A Natural Deodorant that Works

For the past several years  I have been on a search for a natural deodorant.  Unfortunately my experiences with many different brands have not been positive.  Just to clarify, natural deodorants do not contain antiperspirants, so basically you can still sweat (although, if working correctly, the deodorant should still reduce odor).  Aluminum (which is also a neurotoxin) is an ingredient that is used to prevent you from sweating, but this has been linked to many negative health effects (Cancer, Alzheimer’s).   I don’t sweat easily, but with some brands that I tried, I felt very wet and sticky and sometimes I just plain STUNK.  Not pleasant.  I’d switch back to regular deodorant for a while and then read something else about the cancer-causing ingredients in regular deodorant and start looking for a new product to try.  Here I’m going to run down what I’ve tried and what product is finally working for me!

natural deodorant
All these deodorant products were misses for me.

Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s is a pretty well-respected brand of more natural products and my mom had told me they worked for her.  So I went out and got two of them to try – one was unscented and the other was calendula scent.  The products boast having no aluminum, no animal testing, no artificial colors, flavors, fragrance or preservatives, and having natural 24-hour odor protection.  Well, these were just gross.  The calendula scent smelled like body odor in my opinion.  The product glided on nicely but I always felt wet and sticky even when I wasn’t perspiring.  And if I did sweat, I smelled, so the 24-hour odor protection was a crock of sh*& in my experience.


My husband suggested Crystal.  This product also boasts of no aluminum, and also is hypoallergenic, fragrance and paraben free.  It comes in a spray, a roll on or a stick.  I did use this one for a while, but overall did not enjoy it.  I still felt sticky and wet a lot so it wasn’t very comfortable for me to wear.  However, with this one I did not smell, which was an improvement over my experience with Tom’s.


I heard about a brand called Lavanila that is sold on Sephora.  It did have good reviews, so I picked one up, even though it was pretty pricey ($14) for a deodorant!  I picked the pure vanilla scent (they have several to choose from) and this brand also prides itself on being all natural, aluminum free, and no parabens.  I couldn’t get past the smell of this.  I love vanilla in general, but this deodorant stank on me!  I kept smelling it on myself and didn’t like it.  Now I was reaching a maximum frustration level.  This was a higher end product and I expected a higher end result, but that was not the case.  Maybe my expectations were too high for a natural deodorant product.


natural deodorant
These products are a home run for me!


Recently I heard about a brand called Schmidt’s that’s available on Amazon.  I picked up the Lavender + Sage scent.  This brand also promises no aluminum, no propylene glycol and no artificial fragrance.  It is certified vegan, cruelty- free and gluten-free.  Can I just say that FINALLY my search is OVER!  This product works for me!  It does not leave me feeling wet or sticky and I smell good!  It’s the closest feeling to real deodorant that I’ve experienced in a natural product!  The only thing that I had to get used to is to warm the product a bit with my finger before swiping in the underarm area.  It is a little harder in texture than the other products I’ve tried.  But this has been the answer to my prayers!


Another product that deserves an honorable mention are the Pacifica deodorant wipes.  These are great to freshen up after the gym or on the go.  Because they are individual wipes, they aren’t practical for everyday use but before I found Schmidt’s this was the only natural product that I enjoyed using.

I know that choosing a personal care product like deodorant is an individual experience, and that some of the products that did not work for me might work great for you.  I just know that, overall, finding a natural product in this category has been a long and frustrating process for me personally,  and if you are also struggling, then maybe one of these products can mark the end of your search.  If you’ve found a great product that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

5 Ways to Make Retinol Work For You

woman applying retinol
Less is more when applying Retin A – only a pea size is needed!

I’ve been using retinol and Retin A on and off for years.  I would start to use it, then experience extreme dryness and flaking and quit using it.  Then I’d continue to read about how retinol is such a key ingredient for anti-aging (heck I’ve even written about it myself here), and I’d try again…. you get the point.  I’ve finally figured out how to use this ingredient consistently with little to no side effects and I want to share with you how I did it.

#1 – Start SLOW

Just like with dieting, sometimes we are so psyched to try something that we dive straight in – BAD IDEA.  You are almost certain to set yourself up for failure.  With incorporating any new routine into our lives, we need to make gradual changes or it will seem so overwhelming that one day we’ll say “Screw it,” and give up.   I don’t know about you, but in the anti-aging game I REFUSE to give up!  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are looking to incorporate a skin care treatment for the long haul, so you need to ease in.

