My Most Recommended Beautycounter Products

My Most Recommended Beautycounter Products

I’ve been a Beautycounter consultant now for almost a year and have had a chance to try many of the skincare, makeup, body care and even hair care products! If you want a little more background on how I got started as a consultant, you can read more about it here. Like the name suggests, we are countering the beauty industry by educating others on the importance of reading labels for ingredient safety, how to choose cleaner options, and even sharing a solution through high performing products. We also advocate for better legislation and more health protective laws by lobbying on Capitol Hill. After all, our mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone! I love Beautycounter products in part because it’s basically the easy button for busy families who don’t have time to research the cleanest brands. A lot of time can be spent debunking marketing claims, understanding how a company sources and processes the ingredients they use, and if those ingredients have any health or environmental implications. With Beautycounter, all of our products fit the same high safety standards. And did you know we are B Corp Certified? The B stands for “benefit,” and it means that, unlike the traditional corporate structure, we will consider people, planet, and profits equally. I’m proud to represent a company that sets the bar high and uses their business for the good of others.   Now on to the products!   My Fave’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel This thing is next-level good. It uses 15 botanically-derived acids to refine pores and fine lines and encourage skin cell turnover for glowing and...
What to Know Before You Start Using Essential Oils

What to Know Before You Start Using Essential Oils

I was skeptical when I first heard about essential oils. I didn’t know what they were or why I should use them. My first try with oils was with a blend my sister gave me meant to repel mosquitoes and other bugs. I thought it worked reasonably well and it smelled good so I looked up some other oils to try. I’d heard about a blend called Thieves and its reputation for keeping illness at bay, so that was my next choice. My introduction to essential oils My oldest son had just started daycare at the time (at 12 months old) so it was going to be our first sick season and in my mind the perfect opportunity to put oils to the test. Let me tell you, the germs were as bad as I thought they would be – sinus infections followed by croup followed by ear infections and the flu over Christmas (all 3 of us simultaneously!) – and it seemed one thing after the other. My husband was still skeptical about oils in general so while he refused I happily diffused and applied Thieves to the bottoms of my feet constantly. It no surprise to me when I started feeling better a full 2 days before him! What I love about oils is they allow me to take control of my own health, in a way that people have been doing for hundreds of years. It’s freeing to think i don’t need to run to the doctor and be at the mercy of their schedules, available medications, side effects of medications and the cost of the...
Gift Guide for Him & Her (that are Healthy Too!)

Gift Guide for Him & Her (that are Healthy Too!)

I put a lot of thought into gift giving. I guess it’s my Love Language. Surprise your favorite him or her with a gift that will be good for their health as well! Win-win in my book. Check out the following ideas for something that’s sure to be outside of the ordinary but also practical and pretty at the same time.   GIFTS FOR HER 1 Clean Eating with a Dirty Mind:Paleo-Inspired Recipes cook book – More than 150 sweet and savory recipes that show healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Try the Rocky Road Brownies ;) 2 Great Lakes Collagen – Collagen is all the rage, and for good reason. As we age, our skin loses elasticity. Bummer! But regularly consuming collagen helps the body’s natural production of collagen and therefore increases skin elasticity and moisture. It also lubes joints and connective tissue and coats the gut for improved mobility and digestion. Hooray! Tasteless, textureless and a wonderful protein powder (11g per serving), grab some now and start adding to your breakfasts every morning. 3 Beautycounter+ Plumping Mini Spa Set – Beautycounter makes these collections of mini-sized targeted masks, mists, and oils formulated with safer ingredients to enhance your daily skin care regimen. Choose between Brightening (to minimize pigmentation and sun damage), Plumping (to hydrate and minimize fine lines) or Balancing (to calm redness or oiliness). 4 Dry Body Brush – Sensing a theme? Glowing, hydrated skin! Man, combine #2,3,4 and you’ll be looking fabulous! I started adding dry brushing to my morning routine before I shower and have noticed great results. Dry brushing is...
Gift Guide for Kids (that are Healthy Too!)

Gift Guide for Kids (that are Healthy Too!)

I’m gearing up for holiday shopping and with Black Friday just hours away, I thought it’d be helpful to put together a gift guide for young kids (since that’s what I know). These will be Health Coach approved, meaning they are tested for lead, they don’t contain harmful chemicals or ingredients, they inspire open-ended play, and they encourage kids to move their bodies! I love wooden toys for kids for several reasons: they don’t come with batteries, they have a nicer design aesthetic and feel nice in your hand, and they typically encourage open-ended play. One of my favorite brands for toys is Melissa and Doug because I admire their mission – to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves. Many of their toys are on sale up to 35% off on Amazon for Black Friday! Check them out on these lists as they’re great for any age!   GIFTS FOR PRESCHOOLERS 1 Melissa and Doug wood food and crates – Perfect to add to a kitchen set. You can even involve them in meal planning! ;) 2 Kleen Kanteen – No need to worry about BPA’s (or whatever they use instead of BPA’s) with this stainless steel travel cup. No leaks, sturdy and has an interchangeable lid for a sippy spout. 3 Melissa and Doug Magnetic Human Body Anatomy Play Set – The earlier your little one can learn their correct body parts the easier it is to communicate when they aren’t feeling well or where an ouchie is.  It’s also fascinating to learn how we’re wonderfully made! 4 Pottery...
How to Make Fire Cider to Boost Your Immune System

