Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Latest Natural Beauty Haul

Hi Lovelies! I hope you all are doing well! I'm so happy that the warmer weather is right around the corner!!! This little bit of sun & warmth has been a bit of a tease lately. Though I'm not a fan of the summer humidity, I'm definitely looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and soaking up some Vitamin D very soon!!! With Spring on my mind, I've been making a lot of great purchases lately. I've been on the hunt for the perfect natural deodorant. I do have my mainstays, but I need something a little stronger when the heat hits. I also needed to change over to a different foundation routine and so far, I've been loving the results! This is my latest Natural Beauty Haul....

So I recently placed my order from Lucky Vitamin (which I do about 2x a month) and this time I decided to add in a couple extras. I've been searching for a really good night cream for what feels like forever. You see, I have very very VERY finicky skin. I'll use something for a couple weeks, everything will be going great and then all of the sudden, my skin decides it doesn't like it and starts throwing all these crazy symptoms at me. I'm sure there are different variables that contribute to this - my hormone issues, the climate, my diet, etc, etc .... but it's really annoying! The night cream that I was using and loving for a couple months suddenly started breaking me out really bad, so I decided to give the DermaE a try. So far, so good! It dried up a couple spots that I had, hydrates my skin without being greasy and a little goes a long way. I'm pretty happy with it so far! So much so that I'm planning on adding this Facial Mist to my next order. I also decided to finally give Primal Pit Paste a try, since as I had mentioned, I've been in the market for a new deodorant with the warmer weather rapidly approaching.

I decided to to go with the kids version in the Orange Creamsicle scent to match the slightly sweet scents of perfume and lotions that I wear. I really like the smell. It's not super Orangey, which is a good thing for me. I like oranges, don't get me wrong, but I was hoping for a more subtle, vanilla type scent. This deodorant works very well for me! The only very small gripe that I have personally, is that I seem to get some very slight irritation from the baking soda. This is definitely not enough to make me stop using it, as it's not terrible irritation, just not something I've really experienced before. It's just a tad drying right now. But this may be a benefit during the heat when I sweat a lot more! I'm not sure if this is a clear cut winner as far as when it's sweltering outside, but I could def see using this pretty much year round! 

Now on to my new foundation routine. I've been a very loyal Everyday Minerals user for years now. I've been extremely happy and have never had an issue. I've even tried a couple other mineral powders out there, and nothing works nearly as well for me. This is why I've been using them faithfully for about 8 years now. However, I've found that this winter, my skin decided it wanted to be super-dry and crepey.  Fun!!! I'm sure part of it are the variables I had mentioned with my moisturizer issues, but the other is the fact that I'm.... well..... to put it delicately, aging. Out of nowhere, it seemed that my beloved semi-matte mineral powder, the very same powder that gave me such a light, airbrushed finish, and the same powder that also fooled so many people into thinking that I had beautiful skin, started accentuating any flake of dry skin I had. It just would not blend properly into my skin. At no fault of the actual makeup at all, it was the canvas it was working with. So I finally decided it was time to change a couple things in my routine. I've been familiar with W3LL People for some time and the Narcissist had been on my Lust List forever!!! So it was time to pull the trigger. I knew this was going to be amazing for me. I could just tell. However, I could not for the life of me figure out what color I needed. Good thing they offer samples on the site! They got them out to me quickly, and after figuring out that I'm a No. 2, I then ended up placing an order with Pharmaca, which also provided excellent shipping time!

I absolutely adore the Narcissist! I use it as an all over foundation base and because I need a little extra coverage, use my Everyday Minerals Powder concealer and a dusting of my EM Semi-Matte Foundation Powder on top. It doesn't give a ton of coverage in the sense that if you have some scars or blemishes it completely covers, but it's definitely build-able. I would say about sheer medium, but it gives this gorgeous "lit from within" look. It's not shiny or oily looking, but like an inner glow. I like to blend with my fingers and then use my sponge to slightly buff it in before using my powders on top. And don't be scared off by the slightly higher price! There are no icky chemicals and a little goes a long way. Def love at first swipe ; )

