Monday, July 14, 2014

My Summer Staples inc The BEST Natural Deo Ever!!!

Hey Lovelies! I know I say this every time I post lately, but I have to apologize for my MAJOR unintentional hiatus. As I had mentioned before, I started working part-time outside of the house a few months ago and I absolutely love it. I love getting out of the house and connecting with other adults (something I was seriously lacking as a sahm for 11 years) and I enjoy feeling like I have a purpose. It's been great for me! But my blog has obviously been a bit of an adjustment. Ok.... So I put it on the back burner. This definitely was not something I intended to do at all. The time just flew by and my time management skills haven't been so great. But I really do want to make an effort to revive my blog. I miss posting, I miss reading, and I miss connecting..... so much. So this week, it's my goal to really start working on some great posts for all of you. Even though I haven't been on here much, I've still been busy trying out some great products and putting some really great things together in my mind. And don't forget.... My Instagram is very active, and you can always find me on there! So without further ado, my latest summer staples....

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Like most people, a lot of my must-haves change during the warmer months! This summer has been no exception and it seems that I've needed to be more diligent than ever this year, since a lot of my previous mainstays don't seem to work as well for me anymore.This is by no means everything thing I use on a daily basis, these products are really the things I can't seem to live without at the moment (face/body for summer, perfume, sun protection, and bug protection). I'll start with my absolute FAVORITE of the bunch.

Let me preface this by saying that I have tried MANY natural deodorants. I've been Aluminum & Toxin-Free for years now. I haven't really met a natural deodorant that I didn't like, but just like with fragrance, they mix with your body chemistry and what works great for one person, might work terribly for another. I have a lot of fav's that I've mentioned in the past, but once summer arrives, it all goes out the window. Until now....

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Introducing My Savior.... The most AMAZING natural deodorant I've ever tried... GreenBody Deodorant! So I ordered this Deodorant about a month or two ago. I originally thought that the Advanced Soda-Free formula would work best for me. In the past I've used a couple deodorants that I loved the smell of, but had some minor irritation and I had narrowed down the fact that baking soda might be the culprit. Luckily for me, Kristin from GreenBody was so generous and kind to have gifted me a Clarity stick (shown above) in my order as well. I immediately tried the products as soon as they arrived (super fast shipping I might add) and I started with the Soda-Free. Unfortunately this did not work for me. This doesn't mean this isn't a fantastic product. Something with my body chemistry and hormones just didn't mix with this. But it works great for my Husband! So my loss is his gain ; ) Now onto the Clarity version. I was hesitant to try this since it does contain baking soda. However, I was desperate since it had started getting really hot here and my other deodorants weren't working that well for me. I applied this and I'll be honest, it wasn't love at first sniff. As hippy dippy as I can be, I'm not a huge fan of patchouli. But I will say that it must really do something because I did not stink even at the end of the night. This lasted ALL DAY for me. And without getting into the gory details of my hormonal issues, that is a MAJOR thing! And after a couple uses, the scent did mellow out and I hardly notice it now. This deodorant will absolutely be a staple for me all year long and I'll definitely re-order again and again! I don't think I could live without it at this point. I can't recommend it enough!!! Thank you Kristin for making such an amazing product!

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The next couple products are items I've been using for years now, but always seem to increase my use during the summer. This Menthe Black soap is great for body and face! I use it to keep breakouts at bay, especially after working out or spending time outside, and it leaves me feeling refreshed. I also use it in my daily facial routine (more on that later this week) and it's been working really well for any potential acne. It can be slightly drying on the face, but I don't really have an issue with this anymore since I've been using it for so long. I also really love Lavanila's rollerballs. As shown, the Vanilla Coconut is my favorite. It lasts pretty long on me and I love to mix it with the scents in my Melange Palette for extra staying power and when I want more of a smoky scent. But it also works great alone and the rollerball is so convenient and wallet-friendly. Don't let the small size fool you, it lasts for a long time! I'm actually due for a new one and want to try Vanilla Summer as well!