How to Make Fire Cider to Boost Your Immune System

  I’d never heard of Fire Cider until maybe 2 years ago. I saw it on Pinterest (naturally) and it caught my eye as an “old school” way to stay healthy. People have been making it for generations. It’s definitely something my grandfather would have known about. He always had a home remedy up his sleeve (Tomato plan leaves on a bee sting! Vicks Vapo rub up the nostrils for congestion!) Although you can buy it pre-made, there’s something satisfying about making it the way older generations did, and carrying on the tradition. Plus it’s quick and easy! Fire Cider is a concoction of naturally potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory ingredients like garlic, onions, lemons, turmeric steeped in apple cider vinegar.  I mean, any one of those individually is great for warding off what ails you but mix them all together and it’s you against the world!! You take it daily “to help boost the immune system, stimulate digestion, and get you nice and warmed up on cold days.” (Source) We already make our own elderberry syrup (this is the recipe we follow, although we cut the honey by half) but I’m always curious to try “weird hippie” popular folk remedies so I made my grocery list and set out to the store.     On my list –  ginger, turmeric root, jalapeños, lemons, oranges, horseradish root, garlic, onion, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and the optional ingredient rosemary. I’ve seen a wide variety of recipes online and it’s generally pretty forgiving. The concept is simple – buy the main ingredients known for fighting off the crud, add in herbs and citrus that you...
My Favorite Dairy-Free Options

My Favorite Dairy-Free Options

I’ve been dairy-free for a few years now and although my reason was for my own health, many nursing moms make the adjustment for the health of their babies or to help their older kids feel better. While I’ll save the impacts of consuming dairy for a future post, I wanted to share my favorite dairy-free substitutions that will help ease your transition to living without cheese and milk! Most of these can be found in your local health food store. As always, you’ll want to check the label for hidden sources of milk and look at the allergen statement to see if it says “Contains: Milk”. Depending on how strict you need to be with your elimination, you can experiment with different dairy ingredients and your side effects after consuming them. Just know it can take around 6 weeks for dairy sugars and proteins to be out of your system once eliminated. After being allergy tested a few years back and doing some trial and error eating of my own, I know my problem isn’t so much with lactose (a milk sugar) as it is with casein (a milk protein) and the varying amount of it. I have figured out through trial and error that I still can’t eat products higher up the dairy ladder which contains more protein, like milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy products that contain barely any protein, such as butter and cream, only have traces of casein. I’ve found I can tolerate butter in almost any amount, small amounts of creamy dressing, crackers and chips with cheese flavoring, and baked dairy. My Favorite...
Make it a Good One

Make it a Good One

What are you up to this weekend? We’ll be enjoying some family time in the sun. I’m also itching to get my pumpkin topiaries out of the attic. Soon. Big shout out to Moms, who is retiring today (yaaay!!!) We’ll be celebrating her accomplishment on Sunday. Whatever you end up doing this weekend, I hope it’s a good one.   I’m intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe, although I’m not sure I could do it. I don’t know why I say that though since I wear the same 5 things over and over but still. These neutrals and stripes are Fall perfection to me!   Surveyed readers offered some really unique answers to things they’ve recently learned. Me? I’ve recently learned that Leave it in the comments!   You’ve GOT to be kidding me.   Not only are they talking the talk, but they’re walking the walk too – all the way to Washington.   If you have preschoolers, you know they are a basket case of emotions. Using this technique looks like it would be helpful. *brb headed to Kinkos   Here’s another one if you have old eggs laying around.   The the “unique essence” of shopping at TJ Maxx’s, now...
Make it a Good One

Make it a Good One

I think I’m ready to usher out the sweaty sticky days of summer in favor of the crisp cool mornings of Fall! Who’s with me?! We have a low key weekend planned and will be prepping for Hurricane (hopefully then Tropical Storm) Irma’s rain and wind to hit us early next week. Keeping my thoughts and prayers with everyone still struggling from Harvey and who have felt the wrath of Irma. *Art by Teil Duncan An amazing appetizer to wow a crowd. Seriously, my girlfriends and I were hovering over the bowl at a recent get together. The answer to an underactive tush? You have my attention. Time to put down the Cheetos in favor of these snacks. I’m reordering a set of these for my little ones to be stocked and ready for the Fall season. This is one of my goals, (if only a certain little person would sleep in!) Another study showing you should “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!” Currently sitting in my Amazon cart, waiting for me to pull the trigger on it. Anyone used one? I’m already thinking about it. It’s kinda my thing. If you’re in North Carolina, get your calendar out. There’s lots to see and do coming up! If you live elsewhere, here’s a list of ways to have a #basic Fall near you.  ...
What is Beautycounter and Does it Work?

What is Beautycounter and Does it Work?