I also grabbed a couple new Pacifica products this week as well. I'm a sucker for free shipping, so in order to qualify on my Pharmaca order, I decided to add the Coconut Kiss lip butter I've been wanting for quite a while to my order. I really like it! It's a lot more sheer than it looks, so I may go with a darker color next time. But the texture is really nice. I also noticed on my most recent Target trip, that a couple of the lip quench colors were on sale! I like to take a gander through the healthy beauty section every time I go, which is a couple times a week (there's a Target about 8 minutes away from me) and I just happened to see the Guava Berry & Sugared Fig colors were both on clearance for $2.08!!! I grabbed the guava berry and I'm in love! I may grab a few on my next trip if there are some left. The texture is so nice and moisturizing with a sheer wash of color. I don't typically wear pinky/purplish colors, so I was a bit scared, but for the price, I figured why not. I'm so glad I did! So so pretty and the smell..... Amazing! Like a delicious grown up grape juice. I highly recommend! My favorite tinted lip balm thus far!!! 

And last, but certainly not least..... I was recently sent a couple products that I have fallen so in lust with. The first is a product that came in a package that I won from Me & the Girls. It was the travel kit of all the various products. I use them daily, especially the spearamint lip balm... YUM. But the Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar has me smitten! I use it on my cuticles, to smooth flyaways and frazzled ends, cuts/scrapes, and I have replaced the lone icky product I was using.... My neosporin, for when I get really bad spots on my face that are of emergency status. I recently had a bad one and no lie, I hit it with the Bar Beleza before I went to sleep, woke up and it literally healed overnight and peeled off! yes.... peeled off!!! And again, a little goes a long way. This stuff is amazing!

I also had the pleasure of receiving a little sneak peek package of a brand new slew of gorgeous natural perfumes from my favorite range, Melange Perfume. Denise is the sweetest and she sent me a roll-on bottle of  No.3 from her new Essential Oil Roll-On collection. It's described as: French Lavender, Moroccan Tangerine, dark Patchouli Leaf, creamy Oak Moss. An adventurous melange of pure Lavender, bold citrus and rich spice, perfectly balanced with creamy Oak moss absolute & a hint of Cedar. To be honest, I was a little nervous/excited. Only because I'm so picky with perfume. But she was spot on as far as choosing the scent to gift me! I adore smokey and earthy scents, and this is on point. When I first rolled it on, I was a little worried, as it has kind of an herbal & slightly citrus scent. But as it dried down, it became more complex and earthy. And by mid to the end of the day, it was this sweet and sexy hint of scent that lingered. I'm not quite sure that this will completely replace my Amber 2 palette (my most favorite perfume ever EVER), but it's really gorgeous and has major staying power, which I love! Melange is my go-to and I can't recommend all of the range of products, especially the palettes, enough!

So that's my latest round-up of purchases with a couple gifts thrown in! If you have any questions about anything mentioned, please don't hesitate to ask!

DISCLAIMER: All of the products above, with the exception of the gifted melange roll-on and the Me & the Girls giveaway kit, were all personally purchased by yours truly. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Musings My quest for the perfect summer deodorant, preparing for spring, and a brilliant date night movie!

Hi Lovelies! I hope you are all enjoying the lovely weather we've been having the last couple days! Here in NJ it's been a breath of fresh air, literally...... I actually don't mind the cold or the snow much at all, but even I'm a bit sick of it lately. I don't know that I'm necessarily ready for it to jump right into warmer weather, but that's only because I'm a little late getting my fitness regimen ready to prepare for losing those winter layers! More about that later this week ; ) Anyway, In the midst of starting a new part-time job this past week, I was forced to finally go through all my clothes and reorganize my closet. I've been putting it off for months! But luckily for me, my hubby is excellent at organizing things and he actually likes doing it! Score!! So he helped me go through everything! Major points for him!!! =)

{ source: honestlyWTF }

So I did a major purge and also found some things that I'm not quite ready to part with, but need some new life. There was a white, gauzy camp shirt I had gotten from American Eagle a couple years ago, wore once and left it downstairs. Only to find the next time I wanted to wear it, that it had gotten a huge rust stain on the sleeve somehow. I'm hoping that I can dye over it. I'm planning on doing some indigo dye or maybe trying out a dye using food or herbs. I'm also planning on making a flowy, floral maxi skirt out of a gorgeous dress I got from H&M a few years back! I'll post pics of the finished projects when they're done!!!

