Thursday, April 17, 2014

Essential oil must-haves

There are so many wonderful essential oils available today, and many have multiple benefits. We'll learn a brief history of aromatherapy, discuss the difference between essential oils and fragrance oils, and we'll look at some of the wonderful skin care products formulated using essential oils.

What are Essential Oils? The term "essential oil" is a bit misleading, truth be told. An essential oil is actually a concentrated compound and not an oil at all. These compounds come from various parts of plants. They can be extracted from flowers, bark, resin, leaves, roots, and peels. They are typically extracted through a method called distillation. Distillation can occur chemically or through steam and you really want them to be steam distilled. It is not always an easy process, as it is sometimes much more difficult to extract these natural compounds. You can tell how easily an essential oil is distilled by the cost. The more expensive the essential oil, the more difficult it was to extract the natural compounds from the plant.

Essential Oils are very concentrated and need to be diluted prior to usage in almost every instance. The most common method is by adding Essential Oils to what is known as a Carrier Oil. Adding the concentrated Essential Oils to Grapeseed Oil, Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Safflower Oil, Avocado Oil, etc. makes it easy to reap the benefits of Aromatherapy because you can apply the oil right to your body.
Essential Oils are the backbone of a practice known as Aromatherapy.
Quite simply, Aromatherapy is the practice of using Essential Oils in order to promote wellness and good health. Aromatherapy used one of our key senses, that of smell. Your nerve receptors, once hit with a fragrance, send a message right up to something called the Limbic System. This is within the brain and it essentially processes a scent and gives you a certain reaction. This is the system that triggers emotional responses to fragrance. Many people associate a certain scent with a person or memory.

Whenever I smell a certain department store perfume, I am reminded of my late grandmother. She always wore it when I was a child and even though she is gone, I instantly think of her when I smell it. When I smell tulips, I am always reminded of the garden I played in at my childhood home. The salty scent of ocean air reminds me of the summer we lived in Coastal Georgia planning our wedding.

Clearing up confusion when it comes to oils
A common misconception is that popular Fragrance Oils are basically the same as Essential Oils. This could not be more false. Well over 95% of an actual finished Fragrance Oil comes from petrochemicals (crude oil) and are hazardous to your health. These oils are created in a lab and are made to mimic a particular scent. You can buy bottles of synthetic fragrance oil in every type of scent these days--from rose to chocolate chip cookies to pumpkin to the scent of pizza and popcorn. It is important to remember that these highly scented oils serve no benefit, are completely synthetic, and may be very harmful. Even though much has been done to raise awareness of certain toxins, synthetic fragrance oils often contain a deadly range of toxins known as phthalates. That is why essential oils are best.
Favorite Products with Essential Oils
Tata Harper Aromatic Irritability Treatment is a fabulous essential oil blend containing Roman chamomile, bergamot, and patchouli to work in tandem to ground the mind, provide a bit of cheer, and soothe that tension. Rochester friends can now find Tata Harper at Waterlily at 2383 Monroe Avenue in Brighton.
EO Grapefruit & Mint Body Lotion is a refreshing skin care treatment designed to make your arms and legs silky smooth. Grapefruit and peppermint oils help enliven the senses and make you feel more awake. This is a bargain, too, without sacrificing quality of ingredients!
Badger Organic Headache Soother is the first thing I reach for when I have a tension headache. I swear by this all-natural aromatherapy balm to work its magic on a mild headache. Lavender relaxes, mandarin uplifts the spirits, and the peppermint is stimulating.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Arm Candy!

Here's a look at my newest bracelets! I am never without bracelets. You'll usually find them in a stack on my arm. Check out some of my latest finds! Best of all, you can purchase all of them in Rochester.

Webster's Julie Rodda of Blue Honey Jewelry is a gem. And she makes the most stunning baubles using vintage components! Find her on Etsy and select local boutiques. I had the pleasure of sharing and event with her and got to meet her the other day. After the guests left, we talked and talked about vintage finds, estate sales, Etsy & more.

Use code PEACE to save 25% in her Etsy shop, too! Be sure to tell her C & G sent you!

I stopped off at Peppermint on Park Avenue a couple weeks ago to drop off some goody bags to celebrate the launch of Tanvi's new line, Asher Bridal, and came out with this. It layers beautifully with all of my Alex and Ani bangles, too!  See:

Some of my Alex and Ani bangles....

And the visit before that one, I came out with this bracelet duo. Love it! Also from Peppermint.

