Hi, everyone! I’d like to do a monthly favorites post where I essentially give a line up of my most used products throughout the past month. I particularly like these posts because they help give people a better idea of some products that are true staples in a person’s life. And, I also like reading these posts throughout the year because as the months go by and the seasons change, the products we use tend to change, as well, so it’s interesting to see how people transition their makeup, skincare products, workout routines, and diets as the year goes on.
Overall, this post will include some of my most used and loved natural/cruetly-free makeup products, skincare products, wellness related books, and fitness programs I’m currently enjoying. I’ll break this post up into categories, so if you’re only interested in one particular category, you can scroll through and find that topic.
Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Mineral Foundation:
This mineral foundation states that it’s “full coverage”, but I feel it’s more of a medium coverage, loose powder foundation. The unique aspect of this foundation is that it comes in a jar that has a bouncy net over the loose powder, so when you dip your brush in, you’re a lot less likely to get an excess amount of powder flying all over the place. When you close the jar, there’s a stopper on top that goes over the bouncy net to lock the powder in place to prevent spillage.
The most unique aspect of this foundation is the inclusion of gemstones in the mineral foundation blend. There are many amazing aspects of crystal healing, which I will be dedicating many blog posts to in the future. However, for the sake of this foundation, the gemstones ruby, tourmaline, rose quartz, and pearl are anti-inflammatory, healing, and anti-ageing. I personally feel that there are metaphysical benefits to each gemstone, as well that help balance us in many ways.
Some people may have a sensitivity to Bismuth Oxychloride, which is an ingredient that lurks in a lot of mineral foundations and products. I personally get itchy skin if Bismuth Oxychloride is too far up on the ingredient list, which means there’s more of it than if it were listed further down the ingredient list. However, since this foundation lists this ingredient lower on the list, my skin doesn’t react to it.
Ingredients: mica, camellia sinensis leaf extract, quartz, smithsonite extract, tourmaline, kaolin, pearl powder, ruby powder, sea salt/Maris Sal/Sel marin. May Contain/Peut Contenir/(+/-): Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), zinc oxide (CI 77947), bismuth oxychloride (CI 77163), iron oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), ultramarines (CI 77007), ferric ammonium ferrocyanide (CI 77510).
This product is considered High-End, as it retails for $36.00 for 7grams of product. I don’t use it every day and I’ve had the same jar since May of last year.
Antonym Cosmetics Baked Blush in Rose:
I’ve included this blush in my first FOTD post here with more details, including swatches and price. This is one of the best blushes I’ve ever found and that’s really, really saying a lot because I am an absolute blush-junkie. This blush applies with an airbrushed finish, a soft satin sheen, and it hides pores like no other blush I’ve ever used (including Charlotte Tilbury and Hourglass blushes). It lasts all day on me and the Rose shade is the perfect everyday neutral color with enough depth to sculpt my cheekbones.
Zuzu Luxe Bronzer in D-28:
During January I found this bronzer in my bronzer stash and fell in love with it all over again! After trying so many other bronzers, using this one again made me realize how amazing this particular bronzer really is. I mention this bronzer in my most recent FOTD post here where I provide detailed swatches and a review. But, this is definitely my new favorite bronzer because it’s pigmented, the perfect shade to use as a contour or bronzer, and really livens up my face with a subtle golden sheen!
Needless to say, I’ve amassed quite an eyeshadow collection over the past 10 years! That’s one of the great things about loose mineral eyeshadows…they virtually have no “use by” date because they’re only made up of mineral pigments and there are no fillers that harbor bacteria. My “use by” date is….whenever I use them up! So, if I’m using one shade more than once over the course of weeks, that’s really saying something!
I’ve been really, really enjoying creating different looks with the Brija Cosmetics Downton Abbey collection. The colors are soft, neutral, but so beautiful in unique ways. Plus, I happen to love the show, which makes me love the collection even more! I go into detail with up close swatches of each shade here and descriptions of each shade.
I’ve also been using the Red Apple Lipstick eyeshadow shade in Sunkissed, which is pictured as the first pressed shadow on the left side of the photo above. This is a great shade to set my eye primer or to use as a brightening all over the lid wash on days that I don’t play around with more than one shade. Details of this shadow can be found in the same link above.
Modern Minerals Lotus Wei Infused Lip Gloss in Violet Rose:
I’d been eyeing this lip gloss for a long time because it’s infused with a proprietary essential oil blend and gemstones that are meant to have an uplifting, mood stabilizing effect! I know, I know, it sounds completely new-agey and a little “out there” but In reality I think I’m a little “out there”, too, so I love this kind of thing! I’ll be doing a full blog post dedicated to this gloss and another lip gloss that has a similar idea, so I won’t go into full detail now. All i can say is that I genuinely have been enjoying this product and even if its properties are a placebo effect (which means it’s all in my head), I’m okay with that because it’s still yielding a positive result! Lip Gloss + Aromatherapy + Crystal healing=a very, very luxurious, but beautiful product!
