10.22.2014

favorites // natural skincare

A few months ago, after an eye-opening facial and skin consultation at the Esty Skin Studio (ps. highly recommend this gem!) in Austin, I started taking a pretty hard look at my skincare regimen. If you've been hanging around here for awhile, you'll probably remember the stint I did testing out Whole30/Paleo. The process sparked a newfound interest in reading ingredient labels and trying to eat more natural foods that aren't processed and don't have added sugar. You'd be SHOCKED by how many foods we eat have sugar added to them...like bacon for example...but I digress... 

Anyway, much in the same way, it's equally important to be thinking about what we put on our skin, the skin being your largest organ and all. My conversation with Jessica opened my eyes to all sorts of interesting things involving skin including how important it is to consider not only what's going on the outside but also inside.

When I returned home, I promptly went through my stash of make up and skincare products, placing any offensive products in a ziploc bag for safe keeping. Then I started over. Based on recommendations, research, and a little user testing, I've settled on a few favorites and I figured it was high time I shared them with you! 

These are some of the items that I've been loving recently though I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting products. There's also this really neat app you can use to scan your products (including cleaning supplies!) to get their "dirty" score. It rates all the ingredients and tells you how "clean" something is on a scale of 0-10. It's pretty cool and a great way to evaluate products that claim to be "all-natural". Anything below a 4 is considered clean.


This is the newest product in my skincare rotation. I recently learned about it on this blog (she's an esthetician!). Now that the seasons are changing, I've been needing a moisturizer that is slightly more hydrating and a little richer. As you'll find out later this week, I also switched to all powder/mineral makeup which means I need to keep my skin flake-free. I LOVE the way this moisturizer smells. A little goes a long way and I do find that it can be greasy if I put too much on. However, it does soak in fast and I love how smooth it makes my face feel. I'm excited to check out more MyChelle products which can also be found at Whole Foods as well as Amazon. 
Think Dirty Score: 4


This whole brand is amazing and this product is no exception. This multi-use miracle worker is a moisturizer and cleanser all in one. It's a solid balm that can be used as a moisturizer or you can massage it onto dry skin and gently rinse off with a wash cloth for the smoothest skin ever. I have the smaller "sample" size ($39) which is awesome for travel because the takes the place of two products. I love that it's not a liquid so I don't have to worry about it spilling. This is a travel must-have. Think Dirty Score: 3


I know it seams counterintuative to put oil on oily skin but hear me out. My face is pretty prone to breakouts which means I'm using several "drying" products during the day to help keep breakouts at bay. But at night, I need to help my skin repair and heal. Do you remember when you skinned your knee as a kid? You'd get a big scab that wouldn't go away for weeks. But if you covered it with a bandaid and Neosporin, it healed much faster with no scar. Your skin is very similar. So I've been into face oils for some time now but finding the right one for my oily skin was challenging. I discovered this product through Birchbox and I've really liked it. I did a bit of research on the Plant site before purchasing with my points. I like that they make different formulations for different skin types and their site does a good job of breaking down why each oil works. Tip: Make sure your skin is still slightly damp when you apply the oil, it helps it sink in much better. Think Dirty Score: N/A 


So after my facial, I was basically ready to start cleansing my skin and removing my makeup with straight up coconut oil. This cleanser it basically glorified coconut oil with some added benefits (seriously read the ingredients!). I love that it gets all foamy when you pump it and it doesn't strip my skin but leaves it feeling fresh and clean. I'll basically use any product that One Love makes. I also recently picked up this seasonal cleanser they made as a limited edition this summer and I'm loving it just as much. Unfortunately, it might be hard to find since it was a special summer product but keep your eye out for it. Pick up a bottle of the Chia Whip in the meantime. Think Dirty Score: 0


When I banished all my "dirty" products to the back of my closet, giving up my tinted moisturizer was one of the hardest things. I've never been a foundation wearer and most sunscreens really irritate my face - tinted moisturizer has always been a life-saver. I was thrilled to find this brand and learn that they make an awesome product that doesn't burn my skin and has the right amount of coverage. A few disclaimers though which might be deal breakers for some - it only comes in 1 shade and it smells like roses. It's pretty amazing to me that it only comes in 1 shade but the shade seems to work for me. It's a bit shiny but I just tap a little mineral powder over the top and I'm good to go. However, rose is one of my least favorite scents so I do wish it wasn't scented but it's not a deal breaker at this point. COOLA also makes a few other sunscreen products (including a matte tint but I don't think it's a moisturizer). It's definitely a brand to check out; Birchbox carries it as well. Think Dirty Score: 0

If you try any of the products, let me know how they work for you! Also, if you're using a natural beauty product that you love, share it in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for great, new brands!

10.20.2014

monday musings.


>> I saw Gone Girl this weekend and really enjoyed it. I heard people saying that it was very different from the book but I didn't find that to be true. I enjoyed seeing the book come to life but still walked away just as frustrated as I was when I finished reading the book. I want to take C to see it because I'm curious what someone would think of the movie who hasn't read the book and doesn't know what's going to happen. Either way, it's a must-see. 

>> I didn't know this but apparently Polar makes all sorts of Limited Edition flavors for different seasons. I recently stumbled upon a whole bunch of amazing flavors at our local store including Toasted Coconut Creme, Champagne Strawberry, and Ginger Apple. Apparently, Pumpkin Spice exists too but they were sold out. The verdict: DELICIOUS! Sparkling water feels like such a treat and it's totally guilt-free!