Finally, we have one of my eco-resin cuff bracelets from Color by Amber. It's called the Mini Connect and features several different colors on it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Skin Picking: What is it and why do people do it?

I was asked not too long ago about a condition people don't often talk about -- skin picking. The woman I was talking to shared with me how she had been doing this for years and had no idea why. I was reminded of an article I researched and wrote some time ago and have updated it for this blog. Skin picking is something we don't often talk about, but it actually is more common than one would think.

So what exactly is skin picking and, more importantly, why do people do it?


Chances are you are unfamiliar with the word Dermatillomania. The word actually refers to the impulse control disorder commonly known as skin picking. Let’s take a look at this growing form of self-injury.

Skin picking is a very serious problem. It is also very misunderstood. People who have this disorder truly cannot help themselves when it comes to overcoming the urge to touch, scratch, scrape, or pick their skin with their fingernails. Dermatillomania is often closely related to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and people who have this condition find that picking their skin can help alleviate stress or anxiety. They may find the actual act of harming their skin to be soothing or pacifying. Some, though, pick their skin solely out of boredom and do not even realize that they are doing it until the episode is done.

People who engage in skin picking may be so consumed with the act that they spend hours each day doing it. It may negatively impact their relationships with friends and co-workers because so much time is taken up with the picking. Their work and social lives may suffer.

Skin Picking Treatment Options

If you or someone you care about has a problem with skin picking, make an appointment with your doctor. He or she may recommend that you see a psychologist so you can find strategies to control your impulses. Cognitive behavior therapy and SSRI medications such as Prozac are common treatment options for those with severe forms of skin picking.

Unfortunately, so many people believe that if a person wants to stop their skin picking, they can just make themselves do so. It is important to think of skin picking as any other addiction or compulsion. There is no simple fix.

Research shows that a combination of behavior therapy and medication can truly help people overcome Dermatillomania.

Skin Picking Treatment Products

Skin picking often leaves behind visible damage long after the problem has been resolved and picking has stopped. Scars are the most visible aftereffects of skin picking, as is inflammation. Look for soothing, all-natural body oils to help calm the skin. A body cream rich in protective Vitamin E will also help to improve the overall condition of your skin. Until the scars have cleared, a body makeup may be used if the scars are having a negative impact on your self esteem.

My Product Recommendations

ZENMED Skin Eraser - face

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kitchen Skin Care: 5 Fab Face Masks

You do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on spa treatments to have bright & healthy looking skin! There are some wonderful do it yourself masks using ingredients available right in your own kitchen. Here are some of my favorite recipes I like to whip up for the skin. 

1. Cocoa & Milk Face Mask
Pure, unsweetened cocoa powder is rich in antioxidants and provides your skin with protective benefits. Milk contains natural lactic acid to help soften and exfoliate the skin, encouraging it to shed dead skin cells. When you mix the two together, you are left with brighter skin and may notice a softening of fine lines. To make this mask, combine the two ingredients to form a paste and then apply to damp skin. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
2. Honey Oatmeal Face Mask
Honey is one of nature’s greatest skincare gifts. Not only is it moisturizing, but it also contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties. Oatmeal acts as a gentle exfoliant, revealing smoother and more youthful skin. It also contains selenium, zinc, and copper to fight wrinkles. Combine equal parts honey and oatmeal and stir gently. Apply this mask to damp skin and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
3. Grapeseed & Blueberry Face Mask
Blueberries are naturally rich in Vitamin C and contain something called anthocyanins, which boost collagen levels in the skin. Grapeseed oil is non-greasy, yet highly nourishing. It it rich is essential fatty acids, making it a superior anti-aging oil. Combine ¼ cup of blueberries and 1.5 tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Puree in the blender. Apply to skin with a facial brush and rinse off after 10 minutes.
4. Papaya Greek Yogurt Face Mask
Papaya is rich in an enzyme called Papain, which helps to slough away dead skin cells to reveal glowing skin. Greek yogurt is protein rich and full of lactic acid. Plain Greek yogurt, when applied topically, can tighten the pores. Simply mix equal parts of the two ingredients and apply a thick layer to the skin. Lie down and relax. Rinse off after 15-25 minutes. For extra brightening, you can squeeze in a bit of lemon juice or pineapple juice.
5. Strawberry & Egg White Face Mask
This is a wonderful anti-aging mask for those who may also be suffering from acne. Strawberries contain salicylins, which are related to beta hydroxy acid. These gentle fruit acids are oil soluble, meaning they can reach into the pores and draw out bacteria. Not only will the mask help treat blackheads, but it can help rejuvenate wrinkled skin. Simply mash some berries and whisk with an egg white to make a tightening face mask. Leave on the skin for 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wellness food for your precious pooch

Our slightly naughty doggie after he pulled a 5 pound bag of flour off the kitchen counter while I was outside a couple Decembers ago

One member of the family truly is always there for you.

