Monthly Archives

March 2018

in Beauty

A Well Oiled Life

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It wasn’t until I became a momma that I really started to think about the products I used & put into my body. I discovered essential oils when I was pregnant, & from then on, my eyes were opened to all the damn chemicals in e r y t h a n g! I knew my body was absorbing every substance I applied but I was ignorant to what they could in fact do to my body.

I now try my HARDEST to pay attention to everything I use but, sadly, it can get exhausting. For instance, I raved about some new nail polish I found at the drugstore yesterday – the colors are so good. BUT, the first ingredient? Formaldehyde. If you aren’t familiar with formaldehyde, take a second to educate yourself and check this out. Big ol’ bleh! 

Growing up, oils & incense were the norm – my house always reeked of sage (I say reeked because my dad drowned us in this scent). My dad has always used essential oils as cologne, but it took me 25+ years to realize that there are benefits to these oils. Honestly, I thought he just liked smelling like the wilderness (he will take that as a compliment). My popps uses frankincense essential oil on the reg – which can benefit the immune system in tremendous ways, huge plus for a guy fighting MS! I just discovered frankincense on my most recent trip out west (where my parents reside) and I ended up coming down with some sort of bug. I decided not to freak out & go to the doctor for an antibiotic – one that they might not even give me – and I stuck to oils, teas, fresh air, hot showers & rest. Kicked that bug by my own damn self! I used frankincense on my feet at night, eucalyptus oil in the diffuser and I like to think it helped a lot. Now, I’m not saying oils can cure all that ails you; but I’m saying they are worth a try & have been workin’ wonders for me.

This flu season did feel like the worst ever; just like the winter seemed like the longest ever. And with an infant, germs seem so much more relevant than they ever have before. Another oil that I learned to love is a blend by doTERRA – doTERRA’s Breathe Respiratory blend. It smells wonderful, and it’s not too strong. All you have to do is open that little bottle, take a deep breath & let the oil do the rest. It has such a calming effect (as does Lavender!). If you want to get really wild, you can even drop a couple drops into your diffuser while you sleep and that my friends is the. good. stuff.

Not only have I fallen for oils, but I’ve also recently brought yoga back into my life. For some lazy ass reason I took a break once I got pregnant – I mean yeah, I couldn’t get down on all fours anymore but I could’ve been doing some sun salutations… Anyways, now at night even if I’m just doing a five-minute stretch before bed, I’ll rub some oils on my feet, back of my neck and behind my ears to help me relax. It’s pretty wild what scent can do for your state of mind – it truly is invigorating. Of course, a couple deep breaths and a child who sleeps through the night really helps me relax too. My favorite oils for this kind of night include lavender & peppermint. Peppermint oil is also great for headaches… which I tend to have the next morning if my darling little sweetie pants didn’t feel like sleeping through the night. All you have to do is rub a little peppermint oil on your temples & don’t forget those deep breaths, people!

Now let’s say that my darling little sweetie pants does sleep through the night? And I wake up feeling like a human, I’ll drop one or two grapefruit oil drops onto my wrists. Grapefruit oil is known for its mood uplifting tendencies – and a plus? It smells marvelous.

Confession: I have only used essential oils as perfume since Bryce was about a month old. It was my husband & I’s first date night post birth & I put on perfume before we went out. Bryce wouldn’t come to me – he screamed when I got near him. So it scarred me and possibly him. Yeah, I’m dramatic and mom guilt is real. So ever since, I’ve used oil blends. They really do the trick for perfume! Plus you can customize them to the scent that you love!

My oil journey is just beginning but I’m really loving where it is taking me. PLEASE share your favorite oil blends, brands & tips with me. I am immensely intrigued by what oils YOU love!

xo,
Kate
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in Beauty

Beautycounter Product Review

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It’s no secret that Kate and I are obsessed with skincare and beauty; but what I think we haven’t highlighted is that we are also on a mission to find products where the quality of ingredients are held to a higher standard, but is also just plain safe. We were somewhat familiar with Beautycounter, but wanted to know more – so when Kate and I were invited to a Beautycounter Social, we had to be there!

