Let it Glow with Otavea

One of my tried and true favorite ways to obtain and maintain smooth skin is exfoliating. Exfoliating helps keep skin dryness at bay, stimulate cell production and blood flow, rids dirt, bacteria and toxins that are lurking within the skin; and enables skincare products to penetrate deeper. I have noticed that my skin is at its best when I exfoliate once a week in the warmer seasons and twice a week in the cooler seasons.

Otavea's hand-crafted body scrubs are free of parabens, additives, and phthalates. Their ingredient list is all natural and vegan. Also, they don't believe in the out-dated, inhumane, and impractical practice of testing on animals. It's naturally simple luxury at its finest without a splurge-worthy price tag attached, as their body scrubs range from $6 - $16 in price!



Otavea offers four different varieties (Strawberry, HERO for Men, Chocolate + Coffee, and Peppermint) in three different sizes (2 oz., 4 oz., and 8 oz.). I received all but the HERO for Men for obvious reasons. These body scrubs are so addictive that I can assure you that you will almost not want to leave the shower!

The granules are tiny and easy to spread all over the body. They gently polish the skin without irritating it in the least, leaving behind a tantalizing aroma and deeply nourished skin after rinsing. There's no need to apply any type of body oil or lotion since the cold-pressed organic oils in the body scrubs are nourishing enough. Each scrub is tantalizing to the senses in their own right, but my favorite is the strawberry. It even has chunks of strawberries in it. You'll almost want to devour! Meanwhile, the Chocolate + Coffee and Peppermint will rejuvenate the skin and perk up the senses.



Chocolate + Coffee





Formulated to target stretch marks, cellulite, eczema, acne, scarring and wrinkles with cocoa, coffee and sugar.


Strawberry



Formulated to target clogged pores, damaged skin, uneven skin tone, acne and wrinkles with strawberries and sugar. Let the strawberries in this scrub smooth skin, cleanse and tighten pores while the Vitamin A hydrates and protects against free radicals.


Peppermint



Formulated to target scarring, uneven skin tone, acne and dull skin with sugar and peppermint essential oil. Let the peppermint oils in this scrub help strengthen and brighten skin cells while the sugars gently cleanse and exfoliate.






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This post is sponsored on behalf of Otavea. All opinions are exclusively my own.

How to Smell Gorgeous on a Budget: Scentbird





Scentbird is a monthly subscription service that is based in New York. It was established to provide designer fragrances every month for $14.95. Each month, you’re introduced to a new fragrance out of over 350 fragrances for women based on your scent preferences. They’ll suggest recommendations on fragrances when you first sign up by having you to take a quiz. Alternatively, you can browse their perfume collection and rate them. The more you rate, the better your recommendations become. You can also add fragrances that you’d like to try to your queue.

Some of my recommendations includes Womanity by Thierry Mugler, Cheap & Chic Light Clouds by Moschino, Maitresse by Agent Provocateur, Jungle L’Elephant by Kenzo, Eau de Mandarine Ambree by Hermes, Me EDP by Lanvin, and Envy Me by Gucci. A sampling of their perfume brand roster includes Coach, Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Van Cleef & Arpels, to name of few. It’s like Birchbox, but in a fragrant sense. It’s not the least bit of surprising that this new company has already won the likes of Essence, TotalBeauty.com, Harper's Bazaar, Fashionista, and Forbes!



The Jungle L'Elephant by Kenzo that I opted for came in a travel-friendly purse spray case and velvet pouch. It also included a card on how to use your purse spray like a pro! Subscribers will receive a black purse spray case in the first month’s subscription, but additional cases can be ordered for $12.95 in pink or black. The fragrance is a timeless scent that was first introduced in 1996. It’s categorized under “Party, Classic, and Sweet.” It is harmoniously blended with notes of mandarin, cardamom, caraway, clove, heliotrope, ylang-ylang, mango juice, licorice, vanilla, patchouli, and casmerin.

I believe that the patchouli is one of the most evident notes in the dry-down, but there is something warm and effervescent about it. It is a beautiful and sophisticated scent that I can wear again and again! I’d love to try other scents in the future, such as Oriens by Van Cleef & Arpels, La Vie Est Belle by Lancome, and Perles De Lalique by Lalique.

How to Earn Free Perfume



You can invite your friends to join in the fun! Scentbird will arrange that their second month with Scentbird is free, courtesy of you. You will earn 1 free month of Scentbird for each friend that subscribes.

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Your fragrance is your message, your scented slogan. - Maurice Roucel


This post is sponsored on behalf of Scentbird. All opinions are exclusively my own.

