Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 10.12.04 PM

[ PART 1 – VERSATILE DRESSES ]

As I mentioned on Instagram a few weeks ago, I will be posting about Pink Blush regularly as I am one of their newest style ambassadors! I’m excited to showcase some of my favorite pieces from their collection with you all, and hope that you find some cute, comfortable pieces as well.

Here are the first two styles I received, and they sure didn’t disappoint:

File Aug 07, 9 43 14 PM.jpeg
How cute is this chic little number? AND it has pockets! My new favorite LBD!
File Aug 07, 9 43 36 PM
This is what you call an everyday dress – Perfect for work and beyond, I could literally live in it! I love the soft blues and delicate print of the dress, perfect for these last few weeks of summer.

Check back in a few weeks for more Pink Blush styles, but in the meantime, browse their new arrivals here!

 

[ PART 2 – EASY, COMFY FLOWY FALL TOPS ]

I am so excited about my new Pink Blush tops, you guys!

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 8.16.46 PM

Not only are they a fall staple for an expecting mama like me (you know the three deal breakers: easy, comfy, and flowy), but they’re also perfect for pregnancy and nursing. I will definitely be getting a lot of wear out of these over the next two years!

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 8.19.23 PM.png

They’re also probably the softest long sleeve tops I think I own. They fit just right in the chest and arms, with just the right amount of length. Don’t you hate those extra short tops? These can easily be worn with leggings… which I obviously love since I happen to live in mine.

(I’m a Mom. Duh. )

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 8.16.19 PM

I had a hard time choosing between white, navy, and blush, but ended up going for the two colors I wear the most.

(But I’m not gonna lie, I might comeback for you, blush…)

If you like what you see, check out Pink Blush new arrivals here!

 

[ PART 3 – FALLING FOR REDS & FLORALS ]

I thought I’d be bolder this week and try some fun fall pieces. The two that I chose couldn’t be any more different! From chic to casual, midi to maxi, the only thing that both dresses have in common is how incredibly comfortable they are. I’m in love!

File Aug 27, 5 43 07 PM

I love this warm, burgundy/port color and am glad it’s a trendy color for the fall. It’s also the only lipstick color I like on myself! This little number is so comfortable during pregnancy and stretches to fit a growing belly. The length is short enough to feel sexy, but long enough to be appropriate.

File Aug 27, 5 42 56 PM

 The dress works for summer with a pair of sandals (as pictured), but can also be dressed up with a cardigan, booties, and a scarf. I’m excited about the endless possibilities for fall!

File Aug 27, 5 42 33 PM

I am so in love with this chic maxi dress. I felt like it was a risk ordering it, but the second I put it on, I knew it would be a keeper. It is slinky and soft, perfect for special occasions. It makes a pregnant woman feel lean, tall, and beautiful, a major bonus!

File Aug 27, 5 41 34 PM

I love how it hugs my little 17 week bump!

File Aug 27, 5 42 46 PM

This dress has easily become my favorite pregnancy piece and I can’t wait for special occasions to wear it this fall. It truly made me feel like a bohemian princess today!

File Aug 27, 5 42 09 PM

If you like what you see, check out Pink Blush new arrivals here!

 

[ PART 4 – FALL COZIES ]

I’m that girl who adores fall but despises winter. I’m also that girl who mourns putting her flip flops away for the year.

I legitimately get depressed, you can ask my husband. It’s a real thing. Every year.

The fall-ish weather we’ve been having in New York definitely calls for some soft, cozy sweaters, but the fact that it’s still August reminds me that my Birkenstocks are still acceptable. And yes, that will remain the case throughout September.

This week, I bring you the coziest, cutest sweater ever. Perfect length for leggings, softest material, and large enough to be cozy no matter the occasion (even if that means taking a nap. I’m pregnant, don’t judge.)

File Aug 31, 6 47 29 PM

File Aug 31, 7 28 54 PM.jpeg

Oh, looks familiar?

File Aug 31, 6 47 50 PM

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 6.53.01 PM.png

I told you I’d be back for the blush color! Love this top and I’m glad to add this delicate, feminine colors to my collection. Check out the white and navy colors here!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.png

Here, I have compiled my reviews of small businesses worth remembering, not just for their quality products, but also for the passionate, hardworking, and generous entrepreneurs behind the brands, creating each and every order with love.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 8.06.54 AM.png

During my first pregnancy, I  cleaned out my makeup drawer and decided to purchase simple, healthier beauty products to use from that point forward. I bought popular organic brands like Dr. Hauschka, but also some less popular ones like Watts Beauty, Earth Science, and Ecco Bella.

Why?

