Monday, June 24, 2013

What's in a Name? Store Brand products that are just as good as name brands

I'm feeling a little Oprah-esque today and thought I'd share some of my favorite store brand name products.

It all started with Family Dollar's Revitalizing Cocoa Butter Scent Gel Body Oil (the close cousin of Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Butter Vitalizing Gel Body Oil).

I'd seen this product for a while now, but I was on my "all natural products' kick, but with the summer coming and my desire to glow all of a sudden, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try out this little ditty for $3.25. Well, let me tell you, I put a little bit of this gel on one arm and immediately felt like a golden goddess (I know, ridiculous).


Next is a product line that I have used in the past (and will this summer), but most recently turned my son onto as he enters the puberty zone, and that's Family Dollar's Oil Free Acne Wash and Acne Treatment Cream.

Close cousins to Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne Wash and Clearasil's Acne Cream, the wash has the standard 2% Salicylic Acid, and the cream has 10% Benzoyl Peroxide. The one thing that finally clicked with me as I help my son navigate through this stage of growth is that it is important to follow the directions. I they are followed then the results will come in a timely manner.


Exfoliating is so important, especially as the hot and humid season descends upon us suffering East coasters, and the Clarisonic face cleaning brush is very popular (and expensive). Well, even if I did have the funds to spend over $100 to spend on said brush, I wouldn't - I'm just too darn frugal for that, so imagine my surprise when I see the Acne Free Advanced Cleansing Brush in CVS (although I didn't purchase it until I was able to get it for $14.99 in Target, where I bought 2!).
*not a store brand, but a very affordable brand

This little treat runs on 2 double A batteries and includes 2 brush attachments. It operated on 2 speeds, and even though I'm sure there are more benefits to investing in a Clarisonic, the AcneFree Cleansing Brush is a nice substitute.


In addition, when you don't want to unpack the electronic cleansing brush, there's always the generic hand held version that I got from a random beauty supply store for $1.

When I'm running behind schedule, I use this in the shower.

As the summer approaches, and I get older, I'm becoming even more aware of how I treat my body. While great genes (thanks Grandma) and healthy living play a factor, there's nothing wrong with a little self-pampering (and yes that sounded just as weird in my head as it may in yours!). Everyone deserves to pamper themselves and it shouldn't hurt the wallet, so I will continue to seek out cost effective ways to do this.

Out of the mouths of babes

Sometimes I question how developed I am.

On paper, I have a good head on my shoulders, though not without faults. I work hard. People trust me to get things done, and I care deeply (to a fault sometimes) for others. But I have been consistently unsuccessful at one things: forgiving myself.

Instead, I try to work the guilt out of me, doggedly pursuing a way to make things right, even though I know things just are as they are with no chance to change. And I wholly accept the responsibility for influencing change, even if there is the slimmest to none chance of that ever even happening. In essence, I drive myself crazy. One accusation that will always be false is that I don't take responsibility for my actions. If anything, I take on too much instead of just letting things be because I'm a fixer. It's my greatest strength and my biggest weakness. And it is something that I must manage in order to actually live.

I had to share a hard truth with my son, who also has the 'give it to me straight' attitude that I have. I didn't want to tell him to let something erase the kind of hope that a kid holds onto before he becomes a cynical adult like his me. I just didn't want to take that away from him, but I had to for our own good. No parent wants to see their child hurt, but I think that in order to truly raise them the best you can, you just have to be there to hold their hand when they hurt, because it's an inevitable and redundant occurrence.

It broke my heart to do it. He saw that it broke my heart to tell him something he didn't want to hear. I felt like I had failed at helping him with something, despite having helped him with so many other things in his life. And when I could actually look him in the eyes and not really break down, he held my gaze, put his hand on my shoulder and in a wobbly voice said, 'Ma, it's ok. I'm fine. No matter what, I'd rather be here than not be here so I'm ok.' And with that, I felt like I had been absolved of all of my fuck ups for the past 13 years.

I wish I could say that I learned how to forgive myself all on my own, but I did not. My son did that for me, for the both of us, and there aren't enough words to express the gratitude I have for him showing me the way towards forgiving myself and moving on.