100% Pure Vanilla Bean Body Wash and Lotion Review

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Let's talk about body care for a moment. For me, having soft supple skin is really important. I'm not sure how or why it's been this way but I have always found a need to use a nourishing body wash and lotion to achieve this. If not, I'm scale city. 

Last May, I picked up 100% Pure's Vanilla Bean Hydrating Body Wash and Body Cream. My Ulta was running a BOGO sale, so that's why I picked them up. Otherwise, they're $16+ a pop, which is way outside of my budget.

100% Pure is a company that derives their products from natural ingredients. The tout that their products are free of toxic ingredients. They are a cruelty free company. The products are available online or at Ulta. 

100% Pure Vanilla Bean

100% Pure Vanilla Bean

The body wash is still in my shower and has yet to be completely used up (I have a few more pumps left). I'm on 10 months with it! This was a huge surprise to me because body washes typically see 3-4 months in my shower. This wash pumps out into a foam. I need about 2-3 pumps to cover my whole body. The scent is a light vanilla and smells quite a bit like ice cream. It dissipates rather quickly, though. I don't find it particularly hydrating. It's a very average body wash. Due to cost and it not being a holy grail, it's not something I'm picking up again. The body wash is $16 for 17 ounces.

100% Pure Vanilla Bean

100% Pure Vanilla Bean

The lotion, on the other hand, lasted me only through summer. I had such mixed feelings about it. There were days I loved it and days I loathed it. When my skin was very thirsty, it absorbed this so quickly I couldn't spread it around. Therefore, I would have to use a ton of product. When my skin was fine, I had no issues. Either way, I did not find this moisturizing enough. For summer weather, it worked but I feel in the winter I would have been scaly. The scent is the same as the wash and doesn't linger on the skin. I chose not to purchase another bottle. The lotion is $17 for 8 ounces.

Overall, I really love 100% Pure's philosophy and ingredients. These are very safe products to use for those who prefer a more natural lifestyle. I won't be purchasing them again due to the fact that I can find products that are just as good for less money. If you happen to run into a BOGO sale on their products, I recommend giving them a shot at least.

xo, arielle

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


Pacifica Indian Coconut Nectar Perfume

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I know I haven't been updating at all lately. I have a lot going on in my personal life that has prevented me from doing so. I'm going to try to post when possible, so know that I haven't forgotten about BBA!

When I switched to natural products, I knew that perfumes were one of the most chemical laden product out there. I was shopping at Ulta and the only thing I could find that was remotely close to being clean was the Pacifica Roll-On Perfumes. I took a sniff of the available scents and went with Indian Coconut Nectar.

Pacifica Perfume

Pacifica's roll-on perfume comes in 14 scents. I picked this one up for $12. The full size are $22 and there are 18 scents. 

Pacifica touts that these are 100% vegan and cruelty free as well as paraben, phthalate and propylene glycol free. EWG rates this as a 4 (moderate hazard).

Pacifica Perfume

I chose Indian Coconut Nectar because I prefer spicy scents. Of what was a available, this one had the least floral or sweetness to it. There are times I have caught this smelling a little like cotton candy, though. For the most part, it's light but a little sultry. I plan to pick up the Island Vanilla next (I absolutely love it!!) but it's been out of stock every time I'm at Ulta.

Pacifica Perfume

I have been happy with the roller-ball application, too. It makes it very simple plus, it's been very easy to travel with. I have been using it since June and still have at least half of the product left. It's not the longest lasting perfume I have ever used, though. 

What is your favorite natural perfume?

xo, arielle

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


I Went to Mardi Gras

Since my birthday falls on Fat Tuesday this year, I wanted to cross Mardi Gras off of my bucket list. This past weekend I did!

xo, arielle


My First Stitch Fix and Review

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In the past year, I have seen about a bajillion Stitch Fix posts. Every time, I was extremely skeptical (and judgey) about it, solely due to the cost of the items. I remember once someone received a t-shirt that was about fifty bucks. Which, honestly was crazy to me.

Since I was being so crappy about it, I thought I really needed to try it for myself before I could truly make a decision. I was on Amanda's blog and loved what I saw from her box. I completed my style profile and order my first fix on a Wednesday. It arrived by the following week.

Stitch Fix

In case you're not familiar with Stitch Fix, let me explain. Stitch Fix is a styling service. You order a fix as often as you wish and a stylist picks 5 items to send you based on your style profile. You pay a $20 styling fee with each box. If you choose to purchase anything from the box, the $20 comes off the total. If you don't buy anything, you lose the $20. The shipping is included. You are billed for what you keep, after you choose. Whatever you don't want, you send back in a pre-paid shipping bag. If you purchase everything from your box, you get 25% off. 

