...And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good...
-Genesis 1:11-12

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Juice Beauty Lip Gloss Product Review |My "Holy Grail" products {Part 1}

This post was going to be a whole post of "Holy Grail" Products but as I wrote more about the lipglosses, I decided just to do a full blown review, and make this  holy grail products thing a blog series. Enjoy!

"Holy Grail" Products is a phrase used by Natural Beauty Bloggers/youtubers to describe the products they couldn't live without and are absolutely 100% amazing, with no cons to speak of, and are every bit as good if not better than their conventional counterparts. Unfortunately, when you  use completely natural products, sometimes you have to compromise, saying, well, the ingredients are great, I'll just use it until I find something better I guess". Holy Grail products are the ones we don't have to compromise on.

I'm going to start off with the best first, my all time favorite natural beauty product that is the best I have ever found, regardless of conventional or natural.

This is the best lip gloss EVER. And you will never convince me otherwise.
The formula is so amazing, not gloopy or sticky or gross feeling. It's smooth, silky, nourishing, and pigmented! I love a gloss that is pigmented enough to wear without lipstick. The taste and smell of this stuff is awesome too. It smells like pink lemonade and has a pleasant lightly sweet taste.

This is the perfect product in every way, it's organic, the ingredients are impeccable, the formula is magic, the pigmentation is amazing for a gloss, it's moisturizing and nourishing (honestly, better than most lip balms), it tastes and smells good, and it actually stays quite well, for being a gloss.
The only con I guess I could list is that is it pricey. I received the whole set of four for Christmas and my mom got them on sale, but ordinarily they retail for about $15 apiece, but I will say, they are absolutely  worth the splurge.
If I had to recommend just one of the colors, it would be guava. It's the most pigmented of the four, and my personal favorite. It's a nice muted brick red and just a light amount of shimmer. Fig would be the runner up, it's as pigmented and is a gorgeous peachy/ginger. Champagne, as amazing if you are not into much color, because completely nude and neutral, so perfect for just moisture on the lips. Pink would be last in my personal list of re-purchasing potential, just because I would personally reach for the other three color-wise before the pink, but it's still just as amazing at the other three if the color is perfect for you!

I have extremely sensitive lips, even a lot of organic lip balms and shimmers irritate them so I am so happy to have a holy grail lip color.

The only caution I would give you is, if you have any food/fruit/seed allergies, read the ingredients carefully, as the majority of the ingredients are fruit seed oils.

I've also swatched them for you on my hand, my arm and my lips. I hope you all enjoyed this review, and let me know if you've tried these, and what you think, and which  color you would end up using if you tried these!
I've added quite a few swatch pictures, just so you can see them at different angles and lighting.

Top to bottom: Champagne| Pink| Fig| Gauva 

Left to Right: Gauva| Fig| Pink| Champagne
Top to Bottom: Left to Right: Gauva| Fig| Pink| Champagne
(On my screen, this one is the most accurate color depiction)
(sorry for the mess in the background)

Left to Right Left to Right: Gauva| Fig| Pink| Champagne






P.S. I am not affiliated with or sponsored by Juice Beauty in any way. Just a disclaimer ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Skin Care Tips Part 3 {General Tips & Questions Answered!}

{Part 1}
{Part 2}

Let's talk about some general skin care today, not just specific treatments, as well as some just general info about your skin.  (let me just clarify here that these are about facial skin. The skin on the rest of you body is a little more resilient, and may not always need the kid-glove treatment of you face)
 I'm also going to answer a reader's questions about whole body skincare.
(P.S. I loved answering these questions, and would absolutely love to have Q&A's a regular thing. If you have questions (anything related to what I talk about here) comment on any post your question with *Q&A added to the question.

This is going to be a long post  - sorry about that! :/

I am very simple and minimalistic when is comes to my skin care. I love to opt for gentle ingredients found in my own kitchen. Honey, Oats, Coconut Oil and Yogurt are pretty much the only things I use on my face for skin care. 
That being said I am definitely open to cleansers, oils and toners that I don't make myself or find in my cupboard, I just haven't made up my mind which ones I really want to use right now.
I recently fell in love with Evanhealy products the other day after hearing about and testing the products with a demonstrator at Whole foods, but at the moment they are a bit high for my budget. Caru skin care, Priya Means love, One Love Organics, 100% Pure, and many more are all on my list for "one day" but for for now, DIY suits me. 

Please also remember that these are just my opinions, shared here after not a little time of research, but I am not an esthetician or a dermatologist. Most of these tips are what I've found that work or don't work for me, what irritate my skin, and what I've learned about the skin from estheticians, and other reliable resources. But I encourage you if you are  curious about something, or disagree with something, challenge it, seek out your own answers. We have a whole world of information at our fingertips with the world of the internet. Also, remember that places like e h o w and and similar sites, are written by average people who may or may not have a clue about what they are writing about, like articles about exfoliating with sugar is a big one. 
Okay, now, onto the real content! :)

1. Regularly change your pillow case. 
This is one of the best way to prevent breakouts! Just imagine all the oil, dirt, dead skin, and maybe even leftover make up that transfers to your pillowcase. Your skin  takes the time while you sleep to repair itself, and laying your face on a dirty pillow certainly isn't doing your skin any favors. 
I would definitely recommend changing every other day to every three days 
I will readily admit I am dreadful at doing this because I never have enough cases,  but I absolutely always always see an improvement in my skin when change mine regularly. If you can't do it every 2-3 days, absolutely change it once a week at the least.

2. Good Skin starts from the inside out. 
Drink lots of water. Your skin is an organ, and just like the rest of your body, needs plenty of water to keep working properly. Being active and exercising  plays a big role in your skin's health
Keep your hormones in balance (one word. Vitex.). For me hormonal acne is my biggest skin problem. It scars the worst and is the most painful. Keep track of what breaks you out around that time of the month and eliminate it, take vitex, and drink balancing teas.
Eliminate processed foods! 

