FabFitFun, Spring 2017 box

A few months ago, I wrote a post on FabFitFun, a seasonal subscription box filled with lifestyle, fitness, beauty, and skincare products. This subscription comes four times a year, and you can choose to buy each box whenever you want or pay the annual fee in January, which saves you roughly $20 a year. I will put a referral link below if you are interested in trying out this subscription service. I get $15 credit, but you also get money off your first order. It’s like a surprise at your doorstep four times a year! This spring box was valued at $374, which is insane since I paid $45 for it. If you try it out or have tried it, let me know what you think!

Referral Link: http://xo.fff.me/fiFNX

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Best box ever. The round blanket is gorgeous and valued at $50!

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The box is always well packaged and organized.

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Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray, Valued at $20

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Deborah Lippmann nail polish set, Valued at $19. This is a cruelty free product! 

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Shade #1

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Shade #2

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator, Valued at $79. This scrub has aluminum oxide crystals of parabens to polish your skin!

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Karuna Hydrating Sheet Masks, set of 4, Valued at $28

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RealHer Lip Kit in Neutral Pink, Valued at $48

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Milly Zip Pouch, $45

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LuvAJ, Diamond Kite Crawler Earring Set, Valued at $85

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ADD IN: Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies

 

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Shea Moisture Bathtime

Baths are not just for children anymore. A good bath can calm the mind, cleanse the skin, and provide the ultimate state of relaxation at the end of a long work day. Today, it was just what I needed, and I want to share the two products that made it so wonderful.

First, purchase a bathtub pillow that suctions to the tub. It will make laying down so much more comfortable. I found mine at TJ-Maxx for $6 and it works great. Second, invest in quality bath products that are more natural and not filled with toxins. It is very easy to get an infection due to sitting in still water for an extended period of time, so it is best to use natural products that won’t cause irritation or aggravate your skin. Essential oils work wonders, but if you’re like me and enjoy bubbles, there are tons of high quality bubble baths on the market. I love adding Epsom salts to help soothe any tight muscles and help me relax. Tonight, I used a new Bubble Bath and LOVED it. I’m very familiar with the Shea Moisture brand and am usually impressed with their products. This one was no exception. It provided more bubbles than any other one I use, which is saying something for sure. Shea Moisture products are cruelty free, nontoxic, and consist of fair trade and organic ingredients. How is that for something you can find at your local drugstore?  I highly recommend their products!

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My bath pillow with the bubble bath. The stuff works wonders.

Details on the bubble bath can be found here: http://www.ulta.com/african-water-mint-bubble-bath-body-wash?productId=xlsImpprod15691657

*What are your favorite ways to relax and/or products? Please let me know! 🙂

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Sun Protection in Skincare Products: A More Natural Alternative

This is a follow-up post to my previous skincare one on Meadow Muffin Gardens products, a fantastic line of consciously made, natural, and independently owned body products, and I feel it’s an important topic to briefly discuss: Sun protection. We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the rays of the sun in order prevent melanoma and damage to our body’s largest organ. However, did you know there are two types of rays? UVA and UVB, which both are ultraviolet radiation rays from the sun. UVA rays, although less intense, are actually more potent and damaging to the skin when absorbed over long periods of time. These rays are present all year round and are the ones that can come through glass and clouds. They penetrate the deeper layers of the skin for longer lasting and damaging effects, such as faster aging and wrinkles.  UVA rays are also distributed from the lights in tanning beds, so be wary of going in those often. On the other hand, UVB rays primarily affect the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, which is where sunburn is obvious. These particular rays vary from time of day and season, as well as location. Do you remember as kid being told to stay indoors from 10-2 when the sun is the most visible? There’s truth in that statement. That is when UVB rays are most visible, even though UVA rays are present at all time.

What I wrote here barely skims the surface of the sun and the intensity and differences between UVA and UVB rays; I do not want to claim to be an expert when in reality, I only know very little and will continue to do research as time goes on. One thing I do know, however, is that sun protection is extremely important and should be incorporated into our daily routine. Ever notice you may be getting more freckles on your left arm and left side of your face? I sure am! That’s because our left side gets more exposure to the sun when we drive and needs greater protection from the rays coming through the windows. If you want protection without piling on sunscreen on top of your already made up face, then consider purchasing a product with sun protection in it. This blog post by Meadow Muffin Gardens describes in detail some of the products that can be used daily and provide natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor). Check them out!

*For more information about ways to protect your skin, check out skincancer.org. If you want specific details on UVA and UVB rays, check out this page.

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Meadow Muffin Gardens Skincare

When it comes to our skincare, most of us think about the pharmacy brands we see advertised most often on television. You know. Those cheap brands sold on pharmacy shelves making claims to firm your skin, reduce wrinkles, and provide a deep clean like no other. What those brands are not telling you, however, is that you’re likely using a product tested on animals and filled with chemicals that cause hormone disruption. Do I have your attention yet? I sure hope so.

