1.26.2015

What's Your Favorite Beauty DIY?

Since we’re all Pinterest junkies, I know you have a favorite beauty DIY. I know I have concocted many a beauty recipe in my kitchen.


My favorite product to DIY is face masks. I have made several different versions from items in my pantry. Right now, my favorite is this one from Mama Owl Blog. It's oatmeal and honey based. It leaves me skin feeling soft and refreshed.

So now I’m curious, what’s your favorite beauty DIY?

xo, arielle

1.23.2015

Bubble and Bee Pit Putty Review

As many of you are well aware, I have had the worst time finding a natural deodorant. During my pleas to find something another blogger recommended Bubble and Bee because of their guarantee. Basically, they promise that you will find a deodorant that works with your body chemistry from them. You can swap out deos if the one you bought doesn’t work for you for free. Since I’ve had such problems, I thought this would work out great for me. 

Bubble and Bee is a small indie brand that sells their products online. They make all kinds of products including lotions, deodorants, lip balms and soaps. Their ingredients are organic and natural.

Bubble and Bee Pit Putty


I did end up needing to use their exchange so I have two of their deodorants to share with you all. The first time, I bought their Original Lemon and Clove Pit Putty ($10.85) because it was sans baking soda (I’ve had problems with BS in the past). 

Bubble and Bee Pit Putty

My first impressions were all about the scent. It was REALLY overpowering. I think I applied to much (or I just eventually got use to the smell). Either way, I’m not a fan of this scent at all. For those who are not scent sensitive, it will be a non-issue.  

I did notice it was lasting much longer than the other natural deodorants I had tried (and failed with). I could make it until the end of my workday without reapplying. This was until I wore a shirt that allowed a lot of air to my pits or if the shirt didn’t touch my pits. Any sort of action that brought on perspiration instantly made me need to reapply because I would be smelly (but not barnyard smelly like with past deodorants). Since I was using this in the colder months, I knew there was no way this would work for me this summer.

This was when I reached out to the company to do the exchange. They suggested that I try the cream based deodorant because they thought it would last longer on me. I picked up the Lavender Vanilla Pit Putty Cream ($10.85).

Bubble and Bee Pit Putty

The scent on this one was light and much less overpowering. I also noticed it was a dream to apply as it has shea butter in it. While it does have baking soda, I never had an issue with firey pits. The downside was that I had the same stank issues that I had with the stick formula. 

The other suggestion I got from the company was to combine the cream and stick. This did help but not enough to justify doing it daily or spending the money on both products. I also primed with an ACV mix but this didn’t help immensely either.

I will say these products have worked far better than all of the natural deodorants I have used in the past, so for that I will say it’s worth giving it a shot. It may just work with your body chemistry. For me, it will work ok in the winter but no way in the summer. While I could exchange again, I have chosen not to. 

tl;dr
Made with organic and natural ingredients. Worth trying to see if it works with your body chemistry. Can exchange for free if it doesn’t work for you. Baking soda version was non-irritating. 

PROS
Love the ingredients
The cream based applies like a dream and was non-irritating
The exchange program is great for those who can find one that works for them

CONS
Won’t work for me in the summer
I don’t get the all-day stank protection I need

What’s your favorite natural deodorant?

xo, arielle

1.22.2015

Essie Smokin' Hot NOTD and Swatches

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A few weeks ago I posted about Essie Bahama Mama that I had gotten in a Christmas kit. This week, I painted my nails with Smokin' Hot and absolutely love this deep grey. I can see myself using it a lot next fall.

Essie Smokin Hot

Essie Smokin Hot

Essie Smokin Hot

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation.

1.20.2015

DivaCup Review

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Today, I'm talking about periods and how I have greened up my time of the month with the DivaCup. If you have no idea what a DivaCup or a menstrual cup is, watch my latest video!


DivaCup

DivaCup

DivaCup

DivaCup

DivaCup

I have the model 1 cup (for women under 30 who have not given birth). For those who have given birth or are over 30, you should go for the model 2. For more specifics on sizing, go here. Both retail for $30 and will last up to a year (according to the website).

If you want to know what the first week of a menstrual cup is like, Jezebel sums it up perfectly. After the learning curve is over, it improves dramatically! I loved videos from Dirty Diaper Laundry when I was learning how to use it. If the DivaCup doesn't work for you, there are lots of other cup brands out there that are smaller/longer or less firm/firmer. It may be a trial and error until you find the perfect one for you.

