Fashion

Summer Skincare 101

July 8, 2020

With every season change, I tend to mix up my skin care just a big to account for the change in temps, humidity, and the needs of my skin. Just like you might take inventory of your body – what it’s craving, how it’s feeling, energy levels, etc. – and tweak what you’re eating, the same holds true for your skin, too!

Over the years, as I’ve gotten a better handle on what works best for my skin and what it needs in different seasons and stages of life, I have more and more confidence in how to give my skin what it needs to feel good + glowing + healthy.

Common Summer Skincare Needs //

1. Sun Protection
Summer skin needs more robust protection against the sun’s damaging rays. Since most of us are spending more time outside than in the winter, it’s important to use either a facial SPF or a tinted moisturizer with SPF. I recommend either the Sheer Defense SPF 25 for face or Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20.

Clean Beauty Tip: Make sure that your sun protection comes in the form of zinc oxide, rather than chemical based sunscreens.

2. Antioxidant Protection
Since your skin is likely to be exposed to more environmental stressors in the summer than in the winter, it’s wise to work a Vitamin C serum into your skincare routine. Why? Vitamin C is highly regarded for its antioxidant benefits and protective nature against free radicals that damage the skin. It also helps to improve skin’s brightness and overall appearance and firmness.

Clean Beauty Tip: My favorite C serum is Beautycounter’s Counter+ All-Bright C Serum made with a 10% concentration of Vitamin C from two ultra-stable forms.

3. Lightened Up
Some of the products that you’ve used in the cooler months may not be suiting your skin during the warmer and more humid days. Take inventory of your skin throughout the day. How does it feel? Look closely at your skin – if your notice any unusual white heads or clogged pores it may be a sign that your products (or the number of layers of product) you’re using are a bit too much for summertime.

During the summertime, I swap out my heavier night cream for a more lightweight night cream – which still gives my skin the benefits of a night cream that helps my skin repair itself without weighing my skin down.

Additionally, you may find you need to swap out your cleanser. If your cream or oil-based cleansers feel like they’re too heavy for summertime, try a lightweight foaming cleanser instead.

Clean Beauty Tip: It’s never a bad idea to do a double cleanse. You can use the same cleanser two times in a row or two different cleansers. Either way, it’s a great way to get your skin squeaky clean from the day’s dirt + sweat + makeup + etc.

4. Exfoliation For All
If you’re layering on the sunscreen, sweating more often, etc. then chances are your skin needs an added boost of exfoliation. I’m always surprised at the number of people who tell me they don’t exfoliate at all! You can use a physical exfoliator like a scrub, a chemical exfoliator, or a combination of the two.

During the summer months I’ll use a physical exfoliator like this a couple times per week in place of my regular cleanser, as well as a chemical exfoliator.

Clean Beauty Tip: My all-time favorite exfoliator is Beautycounter’s ultimate hero product, the Overnight Resurfacing Peel. It works to gently yet effectively exfoliate the skin with a combination of 15 different botanically derived acids. I use it twice a week and always see great results!

Fashion

Favorite Baby Shoes for Beginning Walkers

July 6, 2020

A couple months ago I put out a call on Instagram asking for your favorite baby shoes for beginning walkers. While Truett isn’t *quite* walking yet, he is cruising along on all of the things and just starting to stand on his own, too.

I don’t know why, but with Ainsley and Collins I never found any baby shoes I truly LOVED for those early and pre-walking stages. So! I set out on a quest this summer to find shoes that were truly awesome for baby feet.

Since we are spending a lot of time outdoors and at the park this summer, I needed baby shoes that would stay on, be good for developing feet, and be friendly for those first steps and beyond. Here’s what I found + have been loving…

FAVORITE ALL PURPOSE :: Pediped Originals
Hands down these are my favorite shoes of all that we bought! I had never heard of OR tried Pediped but I’m officially sold. They are made with leather soles that are diamond treated for a little added grip with lots of flexibility for little feet. And their shoes are all certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association for being beneficial for developing feet.

I bought a lot of other baby shoes, but these are the ones that I specifically seek out each day when we head to the park. An added bonus? They are easy to put on and they stay put all day!

FAVORITE FASHIONABLE CHOICE :: Freshly Picked Soft Soles
Really, these are just THE cutest kids shoes around. I never splurged on a pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins for the girls – I got cheap knock-offs – but now that I have a pair of Freshly Picked I can see what all the fuss is about. They are extremely well made, comfortable and ultimately flexible for beginning walkers, and come in a ton of adorable colors, colors and patterns.

