6.30.2014

Shea Moisture African Black Soap Review

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Since I had an acne regime down pat, I was very nervous about switching to natural skin care products. I whole heartedly thought I would be a pizza face again. Since I saw so many nice reviews on African Black Soap, I decided to give this one from Shea Moisture a chance.

Shea Moisture African Black Soap

What it is: A bar soap specifically formulated for those with acne prone skin.

Ingredients: African Black Soap Base, African Shea Butter, Oats, Aloe, Plantain Extract, Vitamin E, Essential Oil Blend, Vegetable Glycerin, Palm Ash, Rosemary Extract, Iron Oxides

Where it's found: Target for $4.99/bar or buy online

EWG rating: Unfortunately, this specific product from Shea Moisture was not listed. Their other soaps are rated at a 0 (low hazard). I looked up each ingredient and, of the ones I could find, they each rated 0. Therefore, I'm going to guess this would be a 0-1 on their scales. 

Shea Moisture African Black Soap

I began using this bar 6 weeks ago. I wanted to give it a good try before I posted about. I use it in the AM on my face and back. I found that's more effective to scrub the bar directly on your skin instead  of sudsing your hands up with it.

Side story, so I periodically get bacne. Gross, I know. However, this year, I used the new Alberto VO5 collection and it broke my back out horribly for months. As soon as I switched shampoo/conditioner it became less angry. This soap calmed it even further. Now, I'm nearly bacne free.

As for my face, I am still experiencing breakouts but it's only around my time of the month. I am happy that my breakouts have not been cystic, though, since that is generally my issue. With this, I'm getting a few bumps on my chin. Overall, the soap has been keeping me fairly clear.

My one complaint would be that it's quite stripping. It leaves my face feeling tight after use. I highly suggest using a moisture rich lotion with this.

My husband has also been using the soap. He feels it has helped to control his oil production.

Overall, I'm pleased but not head over heels. One thing is for certain, though, I have barely made a dent in this thing so I'm sure it will last me quite a while. If you're combo or oily, I think you will enjoy this bar. For dry people, not so much. As for the acne prone, I think you will be happy with the results, too. Having said that, I would love to find a natural soap that completely eradicates my acne (like my former chemical laden skin care routine once did).

What are your favorite soaps for acne?

xo, arielle

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

6.25.2014

My Current Natural Bath and Body Products

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In my switch to natural products, I quickly discovered how difficult it is to actually find natural brands. I have decided to periodically share the products I'm currently using. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of some potential products to go for in your natural lifestyle. I will do a full review on some of these in the future.

Natural Bath and Body

DermOrganic Daily Conditioning Shampoo: A daily moisturizing shampoo that's sulfate free. EWG rating 3 (moderate hazard)/GoodGuide 6 (above average). Retails for $16-$30. BUY ONLINE

DermOrganic Daily Hydrating Conditioner: A daily hydrating conditioner. EWG rating 4 (moderate hazard)/GoodGuide 6 (above average). Retails for $16-$30. BUY ONLINE

DIY Deodorant: I found several recipes on Pinterest but this one from The Little Red Owl is what I'm using. 

Vanicream Shave Cream for Sensitive Skin: A lotion like shave cream. EWG rating 1 (low hazard)/GoodGuide 8 (good). Retails for $6.49. BUY ONLINE

100% Pure Vanilla Bean Hydrating Body Wash: A liquid that pumps into foam body wash. Vanilla scented. GoodGuide rating 10 (best). Retails for $16. BUY ONLINE

100% Pure Vanilla Bean Nourishing Body Cream: A daily body lotion that has a vanilla scent. EWG rating 2 (low hazard)/GoodGuide 10 (best). Retails for $17. BUY ONLINE

Pacifica Roll On Perfume in Indian Coconut Nectar: A light but spicy summer scent that rolls onto the skin. EWG rating 4 (moderate hazard)/GoodGuide 6 (above average). Retails for $12. BUY ONLINE

Kiss My Face Olive Oil Bar Soap: A pure bar soap made with olive oil. EWG rating 0 (low hazard)/GoodGuide 10 (best). Retails for $5.99 for 3 bars. BUY ONLINE

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. Some of the products in this post are from a PR company. For my full disclosure, click here.