Another thing I start mildly stressing over when the warmer weather approaches, is deodorant. As I've mentioned on here before.... I've found some amazing natural deodorants that actually work! But.... The thing is, for me they fall into two categories - fall/winter or spring/summer. I have yet to find one deodorant that works so well, that I can wear it in the scorching summer heat. I have a few that I'm hoping to try.

{ source: schmidt's online }

This one by Schmidt's has been on my radar for quite some time and I'm planning on placing an order to try it out asap! Once I do, I'll post back on the results soon enough!

I also wanted to mention that I watched the most brilliant, lovely movie on Saturday night. I'm a huge fan of British films and I adored Love Actually. So when I saw the previews for About Time last year, I was already quite smitten. Especially being that I've had a such girl-crush on Rachel McAdams for years. She's so adorable! I finally got a chance to rent it and loved it as much as I thought I would! I think even guys that aren't into super girly chick flicks would like this one. But I will say that if you don't get British humor, you might not be a fan. I think this is going on the "buy list" for me! I highly recommend!!!

Coming Soon....

~ My Spring Jacket picks
~ Summer Sunglasses Obsession
~ What I've been Reading
~ My Latest Fitness Regimen

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My {me} day - Poundfit, Holistic Facials, Skin Saving Smoothies, and Lovely lippies!

Hi there! I can't believe how much time has gone by since my last post!! I have had so much going on lately that the time just flies by so fast, but something I've been working on has finally come to fruition and I can really start focusing on this blog now! I definitely plan on organizing my time and putting a lot more energy into this blog!! I actually decided to kick this off yesterday with a personal "ME" day.

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Everyone needs a "ME" day now and then. And everyone spends theirs differently. I decided to spend mine nurturing myself and doing some of the things that I haven't really had time to do lately. I started by checking out my new Poundfit DVD's that I got in the mail on Monday! I have been so so SO excited to get these, I was practically stalking the mailman. I have to say, they did not disappoint. Let me preface this by saying that I am not really into Cardio. I know it's necessary and so beneficial, but I really struggle with it. I don't like to run and I do ok on the treadmill, but I get really bored. I sometimes mix it up with some Dance Cardio a la Tracy Anderson Method, but again, I get bored. PoundFit is the perfect thing to add to my weekly routine! It looks kinda easy watching them right? Well let me tell you, it's not. I only did about 20 minutes because I didn't have a ton of time, and I am sore today. You sweat, it's fun, and it's perfect for someone like me that struggles with lack of fitness focus and needs to mix it up! I can't wait to start doing this daily!!! 

After I was finished my little mini-pound session, I hopped in the shower in preparation for giving myself a Healthy Facial. As I had explained before, I am chemical-free & I don't use any personal care products with toxins. I'm a label-reading lunatic!!! =) So here is a little pic of my ingredients....

There's actually one important component that I forgot to put in the pic, but I'll get to that in second. I started out by giving my face a good scrub when I was in the shower. Then I got my mask ready, My favorite thing to use is Aztec Secret Healing Clay, which I grabbed on a trip to Whole Foods probably well over a year ago. This stuff lasts forever!!! I personally love this clay because you can mix it with pretty much whatever you want according to your skins needs. Sometimes I use ACV as suggested on the package, and others I like to mix it with filtered water, brewed tea, facial oils, etc. This time I started out by doing a steam tent with some filtered water & tulsi chamomile tea. This way my pores were open when I applied the mask. The mask consisted of Aztec Clay, a couple pumps of Shea Terra Organics Wild Honey Argan wash (this is more of an oil, so I thought it would be great for moisture!) and my Wedderspoon Manuka Honey mixed with filtered water.  I just mixed everything together with my finger  in a little ceramic bowl (you def don't want to use anything metal here! It will react with the clay) until it reached the consistency I liked. I applied this directly after steaming and let it sit for about 10-15 min. You really don't want this to dry out a ton, or it will pull a ton of moisture from your skin. You can spritz with some orange blossom water if needed. Or, if you are using the mask for oily skin & clogged pores, just make sure to properly moisturize afterwards! Once I rinsed the mask off, I toned with a DIY mixture of Tulsi Chamomile Tea and a few drops of ACV that I keep in a glass spray bottle. 