If you’ve never used retinol before, I’d recommend buying an over-the-counter product to start with, as they are not as strong as a prescription.  In addition, do not start out by using it every day!  Start with a couple of days a week (not consecutive) to see how your skin is handling it, and then slowly work up from there.  I personally like some retinol products that are in a facial oil form as it helps to maintain the skin’s moisture and keep flaking at bay.  Sunday Riley’s Luna oil is one I’ve really enjoyed using.  Also, Colleen Rothschild just came out with a new Retinol Supreme Night Oil  (the site is also having a sale so it’s currently 25% off with code FAM25)! On a budget?  Head to the drugstore and try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle repair with Retinol.

Tretinoin cream is another name for Retin-A. It comes in varying strengths.

If you get a trentinoin prescription from your doctor, I’d start out with .025% strength first before building up to the higher strengths.  You don’t need the highest strength to see the best results.  Be gentle with your skin!


#2 – Apply correctly

A pea size amount is all that is needed to spread evenly over your face.  Yes, a pea!  Again, remember- marathon, not sprint.  More is definitely NOT better.  Also, make sure your skin is BONE dry before applying.  The product is not as effective on damp skin.  So, after you wash your face, go do something else for about 20-30 minutes before you apply this.  The drier your skin is, the less chance of irritation.  I wish I had known this years ago but trust me, this makes a huge difference!

#3 – Continue to Moisturize

I don’t know why when I started using retinol years ago, I didn’t think to add a moisturizer on top.  Hello, your skin can get dry and flake off as a side effect of the product!  I think that I was afraid to add anything that could compromise the efficacy of the product.  But I’m here to tell you that you CAN and SHOULD add a moisturizer to your face after applying retinol.  However, I would wait another 20 -30 minutes prior to doing that so the product has time to settle into the skin.  You’re probably thinking this is sounding WAY too complicated and that you just want to slap on all your products one after the other and go to bed.  Trust me, I get that, I do.  I’ve found a way to incorporate this into my evening routine to make it work.  For instance, I’ll wash my face after cleaning up after dinner.  Then I go and help my son with his nighttime routine.  After I tuck him in, I spread the trentinoin on.  Then I go watch a little TV and head back to the bathroom to add the moisturizer.  Done!  Trust me, the extra effort that this takes has more than made up for it for me personally with no side effects.  Once you’ve established a routine that works into your schedule and have been doing it for awhile, then you will enjoy the results on your skin!

#4 – Be EXTRA anal about sunscreen

If you are not good about putting sunscreen on your face every day, rain or shine, winter or summer, then I would NOT begin any retinol routine until you get good about it.  This stuff is no joke; remember, it is stimulating your skin cells to turn over rapidly to smooth your skin texture and reduce lines and wrinkles.  In that process, your skin is not only prone to the side effects we’ve talked about, but it is more sensitive to the sun.  If you use this and are exposed to the sun without protection, not only are you undoing any benefit the retinol will provide, but you are setting yourself up to have a bad skin reaction.  Please, please proceed with caution!

#5 – Be careful about other exfoliators you are using

Take a look at all the products you are currently using before starting your retinol.  If you have cleansers or toners with glycolic acid, I would stop using them in the evening before applying your retinol.  You want to use very gentle products with the retinol to avoid irritation.  You can continue to use exfoliating treatments, but avoid using them on the same day that you plan to use your retinol.

Hopefully you picked up a tip or two or five, that you didn’t know before.  Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient, but that shouldn’t discourage us from using it.  With the right care, you CAN make this work for you and enjoy the results!  Good luck!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.


Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

Product Review – Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

Shiseido Pure Retinol Express smoothing eye maskOk, this is the real deal!  I purchased the Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Pads at Sephora just because I am constantly looking for eye products where I will see visible results.  In my anti-aging journey, I am still trying to find products that will address the fine lines, wrinkles and crepey skin under my eyes with results I can notice.  And was I beyond impressed with this eye mask!

If you’ve read my other articles on anti-aging, you know that retinol (vitamin A)is a key ingredient to incorporate into any skincare regimen.  I was curious to see this in an eye mask, as sometimes retinol can be harsh on the skin, especially the delicate under eye area.  This product promises to instantly reduce the appearance of visible fine lines and wrinkles with its special proprietary “Benefiance WrinkleResist24” ingredient.  It comes with individually wrapped eye sheets saturated with the product.  You lay them carefully under each eye and let sit for 15 minutes, then gently remove.  You can then pat in any excess product into the under eye area.  I really like how firm and smooth my under eye looks right after this treatment and that the product does not cause any irritation whatsoever.  You could also use this for laugh lines and place the pads around the mouth, but I haven’t used it I that way.

