July 12, 2018

My Latest Skincare Favorites

With my wedding coming up, and also being a year-round beauty and skincare lover all of the time, I have been really focusing on my skin lately. I feel like I have finally found a routine with products that I genuinely love and see results from, and it has been a long time since I have felt that way! I didn't want to give you the entire skincare rundown today (we would be here all day), but speak about newer add-ins I have been using and loving. For reference, my skin is crazy. I have dry-to-combo skin that is pretty sensitive, but these products have brought some balance to my face.

Holy cannoli, this stuff is a game changer! I started using it after my sister's dermatologist recommended it to her, and I am obsessed with it. For me, I have seen results with this product brightening my skin, and preventing bumps/breakouts (two of my main skin concerns). The directions say to apply it AM/PM, but since my skin runs on the drier side ( and this product is a smidge drying), I have been using it at night after cleansing, only. It really has been my favorite new product, and at only $7, it's a steal for great skin!

Shoutout to all of the facial-sunscreen freaks out there (more on that later). My body always has more color than my face, also due to self-tan (more on that later, too). This amazing serum from Coola not only is crazy-hydrating due to the hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and argan oil it contains, but it also adds a light tan to my face. This helps my face match my body (LOL) and even out my skin tone. Plus it's natural and smells like coconuts. I used this last year and had to grab it again this year! It's definitely my summer must-have

This is a broad favorite right here, because I love SO many things that this range has to offer. Let's start with the Hydro Boost Eye Gel Cream. I use it day and night and just love the cooling and hydrating sensation of this cream under the eyes. I feel like it makes a visible difference in under-eye dryness, and have not found an eye-cream that I love more! The Hydro Boost Multi Vitamin Serum Booster is also amazing. I use it in the morning before I put on moisturizer. It has vitamins, antioxidants, and adds an extra boost of hydration that my skin drinks right up. To top off the serum, I use Hydro Boost Gel Cream. Like the eye cream, it cools down my skin and makes it feel so hydrated - like it just took a gulp of water! Since it's a gel-cream, it's also really light and perfect for daytime! I only use it during the day since I need something heavier-duty at night, but it has been my perfect daytime cream.

I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted to wear sunscreen during they day, it could not be in my daytime moisturizer. For some reason, combining the two together broke me out terribly. Heck, even regular sunscreen on top of my moisturizer break me out terribly. Not this one. Just like the other members of the Hydro Boost Fam, this sunscreen is moisturizing, nourishing, and of course protecting! This stuff feels so unlike a sunscreen and more like a gel, that's it's truly enjoyable to use. It's also nice to know I am getting premium sun protection to keep my skin bright and unwrinkled!

This is my option to self-tanning my body without using a harsh self-tanner that makes you super dark overnight. This body moisturizer is very moisturizing and adds the most natural tan-glow I have ever gotten from one of these products! It even has the tiniest, tiniest specs of shimmer in the lotion that is very flattering on the skin in the sun (or a bikini)! As someone who has used every option of gradual tan moisturizer on the market, this one is hands down the best of the best! I apply using it with a tan mitt, a tip I got from my mom. Thanks, Mom!

July 10, 2018

Our Engagement Photos

A few months ago we were so excited to have our engagement photos taken by the extremely talented Mark Nagel of Nagel Portraits. We took photos at locations that really meant a lot to us - Broadway Cafe (a spot we constantly are at for coffee), Mill Street Records, and Max's grandma's farm in the pastures and with our horses. We couldn't be more thrilled with the photos and really do love them so much! Here are a wash of our favorites below:

April 30, 2018

My 3-Day Juice Cleanse Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to try something that I have never tried before, a 3-day juice cleanse! It sounds insane, but I have just always wanted to do one, and I knew I could never be able to do it if Max was in town (he eating regular food while I am cleansing would just be too much of a temptation for me!). He ended up having a 3 day long work trip and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a cleanse.

What did the cleanse include? 
I did some research and was most drawn to the T.Loft cleanse a) because they are close to my house which made daily pick-up super easy and b) they include a small salad and protein ball in their cleanse program and I knew that would help so much with the experience.
The cleanse included 5 juices- 2 orange and 3 green, as well as the peanut butter protein ball and small salad. It also included instructions of exactly when to drink which juice, which honestly was so helpful. This also made my day totally fly by at work because every two hours, it was time for another juice!

Day 1

The first day was honestly so easy. I think I was on an "I'm trying something new and exciting" high and really enjoyed the process. I truly wasn't really hungry at all until night time. The last juice is supposed to be drank around 6PM so around 9, I truly felt so, so hungry. I made the mistake of eating the protein ball too early in the day, so I decided to save it until later as a dessert/something to help me stay full.
Something else I did, was call T. Loft and request no more cucumbers in my cleanse. I HATE cucumbers. They are truly my least favorite food of time and they were included in two juices and the salad. Honestly, I was fine with it in the juices, but once I cracked open that salad and saw a bed of cucumber slices, I just couldn't take it any more. The requested for no cucumbers had been made and all-in-all, besides being starving before bed time, I felt pretty great with day 1.

Day 2

So this is the day that everyone says you feel like you're on a high and I couldn't agree more! I felt amazing. I even did a light workout that evening and I felt awesome. Also, without the cucumbers, I was just generally happier. I also saved the protein ball to eat around 8 pm and it was life changing. Day 2 was seriously the best day of the cleanse.

