Friday, September 30, 2016

Green Beauty Favorites

Being diagnosed with Lupus nearly 3 years ago changed my life forever in countless ways.  The first adjustment I made was to to switch my diet & make smarter choices to eat foods that would minimize inflammation & promote healing (read more here).  But I also began taking a much closer look at the chemicals I was exposed to every day through household cleaning products (I've switched exclusively to Norwex), skincare & beauty items.  When you start a journey like this, it can feel really overwhelming at first, so I chose to take it in small steps and change one thing at a time.  My philosophy is to cut down my exposure as much as possible in the areas where I can & to not stress over the rest. 

After months of trial & error, I am excited to share with you today some of the best green beauty products I've found. I am only featuring products that I have personally tested & feel confident recommending for you & your families. You can read my full reviews for each item below & please feel free to share in the comments if you've found something that you love & swear by - I'm still on the hunt for a natural deodorant that actually works!  Some of these are not 100% all-natural, so I recommend you read the labels closely & determine what you feel most comfortable with.  If I'm being honest, there are some anti-aging products that I use that aren't chemical-free, but they are so effective that I just can't give them up! 

I picked this up on a whim one day when I was searching for new hair products for my daughter.  I was so pleased with the results that I've repurchased them several times over - it gives hair a clean feel, natural shine & added bounce.  They also have volumizing & repairing products here and a line just for babies & kids here.

I won't lie & tell you this works as well as the It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara (which I am obsessed with), but if you are looking for a more natural option that will give you subtle definition, this certainly fits the bill.  I was surprised by the curl & volume it gave to my lashes and there was no smudging by the end of the day.

3)  Kiss My Face Pineapple Coconut Lip Balm
This is my absolute favorite chapstick - I buy it in bulk on Amazon to ensure I never run out.  The formula is so creamy & it actually penetrates the skin instead of simply sitting on the top layer + the scent makes me feel like I'm on a tropical vacation.  Other honorable mentions go to this peppermint chapstick & this fruity lip balm.

I love this for days when I'm going for a more minimal makeup look, but want to have just a little bit of color.  This isn't heavy or overly tacky and it gives lips a nice subtle flush - it also comes in four other pretty shades (here).  If you're looking for a better color payoff, this lipstick is a good one to try (Desire is my favorite).

Everything I've tried from this brand has been incredible - I was previously using a coffee scrub of theirs and switched over to this one instead because I was wanting a lighter scent.  It works well to exfoliate my skin without irritation and leaves it silky smooth right out of the shower.  Another great option is this firming body scrub or you can make your own at home using this recipe.

My skin personally responds so much better to sulfur than benzoyl peroxide (which causes peeling & redness). Sulfur is effective at drying up excess oil & it helps kill topical bacteria, which prevents acne from spreading.  If I feel a pimple coming on, I spread a light coating of this on top and let it set like a mask before bed.  By morning, it is noticeably smaller in size and, with continued use, it will usually disappear completely without aggravating the surrounding area.

7)  BeautyCounter Sea Salt Spray
I have naturally curly hair and try to avoid using the blowdryer as much as possible to minimize heat damage.  This spray is great to scrunch through my strands before air-drying to give it nice texture & body without feeling crunchy. Warning: a little goes a long way, so start small & apply more as needed.

8)  BeautyCounter SPF30 Sunscreen
We used this all summer long and I just had to buy another tube - it comes out a little runny at first (especially if it's been sitting in a hot car), but it blends in easily and doesn't give you that greasy-all-day feeling.  I also like that it has a nice clean scent and doesn't smell like traditional sunscreen lotions.

This seems like a random product to mention here, but since we are a family who loves to spend time outdoors, it's essential to have a good bug spray!  Most of the commercial brands contain really toxic, harmful ingredients so I was happy to discover that this one is just as effective without all the nasty chemicals.  This isn't a spray & go solution, though - once you spray it on, you'll want to rub it in really well for complete coverage.

If your skin gets really dry in the colder weather, this is the solution for you!  It feels a bit greasy when you first put it on, but after a few minutes, it will absorb into your skin & make it feel amazing.  SkinFix is another great affordable hand lotion that I used all through the winter last year & was really impressed with.

This is the first product I've tried from this brand & I've only been using it for a couple weeks, but so far I'm loving the results.  It doesn't strip the moisture from my skin, like other clay masks I've tried, so I end up with a radiant glow after each use.  I'm anxious to try out a few more items from this line to see how they stack up - if you've tried some of them, please let me know your thoughts!


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Welcome Fall

It's no secret that fall is my favorite season - if you've been following my blog for a while, you know that layering is one of my favorite ways to add interest to my looks.  And, if you're new to my site, then get ready to see lots of layered outfits in the months to come!  I picked up this rust-colored sweater last week and couldn't wait to mix it with other autumn-hued pieces from my closet (I added a silky square scarf on top to give it a more modern feel).  

