Clean Beauty & Skincare Finds

One of my goals of this year is to educate myself on what should and shouldn’t be in my beauty products and to phase out whatever I uncover is “bad” for me over time. I hate wasting products so I’m not about to go and throw everything out, but I’m doing my research as I run out of things I use regularly and making cleaner swaps when I go to replace them.

The beauty and skincare world is incredibly unregulated in the U.S. There hasn’t been any legislation around personal care products in our country since 1938. According to Follain, if we’re compared to other countries, we have 30 banned ingredients, while Canada has 500 and Europe has 1,500. This means it’s up to us to figure out what we should and shouldn’t be using via our beauty and skincare products.

While I’ve been incorporating “clean” products into my routine over the past couple of years, I still have so much to learn. I’d love to hear about any resources for learning more – it’s a little overwhelming with all of the crazy ingredient names (sulfates, parabens, phenoxyethanol, what?!). So far I’ve found that Follain has a great blog, Clean Beauty 101.

I’ll be sharing more about my clean beauty journey throughout the year! What are your favorite clean beauty finds? Here are a few I’ve been trying out.

Clean Beauty Finds - Makeup & Skincare

Native Deodorant: I’ve been on the natural deodorant train for almost two years, yet I’ve had trouble finding a brand that actually works. So far, Native has been good to me, specifically in the Coconut & Vanilla scent (the Lavender & Rose scent for some reason did not work for me, but they not have lots of other scents to choose from). Its aluminum, paraben and sulfate-free, plus it’s not animal-tested and is made in the USA. Compared to other natural deodorants, I found the texture of this to be similar to regular deodorants – not sticky, doesn’t leave a residue on your clothes and yet it actually feels like you’re putting something on. You can get it online with free shipping and it’s also now at Target, which I find super convenient.

Honest Beauty Extreme Length Mascara + Primer: If I had to pick just one makeup product to wear every day, it would definitely be mascara, thanks to my blonde lashes you can barely see on their own. I use several different mascaras depending on the occasion and I was pleasantly surprised that this clean option really worked. I wear it pretty much every day unless I’m going out at night or to an event (let’s face it, that’s rare). One end has a lash primer that essentially puts tiny fibers on your lashes that the mascara then sticks to, making them look longer. And then the mascara itself has a nice wand that gives good volume and definition without clumps. All Honest Beauty products are free of parabens, paraffins, silicones, mineral oil and synthetic fragrances, along with not being tested on animals.

Honest Beauty Everything Primer – Matte: I rarely wore a primer before this one – this product gives you the perfect matte look and makes your makeup go on nice and even. It almost feels like your skin has a light powder on it, which I learned while posting this that it’s actually micronized bamboo powder that helps blur imperfections. I prefer topping it with a tinted moisturizer, but you can also wear this alone or under foundation. Same applies as above: no parabens, paraffins, silicones, mineral oil or synthetic fragrances.

Honest Beauty Lip Crayon: This lip crayon is super moisturizing thanks to ingredients like coconut oil and shea butters. It comes in a great selection of colors – I love “sheer coral” right now. It’s lightweight and stays put for a good amount of time considering it’s a cleaner option than traditional lip colors.

Coola SPF 30 Makeup Setting Spray: I’ve been a big fan of Coola sunscreens for years, especially their cucumber face sunscreen, so I was excited to try out this product. In my opinion, it comes in handy the most during warmer months when you’re going to be outside, need sunscreen, but already have makeup on. Just spray a few mists of this organic SPF 30 spray on and your skin will be protected and hydrated and you’ll be good to go. You can do it as many times as you want throughout the day. All of Coola’s products are paraben, para-aminobenzoic acid and animal cruelty free.

