Pretika OxyHand Spa

This is just a little info post on one of Pretika’s new additions to their great product line. Check it out:

 The OxyHand Spa provides the hydrating benefits of Oxygen. It delivers Oxygenated Mists to nourish the skin on our hands. The one place we always neglect. The OxyHand Spa can help alleviate the symptoms of dry and itchy skin. Dry, irritated skin? Try the cool mist setting. Maybe you suffer from Eczema or Psoriasis? You can treat yourself to the soothing comfort of the warm mist. You can use it alone or in combination with moisturizers and skin care treatments. I think this is a great idea. Especially if you are in health care or the food industry, you beat your skin up with all the washing you need to do on a daily basis. What a nice way to nourish your hands and help your treatment creams work better. Features include:

    Cool Mist for Treatment of Dry Skin
    Warm Mist May Help Alleviate the
    Symptoms of Itchy Skin
    Low – Gentle Hydrating
    High – Penetrating Nourishing
    and Hydrating
    Creates a  vaporized
    oxygenated mist
    With Maximum Fill Level Indicator
    Counter-top unit with Hand
    Treatment Compartment 




Have you ever wondered how acne clearing products work? I mean, we know that you apply a cream or treatment to your face, but what does it actually do to clear up your acne? And why do some products seem to stop working after a while? Basically, most anti-acne products are relying on a single ingredient, like benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid. Usually you will see some clearing up of pimples right away, simply because your skin gets dried out. Those pimples on the surface go away, but then, the skin becomes dry and irritated *been there, done that, over it* and inflamed. Your newly cracked skin is a great hang out for bacteria, and also makes it easier than ever for your poor pores to get clogged up, and before you know it, your acne is back and worse than ever. All because the issues under your skin were never addressed. Who needs that? I don’t. My daughter doesn’t. I bet you don’t either. What we need is a line that has been “doctor developed and clinically proven by a team of experts committed to the belief that improving the health of your skin improves the quality of your life.” That’s quite the mouthful, but really important. And it would be great if there were supervised trials carried out on men, women and teens, with all types of skin who saw:

98% immediate reduction in blemish size

97% reduced inflammation and redness

92% reduction of new breakouts

97% smoother, moisturized, healthier skin texture

94% reduction in appearance of dark spots


I’d also love to see an “anti-acne” skin care regimen that also helps to reduce the scarring and discoloration associated with repeated breakouts!

Well, actually there is just such a line! I’ve tried it. What? Yes, you read that right. There is a skin care line that makes the old issues of dry, cracked skin a thing of the past and has immediate AND long term benefits, plus it actually helps the appearance of your skin.

It’s called Evologie. It’s a two part system (three if you use the cleanser) consisting of a serum (spot treatment) and an all-over cream. Using their patent-pending YS3 Complex, the ultra-micronized natural ingredients are  delivered deep beneath the skin’s surface, to increase blood flow and to help nourish, hydrate and heal your skin.

Stay Clear Cleanser: a non drying formula, contains natural cleansing agents, antibacterials, and keratolytics* (see below for definition) to unclog pores and remove oil, bacteria and debris, while maintaining skin’s natural pH. Contains Lycopene, to neutralize free radicals and also has honey and chamomile to refresh and moisturize. I like this cleanser; there’s no real fragrance, more of a clean smell. Maybe on the herbal medicinal side. Rinses ultra clean and took off all my make up – even my triple layered fiber mascara, but with no irritation, and no dry tight skin.  

Intensive Blemish Serum: a potent spot treatment that rapidly resolves blemishes and pimples. I really appreciated the texture of the serum. It absorbs quickly, and I tested foundation right over the top. It didn’t cause my foundation to separate like most spot treatments do.

Stay Clear Cream: a blemish and pimple cream that works to keep your skin clear and moisturized. It reduces the frequency of breakouts and HELPS WITH POST-BLEMISH SCARRING and skin discoloration. This is my favorite. I didn’t believe an “acne cream” could deliver moisture… but this does. I used it as my day cream and it actually left my skin feeling really good, not dry at all. And my makeup was easy to apply over the top with no blending issues.