3. STOP touching your face. 
Not only do your fingers and nails transfer all kinds of bacteria to your face, you can also cause small cuts in your skin if you are scratching at irritating itches. Wash your hands very well (and get under the nails!) before using your hands for applying skin care or makeup. 
Also be careful of putting your cell phone against your face. Use speaker phone, a head set or clean your  phone with alcohol if you know you'll be talking on your phone. 

4. Quit being so harsh.
There is really no need, and any benefit you might be getting from harsh scrubbing, pressure, cleansers, and exfoliation is greatly outweighed by the ultimate damage you are doing to the inner layers of your skin. Always have a gentle touch when applying things to your face. Massage, don't scrub. 
There is no need to use things like sugar, salt or other harsh exfoliants. Try gentler options like oats (post on how I use oats coming soon), cleansing grains, or doing masks with AHA and Salicylic Acid (using fruit high in these acids as masks) Strawberries are great place to start with these. 

5. Less is more. 
Don't try out many different products (skincare or makeup) at the same time or too often. This will cause the skin to become agitated and far more prone to be troubled. 

6. Be aware. 
Usually when we break out, our body is sending us signals. Stop eating that. Eat this. Balance your hormones. Get this vitamin in your system. Detox. Don't use that product here. Don't touch me! 

For me, I know that store bought orange juice breaks me out. I can put an orange in juice I make myself, but I can't just drink straight orange juice that is the equivalent of 5 or 6 oranges. 
Chocolate when combined with unbalance hormones will cause me to break out. 
Right now I have a unslightly spot where I push my glasses, and often get breakouts where it rests on my nose. Meaning I need to be aware not to touch my nose when I touch my glasses and and to clean my frames more often! 

7. Keep your Face hydrated Externally Introduce water to your face twice a day.
While keeping hydrated by drinking water is definitely important to your skin, your skin needs more. The water you drink is first used by all the other parts of you that need replenishing, often not leaving your skin not nearly enough. Externally Introduce water to your face twice a day and  Using a humectant like honey is a great way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated.

8. Be respectful of your skin's PH.
I wish this was a more widely discussed or known-about topic. It was a long time before I learned that our faces have a delicate ph balance that is essential to healthy facial skin, and though things may be looking good on the outside, we may still be damaging things if we are messing with the PH. Avoid things with very high or very low PH. Things like Apple Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice (or any citrus fruit) or baking soda are all thing with drastic ph levels, and definitely should never be used on the skin. (I know that ACV is a highly popular remedy, and it works wonders for acne and such, but over time it really will cause skin problems and can breakdown the ph of your skin.)


Q: What Books Do You find Helpful When it comes to skin care?

A. Better Basics For the Home, was the book that got me started on my natural journey, and was and is my biggest resource for great information and lots of AMAZING DIY recipes for natural living in general, but definitely for skincare too.  It is a little outdated now, and many of the resources she has for companies, and products are very outdated, but it is still my favorite :)  I am going to be doing a whole post on my natural books, but for skin care this is really the only one I use. 
The internet though is really my biggest resource. When I hear something interesting about skincare (or really anything about living natural) I'll scour the internet and research until I'm blue in the face.
I have found Veronica Gorgeois on Youtube to be an excellent and interesting resource for great skincare tips. She is a certified and practicing esthetician, and definitely leans to the more natural side of things (but not completely. My favorite videos of hers that are a great place to start are "How Not to Ruin Your skin", "Skin, pH and the moisture barrier" "Skincare DIY recipes you should & shouldn't try" (two seperate videos linked there on should and shouldn't.)
  I do have one or two issues with a few things she says, especially, she states in one of her videos that Lavender Essential Oil is Phototoxic (sometimes know as photosenstive, meaning basically that it increases the harmful tendencies of the sun on your skin). Which if the EO is good quality, is simply untrue. Many Essential oils are indeed phototoxic, and you certainly would want to use them regularly on your face, but lavender shouldn't be an issue. 

Body Skin Questions

Q: Have you Tried Dry Brushing

A: No, but it is definitely an intriguing idea, and certainly one I'm open to trying. I haven't done much research though, and I have SUPER duper sensitive skin on my legs, so I'm a little hesitant. I will start research on this subject and get back to you in a later post!

Q: What about exfoliating body skin like legs and feet? 

A: As I stated above the skin on the rest of your body is quite a bit more resilient, so you are a lot safer using things like sugar on the rest of your body. I still personally just love oats for generally body skin, (though I have used sugar scrubs in the past) I don't exfoliate my legs but maybe once a year, and then only with soaked oats - just because the skin on my calves and shins is the most sensitive on my own body personally (which is really random I know) Anything on them irritates them so bad.
 I love exfoliating my feet though, and I wish I did it more often. I really only do a nice treatment a couple times a year. My favorite foot treatment is a soak of honey, lemon and acv, followed by a scrub of brown sugar, coconut oil, honey and peppermint Essential Oil. Link to the blog post I use for this. http://www.designsponge.com/2012/09/small-measures-honey-foot-care.html

Q: What about Natural Soaps? I've heard they can strip vitamin D that our skin hasn't absorbed yet. 

A: First, let me say, that though I too have heard that the vitamin D can rinse off before it's absorbed, I honestly haven't done enough research to know if this is true or not. Honestly I don't know if the soap has much to do with it. I have read, but I don't know for sure, that if you have purposefully been outside during the proper times to get more vitamin D into your body, that you shouldn't shower I think for 48 hours? To allow it to absorb  into your skin. This personally isn't a problem for me, as I don't shower everyday. I wash every day in the areas that need it and shower ever 2-3 days. (at least in the winter. I typically shower much oftener in the summer) I think if you are working on getting more vitamin d, the point is to avoid washing it off in general. 
As for soap, I use local line (Volta Organics) of all natural bar soap in the shower to clean and shave, as well as Dr. Bronners (castille soap) occasionally. A lot of natural soaps still really strip my skin. Currently I am head over heels for Volta Organics, which is actually local to my general area, it is the gentlest and least stripping soap I have ever found. I use one type in this line for my face (just in the shower, not any other time) sometimes my hair, if I don't want to shampoo it, and for the more sensitive areas, and another one in the same line for general cleaning and shaving use.

