Monday, September 8, 2014

{ Week 4 of my Fitness Journey }

Hi Lovelies!

It's my favorite time of year again and today I got my first little taste of Fall weather that I've been pining for so much. Mid 70's might not seem like Autumn temps to some people, but with the week we had here in Jersey last week, it's downright chilly!

So if you don't follow me on Instagram (where I tend to be most active), you might not know that I kicked off a major Fitness regimen a few weeks ago. See here....

As you may or may not know, I'm a Certified Health Coach, so I'm really into Nutrition, Fitness, Healthy Living, etc. But I've really fallen off the fitness wagon in the last year or so. My weight has fluctuated quite a bit since I had my son and with some minor health issues that I'm still trying to get under control - think lots of food intolerance's, it was just time for me to take the leap into a major routine.... No excuses. I started out really hitting my home gym hard and was seeing great results! I've been a TIU plan member for a few years now and love their workouts, but I really wanted something more regimented that would build muscle the right way, and quite frankly..... kick my ass. I kept seeing a lot of other TIU girls posting Kayla Itsines BBG program and after about a week or looking at results every single day on Insta, I pulled the trigger!

I absolutely love it so far! I think it's exactly the structure I needed and it's good for me because I could feel myself getting into the mentality that I needed to burn 800-900 cals a workout for it to be good enough. That.... My friends, is how an obsession brews. And I love being obsessed with Fitness, but not in an unhealthy way. Especially with my perfectionist issues. So now I'm on week 2 and I'm loving the results! I still struggle with only doing 45m on the treadmill as my workout, but I'm trusting the process. Besides, there are some nights I'm SO sore and I know I'll be wishing for these easy nights when I get deeper into the program.

After already losing a size and being down almost 10lbs (that includes building muscle) in 3 weeks, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at so far and looking forward to seeing my body change over the next several weeks. If you're interested, I'll keep doing weekly updates here! And make sure to check out my Instragram feed for my daily updates =)

Have any of you tried the BBG program? What do you think so far???


PS - I purchased the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide with my own funds. It was not provided to me for review. This is my own experience and I'm sharing to inspire & motivate others ; ) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Faire Collection has My Heart

I am so excited to share this post with you today! Mainly because the company I'm about to introduce to you is one that I've been a major fan of for a really long time. But not just because they offer gorgeous accessories and jewelry, but because they have such a touching mission. 

Recently I was contacted by Faire Collection about doing a feature and of course, because I already adore them, I was happy to gush about them. They so generously offered to gift me a necklace so that I could convey the total experience to you, and I have been wearing this necklace almost daily since I received it. 

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First let me touch on the initial arrival before I get into the major details and company story. For anyone that is a regular visitor to this blog, or that knows me, you know that I'm a sucker for packaging. It makes a huge impression on me. And Faire Collection is no exception. The package arrived beautifully put together in a shipping box with shred. It was delicately wrapped in bright blue tissue and placed inside a simple, but nicely branded little envelope, along with a card that gives some info about the company and the countries where the Handmade Jewelry & accessories are made. One of my most favorite details though, was a tag that was on the necklace that gives me the name of the person that made it. I absolutely LOVED  this little touch and felt so connected to the fact that a person in another country used their hands to make me this necklace. Amazing!!! 

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The necklace that was sent to me is called the Catalina necklace, and in addition to the gorgeous papaya color that I was gifted, there is also a gorgeous sea green option. This necklace was Artisan-made  in Ecuador with hand-dyed Tagua & Pambil Seeds, Wood, Brass, and Wax Cord. I love it! It's the perfect length, has a nice weight but not too heavy,  and adds a nice little soft pop of color, while still being semi-neutral if that makes sense. I love to wear it with my maxi dresses, a cardi & tank combo for cooler summer days and in the office, and it looks great with some dangly gold earrings and a plain v-neck tee. It's really versatile!

So now for the details about Faire Collection as a company.... 

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Faire Collection created fair trade accessories that are made with responsibly sourced natural materials from around the globe.

Their New York design team travels to remote corners of the world to design with vibrant indigenous cultures and one-of-a-kind natural materials. They now work with communities in Ecuador, Peru, Swaziland and Vietnam, providing their Artisan partners a path to prosperity. 