Take a look at some of these frightening stats on traditional makeup and skincare items:

Chemicals-in-beauty-products-900x445.jpg

1. Out of 1,000 carcinogens the EU has banned, the US has only banned 9 of them.

2. Scientists have only “improved” upon all of the chemicals used in our beauty products, making the particles both smaller and stronger. This means they’re more easily absorbed into the skin and past the protective layers that once served as a barrier to these toxins.

3. Safe beauty products should have an expiration date, just like the food you ingest. According to Katey, most regular, non-natural products are like “bomb shelter food” in that they have extended shelf lives — just imagine what chemicals are in there to make them last that long.

4. When it comes to antiperspirant, you may want to consider going for the less potent, natural options. When you shave your armpits, you’re scrapping off a layer of skin — and then you apply the carcinogenic-filled deodorant right onto the vulnerable area right near your lymph nodes.

Although I was glad to have found some healthier alternatives for me  (and Liam!), I was concerned that there weren’t that many natural alternatives available that I truly loved, aside from the few select items I’d discovered online and in the beauty aisle of Whole Foods.

Over the course of the last year, I am thrilled to have found four small businesses that stand out in the beauty department. They are available on Etsy and I encourage you to look up their product lines to see if they correspond with your needs as a woman, expecting, or new mom.

The bottom line is this, ladies: Taking care of yourself and being beautiful does not mean you have to cake your skin with chemicals every single day!

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 11.20.21 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 3.10.05 PM

Faith, the founder of Little Herbal Apothecary, is a certified clinical herbalist and mom of 3 living in Lafayette, Colorado.

She created The Little Herbal to support parents in caring for their family using natural remedies. She sources the highest quality herbs, essential oils, and other raw materials to bring the finest skincare products and herbal remedies to her customers. Each product is handcrafted in small batches with love using safe, ethically sourced, organic ingredients.

Added bonus? Each purchase helps fund safe births all around the world. They  donate 5% of all sales to Kangu, directly funding services including prenatal care, assisted birth, postnatal care, neonatal care and emergency services for mamas & babies in need.

I tried a few of Faith’s products and have been using them ever since. The quality is simply unbeatable! She also has a great expecting/new mom and baby line  – I love the “Stinky Tush” spray for Liam and Mama’s Got Milk Tea Blend for me. I’ll definitely be ordering some of her pregnancy/postpartum recovery products the next time around.

Oh, I didn’t mention she makes tea, too?!  

My favorites: Rose & Carrot Face Cream, Real Good Body Lotion, Sweet Lips Coconut Almond Lip Balm (the first lip balm I literally want to lick off my lips the second I put it on! Smells delish!)

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.56.56 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 3.25.58 PM.png

The moody sisters are quite different in almost all aspects of life, but they shared one common interest: finding organic skincare remedies. Jess had resigned herself to a life of acne and rosacea, deciding it would be better to live as a hermit than to pay such exorbitant prices for skincare. Whitney had worked as a skincare consultant for five years, but still found few products that wouldn’t flare up her eczema or cause a severe allergic reaction. After hundreds of dollars spent on doctor’s visits and harsh chemicals that failed to calm their skin woes, the sisters had had enough and turned to nature for their remedy.

Thus, Moody Sisters Skincare was born. For months the sisters toiled over their stoves and sinks perfecting products that would help their moody skin. As they developed and tested their lotions, toners and deodorants they suddenly realized that not only did they enjoy these products, but others would too. And the sisters were delighted to realize that since the products were completely chemical and paraben free, they were also safe for their young daughters. The products range from sensitive skin cleansers and moisturizers to blemish and oil control products, from luxurious lip balms to aluminum-free deodorants and scrubs.

So impressed with this edgy, fun, down-to-earth product line!

Favorites: Tea Tree/Peppermint Deodorant, Lightweight Aloe Face Moisturizer

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.57.05 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 3.21.02 PM.png

Destiny was always passionate about makeup. She spent her teenage years doing anything she could to learn about cosmetics, beauty, and skin care, and even grew to build her career out of it.

Candid Rouge Beauty Apothecary was created so that all women of all skin tones (she offers up to twelve shades for each item!) can have quality, all natural cosmetics that blend well and make their skin look vibrant. Some of Destiny’s go-to ingredients are jojoba, grape seed, and carrot oil, which don’t just make skin glow, they also heal it. Grape seed oil has anti inflammatory properties, and carrot oil, packed with vitamin A, heals, protects, and regenerates dry skin.