I hope this post was helpful, and not too boring. I'm sorry for having two skincare posts two weeks in a row. I generally try to pace out specific types of posts, but I've just been researching it a lot lately so it's been on my mind.  Natural Toxin free Makeup Posts are scheduled up next, and hopefully I'll have some herbalism/natural health posts up soon, as that's a subject I've neglected this year. Any requests?

Have a fantastic day!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Skincare Routine

Hey Everyone! Today I'm going to share my skin care routine with you. This is different from my skincare tips that I've shared before, and there are still more post to come there. Those tips are special treatments or exfoliations I give my skin once a week, once a month, or whenever I feel like it, but this post is just what I do from a day to day basis to remove makeup, and clean and moisturize my face.

I switch between using oil and honey to cleanse my skin. Oil cleansing, while amazing for your skin, shouldn't be done every single day, as, strange as it seems, can strip the skin if done too often. On days where I have no makeup on, I definitely just use honey. I also never use oil to cleanse in the morning. If you give your skin a nice treatment before bed, a gentle wash in the morning is all you need.

At night I start out by washing my face, either by gentle splashing my face with warm water, or with a hot washcloth on my face to prepare my skin for oil cleansing.
If I have makeup on, I'll remove it with either Sweet Almond oil or Coconut oil, or both. If I'm oil cleansing I'll massage the oil all over my face with my hands and remove the residual eye makeup with cotton balls.  If not, a quick wipe with oil on a cotton ball on my face, and more thoroughly on the eyes. If I'm using honey, I massage a good amount all over my face, and wipe it clean. Normally this is moisturizing enough,  but if I feel the need for something more I'll follow this with an application of my DIY Whipped Coconut Oil and Honey. I just apply it in areas like my chin, nose and troubled areas of my forehead and leave it overnight.

In the morning I usually just wash my face with warm water and go, but if I'm feeling oily, I will sometimes cleanse my face with honey or moisturize/cleanse with the DIY Whipped Coconut Oil and Honey (and wash it off, I don't leave it on in the day) I also keep my lips healthy and moisturized by regular lipbalm application. Morning and night, and before I apply makeup. I am currently using the wholefoods Organic Lipbalms, my favorite is Peppermint, but I also occasionally use the Vanilla/honey one.
Makeup Free Post-nightly skincare routine selfie ;)

I hope you all enjoyed this, and it wasn't too boring. I always enjoy watching youtube videos on these subjects, I find it interesting what they use and how people care for their skin, so I thought I'd share mine with you. Let me know if you like these kind of posts by commenting or voting on the polls I have posted on my sidebars. If you are reading from Blog Lovin', visit my phsyical blog to vote on what content you like, and would like to see in the future. Thanks for reading!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Let's Talk Makeup {UPDATED with a new list of great clean natural makeup companies}

{Originally published Jan. 7, 2014
Updated March 9, 2014}
So I've briefly touched on makeup before, but I wanted to delve a little deeper into this subject.

Makeup is fun and pretty and artistic. Unfortunately, conventional make up is often, literally nice little packages of toxins.  Not so fun. Hmmf :/

 Now, before I am go any father I want to clearly state, I am not judging anyone for using conventional make up or thinking any the less of you, or any thing like that. Every day we come into contact and use things that can potentially cause us harm. IF you like makeup and choose to have a few products that aren't so natural, or If you choose to risk a bit of bismuth oxychloride in your eyeshadow, then absolutely go for it. I have things like nail polish that I love to use on occasion, and aren't natural. I think every "natural" person has something they cheat on a bit, so if make up is something you like and don't necessarily want to be 100% all crunchy crazy, that's fine. I promise I'm not judging!

My only goal with this post is to inform - , and to help provide alternatives if you are interested! .
So, with that out of the way,  Let's take a look at some ingredients that have been tested and proven to be in leading brands of makeup - as well as my cover picture up there which has a nice list of things to avoid -

Heavy Metals of all different sorts

Now,  I don't know about you, but  I don't fancy those things going onto and into my body. But thankfully there are alternatives. I'm going to discuss a few with you.

For starters, just be aware of what you are looking for, and don't be decieved by labels. There are dozens and dozens of products in the stores that promise "all natural!" "Organic"  - The biggest problem with these products being produced is when they are cleverly packaged to deceive and allure anyone who is more aware of the toxins, and trying to remove them from their regime. so many times you will pick up a nice looking product promising natural ingredients, flip it over to the list of ingredieints and it's as long as your arm and half of the products are synthetic or toxic.
I have talked before about label reading, on my blog, but I will reiterate for this post.
If you are trying to remove toxins from you make up READ LABELS. Educate yourself on what those words mean (because, sometimes, rarely though it may be, a long unpronounceable word may not be as bad as you think). Just because a product has a natural, organic oil in it, that sadly, does not counteract the accompanying cocktail of toxins.

Also, this isn't super relevant, just bit of history -  this isn't completely a new problem. Women have been literally  poisoning themselves for centuries - all in the name of beauty.  In the past women experimented with arsenic for their complexion, belladonna drops for big watery starry eyes. Powdered lead was also used from roman times up to at least the 16th century in women's beauty regimes. Reading ancient beauty regimes may shock and gross you out, but taking a closer look at modern regimes, it's not much better

But fear not my  lovely ladies. When faced with the problem of the alliterative but dangerous
toxic toiletries table, there are thankfully many wonderful alternatives. I am going to touch on my personal choices of make up brands today, but I plan on several more posts on more specific products, and other personal care products besides makeup, (because unfortunately the poisonous products don't stop at our female war paint)

The two makeup brands I use on a daily basis are Willow Tree Minerals and Juicy Beauty. I also use Burts bees, but I definitely am working on replacing these, and I wouldn't recommend them as their ingredients are less than amazing, and there are better alternatives (like Juice Beauty!) UPDATE I have widely expanded my natural makeup horizons since this post. I have now included the companies I purchase my lipstick and foundation from as well as a new list of good reputable companies that I know of/and/or tried swatches from There is a little red star by ones that are new to this post, if you are revisiting.