After I finished my facial I decided to nourish myself by making a skin-loving smoothie! I grabbed some organic beets from Whole Foods this past weekend and have been looking for a way to sneak them into my daily diet. Beets have so many amazing health properties and are so cleansing, so I've been wanting to start incorporating them into smoothies, as I'm not quite accustomed to the taste just yet. I just used what I had on hand to throw this delicious smoothie together! I have an Omega Vert juicer and pressed the juice from the beets fresh. I then added the juice to some coconut milk yogurt, about a TB of organic chia seeds, and a handful of frozen blackberries in my blender, and blended until smooth. This was so good!! It was a tad sweet for my taste (probably because of the yogurt) and I think would have tasted amazing with strawberries, but I didn't have any. So maybe next time! 

I then spent the day just relaxing until it was time to pick my boy up from school. I felt refreshed and in good spirits. Not that my life has been super chaotic lately, but sometimes you just need to do these little things to reset & recharge, whatever that may mean for you! I want to close this post by sharing my most favorite lip balms with you! I am a lip balm addict and these lovelies have been my go-to's for quite some time.

I may have mentioned before, that while I love a bit of color on my lips, I'm not a lipstick girl. Never have been. I've been using this tinted lip balm for a year now and I adore it. It adds the perfect touch of color and it's so moisturizing. Even though it's fine alone, I like to add a little extra pout quenching goodness underneath. Hubby grabbed me a couple of these Mongo Kiss lip balms at the checkout in Whole Foods last summer and I love them! I keep one at my makeup table and one in my bag. The vanilla honey smells so good. And a new favorite, this Me & the Girls lip moisturizer. I love a minty smell on my lips and this has Spearmint, which I LOVE! It's hard to find any lip products that use spearmint (which I prefer to perppermint). I keep this in my bag and have been layering it under my lip tint! 

Enjoy the rest of your day lovelies! I'll be back tomorrow with my "The Last Thing Thursday"!

DISCLAIMER: All of the above products mentioned were purchased by me personally. No samples or compensation was provided for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

{{ Kaeng Raeng ~ Couples Cleanse Diary }}

Hi Lovelies! I apologize for taking so long to get this cleanse diary up. I'm actually typing this as snow is  coming down, hoping that we don't lose power anytime soon. As I had mentioned in previous posts, I was planning on doing the Kaeng Raeng cleanse. It got pushed back a couple times due to a lagging cold that I had. But it finally went away and the Hubby and I decided to do the cleanse together this past weekend. It was actually a great choice for so many reasons. It was fun to do something like this as a team, so that we could cheer each other on during the process, and bitch to each other when we weren't feeling so well! I've done cleanses alone in the past, and this was definitely a much better alternative for me. I would highly recommend doing this or even doing one as a group! Ok, so let's get into the details.

{ source }

Kaeng Raeng is the brainchild of founder, Lindsay Reinsmith. A little about KR in Linday's own words...

" I started this company four years ago with a single blender in my one bedroom apartment in downtown Palo Alto. I was working long hours as an advisor to food and beverage companies and hated how unhealthy I had become.  I started experimenting with raw vegan diets and created cleansing smoothies in my kitchen.  I knew what I had created was special (because it worked); so, in true Silicon Valley fashion, I posted about my weight loss, renewed energy, and better skin on Facebook.  Several men and women, people just like you, asked if they could join me in jumpstarting a healthier lifestyle.

I created Kaeng Raeng to provide an accessible, healthy, delicious, and FILLING natural cleanse product to the market.  I was sick of how tired and gross I felt with my awful diet of processed, artificial foods and decided to embrace the culture of health and wellness so ubiquitous in Northern California.  I found doing the Kaeng Raeng cleanse exhilarating and liberating.  I could really taste my food.  I was finally aware of what I was putting into my body.