The left is my under eye before using the product, and the right is after. You can see in the after picture that the texture is smoother and tighter and the discoloration is also improved! All that in 15 minutes – I’m blown away!

The only negative is I have with this product is that these suckers are pricey!  It’s $65 for 12 packettes (I did find them cheaper -$51 for 12 packettes on Amazon here).  I have the 3 packette size, which is $17.50 but that size is currently sold out in Sephora.  I plan to order the larger size now that I’ve seen the results for myself and plan to use them at least once a week in addition to my normal under eye creams that I currently use.  In the meantime, I’ll be on the hunt for a drugstore dupe (if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears)!  I would love to know what anti aging products you are all loving right now!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try it.

Review and Haul of New Target Clothing Lines – A New Day and Who What Wear

Have you been to Target lately?  They’ve recently launched some new clothing lines, and I have to say I am IN LOVE!    One line is called “A New Day” and it has a great blend of casual and office-appropriate attire.  The other is called “Who What Wear” and has similar, although overall I think this line is a little more geared toward office attire.  Both have plus sizes available too so there’s something for any body type.  I went a little crazy but got some awesome deals (like over-the-knee boots for $39.99!?!) and stocked up on great fall pieces.  Let me show you some of the great finds I made because if you are in the market for some new fall clothes, there are some great finds at Target!  And if you have the Target Red Card, you get an ADDITIONAL 5% off all of your purchases!

Target A New Day Poncho and Over the Knee Suede boots

Poncho sweater ($26.99)and Over the Knee Suede boots  ($39.99)

I love this sweater because it will keep you warm during the transitional weather and it looks so put together!  I just threw it over the striped shirt I had on and it instantly jazzes up the outfit (which can be worn with the black mules in warmer weather and the over the knee boots in the cooler weather).  It’s so versatile and the price is great!

I bought a pair of over-the-knee suede boots with a heel last winter and I can tell you I spent a whole lot more money on them.  However, I felt that a flat heel would be more wearable in my day-to-day life, so when I saw these at this fantastic price I had to get them, and I was not disappointed!  I will say that if you have larger calves then these are not for you.  They aren’t adjustable and are fitted around the calf area.  They do offer a wide size but I’m not sure how much extra room they provide.  They tie at the back which I like – I think it adds some interest to the boot. Also, to get the ideal look out of the boot, you need to wear really skinny jeans or leggings as the calf is not roomy to tuck in any excess material.  But, in my opinion, overall a great find.  They also come in a gray and camel color.  I wear a size 7 and they run true to size.

Target Who What Wear blouse and A New Day Mules

Striped Tie Waist Shirt ($27.99)and Mules ($29.99)

This shirt is from Who What Wear, and immediately caught my eye because of the tie waist detail that made it really unique.  It comes in blue and white stripe as well as the gray and white that I purchased.  I love that you could wear this on the weekends or to an office – it is so versatile!  I also threw a sweatshirt over it (see dragonfly sweatshirt below)  to create another look with it.  I have a size S and it runs true to size. The mules are from A New Day and are perfect into the mule trend this season.  They are in a black suede and are perfect for the transitional fall weather.

Target A New Day striped sweatshirt

Striped Sweatshirt ($19.99)

A lot of the pieces I have were ordered online, as my local Target rarely has a lot of clothing items in stock.  However, I stumbled upon this piece during one of my Target runs  – the material is so soft and cozy I just couldn’t resist.  I sized up to a M in this as it was a little shorter than I liked in the small.  I plan to wear it with jeans or leggings.


Beaded Dragonfly Sweatshirt ($24.99)

This was another item I happened to find in-store.  This sweatshirt is so warm and cozy but the beaded dragonfly makes it a little more interesting.  You can wear it alone, or layered over a shirt as I did in this picture.  As with the striped sweatshirt, I did size up to a M in this shirt as well.

Target A New Day BlazerBlazer  ($34.99)

I am really impressed with the quality of this blazer for the price.  It is long sleeved (I have it rolled up in the photo) and lined on the inside.  It gives a nice fit and I have it paired with a black cami and jeans.  This can easily be worn with a skirt or dress pants for an office environment as well.  I have it here in a size 6 and it runs true to size.

Target A New Day Ruffled Bomber jacket

Ruffled Bomber Jacket  ($29.99)

I know bomber jackets are very on trend right now, but when I saw this one with the beautiful ruffle detail (I know it’s hard to see in this picture) I fell in love!  Stripes and varsity looking bombers just aren’t my taste but this jacket definitely is!  I have a size S and I’d say it runs pretty true to size.

