It’s no secret I love beauty and skincare products. Allow me to divulge.

 I will get to my beauty products in a moment, but want to get a bit intimate first. Reflecting on this past year, as I turn 28, I feel grateful. With my birthday passing by in a whirlwind I look back at my accomplishments and feel proud of myself. A few years ago I would’ve dreaded my late twenties feeling I’m a year closer to wrinkles and a mid-life crisis. Truth is, now that I’m here that couldn’t be farther from the truth. My beauty and skincare obsession has eased that fear at least! In one year, I have moved my family across the USA and planted roots here in the evergreen state. It was my dream to move to the Pacific Northwest and now I’m here! Although, Portland was my original choice, I’m glad we moved here because the cost of living is more reasonable and after living with my amazing in-laws we were able to save enough money to buy our first home. Buying a home was the most adulting I’ve ever done {after birthing two kids}. A huge renovation project that you can see my house tour video.

Prior to having kids, I always celebrated my birthday in a lengthy “monthly” celebration. With young littles, bills, and unexpected events, my birthday has been minimally acknowledged the past four years and I’m only a little bitter about that! This year I wanted to spoil myself and feel that birthday love. I did splurge on myself, as I recently started working outside the house and had a bit of extra to indulge myself. I received a lot of wishlist items from friends and family that I want to share with you.

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

-Madeleine L’Engle

Photo by May Lindstrom

I’ll start with the biggest indulgence I gifted myself: May Lindstrom, Blue Cocoon.

Many of you will know this is a cult favorite in green beauty for good reason- there is nothing else like it. At least for me. There are no discount codes or coupons for May Lindstrom products and on occasion she’ll do a gift with purchase. May’s lineup is my favorite by far if I had to choose one skincare brand. I tried a sample of the blue cocoon and was hooked. The sample lasted me at least a month- get a sample here. I tried many balm dupes searching for a cheaper alternative but always came back to the same conclusion –> none compared! I will be writing a complete blog post on blue cocoon but briefly WHY I need this balm in my life:

  1. It heals acne better than any other acne treatment or spot treatment I have tested. Believe me when I say I’ve tried hundreds of products since I was 14 and got my first pimple. I battled cystic acne for over 10 years and you can clearly see I healed my own skin. I wish I had discovered the blue cocoon years ago and saved myself all the wasted money on products that made my skin worse.
  2. Can be used with face oils, on it’s own, mixed with other products, worn day and night, as a lone moisturizer, or under a cream. I use it in the summer and have oily skin. In a nutshell, it’s a very versatile product.
  3. Works as a healing salve for inflammation, rashes, bites, and/or environmental pollution. Ever wake up puffy from allergies or hives (rashes) from pollen? I DO! It’s a terrible way to start the day and this heals it the quickest and feels extremely soothing instantly on those itchy irritated patches.
  4. Try too many skincare products that leave your skin pissed? This soothes my skin when it’s burning from a bad reaction, too many new products, or ingredient reaction. So this is great for beauty bloggers that tend to experiment more than the average consumer.
  5. The aromatherapy is UNREAL. The scent is unlike anything else I’ve encountered. I feel as though I’m a goddess every time I rub this on my face and chest. After a day of changing diapers and cleaning mess after mess {mom life!} I need a few minutes of utter goddess vibes to pick me up and remind me of the powerful woman I am. The scent is sexy with her signature blue tansy, cacao and vanilla notes. Just pick up a sample and thank me later. You could even keep a sample jar bedside and use it as pure aromatherapy. I know a lot of people do that!

photo by May Lindstrom

I feel I must disclaim this, because this is the internet and people love to disagree: not every product will work for you. There is no magic product that will cure your acne or stop aging. It was with an entire lifestyle change and eating a plant based diet that I healed my acne internally. A lot of people don’t like May Lindstrom because her products are expensive. Or because she is a beautiful woman comfortable with her sexuality and isn’t afraid to bare her skin and feelings. I happen to admire her as a business woman and mother. But that is an entirely different subject. Of course I’m always open to different opinions and perspectives but let’s keep it constructive. If you don’t like something then you are welcome to scroll on bye and leave this blog, I have dealt with enough negativity on IG and this eclipse has me feeling saucy. Sayonara! For everyone else, thank you for sticking around and being amazing. I bought mine at Citrine Beauty.

 

Continuing the theme of skincare and indulgence: enter silk pillowcase.

Being in the skincare community I’d heard the benefits of a silk pillowcase but couldn’t reckon with the cruelty of silk harvesting. Learn more here.

I stumbled upon The Ethical Silk Company a few months ago and was elated to find an ethical option. You can read all about their harvesting and supplier here. Furthermore, fair trade and environmentally conscious, I felt comfortable supporting this company. They produce clothing and other items I would love to invest in one day. But remember that you can also find amazing silk blouses thrifting! In conclusion: I adore my silk pillowcase and feel an instant difference from the old cotton one. I spend so much on my skincare, why would I want my pillowcase to absorb most of my products?! You can check out my IG post here and see all the comments that agree with me. It’s a whole new world!

