Friday, March 29, 2013

This One's For You...

I'm a "fanilow".  And it turns out that Barry Manilow is going to be performing at Mohegan Sun in May (which is less than an hour from me)!  I was really excited about this until I saw that decent tickets are selling for $300+ PER TICKET.  If I want to get close enough to really live the Manilow Experience  - where Barry actually sees my "I Love Barry" T-shirt, and I cry along to "Weekend in New England" while fellow Fanilows hold vigil with swaying lighters. ...then we all vie for a shot to get on stage to dance with Barry to Copa Cabana - well that'll cost upwards of $500 PER TICKET.  I mean, don't get me wrong - is Barry worth it?  Yes!  However, justifying this purchase is hard, considering I have seen him in concert 3 times now - one of those times was in Las Vegas sitting in the 7th row.  Barry rocked....obviously.  I got to shop for cool Barry paraphernalia at the Barry Manilow store they had set up in the Las Vegas Hilton where Barry was headlining for several years.   I even played the Barry Manilow slot machines in the casino.  It was the full Barry experience - in Vegas, no less.  I bought and read his memior, "The Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise" on the plane on the way home.  Yes, my Barry-o-meter was at 10.  A satisfying trip, indeed.

One of my tributes to Barry was naming my car - a 2000 VW BEETLE - Mandy.  I name all my cars.  Mandy was a perfect name for the Beetle...she & I enjoyed 4 years of fun and lots of Barry's greatest hits before she was traded in ahead of my daughter Lauren's arrival for a more "child friendly vehicle".  I was also lucky enough to see Barry perform 2 more times in Boston, and enjoyed several years as a member of the BMIFC.  Not sure what that is?  Well then obviously you're not a Fanilow, and I highly suggest googling it asap.  Educating yourself is the first step in your journey to becoming one with Barry.  He does, after all,  write the songs that makes the whole world sing. 

So back to the question at hand - can I really justify this purchase?  Yes I can.  Just kidding.  Well I can but I won't.  (Unless someone out there would like to take me as their guest...just sayin'.  I'll buy you a really cool souvenir - like maybe a keychain that says "Fanilow"????  Hmmm???  An authentic tour t-shirt from Barry's 1978 North American tour?  Any takers??)   Anyway, I'll have to sit this one out and hopefully he'll play in a larger venue around here where tix are cheaper and I won't have to remortgage to house to buy tickets.  And on that note, Looks Like We Made It (to the end of this post).  Rock on, Barry!

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Great Spoon Debacle of '13

Things are getting a l'il crazy around here...begging such questions as...where is spring?  Why is there snow on the ground in late March?  Why is it 28 degrees?  Is anyone holding that groundhog accountable for the blatant lies he told us about an early spring? And finally, where are all my spoons? 

I know, it's just bizarre - my spoons are disappearing on a daily basis.  I'm down to like four.  I have 2 feasible theories on this - 1) They're disappearing into a vortex - a black hole of sorts - where everything you've ever dropped and haven't been able to locate winds up.  You know what I drop your earring while trying to put it on in a hurry, and that thing vanishes.  You swear it HAS to be on the floor somewhere.  You saw it bounce.  How far could it have possibly gone?  You're on the floor, peering under the couch, feeling around the floor desperately, where the hell is it?  Finally, you resign to leave it for later, figuring it'll turn up at some point. It never does.  This type of thing happens a few times and you realize there's obviously a vortex located in your living room.  You think back to all the things that have gone missing over the years....earrings, keychains, perhaps even a cell phone...and it all starts to make sense. Where does this vortex lead to?  Is it simply a stationary black whole where things disappear never to resurface in the physical world again? Or does it lead somewhere - to a larger "storage area", if you will, where your stuff is deposited along with everyone else's lost stuff from their own living room vortex?  Or does it lead to some other random spot, here in the world, much like the movie "Being John Malkovich" where people are deposited on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike?  Is that where your missing earring is?  Somewhere on the New Jersey Turnpike - or the Long Island Expressway, for  that matter?  In any event - my spoons may or may not be a victim of this black hole phenomenon, but if so, it begs the questions - why the spoons? Why not the forks or better yet the butter knives?  Which leads me to theory # 2) The kids are throwing their spoons away after their morning cereal by mistake.  After all, they use the spoons more than anyone else in this house does. I'm personally not a big "spoon person", in fact I much prefer a fork - although that gets a little tricky when it comes to soup.