Tartet A New Day Khaki vest

Military Vest ($29.99)  I really like this piece just to give a little more interest to a basic t-shirt and jeans.  Here I have it with a short sleeve shirt, but as the weather gets cooler I plan to pair it with long sleeve t-shirts or sweaters.  I love the draw strings around the waist that let me control the look it gives (I prefer more fitted).

Target Who What Wear ruffle sleeveless blouse

Ruffle sleeveless blouse ($22.99)

This blouse was another item I actually purchased in store.  I’m seeing so much of these ruffles and I loved this pattern (it goes so well with jeans).  With the weather still being warm I love this as something I can wear now without a jacket, and then throw a layer over it when it gets cooler.  This is a size S and it runs true to size.

I hope you got some ideas for your fall wardrobe.  Have you been shopping at Target lately?  What have you been loving?


Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the item, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

5 Best BB and CC Creams

BB and CC creams
L-R (Burt’s Bees BB Cream, Osmosis CC Cream, IT Cosmetics CC Cream, Erborian BB Cream.) Not pictured: Bareminerals Tinted Gel Cream.

I know I’m a beauty junkie, but I may be one of the few who really isn’t into foundation.  I don’t know what it is, but I always feel like it looks cakey and makes me look older than I am (which trust me, I DON’T need).  However, I do like something to just even out my skin tone and make the rest of my makeup look put together.  That is why I love BB and CC creams!  I find that they improve the overall appearance of my skin without feeling or looking  heavy and “made-up”.  So here’ s a round-up of  5 favorites in my collection right now!

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better ($38)- If you aren’t crazy about foundation but feel you need to use it because you need full coverage with your skin makeup, then this is definitely the product for you!  This not only color-corrects, but really has great coverage, and is available in 7 shades.  I use this on days that I may have a blemish or something extra that needs some covering.  In addition to all that, it has an SPF of 50+.  Another feature I love with the packaging of this product is that it has a pump!  A lot of BB or CC creams usually come in tubes, but I think a pump is so much easier to use.  This product was also recognized by Allure

Erborian BB Cream ($39)- This is a Korean Skin Care line and this product, similar to the IT cosmetics one, also has pretty awesome coverage!  It also has sunscreen in it (SPF 20).  This product is known for its use of ginseng which is a natural ingredient known for its moisturizing and smoothing properties.   There are only three shades available in this product and at the time I bought it only the medium shade was available so I typically use this product in the summer months when I am self-tanning and want my complexion to look a little darker.  It promises to give a non-oily, velvety finish and in my experience, it lives up to this promise.

BB and CC Creams

Osmosis CC cream  ($44)- This is the newest product in my collection.  Osmosis is a medical grade skin care line that also has makeup products that contain “good for you” ingredients.  It claims to help reduce age spots and smooth skin discoloration. It also comes with a pump in it s packaging and it promises to soften, lift and illuminate.  I’m not sure about the “lift” part, but it has a very natural finish and I do believe it blurs out flaws and does give a healthy look.  It comes in various shades, but when you initially pump it out, it looks white and then as you apply it changes to your skin tone.  This one, unlike the others, does NOT contain any SPF, so I always use another SPF when applying this.

Burt’s Bees BB Cream ($11)- This is an awesome drug store find that I literally just stumbled upon when I was shopping for something else.  I had never seen a face makeup product by this brand, which I love, so I had to check it out.  This product does not disappoint!  It has a light, comfortable feel on the skin and does a good job evening out skin tone.  It also contains an SPF of 15.  I feel good wearing this knowing that it contains more natural ingredients as well.  The shade range is also limited to light/medium or medium/dark.

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream ($30) – This is another one of my favorite products!  When my skin is dryer in the winter, I like to use this for the extra hydration it provides.  It goes on nicely and is light on the skin with light coverage.  It has a wider range of shades with 30 available and has SPF 30.  It promises to blend the best of a BB and CC cream in one and I believe that it fulfulls this promise.  I use the shade Vanilla 02.   (I actually finished my tube of this which is why it is not photographed here.)

Do you like BB and CC Creams? I’d love to hear which ones are working for you right now!

10 Favorite Beauty & Lifestyle YouTube Channels

Favorite beauty/lifestyle channels on YouTubeHow many of you like to watch YouTube?  I got into it a few years ago, mainly because I love getting inspiration from watching makeup tutorials.  However, I’ve started to enjoy a few specific channels that I continue to watch and I wanted to share them with you (in no particular order).