Let me start with some basic information about animal testing and skincare/beauty products. It is a widely common practice done by a large number of brands, and you’ll be shocked when you learn just how many practice this horrific act of torture. If you purchase Aveeno, you’re supporting Johnson & Johnson, a company largely known for its animal testing practices. Dove is owned by Unilever, another brand that tests on animals. Olay products are owned by Proctor & Gamble, another popular company sold at drugstores. Think animal testing is only limited to drugstores? Think again. Estee Lauder, Clinique, SK II, Bobbi Brown, Algenist, Avon, Axe, Bioderma, Biore, and the famous Bath and Body Works all test on animals, and those are just a few! Imagine having a product poured into your eyes to test its effectiveness. Your hair is singed off by an imbalance of a product. You’re tortured, tormented, and eventually put to sleep once you’re no longer of use. Imagine you’ve just been a victim of animal testing, a cruel practice that truly doesn’t need to be done to ensure a product is safe. This link by Lush is a visual portrayal of what animal testing would look like on a human, and it’s quite disturbing. If you want a comprehensive list of brands to use and brands to avoid, I encourage you to check out this blog by Logical Harmony, a vegan blogger and YouTuber with a passion for animals and a cruelty free lifestyle. Her site is one of, if not the best, for up-to-date information on products and brands.

If you ever look at an ingredient list on a product, you should be able to identify each and every product. If you can’t, don’t buy it. I learned a great deal from a book called “No More Dirty Looks” and was astounded at the chemicals I was putting on my face and body every day. Sulfates (surfactants, detergents, and emulsifiers in beauty products), parabens (preservatives), and fragrance (any combination of chemicals to provide a particular scent) are likely in your beauty products and are very capable of disrupting your body’s natural balance. Did you know there are no federal regulations on beauty products? Anything can be labeled “natural” and get away with it? That’s why it is so important to read labels and know what you’re putting on your body. Manufacturers, by law, do not even have to release what chemicals have been used to make the rose, orange, or woodsy scent you love so much. There are so many things I could say, but I’ve already written enough about something that wasn’t the point of this post. I will put some links below where you can learn more information.

I want to tell you about Meadow Muffin Gardens, a small Pennsylvania business created by my mother about seven years ago. She was diagnosed with Lupus at age 21 and has worked on finding natural beauty solutions ever since. Out of that search came Meadow Muffin Gardens, a product line encompassing nature, essential oils, and a love of beauty within. I am biased because she’s my mother, but I can truly say she makes incredible products right in our kitchen at home. She has links on Facebook, Etsy, Zibbet, and Shopify, all under the name Meadow Muffin Gardens, as well as Pinterest and Instagram pages where you can follow her. Her username is chezstace on Instagram, and if you want to see photos of cute doggies, silly kitties, and some of her products, go check it out. She also has a blog (meadowmuffingardens.blogpost.com) where she blogs a few times a week about everything ranging from her garden to health to her family. She’s a lovely writer, for sure. Her products are all natural, free of animal testing, and consist of ingredients that are wholesome and good for your skin. I will put photos of a few of my favorite products below.

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I have been using this face wash since I was in high school. It’s gentle enough for daily use and doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture.

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My favorite toner of all time.

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A beautiful night lotion that provides long-term moisture and smells divine.

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The perfect face mask for those days you need a treatment, but don’t want to do a full clay mask that can be too drying on your skin.

I do use other brands on my face and body, but these four staples are always in my rotation. I swear by them for helping me continue to look young (being only 5’1″ helps too ;)). Plus, isn’t my mother beautiful? Go check out her wonderful business today! 🙂

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Resources:

http://www.ewg.org/research/dirty-dozen-list-endocrine-disruptors

http://slsfree.net

http://www.ewg.org

 

FabFitFun-Treat Yourself!

So two years ago, I heard about FabFitFun, a seasonal box full of goodies such as beauty products, personal care items, fitness equipment, and lifestyle things. It interested me more than other boxes since it includes so many types of products instead of only makeup, skincare, etc…. My mom bought me the first box winter of 2014 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I pay the yearly fee upfront, which saves me $20 or so a year. The cost is usually $50 a box or so if you pay per season, and you always get over $200 worth of product. This month’s box is valued at $239.99! I rarely purchase beauty products anymore unless it’s something I use daily and happen to need, so this box is a treat to myself every season 🙂 Below is a referral link if you are interested in trying it out. I do get $15, but you also get a discount on your box. I highly recommend it!

*NOTE: To the best of my knowledge, not all these items are cruelty free, which is the direction I’m trying to go whenever possible. In cases like those products, I either donate them or gift them to other people. To check, I encourage you to download the Cruelty Cutter app on your phone. It scans the barcode and tells you if it’s cruelty free or not.

Referral link: http://xo.fff.me/ekDno

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When you open the box:

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Pamphlet that tells you the goodies inside and their value individually.

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So delicately packaged 🙂

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Toesox Toeless Fitness Socks $18

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Skin Laundry Restoring Night Serum $50

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Mullein & Sparrow Mini French Lavender Body Oil $18

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The Browgal Clear, Water-Resistant Eyebrow Gel $20

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The Created Co. To-Go Coffee Mug $19

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Spongelle Bulgarian Rose Body Wash Infused Butter $16

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Cleansing Cloth *sponsored for box*

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Secret travel deodorant *sponsored for box*

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FabFitFun coloring book and colored pencils $14

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Pure Cosmetics Nude Collection Eyeshadow Palette $50 (My favorite item in the box!!!)

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Modcloth Loch and Key Scarf $34.99 (My second favorite item!)

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My unboxing company, Leia 🙂

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My unboxing company, Miner 🙂