I suppose it doesn't really matter.  In any case, my spoon stash is dwindling quickly, and it's frigid outside.  Obviously the regular rules of humanity don't apply to Punxsutawney Phil.  Groundhogs are clearly exempt from the social norms of our society where we're expected to be truthful, honest & forthcoming. I'm guessing he could be running a meth lab out of his treehouse and authorities
would look the other way.  For all we know, the collective vortex's in all of our living rooms somehow leads straight to Punxsutawney Phil's Pennsylvania lair.  He probably has all my spoons.  Happy Friday, All!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It's The Little Things

This weekend we enjoyed a kid-free weekend. My mom took both kids for a weekend sleepover at Grandma's house, leaving Brian & I to enjoy 2 days to ourselves. At first, I honestly didn't know what to do with routine to follow, no having to be home by a certain time to get the babies down for bed. Liberating? Yes. Scary? A little.

The irnoy is realizing that having the time to sit down, drink coffee and flip through a magazine without interuption is GOLD! I mean it's a small thing, and something that prior to having children wouldn't think twice about. But now I feel like I just vacationed in Belize. These 2 days have totally recharged my batteries as a mom. I love my children more than anything and absolutely love spending time with them, but having a little break is REALLY nice. I'm lucky enough to have a mom who lives close enough to be able to take the babies on occasion overnight, and I'm so thankful for that!

While Brian & I were able to go out for dinner and sleep in late, the best parts of the weekend were actually the little things. It was being able to take a long shower without having 2 kids in the bathroom with me asking me "Mama, you almost done?" 30 times. Or being able to sit down for 15 minutes and read or watch a show on the DVR that we'd normally have to wait until after they went to bed to watch. Those simple things are the ones that make me feel like "me" again. It made me think that I really need to start incorporating these little things into my daily routine - a few minutes here and there to ward off stress and recharge a little at a time. It takes an effort to make time for ourselves during our hectic daily grind, but after this weekend I'm realizing how important it is to maintain it. So here's a list of some realistic things I am going to aim for in the coming weeks...
- 5 minutes of yoga each day. It's not much, but that's the point. I can surely make time for 5 minutes each day to strech. I LOVE yoga...and I always felt so much better when I was doing it regularly. So I'm starting with a goal of 5 minutes each morning. If I can stick to that it's 35 min per week, right? I guess I somehow had the idea in my head that if I couldn't get to a 1 hr class, it wasn't worth doing. But with that thinking all I've suceeded in doing is NO yoga. So here's to a little going a long way...
- 15 min per day of "reading time". We read books all the time, but it's me reading to the kids. I'm thinking we need to have a quiet reading time where we all read books to ourselves for 15 min a day. This may involve each child spending that time in a quiet spot (like their bedrooms). A time when I can actually start a book and read more than 2 paragraphs at time before someone yells for mama. They may protest a bit at first, but this will be good for ALL of us :) I may actually even get to finish a book - GASP!
- I would LOVE to be able to do some exercise each day, and come the nicer weather we'll be playing outside and going for walks. But what about cold and rainy days? We need to move more and I know my babies love music, so why not try and make that a fun part of our daily routine? Dancing babies & 70's music - stay tuned for pics ;)
- I NEED to start some fun, DIY projects at home that involve the kids. One of the things I'm hoping to do this year is an indoor garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, maybe some herbs. We have a perfect spot on our screened in porch, we just need to clear the space and set it up so we can start planting in May. I think this needs to be a project that we work on together as a family, getting ready over the next few months. I'm hoping that this will be fun and educational, and that if we can successfully grow something, the kids will actually eat these healthy veggies instead of making sour faces at them when offered up on their plates :)
- Lastly, I vow to do a home pedicure this week. Let's be honest, if I could, I'd be getting pedicures at a spa on a weekly basis. I LOVE pedis...but the time and the expense is just not realistic at this point. I was in a groove for a while where I'd do a home pedicure pretty regularly after the kids went to bed. I'd get a glass of wine, put on some trashy reality TV, and give myself a pedi. Then winter came and I kind of let that slide. But with the nicer weather on the way, my toes need some lovin'. It's one of those simple things that when I throw on flip flops come spring, the nicely painted toenails will remind me that I did something for myself.
That's it for now...attainable and simple, right? Just the little things that we have to make sure we continue to fit in for ourselves. Happy Mommy's = Happy Families!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guilt, Bribery & M&M's

