milk

As you may have guessed, I love natural products. There are so many wonderful products out there with smart and ambitious creators behind them. These people know how to take what Mother Nature has provided us with and turn plants and flowers into serums and oils and creams and fragrances!

Here’s another list of even more brands and products for you to learn about. Once  you start going natural and experiencing the pure, effective, safe skincare and makeup available, you will never turn back.

Let’s explore! 

 

1. Avreal

Find this brand on Etsy! Soaps, salves and more. Handcrafted and affordable. My favorite? Hard to pick but I use the Acne/Skin Remedy!

2. Province Apothocary

Natural, organic, beautifully made products. This brand stands out for the integrity of the products and the simple beauty of each product. And the fact that they work! Stand out products for me includes the Detoxifying + Clarifying Mask…and I really liked the Makeup Remover too.

3. Marble & Milkweed

This is one of the most visually pleasing websites I’ve ever seen thanks to the pretty photographs! The photo above is from the site- so simple yet gorgeous. Pretty much sums up natural beauty for me- ingredients found in nature that soothe and treat skin.  Everything I tried, I liked  but I am very much addicted to the botanical fragrance  Perfume Serum no 1!

4. Zen Society

One of the first brands that I tried when I went all natural, green and clean. Zen Society has a special place in my heart because it was one of the brands that really wowed me and showed me that non toxic, holistic skin care was the way to go. One of my favorites was the Makeup Remover thanks to the gentle, nourishing ingredients and ability to remove eye makeup!

5. All Natural Always

Really simple natural ingredients and  very affordable products makes this brand stand out. While I love the body scrubs, I have to say that the Balancing Serum is perfect for my bedtime ritual! Also offered is unscented products for those who are sensitive to scents.

6. Carefree Organics

Safe, non toxic skincare and cosmetics? Yes!  And they are all green and clean. Blushing Belle, the outstanding blush, is made with hibiscus and the Face Cleanser is pure and gentle- its clean scent is due to lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus oils.

7. Lurk

Something most people don’t realize is that perfumes and colognes can be toxic (read about this here). The ingredients are often synthetics and can lead to lung cancer- yikes! Lurk scents are made natural and contain essential oils. They are all quite amazing but my favorite is RSW 005!

8. Ora’s Amazing Herbal 

I keep the Ora’s Amazing Salve next to my bed and apply frequently to my lips, cuticles  and anywhere else that needs attention. The gentle powders are perfect for any skin irritations, chafing, etc. I love it all and use these products almost every day for various purposes. The scent of the salve however, has me hooked with a blend of  cedar leaf , tea tree and rosemary essential oils.

9. Blissoma

The creator of this brand, Julie, has made some very thoughtful and effective products. I tried the Eye Vitalizing Serum which I liked a lot, but the Intense Hydration Tonique rocked my world- and my skin!

10. Odacite

Another high quality brand with beautifully made products. These serums smell beautiful and improve skin. I use the Rosehip Ylang Ylang Serum Concentrate and love everything about it. This line is high-end luxury without toxins.

Also, I have to mention  R.L. Linden ( I was impressed by this brand and the lovely, wonderful products they have created) and  Hana Organic Skincare (handmade, pure and effective- a fantastic line of beautiful serums and oils), both have beautifully crafted products that really impressed me. You cannot go wrong with any of the brands I’ve mentioned here!

 

 

 

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thyroid

 

 

As I continue to read more about gluten issue and celiac, I see many mentions of thyroid issues. Many times a person with one illness will have another, undiagnosed issue and oftentimes, its something with the thyroid.

Check out this infographic and read more:

Top Ten Signs of a Thyroid Issue

Thyroid Disease Fact Sheet

19 Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Right

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fennel

 

If you aren’t consuming fennel, you are missing out! Its an herb that might be easy to overlook in the store, its certainly not as well known as parsley or cilantro but its worth your time to learn about.

Fennel is so good for you! I just began incorporating it into my weekly diet on a regular basis. I especially love a pear and fennel juice combination. You can do a lot with fennel- juice it, slice into a salad, saute and serve as a side dish, roast with cauliflower in a pan. I like to eat fennel seeds {find in the spice section of the grocery store} because it seems to calm my stomach and freshen breath.

