Natural Beauty Faves i

I’m doing my best to switch my beauty products over to all-natural, clean brands, and it’s definitely a trial-and-error experience. There are still a few things I’m looking for good clean versions of (BB cream, eyeliner, mascara), but it’s been a joy to experiment and “put my money where my mouth is,” as it were.

Shea Moisture, Daily Glow Priming Moisturizer

Made with 100% virgin coconut oil, this is my FA VO RITE moisturizer EVER. I’ve seen a noticeable improvement in my skin since I started using it a few weeks ago. A tiny dab covers your whole face—I’ve had it for weeks and I’ve barely made a dent. This moisturizer runs you $11 at Target, which is shockingly cheap as both moisturizers AND natural products go, which makes it an amazing value. I plan on checking out the rest of Shea Moisture’s skincare products!

Shea Moisture, Strengthen & Restore Smoothie

 

The. Best. Leave-in. I bought this on a whim at Sally’s when I bought my crazy red hairdye (sigh @ my decisions), and I’ve been using it regularly ever since. I have WILD hair, so I need a fierce tamer. This stuff does the trick! I’m planning on trying the Co-Wash as a cheaper alternative to my favorite “shampoo”…

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Hairstory, New Wash

I switched to New Wash (yes, ditching shampoo and conditioner) recently and I ain’t NEVAH EVAH EVAH goin’ back. It runs $40 for 8 oz., so it’s a little tough to rationalize, but I’m telling you, it’s worth every dang penny. I felt a difference in my hair after the first use, and it keeps getting better. I’m going to look into cheaper options, but I might just be hooked on this stuff.

Shea Moisture, Hold & Shine Moisture Mist

Are you sensing a pattern? This brand is so legit, and so affordable. This is the *best* product for wearing your curls natural. My hair is super coarse and curly (mostly from damage, tbh), so I need as much moisture as humanly possible. This spray smells amazing and doubles as a treatment and a hairspray.

Snag it at Target!

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OY-L, Lavender Body Butter

This stuff smells like HEAVEN! It’s a whipped lotion that is completely free of all of the super scary stuff that lives in normal lotions (formaldehyde, parabens, artificial scents, YUCK). I got a 1oz. jar in my Oui Fresh Beauty Box and I’m in love! A tiny bit goes a long way, which makes up for the fact that this product is a wee bit pricey.

Thayer’s, Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

I use this stuff every day. It smells exactly like rose petals (as advertised) and makes my face feel super fresh and clean. Such an amazing alternative to all the terrifying blue toners out there…bonus: it’s alcohol-free!

Oui Fresh, As If Lipstick

Full disclosure: I have every shade of this amazing lipstick, but As If is by far my favorite. It’s non-toxic, super moisturizing, and filled with amazing ingredients. I’m kind of a lipstick connoisseur, so believe me when I say that this stuff is the bee’s knees. It’s a little pricier than drugstore makeup, of course, but as “luxury” lipstick goes, it’s totally reasonable at $20. P.S. New colors coming soon. And 20% off today with code HEYLADY.

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Native Deodorant

So, I’m a hypocrite because I haven’t entirely swapped over to natural deodorant, but Native is by far the best one I’ve found. I tried Schmidt’s, but either the recipe or the particular scent I bought irritated my skin. Other faves are Tom’s of Maine Antiperspirant, but it’s not completely natural (trying to ditch aluminum!) Native is amazing, although, be warned, it takes the body a little while to adjust from conventional to natural deodorants. Conveniently, Native sells multipacks of travel-sized deodorants! Lavender & Rose is my favorite scent, with Eucalyptus & Mint as a close second).

I’m still working through a whole host of products that I need to try (thanks Oui Fresh Beauty Box!), so I’ll hit you guys back soon with a sequel!

Treat yo’self!

-c

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Let’s Talk About Essential Oils

The first time I ever used an essential oil, I was around 19 and had recently gotten my nose pierced with a friend. Mine (on the right side) never really healed right, so a cursory Google search alerted me to the fact that tea tree oil was anti-bacterial, natural, and promoted healing. I bought a bottle (my broke college butt was mildly appalled by the price tag), and applied it directly to my nose with a Q-Tip (not the smartest move when dealing with harsher oils). But I loved the clean, pungent smell of tea tree, so as the years went by, I sought it out in my products (to this day, I use Paul Mitchell’s Tea Tree shampoo on those rare occasions when I actually wash my hair…)

Beyond my tea tree adventures, I didn’t give much thought to essential oils until a few years ago, when I first heard of oil-pulling. If you’ve been on the internet this decade, you’ve heard of it—swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for twenty minutes, pull out all the gross impurities in your mouth. A blogger I follow posted a recipe for oil-pulling chews, made from coconut oil and peppermint essential oil. I marched to the store, grabbed the peppermint oil and flower-shaped silicone ice molds, and got to work. I keep a jar of them in my fridge at all times!

