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What the World Needs Now…

 

Hello to all of you beautiful souls. Today I want to talk about something that’s been heavy on my heart lately. It has nothing to do with cosmetics or skincare, but something far more important. I want to talk about kindness. With all of the things going on in the world, I think that what we all need more than anything else, is compassion for one another.

Many of you know that I am an elementary school teacher. I have years of classroom experience and have personally worked with hundreds of children. Through out my experience as an educator, I have witnessed some of the most touching acts of kindness. So many of the children I encounter on a day to day basis have such selfless hearts that are full of love and empathy. The assumption is that those children will grow up to be selfless and kind adults. Sometimes, not all of them do. So what is it that happens that makes the warmest of hearts grow cold?

I think it’s easy to say that life can get you down. Certain negative experiences can make you bitter, cynical, or pessimistic. Sometimes you come across those rare people who have experienced loss, trauma, or cruelty but yet somehow they are still smiling. The point is, we never know what others are dealing with. We all have mountains to climb and our own burdens to bear. That’s just how life works and we can’t expect it to be problem free.

Sometimes life deals a crappy set of cards. My husband Chase, who happens to be the strongest and most humble person I know, has experienced tremendous loss. He lost both of his parents as well as his adopted mother before the age of 18. He was left with nothing. He made the conscious decision to let it make him better and not bitter. I know that his loss still hurts him to this day, and probably always will, but he has handled it with such grace. He has always been my rock, never failing to keep things in perspective. He has told me many times that someone could take the same cards you’ve been dealt and win with them. After really giving his words some thought I realized the truth in that statement. When life gives you lemons, always make lemonade. See the beauty and the good in the world, even in the smallest of things. Admire the colorful sunrise on your way to work, notice the love between the elderly couple walking down the street, see the joy in a playing child’s eyes. Don’t take a single second of this life for granted, even on the darkest of days. If you look closely, there will always be a ray of light.

Have you ever had a really bad day that has been turned around by a small act of kindness? I remember the first time I had ever experienced the ‘Pay it Forward’ movement in a McDonalds drive-thru. I thought I had heard the cashier wrong when she told me that my meal had been payed for by the person in front of me. I was so touched and excited that I, too, payed for the person behind me. Who knows how many people that one simple and random act of kindness reached that day. Who knows how many bad days were turned around. What I do know is it brought a lot of smiles to grumpy faces and it filled countless minds with the wonderful thought that maybe the world isn’t that bad.

So with all of that being said, can we just be nice to each other? Can we say good morning, please, and thank you?  Can we hold the door open for the person behind us? Can we give honest compliments? A little kindness and humility goes a long way. Imagine how the world could change if every person did just one thing every day to help another. I hope that no matter how many scars your heart bears, you’ll always have the strength to shine your light unto others.

 

 

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How to Get (or fake) Glowing Skin

Hello Queens! Today I want to talk about something that every woman wants, glowing and luminous skin. Some of us are naturally blessed with a beautiful complexion that is radiant even without makeup. Let’s be honest though, most of us are not. There are several things that you can do to take your skin from dull and tired to hydrated and healthy.

1. Use a hydrating night cream

Night creams are really essential to giving your skin the hydration it needs to repair and restore itself while you sleep. My personal favorite is CereVe Skin Renewing Night Cream. It runs about $17 but is worth every penny. Plus, this night cream has other skin loving ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that help fight fine lines and wrinkles.

cereve

2. Exfoliate, my friends, exfoliate

This is a really important step that a lot of people miss. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of your skin AND improves blood circulation. I skip the exfoliating cleansers and instead just use a cleansing brush. There are so many great exfoliating brushes on the market, probably the most well known being Clarisonic. I have used the Olay Pro-X facial cleansing brush for years and love it. I use it once a day, typically in the shower (it’s waterproof). I like to use my regular cleanser with this brush which I find to work really well, but without any irritation from the typical exfoliating beads in other cleansers.

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3. Use a gentle cleanser and moisturizer before makeup application

This one seems obvious, but many women have a tendency to lean towards “harsh” cleansers that only further irritate or dry the skin. I love Ocean Minerals Cleanser by Oz Naturals (I talked about this one in a previous post). I also use a really light moisturizer immediately after cleansing. Always let your moisturizer absorb into your skin for several minutes before makeup application.