6.23.2014

LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub Review

PR Sample

Generally, winter is my time for chapped lips and scaly skin. For some reason, this spring/summer has been a bit of a drag to my skin and lips. I have had to whip out lip scrubs and treatments fairly often.

LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub

Lately, I have been using Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub. This is a sugar based scrub that retails for $9.95. The product is housed in a .9 oz plastic container. Lush's products are handmade and this product is vegan. It has a GoodGuide health rating of 8 (good).

The ingredients are: Castor Sugar, Cold Pressed Organic Jojoba Oil, Methyl Ionone, Flavor, Polyester-3, D&C Red No. 28, D&C Red No. 21.

LUSH Bubblegum Lip Scrub

It's very simple and straight forward to use. Dip out a pea size amount and rub in circular motions across your lips. Any excess can be ingested. 

It smells just like bumblegum and tastes like sugar. It does a great job at removing dead skin and leaves my lips smooth and soft. While I really enjoy this, it's not something I would pick up regularly only because I can make a scrub quite easily and cheaply. However, if you're someone who wants something on hand, at all times, I think you will be quite happy with this scrub.

Highlights:
  • $9.95
  • Natural and vegan ingredients
  • Can be ingested
  • Leaves lips flake free and soft

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

6.20.2014

Crap Products

PR Samples

Every so often I like to share the products that did not work for me. I call them crap products. These are items that were just down right bad. I have been saving up these items for the past 6 months!


Any linked product goes to my full review.

Counterfeit bareMinerals Matte: remember when I accidentally bought fake bareMinerals? Well, yeah, it was the worst. It wasn't even correct shading. 

Van Der Hagen Luxury Shave Set: this was one for the hubs. He thought this was weird and it dried out his skin. 

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo: didn't work. I was a grease ball. End of story.

Maskcara IIID Foundation: wanted to love this but it just sat on top of my skin. Plus, I had mad oil breakdown. 

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleaning Towelettes: these did not remove all of my makeup, like they claim. Plus I broke out something fierce.

Maskcara IIID Illuminator and Cream Blush: my skin ate these and they disappeared in minutes.

Philip Kingsley Curl Activator and Smooth Cream: both of these weighed me down and made my hair crunchy. Ew.

Yes To Carrots Nourishing Gentle Cleansing Wipes: Broke me out even though they are for sensitive skin.

Korres Pomegranate Mattifying Primer: did not make my makeup last longer. In fact, I became super oily from it. Plus, it has glitter that calls all the attention to my pores-making them look like frisbees. 

Covergirl Bombshell Intensity Liner: the packaging in clunky and short. This makes it difficult to get a precise line. Plus, it fades and smudges quickly. 

Crystal Body Deodorant: I smelled like a zoo. Obviously, it didn't do its job.

Any products that utterly failed for you so far in 2014?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Some products were sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment. For my full disclosure, click here.

6.18.2014

Not All Natural Products Are Created Equal

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natural products

A few weeks ago, I talked about why I was switching to natural products. Through my transition, I learned that not all natural products are created equal. 

I recently read No More Dirty Looks (highly recommend if you are wanting to shift to natural products) and learned there's not much regulation on the word natural. The only way to know if your product is safe is by reading your labels and doing some research on the product. 

Since there has been a demand, companies have wised up (and capitalized) on this "green" movement. You may have seen some of your favorite brands produce a "natural" line of products. Sometimes they change the packaging to be minimalist and add natural to the title. These products are not necessarily any better for you. The same goes for brands that are known to be natural, some of their products have some garbage in them, too. 