When I got engaged, I decided (for some incomprehensible reason) that DIY-ing soy wax/essential oil candles would be a great idea for wedding favors. Only problem? I had to make at least 50. I diligently hit the craft store, bought all 50 tiny jars, and chose my scents. Suddenly, I had five or so new essential oils! The candle-making was ill-fated (I think I made all of 6—we repurposed the jars), but the EOs ended up being a good investment. Suddenly, I was DIY-ing counter sprays and reed diffusers. I fell in love, in particular, with Eucalyptus. It’s my spirit scent.

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the jars didn’t go to waste!

And then there was Monq. I’ve written about them before, but Monq makes portable, personal aromatherapy diffusers—mini vapes full of essential oil goodness! My personal fave blend is Active—I always have one on me! I discovered the brand on Instagram years ago, and bought my first set with a sweet promo code. These are great for us non-smokers, but I imagine that they’re a wonderful and inexpensive way for smokers to quit, since it replaces the routine. I can’t wait to try their newer blends, especially Ocean!

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yung chels, hitting a happy monq

It was like the entire earth was conspiring to get me to make essential oils a part of my daily routine. Now I’m something of a devotee, though I’d never use them in place of actual medicine…that’s just cray. They’ve help me clean up my act—and by that I mean kick toxic chemicals out of my home one by one.

 

Here are some of the products that helped me get started:

 

dōTERRA

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DoTerra is, at least in my circles, the most popular brand of EOs. Their product is great, but it’s hard to get (you have to buy through a wholesaler unless you want to pay crazy retail markups. Their branding is on point, and they have a ton of diffusers, accessories, spa products, and supplements. My mother gifted me the lovely petal diffuser for Christmas!

Oui Fresh

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You didn’t think I’d miss a chance to shout-out my ABM girls, right? What I love best about Oui Fresh oils is that they’re available at a reasonable retail price and you can buy them no-strings. My personal fave is Rose Geranium!

S.W. Basics

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S.W. Basics is the Brooklyn-based brand of Adina Grigore, who wrote the book Just The Essentials, and inspired me to actually start workin’ on my oil game. No lie, the day after I finished the book, I was browsing the beauty aisle at Target and spotted a gift set of S.W. Basics on sale, so it felt like a sign that I had to give it a try. My set came with the Cleanser, the Toner, and the Cream. I SWEAR the Toner changed my skin overnight. It’s incredible. Now, if I only I could remember to wash my makeup off and use it nightly…

Young Living

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I read a borderline horrifying article recently re: MLMs and essential oils, but, I will say that the few Young Living oils I have are very pure and smell incredible. They, like doTerra, are usually purchased through a distributer, who becomes a member to get them at wholesale price.

My favorite YL product by far is their Thieves toothpaste. They have a whole dental line that I can’t wait to try out.

I haven’t tried their new clean makeup line, but as I start running out of products, I’ll definitely check it out!

Aura Cacia

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I started off with Aura Cacia. They’re a fantastic brand with a consistently great product. My local Wegman’s (shout out to Wegman’s, the best chain grocer), has a pretty impressive natural skincare selection, and AC is the main brand they carry. They have EOs, carrier oils, epsom salts, roller balls, spritz bottles—you name it!

 

EO Products

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EO Products was a total fluke find! I had seen Everyone essential oils at Target, but the packaging was so mod and cute that I actually doubted the quality of the product (don’t judge wine or EOs by their cover, y’all). After I read Just the Essentials, I checked out Adina’s list of recommended brands in the FAQ section, and lo-and-behold: the spray hand sanitizer that I had been using for months was, in fact, EO Products Everyone label! It’s peppermint & citrus, cruelty-free, and non-GMO. I had picked it up, again, at my local Wegs, because it smelled like a mojito fever dream, and didn’t leave me feeling dried out by chemicals (à la Purell). So far, my hand sani is the only thing I’ve tried from EO, but I have total confidence in their brand’s quality (and its cute design).

 

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I’ve previously blogged about EOs once or twice…check out my cocktail-inspired room spray here!

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Also, here’s an original rollerball recipe that will put some pep in your step!

Bright Sunshiny Day Blend

  • 30 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 8 drops spearmint essential oil
  • 5 drops wild orange essential oil
  • carrier oil (I used sweet almond)

This smells like spearmint gum in the best possible way. It’s refreshing and invigorating when the spearmint top notes hit you, but the subtle, sultry bergamot lingers longer. Great to give you a (caffeine-free!) jolt.

