Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Product Love | BeautyCounter Cleansing Balm

Since entering my 30's, I have been trying to be more vigilant with the level of toxic chemicals I am putting in and on my body. This has become an expensive struggle, constantly trying more and more organic and natural products, all in the effort to minimize what I am consuming. I have a history of cancer in my family, and considering I have had 2 growths removed from my body by age 31, I am hyper-sensitive at this point. I know there are genetics that I cannot avoid when it comes to the big C word, but I am determined to do what I can to prevent any other ways it can infiltrate my body.

When it comes to beauty products, it gets expensive. And frustrating. Much like other products, natural and organic beauty products do not stand up to the quality of others- those tested on animals, those with harmful and toxic ingredients in them. This is beyond frustrating, considering the ticket price on these items can be twice, if not three to four times the price. Enter BeautyCounter.

I found this brand thru my PopSugar subscription over a year ago in my monthly MustHave box.  Only upon researching it to repurchase did I find out it is a direct sales company- not that it's a bad thing, just figured I'd point that out.  Once I found that out, I reached out to my friend Andrea of Howe We Live to talk more about their products.

Before I dive into the benefits and details of the products, let me chat with you about BeautyCounter's  mission and goals. This is an amazing company, and the more I read and learn about them, the more I'm intrigued and motivated to support them. Side note, I am not an beauty consultant thru them, I just love love love everything I have tried of theirs.

From what Beauty Counter states on their websites and promotions, there have been no federal laws passed in the United States to regulate ingredients in personal care products since 1938. OMG WTH, right? Upon doing a little research for this post, I found countless studies conducted over the years of the harmful effects toxic chemicals we imbibe, inhale, or topically apply to our bodies are doing to us- there are rises in infertility, cancer, asthma, and other ailments as a result of it. This terrifies me and keeps me up at night, hence the efforts I take to limit reduced fat, fat free, formaldehyde, etc in products.

Take time from your day and watch the first 2 minutes of this video- you'll be hooked too. You can watch longer than 2 minutes, but the first 2 minutes are the meat of what BeautyCounter promotes.

The consistency of this product is that of coconut oil at room temperature, melting slightly when you rub it between your fingers. When you apply it, you are to rub it in, melting it more with your body temperature. Applied directly on dry skin and without water, this gives a refreshing, moisturizing feeling as you gently massage into your forehead, cheeks and eyebrows. The balm comes with a muslin cleaning cloth which you wet with as hot a temperature of water that you can stand to wipe off, followed by a wiping down with the same cloth in cold water. The hot water will open up your pores, while the cold will close them ones they are cleaned and have soaked up the nutrients in this balm.

As you can see, my PopSugar container is an empty- I replaced this about a month ago thru BeautyCounter's website. The cost is a little steep at $80 for 2.75oz, but this container will probably last me at least a year. I only use this to wash off my makeup which I wear about 1-2 times a week, and maybe an additional time during the week. So twice a week makes 104 times a year, at an almond size application, I'm thinking at least a year, right? They recommend using it nightly, but I have other rosacea products I prefer to use.

Speaking of rosacea, this IS friendly for those of us rosey-cheeked girls as well as sensitive skin. Of course I am not a dermatologist and not speak to your individual needs, but as someone who suffers from redness from rosacea, this product does not irritate those issues at all.

This picture above shows the products I use in my daily life from BeautyCounter, posts to come in more depth for the Nourishing Night Eye Cream, Rose Mist, Lip balm, as well as this special edition for Valentine's Day, 2 months late is better than never at all:

Again, these opinions are 100% my own, this is not a sponsored post- I just want to tell you how amazing this product is. Feel free to reach out to me or Andrea with any questions, and check out her blog and follow along.

Have you tried any BeautyCounter products? Any you think I should try?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Health & Wellness Vol. II

On my current to-read list...

My first Health & Wellness update was on January 9th...yikes. Needless to say, I've slipped in that department, fallen off the wagon and rolled down hill a few miles.  Time to rectify that immediately.

There were reasons excuses why I gave up- my knees started bothering me from tennis, a busy season in our Etsy shop we were not expecting, stressful weeks at work...I could go on, but these are all issues of life, and issues I need to overcome and not let affect my eating and activity plans.

I'll start off with my meal plan for the week, then follow with activity and wellness goals. I use a notebook that I received in a you-guessed-it PopSugar box a few years back, which I have since scoured eBay for and repurchased. I list out the meals by day, but it's just to get a food shopping list prepared, these meals and their order are always subject to change.

HF= Hello Fresh. When we're in the middle of a busy season for the shop, we find ourselves eating out more which adds up, not to mention is detrimental to our energy and health. I've blogged about my love for Hello Fresh in this post, and plan on a more comprehensive post comparing and contrasting multiple boxes in the coming future. Hello Fresh is definitely my favorite- for $69/week we get 3 meals for the two of us that are simple, healthy, and overall delicious. I will admit there are a few recipes I get skeptical about, but I trust the recipe and 99% of the time they turn out amazing.

Use THIS LINK for $40 off your first box- if you get the box we do, it's $30 for 3 meals, definitely worth the try! We receive our 3 meals on Wednesday, but Monday's meal will be a leftover from the previous week. This is way cheaper and healthier than eating out, and only requires me to cook 1-2 meals a week depending on our schedule.