When you sign up, you complete a style profile with your preferences and sizes. You can even select if you're ok with expensive or budget friendly items or exclude certain items (I requested they not send jewelry). They also recommend you send in your Pinterest style board, as it gives your stylist a better idea of what you wear. Each box is tailored to you and your style. After you receive a box, you can send your stylist notes about what you liked or didn't like so they can make better choices for you next time.

In my first box, I received a sweater, two tops, skinny jeans and a clutch.


Stitch Fix
RD Style Vivianna Open-Draped Knit Cardigan - $74

Stitch Fix
Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top - $48


Stitch Fix
Urban Expressions Richie Asymmetrical Clutch - $40

Stitch Fix
Kensie Jeans Sophia Tall Length Skinny Jean - $88

Stitch Fix
Skies Are Blue Bruno Split Neck Blouse - $69

TOTAL: $319

I loved everything I received in my box. I returned items only due to fit. The jeans fit my butt amazingly (probably the best fit for skinny jeans I have had) but they were too long. I just don't use clutches, that's why I returned that. The Bruno Blouse didn't hang well once on. The items I kept I absolutely adore. I had been looking for a sweater with that draping for a while. I would never normally spend that much on a sweater but since I had a hard time finding one, I decided to keep it. I also love the fit and pattern of the top. They look great paired together, too.

I was really shocked at how well my stylist got me. I didn't expect to love all of it. When I go to the store I'm mostly meh about items, so to get 5 things that I would wear, was fantastic.

As for the price, I did request my items to be on the lower end of things so, I was surprised at how much my box cost in total. I would never spend that much on clothes. I never see myself buying a whole box. I felt pretty guilty about what I did keep as it was over $100. Having said that, I am a super duper budget shopper. I thrift nearly everything I own, so this was a total splurge. For those who don't shop like I do, the price really isn't going to be that big of a deal as it's on par with department store prices.

I will say, these items are much higher quality than I would normally invest in. So, it's not like it's cheap junk that you're dropping a load of cash on. To me, that did justify it slightly.

Since the price is up there, I decided to schedule my fixes every other month. I really like the idea of not having to shop, trying on items in my home and ending up with pieces that are uniquely styled to me. I'm also over my judgey stage with Stitch Fix. I still think they are overpriced but it's not a deal breaker as I loved my pieces. 

Overall, I think it's worth trying at least one box just to see if it works for you and your style. If you hate it, you're only out 20 bucks. If you like it, then you just added some great pieces to your closet.

Here are some examples of some other fixes from blogs I read: Rebecca Lately, Notes from a Newlywed, Pumps and Iron & One Little Momma

Stitch Fix is a personal styling service that will send you items as often as you wish that are tailored to you. The cost is $20 a box + the cost of the items you keep. If you have the budget, the pieces will be great to add to your wardrobe. If you're more of a thrifter or clearance shopper, you probably won't like the prices of pieces. 

  • Received 5 high quality pieces that were perfect for my style
  • Like not having to shop and trying on at home
  • Only get charged for what you keep

  • The pieces are pricey

If you would like to give Stitch Fix a try, here is my referral link (I get a $25 credit if you schedule a box). Please don't feel obligated to use it but I really appreciate if you do!

xo, arielle

Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase I receive a credit towards my own Stitch Fix.

***Update 3/22/15***
I ordered another box because I had a credit. I ended up hating everything I received. It was like the box wasn't even for me. I was a little frustrated because they didn't listen to my comments from the previous box. My friend ordered a box, too, and had the same issue. It was very strange. I have yet to order again due to this.


Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush Review and Results

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A few months ago, I received an email from Klout that I was eligible for the Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush as a perk. I have been using the Clarisonic Mia for a couple of years and I was very curious how this compared. Given the mass popularity of the Clarisonic, I felt it would be impossible to not compare the two. 

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

The Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush claims that it works with your cleanser to "create the greatest skin ever" (according to the website). 

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

The packaging comes with the system, a standard brush head and a charger. The charger is a stand up and the charge lasts forever. I think I've only charged it once since I've had it.

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

There's only one brush head available and Clinique claims it's for all skin types. The green part is to be used on "hard to reach" places like your nose or chin. You just use the tip to cleanse those areas. The movement of the brush is up and down. The cycle lasts 30 seconds. If you want to build up to a minute (which is what Clinque recommends) you just press the button again after your 30 is up.

Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush

Since I am ultra cheap, I have really hated the $99+ and $25 brush head price tag for the Clarisonic. I have been trying to find a cheap alternative since I bought it, in hopes to save some cash. I didn't look up the price of the Clinique until I started writing this review, so I was really surprised to learn that it's $89.50 (brush heads are $26). All along, I guessed it was around $50. Had that been the case, I may have recommended this as an alternative, however since it's only 10 bucks less than the Mia, I say fork over your cash for it instead.

Out of the Clarisonic alternatives I have tried, I will say Clinique's is the best available. Especially if you find the Clarisonic hard on your skin. This one is far more gentle.