Let’s look closer at Fennel!

Fennel provides relief from “anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, menstrual disorders, and its benefits regarding eye care.”

Fennel is popular in  Italian and Mediterranean cultures and has long been utilized for culinary and medicinal purposes. It  grows in coastal climates and on riverbanks. Its related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. It has a slightly licorice flavor; mild and a little sweet. Most people use the bulb (here lies the most nutrients) but all of it can be consumed.

“Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, potassium and dietary fiber. Its one of the best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory foods you can consume!”

Fennel also helps prevent the formation of gas in the intestines, it relaxes the smooth muscle lining the digestive tract. This herb is high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber, folic acid and phosphorous, iron, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, and manganese! Holy cow, how could you NOT start eating this?

My favorite is to blend 1/3 of a bulb with apples and spinach, filtered water, a squeeze of lemon and dash of raw honey in my VitaMix and drink up!

Let me know- how do you use fennel?

 

 

 

 

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shea

 

I love shower and bath products, body care products that will make me smell good and keep my skin soft.  Two of my favorite  brands (that you can easily find stores like SuperTarget) just came out with some excellent products and I can’t wait to share the information with you!

First up, Yes To…Coconuts. I have long loved coconuts! Lately it seems like people are just realizing the powers of the almighty coconut!

The Polishing Body Scrub contains virgin coconut oil, sweet almond oil and coconut shell to gently exfoliate. This leaves skin really hydrated and soft, not to mention smelling like the tropics. Follow up with the Body Wash- its a heavenly experience! This gently cleans skin and refreshes you from head to toe. The blend of oils will soften skin.

The Lip Oil is made with olive oil, virgin coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and eucalyptus oil, this lip oil adds a little shine and keep your lips coated with moisture. Ideal for the beach or pool when you dont want gobs of lip gloss but want to keep something on your mouth!

The Restoring Balm is perfect for dry elbows, feet, knees, cuticles…anywhere you need some pampering! With a blend of oils and shea butter, this balm contains vitamins A, C and E. Keep it in your purse for on the go moisture!  Last but not least, the Cleansing Wipes. I always use these when I go on vacation- they are super convenient and remove makeup in less than two minutes including mascara. They don’t dry out skin and are very affordable- 25 awesome wipes for under six dollars!

Another brand that I love is Shea Moisture. I recently discovered the Frankincense & Myrrh scent and wow! Its great! Not too perfumey or herbal, this fragrance is light and captivating.

The Body Wash has been a staple in my shower- its rich and gentle. Shea butter and argan oil soften and moisturize- I use this in place of a shaving cream! The Lotion is equally as hydrating and leaves skin smelling wonderfully clean. You don’t need much!

My favorite is the Dry Oil. I took this on vacation and used it as a perfume, moisturizer and lotion! It smells great, absorbs quickly, and is easily transportable. Just spray it on, rub it in and go.

I love the benefits of all of these wonderful oils and lotions. I am a true girly girl who can’t stop using various (non-toxic) lotions and potions every single day! Good thing these are all free from harsh and toxic ingredients!

 

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people

I’ve been having a hard time getting into books lately. I must have picked up and put down fifteen novels and memoirs that I just could not get into, I always blame this on my mood and not the author.

The best feeling is getting so into a book that you don’t want to do anything else but sit and read. Those books are few and far between!

Here’s what I’ve been reading over the past ten days. I finished them all!

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

I am really into memoirs especially when they are written by super sarcastic people with a biting sense of humor like this! Here’s the synopsis:

Jen Mann doesn’t have a filter, which sometimes gets her in trouble with her neighbors, her fellow PTA moms, and that one woman who tried to sell her sex toys at a home shopping party. Known for her hilariously acerbic observations on her blog, People I Want to Punch in the Throat, Mann now brings her sharp wit to bear on suburban life, marriage, and motherhood in this laugh-out-loud collection of essays. From the politics of joining a play group, to the thrill of mothers’ night out at the gun range, to the rewards of your most meaningful relationship (the one you have with your cleaning lady), nothing is sacred or off-limits. So the next time you find yourself wearing fuzzy bunny pajamas in the school carpool line or accidentally stuck at a co-worker’s swingers party, just think, What would Jen Mann do? Or better yet, buy her book.