I realized this week that guilt trips and bribery are the cornerstones of my parenting philosophy. Before having children, I imagined reading to them all day by a sunny window - the kids curled up close with big smiles on their cherubic faces.  I imagined them watching minimal -if any- TV, as we'd be too busy with art projects and strolling around the stores while they sat quietly in their double stroller people watching.  Here's the reality - someone always has to ruin the fun of doing an art project.  It always turns into a full blown fiasco where they disagree over what kind of project we'll do, and then once we decide - someone starts whining and ineviitibly does something unpleasant like coloring their stomachs in green marker or gluing construction paper shapes to the dining room curtains.

Grocery shopping - or as I like to call it - "grab stuff that looks vaguely edible and throw it the shopping cart before there's a meltdown" - can be a pleasant experience so long as I've added Rum to my coffee beforehand made sure the kids understand that if they make it through the store and LISTEN to mommy, I'll buy them M&M's at the checkout.  Yes, it makes perfect sense - M&M's in exchange for 20 minutes of grocery shopping bliss - seems fair to me.  But what happens when a wiley 3 year old decides to challenge this little understanding we've set up?   Bribes no longer doing the trick???  WHAT?!  I obviously need to up the ante here.  And so last week when Ben decided he longer wished to bathe - ever - I explained to him that he wouldn't be able to watch TV at all that day, then.  "Ok Mama, I'll just read" is not what I expected to hear from him.  I thought for sure there'd be a meltdown of sorts....especially when Lauren got her "TV time" and Ben didn't.  Nope, he stuck to his guns. The following day, when no bath and no TV looked like it was going to be commonplace, I decided I needed to change my approach.  I tried reasoning with him, explaining it just wasn't an option not to bathe.  I tried "getting tough" - by that I mean I told him he had to take a bath in a very stern voice, hands on hips.  No response.  By day 3, I was desperate.  So I consulted a friend with preschool teaching experience.  "Do I FORCE Ben to take a bath??"  I asked her?  We batted some ideas around, and decided that this was normal 3 year old behavior and that he was challenging me to see what he could get away with. We also concluded that every kid responds to a different type of discipline.  Some use the reward system (check), some use the consequence system (check), some you can reason with and convince (check)...what else could I do? 

And so I fake cried (just for the record, this was NOT the advice of my teacher friend).  I pretended to be sad so that Ben wouldn't listen to Mommy.  And it worked.  At first he didn't know what to make of it.  He stopped dead in his tracks...Mommy's upset????  He came running over to hug me, and in between "sniffles" I managed to say "I just want you to listen Ben!  I'm sad you won't take a bath."   And simple as that, he hauled his little tush upstairs and said "I want a bath, Mama.."   And there you have it - Guilt.  I'm guessing you won't find this method in the Parenting For Dummies books, and I highly doubt that Supernanny will be advising her clients to fake cry to get their kids to to what they want.  However, I will say that since I discovered this little gem, it's been a wonderful couple of days.  I think what it comes down to is all the praise he gets once he listens.  For every time he listens, he gets a sticker -and after 10 stickers a little treat :)    Eventually I guess the fake crying will fall by the wayside, as I can't imagine this will work when wants to stay out late with the guys after football practice.  But for now, I'll be getting this fake cry down to a science in order to perfect my skills ;)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Magical Rotisserie

The Magical Rotisserie

As much as I would LOVE to be one of those people who can grocery shop for a full week’s worth of meals, it’s just not realistic for me.  I’ve tried, but inevitably I forget something or something goes awry a few days in and I’ll forget to freeze meat and it goes bad.  No, I just can’t do it.  I’ve come to terms with that and really, my comfort zone is somewhere in the “shop for 3 days” ballpark.  Yes, I’m a 2 time per week grocery shopper and that’s just how it is.  “Hi, I’m Melissa and I’m a 2 time a week grocery shopper…”  Anyway, meals still need to be super simple to make and of course budget friendly.  That said – I LOVE LOVE LOVE (did I mention LOVE?) the Rotisserie Chicken.  It’s so darn versatile and you can literally use it for 3 nights of different meals and have leftovers for lunch the next day.   Here are 3 of my favorite recipes along with a shopping list to go with it. 