Willow Tree Minerals -
This is a family run company, etsy based. The owner, Lora developed allergies to conventional makeup, and created her brand with the purest and gentlest products in mind.  I've been using her makeup for a couple years now and have never had a bad reaction to any of her products and they all have great ingredients and No chemicals, talc, perfume, dyes, phthalates, bismuth, parabens or micronized minerals are used.
I use her eyeshadow, blush, eye liners, (pencils and powders) and mascara, and I have nothing but good things to say about these products. I absolutely love them, and plan on using them for a good long while!

When I set out to find an alternative to BB's lip products, discovered Juice beauty. For a long time all they had was the one lipstick. After reading the ingredients list, I promptly placed it on my wish list (for unfortunately, these are really pricey) and was blessed to receive it as a christmas gift. They have recently extended their line of lip products, and I was very very excited to receive all the reflective lip glosses for Christmas and mom said she got them on sale, so if you're interested in these, look out for sales or ask for them for gifts ;) I am still on the hunt for good affordable lip products. I don't use anything with avocado oil though (my mom has a severe avocado allergy, so I don't use it so there is no fear of contamination) so finding good lip products with out it is tricky. If this isn't a problem, Willow Tree has a lip line!

The All Natural Face *newly added site to this list
I honestly can't believe I hadn't heard of this company until so recently, but I am in love. The ingredients are impeccable, it's an independent company, vegan, and I could go on and on. I found them originally through a youtuber I also recently discovered (iluvjesse444 link in sidebar), and I promptly ordered their full foundation sample range as well as some lipstick samples. I now have the full foundation and have been using it daily (as in, the days I wear makeup. not every single day, just fyi ;) I am going to be doing a full review on the company and my full thoughts on the products I tried, so keep a heads up!

Juice Beauty is a Certified Organic beauty line. Most of the ingredients are organic, and they promise "Our formulations are made without parabens, petroleum, propylene or butylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, pesticides, phthalates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances"
I also like that the lip glosses are almost all oils produced from fruit and berry seeds which is really interesting and creates a lip gloss like no other. It literally is the perfect gloss, glossy and super shimmery without being that horrible goopy sticky mess. They also smell divine. The one thing I hate about BB's - besides less than stellar ingredients- is that all there lip shimmers are peppermint. I like peppermint. It's one of my favorites, but if I'm going out for dinner or coffee, and not getting something peppermint flavored, I don't want to not be able to wear lip color because the taste with taint whatever I'm eating or drinking. Juice Beauty smells amazing like pink lemonade. (really) and doesn't taste strongly and definitely doesn't affect what I'm eating or drinking. Yay! Just to clarify, I have only used their lip products, and one eyeshadow and haven't really investigated any other products and their ingredients.

Gabriel Color Inc (and ZuZu Luxe)*
I have done a whole review on the lipstick I've purchased from here, and I am absolutely head over heels in love. I don't think I'll ever faithfully wear any other lipstick. I've swatched all their colors multiple times (at my local wholefoods) as well as their luxury line ZuZu Luxe, and all of the lipsticks are absolutely stellar, though pigmentation varies, as well - I'm assuming - the individual lasting power. The ingredients are all really great!

The following companies/indie lines are makeup I have heard amazing things about and know to have great ingredients (but remember, still read labels, I haven't checked every single product from these lines)

100% Pure *
I use their bodywash, and I adore it, but I haven't used any  of the makeup yet, just because I haven't had it in the budget.  Amazon carries some of the makeup for a quite discounted price. I love that their products use fruit pigments instead of dyes and minerals and such. I have heard great things of the mascara, so that will be my first purchase from them.

Brija Cosmetics * 
 I found this line through it's owner, Brianna (iluvjesse444) and I know all the ingredients are great, and she has some really fun products. I really want to try her bronzer, it looks like a beautiful shade. The next time I have makeup in the budget, I am definitely going to be heading over there.

Silk Naturals *
I can't vouch for all their products, but the ones I have seen have excellent ingredients (with the exception of the perfume, it does have fragrance, not EO's) , and I am so stoked that they have all natural mineral clones for the Urban Decay Naked palettes. I fall in love with the colors in those palettes every time I go into a makeup store, but the one time I swatched them, on my hand, it irritated my hand, so I can't imagine what it would do to my eyes, (not to mention all the iffy ingredients..) Again, when budget allows, I will absolutely be purchasing one of the naked clones. I found this company again through Brianna I think, or another youtuber.

Honeybee Gardens *
Again, another company I've found through youtubers, Brianna, EcoholicBeauty, GlamorWonderland, and others have all had good things to say about their foundation, and they have a lot of pressed options that really excite me. The ingredients are good, but don't look *as* clean as some, but definitely not bad!

LilyLoLo *
Another Youtuber find, this time through AllNaturalAspirations. Again, I can't vouch for all the ingredients, and their are some ingredients that will be up to you to decide if you want to use them.
I really want to try their pressed eyeshadow, as I really would love to have at least a few options in pressed form. That is the one thing I really miss before I went natural - being able to put on eye makeup in a few seconds without a unholy mess of powder and pigment everywhere ;)

A few Other lines worth mentioning.

EccoBella These products actually look pretty good. The shadow and blush, concealer, lip stick and gloss all look good.
A few items I saw had "natural fragrance" which can be really dodgy at best. I completely stay away from anything with that "f" word. I am so severely allergic to fragrance - even "natural" that it's just best for me to stay away. Though the "parfum" line look to be made with EO's so this might not be an issue. 