The new Herbal Essences Naked line is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. They added the word "naked" to imply that it's cleaner and changed the packaging. It has some pretty leaves, is white and has wording such as 0% paraben and coloring. Ok, so the last two are a great thing however, if we delve deeper into the ingredients we have:

Isobutane, Alcohol Denat, Propane, Tapioca Starch Polymethylsilsesquioxane (how do you say this????), Tapioca Starch, Silica, Fragrance/Parfum, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthol, Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil.

Orange ingredients are a moderate hazard while red is a high hazard. In fact, fragrance/parfum is one of the "dirty dozen" ingredients to avoid in products. While this product might appear to be better for you, in all reality it's not. 

Now let's look at a brand that will usually be in the "natural" section at the drugstore, Burt's Bees. While they have some fantastic products, they also have some items that are concerning. This is why you need to do your research, people. If we look at their Radiance Eye Cream, it rates as a 6 on EWG Skin deep (more on this later). A score of 6 is a moderate hazard. One of the ingredients of concern is, yet again, fragrance. Even Kiss My Face or Yes To have some questionable products in their line.

*Bonus info* the order in which ingredients are listed on a product goes from highest to lowest for the amount used to make it. There's no way of knowing how much of each ingredient is in the product, unfortunately. If you look at the first 3 ingredients, you can pretty much bet those are the most used in the  product. 

So how do we research our products? Lucky for us, there are some fantastic resources out there. There are tons of websites to help you find better products but I found GoodGuide and the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database to be the most comprehensive.

GoodGuide rates products based on how it affects our health, their impact on the environment and their social practices. They rate household and cosmetic products. I look at their health ratings when I'm purchasing products. A rating of 0-2 are products to avoid, 3-5 are shoddy too, 6-10 is the safe zone. You can see their rating scale here.

EWG Skin Deep rates personal care products. They have done the research on the toxicity of chemicals to give you an idea of how hazardous a product is for you. A 0-2 rating is low hazard, 3-6 is moderate hazard and 7-10 is high hazard.

Both websites include a search feature so you can look up products to your heart's content. They also have apps where you can scan a product, in store, to get the ratings. 

How do I use this? When I was switching over to natural products it was difficult to know where to start (particularly with makeup). For my skincare and household products, I went to the natural sections of drugstore.com, then when I found a product I was interested in, I read the reviews and lastly looked them up on GoodGuide and EWG. I decided to only buy products with GoodGuide health ratings of 6-10 and/or EWG ratings of 0-2.

As for makeup, I purchased some things before I learned about the ratings so some of my stuff is better than others. I learned that Tarte was made with a lot less garbage so I bought a lot of their products. Some of their products don't rate so well, but they're a lot better than what I was using before. 

I have also been making my own products. I could not find a low chemical hairspray or dry shampoo, so I made both of those. The natural deodorants out there didn't work for me so I made that, too.

Some of the brands I have been using (linked brands go directly to the product I'm using from the line):
Tarte
Josie Maran
100% Pure
Thayer's 
Zoya
Real Purity
Jason
Reviva Labs

Brands I have not tried (yet) but found through No More Dirty Looks:
W3ll People
Jurlique
Juice Beauty
Jane Iredale 
Dr. Bronner's
Vapour Organic

I still recommend looking up the ratings of specific products from a brand because even some of these have hazardous picks.

If anything, I hope this post helps you to realize that just because a company says natural on the label or appears to be natural, doesn't mean it's any better for you. When in doubt, make your own products, research ratings on GoodGuide or EWG before purchasing something and/or avoid the dirty dozen chemicals.

How do you find natural products? What are some of your favorite natural products?

xo, arielle

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

6.16.2014

I Went Skydiving

skydiving

This year, I have been challenging myself to go to new heights (literally) and do the things I have always wanted to. Skydiving was on that list. I knew it was going to be the most challenging for me since it's one of the "death defying" activities. Of the things I have been afraid to do, this was the only one that could lead to actual death.

I don't just want to talk about the dive itself because there's a lot leading up to the actual jump that I feel is important to share, too. If you just want to read about the jump, keep scrolling.