While my skin isn’t bad, as I don’t get zits very often, I was still impressed at how quickly the pimple on my jaw went away, and the skin never dried out, nor did I get the dreaded backlash acne there. My daughter, who is struggling with all over facial acne, and who used a well known brand with many celebrity spokesmen, with no results, as well as somewhat expensive facial gel, is very happy with her skin so far. She said it felt so much softer than with other things she tried. She likes that her skin isn’t flaking, and that the spot treatment doesn’t leave any residue. She doesn’t care one way or the other about the lack of fragrance, she just likes that it’s simple and is working.

Want to try it for free? You can get a sample of both the serum and the cream by going HERE and using the code: EVOBSTAT01    

The samples are in tubes, and since the serum is a spot treatment, it’s really generous for a sample! After you sign up for your freebie, check out the before and after pics under the real results tab. Wow!




*Keratolytics can  be used to soften keratin, a major component of the skin. This serves to help improve the skin’s moisture binding capacity, which is beneficial in the treatment of dry skin. Such agents (keratolytics) include urea, lactic-acid, and allantoin.


I received the products mentioned in this post from for Evologie, to facilitate my review.  I was not obligated to post. Opinions are my own.

High Tech Hair Care – The Fusion Iron – Giveaway


If you have been a Howard House reader for any length of time you will be familiar with my obsession with gadgets and tools. Beauty gadgets and tools to be exact. I love things that exfoliate, zap, massage, and light up. Ultrasound, RF, LED, Galvanic… I love it all. Imagine how much fun it was for me to discover a tool that uses high tech methods to condition your hair? As a stylist for many years, I’ve had the opportunity to try an enormous number of hair styling products, and dozens upon dozens of conditioning treatments, and have used many methods to help my clients with their various hair issues. After getting a chance to try the Fusion Iron…all that seems obsolete. In the same way that ultrasonic devices are used to perform facials, in that the creams or serums are broken up to allow deeper penetration into the skin, thus making them more effective, the Fusion Iron is using Ultrasonic technology and Infrared light to deeply condition hair!  The Fusion allows your hair treatment to get into the hair shaft, and then seals it in. It makes every treatment more potent! Brilliant! Using the Fusion Iron is a snap, it’s just like using your flat iron, except….you use it on WET hair. It doesn’t straighten, since it’s not a styling tool, in fact it doesn’t really heat up.

Here’s the scoop on how to use it. After you wash your hair, using a shampoo that is specific to your needs, like a nourishing shampoo for damaged hair, a strengthening shampoo for weak hair or a color safe shampoo for colored hair (it is important to “prepare” your hair for treatment in the same way you “prepare” your face for masks or peels- you don’t use a peel without properly cleansing your face, right? And you wouldn’t use a cleanser made for dry skin if you have oily skin and vice versa. Same principal with your hair – use a quality shampoo and nutrient absorption is increased dramatically) you will then want to apply a deep conditioning treatment,  hair masque or serum to your lightly towel dried hair.

Looking kind of messy, lol, but this is after I finished, I forgot to get a pic – so just had my daughter snap this so you get the general idea.