Mineral Fusion. I've swatched a couple of their products at whole foods and the ingredients look good from what I could find, but I've never heard reviews or actually used them. 

Bare Minerals: Definitely not a clean and natural as some, but as far as readily available in store makeup, This is definitely a good place to start if you are overwhelmed. My mom uses their products, and they are certainly better than some. Just please be aware that not all of their products are as clean as others, and their mineral shadows have fillers like bismuth oxychloride 

Also, one other tip - Be wary of things claiming to be green and read the labels carefully. Just because it's good for the environment doesn't automatically make it good for your body! Don't be "Greenwashed!"

I really hope you enjoyed this and  this post helps you make informed decisions.

I have links for most of the youtubers mentioned, and you can easily follow links from their channels to their blogs and other social media. I will eventually be updating this with links, but just copy and paste into google for quick access to the mentioned companies.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crunchy Concoctions Report | DIY Body Care Recipes | Moisturizer, Cleanser, Exfoliant and Deodorant

I thought it would be fun to put together a little post of some DIY things I've been putting together recently, and share the recipes and my thoughts on them. I am a big advocate of DIY body products, because you can control exactly what you are putting in them, and therefore on your body. Not to mention the savings. And it's just fun to  make your own things.

1. DIY Whipped Coconut Oil {with Peppermint and Lavender eo} I've already talked about and done a DIY video on this, but it bears repeating. I could go on for weeks about this stuff. It's just so  amazing for hair, cuticles, hands. I am crazy about it. My next batch I will probably make it with Lemon and Lavender as we move from winter into spring, that will be a nice change of scent.

2. Honey and Whipped Coconut oil.
This is my new go-to moisturizer and cleanser and acne treatment. The properties of each of the ingredients are just perfect for moisturizing and cleansing, and my clogged pores and acne have definitely improved since using this. I just use equal parts honey and coconut oil, whisk it for a minute or two until it's fluffy. For moisturizing at night I apply it to damp skin and leave it over night (especially on T-zone and chin). In the morning I apply it like a cleanser and wash it off.

3. Easy DIY sugar scrub.
I was in need of an exfoliant the other day and plopped this one together one together. I used equal parts Organic Sugar (I like the 365 brand by wholefoods) Coconut Oil and Honey. Great for the body or as a lip exfoliant  (and delicious too. Mm.)

4. DIY Deodorant Paste {pit paste}
 I ran out of my go-to deodorant (Aubrey Org. E + High C) the other day. A big snow storm had come through, so I couldn't get out to replace it, and I decided to give this one a try.  I have tried my fair share of natural and DIY deodorant. I used a powder deodorant for a long time. But I have been  using store bought for convenience's sake for a while now. I've been noticing a lot of praise for "pit paste" (seriously, could that sound any more disgusting?) lately, and though I was skeptical, I decided to go ahead and try it out. Simple enough, just equal parts Arrowroot , Baking Soda and Coconut Oil. {and optional addition of Essential Oils.} I added a few drops of Lemon to mine, because of the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. As I said, I was totally skeptical, as I've had struggles with DIY deodorant, and I struggle in general with less than pleasant smelling underarms.
I have been totally blown away by this stuff. I will be very interested to see how it holds up in the summer, but for the winter at least, it's AMAZING. It last honestly ALL day, which is more than I can say for even storebought for me. I also have been doubling it by using it to exfoliate my underarms before I wash them at  night, to help remove any built up lint or bacteria. It even held out after a half hour workout session. A+

That's about it, besides a few batches of Elderberry Syrup and my Ginger Cayenne Lemon/Limeade.

I hope you all enjoyed this, if you did, let me know if you would be interested in this being a regular type of post.

Also, please vote on the polls on the sidebars ------------>
I'll talk to you all soon, bye!

P.S. I've been working on updating my sidebars, especially the link lists, so go check it out!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Five Ways I reduce toxins in my everday life

Hey Everyone! Sorry there haven't been any posts this month. We all came down with a horrible cold/virus over the past couple weeks, and I literally didn't get out of bed for three days, so needless to say, things got a little behind, and I'm still catching up on things, and just haven't been able to squeeze a blog post in.

I have a quick little post for your today though. Nothing revolutionary, just a few quick tips. Enjoy!

I want to talk just a bit about a healthier more natural lifestyle, and five ways I personally try to reduce toxins in my own life.

Every day we come into contact with toxins. It's simply an inescapable fact of our world today, but, with a little effort, there are ways we can strive to limit our interaction with these toxins, at least in our own homes and daily routines. Here are 5 ways to reduce toxins.

1. Eat Organic when possible. Now I fully realize, that it isn't possible all the time, and that organic is quite costly. But if you can replace up to 50% of conventional food products and produce with organic in your daily diet, think of all the toxins you are reducing in your life!

2. Eat Clean/ Eat Minimally processed and packaged food. Processed and packaged food is, for the most part, going to be more toxin riddled than any other. If you really like certain processed foods as a treat (dry cereal, candy, etc) there are really great alternatives that are all natural/organic.  If you would like a post in the future on some of the all natural/organic alternatives to packaged/processed food that I personally enjoy, please let me know! :) I know making a switch from a conventional american diet to a clean, healthy diet is a long process, and can be difficult, but I think it is absolutely worth it. I have talked about this subject a tiny bit more in depth here.

3. Eliminate Conventional Body Care/skincare products. Conventional Body and Skin care products (lotions, soap, shampoo, conditioner, makeup remover, shaving cream, perfumes, deodorant etc. ect.) are SO toxic. If you do one thing on this list, this is the one I would most reccomend. After all - our skin is our bodies largest organ. Everything you put on it is absorbed into your blood stream  within minutes. The easiest way to start making the switch to all natural products is to first, go completely DIY (pinterest will be your best friend for diy) and then start making the search for natural products. And remember to read labels!!

