7/24/15

Soapbox Haircare: Review

 When I first heard of Soapbox haircare, I knew that I not only wanted to give it a try, but that I also wanted to share my thoughts here on the blog as well. Haircare is a tricky topic for me. I generally seem to come across products I dislike in someway, more often than I find products that I enjoy. This product line had a lot of claims to live up to! They're cruelty-free...sulfate and paraben free....free of phthalates, EDTA and contain no artificial colorants! On top of that, they also post a code on the back of every bottle that you can enter on their site to provide a month's supply of clean water to a community in need. That's a lot of good packed into a small bottle. What's even more, I purchased these at Target for $4.99 a bottle! That's not a sale price either! I often find myself preparing for the worst when a company claims so much because its hard to believe they will be able to meet all of their claims. 








 I picked up the pair in coconut because I am pretty much obsessed with anything coconut scented. These did not disappoint in terms of scent! While I was skeptical that a product so cheap and with so many claims could do the job, I was happily surprised because these guys are AWESOME! The shampoo lathers nicely despite the junk it doesn't contain. I found that it cleaned my hair rather well and the smell of course, was great.

The smell of the conditioner however, was even better! Coming from using an herbal conditioner with a bit of a strange scent to it, I was excited for something a bit more pleasing. The big test for me with a conditioner is how my hair acts after stepping out of the shower. My hair loves to tangle itself up but after using this stuff I had little (if any) issues with knots or tangles. My wet brush had little to do after using this conditioner!

I found that my hair was staying just as clean as it was after using my other hair care products, perhaps even longer which is a plus in my book! I also was very happy to find out that this pair didn't irritate my scalp in any way, as I've had issues with in the past (I'm looking at you L'Oreal EverCurl!).

Overall I was very pleased by this duo and look forward to trying the other products in their hair care line. For about five dollars a bottle, I don't think you can go wrong!! If you have tried any Soapbox products before, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


7/17/15

New Beauty: Jouer, Tarte & Sara Happ


I recently picked up some new goodies to try out on the makeup front. After going cruelty-free, buying makeup has become a bit more of a challenge. There are a lot of products that have caught my eye that I have had to skip out on due to their animal testing practices. Regardless of the challenge, you can still find an overwhelming amount of makeup that IS cruelty-free! Once you get into the habit of it, it's not that difficult! 



Aside from Tarte, I had never tried these brands before. Perhaps one of the benefits of going cruelty-free is that it has led to trying out new brands and products! 




Jouer, Matte Moisture Tint ($40 @ Nordstrom) - This is a product that I have wanted to try for awhile now, but just never got around to picking up. Finally I decided to give it a go as I was in the market for a new foundation/moisturizer. I fell in love with this product after just one use! It's lightweight, doesn't leave my skin greasy or cakey looking and applies really well (I use my fingers, but sometimes use a real techniques brush to buff it out). It also contains SPF which is something I try to look for in products when possible. I picked up the shade linen and it works perfectly for my skin right now. My only complaint is that I waited so long to finally give Jouer a go! 





Jouer, Powder Eyeshadow in Peach ($22 @ Nordstrom) - another Jouer product that I picked up was one of their eyeshadows. I've been searching high and low for a peach eyeshadow that was cruelty-free and not too shimmery and when browsing the Jouer line on the Nordstrom website, I came across this shadow. Proof that when you're not looking, you often find what you're looking for! I love this shadow for numerous reasons. It's the perfect shadow for quick makeup looks when you have little time or interest, it gives the eyes a nice pop without looking overdone and the formulation of the shadow itself is fantastic. It's not too creamy or powdery and has decent staying power even without a primer on the eyes. I can't wait to try out more of their shades!! Jouer - you have earned a new fan! 



Tarte, Amazonian Clay 12-hour Skintuitive blush ($28 @ Sephora) - I have always been a lover of Tarte as a brand so when I saw this new blush on the Sephora website I knew I wanted to give it a try. The descriptions claims that the blush works with your skin's "natural energy and pH to create a custom blush shade for your skin. This seemed like a pretty hefty claim to me, but after testing this little guy out for a few days, I have fallen in love! It provides you with color, but not too much color and is actually quite buildable. I would suggest that anyone who might be wary of blushers or for those who are just starting to dabble in makeup, that this is definitely a blush worth checking out! 