Brianna Stanko (Premier Look) – I love watching Brianna because she is as obsessed with skincare as I am!  She owns the website www.premierlook.com which sells all medical-grade skincare products.  She also does fashion and other topics too.  Her channel is great to watch to get updates on latest trends in skincare (I.e. stem cell technology) and different brands in the medical- grade skincare space.  She is not pushy or sales-y and I really enjoy catching her videos.

Pretty Neat Living I’ve been following Jen for years now.  Every time I watch her I get so inspired to be more organized in my home!  Her topics range from organization to beauty to travel to mommy topics (she has a toddler and a baby on the way). I love her Midwestern charm and she seems like a truly lovely person.

Jaime Paige Beauty – Jaime is a twenty-something living in Canada, and what I love about her is that she brings a maturity and knowledge to all things makeup.  Her makeup tutorials can easily transfer into wearable every day looks and she gives very thorough product reviews.  She also does great videos where she finds less expensive dupes for more luxury products.

Casey Holmes – Casey is from the south and recently moved up to NY state with her military husband, Davis.  She has a main beauty channel where she does great tutorials and product reviews, and also has a vlog channel where she brings us along into her everyday life.  I love her southern charm and she is a huge animal lover who also spotlights her two dogs, Daisy and Rose, on her vlog channel.

Dominique Sachese – Dominique is a news anchor in Texas that has a YouTube channel that covers beauty and lifestyle.  She has taken the camera with her to get injectables (Botox) and lash extensions which I love to watch.  I also like to see her behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life as a news anchor.

beauty inspiration from YouTube

Busbee Style – Erin runs a YouTube channel and a blog focused on fashion for women over-40.  I love when she takes us into the dressing room at any clothing store she is at and lets us see some of the latest styles on a real body.  She also was a great resource during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, highlighting items she felt were a great deal and wardrobe staple.    That sale can be very overwhelming, but I felt I was prepared and made really good decisions with her advice.

Kathleen Lights – Kathleen Lights is pretty well known in the beauty community on YouTube.  She has a fun-spirited personality which makes her so much fun to watch.  She also has launched a nail polish line, called KL Polish which is one of my favorite nail polishes that I have also written about here.  Her eye color is similar to mine, so I’ve had a lot of luck buying eyeliners and eye shadows that she uses that I find are very flattering to my color.  She also really does a great job balancing drugstore products with higher end products; many of the great drugstore finds I’ve made are on her recommendations!

Alexandrea Garza – I’ve watched Alex for years, since before she got married.  Now she’s been married a couple of years and recently announced that she and her husband Michael are expecting their first child!  She has a great sense of style and I have learned a lot from her make-up and hair tutorials.  She also has a vlog channel with her husband that I like to watch.  They are such a young adorable couple and they’ve done quite a bit of traveling lately (to Italy and France) and they’ve shared a lot of great places with their viewers.

Hot and Flashy – This is Angie’s channel.  She takes her subscribers along with her on her anti-aging journey.  Angie is another skin care junkie (like me) and gives extremely thorough product reviews, complete with before and after pictures.  She is lovely and looks fantastic (I believe she is in  her early 50s).  I like her take on make-up products for more mature skin (like mine) since a lot of the other You-tubers I watch are in their twenties so some products will not work as well for me as it does for them!  She also has a great sense of style and I look forward to her seasonal look books to get outfit ideas.

Tati (GlamLifeGuru) – Tati is literally the queen of YouTube; I believe she has over 3 million subscribers! That is just staggering, but you know what?  She puts out great content and literally has new videos every day, which is much more than the other channels.  I don’t watch everyday, but there is a lot of different content you can check out.  I do like her thorough and honest product reviews, which is the main reason I watch.  She also tries out some strange beauty products that you’ve probably never heard of, which I find pretty entertaining.

Why do I tune in to these channels?  I don’t know but there is something about each of these women that I can relate to or that I find endearing.  I also feel they are knowledgeable about the subjects that they post on their channels, and, after watching them for so long, I start to think of them as if they are my friends.  I’d love to know what YouTube channels you like to tune into regularly for entertainment or inspiration.