4. Use a good primer (it’s really worth it, ladies)

Seriously. If you haven’t tried using a primer before makeup application you are missing out. A good primer helps to reduce the look or pores, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also helps your makeup to go on smoothly and can really give your skin a softer, more airbrushed finish. Some primers can help control oil or add moisture depending on the needs of your skin. I live and swear by Pur Minerals Prep and Perfect Correcting Primer ($33 at Ulta). I apply about a pea size amount all over my face AFTER moisturizing. I can immediately see a difference in the overall appearance of my skin. This stuff also extends the wear of my makeup (win/win).

color-correcting-primer-prep-and-perfect-cap-off

5. Use a beauty blender

If I could stand on top of a mountain and scream this from the top of my lungs, I would. USE A BEAUTY BLENDER. A damp one. It will change your life. After moisturizing, I like to start with some BB cream on the back of my hand. I dip my beauty blender in the cream (or liquid foundation if that’s what you use) and make a stamping/pressing motion on my face. The technique is called “stippling”. It allows makeup to go on super smooth, blurs the look of pores, and adds some fresh moisture to the skin from the sponge being damp. I personally like the Miracle Complexion Sponge by Real Techniques.

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6. Use a good highlighter

Using a highlighter can do wonders to the overall look of your skin. It can make you look brighter, younger, and more luminous. Always use a highlighter sparingly (less is more). You want your highlight to be subtle and natural, so start slow and add more as needed. Obviously, only highlight areas that would naturally be lit by the sun (your forehead, upper cheekbones, center of your chin, and the bridge of your nose). I’ve tried a lot of different brands of highlighter, it really takes some experimentation to find which one is right for you. I love Mineral Glow Pearls by Physicians Formula and Candlelight Glow by Too Face.

glow

 

 

5 Beauty Products You Need in Your Life, Now!

Hello beauties. Every girl has a couple of tricks and obsessions in her artillery of beauty supplies. I want to share some of my favorite everyday products that really are worth every single penny.

  1. InstaNatural Age Defying Skin Clearing Serum $23.95

Instanatural

Why you need it:

This serum is like a magical little potion of age-defying, acne butt kicking goodness. I am a huge fan of vitamin C serums but it’s hard to find one that addresses aging AND acne prone skin. This product contains 2.5% Retinol, 2% Salicylic Acid, Niacinamide, and Tea Tree Oil to help clear clogged pores and sooth irritated skin. It also has Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid to help fight signs of aging, moisturize, and soften the skin. I’ve found that this product does a great job of reducing acne scarring and dark spots. I use this product every night after cleansing my face. I try to apply it as quickly as possible after my skin is dry so that it can be absorbed while the pores are still open. I only use about 4-5 drops for my entire face, so a little goes a long way. It took about three weeks to see the full benefits of this product in my skin, but the wait was well worth it!

http://instanatural.com/collections/skin-care/products/age-defying-skin-clearing-serum

2. Derma e Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask $19.50

dermae

Why you need it:

Everyone should be using a mask at least once a week. In my case, I need a mask to draw out impurities and clear clogged pores. This is just the ticket. It contains Activated Charcoal which is known to help draw out up to 200 times its weight in dirt, oil, and toxins. It also has Bentonite Clays which helps to absorb excess oil, and Marine Algae helps to protect the skin from environmental pollutants and provides hydration. Apricot seed powder acts as an exfoliant to help rid the skin of the impurities that were drawn out while the mask was drying. I love that this product does not have added fragrance and is perfect for my sensitive skin.

http://dermae.com/product/392/Purifying-2-in-1-Charcoal-Mask.html

3. Olivine Atelier Love & Salt Beach Hair & Body Mist $18

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Why you need it:

This stuff is the holy grail of sea salt sprays. I have a natural wave to my hair and I often times let it air dry. I need a spray that’s going to add waves and texture without leaving my hair feeling dry or crunchy. I’ve used sea salt sprays from the drugstore before but always felt that it dried out my hair and really didn’t give me the fresh from the beach wavy look. This product is on the pricier side but it’s worth every penny. It contains only a few natural ingredients including Pink Himalayan Sea Salt, Coconut Oil, Epsom Salt, and French Sea Salt. It has a very light and fresh scent from the salt and coconut oil. I spray it on when my hair is damp and also sometimes when it’s completely dry and it always enhances my waves and gives it texture and body. This spray also doubles as a body mist!

http://www.amazon.com/Love-Salt-Beach-Olivine-Atelier/dp/B011SPD5CK/ref=sr_1_2_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1459783887&sr=1-2&keywords=love+salt

4. Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation $29.50

pur

Why you need it:

