10 Safer Beauty Favorites Under $30

Beauty and personal care products can be pricey, but you don’t have to break the bank to begin making changes. I’ve rounded up 10 lovely items from two of my favorite places to purchase safer products– Fig & Flower and Beautycounter.

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Pinkerton_480_1024x1024_f1a28e5d-4dac-40cd-b056-88e51806be6c_grande100% Pure Creamy Nail Polish ($12)

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Indie Lee Blemish Lotion ($26)

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Suntegrity Mineral Sunscreen for Body ($24)

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BC Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa ($24)

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BC Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa ($20)

 
 

Maternity Fashion Favorites

Maternity clothing has been more fun than expected. I’ve looked at my former wardrobe with sad eyes a few times, but I’ve been able to find great replacements for those pieces and even experiment with a few new styles while pregnant. There are several options out there and, like anything these days, sifting through the options can be overwhelming and expensive. It’s also a little more challenging for me because I am petite (which is just a nice word for short). Here are my favorite places to shop for cute, affordable, and, most importantly, comfortable maternity clothing!

LOFT: Prior to becoming pregnant, most of my closet was filled with items from Loft. I LOVE their maternity selection, too. New styles are added constantly, and you can pretty much always find a deal. The pieces are timeless and fit well. The shorts and white shirt pictured above are from the maternity line. Shop Here!

Stitch Fix: I order this clothing subscription box from time to time, and I recently discovered their maternity service. I was super excited to have a few surprise pieces arrive at my door. It’s always so much fun…like receiving a birthday gift every month! My favorite items from the boxes have been the shorts and pants. It’s definitely worth a try for a few months while pregnant. The jeans pictured above are from a Stitch Fix. Shop Here!

ASOS: This is a great option for super trendy maternity clothes. I hop on their website when I want a wardrobe shakeup. They also have petite (amen!) and tall sizing options for several of their items. I have a few new fun pieces on the way that I can’t wait to try! Shop Here! 

Poshmark: If you don’t know about Poshmark, you should grab your phone now and download the app. If you don’t mind gently used maternity clothes, then this is an awesome resource. It has also been a useful way for me to clean out several clothing items that I know I will not use after having the baby. I will also post several of my maternity pieces once I do not need them anymore. If you signup with the code “GFNED” you will get a $5 credit. Shop Here!

I also have a few great pieces from Old Navy, Motherhood, and a few items that aren’t maternity at all (although those are quickly coming to an end). I encourage you to shop around and checkout a few of the places mentioned above.

Where are your favorite places to shop for maternity clothing? I would love to hear what works for you!

Saying Goodbye to Throw Pillows

Time and time again as I would sit on our couch, my sinuses would completely shutdown…leaving me struggling for oxygen. This was a brand new problem for me and left me scratching my head for answers. We finally put two and two together. The down decorative pillows on the couch had turned into allergy provoking pests, an unexpected development of pregnancy.  Naturally, I proceeded to go on a cleaning rampage throughout the entire house, stripping pillow cases off every pillow we owned until all the feathered ones rested in a pile out in the garage. I walked back in to access the damage. By damage, I mean accessing just how many pillows I had left without feathers. I knew I didn’t want to spend money on new decorative pillows with our baby on the way.

In true Marie Kondo* fashion, I decided to evaluate my need for the countless pillows. We had pillows all over the couch, the bed (which typically means on the floor), and backup pillows stuffed in closets. Who told me I needed to fill every flat surface in our home with pillows? Did I see it in a magazine? Are the pillows functional/necessary?

As I looked around our newly de-feathered home, everything felt more spacious and open. So, I decided not to replace them. My nightly question of where to pile the throw pillows while we slept had been solved. Making the bed the next day was easy and less dreadful than before. The couch now felt inviting rather than off limits. I could actually sit on it without having to move pillows to the floor. It was a nice, unexpected change.

Now, let me explain before I lose you. I am in no way saying that it’s wrong or unacceptable to have throw pillows. They do add color, style, and functionality (sometimes) to our homes. You best believe I kept the ones I love the most!

Unnecessary complications and expectations.

My throw pillow incident brought this idea back to the forefront of my life. Yes, they were just throw pillows, but by eliminating a large portion of them I was able to simplify a few aspects of our life. On a broader scale, I realized that there were several areas in my life still filled with unnecessary complications and striving to meet unnecessary expectations. It often comes in the form of social media, well-meaning advice, or even self-imposed habits.

So, here are my questions for you. What areas of your life are filled with unnecessary complications and expectations? How can you simplify those areas and give your mind and heart more room to breathe? What are the “throw pillows” in your life?

As I simplify my life more and more, I am finding more time for my faith to grow, less distractions invading my time, and the ability to focus on what is truly important. I invite you to do the same and pick just one area to simplify. I promise it will make a huge difference!