When wearing a thin knit over a button-down like this, I use a simple styling hack to eliminate bulkiness: layer a seamless fitted cami (this one is my favorite) over the button-down shirt & then put on your sweater.  This smooths out any bumps & prevents wrinkles & bunching from showing through your top layer + it helps keep everything in place so you aren't tugging at your shirt all day long.

What I'm wearing:
H&M Sweater, Old Navy Shirt (similar), Forever 21 Scarf (similar here or here), Vintage Skirt (similar), 
Dolce Vita Boots (similar here or here), Warehouse Bag (identical), House of Harlow Earrings (similar), 
c/o InPink Ring, Nails: Sally Hansen Rupee Red, Lips: Kat Von D Lolita II


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

20 Under $20

It's hard to believe that September has nearly come & gone and that a new month is almost upon us.  Anyone else feel like the last 30 days just flew by?!  Now that the fall weather is finally here to stay, I'm excited for the beginning of layering season.  I've scoured the internet for the best deals possible & pulled them all together to share with you today.  Everything you see here is $20 & or less, which means you can update your autumn looks without breaking the bank!



Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sophisticated Lace

I grew up with a mother who was much more interested in interior design & home decor than she was in keeping up with the latest clothing trends.  But, she recognized my love for fashion early on & encouraged it by letting me play dress up in vintage clothing and continually experiment with my own personal style.  Regardless of the different phases I went through (some of which make me cringe now!), the one lesson she taught me was to always dress like a lady.  

So, even when I'm embracing trends or trying something new, I repeatedly hear her voice in the back of my head.  I think that's why I tend to shy away from anything that is really short, low-cut or form-fitting from head-to-toe. And, now that I have a teenage daughter of my own, I want to set the same example for her & teach her that she can look & feel beautiful without wearing clothing that's too revealing.  I believe the key to dressing ladylike while keeping things modern is all about balance.  For example, this lace pencil skirt is a timeless piece, but pairing it with this bell-sleeve blouse & these leopard pumps gives it an updated feel.  It's a polished combination that incorporates some of my favorite textures & fall colors.  

This look is from the latest Eva Mendes Collection from New York & Company - I love this line because everything is sophisticated with an on-trend twist.  It's full of classic silhouettes that flatter a woman's shape & it's all affordably priced, which makes it even better!  I'd also recommend this bouclĂ© cardigan (great for dressing up a basic tee & jeans), this burgundy skirt (ideal for the office) and this fit-and-flare dress (perfect for those upcoming holiday parties!).  They do carry some of these pieces in store, but if you're ordering online, I found that most items ran true to size (though I always recommend reading reviews to be sure).

What I'm wearing:
c/o Eva Mendes Evie Bell-Sleeve Top, c/o Eva Mendes Emma Lace Skirt
c/o New York & Company BagEarrings & Ring


Thank you to New York & Company for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Weekly Top Finds

Just popping in quickly to share the details of an amazing sale that Macy's is having today!  You can get 20% off your purchase using code STYLE (some exclusions apply) + you'll earn $10 Macy's money for every $50 you spend!  This fringe top that I wore here is now under $20 & tons of their athletic shoes are on sale - love these, these & these.  Here are a few more of my top picks:


Friday, September 23, 2016

Everyday Runway

One of the main reasons why I started my blog nearly 6 years ago was to help encourage other women to look & feel their best.  I've always believed that when you put on clothes that make you feel pulled together, you have more confidence.  I found this to be true when I was a stay-at-home mom and my kids were little - even if we were just running to the grocery store or walking to the park, putting on a cute outfit and a little makeup helped boost my mood for the day.  And, now that I work full-time from home, I notice a big difference in my own focus & productivity when I actually get dressed & ready each morning (as tempting as it is to stay in my pajamas). 

As much as I loved watching the playback of all the runway shows from NYFW, most of those looks (while beautiful) aren't accessible for me & they aren't really wearable for the average woman.  Which is why I was excited to hear about the new Kohl's Everyday Runway campaign, that's promoting the idea that you can still show off your personal style while going about all your regular day-to-day activities & staying on a budget!  Whether you're running errands, walking the dog or meeting up with friends for coffee, there are lots of affordable ways to express your personality through the clothes you wear & flaunt your strongest assets.  So today I'm sharing two new looks based on this concept & highlighting some versatile fall pieces that will easily update your style for the season. Right now you can get 15% off any amount with code BIGSAVER or 20% off $100 with code SUPERSAVER + you'll earn $10 Kohl's cash for every $50 you spend!


I'm pretty sure there's nothing more comfortable than a cozy knit poncho.  The cabled detailing on this one makes it look more like a hybrid between a poncho & a sweater (it also comes in 3 other colors).  I love the ankle-length of these jeans, which makes them perfect for wearing with higher shaft boots so you don't have to worry about that awkward bunching or rolling them up.  They also have a cool raw-edge hem that gives them a modern vibe.  This poncho would also be cute layered over a plaid button-down shirt with black leggings & riding boots.