I have never been one to wear liquid foundations as part of my every day makeup. It feels too heavy and thick on my skin. I’ve always been a fan of mineral foundation and used to wear Bare Minerals mineral foundation until one day someone at Ulta introduced me to Pur Minerals. At first I was unsure of how the coverage would be given that it looked like a compact powder. After trying it once, I was hooked. It provides medium coverage and is buildable, so you could wear a light layer for a quick natural look or apply several layers for more coverage. This product is a concealer, foundation, and a powder in one. A huge bonus is that it contains SPF 15, is Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paraben free.

http://www.purminerals.com/4-in-1-Pressed-Mineral-Makeup-Foundation-With-SPF-15-New

5. Physician’s Formula Mineral Glow Pearls $13.95

glow

Why you need it:

We’ve all heard it before – fake it ’till you make it! When it comes to glowing, youthful skin, we all want it, but unfortunately for many of us stress, lack of sleep, and lack of hydration can keep our complexions from looking its best. With Strobing being the new go to makeup trend (move over contouring) this is a great product. It’s a perfect highlighter that isn’t too sparkly. In other words, you won’t look like you just stepped out of a Twilight movie. I apply it after my foundation, bronzer, and blush. I use it sparingly but apply it to all of the areas that should be highlighted (areas where light naturally hits your face) including the cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, the middle of the forehead, chin, under the eyebrows, and the cupids bow.

http://www.physiciansformula.com/en-us/productdetail/face/bronzers/07040.html

 

 

 

How to Keep a Guy in 10 Days

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Hello beauties! Today I want to talk about something a little different than usual. I want to talk about you and your man! How is it that some couples can stay together for 50 years and yet still love each other more at the end of the day? What’s their secret?

My husband and I met in high school and have been together for over 9 years (married for one). Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our ups and downs, but I always think that it’s impossible to love him more, and then I do. I can’t speak for all couples, but I know that there are certain things that we do that keep our relationship fun, fresh, and romantic.

Whether you’re married or just in a relationship, we all need things from our significant other to make us feel special and wanted. We all want to feel appreciated. Am I right or am I right? It’s unbelievable how just a kind word, a positive attitude, or an honest compliment can brighten someone’s day.

So all of this sounds good, but what do you do in order to establish a loving and positive relationship with your partner?

Appreciate Each Other

It sounds simple. In fact, you’re probably sitting there thinking that you do, but how often do you tell each other? When your significant other does the dishes, stops by the store after a long day for groceries, opens the door for you, sends you a good morning text, or any other small or big gesture, TELL them how you appreciate their efforts. Tell them how much you appreciate them, and you’ll get more and more things that you appreciate.

Compliment Each Other 

I know that this one sounds like it’s geared more towards men complimenting women. But ladies, you have no idea how one small compliment can make your man feel. Tell each other how nice they look, how their hair looks great, you love their smile, how smart they are, how funny or kind they are. I personally love to see my husband light up when I tell him he looks handsome, and I know how I feel inside when he tells me that I look beautiful. Complimenting each other is reassurance to the other person that they still do it for you!

Surprise Each Other

One thing that has always kept my relationship fresh is spontaneity and surprise. No matter how big or how small. Whether it’s tickets to your significant other’s favorite sports team event, concert, or just to a movie. It can also be as simple as picking up their favorite candy or leaving a note. No matter what it is, the intention is to just have fun! My husband and I surprise each other often with notes in the morning before work. We hide them in places around the house where we know the other person will see them. Sometimes it’s on the other person’s car keys, on the bathroom sink, the coffee maker, or on the night stand. They are just simple little notes, but we let each other know how much we love and appreciate one another. I always feel really good leaving a note for him, and it never fails to put a smile on my face when he leaves one for me.

Get Physical (Not like that..well, maybe like that too)

Make physical and intentional contact with your partner every day. Hug them, hold their hand, kiss them a second longer, play with their hair. Physical contact builds and KEEPS a connection. On another note, get out and move together. Take walks, go to the gym, or go on a hike together. My husband and I take a walk every night with our dogs. It is an awesome way to decompress but also a great time to just talk without phones, T.V., or other distractions. Sometimes after a long and stressful day we don’t talk much, but as we’re walking we enjoy each other’s company at the very least.