You know, the one who runs lays across your feet on the sofa? The one who wants to play, exercise, and sleep next to you no matter how their day has gone? Heck, they’ll do just about anything to make you happy.

That describes Cannon, our 10 year old rescue German Shepherd- Lab mix. He's been with us since we adopted him in 2007 and he truly is one of the family.

He is also our gentle giant with a gentle stomach. Right after we found him at the Humane Society, we realized he had a very sensitive stomach. Finding the right food took advice from the vet and trying out different diets.

Finding high-quality, helpful ingredients can be frustrating! It is so necessary, though. A diet formulated with wholesome, natural ingredients could help your dog live a longer, healthier life. Finding GOOD dog food, though, can be a challenge. The stuff at the grocery store just doesn't cut it. It is so full of fillers and corn and it just isn't good for your best pal.

Cannon is grain free. It's so interesting to me because if you've been reading for a while, you know that I went grain free last year and I feel amazing since doing so. Cannon is grain free because it is necessary for his well being. When he eats dog biscuits with grain, for example, he vomits.

Sadly, most dog foods aren’t made up of natural ingredients. I think it's because makers of dog foods just assume we won't look at labels the way we might look at our own food labels--or even with the same vigilance we look at our skincare labels.

Is natural food for your dog just a fad or it is truly important?

Let's take a look--

“Natural products go far beyond just basic nutrition,” says Dr. Al Townshend, staff Veterinarian at Wellness® Pet Food. “Natural diets are designed to provide the very best nutrition and can have significant benefits.”

In fact, according to Dr. Townshend, “natural diets offer ingredients with some important health benefits such as probiotics, those good bacteria that are essential for a healthy immune system and digestive tract; glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health; omega-3 fatty acids or fish oils for heart and kidney health; and added digestive supplements to enhance digestibility to get the very best benefits from quality proteins and fats.”

As a leader in natural pet food, Wellness uses natural, high-quality proteins and fats in their dog food recipes. They also include fruits and vegetables for natural vitamins, minerals and other benefits, especially antioxidants that occur in blueberries, cranberries and some vegetables, which help make their dog food products some of the healthiest options in the marketplace.

Wellness recipes do not include added artificial colors, flavors or ingredients, and they’ve even created a helpful “Check Your Bag” site that you can use to compare their natural dog food to those from some competitors who claim to be natural. It's a great resource and I know you'll be surprised to see how brands compare.

So why is Wellness a better option?

Some of the biggest benefits to Wellness® Complete Health® Recipes include:

• Live Active Probiotics – Added after the cooking process to promote a healthy intestinal tract and overall digestive health at guaranteed levels

• Omega 3 & 6 Mix – Offering guaranteed levels of essential fatty acids for cellular function and healthy skin

• Essential Vitamins & Minerals – Designed for cellular health, immunity and disease resistance

• Fruit & Veggie Antioxidants – A proactive step in improving your pet’s nutrition

The foods for your dogs from Wellness are stellar. They even have a grain free dog food option for dogs like mine. Do check out their website. Have you tried Wellness? Let me know! And for a store near you, check the store locator guide. For example, locals here will find it at Petco!

Find Wellness on Facebook, while you're at it!

*Disclosure- This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions expressed are completely my own, as always.

Monday, March 31, 2014

C & G's Facial Routine

Ah, bliss. Bliss is when you find the perfect skincare routine after years of seeking out the best products--when they work together synergistically to give you great results!

Over the years, I have tried a bazillion products and I have finally nailed down MY perfect routine. So what does this involve? Let's take a look!


1. Remove my makeup

Using grapeseed or sunflower oil, I remove my eye makeup and mascara.  These work best for me to oil cleanse my face. I can no longer use coconut oil on my face, as it was making me--for the first time in eons---break out. I apply an amount about the half the size of a dime and remove all of my makeup. Then I rinse with warm water and apply my actual cleanser.

2. Apply a gentle cleanser

I use the ZENMED Facial Cleansing Gel to wash my face and remove any environmetnal debris. I rinse off with warm water and gently pat dry. This cleansing gel is soothing because of the aloe vera and it is free of sulfates, parabens or artificial fragrance. It's truly the best cleanser I have used in several years.