*Side Note: If you’re not sure who Marie Kondo is then you should click here and read about her book. We went through her method of decluttering over a year ago, and it changed our life. 

Quick & Easy Natural Makeup Look

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I am all about effortless, quick, easy, and light makeup routines. There was a time in my life when I wore heavy foundation, which always felt more like I was wearing a mask. If my eyes ever ran water or shed tears, it looked like the Red Sea had parted down my cheeks. I’ve also had seasons of contouring and attempting the great smokey eye, which looked more like a black eye. I’m not knocking it. I just don’t have the skills and the vast majority of women do not either. My sister, though, is a makeup prodigy, and she does amazing things with makeup on a daily basis. If you need some tips and trips on taking it to the next level, I will give you her contact information! If you are just trying to make it through a day of work looking put together and without melting down, then I am your girl!

This is an actual picture from this morning. Hello, Friday and long weekend! I go through various makeup routines from time to time, but this has been my go-to look for the past two weeks or so. I’m using a lot of Beautycounter products right now since I am a consultant. I’m really trying to decide which products will become staples in my own routine, but I am loving everything so far. Here is what I used!

Note: Just click on the product names for direct links to the products.

Foundation and Concealer: Touchup Skin Concealer Pen in Light, Tint Skin Foundation in Linen

Setting Powder: Mattifying Powder 

Eyes: Eyeshadow Duo in Shell/Malt, bareMinerals Pink Eye Color in Finesse, Color Outline Eye Pencil in Violet, Tarte Lights/Camera/Lashes Mascara

Blush: Color Sweep Blush Duo in Flamingo/Apricot

Lips: Lip Sheer in Rose, Lip Gloss in Opal

Setting Spray: Balancing Facial Mist (this stuff is seriously the bomb!)

That’s it! 11 products for a quick and easy, natural makeup look.

I hope you enjoy your long weekend with family and friends. As a military spouse, I will be holding my husband extra close and remembering his friends who are no longer with us. Thank you to all of our Veterans and their families for your service.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal Yoga has been such a blessing during my pregnancy. We are fortunate enough to have an instructor in Athens who works with moms to be and holds a class once a week for expectant mothers. I was very early in my pregnancy when I walked into the door for the first time, but I was determined to give my body the best care possible from the beginning. As the baby grows and my body changes, I am more thankful than ever for yoga and the difference it makes for my overall health and wellness. I don’t get to attend the class every week, but I have found many great online resources for prenatal yoga. I would just make sure you attend a class to understand proper technique before taking on a practice of your own from home!

Here are five ways I have personally benefitted from yoga while pregnant: 

  1. I get to connect with other expectant mothers at various stages in pregnancy. 
  2. I feel strong and empowered even as my body shifts and changes. 
  3. I get to have time to myself without any distractions (like the phone! Can I get an amen?). 
  4. It’s equipping me with techniques to use during labor. 
  5. And, most importantly, it helps me feel great both physically and emotionally. 

If you are a mom to be, I highly recommend checking your local area for prenatal yoga classes or even exploring online resources. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made during this pregnancy, and I think everyone (as long as your doctor gives you approval) can benefit from an hour focusing on you and baby!

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My favorite little yoga partner…Chewy Man!

Trending Healthy

I walked out of the Indie Beauty Fair feeling more overwhelmed than encouraged. The process of fighting the crowd, going from booth to booth, and hearing about countless products left me exhausted. I wasn’t sure how I could possibly know which product claims were true and, ultimately, which products would work best for me. I’m analytical to a fault at times, and my trip around the Indie Beauty Fair brought out my need for things to be black or white. I flew back to Georgia the following day with many questions still on my mind.

Green, organic, clean, natural, non-toxic. They are buzz words of our generation. We are valiantly attempting to reverse the effects of mass production and consumption while working to provide our children with more simple and cleaner lives. Mindsets and companies are beginning to make changes. It’s encouraging to see changes taking place and the many voices advocating for clean living. Yet, navigating this landscape proves challenging.

I sat reading a few research articles and blog comments on cleaner living the other night. I was shocked to find an absurd amount of hateful talk and fingers pointing here and there about who is right and who is wrong. I closed my computer, looked over at my husband and said, “This is more complicated than I realized. There is confusion surrounding certain ingredients and companies with no definitive answers in sight.” I sat thinking about different arguments swirling around individual ingredients in products labeled as natural or clean, and on a deeper level, I couldn’t help but think about my own life and perceived contradictions.

Like the fact that I occasionally eat the really unhealthy cereals (okay, maybe more than occasionally) or that I take medication for my autoimmune disorder. There is also the fact that my family is involved in conventional farming. Does that disqualify me from having a voice in this area? Does that make my experience less valuable? I felt concerned about products on my blog, figuring it’s a matter of time before the Green Police start disagreeing with my decisions.