A few benefits:

  1. Silk is the strongest of natural fibers. It contains natural protein and 18 essential amino acids. It also contains natural cellular albumen which speeds up the metabolism of skin cells.
  2. As it is a breathable fabric and a natural temperature regulator, silk helps the body retain heat in cold weather while excess heat is expelled in warm weather, helping your body maintain a comfortable, natural temperature.
  3. Silk is hypoallergenic; it does not attract dust mites and is a natural fungal repellant. As it does not conduct static electricity, sleeping on silk helps reduce hair breakage.
  4. Unlike cotton, silk does not draw moisture away from your skin and hair, but encourages a proper moisture balance, while its extremely smooth and soft texture proves to be beneficial for those with sensitive skin conditions (e.g. Eczema).
  5. Helps reduce hair breakage and frizz. I’m growing my hair out so this is paramount for me.

 

Organic Robe

photo by Under the Canopy

I have been searching for a quality, comfortable robe for quite a while. As much as I’d love a silk robe, I don’t have that kinda cash. I have bought cheap Ross robes in the past and they were either too hot, ugly, or felt scratchy. I don’t usually spend a lot on organic clothes because I’m thrifty. I know that’s hard to believe as you’re reading about these spendy birthday gifts, but as I said, birthdays are my yearly splurging. I like the feel of organic cotton so I was waiting for a good deal.

Thankfully, I follow the Sustainably Chic blog and serendipitous as it were, she posted about an affordable organic bed and bath company called Under the Canopy. Her personal code expired but you can sign up for their newsletter and get a discount code. The robes are gorgeous, organic, and in my price range! I sent hubby the link and asked him to pick the style and color so it was still a surprise right?!

I got the kimono style in lavender. It arrived soft out of the package with zero smell. I’m sensitive to that chemical smell that can waft after opening a package. The organic cotton is tenderly soft and cuddly. It’s breathable for summer but cuddly in the morning chill. The arm cut is kimono reminiscent with wide arm holes that drape beautifully. The belt is sewn into the back of the robe so it won’t get lost or tangled. A detail I appreciate because I lose belts easily and hate how uneven they get when they move around. Also has large front pockets to easily pop my phone in. Already ordered my bff a waffle robe and towel set!

 

Some essentials…

My mom is so sweet and gifted me a gift card to the Choosy Chick. One of my favorite online retailers. Margot the owner is extremely helpful and we’ve worked together in the past. A stand up woman who cares about her product curations and offers a lot of affordable green beauty options as well as kids care products. I buy a lot of my staples like toothpaste, deodorant, kids stuff, shampoo and my favorite face oil of all time from her shop. I do have an affiliate code you can shop through here. Here’s what I ordered:

 

  1. All time FAVORITE mascara. I’ve bought 4 or 5 tubes of this and even gifted a tube to my sister in law. It’s great for those that smudge or flake. It’s all natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and $19.50 so way cheaper than the typical eco beauty mascara. You can watch me apply it in this beauty hacks video.
  2. MUN Aknari face oil that Margot sent me early this year. I realized it was my #1 beauty oil after I ran out. Had to buy it and happy to have it back in my life. I made a video and talk about it here. Comment if you want a full blog post on it.
  3. These hair ties. These don’t leave creases or rip my hair out. Another product Margot sent me last year that I loved so much I’ve bought several and the headbands too. The ONLY headbands I can wear that don’t give me a headache and hold my hair back while I work.
  4. Margot was kind enough to throw in a bottle of my favorite shampoo. Evolvh is a great vegan, all natural hair care line that happens to have the best shampoo I have ever tried. For years I spent tons of money on Tony & Guy products and STILL had dandruff and greasy scalp issues. I tried many, many shampoos both conventional and natural. Even the “no poo” method which was poop and fruitless for me. Evolvh is just the best, try the travel size and thank me later. {I have thick, course, wavy hair. Dandruff prone scalp}

*I thank you for shopping through my links because it helps fund this blog and pursuit! I truly appreciate every click and purchase.

 

Beauty Heroes

Next was one of those gifts that keeps on giving: a subscription box. Beauty Heroes is famous in the green beauty community for the ‘less is more’ philosophy. You get high quality luxury products that are thoughtfully curated and include 1 hero product that is full size.

Usually an expensive highly coveted skincare product from a well vetted brand. Then you get a “side kick” typically a travel or deluxe size product from the same brand. Or sometimes 2 full size products, depending on how much they retail. A past Innersense box had the shampoo, conditioner, leave- in conditioner and hair oil. I loved all the products and bought the box from a friend that didn’t like them. Past brands include Josh Rosebrook, Mahalo, Laurel, Innersense, UMA, Lil Fox, Osmia, Maya Chia, and many others. I subscribed to this box back in 2015 and discovered so many products for only $39 a month. I cancelled my subscription after I quit my job and had to cut down on my expenses. Unfortunately, since then Beauty Heroes changed membership options from month-to-month with a “skip” {ability to skip a month} option.

