Freckles in April: April 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Breaking Up with My Chemicals: Skin Care

(Thank you for all the great suggestions on my last Breaking Up post! I'm researching makeup options and will be trying out a couple. And obviously I will report back)

A few months ago I sat down and thought about what I REALLY wanted out of my beauty routine. What was my ultimate goal?

I was surprised to discover that what I wanted was pretty simple: clear skin and long eyelashes. If I had those two things I would feel quite comfortable wearing little to no makeup most days.

It also seemed like a totally unattainable goal. My skin has been a battlefield for 13 years. I've tried everything but Accutane and have had varying degrees of success. My skin has gotten much better as I've gotten older but lately (thanks to my thyroid and imbalanced hormones, I would imagine) it has been backsliding in a major way.

I've read several blog posts lately about people using coconut oil to cleanse their skin and ACV to tone. I gave it a try and, for two weeks, my skin was glowing and gorgeous. And then the breakouts began.

If there's one thing I've learned about my skin over the years is that it must be beaten into submission. "Gentle" just doesn't fly over here and exfoliation is not optional. So, after a little more poking around the internet, I added baking soda to my routine. And now my skin looks the best it has since I was like...4. Here's what my skincare routine looks like:

  1. Take a half teaspoon or so of coconut oil and rub all over my face and neck. Let sit for a minute. 
  2. Shake a bit of baking soda onto my fingers and scrub my face. Let sit for 10 minutes (I usually use this time to make one last sweep through the house to start the dishwasher, pick up stray socks, etc. before I go to bed)
  3. Use a washcloth and warm water to clean off the oil and baking soda.
  4. Use a solution of 50/50 water and ACV* on a cotton ball to tone (I was never a consistent toner user before because, eh, but my skin LOVES this stuff)
  5. Here's where I get stuck. Coconut oil is fine for cleansing but leaving it on all day or night makes me break out. Which means I need another moisturizer option. Suggestions for clean moisturizers that don't make you break out??
In the morning I just use warm water and a washcloth to wake my face up.

Also, I'd like to introduce you to my new favorite thing: bentonite clay.

This container cost less than $7 at my local Sprouts and will probably last for months. Once or twice a week I make a mask with a heaping teaspoon of clay mixed with an equal amount of raw ACV. It makes a mousse-like concoction that feels wonderful going on (...and then it dries and you feel like your face is folding in on itself). As it dries it draws all the junk out of your pores. Last week I woke up with a bump on my jawline that I knew was destined to become one of those deep, awful, painful blemishes. I spot treated with a bit of clay and water for 15 minutes twice that day. Twenty-four hours later it was reduced to almost nothing. It's not always quite that miraculous but it has helped a LOT with keeping breakouts shorter and more rare.

Anyone else have good chemical-free skin care tips/products/etc.?

*Use raw ACV and make sure the bottle says "with the mother" on it. That's the good stuff right there! I found it at my regular grocery store in the health food section. Also, unless you love fruit flies buzzing around your bathroom, make sure you keep this in a CLOSED container (I love my condiment bottle). Rinse your cotton ball before tossing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Open to Interpretation

We were supposed to do OTI yesterday but someone (ahem) spent Tuesday in a swimsuit and never got around to taking pictures. The explanatory text message and request for an extra day were met with several uses of the word "hate" and a few snowflake emojis. Sorry dudes, we hit 90s this week!

Anyway, I loved Grace's pick for this round-


A few months ago we made a trip to TJ Maxx because Aaron refuses to buy ties anywhere else. The ties happened to be right next to the boy shoe section and this awesome pair of red sneakers materialized before my eyes. For $18, who could resist? As much as I love them, though, I've struggled coming up with ways to wear them. I never thought about putting them with my red pants!

Target tee (can't find it online but I just got it in the store. Tons of great colors for $10!), Gap pants (old), Adidas shoes (via TJ Maxx), Aeropostale necklace and bracelet

Seeing as we are experiencing Spring/Summer around here I ditched the gray sweater and scarf and subbed in a bright tee. Perfect for running errands and doing preschool carpool!

Go visit Erica and Grace to see their interpretations!

You can also find me on:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Wednesday Want

This bag is freaking amazing. It can be worn a bunch of different ways, all of which make you look like a total badass. The next time I have $269 just laying around....

Find it here.

You can also find me on:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Breaking Up with My Chemicals: Body Lotion

According to my doctor, the thyroid and hormone issues I'm experiencing are becoming incredibly common among women. When she said that my brain immediately went *DING!*

Aaron uses soap and deodorant.