Tula Kefir Replenishing Cleansing Oil: I had tried out a few Tula products that I love prior to being sent this face wash and was skeptical because it’s oily when you put it on. But I’ve read that oils bind with oils, meaning that the oils in the cleanser meet the bad oils in your skin that ultimately leaves you with clean skin. I found that it leaves my face soft and hydrated (not oily at all once washed off) and does a good job at removing makeup. Tula is known for their probiotic skincare and this is one of their products made with kefir, a fermented milk drink with probiotics, vitamins and minerals that’s known for its health benefits. This face wash is free from sulfates, fragrance, DEA, TEA and is cruelty-free.

 

Thanks to Coola, Tula and Honest Beauty (via Influenster) for sending me samples to try out. As always, all opinions are my own. 

 

Friday Faves – 1.18.19

Happy Friday! I know not everyone has Monday off, but I do and I could not be more excited about the long weekend. I have zero plans other than watching the Patriots on Sunday (& making my famous buffalo chicken dip). A storm is on its way but it’s looking like it’s just a whole bunch of wintery mix nastiness by me, so I do wish we were getting some real snow if we’re going to be cold and stuck indoors.

I’m hoping for a good mix of productivity and Netflix binging. I’m literally obsessed with Marie Kondo and “Tidying Up” on Netflix. I never finished reading the book several years ago but after seeing the show, I was inspired. So far I’ve tackled my closet and a few drawers and want to keep going! And for TV, it’s time to get into the a new season of one of the many series we’ve been neglecting.

Read on for this week’s Friday Faves!


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On the note of the KonMari method via Marie Kondo, I’m very into the idea of fewer, better things and will be following along this writer’s experiment with that this year.

Making a goal of reading at least one book a month – hopefully more when I travel. Getting inspired by this list of 2018 books.

Totally agree that self care is more than a hashtag… and also face masks and bubble baths (though I do love both of those!).

This call-your-girlfriend post really resonated with me. Good, real friendships are everything.

Finally tried on a friend’s Rothys flats last night and am officially I need a pair… or two. You’ll get $20 off your 1st purchase using my referral link (& I’ll also get a discount on my end, so thank you in advance!).

Discovered my closet is filled with too many dresses with nowhere to wear them. Going back to Rent the Runway for next weekend’s wedding – love this dress. Same deal as Rothys, use my link on your 1st order & we both get $30 off!

In need of black sandals to wear with dresses and love these Loeffler Randall shoes. They’re an investment, but I was able to find these in good condition on Poshmark – and I know I’ll like them because I have the block heel version in tan.

Very excited about our new coffee table and end tables that need to be put together – here is a similar gold coffee table that’s super affordable!

Just started using the juicer we got at my bridal shower… 5+ years ago (oops). I’m very into it and now am considering trying out pure celery juice after reading about it here and here.

Watch the R. Kelly docu-series on Lifetime. And then feel guilty about loving the Ignition Remix as you get disgusted by everything he’s done/is currently doing.

Trying to learn the basics of clean beauty, including how to read labels/identify the worst ingredients and easy product swaps.

Have my eye on Everlane for high-quality basics that are also sustainable – anyone tried them out?

Best Bachelor Podcasts

I’m pretttty excited about the fact that The Bachelor is back – I’m not ashamed to admit that I love reality TV. We’re off to a bit of a boring start with Colton’s season, but I’m confident it will pick up now that we’re through the first couple of episodes.

Thoughts so far: no thanks on the live viewing parties, too much virgin talk and too much age talk. And so many sparkles with these girls’ dresses. Time for the good drama to start – hopefully next week! Colton alluded to the virgin talk coming to an end around episode 4 in one of the Bachelor podcasts I listen to, so can’t wait for that.

Regardless of what’s going on in each episode of the show, I still love recapping via my podcast friends each week. Why do I listen to multiple Bachelor podcasts? I think it’s fun to hear different perspective on the behind-the-scenes and off-air gossip. And if I listen to them on my commute or while I’m doing things around the house, I’m less inclined to spend that time doing the exact same thing online in front of a computer screen.

So with that, today I’m sharing the best Bachelor podcasts (according to me). Most of them are also good for other topics during the show’s off-season, so go subscribe.

