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Family, Fashion

Volumizing Hair Tutorial

September 18, 2017

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I’ve been asked time and time again to do a tutorial on how I get volume in my hair. I guess it seems second nature to me at this point, since I’ve been faking voluminous hair for years now. If you’re in the same boat as I am – where you love the look of voluminous hair but aren’t blessed with naturally thick, beautiful hair, or maybe you had a baby and you used to have beautiful hair but feel it’s now thinner and more lifeless than before, then this tutorial is for YOU.

Over the last year I’ve really become a product minimalist. The only products I used in this tutorial is this split end serum and this volumizing mist. And if you’ve been curious, my hair has really been thanking me for switching over to a new shampoo and conditioner than I can’t stop talking about. I personally use the Volume + Shape Shampoo and Repair + Nourish Conditioner.

Family, Fashion

Let’s talk safer skincare (and why it matters)

September 11, 2017

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Friends, if you follow me over on Instagram, chances are you’ve seen snippets of my recent trip to Santa Monica with Beautycounter. I’ve worked with Beautycounter for nearly two years and over that time the issue of safer skincare choices has become something I’m increasingly passionate about. We evaluate our diets with precision, reading labels and books about how what we eat impacts our health, workout on the regular and take vitamins. But if we don’t take the time to evaluate what we’re putting on our bodies, we are selling ourselves and our families short.

So, let’s state some facts to get this little party started.

  1. Your skin is your body’s largest organ.
  2. What you put on your skin is absorbed into your body and can have negative implications on your health. Don’t believe me? Just Google “dermal absorption” and do some reading. It’s how things like nicotine patches and birth control patches work. The medicine is absorbed through your skin into your body. The same is true for your skincare and makeup and the chemicals they contain.
  3. The cumulative effect of that repeated exposure from dozens of products is HUGE. Is a little bit of a toxic ingredient in your makeup going to kill you or cause serious diseases? Probably not. But think about how much makeup, body lotion, body wash and shampoo you use on your body over the course of a year, a decade, your lifetime.
  4. The personal care and cosmetics industries in our country are the wild, wild west. They are extremely un-regulated/under-regulated, especially in comparison with other industries in the US and with the personal care regulations of other countries. You can read more here and here.

Now do you see why I’ve become so passionate about safer skincare and makeup? Not because makeup has ultimate importance – it doesn’t – but because if I’m going to take all the effort to live a healthier life, I’m selling myself short if I don’t examine what’s going ON my body, and so are you!

I don’t say any of this to scare people into making a change, but to educate. For years, I didn’t think twice about the $2 lip gloss I was using or the cheap drugstore face wash. The cheaper the better! I naively assumed that what I was using was safe and regulated if it appeared on store shelves, which is not at all true. The more I researched after I started having fertility issues (and later, when I was pregnant) I realized how little I knew or understood about my skincare and makeup.

But even after I learned more about skincare and the importance of what we put on our bodies, I was weary to make changes to my routine. Why? Because I didn’t know where to start. I could read and understand a food ingredient label with the best of them, but ask me to break down ingredients in my trusty face wash and I was a deer in the headlights.

I didn’t have time or interest in making my own beauty products. I felt overwhelmed with all the information I didn’t know. At the end of the day, I just didn’t know where to start, so I didn’t start at all.

“The honest truth is, the world doesn’t need another beauty brand. What we need is safer products and for families to be healthier.” – Gregg Renfew, Beautycounter Founder and CEO 

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And then someone (a blog reader!) told me about Beautycounter, and it changed my life, my skin, and my family’s health. What first attracted me to Beautycounter was their mission. Getting safer products into the hands of everyone. And, let’s be real, the fact that they did some of that overwhelming work of screening ingredients for me, banning 1,500 ingredients (!!) from their products as part of something called the Never List. Add into the mix the fact that their products are pretty, high performing and felt like I would find in a department store and I was totally sold.

Over the last two years I’ve learned more and more about safe skincare and cosmetics, and the more I learn the more I’m thankful to have partnered with Beautycounter. After a weekend away, I can say for certain that this company and the people behind it are the real deal.

So, you might where I was at two years ago, sold on the concept that you should clean up your skincare but not sure where to start. Overwhelmed with the options. May I make some recommendations?

Skincare // I have normal/slightly sensitive skin that can be combination in the colder months. I love this face wash, and this do-it-all wonder cream (which will be back in stock very soon!), and this eye cream that makes me look less tired, which is saying something for a new mom. 😉

Makeup // I’m a minimalist, but even a minimalist can get excited about this makeup. I rely heavily on this tinted moisturizer, concealer in a handy little pen applicator, this blush in whisper and tawny, and a really awesome mascara.

Friends, knowledge really is power. I know there are snarky articles on Facebook about safer sunscreens, and decision fatigue because making healthy lifestyle choices are hard and numerous, and when is enough enough, right? But Beautycounter has made this big change SO easy. I don’t feel like I’m sacrificing anything – in fact I love these products more than what I was using before.

When we know better, we can do better, and to me that’s the most empowering thing!

Madison

Fashion

Mom Wardrobe 2.0 // Capsule Edition

September 5, 2017

capsuleimageI’ve been going through a little bit of what you might call a “style crisis” lately. Maybe other moms out there can relate? When your body is growing, changing, shrinking, expanding, it’s really hard to find a style that works and stick with it. While I don’t follow a strict capsule wardrobe, I have a very curated wardrobe that is free of excess and things I don’t absolutely love.