Separate your hair into sections, then proceed to “iron ” your hair in much the same way you would if you were using a flat iron. Start at the roots, and make 3-5 passes on each section. I did a little extra on my ends. Then, rinse your hair with warm water- do NOT re-shampoo, just rinse. You can then dry and style as usual. Easy as pie. Results? Wow time. Recently, I reviewed a hair trio I really liked and was impressed with the shine and softness and body my hair had. I used the same trio to test the Fusion Iron and was blown away at how this device amped up the effectiveness of the products. I have since used the Fushion with two other favorite hair care lines in my beauty stash cabinet (which is my favorite possession – I keep all my tools, skin care, and beauty related treasures in it. I will strap it to my back and carry it out if we ever need to evacuate) and the same thing happened, good products were amped up and turned into super hero strength products. I have never had such healthy feeling hair in my life. I use color regularly. Styling products almost daily. And of course heat, via blow dryer, deep waver, flat iron or curling iron probably 4 or 5x a week. Using the Fusion Iron, the condition of my hair improved visibly. It feels stronger, looks thicker than ever, as though it were plumped up, and the shine is great. *Side note- I still use my X5 laser weekly and my hair loss is no longer an issue for me, I also have thicker due to my weekly laser sessions. When I say “thicker” in the context of the Fusion Iron , I am referring to the feel of each individual strand, versus “thicker” hair via the X5, by which I mean I have more actual hair. Got it?* The Fusion Iron is now one of my Beauty Stash Cabinet TOP SHELF tools. I am sold on it. If I was still working in a salon, I’d buy one and use it for my add-on back bar conditioning treatments. My clients would love me. While it will help your hair on an ongoing basis, this is a tool that gives you immediate, tangible results. Worth it. Worth it.

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Textbooks are expensive!


As some of you may know, I am a homeschool mom. I homeschooled my daughter since the first grade, and my son has been home schooled since his very first day of kindergarten. It’s been a lot of hard work at times, but I’ve never regretted homeschooling; the rewards outnumber the drawbacks a million to one! Being able to experience my kids’ learning, growth, and development firsthand is something I would never give up.

And the years just flew by…

Last year my daughter finished high school and started taking college courses online. I was thrilled, of course, but when we were preparing for her first quarter, we ran up against an unexpected roadblock: textbooks.

Of course, you always hear about how expensive college textbooks can be, and I sort of remembered being outraged 20 years ago when hubs was in college, but I wasn’t really prepared for the sticker shock!. We were looking at more than two hundred dollars for books she would only be using for one quarter! What followed was tons of searching online for better options. We looked at used book sites, and those had a couple possible options, but many of the used textbooks were actually more expensive than new ones would be, and many of the textbooks weren’t available secondhand at all–new editions of textbooks often come out too regularly for the required edition to be available used. 

So we looked into renting textbooks. This was where I let out a big sigh of relief. Renting textbooks cost only a fraction of what it would have cost to buy them new. We saved over 70% for her first quarter and close to that her second. Do you have anyone in your family that is in college? What did you do about textbook costs?

I Got Paid Quickly AND Got To Pretend I Was An Undercover Spy!


Have you ever done any Mystery Shopping? I don’t mean going to the store and picking out stuff to buy with your eyes closed. I mean where you are hired to go to business and check out certain things, make a purchase and the report back on your experience? I signed up with BestMark as a mystery shopper and it’s fun way to make some extra money. I felt so cool chatting with the customer service people at my “shop” knowing I was “undercover” so to speak. When I got home, I uploaded my receipt, filled out a questionnaire, and a few weeks later I got a check. I was paid for my time as well as reimbursed for my purchase.  There are shops for retail, automotive and even restaurants, even WEB Inquiry shops! In fact, I am doing a WEB Inquiry on Friday and one on Monday. Right now BestMark is looking for agents all over the United States!

Sign up is super fast, and once you are approved, you log in, go to your dashboard and browse available opps. When you see one you want to do, you just assign it yourself, or request it. Once it’s in YOUR SHOPS, you will get instructions on what you are looking for and what you should do. Like maybe you need to ask a salesman to show you a laptop, or ask about a fridge. Maybe you are just instructed to make a purchase and pay attention to the process. If you buy something you will get reimbursed (up to the amount they specify- so if you get reimbursed for $10.00 but spend $15.00 you only get the $10.00- the rest is out of your pocket, so if that bothers you, don’t go over your allotted amount) and the reimbursement is on top of the shop pay you get.  It’s all easy. And you can be thinking “I’m getting paid for this!” the whole time.

To sign up just go HERE and enter WA10908 under referral  code and start Mystery Shopping!


