By Caroline Leavitt
PureCeuticals is one of my favorite companies. They make beautifiers that are natural, organic and are made in a cruelty-environment. Plus, they really and truly work! I tried their Exotic Natural Cherry Glycolic peel. I have really sensitive skin so I don’t usually use peels, plus, peels often sting my skin, which I don’t love. Still, the promises of a peel are too good to ignore. Peels can unclog your pores, eliminate fine lines, smooth texture, and brighten and even up your skin tone, and who doesn’t want that?

The PureCeuticals Peel felt good, and it actually enhanced the look and feel of my skin.  I was so happy with the results, I may have to change my mind permanently about peels!

Full list of ingredients:

Aqua (Purified Water), Vegetable Glycerine, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate (Sugar), Xanthan Gum (Cornstarch), Glycolic Acid (Sugar Cane), Lactic Acid (Plant), Populus Tremuloides (Aspen) Bark Extract, Salicylic Acid (Plant), Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate (Vegetable), Yeast Extract (Phyto-Hyaluronate) (Plant), Yeast Extract (Phyto-Collagen) (Plant), Algae Extract (Plant), Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss) Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Vitis Vinefera (Grape Skin) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinefera (Grape Skin) Seed Powder, Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Extract, Prunus Avium (Cherry) Fruit Pulp, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Prunus Domestica (Plum) Fruit Pulp, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Organic Rosa Rubiginosa (Rosa Mosqueta) Seed Oil, Papain (Fruit), Bromelainc (Fruit), Mineral Mica, Lexgard Natural (100% vegetable derived preservative system)

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As you probably know now, I am a big fan of Acure Organics. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve tried and recently, I tested the new Argan Oil Bar Soaps and they are the perfect alternatives to a liquid soap or shower gel.

Like pure ingredients? Check out these from the Cinnamon Chai Latte soap:

saponified organic oils of safflower and/or sunflower, argan, and coconut (with retained glycerin); organic argan oil, essential oils of lavander, rosemary, patchouli, lemongrass, thyme, and clove bud; chlorophyll; organic cloves; organic rosemary extract, organic black tea, organic ginger, organic cinnamon

You cannot get much cleaner and greener than that!

Acure soaps are made without any of the  nasty chemicals we want to stay away from. Here’s what you won’t find: gluten, parebens, sulfates, not tested on animals and made without animal products.

I love the fragrance of these soaps which come in scents like Oatmeal + Apple Pie, Superfruit + Citrus, Mint Cookie + Omega 3, Pumpkin + Calendula. I couldn’t pick a favorite because they are all amazing. I especially like how gentle these soaps are, and how moisturizing to my skin.

If you want to learn more, please head to Acure Organics! 


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Empire Girls by by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan


Ivy and Rose Adams may be sisters, but they’re nothing alike. Rose, the eldest, is the responsible one, while Ivy is spirited and brazen. After the unexpected death of their father, the women are left to reconcile the estate, when they make a shocking discovery: not only has their father left them in financial ruin, but he has also bequeathed their beloved family house to a brother they never knew existed. With only a photograph to guide the way, Ivy and Rose embark to New York City, determined to find this mysterious man and reclaim what is rightfully theirs.

Once in New York, temptations abound at every turn, and soon the sisters are drawn into the glitzy underbelly of Manhattan, where they must overcome their differences and learn to trust each other if they’re going to survive in the big city and find their brother. Filled with unforgettable characters and charm, Empire Girls is a love letter to 1920’s New York, and a captivating story of the unspoken bond between sisters.

My thoughts:

I love a good slice of historical fiction! Especially during the 1920’s in New York. This was a fun book, its  not heavy or super taxing to read, its a lovely novel that kept me interested from beginning to end. I enjoyed the changes that each sister went through as they headed from their home in upstate New York, to the thrill and bustle of the big city.



The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag


Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.

My thoughts:

I was immediately captivated by this novel from page 1. Cora is a serious, scholarly, orderly woman who is narrow minded in her pursuits of scientific discovery. She is upholding her parents legacy and does’t have time for love or fun. Her grandmother Etta, knows that its time for Cora to change direction and fall in love, specifically with the man who Cora has been good friends with from childhood. He loves her but she is blind to his adoration.

Naturally, nothing is easy and as the book progresses, we learn about circumstances surrounding Cora’s parents death that open a Pandora’s Box. New characters are introduced which complicates Etta’s plan for her grand-daughter. I loved how characters were woven into the deepening plot which kept the story interesting.

When I read that fans of Sarah Addison Allen’s books would love this one, I knew it would be a great read- and it was!




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Looking for green, clean lip color that contains enough pigment to make your pout pop? Look no further. Karen Murrell lip colors are here!

Here’s the official 411:

Karen Murrell natural lipsticks use only the finest of organic, natural and proven safe chemical ingredients; hailed as ‘vegetarian lipsticks’, they are made with no animal-based materials and are not tested on animals. Honesty is a promise: the traceability of all ingredients, materials, packaging and manufacturing can be provided at any stage to give confidence that they are from ethical and/or renewable sources.

