Monday, February 23, 2015

Play Love Laugh---Kid-Safe, Vegetable-based Nail Polish (a review)

Do you have a little girl who loves fancy nails?

play love laugh-001

Play Love Laugh, Inc. has developed a kid-safe, vegetable-based nail polish that comes in all the trendy colors, including pearls and sparkles. 

I recently had the opportunity to try out their pearly Pink Rose polish with 5-year-old Emma and…

She is in love! 


The Pink Rose is her favorite color (it even matches her bright pink ballet leotard). 

This plant-based polish stands up pretty well to her high energy lifestyle---we’ve had lesser polishes completely chip off  within a couple of days.

Ease of use:

Play Love Laugh goes on just like regular nail polish.  I did find that it was thicker and a tad less smooth going on than my Sally Hansen

The finish also has less of a high gloss, but nail polish finishes can vary quite a bit, so it really just depends upon what look you are going for and what polish you normally use. 

Here’s a photographic comparison between the Pink Rose Play Love Laugh and Virtual Violet Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear .  This is shortly after application (I’m going to show you another picture later after a couple days wear):


What we love:

Truly low odor!  Usually my boys can tell that we’ve been polishing nails the instant they walk into a room.  Not so with Play Love Laugh.  My super sensitive 9-year-old didn’t even wrinkle his nose.  It does have a very slight odor, but I couldn’t smell it at all without sniffing the open bottle.  If nail polish normally gives you a headache, this is worth a try.

Dries fast and only needs 2 coats for full coverage.  It also sets/cures much faster than regular nail polish, so an active girl can go back about her business.

Does not require a solvent (aka “nail polish remover”) to be removed!  In fact, if you get a little on your cuticle or finger next to your nail, you can easily rub it off with your fingernail---no messing around with little cotton swabs of remover.

Easy, non-stinky removal---Play Love Laugh is waterproof, but if you soak your nails in warm water (or in the bath), the polish will soften and you can easily peel/scratch it off.  This is a bit of a con, as well, which I’ll get to in a minute.  To re-harden your polish, run some cold water over it.  Another plus---badly chip the polish on one nail? You can easily remove it and polish it again without damaging the polish on your other nails.

IMG_0521Emma soaking her fingertips to remove the Play Love Laugh nail polish.


IMG_0523Peeled off nailpolish


IMG_0522Clean nails after removing Play Love Laugh

Ever have trouble getting all the regular polish off with the remover?  Play Love Laugh comes completely off, leaving no residue. 

More durable on my little girl’s nails than regular nail polish.  Really?  Yes, really.  It does chip, but it seems to hold up a little better.

Here is the Play Love Laugh vs Sally Hansen after 2 days.  Note:  Emma is left-handed.

Right hand:


Left hand:


It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but the Sally Hansen polish on her ring finger has a large swath that has rubbed off.  The pointer finger Sally Hansen got messed up within an hour after I put it on---I guess it had not completely set.  I put both polishes on at the same time, so they had equal time to cure before she started playing.  The Play Love Laugh has only chipped at the very fingertips.

Eco and kid friendly!  This polish is made from fruits and veggies and doesn’t have the harmful chemicals you’ll find in the nail polish from your drugstore.   No toxic fumes and no worries about kids who put their fingers in their mouths---my 5-year-old keeps checking her loose tooth, so she often has a finger in her mouth. 

A con:

If you tend to have your hands in hot water a lot (say, you like to shower daily and wash your hair), Play Love Laugh is probably going to be better for your toes---I did try this polish on my own fingernails, because I wanted to see what would happen.  A hot shower and the abrasion from my hair when I washed it took the polish RIGHT off. 

This is minor for me---I don’t generally wear polish on my fingernails anyway and really intended to use this with my little girl.  It’s perfect for her.

Highly recommended:  I think Play Love Laugh nail polish is best suited for young girls (who still have mama washing their hair) and/or toenails.

Visit Play Love Laugh to purchase their nail polish in a rainbow of colors.  Prices range from $5.99 +s&h for a single bottle to $17.99 +s&h for a 3-pack.

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Play Love Laugh and through Tomoson in order to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation. All opinions expressed here are my own---you know I will always tell you what I really think.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Don’t Compare Your Darkest Moments to Someone’s Highlight Reel

The other day I read a post where the blogger was showing you how to stage your own “baby birthday cake smash” photography session without having to hire a professional photographer.  It got me thinking about how what we see around us is getting further and further from reality.

highlight reel-001Babies have been smashing cake on their first birthdays for…well, for a long, long, LONG time.  And while it may be a memorable family event that mamas and papas would want to capture on film (or digital memory), this idea of staging it in a photography studio or hiring a photographer to come out and stage it for you is…well, somehow it seems contrary to the whole thing here.

One of the attractions of “candid” photos taken by a non-professional is that the resulting pics are real, not merely staged phantoms of what is real.  But real. 