Best-Bachelor-Podcasts

  • Bachelor Party: I love catching up on all things Bachelor with The Ringer’s Juliet Litman, mainly because she is reality-obsessed in a way I can relate to. And she’s funny on top of it. This season’s guests have included people like Entertainment Tonight’s Lauren Zima and recent contestants such as Blake Horstmann. Her podcasts bring just the right amount of recapping and scoop on production and other behind-the-scenes details that she knows about from being so tuned into the reality TV world as part of her job.

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Best Amazon Finds of 2018

I’m not sure what I did before Amazon Prime. It’s become my go-to for everything from dog food and kitchen gadgets, to jewelry, travel essentials and gifts. No more going to miscellaneous stores or waiting a long time for orders to come in – it’s 2 days with a click of a button. I looked back at alllll of my purchases over the past year to give you my best Amazon finds of 2018.

Tt was hard to top 2017’s Dash egg cooker or this compact spiralizer, but this year’s picks included several significant purchases for one reason or another. Whether it was changing the way I pack for travel or accessorizing with trendy, inexpensive pieces, Amazon did it all.

If you’re on the hunt for a good gift for a guy in your life, I highly recommend a Yeti cooler. And while I didn’t list out baby and toddler gifts below, I also purchased little board book sets for several of the nuggets in my life (here & here).

Here are my top picks in no particular order, which I love for all different reasons.

2018 Best of Amazon

Self-Care & Beauty:

1. Acupuncture MatIf you’re curious about what acupuncture can do for you but aren’t into needles or committing to appointments, try this super affordable acupuncture mat. Lay on it for 20+ minutes a day and relax – promise it doesn’t hurt.

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Friday Faves – 1.3.19

Happy New Year! To kick off 2019 and also say TGIF, I’m bringing back a series I started a few years ago but in a new way. Fridays are now for sharing my favorite things – whether it’s blog posts from other people, products I’m loving, shows I’m watching/books I’m reading or totally miscellaneous things I love, read or hear about.

This idea comes from an Insta post I saw a a while back where someone had mentioned this was a great way to support other bloggers and women in business. And I have to say, it was fun to write! I’m one of those people who always has a billion tabs open on my laptop, so this is a way for me to dump it into one spot and come back for it later… while also sharing with you!

I’ll be back with my goals for the year, my favorite Amazon purchases of 2018 and lots more this month. Feeling re-energized for the first time in a while. Bring on 2019!

Friday Faves - 1.4.19

Photo by Oskars Sylwan

Speaking of setting goals for the year, I’m into the “word of the year” approach and am toying around with a few right now. This post gives one example (and is also honest perspective from an influencer who is trying to balance her desire to stop buying so much with the business side of blogging).

Also want to attempt the Happiness Project again… but a less intense version with just one task to repeat every day each month (full review of the book here). One of my favorite podcasts just put out an episode that is essentially the same concept with different monthly ideas to focus on.

My Kauai, Hawaii travel guide came in on top every month of 2018. Making me want to go back – especially to the hotel we stayed at! View my other Hawaii travel guides here and here (more to come).

Ordered this black dress for a winter wedding and think it’s simple enough (but with fun details) to wear again. These earrings (or these!) would be perfect with it. I wish I had this dress in a winter color – there are so many options, but the one I have is light blue.

Apparently it’s Capricorn Season… and every horoscope I read is telling me that this is the year of self-love or that now is the time to find more time to relax and heal. I’m into it.

Getting ready for binge-watching season – a.k.a. frigid January/February temps and snow… What are your favorite shows right now? Just binged Yellowstone, started The Office from the beginning and am always shamelessly watching reality TV (can’t wait for Bachelor to start back up).

On the note of entertainment, aiming to read one book a month in 2019. I ended the year with two great beach reads: Crazy Rich Asians (now a movie) and When Life Gives You Lululemons (Devil Wears Prada spin-off).

Not a mom yet, but loved the realness in this Insta post. My feed around the holidays was filled with perfect-looking families with babies – that’s not always reality and that’s OK.