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SUN PROTECTION: This is so very important. Skin cancer is more rampant than ever, and without sounding preachy, I don't think that it's just lack of sun protection, but also the use of products containing nasty chemicals that react in the sun! Natural sun protection, coupled with a healthy, antioxidant and omega-rich diet, are a necessity for myself and my family during the harsh summer months. I will be honest in the fact that I don't love every single ingredient in these products, with the exception of the 100% Pure item. But, I needed to find some form of protection asap while I was continuing the search for MY holy grail of sun protection that will pass my scrutiny. The Honest Sunscreen, while thick and hard to rub in, works ok for days on the beach or by the pool, and the ingredients are good as far as safety in the sun. The fact that it does take some work to apply is just the sacrifice I make for the fact that it is such a clean sunscreen for the most part. And though the Yes to Carrots Lip Spf contains soybean oil and limonene, two ingredients I'm generally not a fan of, I feel it's better to have a little protection on my lips on days I'm out in the sun all day, than no protection. Especially since the lips tend to be a really overlooked area. My mineral makeup does offer natural spf, but on days that I know I'll be out in direct sunlight, I use this pomegranate spf 20 under my makeup. It works well and doesn't break me out and is actually a decent primer! I actually really love a lot of the 100% Pure range! But as far as sun protection is concerned (body & lips), I'm still on the hunt for my perfect matches!

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Last, but most definitely not least.... My choice for Bug Protection. This year has been so bad for Mosquitoes and ticks as well. Both myself and my son have both suffered from bad viral infections over the last month and there's a possibility that we got these infections via mosquito bites. Gross! I actually have a bad mosquito phobia at this point. They make my skin crawl. Even more so now than ever! So I look for the best protection I can find. Even better if it multi-tasks against more than one pest. I love DoTerra's Terrashield Blend for this purpose. It only contains a blend of effective essential oils and coconut oil. No nasty soy oil or other additives. You can simply apply directly to the skin (as it does contain coconut oil as a carrier) or mix with distilled water and spray. Just note that this blend does contain phototoxic oils and should not be applied when laying in direct sunlight for periods of time. With about 300 drops per bottle, it makes the cost per bottle so inexpensive! If interested, you can purchase through my Doterra site by clicking "Shop" and then look through the Oil Blends. If you have any additional questions on oils or this blend specifically, don't hesitate to contact me!

Make sure to stop back soon to check out the latest products on my radar!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Osmia Organics ~ A Review

Hi Lovelies! I hope all is well and all you Mom's & Mama's-to-be enjoyed your Mother's Day weekend!!! We had a busy beginning part of the weekend here, so I spent my day relaxing and spending some quality time with my Hubs, Son, and Furbabies. It was a really nice day! So a lot has been going on here and I've obviously been so behind on blog posts! I'll be sharing some exciting news later in the week!! But I wanted to make sure to get on asap to share an amazing product review with you! Especially with the heat quickly approaching. It's in the mid 80's and humid here in Jersey as I type! Bleh!!! Not my favorite.....

So as I had mentioned before, this past winter my skin was a nightmare. It was way more dry than it has ever been in my life and was just non-stop issues with breakouts. I definitely blame aging!!! But during the balmy summer spring/summer months, it's a whole other set of issues. I have combo - oily skin and it can get way out of control if I don't keep it balanced. I try to vary between some different masks, a nice light, but nourishing moisturizer and light makeup. This usually keeps my skin in check as long as I'm eating correctly for my hormones etc.

Osmia Organics was so very generous to send me some beautiful products to try! I received this pretty little package with the Detox Exfoliating mask (complete with little ceramic bowl & spatula), Black Clay Facial Soap, and samples of the Honey Myrrh Lip Repair and Purely Simple Face Cream. First off, all of the products smell delicious. Like so so good!!! And I love the simple & clean packaging. I'm a sucker for branding, what can I say! Ok, so on to the good stuff. I'll give you my thoughts on each individual product here....

The Black Clay Facial Soap is for Normal, Problem, and combination skin. As described on the Osmia Website: Black Australian clay and dead sea mud balance and tone the skin, while organic almond, avocado, and castor bean oils condition.  Coconut milk helps make the beautiful, white lather.  This is the soap I recommend for perioral dermatitis. For extremely sensitive skin, try a test patch on your inner arm first - the dead sea mud can be mildly tingly.

I really really liked this soap. I had some breakouts and dermatitis going on and within a couple uses, it started to clear it up. It was just the right amount of drying and nourishing. I also love the smell. And a little goes a long way! I like to cut my soaps into smaller pieces so they last longer. I cut a rectangular sliver and repackage the rest and it lasts me a week or more! I would highly recommend this soap for anyone struggling with any skin issues!!!