5 Best High-Protein Snacks

It seems like these days, everyone is trying to reduce their carb intake for one reason or another.  I am the queen of carbs!  Being Italian, I could not imagine life without fresh pasta and bread.  As a rule of thumb, I don’t believe in any diets that eliminate a food group; in my opinion that does not set someone up for success.  Being someone who once weighed 30 lbs more than I do now, I can say that from experience.  However, this article is not about dieting.  My current fitness goals include increasing muscle mass and toning up.  In order to achieve this, I do need to reduce my carbs and increase my protein intake.  The most challenging for me is to find things that I can snack on the go that are NOT carbs.  I’ve found some great healthy, high-protein options and want to share them with you.  Whether you have your own fitness goals, or are looking for some inspiration for new items to snack on, you’re sure to like something on this list!

best high protein snacks

Greek yogurt – This is a great snack that packs 16 g of protein per serving!  However, you need to be careful when selecting this to be sure you aren’t choosing ones that have the fruit on top that adds unwanted sugars to it.  I found a brand called “Siggi’s” that I like a lot.  They claim to have at least 25% Iess sugar than the top three leading brands and based on what I’ve seen I believe that to be true.  I feel like it’s lower in sugar but still tastes good.  I get the 0% usually in vanilla or raspberry but there are several flavors available.  If I’m feeling fancy I’ll throw fresh fruit on top.

Almond flour crackers – I found these awesome crackers from Simple Mills that are made with almond flour and am in LOVE!  They come in a few different flavors, but I like the Rosemary and Sea Salt.  It’s also Vegan and Paleo friendly so it can be a good part of a variety of diets.  While it’s not super high protein, it definitely is lower carb and the almond flour is a great alternative to regular crackers (less bloat for sure!)

Lenny & Larry’s Protein Cookie – This is the best find I have made since I began this fitness journey!  I don’t know about you but I absolutely HATE protein bars.  None of them taste really good to me.  This, however is a soft, delicious COOKIE that has 16g of protein per serving!  If you are on the go and know you won’t be able to eat for several hours, this snack will keep you satisfied!  I had to take a road trip a while back and I knew it would be several hours before I would have the chance to eat.  I ate one of these in the car and I felt fine for hours after!  My only word of caution is that they are large cookies, and each package is actually 2 servings, so be careful.  I usually eat half at a time unless I am in the road trip situation.  My favorite flavors are the Lemon Poppy and Double Chocolate.  Trust me, these taste too good to be true!

The Good Bean – Sometimes I crave something crunchy that I can sit and much on and satisfy my salt cravings.  Usually, that means potato chips or something that is not healthy or high protein.  I recently found the answer to this at my local Wegman’s!  It’s called “The Good Bean” and it is basically a roasted chickpea with sea salt.  Ingenious!  You can eat them straight from the bag (which I do) or throw them in salads or soups.  They come in a variety of flavors too such as: Cracked Pepper, Smoky Chili and Lime, Sweet Cinnamon, Thai Coconut Lemongrass, Mesquite BBQ, and Chocolate.

5 best high protein snacksNuts – This is the obvious go – to snack for protein, especially since nuts are so portable.  The key is to not eat too many (very hard for me) because of the fat content.  I try to portion them out beforehand or buy the proportioned 100 calorie packs (made by Emerald) of almonds or cashews so that I keep my portions in check.

So whatever your fitness goals are, I hope you got some inspiration for some new, healthy snack ideas!  I’m always looking for new snack ideas, so I’d love to hear about your favorite snacks.

5 Best Exfoliating Masks for Anti-aging

One of the basic rules of thumb for any anti-aging skin care regimen is to EXFOLIATE.  As we age, our cells turn over more slowly, which causes our skin to look dull and old.  By exfoliating 2-3 times per week, we can retain a healthier glow and make our fine lines and wrinkles less noticeable.  And exfoliated skin not only looks better, but will make your makeup look even better on the skin.  All exfoliators are not the same. Luckily, I’ve tried so many that I can share my top 5 exfoliating masks for anti-aging with you.  All of these products will give you RESULTS immediately.  To me there is nothing worse than using a product and not seeing any noticeable results in your skin.  Note that if you have sensitive skin, not all these products are going to be right for you.  I will mention them in order from most intense to most gentle to help you find the right one for your skin concerns.

Best antiaging exfoliating masks.Peter Thomas Roth – Pumpkin Enzyme Mask – If you read my post about the fall, then you know I love all things pumpkin!  With this mask, not only are you getting the benefits of the natural enzymes in pumpkin that help exfoliate your face, but you get to enjoy the smell of pumpkin while you do it!  Plus, the pumpkin packaging is so cute!  I’m not gonna lie, this one tingles, and, based on your tolerance, it could be a bit intense.  You spread a thin layer all over your face and make circular motions on your skin.  In addition to the enzymes working there is a polish in there that also helps to slough off dead skin cells.  I would start off with keeping it on just a few minutes and working your way up to the maximum recommended time if you are using it.  However, if the tingling doesn’t bother you, I think this product absolutely lives up to its claim to “reveal smoother, younger looking radiant & revitalized skin.”  As soon as you wash this off, you are going to see a dramatic improvement in the texture and the softness of your skin.