They do not contain any mineral oils, animal-based material, parabens or preservatives- all the nasty stuff we’ve been warned to stay away from.

 1KMlipsPoppy Passion, Orchid Bloom, Lavender Laughter, Camellia Morning


The colors range from a clear gloss to Scarlet, Peony, Lavender…darks and lights, brights and everything in between. They contain natural oils and waxes that are very moisturizing. My lips feel hydrated, there is a nice shine to the lipsticks too.

The texture is creamy and soft and there’s a cinnamon scent to the lipsticks that’s quite pleasant. One swipe will give you a sheer look but apply with a heavier hand to  increase the intensity.

I was also happy to see that the packaging is  biodegradeable. The tubes are made from polylactic acid which is a corn resin based material that will start to dissolve back into Mother Earth within 100 days. What is not to love about this brand?

You can find out more by going here! Take a look at my favorite shade, Poppy Passion- a vibrant pink!

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Every  morning I wake up and my first thought is…What am I going to make for dinner? My fall back meal is breakfast for dinner. I make breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, avocado, salsa and a side of fruit. I skip the tortilla because I have to be gluten free and have yet to find one without wheat that I like.

My other option is pancakes for dinner. Until now, I never ate the pancakes because I couldn’t find a gluten free mix that tasted as delicious as non gluten free pancakes. The other night I made pancakes with the Krusteaz Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancake Mix and they were so good that my kids didn’t even realize they were gluten free, no cardboard taste or weird texture! I am very, very picky about my GF foods and these were amazing.

I don’t always use baking mixes, I do a lot of baking and cooking from scratch but sometimes I give myself a break and do things the easy way. I am very happy to see that Krusteaz, a brand that I’ve used in the past before going GF, has new mixes out that gluten free people can consume! YAY!

Here’s what’s available:

Blueberry Muffin Mix

Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Cornbread Mix

Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

Super easy to make and they taste so good!

You can find more here.

And also, check out my Gluten Free board on Pinterest! 



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I’m just a little obsessed with these mineral based products!

I’ve long been a fan of BareMinerals and Buxom products ever since BareMinerals debuted many years ago. While they may not be as green and clean as beauty purists prefer, the products never let me down and the mineral base allows for natural sun protection and great pigments. I am always anxious to see what this brand introduces next. My faves are consistently the lip colors and eyeliners. Take a look!

Here’s whats new and noteworthy!

Hold The Line WaterProof Eyeliner is exactly what you need if you have a long day stretched out ahead of you and don’t want to reapply makeup. These heavily pigmented liners stay in place through rain, tears and sweat. They come with their own sharpeners which I appreciate as I am always losing them! I line my eyes close to the upper lashes and gently smudge.

The Buxom Full- On Lip Polishes give such high shine with a bit of sparkle and lip plumping. My favorite (and one that I have repurchased several times) is Trixie- its the perfectly subtle shine with a whisper of gold on a backdrop of pink! If you only  like a hint of color, try Princess- a super pale pink.


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New eye shadow alert! Are you a big fan of these palettes like I am? I frequently multi-color palettes especially when traveling. Bare Minerals The Power Neutrals contains sea minerals with cold pressed borage oil  plus caffeine to keep eyes looking their best. Aside from that, the colors are gorgeous and neutral enough to compliment any skin tone.

Here’s what you get:

 Boss Lady (shimmer bronze) +Moneymaker (dusty olive) Schmooze (bronze sheen) Boardroom (deep chocolate) Exec (polished slate) Payday (light granite) Magnate (nude peach) Get Ahead (rustic taupe) * the colors in my photo are a little off! 

The Glass Beach is equal in its ingredients but the colors are slightly different. So beachy with the potential to be stormy.

Colors include:

Pacific Sands + Sea Glass + Golden Coast +Tide Pool (sunlit sand/jade shimmer/radiant copper/shimmering coal)

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The coolest idea ever! A single mascara with many wants to suit your needs and desires. Feel like Lush lashes? There’s a brush that will give you that. How about curled lashes? There’s a brush for that too. And many more.

Exclusively at Sephora, here’s the deal:

What it is: 
A collection of seven mascara brushes, each customized for a head-turning lash effect.

What it does: 
Introducing the first ever customizable Buxom® Mascara Bar—exclusively at Sephora. These seven sexy brushes are each specialized to thicken, volumize, curl, define, lengthen, lift, or detail lashes. There’s one to satisfy every fringe fetish, so no matter your lash mood, there’s a unique brush that’s up to the task. 

Also new and noteworthy is the 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eye Shadow Broad Spectrum SPF 15. This creamy, soft shadow is blendable and long lasting. A little bit goes a long way- dab on and blend then add more as needed. The shadows contain a primer as well as pigmented color. I love Soft Shell as a base color- or even on its own. 

What are your favorite Bare Minerals and Buxom products?



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