The Detox Face Mask with Manuka Honey was also amazing! This mask is for all skin types. As described on the Osmia Website: Three kinds of purifying clay, nourishing raw cacao and manuka honey, and toxin-removing activated bamboo charcoal are the key ingredients in this dual-purpose exfoliating mask.  It comes as a dry powder with a small, ceramic dish and stirring spatula, as pictured.  It may be used weekly as an exfoliating paste - the organic, finely-ground walnut shells and olive leaf powders will gently resurface and condition the skin.  If left on for 15-20 minutes as a mask first, it will also pull impurities from the skin as it dries.  The raw cacao will soften the skin, as its natural caffeine tones and lifts.  Afterwards, step in the shower and softly massage the mask away, leaving behind smooth, soft, conditioned skin. 

I loved that this mask actually came with a little bowl in it's own cute little packaged box, as shown above. Again, it smells of herbal & delicious. This review was actually a little tough for me, because for the short amount of time that I was able to use the product, it worked amazingly well! But in all honesty, there was an ingredient that caused a huge amount of itching for me. I'm not entirely sure exactly what that mystery ingredient might be, since I've used all the components before. In any case, I was able to keep it on for 5 minutes, and with the results I got just from that, I truly wish I could have held on longer. My pores were noticeably clearer and whatever wasn't clear was loose enough to easily scrub off. I can only imagine how fantastic my skin would have looked if I could have done 20 minutes!!! 

Due to the essential oil content and the ingredients that might be foreign to some natural newbies, I would highly recommend trying samples of the face mask and doing a patch test. Luckily Osmia offers samples of all of their products!!! This is a great way to give them a try before committing to the cost or if you are concerned that you might have a reaction. I'm sensitive to SO MUCH organic & not organic, that this is a great option for anyone that shares the same issues! 

The last couple sample size products I received were the skin cream which sounds lovely, but I did not try due to the fact that it contains almond oil and I was concerned I might break out from that. But I will say that I fell in love with the Honey Myrhh Lip repair. I actually wanted to eat it, it smells so divine. This is absolutely a product I would order! Just another wonderful way to feed my lip product obsession ; )

Osmia Products on my Lust List:

~ Whisper Lip Gloss
~ Taza Perfume Oil
~ Facial Calibration Serum  

** Make sure to check out Osmia Organics on Instagram & keep up to date on Twitter!!! 

DISCLAIMER: The Osmia Organics package shown above was generously gifted to me for my review. I was not otherwise compensated by Osmia Organics for this post in any way. All opinions stated are my own.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Getting Ready for Spring with Duluth Trading

Back in February Duluth Trading had sent me the amazing Convertible Messenger Bag and I fell in love. They were also so very kind enough to send me a fantastic Spring Staple that has really come in handy the last few weeks.

 The DuluthFlex Ripstop Jacket has been wonderful during the constant weather flip flops we've been having here in Jersey the last several weeks. It's not too hot, but offers just the right amount of warmth on a slightly chilly spring day. It's also thin, but extremely durable. I love the feminine fit as well! Though I do recommend sizing up if you like your jackets to fit a bit on the loose side. 

I also came across this amazing Vest that is just like the jacket, but without sleeves of course. I could see myself wearing this with a cute camo tee or striped long sleeve tee. You could def play around with it to achieve different looks. And the best thing is that they are not only functional, but so versatile, they should last a really long time!

There are 3 different colors - a khaki color, a slightly rusty shade and the green, which is sold out in the jacket in Medium!

I also have to mention that I'm still beyond smitten with my bag! I use it every single day and love it more and more as it gets more distressed. It's the perfect size to use everyday, but it's perfect to toss all my work essentials into it. It's darkened just a bit and has become more soft since it's arrival. And I just adore it. I used it all winter long, have still been wearing it and can definitely see myself slinging it over my shoulder whilst rocking a maxi dress, wedges and some boho jewels. It works with so many styles and can be used year round! 

Also noteworthy....

~ Durable Plaid Shirts

Don't forget to stop by Duluth Trading's Twitter & Facebook pages to say Hi! =)

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