FAVORITE BUDGET CHOICE :: Surprize by Stride Rite
The soles of these shoes aren’t as flexible as other shoes that I mentioned above, so I don’t love them quite as much, but they are well made and easy to put on and a quality shoe for the price.

BEST RUNNER UP ALL PURPOSE :: Robeez
These shoes are also certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association and are a hybrid of moccasin style meets shoe. Like Freshly Picked, they are also super cute and come in a bunch of fun patterns and styles.

Daily Harvest Review + DIY Daily Harvest Mint Cacao Smoothie

June 30, 2020

I have had my eye on Daily Harvest and their yummy-looking smoothies + bowls + bites for a while. If you’re not familiar with Daily Harvest, you can read all about it here, but the basic premise is that it’s a high-quality food delivery service. You fill a box (either monthly or weekly or in a frequency that suits you) and it comes on dry ice with your selections.

The Good:
-The quality of the ingredients used in their products is great and thoughtfully sourced with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables as well as other supplemental ingredients
-There were a lot of tasty options. I didn’t like every smoothie or bowl I got, but I can see how once you found your favorites you could stick with those on a regular basis. My favorite smoothies were the Mint Cacao (obviously) and the Cacao and Avocado. I also liked a few of their bowls, especially the Sweet Potato Hash.
-They are convenient. Just add your liquid to the ingredients in the cup. transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. The cup also has a lid and a place for a straw so they were great to have on hand for portable lunches and dinners when time was tight.
-The sweetness level was nice! Nothing overly sweet and nothing artificial sweetening these smoothies.
-The smoothies that I gravitated toward had enough nutrition to be a full meal – between 360-560 calories in each smoothie before adding in the milk. Some varieties were more nutritionally akin to a snack, but the two mentioned above are definitely full meals.
-They come frozen and can stay frozen for quite some time! So you could get a box of 24 smoothies and then pause your membership and work through them over time.

The Bad:
-If you’re on a budget, cost is definitely the biggest inhibiting factor. It’s pricey – around $170 for 24 smoothies. If you eat out a lot and this replaces a meal out, it’s probably not much more expensive or less expensive than eating out, but if you’re making smoothies at home it’s definitely MORE expensive.
-There were some flavors I flat out didn’t care for. But, as I mentioned above, if you figure out what you do and don’t like then you can simply avoid the flavors you don’t care for.

So, I guess the question comes down to “Would you get another box?”

And my answer is “yes!” but with some modifications. After thinking it over, I really loved the convenience, taste and quality of the smoothies. Some of the flavors are so dang crave-worthy that I’ve been eagerly waiting for my next shipment. This time, I edited my box to include nearly exclusively Mint Cacao and Cacao + Avocado smoothies. And I’m pretty dang excited about that.

While it IS cheaper to make your own at home (I’ve done my best version of a Mint + Cacao knock-off below) when you account for the ingredients in each smoothie, it’s still an investment to make your own at home with all the necessary ingredients.

Because we don’t have a money tree in our backyard (sigh) I decided to make some cuts to other shipments we get regularly in order to make room in the budget for a monthly Daily Harvest Delivery.

So, if you have it in the budget, I give Daily Harvest a BIG thumbs up! You can get $25 off your first shipment using this link. But if it’s not in the budget? Well the recipe below us a great place to start.


Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of chooice)
1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I like the neutral taste and clean ingredients of this pea protein from Thrive Market)
1 medium banana (even better if it’s a frozen banana)
1/4 cup frozen spinach
5-6 Chlorella tablets (optional)
1 large handful of ice
1 tablespoon cacao powder or cocoa powder
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
Stevia to taste (I used 1 packet)
Couple drops of peppermint extract to taste

Ingredients
Combine all the ingredients above and blend with a high-powered blender until very smooth. Add additional ice if necessary to make the smoothie very thick.

Fashion

Clean Makeup 101 // Flawless in Five

June 27, 2020

Now that we’ve covered WHY it matters what’s in your makeup and the companies you choose to buy makeup from. I thought it was time to cover my favorite makeup collection in action.

As a busy mom with minimal time to get ready most days, I’ve found that having a good, basic “grown up” makeup routine makes it really easy to put myself together for the day without having to think too hard about it.

It’s a perfect base for makeup lovers – start with the Flawless in Five and then layer on more product like eye liner, eye shadow or a bold lip – AND for those like me who aren’t super skilled at anything beyond basic makeup.

If you still have a drawer full of random drugstore makeup, I see you, I’ve been there. There’s a better way. 😉

I’m sharing a few of my favorite combinations below!