Choosing to jump
I have no idea why but skydiving has always been in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. Since this is my year for adventures, I thought now was better than ever. I decided to a a tandem jump (this is where someone is attached to you) and you have a free fall. I knew I would need someone to help hurl me out plus I wanted the experience of the free fall. 

I told some friends about it and got the are you crazy and yeah rights. I also had lots of people who were interested in doing it with me. This eased my nerves because I figured, if I have people with me, I probably won't chicken out. I was also under the impression that, if I told everyone I know I was going to do this, I wouldn't back out and look risk liking a fool. 

Leading up to the jump
Ok, so that part about people being interested changed drastically. As soon as I chose a date and told them, everyone dropped out. 

Throughout the months leading up, I also had a lot of people say this was the one thing they could never do, which really shocked me. I guess I didn't realize how much fear skydiving brought out in people. 

Anyway, I chose to do this in February and scheduled in April. So, I had several months to stew about this. When I first chose to do this, just the thought of it would make me sick to my stomach and my heart would beat faster. I knew I needed to do something about this, otherwise I knew I would back out. So, I started using visualization in my meditations. I would visualize myself having a good experience, anxiety free and safely getting to the ground. By May, the thought of skydiving did not have an effect on me.

I also watched some videos and googled "what does skydiving feel like?" This isn't something I recommend if you catasrophize or are already deathly afraid. For me, this did nothing.

The night before the jump
This is when shit got real. Before, this was all just a thought. Before we went to bed, my husband mentioned it (by the way, he did not jump with me and flat out refuses to do it) and I said "don't talk about it. I can't talk about this right now." He also said something highly supportive, "you know that no one expects you to do this, right?" -__- Thanks, love.

Throughout the night, I woke up every few hours thinking "what if we hit a bird?" or "what if the wind rips the parachute?" By the way, before this, I did not have any catastrophe thoughts. I'm not sure why the night before all of the sudden I was worried about something going wrong.

Anyway, to sleep I continually reminded myself that these were just thoughts and practiced some mindfulness. 

The day of the jump
I woke up and decided that, instead of thinking this was scary, I needed to remind myself that I'm a badass and this will be fun. When panic came over me, I tried to remind myself of this. It worked somewhat

At our house, I was letting out some sighs. My husband asked what it was about and I finally said out loud "I'm scared."

The drive to the place was an hour away. At one point, the thought of "I can't do this" came over me and I almost told my husband to turn around (I didn't).

When we arrived, there were some people already there. I realized I would be jumping with 3 others. That helped ease my nerves.  

We filled out some forms (that basically said if you die, it's not our fault) and did, what felt like, a 30 second prep class. I forgot to mention, I was told I got to go first. I also forgot to mention that I didn't know, until the day of, we would each be going up one at a time to make the jump because the plane WAS TINY. 

As I was suiting up, everyone could tell I was nervous. I'm one of those people that silently freaks out to myself but apparently my face was not concealing this. After the jump, my husband told me I looked like if he asked me if I wanted to leave I would have said yes.

The actual jump
We piled into the itty-bitty plane. There were no seats. I had to sit with my back to the pilot while facing my tandem jump master. Since I was first, there were some staff people jumping to check the air pressure (or something, I'm not entirely sure) so they squeezed in by the door.

We took off. For being such a small plane, it was a very smooth ride. At about 2,000 feet the door swung open. A gush of air burst inside the plane and it was loud. Then, the two guys jumped out like it was no big deal. My eyes bulged out of my face (when I landed one of the jumpers said he saw my face and it was hilarious).

For the rest of the climb, to 10,000 feet, I was nervous. The jump master patted my leg and said it would be ok. I looked out the window at the earth and reminded myself to be mindful about this experience. I wanted to let myself just feel everything. A sense of calm eventually came over me. 

When we were about to the jump height, I put my goggles and helmet on (this thing does not constitute a helmet, it was basically a rubber stocking cap). I then had to scoot towards the door and get on my knees. The jump master began hooking himself up to me. I was holding onto the pilot's seat thinking the door was going to open and suck me out (this didn't happen).

