Archive - July 2018

1
Clean Beauty Round-Up
2
Review: Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo
3
» Kitchen Remodel: IKEA Butcher Block Installation
4
» REVIEW: Tuft & Needle Pouch (Chair)

Clean Beauty Round-Up

I spent years paying little attention to the products I used on my skin and face. I slathered on foundation without ever turning the bottle over to read what was actually in the bottle. When we began to have children I cleaned up our personal products, cloth diapered and made many of the cleaners and household items we used regularly. I remember a time when  Seventh Generation was the only decent brand I could find in a store and even that was a bit questionable! The interesting thing about this big transformation is that it wasn’t until the past two years that I considered my make-up and skin care routine. I don’t wear gobs of make up but I love a good BB cream, mascara and black eyeliner. I also love playing with make up if I’m headed to dinner or somewhere special. It was definitely time to turn that bottle of foundation over to read what was really lurking inside. Fragrance (AKA, the beauty industry’s secret code for whatever they want to put in here, unregulated), Parabens, Triclosan, Formaldehyde, Lead… and a whole lot more. To get the full picture click here and read all about it.

For our purposes I’m going to skip ALL the details of the scary story and instead share the GREAT products I’ve found to avoid this yuck. Because here’s the thing… even if you don’t care that your make-up and face products can carry cancer and neurological risk maybe you’ll care that they are actually aging your skin and making you look older. 

I have tried, at length, each of the safe products suggested below and fully recommend them. Please read the notes in order to decide if it’s the right product for your needs. Each product name is linked to their website for shopping ease if you decide you just HAVE to try it.

Foundation/Powders/B.B. Creams:

Juice Beauty: PHYTO-PIGMENTS FLAWLESS SERUM FOUNDATION

This is a really good medium coverage foundation. It moisturizes the skin and does not set on top of the skin or look cakey. I prefer to wear this with a dab of loose powder on top to set the look and make things a bit more matte. If you prefer a dewey look just skip the setting powder. This also contains an anti-aging serum! (tip: shake the bottle well every time you use it)

Rejuva Minerals:  CONCEALER POWDER AND LOOSE FOUNDATION POWDER

Rejuva minerals makes several foundation items but these were stand-out winners and the items I employed over the last week to create a daily clean make-up look. This was my first go with concealer powder and I don’t think I could go back to a stick concealer again. This organic, mica and titanium dioxide free powder is really easy to apply and target areas like dark circles without pulling against the skin or causing further damage. The coverage is excellent and buildable according to the look you want to create. As a bonus, their packaging is really quite cute. Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

Crunchi: BEAUTIFULLY FLAWLESS FOUNDATION 

Crunchi is a fairly new MLM company but they have made a big splash with highly educated consultants. Their Flawless Foundation is a great choice if you like a very full-coverage look. It really lives up to its name.

Lowens: IN YO FACE! NATURAL, VEGAN BB CREAM

This wonder-cream firms and protects your face and just feels wonderful. This BB cream is not tinted and works well as a pre-make up moisturizer or on those days when you skip the foundation and just throw on some mascara. (Which is me four days out of seven) As a bonus, this cream also provides sun protection!

Mascara:

W3LL People: EXPRESSIONIST MASCARA

Mascara is a must for me. I pretty much always have it on. And the blacker the better. The brush included in this mascara is the key. The formula is great, but man, the brush is the best. It’s super skinny and firm and it lengthens lashes beauty without any clumping. Allure magazine endorses it, so you know it’s good!

Rejuva Minerals: MASCARA MEGA LASH, LENGTHENING & THICKENING

Mega Lash has a mega brush included. If you like a fat, fluffy brush that adds a lot of fullness and depth to lashes you’ll adore this one. The formula goes on easily and leaves lashes channeling snuffleupagus from Sesame Street. This is not a water-resistant formula so definitely skip it on pool days. Rejuva also offers a volumizing formula but I have not personally tried it yet, grab some and let me know what you think! Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

 

Blush and Bronzer:

Juice Beauty: PHYTO PIGMENTS BRONZER AND ILLUMINATOR DUO

This bronzer and illuminator duo is pretty fool proof. Bronzer is a favorite “make up tool” of mine and I do have some trouble with powder versions. This smooth, gel-like formula is easy to apply and blend in if you make a mistake. The color also works well with almost any skin type. The illuminator looks lovely applied at the top of the cheeks or corners of the eye.

Rejuva Minerals: PAPAYA PRESSED BLUSH POWDER

This blush has a universally flattering color and is buildable like many of Rejuva’s products. It’s definitely not a blush you can cake on OR overdo. It’s just a sweet pop of color that warms up the skin and leaves you with a summery look. It gets points for being fool-proof and natural looking. Use coupon code goodb to receive 15% off your order.