Since I have a ton of Blackheads, I found this wasn't nearly as effective on them. You can read my full Clarisonic review here, to see my results. I did think it was fantastic for exfoliation, removing dead skin and makeup, though. If you're acne prone, a good cleaning brush really can help your woes.

I now use this in the shower in the AM as an exfoliator. I still use the Clarisonic in the evening, as I need to keep blackheads at bay. I'm really on the fence about this and a lot of it has to do with the fact that it is 90 bucks and doesn't work quite as well as the Clarisonic.

A decent cleaning brush. Gentle on skin. If you're going to spending that much, I recommend forking over the $10 extra for the Clarisonic Mia, though. If you found the Clarisonic too harsh, you may prefer Clinique's version.

Very gentle on skin
Love the 30 second intervals for a quick clean
Charge lasts quite a long time

Cost is a bit high
Doesn't deep clean as well as the Clarisonic; those with lots of blackheads probably won't like this as well

What's your favorite cleansing brush?

xo, arielle

Disclosure: Affiliate links are in this post. If you click on an affiliate link and/or make a purchase I receive monetary compensation. Product was sent by the company or the company’s PR group. All opinions are my own. PR companies never receive preferential treatment.


Full Coverage Foundation Routine and Tutorial

After coming off the pill, my face has erupted. I have needed full coverage every day. I wanted to share my full coverage foundation routine for all of us who are in this fight together.

xo, arielle


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


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. 

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. 

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

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


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.


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!






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.


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


Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer Review

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My eye makeup loves to melt off of my lids. The only thing I have found that helps is a good eye primer (seriously the best discovery for my makeup routine). I purchased the Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer in hopes of having lasting shadow. 

Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer

This primer retails for $21. It can be purchased at Sephora or online. You get 4 ml of product in a tube with a wand (similar to a lipgloss applicator). The product is flesh toned. 

Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer

Korres touts that they are an eco-friendly company that focuses on sustainable products that are derived from natural ingredients. EWG rates the Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer as a 2 (low hazard). The ingredient list is pretty long and can be found here.

I didn't have the best success with this primer. While it is a fairly clean product, it didn't help my shadow last in the crease for more than 4 hours. On the lid, it did great. I did use it to the last drop, only because it's high priced and I didn't want to waste it.

I put the product on my ring finger then dab it on my lids and into my crease.

  • rates well on EWG
  • lasts well on the lid

  • Creases in the crease within 4 hours
  • price
I think this product can work well for those who have light oil on their lids. If you are someone who produces a lot of oil, you're probably not going to like this. It's not something I will repurchased but I did use it to the end, as it did help somewhat.

What is your favorite clean eye primer?

xo, arielle

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


Fitness Blogger & Vloggers You Should be Following

I love to exercise. Six years ago, you never would have heard me utter those words. I do yoga, weightlifting and run. I'm not at the gym everyday but I try to be active several times per week. It really helps with my hip pain and it's definitely my therapy. A good run after a crap day can do wonders.

Over the years, I have relied heavily on books and bloggers for my fitness. I use fitness videos or get gym routines from them.  Today, I wanted to share the ones I think you need to be following. I picked these lovely women because I find that they're all relatable, real and have quality stuff to share with the gym junkie to the newbie.

best fitness bloggers

1. Yoga With Adrienne // Blog // YouTube Channel
Why I think she's special: If you want to watch someone full of loving energy, this is your gal. Her yoga videos are great for those who want to learn proper alignment. She even does yoga for beginners where she breaks down poses.

2. Sarah Fit // Blog // YouTube Channel
Why I think she's special: I had only been following her blog, and not the YT channel, until recently. She did a video of reading her mean YouTube comments and my respect for her tripled. Sarah has so much information on healthy eating and exercise. She even lost weight herself and talks about struggling with that 5-10 lbs we all do once we meet our goal weight.

3. Bad Yogi (Erin Motz) // Blog // YouTube Channel
Why I think she's special: Erin is probably my favorite of all my fitness ladies. Like, I wish we could be friends IRL. She is a yoga teacher who has coined herself a "bad yogi" because she doesn't follow all of the "yogic principles." This is exactly how I am. We both believe yoga should be for anyone and everyone. Her yoga videos are fantastic, too. If you want to follow someone who is real with you, she's it. I recently got her yoga pose book for Christmas and love it (I'm doing Yoga Teacher Training, so I find it extremely helpful).

