My All Natural Skin Care Routine (and a toner recipe)

As much as I wish it were otherwise, I was not blessed with perfect, smooth, blemish free skin. If you are one of those lucky people that were, I hate you! (Just kidding, I love all my readers for supporting me, but I am a bit, okay a lot, jealous!) And when I was pregnant, OH. MY. GOSH!!!! My skin was horrible!!! What happened to the beautiful pregnant glow that I was supposed to get, because it definitely skipped over me! I was constantly breaking out all over my face and neck and they weren’t the small blemishes, they were huge and bright red and worst of all they hurt!!! And regardless of the endless amounts of face washes and blemish treatments I tried, I could not make it any better. Thank you hormones, I suppose!

After I had Brynlee I thought that my skin would get better again, never in a million years would I have thought I’d wish for my blotchy red, blemish prone skin of pre-pregnancy, but here I was wishing my skin would go back to the way it was before.

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Finally, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of torturing my skin with a bunch of cleansers full of ingredients I can’t pronounce, some that would sting when I applied them or just really dry my face out, I took a more natural approach. I didn’t start using all of these products overnight, but here is my current skin care lineup!

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The first change I made was my face wash. Have you ever used Dr. Bronner’s soap? It is amazing and has so many uses! I really love the peppermint, it’s so refreshing and gets my face super clean! If peppermint isn’t your thing, they have plenty of other fragrances to choose from. When I started using this I noticed a significant decrease in the amount of blemishes that were popping up within just a couple of weeks!

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I like to buy it in the larger bottle (especially when it goes on sale) because I go through this stuff like crazy, I really try to take advantage of all it’s many uses. But I also purchased this smaller bottle to keep in my shower and to take with me when I travel and I just refill it when needed.

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The next item I found and made the switch to was apple cider vinegar toner. I’ve always been a toner girl, I can’t wash my face without applying toner afterwards, but even though I always bought the toner for sensitive skin, it would still sting every time I applied it. This stuff doesn’t sting and has really helped reduce (if not completely eliminate) the amount of redness on my face. I even had people comment about how much better my face was looking within a week of making the switch (and they had no idea I had done anything different). I make my own (recipe below) and have made it for several family members who ended up loving it! I know it’s kind of weird initially, to think about putting vinegar on your face and it certainly doesn’t smell that great, but the scent doesn’t stick around long and it is so worth it!

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Toner Recipe:

To make the toner you need to get apple cider vinegar with the “mother” in it. I really like this one which can be found at most grocery stores. I bought the bottle I use to make it in at Target in their travel items section and I mix 2 T. of apple cider vinegar with 7 T. of water.

Depending on the sensitivity of your skin you may need to dilute it a little more, or if you prefer make it a little stronger. I would say I have semi-sensitive skin and ratio has work really well for me.

Oh and a bottle of apple cider vinegar is about $4 and will last you a long time!!

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I also decided that I needed to dump my previous face cream and look for a more natural solution. I came across an article on the many uses of coconut oil and what do you know, it makes a great moisturizer! So I decided to try it out and love it! I will admit that this isn’t for everyone. You only need a tiny amount, but when you apply it, your skin does feel pretty greasy for a little while. I usually wash my face and apply this at least 30 minutes or so before I got to bed so it has time to soak in and doesn’t get all over my pillow case, or in the morning I will apply it right after the shower then do my hair before my makeup and that is usually enough time for it to soak in as well. Something to note, coconut oil is usually a solid at room temperature, so a bottle like this might not work out so well. It’s so hot here that coconut oil is a liquid most of the year, but in the colder months I use a small, wide mouth container. Make sure you get a good quality, organic coconut oil.

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And lastly, spot treatment. While all of these changes have really improved my skin, I do still suffer from the occasional breakout, especially around a certain time of the month, who’s with me? I have tried A LOT of spot treatments and this is far and above my favorite! And while I’m sure Landon found me very attractive while walking around the house with white dots all over my face, all those other treatments really dried out my skin (because isn’t that the point) and usually didn’t make that much of a difference anyway. Enter tea tree oil, I just apply a small drop to my blemish before I go to bed and in the morning I notice a significant change. Now, I’m not going to claim that it immediately takes away my blemishes, although there have been times when I’ve caught it early and woken up to it being completely gone. But it really reduces the time the blemish spends on my face, usually no more than two days. And if it is one of those big, ugly, red ones that hurt, well, it takes away the pain overnight and usually the redness too! I’m telling you, this it a total game changer!