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#WinThisBag Giveaway #4: Red Gucci Leather Hobo Bag

Welcome to Week #4 of

Win This Bag

Brought to you by


Hosted by

Sidetracked Mom’s Blog  And Howard House Reviews

“Win This Bag” is a 6-week event that will feature 6 weekly giveaways.There will be one designer handbag given away every week!Each bag will be an authentic, recognizable designer brand such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach, or Fendi. Our 6th week will feature a highly coveted designer handbag and you will have the option to claim bonus entries for each of the 5 weekly “Win This Bag” giveaways you entered leading up to this grand finale! So, enter each weekly giveaway to increase your odds of winning!

Here’s what really separates this event from any other handbag giveaway you may have seen before… some of these handbags will come to you directly from a celebrity’s closet! 

Thanks to HipSwap, you have the opportunity to win the exact bag that may have been on the arm of a famous celebrity!PhotobucketHipSwap is a mobile and web marketplace that connects buyers and sellers locally and nationally. It enables people to discover what’s inside the most fabulous closets, homes, and shops in neighborhoods and cities across America. HipSwap currently offers delivery service in Los Angeles and New York with its iconic pink delivery van.

Also, be sure to swing by the HipSwap blog to check out their ever popular post on how to spot a fake Louis Vuitton bag!

Now, on to this week’s Giveaway!

This week, you have the chance to win an authentic Gucci bag!


This red-pebbled leather Gucci hobo bag is amazing for any occasion. It Features a navy cotton stripe in front and large gold ring hardware at strap ends.

Dimensions: 15″ x 9″ x 1″ with 10″ strap.

Estimated Retail Price: $1500






Photobucket Photobucket


This beautiful handbag was provided by the amazing DoubleTake Consignment Boutique of New Jersey.

The DoubleTake Consignment Boutique first opened its doors in Short Hills New Jersey in1992 and from day one the store has been packed with women who understand the advantages and value of consignment shopping. DoubleTake, which only accepts the highest quality & current designer clothing and accessories, has been recognized as a unique clothing boutique where huge savings can be realized.


How to Enter:

1. Create a HipSwap account.You will be asked to enter your name, email and zip code. If you do not live in the United States, please enter your City and Country in the Zip Code field.

2. Once registered, you can earn additional entries by:

a. Pinning your favorite HipSwap bag on Pinterest

b. “Liking” HipSwap on Facebook

c. Following @HipSwap on Twitter

d. Tweet with the hashtag #winthisbag for daily bonus entries

e. Following the blogs who are bringing you this awesome giveaway

There is only one mandatory entry option and that is to create a free HipSwap account. However, by entering on this blog through the Giveaway Tools widget below, you have the opportunity to gain a large number of bonus entries! You can complete as many or as few bonus entries as you’d like but remember, the more you do, the better your odds of winning! Plus, once you are following all of your hosts, entering each subsequent weekly Win This Bag Giveaway will be even faster & easier! And, don’t forget – we’ll be offering even more bonus points for each of these giveaways you entered during our final week of this event!

Good luck!

Giveaway begins on 7/17/12 at 12:01am EST & ends on 7/23/12 at 11:59pm EST.

Open worldwide.

The Giveaway Tools Widget will load below this line. For those of you not familiar with Giveaway Tools, it is VERY similar to Rafflecopter but has been said to be a faster & easier way to enter giveaways. Let me know what you think! As always, thank you for visiting my blog and entering our giveaways! Good luck to you! [Read more…]

Rare El'ements- Luxury For Your Hair

 “Bridging the gap between salon professional and natural hair care lines, RARE EL’EMENTS proves that you don’t have to sacrifice performance when it comes to using natural ingredients”

Luxury. It’s one of those words we all love, especially if we get to use it in context with ourselves. I mean we all know that ***Jen Aniston probably doesn’t buy her makeup or hair care stash from the dollar store, but most of us have been there and thought- hey 40 ponytail holders for a dollar? Score!  Jennifer  is one of those people  that we know has the opportunity to indulge in the  “Oooh, I want that!” moments, without needing to call the billing dept of the power company to set up a payment plan. “Um, hi. I can’t pay my entire bill this month because I bought this bottle of perfume that cost more than my groceries from last week. Can I set up a payment plan?”  “Well ma’am why did you do that if you knew you couldn’t pay us?” “Um.. I was in a trance, and forgot my socioeconomic status and I’m trying the spend my way out of debt approach?”  I think a lot of us have to temper our desire for the really luxe things in life with the electricity bill, you know?