On the hunt for ginger jars of all sizes and found this guide on where to buy them.

Random new daily activity has been laying on this acupuncture mat – perfect if you want to get some of the same benefits without needles.

Also loving hair accessories (why did scrunchies ever go away?!). This headband is so fun – might need to get the leopard print one.

Planning on making a list to help start a capsule wardrobe approach to how I shop. What are your favorite staples?

Last obsession: dainty gold jewelry, which is nothing new for me, but I’m loving everything from Missoma and Mejuri.

Trying to swap out products as I run out for cleaner options. Right now I’m loving this mascara and this primer, both at Target.

Shop the Post:

Target Holiday Decor

Yesterday’s post was all about fun ornaments for your home & to give as gifts (the sale is still going on – 20% off!) and today I’m back with Target holiday decor… & lots of it. Not only that, Target is having a home sale this weekend, so now is the time to gear up for the holidays with 25% off!

I love having our condo decorated for the holidays. At my mom’s house growing up, we had cathedral ceilings in our living room and would hunt for the biggest tree we could manage bringing home. That’s not possible in the city, but we still do a good job of getting in the holiday spirit over here! This year we are heading away on vacation around the time we usually decorate, so we unfortunately won’t get as much time with our festive decor as usual, but I can’t complain about spending some time on the beach in December.

Read on for my favorites from Target’s holiday decor selection – and don’t miss out on the sale!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

TOP (shop the whole room here):

Merry Xmas Stocking Holder / Garland

White Reindeer 1 & 2 (also in black) / Reindeer Candle Holder

Red GinghamWhite Gingham & Red Plaid Stockings

BOTTOM (shop more from this line here):

Plaid Pillow / Advent Calendar (also love this one) / Letters to Santa

side note: also love this coffee table shown above!

 

Target has SO many holiday decor options that it’s actually overwhelming. Below are several other things that caught my eye!

Target Holiday Decor

Shop My Picks:

Red Glitter Topper Bow / Wicker Tree Base Cover / Advent Calendar

Pom Pom Tree Skirt (also in off-white)Gold Lobster & Crab Ornaments

Nordic Star Blanket / Merry Xmas Garland Banner / Napkin Rings & Napkins

Unicorn Ornaments (& cutest owls!)Station WagonTruck with Tree (ornaments here)

Red Berry Wreath (also this one for 1/3 of the price)

Red & Green Dog Bow Ties / Tree & Penguin Dog Toys

Ornament Gifts from the Anthropologie Home Sale

I love decorating for Christmas – and for me, the best part of it is decorating the tree. Ornament gifts are the best way to think of whoever gave it to you or a special memory that was had. I was an only child for many years and there was always something so special about decorating the tree with my mom with the ornaments she had collected. Aside from getting dressed up for Halloween, Christmas has to be her favorite holiday.

I remember getting so excited about pulling out our ornaments – each year it was like I had forgotten about them and rediscovered them all. There was one Wizard of Oz set she still has that had each of the characters and then a mini version of the book. I would sit there and read that book to myself for hours – the whole thing is even on home video. Ever since then, I’ve collected ornaments and I get that same happy feeling filled with memories as I open up the boxes that have been stored in the attic since the year prior, whether it’s at my house or my mom’s.

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the ornament set above here

Over the years, my mom and I started a tradition that my husband I have also adopted, which is picking up an ornament everywhere you travel. It’s fun to look back on amazing trips we’ve taken in the form of trinkets on our tree. Another thing I do here and there is make ornaments out of photos – we did this with our wedding and a few other special occasions and there are lots of sites to do this on like Shutterfly.

Whether you’re into hunting for your own ornaments throughout the year or not, they make great gifts. This morning, I saw Anthropologie is having a 20% off home sale and now is the time to pick a few up for yourself and as gifts! There are lots of cute ones that can tie in well with the personality or interests of whoever the recipient is. If someone gave me the everything bagel ornament, they’d be speaking to my heart.