3. Exfoliate/tone

I don't use a traditional toner anymore. After cleansing, I use a cotton pad to apply ZENMED AHA/BHA Complex. I am not kidding you when I say that this blows all other AHA or BHA products out of the water. NOTHING compares. My complexion absolutely glows with this. It is so clear, texture has improved, and it is brighter. It is fabulous. If you only were to get one ZENMED product, I would get this one. It removes dead skin cells and just leaves skin glowing and bright! I LOVE it and could not be without it.

4. Apply an anti-aging serum

Next, I apply a serum. Right now, I am using Suki Radical Results Youth Serum. It is ultra lightweight and contains resveratrol, hyaluronic acid, and Coenzyme Q10. It makes my skin feel plump and moist and I love how it doesn't leave a stick residue at all. It really is lovely and feels luxurious. It has a light aroma from the rose, lavender, and calendula, but is is so soothing and it makes you feel like you were at the spa. It is just lovely.

5. Treat the eye area

I've been using The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Eye Cream. Since I stopped buying products from 100% Pure, I ended up with this one on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. Is it the holy grail of eye creams? No, I do not think so, but it does help with the beginning signs of eye aging and with brightening, targeting puffiness, and helping to fade dark circles. I'll have to report back on it after another couple months.

6. Seal it all in with a moisturizer

My go-to moisturizer is my AVT Cream from ZENMED. This is the best moisturizer I have used in years. More than simply a face cream, this is packed with beneficial ingredients such as peptides (Matrixyl), Hyalurronic Acid for helping my skin retain moisture, and it also contains Argan and Borage oils. This really is fabulous and helps to seal in my other treatment products!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Radha Vanga on fruits for healthy skin

Hi C & G friends, we have a guest blogger today and I'd love for you to check out her post. Thanks.

You don't need to splurge on expensive beauty products to make your skin glowing and beautiful. The secret to glowing skin lies in our kitchen. A healthy serving of fruits can significantly improve the overall appearance of the skin by treating dryness, dullness and pigmentation. Fruits are cost-effective and have no side effects. Here are ten fruits, which can help you to get a healthy and radiant skin tone.

1. Bananas:

Banana is a staple fruit in India. It is abundantly available throughout the year. It is a good source of iron and magnesium, which stimulates blood circulation in the skin cells. The high levels of Vitamin A in banana work as an anti-ageing agent, preventing wrinkles and fine lines. The potassium in banana moisturizes and hydrates the skin, making it look more supple and youthful. Mash a ripe banana and apply it on the skin like a face pack for that subtle glow.

2. Lemons:

Lemons are a great addition to your beauty regime. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, which aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides elasticity to the skin. Lemon acts as natural bleach, treating uneven skin tone and pigmentation. It also deep cleans the skin by clearing grime from the clogged pores. Mix lemon with honey and massage your skin with it. Start your day with a glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice.

3. Apples:

The antioxidants in apples prevent cell and tissue damage. The malic acid in apples renews the skin cells, promoting healthy and firm skin. It also contains an abundant amount of elastin that keeps the skin youthful. Apples keep the digestive tract clean by promoting bowel movements, preventing the onset of acne. Apply a paste of mashed apple, honey, rose water and oatmeal to exfoliate the skin.

4. Oranges:

Orange is rich in Vitamin C, a nutrient that helps to improve the skin texture. Rub the inside of the peel on your skin to lighten it. You can also dry and powder the peels to use it as a natural scrub. Regular scrubbing will help to clear the skin blemishes.

5. Papaya:

The skin and health benefits of papaya have been touted since time immemorial. It is rich in papain, an antioxidant that clears the dead skin cells, removing the skin impurities. Applying the pulp of papaya on the skin can do wonders to it. Rinse it off after 15 minutes and follow up with a moisturizer to witness a healthy glow in your skin. It also helps to treat the dark circles and rashes on the skin.

6. Mango:

The king of fruits doesn’t just taste great, but can be very beneficial for the skin as well. Mango is rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants that regenerate the cells and restore the elasticity of the skin. The beta carotene present in this fruit rejuvenates and revives the skin. Mangoes also reduce dark spots, acne and blemishes, imparting a healthy glow to the skin.