My favorites: Brightening Concealer, Mineral Foundation, 3 in 1 Color Stick, Stick Foundation

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 10.56.49 AM

Screen Shot 2016-06-21 at 3.40.37 PM.png

The idea behind EarthWise Natural Skincare is to use nature’s intelligence to create healthy, wholesome, and luxurious skincare products that are inspired by the Earth itself.

Angie’s products are free from phthalates, parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, and chemical preservatives. By using ingredients that are certified organic, fair trade, wild harvested, or unrefined, she believes we are also working to protect the earth from the damage that growing and harvesting these ingredients in conventional ways would cause.

Being EarthWise also means the packaging for the products has to be considered and chosen based on its individual consequences for the planet. To Angie, it would not make sense to package the most wholesome and fair ingredients in a fossil fuel-derived plastic container, so she uses glass, tin, and compostable paperboard. All three are highly recyclable and less energy-intensive to produce.

By supporting EarthWise, you will be supporting healthier and more sustainable agriculture, cleaner water, fair incomes for the people growing the ingredients, and sustainability, all while indulging in luxurious, chemical-free, and healthy products for your family’s skin. I don’t know about you, but I’m sold!

Favorites: Natural Clay Deodorant, Shea and Jojoba Body Butter, Aloe Vera Filled Soap

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.pngScreen Shot 2016-05-19 at 6.46.08 PM

Melisa, the owner/founder of Mandala Organic Goods, is such a kind soul.

Just read her Etsy shop bio and you’ll see for yourself. As Melisa puts it herself:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.45.55 AM.png

(Doesn’t she just exude warmth and generosity?)

When I first reached out to Melisa a few months ago about a potential collaboration, she welcomed the idea with an open heart… and such generosity! It was a pleasure getting to know her and her brand through our many conversations.

imagesIn 2008, Melisa transitioned from a successful career in advertising to creating earth-friendly goods. She also completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training and delved even deeper into her study of ayurveda – a 5,000 year old healing system rooted in living in balance and harmony with nature.

Her brand, Mandala Organic, was born to share simply made items of the purest ingredients, priced for all to enjoy. Especially since giving birth to her child in 2014, Melisa has become very aware of the products that her family consumes. She wasn’t completely satisfied with the organic self care products that she found on the market, and although some looked good at first glance, she realized the ingredient lists were almost always deceiving. The ones that looked great on paper came with a trendy price tag.

All of Melisa’s products are certified organic, made of only wildcrafted ingredients, gluten free, vegetarian/vegan, GMO free, BPA free, fair trade, cruelty free, free of phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and other questionable ingredients commonly found in self care products.

Something that makes Mandala Organic Goods unique in its field (which I actually hadn’t heard of before) is the incorporation of community pricing. Inspired by the donation and sliding scale systems used in community yoga and acupuncture, Melisa thought, “why not apply this idea elsewhere?”

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.42.42 PM.pngMelisa believes that buying organic shouldn’t be a luxury: everyone should be able to enjoy healthful and safe products. This is her main inspiration for handcrafting ultra-pure self care products that work. Her philosophy is that everyone should have access to healthful products, so she gives her customers the option to pay what they can on a sliding scale: either base price (allowing Melisa to keep the shop up and running), typical retail (what you would expect to pay at a store), or pay it forward (provides help to non-profit organizations that champion social and environmental justice, and helps Melisa develop new products) options.

Melisa thinks this is a decent start to help share the organic love, but she is very well aware that there is always room for growth and improvement. She looks forward to helping get those with limited internet access to organic goodies, as well as leading community outreach on simple and affordable DIY projects.

As if that wasn’t enough, a portion of every Mandala Organic sale is donated to environmental and social justice non-profit organizations. Yay!

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.35.13 AM.png

It is no secret that I love the Mandala Organic line (and the woman behind it!).

Although it was originally her brand name and logo that caught my eye ( I love mandalas! Can’t help it  ), I became even more enamored with the brand when I tried the products in person. Thank you Melisa for sending me such a wide array of products to try out!

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.59.48 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 7.47.24 PM

I loved this bentonite clay & Hawaiian coffee mask and so did my hubby! It is easy to mix (simply add a little bit of water to the powder and blend until desired consistency), easy to apply, and wipe off. My husband loved that the mask didn’t feel too tight on his skin during the 20 minutes… and how soft and supple his skin felt afterwards! 

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.42.53 AM

This rosewater mist a perfect finish for the mask. It is a very gentle mist that invigorates the skin. Perfect to use as a morning toner or pick me up over the course of the work day! 

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.43.20 AM

I was so excited to try the Bergamot Night Cream because it isn’t even available on Melisa’s Etsy shop yet! It’s part of her new product line. I was pleasantly surprised with this night cream on so many levels: scent, texture, feel… It has a pleasant scent that isn’t too overpowering, feels invigorating on the skin, and absorbs rapidly. 

