Saturday, September 13, 2014

Green Beauty: bidding adieu to summer...

Fall Wish List 2014

Suddenly, there's an unexpected chill in the air. With this subtle shift in the season, I have been daydreaming about some new products. Here's what I'm looking forward to this fall!

Ilia Lip Conditioner in Around the World - Several enticing swatches out there have swayed me (as if I needed it) to pick up this shade, which follows the trend for the colour of the year: radiant orchid. 

Mermaid Mask by Leahlani Skincare on Etsy - I've definitely got a mask thing in addition to a lip product and scent thing. This one is full of honey and greens. I blame its presence on the list on Ru from Short, Small, & Sweet.

Red Apple Lipstick in Audrey - This company has been on my radar for some time, and this shade is their most popular. I can't wait to give it a try!

Pacifica Nail Polish in Red Red Wine - I firmly blame this on Ingrid from MissGlamorazzi. She sported this perfect-for-fall hue in her most recent video, and it is gorgeous! Not to mention, it's available at Target. 

RAHUA Hair Wax - I blame this firmly on nomoredirtylooks. I'm looking for a product with hold that won't turn my hair into cement.

Inika Cosmetics Peacock Blue Eyeliner - Again, nomoredirtylooks. Specifically, this post. How gorgeous does this colour look?

What's on your fall wish list as this pumpkin and boot-laden season comes upon us? 

I hope to be able to post more frequently, but this teaching thing has sort of taken over my LIFE. In the meantime, it's nice to do this quick and fun type posts like this one!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Green Beauty: skin & bones therapy moisturizer review

I may be super busy at the moment, but I smell great.

I was bummed to fail to snag the last A Night for Green Beauty Goodebox because of one product. The Skin & Bones Luxurious Face + Body + Hair Moisturizer. Thankfully, this community came to the rescue! The awesome Ru from Short, Small, & Sweet kindly offered to give me hers for a fraction of the price.

But let's start from the beginning. How did I become enamored with this stuff in the first place? I'd first heard about it on Kimberly Loc's blog and was immediately intrigued. Oil meant for everything? And a unisex scent? That had been years in the making? In addition to a lip product addict, I should mention that I also have a thing for smells. I used to be a Bath and Bodyworks junkie. Thankfully, those days have past, but my love for a great smelling lotion or potion remains intact. I finally had the chance to sample the skin & bones moisturizer this summer, and I immediately fell in love. At first whiff, I was transported.

It smells like the perfect man. That was my first thought. 

You know that perfect masculine scent of a guy straight out of the shower, freshly shaved, and buttoning up a dress shirt? Or am I alone here? That was my immediate impression of this luxurious oil. It is like the antidote to Axe from the gods! It's so clean and so fresh. It is the opposite of cloying or overly sweet. I can't remember smelling anything like it. It's as if they managed to capture this almost mythological scent and bottle it. My tiny sample vial disappeared quickly, and I spent an unhealthy amount of time sniffing my wrists. The essential oil blend is so balanced. No one note overpowers another. It's spicy and seductive, but bright and energizing at the same time. It is absolutely divine. And though it has undeniably masculine notes, I find it perfectly suitable for women. It's not overly masculine. It is clean and crisp. Like a freshly laundered, white blouse. All of which is much appreciated in the disgustingly humid August weather we're enduring down south.

And the staying power. We in the natural community know that green perfumes don't tend to linger. Somehow, this does. And not in the bad way. It doesn't bowl people over when I step into a room but gently hangs around. Even near the end of the workday, I can still catch a pleasant whiff of myself.

Finally, it absorbs easily and leaves the skin silky and smooth. Honestly, the smell is so amazing that I wouldn't care if the moisturizing performance was subpar. The fact that it's not seems like an undeserved bonus. I've limited the application to my body, I'm too nervous to try it on my face, but it glides on and doesn't leave me feeling greasy or as if I need to wait for my skin to "dry." The carrier oil is 100% pure and organic jojoba oil which lends the product its golden colour, and the essential oils are all organic and therapeutic grade. I love that a simple product can be so magical. Exquisite quality jojoba and essential oils are all that's needed in the hands of the experts.

All in all, it is a scent so unique that it deserves at least a try. I urge you to try it. I implore you to try it. Especially if you have yet to find your signature green scent. I have a myriad of green body oils and lotions, but almost none hold a candle to this one. Samples can be found at BeaTeaBar and many other online green beauty shops! Have you tried this oil? Are you as besotted with the scent as me?

