Things I Love
I am super picky about what I use and reccomend—I want high quality, whole ingredients, and I want my products to be clean, easy, and affordable. I’ve spent the last two years as a researcher and health writer, so I know my stuff!
If you use one of my links below to visit Amazon, Amazon will thank me with a few pennies for helping you find great stuff on its site. Not all of the links are “affiliate” links, however :).
Bye Acne, Hi Glowing Skin!
Acne used to be the bane of my existence, but NOW I GET COMPLIMENTS ALL THE TIME ON MY GLOWY SKIN!
After trying almost every natural and unnatural product known to mankind (everything from Rodan + Fields to tea tree oil), I stumbled across research on cortisol, the stress hormones. Our bodies hormones are COMPLICATED, but what I realized is that my sugar intake and lack of consistent, quality sleep were causing my cortisol levels to stay at an unnatural high—and causing me to break out. I saw huge breakthroughs in my acne once I addressed those two things, but it wasn’t until I started using these products consistently that I started getting that glowing skin I keep raving about.
My Glow Routine:
Olive oil + lavender oil. I use my fingertips to massage olive oil + a drop or two of lavender oil onto my skin every night. Olive oil is anti-inflammatory, plus it’s extrememly gentle, moisturizing, and packed with skin benefits; lavender has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties which helps counteract all that extra cortisol. I apply extra massage pressure to any cystic pimples that are starting to form under the skin—this massage is often enough to soften and break up the cyst. Then, I use a warm, wet washcloth to gently remove the oil. My makeup comes right off with it; it’s a relaxing spa treatment every night! You probably have olive oil in your kitchen right now; you can use these adorable blue glass bottles with droppers to make it easy—and treat your face with these spa washcloths.
Niacinamide. Michelle has a really terrific article about niacinamide (niacin) here; in a nutshell, it helps with everything from acne to pore size to sun damage and won’t bother sensitive skin. I’ve used it now for the last six months, and I can barely see most of the pores on my nose, which is a HUGE improvement. I use the Good Molecules brand BECAUSE IT’S SIX DOLLARS. This brand also has no added synthetic fragrance (bad news) and seems relatively clean. Also it works, did I mention that?
Medicine Mama’s Apothecary Healing Skin Cream. The ingredients in this are SO minimal yet magic: organic olive fruit oil, organic beeswax, organic honey, propolis extract, bee pollen, and royal jelly. Any of these ingredients on their own have well-documented benefits to skin; I originally used this to clear up some eczema patches (worked beautifully) and now my husband uses it for his flaky/dry post-Accutane skin and I use it every night because it makes my face G-L-O-W in the morning!
Mighty Patch pimple patches. Developed by a female founder! Your pimple has to have a head for these to work, but these little hydrocolloid patches suck up all the nasty out of your pimple so it can heal practically overnight. Peeling them off is SO gross and SO satisfying.
Clean Makeup Solutions
After TONS of research, I have two basic strategies for choosing makeup and body care products—I either check the ingredient label to make sure they’re free of parabens, pthalates, and fragrance (these are the worst contenders—serious endocrine disruptors that wreak havoc) OR use the EWG’s (Environmetal Working Group) Skin Deep Resource to look up specific products or brands. It’s a terrific resource (they have an app!) that rates products with numerical and color ratings (green, yellow, or red). I try to stick with green, but will dip into yellow sometimes. I love the EWG because it utilizes actual data—and indicates where there’s an absence of data, so there’s no speculation or fear mongering. I hate fear mongering. I don’t use a ton of makeup, but I have found a few key, clean products that I LOVE—and I know how helpful that is! So, here they are:
Clean Mascara That Doesn’t Budge and is AWESOME
About a year ago, I started having this problem with mascara--it would run down under my eyes. After an hour it was cute and smudgy, after four hours most of it was under my eyes. Drugstore mascaras didn't work--plus they're full of nasty stuff. I tried Josie Maran waterproof mascara which was clean and lovely, but it just made a mess on my face. Somebody reccomended Thrive Causemetics mascara AND MY LIFE HAS CHANGED.
It's not on the EWG's Skin Deep Database (though lots of other Thrive Causemetics products are--and get good marks), but it is free of parabens, sulfates, fragrance, and--I believe--pthalates. PLUS--THIS IS WEIRD--it flakes off. So, it has the power and strength of waterproof mascara and doesn't budge an INCH, but it comes off easily with water, soap, or whatever you use. Not going to lie, sometimes I leave it on for two or three days. It is what it is.
I used somebody's referral code on my first order to save $10 and get free shipping--I would be THRILLED if you'd pass it on and use mine, as I will be buying this mascara for the rest of eternity. (PS I also bought the eye brightening stick--pretty terrific and REAL quick and easy).