I named the company Kaeng Raeng, pronounced kang-rang, which means "be healthy, be strong" in the Thai language. I continue to be fascinated with Thai's cultural cuisine focused on the vegetarian lifestyle (Phuket, Thailand has the largest vegetarian festival in the world). KR is truly a product that empowers you to find your best health and inner strength. Although we have a Thai name, KR is 100% made in the USA. "

To read the entire About Me page, you can do so here.

So while the various reasons for cleansing might be pretty obvious, maybe you're wondering why I, or we (my Husband & I ), chose to do this cleanse. I consider myself a pretty healthy person. I live a Holistic Lifestyle, and though I'm not perfect and do eat junk from time to time, I'm pretty regimented for the most part. I've also been Gluten-Free for a year now, due to gluten intolerance. This really keeps me in check, because some of the junk that I might be tempted to eat, most of the time, I actually can't eat it! Win-win!! lol. But though I lead this lifestyle, I do have quite a few pounds I would like to lose. I'm planning on really kicking my fitness game into high gear and I thought this cleanse would be a great way for me to do that. As far as my Husband goes, he's not as strict as me as far as what he eats. Especially since he's not gluten-free, so he can eat a lot of the food I'm not allowed to eat. He also thought this would be a great way to kick off his healthy living - especially since there's currently a "Health Challenge" going on at his work!

So I was initially sent the original 3 Day Beginner Level Cleanse, but since I did not know it had Soy in the ingredient list, I was not able to do it. I avoid soy and was so disappointed that I had made the mistake of missing it on the ingredient list! But Kaeng Raeng was so generous, that when they came out with their NEW Soy-Free version, they sent me a box to review! So that's when I had the idea of my Husband doing the Soy-based version and me doing the new formula! The cleanse is Vegan, Gluten-Free, Caffeine Free, Non-GMO (super important to me!!!), and locally sourced! To get into the details of cost, there are several levels, several options and various price ranges. It can get kind of confusing at first, but if you're a first time cleanser, you can choose from the following....

~ 3 Day Soy-Based $69.99 
~ 6 Day Soy-Based $119.99
~ 3 Day Soy-Free $79.99
~ 6 Day Soy-Free $139.99
~ Soy Trial Packet $8 each
~ Soy-Free Trial Packet $10 each

So let's get into the details of the actual cleanse process and my experience with it. Depending on the amount of time you choose to do it, you are sent 3 packets for each day. They are ...

"Joyful" ~ Strawberry, Raspberry, Pineapple
"Into the Blue" ~ Blueberry, Banana
"Daybreak" ~ Mango, Peach, Pineapple

You simply choose which flavor you want to do for each meal and blend it with 24oz - 32oz of water, non-dairy milk, or a little low-sugar fruit (or even some leafy greens if you like that!) and/or ice. I tried both and preferred my smoothie to have a little less water, and did the 24oz. We made ours in the blender and poured them in 36oz mason jars. This kept great, as we did not drink our entire smoothie in one sitting. We decided to split it up between two 2 servings. This was also a great option for my Husband, as the cleanse extended into Monday, a workday for him. I made his smoothies in the morning, poured them in jars and put them in an insulated lunch bag for him to bring to work! So the convenience was great!!! Because there's so much going on in this post, I'll break down our experience bit by bit for you. My overall thoughts....