I use soap, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, mousse, sea salt spray, heat protectant, dry shampoo, hair spray, face wash, face lotion, body lotion, anti aging cream, zit spot treatment, makeup primer, tinted moisturizer, concealer, powder, eyeliner, mascara, nail polish, nail polish remover, sunscreen and that's just off the top of my head.

Is it any wonder that I'm the one who has the health problems?

I've been slowly trying to either ditch or swap out my products for more natural options. I have a long way to go but I have made some significant changes. The first and easiest change I made was my body lotion.

Despite the fact that I drink about a gallon of water a day, my skin still tends to be dry (thank you, desert living). I had tried using coconut oil as lotion before but found that it left me greasy yet, strangely, still feeling dry.

The coconut oil I've been using. I got it at Costco but it's also available on Amazon.
One day, as I sat feeling greasy and weird, I remembered a method I discovered while pregnant with Baby 2 during an exceptionally dry winter. At the time, I did this with baby oil (don't do that) but it works even better with coconut oil.

1. Take a warm (not hot!) shower. When you get out, DON'T towel off.

2. Take a bit of (organic, unrefined) coconut oil and start slathering. Your pores will still be open from the warmth of the shower and the residual water on your body acts as a conduit for distributing the oil. You'll be surprised by how little oil it takes to moisturize your whole body.

3. Take your towel and gently dab off the remaining water. You'll be left with perfectly moisturized (non-greasy!) skin.

Much of my makeup drawer is running low, which means it's time to start researching some other junk-free options. Does anyone have clean makeup brands they love?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fashionably Flexible Packing for PARIS with HP & Intel

I'm going to Paris in SIXTEEN DAYS. Most mornings I wake up thinking, "ParisParisParisPariiiis!" I've been mentally packing my suitcase for weeks.

Packing for vacation is never easy but, when you travel with my mom, it gets even harder. My mom works for a major airline which means we can fly standby on the cheap. The downside of flying standby is that we're not guaranteed seats and we have to be super flexible! We've learned that it's best to not check bags since we frequently end up changing flights and sometimes our bags fly away without us.

So, I'm going to Paris for 5 days (plus a day of travel) with only a carry-on.

Anything that goes with me has to be versatile and able to pull double or triple duty. Here's what I'm (tentatively) bringing-

1. Everlane tee- this can be worn alone if it's warm enough or as a layer under my button-ups if it's cooler. It also hang-dries nicely if I have to do a sink wash.

2. Target Denim Shirt- I LOVE this shirt and wear it constantly. It's soft but sturdy and wrinkle resistant. I love the sleeves rolled a bit but I can roll them down if it's cold!

3. Soft white button down (old, from ATL)- I've had this shirt for ages. It's loose and flattering and the fabric naturally has a bit of texture to it, so packing wrinkles are less visible.

4. AG Jeggings (similar, but I got mine from Hautelook)- The major upside to quality denim is that I could wear these every single day for a week and there would be nary a hint of saggy knees. These jeans retain their shape remarkably well (and make my behind look rather fantastic, if I do say so myself).

5. Stretchy tube skirt (no longer available, but here's a longer version)- I'm a little worried about bringing this skirt (stains are so much more visible on solid colors!) but it packs up small and is so ridiculously comfortable that I can't imagine leaving it behind.

6. Striped maxi skirt (gift from my mom)- long and lean and super comfy. It's also quite warm, which is nice since apparently Paris isn't exactly toasty in May.

7. Muubaa leather jacket (via Hautelook)- I'm going back and forth on this jacket. I adore it BUT it's rather heavy. It's not the kind of jacket that I could easily just carry around when I'm not wearing it. It is quite warm, though, and so lovely. We'll see if it ultimately makes the cut!

8. Studded cowboy boots- I've worn these a few times when I've had to be on my feet for long periods of time and have been pleasantly surprised by how comfortable they are. We're going to be doing a lot of walking so good shoes are important!

9. Moccs (old, from Payless)- These are my favorite shoes and I'm wearing them into the ground. I bought a pair of gel insoles which makes them heavenly for walking around in.

As far as accessories, I plan on wearing my new locket and my chunky silver watch with everything. Easy.

Here are some outfits I could put together with these items-

Vote in the Pin Your Style Contest between April 29 - May 12 by viewing the Pinterest board submissions on the Pin Your Style contest page. Vote for your favorites in each of the three themes!

Envy x2 with Intel Inside® The HP + Intel + Project Runway Pin Your Style Contest

Want to participate? Pin a photo of the HP Envy x2 with Intel Inside® via the Pin It button on the Pin Your Style contest page. Then, build a board that represents that week's theme. Check out the weekly Pinsetter images on the site for inspiration.

Submit your board's URL into the site to enter. Then, share your board with friends to earn the most votes!