Flawless in Five Routine 1 //
Dew Skin in Light
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Nectar (the most universally flattering shade!)
Medium Brow Pencil
Lengthening Mascara
Lip Gloss in Bare Shimmer

Flawless in Five Routine 2 //
Skin Twin in Medium 340
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Sorbet
Medium Brow Pencil
Lengthening Mascara
Lip Gloss in Peony

Flawless in Five Routine 3 //
Skin Twin in Medium 340
Concealer Pen in Fair
Blush in Melon
Medium Brow Pencil
Volumizing Mascara
Lip Gloss in Rosewood

Curious about your own Flawless in Five combination? You can check out the full range/color selection HERE.

Madison

Fashion

Clean Makeup 101

June 24, 2020

Over the last five years I’ve come a LONG way in my learnings and understanding of what “clean” truly means in terms of skincare and color cosmetics. I’ve still got a lot to learn, but one of the biggest areas of growth I’ve experienced personally has been becoming a more critical thinker who knows how to ask the right questions and find the right answers even if I don’t know the answer off the top of my head. I’ve also learned to sort out what is just marketing BS designed to make products appear safer without actually being safer.

Most of the time I’m busy talking about skincare because I tend not to wear lots of makeup and think healthy, glowing skin is the best base for any makeup you put on top of that skin. But makeup is a topic that’s important to talk about and dive deeper into because of the high level of contamination of traditional color cosmetics.

You’ve probably heard companies market their makeup as “natural.” Sounds good, clean and safe for you to be using natural makeup, right? Not so fast. As you become a critical thinker about the products that you put on your body, you’ll notice those greenwashing marketing claims when you see them.

When it comes to “natural” makeup, the biggest issue is heavy metals. Are companies adding heavy metals to their products intentionally? No. BUT heavy metals are common contaminants as they are found in the raw materials of naturally mined colors used in makeup. When those colors are mined? Well, it’s not all that uncommon for those heavy metals to come along for the ride and be found in the finished product of the makeup you put on your face.

Your BS-meter should be going off if you hear a company say their products are “heavy metal free” or “lead free” because that’s simply not possible since these are naturally occurring contaminants. What’s more important is the amount allowed and the screening process for those heavy metals and contaminants.

For me, as a busy wife and mom wearing many hats, it’s important for me to trust that the company producing the makeup I put on my face. Especially as my girls get older and like to play with my makeup + my baby loves to kiss my face, I want to know that the product I’m using are not doing more harm to our family than good.

It’s also important to remember that the FDA does not have the authority to recall cosmetics as it does food and drugs, so even if a product is found to contain harmful substances there is nothing that would require a retailer to remove said product from their shelves. This was evident very recently with the case of asbestos found in kid’s makeup at Claire’s.

It can all feel a little overwhelming if this is the first time you’ve started digging into this. I totally get it! I felt the same when I was new to my clean living journey. Instead of learning to read each individual label and learn about each ingredient, I started by finding a company whose process and screening I trusted. Spoiler alert: that company was Beautycounter. Is Beautycounter the ONLY company doing this well? Of course not. But I think Beautycounter’s screening process is one of the best around.

Let’s dive in…

To get a full rundown of Beautycounter’s stance on color cosmetics and heavy metals screening you can do so HERE. What I respect and value most about their screening process is both their strict standards for the allowable amounts of heavy metals in their color cosmetics as well as their rigorous screening process before products are allowed to go to market.

From Beautycounter directly:

We test the ingredients used in our color cosmetics and finished cosmetic products obsessively—multiple times—before they go to market. We only use validated test methods and the most advanced laboratory equipment available (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometer, ICP-MS). This allows us to test for heavy metals at concentrations ten times lower than what is standard practice in the beauty industry (1 part per billion vs 10 parts per million).

To break this down a step further, we check for heavy metals in products at the lowest concentrations scientifically possible through at least a 1ppb detection limit, whereas some equipment has detection limits of 10 ppm. Under this scenario, anything less than 10 ppm would appear as “passing” (or, in scientific lingo, “non-detect”). It is common to use less precise testing, if testing is performed at all. This is why it’s critically important to understand how brands are testing for heavy metals, since catchy headlines don’t tell the full story.

As you can see, the process for getting our products into your hands – safely – isn’t one that BC takes lightly. You can view recent test results for heavy metals HERE and for talc HERE.

I’ll be back with a follow-up post about the makeup I’ve been using + loving lately – rich in pigment and with stellar performance without the questionable ingredients. But I hope this gives a little insight into WHY I think it’s so important to make educated choices as it relates to the makeup we use.

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