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About Samantha

I'm terrible at summing up who I am in one paragraph because I do so many different things and am influenced by so many wonderful people and experiences. At a glance, I'm the lucky mom of an amazing, inspiring little girl who spends her busy days growing a love of learning at Montessori school. I'm also the wife of a talented engineer husband who I get to work alongside with from home each day. I keep busy as a design researcher who also paints, sews, and gardens, and serve on the Board of Directors at my daughter's school. I also hold a limited teaching license in K-12 art, working with kindergartners on introductory art concepts once a week.

Since 7th grade, I've been coloring my hair and experimenting with makeup and clothing style. I love to shop and try new products, which led me to create this blog. The content has evolved to be more broad as my interests have expanded, but you'll still find product reviews, recipes, mom-friendly advice (art projects!), and gardening tips.

Shortly after my daughter was born, I was diagnosed with cancer and went through several major surgeries and chemo treatments that affected my skin and hair and self-image. Since then, I've placed more focus on finding healthier, better product choices for my family, seeking natural cleaners and soaps and finding cosmetics and other products that work with my now drier skin and hair. As a family, we've also transitioned to more fresh and organic foods, cooking from scratch most nights.

Popular posts from this blog

Pottery Barn Kids Lunch Bags: Cute, but Annoying

When my daughter transitioned to "big kid school" this fall, I bought her a personalized lunch bag from Pottery Barn Kids. This was our first time having to send lunch to school, so I wanted her to enjoy carrying the bag and also have it be practical. She's just turning 4, so it was important that she be able to open the bag herself and carry it from the car to the lunch cart without assistance.

Pottery Barn Kids offers a slew of fabric patterns and four bag styles. Penny picked the MacKenzie Chocolate Zebra classic lunch bag, which is a fairly standard size and shape lunch box. We paid $7 to have her name embroidered on the bag, which I figured was worth the price to ensure her box isn't mixed up with another kid's lunch. I let Penny pick the font and thread color and ordered online.

Our classic lunch bag has now been used every weekday for nearly three months, but it looks more like a year old. It's still functional in that Penny can carry it in to school, o…

Switching from Olay Regenerist to L'Oreal RevitaLift

I've been using Olay Regenerist DNA Superstructure UV Cream for years now. I love the SPF 25 (it's now 30) the thick moisturizing quality, and how fresh my skin feels once it's absorbed. It's really thick, so it tends to need more time before I put on foundation, and it does leave my skin a touch lighter than it is in real life. The sunscreen ingredients mean this moisturizer smells just like traditional sun protection, and even a bit like my daughter's diaper cream (ick), but I know it's doing it's job and I've been really happy with it.


I intended to buy some more during a trip to Walmart today, but L'Oreal RevitaLift Triple Power Day Lotion had a $2 off coupon attached, and the base price was less than the Olay product, so I took a chance and bought  the RevitaLift instead.


L'Oreal's bottle is prettier with a similar pump mechanism. Like Olay, the product is in an opaque container, which helps keep the contents from being affected by ligh…

eSalon.com Hair Color Review

It's now May 2014 and since my original review, I've had a chance to fly out to eSalon and see how orders are processed, learn the right way to apply color, and find out the differences between box color and eSalon color. I learned a lot and have a totally different perspective now and would definitely recommend giving eSalon a try.

When you order from eSalon, be sure to upload a current, well-lit photo of your hair and don't hesitate to ask their color experts for advice. The eSalon team are experts. Let them help you find the right shade and apply color correctly. It's a learning process if you're used to box color products.

Last August, I tried eSalon. At the time, I found the color was fine in that it was even and matched what I had seen online for that shade, but it wasn't really what I was going for. eSalon's customer service was helpful, with a colorist calling to explain how their product differs from what I buy in-store and the risks of going darke…