Colleen Rothschild – Dual Enzyme Polish – This is a new skincare line that I’ve recently started trying and am really impressed with the quality of their products.  In particular, the Dual Enzyme Polish is a winner!  It has a fresh clean scent and you will see noticeable reduction in large pores and a smoother texture as soon as you wash it off.  This formula is not intense like the Peter Thomas Roth, so this could be a better option if you want something that is effective, but not so intense.

Tula Exfoliating Treatment Mask – This is another mask with a real “WOW” factor.  You spread a thin layer all over your face and it has a fresh, cool scent.  In fact, your skin feels so cool and fresh while you have the mask on which I find very relaxing.  Similar to the Peter Thomas Roth mask, you are instructed to make circular motions to gently slough off the skin while you are rinsing it off.  My pores are tight and my skin has a great glow when it is washed off and I find that it continues to have a “fresh” feeling for a while after I rinse it off, which leaves me feeling invigorated.  For that reason I love to use this in the morning before my day gets started.

Dermologica Gentle Cream Exfoliant – This is another solid product that has been part of my skincare routine for years.  It’s quick and easy to use – just spread it all over your face, wait 10-15 minutes, then wash off.  Bam!  There is no tingling and no little granules in this product so it could be a better option for those with sensitive skin.

AHAVA – Facial Renewal Peel – This is the gentlest of this group of products.  You will feel a difference in your skin but the results are not as dramatic as with the other products.  However, it is important to exfoliate even if you have sensitive skin, so if you are new to adding this step into your routine, I would start with the very gentle products first to ensure your skin will tolerate it.

If you are using these or any other exfoliating products in your skincare routine, be sure that you are also protecting your skin from the sun with the appropriate SPF products.  I break down what those are here.  Exfoliating does make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays so be sure to be extra vigilant with your suncare.  I’d love to hear what you are using to exfoliate your skin.  Let’s all help each other to anti-age!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!


10 Great Fall Lipstick Shades – Drugstore and High End

10 Best Fall Lipstick shades
Here they are – my rainbow of fall shades!

If you read my post last week, you already know that fall is my favorite season!  I’ve recently cleaned out my makeup and found all my favorite fall lipstick shades that I love to wear.  They range from drugstore to high end.  If you love mauvy-browns, rust orange and berry shades, then this is the place for you!

Maybelline Matte in “Touch of Spice” ($5.50)- The best way I can describe the color is a rosy brown.  It is so beautiful on.  It really lights up your whole face!  This is matte, so it is not shiny but it is comfortable to wear and not drying to your lips.  I also like that this formula does stay on the lips.  You will need to reapply after meals.

Colour Pop “Frick N Frack” ($6.00)- Colour Pop is a newer brand that is only available online currently (it will become available at Sephora in the near future).  They are based in CA and have great quality products at drugstore prices!  This shade is a deeper brownish-pink and a demi matte (there is a little shine).  This is their ultra satin lip formula which is my personal favorite.  Very matte lipsticks are not the most flattering on more mature lips like mine.  This is super long lasting on the lips!

Loreal Infallible Paints in “Taupeless” ($6.29)- This is the coolest toned shade in these lipsticks.  I personally gravitate more toward warm shades with my makeup but this cool toned purply-taupe is so unique and this formula is really nice to wear!  I also really like the packaging of these lipsticks – they are in a tube and have a unique shaped applicator that really conforms to the shape of your lips for easy application.

Wet N Wild Liquid Catsuit in “Give Me Mocha” ($4.99)- I spoke about this lip product in a review of some Wet N Wild products and am still loving this!  This is in the warm pink-brown family, similar to the color pop “Frick N Frack” but a shade lighter.  With neutral eye shadows like browns and golds this really puts a finishing touch on a fall makeup look.

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Liquified Lip in “Chutney” ($24.00)- This is a product I just purchased about a month ago and LOVE it.  This brand is known to use more natural ingredients in their products and this formula is so hydrating on the lips I love wearing it!  It also has long lasting wear.  The color is on the mauve side but not as brown as the other shades I’ve talked about.

fall lipstick swatches
Here are the swatches of these lipsticks in natural light. From l-r Touch of Spice, Frick N Frack, Taupeless, Give Me Mocha, Chutney, Chihuahua, Beeper, Out Loud, Lyin King, Hells Bells.

Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in “Chihuahua” ($21.00)- This is another mauvy tone but is cooler and more purple than the Bite Beauty product.  I love how this smells and it has a dispenser that squeezes out just the right amount of product to apply to your lip.  I like the tube packaging – it’s really easy to take with you.

Colour Pop “Beeper”  ($6.00)- This is a deeper more brownish purple shade which is great if you like a bold, dark lip.  A lot of the mauvy shades on this list are daytime wearable, but this one is a bit darker, so it’s really personal preference depending on how you like to wear your lip colors.  This is a different formula than the Frick N Frack color mentioned before.  This is a super matte formula.  It’s not my favorite formula but it does look great on and is comfortable to wear.  As I’ve mentioned, with other Colour Pop lip products, it is great quality for a great price and the colors are extremely long wearing.

Smashbox Always on Liquid Lipstick in “Out Loud” ($24.00)- This is my FAVORITE fall shade and definitely breaks the mold of the other colors in my round up.  It is a burnt orangy brown that is just stunning on the lip.  It reminds me of pumpkin spice and everything nice about fall!  It is a very wearable orange shade and it more deep than bright but is so unique I just love it!  It is a matte liquid lip so it is not shiny but is extremely long wearing.

Colour Pop in “Lyin King” ($6.00)- Now we are moving on to my berry shades which I love to wear in the fall.  This liquid lip is a bright vibrant berry shade.  If I’m feeling tired and put this color on, it immediately brightens my whole face!  With a brighter lip I like to keep things simple on my eye makeup for a quick get ready and out the door look.

Charlotte Tilbury Hell’s Bells  ($34.00)- This is the most expensive lipstick on this list.  First, the packaging is STUNNING.  It is a traditional solid lipstick in a beautiful rose gold tube, that makes you feel like a movie star just having it out on your vanity!  It is also in the berry/burgundy family but is a more matte formula.  Sometimes I prefer to use a tube of lipstick instead of a liquid lipstick so I keep this handy for those days.

Phew, that was a lot of lipsticks!  Did you see any that you like?  What are your go-to lipstick colors for the fall?  I’d love to hear from you.


Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

Natural Beauty Products that Work

You’d think that spending a week at the beach with no Sephora or Ulta Beauty stores in sight would keep this beauty junkie from buying beauty products?  Right? Wrong!  I actually picked up two natural beauty products in local stores in the Wildwood/Cape May, NJ area when I was on vacation last month and in the past few weeks that I’ve been using them I LOVE the results so I  wanted to share them with you.

I discovered these natural beauty products that work!The Naked bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion in Coconut & Honey.  I found this in a souvenir shop in Diamond Beach where we went to pick up a boogie board for my son.  It looked interesting and I liked that it contained all natural ingredients so I picked up a tube.  Note:  this product is paraben free, alcohol free, and contains no dyes and no mineral oil!  The product was available in two sizes, and now, looking back, I wish I’d picked up the larger one.  It was $5 for 2.25 fl. oz. This stuff went beyond my expectations.  It hydrated without being greasy, had a nice scent that wasn’t overpowering and made my cuticles look hydrated!  Since I’ve been home I checked out their website and found out that they have many other products and scents available (you can’t order directly from their website, but can find them on Amazon here.

Sweet Dreams Sugar Scrub – I found this gem in a little store in Cape May called A Place on Earth (if you’ve ever been there, they are at the Washington Street Mall, downstairs from the Christmas shop!)  The store reminds me a little of LUSH.  They have a lot of handmade soaps, bath bombs and scrubs to explore.  It gets a little tight in there if there are a lot of shoppers but it is fun to browse!  After smelling a bunch of their scrubs, I picked the “Oatmeal Milk & Honey.”  It smells delicious, and is a comforting smell I love as the weather starts to get cooler.  You can buy different sizes – I grabbed the smaller one but they have a larger version in a mason jar that the salesperson told me you can return to the shop to refill!  So, if you visit Cape May on a regular basis that is a nice feature.  I also bought a soap with the most amazing Watermelon smell, but I haven’t used it yet so I can’t give you all a full review.  They have some interesting fragrances (Monkey Farts) and a fun website so check them out if you are in the market.

So, while I didn’t bring back many souvenirs from my trip, I am happy with these items, and isn’t it better to leave vacation with smoother, more hydrated skin?  Also, I always get a little extra excited if the products are natural, as I prefer products without parabens or phthalates.  What natural products are you enjoying now?  Would love to hear your comments below and please share with anyone you know who loves natural beauty products!