7. Avocados:

Avocados are one of the best natural ingredients for dry skin. Biotin in avocado promotes cell regeneration and growth, resulting in glowing skin. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which provides lubrication, alleviating dry skin. Apply mashed avocados on the skin to cure dryness and flakiness.

8. Peaches:

Peaches are one of the best fruits to get an instant face-lift. It tightens the facial muscles, preventing sagging skin. Massage with the inner part of the peel to cleanse and tone the skin. Peaches contain a powerful antioxidant called ellagic acid that prevents collagen destruction. It also guards the skin from UV damage.

9. Pineapples:

Pineapple is an excellent fruit to rejuvenate dull and dry skin. It contains bromelain, a natural enzyme that gently exfoliates the skin. Take a slice of pineapple and rub it on the skin and body. The antioxidants also help to neutralize free radical damage.

10. Kiwi:

Kiwi is one of the best sources of Vitamin C. Hundred grams of kiwi provide 100 mg of Vitamin C. It heals damaged skin by speeding up the cell regeneration. The ascorbic acid present in kiwi keeps the skin looking young and fresh. Kiwi is loaded with dietary fiber, which acts as a laxative, promoting smooth bowel movements. This, in turn, gives you glowing and lustrous skin.

The above-mentioned fruits will not just improve the appearance of your skin, but will also enhance your overall health. Hope you found this article useful. Do leave us your feedback below.

About Radha

Radha Vanga, a new blogger from India. She is a nutrition lover & Ayurveda practitioner. She started her blog to share what she has learned with other health conscious people. Follow her @healthbeckon or emai her –

Monday, March 17, 2014

We have a winner!!!

CONGRATULATIONS to NICKIE MASON!!! Nickie is the winner of the Rejuvaderm MD Giveaway from Trophy Skin Care!

Stay tuned for our next giveaway coming soon!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pinterest vs. Jamberry: March Madness Nails!

March Madness is almost here! I have seen so many team-inspired nail art designs on Pinterest, so I have to share what Jamberry has to give you the result you're looking for. 

The DIY designs with polish are on the left. Jamberry collegiate wraps (all shown below in Syracuse Orange) are on the right. Which ones are better looking?

Show your team spirit with collegiate wraps from Jamberry Nails! Everyone who places an order for NCAA wraps will have their name entered in a drawing on Selection Sunday (this weekend) for a fabulous prize related to YOUR choice of NCAA team!

Each wrap sheet will give you 2-3 manicures and lasts up to 2 weeks--so you'll be all covered for March Madness!

Show your team spirit and have a long-lasting mani or pedi at the same time.

Do you have a hair dryer? Then you can do a Jamicure! Simply heat your wrap, apply to clean, prepped nails, press & smooth and then heat again. Voila! Team-spirit nails without dry time, mess, or results that aren't what you were going for!

Makeup I'm Loving Now

A Slight Beauty Shift

As a natural makeup junkie, I've had a bit of a hard time lately with sharing some makeup recommendations that are as pure & natural as can be. Why?

The super duper mineral products I've recommended and enjoyed for years have been causing problems--irritation, redness, sore eyes, etc.

Through a VERY long process of elimination since summer, I have determined one of the culprits: MICA.

This, in some ways, makes me feel like I am in an awkward situation, as I can no longer recommend many products and types of products I've enjoyed for years, simply because I myself have not been able to use them without irritation over these past several months.

It's been hard! I do know that mica in high concentrations (as in mineral makeup) is the cause of my problems, so finding alternatives WITHOUT it as a key ingredient has been challenging. Not so much challenging, but it is difficult because many products without large amounts of mica have ingredients I have not been terribly thrilled with in the past. I can still use products with mica, but if it's in the top couple ingredients, I cannot.

SO, I have had to compromise a bit, I suppose. However, when I avoid it, my skin (and eyes and nose!) is very thankful.

That has meant saying goodbye to some staples. I have had to make some concessions.

These changes have led me to rediscover some past favorite brands or products, and I also have tried some new products. It's been a bit of an adventure!

Some favorites of mine:

Many years ago when I worked for Estee Lauder, I had a favorite liquid foundation called Enlighten. It was lightweight, natural looking, and blended seamlessly. After they discontinued it, I never found that "perfect" liquid foundation.

Sally Hansen had one I liked in the Natural Beauty by Carmindy line. Sadly, that also bit the dust.

Enter Prescriptives! A few years back, the brand disappeared from department stores. It is now available online, though, and I have rediscovered old favorites and also have found a foundation that is even better than my old beloved Enlighten.