My mom is full of wisdom and she makes an effort to live a more healthy lifestyle, so I decided to bring up my thoughts to her. “It feels like there are no clear answers when it comes to living a cleaner and more healthy life. How do I help make a difference when the answers are not clear?” I asked her. She reminded me of the many women struggling with self-confidence and skin issues, and she also reminded me of my own struggles leading to this journey.

Like the time in middle school when I was crying in her arms as we stood in front of the bathroom mirror. My acne was horrible. Kids were mean. There was also the time we traveled to see a prominent esthetician. The results were horrible and made everything about my skin worse.

I also remembered people constantly telling me that I, “need to wash my face,” as if I wasn’t doing that and it would heal all my skin problems.

Most recently, I remembered my first autoimmune disorder related sun rash and walking out of the doctor’s office with the autoimmune disorder diagnosis knowing my life was forever changed. I promised myself that I would make changes in order to give myself the best life possible.

All of these moments and many more are part of my story. It’s so important that we not let confusion or opinions hijack our sense of purpose and passions on any journey. It’s important to hold your story in the forefront so you’re not easily distracted by the many voices lining the road.

I believe, for the most part, we are all living life the best we can with the information available to us–whether that is related to food, children, or beauty products. One of my favorite ideas is the idea of “trending toward” something. That is how I like to think of my life and clean living journey these days. I don’t have all of the answers when it comes to ingredients and products, and I don’t know that anyone ever will. I know that some things are a big “No” while others are still in question. I know that opinions vary on different companies. Most importantly, I know what works for me and what to avoid to prevent autoimmune flares.

I am trending toward making better decisions for my family and personal health one day at a time. My goal here is to help you trend toward a better life. A life where you are confident in your beauty, decisions, and health. Yes, the choices can be overwhelming at times, but this is a journey rather than a final destination. You simply have to start somewhere.

These days I am giving myself some grace and extending that to others. It has helped ease the burden I feel to make the absolute best, right, cleanest, most perfect decision possible.

-Jess

Lip Perfection

I haven’t always been a fan of lipstick. Typically, I would put it on first thing in the morning and then forget to reapply during the day. All of that changed as I transitioned to cleaner products. I now actually enjoy wearing lipstick. Here are some of my favorites!

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  1. Lip Sheer by Beautycounter
    • Don’t let the name fool you. There is no shortage of color here! I have a major love for this lipstick right now. I like it so much that I’ve purchased it in three colors (Twig, Plum, & Rose). It’s silky soft, fun to wear, and the color selection is awesome! I can’t wait to collect them all. It’s one of the first lipsticks I actually reapply throughout the day!
  2. Lip C.P.R. by Suntegrity
    • Lip color plus sunscreen? Sign me up! This lipstick helps reduce the appearance of lip lines and wrinkles while protecting you from the sun!
  3. Lip Glaze by 100% Pure
    • This was my first clean lipstick product and it’s still a favorite. I used the same tube for an entire year! I’m not even sure that you’re supposed to do that. It’s nourishing and easy to apply!

What are some of your favorite clean lipsticks? If you haven’t tried any, these are a great place to start!

Facial Moisturizer Tips

Moisturizers.

There are thousands of them out there, especially in the clean beauty category. It’s a product we look to as the holy grail of beauty…the product that will make the most difference for our skin. It was only three years ago that I started wearing a moisturizer. I was terrified to put it on my already oily skin and, instead, constantly reached for my medicated acne cream.  The day I started using a moisturizer made the most difference for my skin. I put away the acne medicine and started focusing on nourishing my face. My skin is not perfect these days, but it’s so much better. I haven’t touched the medicated creams since.

There are many different types of facial moisturizers and they go by various names: serum, oil, cream, moisturizer, balm, etc. There are several different specific categories within these names that point more specifically to how the moisturizer works. It can be very confusing and overwhelming to even get started. I am going to share what I have discovered works best for my skin and make suggestions for other skin types. Everyone is very different, though, so keep in mind that this is not a one size fits all post. For example, I have 4 sisters and no two of us can use the same routine.

My biggest piece of advice: stick to one brand at a time. 

Often, products within specific brands are meant to work together. You may actually do yourself a disservice by mixing several product lines together. As you make the transition to cleaner products, you will learn what can be mixed together. For now, I recommend sticking to one line. Keep it simple! I’ve tried several different product lines, and I always come back to these:

Favorite Safer Skincare Brands

Beautycounter

 Indie Lee 

One Love Organics

 Juice Beauty 

Another reminder, give products the time to work! It can take days to weeks for results to become visible.