Day 3
I think day three would have been worse if it wasn't the last day, but since it was, I was feeling alright. I will say, my skin on day 3 was POPPIN'! Like my skin had never looked so great in years, so that was really cool. By the end of this day, I was so over it though. I was hungry and just wanted a hot meal. I persevered since it was my last day, but I not only was just generally over it, I started getting horrible stomach pains around 3 PM. The salad helped a little but I was not into feeling those awful cramps. That was killer.

The Aftermath

Would I do the cleanse again? Maybe. I will say, it was really enjoyable, but it was also enjoyable to eat a hot, meal with some meat in it the next day. I did lose some weight (I have kept about half of it off because I'm sure it was mostly water-weight) but overall, I do think it reset me to thinking way more about what I put in my body regularly. My skin freaked out about 2 days after the cleanse was over and I started eating normal food, so I have been trying to figure out what in my diet causes these breakouts. I'm thinking the culprut is dairy.
* Update, it's been about a month, and my skin is totally back to normal.. diary and all.

If you're looking to do a cleanse, I think T.Loft is the way to go! I would not have been able to survive without that salad and protein ball every day, and they were very encouraging throughout the process.

March 20, 2018

Essential Oils - My Latest Wellness Obsession

If you guys are long-time readers of my blog, then you know that I absolutely love fragrance! A while ago (like a long while ago) I had a friend turn me on to essential oils as a way to provide fragrance in my home. I loved the pleasant and soothing scent it provided in my space and I just really enjoyed it as much, if not more, than burning a candle. After a couple of years, my love for oils has become a full-blown obsession! I have a diffuser at home and at work, I am just in love with using different blends to change up my atmosphere and provide gorgeous scents within my space.

I've kept this under the radar for a while, but because of my love for oils, I technically am a Young Living Oil distributor. Don't worry, this blog isn't turning into an oil blog, but oils are a part of my health and lifestyle, so it only makes sense to include them in posts on here or other social media. I thought I would go ahead and answer a few common questions I get asked (mostly at work when co-workers notice I am diffusing oils in my office):

What are essential oils?
Essential oils are pure extracted oils from plants or herbs. That is why so many of the scents are more on the natural side. The potency of these oils provide highly concentrated benefits from the plants, so you are getting the highest amount of benefits as you possibly can (i.e. relaxation, energy, stress relief, etc.) There should be caution when choosing which oil brand you use. Many brands out there use additives or mix different oils together without being fully transparent, so you could be paying for product that isn't as highly concentrated as it should be. This is why I did a ton of research and really trust Young Living's process and standards. You can read about that here.

What do you use oils for?

Oils can typically be used in three different ways: topically, aromatically (diffused) or internally. Scent-wise I love the way they make my space smell because they are light, fresh, and do not make me feel sick or nauseous like many candle or wax scents do. I work at a hospital, and they use essential oils for aroma therapy with the children seen here, and so far the patients and families have really been loving the benefits the oils provide. Aromatically is my favorite way to use oils, but I have been using some topically lately for things such as headache or muscle soreness. I haven't taken a huge plunge in ingesting oils, but I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy using the lemon oil in my water on occasion, or take a drop of peppermint to freshen my breath once in a while.

What are your favorite oils?At the moment I am loving the following:
Lavender: I love diffusing this at night to help us relax and sleep. It really does help us fall and stay asleep, as well as it just smells so amazing. I've always been a huge lavender fan, and this one smells so pure and incredible.
Peppermint: I am prone to headaches and nausea, and peppermint really helps me with combating that. I love using peppermint in all different ways! I diffuse it, place it on my temples and neck when I have for headache relief and take the vitality option internally if I need a quick breath freshening. Peppermint oil is really my best friend!
Thieves is known as a bacteria fighter, so it helps keep you healthy and from getting sick! I have seen many studies where Thieves has done better job at fighting bacteria than popular name-brand home cleaners, so it's kind of amazing! Also, it smells really cozy and spicy, I love diffusing it for immunity and the amazing scent.
We love roasting veggies in our house, and diffusing purification after dinner completely cuts through and eliminates and stinky-veggies scents that linger. It's such a fresh and awakening scent, it's one of my favorite to diffuse at any moment!

That is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the oils I am loving at the moment, but I am becoming more obsessed by the minute! If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me.  I'm happy to help out or answer any questions you may have, as well as give you some tips on how you can save money when purchasing oils.

If you are thinking you want to start using essential oils, I think the starter kit is the best option. It's how I got started, and you get so much bang for your buck. The starter kit comes with Young Living's top 11 essential oils (all 4 I have listed above included!), plus a diffuser and many samples. The kit is $160 but when you break that down by 11 oils PLUS the diffuser, you are getting a ton for your money. Plus you get a wholesale membership for an entire year, which lets you grab oils for even cheaper! When you click “next,” it will have you confirm that I’m your mentor (Sponsor & Enroller ID 13799943), and then you pick your kit. The standard kit should already be selected for you, but you can make changes if you would like. You can check out the starter kit here! You also can just buy oils as needed if you prefer to do that, but if you think you may become obsessed, the starter kit is really the way to go.

Again, I'm not here to push oils on you guys, but they are a part of my "wellness life" and I want to be able to share them with you. Let me know if you are interested or if you already use oils! I'd love to hear your favorite uses and exchange ideas :).

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