4. Eliminate Conventional Makeup this goes right along with number 3, but may present more of a challenge if you are a makeup junkie ;) again, just read labels and educate yourself on what ingredients to look out for! More on this subject here. http://crunchyconcosmetics.blogspot.com/2014/01/lets-talk-makeup.html

Any gentleman readers will want to avert your eyes for this last one. Just trust me. 

5. Eliminate Conventional Feminine Hygiene Products. I hope this isn't To Much Info, but really, it is SUCH an important subject, and one I've wanted to broach here for a long time. Tampons and Pads are so so full of chemicals and toxins and the companies aren't required to list ingredients, so there is literally no knowing just how awful these really are. But research has shown so pretty bad stuff  is in them. I personally use washable fabric pads, and I have been very very happy with them. There are, however more natural disposable alternatives. I'm going to leave this subject there for now, but if you have any questions on this subject  (or the "monthly" subject in general), I would love to answer them by email. And I will also link a video from holistichabits on this subject that is really informative. http://youtu.be/OUQvsaX10Oc

I really hope you all enjoy this, and I hope to have some more stuff coming soon to make up for lost time. Keep an eye out here and on my youtube channel!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy February!

Hey Everyone!

I hope you are all doing well! I am full of plans for the upcoming weeks, and I am really happy with how January went for the blog - though I don't think I will keep up with the once a week schedule. If the posts aren't carefully planned in advance, I feel like they're too rushed, and I don't want to sacrifice quality for qfor quantity. As far as a schedule for February and March, I think I will stick with Tuesdays for posting and I will probably strive for a post every 2 weeks.

I had a great start to the month planned for today - I was going to make my first ever monthly 'favorites' video. If you watch youtube tutorials often, you might know what these are - just little videos of vloggers sharing their favorite (usually beauty/skincare) products for the month. I spent a couple hours trying to film one this afternoon, but what with the record button not getting pushed, losing my voice one the next few tries, and the lovely sunshine I started out with being replaced with a nice grey sky, and killing the lighting, it just didn't work out. I may or may not do it still, but I at least hope to have one for February next month! I really hope to be able to do more video posts, but this weather has been so gloomy, and I have absolutely horrible lighting in my room, that it just hasn't been possible yet.

If a favorites post sounds like something you'd be interested in, I might just do it in blog form, with pictures, so please let me know if you're interested.

As far as content I'm hoping to share this month - I have a really great tutorial on Vitamix Juicing planned. I have really been into making juice in the vitamix, and since it is quite a different process than using a regular juicer, I think it will be an interesting post.

I also have two review posts coming on the Juice Beauty Lip shimmers, and a review of The All Natural Face Lipsticks and Foundation

A few other posts/videos I would like to publish in the upcoming weeks are:

An updated hair care routine

Healthy Lifestyle tips

A skincare routine post.

 A post of my collection of herbal/crunchy books

And posts of my collections of natural/organic makeup products and skincare/body products.

I hope this sounds like a good list, and I don't know when or in what order these will end up coming, but if there is one that specifically interests you, let me know and I'll be sure to get it written  soon!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Coconut Oil Makeup/stain remover

There are literally hundreds of articles and blog posts about the wonders of coconut oil. Crunchy people everywhere are head over heels for coconut oil, and I am unabashedly on that bandwagon. I'm not going to go into all of the myriad uses there, but I did want to do a quick little post on one of my favorite uses for this magical oil.

I have found that coconut oil removes so many things from hands, face, and even surfaces. I keep my tin of coconut oil  open within easy reach whenever I'm doing my makeup in case I need to quickly fix a mess up or get residue off my hands. It's also great for simply removing makeup at the end of the day.

When I'm done doing my make up my white vanity table is often in desperate need of a clean. My coconut oil definitely comes in handy when cleaning my table. I have found that no matter how much wiping with water I do I can never quite get all the make up off the white surface. So I take a spoonful of coconut oil and rub it into the dirty area in a circular motion, then wipe it clean with a hot wet cloth. Clean as a whistle!

My dad works at an oil refinery, and more specifically with one of the by-products of the refining process called petroleum coke. It's basically just the ashes left over. No matter how carefully suited and masked he is while working around this stuff, he always somehow manages to get it all over his hands and face. It is almost impossible to wash off immediately as well. The other day he came home with completely black hands, and said he had washed them a dozen times. I handed him my coconut oil and had him rub it around and then wipe it off. Even I was amazed at how well it worked! It had completely come off with no staining.

I am also a huge fan of how it doesn't leave oily stains on your clothing like other oils. One time while traveling in the dead of summer I had packed a tin of Coconut oil. I had filled it way too full and it had gotten too warm and the lid was stuck so I had my dad open it for me - not even thinking about how hot it was outside and the low melting point of coconut oil. I think you can see where this is headed. Might I also mention he had a brand new shirt on. Yeah ....
Any who, the inevitable happened, he pried the tin open and the now liquefied contents splattered him liberally. Thankfully after a careful washing, you would have never known, and I have found that to be true in  less drastic circumstances too.

Yay coconut oil.

Have a amazing day ya'll, and if you haven't yet, go buy a jar of coconut oil okay? :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Product Review: Gabriel Color Lipstick {tea rose}

I received a wholefoods gift card for Christmas, and ended up using most of it to purchase a lovely natural lipstick, and I loved it so much that I thought I would do a review on it. If you enjoy this, and are interested in me doing more product reviews, please do let me know!


While shopping for a lipstick, I was looking for something a little special, more pigmented than a tinted balm or my lipstick from Juice which is a very light shimmery baby pink color. I had been scoping out Ecco Bella, but was hesitant to pay such a price without trying out the colors in person. So I was super excited to find the Gabriel and Zuzu Luxe liptstick at my local wholefoods, with a full range of testers. One very pink stained hand later I finally decided on the color Tea Rose. I almost chose starlet from the Zuzu luxe which I think is the same color, but the packaging is much nicer. In the end my good sense prevailed, and I chose the cheaper packaging.