Sara Happ, The Lip Slip lip balm ($24 @ Nordstrom) - last up is this lip balm from Sara Happ. I'm not sure if this has been said yet on the blog, but just in case...I am a lip balm addict! I have always been a sufferer of chapped lips and because of that, have always been on the lookout for the perfect, holy grail lip balm. Unfortunately, when I made the choice to go cruelty-free, I had to let go of a significant amount of lip products, so I've been on the hunt for some new ones to try. I like the texture of this balm, though I will say that it is a touch greasy. Because of that, I often save it for night time when that wont bother me as much. Regardless of how it works, the smell of this balm has totally intrigued me because it smells just like a solid perfume that I had as a kid that came with a barbie I had! Talk about throwback!! 


It's always fun to try out new products, and I am always on the prowl for new things to try. It might seem that cruelty-free beauty items are harder to find but you can find them in nearly every store if you just know what to look for! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you have tried any of the items I've mentioned, and as always, please share any product recommendations you might have!!

7/13/15

Brand Spotlight: Alaffia


I want to introduce a new series here on the blog, in which I plan to focus on one brand that I truly love and feel needs some attention. To start things off, I’m focusing on a brand that I discovered purely by accident, but which I have grown to be fairly obsessed with over time. 



Alaffia is a body care brand that produces fantastic natural products. They take great care to make sure their products are not only beneficial to their consumers, but also for the individuals who produce them. They take efforts to product fair trade, Non-GMO products, as well as to ensure that they are providing a fair wage and working conditions for their suppliers and employees. They go above and beyond what I would consider the bare minimum and have created programs to help support education, reforestation, maternal health and also gender equality in Africa where their ingredients are sourced. They also run a shea butter cooperative as well as help to support the Xerces society, which is fighting the decline of bees. Of course, they are also cruelty free! In my opinion, they provide a model for all businesses to follow! 


Since I first saw the brand and tried out one of their products (their coconut face wash), I have yet to come across any product I dislike - which is saying a lot! Natural products can sometimes be tricky, and there are often products that miss the mark a bit. Alaffia products do exactly what their supposed to do, with great ingredients and at an extremely affordable price! Everything I've tried was under ten dollars (even less if you are able to get them at Wegmans - which carries much of the line), which considered the amount of product you get, is an AMAZING deal!! 

 Alaffia nighttime replenishing face cream- this is my current face cream. Use this in the evening and your skin will be super smooth come morning.

 Alaffia volumizing sea salt texture spray - this hair product is one of my holy grail hair products. I absolutely LOVE the smell and sometimes use this purely for the scent!

 Alaffia night face cream - this night cream is a bit thicker than the other one I have from the brand. I find it's best for colder months.

Alaffia coconut face wash - gentle, yet it gets the job done well - even better than many of the more expensive face washes I have tried. What's more, it does NOT contain salicylic acid! 

 Alaffia coconut pineapple lip balm - super moisturizing, non-greasy and smells amazing!

This is merely a glimpse into the product line as they offer quite a large selection. I strongly recommend giving them a try, and if you have, I would love to hear what your favorites are!

7/10/15

Coffee Shoppe Travels: Camping @ Fair Haven Beach State Park


 Camping is one of those essential summer bucket list items (for me anyway) that I always try to make happen. This year my family and I, including our three labs, headed to Fair Haven Beach State Park for about a week. It was a great experience, with many firsts as our dogs had never been camping before! I'm totally a crazy dog person and when my baby, Nessie, went swimming for the first time (and even did quite the extreme belly flop off a dock), it was definitely a proud parent moment! 




Fair Haven Beach State Park is located in the Finger Lakes region along Lake Ontario between Central New York and Upstate/Western New York. They have both tent sites as well as cabins (some of which are fairly swanky - we opted for the more rustic options), swimming, fishing, hiking, boat rentals and more. For us, it wasn't too long of a drive - probably just the right length with three labs and four people in the car! Overall, I feel that Fair Haven is a fantastic park and I can say that I would certainly return. My only complaint would be that they need to fix signage pertaining to boat rentals - we really wanted to go out and kayak on the large pond but the times posted weren't accurate so we missed out. Perhaps next time! Oh and if New York State would allow three dogs that would be great. We had to pay for two cabins just so we could legally bring our three dogs! They're part of the family too! 

What made the trip even more exciting for me was that I had just recently upgraded some of my camera gear, so I was able to play and experiment far more than I would have been with my previous gear. This post would have been up weeks ago otherwise. I had over 2,000 photos to go through!! So let me stop talking and let's get on to the photos!











































































 




















































I would recommend looking into Fair Haven Beach State Park if you're looking for a place to camp in Upstate New York. It has definitely become one of my favorite spots that I've been to