Once we were hooked together, the jump master opened the door. All I could see was blue sky and the wing of the plane. Air was swirling around me and I couldn't hear a thing. I had to sit on the edge of the plane and place my feet on a step that was over the wheel. I thought, oh my god this is it. At one point I almost turned and said I can't do this but the jump master gently moved my hands off of the plane. This was absolutely the most terrifying part of the whole experience. I got into the free fall position (arms crossed over chest). I could feel the jump master moving into a standing position behind me. He nudged me forward and counted one, two and all of the sudden I was no longer sitting on the edge of that plane and was in the air.

We did one or two somersaults before we leveled out. The jump master then tapped me on the shoulder to get into position, which is arched back and arms out. I could feel my cheeks flapping when I opened my mouth. There I was, flying through the air. It didn't feel like falling whatsoever. I felt completely free, at peace and in the moment. I felt supported by the air around me. I truly cannot fully put into words what it felt like other than amazing. The jump master said we were falling about about 200 mph. The free fall feels like a second but it's about 10-12. 

Then, I heard the parachute release and felt it began to catch. It's a strong pull back, kind of like when you're a kid running somewhere and your mom catches you by your shirt. While it's catching the wind, we spun quite a bit but it leveled out quickly. During the parachute ride, the feeling is complete different than the free fall. This is more like floating back to earth and it's much slower. While we were floating, all I could think was I can't believe I just did that. I looked over the earth. It was absolutely beautiful. I didn't feel like I was thousands of feel in the air, either. The jump master gave the chute over to me to steer. He also had me thank the chute for opening, which I did. 

There was a little circle to land in on the ground. At about 2,000 feet he took over to slow us down and get into the circle. When you land, it's at about 25-30 mph. You put your legs straight out with feet up and are suppose to basically sit on the jump master. Once I saw the ground, I didn't feel like we were going very fast and my natural inclination was to put my feet down. I put one down and said shit! I tried to bring it back up but was too late. This caused us to land almost like George Bush Senior's recent jump. It wasn't painful and the jump master said it was fine.

I then waited to be unhooked. All I wanted to do was jump up and down and pump my arms in the air (I didn't). Instead, I walked back, high off my jump, feeling like a magnificent beast. This high lasted several hours. I told everyone waiting on the ground how amazing it was. I then watched the next person go because I really wanted to see what it looked like from the ground. Skydiving was a moment of sheer fun that I had not experienced in a while. 

skydiving

skydiving
climbing to 10,000 feet

skydiving
I have no pics of the free fall but this was when my chute came into view for the camera

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving

skydiving
that is the face of someone high off of a jump

What I learned
When my friends dropped out of the dive, I realized everyone has a limit on what they will do, I guess skydiving is it for a lot of people.

Mindfulness works. This is something I teach my clients (and have used myself) but not to this extent. Using meditation to calm myself in the months prior was probably the best thing I could have done for myself. Then, trying to stay in the moment on the day of allowed me to enjoy the experience more.

I also realized that people, myself included, are in fear of feeling anxiety. It wasn't the act of skydiving that I was fearful of-it was feeling the fear that I was trying to avoid. Honestly, fear isn't that bad and accepting it, instead of fighting it, makes life a lot easier. 

The mind makes things worse than what they are. Everything my mind had built it to be was far worse than the dive itself (isn't this true in a lot of cases?!).

A few weeks ago, I was reading May Cause Miracles and began thinking about the dive. I had a lightbulb moment where I realized that I needed to trust that the universe had my back. The desire to do this would not have been put into my head had it not been for a greater purpose. Even if something bad would have happened, it would have been all part of a purpose. This was probably the most important thing I realized because I tend to try to have control over things. Trusting in the flow of life is an easier disposition.