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So there you have it, my all natural skin care routine, I do this every morning and every night in the order I listed them. Not only has this really helped my acne prone skin, but I now spend a fraction of what I was before when I was buying all of those chemicals to put on my face.

Like I said before, I didn’t make all of these changes overnight, but found these products and replaced my old ones over the course of about 6 months. The biggest thing I’ve come to realize (and appreciate) about using these products is that the aim isn’t to try to dry my face out to reduce the amount of blemishes. When you dry your face out your body produces more oil to compensate for it (kind of like washing your hair less will make your hair less greasy) and that causes more acne. With this stuff, it gets my face clean, without drying it out and for added moisture, I apply more oil to my face. Now my skin never feels dry, even after a full day of makeup!

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Meeska Mouska Mickey Mouse Ears!

I DIY’d a ton of things for Brynlee’s party, part of the reason was to save money of course, but the biggest reason is that I just enjoy crafting and when I get to craft with a purpose it makes it even better. Especially when that purpose is celebrating my little girl. Needless to say, I had so much fun making the party decor and favors for Brynlee’s birthday party and today I’m sharing with you how I made the Mickey Mouse ears that we used instead of party hats and sent home with our littlest guests as favors.

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First, the supplies. I purchased black felt by the yard and red and white polka dot fabric from Joann’s and I order these black headbands from Amazon.

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To make the general shape of my mouse ears, I used a mug that was about 4″ in diameter.

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I folded my felt with enough room to trace my mug. Make sure to leave part of the mug off on the side of the fold so that you are tracing almost all, but not the full circle.

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I found it was easier to get clean cuts on my felt if I stuck a few pins around it before I started cutting.

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Once you’ve cut it out it should look like this unfolded. You want to make sure your two circles are connected about 1.5″-2″, this will make attaching them to the headbands much easier.

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Repeat that process until you have your desired amount of mouse ears.

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To attach the ears to the headband, slide them on and mark the headband with a sharpie where you like the placement of the ears. I think mine were a little too close together, I wish I would have spread them out a little further, maybe 2.5″ or so.

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Using a hot glue gun, apply a line of glue the width of your mouse ears on the underside of the headband and press the mouse ear in place.

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Then apply a line of glue around the perimeter of your mouse ear.

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And press into place.

You can always trim off little areas if they don’t match up exactly, but I think since I pinned them so they wouldn’t shift during cutting, I didn’t have a problem with the edges matching up.

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Now repeat on the other side and keep going until you’re finished! Super easy and super affordable! I made 14 mouse ears for around $10!

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Next week I will be sharing how I made the Minnie Mouse bows and attached them to the mouse ears.

Happy Crafting!

Life Lately

I hate to admit it, but I am kind of over summer… It is just so hot here that we are really limited on the activities we can do, most all of which are indoors and I think we are both getting a bit of cabin fever. So yes, I am really looking forward to the cooler temps when we can head outside again for walks and trips to the park to burn off all that excess 2 year old energy!

I do still have a few more weeks (okay, probably more than a few) of these hot temps so in the meantime we’ve been trying to perfect our baking skills.

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Last week we made these banana pancake muffins and they we delish!

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Brynlee devoured them!!! We will definitely be making them again soon!

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We have been trying to get outside either early in the morning or in the evening when it isn’t quite so scorching outside.

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As you can see, I try to stick to the shade, while Brynlee has way too much fun at her water table. I can really see a change in her behavior when we are able to make it outside for just a little while during the day. It helps us all stay sane and if we get out in the morning it usually means a nice long nap!

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If you follow on Instagram then you know we like having indoor picnics this time of year. And this little girl has decided she has outgrown apple slices and will now only eat apples in their whole form, unless it’s applesauce that is, which might just be her favorite food currently.

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My Aunt and cousin came to stay with us Friday night and Saturday morning we got up early to head to the Farmer’s Market and for breakfast at Liberty Martket which is one of my favorite places!

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On the short walk between the Farmer’s Market and Liberty Market, Brynlee had to make a stop at this water ball and was completely soaked by the time we were able to pull her away from it.

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After a quick stop home to change, we headed back out to do some shopping. As you can see, I have a sunglasses lover on my hands, maybe she was the real inspiration behind the new product in my shop.

On Sunday we had another fun day planned and us girls went over to my sister in law’s house to go swimming. Brynlee had a blast and is getting so good an maneuvering herself around in the pool. I wouldn’t say she is swimming quite yet, but we put her in one of these little floaters and she gets around pretty well. I am always right by her side in case she does need help, but little miss independent prefers to do things on her own and shouts and emphatic “no” if I try to hold on to her.

So here we are, in for another hot week. We have dance once again today, last week wasn’t quite as horrible as it has been the previous two, but we have a long way to go, hoping today will be even better! And then I’ll just be looking forward to this weekend when we try to escape the heat by visiting family in Prescott!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend too! And check back tomorrow, I’ll have a fun Mickey Mouse inspired tutorial from Brynlee’s 2nd birthday party!

Meal Planning Monday

I hope everyone had wonderful weekends. It’s a new week and so here’s another Meal Planning Monday!

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Sunday– Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Crispy Smashed Potatoes

MondayGlowing Green “Pasta” Primavera

Tuesday- Spaghetti Squash with Bolognese Sauce (a Brynlee Favorite!)

Wednesday- Speedy Veggie ‘n Brown Rice Noodle Bowl

Thursday- Chicken Kale Pasta

Friday- BBQ- Burgers and Hot Dogs with Waffle Fries

Saturday- Hawaiian Chicken and Zucchini Fritters

Happy Cooking!

My Fav New Shoes

I should preface this post by saying that I am a lover of shoes! They are by far my most favorite accessory and if given the choice between a cute outfit, jewelry or shoes, 99% of the time I would go with the shoes! And I have, as my closet currently contains close to 200 pairs.

Sadly since becoming a mom, my shoe game has been lacking. I’ve traded in my favorite 4″ pumps for flats and basically anything that is comfortable when chasing around a toddler. And even before she a toddler, maneuvering around in 4″ heels while toting baby carrier was not the easiest thing to do.

And now that I am no longer a working mom I have even less of a reason to put on heels, except for maybe the occasional date night and lets be honest, those are few and far between.

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So, back to my new shoes. Living in the desert allows me to get away with wearing sandals basically year round, so I am always on the lookout for cute and comfy sandals to add to my repertoire and last week a shoe company that I’ve been admiring for a while had an amazing 6th anniversary sale so I jumped on the chance to snag a pair for myself.

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If you follow me on Instagram you already know how excited I was about Sseko’s shoes sale! I love their ribbon sandals, well actually I love all of their stuff, but especially their ribbon sandals. And what’s even better is that they are a company that gives back (read their story here) and I love being able to support a company like that!

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During their 50% off ribbon sandal sale, I purchased the brown ribbon sandal base (I really went back and forth between the brown and the beige, but I’m so glad I finally settled on the brown, it is perfect!) and I bought 6 ribbons that are interchangeable with the shoes. I actually purchased the Classic Sandal Package and then ribbons in Gold, Chiffon and Kelly Green. I thought these ribbons would pretty much go with everything in my wardrobe, but I can definitely see how purchasing additional ribbons could be addicting! They have so many cute ones!

I received my new shoes super fast and have had a lot of fun trying out new ways to tie them (find tutorials here) and trying to come up with my own. I love that the possibilities of these shoes are endless!

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And don’t worry, they are super comfortable too! Of course all of the reviews stated this, but I still was surprised by the comfort level of these shoes when I first put them on! Even after a day of chasing Brynlee around they don’t hurt my feet. And I definitely I can’t say that about most of my sandals.

Also, I have to note, that I did purchase these shoes with my own money and was not asked to review them by Sseko, I have been in no way compensated for this. But I do LOVE these shoes and just had to share! So if you’re looking for a great pair of sandals, you should definitely get these!!