Win prizes like an HP Envy x2 with Intel Inside® and a gift card to bring your style to life by getting the top votes for your board.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Touch of Luxury with HP & Intel

Long time readers of my blog are familiar with Open to Interpretation, a series I do every other week with Grace and Erica. When Clever Girls sent out this opportunity to blog about the HP + Intel Pin Your Style contest, I realized it would be like OTI but with the inspiration being  a computer.

Challenge. accepted.

 The HP Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™, powered by Intel® Core™ processor is a slim and sleek little piece of tech. The understated luxury and elegance of the Ultrabook immediately reminded me of this picture of Michelle Dockery I pinned a few days ago-

Michelle Dockery, as shot by Alex Sarginson. Arrive Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013. See a full pic of her outfit here.

This is such a classic, flattering outfit. She looks comfortable, classy, and she could easily transition from an office environment (you know...if her office weren't the set of Downton Abbey) to dinner al fresco (with the dashing Dan Stevens, perhaps?).

Heck, I would wear this to the grocery store (that's how I roll).

Here's how to recreate it-

1. Blazer.
2. Silk blouse.
3. Gold studs.
4. Tuxedo leggings.
5. Loboutins. (...or I could always wear my trusty Steve Maddens)

Want to win a Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook and a gift card? Read on!

Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ The HP + Intel + Project Runway Pin Your Style Contest

Want to participate? Pin a photo of the HP Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ via the Pin It button on the Pin Your Style contest page. Then, build a board that represents that week's theme. Check out the weekly Pinsetter images on the site for inspiration.

Submit your board's URL into the site to enter. Then, share your board with friends to earn the most votes!

Win prizes like an HP Spectre XT Touchsmart Ultrabook™ and a gift card to bring your style to life by getting the top votes for your board. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Open to Interpretation

When Erica sent over the inspiration image for this round I died.

Mens SS13 Brochure | Hackett
Gray + menswear? Be still my heart! My favorite things! Also, I really really want that white dress.

I loved my interpretation. Aaron also loved it, which makes this kind of a holy grail of outfits.

DownEast Basics vest (not available on their site anymore but I JUST got it off the clearance rack at the store), shirt my mom brought me from Italy (I want a million more, it's the perfect layering shirt. If anyone goes to Italy...), AG jeggings (via HauteLook), Charlotte Russe booties, Petal and Pink earrings, Michael Kors watch (lovely anniversary/Christmas gift from Aaron), locket c/o RedEnvelope

RedEnvelope sent me this gorgeous locket last week and I've worn it every day since. I've wanted a locket since I was...5? 4? I dunno, but it has been a dang long time and I'm thrilled to finally own one. It's engraved with my initials and holds pictures of my boys and I adore it. It's a perfect everyday piece.

Grace is sitting out this round but head on over to Erica's and blog to see how she interpreted this one!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Music for Your Monday

I have been in project and deep spring-cleaning mode this past week which means I've been listening to a lot more music than usual. I've admitted before that my taste in music is not particularly cool and odds are good I only listen to people you've already heard of, but here are a few songs I've been listening to on repeat whilst scrubbing baseboards-

Ever and Always by Andrew Osenga

RA introduced me to this a while back. I still think this is one of the weirdest ideas for an album I've heard heard of but I do love the music. This song is my fav.

Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons

One of the girls at church introduced me to Radioactive last year and it's like a gateway drug to the rest of the Imagine Dragons oeuvre. The other day in the grocery store my 3-year-old was singing ABCs. A little old lady with a walker stopped us, "Oooh, is that your favorite song?" He thought for a moment before replying, "No, I like Bleeding Out." My 5-year-old piped up, "Yeah, Bleeding Out is our favorite!" She raised a skeptical eyebrow at me and all I could do was shrug. "It's a really good song."

White Blank Page by Mumford and Sons

The other night I had a weird dream involving aliens and sunscreen and at some point someone said to someone else, "tell me now where was my fault in loving you with my whole heart." I woke up at like 2am and was like AARON, MUMFORD IS INCEPTING MY DREAMS. AND ALSO: ALIENS and he was like, "could you NOT wake me up for anything less than a gun-wielding intruder?"

Without You/I Will Wait Mashup by Noteworthy

He will probably be horrified that I'm sharing this but when my brother was 6 he came home from church one day and declared this darling little girl in our ward was his girlfriend. We moved away a couple years later, lost touch, blah blah. A few weeks ago I friended this girl's mom on FB and she shared this video. We are totally hooked (and not just because I have a soft spot for "little" Jen. She's the cute blonde with the third solo, by the way. Six-year-old Jared had good taste). Aca-awesome.

Anyone have good cleaning music to share? I need a looong playlist to get me through the cleaning of our floors...
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