This paraben-free formula is called Flawless Skin Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15. I absolutely adore this formula, how it looks, and how it feels.

I wear Champagne and apply it with my BeautyBlender Pro makeup sponge from Sephora, and a little goes a long way. The color is perfect, as is the texture.

Because of my allergies, I also had to break up with my concealer from Vapour. I have found one I am in love with, also from Prescriptives. This one is Camouflage Cream in Light (Warm). It blends without caking, doesn't migrate closer to my eyes by the end of a long day, and does not accentuate any fine lines.

Another favorite of mine can be found at Target for less than 10 bucks, yet rivals any high end lippie. It's the Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Lip Color in Sheer Fuchsia. I am happy to report that this is both fragrance and paraben-free. It's the perfect pop of bright meets subtle for spring (should it ever arrive).

I can't wait to share my other new favorites with you soon! It is such a relief to know what to avoid know when shopping. Even for a savvy shopper like me, it can be hard when your skin rebels and you need to start searching for new products!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Are you ready for spring? I know I am! With another winter storm warning looming, I really am eager for the beautiful spring flowers.

I just put on some new Jamberry Nails wraps today and even though I typically wear LOTS of black and white on my nails, I just had to choose a romantic floral.

The above is one of my favorite designs ever. It's the March Hostess Exclusive wrap and only available to Jamberry party hosts in March.

I am having a Jamberry Nails Mystery Hostess Party right now!  What is a Mystery Hostess Party? You place an order and have it applied to the party. At the close of the party, the entire rewards loot will go to one shopper drawn via So whether you order $15 or $150, you are entered!

I have been with Jamberry for just over 6 months now. Originally, I signed up in order to get a product discount and maybe to make a bit of extra money.

I never set out to make this a career or to have a team. I now have a team of 20 consultants (with me, it's 21) and we are scattered across 7 states. It is going to sound so silly. There is such a stereotype, I think, about direct sales. But, I have another point of view.

My team is amazing. We have a special education teacher, magazine fashion director, artist, therapist, and nail tech on the team, among others. There are amazing stay at home moms, women trying to pay back their student loans. It is a group of smart women empowering one another. I am so proud to be part of this.

On a personal note, it will help us pay for our son to attend private school.

What is YOUR why? Why would you benefit from extra money? Would you like that satisfaction of being your own boss? Or to have some extra money for ballet, lacrosse, soccer, karate, etc? A maybe could you use that money for the electric bill? Car payment? A trip to Disney?

I have a very flexible schedule which allows me to do my writing gigs AND still homeschool during the day. I don't typically do in-home parties. I have done 3 in 6 months. Almost all of my business has been done online, right through Facebook parties or just social networking. I am really thankful each day for the Jamberry opportunity and I would love to talk to you more.

Our product is made in the USA, vegan, gluten free, and comes in nearly 400 designs!!!

Whether you're looking for NCAA designs, florals, chevron, abstract, dots, or Jamberry Juniors, there truly is something for everyone.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My New Favorite Necklace!

I have told you about Color by Amber before. This is a fabulous line of artisan-crafted jewelry made of 100% eco resin. 

I wear jewelry each day-- earrings, a necklace, and bracelets layered on my left arm. I was so excited to wear my new necklace from Color By Amber--which just so happens to be my favorite necklace: the Circle Cascade Necklace in Sapphire ($44.95). I love the rich blue hue! It makes a bold statement and will jazz up anything that you find to be too plain or simple. I just love it! I think I may have to buy the red one too!

I have admired Color by Amber's commitment to sustainability and the empowerment of women since I was introduced to the company last year.

In fact, much of their collection uses materials purchased from women in Nepal, Senegal, and more--women from all over the world. This creates business opportunities for women, providing them with jobs, health care, educational opportunities, and more.

Click here for a great video about these women called Full Circle.

I have some other beautiful new pieces from Color by Amber to show you, too-- arm candy! I will share pictures of those in the next couple days. I really love what this company has to offer -- fun, colorful, eco-friendly jewelry at competitive prices.

To connect online with Color by Amber:


*I received my jewelry for possible review at no cost. This in no way has influenced the outcome of my review.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spring Hair Trend: Color Chalk: Yay or Nay?

I have a friend (Elizabeth) who can rock any hair color. She's had fuchsia, hints of purple, I think even blue, in her pixie. She is one of those people who can easily pull the look off.

Accent colors are going mainstream this spring, as just about every colorist I have spoken with puts it on their "trend" list for spring 2014.