What I'm wearing:


I've mentioned this before, but feminine blouses are a big trend for the season - this chic white bow top is such a great versatile option.  Try layering it under a v-neck sweater with the bow-tie pulled out on top; wear it under a moto jacket with jeans for a little edge or tuck it into a pencil skirt with pumps for a ladylike look.  I'm partial to this sweater vest, which is great for those of you who live in warmer climates and can't pull off a thicker boyfriend cardigan just yet.  I'd also dress this vest down by styling with a striped long-sleeve tee, denim & leather sneakers.

What I'm wearing:
Thank you to Kohl's & ShopStyle for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & all items were hand-selected by me.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cozy Knitwear

I briefly mentioned about my sweater fiasco last week (some critters got into our basement & destroyed several of mine that were in storage).  After that, so many of you emailed me & mentioned that you were also looking to replace old knitwear that is past its prime.  So I decided a thorough round-up was in order to help you find what you're looking for.  I've compiled the best neutral options I could find at varying price points for every budget.  I chose to break these down by category - I personally believe every woman needs a classic cable-knit, a cozy cardigan, a striped crewneck & a sweater with some unique details.  I've also included additional styles in some pretty fall colors in the scrolling bar below!




Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ruffled Sleeves

Ruffles & bell sleeves are both big trends for the season and I already have a few blouses in this style...but when I came across this sweater, it was love at first sight.  I scooped it up a couple weeks ago during a sale & was so happy that our weather cooperated so I could wear it.  Even though it's a cable knit, it's very lightweight & it comes in 5 pretty colors - it would be great dressed down with jeans or paired with a pencil skirt.  I layered a silky peplum tank underneath to give it an even more feminine sophisticated feel.

What I'm wearing:
J. Crew Sweater (recommend sizing down), Who What Wear Top (last seen here; similar here or here), 
Banana Republic Pants, Sam & Libby Pumps (similar here or here), Similar Bag here or here
BP Lace Choker, House of Harlow Earrings (similar), Lips: c/o Rimmel London (#48)



Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Q&A: How To Wear Duck Boots


I wanted to revive my Q&A series from last year because I've been receiving quite a few requests for style advice & there are a few topics that I think will be helpful to share with all of you.  Today I'm tackling a question I've been asked a lot this season: what to wear with duck boots.  These are a classic fall staple that are a great alternative to knee-high rain boots.  I recommend wearing these with skinny jeans, pants or leggings.  If you're opting for jeans, you can either pair them with cropped denim, roll up the hem of your jeans & wear marled socks or tuck your jeans into the boots.  I've put together a few casual looks below to help provide some outfit inspiration and, if you don't want to invest in the original L.L. Bean duck boots, I've also included some budget-friendly look-alikes.  Be sure to keep writing in with your questions or let me know if there's something you'd like to see by commenting below!



Monday, September 19, 2016

Chic Neutrals

Even though I try to force myself to branch out & embrace bold colors every now & then, I'll admit that I'm a neutral-lover at heart.  I personally find these classic hues to be the easiest to wear, extremely versatile & endlessly chic. You may remember last month when I first shared about the limited edition collection from Charming Charlie x StyleWatch Magazine (see the full post here).  Well, I'm excited to share with you today that they've just launched a new batch of fall styles for this line that are amazing!  

I had the chance to hand-pick my favorites and I put them all together into a casual-meets-sophisticated fall look. This olive saddle bag instantly caught my eye & it's even more gorgeous in person.  I love how the gold hardware detail gives it a high-end feel + it's just the right size to carry every day (matching wallet here).  Other crossbody bags I'd recommend are this studded style & this saddle bag.

I find that I tend to wear more pendants this time of year, so I was thrilled when I saw this beaded spade necklace - it's the perfect style for wearing with more casual tops & sweaters to add a little polish.  I also picked up this velvet choker & this sleek bolo necklace, which I plan on layering together for a cool modern feel.

I love when I can find neutral basics with interesting details that help elevate them.  This pretty crochet-hem top can also be worn off the shoulder and, thanks to the longer length, I'll also be able to wear it with leggings (it comes in navy blue too!).   This marled sweater is another great twist on a casual style - I'd pair it with cropped ankle pants & pointed-toe flats.  Though the sleeveless trench I'm wearing here is an old thrifted find, warmer options to try for fall are this fringe vest & this cozy reversible vest.  You can view the entire Charming Charlie x StyleWatch Collection here & be sure to share your looks on social media using #StyleWatchCC to be automatically entered for a chance to win weekly prizes!

What I'm wearing:


Thank you to Charming Charlie for kindly sponsoring this post.
All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.