The color I chose is a perfect hot pink, not fushia and not neon. Bold enough for special occasions, but definitely wearable for everyday, if not applied too heavily and especially wearable if paired it with a nice lipgloss. The formula is very matte, no shimmer that I can detect.  At Just under $17 dollars, this lipstick is tad pricey, but totally worth it and definitely comparable to other high end lipsticks, and you're getting good ingredients into the bargain.

The thing that made me fall in love with this product is that I didn't feel at all like I was using a "natural" lipstick - in a good way. Sometimes it's nice to have something every bit as stunning as it's conventional counterpart

Gabriel Color Lipstick in Tea Rose:

Long lasting
The color and pigmentation.
The color is amazing. A perfect hot pink with no strong orange or purple/blue undertones (though my pictures look a little purple tinted and it's listed online as a red-orange. hmmm.)
 Incredibly pigmented - You can just dab it on for a brilliant stain or apply normally for a bold lip.
No strong taste or smell.
Fairly straightforward and natural ingredients
Not gloopy or sticky at all.
Layers well with lipbalm under and gloss on top if desired. (I even like to pair with with my juicy beauty lipstick as a base with this over the top for a softer look.)
The formula is free of -
Coal Tar Derivatives or FD&C agents
·        Parabens
·        Mineral Oil
·        Lanolin
·        Talc
·        Propylene Glycol
·        Hydrogenated Oils
·        Gluten
·        Phthalates
·        DBP
·        Toluene
·        Formaldehyde
·        Nano/Micro sized particles

Not organic
The formula is so pigmented that it is very dry, and is  drying to the lips if not paired with something with a little moisture to it.
Very generic tube/packaging that feels just a bit flimsy, but all in all it's ok. (next time I think I actually would pay the extra few dollars for the nicer luxe packaging)

Again, if you enjoyed this and would like to see more review posts, please do let me know! ~Elissa

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Clove Tea rinse for Toothache

Happy New Year's Eve Everyone! For January at least, I am going to attempt to post regularly, and for now, I think I'm going to try for Tuesdays. If you have any posts you'd like to see, please let me know in the comments.

If you're suffering from the pain of toothache, clove is your best bet for relief. My older brother came out to visit over thanksgiving and was in an agony of pain because of a wisdom tooth.
He is highly skeptical of any kind of alternative medicine, but he finally relented and let me nurse him.
He wouldn't allow me to put any essential oil directly on the gum which I have heard is a great relief,  but let me brew him some clove tea. Clove is slightly numbing to the gums which is just what he needed. After swishing with it and letting it sit against the painful area, he swallowed it, but I would recommend spitting it out afterward as too much can give you a stomach ache. (and who wants to be sick on top of in pain?!). Even my stubborn skeptical brother (who is a wonderful man and whom I love dearly by the way. But he is stubborn and skeptical. Just sayin) said it really did help and and the rinse benefits lasted for about an hour. So my remedy recipe is as following

1 Teaspoon whole dried clove buds slightly crushed to release oil
1/2 cup boiling water

Steep for 5-10 minutes, strain.
Take a healthy swig and swish and/or hold on the side that hurts for as long as you like, spit, and repeat until gums are numb.

Repeat Every 2 hours or as needed.

Toothache tips
A cotton swap dipped in clove essential oil and swabbed onto the affected area is reportedly the best thing for tooth pain
Whiskey is also a good remedy for helping to numb toothache. Whether you drink or not, I recommend keeping whiskey on hand for sickness. Swish/hold the liquor against the affected area. Spit or swallow as desired.
If nothing else, keep a warm compress on the jaw.
Elderberry syrup made with cloves is also according to my lovely mum, a relief. My mom had a toothache that had lasted for quite a while, and before I had thought of making a clove tea, I suggested my elderberry syrup that I had added cloves to. She took it and the next day it was better and did not reappear. I suspect that the immune boosting qualities had something to do with aiding her body in getting rid of whatever was ailing the tooth as well.

I hope this helps. If you've ever used clove for toothache, I'd love to hear about it!


Please do seek help for dental problems - the clove is merely a temporary help relieve the pain, it isn't a remedy for tooth trouble. But also do remember you have a choice. Don't be at the mercy of doctors or dentist, be informed about your choices.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

{updated}Holiday Organic Mineral Makeup Tutorial | 12 Days of Crunchy Christmas Day 12

First published on Christmas Eve.
So.... I was a little optimistic when promising a double post... Sorry :/
 I can't even get my one post up for real. A video tutorial is coming, but I haven't had a minute today to edit so, for now, pictures and a written tutorial.  I really am sorry, but I hope you understand with it being Christmas and all!
{UPDATE} I am going to go ahead and forgo the video, the lighting was really horrible after trying to edit it, so I'll try again some time soon. For now, I've updated the instructions to be a little clearer. I hope you all Enjoyed My little blog series, and I hope you'll come back again after the new year for more posts!

Merry Christmas!!

Retro Inspired Neutral Holiday Makeup Tutorial 
Neutral Cat Eye with dark Lip.
My personal choices with {}
I purchase my favorite makeup here:

1. Start off my cleansing your face and applying a nice moisterizer. I did a nice honey and yogurt facial, showered and moisturized with whipped coconut oil and honey. Apply plain lip balm.

2. Apply foundation or concealer as desired. I actually don't wear foundation, I prefer to cleanse  and freshen my skin really well  before doing a nice makeup look. (see step 1 for my choices) and apply a dab of shadow or concealer for problem spots.
{sand dune shadow as concealer by Willow Tree Minerals}

3. Apply warm pink blush {Earth Glow blush by Willow Tree Minerals}to apples of cheeks, and sweep upwards towards temple in a C motion to create a natural flush

4. Apply a pale shimmery gold shadow{Praline Shadow by Willow Tree Minerals} to lids (wet brush for lids for a more dramatic look),  3.5 highlight with this color or a lighter one under brows, inner corners of eyes, and on top of cheek bones.

