Friday, June 30, 2017

Don't Sweat Summer Event Sweat

*This post was written in collaboration with the wonderful people over at Follain.

It's wedding and Summer event season and well, I have got to be prepared for those afternoons into nights out, because believe it or not, this mother of two does have some actual nights out on her calendar. The one thing that I sweat about Summer events is, well, sweating. Eh, I'm not 100% the most glamorous girl you're ever gonna meet but at least I'm honest. I sweat and, gasp! even at fancy events where dancing and perhaps a little drinking is involved. Pro tip: Always drink lots of water because hydration is everything. When I am game-planning my overnight bag or even my purse, there are a couple of things that are the necessities that I must have to keep me so fresh and so clean when I'm out and about, keeping life interesting. Skincare is important, and catering it to your specific needs during specific seasons is a must.

Ursa Major Hoppin' Fresh Deodorant: Ursa Major is my favorite brand that both my husband and I can use. He likes that the scents aren't too floral or citrusy and I like that you can trust that they'll work without all the garbage chemicals in run of the mill deodorants. Pro Tip: Deodorants combat sweat.

RMS Beauty "Un" Powder: Sealing in makeup is key to getting through an afternoon or evening in the Summer heat. A safe alternative to talc based powders, this is a great option to keep the shine to a bare minimum.

Josh Rosebrook's Hydrating Accelorator: I'm sure my friends and family are sick of me telling them how much I love this product but dude, do I love this spray. It's refreshing, it smells like a dream and I know that even if I'm sweating profusely, this will make me feel renewed, at least until the last dance!

SW Basics Makeup Remover: Safe, Effective, Affordable. Hands down my favorite makeup remover. Absolutely, no way, no how, should you be leaving that heavy event makeup on, especially combined with sweat! This does have a sweet almond-y smell that I adore so be aware if you are sensitive to scents.

OSEA Ocean Cleanser:  After a sweaty night, it's important to wash your face, getting rid of all the gross residue and gunk from your makeup. I absolutely love this cleanser. It smells sweet, almost like Skittles and leaves the skin feeling so fresh.

Please tell me what you use to combat the Summer sweat! I'm always looking to build my natural beauty battalion into the best that it can be.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Trust in Your Gut (Health)

I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions. 

Gut health. It's a kind of a "buzz topic" in wellness these days. I've been working on it myself, doing research, drinking kombucha, looking into probiotics. It can be a little confusing to look into what works, what you should use, what can work for your lifestyle but one thing is for certain, gut health is very important for overall wellness. Your gut is responsible for proper digestion and if the bacteria in your gut is all out of whack, you can have gas, bloating,  diarrhea, constipation, and sometimes worse... so yeah, it's important to keep things in line there.

When I was offered the chance to try Restore, I was kind of on the fence about how I felt about using something like this but I'm glad I gave it a try, especially the nasal spray. Restore helps to holistically strengthen our gut barrier with no probiotics and sort of creates a firewall from the everyday exposure in our environment. RESTORE nurtures the body’s protective membranes in the gut and in the blood/brain barrier, enabling these membranes to keep us healthy. A diet loaded with highly-processed foods may cause the tight junctions of the intestinal wall to open from the gut into the bloodstream.

It's kind of a lot to think about but RESTORE makes it easy. I went to Wanderlust in Vermont last weekend and it was so fun but pretty dirty and of course in nature, there are allergens. I am seriously so glad that I brought my Restore Sinus Spray to clean my nasal passage of allergens, dust, dirt and other things that may have been clogging up. Squirt and immediately my entire head felt clearer. I may have received this first bottle for free but I'll be purchasing another to get me through the Summer. I was also able to bring my travel sized bottle of RESTORE with me so I could keep my regimen on track. I like what they're doing over at RESTORE and if you're looking to improve your gut health, I think you should definitely research them and see if their the right product for you. They're also offering a great discount code if you'd like to try for yourself, see it below and let me know what you think!

Monday, June 26, 2017

All the Olive Oil Please

*I received this product for free from Moms Meet ( to use and post my honest opinions.

I love olive oil. If you love olive oil, then I think we could be the best of friends. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is in my house at all times because I use it in my cooking multiple times a week. It's just my favorite way to cook. When Flavor Your Life offered to send me some EVOO as well as information on using the best from Europe (in this case Zucchi), I was like yes, please and thank you very much. What they sent was the most amazing package of not just olive oil but also some fantastic recipes for me to try at home with the fam. I rocked out the chunky sweet potato turkey chili and I don't think we'll ever look back.

