Archive of ‘Family’ category

HEALTHY SKIN FROM THE INSIDE OUT

As much as I adore makeup, as a licensed esthetician my first love and priority is skincare and keeping it healthy in the most nontoxic way possible. I’ve been wanting to write a post for the longest time about how I keep my skin healthy from the inside and some of my secrets that give me some serious glow. A few weeks ago I turned 31 and I must say, I get compliments on my skin daily about how glowy it is and am often told I look like I’m in my twenties. Now I’m not saying that to be conceited by any means (though I do take great pride in my skin), I’m telling you this because the tips I am about to give you are easy to achieve for the everyday woman. Healthy, glowing skin is NOT just about slapping on the most expensive serum you can find and calling it a day. Healthy skin is a lifestyle, a balance you must find with the food you intake, the supplements you may try and the water you drink- it all plays a vital role in your skin’s health. For me, I noticed the biggest change after I started juicing.

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To be quite honest juicing was always intimidating to me. I mean, who has the time for all that? I found myself spending $30-$40 a week at my local health food store on organic juices because my body just started craving them and it became a way of life for me. Hey, it’s SO much better then spending money on a daily coffee right?! Still though I knew I had to make a change and start juicing at home for my kids too. So we swooped up a much more affordable option (Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor) in case we found ourselves not using it or not liking it, then I figured we can always step it up when we want. Needless to say so far I LOVE it, and it’s the perfect starter juicer for me. The reason I highly suggest juicing to achieve your healthiest skin is because fresh juice is the best form of much needed antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that protect your skin from inflammation, aging and assist in detoxification in your body which leads to that glow we all desire! I must emphasize that FRESH juice has the most potent amount of vitamins and nutrients, the organic bottled juices you often see are great options, though not as potent as fresh juice!! My favorite fruits and veggies to juice are beets, apples, ginger, lime, lemon, kale, carrots, parsley, celery and many more! The possibilities are endless with the combinations you can make and your skin will LOVE you for it!!

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Water is an obvious essential for healthy, hydrated skin and we use this filter and love it. This type of filter is actually an alkaline reverse osmosis filter and “guaranteed to remove up to 99% of all contaminants, such as chlorine, taste, odor, toxic fluoride, arsenic, lead, and chromium. ” Now I know there always seems to be controversy with water filters and alkaline water etc. etc but I personally have had this filter for almost 3 years and love it. If your not into the whole alkaline water thing I also like Berkley Water Filter Systems, I have their shower filter and love, love, LOVE it!! Water filters are an investment that are 100% worth it, and in order for your skin to look and stay youthful, hydration is key!!

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3600_7-baseNow supplements are a touchy subject sometimes but again, this is what works for me and my skin and perhaps your skin too! I’ve definitely seen results in my skin by taking Wild Salmon Oil. My skin is plumper and has a healthy glow rather then when I don’t take it. I know a lot of people take some type of fish oil but I must remind you to check your labels. My favorite brand for my salmon oil is New Chapter because, “our whole fish oil is 100% Sustainably Caught Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil that is fresh-pressed—no isolating of single Omegas, no fractionation and no heavy or high heat processing.” I also like the small caplets for easy digestion. I also take probiotics just to keep my gut healthy and I firmly believe a healthy gut assists in balance throughout your entire body including the skin, and Garden of Life Women’s RAW Probiotic is my favorite. Lastly, taking Collagen Peptides for healthy skin, bones, hair and nails is widely popular now and I must say I jumped on that bandwagon and am loving the results!! Collagen makes your skin plumper and is meant to make everything a little stronger from your immune system to your nails and hair! I love it and you can find my favorite brand here, it’s the cleanest I have found.

Now it goes without saying that a clean diet and exercise assist in maintaining healthy and youthful skin, my tips are simply extra things I do that seem to make a huge difference in my skin’s appearance and my overall health! Simply said, I want to age gracefully and naturally, fillers and botox aren’t on my agenda while trying to maintain a nontoxic lifestyle. So for now, I’ll chug my juices and pop my salmon oil. 🙂 Any questions on these products I mentioned please feel free to contact me.