Note about bergamot: this ingredient should definitely only be used during the night, as it is a known photosensitive essential oil (unless used in the FCF version, but then you lose out on Bergamot’s benefits!)

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.43.12 AM

Like the Bergamot Night Cream, the Citrus Day Cream is also one of Melisa’s new products… and I love it!  It smells great, feels deliciously soft on the skin, and is super refreshing! It’s a perfect way to start your busy day. 

Note: I did ask Melisa about the possibility of photosensitivity because of the lemon essential oil. She reassured me that photosensitivity shouldn’t be an issue with this product (typically the issue comes about when lemon is cold pressed to produce the essential oil. Melisa only uses steam-distilled essential oil of lemon, so it does not contain the furanocoumarins that cause photosensitivity.) Also, the amount of lemon essential oil used in the day cream is balanced with all of the other ingredients, so nothing to worry about here.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 10.42.59 AM

These lip balms smell delicious and last a really long time! My lips feel super moisturized throughout the day. I have one in each of my purses! Out of the scents I received (peppermint, citrus, lavender, and cocoa butter), my favorites are lavender and peppermint! So yummy. 

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.13.30 PM.png

I am so thrilled to be sharing Melisa’s story and product line, and even more excited to be sharing another fabulous giveaway!

Thanks again for your generosity, Melisa! I wish you only the best with your business and a peaceful birth in August! Summer babies are the best 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.29.19 PM.png

In 2007, when their mother told them about the harmful chemicals in commercial beauty products, Latoya and Ayanna decided to look into their own skincare products. What they chose to do was radical: they didn’t just trash their beauty products, they actually embarked on quite the journey together, creating their own skincare line made with GMO-free, wild harvested, and organic ingredients.

Their mission was to create affordable, all natural skincare products, and they succeeded in doing just that with their product line, Natural Bliss, founded in 2009. They avoid using synthetic preservatives, artificial colorants, fragrance oils, petrolatum, alcohol and other harmful chemicals. They use organic and wild harvested vegetable oils, natural butters, essential oils and herbs, which makes their skincare products excellent for sensitive skin and naturally anti-aging.

The two sisters are extremely selective about the manufacturers they work with: many of their skin care ingredients are imported from Brazil, Dominican Republic, and India. They choose to not refine their oils and butters and prefer virgin oils because they actually contain the full nutrient content of an oil (once an oil is refined its nutrients are depleted. All that is left of such an oil, is the “feel”.)

When I used their products for the first time, this “perfectionism” for simple, high quality products really shined through. From the packaging to the texture and smell of the products, Natural Bliss was made for the health-conscious woman. As they put it oh so perfectly on their website:

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.30.52 AM

On their blog, Latoya and Ayanna also speak of the benefits of passion fruit oil (also known as Maracuja Oil, Passion Flower Oil, or Passion Fruit Seed Oil), an oil rich in vitamins A and C, fatty acids, and minerals. It absorbs quickly and possesses natural anti-aging properties, which prevents pre-mature aging while promoting a natural youthful glow.

Latoya and Ayanna have tested out their products on their husbands, children, and friends because Natural Bliss is not just a business, it’s become  a way of life. In our conversations, Latoya has mentioned that since making their own natural skin care, the sisters have never had to use foundation or makeup. Even after giving birth, their skins still maintained that natural pregnancy glow. Yes, ladies, you heard that right 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.57.30 PM

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.39.52 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.36.39 AMIngredients: sweet virgin almond oil, grape seed oil, golden jojoba oil, virgin guava seed oil, virgin buriti oil, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), copaiba resin, Essential oil blend: sandalwood, ginger, may chang, clary sage, orange.

Sweet Almond Oil soothes skin irritations and inflammation, promoting soothed and supple skin. Grape Seed Oil is easily absorbed, and due to its astringent properties, it tones and tightens skin. Guava Seed Oil is rich in the antioxidant Lycopene. Lycopene is a natural sun protector and neutralizes harmful free radical damage.  Guava seed oil has anti-aging properties which fight fine lines and wrinkles, allowing more supple skin. Buriti Oil is native to the Amazon rain forest, one of the highest sources of beta-carotene, and known to protect from sun damage. It also contains vitamins C and E as well as essential fatty acids which support the production of collagen and elastin.  This helps to treat fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Copaiba Resin Oil is one of the most anti-inflammatory substances on earth. Its astringent properties tightens and tones skin, diminishing the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks, and scars. Sandalwood Essential Oil’s emollient properties soothe the skin. It is also mildly astringent, which supports firming up of the skin. Ginger Essential Oil stimulates circulation and removes skin toxins, reducing the appearance of varicose veins, aging skin, stretch marks, and blemishes. May Chang Essential Oil has astringent, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It helps balance your skin’s natural oils and tightens the skin. Clary Sage Essential Oil balances skin sebum, strengthens and tones skin, and reduces inflammation. Orange Essential Oil eliminates skin toxins, clears skin blemishes, and smoothes out cellulite.