I've been so insanely busy with the start of school and teaching, but it feels great to blog again :) In the meantime, excuse me while I shower and slather myself in this...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Green Health: eat yourself pretty!

Today's post is going to be wellness centered. Like I've said before, nutrition and exercise have had a massive impact on the state of my skin. It wasn't until I cut out things like added sugar and tons of dairy that my breakouts finally went away! After catching sight of this book in the blogosphere along with hearty recommendations and glowing reviews, I was very intrigued. I've read my fair share of health-related books but never one that was appearance-centered and there are many out there. Since the talk about this book came from trusted sources, I decided to take the plunge!

The author, Jolene Hart, is described as a beauty and health coach with certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Clearly, we are not in the realm of simple nutritionists and dietitians any more. Alas, I am no stranger to the fringe-lands of health. She has also written for InStyle, People, and Allure to name a few and spearheads the website Beauty Is Wellness.

The thing I liked best about this book was the tone. It's refreshing to read a "diet book" that celebrates what you can eat rather than droning on with pages full of restrictions. Hart makes a strawberry sound fresh and exciting - almost like a new tube of lipstick! Even though I was aware of most of the beautifying benefits of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, she had a way of making the simple act of eating seem incredibly luxurious and indulgent. In addition, I did find the scientific explanations about the particular vitamins and minerals in each prettying food interesting and helpful. Hart has certainly done her homework and comes off well-informed about her material. Again, I worried this book may be awfully repetitive since I read so much about food and wellness already, but it did bring a fun, fresh perspective to the table.

She begins the book by outlining her philosophy - expanding upon which foods zap our body's natural ability to glow and offering readers a new way to think about beauty and wellness. She argues that clear skin, glossy hair, and youth are all available at our fingertips in our supermarkets and the kitchen. She goes on to detail her favourite beautifying foods and gives tips for wellness in each season. Along with all this, the book includes recipes! She offers appetizers, dressings, mains, and desserts all chockfull of "eat pretty" ingredients. I'm most excited to whip up a batch of her oatmeal raisin cookie truffles.

All in all, this book isn't a necessity per say, but, speaking as a person with too many books about health and nutrition, it has been a fun resource for me! I aligned with her philosophy and appreciated her celebration of all the bountiful, fresh eats available. I definitely believe that true beauty starts from within. If you have absolutely no idea where to begin in terms of beauty and food, I highly recommend you give this a shot. It's a quick read, it's affordable, and it offers wonderful advice.

Have you had a chance to read Jolene Hart's new book? Do you "eat pretty"?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Green Beauty: my favourite cleanser in the entire world

You know that feeling you get post-vacation? The blues? Well, I have been in a slump since returning from a fantastic trip to Canada and NYC to see family and best friends. Since the return to Nashville, it's been part-time work, trying to get back into a healthy swing of things, and prepping for teaching/apartment hunting. Finally, I feel fit enough to blog again. Mostly, I was inspired while sitting pretty with one of my ultimate fave products slathered across my face while reading for work. As the product worked its magic I pondered, had I written about this before? Surely, I had already raved about its amazingness. In great detail. As it deserves. Turns out, I HAVE NOT! Hence, today's post about May Lindstrom Skin's The Clean Dirt.

As is the case with all of May's Products, this is not merely a cleanser but an experience. It is a cleanser, exfoliator, purifying mask, mood lifter, and mini-spa day all wrapped into one. Now, I know this is a pretty massive statement, but I am not mincing words here. If I was ever stranded on a desert island and could only bring five products with me, this would be one of the five. This is like the one. Somehow, she combined this insane combination of clays, herbs, salts, and vitamins into this earthy, spicy, and gritty magical potion that really works! I don't understand how she does it or who inspired her ingredients, but you cannot argue with the results. I have already repurchased this bottle of goodness twice. I love it so, so much.

