Friday, May 8, 2015

The Friday Five: Buh-Bye Dry!

  One of the biggest side effects/symptoms of kidney failure that I deal with is dryness...dry hair, dry skin, dry nails, and so on.  The dryness is caused as a result of my phosphorous levels being too high, which causes the moisture to leach out of my hair, skin and nails.  The dry skin is the worst; I get SO itchy!! I've tried a whole variety of different products to relieve the dryness and the itching, and I've found some that I really like!  Instead of five products, this list is going to be a little different: I'm sharing my favourite products for five different problem areas.

  For dry lips:
  1.  Burt's Bees lip balms
  I absolutely love my Bees! I've tried a few of the different varieties, but the best ones (IMHO) are the Nourishing lip balm with mango butter, and the Ultra Conditioning lip balm with kokum butter.

  2.  Avon Moisture Therapy Lip Balm Stick
  This is my other go-to lip balm stick.  It goes on so smoothly and the moisture lasts for quite a while.  Avon frequently has them on sale for $0.99, so I stock up.

  3.  C.O. Bigelow My Favourite Lip Balm
  This one is a liquid balm and it's amazing! It's got shea butter, sweet almond oil and wheat germ, and it starts moisturizing right away.  There's also a nighttime balm too.

  For dry skin:
  1.  Aveeno Skin Relief Body Wash
  Have you ever had a bad rash that itched and itched and made you feel like you'd never find relief? Imagine feeling like that all over your body, even on your scalp.  That's what happens to me when my phosphorous gets too high and causes my skin to dry out.  When that happens, I turn to my Aveeno body wash.  It's got oatmeal and emollients in it, and when I use it with my exfoliating wash cloth it helps my skin feel so much better!

  2.  Avon Moisture Therapy Calming Relief Body Wash and Lotion
  These two products also contain oatmeal, which is GREAT for itchy skin! I usually have a tube of the body wash in the shower next to my Aveeno.  For extra itch-relief, I slather myself with the lotion when I get out.

  3.  Avon Skin So Soft Supreme Nourishment Body Wash and Lotion
  This is a fairly new product from Avon, and it's wonderful! And it has macadamia oil in it, so it smells good too!

  4.  Curel Itch Defense Lotion
  I found this just the other day when I was out looking for something new to help my itchy skin.  OH. MY.  GOODNESS.  This stuff is amazing! It soaks in really quickly and it doesn't leave you feel all yechy and greasy! Winning!

  For dry hair:
  1.  Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Collection
  Even my hair seems to be getting dried out, so a good moisturizing shampoo is a MUST! This collection is shampoo and conditioner as well as a 2-in-1 shampoo conditioner.  There's also a styling mousse.  It's got coconut and orchid flower extracts, so it's a treat for your nose too!
  2.  Pantene Moisture Mist Detangling Spray
  I started buying this when I had longer hair and I needed a good detangling spray to use after shampooing.  Along with detangling, it also helps moisturize dry hair.  I spritz a little bit in my hair when I get out of the shower, work it through and then blow-dry it for a few minutes...and voila! Softer hair!
  3.  Biolage ExquisiteOil Hair Treatment
  At $26, this stuff is a bit spendy, but it works really well! My mom bought some when she got her hair cut last week and she let me try it.  Just a couple of drops on the ends of your fingers is all you need.  Work it into your hair as an overnight treatment.  You'll actually be able to feel the difference right away!

  For a dry face:
  1.  St. Ives Fresh Apricot Scrub
  The only thing I use to wash my face! I love how soft this makes my skin feel after I use it.  It's got natural exfoliants in it, so it gets rid of all the built-up nastiness on my skin and gets it really clean.

  2.  Aveeno Positively Radiant Toner
  I had one toner where, after I put it on, I could actually feel my skin tightening.  Not so with this one from Aveeno.  It's got soy in it, and it's incredibly gentle.  Which is really good when my skin is dry and irritated.
  3.  Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer
  After cleansing and toning, it's time to moisturize! Along with my Aveeno toner, I use this moisturizer.  It's also gentle and on my dry irritated skin, and it makes it feel really soft and smooth.

  For dry hands and nails:
  1.  The Body Shop Almond Hand & Nail Cream
  I've been using this stuff for years! Working with paper on a daily basis makes your hands really dry.  I tried a sample of this at The Body Shop one day, and I've been using it ever since.
  2.  Rose Cuticle Oil
  I don't have a brand for this, but rose oil is a miracle worker for dry cuticles.  Just rip a tiny dab into each of your cuticles to instantly soften them.  And it smells nice too!

Well, that's my list of anti-dry products! Hopefully there's something here that you use already, or something that sounds interesting that you want to try.  If you have a favourite product that's not on the list, share it in the comments below.

Until next time,

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Saturday Six: Mother's Day Gifts That Give Back

  Okay, so I'm a day late with this post.  But in my defense, I was out all day yesterday, and by the time I got home, I was wiped out.  And I actually have six items for this week's list, so it just seemed to lend itself more to being written today.
  Since Mother's Day is almost upon us, I thought that this was a perfect time to share some unique gift ideas I've come across.  Not only are these gifts that Mom or that other special lady in your life sure to appreciate, but they all give back in some way.  And since our Moms spent most of their lives giving to us, what better way to say thank you than by giving something back in her name!
  1.  Make a donation to Mom's favourite charity in her name.
  The options here are endless! Animal organizations, church organizations, local community groups... the list is only limited by your imagination! If you're not sure what her favourite charity is, make a donation of food and/or cash to the local food bank.  Even the youngest members of the family can get involved with picking out food items to donate.
  2.  Help a new mom and baby.
  I came across this idea just the other day when I went to World Vision's website ( to make a donation to the earthquake relief in Nepal.  One of the new gifts that they have is a "Healthy Mom and Baby" package.  For $100, you can help provide an expectant or new mom with things like prenatal vitamins, delivery kits, workshops on mothering skills and more.  And thanks to the Canadian government's matching program, your $100 becomes $300!
  3.  Help protect baby elephants.
  When researching gift ideas for this post, I came across an organization called World Animal Protection (  From their website: "World Animal Protection is a global charity and our mission is to move the world to protect animals. We inspire people to take action for animals and work responsibly and sustainably, collaborating with non-government organizations (NGO), governments, businesses and local communities to put animal welfare on the global agenda. A baby elephant's bond with its mother is among the closest of any animal, so a gift to help keep baby elephants with their mothers and out of the ivory trade is a perfect way to celebrate your bond with your own mom.
  4.  Buy a basket.
  This is another one that I found when I started researching this post. ( brings together women artisans from Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi who hand-weave beautiful baskets and trivets using fair-trade and ethically-sourced natural materials.  Make this gift even more special by filling a basket with other fair-trade items such as coffee, stationery, jewellery or bath products.
  5.  Support the mom shop.
  The mom shop is an initiative by Plan Canada ( that provides vocational training, financial literacy courses and Village Savings and Loans programs to help women work together to create small businesses to support themselves and their families.
  6.  Help make the world a better place.
  This one is probably my favourite.  Changing the Present ( provides a whole list of organizations that you can support, from helping to protect endangered wolves to helping the ASPCA microchip pets.  There are so many things to choose from, you can give gifts to each member of your family all year long!

And if you need even more ideas, google "charity gifts" and browse through the endless options online.

Until next time,