This Firming Body Oil my favorite product that I tried out from Natural Bliss, mostly because the scent is far superior to the rest of the products I received. Orange essential oils are so fragrant! I also loved how well the oil absorbed into my skin. It did feel tighter after applying the oil.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.39.32 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.36.49 AMIngredients: 100% pure, undiluted, wild harvested cold pressed virgin passion fruit seed oil.

Passion Fruit Oil is high in essential fatty acids:

  • Linoleic Acid: 77.0%
  • Oleic Acid: 12.0%
  • Palmitic Acid: 8.0%
  • Stearic Acid: 2.0%
  • Linolenic Acid: 1.0%

It is recommended for: Mature, Aging Skin, Dry, Cracked Skin and Other Skin Conditions, General Skin Care, Dry, Brittle, and Damaged Hair, Lip Care, Muscular Aches and Swelling, Massage, Relaxation, and Insomnia.

I am so excited about my long-term use of Passion Fruit Oil. It has so many benefits! The only negative I can come up with is that its scent isn’t as pleasing as the firming body oil. But that’s to be expected with only one, pure, undiluted ingredient! Passion fruit oil has a slightly tart smell that may not be pleasing to everyone… but when it does the body so much good, it’s definitely worth it!

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.39.27 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.53.40 PM.png

Ingredients: unrefined shea butter, virgin coconut oil, virgin avocado oil, virgin tamanu oil, unfiltered honey, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), rosemary extract, essential oil blend: orange , lemon, neroli and ylang ylang, cold pressed vanilla oil.

Belly Butter Ingredient Properties:

Raw shea butter contains cinnamic acid. Its antioxidant properties heal inflammation, possess UV protection which act as a natural sunscreen, and assist with cell regeneration. Shea butter stimulates collagen production which provides younger looking skin. It is extremely moisturizing, healing dry skin conditons such as eczema. It protects and  strengthens skin, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. Virgin coconut oil is easily absorbed into the layers of skin and keeps connective tissues strong and supple. It contains vitamins K and E and is rich in Lauric Acid, known to relieve inflammation. Virgin Avocado Oil is an extremely deep penetrating oil, rich in vitamins A, D, and E, potassium, and 20% of essential fatty acids. Its emollient properties make it ideal for mature and dry skin. It also helps relieve dryness and itching of psoriasis and eczema, helps sun damage, and scars. Virgin Tamanu Oil penetrates into all three skin layers improving the appearance of skin. It contains a potent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory fatty acid named Calophyllic, known to fight acne and aging. Tamanu oil contains three types of fats—neutral lipids, glycolipids, and phospholipids—that keep skin well nourished and supple. Tamanu oil is ideal for healing wounds, soothing skin ailments such as psoriasis, eczema, sunburn, and dry skin. Raw honey is a humectant, which attracts moisture and locks it into the skin. It is antibacterial and loaded with antioxidants that promote a youthful glow. The essential oil blend of orange, lemon, neroli and ylang ylang brightens dull skin, rejuvenates sagging or tired-looking skin, eliminates cellulite, improves circulation, fades scars and stretch marks, and maintains healthy skin. 

This is an incredibly rich belly butter. I had one of my pregnant friends try it out and she was blown away by the “whipped” consistency of the product. This belly butter rub is fragrance-free, perfect for the first trimester.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.39.40 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.46.01 AM.png

Ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, distilled water, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, unrefined shea butter, virgin avocado oil, lavender essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, oat flour, calendula flowers. Contains vitamins A and E, chlorophyll, anti-oxidants, squalene and more.

Squalane is an antioxidant, prevents UV damage and the formation of age spots, promotes cell growth and is an antibacterial. Raw shea butter creates a  more creamy and conditioning soap. Avocado oil adds more nourishment and healing properties. Oat flour soothes itchy dry skin and rashes. Calendula flowers assist in wound healing, including diaper rashes. Lavender essential oils calm baby, encourage a good night’s sleep, and soothe skin irritations. Cedarwood essential oils have a calming effect; their sedative properties promote an undisturbed sleep.