If you are not familiar with masks, do not let the name or appearance of this powder scare you away. Inside are powerful and effective ingredients for tackling any skin issue. Applying it is also half the fun if you've been used to soap, foam, and bubbles your entire life. Just introduce water, your favourite hydrosol, or aloe to the dry "dirt", and the mixture bubbles and fizzes to life as its herbaceous scent envelopes your senses. You can also add honey, but I find it too tedious to spread that way. I use a foundation brush to spread the mask across my skin and let it sink in and sit far more than the prescribed fifteen minutes until the mask turns dry and hard. Removing it is fairly simple with the help of my Pai Organic Muslin Face Cloth, and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and thoroughly cleansed. The clays suck up the impurities of the day and breaks down any nasty buildup on the skin while antibacterial turmeric and other herbs purify. Although this product does tingle, I would still recommend it for those of you with sensitive skin. It does not leave my face red or irritated after use. It's totally appropriate to use in the morning without fear of a flush or discoloration when you waltz into work. It's insanely powerful, but gentle at the same time if that makes any sense. Like I said, May exists on some sort of higher plane and is able to make the impossible possible.

If you are prone to breakouts, and you've been using conventional cleansers for years or you've gotten into oil cleansing, but nothing has worked - TRY THIS PRODUCT. I am serious. You will not regret it. It is amazing. My only word of caution? The turmeric can stain clothing yellow! Make sure you aren't wearing your favourite white blouse while sporting this mask.

Stuck in the blues and feeling totally unmotivated, this warming, soothing slice of natural beauty heaven definitely helped pick me up. Aromatherapy has proven benefits and the therapeutic power of this spicy, invigorating mask is quite noticeable. Not to wax too philosophical, but May's products are also the type that inspire action and remind you to take care of yourself. Their undeniable luxury are reminiscent of a mini-vacaction, so they help ease a tired soul back in to the breakneck pace of reality. If nothing else, you will have really amazing skin when you return to work!

You can pick this up at spiritbeautylounge or May's website. Remember, she always provides generous samples if you inquire!

Have you tried my favourite cleanser of all time? Did it work as well for you as it does for me?

*This post may contain affiliate links*

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Green Beauty: june favourites

I seriously cannot believe June is almost over. With the end of this month comes an end to all of my coursework and a good deal of my stress! I'm finally on vacation now in Toronto and then New York, and I've been visualizing this moment for weeks. Now, it's only a short month until the official beginning of my teaching career. Crazy!

Just like with the month of May, I have been able to keep things simple this month. Most of these products center around handling the powerful Tennessee sunshine or adding more punches of bright summer colour to the mix. Read on for my favourites from this month!

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Hawaiian Smolder - I've posted on these possibly ad nauseam, but this pink colour is perfect for summertime and so affordable. Definitely a good dupe for the Ilia Lip Crayons with great colour payoff. It's also very moisturizing!

DIY Stick Deodorant - I picked up some deodorant tubes from amazon in order to try out my DIY deodorant in a stick because I've grown pretty tired of scooping it up with my hands and rubbing it in. Surely, I thought, this change in form would be simple and effective. So, did it work? For the most part, yes. Especially in the heat, it grows quite soft in the stick, so it is not at all the hard consistency of a conventional deodorant, but it does not melt completely and leak out of the bottom. That was my biggest concern. Application has become much simpler! A lot of product will smear off when I roll it on, so I have to be careful about that, but it is 100x easier than the scoop-and-rub method. Glad I gave this a shot! And this formula is still super effective even in the summer :)

Game of Thrones Season 4 - My brother and I have been pretty into this latest season. There are definitely choices made in the show (I've read all the books) that I strongly dislike, but I liked this season overall. I totally ditched season 3, watched maybe three episodes, despite the excitement of its finale. This time around, however, we've had a great time watching episodes and reviews and generally nerding out about everything. We even have show-related, matching shirts. Mostly because they are hilarious, but yeah, it's intense.

Butter London in Kerfuffle and Fruit Machine - Bright colours! Butter London was having a sale, and I'd been eyeing these two for a while. Kerfuffle is a great, orange pop of coral colour that compliments a summer glow. Fruit Machine is a fun, barbie pink that I'm currently sporting on my toes. They are from last year's spring collection, but I still think they're great and on trend. As always, the formula for both polishes is very good.

Osmia Organics Active Gel Toner - I first saw this on beautybyBritanie's instagram or blog and wanted it immediately. Aloe? Hyaluronic acid? Calendula? Now that I finally know what works best with my skin, it's easy to know when a product is perfect for me. I didn't buy this for a long time, but finally got some along with their earth box back in April. This stuff is amazing. It's so gentle, moisturizing, and soothing. I love applying it after a long day in the sun. Its silky, gel texture cools immediately and sinks into the skin leaving it refreshed, smooth, and clear upon waking. Clearly, I need to do a review. Love it!