Prior to trying some of the Beautycounter products, our hostess, Sarah, threw some fast facts at us – and can I just say, by the end of the presentation our jaws were on the floor. We could not believe how far behind the United States is in passing federal laws regulating the cosmetic industry. For example, the European Union has banned over 1,300 ingredients over the last two decades. The United States? Eleven. ELEVEN. Can you believe that!? It is frightening to think about the crap that we freely put on, even inside, our bodies! Anyway, let’s move on from this “we’re doomed” talk.

Right away, Kate and I were drawn to a couple products and decided to purchase:

I, personally, was running low on face cleanser and an everyday foundation, so I added the following to my order as well:

And because we joined as VIPs, we each received the Nourishing Cream Cleanser (a $28 value) for free.

Cleansing Balm

Kate and I LOVE this cleansing balm. This stuff works wonders in removing even the toughest waterproof mascara. The balm leaves our skin feeling clean and moisturized. What we love even more is this balm is a “multitasker.” When our skin is feeling dry, we like smooth a thin layer of the balm on our face as an overnight mask. When we wake up, our skin looks plump and feels hydrated. I don’t know about you, but this winter season has completely taken a toll on our hands and cuticles. No matter how often we apply lotion, minutes later, we need more! This balm does wonders in keeping our hands and cuticles moisturized.

kimandkateblog cleansing balm

Verdict: While we both enjoy this cleansing balm, the $80 price point has us pumping the brakes a bit. The balm is definitely a splurge, and is something we plan to repurchase again when we have a few extra bucks in our pockets. It seems a jar of organic, cold pressed coconut oil could also accomplish the similar (not fully the same) results.

Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion

Finding a moisturizer for skin that can be dry & oily all in the same day is near impossible. We were beginning to think the hunt for a moisturizer for our combination skin would never end – BUT IT HAS! Kate suffers from cystic breakouts that can leave her skin extremely dry and flaky at times, but with Countermatch – she has seen zero flaking!! A little goes a long way – we’ve seen this to be true with all Beautycounter products.

My face tends to be on the oily side, and some moisturizers I’ve used in the past just adds to the pools of oil on my face. I find that this moisturizer is super light, non-greasy, and absorbs quickly into my skin. While, we cannot scientifically prove whether this moisturizer actively adjusts to our skin’s hydration levels as Beautycounter claims – all we can say is that it just works for us. With that…

Verdict: Kate and I are obsessed with this lotion and plan to repurchase again and again. We love it that much! As for the price, we find the cost comparable to those on the market.

Rejuvenating Face Cleanser

Even though Beautycounter says it isn’t necessary to use a cleanser after the cleansing balm, I do each time. I love completely erasing the day off my face. Since my skin is on the oily side, I find that residual cleansing balm doesn’t actually help my skin – except for nights I use Retin-A.

With that, I have been enjoying the Rejuvenating Face Cleanser… a lot. It’s a gel based cleanser, and for my oily skin, I really feel that it’s helping improve my complexion – leaving my skin brighter and clearer. I don’t attribute the cleanser being the sole product responsible for clearing or brightening my skin, but it’s certainly helping. My only gripe with this product is the packaging. I really hate the twist off cap – I would so much prefer the bottle to snap open/shut. Also, the bottle is made out of material that allows dirt/makeup to stick. Pet peeve. I find myself cleaning the bottle off every so often because it just gets so dang grimy. Definitely first world problems; but if I’m dishing out $43 for the product, I expect some sort of luxe and easy access to the product.

Verdict: I really like this cleanser, and plan on repurchasing. However, since I received a bottle of the Nourishing Cream Cleanser, I plan on purchasing the Rejuvenating Face Cleanser afterward! Hopefully by then, a new packaging will be available!

Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation

This has been my go-to foundation on days I go into the office or run errands. The foundation offers light to medium coverage, and gives off a dewy, natural finish. I know what you’re thinking – “but Kim, you have oily skin!” As with all my foundations, I just set the tint skin with a setting powder – my current fave is the Dermablend Loose Setting Powder. This keeps the oil at bay and makes your pores nonexistent! Anyway, I do end up looking dewy by the end of the day – but not like I rubbed my face in olive oil. I also noticed that Beautycounter offers their Tint Skin in a broad range of colors – from super fair to very deep. I thought this was important to note as they seem to be more inclusive than other well known brands.

Verdict: I like this foundation. Is it life changing? No. Will I repurchase? Yes, but not right away. I have a few more on my list I’d like to try. I think if you’re in the market for an everyday foundation that is light weight and have normal to dry skin – this foundation is for you.

Nourishing Cream Cleanser

Kate almost exclusively uses the Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Daily Foaming Cleanser to keep her cystic acne at bay. However, she finds that the Obagi cleanser can be a bit drying. To help her skin recover, she uses the Beautycounter cleanser 2-3 times a week. The cleanser is calming and hydrating, and provides the TLC that she so often needs.

Verdict: This bottle was free this time around; but at only $28, this will definitely be a cleanser that Kate will keep on rotation.

We hope you enjoyed this review!

If any of the items piqued your interest – click over to our friend, and Beautycounter consultant, Sarah’s Beautycounter page. She can answer any of the questions you have about any of the Beautycounter products.

Have you tried Beautycounter? Tell us about the products you love!

xo,
Kim
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Kate and I have a major problem – neither of us can get a consistent night’s sleep! Our brains cannot and will not shut off. We’re exhausted and sleep deprived most days. However, for the past few months, Kate and I have been exchanging tips that seem to help us get to sleep and stay asleep. We thought we would share our sleep tips with you all because it seems that we are not alone!

First things first: your bedroom should be used for two things, and two things only – SLEEP and SEX. Any other activity other than sleep or sex in your bedroom can literally rewire your brain making sleep more challenging.

Create the Ambiance
  • Your bed should be comfortable. We know this is obvious, but you’d be shocked as to how many people settle for uncomfortable beds! It’s no wonder why people can’t get to sleep or wake up in pain.
  • Your bedroom should be the “perfect” temperature – not too hot, not too cold; think: Goldilocks effect.
  • Cater to your “scent”ses. We LOVE essential oils, and we have a slight obsession with our diffusers. An hour or so before crawling into bed, we put a couple drops of lavender oil and turn the diffuser on. The scent of of the lavender immediately puts us in a relaxed mood, and prepares us for sleep! Here are a couple diffusers we like: Ellia Voyage Portable Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser or SpaRoom® EnlightenTM Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser. These are also perfect for your little one’s room, especially those that are a humidifier AND diffuser all in one, like this! We also really enjoy the brand Aura Cacia for the essential oils – you can find it almost any where Target, Walgreens, and even Whole Foods!
  • Your bedroom should be dark – not just from outside sources (like the moon or street lamps), I’m talking the glow from whatever in your room is charging, or even your clock! Kate and I live for our eye masks; like this one: Free People Starry Eyed Mask. We put this on once we’ve accomplished all nighttime tasks! Having an eye mask on helps us stop ourselves from doing anything other than sleep!
Disconnect

We’re all guilty of this – winding down, snuggling into bed, and either watching tv or fiddling on our phones checking all forms of social media and email. Stop this. This is far too much stimulation for your brain during a time where it should be winding down and shutting off. Sadly, this is the most difficult thing to put into practice. Our top tip is to make your phone inaccessible. Charge your phone across the room, or even better – in a completely different room altogether. Also, no television – it just doesn’t belong in your room. Period.

Another Reason to Exercise

Kate and I found that the days we worked out, we slept better. We thought this was just a fluke, but then we looked it up. Apparently, early morning and afternoon workouts may help reset the body’s sleep wake cycle by raising the body temperature and then lowering it a few hours later, triggering sleepiness. Huh, who knew!? Not only that, but exercise also reduces stress and tires you out. So make time for this – this is one activity that takes care of you mind, body, and soul.