This soap’s nourishing oils make it perfect for baby skin. I love its smell, too! Latoya and Ayanna started out as passionate soap makers and it shows. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 10.39.19 AM

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 11.38.24 AM

Ingredients: sweet virgin almond oil, grape seed oil, virgin buriti oil, vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), roman chamomile essential oil, lavender essential oil.

Grape Seed Oil is rich in vitamin E and contains essential fatty acids which protect and nurture the skin. It is very easily absorbed and glides onto the skin, making it a top choice for massage therapists. Virgin Buriti Oil is a bright orange color because it is so rich in beta-carotene, actually one of the highest sources known. Buriti Oil is known to soothe burns and protect the skin from UV damage. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil is uplifting and has a calming effect on the body. It has a sweet, fruity aroma, pleasing to the senses. Lavender Essential Oil’s floral aroma helps promotes a restful sleep. It also helps with nervousness while improving circulation.

Like passion fruit oil, grape seed oil has an interesting smell that some may find a little displeasing. However, this Calming Baby Oil absorbs quickly and has so many short and long term benefits for babies. I love the added Buriti oil, and I actually didn’t know it was one of the highest sources of beta-carotene before sampling this product. 

Thank you Latoya and Ayanna for sending me your products and letting me experience Natural Bliss! I am a fan of your philosophy and product line and wish you many more successes!

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 7.36.30 PM

I couldn’t possibly begin this post without stating the obvious …

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 4.15.47 PM.png

Not only is she a successful entrepreneur (she just signed a deal with Whole Foods, no biggie), but is also a chemical engineer and naturopathic doctor!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.24.01 PM

Although she’d always been fascinated by skincare products, Alexis never really thought about the chemicals in these products until she was doing her master’s research. She was researching breast cancer and was absolutely shocked to find that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, the chemicals she was studying that are well established to increase the risk of breast cancer, were listed as possible ingredients in her favorite shampoo.

Her curiosity sparked, she took a week off from her master’s research to look into the rest of her skincare products. Once again, she was astonished with the lack of government regulation of the cosmetic and personal care product industry in North America. She decided that if the government wasn’t going to sufficiently protect her, she was going to have to learn to protect herself.

Alexis tried various natural product lines over the next few years and found that most of them could not deliver on the texture, performance, and smell of conventional products. It was only when she started studying naturopathic medicine that it dawned on her to start making her own products.

After many inevitable failures and revisions, her current product line is top notch, with the effectiveness of conventional products and without the toxic burden. Alexis managed to incorporate her knowledge of chemistry, toxicology, and botanical medicine to insure that her products contain the best ingredients in complementary combinations.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.21.58 PM

Like many of us know, the label “natural” doesn’t mean very much. There are currently no regulations on skin care products with respect to the word “natural” in North America and the big brands know that all too well: they are manufacturing products that are chemical laden (with a little bit of green tea extract in it) and calling them “natural”. These same brands have big budgets to be able to bring large marketing campaigns, beautiful packaging, and ideal store and shelf placement which successfully fools the majority of us into thinking that their products are safe and all natural.

Eco Chic Movement is committed to bringing you 100% chemical free products.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 4.17.36 PM.png

Parabens (methyl, ethyl, propyl)- The most widely used preservative in cosmetics. Parabens, like phthalates, are commonly hidden in products under the umbrella term of “fragrance”. Parabens are easily absorbed through the skin and have an affinity for fatty tissues such as the breast. They also have the ability to mimic estrogen in the body and are classified as a hormone disruptor. Dr Philippa Darbre is one of the key researchers in this field. Her 2004 study found parabens in human breast tumour samples. Eco Chic Movement uses a 100% plant based preservative that is broad spectrum against viruses, bacteria, mould, yeast and fungus. This eco preservative allows their products to have a 1 year shelf life!

Phthalates- Used in creams and lotions as emulsifying agents (emulsifying agents are substances that facilitate the mixing of oil and water). They can be hidden under the label “fragrance”, as fragrance recipes are considered trade secrets and do not have to be disclosed. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormone levels, cause DNA damage and have been linked to birth defects. You won’t find any questionable fragrances in Alexis’s products, which are scented with 100% essential oils.

Sulfates- These are the substances responsible for those thick, sudsy lathers that you love! Unfortunately they are a well known skin and eye irritant and are frequently contaminated with with 1,4-dioxin, a known carcinogen. At Eco Chic Movement, they use vegetable oils, vegetable emulsifying wax, and proper packaging to get you the lather that you crave, while keeping chemicals out of your products.

Synthetic Preservatives- These preservatives work by releasing small amounts of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a well known carcinogen.