Lips:

Lowens: LOWENS LIP BALM

Lowen’s Lip Balm comes in 17 fun and delicious flavors. Some of our favorites are Funky cold camelina, Iced mini doughnut and Lime in da coconut. Yes, I’m a total sucker for fun product names but the performance and flavor is equally great. These smooth and tasty lip balms are full of fair trade ingredients (even coffee for some flavors!) like shea butter, rosemary oil and beeswax. Each flavor has it’s own list of special ingredients! This product is a hit with the whole family and must at the end of summer days in the sun. Hit up our instagram to win some for yourself.

Juice Beauty: SATIN LIP CREAM

This satin lip cream is FULL of color. It’s rich, deep and buildable. It’s not long-wearing but my lips feel great when I use it. If you don’t mind reapplying this is a great choice. To be honest, I’m pretty certain that long-wearing lipsticks don’t have great ingredients, including some of the popular ones that make some pretty big claims.

Body Products:

Lowen’s: BUBBLE PASTE

Oh. My. Goodness. This stuff won some awards in our house. First of all, it’s somehow more fun to put paste into a bath than liquid. Second, the blood orange scent is just SO good. Third? We are just really in love with the Lowen’s company and their commitment to really good, nourishing and safe ingredients. Their sweet stories about the products and how they are related to their daughter Lowen really win us over. I have complete and full confidence in every product I use from Lowen’s, not only because I trust their business model but they also have great EWG ratings which takes all the guess work out of the equation. Grab some bubble paste for yourself and give the kids an enjoyable bath you can feel good about.

Lowen’s: BUTTER BALM

This magical salve is like a fix-everything wonder balm. Too many words? Maybe… but it is really good. Lowen’s Butter Balm is completely free of petrochemicals, artificial preservatives, colorants or scenting agents. We have used it on everything from bug bites that didn’t want to heal, to cracked cuticles and rough puppy paws. Basically, if something is irritating your skin, slather some of this on and you’ll be on your way to fixing the issue. It comes in a generous sized tub and kind of melts in your hand as you apply it. We are in the thick of summer activities and this seems to be the most requested item after days full of bug bites, scrapes and barefoot running. I’ve heard it’s great as a diaper rash solution as well!

Acure: BRILLIANTLY BRIGHTENING FACE SCRUB

Yes, I know. I’ve written about this one before. But if it’s not in your life yet, go ahead and make sure it is. This scrub gently exfoliates with things like sea kelp and French green clay. It’s like a 2-minute spa day and I promise your face will feel refreshed and detoxified. I keep this on my amazon subscribe and save because I can’t. stop. using. it.

And there you have it! My current favorites, all with the highest standards  and practices. I’m really thankful for these companies and the ethical practices they employ. The result is high performing products that don’t have shady or irritating ingredients. All products can be verified on the EWG website if you want to double check me!

 

Review: Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo

We began switching our personal care products to natural, socially conscious brands several years ago. We quickly discovered that not all natural products are created equal. Especially when it comes to shampoo. I tried dozens of “natural” shampoos that left my hair dry and dull.

For the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to try out Desert Essence Shampoos with my family and we’ve truly been impressed. Their Anti-Breakage Shampoo performed well with our varying hair types, thin and straight to thick and curly.  After using it consistently my hair seemed calmer (no frizz!) and it had a nice shine that wasn’t present before using the shampoo. I also really enjoyed the conditioner. It’s on the thiner side and absorbs quickly into hair unlike thicker/creamier conditioners. The smell is very mild in both products, it has a mild herbal smell with a bit of tea tree mixed in. I can’t wait to see how my hair continues to improve with continued use!

My son has very dry, tight curls and we added the Desert Essence Anti-Breakage mask to his weekly routine. His hair felt so silky after the first use and we had a much easier time detangling his hair that after his bath. I’m hopeful that with continued use his dryness and manageability will improve even more.

About Desert Essence:

This is my first experience using Desert Essence products but they have been around for quite some time! For 35 years Desert Essence has been sustainably sourcing the purest and highest quality ingredients from all over the world. They do not use artificial colors or fragrances in any of their products. As a company centered around making a difference since 1978, Desert Essence is a certified B-Corp Corporation. This means that Desert Essence meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability. If only more companies operated under these standards! Additionally. Desert Essence donates a portion of their sales to help girls in impoverished areas get access to education.

More about Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo:

  • Infused with an exclusive blend of Country Life Maxi-Hair® plus Biotin, this breakthrough formula with Keratin and Pro-Vitamin B5 helps reduce breakage up to 61%.
  • Rich in nourishing Jojoba and coconut oils, aloe, and saw palmetto, these ingredients smooth and fortify hair cuticles, and revitalize hair strands to minimize breakage.
  • The botanical oils and radish seed extract provide incredible shine.
  • The aloe and moisturizing shea butter in the Anti-Breakage Conditioner help detangle and condition hair.

Desert Essence is currently offering 30% off all Gluten-Free hair products. You can also snag a free lip balm with your order of $30 or more! Use code DELovesMomsMeet to get 20% off the rest of their amazing products! Click here to shop! 