Silence isn’t Golden

Okay, so complete silence freaks us out. Being able to hear every bump in the night is the actual worst – I can’t tell you how often I hear a bump and immediately think I am going to die or become possessed. Anyway, it isn’t healthy and it impedes on the whole sleep thing. When I moved in with my boyfriend – he did this. Complete silence. Ew. Anyway, we exclusively sleep with an air purifying fan tower running – like these: Winix Large Air Purifier or Lasko Oscillating Fan Tower. White noise should allow you to rest easy just a bit more.

Write it Down

When your brain just won’t let go of a thought or idea… This happens to Kate and I all the time! So to appease the nagging thought – we keep a notebook and pen on our nightstand. That way, we can write it down, and let the thought go for the night. We do this knowing we can always address and run with the idea tomorrow – but ya can’t if you are sluggish from lack of sleep!

Try a Sleep Mask

Kate & I are those girls that will throw a mask on when we are stressed & exhausted, we like to believe they fix everything. At least they really do help to solve our skin problems. Give something like Nyakio’s Chamomile Soothing Sleep Mask a try and feel fresh faced in the morning! The hydration you’ll feel is unreal. This is our go to for radiant skin that doesn’t take months to achieve.

Just Breathe

So you’re still tossing and turning, and your brain still will not cooperate and let you sleep. Try a deep breathing exercise. Take a second to focus on your breathing. Hold your breath for two seconds and then breathe out for two seconds. Repeat this process until you reach a five second hold/release and start all over again. Eventually, you’ll be sent to dreamland.

We hope these tips and tricks to a better night’s sleep help you.
They’ve been working for us lately, and we surely hope it stays that way!
What do you do to get a good night’s sleep!? We’d LOVE to know!

xo,
Kim
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in Travel

Travel Tips with Baby

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I decided to fly solo with my ten-month-old little guy, Bryce, from BWI to ABQ. A 4 1/2 hour flight that was jam-packed and happened to have major turbulence. Thanks to a few mommy bloggers & friends, I received some kick ass advice that helped tremendously. Sadly, I don’t really have any tips for you once you arrive at your destination… when you happen to be sleep deprived, stressed and you have no clue what time it is.

But here is my M U S T  K N O W list for flying with an infant (trying to help in the little ways I can):

1. Bring a stroller. I’m not telling you to check a stroller along with your other bags right when you arrive at the airport; I’m telling you to take your stroller with you through TSA and to your gate. I would’ve lost my shit, pulled a few muscles and again, lost my shit – if I didn’t receive this advice. Stroller too bulky? Invest in one like The Mountain Buggy Nano. It’s liberating, especially if you have some flights in your future! The Mountain Buggy Nano folds up so easy and has a shoulder strap. I was able to hold Bryce and the diaper bag all while folding up the stroller with one hand. Plus it fits in the top compartment of the plane. Yup, small enough to count as a carryon! Be sure to be smart about the diaper bag you bring as well. As much as I wanted to carry my dainty-everyday Kate Spade backpack, I knew it would not hold all of Bryce’s necessities so I borrowed my husbands Tactical Baby Gear backpack & it had just enough room for everything I knew I would need and more.

2.  Be prepared. I was and still am, terrified of a blowout on the plane. In my carryon, I packed two outfits for Bryce & one for me. Simple lightweight pieces like leggings & an oversized tee work perfectly so you don’t take up more room in your bag especially when you know that you might not need this pieces. When it comes to feeding (if you aren’t nursing), be sure to have bottles ready. I don’t even mean the formula in the dispenser & the water in the bottle – I mean have a small cooler like this one and make your bottles beforehand. Since my flight was at capacity it was quite difficult to make Bryce a bottle. He also ate twice on the plane so I’d say bring an extra too, I was thinking he would only drink one. Thankfully, there was a lovely woman sitting next to me who asked to help when I was making his bottles (she could see the struggle) but still, it was tough – SO crowded and such a wiggly Bryce.