UPDATE ON LANDON

Many of my readers and followers know all about my son Landon and his health issues we have battled and continue to battle. If you are new to my blog, you can  click on OMS in the menu it will give you a detailed background about my son. OMS is a tricky syndrome, it hides beneath the surface and reappears when Landon gets a common cold or even when he is really tired. Although I haven’t seen any symptoms for about a year since he got his tumor removed and began monthly doses of steroids, the fear I have is always there. Some of the challenges I have been facing lately as a mom is the fear of what I can’t control, fear of the unknown, and learning to accept the fact that my son will never be “normal”. Many parents of children with special needs or syndromes and disorders say that you will go through a mourning period when your child gets diagnosed, and it’s true. You mourn the “loss” of the way your child was, and learn to accept the future and the obstacles you will face. Now I’m going to get really raw here for a minute and say how tired I am of hearing people say, “well it could be worse.” I mean that is such an audacious thing to say to a mother who has been through basically a war zone with her child, in and out of hospitals, and even questioned the mortality of her own child she gave birth to not that long ago. The truth is that I KNOW it could be much worse, because I’ve seen worse, being in and out of a hospital I have been faced with worse and it shook me to my core. When I take Landon to the oncologist every couple of months I see what some people’s reality is, children with ports and getting their chemo while my son runs around free as a bird. While I sit in the waiting room I look around, and I notice it is overflowing with sick kids, literally some have to wait outside because there is no more room, what the hell is wrong with this picture? Why does it seem like cancer is becoming an epidemic? Anyways, this is the whole point of my blog as you all know, to help everyone reduce the risk of serious illnesses by reducing the toxins in their home, food and beauty routine! Here are a few random favorite pictures of Landon, time sure does fly!!











It was so crazy looking through all of those pictures and seeing him grow! I didn’t really include too many from when he was two, because he was sick most of that time and I just didn’t capture too much of it on camera. Back to my point above, the truth is I am SO grateful that Landon is stable and doing well, but I still wouldn’t wish this reality on my worst enemy. It has been alomst a year since my little man had his tumor removed so he had a routine urine analysis last week to make sure another tumor had not returned. I felt sick all weekend, that familiar feeling I had when Landon was in the hospital. All my fears were coming back to the surface and I felt helpless, suffocated and broken down all over again. My husband and parents would reassure me but nothing breaks the state of mind your in when you are waiting for lab results, nothing. Landon’s urine came back good so he continues to be stable and we are hoping to ween him off of steroids in about four months, with hope that his OMS symptoms do not return!! This blog has turned out to be such an amazing outlet for me to vent about my frustrations, hopes, fears but mostly turn my son’s syndrome into something positive, and to remind everyone to spread the positive vibes because you never know what someone is going through underneath the surface!


For more information on OMS syndrome visit http://www.omsreasearch.org where you can also donate to help find a cure for this rare disease!! I also want to thank my faithful followers, readers and great friends I have made for the constant love, support and positivity you all give- it means more then you will ever know!! Peach & love always!!!

MY FAMILY PICS PLUS TIPS & TRICKS!

After a nice Thanksgiving yesterday, I finally have a little time to clean up the blog a little bit, and I’ve had so many sweet comments about my family pictures on Instagram, I thought I would share a little bit about my photographer, the location, outfit coordination AND how we managed to keep a 8 month old and 3 year old entertained throughout the entire process!! So here are a just a few of my favorite shots, below I will fill you in on my dream location we chose for them and more info about this amazing photgrapher!








Ok so I have to stop at some point but I wanted to show you guys a good mix of black and white and color shots, and also shots that give you a lot of scenery. First and foremost our photographer, Ericka G. of http://www.erickagphotography.com, and I have been friends since high school so I feel like she knows my personality, what I like, and what kind of vibe I’m going for.

Tip #1: If you are going for a certain type of look or vibe in your pictures, make sure your photographer is feeling it too, if you aren’t on the same page, your pictures aren’t going to turn out the way you want them to. I actually pinned a lot of ideas on Pinterest before our photoshoot, so Ericka knew exactly what I wanted.

Tip #2: LOCATION!! Half of the stress for me when it comes to pitcures is finding the perfect location. My husband and I do not like super posed pictures. We like some action shots too and some shots where it even focuses more on the scenery. Now living in Southern California leaves us with a lot of amazing options, but I had a particular idea in my head. I wanted a lot of trees, tall, dry brush, dirt trails, and Ericka knew the exact spot- Eaton Canyon in Pasadena, California. SO, it helps if your photographer gives you ideas or options!

Tip #3: OUTFITS!! Ugh this one is never fun. Well it may be for some people but I had such an idea in my head and I was on a mission to make it happen! Obviously from the pictures I was going for a very boho like feel with blue tones. I lucked out and scooped up my dress at http://www.ae.com, found my daughter her gorgeous feather headband at http://www.etsy.com/shop/atinyarrow, and my hubby and son’s shirts at http://www.nordstrom.com. All I can say is the days of matchy matchy are over, maybe pick a color or two and make subtle differences in each outfit. I liked to throw a pattern in there too to offset everything which is why my son’s shirt is so busy!

Tip #4: KIDS!! Keeping my son happy throughout the photoshoot was a process, but it definetly helped that we were outside and he could run around and get some energy out until we were ready to do another set of pics. I think if we were inside, cooped up and they were super posed it wouldn’t happen. My kids are free spirits and this was their type of photoshoot! Even for my eight month old daughter, it helped that there were so many trees and flowers for her to look at, it made it so much easier!! And I’m not even going to lie, there was some definite bribing going on with my son, lots of chocolate and ice creams bribes (hey, towards the end this kid was over it!).