This really happened. 

But then there are those professional photos that are carefully lit, posed, and retouched.  Even when they are of things that really happened (whether it be in the moment or a recreation), there is a quality of unreal about them.  

It’s real, and yet it’s not real.

How about those carefully staged food photos (food photos have been a thing for a long time) that have been fixed so the colors pop and everything is perfect. 

My food never looks like that.  Even the food at the fancy schmancy restaurant doesn’t really look like that until it is photographed with a special lens and retouched.

It was not that many years ago that the false images only appeared in print advertising, TV, movies, and magazines.  But now we are inundated with these images of unreality every day (unless you live technology free and never go anywhere). 

Photos on blogs are fixed and made pinnable.  Instagram photos have special affects applied.   Anyone can add special effects using online editors.

That’s just the pictures.  Then there’s the words.  The millions (billions?) of little bits that people choose to share with you online.  Everyone is sharing their best of---but just like the professionally produced million-dollar blockbusters, they are not sharing the miles of words and images they left on the cutting room floor.

It’s natural that people would want to put their best foot forward in public---we’re human, after all. 

We want to be liked.  We want to be admired.  We don’t want to be criticized.

So it makes perfect sense that people would edit their photos and words before broadcasting them over the internet.  The internet is forever!  Exposing yourself there is a scary business.

But the other side of being human is that we compare ourselves to what we see and read.  The problem is that we’re comparing ourselves to what is not real and so we can’t hope to measure up.

It’s a little like comparing yourself to a Disney princess.  I mean you wouldn’t, right?  Because how could you measure up to a perfectly drawn fictitious character?

And yet we compare ourselves to these false images.  Images that have some basis in reality, but that are not exactly real.

So, what does that have to do with parenting and homeschooling?

I just want to encourage you.  For every word or image you read in a homeschool book, in a forum, on a blog, or on social media…there are thousands more that will never be shared with the public. 

And that’s ok. 

But don’t compare your private life to someone else’s public life. 

It’s not fair to you or to them.  If you must compare, take those snippets that you’d like to share with the world (your highlight reels!) and compare them.

If you feel like you are drowning, you need real support, not pretty pictures. 

Many of us have been right where you are or at least know that feeling.  Don’t be afraid to ask for support. 

I’d love to encourage you on your journey. 

What are you struggling with right now in your homeschool?

Message me through my FB page or drop me a line.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Perfect Meal for Ash Wednesday

After fasting all day while schooling, then rushing off to our homeschool group’s Little Flowers Girls Club and Boy-Powered Creations Club , and finally coming home at dinner time…well it was nice to have a hearty, meatless meal waiting in the crockpot.

Not sure what to call it…started out as a bean soup, but then thickened to more of a chili consistency.  Whatever you call it, it was good.  I served this with a loaf of bread from the bread machine.

Susan's Meatless Bean Chili Soup @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Susan’s Bean Chili Soup

Warning….canned and jarred goods alert.  I swear that I don’t normally cook this way, but sometimes that convenience food is oh so convenient.  Trust, me, it’s good.  You could definitely sub dried beans that you cooked yourself and homemade salsa.  This recipe is for those days you don’t have a ton of prep time.

Feeds: 6 very hungry people, including 3 adult-sized people who fasted all day for Ash Wednesday, 2 almost adult-size people with healthy appetites, and 1 little person who would rather eat PB & J.  There was a teeny bit left over.  Hubby reflected that maybe we need a bigger crockpot.

  • 2 cans of black beans (drained)
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (drained)
  • 1 24 oz jar mild salsa (Aldi, y’all!)
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • black pepper
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2-1 cup brown rice
  1. Dump the beans into your crockpot.  Mine is a 6 quart.  This recipe did not completely fill it, but I’d say it was about 3/4 full with all the ingredients in there ( I probably could have increased the amount a tad).
  2. Sprinkle in your seasonings until it looks seasoned.  Yeah, I know, I totally did not measure.  You can adjust the seasoning after it had cooked a few hours.
  3. Dump in the salsa.  Stir.
  4. Pour in the water and stir carefully.
  5. Put your lid on your crock and set it to high.  Depending upon your crock and how long it is until dinner, you might want to turn it down to low after a couple hours.  What I did:  started it a 9 am at high, turned it down to low at 11 and left it there, then turned it back up to high at 2 pm when I added the rice in step #6. 
  6. About 3 hours prior to dinner time, add your rice (I used a little less than 1 full cup, because that was what was left in that bag . Winking smile  You could use less for a thinner soup or more for a thicker soup).  Cook on high until the rice is tender AND you are ready to serve.  If it’s the way you like it and it’s too early, just turn it down to low or warm.  Different crocks cook differently.  I probably could have turned mine down an hour sooner, but I was out of the house by then.

Serve up your chili soup with some shredded cheddar on top and freshly baked bread on the side (cornbread would be yummy).  Enjoy!