Petroleum Products- Also know as petroleum jelly or mineral oil jelly. Petrolatum is restricted in skin care products in the Europen Union. Petroleum products are frequently contaminated with PAHs- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. PAHs are chemicals associated with petroleum products that are known to cause cancer

Instead, Alexis uses the following ingredients, which have ample benefits for your skin:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.44.23 PMcontains a high level of oleic acid which makes it anti-inflammatory, skin regenerating and moisturizing. There is also quite a bit of stearic acid in shea, resulting in increased flexibility of the skin and provide faster skin repair. It serves as a great barrier for the skin, keeping moisture in and the elements out, and is successfully used to reduce skin redness and decrease wound healing time. It has also been shown to provide a slight SPF protection (6-8).

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.44.28 PM is one of the oils with the highest amounts of vitamins including A, B1, B2, B5, D, E and beta carotene. It helps soothe itchy skin and calm redness and inflammation. It contains a high amount of oleic acid, making it great for sun or wind burned skin. It also contains chlorophyll, which helps give it its lovely green hue.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.44.32 PM is one of the golden ingredients in natural skin care products. Aloe vera has many beneficial properties such as being anti- itch, soothing, moisturizing, and assisting in wound and burn healing. It is also anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and helps with cell proliferation. Aloe is such a great moisturizer because it is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture from the air and helps it be absorbed through the skin.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.44.19 PM is an herb that is a skin care superhero! It is a yellow-orange flower that can be found in gardens around the world. It it well known to be beneficial for eczema, cuts, burns, and diaper rash. Its superhero powers come from its ability to be anti-inflammatory, help with wound healing and skin regeneration, and have antiseptic properties, all while smelling great.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 4.04.01 PM

Eco Chic Movement makes the choice to not only avoid harmful ingredients in their products, but to include ingredients that help improve the health of the skin.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 2.57.09 PM

Alexis was generous enough to send me almost all of her baby products and boy, was I impressed. Liam’s skin has become significantly softer ever since I started using Eco Chic. It’s great to think that her products will soon be available on a national level for all my mama friends to try!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.00.58 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.05.45 PM.png

This baby lotion is enriched with calendula, oatmeal, marshmallow, shea butter, and contains aloe which helps to soothe baby’s sensitive skin.  While shea acts as protective shield, locking moisture in and keeping dryness out, the oats help reduce the itchiness of dry skin or eczema, and the lavender and vanilla infused oils result in a calming natural scent.  Every night after his bath (when he is still a little damp), I lather Liam up with this lotion and his skin is instantly baby soft. I love the sweet smell and how quickly it absorbs, while still leaving behind such a smooth finish. Love, love, love it!Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.00.42 PM

The shampoo / body wash is excellent as well. I love the container and how easy it is to use the pump (when your baby is trying to crawl out of the bathtub, a little help is always appreciated!)  The castile based blend is specially formulated to be gentle on baby’s first sensitive heads and bodies. The natural scents of lavender and vanilla help to calm and soothe baby, making bath time the relaxing moment it should be. I was so impressed with the scents of all of Alexis’s products and how long they lingered afterwards. Liam smells amazing after bath time and  I can’t help but smother him in kisses!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.00.27 PM

Again, Alexis did a great job with the packaging here. Although I’ve tried a variety of salves in jars and tubes, her easy, roll on applicator is perfect. I love to roll some on Liam’s chest, a few swabs under the soles of his feet before bundling him up in his fleece PJs, and then a quick dab on his sinuses (sides of nose and forehead.) This chest congestion rub is designed to get phlegm out of the chest and relieve stuffy noses – it is composed of a blend of herbs that are anti-bacterial, ant-viral, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, warming, and calming. It’s basically a natural Vapo Rub and my new “must-have” when Liam has a cold!

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.01.08 PM

This unique botanically-based, zinc free formula helps to prevent and soothe diaper rash and maintain the skin’s protective barrier. Neem, Tea Tree, and St John’s Wort work in combination to inhibit the growth of yeast, fungus, viruses and bacteria, promoting prevention and faster healing of diaper rash.The calendula, oats, and marshmallow formula calms, cools, and soothes irritated skin… and it’s perfectly safe to use with cloth diapers!