Here are a few of my favorites – and you can view the whole collection of Anthro ornaments here. The 20% off sale is for all full-priced home items, which also includes fun gifts for kids, along with hostess gifts and items for your own home!

Ornament Gifts Anthropologie Sale

Shop the Ornaments:

Dogs / Unicorn / Cheers / Macarons

 Everything Bagel / Palm Tree / Oyster

Camel / Mermaid / Rainbow / Hamsa

Fall Sweaters for Chillier Temps

I love New England because you can truly experience all four seasons here. But I do wish that fall would stick around a bit longer! Give me all of the light sweaters and leather jackets. It feels like we’re quickly moving into winter, especially in the mornings when I’m commuting to work.

Fall Sweaters

The only good news here is that sweater season is here to stay – we’ll just have to throw a jacket over them from here on out. I admittedly only have a few sweaters in my drawers right now because I need to grab my bin at my in-laws’ house, so I’m excited to pull all of mine out, many of which are back in stock this year!

Shop some of my favorites using the widget below, including this popular sweater from last year that is back in lots of colors. These sell out as the season goes on, so grab yours now!

Aside from that, I’ve been loving all things leopard print and with ties in the front. I’m also a big fan of long cardigans with a casual tucked in t-shirt or tank top like this one I grabbed recently. For some reason the green sweater below isn’t showing up in the widget, but it’s so soft and available in several colors here.

Fall Sweaters

Shop these sweaters & more:

Women’s Football Style Picks

It’s a pretty awesome time to be a Bostonian right about now – this weekend we had all four of our professional sports teams playing and now we have the Red Sox going to the World Series and the Patriots giving us another win.

I’ve been thinking about this post since the Pats opening day when I found the best tank top at Old Navy the day before the game. Gone are the days when you have to go to Dick’s or another athletic store to get NFL gear – you can find much better women’s football style items at stores you’d normally shop at, such as Old Navy, Nordstrom or even Free People.

Patriots-Football-Style-NFL-Old-Navy-2

Shop the Look:

Tank (other teams available)Flannel

There are so many other options – shop all of these and even more using the widget below this pic. Note that for most of the items, you’ll find more team options once you click through – it’s not just the one shown in the pic! Also, I threw in a boys’ hoodie because I have this from a few years ago and it was such a good (and affordable) buy – just size up!

Women's-Football-Style-NFL-Style-Old-Navy

More Old Navy Picks:

& Options from Other Stores:

… & one last pic from the Patriots’ opening day. Pin any of these for later or click “get sale alert” in the widgets to get notified via email when an item goes on sale if you prefer to wait!

Patriots-Football-Style-NFL-Old-Navy-2

Acrylic & Resin Earrings

Over the past couple of years, I’ve traded my love for statement necklaces for more dainty, layered options (like this & this) and instead opted for statement earrings. I find that I can wear statement earrings over and over again with everything from a fancy dress to a t-shirt and jeans.

While I used to swear by Rent the Runway for dresses to wear to weddings, lately I’ve been either finding less expensive options from brands like Asos or Boohoo or accessorizing simple dresses that can be worn more than once. While I was on the hunt for fun earrings to go with a black dress, I came across lots of acrylic and resin earrings and fell in love not only with the styles, but also the price points I found.

But the main reason I love acrylic and resin earrings is how lightweight they are. Even if I love a pair of earrings, I won’t buy them if they feel even the slightest bit too heavy on my ears. There are also so many fun colors and styles to choose from!

Here’s a look at the options I have in my jewelry box right now – note that these & these are from Amazon and super affordable! And I’m also sharing several other pairs below at varying price points. My favorite stores & brands for these earrings (aside from Amazon) are Baublebar, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters. Keep on scrolling down to shop wayyyy more options I found as well.

Acrylic & Resin Earrings

Shop these earrings:

Top Oval (4 more colors available, $17)

Multi-Color Hoops (lots of other colors available, only $10!)

Similar Tortoise Hoops / Yellow Gem w/ Blue Oval

Resin Earrings Acrylic Earrings

Shop these & lots more here: