Thursday, October 27, 2016

My Personal Care Routine

If you were to look in my bathroom today, these are the products you would find. And before we get any further, Beauty Counter products are in my future. To all you Beauty Counter lovers out there, I hear you and I'm listening! Instead of doing a huge overhaul of my personal care products, I plan to introduce changes one by one.

For those of you ready to make a step in the right direction and looking for some cleaner, safer products to use in your everyday routine, I've listed out the products I've been using and currently like.

And I should also say....the best beauty secret out there is water, water, water. Drink water!! It will only enhance the health of your hair, skin, and nails and the effects of the products mentioned below.

My Personal Care Routine

1. Kai Shampoo & Contioner: My mom and I bought this product from a small shop side-walk sale and we've both been hooked ever since. The shampoo & conditioner combo gives a squeaky clean feel with little residue left. My hair feels lighter, manageable and allows me to only wash my hair once a week.**

2. Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Bar Soap: I use the bar for my face and the body wash (not pictured) for the rest. I'm so confident in this product that I'm willing to say I will never use anything else (especially on my face). The first ingredient is water and the second is organic coconut oil which leaves my skin clean without being stripped of it's natural oils.*

3. Fresh Rose Mask: I mentioned this product in a Favorite Things post a few weeks ago. It had to be included in this post as well as it is a step in my nightly routine. Right after I wash my face, I spread a very thin layer of the rose mask over my face before applying my night-time moisturizer.**

4. Origins Plantscriptions Night Cream: I've been using Origin products on my face for a couple years now. Proven to be one of the cleaner (in terms of unnecessary chemicals) products out there while still being affordable. I use the daytime cream (not pictured) in the morning which has SPF25.**

5. Jasons Deodorant: I feel like I should give full disclosure here...because those of you that know me really well, know that I don't wear deodorant (gasp!!). For the rest of you...ta-da!...I don't wear it. I stopped wearing it when I was nursing Roswelle and decided to let my body adjust and rarely need it anymore. However, on the rare occasions I go out dancing or to a function that I might be particularly nervous about...I throw on the most basic unscented deodorant I can find. This Jason's line seems to do the trick!** ....(I think this W Magazine article is worth a read)

6. Origins Charcoal Detoxifying Mask: This is my secret weapon when my skin needs a little pick me up and I want to look fresh-faced in the morning. I leave on for 10-15 minutes and make sure to add extra moisturizer after.**

7. Sephora Face Masks: One method of extra moisturizer (as mentioned in #6) is a Sephora Face Mask. A great gift for any girlfriend or stocking stuffer, these masks really work. I'm prone to breakouts and have yet to have a reactions to these mask, no matter which one I select. I keep these on hand when I need to look refreshed for special date nights, after a long trip, holiday parties, or when I need to give myself some extra care.

8. Philips Sonicare Toothbrush: I'm the worst at getting to the dentist on a regular basis (unlike Paul who never misses an appt). But this Sonicare toothbrush got me an A+ from my dental hygienist even though it had been 2 years since my last cleaning (yikes!).

9. Shea Butter Lotion: We don't love using lotion in our household, Paul has a theory that it only makes your skin dryer. But in the depths of winter when no amount of water intake keeps my skin hydrated enough, we turn to raw organic shea butter. It feels like putty in my fingers, but once I start to lather on my legs, it coats evenly and absorbs well. And it doesn't stain everything like coconut oil!!*

10. Clarisonic Mia 2: A long-time friend to my skin, I've been using the clarisonic for years. I change the brush every 3 months and only use 2x a week during the winter, as opposed to nightly in the summer when my skin can handle it.

11. Tom's Simply White Toothpaste: I've been a Crest Whitening toothpaste user since high school, but a couple years ago made the switch to Tom's because less is best in our products!*

*I purchase these products from my favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's!
**I order these products on Amazon, usually at a discounted price and with free shipping.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cora Rose - One Year Ago!

My friend's daughter, Cora Rose, turns one year old this week! I realized a little while ago that I had never shared her newborn pictures. I decided this week would be better than any to share and take a moment to look back at how much she has changed (for those of us that know her). For the rest of you, here are some pictures of a sweet, celebrated baby! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Favorite Things

Sometimes it surprises me how quickly our week fills up with errands, playdates, community events, social events and just life. Even though I stay at home with Roswelle and Paul gets home at a reasonable hour most nights, I still feel like I have to fight for quality family time in our schedules. While we have plans this weekend, both Saturday & Sunday, I'm hoping we have plenty of time in between to build forts in the living room, scramble eggs together in the kitchen, and relax up in Roswelle's room watching her play.

Here are some things that kept me inspired this week: 
{I LOVE this Hanna Andersson sweater (similar here) on Roswelle this Fall - the yellow pocket is such a sweet detail}
{I love finding unexpected florals at Trader Joe's}
{I've been making this Paleo Pumpkin Bread every week - only 50g of sugar (via maple syrup) in the entire loaf!}
{I already posted this on Instagram, but I fell in love with my girlfriend's blue back door. The perfect shade for all four seasons - I'll have to ask her the paint color and put it back on here}
{I took some time for myself this week and watched my first photography webinar}

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Paleo Dark Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

I recently discovered Trader Joe's dark chocolate macaroons which met my gluten free/dairy free restrictions and was everything I had been missing in a dessert. However, the long list of ingredients and excessive refined sugar content did not sit well with me. So, I ventured out into the world wide web on a search for a simpler recipe which means I googled "dairy free gluten free coconut macaroons." 

I found several recipes with varying complexities and ingredients. I pulled from a few and tried my own method on a whim and it turned out remarkably well! With only 7 ingredients, I'm happy to have the quick, healthy crowd pleaser in my back pocket. Recipe is at the end of the post.

Recipe //

3 cups shredded coconut
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
pinch of sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
72% (or higher) dark chocolate bar (dairy free)

Turn oven on to 350ยบ. Blend 1 1/2 cups of  shredded coconut in food processor until grainy. Add with rest of shredded coconut. Add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and mix well. Whip 2 egg whites and a pinch of salt (absolutely no yolk!!) until peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Use ice-cream scooper to gather 1 1/2 tbsp of mixture into hand and roll little balls. Place on pan lined with parchment paper (necessary when baking something like this). Drizzle or brush melted coconut oil onto top of macaroons. Place in oven for 20ish minutes - until golden brown on top and sides. While they are out of the oven, cooling, slowing melt broken up chocolate bar in a sauce pan over low heat while continuously stirring (only takes 3-5 minutes). Move melted chocolate into a small bow with a pouring tip and slowly drizzle chocolate onto macaroons (they can still be in the pan a this point)! Let cool completely and enjoy!

**full disclosure: with so little ingredients there needs to be an agent to keep the little macaroons together post baking. I suggest blending up half of the coconut flakes in a mini food processor until a smoother texture is achieved. I skipped that step with this batch pictured and regretted it. They looked and tasted perfect until we bit into them causing them to crumble in your fingers. They were still delicious but you look a mess eating them. The drizzled chocolate on top helped but not quite enough. If you don't have a small food processor, another option would to be adding a tablespoon of coconut flour to the recipe.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Lifestyle Portraits: Mac & Josie

I recently posted this picture of Roswelle. It’s a great picture of her, yes, but the reason it stands out is because you sense what she is thinking. The look of contentment and curiosity in her eyes are absorbed, and it strikes a chord with the viewer as she peers into the camera lens. Yes, beautifully posed pictures are wonderful and there will always be a place for them, however photos that invite you to share in the emotions are remembered most.

This is what keeps me photographing - and freezing those moments is especially easy with toddlers, who have yet to learn to guard their expressions.

I recently went over to my girlfriends house to photograph her energetic 20-month old little boy, Mac, and his younger 3-month old sister, Josie.  This is the story they told:

Want an in-house photo shoot? Let's chat! contact me >>