Check out this short video to get a sense of just how much this opportunity impacts these communities. It literally gives me goosebumps...

I also really love this "Story of your Necklace" timeline and this Bio on Amanda Judge, Founder and CEO!

In addition to gorgeous jewelry like the Catalina necklace, Faire Collection also carries scarves (love!) & hats, as well as an amazing Sale Section! Here are my current favs - The Galapagos Necklace in Turquoise, the Cascade Necklace in Periwinkle (Gorgeous & On Sale!!!) and the item at the very top of my wishlist, the Tagua Bib, which I love in every single color! I've been lusting after this one for a while and am undecided between the Berry & Sunset Orange for Fall!

I hope you enjoyed learning about Faire Collection & consider making a purchase with a purpose! Make sure to bookmark your favs! lets you know when they go on sale ; ) and check them out on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Wants - My Summer Lust List

Hi Loves! I can't believe how quickly the summer is flying by! And to be honest, I'm not complaining. I do love the activities and having my kiddo home, but the heat is just not for me. I will say that this summer has been relatively mild. We've had a few great days here and there. Like today for instance, only 81 and no humidity. Perfection!

So this summer I've been coming across a ton of great products and companies and my lust list just grows and grows. I love to share my finds with all of you! Especially since some are relatively new brands you may not have heard of. So here's my top fav's on my current list....
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My hair just does not like me in the summer. While I have issues in the winter, which I thought were pretty bad, it's a slew of whole other issues when the heat and humidity get here. My ends are dry and my naturally curly hair (which I blow out almost daily) gets so frizzy with the tiniest bit of moisture in the air. While I do like my current hair routine, I've had Rahua on my list for quite a while. I've heard so many great things and they just replaced the wheat in their line with Quinoa protein! Yay for me!!! It's pricey, but a little supposedly goes a long way. And for me, since I don't get my hair cut really often, it's not too much different in maintenance cost than the average female. It's actually probably less! I think this jetsetter kit is a great way to give it a try!

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As I've mentioned on here many times before, I'm a HUGE Pacifica fan. I've been wearing the perfume solids for years. Mediterranean Fig is a fav of mine in the fall/winter. Well they just came out with some amazing beauty products! I've read rave reviews on the mascara, I already use and love most of the lip products, and the eye shadows look divine. But what has really caught my interest is the new facial makeup. More specifically the new concealer and lotus powder. I've been thinking of grabbing this set because it's a fantastic deal, but I'm gun-shy since I can't seem to figure out which color I need.

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I've also been majorly in love with simple and ethereal jewelry lately. Maybe it's the fact that in the summer you don't really need to make as much of a statement with jewelry since you're showing more skin. But one brand that I've been obsessed with for a long time is Dogeared. I'm so in love with this tiny little Hamsa necklace. I also love the Karma necklace and all the little stone necklaces as well The rings are also gorgeous, but I have really small fingers unfortunately, so they don't work for me. =(

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And I saved the very best for last. The item that's at the very tippy top of my Lust List and probably will be for a long time, considering the slightly higher price. Preface: I recently tried and sent back the PMD Personal Microderm. I was so so SO excited to try it and had been wanting it for a very long time, so when I came across a great deal, I finally pulled the trigger. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and was so confident that I was going to love it, I had planned to do a major review. There was just one problem, I got it and didn't love it. Yea.... I was pretty sad. But it just didn't work for me. I had no issues as far as crazy red marks, raw skin, or anything horrible that some others have had. It just simply didn't really perform as well on my skin as I would have liked. So I started doing a little research and came across the beauty that is Riiviva! This little gadget is crazy amazing!!! It offers a professional quality microdermabrasion that actually rivals what you might pay anywhere from $55-$80 a pop in a salon for, depending where you live of course. It also has attachments for cellulite as well! SOLD! I'm planning on putting some money aside and will hopefully get one by the Fall, maybe I'll put it on my birthday list. ; ) Hopefully a full review is in the very near future!

So that's my latest lust list! Make sure to stop back for what I've been loving and reordering as well as a feature on an amazing, fair trade jewelry/accessory company!

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.