So when we do get the chance to lavish ourselves with something that is just lush, we (at least I do) tend want to be immersed in whatever experience that is. Which is exactly how I felt when I got the opportunity to try the Rare El’ements Trio. Thankfully it isn’t one of those pampering luxuries that are completely out of reach, though it is true that it’s more than I normally pay for hair care, but like the commercial says…”we are worth it.”

This line is different from most, and not just because of its beautiful packaging. Rare El’ements is an Eco-Luxury Hair Care Line that was created by former model Teri LaVerne and salon owner John Amato of Beverly Hills.  Because they knew first hand the effects of the styling demands that the beauty industry can put on hair, they wanted a solution that didn’t rely on a synthetic quick fix. Their hair care trio bridges the gap between salon-professional products and the wonderful ingredients from nature.

Full of exotic botanicals, nutrient rich oils, rain forest butters and essential oils, this set of three hair care products had me feeling like I was at an upscale spa. I have tried to figure out how to convey the fragrance. I wish we had smell-o-vision technology. Musky and rich, but without the heavier notes you would expect from a spicy blend. Somehow it has depth that lingers like quality aromatherapy blends but it’s still light. I can’t describe it except to say it’s incredibly beautiful. And I’m not over stating. I actually made a little sachet for my dresser! I may or may not be wearing it on my pulse points as scent right now- it’s that wonderful, unique and vibrant. If it is good for my scalp, why not my body? Off label usage, right?  But…I’m getting ahead of myself, let me tell you about each step in this line.

The first is the El’ Treatment.

This is a deep conditioning cocktail serum that has thirteen rejuvenating plant oils working together to treat both your scalp and hair. Perfect for hair suffering from being overworked and over processed. Each  time you use it, your hair begins to recover. Wonderful for weak, thinning, dry, damaged or color treated hair. You actually use this before you shampoo, on dry hair. You use 2 or 3 drops and starting at the ends, work it up through your hair to your scalp. For long or really damaged hair use a little extra. Be careful as a little goes a LONG way. If you have one, use a boar bristle brush to evenly distribute the serum. Leave on for 10 minutes up to several hours, or even overnight. You can also use it as pre-color treatment, although I haven’t tried it that way. You hair will feel oily, but don’t worry, when you shampoo and condition, any “greasy” feeling is gone. You will LOVE the smell when the hot water hits your hair in the shower. *I’m seriously gonna suggest they make a candle with this scent. SO pretty.*

Next we have the Pure Shampoo.

No Sulfates, No Parabens, No Silicones. It has a super  rich  lather that thoroughly but  gently washes and hydrates the hair. It contains rare nourishing ingredients sourced from Japan and Italy. And with  moisture balancing benefits from the healing herb, Black Seed, the exotic African watermelon seed oil, Kalahari, which naturally dissolves sebum build-up, you get clean hair without stripping or drying. Ideal for color treated as well as undernourished, moisture-deprived locks. My hair didn’t feel squeaky clean when I was done, the “oil” from the Treatment Serum was washed away but my hair still felt …slick. It wasn’t oily at all but more of a slippery feeling. Like when you use hair polish before a flat iron. I wondered if my hair was going to be dull or limp because I am used to a different texture to my hair after shampooing. Which takes us to the final product.

The Essential Conditioner.