Tantalizing Tresses with NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer

When I moved from a suburban area to the heart of a city a few years ago, I knew there were going to be many changes that I’d have to grow accustomed to. Little did I know that one of the changes would start with my hair, because it wasn’t long after I moved to Evansville that my hair started to look dry, dull, and straw-like. It also started to shed like crazy! I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my hair at first, until I started using a shower filter. I noticed a significant improvement in my hair and skin. This indicated that the water was the culprit. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, as my city is known for their bad water. Hard water not only causes lackluster hair, but it can significantly thin it out and lead to hair loss – scary!

After my shower filter broke down within a few months, I couldn’t see myself paying $150 for another one. Thus, I took a different route earlier last year by using a chelating shampoo and apple cider vinegar hair rinse to remove the mineral content build-up from hard water. I also started finishing my hair off with flaxseed oil to help keep my hair moisturized and balanced. The quality of my hair has tremendously improved, because it has greatly thickened. Shedding is still an issue, though. That’s where hair vitamins, such as NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer, comes into play lately.



NeoCell Keratin Hair Volumizer is an all-natural powerhouse of vitamins that deeply nourishes the hair, while promoting healthy hair growth. It’s also ideal for those who suffer from breakage and shedding – moi! I haven’t noticed a dramatic difference in my hair, considering I have only been using it for a few weeks. I will note that some have experienced results within just two weeks! However, I have noticed less shedding since I’ve started taking these vitamins. That alone is quite amazing!

This is a post written by me on behalf of NeoCell.

Rise and Shine in Style + DIY Facial Cleanser

I’m not a morning person at all! I’m one of many that are apt to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock or tell myself “just five more minutes”. This isn’t always plausible for me since I usually have a whirlwind of activities and projects that await me. I am less apt at doing this during the warmer months since I don’t always have to wake up to a morning chill like I do in the cooler months, but I still have to find simple and easy ways to energize my morning routine.

One way that I like to jumpstart my morning is sipping on a mug of freshly brewed, steaming tea. It gives me a sense of renewal and rejuvenates me at the same time. It also gives me a sense of serenity and a much needed burst of energy that is perfect for a long, enduring, and wonderful chaotic day that is often ahead of me!



I have a few mugs that I love that make all the difference in the morning for my tea and occasional coffee drinking. I have never designed one until Martha Stewart Living recently sent me some craft supplies from the Martha Stewart Crafts line to personalize and craft my own stylish, reusable coffee mug. Since I’m drawn to colors that are reminiscent of the sea, as I believe that hardly anything captures serenity and vibrancy more than the sea! Thus, I designed a coastal-inspired mug, using Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Craft Paint (in Beach Glass and Blue Sky) by Martha Stewart Crafts with a touch of Martha Stewart Crafts Malachite Glitter (from my own craft stash!) to give it a sophisticated sparkle.

How to Refresh Your Coffee with Martha Stewart Crafts


Materials


⦾ Adhesive Stencil Set
⦾ Ceramic Reusable Coffee Mug
⦾ Foam Pouncer
⦾ Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Craft Paint
⦾ Shallow Dish of Water

Steps

1. Place adhesive stencil on ceramic mug; rub gently to adhere completely.

2. Use a foam pouncer to apply paint, being careful not to go over the edges of the stencil.

3. Peel off stencil; allow paint to dry. If stencil is to be immediately reused, place in shallow dish of water to rinse. Use brush and stencil cleaner to clean stencil completely after use.











DIY Baking Soda + Coconut Oil Facial Cleanser


I always have essential oils on hand! My tried and true favorites are lemon, grapefruit, rosemary, and patchouli. I find these particular scents to be relaxing, yet uplifting and invigorating at the same time! That is why I love the Baking Soda + Coconut Oil Facial Cleanser, because it always makes me feel less tired in the morning since it’s always infused with one of my favorite essential oils. Best of all, it’s simple, easy, and relatively inexpensive to make since you’ll most likely still have all of the ingredients to make more once your supply depletes! Lately, I have been using it with patchouli essential oil since it’s beneficial for the skin in many ways. Patchouli is good for acne prone skin. It also helps keep the wrinkles at bay! The baking soda in this facial cleanser will deeply cleanse and gently exfoliate away dead skin cells and impurities, while awakening the skin senses with the invigorating scent of patchouli, and deeply moisturizes the skin with coconut oil. Not only does it makes a wonderful facial cleanser, but it can be used all over the body!



All that is needed for this simple and easy DIY facial cleanser is a Ball jar, preferably a half pint; baking soda, coconut oil, and the preferred essential oil of your choice. Depending on the size of the jar that you use, fill it up half way with coconut oil, and add a teaspoon of ARM & HAMMER™ Baking Soda. Drop 25-30 drops of essential oil, and proceed to stir all combined ingredients until you have a smooth, creamy texture.





