Why We All Need Safer Beauty

charcoal-barFriend,

Do you have any idea what the ingredients are in your shampoo? What about your lotion? Or that perfect red lipstick that you love so much?

1938.

That was the last time the US passed a major federal law regulating the cosmetics industry. 79 years, you guys.

1,400.

The number of ingredients that the European union has banned from cosmetics, calling them questionable or harmful. The US has banned or restricted only 11.

When I was struggling with infertility, I learned a lot about the body and after almost 4 years of trying, was willing to do just about anything to get pregnant. We changed our diets, turned off WiFi at night to reduce EMFs, did all kinds of tests, avoided all kinds of delicious foods like gluten and dairy (I dreamed of pizza), got poked and prodded and so much more.

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We also started paying attention to what we put ON our bodies. You see, our skin is the largest organ in our bodies and will absorb anything we put on it in mere seconds. That includes lotions, soaps, makeup, deodorant, shampoos, etc. All soaked up and into our skin, scalp and the rest of our bodies. So I started to take a closer look at the products I was using. I read this awesome book recommended by a friend called No More Dirty Looks and was terrified about the ingredients in my skin care and makeup. Some of those ingredients:

Formaldehyde: used as a preservative in cosmetics. A known carcinogen that is also linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. Present where quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol), and several other preservatives are listed. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath.

Parabens  (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others): a class of preservatives commonly used to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. Parabens are endocrine (or hormone) disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Found in: shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, foundation.

Phthalates  (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others): a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system and may cause birth defects. Found in: synthetic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, and plastic materials.

Triclosan and Triclocarban: antimicrobial pesticides toxic to the aquatic environment; may also impact human reproductive systems. Found in: liquid soap, soap bars, toothpaste.

Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A): a nutrient that may damage DNA and speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Found in: moisturizer, anti-aging skincare.

Yuck, right?

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But the shampoo/lotion/body wash I’m using says it’s natural!” There’s a nasty lil thing called greenwashing that happens all the time in the beauty industry. That’s when companies throw around terms like preservative-free or natural or even dermatologist-tested. Because of major loopholes in U.S. federal law, cosmetics brands are able to boldly make claims like “natural” and “non-toxic” without proper regulations, so most of these terms end up becoming meaningless. This is known as greenwashing.

It’s time to take a good look at what we’re putting on our bodies! What can we do about it? Check out http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ and search for a few of your daily skincare products and favorite makeup items. How do they rate? Do any of the ingredients shock you? I know that I was horrified by the ingredients in most of my daily regiment, and that’s when I started looking for better options.

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I’ve been trying a lot of cleaner products over the last 5 years or so. Some are good, some are not so good. About a year ago I discovered BeautyCounter. BeautyCounter is a skincare company dedicated to selling safer products but also to educating and empowering consumers with the knowledge to make better purchasing decisions.

And it helps that their products are AMAZING.

I love their skincare line…so luxurious and delicious smelling. And it works! I honestly had low expectations for their shampoo and conditioner for my crazy hair and it surprised me completely…SO GOOD! Their plumping mask is the best thing ever for *ahem* aging skin (hello peony scent!…all essential oil based scents) and it makes my skin look so young and fresh. Their mascara is award-winning and seriously the BEST of the safer, more natural mascaras I’ve tried (and I’ve tried maybe 3 or 4).

But you guys, don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself! If you want to try out some Beautycounter goodies, just leave me a comment below and I’ll hook you up!

If you love the mission of Beautycounter as much as I do, consider hosting a social to share what you’ve learned with your friends (with the bonus of earning FREE product for yourself!), or better yet, join our community and sign up as a consultant — you can make an impact while earning a significant income for your family.

***And as a special for the month of May ONLY, all purchases of $150+ will be entered to win a FREE Protect Stick Sunscreen for your face! And until May 11 you will also get a FREE LIP GLOSS with your $150 purchase. That’s right, free sunscreen from me AND free lipgloss from Beautycounter!!! This includes Band of Beauty purchases (which is awesome because you will you be saving money and getting credit towards more good stuff). Also, anyone who signs up to be a consultant and buys a starter kit will get a FREE lip sheer in the color of your choice. Good stuff!!!***

 

I love you guys and want everyone to be more aware of what they are putting on their skin. For their own health. For their familes. For their futures.

xoxo

10 Baby Items We Can’t Live Without

I remember when I was working on our baby registry. My husband looked over it and scoffed. “It’s a baby! It’s so tiny. How in the world could he need so much stuff?”

