my friend, go for it. Either way you try it, I can almost guarantee that it will be a breakfast favorite!
 
So, now this Hometown Queen Bee dish needs a good name! Any suggestions???
 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Flameless Candle with remote control


I really enjoy this product! I love the relaxing light of this flameless candle. The fact that it can be controlled by remote is even better! And if you have kids in the house, how nice is it to have the effect of a candle burning, without the possible danger?

This looks great on any type of mantel, shelf, or table. It can even be used for weddings or other special occasions. It is so easy to use and offers option for the brightness of the candle and the length of use. You can even set it to automatically shut off after 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours. The candle stands 7" tall and the "flame" actually has a flicker to it, making it look very realistic.

I have used this in the evenings while relaxing. I am the type that often burns candles but it is nice knowing that this is much safer than traditional candles. I really like the romantic mood this candle offers!

 
 
Disclaimer; I received this product at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Where has the Hometown Queen Bee been???

I can't believe it has been nearly a year since I sat in front of this screen as the "Hometown Queen Bee" and wrote a blog po...