KARI GRAN SKINCARE- GREEN & CHIC

I’ve been using my Kari Gran starter kit for a little over a week now and I figure it was plenty of time for me to give you my accurate thoughts on this luxurious yet simplistic product line. Kari Gran was so kind to send me their Starter Kit which features a two week supply of their cleansing oil, hydrating tonic, essential serum and also the peppermint tinted lip whip and it’s safe to say I’m addicted!! Kari’s story is sadly like so many others that begin in the green beauty world, after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in her twenties, Kari began taking a closer look into what was really in her beauty products. She found herself yearning for products that were simple yet elegant, not long after the “little black dress” of eco-skin care was born. Teamed up with her longtime friend and business woman Lisa Strain, the two developed and launched Kari Gran Skincare and continue to develop products and run their line from a dowtown Seattle loft. I absoluetly love that this line stems from two strong woman who work together to create healthy and beautiful products for other woman, it sends such a beautiuful message, don’t you think?! Now onto my thoughts…..

Kari Gran Cleansing Oil: Simply divine. This golden elixer has worked wonders on my skin since it is now officially “cold” here in SoCal. My skin has been drier due to the weather changes and this has brought life back into it, and leaves my skin with this undeniable glow!! If you have chronic dry skin or aging skin this is a MUST-HAVE!!! With lavender, avaocado and sunflower seed oil, this cleanser is designed to be massaged into the skin then steamed off with a hot wash cloth! Your skin is SO SO soft after doing this!! This ensures the oil is saturated into the skin and really hydrates the right way!! I’m telling you ladies this is pure luxury right here!! Retail: $30 (killer price for luxury!!)

Kari Gran Hydrating Tonic: This tonic is pretty straightforward. Its a hydrating boost for your skin that can be used after cleansing, to set makeup or as an afternoon boost! Available in rose or lavender (i chose rose & love!) it’s made with distilled aloe so your skin is really getting that extra hydration instead of the common harshness many toners can have. You can’t go wrong with this! Retail: $35

Kari Gran Essential Serum:  With a blend of 15 plant and essential oils your skin cannot go wrong with this serum. What I like most about this is that it’s super customizable. You can mix this with a mineral powder to create your own tinted moisturizer or mix with the tonic to make a basic moisturizer, the possibilties are endless really! It absorbs well and can be used day and night (double up at night!) Again, this is a straightforward good-for-you serum that is so gentle you can use on eye area too! I think this serum would work for all skin types (even oily) but for dry skin double up the pumps!! Retail: $60(30mL) $95(50 mL)

Kari Gran Peppermint Tinted Lip Whip: As of right now, this is my all time favorite lip balm. The whipped texture makes it literally melt into your lips and last, and the soft pink tint is easy to wear and extremely flattering for any skin tone!! As with the rest of the packaging;  its sturdy, sleek and extra chic. Beeswax, castor seed, oile and calendula oil is giving you that hydration boost that lasts! They also offer other flavors and shade options. Retail: $15

I highly recommend Kari Gran skincare and their Starter Kit is an amzing way to try their line at an afforable price ($35). For those new to green beauty and eco-friendly skincare Kari Gran makes its simple for you. The line is not overwhelming and gives you your basic components to create a nontoxic routine that your skin will love! Did I mention the dark glass packaging is AMAZING!!! Kari Gran skincare truly is the “little black dress” of eco-skincare, and I’m hooked!! Find products at http://www.karigran.com

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PETROLEUM TRUTHS & FAVORITE BALMS

With the winter season slowwwly approaching us here in Southern California, I thought a post about my favorite lip balms would be appropriate. The inspiration behind this post is my mom, who called me last week in desperation. She said her lips were so chapped and cracked that they were practically burning and no matter what she put on her lips it didn’t help, in fact it made it worse! Now I’m sure you all are thinking that my Mom must know better about her products since I’m an esthetician and green beauty guru and she does, but she’s not nearly as hard core as I am, and she is learning! So I gladly told my mom that she needs a petroleum free balm and I explained why. For those unfamilair with petroleum have no fear, here is a quick crash course! PETROLEUM: is a by-product of gasoline production and a solvent often found in skincare, mascara and more popularly lip balm! This actually promotes sun damage, interferes with your body’s own moisture barrier and leads to more chapping and dryness (is said to cause people to be addicted to lip balm by never solving the problem!) It creates the problem that it claims to solve, what is wrong with that picture?!? But don’t fret beauties, below I have included a list of my absolute favorite petroleum- free lip balms that will not only save your lips this winter, but will save them forever!!