Flavor Your Life is a campaign funded by The European Union and a consortium of European olive oil growers. The program aims to educate consumers on the benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Europe, including: Taste, Health, Functionality, Heritage, and Quality. Today, most consumers purchase and stock only 1 bottle of EVOO in their pantry at a time, compared to Europeans who have an entire cupboard of EVOOs for different occasions. The folks at Flavor Your Life want to encourage consumers to see EVOO in this way—different oils to complement different meals— just as we do with wines. 

I'll be completely honest. I'd never looked at olive oil that way before. I only had one bottle and that's basically how I would have probably spent the rest of my days unless someone educated me on the joys of different types of olive oils, especially those from Europe. The Europeans do have some of the most delicious foods and also appreciate the ingredients that they're using so why not take a closer look at the types of olive oils that they use for different foods, cooking and how it enhances your experience and the results. Like look at this Carrot Cake made with fruity extra virgin olive oil... I need to make that, like, yesterday. Olive oil fudge brownies? Yup, add that to my list of things to make. Not just for savory foods, olive oil is way more versatile than I originally thought.

While I might need to do some more educating myself (I just signed up for a Tuscan cooking class at the Boston Public Market Kitchen!), now that I'm aware of more types of olive oil and all the uses, I am definitely going to be more cognizant of what I'm buying and how I plan to use it. Turkey chili is a staple in my house but Mama can and will branch out because variety is the spice of life, which also goes for Extra Virgin Olive oil as well!

What's your experience with Extra Virgin Olive Oil? I'd love to hear all about it!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Back to Basics: Non-Toxic Options Delivered

*This post is in collaboration with the folks at Back to Basics. All opinions are 100% my own.

Honestly. sometimes it can be a bit daunting when I am trying to help people in my life understand how many products we use that contain harmful chemicals. It's not that people don't want to change their ways but it can be super hard when you don't know where to start. I get it and that's why I love people like the folks at Back to Basics. They want to help people make a health makeover. Eliminate the toxins from your life, replace the bad stuff with the good stuff, and celebrate as your health improves... that's what they aim to do!

When you're looking to change your ways, it' OK to ask for a little help. What I love about Back to Basics is they they offer full size products for you to try based on your choice of three boxes: the Eco Chic Chica (June's shown here), Go Green Gent (Men's self-care and cleaning products) and the Household Combo (Men, Women and cleaning products). You can trust that the products are much safer alternatives to the products you likely have been using. The boxes are carefully curated, researched and put together by a homeopath and wellness expert, Ashleigh Frager.

As someone who has been trying to live a cleaner, greener life, it's also great to get a box like this. I need help discovering my new favorite products, am I right? I am a lover of Erbaviva Baby sunblock so was psyched to get a new tube for my trip to NC (closer to the equator than MA) but I had yet to try the Radius Floss Sachets (Vegan! and Biodegradable!), rareESSENCE Aromatherapy Sleep (give me all the lavender-y roll ons, please!) and Molly Suds Oxygen Whitener (hello, I have kids, things get dingy so forget the OxyClean!). I was thrilled to be able to discover new brands to support and love via the Back to Basics box. Plus, if you love something, you can always purchase something individually from the shop, at a great deal.

Not only am I happy to have discovered Back to Basics but I am thrilled that they'll be joining us at this year's W.E.L.L. Summit! I feel like the W.E.L.L. Summit tribe is going to really embrace what they're doing and perhaps discover their new favorite products in the process.... I can't wait to meet Ashleigh, the founder, in person to thank her for helping me (and others) continue the good fight in leading a non-toxic life!

Have you tried Back to Basics yet? Check them out online, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I Tried It: Violets are Blue Skincare

You know when you hear about a brand or a product and think to yourself, man, I gotta try that... but then months, sometimes longer goes by and you still haven't? That's what happened with me and Violets are Blue Skincare. I had heard about their products through the wellness grapevine and had always been interested in trying to work them into my beauty routine. You see, Violets are Blue Skincare is a company that not only makes clean beauty products. they are also do-gooders and those are my favorite types of people. After a Breast Cancer diagnosis, Violets' founder Cynthia Besteman discovered not only a love of creating safe skincare products but also a love of supporting a cause. The team at Violets are Blue are creating quality products for us and also contributing to their community. They are currently working with Mount Sinai's Dubin Breast Cancer Center proving women undergoing treatment a care package on their first day. They also invite their customers to contribute as well... but I suppose I should talk about the products, right? I'll give you a hint as to what I though: *thumbs up*