I'm trying a new recipe for oatmeal this week- it serves four, so I may quarter it in the event I hate it. It's from Cooking Light, and it's called Blackberry-Citrus Granola Bowl. It involves soaking steel oats overnight in almond milk, adding blackberries, oranges, grapefruit, and granola to the top. I'm skeptical, but I'm always looking to spice up my oatmeal. My favorite oatmeal of choice is below, varying the flavors and usually adding almonds, raisins, or an apple to it. Very good, and very convenient.  I'm in need of some good oatmeal recipes, so if you have one- pass it along!

Lunches are pretty standard- half turkey sandwich with a slice of Swiss, lettuce, tomato, and a smidge of mayonnaise with veggies cut up on the side, sometimes with popcorn. Another regular in the rotation is a bowl of veggies, pita, feta, and hummus. I have cut it down to half a pita since this photo:

I already drink on average 64oz of water a day- it's easy for me, I prefer it over soda or any sugary drinks, plus I need to drink a substantial amount with a current prescription I am on. My goal is to get that up to 80- I work from home, so there's no reason I shouldn't be able to get that in- there's a bathroom across the hall from my office for crying out loud.


I wish this was me on the daily- this pic is from Emerald Isle last summer and I look at it all the time wishing I lived in a neighborhood that was bicycle friendly! Of course that's a ridiculous reason not to ride- I could take my March work commission, buy us 2 bikes and a bike rack, and drive somewhere to bike. I think this summer this will happen.

It's going to remain pleasant here in VA for a hot minute, so we need to get back out walking before it becomes unbearably hot. Working from home affords us a bit more time to walk before work, over lunch, or even afterwards. I work a pretty stressful job, so mentally afterward I am usually tired and not able to do the usual 3 miles, so we try to walk before work or over my lunch break.

Goal is 4-5 days a week. Raining? We have a universal gym membership with one of the gyms 2 minutes from the house. No excuses.


This is just as important as diet and exercise, so this will continue to be a routine for me. This includes face masks, manicures, reading, and daily cups of tea.

Oh and maybe self care this week will include picking up new Stella & Dot summer pieces on Tuesday. And by maybe I mean definitely.

What are your health and wellness goals for the week?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

PopSugar February Reveal

I better share this before February is over, right? Then again, if I share it March 1st, I won't spoil it for anyone waiting on their box, right?

I've been getting the PopSugar Must Have Box for a few years now, I think it's actually over 5 at this point! I will be honest, the quality is gradually declining as time goes on, but doesn't everything really? I know I have extremely high standards and I'm frequently disappointed due to these expectations, but recently the boxes haven't wowed me. Over the years I have found so many amazing products and brands, which keeps me subscribing and coming back every month.

They do offer special edition boxes ( I think) four times a year, which I have found myself looking forward to more than the monthly box. They are more expensive at $100/box, but they feel more like the original boxes did- bigger, substantial products, a bigger bang for your buck.

This box is valued at $223, and I have to be honest- not one product wowed me. I'll show a bit of the products below, describe them a bit, then tell you my favorite piece from the box.

Tribe Alive Folder-Over Pouch ($98) This is quite a nice clutch, I just don't think it's my style. It's a little too bohemian for me, if that makes sense? There is a good back story, with each bag being woven by hand and supporting impoverished women, providing safe working environments for them. This will go into the eBay bin, in an effort to be realistic and only keep things I'll actually use.

Battington Lashes & Glue ($28) Silk eyelashes that brag they can be used up to 25 times. This intrigues me, and I will report back! They are definitely natural looking which I like- a little bit of drama, but low key enough for every day.

Kris Nations Love Necklace ($48) I have a silver similar version of this necklace which has seen quite some use over the years. This is very tiny, definitely a very delicate necklace, but I will be keeping this to wear. Did you know statement earrings are coming back? This is perfect to pair with a pair of amazing Stella & Dot earrings, just saying...

Chuao Cinnamon Cereal Chocolate Bar ($6) This was super disappointing. You can't taste the cinnamon cereal at all- just tastes like an off market brand of a Hershey Krackle bar. I ate 2 small squares and threw the rest out.

Juara CandlenutBody Creme ($35) I wanted to love this. I need a new rich-creme lotion, but I just don't love the scent. Maybe after trying for 5 minutes to get it open I should have take the hint that it wasn't meant to be. It's definitely a thick creme lotion, very rich, and very hydrating. Just a little strong on the perfume! This will go in my giveaway box-- seriously, come visit me, I have bins of goodies!

Revlon Love is on Lipstick ($8) This is a gorgeous red lipstick, but I don't need another red lipstick, so this is going in the bay bin as well.

So, favorite part? I'd say the lashes. I'll give them a try this weekend and post on Instagram Stories my thoughts on them!

Another month goes by hoping next month will be better. Sigh.... Oh, and I prepaid for a few months, so no canceling for awhile. Popsugar is $40/month, keep your eye out for sales though! Black Friday/Cyber Weekend I was able to pick up 6 months, averaging $19/box- definitely an amazing deal! Makes for a good gift too.

So I don't end this post completely in the dumps, here's my favorite product from January, it's tea, are you surprised?!?!

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