And my all-time favorite EO recipe of all is ABM’s face oil, which I use every day after my shower!

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I’ve definitely made some missteps in the EO game. For some reason, I thought it would be smart to diffuse Texas Cedarwood and Lemongrass together (I’m still haunted by the overpowering smell), and I definitely accidentally poured half a bottle of Peppermint into my diffuser one night…

Nevertheless, this experiment into EO land has been fun. Now that I’m building up supplies, I can DIY my heart out and never have to buy chemical-laden perfumes, cleaning products, or skincare products ever again!

Coconut Almond Butter Cookies (vegan optional!)

Have you ever gotten an intense craving for peanut butter cookies in the middle of the night for no reason? Me too, I feel you.

But sometimes, all you have is the fancy-pants freshly-ground peanut butter, so it seems a shame to use it in cookies.

But sometimes, you have a jar of homemade almond butter that you processed with coconut oil and cocoa powder just sitting in the fridge waiting to be used! So, obviously, cookies must be made!

I was lucky enough to receive a pink KitchenAid stand mixer at my bridal shower last month, and these cookies were just the thing to christen it.

I love that homemade cookies always look a little bit wonky.
Coconut Almond Butter Cookies 

Makes 2-3 dozen, depending on how large you like your cookies

1 1/4 c cocoa almond butter (recipe below)

1/2 c coconut oil

1 1/4 c packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 egg (or flax egg: 1 tsp flax meal mixed with 2 1/2 tsp of water)

Preheat the oven to 375. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. I use these!

In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a fork if you’re a normal person), cream together the coconut oil, almond butter, brown sugar, almond milk, and vanilla extract until just combined. Slowly add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined.

Scoop out the batter onto the parchment paper a tablespoon at a time. It will be very gooey, but the coconut oil will keep it from sticking. Once the cookie sheets are full, use a fork to make a crosshatched impression on the top of the cookies, because s’cute.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through cooking. I like to swap oven shelves at this time to make sure both trays cook evenly.

At (approximately) the 10-minute mark, remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let your cookies cool on a rack. They’ll still be a bit gooey, but don’t overcook them or they’ll turn to rocks. Gooey is good. Gooey means they’ll firm up to the perfect texture.


*Making the co-co-coconut almond butter:

Have you heard? Almond butter is the single easiest freaking thing on planet earth to make. It is the pet cat of foods—it requires minimal effort and doesn’t need any attention paid to it.

makes one lovely mason jar-full

3 c roasted, unsalted almonds

1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (more if you love chocolate)

1 tbsp coconut oil

Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high for 20 minutes, scraping the sides intermittently if you need to. That’s it. The end result is a luscious, creamy heaven-sauce that tastes amazing on waffles, in yogurt, and in smoothies.

Enjoy these amazing (and healthy!) cookies this week!

—DellaBites

That Bulletproof Coffee Trend

So, unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years, you’ve heard of Bulletproof Coffee. When you Google it, about 1,000 think pieces about it come up; some people praise it like it’s Sliced Bread 2016, others mock it for being possibly the world’s stupidest idea. I haven’t tried the real thing (drinking butter seems highly gross to me), but I do drink a lot of coffee, so any way to pack more nutrition into it seems like a good idea to me!

Lucky Goat coffee beans, chia seeds, organic coconut oil, & cinnamon

 

An amazing dairy-free version already exists, via Nutrition Stripped, but as I don’t have powdered medicinal mushrooms or maca at my disposal, I thought I’d try my hand at a layman’s version. Vegan living isn’t that hard if you’re creative in the kitchen!

I only used ingredients that I always keep in my house, and it tastes pretty delicious! I can see myself making this on work mornings to stave off hunger until break time.

Frothy Power Coffee

serves 1, hot or iced

8 oz. cold brew or freshly-brewed hot coffee

2 oz. unsweetened organic almond milk

1 tsp. organic coconut oil

1 tsp. chia seeds

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of nutmeg

sweeten to taste (I recommend 100% maple syrup)

Pour all ingredients into a blender until frothy and then serve! A word of caution—if you choose to serve this cold/iced, the coconut oil will start to solidify over time, giving the drink a chalky consistency. Hot is probably the way to go for those of us with texture issues!

All the above measurements are estimates. You know how you like your coffee! If you take your coffee black, skip the almond milk altogether and sub in more coconut oil. Add some cocoa powder to make it a mocha or blend in some fresh raspberries. Totally customizable.

There are endless ways to enjoy this super easy drink, without bankrupting yourself at the health-food store.

Well, I’m off to start cooking brunch! We ran out of tempeh so I can’t make my kickass “bacon.” So much sadness!

Happy brewing!

—DellaBites