Lastly, I can do anything

xo, arielle

6.13.2014

Crystal Body Deodorant Roll On Review

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In my last post, I talked about my disastrous experience with the Crystal Stick. We were at a wedding and I had used the stick counterpart right before. Half way though, I could already smell myself. I said enough is enough and went to CVS for the roll on. I cleaned my pits in the bathroom and applied.

Crystal Body Deodorant Roll On

This is pretty much the same thing as the stick, only it's in liquid form with a roll on applicator. One of the major differences is you get less product. It costs about $4. You can buy online here. The reviews were quite good, too.

Its health ratings are great, as well. Good Guide gives it a 10 for health while EWG gives it a low hazard rating of 1.

Crystal Body Deodorant Roll On


Cut back to the wedding. I didn't stink anymore but this short lived. By the end of the night I was gross again. I gave it a few more days-just to be sure. It would work fantastic the first hour or two but I would quickly stink again. My husband even pointed out the stank (it had to be bad).

The other downside was that this takes FOREVER to dry. At least 10 minutes. Once, I turned my blow dryer on cold just to get it to dry. Sorry but I can't do that every day.

Needless to say, I was disappointed once again in the crystal. I had such high hopes from all of the reviews! I have found a method that works great for me, that I will share at a later date. So, never fear ladies who want natural options!

Which natural deodorants have you used with success?

xo, arielle

Affiliate links in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

6.11.2014

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick Review

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I have to admit something that is a little gross-I stink. I have struggled to find deodorants that work well for me. Eventually, I switched to clinical and it worked for a bit.

I knew switching to natural deodorant was going to be a challenge. They're not notorious for being awesome. I took to the internets to find the highly rated ones when I found crystal. I have never heard about crystal deodorants pretty much ever. In fact, I have never seen it at the store. Sure enough when I went to pick it up, there it sat. I guess I just looked over it all these years.

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

So, what are crystal deodorants? They are a solid piece of mineral salt. You can purchase different brands but I went for Crystal Body Deodorant. I was able to find it at CVS for $5.99. You can purchases online here. It comes in a plastic container that can be twisted up. The company claims a single stick can last up to a year. Through some internet searching, I have found this claim is true and most people get longer use than that.

The difference between this and regular deodorant (or an antiperspirant) is that it's working to create a barrier against the bacteria that causes stank. It will not help with sweat, at all. Sweat isn't the stank problem, though. It's the bacteria. 

Some good stuff about this is that it rates really well for your health:

GoodGuide Health Rating: 10 (best)
SWG Rating: 1 (low hazard)

Crystal Body Deodorant Stick

I used this as directed for the first few days and smelled like a dirty hippie. Since the reviews on this were rave, I thought I must be doing something completely wrong. I searched around and found this video on "correct" application. I did her method but still smelled horrific. I scoured the blogs and I discovered I actually wasn't doing anything wrong with my application.

I also noticed that my stank had transferred to the crystal. I was basically rubbing the smell back in my pits and getting stinky within seconds. To remedy this, I attempted cleaning it with water, peroxide and alcohol. No matter how many times I cleaned the crystal, it would stink right back up. Trust me guys, I was always applying to clean pits.

This never worked for me period, end of story. I tried every which way and up and down. I couldn't make it work.  I decided, maybe it was because it was the dry form, so I picked up the liquid form. I will tell you about that experience in my next post. Either way, I'm tossing this one. It's worked for a lot of people just not for me.

Have you tried Crystal deodorant? How did it work for you?

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and.or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. For my full disclosure, click here.

6.09.2014

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge


Yoga has been in my life on and off for several years. The past few months, I found myself practicing more regularly. My gym offers periodic classes but I wanted more so I decided to bring my practice home. I began by searching yoga on YouTube. I quickly stumbled upon the 30-Day Yoga Challenge by DoYouYoga.com.

I completed day one and thought, well this is pretty doable...only 20 minutes per day and I liked the yogi, Erin Motz. I then committed to waking up at 5:30 everyday to do my practice before work. I did every day of the challenge. I will admit I skipped a day in-between here and there but I finished it in under 40 days.