>> Date night on Friday consisted of lots of wine and cheese and meat and bread. We're adults and if we want to eat cheese for dinner, then we will. The whole amazing meal was finished off with some homemade Salted Caramel Pudding and a short stroll home.

>> I think I have officially fallen in love with a pen. Call me crazy but I love office supplies and there is nothing better then the perfect pen. They are soooo smooth and come in fun colors as well as basics. Heaven.

>> It's been weirdly warm here in Connecticut for the past few weeks...like humid and 70s warm. On Sunday, it finally cooled down and actually felt like Fall. It's kind of confusing to dress in October when you can't wear boots and you feel silly in summer/fall clothes. Love me some classically good boot weather. 

>> While getting ahead on some work and writing blog posts, I rediscovered one of my favorite masks and treated myself to a little mini facial. This one is so good but I'm also looking forward to trying this one soon. 

10.15.2014

the beauty of fall.



Last Sunday, after some gentle encouragement from C, I put on some spandex and headed outside for a walk/run. It was a beautiful fall day - sunny, warm, cool breeze, beautiful trees changing color. I turned on a podcast (a sermon from our old church in Dallas) and totally zoned out. I walked all around our little neighborhood, past big beautiful houses, and adorable cottages. I admired front doors, all painted a variety of different colors. I felt my body warm up as I started to sweat under all my layers. I tried to run a little and that felt miserable. Almost an hour later, I returned home feeling a sense of complete calmness wash over me. I was reminded how important it is to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. I resolved to try to go for a 30 minute walk each day. 

Today, it's cloudy. I wore heels to work (not walking shoes). Our parking lot isn't looking that thrilling for a stroll. But Sunday's walk keeps surfacing in my mind. 

Get outside. Soak up some nature. Revel in the beauty that is all around us. Thank yourself. Do something wonderful for your body. Put your day on pause. Stretch. Breathe. Feel. 

10.07.2014

learning calligraphy


I've wanted to learn how to write calligraphy for some time now. During our wedding planning process, I was fascinated by all the beautiful styles of calligraphy and really wanted to learn how it was done. Over the summer, I had a lot of free time in the evenings since C was living in Austin. I figured it was the perfect time to sign up for a calligraphy class on Skillshare. There are so many great classes - beginner levels all the way through advanced (digitizing your work!). I love Skillshare (you know that already, hello Photoshop classes!) and I knew this would be a great evening activity. Wine, candles, Ray LaMontagne, calligraphy. Done. 

I started off with this class and ordered the pre-packaged kit that she offered ($20!). Her classes were really thorough and I really appreciated the guides which we could trace over or try to mimic. After completing Bryn's class, I took this class as well just to get another perspective and learn a different style. I'm planning on taking Bryn's Level 2 class soon as well. 

I think this is such a fun, easy to skill to have and I can't wait to get more comfortable with my style. Look out for some fun mail friends and family! 

This post is NOT sponsored by Skillshare, I just think it's a really great resource. If you sign up for a class using my referral link, we both get a free month! 




10.06.2014

monday musings.

picture from apple picking last fall

>> We had a great time at Two Roads Brewery this weekend with some friends. Their new seasonal pumpkin beer is really yummy. I made these roasted nuts to bring as a bar snack - they were a big hit. Recipe coming soon! 

>> It poured rain allllllll day Saturday which was actually kind of amazing. We were planning to have friends over that evening and I decided to make this oven roasted pulled pork with smashed potatoes and brussels sprouts with an apple cider glaze. Everything turned out amazing and I was actually kind of proud of myself for tackling this slab of meat. I took exactly zero pictures of the finished product.

>> Also, if you're ever looking for a delicious BBQ sauce, this one is a definite winner. We randomly picked it up at Whole Foods and ended up really, really loving it.

>> I may get slapped for writing this but whatever...C entered the Yale SOM Chili Cook-off this weekend (remember last year) and won this year!! Unfortunately, his chili is way too spicy for me so I've never been able to try it but apparently it's pretty dang good. Talk about proud wife!

>> I've been on the hunt for a new pair of tall, heeled brown boots for work and fancier occasions. It's actually a really tough item to find - everything I've seen has buckles and embellishments, or they are too expensive, or they have a weird heel...etc. So far this pair is winning...but still pretty expensive.

>> I'm reading a whole bunch of books right now which is fun but a bit overwhelming. I'm currently reading A House in the Sky (for pleasure), The Confidence Code (for work), and Thanks for the Feedback (for work). I've had a tough time trying to stay committed to A House in the Sky but it's started to pick up so maybe I'll finish it this week. I'm trying to hurry through it so I can finally get to A Husband's Secret and Big Little Lies.

>> One of my favorite fall/winter drinks is warming some apple cider and adding a splash of whiskey (maybe a dash of cinnamon). It's so good and totally comforting. It's just started to get cold enough to really feel like fall and I'm pretty dang excited about it. All the colors! Speaking of which, we're headed to Vermont at the end of the month and I'm pretty pumped about leaf peeping.

>> If you're not following Natalie's blog, you are missing out. Amazing recipes. Adorable clothes, Stunning children. Set aside a few hours and enjoy the endless fun.
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