Caitlyn Young of Salon Capri created some fantastic looks in the salon, showcasing hues such as "First Date Violet"and "Garden Party Green".  The salon uses L'Oreal Professional Hair Chalk, which applies quickly, won't stain, and washes out in just 2 shampoos. It's a great way to try a fun look without having to bleach your hair and apply a bold color over it.

So I have to ask, yes or no? Would you try it?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thoughts from a dentist on oil pulling

Oil pulling is a very popular subject lately.  In fact, just the other night my friend Kyra sent me a message with a link to a blog post about the benefits of using coconut oil for pulling. Kyra was intrigued. And I had a renewed interest in this practice.

Photo source

You see, I first stumbled upon the concept of oil pulling when I had a toothache back in 2011. It was awful. I was in such unbearable pain, yet I was afraid to go to the dentist. I drag myself to the dentist for my regular cleanings, but I would rather be in labor & delivery than in the dentist's chair.

I hate the noises and the smells....that feeling I will gag. And I think I'd rather have another epidural than a shot of novocaine. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's how I feel.

When I had that toothache, I knew in my brain that I would need to visit the dentist, but I sometimes try to convince myself I can take care of the problem myself--you know, with the brilliant logic that if I can write about skincare & beauty, that surely I must be qualified to perform dental care. The things I will tell myself to avoid that dentist chair! Let's just say that I learned my lesson.

I came across a website full of testimonials on oil pulling. Dozens of people shared how they cured their toothache pain by oil pulling. I would have tried anything at that point, as it as Memorial Day weekend and the dentist wasn't even around.

I tried oil pulling with melted coconut oil for the weekend. My mouth felt REALLY clean, but the pain was intense, so I just couldn't keep trying that method given how I felt.

Eventually my pain had morphed into a swollen gum and cheek. That Tuesday when the dentist re-opened, I practically begged his receptionist to let me come in then and there.

It turns out, I had a very old filling that had come out and a crack in the tooth. It turned into an infection, so I needed antibiotics, a root canal, and a crown. Boy that was an expense!

I continued a bit more with oil pulling, but frankly didn't experience other results in those several days, so it got shifted to my "try again another time" list.

Since then, more and more mainstream websites have discussed the multiple benefits of oil pulling, which involves swishing for 20 minutes with unrefined coconut oil.

As I have continued to embrace coconut oil, I have become more interested in all of the ways I might be able to use it.  In the past year, I have lost just over 40 pounds. I ditched the wheat, refined sugars, and I added coconut oil to my diet.

I had already used it on my skin for years, as well as on the ends of my hair. Last year, I started eating about a teaspoon of it plain. I also add it to smoothies.

It really helps to melt that belly fat and it has, I believe, positively impacted my health. I always had really good cholesterol, but it went down even more -- raising the "good" and lowering the "bad" cholesterol. If I cut out the coconut oil, I sometimes plateau with my weight loss. If I add a bit more, I am always back on track.

I am interested in trying this for teeth whitening. I do not use the drugstore kits because of the ingredients and because the last time I did, I had painful sensitivity to the whitening strips. I am a tea drinker, coffee drinker, and a wine drinker, so my teeth are never a bright white.

I think I just might try it for whitening and share my results, now that I have been reading more. Hearing a dentist show her support for oil pulling also helps.

Dr. Jessica Emery, DMD is a dentist in Chicago and owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft .  She recently shared her comments on oil pulling and dental care:

"There is nothing more splendid and virtuous then unrefined coconut oil. It is a hot topic now coming back from the ancient days of tradition. 'Oil pulling' is a technique used to clean your teeth and mouth. You place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish with it for up to 20 minutes. When finished make sure you spit into a trash can and not the sink as it can clog the pipes.
People swear by it, that it can fill cavities, relieve toothaches, whiten teeth, freshen breath, absorb harmful bacteria and even say it cures the common cold. From a dentist's perspective, tooth decay is caused by bacteria and studies suggest that coconut oil treated with enzymes (which is like the process that occurs when you have oil in your mouth), the enzymes in your saliva break down. It seems to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. So a good thing. Patients that have oil pulled have said that they 'love how their mouth feels after swishing and that it lasts all day". 

They also say that tooth pain is not gone but better. Makes sense to me as we use Vitamin E oil to sooth the gums and clove oil to sooth tooth aches. They work. I have not tried oil pulling personally but think I may jump on the bandwagon to see for myself. No solid proof that it works but it certainly makes people feel better. Your cheeks may get tired but I say 'swish away'."

