4 Ways I #GoComfy in my Cuddl Duds

What if I told you there was a ladies clothing brand that was made so versatile and so comfortable that you could wear it during any and every aspect of your life?  Well, there is, and I found it: Cuddl Duds.  You can wear it while lounging around the house, going for walks, playing with the kids, hanging out with friends, running errands, as a casual or dressy outfit, working out, sleeping, and more.  That about covers everything!  Cuddl Duds provides the ultimate warmth and cozy comfort with the perfect fit.  I’ll tell you specifically, 4 Ways I #GoComfy in my Cuddl Duds.

cuddlduds gray wrap

out and about running errands and visiting with friends

Cuddl Duds is perfect for layering and all their pieces can be mixed and matched with the rest of your wardrobe.  Over the weekend, I threw on a pair of jeans, a long sleeve white shirt, a pair of booties, and this Cuddl Duds Fleecewear Long Sleeve Wrap.  This is the first weekend that the weather was pretty chilly in St. Louis.  I’m definitely not a coat-lover, so I opted for this long sleeve wrap.

cuddlduds gray wrap hood

Since the weather was cooler, I threw up the hood and used the thumbholes – no need for hats and gloves yet!  The wrap is so comfortable, and it comes in black, too.  It matches every outfit.  I could easily throw it on top of anything I wear.  Yesterday I cuddled up with it on the couch because it’s like a wearable blanket, yet can look stylish at the same time.  Double win!

cuddlduds lounge

linking up with healthy diva

lounging around the house

My parents hosted Sunday breakfast yesterday.  I rocked Cuddl Duds Flexfit Leggings and Fleecewear Long Sleeve Half-Zip Hoodie.  Lounging around the house is possibly one of my favorite things to do.  Compliment that with Sunday morning, my baby, a cup of coffee, and some comfy clothes? Perfect!

And did you see my Facebook post about what other shenanigans ensued? 

cuddlduds walk

walking and playing outdoors

William was playing with Jacob and Jackson, so Audrey and I went outside for some fresh air.  The long sleeve half-zip hoodie was ideal as it kept me warm without being bulky.  The leggings give a nice pop of color and are very thin and stretchy.  I do think the brand runs a tad on the bigger size, so take that into consideration when ordering / purchasing.  Macy’s is having a great sale now; all of the Cuddl Duds items are very reasonable!

cuddlduds fall fashion

stylish outfit

I debated whether calling this a casual outfit, but casual to me means leggings.  I was wearing jeans here, so really, for me, this is a more dressed up outfit.  But I know most people get dressed on a more regular basis than me.  I’m wearing the same half-zip hoodie, but this time I paired it with jeans and threw a plaid scarf on over it.  Like I’ve said before, I love how versatile all of Cuddl Duds items are.  The fleece is incredibly warm, and all pieces are very comfortable which is a must.  Other toddler mommas out there know how important comfort is in getting dressed; we’re all over the place with the kiddos!

There are other items that are on my wishlist, like the Softwear Lace Leggings.  A brand that specializes in comfort, functionality, and style combines everything you could ever want in clothing!

What types of clothes are you living in these days?

Non Toxic August Specials

Is it Friday yet?  I try to stay positive, but this week has wiped me out.  I woke up Tuesday morning feeling absolutely sick, so I had to call into work – something that usually only happens once or twice a year.  I slept the great majority of the day and night, and felt mostly better yesterday, but had to play catch up at school.  I still felt run down, but have been going to bed earlier, and am getting my energy back.  It’s amazing what sleep (or lack of) will do for you, am I right or am I right?

So just wanted to pop in today and share the Non Toxic August Specials before the month is over.  I’ve been getting tons of emails inquiring about them and I think it’s one of the best I’ve seen yet, so definitely hop on it while it’s still available!  Don’t forget, I do offer free shipping, so email me when you’re ready to place your order.

As you know, I’m an Ava Anderson Non Toxic Independent Consultant.  I’ve slowly switched my entire skin care over to AANT, and am loving it.  Each month, I’ve added a couple new products to try, and as I use them, I realize they’re keepers.  Ava Anderson is overtaking my bathroom counter!

avaskin

My newest obsessions are the avaSKIN moisturizing mask and the avaSKIN night serum.  I bought the blemish stick, but I’ve literally never used it since my skin is so clear from my new routine.

Last month, I purchased the avaSKIN hyaluronic acid.  I use it every morning before moisturizing and it really brightens up my skin.  This month, you can get it for FREE with any $95 order or more.  This is the second month in a row that the special item is something I bought the last month haha.  Well, now I’ll be stocked up!  I’ve been using it over a month now, and have barely made a dent in the bottle.  These products go a long way because they’re so pure.

hyaluronic acid aant

I love that the hyaluronic acid protects against the UVB rays because, even though I constantly wear SPF, I’m outside a lot.  It’s an all around great product and it’s never too early to be proactive in protecting and taking care of your skin!  This pairs perfectly with the night serum too!

And since there were over 1,000 new consultants that joined in July (yes, 1,000+!!!), Ava Anderson created this awesome August only deal.  It’s a FREE “rewards-start now” product pack (almost a $75 value!) when you have two parties of $300+ in the first 30 days (not hard to do!).  Pretty sweet.

aant august special

And then because it’s August and it’s back to school time, here’s the back to school essentials poster, as well.  Something for everyone.

aant back to school

There ya have it.  You’re welcome. 🙂

Truthfully, the avaSKIN and the avaBABY are my absolutely favorite lines from Ava Anderson.  Without a doubt, they surpass any other brands I’ve used, not to mention they’re completely and truly non toxic and organic, which means I don’t have a worry in the world when using them on myself and baby William.

Check it all out HERE and email me for free shipping.  I do offer free shipping out of my own pocket because I believe it’s worth it and I want to get the products in your hands and make you an Ava Anderson lover, too!

What products have you been loving in August?

Plant Powered Products

When one of William’s wonderful teachers reached out and asked if I’d be willing to learn about, try, and review some Arbonne products, I was more than happy to oblige.  Today I’d like to share my review of what I sampled from Arbonne.

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I had to sneak in a super cute bath picture of my model, baby William!

The idea to provide skincare products unparalleled in quality and effectiveness developed in Switzerland in 1975, when one man, Petter Mørck, together with a group of leading biochemists, biologists and herbalists, fulfilled his vision and founded Arbonne.

Arbonne skincare products, based on botanical principles, became a reality in the United States in 1980 and are now shared throughout the world. Building on these same founding principles, the product line has since grown to include both inner and outer health and beauty products that are unparalleled in quality, safety, value, benefits and results.

First I tried the ABC Arbonne Baby Care line which included Hair & Body Wash, Diaper Rash Cream, and Body Lotion.  What I noticed about this line is that every product was incredible gentle, which is important to me for William.

arbonne

  • Hair & Body Wash: This stuff smelled good and I felt like it got William really clean.  The only thing I would change would be if it could come in a pump instead of a tube.
  • Body Lotion: I used this on a daily basis all over William’s body.  Like the wash, it smelled good.  Also, it was moisturizing, but not greasy whatsoever.
  • Diaper Rash Cream: I really liked this cream.  It went on thick and seemed to do the trick. When I went to change William the following time, he didn’t have any white residue on him. This seemed to be absorbed into his skin which helped his red bottom.

Each of these three products are just $20 each which seems to be very reasonable for the quality of product you are getting. Arbonne also has a sunscreen, and if you bundle the entire ABC Baby Care line, you get a better price.

Next up was the CALM Facial Skincare Collection.

arbonne calm skin

  • Daily Cleanser: I was really impressed by this. Sometimes I feel like “gentle” cleansers are so gentle that they don’t remove all my makeup at the end of the day. That was not the case with this. It truly cleaned my face and there was nothing harsh about it.
  • Daily Moisturizer: Again, I liked this. Like the baby lotion, it hydrated without being greasy. I do wish there was an SPF in it for daily use.
  • Soothing Eye Gel: This was awesome! I don’t have a huge problem with bags or under eye circles, but I do feel like this stuff gave me a little boost, especially in the morning.
  • Soothing Facial Serum: I don’t typically use a serum, so I didn’t know what to expect. I like this as it made my skin feel very soft, but not greasy.

Since I tried these products for just a few days, I can’t be sure if it really made a difference in my skin, but I did feel like my makeup was applied smoother when using this line. I like how it made my skin feel; I don’t think my face has ever been that soft!

When Emily gave me the Fit Chews to try, I was intrigued.  Candy that would give me energy? Hmm…

arbonne chews

They did give me a little boost when I ate them mid-morning. I tried three flavors: Lemon, Banana Coconut, and Caramel. You can buy a bag of thirty for $20.

Last was the Energy Fizz Sticks.

arbonne fizz

I liked these better than the fit chews, as I feel like they had more of an effect. They do contain a small amount of caffeine, but they didn’t give me the jolt as coffee does. Instead, I felt like I had more energy throughout the morning. Something else that I like about these is that it encourages more water drinking. They are pretty sweet, so I added one packet in my 32 ounce tumbler.

If you would like additional information on any of these products, or if you are interested in the business opportunity side of Arbonne, please reach out to Emily at emilyandjoshua2015 [at] gmail [dot] com. I assure you she is more than willing to help, and is a great resource!

Are you familiar with Arbonne? Which of these products most interest you?

Note: I tried these products free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

thinking out loud

Tomorrow is Friday! Tomorrow is Friday!  Yippee!  Let’s get through Thursday first, eh?  I’m doing a thinking out loud post today because I have lots of random things to share with you in the categories of Food, Beauty, Fitness, and Baby.  A little something for everyone.  Take a look:

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FOOD:

  • St. Louis just got its first Fresh Market.  William and I checked it out last weekend. It is a beautiful store with a lovely bakery, but honestly I was a bit disappointed. While they did have some good deals on sale items, overall it was more expensive (think: Whole Foods Market) than I anticipated.  I’ll be sticking to Trader Joe’s, but will definitely visit the Fresh Market on occasion (especially when I need a special treat from their bakery!).
  • Blake’s All Natural Foods just came out with several new meals.  For those of you unfamiliar, Blake’s makes frozen meals with REAL ingredients that taste great!  They’re not low-calorie or anything, but you don’t have to worry about funny chemicals being in there.  And while they’re not low-cal or low-fat, they are individually portioned and packaged, so it’s really not bad to eat once in a while.  Sometimes it sure beats cooking!  Their new meals include:
  • I tried to make my own banana soft serve last night.  It didn’t turn out.  I either didn’t do a good job or I left it in the freezer too long.  How do people get it so creamy? Mine was super icy.  Any recipes to share?
  • After reading Brittany’s Buckwheat, Millet, and Apple Breakfast Bake, I needed to make my own.  Mine included oats, apple, cinnamon, and raisins with a dollop of peanut butter on top.

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BEAUTY:

  • Did you know that Skoop makes a product called B-Lovely?  B-Lovely aids in muscle building, detoxify cells, repair collagen, and boost immunity, and provides relief on a cellular level through its many antioxidants and resveratrol.
  • A sweet reader named Danielle sent me some samples of Rodan + Fields.  She sent me a mini-facial which included:
    • ENHANCEMENTS Micro-Dermabrasion Paste: Woah, this stuff was intense! It left my face a little red after, but that was short-lived.  My face was super soft from using it!
    • REDEFINE Night Renewing Serum: Used directly after the paste, this was a very soothing thick cream.
    • REDEFINE Lip Renewing Serum: I’m picky about what I put on my lips, but this really moisturized them.
  • Danielle also sent me a week’s worth of the REDEFINE line.  The REDEFINE regimen consists of four products: Daily Cleansing Mask, Pore Minimizing Toner, Triple Defense Treatment, and Overnight Restorative Cream.  Danielle said I probably wouldn’t see results in just a week, but I think I did. My face was a lot smoother and softer, and it seemed like my makeup went on better, too.  I like that the Triple Defense Treatment contains SPF 30; I would definitely use that on a daily basis.
  • If you’d like to learn more about which Rodan + Fields regimen is right for you, e-mail Danielle at: dviolard [at] gmail [dot] com.

redefine

FITNESS:

  • I’m really sad that my ClassPass month expired. I had so much fun trying out new-to-me studios and gyms.  Since right now the weekends are the only time I can actually attend classes, I’ll probably take a break for the time being.  In the summer, I may sign up again.  But good news for St. Louis folks!  You can sign-up for $10 for one-week of unlimited classes –> HERE!
  • RUNNERS: There is a new shoe out there worth looking into: Night Runner 270° Shoe Light. The light connects to your shoes, has bounce protection, shines for 30 meters, and includes a rear-facing red tail light so you are visible to vehicles.
    • They need to raise $38,000 for the first round of manufacturing. The Kickstarter Campaign just launched. The actual price for a unit will be $69.95, but you can pre-order via Kickstarter at the $50 donation level.

BABY:

  • I’m pretty sure baby William is teething (again), so I ordered him a Banana Brush to chew on.  He’s been loving it, and I think it’s been satisfying some of his chewing needs.
  • A couple of times, I’ve caught William putting his teeth on his crib rails, so I quickly ordered crib rail protectors.  Can’t wait for those to arrive!
  • Thanks to teething, William has been sleeping worse than normal.  On Tuesday night, he was up from 3 – 4 a.m. Ouch.
  • And since I threw William under the bus about his poor sleep habits, I’ll pull a redemption card and show you a super cute picture of him from last week’s Dr. Seuss day at school:

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His outfit isn’t technically Dr. Seuss, but I thought it looked pretty good for what we had!

Share something about one of the categories from today: FOOD, BEAUTY, FITNESS, or BABY!

Affordable Gold Jewelry Trends for 2015

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Growing up, I had a strong dislike for gold jewelry.  I was all about the silver.  Now, I love gold jewelry.  Maybe because it’s more “in” now than it was before (is it? was it?).  Maybe because I had (have) no fashion sense.  Maybe because I thought it was old lady-ish back then, and now I am [almost] old lady-ish.  Whatever the reason, I like it now.  I’ve found several beautiful pieces lately that I’m loving and wanted to share with you.

affordable gold jewelry trends 2015

The first piece is from Jessica Barbara Studio.  It’s the Caged Pearl Necklace and is just $20. It’s the perfect touch to any outfit, and I just adore pearl and gold together.  It’s a longer necklace, so it compliments many different necklines.  It can be layered with other necklaces or worn by itself.

caged pearl necklace

While I don’t feel like I’ve got the greatest fashion sense, my sister is the total opposite.  She does and I covet her entire wardrobe and jewelry collection.  Just other day when I went to her house, I noticed she was wearing a new necklace.  As to not boost her ego, I kept quiet.  Well, we are sisters, and we do think alike, so sooner than later, she asked, “Do you like my new necklace?”  “Yes, I actually really like it,” I replied.  Then she reached in her pocket and pulled out another.

necklace

“Good, because I got you one.”

This necklace was featured on The Today Show’s “Jill’s Shopping Bag” and is of the shorter length.  Each time I wear it, I receive multiple compliments. It’s a chic piece to wear with casual outfits or a delicate necklace for fancier ensembles.

I’m not even kidding you when I tell you the next story.  Just a few days later when I was back at my sister’s house, I spotted a new ring on her finger and demanded to know where it was from.  “The same place as the necklace, and I got one for you, too, because I knew you’d like.”

ring

Sisters are the best.  I wonder how long this “I like it!”  “I got you one!” will last. 🙂

Both items are from Prima Donna – an online shop – “fashion just outside the lines.”  The Iris Initial Bar Necklace is $9.99 and the Pippa Pearl Gem Ring is $12.99. Can’t beat that.

The next piece is a definite favorite.  It was a Chanukah gift from my parents, picked out by my mom.  (My friends joke that anything trendy or fashionable I wear is either from my sister or my mom.  They’re right.)  Leather wrap bracelets are very in right now, and I love the brown leather with the gold monogrammed plate.

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This is from Pulse Boutique in St. Louis and I’m working to find out who makes it, so I can link here.  Since it was a gift (and I can’t find it online), I’m not exactly sure of the price. I do know it’s slightly more expensive than the previous few items I’ve shared, but it’s definitely worth it.  Treat yourself or treat a friend (or sister, daughter, mom, grandma!),  This isn’t going out of style anytime soon.

The last item I have for you today is a classic.  These Park Floral Stud earrings are from Kate Spade, but fear not, they’re on sale for $39.00.

earrings

These gorgeous earrings are ultra feminine, and the gold and pearl dress up whatever you’re wearing and are perfect for all ages.  My sister, my grandma, and I all have a pair (found first by my sister, obviously).

Gold is always an elegant color, can be worn year round, and a timeless classic.

What jewelry trends are you into right now? Do you love gold?

5 New Things to Love

Being off work for winter break has been fun. Sadly, I go back today. Since I had almost a couple of weeks off, I had lots of time to do some online shopping… which is becoming a habit… a very dangerous expensive habit.  I did all my holiday shopping online this year, which is how this got started.  (Way too hard to get out to a million different stores with a baby and battle crazy lines around the holidays.  Online was fantastic!)  I’ve found some great new-to-me products and sites that I want to share with you today.

Linking up with Clare’s Five Things Friday.

1.  Mindy Mae’s Market

mindymaes

One of my friends introduced me to Mindy Mae’s Market and I instantly placed an order!  The clothes are cute and so reasonably priced that I couldn’t resist.  From left to right, I bought the Polka Dot Chambray Button Down, Lounge Raglan Sweatshirt in Red Stripe, and Faux Leather Leggings (these are apparently a thing, right?).  My total was right around $50 which qualified me for free shipping – wahoo!  Plus, you can pay with PayPal which makes it even easier.

2.  iHerb

cleaning

Ok, so iHerb isn’t new-to-me, but the products I ordered are.  iHerb is awesome for so many reasons.  Their prices are the lowest, they’ve got a HUGE variety on tons of products, always free shipping over $20, and you can save an extra 10% on orders over $40.  Plus, they ship crazy fast.  I got my confirmation email and an email stating my order had been shipped on the same day.  No waiting around!  For the items I ordered this time, I was familiar with the brands, just not the specific items I purchased.

  • Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner in Lemon Verbena Scent: I use and really like their hand soap and am interested to see how the cleaner works.
  • Method All-Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner in Clementine: I use their dish soap, and my sister loves this surface cleaner.
  • Earth’s Best Tender Care Chlorine-Free Diapers: Earth’s Best is the brand of oatmeal I feed William.  He’s been soaking through his current diapers overnight, and I’ve tried two different brands, so I’m really hoping he stays dry at night in these!
  • BabyGanics The Grime Fighter All Purpose Surface Wipes Fragrance Free: I used to use this dish soap to wash William’s bottles and my pump parts when he was super tiny (now I use Method). I like how it’s fragrance-free, naturally safe, and nontoxic. I plan to use these to wipe down William’s toys.

Use my code VAJ523 to save money on your iHerb order! [affiliate link, thank you!]

3. Christen Michel Skin Care Line

christenmichael

When I attended the MizzFit Boxing at Sweat event, I was introduced to the Christen Michel Glow Skin Care Line.  We were gifted the Replenish spritz, and I loved it right away.  She sent me a couple of other samples to try out, and I’m definitely a fan.  The skin care line is designed for those in need of brightening and texture correction.  It’s paraben-free, cruelty-free, no dye, no faux fragrance, and no harsh chemicals.  The prices are average; they’re more expensive than drugstore products, yet less expensive than the really pricey stuff which makes them very reasonable, especially for the quality!  I used them for a week straight and noticed a difference in my face!

  • Strawberry Crush Polisher & BrightenerThis is the most  gentle yet effective exfoliating cleanser I’ve ever used.  And it smells amazing!  Normally I can’t exfoliate my face on a daily basis, but I was able to with this.  I liked using it in the morning to wake me up and brighten my skin for the day.
  • Replenished Daily SpritzI first used this after I had taken the boxing class because I didn’t feel like redoing my makeup. It definitely gave me the pick-me-up my face needed!  Platinum, oxygen, gold and silver are used to replenish your radiance & hydration all day as it may fade due to stress, exhaustion, too much caffeine or travel.
  • SkinQuench MoisturizerI use this oil-free cream at night before I go to bed. Especially in the winter, my face gets really dry and this cream feel great.

One or more of these products would make a lovely gift for your mom, grandma, sister, or friend.  You can buy gift cards or  “glow boxes.”  Treat yourself – your face will thank you!

4. Zulily

zulily hat

I know I’m late to the Zulily love, but wow, I love their items!  I ordered this BCBG ombre slouch beanie and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.  I also ordered Audrey an absolutely adorable winter coat for a Chanukah present.  Zulily has awesome brands and up to 70% off with new items everyday – a very fun way to shop online! [affiliate link, thank you!]

5. Victory’s Grin 

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Oh, you didn’t really think I’d do the whole post without a picture of baby William did you? 😉  One of my sister’s sweet friends, Mandy, sent us this Victory’s Grin “You Roll Poo Poo-trol” Baby Block Game.  The description reads, “Tired of being the one always on diaper “doody?”  Now, when “doody” calls, just roll the block to see who is on Poo Poo-trol!”  There are several different cute patterns to choose from, and it’s a fun, soft, squishable, tactile-pleasing block for baby.  There are even more items available on their Facebook page.  This would make a very unique and fun gift for a baby shower!

Any new-to-you items YOU want to tell ME about? What should I check out next?

Avocado and Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Hair.  We all want something different, am I right?  If we have curly hair, we wish for straight hair.  If we have straight hair, we long for curly hair.  My hair is naturally wavy, so I have to work for both straight and curly hair; it’s a blessing and a curse since I have to style it some how, but I do have the possibility of either which is nice.  And when I don’t feel like styling it, I have no problem throwing it into a ponytail, a bun, or rocking a headband or hat.  Hair products.  There are a million of them, if not more, for every hair type, hair color, hair length, hair style, etc.  Recently, Whole Foods Market Galleria reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil Shampoo and Conditioner that they carry in their Whole Body department.

Whole Foods Market believes the quality of the items and ingredients people apply to their bodies topically is as important as the foods and nutritional supplements they ingest.  With this in mind, they created a strict set of quality standards that all products must meet before they hit their shelves. (A complete list of standards can be found here.)

2chic shampoo conditioner

As I mentioned, I have naturally wavy hair which means I have to style it with heat frequently.  Because of this, my hair tends to be dry, so I do always look for products that will add moisture without weighing my hair down.  I was eager to try the 2 Chic Avocado and Olive Oil Ultra-Moist Shampoo and Conditioner because it claims to:

  • Conquers dry, damaged hair
  • Replenishes hair that feels dull, lifeless, and brittle
  • Deep-conditions for deep luster
  • Leaves hair smooth and supple
  • Silkens hair with softness and shine
  • Nourishes with vitamins and omega fatty acids
  • Helps prevent splits and breaks
  • Cleanses without stripping color
  • Lauryl and laureth sulfate free

Sign me up!  My hair could definitely reap all those benefits, so shortly after picking up the products at Whole Foods Market Galleria, I hopped in the shower and lathered up.  I always comb through my hair with conditioner in it because it’s bad to brush wet hair.  Since my hair is thick and long, it can get pretty tangled.  When the 2 Chic conditioner was in, I combed through my hair as I normally would before rinsing.  To be honest, my hair didn’t comb through very easily.  Some conditioners allow the comb to slide right through, and I had to work a little harder with this one.  I wanted to see the product all the way through before drawing any conclusions.  I didn’t use any additional product in my hair because I was curious to how my hair would be using this shampoo and conditioner.

The verdict?

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LOVE!  Truthfully, I am very impressed.  After blow drying and flat ironing my hair, I didn’t even need to use serum for my flyaways because I didn’t have any!  My hair is incredibly soft and it feels moisturized and healthy.  The scent of the shampoo and conditioner is mild, and my hair smells clean.  The cleanse is gentle and I’ve been running my hands through my hair all day because of how soft it is.

How about another bonus point?  It’s reasonably priced, too!  Hair products can be crazy expensive, as can items at Whole Foods Market.  WFM is selling 2 Chic Shampoo and Conditioners for $8.99 each, but get this: This weekend, they are on sale 2 for $10 in WFM stores throughout the US.  Now that’s a steal!

Have you ever tried 2 Chic Shampoo and Conditioner?  What do you look for in hair products?

Disclaimer: Whole Foods Market Galleria provided me with the product in exchange for my honest review.  No compensation was provided; all thoughts and opinions are my own.

five things friday

Hi and happy Friday to each of you!  After having a snow day on Monday, we are ending this week with sixty degree weather.  Thank you, Saint Louis!  I’m certainly not complaining though; I just hope itz here to stay. Anyway, today I’ve got five great topics to share about for Five Things Friday!  Let’s begin.

Workout

pregnant workout

It feels good to workout again!  This picture was actually taken in Mexico; I absolutely LOVE working out while on vacation.  I love checking out new gyms and I love working out with no schedule on my own time.  However, this was my last workout for a couple of weeks because I was sick and needed to let me body heal.  Last Saturday was my first day being truly active again. I went to the gym and participated in a water boot camp class which was awesome!  I swam way more than I had intended on and it was such a good workout. I’m planning on going back tomorrow, as well!  This week I’ve gotten in three treadmill workouts of two or three miles each time.  Itz just walking, but baby itz moving and being active and that feels good!

Blueberry French Toast Bake

blueberry french toast bake

I followed this Blueberry French Toast Bake recipe from Carrots ‘n’ Cake and it turned out delicious!  I made a couple of modifications based on the ingredients I had on hand.  I subbed chia seeds for almonds and dairy milk for almond milk.  It was so easy and I know I’ll be making it again.

Colgate® Optic White™ Toothbrush + Whitening Pen

colgate optic white

I received the Colgate® Optic White™ Toothbrush + Whitening Pen from Influenster and was eager to try as I’m a major fan of pearly whites.  I love whitening my teeth, but a product I used to use was discontinued and I haven’t been able to find one I like since.  My teeth get very sensitive from whitening products, so I have to be careful.  The Colgate whitening pen didn’t make my teeth sensitive at all! Win! Itz so easy, too; you just brush your teeth as you normally would and then click the pen a couple of times. A gel comes out and you spread it along your teeth and it basically dissolves within a couple of minutes.  My teeth felt brighter after just one use.  The toothbrush feels good to use and the pen part slides right in the end for easy storage.

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

yasso frozen greek yogurt

Yasso mailed me a coupon to try their frozen Greek yogurt bars.  They have between 80-110 calories and 5-6 grams of protein per bar depending on the flavor.  I picked up a box of their strawberry bars which were fantastic.  They came out with five new indulgent flavors: Mint Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cup, Chocolate Fudge, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, and Sea Salt Caramel. I was totally bummed that my grocery store didn’t carry these, but I will be all over the sea salt caramel and dark chocolate raspberry once they do!  Yasso’s uses only natural ingredients and real Greek yogurt, so the new line is the perfect guilt-free treat or everyday snack.

Blasted Chaos Blog

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One of my best friend’s Caitlin just started her own blog: Blasted Chaos. Her tagline reads, “Life is more enjoyable among the chaos.”  She’s my most stylish, down-to-earth, hilarious friend, and I definitely think you should check her out!  Caitlin covers topics from food to travels to fashion to beauty to everyday ramblings.  Go show her some love on her new spot in the blogosphere and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Tell me something random for Five Things Friday! What are your weekend plans? My co-workers are throwing us a shower this morning! 

bareMinerals makeup

People tell me I’ve got that “pregnancy glow.”

itzlinz pic

While I’m sure that’s true, itz also this new makeup I switched to: bareMinerals.  I feel like switching makeup is a pretty big deal.  At least to me it is, especially when itz not just one product.  I’ve never spent a lot of money on makeup.  I’m totally good with using products purchased at drugstores with an occasional high-end eye shadow or lipstick.  Anyway, my sister recently convinced me that I had to buy bareMinerals setting powder.  After using hers a couple of times, I was convinced, so I ventured into the nearest bareMinerals store.

As I walked in, I was approached by a sales associate and asked what brought me in.  I told her what I was looking for, and she responded by asking if that was the only product I was looking for or if I was interested in more.  Right away, I was pleased because I felt like I wasn’t going to be pressured into buying a ton of stuff like most beauty stores try to sell.  I blatantly told her I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, but I also know they have really great packages, so please let me know what the best deal would be.  She immediately suggested the bareMinerals starter kit.

starter kit

The setting powder was around thirty dollars alone and the starter kit was just over sixty and was a $175+ value.  Easy decision in my book.  Switching to bareMinerals was a big decision.  Not only because I wear makeup everyday, but because I had never worn mineral makeup before.  I used liquid or mousse foundations and compact powders.  The idea of using brushes to apply all my makeup intimidated me.  I wasn’t sure I’d get the same type of coverage I was accustomed to.

The woman who helped me was amazing.  She explained everything, showed me how to do it, and even wrote notes on a piece of paper so I could replicate the process at home. After washing my face before applying makeup, I always apply a face lotion with SPF 15. (I don’t want wrinkles!)  The starter kit comes with a small vial of prime time.  I don’t use this everyday, only when I have a big event or know I want to look really, really good!  When I do use it, itz after my lotion and before the powders.  Here are my daily steps:

bareminerals

First, I use the bareMinerals matte foundation in the fairy medium shade.  (This also comes in non-matte, but I prefer the matte look.)  I use the full flawless face brush.  Both are amazing because there’s literally no way to mess it up.  The foundation never appears streaky, and never gives me any lines.  I was also incredibly surprised by how much coverage this provided.  Usually I wear liquid or mousse foundation on my entire face to smooth my skin, and this mineral foundation totally did the trick!

Second comes the bareMinerals original mineral veil.  This is the “setting powder” that my sister loves.  Like the primer, I don’t feel like this is necessary to wear everyday; only if I know I’m going to need my makeup last extra long.  This is also the stuff to throw in your purse to touch up your face with.  It brings out the color of the foundation or your bronzer.  I like that I don’t have to use it everyday since it comes in a smaller container than the foundation.  I use the same full flawless face brush with this as itz essentially colorless.  Itz purpose is to extend the dairly life of your makeup.

Last is the bareMinerals bronzer in the warmth shade using the flawless face brush.  The bronzer is the trickiest of the trio and it took me a few tries to figure it out.  Itz important to tap your brush after swirling it around in the lid, so there’s not too much powder on the brush.  The bronzer can appear a bit streaky if you’re not careful, and I find it hard to correct if I do mess it up. That being said, it only took me a few tries before I got the hang of it and now I like the subtle color it gives.

bareminerals brushes

I’ve never used brushes for anything besides eye shadow and blush.  I use the full flawless face and the flawless face everyday.  The max coverage concealer brush is not used as often.  The lady at the store showed me how I could use it to conceal a blemish, but luckily I have yet to need to do that.  (Thank you, pregnancy!)  She showed me how I could use it to apply the foundation powder or simply mix a little primer with the foundation for fuller coverage.

It goes without saying, I’m very happy with my purchase and switch.  I’m hooked on bareMinerals and am eager to try their other products (namely their eye shadows! ok, and their lipsticks!).  The makeup looks natural and really lasts all day.  If you’re wanting to get started, you may as well go with the starter kit as itz the best value and includes all the essentials.

What makeup do you use?

Friday Favorites

Friiiiiiday! Oh baby, itz been a long week as I’ve had Parent – Teacher conferences each day and night.  They went well, it just makes for super long days. So TGIF!  I thought I’d do another episode of Friday Favorites to share some new things I’ve been loving.

Biggest Blackberry Ever

blackberry

Isn’t it huge?  Haha, I know itz random, but last weekend I got a carton of blackberries at the farmer’s market and I couldn’t believe the size of that sucker!

Maybelline Lipstick

maybelline lipstick

Lipsticks tend to dry my lips out, but my lips are so pale that I really need some color.  I finally found one I like!  Itz Maybelline’s SuperStay 14 hour Lipstick.  I love the shade Till Mauve Do Us Part.

Lorna Jane’s Advantage 7/8 Tight

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Kate, owner of Dimvaloo (my favorite store ever), so very kindly gifted me this pair of tights upon learning I’m pregnant.  I’ve worn them several times this week and love love love them!  They super comfy (and will continue to be with my growing belly) and flattering, if I do say so myself.  No surprise since I’m already obsessed with all things Lorna Jane.

Ghee

ghee

Several bloggers often use ghee in their cooking and I was curious, so I texted my friend Meg to find out the benefits.  She explained them, and then wrote this great informational post all about the FAQs About Ghee.

And because itz Friday, that’s all I have for you!

What’s on your Friday Favorites list today?