My thoughts: I enjoyed this quick read about Jen’s escapades in suburbia. I felt like I could write a book about my own shenanigans, experience and adventures in motherhood too. Check out her blog by the same name for more hilarity!

silent

I could have sworn that I reviewed The Silent Sister By Diane Chamberlain already! Am I losing my mind? I can’t find it. So here we go again-

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she’s in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality

My thoughts: Diane Chamberlain is an author who never disappoints. I didn’t know how she could possibly write another gripping novel after the wonderful Necessary Lies but this one is equally as good. I was enthralled and didn’t want to the story to end!

hazards

My Family and Other Hazards by June Melby

When June Melby was ten years old, her parents decided on a whim to buy the miniature golf course in the small Wisconsin town where they vacationed every summer. Without any business experience or outside employees, the family sets out to open Tom Thumb Miniature Golf to the public. Naturally, there are bumps along the way. In My Family and Other Hazards, Melby recreates all the squabbling, confusion, and ultimately triumph, of one family’s quest to build something together, and brings to life the joys of one of America’s favorite pastimes. In sharp, funny prose, we get the hazards that taunted players at each hole, and the dedication and hard work that went into each one’s creation. All the familiar delights of summer are here—snowcones and popcorn and long days spent with people you love.

Melby’s relationship with the course is love-hate from the beginning, given the summer’s freedom it robs her of, but when her parents decide to sell the course years later, her panicked reaction surprises even her. Now an adult living in Hollywood, having flown the Midwest long ago, she flies back to the course to help run it before the sale goes through, wondering if she should try to stop it. As the clock ticks, she reflects on what the course meant to her both as a child and an adult, the simpler era that it represents, and the particular pains of losing your childhood home, even years after you’ve left it.

My thoughts: This was such an endearing read, highly recommended. I had never read a book about someone who grew up running a miniature golf course and at times, I felt like I was right there with June. Definitely an enjoyable summer read!

jenny

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the ultra-hilarious memoir by Jenny Mollen (Biggs), I Like You Just The Way I Am. Her book is not for the faint hearted, easily offended or for those who lack a sense of humor and a certain shallowness.

I found this memoir of Jenny’s life thus far to be pretty funny and I totally get her witty and sarcastic comments. She reminded me of the character in my first novel, A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss!

People ( with no sense of humor obv) said my character was shallow, self centered, narcissistic and unlikable. I say she was a product of her Hollywood environment and had a  biting wit!

Jenny doesn’t shy away from any topic and you will find yourself laughing out loud and maybe even snorting at the things she writes!

 

CASkin-Care-Range

 

Based in – where else?- Southern California, this brand is all about harnessing that feel good California flavor. From the simple but modern design of the boxes and sleek bottles to the pure ingredients, this brand instantly intrigued me.

These products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, harsh synthetic chemicals.

 

Let’s take a closer look!

 

California Naturel uses natural ingredients such as aloe vera leaf juice, spirulina, sea fennel, shea butter and more.  Many of the ingredients are organic which makes me happy!

The Gentle Cleansing Gel did a nice job of removing all traces of makeup without leaving my face feeling tight or dry. The foaming gel contains both naturally derived and organic ingredients. I think this is nice for those of us with oily skin, it is not oily or ultra hydrating so if you tend to have oily skin, this might be perfect for you.

A little dab of Nourishing Cream is all you need under your makeup to keep skin lightly moisturized. This medium weight cream contains aloe leaf juice and sunflower seed oil. It is naturally scented with rose, lavender, neroli, chamomile and frankincense.

I always like a good sunscreen and the All Natural Sun Screen contains Zinc Oxide with an SPF 30, is non greasy and quickly absorbs. What’s not to like? It also contains shea butter to soften skin. Pair it with the Lip Balm Spf 8 to protect your lips in the harsh rays of the sun.

You can find more about this brand by going here.

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