Blissoma Amend After Sun Lotion - I've mentioned this product before in a review of my Blissoma goodies, but it's back again for summertime! Similar to the product above, this is perfect for smearing over sun kissed (or sunburnt) skin. Just a couple weeks ago, my boyfriend got a bit red on his shoulders and back, and I did not have aloe readily on hand. This cleared it up immediately by the next day! It's super gentle, it works, and it smells great. One of my must-haves for summer!

Ilia Beauty Lip Conditioner in Jump - More colour! I snapped a swatch of this at the bottom of the post here and have been wearing it consistently ever since. It's a buildable, flattering shade of magenta pink perfect for this time of year. It's the latest release from the line and, as is always the case with Ilia's products, top quality. It works well with my skin tone, and I love that I can use a light hand for a light wash of colour or add layers for a bold statement.

Caribbean Solutions Sunscreen - Again, this sunscreen is no stranger to this blog. I have yet to find a natural sunscreen that is more affordable or easy to apply. It leaves no white cast and smoothes on so well. So many natural sunscreens are crazy thick; it's like trying to apply grout to your body. I want something I can smack on in under 90 seconds! This stuff is it. It smells great and is safe for fish too!

This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper - I'm a little more than halfway through this book and am enjoying it immensely. It's a nice balance of funny and poignant with a little crazy family drama mixed in. Jason Bateman stars in the film adaptation coming out sometime this year, and it's kind of like Arrested Development...four siblings, three of which are brothers, and shenanigans. It's just a bit darker than the show in the wake of a sad time. Definitely recommend it! Plus, I'm so happy I have time to read for pleasure again. That's definitely a favourite!

What are you loving this month?! Make sure, if you haven't already, to enter my giveaway!!! Winners will be selected and posted tomorrow :)

Now I'm off to enjoy some summer Toronto time with the bf and fam. We are headed downtown, so I will be taking in all the green-ness of one of my fave cities to my heart's content. I want to check out the Love Husk shop for sure!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Green Beauty: griffin remedy volumizing shampoo & condition PLUS a giveaway!!!

In my humble opinion, haircare and mascara are the two most difficult products to find replacements for in the natural world. In terms of shampoo and conditioner, I've gone through high-end, no-poo, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and just plain dry shampoo and finally think I'm satisfied. This is no joke! The wrong haircare regimen can leave your locks limp, greasy-looking, dull, dry, brittle, and just blegh. And no matter how shallow it sounds, a bad hair day can really get you down! Overall, I want a product that aids in hair that is soft, clean, and moisturized. I don't expect it to work miracles, but some can leave your hair worse off than it began! I've used this duo for the past year and in conjunction with The Desert Essences Coconut Shampoo and Conditioner this is a favourite for me. I use the Desert Essences when I need a bit more moisture and these bad boys (Griffin Remedy Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner) when I want some Va-Voom Volume. When it comes to haircare, it turns out I'm a budget-brand kind of girl! No complaints about that here :)

GREEN JUICE APPROVED: Yes! Take a gander at the ingredients below.

TEXTURE: The shampoo is a nice, foaming gel, and the conditioner is an airy, thick lotion. I love the foaming action of the shampoo! It's awesome.

COLOUR: Both are colourless/white/clear. Nothing unnaturally bright blue here.

SCENT: A bright, lovely citrus, lemon-verbena scent. It does not linger and is not overpowering. I enjoy it a lot but am a citrus lover.

PRICE: Griffin Remedy is so affordable at only $8.00 a bottle and available on sites like Lucky Vitamin where they're often on sale. There's no excuse not to give these a try!!!

THOUGHTS: I first heard about this brand on no more dirty looks and was immediately intrigued. I always trust reviews from my girl Rebecca. When I spotted this at my local Whole Foods, I knew I had to give it a whirl. I'm so glad I did! Hair has always been tricky for me. I've got super thick, wavy/curly hair that looks dirty pretty quickly, but gets dry and frizzy on the ends. So many natural favourites left my hair way too oily-looking or heavy - I'd look even greasier post-shower. Not exactly the look I'm going for. This duo leaves my hair looking and feeling so clean and adds noticeable volume at the roots. Even when I straighten my wet hair, I have a ton of lift and body, which I love. I really cannot recommend this shampoo and conditioner or brand enough. It's clean, affordable, effective, and available in brick-and-mortar stores. I will definitely be repurchasing and trying out all their other offerings. Make sure to scroll through the site and check out their hand soaps, body lotions, and body washes.