I have been to a lot of yoga classes (or done DVDs) and they are all pretty similar. What was different with this was Erin (I feel like we are on a first name basis now) challenges participants to go beyond warrior 2 and down dog. I learned crow, splits and headstands. I also liked that Erin touts that poses are just poses. Nothing is "advanced" or "beginner" for her students. That's kind of the philosophy I have on life. As soon as we add a label of "too hard" or "easy" we begin to think all kinds of things about our own ability to do it. Needless to say, I think Erin is pretty rockin'. 

Since I was practicing nearly everyday I noticed a change in my flexibility. By the last day, I was almost able to do a flat footed down dog! I also noticed myself begin to breathe into releasing body parts into the stretch. I also became more mindful during my practice. Daily yoga has put me on track to a more regular practice and has taught me that I am able to do more with the practice than I thought. Plus, I have found it helps me to start my day off on the right foot.

If you are someone who has thought about doing yoga or are a long time student, this challenge is a fantastic way to kickstart your practice. It's only 20 minutes (usually less ) per day! I promise you will learn something, whether that be about yoga or yourself.

Now that it's over, I have committed to more yoga. I have created my own playlist on YouTube. Erin also launched a MyYogaPro.com which is a subscription service. I'm considering signing up. If I do, I will be sure to update you all on it!

If you would like a daily email reminder for each day of the challenge, you can sign up here. Need a bit more motivation? Watch the intro video!


xo, arielle

6.06.2014

How to Conceal Under Eye Circles

In the past year, I have developed a pesky line that goes from my tear duct down. I lovingly refer to it as my social worker wrinkle. 

I noticed my typical concealing didn't do much to cover it. I did some searching and learned this awesome trick that I wanted to share with all of you! All you need is your usual under eye concealer (I prefer salmon colored), a pencil brush and a lighter than skin tone concealer. 

how to conceal under eye circles

The two easy steps:

Conceal your under eyes as normal. Salmon colored concealers work best for circles. I place a couple of dots and blend with my ring finger.

Draw a lighter shade of concealer, using a pencil brush, next to the pesky under eye line. Do not draw on top of the line! The lighter shade next to your line is meant to bounce light away from the shadow. Last, blend by patting your ring finger on top of the concealer.

What are your concealing tricks?

xo, arielle

6.05.2014

Why I'm Going All Natural


Do you ever have times where your inner voice keeps telling you to do something? Maybe it's to go to that new yoga class, change careers or stop a bad habit. My inner voice has been telling me for years to live a more holistic lifestyle. Unfortunately, I haven't been listening to it much. I picked up the book The Big Tiny and ever since then, I have been thinking more and more about about simplifying my life and being more holistic.

This is part of what lead me to switching to natural products (and organic foods). I then ran across these infographics on pinterest (here and here). This, of course, lead me to start researching their validity.

Through my investigation of chemicals, I read that most of the chemical exposure we get is from beauty products. I also learned we absorb 515 chemicals per day! I was throughly grossed out. Then, I started reading about how some chemicals might be linked to cancer and Alzheimer's. Considering both run in my family, I really don't want to put myself at risk. I have grown to appreciate my body and I am learning to protect it more.

I also read this:

"One of every five adults are potentially exposed every day to all of the top seven carcinogenic impurities common to personal care product ingredients..."-Environmental Working Group

carcinogen = cancer causing

Yuck.

There are a "dirty dozen" of chemicals which includes BHA and BHT, Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number, Dibutyl phthalate, DEA-related ingredients, Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, Parfum (fragrance), Parabens, PEG compounds, Petrolatum, Sodium laureth sulfate, Triclosan and Siloxanes. If that goes a little over your head (like it does mine) here is a fantastic article on each of them. I encourage you to go look at your products, I guarantee you will see many of these in the ingredients list. When I was cleaning out my stash, I saw most of these in the list.