4. Jersey Girl Talk // Blog 
Why I think she's special: I stumbled upon this blog when looking for a new weightlifting routine. I have done The New Rules of Lifting for Women on and off but was getting bored. I'm now following her 12-week plan and really enjoy it. If you want to get into weightlifting, this is a great blog to start with!

xo, arielle


How to Use Sulfate Free Shampoo

Have you ever used a sulfate free shampoo and still have greasy hair? I definitely have. Before I went natural, I hated every sulfate free shampoo I ever tried because I was still a grease ball. What I’ve learned now, is there is an art to using them.
How to Use Sulfate Free Shampoo

Sulfates are what make traditional shampoos suds up. Why would you want to omit sulfates, though? They’re actually pretty bad for your hair. Sulfates are detergents that zap your hair of its natural moisture. They also rough up the cuticle, making your hair appear duller. Who wants that?? Even if you’re not “crunchy” you really should consider changing your shampoo.
If you have a sulfate free shampoo, you actually can get it to suds up a bit. I need the suds to make it more viscous, so I can spread it around my scalp more easily. 
To achieve this:
1.       Put a small amount of shampoo in your palm (pea to dime size).
2.       Spread it over our hair as if you’re coating it. Don’t try to work it in.
3.       Rinse
4.       Now repeat, but increase the amount of shampoo to your normal dosage. 
5.       Spread onto your hair and work it in using your fingertips. You will need to work it a bit more than your regular shampoo. This time it should suds a bit and spread more easily.

If you’re still having some issues, try putting a few drops of water in the shampoo before applying it to your hair. 

Hope this helps you to love your sulfate free shampoos!
xo, arielle


The Fresh 20 Review

A few months ago, I posted about The Fresh 20 on my Instagram. I know many of you were really curious about it, so I thought I would do a full review and info post about it.

In the fall, I was looking up meal delivery services because I was wanting healthy, easy meals. I stumbled upon The Fresh 20 in my search. 

The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service. You still do all the shopping and cooking. Every week you get a 5 day meal plan using 20 fresh and seasonal ingredients. There is a different meal each day. At the beginning of the week you spend an hour or so prepping all of the meals so that during the week the full meal can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.

You can sign up for the Fresh 20 online. They have a ton of different meal plans based on your dietary needs (gluten free, paleo, vegetarian, etc). The cost is $5/month. They have a 3 month or annual membership. They have sales and groupons all of the time for extra savings.

The Fresh 20

I chose the classic meal plan and did a 3 month membership. Each Friday, you're suppose to get an email that details the week's plan. Don't rely on that, though, because I only got the email every other week. If you do the 3 month, you can look at the past 3 weeks worth of meals. If you get the annual, you have full access to all past meals. You can also easily save the plans as a PDF to your computer.

The meal plan looks like this:

The Fresh 20

The weekly plan includes the menu for the week, your shopping list, a prep day guide and the recipes for each day. I would go shopping on, prep and prepare my first meal on Sunday (I try to cook Sunday-Thursday). There is a different meal every single night that can feed up to 4.

Here are some photos of our meals (they're all from instagram, so I'm sorry about the quality!):

The Fresh 20

What I liked about The Fresh 20:
  • easy and convenient, I loved having a shopping list right at my finger tips and all of the meals planned
  • cooking didn't take long, probably 30-45 minutes
  • I tried a lot of techniques, ingredients and recipes I probably would have never done before
  • fresh, seasonal ingredients
  • cheap, our grocery bill was always around $70
  • some meals have become favorites for our home
What I didn't like about The Fresh 20:
  • WAY too much food for 2 people, we had so many leftovers and it was impossible to finish up everything. Eventually, I cut out 1 meal a week because we had so much extra.
  • I sincerely hate cooking 5 nights a week and I eventually gave up because it was getting overwhelming. 
  • some meals/weeks were really awful and you don't know until you get into it what it's going to be like
  • some ingredients are really hard to find and if you live in a small town, you're going to struggle to find them
  • the prep guide kind of sucks. There were times it was missing an ingredient that needed prepped and I would be missing it at the end of the week.
Who is The Fresh 20 good for:
  • people who love to cook
  • people who want healthy meals
  • people with families that will eat the entire meal that night
Who The Fresh 20 is not good for:
  • people who hate cooking
  • people who eat out a lot
  • people with constantly changing schedules (we may have a random work dinner come up that throws the whole cooking schedule off)
  • couples/singles (although they now have a singles meal plan that I'm curious about)
Overall, my experience with it is very mixed. I'm not signing up again but not because I dislike it entirely. I think this can be a fantastic option for families who want to prepare fresh, healthy meals every night. For me, it was getting too overwhelming to cook as much as I was and there was just too much food. Plus, I didn't like some of the week's meals which caused me to really not want to cook. 

I highly recommend watching for a groupon deal so you can try this out for yourself. It's worth it to be able to save the recipes on your computer. My friends did the paleo plan and liked it. However, they had the same complaints about too much cooking/food. Either way, if you can get a deal on it I would at least try it for yourself. It might end up being a great way to get healthy food. It just doesn't work well for our lifestyle. For us, freezer cooking works better so I'm going back to that. 

xo, arielle