A few readers messaged me, asking if I would be willing to share what my must-have items are in my wardrobe. So here you have it! While my style is still growing and changing, this is a list of my favorite basics to build a foundation of a great closet.

Although there are some pricier items listed below, quality absolutely trumps quantity in my opinion. And if you love a brand or store, I would highly recommend looking on ThredUp! I’ve found a lot of my favorite Anthropologie brands for a steal on the site for much less than what I would pay in store – some of the items even have their original tags!

Madewell 9″ High Rise Skinny Jeans 
These jeans feel like a warm hug. I don’t know any other way to describe them. I love wearing them and the high rise is a mom’s best friend. So good for getting down on the floor and playing with your kids!

Casual + Pretty “Everyday Dresses” 
I think my definition of “everyday dress” is probably a little fancier than others, but I love a good, flowy dress for looking put-together yet able to play with my kids at a moment’s notice. This Trimmed Peasant Dress from Anthropologie caught my eye, as well as anything from Sonnet James. I have this Softspun T-Shirt Dress from Gap that is on regular rotation. Bonus for dresses that can be dressed up or down with the right shoes and accessories.

Comfortable, Substantial Layering Tanks 
When you are postpartum, or if your stomach doesn’t resemble a washboard, I think that layering tanks that are a little looser and made of a more substantial material are a must. I love this stripe softspun scoop neck tank from Gap.

Structured Crew Sweatshirts 
I love these crew sweatshirts from Everlane. I wear them with jeans, with athletic shorts, with jean shorts, etc. They are both casual and put together all at once and wear well. My tip? Size up!

Peep-Toe Booties 
I have a flat pair of peep-toe booties (a similar style shown here) and I wear them all. the. time. They are comfortable and work great for the fall transition.

Comfortable Joggers for Lounging 
I love the Gap Modal Joggers. I have them in two colors and can’t recommend them enough! Great for looking put together when running errands with the kids.

Classic, Comfy Sweaters 
Everlane is also my go-to for sweaters. I love this style, as well as this chunky, oversize one.

Utility Jacket 
I have a favorite and well-worn utility jacket from Banana Republic that I got on a sale rack four years ago and have worn so many times. This one looks promising, as does this one.

Tunic and Peasant-Style Blouses
I’m a huge fan of tunic-style tops and peasant-style blouses. This one from Anthro caught my eye and is similar to one I have in my closet, as well as this top.

Family, Fashion

The 5-Minute Face // My Makeup Routine

August 18, 2017

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Happy Friday, friends! I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that I want to devote my time to as the school year rolls around. I know that many people make resolutions around the first of the year, but I really appreciate back-to-school goal setting and planning. Something about the school year starting feels like a great time for a re-set.

All that to say, I’m hoping to spend more time here at Espresso & Cream. I love this little corner of the internet and no matter how many times I think about letting the blog fall by the wayside when life gets busy, I keep coming back here because I love writing, content creation and all that goes along with blogging.

Today I’m talking about my super quick and easy 5-Minute Face routine. As a busy mom, I’m always looking for ways to streamline getting ready in the morning. Usually I’m trying to keep a baby happy in the bouncer next to me while talking with my toddler and making sure she doesn’t launch herself off our bed while I put myself together for the day.

So basically my time is valuable and limited and an elaborate makeup routine does NOT fit my life. So what’s a work-at-home mom to do? Enter the 5-Minute Face: a collection of products from Beautycounter designed to help you look put together in a flash.

Beautycounter has a really amazing interactive tool on their site that walks you through color matching your products and the bundle of 6 products is available at a really great reduced price. The collection includes:

Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation // Linen
Touchup Skin Concealer Pen // Fair
Brow Pencil // Medium
Blush Duo // Whisper & Tawny
Mascara // Volumizing
Lip Gloss // Fig (I forgot to put it on!)

The interactive process on the site is really fun to play around with and I found the color-matching to be pretty much spot on with what I typically like to wear! You can find your own 5-Minute Face routine on Beautycounter’s website.

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BONUS: Through the end of the day today (Friday, August 18) when you purchase a 5-Minute Face kit you will get a FREE Retractable Complexion Coverage Brush to apply your foundation. I love this brush and think you will, too!

Family, Fashion

Favorite Workout Gear

June 30, 2017

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This summer I did a little wardrobe refresh in the workout gear department. Both because my body was a little different postpartum than it was before getting pregnant and because some of my workout gear was looking a little sad and worn out. I do dress up some days in the summer, but many days I’m running around after a toddler and need my clothes to be comfortable, functional and able to handle a little sweat.

Almost all of my workout gear is from Old Navy! I just love the price point and fit and have been wearing their workout clothes for years and years. Their running shorts will forever be my favorite! So here are a few of my favorite new items that are both affordable and wear well/look cute for chasing after a toddler and caring for a baby!

Go-Dry Cool Semi-Fitted Running Shorts
I have them in four colors! I buy at least three pairs a year and have for years.

Loose-Fit Lattice Side Tank 
Great for running and running after a toddler

Go-Dry Cross Back Tank
So comfortable and flattering!

Go-Dry Light Support Cami Bra
Not great for working out right now because it’s not supportive enough, but awesome for everyday wear around the house and lower-impact activities

Gap Pure Body Modal Joggers
These are SO comfortable for lounging around the house and were awesome for the first few weeks after having a baby.