  • The price:  I think this cleanse has a great price point! I love the ingredient profile (I'll get more into that in a sec) and the convenience is great! And you don't have to worry about juice going bad in your fridge if you decide that it's not the right time to start after ordering!
  • The prep:  The prep is super easy!!! You can choose to make your drink in a shaker or a blender. I prefer my drinks to be smooth, so I made them in the blender. It all depends on personal preference as far as texture goes. But like I had stated above, they keep really well to make ahead in the morning and to bring to work, etc.
  • Meals/Snacking: You can eat Raw Foods during this cleanse. I personally don't think I ate enough. In all honesty, I was pretty hungry during the 2nd day. And by hungry, I mean HANGRY. My monthly "friend" was visiting, so maybe that was not the best time to choose to do a cleanse, lol. But I wasn't hang from the ceiling crazy, just kinda bitchy. As far as the Husband, he had no issue whatsoever. It was actually a running joke throughout the weekend because this was his first cleanse, and it was not mine, yet he was coasting right through.... so he reminded me several times! ; )
  • The juices:  Ok, as far as taste goes, I'm not going to lie.... They are just a teensy bit bland added with water only. But there is a great recipe page that gives you some great ideas as far as tasty add-ins with juice etc My favorite as far as taste alone was the Strawberry blend and then the Mango blend. We chose to add a few pieces of frozen, organic fruit to our smoothies and were just mindful of what we were eating as far as raw foods went. They both tasted great with a couple pieces of pineapple, mango and a couple strawberries. Because this increased the sugar content of the smoothie, we just made sure to eat veggies in our meal (like a nice raw salad) and if we had a piece of fruit, we ate a fiber-rich apple, no banana's etc. This seemed to work just fine. But I will say this, I LOVE the fact that this cleanse includes a whopping 15g of protein! You don't see this in cleanses and I really loved this, as it kept me feeling full for the most part. It also contains plenty of fiber (necessary to eliminate those toxins), Vitamins, and my favorite.... PROBIOTICS! I'm big into probiotics and gut health. Your gut is your "second brain", did you know that? Well it totally is!
  • Hunger: As I had mentioned above, I had a bit of a hunger issue. In hindsight, I would have increased my raw veggies a little. I think I was a bit stingy as far as how much I ate and could have added a little more. Husband had no issue with this at all.
  • The side effects: No side effects for me or Hubby!
  • The experience & Results: I thought the overall experience was great for both of us! It was really convenient and I loved the ingredient profile of the packets. It was a HUGE plus that I didn't have to worry about taking any additional supplements to support my system during the cleanse, and I had no side effects at all. I personally lost 5 lbs. I think I could have lost more if I was a first time ever cleanser. Because I already lead a Holistic type lifestyle, I think that impacted my results. But I was having some skin issues and I think this cleanse kick-started them clearing up for me, which was great! The Husband on the other hand started prepping for the cleanse the week before by making some minor changes and lost a little weight prior, but he lost a total of 11 lbs!!! This was an amazing start for him. 
My Advice for a Successful Kaeng Raeng Cleanse....

~ Prep yourself the week before! Especially if you are a first-time cleanser!!! I cannot stress this enough. Work on eliminating crappy foods from your diet. Be mindful of your portions. Add in fiber-rich foods so that you don't get clogged up during your cleanse (this might happen because this cleanse contains a good amount of fiber ). In other words.... DO NOT eat a super fatty, junkie meal the night before you start! Prep yourself before you wreck yourself!!! You WILL absolutely regret it if you do this and you may even sabotage your cleanse.

~ Work on increasing your water intake the few days leading up to the cleanse, especially if you are not a water drinker! I personally drink a ton of water normally. I have some coconut milk in my coffee in the morning, but that's pretty much it. I rarely drink juice and absolutely do not drink soda. So for me, this was not a problem. But drinking lots of water to help flush out those toxins and keep you regular during your cleanse time is absolutely crucial!

~ Don't be stingy with your raw meals. If you're hungry, eat some bell peppers or celery sticks. For dinner have a leafy green salad with some bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, etc and a delicious detox-friendly ACV dressing. I make mine with a teensy bit of raw honey and organic dijon mustard. Yum! 

~ Take note that depending on where you're coming from before this cleanse, you may or may not have detox symptoms. This is perfectly normal, unless they are alarming in nature. If you have them, it simply means that it's working. Just like if you do not, it doesn't necessarily mean it's not working. Just be mindful of what you're experiencing and try to keep in tune with the symptoms. You may need to drink more water, eat a serving of veggies etc.
Overall, I could definitely see myself doing this cleanse 1-2 times a year and keeping the packets on hand for quick & easy, vitamin rich meal replacements!  Want more details on this cleanse? Check out the recipe page, FAQ, and Nutrition profile!