Now you have to prepay for 3 month ($115),  6 month($225)  or 12 month($450) periods. No skip or pause option, but you can easily cancel from their website with a click of a button. I hate when sub boxes make you call or email to cancel. Who has time for that? With the prepay change, the box has been out of my price range for a long time. Beauty Heroes, if you’re reading this can you explain the big change? Is it from a business perspective, were you losing money with the month to month options? Will you ever go back to month to month option? If you’re a reader and this bothers you too, then please email them and ask. Let me know if you get a response.

Pardon my tangent, back to my birthday box. Another serendipitous birthday surprise- Josh Rosebrook spf featured in the July box. It was a full size 2 oz bottle with the “side-kick” product being a deluxe sample of his new balm that has been sold out every time I tried to purchase it. I have been using his tinted spf for 2 years and it’s expensive. It’s the best sun protection I have found and was worth the beauty hero subscription. I was immensely grateful when my best friend gifted me the subscription! Miracles do happen! This month (August) we received the Mahalo Bean Mask with the Mahalo mask brush. Mahalo is another long time favorite and the Bean Mask is famous in the community so I was ecstatic when I opened my box. Plus, my birthday was last month and I got another surprise box and will get my last one next month. An amazing gift because it keeps coming even after the first present. I’m still debating on resubscribing.

*Referral link: https://shop.beauty-heroes.com/refer/Erika-DKEEORBH does not earn me any money, but if you do use my link I will eventually get a free box so thank you in advance.

NON BEAUTY GIFTS:

 

Air fryer. Ever heard of one?

It’s a neat kitchen appliance for those of us trying to eliminate or reduce oil. Been on my Amazon wish list for at least 2 years. I got this one because of the size and preset features.  I like to add a tiny bit of oil to my fresh fries and vegetables so they have a crispier texture or else they come out too dry. For frozen patties and fries, no oil needed as many of them already contain oil. The air fryer doesn’t need to be preheated so it cuts down on cooking time and its extremely convenient. We don’t have a microwave so I put a lot of food that I would normally microwave in here too. This is for someone looking to cook faster, reduce wait time, cook food more quickly, and eat healthier. Why reduce oil you may ask? Many health related doctors and surgeons agree its bad news to your arteries and overall health. I like this website for bias free, non profit peer reviewed research. This particular air fryer has great reviews and moderate price tag, you can find it here.

 

 

           photo by Safesleeve

EMF blocking phone case by Safe Sleeve

You can google EMF but here is a short Ted Talk from the perspective of a tech engineer. Jeromy Johnson does a phenomenal job explaining the who, what, where, and when of EMFs.

“SAFESLEEVE FOR SMARTPHONE IS FCC CERTIFIED LAB TESTED  TO BLOCK UP TO 99% OF BOTH TYPES OF POTENTIALLY HARMFUL EMR RADIATION (ELF AND RF). IT ALSO INCLUDES A BUILT-IN RFID BLOCKING WALLET AND TURNS INTO A STAND, ALL IN ONE LIGHTWEIGHT AND CONVENIENT CASE.”

                      photo by Safesleeve

An EMF blocking phone case has been on my wishlist since I saw the Ted Talk video 6 months ago. I like how practical the case has become. I carry my I.D. and 2 debit cards in the side slots. Now I can run into a store with my phone in my pocket and if I forget my purse, at least I can pay for stuff! I have left my purse at home so many times but always have my phone with me. The case itself is very sturdy and has protected from a few accidents, mainly involving my kids throwing my phone.

 

 

 

Last but not least, MONIKERS. Anyone else love game nights with friends?

photo by Monikers

“A DUMB PARTY GAME THAT RESPECTS YOUR INTELLIGENCE” Website description: “Monikers is pretty simple: get your friends to guess the name on a card. Each team has 60 seconds to get through as many weird, inappropriate names as they can.

In the first round, you can say anything you want. In the second, you can only use one word. And in the third, you can’t say anything at all — just charades. The same cards are used in each round, so by the end of the game, you’ve made up a bunch of hilarious jokes together.”

I still haven’t been able to play the game, but I heard it was fun when everyone played the night I passed out early from a few too many Orangelicious. Side note: I rarely drink alcohol but when I do drink- YOLO! This reminds me that I need to host a game night in the near future.

FTC- Affiliate links used, thank you for supporting my channel! This post is not sponsored.

If you got to the bottom, THANK YOU! Thank you to my friends and family that lavished me this year in gifts, texts, phone calls, babysitting, and my coveted birthday dinner sans kids! Thank you Katie & Anthony for being supportive and watching our kids so we could have a night of vegan Chinese and adult beverages. Thank you all for being in my life whether it be in real life or virtual. You are important and help me become a better person everyday.

Hubs and I eating dinner kid-free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xx

Erika