Give the Gift of Good Skin with Dermalogica

I have shared about my love for Dermalogica on Instagram before – I use a variety of their products every morning and evening, and I love how clean and moisturized they make my face. I am definitely a true brand loyalist! I wanted to convert Sydney, so I asked her to try two of their limited edition holiday gift sets – the AGE smart Daily Defenders and the AGE smart Lip Smoothing Duo – to see what she thought. Spoiler alert: she loved them. More details below!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Now that Thanksgiving is over, I am ready to start thinking about buying everyone on my list their Christmas gifts. I have been listening to Christmas music since the day after Halloween, and even though I’ve been itching to decorate the tree, I’ve held back and waited until Thanksgiving was over. Now all that’s left to do is trim the tree and stock up on the gifts.

I am obsessed with finding new skincare products and sharing them with my girlfriends and my mom for Christmas. Every year I gather up my favorite products and share them with the ladies in my life! I especially love finding new products that help reduce wrinkles and makes me look younger, so I was so excited to try Dermalogica’s AGE smart Daily Defenders and AGE smart Lip Smoothing Duo after hearing Ailee speak so highly of their other products.

Getting Started with Smile Direct Club

Well, this smile journey story has a strange start, but stick with me for a minute!

In 2009, I interning in France, and during this time, my friend, Andrew and I, went on a little vacation to Nice. We bought some snacks for the beach, and the vegetarian that I am, I grabbed some carrots. As I’m sitting on the pebbled beach, I bite into a carrot and ‘pop’! I managed to unglue one of the sides of my permanent bottom retainers. The bar was still attached to the other side, but it now protruded slightly into my mouth, under my tongue. It wasn’t painful, but it was very bothersome. I thought many times about going to an orthodontist in Paris to have it fixed, but my French was very conversational and I couldn’t wrap my head around calling and booking an appointment, so alas, I never did. When I returned at the end of August, the day I got home, I went in to get it fixed. At my orthodontist’s office, he told me that my smile looked great, and since I had been out of braces for over ten years, he would just take off the permanent retainer. Worst. Idea. Ever! 

Fast forward to 2011, my wisdom teeth all start coming in, and since I am a huge chicken when it comes to needles, I endure the pain of them all breaking through my gums and crowding my mouth. Cue teeth moving. 

So now, in 2017, I have buckled bottom teeth that drive me absolutely crazy! I cannot stand seeing how crooked they have become, but Sasha thinks it isn’t a big deal, and the $5,000 we would pay for Invisalign has always seemed too much to fix this problem. Enter Smile Direct Club. Smile Direct Club offers affordable teeth straightening aligners at a price that is 60% less than competitors. 

My New Makeup Routine with Beautycounter


A few months ago, I heard about Beautycounter through one of my best friend’s friend, Kelsey Wiley. I was intrigued by this company that “puts your health first” – not a claim I’d ever heard made by MAC, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Laura Mercier, etc. Kelsey included a link to the video below, and after watching it, I knew I wanted to try Beautycounter’s products.

Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer products into the hands of everyone and lead a movement for better beauty. This is definitely a mission I can stand behind. While over 1,300 toxic ingredients are banned in personal care products in Europe, only eleven are in the US. Isn’t that scary? I had absolutely no idea which (potentially harmful) ingredients were in my skincare products, and I was ready to change that.

I will not lie – changing my tried-and-true makeup and skincare routine has not been painless. I had been using some of the same products since I was in high school! For about a month now, I’ve been using a majority of Beautycounter products (sharing honest reviews of each below), while ‘cheating’ every now and again with an old blush or eyeshadow that I love. As time goes on, I’ll buy more and more Beautycounter items when my old ones run out. So far, I’ve loved every single product – except the mascara, but I’ll explain why! 

Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide (BBG) Review

BBGReviewAwake-5Preface: This is by far the most nervous I have ever been to hit ‘Publish’ on a post before. As someone who never even wears two piece swimsuits, shooting and posting these photographs is definitely out of my comfort zone (serious understatement). I am not sharing these so that you compliment my progress, but instead to help motivate you to try this incredible workout (plus, I promised to get more personal here). Also, I want to quickly thank my dream team who made me feel confident during these photos – my photographer, Paige of Awake Photography, and hair and makeup expert, Britt Lais Williams of Butter Artistry.

So, let’s begin.

A few months ago, my best friend mentioned this “bikini body guide” she was doing and told me to look up @Kayla_Itsines on Instagram to better understand the reasons why. Well, it took about 45 seconds on Kayla’s account to know that I also wanted to try this seemingly miraculous workout. Photo after photo of before vs. after shots of women going from being regularly sized to becoming what-look-liked trim, toned fitness models had me convinced that it was worth a shot. 

I started the guide (most commonly referred to as BBG) before we headed to Europe, which wasn’t ideal as I didn’t really want to take a multi-week break just 2 weeks into the 12 week program. Therefore, I started it again when we returned and have been working out using the PDF guide ever since. I just finished the first round of the program last week, and I am proud of this accomplishment (it’s not for the faint of heart, but you can do it too!). It’s now time for BBG 2.0.

In short, BBG is a 12-week training program that involves three resistant training workouts a week (plus three days of interval training). Each workout is 28 minutes long (which may sound easy, but you definitely work up quite a sweat during that time!), and includes two circuits that you repeat twice (sample below). The guide (a document that I reference on my iPhone on iBooks during workouts) shows step-by-step images on how to complete each of the exercises in the resistance training circuits. 

Beauty Basics with Butter: Favorite Products (Plus, A Giveaway!)

Butter_Insta_Launchv2Today, my super sweet friend, Britt Lais Williams, is announcing the launch of her new makeup and hair business called Butter. Britt is so incredibly talented (she glammed me up for these fitness pictures and Isla’s first birthday photos and most recently did the same to Kristina this hippie shoot), and I know she will do great things with her new business. She’s been working in the industry for years and years, and has lots of amazing credits to her name.

As part of the official announcement today on Instagram, Brittany is doing a giveaway (valued at over $325!) which includes a complimentary hair and makeup session, as well as a Tom Ford lipstick in the color of your choice and the entire Fave4 line of hair sprays. And it’s super easy to enter:

  1. Follow @butterartistry on Instagram
  2. Like the launch photo (shown above)
  3. Tag three friends who would love to win these goodies!
  4. You can repost Britt’s post for an additional entry (make sure to tag @butterartistry and use #butterartistry in your caption/comment)

The contest ends at midnight on August 14. The winner will be announced by August 16.

In addition to the launch, Britt is sharing 9 of her favorite products with my blog readers! She wrote descriptions for all of the items below. I’m going to be ordering all of them (or adding to my Christmas list, ahem, Sasha!).

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