I recently discovered Beautycounter, a safer skin care and cleaner cosmetics company out of Santa Monica, CA. I had heard about them here and there on social media but hadn’t personally known anyone who had bought any of their products. They’re a newer company with nearly 130 products across skin care, color cosmetics, advanced anti-aging, kids, baby and personal care collections. Besides having delightful products and a worthy mission, their stuff works well. It’s the trifecta of skin care, folks. Let me explain why I find this is so exciting! I’ve been a slacker when it comes to my skin care routine. Most of my choices growing up were based on pretty labels, cheap prices, and familiar brands. Face wash would get tossed in my shopping cart along with magazines, Cadbury eggs, and shaving cream. My skin was typical for a young adult – I had an oily t-zone and breakouts but never dealt with any severe issues. I’d bounce around from brand to brand but was never impressed enough to stay consistent with any one. Fast forward to 6 years ago when I was trying to get pregnant. I cleaned up my diet dramatically, but was less educated about what was going on my skin. A beauty product minimalist, I figured less is more and that I’d be ok with that. When I learned I was pregnant, I researched safe options for body lotions and baby shampoos but found very few affordable options. Greener alternatives were hard to find online and even harder in stores where I could see and smell before buying. So I DIYed things like...
My Meal Planning Strategy in 5 Steps

My Meal Planning Strategy in 5 Steps

Meal planning is something a lot of people struggle with and I am no exception. Some weeks I just lack inspiration or I’m burnt out on thinking about food. But I know it’s worth it to plan for the week ahead and makes the evenings go so much smoother. So I’m not reinventing the wheel every week, I approach my menu by doing the following steps: 1| Check my calendar. If we have a busier week than usual with after work plans I’ll choose easier meals. Utilizing the crock pot, heating up frozen turkey burgers or just simple PBJ’s is perfectly ok! 2| Review my inventory. I open the fridge and see what would carry over a few more days. Then I peek in the pantry to see what we’re running low on and check out what is stock piled in the freezer. If I know we have a huge bag of broccoli in the freezer, I’ll plan on incorporating that into a quiche or stir fry. 3| Browse my pinned recipes and cook books. I usually spend 15 minutes or less checking out my various recipe boards on Pinterest. If you don’t have boards made, start one and begin saving meals that look good to you! Consider making a “To Try” board and “Tried and Loved” board.   4| Pick one family favorite and one new recipe for each week. I like trying new recipes, but it’s nice to balance one new one each week with a few family go-to’s so you’re not stressed learning new recipes every night. 3| Cook once, eat twice. Who has time to cook...
Get Better Sleep with One Easy Change

Get Better Sleep with One Easy Change

Raise your hand if you leap out of bed in the morning, ready to tackle the day? Not you either? I’ve never been a morning person so I if I don’t get into bed and alseep at a decent hour I’m dragging the next day. And if you’re like me, the only time you get to mindlessly scroll Instagram or shop online for dry shampoo is after the kids are asleep and tomorrow’s lunches are packed. I’ve tried to be better about internet usage at night and initiate a “no tech” rule 1 hour before bed. The reason being because the glow of the phone or tablet or tv screws up the natural circadian rhythm we all inherently have. Our bodies rely on external cues help synchronize or alter our rhythms; they include temperature, nutrition, meal timing, social interactions pharmacological interventions (medicines, drugs), and, most prominently, the light/dark cycle of the earth. (source) Have you ever noticed the light in the morning before the sun is up is a blue hue? And the light in the evening is a nice rosy orange? This is nature’s way of waking us up and lulling us to sleep. So it’s no surprise the blue glow emitted from our various devices we’re checking in bed is sending mixed signals, causing restlessness and lack of good sleep. One Simple Fix Short of telling you to avoid Internet usage before or in bed, one thing you can do is install the free F.lux app for your device. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Just tell...
5 Smart Swaps for Non-Toxic Living in 2016

5 Smart Swaps for Non-Toxic Living in 2016

Every day, we’re exposed to toxins, from our food, water and air! Did you know the average woman wears 168 chemicals on their bodies DAILY in just their beauty products? Yep, there are 13,000 chemicals are used in cosmetics, and only about 10 percent have been evaluated for safety! Scary stuff. The liver, gut, skin, kidneys and lungs work overtime each day to detoxify our system of all these various pollutants.While we can never be truly 100% non-toxic, there are some easy steps we can take to make their jobs easier. In our household we already conscious about making choices for a non-toxic lifestyle, like avoiding artificial air fresheners, scented laundry detergent & highly toxic pest control sprays to name a few. We’ve replaced 90% our chemical-laden household cleaners in favor of plant-based ones like Mrs.Myers or I make them myself with a few basics like vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. We use natural remedies first before immediately filling a prescription for an antibiotic or other meds with artificial sweaters, dyes and questionable ingredients that don’t support healing. We get our sleep so our bodies can repair during the night. We’ve come along way from even 1-2 years ago! It’s all about baby steps that add up into a lifestyle with fewer chemical exposure. Below are my goals for further reducing our harmful chemical exposure in 2016. Leave shoes at the door A study from a professor at the University of Arizona found an average of 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of a shoe (including E.Coli and C.Diff ) and 2,887 on the inside. Herbicides, pesticides, animal fecal matter (or human from public...