Triiosostearyl Citrate (natural vegetable fatty acids derv.), Organic Persea Armeniaca (Avocado) Oil, Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Oil, Organic Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Organic Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Seed Oil, Brassica Campestris/Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer (Vegetable Oils deriv.), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Esters, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Water (and) Marine Collagen (Sea Plant based Algae), Hylocereus Undatus (Dragon) Fruit Extract Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle Extract), Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C). Blend of Essential Oils: Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Oil, Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile) Oil, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil, Rosa spp (Rose) Oil, Camellia Japonica (Camellia) Flower Essence and Pink Tourmaline gem energy essence. May contain: Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Cl 77891), Iron Oxides (Cl 77491, Cl 77492, Cl 77499), Red 6 Lake (CI 15850), Red 7 Lake (CI 15850) and Manganese Violet (CI 77742).
Red Apple Lipstick in After Hours:
Ahh…dark vampy lips remind me of my old goth days back in High School… Although those days are long, loong gone, I am really digging this dark lip trend that’s going on right now. Red Apple Lipstick released this shade After Hours during their most recent Winter 2015-2016 collection and it is so beautiful and unique! It’s essentially a dark purple shade that can be built up to appear as it does in the tube–a dark, eggplant purple. Or, it can be applied sheerly for a beautiful berry stained effect. It also wears off evenly and leaves a berry tinge to my lips. The above lip swatch is showing the color as more of a mid tone plum purple, but in real life as I look at myself in the mirror it is straight up dark, gothy eggplant. It reminds me of 90s grunge….the best time for music, in my humble opinion! This product deserved a mention in my monthly favorites because I’ve been giving it lots of love.
Skin Care Products
Hemp Seed Oil:
I go into a lot of detail on the benefits of using hemp seed oil as a cleanser, face moisturizer, eye makeup remover, and all-over body oil in my post here but I did want to include this in my monthly favorites because I discovered this product in January after doing a lot of research on different oils for different skin types. A full blog post will be up on this topic in much more detail in the near future!
One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm:
I’ve dedicated an entire post to the wondrous gem that this eye balm is! It is truly the most amazing eye moisturizer I’ve ever tried, both natural and conventional. It completely cured some wicked dermatitis that I’d been fighting for the past year in my eye area! Please check out the full review with details of this product here.
Wylde Ivy is a brand I found on Etsy in the fall of last year. The owner creates some of the most amazing and unique scents I’ve ever experienced! She has something to please everyone’s tastes and her products are offered in a 1oz spray bottle (pictured above), perfume oils, body sprays, soaps, body lotion, and body butter. I’ve amassed quite a collection because I received a lot of scents for Christmas. I’ve been loving the Frosted Lavender scent because it’s a milky, sweet vanilla that mingles with a soft lavender in a magical way. I love lavender, in general, and I diffuse it daily, but this perfume lasts all day long on me. The fragrances are phthalate free and some are comprised of essential oils and resins.
Aromatherapy has been a life-saver for me over the past couple of years. I love being able to make my own blends depending on my mood or the time of year. During winter, I LOVE diffusing Wild Orange and Clove essential oils because orange is uplifting and energizing, while Clove is calming and immune boosting. Doterra is the brand that I used 8n the past for most of my essential oils because they can be consumed, as well as applied topically and diffused like regular essential oils. But, Doterra’s MLM aspect makes their prices sky high and I’ve found that Plant Therapy oils are equal in quality and a fraction of the price. . Whereas with a NOW foods essential oil, I’ll have to use 15-20 drops to really smell it, I can use 2 drops of Plant Therapy oils to get the same effect. I started using and researching aromatherapy because I needed to find a natural resolution to severe stress, anxiety, and debilitating migraines that I experienced last year. I still experience anxiety and migraines, but not to the same extent. There are many factors involved in tackling medical and mental health related concerns.
The second oil that has been my yearly favorite is Serenity by Doterra, which is a blend that can only be found through Doterra or on Amazon, which is where I get mine to avoid the MLM side of the brand. It’s my favorite not just because of how it smells (which is what I imagine my version of Heaven smells like), but also because of it’s calming effect for anxiety and it works as a sleep aid. It’s a blend of the soothing scents of Lavender, Marjoram, Roman Chamomile, and Ylang Ylang with the warming aromas of Hawaiian Sandalwood and Vanilla Bean. I also use this blend in my skin-care regimen by adding 10 drops into my 1 oz dropper bottle of hemp seed oil. I’ve thought about attempting to dupe this blend, but each oil in this blend is incredibly expensive to purchase each one individually, so I just buy it from Amazon. Plant Therapy Relax Synergy is their own version, which is much more affordable and is also quite beautiful! Plant Therapy has different varieties of various relaxation blends, such as: Let It Go or Sleep Aid
Also pictured above is my Now Foods Essential Oil Diffuser, which is one of the cheapest models, but it works very well and diffuses the oils for up to 8 hours at a time, so the oils go a long way. I have one diffuser in each room in my house! Make sure you don’t use oil blends that have fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil in the blend because these oils can clog up the diffuser and make it stop working.