Clean Drugstore Foundation AND Concealer? Is This Real Life?
I keep thinking this foundation can't be for real--a concealer and foundation that's inexpensive, lightweight but buildable, comes in a million colors AND is free of parabens, pthalates, and added fragrance????
But it is.
The Revlon Candid line is AMAZING. I've always had serious trouble matching my skin tone (I'm olive, but not a dark olive! Or a medium olive! A light olive!) but the foundations comes in--I kid you not--31 different shades. The Amazon listing has REAL good instructions for choosing your undertone. The line also has a concealer (I use the concealer daily--love it), setting powder, and even a hydrating primer. I'm telling you, it's the best kept secret ever.
The Holy Grail of Lip Stuff?
I love these Mineral Fusion lip things—great colors, sheer but still color, moisturizing, easy to find and try locally at Whole Foods, and EWG certified which means clean as a whistle! In fact, I’m wearing it in the photo at the top of this page.
Toys and Stuff!
Some things we love:
Too Many Monkeys. It’s hard to find kid games that don’t make me pull my teeth out and that keep my kids entertained; this is one! It’s—dare I say it?—FUN!
eeBoo Go Fish. Go Fish isn’t the funnest game ever, but you might as well play with a REALLY cute deck, amIright? Plus they double as a matching game that’s not uber complicated (looking at you princess matching game). Grab these genius holders for the littles.
Kwik Stix. AGH I LOVE THESE SO MUCH. They’re not messy like oil pastels, but they are just as inviting—I was coloring alongside my kids. The color they put down is SO EXCITING! Pair with some high quality paper or a butcher paper roll to up the ante.
Pipe cleaners. So far this afternoon my kids have made a full range of jewelry and a tiny backpack for a stuffed animal. I only got the Target pipe cleaner pack with like 24 pipe cleaners, and my kids are already arguing. Don’t be like me; get the 324 pipe cleaners.
Indestructible sand/water table. We’ve had this Step2 table for over five years and it is still in great shape, despite my kids’ well known penchant for DESTROYING EVERYTHING. We’re keeping it to use for baby #4. You can put sand or water in it (or both!). Or just put a storage tub on the back porch and fill it with water, ice, cups, spoons, sponges, squeeze bottles, spray bottles….
This is my fourth full-term pregnancy. I have tricks.
Spinning Babies is extremely helpful—the parent class is gold, especially if you really want to understand what’s going on with your body during pregnancy and labor.
My body was in bad shape after my third pregnancy—I had diastasis recti, an umbilical hernia, and severe pain throughout my abdomen. Because of limited access to a PT at the time, I relied heavily on Katy Bowman’s extremely helpful resources, as well as Peggy Brill’s exercises. My diastasis closed somewhat, but my hernia stopped presenting and I became strong and capable again—no more pain or incontinence.
After this pregnancy, I’ll be using Every Mother—it’s an app and exercise program designed to heal diastasis. I’m excited to try it—I had started it when I got pregnant, with great results.
I use arnica heavily while I’m pregnant. It’s completely safe, and it has brought me so much relief (my pubic joint has separated with my last two pregnancies—it hurts).
Foam rolling! This one is inexpensive but this one isn’t foam and can’t be picked apart by your children. Don’t ask. My chiropractor taught me to do it and it has been a godsend. You can find lots of videos on line for using foam rollers while you’re pregnant. It hurts so good.
These Kindred Bravely under-the-bump maternity underwear are HEAVEN inserts crying emojii. And I’ll be buying this nursing bralette (literally have never seen anything like it) and this nursing tank. Also, my beloved Knix now has maternity! Will be trying them as well.
Sleep, blessed sleep
My mom says I quit all naps at about a year old, which sounds about right. I’ve never liked sleeping; it’s just always been a challenge! But I had to start taking my sleep seriously after my third child was born—not sleeping well, or not getting enough sleep, was wrecking me mentally and wrecking my physical health. I did these things:
created a sleep routine (warm bath with epsom salt, no screens, calming oils in the diffuser, etc.)
started taking “naps”—even if it was just me laying down with my eyes close while the timer counted down ten minutes
dropped added sugar and gluten (which made me feel like a million bucks in the mornings) and started moving my body regularly (mostly just walking daily)
bought this AMAZING sleep mask (it’s like a weighted blanket for your eyes/face OMG—also great for migraines)
started taking Nature’s Calm (magnesium supplement—look at those reviews!!) AND coffea cruda every night before bed (the combination helps my brain RELAX—otherwise I have a real hard time turning everything off!)
Flu prevention, baby, and postpartum favorites coming soon!