My Current Routine 

My experience mainly consists of products to help combination-oily, acne prone skin with redness and discoloration.

Right now, I’m working on evening my skin tone, keeping breakouts at bay, and helping my skin age gracefully. Beautycounter is my go-to line during this season, and I am seeing great results with this combination. I was starting to develop a few pregnancy related skin issues, but they started cleaning up when I became a consultant and started using more and more Beautycounter products. I use the same combination both morning and night.

new-rejuvenating-toner-pads-40-padsRejuvenating Toner Pads 

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Rejuvenating Radiance Serum 

bc_bc_3-balancingfacialoil_selling01_webBalancing Facial Oil 

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Balancing Facial Mist 

You could also just use the Balancing Collection without adding the Rejuvenating line in. I love Vitamin C, though, and use the Rejuvenating line to get some Vitamin C into my skincare routine.

My mom loves the Plumping Collection along with the Rejuvenating Day and Night Creams. My friends with dry and sensitive skin love various product combinations from the Nourishing Line. If you’re interested in Beautycounter, I am happy to help you develop a custom routine for moisturizing and treating your skin!

So, what are some of my other favorites?

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Squalane Facial Oil by Indie LeeUntitled_design_46_large

Skin Savior Multitasking Balm by One Love Organics

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Redness Rescue Cream by Fitglow

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Green Apple Brightening Moisturizer by Juice Beauty 

Please feel free to comment below with any questions or if you want any advice on the products listed in this post! Happy Moisturizing!

Facial Cleanser Favorites

Let’s talk about Facial Cleansers. It’s one of my favorite beauty products, and I have to be careful not to constantly buy new ones! I used to wash my face with really harsh products, many medicated with acne treatments or full of harsh exfoliators. I later learned that more gentle cleansers are best for everyone…even acne prone skin. Most of my acne cleared up when I switched to cleaner and more gentle cleansers. It was the first step on the journey to better skin for me. You will find my current cleanser routine & links to two others cleansers I love below.

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Currently Using

Charcoal Bar by Beautycounter: I use this at night to remove makeup, but it could be used both morning and night. Made with organic green tea and coconut oil! It helps clean pores, control blackheads, & absorbs skin impurities. A great, low cost product that makes a HUGE difference. It’s also great for the men and children in your family. I seriously love it!

Shop Here

Nourishing Cream Exfoliator by Beautycounter: I use this in the morning. It has a wonderful refreshing citrus scent. It’s very gentle with aloe and coconut oil and contains jojoba beads to give your face an extra scrub. It’s a perfect morning cleanser for me! I can do samples of this, so let me know if you’re interested!

Shop Here

Other Favorites

Easy Does it by One Love Organics: This face wash is made on St. Simons Island, GA, which is where I got married. It’s super gentle and calming, leaving your face feeling clean and soft. It also doubles as a body wash and shampoo! One Love Organics is one of my favorite brands!

Shop Here

Brightening Cleanser by Indie Lee: The Indie Lee story is pretty amazing. I’m constantly inspired by this company. This cleanser was the first I tried when transitioning to clean beauty, and it’s still a tried and true staple. It removes makeup and helps brighten your skin. This is a great face wash for everyone, but I would especially recommend it for preteens and teens.

Shop Here

Foundation Swaps

Let’s talk foundation. I posted some of my favorites in a previous blog post, but I’ve since found a few new ones I really like! Foundation is such an important part of a makeup routine. My favorites were always Makeup Forever and Double Wear by Estee Lauder. They did not measure up when it came to clean ingredients, though, and I had to make a change. The great news is that I have had great success finding replacements. There truly are tons of cleaner foundations out there these days.

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1. Tint Skin by Beautycounter ($41): A great foundation for everyday use and all ages. It’s a staple in my makeup drawer. The coverage is blendable so you can use it for both lighter and heavier makeup looks. The best part, this foundation promotes smoother-looking skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

Shop Beautycounter Here

2. Atmosphere Luminous Foundation by Vapor ($44): This foundation is best for those with older skin that may also tend to be dry. It’s super hydrating and will definitely leave you with a refreshing glow.

Shop Vapour Here

3. Vita-Active Foundation by Fitglow ($55): This foundation goes to work while you wear it. It contains ingredients that increases collagen production and boosts skin’s ability to diminish spots, freckles, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage. It’s sure to be a favorite.

Shop Fitglow Here

4. Zero Gravity Foundation by auNaturale ($38): The auNaturale booth was jam packed at the Indie Beauty Expo. This is definitely the “it” up and coming brand. The foundation goes on like a nourishing creme but finishes like a weightless powder. They just rebranded so you can find this foundation in the old packaging for a portion of the price right now.

Shop auNaturale Here