 

 

I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

» Kitchen Remodel: IKEA Butcher Block Installation

Last week I made the dreaded trek to IKEA because, lets face it, no one can beat their prices on kitchen counters and shelving. I highly regretted the choice after we rounded the third hour in the waiting Q for them to bring our items from the back… but alas we ate the meatballs, bought the randoms and made it out with our dignity intact.

Our new home has asked a lot of us during these past few weeks but we have risen to the challenge. This week ushered in new downstairs flooring and a refreshed (in-progress) kitchen. Once the flooring was in we got to work on our new butcher block counter tops. Thankfully my dad joined in and the whole process was much smoother than I originally anticipated. During our trip to IKEA I selected Karlby butcher block counters in birch. I also grabbed Ekby shelving and brackets to create a slightly industrial looking open shelving area in the kitchen. These brackets are really cool and could be used with any type of wood to create the look you want. Without further delay I’ll take you through a basic idea of how our installation went down and how we are feeling about everything as we finish up our kitchen remodel and refresh.

The first step was to demo and pull out the existing laminate countertops. This was easy enough, with only a few challenges in the sink area. Calvin also took this opportunity to change out the water line and drain hose for the dishwasher, thus the face down appliance in the middle of the floor. We also installed some additional bottom cabinetry because the kitchen needed a bit more counter and storage space to accommodate our family of six.

After demo-hour we measured and measured again and came up with the plan for our cuts. Making that first cut was a lot less nerve-wracking because we had so many eyes on the project. (A big thanks goes out to my dad who came to help and lend his tools!)

We saved the corner, where the sink lives, for very last. There were two angles to consider with this piece and we wanted to be sure we were satisfied with the adjacent counter cuts before proceeding. It turned out beautifully! We are currently working on finishing up the plumbing in this area and will be able to share our experience with IKEA sinks and faucets soon! For now it’s sitting there while I figure out all the things.

We used a mixture of sawdust from the cuts, gorilla wood glue and wood filler to seal up the places where the counter pieces meet. After all the counters were in I sealed them all up with a wood conditioner. I’m still contemplating whether I want them to remain natural or if a stain would be preferable. Next week I’ll be adding a coat of Coastal Blue Milk Paint by General Finishes to the lower cabinets and Antique White to the uppers. Until then… it’s a whole lot of wood to look at.

The counters all went in better than I had hoped. It took roughly four hours to do all the cuts and install. They seem to be durable, but only time will tell. I’ll be sure to update here in about six months to give you an update. Stay tuned for paint, backsplash and hardware coming next week. It’s going to be so much fun to share the completed kitchen! The current debate is whether to stay on trend with white subway or to take a departure and do something fun with patterned white tile. What would you do?

 

 

» REVIEW: Tuft & Needle Pouch (Chair)

For the last few years, I’ve worked from home. I’ve slowly created a workspace that fits my needs for function and design. My space isn’t quite large enough for a couch so I went on the hunt for the perfect chair. So when Tuft & Needle asked us to review their new Pouch chair, I knew it had potential for the home office! Tuft & Needle has already been known to disrupt the mattress market with dozens of other brands following their lead. Now they’ve introduced what has become my new favorite seat in the house.

A few days after placing our online order, our UPS man delivered the Pouch right to our doorstep! The box required both Calvin and I to get it to the right spot. Be ready, these chairs weigh approximately 70 pounds! As you’ve probably imagined, there is no assembly required. Just open, unwrap, and patiently watch the Pouch expand before jumping on. I love the design of this couch, it is nice enough for any room in the house, not just tucked away in the corner of a bonus room.

 

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The Pouch.

It’s a bean bag but it’s the size of a large comfy chair. Just like their mattresses, the Pouch is delivered in a tall box right to your doorstep. This makes the Pouch a whole lot easier to bring upstairs if needed.

Specs

  • 48″ W x 48″ L x 48″ H
  • Filled with Certipur-US certified T&N Adaptive foam
  • Soft, quilted cover with locking zipper
  • Made in the USA (yes!)
  • 100-day trail
  • 3-year warranty
  • Available in 3 colors

I love to sit on it with my feet propped up on a nearby ottoman or coffee table. Our kids love to get a running start and dive into this “giant fluffy cloud” as they’ve described it. Speaking of kids, the cover is completely removable and machine washable in case a child (or a pet in our case) does the unthinkable. We’ve already moved the Pouch to different rooms in the house but I think the office is where it’ll stay.

Conclusion

I love the sturdiness and quality of the Pouch. Some folks may think the $450 price tag is steep but it is nowhere near the $850 price tag of a similar product by Lovesac. Even with heavy use, I imagine the Pouch to last in our house for at least five years.

Tuft & Needle website

buy Tuft & Needle on Amazon

 

 

 

 

I received this product from Tuft & Needle to complete this review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

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