I hope you enjoyed my review and found it helpful!!! Make sure to check out Kaeng Raeng on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram to stay up to date!!

DISCLAIMER: For review purposes, Kaeng Raeng generously sent me both the soy-based and soy-free versions of the 3 day cleanse to review. I was not compensated financially in any way. All opinions stated are my own.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My New Love .... The Duluth Trading Convertible Messenger

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So I was recently gifted this gorgeous bag from Duluth Trading. And to say that I love it, or even adore it, just wouldn't convey the feelings that I've been having. I'm totally smitten. I'm not really one for trends. I don't feel I need to have the latest Coach bag (though I do own one, which this bag replaced), and owning a Louis isn't one of my goals.... Though there's nothing wrong with either. I just tend to gravitate towards different and unique. I want what everyone else doesn't have. I revel in the extraordinary. I love using clothing, accessories and jewelry as my own personal expression. And this bag..... This lovely, beautiful bag.... Definitely fits the bill for me. So let's get into the details....

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The Convertible Messenger bag comes to you in a Duluth dust bag and upon first glance, though it is brown, it looks to be a very bright brown, more on the saddle side. It's very slightly stiff when you first take it out. But this is the thing that I love most about this bag, and why I waited some time before writing this post. This is a lifetime leather bag. It's actually made to age and look better over time. ******swoon. For me this is a HUGE deal. While I prefer a very distinct look in all of my accessories, I'm also a creature of habit, and I cherish the durability of a product that I have fallen so deeply in lust with. I'm known for buying 5 of the same shirt when I find something that just works for me, that way I can wear it forever. But with this bag, I have the added assurance that I won't have to do that. This beauty will only get more buttery and gorgeous with time. We are soulmates....  For life.

So all appearance aside, because I'm not just all about looks.... Lets get into the actual function. I personally don't love all of my things swimming around inside my bag, so I like to put them in another bag inside. I finally got some use out of my Marc Jacobs for Target clutch, which was also very exciting, since the poor thing was perched in my closet since last year! A travesty..... I know. But I do think that if you just like to throw your things inside and go, you would be totally fine. There are tons of pockets! There's a big one (big enough for an ipad or notebook) and then on the other side, two smaller pockets, which one is perfect for a phone.... A necessity for me. There are also two on the outside - perfect for my planner and then my grab and go items in the zip compartment, like my lip balm, lip tint, hand cream, etc.

The last thing that's really interesting about this messenger, and the reason it's called a "convertible" messenger, is that it can, well... convert. You can choose to wear it on your shoulder with a long strap (I do) or you can make it into a backpack. I don't really see myself wearing it this way, though it may just come in handy when I'm out for a day trip when the warm weather gets here! Overall, I give this bag a 5 star rating. It has everything.... Beauty, Function, and Durability.

Now because I fell so head over heels for the bag, I decided to take a look at the Duluth website. Though this is a trading company that has many outdoorsy type items that are meant to stand the test of time, I found some great items for the everyday. I loved a couple of the other bags, flannels, and this organic underwear looks comfy.... but I really fell hard for a few of their jackets. I've been kind of obsessed with Buffalo Plaid and really love this FlapJack Flannel Shirt Jacket. And the DuluthFlex Ripstock Jacket looks perfect for the warmer days on the tail end of winter. There was also a gorgeous Wool Duffle Coat that was on sale in the catalog, but it has since sold out. Maybe they'll bring it back next winter!!!

The other thing that really blew me away is the company overall. I'm a sucker for packaging, slogans, and genius marketing. They really sucked me in with their clever & cheeky names and descriptions. I'm so glad I found Duluth and I definitely see myself placing quite a few orders with them in the future!!! If you're interested in checking Duluth out, just visit any of the links above or touch base via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. They also post some fun reviews on their YouTube channel!

Ps - make sure to stop back tomorrow to see my "Couples Cleanse Diary" and our results!!!

DISCLAIMER: The Lifetime Leather Convertible Messenger bag was generously gifted to me for my review. I was not otherwise compensated by Duluth Trading for this post in any way. All opinions stated are my own.