I’ve also been absolutely loving my favorite green smoothie recipe that I’ve perfected over the years! Please read about it in detail here. I genuinely look forward to having this smoothie as an afternoon pick-me-up or after a workout in the morning. It gives me energy and plenty of fiber to balance my digestive system (which is very important if you also suffer from anxiety).
2015 was a wild ride for me… It tested me in many ways and for the first half of the year I was working way too much in an attempt to move forward in my career until I completely broke down. My world essentially fell apart and so did everything I knew about how to keep myself healthy and balanced. I stopped eating right, I stopped sleeping regularly, I didn’t take time to do the things I loved, and I stopped working out. I essentially forgot what my purpose on this planet is—an existential crisis, indeed. Long story short, after many months of picking up the fragments of my former self, I started to get back into exercising, cooking from scratch, and getting into a productive routine to feel alive again.
Now, I’m more passionate than ever that it is so incredibly important to move our bodies every single day. The key is finding a workout program that you genuinely enjoy doing! A lot of people just torture themselves on the treadmill or the eliptical or try running and absolutely hate it. Then they decide they hate working out before they can feel the benefits and it all falls to the wayside.
This is why I’ve decided to dedicate an entire section of my blog to Fitness that will include different styles of fitness programs, different instructors, at home DVDs, Youtube trainers that post videos for free, etc.
The picture above shows the newest workout program from one of my favorite instructors, Jessica Smith. She is a truly positive person, with an upbeat personality, and what I love most about her is that she focuses on how exercise should be about being healthy and fit. Whereas other trainers focus on exercise to get six-pack abs or focusing on fitting into a bikini for bikini season. These are trivial reasons to exercise and I always stop exercising when I don’t feel a deep connection to why I’m exercising. I want to have energy when I wake up in the morning. I don’t want to feel winded walking up a flight of stairs. I want to feel alive during the most important moments of life and I can’t do that if my back is constantly aching, etc.
Jessica’s Walk Strong Program has a six-week calender that combines doable cardio with weight training and she has different trainers performing different levels of the exercise. Her mother is actually in all of the videos showing modifications for the poses. Since I hurt my ankle over the summer, I’m very limited in how much I can place weight on it for an extended period, so I really love being able to follow her mother through modifications while still getting a great workout in!
Most importantly, the six week calender kept me accountable to sticking to my workout regimen and now I feel so much better throughout the day. Exercise helps tremendously with addressing pent up anxiety as it serves as an outlet. Exercise also helps alleviate depression because it releases feel good neurotransmitters in the body like dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Exercise literally makes us feel good! Continuing with it will make us feel great!
Alex and Ani Charm Necklace:
I was the last person on earth to think I would jump on the Alex and Ani bandwagon, but alas, I’m a convert! I’m quite obsessed, actually…. I’ve loved charm bracelets since I was little and I’ve always wanted one as an adult. I have quite a few Alex and Ani Bangles in gold and silver, a few of their regular necklaces, and now I received this charm necklace for Christmas! I picked out the charms that meant the most to me and I love that I can swap them out, mix and match, put one charm on or all of them! I love how individualized charm jewelry is because each charm holds unique meaning for each person.
Everyday throughout January I’ve worn this necklace and each charm serves as an important reminder to me. I won’t say what each one means to me because we all have secrets that are sacred 🙂 But, this necklace means a lot to me. Especially after everything I went through last year. Finding my way back to myself has been quite a journey, but I’m here to learn and to continue learning along the way, wherever life takes me.
Book of the Month
I am an avid reader… I have always loved reading and writing. I can devour a book a day every day for the rest of my life and still feel like I haven’t read enough. There’s too many good books out there!!! And never enough time… But, instead of boring you with what I like to read for fun, I’ll keep the Book of the Month focused on an aspect of Wellness.
This book is amazing because it describes the authors philosophy on how to live a successful life. I don’t just mean monetarily. I mean truly living and being present in each moment. This is the opposite of “going through the motions.” Most importantly, when making goals, the author asks you to think about how you would feel if you achieved your goal. Goals should be based on a feeling, rather than an outcome. Too often we say to ourselves, “I just need this promotion to be happy. I just need a bigger house, a better car or a better husband or more friends to be happy.” But once people get these things, they’re still never happy because the quest is gone, the moment is fleeting and the person is still left with only him or herself in the end.
This book incorporates worksheets and exercises to go through to really think about what makes us as individuals feel content….and how we can get there!
This book is a great read for everyone. I truly feel anyone can learn something important from this book and especially from the exercises within the book. The author is also very inspiring and uplifting! She’s not just saying the right things, she’s living the right way, as well.
I hope you enjoyed this list of favorites! Please let me know if I can answer any questions.
Thank you so, so much for reading!
I hope you have a beautiful day!
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***All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me with my own money. All opinions are my own.***