Have you tried oil pulling?  What are your thoughts? Did you experience any benefits?

Skincare Moment of Zen

A moment of zen.... ZENMED, that is.


A few weeks ago, I told you that I would be searching for some new skincare staples. When my cleanser started running low, I decided I would reorder one I used to use a couple years back.

I was about to hit the "Finish" button on an order for cleanser, when ZENMED came into my life. And am I glad it did! 

While I try many new products for my blog, I like to keep my basic skincare regimen the same. Otherwise, I find that it can rebel. And sometimes, I try something new and experience a disaster. Today, for example, I had a bad allergic to an eye serum I was sampling for this blog. It resulted in my right eyes swelling shut, runny eyes, itching, and soreness.

That is why I try to be consistent with my cleanser, treatment and moisturizers. I like to have that predictability and know that those staples are kind to my skin.

I am so happy to tell you that I have found replacements for my cleanser, exfoliant and moisturizer. You know I love products that are as natural as possible. You also know I believe proper preservation is essential in terms of product safety. Plus, as I approach 40 (next year), I know that anti-aging ingredients ARE a necessary part of that routine. I also have added in a bit of home microdermabrasion, as I mentioned in another post this week.  My ZENMED products, though, are phenomenal and will be a part of my skincare regimen for the long haul.

More About ZENMED

First of all, I have to say this--I have tried hundreds of brands over the past few years thanks to this blog. Products I have tried range from drugstore brands such as Yes to Blueberries and Burt's Bees to high end skincare such as Tata Harper and La Mer. I have so many product options, but for me to use them beyond a sample period, they really have to impress me.

I am extremely excited to read up more on ZENMED. I like to know about the products I use, as well as the companies behind them.

I can tell that ZENMED is proud of their formulations.  They truly stand behind them with what they call their 60 Day People Pleaser Guarantee. If you don't like the results, you can send your products back before that 60 day period is up.

  • ZENMED products are developed by doctors.
  • Free of artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, lanolin, petrochemicals & SLS/SLES
  • Competitively priced


Facial Cleansing Gel -- I honestly was not sure I'd like this. I am a milky/lotion cleanser fan and usually do not like gels at all. I am so glad I gave it a chance! Gels cleansers always dry me out, but not this one. It very gently removes my makeup and the aloe vera is very soothing. There are so many gentle botanicals in this, from chamomile and lavender to rose and lavender. The aroma from these, though, is very minimal. Packed with vitamins, this cleanser leaves my skin looking and feeling clean, without it feeling tight or dry. It also brightens the skin!

AHA/BHA Complex -- This is step two in the three step routine. This isn't your typical toner. This is an exfoliant and this so important. I cannot even begin to estimate how many times I have stressed the importance of proper exfoliation on this blog. This is an effective exfoliant containing both alpha and beta hydroxy acids. 

Having both makes it work much better than other exfoliants, as we know BHA is oil soluble so it can get down into those pores and "de-gunk" the bacteria that leads to blackheads. It is also effective at preventing and treating acne. On the other side of the coin, you have AHAs which help whisk away those dead skin cells.

The result? Flakes start to disappear, pores become unclogged, and your tone and texture will improve. I see a major difference.

What I love about this is that even though it works effectively, it doesn't sting or burn or leave my skin feeling sore, as I have experienced in the past with AHAs. For the record, the pH is 3.5, which my 10 year old, Nick, tells me is the same pH as orange juice.

AVT Cream -- This is a lovely formulation. Not just a standard moisturizer, this contains potent anti-aging ingredients. In terms of vitamins, this contains high grade Vitamin C, Vitamin A, D3, and Vitamin E.  The cream features Argan Oil, Borage Oil, Hyaluronic Acid and one off the most effective peptides on the market-- Matrixyl.

The Chic & Green Bottom Line

ZENMED products perform as advertised--and you will see and feel a difference quickly.

I like that ZENMED cares about safety and that they use many natural ingredients in their products. Yet, they are formulated based on research and SCIENCE. This is important. That is what makes products truly effective. These products have been developed by actual doctors who know what they are doing.
I mentioned it earlier and will again. ZENMED products are Vegan and they are approved by both Leaping Bunny and PETA, Additionally, the company omits boxes and uses 100% recyclable packaging.


To learn more about their philosophy, click here.
Visit the ZENMED blog here.

Follow ZENMED on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

*Disclosure: I am a contributor to the ZENMED blog.