This is a post written by me on behalf of Martha Stewart Living.

Bon Voyage to Skin Woes

This past winter had proven to be one of the worst in years. From relentless snow to icy roads, many people are feeling frigid temps for warmer climates. However, traveling puts additional stress on you and your skin. Regardless of whether you are traveling by car or plane, for business or pleasure, New York & New Jersey board certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Baxt’s must-know skin travel tips will help make your time away more relaxing and leave your skin rosy on arrival.



For Frequent Flyers


The re-circulated air on planes is five times drier than the desert and the lack of humidity causes loss of moisturizer. The air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10 to 20 percent — much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30 to 65 percent. All of which combines to equal skin desperately in need of moisture.

“Most people realize that flying can cause skin to dry out and breakout, but they may not know why,” says Dr. Baxt. “Whenever the environment is moisture-free such as with recirculated air in a plane cabin - the air actually draws moisture from wherever it can, including the skin. Dry skin will tend to get drier and oily skin will get even oilier to compensate for dehydration.”

Dr. Baxt recommends the following travel itinerary for your skin whether you're taking a quick weekend getaway or going for the long haul.

Un-Happy Hour: Don't Drink Alcohol on the Plane. “Alcohol is very dehydrating. While it may help to relax you if you're nervous about flying, the effect of alcohol will be dry skin,” says Dr. Baxt. “Drink water, and read a magazine or book or bring along your iPod. Having something to distract you will help you as much, if not more than a glass of wine. If you just can't pass it up, drink lots of water afterward.”

Bring a Hydrating Mist for In-Flight Treatment: A hydrating mist is perfect for in flight application. Dr. Baxt recommends spraying a couple of pumps onto your face for instant hydration. It also feels great and helps cool you down if you're on a warm airplane.

Skip the Salty Snacks: Airport food is not very skin-friendly. “While peanuts and pretzels may look delicious, salt can cause swelling,” warns Dr. Baxt. “Instead, snack on fruits and vegetables like carrots and apples, which are filled with water.”

It’s Time to Takeoff...Your Makeup: If you wear makeup, keep it to a minimum on the flight. “Airplane air is dry and can exacerbate your makeup's drying-out effects on your skin can which can lead to breakouts and your pores becoming clogged on the flight,” says Dr. Baxt. “Opt for tinted moisturizer if you cannot bear not having any make-up on; and use lip balm in lieu of lipstick as the cabin air is dry lips tends to feel a little dryer while on the flight.”

Puffy Eyes: Jet lag always shows through your skin but mostly in the eyes. Lack of sleep due to possible time changes can have you looking sleepy and puffy. Don’t forget to stash an eye cream that contains caffeine for that quick “pick-me-up” if needed. Another option? “Carry green tea bags with you on the plane,” says Dr. Baxt. “A half hour before landing, ask the flight attendant for hot water and soak a few minutes. Add ice to cool down the bags, and apply cool green tea bags to your eyelids before landing. The green tea has antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to decrease puffiness so you'll look your best when you land.”

Your Travel Beauty Bag - What to Pack: With the ever-changing airline baggage regulations and costly baggage fees, it’s important to have a checklist of the essential skincare products you need when traveling. “If you're headed on a trip, you can't bring every makeup, skincare and hair care product from your bathroom,” says Dr. Baxt. “Plan ahead and pack smart when traveling.”

Weather-Proof Your Skincare Products: Pick and pack skin products based on the climate of your destination. “For snowbirds, when going to a warm, humid destination, pay extra attention to exfoliation in order to reduce the dead skin cells trapped by excess moisture, and pack a cleanser with salicylic acid,” suggests Dr. Baxt. If Aspen or Vail is your destination, it's all about deep moisture when it comes to locations that have low temperatures and high altitudes. “To function properly, the epidermis needs to maintain a certain moisture level; in the winter, low temperatures, low humidity, and strong wind deplete skin of its natural protective barrier, allowing that level to drop,” says Dr. Baxt. And wherever you're going, remember one last tip: sunscreen should be the first thing you throw in your bag.

Hotel Beauty Products: Checking In or Out? People often breakout when they're on vacation, because hotel products are typically made for people with normal to dry skin. In lieu of using hotel toiletries while traveling, consider packing a few key essentials in your travel beauty bag. “Hotel soaps can be very drying and overly scented,” warns Dr. Baxt. “Beware if you have sensitive skin and remember to bring your own toiletries.”
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