RMS Lip & Skin Balm: Certified organic coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter make for an absolute velvety nourishing balm you can use anywhere & everywhere! I like to put a small amount under my eyes too! Say good-bye to those fine lines around your lips, this balm will take care of that! Comes in cocoa or vanilla. Retail: $25 http://www.spiritbeautylounge.com

Kari Gran Peppermint Tinted Lip Whip: Kar Gran just sent this to me a few days ago and I have to say it’s my new favorite! The whipped texture ensures that it sinks into your lips, which it really does and the subtle pink tint makes a perfect on-the-go color! With organic ingredients like beeswax and sunflower oil and ultra chic packaging you cannot go wrong! Keep an eye out for my full Kari Gran review coming soon! Retail: $15 http://www.karigran.com

Ilia Balmy Days Lip Conditioner: What I like most about this is the convenience. It is a great balm in a stick form which I love! Organic beeswax, shea butter and avocado oil make this a perfect option for someone on-the-go! Retail: $26 http://www.spiritbeautylounge.com

Beautycounter Lip Conditioner: I’m currently on my second little pot of this stuff so it’s safe to say I love it. Organic ingredients like avocado oil, shea butter and jojoba seed oil make for a really glossy yet hydrating combination! This is my favorite balm to put on right before bed, I wake up with super soft lips! Comes in Peppermint or Calendula. Retail: $18 http://www.laurenvanloo.beautycounter.com

Vapour Organic Beauty Lip Conditioner: The convenience factor comes in again, I love this packaging! Organic lemon balm and jojoba oil make for a more fruity, fresh scent which is lovely. Texture is super creamy, another great balm option for on-the-go! Retail: $20 http://www.vapourbeauty.com

So I hope this information breakdown about petroleum helps! Your lips really are much better off with a beautiful balm! Get more information about petroleum on http://www.ewg.org!

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RMS BEAUTY LOVE & TIPS!!

I thought I would do a quick little post about one of my favorite green beauty brands, RMS beauty! RMS has become one the biggest nontoxic beauty brands out there, and for good reason.

RMS stands for Rose-Marie Swift, a celebrity makeup artist with quite a resume (Gisele Bunchen, Miranda Kerr, your getting the picture right? haha) . Years ago, Rose-Marie started experiencing some health issues and after multiple tests, she learned that her blood contained toxic levels of heavy metals as well as high levels of pesticides and other chemicals. She was surprised when the technician asked if she worked in the cosmetics industry, as she had no idea that could contribute to such serious health issues. To help women claim their right to HEALTHY beauty, she began RMS beauty, a beautiful line of nontoxic, organic color cosmetics line and I absolutely love it!

The BEST thing about RMS: GLUTEN FREE, GMO FREE, SOY FREE, NANO FREE AND THEY DO NOT TEST ON ANIMALS, CERTIFIED ORGANIC, their cream colors are packaged in glass (not plastic). Star ingredients used are organic, RAW, virgin coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, bees wax, jojoba oil, buriti oil and more! These ingredients will nourish your skin, prevent aging naturally, hydrate, balance and brighten!


So I actually work in a gorgeous apothecary (check out @ilocollective on Instagram!) that carries RMS so I am quite familiar with the products and how to apply them. We have a lot of clients that walk in that are quite intimidated with RMS and often ask me, “so what do i do with this?” THAT is the magic question so many people want answered about RMS, but I have the answers!!! These RMS tips will help, I promise you!

FIRST: These are OILY products (hence the coconut oil), SO if you have oily/combo skin tread lightly. I personally have oily skin and I make this line work for me and I do so by not using a ton of it! Heck, you don’t even need a ton of it. Setting everything with the un-powder will help immensely as well. Also, the cream eyeshadows WILL crease and they state that on their website so just simply take your ring finger and blend it back into place when that happens. When you blend it you are actually blending amazingly nourishing ingredients into your skin, so it’s really not that big of a deal, right?!

SECOND: Don’t be afraid of applying them wrong, because you can’t!! Rose-Marie recommends blending in her products with your fingers because it blends evenly and the warmth of your fingers makes for a seamless application! When applying blush or bronzer, simply blend a small amount onto apples of cheeks, then take a brush of choice and blend out any harsh edges or lines. It’s SO easy!! With the living luminzer, hit your cheekbones, tear ducts, cupids bow and bridge of nose for an effortless glow. This highlighter is not meant to be a glitter bomb, so don’t keep applying until you see what you want to see. If you want glitter, this one isn’t for you, this gives you a very natural glow!