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{all of our goodies from one of our baby showers…so blessed!}

It’s true that as Americans we can totally go overboard on “stuff.” We think we need so much…but do we really? Living in SoCal means that we have a much smaller home so we just don’t have room for anything we don’t actually need so with baby boy on the way, we tried to only ask for things that we really, really needed. Of course, there’s no way to really know what your little bundle with like (being worn), dislike (the swing) or how many burp clothes you will really need (more than we could have ever imagined) until they are in your arms.

Truthfully, while things like clothes, diapers and wipes are universally needed, the rest of this stuff is a bit of a game of preferences and personality. That said, there have been a few baby items that have been worth their weight in gold.

We’re four months into this adventure called parenting and here are 10 items that we can’t live without:

1/ Solly Baby Wrap – I love this thing and Ethan loves to be worn. I think babywearing is one of the best things ever. Your baby loves it because they get to snuggle into your chest, and you love it because you can sniff your baby’s sweet head while having both hands free to get stuff done. The Solly Baby Wrap wins over the other guys because of it’s lightweight fabric that won’t leave you sweating while you wear your little hot pocket. Plus, the have the cutest prints and colors to choose from. I’m in love with my grey and white striped wrap, but if I had some money to burn I’d totally pick up this perfect Rifle Paper patterned wrap as my second one. And don’t be intimidated by this wrap — it’s way easier to put it on than it looks. Just watch their videos and follow along with a stuffed animal the first time and you’ll do great!

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2/ Dockatot – When my friends first started having babies, they would talk about this Dockatot thing like it was magical. It’s basically a co-sleeper baby pillow with a bumper around it, not too unlike a dog bed. The sides give the baby that cozy, in the womb feeling while preventing mom and dad from rolling over on them and baby from rolling out. We don’t actually have Ethan in the bed with us, but we do use this in his bassinet as it fits it perfectly. These things are honestly crazy expensive and overpriced in my opinion, but I found ours on Craigslist for $50. It must work since Ethan has been sleeping for 5+ hour stretches since he was 4 weeks old and through the night since he was 3 months old. And let’s be honest – sleep is golden.

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3/ Hands free silicone nursing pump – GUYS! Have you tried one of these? It’s this simple silicone suction-y thing that you attach to your breast while you are nursing on the other side and it collects all this milk without you having to do hardly anything! This is truly one of the best things I discovered as a breastfeeding aid. Ethan would often only nurse on one side, especially in the middle of the night, leaving me with a leaky and painful boob. But then I got this magical thing; I would suction it on while he nursed and when he was done, I’d have about 3 oz of milk collected. This is how I built up my milk stash without having to add extra pumping sessions. Pure magic. This pump would be awesome for traveling because its so small and portable and I have heard women say that it is the only pump they use. I personally don’t do as well with it if Ethan isn’t latched on since he triggers my let-down. screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-12-20-41-pm

And in case you are wondering, my second favorite pump is this one by Avent. I honestly prefer both of these to my fancy electric Modela.

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4/ Play Mat – My sanity. Ethan has loved his time on his play mat since about 6 weeks which means that I can eat breakfast, blow dry my hair, check emails, whatever I need — for about 20-30 minutes without him needing my utmost attention. This thing is used ALL. THE. TIME. Baby’s happy. Momma’s happy. This isn’t the mat that we have but it sure is cute. This play mat is from Skip Hop.

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5/ Coconut Oil – In case you’ve been living under a rock and missed it, coconut oil is the bomb-diggity. Lather your baby up with this stuff and not only will their skin stay moisturized but it will also take care of diaper rash, acne, cradle cap and will soothe achy gums when teething. This is the brand we use and love because it doesn’t taste like coconuts (which is important because we also use it for cooking).

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6/ Swaddle Wraps – Our little guys loves being swaddled. When he was tiny and new we could swaddle like a pro in a blanket, but it wasn’t long before his arms would break free and unravel his cozy blanket. These swaddle wraps are just the answer! We used the Swaddle Me wraps for the first few months until he grew out of them. Now it’s colder so we’ve transitioned to a fleece swaddle by Halo so that we can let him sleep with his arms out during the day and tucked in at night.

screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-34-13-pm7/ Burp Clothes – Get more than you think you’ll need. We probably go through about 4-5 burp clothes a day since baby boy is a spit up machine. I have a few “fancy” burp clothes — the kind that have cute patterns on them and are made of organic cotton. I call them my “going out burp cloths.” The rest of the time we just use good old fashioned cloth diapers.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-3-51-47-pm8/Noise machine – Babies LOVE white noise. Apparently the womb was a very noisy place to sleep, so if you want your baby to sleep well outside of the womb, a noise machine is a must. It’s also great for mom and dad when baby is sleeping in your room and grunting all night long (Ethan used to sound like he was lifting weights from 4-6am every morning). We love this noise machine for the variety of sound options, it’s portability and the fact that it can run on a battery for travel.

screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-44-13-am9/ Nursing Night Light – GUYS! This little light was a life saver when I was nursing in the middle of the night! It’s a tiny little light that clips onto your shirt or bra strap and gives off just enough light so that you can see what you’re doing without waking dad up. It’s not perfect…my light has gotten to where I have to push it like 5 times to get it to turn on…but when you have a baby that likes to spit up ALL OVER YOU in the darkness, you’ll be glad to have this.

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10/ Glow-in-the-dark Pacifier – If your baby takes a pacifier at night and then drops it in the middle of the night, you know what it’s like to be feeling around the crib looking for the hidden pacifier! Our little guy doesn’t actually need a paci until about 4 or 5 am and usually wakes up once because he dropped it and needs it. Now. Ethan loves the MAM pacifiers best so I was thrilled to discover that they make glow-in-the-dark pacifiers! They hold a light glow all night long which is miraculous and they give you two in a package which is awesome for when your dog eats the first one (bad dog).

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** Bonus: Are you guys ready for this one? You’re gonna want to make fun of me but I’m only sharing what really works. Recently I discovered that Ethan will go to sleep in minutes if I play one specific lullaby album — get ready — my husband rolled his eyes but it’s seriously magical — it’s Nick Lachey’s “A Father’s Lullaby.” Honestly, the songs are so sweet and beautiful and not cheesy at all. And the first song, “All Through The Night” must pump melatonin into the room or something because about two minutes into it Ethan’s eyes start to get heavy. You can thank me later.

What are some of your must have’s for baby? Is there anything you can’t live without that I left off of the list?

All of these opinions are mine and mine alone. The makers of these products have not given me any of these items for free in return for my review of them…although I’d happily receive and review any items they want to send me!

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A Nursery Sneak Peek

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For years I dreamed about creating a beautiful nursery for a baby. I had the placement of everything mapped out in my mind. The crib would go here, dresser here, rocker here. And then it was actually time to get going and I was stuck. Once we found out that we were having a baby boy, J requested a woodland themed nursery, which sounded cute to me as well. But I didn’t want it to be too…well…themed. So I made mood board after mood board, trying to come up with the perfect blend.

For a while I decided that I would just sew everything from the crib sheets to the curtains, but pregnancy made me feel slow and sleepy and sewing just seemed too hard. I bought things and returned things over and over again. I must have purchased 13 curtains, although in my defense, the curtains from Target were incredibly inconsistent in their lengths and therefore impossible to match. And then there was the paint color. Swatch upon swatch upon swatch. I must have have 20 swatches that I narrowed down to maybe 5. I guess you could say that I’m not so decisive.

I kept wishing that we had wood floors, as if the carpet alone was what was making my decisions so dang hard! I really do hate the carpet, but there is nothing we can do about that other than hide it with rugs.

So I started with the easy things…white dresser from ikea (since I didn’t want to pay $1200 for the one I really wanted from Crate & Barrel), white modern crib and a simple white and blue muslin sheet I found at Buy Buy Baby. I added bit by bit from there and ended up with a slightly rustic but modern, grown up version of a woodland nursery. I truly love it. It fits our baby boy and the adventures he is bound to have with his outdoor-loving daddy.

There were a few DIY projects we tackled for the room including stripped and recovering the rocking chair, the tassel mobile above the crib, the pillow for the rocking chair and the wooden word art on the wall. I especially love the wooden artwork over his changing pad that J made for him with words that he wants Ethan to know perfectly describe him: loved, wanted, strong, chosen and so much more. It’s so beautiful and truly says who Ethan is to us.

I love how this room turned out. It doesn’t feel too baby for me and I managed to keep the design minimal enough to not make the small room feel cluttered. I also love the thought that he can totally grow into this space with minimal changes.

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Crib • Rocking Chair: vintage find from the Pasadena Rose Bowl • Crib Sheet
Mountain Wall ShelfArrow LampDeer and Bear PrintsRug
Grey PoufFelt Ball GarlandVintage Arrows

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