  • 1 cooked Rotisserie chicken – you can buy in the deli section of most     grocery stores (hot or cold)
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 box Ziti Pasta
  • 1 jar Alfredo (I like Bertolli)
  • 2 pack Boboli pizza crust – already made – usually in the bread  or pasta aisle
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce ( I LOVE Bertolli 5 Cheese!!)
  • 8 ounce package of shredded mozzarella
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 3 cans chicken broth (any brand)
  • 1 Can Sliced carrots
  • 1 Can sweet peas
  • 1 Package Egg Noodles (any brand)

Night 1

Quick & Easy Chicken, Broccoli & Ziti 

  •  2 Cups Chicken –diced up
  •  1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  •  1 box Ziti
  •  1 jar Alfredo Sauce

Boil water and cook pasta to al dente.  Meanwhile, defrost broccoli in microwave.  Drain pasta and return to pot, mix in broccoli, chicken and entire jar of Alfredo sauce and simmer for 3 minutes on low or until all ingredients are hot.   I love to serve with some grated parmesan on top.  Serve with a salad and garlic bread for a super easy, but super yummy meal.   We always have some leftover that Brian takes for lunch the next day – it heats up nicely. This is also a great meal if you’re having guests for dinner.  Inexpensive & easy to make…but nobody will know that ;)

Night 2

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

  • Boboli Pizza Crust (located in pasta/sauce aisle of grocery store) – I usually get the 2 pack – it’s cheaper and I make 2 pizzas so we have leftovers for breakfast  lunch!
  • Your favorite tomato sauce (I like Bertolli 5 Cheese)1 jar is enough
  • 1 Package Shredded Mozerrella – use ½ package for each pizza
  •      1-2 Cups shredded rotisserie chicken (1 cup per pizza)
  •  3 Tablespoons Franks Red Hot Sauce  (more or less depending on your taste for spicy!!)
  • 1 Teaspoon Honey (optional – when mixed with the hot sauce it gives it a nice tangy taste and takes off a bit of the spicy edge)
  • 1 small onion

Lay pizza crust on lightly greased baking sheet (I “grease” sheet with ½ teaspoon of olive oil – it’s healthier).  Spoon on half jar of tomato sauce evenly over each crust.  Sprinkle on shredded mozzarella – use ½ package per pizza.  Put shredded chicken into a small bowl (by shredded, I mean that I don’t cut it up with a knife, but instead just tear small pieces off the chicken), add in 3 Tablespoons of the Red Hot Sauce and 1 teaspoon honey– coat chicken evenly.  Spread chicken evenly over pizza.  Slice up small onion and set the rings evenly over pizza.  Bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.  Serve with some Blue Cheese dressing on the side.  Make this a meal with a side salad

Night 3

15 minute Homemade Chicken Soup

  •  Meat from thighs and legs of chicken- I use the remainder of what's left  of the chicken…
  •  3 Cans Chicken Broth (any brand)
  •  1 Cup Water
  •  1 cup sliced Carrots – Canned
  •  1 cup Peas – Canned
  •  1 small onion
  •  2 Cups uncooked Egg Noodles
  •  Various spices (use what you have in your pantry…dried oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, salt & pepper – a dash of some or all -  to taste)

In a large pot, add in chicken broth, water, carrots, peas & diced onion & chicken.  I use the remaining meat on the thighs and legs of the chicken- it works really well in a soup.  Cook on high until it comes to a full boil – add in 2 cups of UNCOOKED egg noodles and boil covered 7-10 minutes.   This is a hearty, healthy soup cooked up in about 15 minutes.  Serve with a chunk of bread for dipping!  If you want to make extra and freeze it, just double the recipe. 

Monday, March 4, 2013


Yesterday morning as Brian & I were sitting at the kitchen table enjoying our Sunday morning coffee and flipping through the paper, Brian actually uttered the following words..."Baby, grab me the scissors!  There are a ton of BOGO Coupons in here this week!"   The words were spoken with such enthusiasm.
"BOGO??!"  I asked.
"Ya - Buy One Get One", Brian retorted - as if to say "OBVIOUSLY".  Oh I know what BOGO is - but the fact that Brian not only knows what it means, but is also enthusiastically clipping such coupons on a Sunday morning to get ready for a bulk shopping trip...well it caused me to pause (and giggle).  And then he started laughing, too.   We actually worked ourselves into a full fledged hysterics as we realized just how "suburban mom & dad" we've become.  If someone had told me 5 years ago that Brian would be excited at the prospect of BOGO tomato sauce, I would NOT have believed it.  After we had a good laugh at ourselves, it prompted me to think about all those things that subtly happen over time - where we morph into - well, our parents.  And so, in the spirit of being able to laugh at ourselves - here are some actual examples of how we've become tragically unhip...mature adults...