Another issue, is that in the past few years my skin has become extremely sensitive. I did not struggle with acne until I was 19. I also kept reacting to products. I firmly believe it's because of all of the toxins I was putting on my face. Since I have made the switch to natural products, my face is looking awesome. I'm really shocked at the difference. I experienced one tiny hormonal breakout but that's it. When I wake up in the morning, for the first time years, I feel like I could walk out with just a dab of concealer. Before, I had to have full foundation to cover everything.

I have noticed a lot of people do the cruelty free thing but that wasn't enough for me. Just because something is "cruelty-free" doesn't mean it's not full of garbage. For my "natural" products, I prefer to see less ingredients, ingredients I can pronounce, organic if possible, vegetarian or vegan and definitely free of parabens and synthetics. However, the most important aspect, to me, are the ratings from GoodGuide's and EWG Skin Deep. I prefer a GoodGuide health rating of 6 (above average) or more and a EWG rating of 2 (low hazard) or less (I'm going to talk all about these website's ratings in a future post, so stay tuned).

I have also changed up my blog to include a section on just natural products. You can find it here.

Switching to a more holistic lifestyle is a very personal one but it is arguably healthier. I'm now eating mostly organic and using herbal medication, too. Between making these shifts, I'm shocked at how different (read: better) I feel.

Have you considered making the switch to natural products? If you have, where are your favorite places to shop now?

xo, arielle

6.02.2014

Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream Review with Before and After

affiliate links

In making the switch to natural products, the first cosmetics item I picked up was Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream. I read some reviews of the Organic Wear line and decided to give this a chance. I have been throughly unimpressed by the BB and CC cream business so it was a stretch for me to give this a go. At the time, PF products were buy one get one free at Target (I picked up the Organic Wear mascara, too) so it made it a little easier. 

Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream

Physician's Formula claims that their Organic Wear line is of "100% natural origin" and free of chemicals, parabens or synthetic preservatives. The CC cream is 70% organic with OrganiSoy and Eco-Olive (all information taken from their website).

The CC cream is new at the drugstore. It runs $14.95 for 1.2 oz of product. It is housed in a tube that you can squeeze the product out of. Their are two shades: light and light/medium. It also includes a SPF of 20.

The box gives some more information on claims and ingredients:

Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream

Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream

As for the CC cream claims, it touts that it will even color, correct skin tone, hydrate and you will experience naturally perfect skin. I did find that the coverage and finish were beautiful. It reminds me quite a bit of IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream (which is the only BB/CC I have used successfully). The coverage is light-medium and is buildable. It covered my blemishes easily. The finish is a bit dewey (not oily) and looks natural. I would call this more of a foundation than a BB or CC cream, though.

By then end of the day I have some oil breakdown in my t-zone (not enough for me to look melted). If you have very oily skin, this probably won't be the product for you. However, for dry or combo skin, I think you will be pleased with this product. I prefer applying this with a wet beautyblender or brush. I found using my hands for application to be a bit messy and made it cakey. 

When I made this purchase, my Target only had light/medium. I wish they had light in stock because this shade is too dark for me. I plan to keep it around for the summer because it is the right shade for when I'm tan. 

Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream before and after

Since this is a newer product, I could not find the GoodGuide or EWG Skin Deep rating. Based on how they rated similar products from the line, I am going to guestimate the ratings.

GoodGuide health rating: 8 (good)
EWG: 3 (moderate hazard)

I am experiencing difficulty in finding natural drugstore cosmetics but Physician's Formula truly is nailing it! Overall, I'm pleased with Physician's Formula Organic Wear CC Cream. I'm thrilled to have found a natural alternative to my IT Cosmetics lover. 

Highlights:
  • light-medium buildable coverage
  • light/medium shade is too dark for fair people
  • too few shades (light and light/medium)
  • a natural finish
  • great for dry or combo skin
  • great drugstore option for natural foundation
  • SPF 20 
  • dupe for IT Cosmetics CC+ Cream
What is your favorite PF product?


xo, arielle

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