THIRD: Learn to appreciate your natural self. RMS is not made to cover or change your face, it is made to enhance and give you that extra boost of radiance and confidence. As a makeup artist this was a hard adjustment since I’m used to doing a full look everyday! RMS teaches you to slowly take away certain steps in your makeup routine you thought you needed, but you really don’t. It’s extremely versatile with trend setting shades that will flatter any skin tone. RMS lets your skin shine through, in all it’s glory!

Some of my must-have RMS products are the un -powder, un-cover up in “33”, Lip2Cheek in “Smile”, Buriti Bronzer,  and Cream Eyeshadow in “Lunar”. Please don’t hesistate to e-mail me or fill out the CONTACT form with any RMS related questions!! Peace & Love free birds! Find RMS beauty at http://www.rmsbeauty.com

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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!***

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LEAHLANI SKINCARE PT 2

I love how excited you all were to learn more about Leah from Leahlani Skincare! She truly is a beautiful person inside and out, and so much fun to interview!  Part two of my Leahlani feature is going to be a little overview of the wonderful products she sent me. And I have to say, I think I have been living in the Mermaid Mask, slathering my skin in the Honey Love Micodermabrasion cleanser every night and made her Coconut Vanilla Perfume a staple in my handbag! I’m officially obsessed with Leahlani Skincare!!! The only thing you won’t see pictured below is the Aloe Day Cream because my son hid it from me! I’m not joking, that kid loves messing with my stuff and he loves little containers so the search continues for my Aloe Day Cream!!



Honey Love Microdermabrasion 3-in-1 Mask, Cleanser & Exfoliator: Made with organic Hawaiian honey, a lovely essential oil blend, rosewater and corundum crystals, this stuff is the bee’s knees (pun intended). I absolutely love a multi-use product and this does the job in so many ways! I’ve actually used it all three ways but I find myself using it as an exfoliator mostly! The crystals are the standout ingredient because they make for a gentle exfoliation yet super effective! My skin is silky smooth after using this!! Retail: $32

Mermaid Mask: I have a feeling many of you are familiar with the Mermaid Mask! Stuffed with Organic Hawaiian spirulina, chlorella, and sea buckthorn, this mask is literally superfood for your skin! Love the mermaid green color and the slight tingle my skin gets when its on, that means the blood is flowing and the mask is doing its job!! Retail: $22

Champagne Serum: Leah calls this “happy hour for your skin,” and it truly is. This serum is lovely. Compromised of grapeseed, rosehips,  & jojoba oils and Leahlani’s signature balancing oil blend (lavender, chamomile, rose geranium) this serum blances and seriously hydrates!! With winter coming I HIGHLY recommend!! Retail: $30

Siren Serum: This one is the game changer beauties! This serum is anti-again AND brightening, and I definetly get the brightening effect on my skin! It’s also important to point out that Leahlani’s serums absorb really, really well and don’t leave any residue. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this serum!! Did I mention that I love it?! haha. I get this beautiful light jasmine and orange scent when I use it and it’s just so calming and amazing to put on my fresh clean skin after a long day. Standout ingredients: jojoba, sea buckthorn, algae, frankincense. Retail: $38

Aloe Day Cream: Whipped up with  french lavender, Blue Tansy, Geranium and Chamomile essential oils, this day cream is made to balance hormonal skin flare ups. I love the feel of this cream, it feels light on the skin yet hydrates really well. This would also be great for a winter skin routine as well! Retail: $18

Coconut Vanilla Organic Perfume Oil: I’m obsessed with this, my new go-to perfume! Bottom line: it’s nontoxic, with a warm, soft coconut & vanilla scent and it stays throughout the day!! Leah suggests rubbing a little in your palms and running through your hair, DO IT!! You will smell like a Hawaiian goddess all day long, or night long! Retail: $20

All of Leahlani Skincare can be purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/LeahlaniSkincare. The most essential thing you need to know about Leahlani is that your skin will be nourished with high quality and locally sourced Hawaiian ingredients by a woman extremely passionate about Holistic Skincare. Your skin will thank you for this, trust me!

***Since my lovely sister is a Leahlani user and I will have access to her Champagne Serum, I think it would only be appropriate to do a giveaway with the one Leah so graciously sent to me! Check out my Instagram @freelovebeauty for more details!***

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