Saturday, December 27, 2014

That Time Again

The packages have all been opened...

The snacks have all been eaten...

And Christmas 2014 is now just a happy memory.

2014 has been a good year for us, and I'm hoping 2015 will be even better...we have much to be grateful for and many things to look forward to in the coming year.

I hope you've had a lovely holiday so far, and that the New Year will bring you Health, Happiness, and Joy!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Green Beauty Gift Ideas

Can you believe that Hanukkah started yesterday and it's nearly Christmas already?!!!  Honestly, I don't know where the time goes, but here we are, knee deep in one of the most hectic times of the year.

During the holidays, we are often so focused on giving to others that we completely forget to take care of ourselves, leaving us tired and sometimes even a little cranky when it's all said and done.

This year I have made sure to not only focus on those I love, and those in need, but to also do a little self loving along the way.

After years of eating green and as healthful as possible, it finally dawned on me that maybe what I was putting "on" me wasn't helping me to feel my best.  About six months ago, I started my quest into the world of green beauty, and for those of you who haven't gone there yet, be prepared, it's a happy rabbit hole to fall into, but also a confusing one.

I decided that for my birthday, which was on the 8th, and for Christmas, I would ask for products that keep me sane and feeling my best.  Listed in this post are just a few of the beautiful products available to green beauty conscious consumers, but I feel like they deserve a special shout out because of their wonderful ingredients, amazing results, and incredible customer service.

Stark Skincare's White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic will be a mainstay in my green beauty arsenal for many years to come.  It's my first foray into this wonderful company which is based in Canada.  White Willow has many healing properties and when  I apply this toner after washing my face, both morning and night, I love the way it tightens my skin ever so slightly and helps combat oiliness throughout the day.

It may be my first product by Stark, but it surely won't be my last!  I have my eye on their Neroli Midnight Oil!

Another great green beauty company I've come to depend on is Annmarie Gianni.  I dipped my toe into this company with their great sample kits awhile back.  You can order a small sample kit for $10 to see which one works best for you (I ordered 2) and then if you decide to order more of their products, they give you a $10 off coupon towards your purchase...score!  For each kit you order, you get a $10 off coupon, which is great!

I ended up mixing and matching full size items from each of the kits I purchased.  I picked the Herbal Facial Oil for acne prone skin...yes, I still have hormonal acne to deal with, but this oil is making that issue a thing of the past!  Some may not love the smell, it's a bit earthy, but I don't mind it at all, and the results are well worth it.

When I looked into green beauty, I found that nearly everyone was touting oils for pretty much any skin type.  For those of us with combination skin, or who are acne prone, the idea of putting oil on your face is a frightening concept, but I'm here to tell you that it works!  Some oils work better than others for certain skin types, so having the ability to sample products is a great way of not making a costly mistake.

The herbal facial oil is my go to after I cleanse and tone, and it is a perfect moisturizer for both day and night.

My daughter gave me an Annmarie Gianni gift card for my birthday, so I indulged in two more products I'd had my eye on.  The Annmarie Dead Sea Facial Scrub seemed to get high praise from beauty bloggers and regular folks like me alike, so I ordered it.  Let's just say that I've been a little remiss in exfoliating with scrubs, but that is now a thing of the past.  This stuff is amazing!

It leaves my face feeling like buttah!!!...smooth, hydrated, and oh so touchable.  Really, I balked at the price, but after looking at the ingredient list, and trying to source stuff on my own, it just  made sense to order it, and I haven't regretted it for one minute.  It's another must have for me now.

I also ordered the Annmarie Gianni Neroli Toning Mist. I had received it in one of the sample kits and I was really sad when it ran out.  The smell alone is worth the ticket of admission.  Neroli is supposed to be wonderful for smoothing fine lines and has aromatherapy properties which bring about a sense of calm and well being.  I can attest to the calm and well being, and I'll keep you posted about the reduction in wrinkles and fine lines as I haven't been using it long enough to comment on that.

If you want to indulge your senses, and you love the smell of orange blossoms, this is the toner for you!

When it comes to make up, I am like a stick in the mud, using the same products for years.  It also seems like it takes me years to go through the make up I buy as I don't wear a ton of it, so mineral make up had always appealed to me for that reason.  The issue I've had with mineral make up is that it can often leave you looking dry (yet oily if that makes sense?!), cracked and it can emphasize fine lines if you're a bit older, but that issue has been solved with Alima Pure Mineral Make Up.

I found this company while searching for green foundations through the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep site...can I tell you how much I love and have referred to this site?!  Alima Pure kept coming up as one of the best make up companies out there for using clean, green ingredients, and very few of them.

I love both their mineral foundation (I have a sample of the Magnolia and plan to buy the full size after the holidays), and their satin finishing powder.  They are both light, and give you a polished look without looking like you have on make up, my favorite.  I also have a sample of their eye shadow, and when funds allow, I'll be buying a full size of that as well.

But on top of producing great products, this company has it all going on from a customer service standpoint.  Before my daughter got married back in early October I was in desperate need of their products and I had a serious time crunch I was dealing with.  I called Alima Pure and they walked me through which product I needed, which color would best suit me, they sent me samples, AND they hand walked it through the shipping process to make sure it arrived in time for her special day!!!  I truly can't say enough good things about the way they treated me, and they have created a customer for life.

Ok, now onto one of my holy grail products!  Can you love a product so much that you want to buy it by the case?!  Yes, yes you can!

I stumbled upon Indigo Wild's line of ZUM products late at night while surfing the internet.  Their quirky line of products, with names like Dragon's Blood and Frankincense and Myrrh intrigued me, and I ordered several of their products.

This cost conscience line has a little something for everyone, but their gentle cleanser and rubs had me at hello.  The frankincense and myrrh Zum Rub is amazing.  I had read that it was really wonderful for preventing and controlling breakouts due to the healing powers of both of these special ingredients, but I worried about putting such a rich butter on my face.  That worry was quickly dispelled, and I now wear this every night and as a spot treatment over my face oil and under my make up.

The smell is rich and exotic, and even borders on a little bit masculine (if there is such a thing) but I love it, and feel like I'm missing something if I don't slather it on before bedtime.  I have been using this for quite awhile now and I've barely put a dent into the tub...a little goes a long way!  P.S. they also sell cleaning products and pet products.

Last but certainly not least is a little bit of heaven in a tube!

R. L. linden & Co. is one of those special companies that you expect to only find in a European spa or high end beauty boutique.  I haven't tried many of their products, but their handcrafted lip balms are the bomb!  Filled with only the best ingredients and with the most delicate rose scent, their balms are a healthy treat for lips, especially this time of year.  I bought several to use as stocking stuffers!

Their La Balmba Rosa Healing Rose balm isn't just for lips either.  You can also buy it in a jar and slather it wherever you need a little extra moisture.  The scent is heavenly and just look at that beautiful pale pink color.

R.L. linden & Co. is another company which ranks high up on the customer service scale.  I had the happy opportunity to speak to the owner Robin, and she was not only helpful, but incredibly friendly.  I plan to definitely check out more of their products very soon...especially their teas, since you know I have a thing for tea!

So, that is my green beauty gift guide, the short list.  I will share more about green beauty soaps, detergents, and shampoos in another post after the holidays.

None of the companies in the post have compensated me in any way, I truly just believe in their products and in their philosophy that people deserve healthy and natural products to use on their skin.

Now hurry up and let those around you know that you still have a few things on your holiday wish list!  Be sure to let me know if you buy any of these and if you love them as much as I do!