3. Be organized. I have always flown with a wristlet (this one has been my go-to) but knowing that I need three hands on a regular basis, I opted for a fanny pack – this Herschel Supply Co. Fifteen Belt Bag is SO GOOD and affordable. Wearing a fanny pack was such a good decision, I kept it simple by only keeping my phone, ID, bank card and boarding pass in it.

These are my top tips! I am flying home in a week so if you have anything else I should know PLEASE comment below and fill me in! I’d love to have a few more under my belt.

Safe Travels, Lovebugs!

xo,
Kate (and Bryce)

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in Beauty

Dry Shampoo Rundown

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It’s true. Kim and I have tried all of the dry shampoo pictured – all nine of them. Four out of the nine are products we would recommend over and over. This journey of finding the best dry shampoo for us has been long and exhausting (I’m serious) – very happy to say that it is over.

Okay, I’ll get to the good stuff. Here are the dry shampoo that worked for us:

Batiste Hint of Color $5.99

MONAT The Champ Conditioning Dry Shampoo $34

Eleni & Chris Dry Texturizing Shampoo $27

KLORANE Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk  $20

Surprising?! Well, we’ve pretty much learned that you get what you pay for in M O S T circumstances. The budget friendly find that I wish I would have tried first (apparently it’s the world’s best known dry shampoo brand) is Batiste Hair’s Hint of Color. Being a brunette, residue from dry shampoo has always been the biggest issue for me; so finding a dry shampoo that enhances your hair color is the best thing ever… for dirty hair that is. Not only does Batiste have the budget friendly answer for brunettes but the brand also offers a hint of color for blondes. At only SIX DOLLARS, it’s a risk you’ll feel great about taking! Who am I kidding? It’s not at all a risk. Then we have MONAT’s The Champ Conditioning Dry Shampoo. This is the shampoo to use if you know you are going to hit snooze more than once in the morning. The Champ works wonders if you apply it before bed (it’s magic). The thing we really love about The Champ is that it is super lightweight AND there isn’t any residue. None. So when you wake up in the morning and your hair isn’t greasy? A win for sure. You can actually just blow dry your roots for a lil’ extra volume – if you need it.

Onto the next gold medalist – Eleni & Chris Dry Texturing Shampoo (sorry, I miss the Olympics). This shampoo is the one for you; if you are a blonde, white-haired, grey-haired, lime green haired, lavender haired (there are a lot of crazy hair trends out there)! The o n l y issue that I have faced as a brunette with this product is the residue, you really have to work it in, which is why it would work like a charm for those with lighter colored hair. As a mom, I don’t always have the time. But it’s one of my favorites because it adds SO much texture & volume. And it’s a dream come true for someone who has fine and thin hair!

Kim and I both have an irrational fear of aerosol cans exploding in our carry-ons mid-flight; so we were happy to find that another fave, the KLORANE’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk offers a non-aerosol version. Making it perfect for travel and keeping our anxieties contained. An added bonus? It works! This dry shampoo is a loose powder and it truly keeps sweat and oil at bay –  even during and after a workout!

Now, the problem with the ones that don’t work? The gist of it is that we’ve found we need to use so much, so often. That goes for Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy Body Building Dr and Herbal Essences Bio Renew Revitalize Cucumber & Green Tea Dry Shampoo. As for Living Proof Perfect Hair Day – we were kind of surprised because we’ve heard SO many people rave about it! The issue? It makes your hair feel like you sprayed your entire head with a super strong hold hairspray. And no matter how little you spray – you’ll find that the powder sits on your scalp, making it somewhat irritating! Not what we are going for.

It seems like most of the women in our lives are always looking for that perfect dry shampoo; and we hope this helped! Do you have a dry shampoo you love?? Let us know!

xo,
Kate
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