Baking with Brynlee

I meant to share these pictures a while ago, but once I uploaded them to my computer, they were filed away, nearly forgotten about until I recently stumbled upon them again.

I love to bake and I really looked forward to the day that I would be able to bake with Brynlee. I love sharing my hobbies with her and it makes it even more meaningful when she enjoys them too! And she loves baking! You will probably be able to tell by the huge smile and giant size mess that we made, we had so much fun!

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One of her favorite parts of baking, was being able to sit on the counter. I really need to get a kitchen stool for her…

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Although she also liked to sneak a little taste!

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And playing in the flour…

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She was surprisingly good at pouring the measurements in the bowl, I thought for sure they would end up half in the bowl and half on the counter making me wonder exactly how good our cookies would taste.

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As you can see she was have a blast!

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Messy hair, don’t care!

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She really loved helping me spoon the batter onto the pan and sneaking a few bites here and there in between.

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And finally, the fruits of our labors- chocolate chip cookies! Which she wasn’t really fond of, although she sure liked the batter!

Life Lately

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Our weekend got off to a really awesome start when our couch decided to eat my phone. Yep, somehow my phone slid all the way down the side of the the couch cushion, between the bottom of the couch and the armrest and unbelievably fell into this little slot within the armrest that was practically impossible to get to. After pulling out a million little staples to gain access to the underside of the couch we realized that a piece of 1″ thick particle board was blocking access to my phone and while I could just barely see it, there was no way I was reaching it, even with the help of a wire hanger and kitchen tongs! Things were getting desperate by this point folks! Finally Landon realized that if we removed the upholstery on the side of the couch we just might be able to get to it, that is unless there was another piece of particle board who’s sole existence is to prevent me from getting my phone back. Luckily for me/us, after removing a thousand more staples, Landon was able to rescue my phone. It would make me feel a lot better if someone told me that something similar has happened to them. I mean really, what are the odds. Anyway, we got a crash course in upholstery this weekend so I guess it wasn’t a complete loss…

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We had a fun time Saturday attending a birthday party and Peter Piper Pizza. That place is like crack for kids, from the moment we walked in Brynlee was running all over the place. I must apologize to those kids that she tried to swipe tickets and/ or tokens from and for all the times she tried to take your turn on a game after you already put your token into it. Needless to say, me and Landon spent the entire two hours chasing her and trying to prevent any meltdowns she might have caused by not having proper arcade etiquette. Apparently we have some teaching to do before we attempt that place again.

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And this car, oh, this car. We could not get her away from it! Most of our tokens went to it, she did not want to take turns and if someone else was riding in it, she would try to climb up and hitch a ride with them. Again, I think we need a lesson in manners.

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On the plus side, by the time we got home she was completely worn out! On the minus side, by the time we got home she was completely worn out and her terrible twos were really starting to show! The two hours it took for bedtime to get here were probably the longest of all three of our lives and I would say 1 hour and 55 minutes of that was spent by her throwing a tantrum for some unknown reason. But hey, she slept in until 8:00 the next morning and that was wonderful!

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Not much to report Sunday other than we finally put the couch back together, ran a few errands, did a few chores and lots of playing but even more visits from the terrible two monster. The joys of toddlerhood, amiright???

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Brynlee’s new favorite thing is to put diapers on ALL of her dolls (even the super small ones), she comes running up to me telling me they have a “poo-poo”.

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Oh and can we just take a moment to talk about this amazing Mocha Milk from Danzeisen Dairy? 1.- they are local and 2.- this stuff is so delish!! It taste  a lot like the Starbucks Fraps, but isn’t super sweet like them, which makes it pretty much perfect in my book! If you are a local, head to your nearest Whole Foods or Sprout’s and pick some up! You won’t regret it! And yes, there is coffee in it.

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So now here we are, starting another week, did you see yesterdays post about the Blissfully Made Shop Re-Launch? And don’t forget to head over to Instagram to enter the giveaway! And of course, today is another day of dance and I’m really hoping that the 3rd time is a charm because so far it hasn’t been so great. Wish us luck!