I was able to try a handful of some of the Violets are Blue products and was super pleased with the quality, especially the facial serum and the lip balm. I mean, I've tried A TON of lip balms and I have to say, this is on my tippy top of favorites. Priced at $12 it's a little expensive but it's good stuff. It's smooth and soft, smelling of lavender (which is my fave!) and really, really works to moisturize. Their Signature Line facial serum is top notch as well. Also somewhat lavender-y with a hint of carrot seed, this oil absorbs quickly and doesn't leave a lasting, obnoxious scent. It's also very light on the skin which I appreciate, because it keeps my routine moving faster rather than waiting on it to be less greasy.

I've tried a lot of clay masks and the iteration from Violets', the Smoothing Clay Mask, is on par with some of the better masks that I've used. It is a powder, which some people do not care for, but I am not opposed to making a little paste for myself. Using powdered coconut, Rock Rose, and White Clay, it's a pretty gentle blend that really left my skin glowing. Plus, I feel like this jar will last me for quite some time based on how much I've used so far. I would most definitely recommend to those looking for a nice clay mask option to keep in their Selfcare Sunday rotation.

I'd love to get my hands on the deodorant to try as well as their facial scrub, so those may be on my "to try next" list and now that I've gotten the chance to experience Violets are Blue Skincare, I may not wait so long before snagging another product.

*The folks at Violets are Blue sent me products to try but all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

FatFace, Ethically and Responsibly Made Fashion

*This post is in partnership to my new besties at the FatFace store at Marketstreet in Lynnfield MA. Though this is one of those posts where I got something in exchange for writing, you bet your butts that my opinions are 100% mine and true and sometimes wacky.

You may remember that I took a little siesta brunch time break from reality last month with a bunch of bloggers and influencers and was introduced to the brand FatFace. They have a beautiful store at Marketstreet in Lynnfield. The clothes are adorable and obviously, I love to shop... but when I learned more about the brand from Spenser and the team there, I fell in love with their company's culture, thoughtfulness and the way that they offer slow fashion at an affordable price. FatFace is, simply put, washed in happiness.

Originating in the UK, the brand has recently launched in the US with stores in the Northeast and I've been lucky enough to find a convenient and moreover, crushworthy location in Lynnfield. When I had my first visit to their store, I was given the low down on what was important to the brand when bringing their products to the consumer. Designed in England and produced ethically, sustainability and responsible sourcing of materials and labor is tippy top on the priority list for the FatFace brand. If you check out their code of conduct, it's VERY specific and leaves you feeling extremely confident that you are supporting a brand who cares about their supply chain. They are nothing like what you'll see on your run of the mill mall brand's site, which is usually vague and leaves you questioning who made your clothes and using what kinds of materials. The fashion industry is one of the biggest pollutants in the world, so if we can make more mindful choices about where we are purchasing and making those purchases count (ex: FatFaces "hero" pieces), we'll be doing our part to keep clothing out of landfills and overall, just feel good about supporting brands that care.

In addition to the feel goods when you know who made your clothes, it's important to feel good wearing them. This here is going to be one of my Summer Mom uniforms. The Irish linen pieces at FaceFace right now are just so thumbs up. I should know, I was raised on linen. Soft, flowy and the highest quality, you can see right on the tag that they're using the best materials. Baird McNutt has been creating the finest linen for 100 years and these shorts are proof that they're doing something right. Breathable, comfortable and fantastic texture... perfection. Don't even get me started on all the fun prints that they have going on right now. They've got some jungle themes that I'm totally swooning over!

Follow FatFace Lynnfield on Instagram to get sneak peeks at what they've got going on this Summer as well as keep updated on events they are taking part in. In talking to the store team, they are setting up shop for adventure on the North Shore! Also stay tuned for more peeks at what kind of fantastic stuff that you can pick up on your next trip to Marketstreet!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Local Lovin': Ser Verde Shoes

Shoes Shoes, Glorious Shoes. You know I love 'em, you know I wear 'em and you know that I am always on the lookout for new pairs to come home and live in my home. I was perusing my Instagram one day, as I often do, and a joint event between my buds at Urban Grape and a brand I'd not come across, Ser Verde Shoes popped up in my feed. A shoe brand that's local and I hadn't heard of them? For shame on me, a lover of shoes. Well, I knew I wanted to know more about their brand and since I'd been skulking on the 'nets I decided to reach out and get the lowdown on what Ser Verde shoes are all about! I caught up with Amy Lambroukos-Silva, owner and designer with some of my Local Lovin' questions!