Communicate

This one seems obvious, but it’s also the most important. Having an open and honest line of communication is critical to a lasting relationship. Talk to your significant other when you’re upset, bothered, or don’t like something, but do it in a non-antagonistic way. Even if you don’t quite want to talk about WHY you’re not in the best of moods, let them know that you’re feeling upset and it’s not geared towards them. Most likely they will understand and leave you alone or offer support. No one wants to feel attacked, but let each other know that it’s safe to talk about anything. On the flip side of that, don’t go on the defensive when your partner talks to you about something that they’re unhappy with. Really listen and consider what they’re saying. If your partner seems like they are just needing to vent, they may not always want your advice. Sometimes (and use your best judgement on this one) we just want to get it all out there but don’t really want or need to hear the other person’s take on the matter. Make sure that sometimes you’re able to just listen and be supportive. This will create trust in each other and will allow both of you to know that there’s nothing you can’t work through.

Not every couple is the same and what works for one may not work for the other. I challenge you to try two of these things today and see if it doesn’t make a difference in your relationship. Sending love and positive vibes your way, thanks for reading!

Herban Cowboy Natural Deodorant and Perfume – ALUMINUM FREE

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Hello beauties! Let’s talk about how to smell like a lovely blooming flower without all of the harsh, toxic chemicals. I have a challenge for you. Go into your bathroom and find your deodorant. Check the ingredients. If it contains aluminum, BHT, or propylene glycol do yourself a favor. Throw it out.

There has been a lot of information out there lately about aluminum in deodorant and the potential effect that it can have on the body. Some studies have even suggested that it can influence the growth of cancerous cells in the breasts.

According to http://www.cancer.gov, “Aluminum-based compounds are used as the active ingredient in antiperspirants. These compounds form a temporary plug within the sweat duct that stops the flow of sweat to the skin’s surface. Some research suggests that aluminum-based compounds, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and cause estrogen-like (hormonal) effects (3). Because estrogen has the ability to promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer (3).”

Now if you’re anything like me, it’ll be a sad day when you decide to throw out your favorite stick of Degree in that fresh citrus scent. But, have no fear, Herban Cowboy is here.

Herban Cowboy is a company that sells deodorants, lotions, perfumes, and cologne. All of their products are formulated without aluminum, triclosan, alcohol, phthalates, parabens, or propylene glycol. Their products are 100% vegan and 100% U.S. made.

I decided to try the deodorant and perfume in Blossom. The fragrance is really feminine and fresh with citrus notes. The deodorant goes on clear, so it will not leave marks on your clothes. The only downside is that if you’re really active you may need to apply is twice per day. I would reapply it 10 times a day if it meant saving my body from potentially dangerous chemicals! My husband uses the cologne and deodorant in Dusk, and it smells amazing.

I purchase their products on Amazon, but they also are carried at Vitamin Shop, Whole Foods, and from Walgreens online. Check out this company and their products, you won’t be disappointed. Your body will thank you.

Are Your Cosmetics TOXIC?

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Hello beauties! Today I want to talk about how to find out if your cosmetics are toxic. It’s no secret that most cosmetic companies chalk their products up with all sorts of ingredients that we can’t pronounce and most certainly have no idea the effect they have on our bodies. Not everyone realizes that what we put ON our bodies gets absorbed INTO our bodies as well.

http://www.ewg.org reports that, “The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 different ingredients daily. Many cosmetic chemicals are designed to penetrate into the skin’s inner layers, and they do. Consequently, some common cosmetic ingredients turn up in people’s bodies. Among them: industrial plasticizers called phthalates; parabens, which are preservatives; and persistent fragrance components like musk xylene.”

If you’ve ever taken a moment to turn your favorite cosmetics over and actually read the ingredients, it can leave you confused and with a major stink eye. No body looks good when they give the stink eye. So, that’s when I come in and point you to a magical website that can give you the answers you’re looking for.

EWG’s Skin Deep is a cosmetics database that has 69,000 of our favorite skin care, make up, fragrance, hair, and nail products. You simply type in the name of the company or specific product and voila!

Once you find the product that you’re looking for, you can see that EWG gives a score indicating a low hazard to a high hazard. You can easily see the ingredient concerns which tells you if the product may cause cancer, developmental/reproductive toxicity, allergies/immunotoxicity, and contamination concerns.

My favorite part about this website is that it actually breaks down those hard to pronounce ingredients and gives you information on the concerns for each one. So within a matter of minutes you can check to see if your cosmetics are toxic and what might be happening inside of your body as a result. Check out the website and begin your journey to a healthier, happier, and more beautiful you!

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

The Best in Natural Skin Care – OZ Naturals

The Best in Natural Skin Care – OZ Naturals

Hello beauties! I’ve got a lovely little secret on how to get your hands on the best natural skin care line (in my opinion anyway, and that counts for something, right?).