1) This year's tax returns are going toward 4 new tires for the Altima, dental work and window treatments. 
2) I know all the words to most songs played in grocery stores & pharmacies.  Not only do I know them, I like them and have actually caught myself singing along as a peruse the aisles.  (Dorky mom alert: Aisle 9)
3) My iPod reads like a 1970 easy listening folk concert.  Barry Manilow, Neil DIamond, Gordon LIghtfoot, Carly get the idea. (Who's Lady Gaga and what the hell is a "monster"??)

4)  Oh wait, I DO know some current music - I know ALL THE WORDS to every Fresh Beat Band song and frequently wake up at 3am with "Loco Legs" stuck in my head.  Yes, I have a secret dream of meeting Kiki and Twist in person at their next concert. 
5)  Going on a shopping spree consists of buying the kids new Spring wardrobes and buying nothing for myself (unless there's some holiday socks on clearance)
6) My current to-do list contains the following items...Get dog updated Rabies Shot, Buy reciprocal Museum Pass, Take Shower.  That's right, I have to schedule a shower in on my daily list. 
7) I recently was involved in conversation with a friend via text regarding a bra sale at Target. 
8)When I read I actually have never even heard of most of these "celebrities".  Also, when I see stories on Robert Pattison the first word I can think is ""twerp".   Gimme stories on some real eye candy - like Daniel Craig.  Real movie stars, people....not kids playing house in Hollywood.  (ya, i just called RPatz a kid). 
9)  I refuse to wear earbuds.  They hurt my ears and fall out constantly.  So I wear my old school headphones.   Hello 1980.  I get some strange looks at the gym.  

All hope isn't completely lost, though.  After reading through the above list, I was compelled to put together a counter "Cool Mom" list...
Here's goes..

1)  I recently watched "Magic Mike" with the volume down- a nice bottle of vino on hand. Great movie - awesome plot ;)
2)  Recently, Brian & I actually make steak & eggs at midnite after a few cocktails. 
3)  Minivan hold outs!  Yes, they may be practical, however I feel like we're holding on to just a little bit of "cool" by holding out. However, I should add that we did recently drive through a car dealership where we peaked in the windows of a Honda Odyssey and Brian & I silently acknowledged to one another that it really did offer a fantastic amount of space.
4)  I'm definitely considering another tattoo

5)  No matter how much I'm addicted to reality TV, I still refuse to watch the show "Shahs of Sunset"
6)  On occasion, there's a hot mailman that delivers our mail.  He must be a fill in for when the regular one is on vacation.  Anyway, I make a concerted effort to let my female neighbors know when he's on :)   (Wysteria Lane??) 
7)  As soon as the nicer weather comes along - Brian & I will sit by our backyard firepit most evenings after we put the kids to bed. Mid week firepit action?  Yes please.
8)  Ok, I know there are more, but right now I can't think of anything.  My kids are throwing goldfish at my head and it's quite distracting.  ;)

Friday, March 1, 2013

10 Basic Products Every Girl Needs To Have

10 (cheap) products every woman should have in her arsenal of beauty aids....

1)  Hydrogen Peroxide - I LOVE Hydrogen Peroxide.  I bought a 32 oz bottle for .89 cents at Target that will last me months.  This is hands down the cheapest and easiest teeth whitening product out there.  I rinse my mouth with 1 capful (the little white cap it comes with) for 1 minute with it every morning.  THAT'S IT!  This is the whitest my teeth have ever been.  I drink red wine, coffee, tea, and sometimes I even sneak the occasional cigarette (I know, I know...).  But this stuff just rocks.  Other uses - mix it with vinegar and disinfect your house - totally organic, no harsh smell and super cheap.  And I also comb some into my hair after I wash makes really subtle highlights when you blowdry your hair.