The Essential Conditioner targets the specific needs of aging hair. It is a very rich, concentrated conditioner that repairs and rebuilds weakened, moisture deprived hair. Like the other two products it has an amazing scent. And, like when I used the shampoo, as I rinsed and could feel my hair, I thought, “Oh no, it feels too slick” I was sure that my hair was going to be flat because it didn’t feel like it rinsed completely out.  I mean I could feel that it had, but …no squeak.  I let my hair air dry, because I feel like that is the truest test of how well something works… and though I had doubts in the shower, because of the slippery feel, and even when combing through lightly while it was damp (I actually use a wide tooth pick so I don’t tear my hair)  it dried  fluffy and bouncy! YES!  I really don’t know how, because I’m not used to a shampoo or conditioner that could give me fullness without a deep clarifying aspect( which usually means  slightly stripping your hair so your cuticles are shocked, thus giving you body) but I ended up with full, shiny hair …and it smelled so good hubs told me he liked my perfume, lol.  I really loved getting that body and bounce while actually nourishing my hair with amazing ingredients straight from nature, not from shocking it into volume. While you don’t need to always use the El’ments Treatment with the shampoo and conditioner, all three products work with a synergy that builds over time.

An eco-chic, luxury hair care line that works differently, but it works beautifully.  I LOVE this trio! I think you need to add these to your ” I want ” list, and make sure your family knows it would be a lovely “Pamper me if you love me” type of gift!! A high-end spa experience in your own home! I hope they consider body lotion, perfume and candles next!!

Connect with  them on Twitter and Facebook  too.

*** I don’t know what kind of shampoo Jennifer Aniston uses- she just had GORGEOUS hair***


Marika Tek – Another Winner – The Venus Crew Neck Tee

I have been fortunate to try several items from Marika Tek. Because the company realizes that your everyday life can bring the unexpected, since 1982 they have focused on providing  women with comfortable, functional active wear that is also beautiful and stylish. We have to multi-task, so they give us clothing that does too. The new Venus Crew Neck Dry Wik Tee  is a perfect example.

When  I was out running errands, I had to make a quick stop at home before taking off again, and I decided to stop by the mailbox.The Venus Tee was in the day’s mail. *Of course* I had to open the package. Since it was sooo stifling hot I thought it was a perfect chance to try it out.  The Venus is on trend with it’s slightly sheer look, but the treat is that it is one of their Dry-Wik line. It wicks away moisture to help keep you comfortable-whether working out or, in my case, running around town in staggering heat with a wonky A/C. The material is breathable, made of a high tech wicking fabric and finish. I was very pleasantly surprised that it actually did feel more “airy” than the tee I had swapped it for. It wasn’t like wearing a personal air conditioner of course, but it really made an appreciable difference. I wasn’t constantly pulling a sticky damp t-shirt away from my back. The Venus Crew I received is a pretty pink with a yellow accent. Bright and fun. It’s not form fitting but far from sloppy. Although it’s technically work out wear, I didn’t feel under dressed at all since it’s styled in such a cute way. So, even though I didn’t field test it during exercise yet, I am pretty confidant that it will help keep you drier during your work out, since it

did so well in the muggy summer weather. I’m thinking that it would be comfy as a night shirt with boxers on nights when the heat is heavy,too. To keep me cooler while I sleep? I’ll try it. LOL.


So, Marika did it again. A  chic, easy-fit and affordable Tee, that has function as well as style. From now until the end of September you can use the code  TEK20 for 20% off all Marika® Tek  and all other products at You should go take a look!


*Thank you to Lipton Publicity for proving the Tee for meto try!*


Apothica or SkinCareRx Gift Code Giveaway

Hey lovelies! I have a fun giveaway for you from my newest sponsor (YAY!!!!!)  SkinCareRx (also includes Apothica and skinbotanica) a $20.00 gift card for you to use on one of the three sites!

Perfect timing, huh? Right about now you are probably looking for that perfect After Sun Moisturizer, the Best Body Acne Products since you are showing off your skin more in this heat, or maybe you want a sun kissed glow via a Self Tanner?

How about a new sherbet inspired eyeshadow collection, or a trendy neon polish? Whatev. They have it!

You can find EVERYTHING YOUR HEART DESIRES at one of these three sites. Being me, you know that I am like a kid in a candy store when I’m shopping with them. It’s simply true ♥.

So, without further ado…enter below! Good Luck. I hope you win!


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