In my previous post I talked about how I used to suffer from moderate adult acne. I searched and SEARCHED for a skin care brand that wouldn’t either make me break out, or dry out my skin. I tried so many different products from drugstore to high-end brands. I would be so excited every time I came home with a new product. Come on, you know exactly what that feels like, right? You see a convincing commercial full of beautiful, dewy-faced women promising clearer, more radiant skin after just a few uses. Uh-huh. You know what happens next. We buy the product, bring it home, smell it, read all of the directions (twice), and finally slather that product all over our faces in hopes of that perfect skin. More often than not after a few days the results of the product can be less than promising. This was the story of my life until I came across a brand called OZ Naturals.

I am an avid Amazon shopper and when I found this brand I was a little skeptical. All of their products have great reviews and if you’re anything like me, you look at the number of stars/reviews that any product has before actually buying it). First of all, all of their products are made with natural and organic ingredients. No toxic chemicals. Gluten free, vegan, paraben free, alcohol free, and cruelty free. Not to mention it’s made right here in the USA, and they offer a 30-day refund. What’s not to love?

I began with ordering just one product and loved it so much that I have now bought an entire skin care regimen. Here are the products that I use and love:

Ocean Mineral Facial Cleanser $24

This cleanser is a really light clear gel. You don’t need a lot, and it doesn’t have a very strong smell which I love. It’s best for acne prone skin and claims to repair and nourish skin and stimulate cellular regeneration! It’s made with 92+ ocean minerals. It removes makeup well, and I use it with my cleansing brush for exfoliation.

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00KWP3SA2

Ocean Mineral Tonic (Toner) $22

I use this spray toner after cleansing my face. First of all, let me say that I love the fact that this comes in a spray bottle. No cotton pads needed! It is an awesome all over toner made with glycolic acid, MSM, vitamin C, and a whole cocktail full of goodness. If all of that isn’t awesome enough, it doubles its use by being a primer for makeup and can also be used to refresh makeup throughout the day. You’re welcome.

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00L4EX7XS

20% Vitamin C Serum $22

I never really was into serums until one day I was looking at myself really close up in a mirror (AHHH) and started to notice fine lines that were developing on my forehead and around my eyes. I immediately started doing research. From what I found, serums are more powerful than moisturizers because they can penetrate deeper into the skin instead of just sitting on the surface. I use this serum every night (4-5 drops patted on clean, toned skin). In about 3 months of using this product (in combination with others) I barely have any fine lines left! I also feel like this product helps to fade my acne scars – that’s a bonus.

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00DPE9EQO

Super Youth 2.5% Retinol Moisturizer $29

This is one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever used. For containing a relatively high amount of retinol, this does not irritate my skin or cause dryness. I apply it twice a day, morning and night. It has vitamin A and antioxidants to help smooth lines and wrinkles. Love, love, love.

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00L2SWF7K

Enzyme Dermafoliant $25

I use this product about 2-3 times a week for a really good exfoliation. It’s made with bamboo and lactic acid. I use this in the shower. After washing my face I apply the product and scrub (not too hard). Then I let it sit for about 5 minutes and rinse off. Not only does this stuff really remove flaky/dry skin, but it leaves your face feeling so soft.

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00MQ17EGE

50% Glycolic Acid Peel $25

This is one of the newer products that I’ve purchased by OZ Naturals. I’ve used the peel twice so far. You really are supposed to use it at least 4 times to see results so I can’t give a true review yet. This product is made of 50% glycolic acid and is supposed to help improve skin tone and texture as well as reduce pore size, fine lines, and promote collagen production. It’s a little scary to use at first because you have to make a small solution of baking soda and water to neutralize the peel. When you get the hang of it, it’s really pretty easy. I do notice that my skin seems to glow a bit more for a few days after using this product. I will update my review after my next few uses!

http://www.oznaturals.com/dp/B00ZEGXBMO

Overall, I would like to give this company a giant hug. This is the only skin care brand that doesn’t break me out, dry out my skin, and has actually faded acne scars as well as reduced my fine lines! You can feel good about using their products knowing that you’re putting high quality/non-toxic ingredients on your skin. Their prices are somewhat high, BUT sometimes you get what you pay for. They typically always offer discounts when you order 3 or more products at once as well as coupon codes when you sign up for their emails. If you’re still looking for the perfect natural skin care company, your search can end with OZ Naturals.