Do you use a menstrual cup? What's your favorite brand?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on a link and/or make a purchase I may receive monetary compensation.

1.19.2015

A No Nonsense Guide to Freezer Cooking

Eating healthy meals is really important to me but I can be a very lazy cook. I feel like the majority of my free time is dedicated to cooking, laundry and dishes (I think that's a lot of people's plight). To cut down on my cooking time, I have been freezer cooking on and off for years.

In that time, I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. I wanted to share my no nonsense guide on freezer cooking because I think this is the best way to get yourself healthy meals without going nuts.

Freezer Cooking

First and foremost, if you have no clue what freezer cooking is, you should learn about it (and be doing it!). Freezer cooking is when you prep and/or cook meals ahead of time and freeze them. Generally, you thaw them out the night before and should be able to bake, slow cook or microwave the next day. You spend a chunk of time preparing a ton of meals at once essentially. 

First things first, you have to figure out your meals. This is really the most important piece. There are tons of posts out there with recipes guides that you can use. I'm telling you, a lot of them suck. Flat out suck. I've tried them and hated them. Most of them will use the same ingredients over and over. You're then stuck with sweet potatoes 10 different crappy ways. Just don't do it.

My tip is to stick to your favorite crock pot meals and meats with veggies.  Most crock pot meals are super easy to throw together and freeze. Casseroles are, too, but they're so labor intensive you will want to pull your hair out. Meats with veggies are easiest because it's usually a marinade then you can cook it and put it with yummy veggies. Stick to things that are simple. Simple is your key. If you get to fancy with your meals, you're probably going to give up on freezer cooking.

I keep a "freezer meals" board on pinterest that includes some of my favorite meals or things that I'm testing out. It's a good idea to have one for yourself. 

With each meal cooking session, I pick 5-8 meals to prepare. They're all different, as I want to avoid eating the same thing over and over. Once you have your meals together, compile a shopping list. I usually make something in word and split it into categories to make shopping easier (i.e. dairy, frozen, meats).

If you want to save your sanity, I highly recommend buying frozen veggie steamers and those microwave bags of rice. These will serve as your sides and it will save you a ton of time. When I have had to do the chopping and cooking myself, I wanted to stab things because it takes forever. I shop at Aldi, and the price difference between frozen and fresh is minuscule.

You will also want to make sure you have these on hand:

Freezer Cooking

Freezer bags, storage containers and a way to label your meals are essential. I also suggest that you get some of those foil baking containers. 

I recommend doing your shopping day and cooking day separately. It's really tiring if not. When you get home from shopping, this is the best time to put together the meals that require no cooking. These are the things you're going to throw into a bag or foil container and freeze. For me, these are usually my crock pot meals or bakes.

When it's time to get cooking, I have all of my ingredients out. I also try to use the same pan over and over (washing in between meats) just to save on the dishes. I pick what order I'm going to cook in and get going. I also lay out the storage containers so they're ready when the meats are done. I also throw my veggies and rice into the microwave while everything is cooking. I then portion it out like this:

Freezer Cooking

I usually make 4 servings of each meal, since there's only two of us. I like to make these individual meals to use for lunch and dinner both. They're so easy to toss into the microwave for a healthy meal.

My most recent cooking adventure went a little like this:

When I got home from shopping I put together two bags/foil containers each of baked salmon, chicken bake and baked shrimp and threw them in the freezer. The next day, I started with these pork chops in the crock pot (meal for that evening, the leftovers were frozen). I then made the remaining pork chops in a skillet and paired them with rice and brussel sprouts. Next up was honey garlic chicken with rice. I finished with balsamic salmon with fire roasted veggies and rice. This was a total of 30 individual meals and it took me about 2.5 hours! I spent $120 on these meals and supplies.

Bonus tips that will keep you from punching things:
  • Label everything and put the cooking directions on it
  • Clear out your freezer to make space for your meals
  • Have all dishes done and put away because you're about to fill the dishwasher back up
  • Cook one meal at a time
  • make sure you have more than you think you need of containers/bags
  • set aside up to four hours to do your cooking
  • make sure you have time to rest afterwards because it's exhausting
  • Most recipes can be a freezer meal. Crockpot meals or baked meats meals work well by throwing everything into a bag or foil container and freezing (no precooking required). Meats work well by precooking and putting into a container to microwave later.
What are your favorite freezer meals?

xo, arielle