Thank you Alexis for allowing me to share your incredible brand with my readers… and congrats on your recent successes! I know many mamas (me included) will be looking out for your products in the weeks to come.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.51.49 PM.png

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.38.26 PM.png

Christine and Michael never intended to get into the aromatherapy/skincare business. Initially, all they wanted to do was give their small Los Angeles apartment a “fresh” (but natural) smell using essential oils. One Google search led to another, and soon enough, Michael and Christine were questioning all of the ingredients in their everyday products — from their cleaning products to laundry detergent.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.14 PM

Their business, Treesnail Natural Essentials, started with a clear mission:

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 10.30.17 PM.png

I love that they believe in their products so much that they use them on a daily basis as well. Christine used the Treesnail belly balm daily during her pregnancy and is 100% convinced that using their Birthing Kit (Perineum Support Oil, Massage Oil, Lavender Lip Balm)  saved her from having an episiotomy (if you don’t remember her birth story, Christine had a natural birth, didn’t tear, and pretty much had the perfect birth!)

The Treesnail products are 100% free of fillers, synthetic fragrance oils, preservatives, and dyes. They list every single one of their ingredients — no surprises there. But their products aren’t just amazing for you, they’re also affordable and gift-ready. If a customer is allergic to a specific ingredient (like almonds, for example), Christine and Michael can even substitute it for another… It really doesn’t get any more homemade than this! I love that they literally make their products as orders come in.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.41.35 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.51.00 PM.png

The products I reviewed were amazing. Before even testing them out, I was so impressed with the packaging and the subtle, tasteful touches that Christine and Michael add to each of their orders. It really makes each one so special.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.43.08 PM.pngFirst Trimester Belly Balm – I wish I’d had this belly balm during my pregnancy with Liam! It’s the kind of product you can carry with you on the go. The perfect remedy for itchy skin! Christine and Michael created three different balms for each trimester, which is such a good idea. Although I tested it out on my no longer pregnant belly, I loved that it absorbed nicely, without leaving too much greasiness behind. It also doesn’t have a strong scent, which is a great thing — I think it’s safe to say that pregnant women don’t like very many smells during the first trimester…

Ingredients: Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Beeswax (Cera alba), Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus dulcis), Mango Butter (Mangifera indica), Castor Oil (Ricinus communis), Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopherol).

Note: The first trimester balm is free of essential oils because they aren’t safe to use until after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The trimester two balm has a lavender, sweet orange, and ylang ylang blend (perfect to relax, ease aches and pains, and reduce fluid retention), and trimester 3 has a lavender, roman chamomile, and sandalwood blend (which promotes sleep and serenity).Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 7.43.37 PM

“Aphrodite’s Kiss” Lip Balm – As a huge fan of essential oils myself, I love the smell of this lip balm… and my husband does too! It’s perfectly gender neutral, because of its woodsy, slight citrus smell. The essential oils used are known aphrodisiacs as well, so it’s a perfect item to share with you significant other!

Ingredients: Beeswax, White, Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic, Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil, Vitamin E, Jasmine, Lavender, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Sweet Orange, Ylang Ylang.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 10.14.48 PM.png

 Iced Java Natural Lip Gloss – Although I expected the color of this lip gloss to look darker once applied, it actually turned out to be clear, with a slight earthy tint that complemented my natural lip color very well. Perfect amount of shine, too! The peppermint adds the perfect amount of fresh tingle and the vanilla gives it a sweet, natural scent. Definitely carrying this one with me when I’m on the go!

Ingredients: Beeswax, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Oil, Vitamin E, Peppermint Essential Oil, Vanilla Essential Oil, Mica.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 10.04.39 PM“Invigorate” Aromatherapy Body Oil – Christine and Michael sent me one of their oils called “Invigorate”, which is meant to provide fatigue relief… Perfect for the sleep deprived mom! Their other available oils are  “Focus”, “Peace”, “Revitalize” (hangover helper, detox), “Soothe” (headaches/migraines), “Study Buddy”, “Sweet Dreams”, and “Tranquility”. Each oil is made up of three naturally produced carrier oils which allows the body to absorb the essential oils quickly. I love the roll-on bottles and how easy of an application it is! Perfect to carry with me on the go… I do feel a burst of energy about a half an hour after applying the oil, which is perfect considering that I do not drink coffee (breastfeeding and caffeine unfortunately do not mix…) It’s the perfect afternoon “pick me up”!

Note from Treesnail: Consult your physician before using any products with essential oils if you are pregnant, nursing, using on a child under the age of 12, have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, glaucoma, kidney disease, cardiac disease, liver disease, or acute respiratory disease. Do not ever take essential oils internally.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 10.25.06 PM.png

I am so glad I got to sample Christine and Michael’s products and even happier to recommend their products to my fellow mamas! I love that their mission is to inform others about the importance of clean ingredients and that “natural” does not mean you can’t have some incredible products… that really work! I am truly impressed with Treesnail and will definitely be ordering more of their products in the future. Definitely a small business I want to support! 🙂 

Advertisements