2) Vaseline - I buy the generic, cheapest brand I can find.  I can usually find a big tub of it for under $2.  I use this for everything.  I rub it on the heels of my feet every night before bed (yes, I have some mighty soft feet - thank you very much!)  I use it to remove eye make up, rub it on chapped hands in the winter (works , like a charm), put it on lips over chapstick for a nice "lipgloss", rub a dab onto eyebrows to smooth and keep in place all day. 

3) Face moisturizer with SPF 15 or higher.  I used to buy the really expensive stuff, but at $14 a bottle it was a bit much.  Now I buy the generic brand at Target - works perfect and saves me a ton of $$.  I use this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  In addition to keeping the face moisturized and looking youthful, it provides SPF protection which as we all know is number 1 cause of aging skin. The best beauty advice my mother ever gave me was to wear sunscreen every day....rain, snow, winter, summer....doesn't matter.  I started wearing it when I was 23 and don't think I've ever missed a day.  Thanks mom! :)

4) Chapstick - Let's face it - nobody likes dry, cracked lips. It looks bad and feels bad.  Lipstick's just a mess.  I'm addicted to chapstick -I admit it.  I use it like it's going out of style and I have to say if I was ever on a deserted island and could only bring 1 "comfort product"- it would be chapstick.  Right now I'm using Burt's Bees...I like the pepperment smell :)    But I'm not fact I typically buy the generic Dollar Tree stuff - sometimes 2 for $1.  I always have a backup know, in case the end of the world ever happens and they stop making chapstick ;)

5)  Body Lotion - I will say that I always buy generic, but usually the unscented and hypoallergenic (like generic Lubriderm).  So I save a few bucks but still get a quality product.  This isn't something you want to buy at the $$ store...spend the few extra bucks and get a decent product.  This is also something I use everyday.  Use it as soon as you get out of the shower - towel dry and use right away while still in the steamy bathroom.  It holds the moisture in and makes for supersoft skin.   I sometimes mix my favorite scent it with's nice and subtle but stays with me all day.  I get the unscented lotion so I can change the scent according to my current fave scent :)

6) Rubbing Alcohol - Isopropyl -  I bought 2 bottles for $'ll last for months.  I use it to clean my cell phone (dip a paper towel into it and clean phone) cleans the germs off and makes the screen crystal clear.  Just don't use too don't want to drown your phone.  A little goes a long way.  I also soak my earings in a small dixie cup full of Isopropyl Alcohol before wearing.  It cleans them and makes them nice & shiny, too.  This is also a great first aid product - it disinfects small cuts and also works great on bug bites.  Stops the itch/sting almost instantly.

7) Baby Oil - LOVE IT!!!!   I use it on freshly saved legs as soon as I get out of the shower.  Bye Bye razor burn!  Rub it into your legs and let it absorb, then put your normal body lotion over it.  Soft, silky legs with no unsightly red bumps or itching that sometimes accompanies shaving.  I also use it on my kids after their's perfect for their sensitive skin.  This is another product that you can buy for a few bucks and it will last many months.  I've had my current bottle for close to a year!

8)  A Pair of Salon Scissors for Cutting Hair -I got mine at Sally Hansen for under $10.   You don't have to go crazy buying the professional stuff.  Just a decent pair made for cutting hair.  Use strictly on your hair as to not dull the blades.  I bought mine 4 years ago.  I clean up my dead ends about once a month.  This greatly improves the texture and gives it a nice healthy infusion in between visits to the salon.  It also extends the life of a haircut for a few extra weeks.  Go to and find a tutuorial.  It's so easy, and after a few times you'll be a pro.  I also cut my kids beats trying to get them to a salon and paying for it.  So far, so good ;)

9)  Daily Face Wash - You need an everyday face wash and a weekly face wash.  For the everyday wash I LOVE Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
I have super sensitive skin, but need something that will really do a great job of removing the make up residue every night.  This stuff rock.  It's less than $7.  I use it daily and have had it for 3 months.  The best part about it is that it's so gentle, you can lather up the foam on the eyelids and it washes even the mascara right off.  No burning or stinging eyes. 

10)  Weekly Face Wash - You need something that will really scrub off the dead skin without drying out your skin.  I love Apricot Scrub.  St Ives has one, but I buy the can find it anywhere.  There's really no save yourself a few bucks.  I use it once a week (twice a week in the summer when my pores tend to get clogged more often due to the heat & humidity).  You'll feel the difference after just one use.  Softer more radiant skin.  Just be sure to follow up with a face moisturizer so you don't dry your skin out.