5. Apply a darker copper or gold shade{Treasured Bronze shadow by Willow Tree Minerals} to crease in and bring in to a side V shape onto lid. (Wet brush for a more dramatic look)

6. While lids dry (if using a wet brush) apply a tinted balm in a plum shade {Red Dahlia by Burt's Bees}
7. Apply black or dark brown mascara to upper lashes, and focus on the outer corners for that vintage look {Cocoa Canyon by Willow Tree Minerals}

8. lightly line lower lashes in brown, {Roasted Coffee by Willow Tree Minerals} extend line a little up onto top to aid the cat eye look. Lining the lower lashes in brown rather than black softens the look.

9. Darkly and fairly heavily apply black liner{Purely Onyx by Willow Tree Minerals}to upper lids and flick out at outer edges for a vintage cat eye look. To get a nice flicked eye, I smudge the pencil along my lashes to give them a fuller appearence then a I pull a smooth thin line and match up with the flick I created with the lower liner. After I've gotten the line right I go over it more thickly. I like a super thick line most of the time, but do whatever you like!
Also, for a flicked look I prefer liquid, but since I'm almost out, I did pencil and went over the line with a bit of liquid black {Nightfall by Willow Tree Minerals} to set look.

8. Apply a plummy red lipstick or balm {I like to mix Cherry and Plum by Burt's Bees}
to lips in your natural lip line. This is a more matte lip, but definitely go over the top with a nice dark shimmer gloss if you prefer.

This before lip color was added,
so refer  to previous picture for a more accurate lip look. 

 If you wear glass you will want to apply eye makeup much heavier than you normally would

Monday, December 23, 2013

Honey Marshmallows {Guest Post by Genevieve} | 12 Days of Crunchy Christmas Day 11

I am so delighted to welcome my lovely friend Genevieve to my blog for a guest post today. She had told me that she wanted to try her homemade marshmallows with my hot chocolate recipe, and I knew right then I wanted her to share her wonderful marshmallow magic with you all. I literally cannot wait to give these a try. I'm going to scour the cabinets to try and find the gelatin I know we have somewhere. Mmm.
Thank you so much Genevieve for your delightful post and lovely pictures.!

  Hello everyone! This is Genevieve from Pretty Wit. I’m so excited and so honored to be featured on The Crunchy Conservative Herbalist! I love all the Christmas posts Elissa has done recently. Go read them. I mean it....right now! I’ll wait.

OK, now that you are back and are thoroughly inspired, here is one more fun and healthy treat for you to try for the holidays!

Marshmallows are not something that immediately comes to mind when thinking about health food- especially, I grant you, the store bought ones that are loaded with chemicals and artificial sweeteners, but there are some surprising benefits to eating these homemade confections. First of all, I’ve substituted honey in place of the Big Bad Corn Syrup and used organic cane sugar instead of refined, bleached sugar. Marshmallows also contain gelatin which has some very surprising benefits such as amino acids! Good for skin, nails, muscles and digestion to name a few. Plus, making marshmallows is like a magic trick. So fascinating to watch this brownish, strange smelling clear liquid whip into the smoothest, whitest, yummiest, FLUFFIEST substance before your very eyes. That right there has lots of benefits i.e. mood boosters and stress reducers!

 OK, let’s get started! But first... put this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0bp4KQDOTI on repeat. 

Honey Marshmallows
1/2 cup cold water
3 packets gelatin
1 1/2 cups of pure organic cane sugar (or any other granulated cane sugar)
3/4 cup honey (light colored and mild tasting is the best option)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm water
1 T pure vanilla extract (or other flavor such as maple or peppermint)
Mix together:
1/4 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/4 cup corn or tapioca starch
(NOTE: if you don’t want to use confectioners sugar you can just use the starch)

Step 1: Place 1/2 cup cold water in bowl of electric mixer and sprinkle 3 packets of gelatin over it and let sit while you proceed to next step.

Step 2: Combine honey, 1/2 cup warm water, sugar and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the pan being careful not to let the tip touch bottom of pan. Place over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Turn heat up to medium high and bring syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Watch thermometer very carefully. When it reads 240 degrees, take off heat.

Step 3: Turn your mixer beaters on low and slowly pour the syrup into the gelatin mixture. Turn beaters on high and beat for 11 minutes (right here, you’ll want to prepare your pan for the marshmallows- grease a 9” X 11” pan with coconut oil or butter and dust with the starch/sugar mixture) Here is where the magic happens! Watch this weird mixture turn into a gorgeous, white snowdrift! Add vanilla extract and beat for 1 more minute.

Step 4: Work quickly and scrape mixture into prepared pan and smooth out with a greased rubber scraper until smooth. Dust the top with starch/sugar mixture. Let sit for at least 5 hours or overnight.

Step 5: Cut into squares and roll in more starch/sugar mixture. Keep in an airtight container with wax paper between the layers. Should keep for a few weeks.

A few of my notes and observations on the recipe:
I’ve read that you should not try to make marshmallows on a humid or rainy day. I don’t know about this because I live in a desert. But, just in case you live in a very rainy climate..beware.

I have read of people having bad luck with making marshmallows. I’ve made these with corn

syrup  two other times and once with the honey and each time they turned out perfectly. I do have a very nice digital candy thermometer so that might be the secret. Invest in a good candy thermometer if you can.

Please note that these taste VERY strongly of honey. If you do not like honey, you will not like these. I’m a fan of honey...just call me Pooh. And, believe it or not, these are amazing in tea! I’ve tried “real” marshmallows in tea before and decided it was a bad idea. But these are fantastic.

Last year I made these (not with honey) and I used peppermint essential oils to flavor them. Oh my, so good! I believe I used about 8-10 drops of the EO. Also, I think lavender would be a fun one to try especially to go with Elissa’s Lavender Hot Chocolate.

Well, I hope that you all enjoy working your marshmallow magic. Have a lovely Christmas!