Tip #5: MAKEUP! When getting professional pictures taken it is important to remember to keep makeup relatively simple, matte and defined. I will give a quick breakdown of the products I used on my instagram (@freelovebeauty). I only highlighted my skin on cheekbones, inner corners of eyes and cupids bow. Be subtle with highlighting,  you don’t want your face to look like a shiny disco ball on the pictures!!

So I hope these tips help a little bit. This was our first photoshoot as a family of four and overall it went great! The most obvious important thing when taking pictures is making sure your photographer is amazing, and ours is! Ericka has done our maternity, family and even pictures right after my daughter was born!! Ericka is a wife, mama, and such a positive, beautiful soul to the core. I truly think that shines through her pictures. She is also the ultimate California girl so if you reside in SoCal or are ever passing through and want some amazing pictures, she is your gal. You can check out more of her work on http://www.erickagphotography.com. She is also an amazing wedding photographer!!

***Disclaimer: Please do not use or share these photos without my AND the photographer’s permission. These photos were taken by Ericka G. of http://www.erickagphotography.com. Photographer’s work must also be credited if permission granted, thank you!***

FAVORITE NON-TOXIC KID/BABY PRODUCTS!

I have gotten quite a bit of requests to do a post about my favorite nontoxic baby and kids products so here we go!! If you follow my instagram you probably know by now that I am the proud mama to Landon (3 years) and Kameron (7 months). After I had my son, I thought that the products I was using on him were safe but after my son got sick I did immense amounts of research only to discover that these products are loaded with chemicals that I did not want anywhere near my kids anymore!! So once I gave birth to my daughter, I was more then prepared. I did a full clean out of our bath and body products. Blogs like http://www.barebeauty.com were a huge help in reassuring me that the products I chose for my babies were safe, along with http://www.ewg.org. I highly recommend checking out both of those sites, Jessica from Bare Beauty puts a lot of time and effort into researching ingredients which I LOVE! So lets get started!!





The Honest Company Diapers & Wipes: For me this is a no brainer, Honest diapers are SO good, and I’ve tried quite a few safe diaper brands but Honest absorbs the best. My daughter stays dry throughout the night where with other brands she would leak through. These plant-based diapers are FREE of chlorine processing, latex, lotions, fragrances, phthalates, PVC, brighteners, and heavy metals.  I love that Honest wipes are FREE of alchohol, chlorine and formaldehyde; they are super gently and I actually use them for everything (wiping hands, sticky toys, etc.). Win win for me!! Wipes Retail-$4.95 Diapers Retail-Differs depending on size and amount

The Honest Company Organic Healing Balm: This stuff is pure magic, no….really it is. Kameron gets the most chapped chubby cheeks from crawling everywhere and rubbing her face so much and about an hour after of this magical balm soaking into her cheeks they cleared up immensely!! The magic ingredient is organic tamanu oil which eases inflammation and restores the skin. I use this on my hands when they get really dry too. Retail- $12.95

The Honest Company Kids Toothpaste: FREE of artificial dyes, fluoride, saccharin, parabens, gluten, artificial flavors, and artificial sweeteners. Bottom line-my 3 year old loves the natural strawberry flavor, it contains baking soda to gently polish teeth, and calcium to strengthen enamel. A good purchase! Retail-$5.95

California Baby Calming Shampoo & Body Wash: While many bath products contain synthetic fragrances that are petroleum based, Cali Baby is botanically based, vegan, no sulfates and scented with high quality essential oils. It’s pricey but a 17.5 oz. bottle lasts me for about 4 months!! Retail-$17.99

California Baby Super Sensitive Diaper Rash Cream: With organic aloe, calendula extract and naturally based zinc oxide, this ultra rich cream does the job naturally-NO synthetic fragrance, NO mineral oil. Retail-$10.39

California Baby Calendula Everyday Lotion: Made with botanical Calendula, cold pressed vegan oils and a pure calming essential oil blend, this lotion smells devine, soothes my babe’s skin and absorbs reall well. Retail-$10.34

California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Stick (mouthful!)- NO fragrance, NO chemicals (oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate) and is SUPER water resistant. Yes, this leaves behind a noticable white residue but that doesn’t bother me, safety first!!! Retail-$13.49

Badger Chamomile & Calendula Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream- Ok, if you are looking for the cleanest, greenest sunscreen you can get your hands on, this one is it! It is non-nano, 98% organic, water resistant and it really works well! I used this on my son all through his swim lessons this summer and it worked-but it leaves white residue and is hard to rub in well. It’s completely worth it though to keep my kiddos safe!! Retail-$13.99

Beautycounter Kids Counter Squeaky Clean Body Wash: I love this stuff for my son. It has a light, fresh berry scent and lathers up really well! It is formulated without parabens, phthalates and synthetic fragrances. Retail-$16.00

***Honest Company products can be found at http://www.honest.com, I purchase all of my California Baby and Badger products from http://www.vitacost.com, Kids Counter can be found at http://www.laurenvanloo.beautycounter.com***