VERDICT: A firm GGGG. There is no question about repurchasing, and these won't break the bank.

To make this rave review all the sweeter, Griffin Remedy has kindly agreed to giveaway a volumizing shampoo and conditioner to one lucky winner!!! This giveaway is open internationally and will last for seven long days. Be sure to enter in all the different ways to up your chances!!! Don't forget to like me on Facebook.

Tell me in the comments about your "HG" natural shampoo and conditioner because I'm nosy, and it will earn you some entry points!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 20, 2014

Green Beauty: orange, peach, & coral lips for summer!

Orange-toned, peachy, and coral lipsticks are so on trend right at the moment. Now that it's "officially" summer, it is high time to bust out these bold hues and rock some bright lips! I've tested out some of the popular offerings and wanted to share swatches and thoughts with all of you. These selections range in price, colour, texture, format...but there's definitely one in here to suit all of your summer lip colour needs.

These are organized in no particular order...

Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Niagara Overlook - One of the budget options of the bunch. It's a nice mix of coral/pink that runs almost on the brown/nude side of things. It's got a decent opacity, no fragrance, moisturizing texture that applies matte, and no shimmer. Definitely a good bet if you like your corals more on the neutral/pinky-peachy end.

Ilia Beauty Lipstick Crayon in Karma Chameleon - This is BRIGHT! Check out me wearing it here. It's a neon punch of color sure to add boldness to any look. It definitely leans more pink than orange on the coral spectrum and is perfect and fun for this season! It's matte, very opaque, but less moisturizing than the Burt's Bees crayon.

Ilia Beauty Lipstick in Perfect Day - This is a reddish-coral hued lipstick. Check out my full review of this lipstick and the tinted lip conditioners here.  This formula is more moisturizing than the lip crayons, and it's very opaque and smooth. All of Ilia's lipsticks have a vanilla, sweet fragrance to them, but the lip crayons do not. I think this color looks fabulous on tan, darker skin tones. It's perfect for summer or fall as it connotes the orange, red leaves of autumn. I can pull it off much better now that I've got a tan!

Ilia Beauty Tinted Lip Conditioner in Dizzy - Without a doubt, this is one of my favorites of the bunch. It looks nude-toned in the photo, but it is a subtle, wearable orange. It's definitely opaque, it just isn't overbearing like some oranges can be. It's juicy and playful, like an orange melon colour. I find this particular conditioner super moisturizing and slightly more glossy in finish. My favorite, most-wearable shade of the Ilia selections.

RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Smile - In the picture, this comes off brighter and pinker than in life. I think it looks really nice in the pot and in this swatch, but on my lip is comes off sort of chalky in full force. This is the only RMS product with unnatural pigments, so maybe that has something to do with it? I love the natural colour payoff from their Lip Shines. When I wear this, I prefer it buffed out rather than at full opacity to avoid the chalky look. Sadly, it's not my favourite RMS product. I prefer it much more as a blush!

W3LL People Nudist Lipshine Stick in 1 - A sheer wash of coral color that is perfect for that subtle pop of peach. I wish this was more pigmented for the price, but it has a nice glossy texture with a peppermint flavor. Overall, I would recommend getting a cheaper tinted balm due to the low pigmentation of this product and invest in one of their other products, like the Universalist Multi-Use Color Stick, instead.

Kjaer Weis Lip Tint Compact in Sweetness - Aside from Dizzy, this is my other favourite of the bunch. As you can see in the swatch, this is the perfect mix of orange and pink goodness. The texture is awesome, the staying power is impressive, it is super moisturizing, and very opaque. In terms of Kjaer Weis, you really do get what you pay for!

Silk Naturals Lip Velma - You can't tell in the picture, but this is too shimmery for my liking! Sometimes mineral pigments can come out odd for me...too chalky or fake-looking. There are definitely Silk Naturals products that I adore, but this orange-toned lipstick worked the least for me out of all the lip products in this post. If you like shimmer though, you may like this! It is non-drying and fragrance free. I like the texture a lot, and the pigmentation is good.

HAPPY SUMMER!!! Cannot believe June is almost over! I'm enjoying long days and the opportunity to do some lounging by the pool. Have you hopped on the orange-lip bandwagon? Any favourites or new selections to add to your wish list?
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