Give us a little background as to how Ser Verde Shoes came about. What initially drove you to start your brand?

I was traveling five years ago and found these beautiful Spanish style shoes. I bought a few pairs and initially fell in love with them. Years after that I searched all around the US for similar style shoes with the same quality and did not have success in finding them here. So I got in touch with the factory through where I bought the shoes and started the business with my husband, Chris. Ser Verde means be green which just really came to me.
When creating your products, where do you take inspiration from?

I love our customer feedback and definitely take note of that. Everyone of course has a different styles, which makes designing so much fun. I love the beach and the ocean so we designed our shoes with a boat friendly natural colored rubber sole so it does not scuff a boat's deck and the natural color is really pretty and matches every leather that we work with.

I love the way that you have shaped your business. Plus it's no secret that I love shoes and I would assume you do too. What's it like to have shoes be your bread and butter? (as you can see, I'm very, very jealous!

I have always love shoes myself so this has been so much fun for me and I feel like it makes you work harder when you have a deep passion about what you are doing. We are still only a year into this business so we are hoping to make the bread-and-butter soon but it is a process. But we are very positive that it is going in the right direction.

What do you love to do in New England, when you aren't busy running your business?

We are both born and bred New Englanders. We are both more summer people than winter. We love New England beaches and spending time with our three-year-old son Preston who is also very much a beach person, yay!!! We love traveling up to Kennebunkport and going to Goose Rocks Beach. We also love lobster so any summer travels around New England definitely include that. We also love Nantucket and are selling our shoes over at SkinnyDip on South Wharf this summer. So we are hoping to make some more trips over for a little business as well as pleasure. 
You have certainly found some fantastic early success! Where do you see Ser Verde Shoes headed in the future?

We see ourselves expanding outside of New England because we are focusing this business around primarily a summer type of shoe. And hope to do more wholesale around the country as well as some trunk shows which have been great so far. We are also collaborating with Calypso St. Barth this summer starting soon. We are extremely excited about that. 

 You can find Ser Verde online, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Zoo New England + the Nature's Neighborhood

Hey guys, it's Amanda here... the Amanda that is always looking for things to do with an energetic three year old lover of all things outdoors and running loose and wild, much like an animal. When I heard about the new Nature's Neighborhood Children's Zoo at Franklin Park Zoo (a part of Zoo New England) I knew that it would be the ultimate in what the kid is interested in these days and to boot, I love visiting the zoo dating back to when I was young. I met up with my friend Jessica and her little peanut on the first warm and sunny day we could get our hands on to check out the new Children's zoo as well as some of their tried and true exhibits as well (I see you gorgeous gorillas!)

Some things to be excited about at the new Children's Zoo:

  • *Bamboo Climber, incorporating live bamboo plantings and an array of vertical, tilted, crossed and intersecting “bamboo” poles
  • *Eagle’s Nest, a giant eagle’s nest built around an oak tree offering an “eagle’s-eye” view of the Zoo
  • *Grass Maze: perennial grasses make for a perfect maze in which children explore looking for sculpted elements representing animals that live in the grasslands.
  • *Prairie Dog Pop Up: The new prairie dog town provides a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with these adorable little critters
  • *Safe environment! Well, this is for the Moms and Dads to be excited about 😉
  • *Beautiful landscaping... also something more for the Moms and Dads!
  • *Different neighborhoods/ecosystems to explore (the Zootopia fans in us LOVE this)
  • *The Blanding's Turtle Project + more!

The sheer amount of children enjoying the zoo on our visit was amazing. I guess it had been awhile since I had visited a zoo and had the opportunity to see it through a child's eyes. I mostly see things on the run with a three year old and a 5 month old in tow but the beauty of the Franklin Park Zoo is that there is plenty to see, room to roam and it's a great environment to just let them be kids/stare down camels.

I can't wait to bring my pygmy hippopotamus back to experience the nooks and crannies that we didn't get to explore this time around. I think that's the beauty of visiting the zoo: each trip can be a different and special and memorable... also, my kid just loves to play hard and have fun which is encouraged at the Franklin Park Zoo- and car naps afterwards are almost guaranteed.

Do you want to win a 4 pack of passes to visit the Nature's Neighborhood Children's Zoo this Summer? Just comment below with your favorite thing about visiting the zoo- A winner will be picked at random on Friday June 9th!

*I received a membership in partnership with Zoo New England. All opinions are 100% mine.