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.”

Destination Beauty: Nikki Hynek Dollup Case is the Best Traveling Companion

As you may already know, traveling can be an arduous task for many beauty lovers at times. It normally requires a lot of editing when just wanting go for a day or evening jaunt at your destination. That's why the Nikki Hynek Dollup Case ($52; Available in California Blue, Jetset Black, Sunset Pink, and Sandy Nude) makes the best traveling companion!

The Nikki Hynek Dollup Case doubles as a makeup organizer and clutch, meriting a permanent place with every beauty lover on-the-go since they no longer have to sacrifice their beauty essentials while on vacation. Not only is it an ingenious way to stay organized during your travels, but you can keep your top makeup essentials in place at home! You also don't have to worry about the inconvenience of makeup potentially dirtying up your purse, getting scattered or broken. The exterior is meticulously crafted with premium synthetic leather that is designed to resemble the appearance of textured leather. The interior features a customizable magnetic palette, elastic holding bands and an interior drop-down mirror for you to get dolled or touched up while you flit from one destination to the other!

The idea for the Dollup case was birthed on a particularly ordinary day in January 2013 to makeup artist extraordinaire and aesthetician Nikki Hynek. As a self-described beauty junky, Nikki was sifting through her gads of makeup one morning as she was getting ready for work and couldn't find what she was looking for. As always, she did her makeup 'on the run' and had to sprint out of the house with a handbag full of makeup, but spending most of her time searching instead of applying! By the end of her commute, she had a full understanding of what the perfect cosmetic case would look like and it was then, right then, that the Dollup Case was born.












Connect with Dollup Beauty







This post was created in partnership with Nikki Hynek. I have been compensated and/or given product for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pevonia Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream

This post was created in partnership with Pevonia. I have been compensated and/or given product for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.



I know that has been awhile since I first introduced the Pevonia Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream ($159). I also received two other products from the Stem Cell Phyto-Elite line, including the Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Serum ($159) and Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cleanser ($43.50). I normally don't like to weigh my opinion right off the bat on skin care products since experience has taught me that they're not overnight miracle workers (even the best of them!), hence the long wait! Some skin care products may take weeks, or even months before there's a noticeable difference in the skin.



The Stem Cell Phyto-Elite line is designed for mature skin, but it's also ideal for those who want to use it as a preventive. I fall into the latter category. I get apprehensive at times about using anti-aging skincare products that I've never used before, considering how unpredictable my skin can be. There are some days that it's dry, while other days it is out of control: oily and acne prone. Then there are the days that my skin is seemingly perfect, with a blemish not in sight!

The Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream is formulated to brighten, protect, hydrate, and rejuvenate the skin. I started using it in conjunction with the Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Serum and Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cleanser, yet had to stop using both of those products since I started experiencing painful, red pimples around my neckline and cheeks. Camouflaging it with foundation made it much worse. Although the breakout was a bit embarrassing, I had to wing it out and go foundation-free for my skin to heal. The woes of having sensitive, acne-prone skin! I was able to continue the Pevonia Stem Cells Phyto-Elite Cream without any major issues, but I did start using it every other day to avoid my skin spiraling out of control. Overall, I was pleased with the cream. It gave my skin the balance it needed, plus it made my face feel so soft that it felt like my skin had reversed 10 years in softness.

Sign up to be part of the Pevonia Life Advocate Experience to learn more about their products. It's also a good way to accumulate rewards and samples!



How to Be Naturally Beautiful



Making the switch to vegan cosmetics, just like adopting a vegan diet, can be initially very labor intensive, but the outcome will reward all your hard work. You will look better, feel better, and know you’ve made good decisions for our animal friends.

The best place to start is to do your homework. Regardless of how you feel about their practices, the PETA website has two great resources to help you start off; a list of cruelty-free companies and an extensive list of animal-based ingredients, with some alternatives. From those two lists, you can check your favorite brands’ ingredient listing to make a judgment call about whether you want to keep using it, or you can research new makeup favorites with the cruelty-free list. This may seem daunting at first, as modern cosmetics can contain dozens of complex and not immediately identifiable components. The internet has made such research fairly easy, if a little time consuming, but once you have begun to identify the more common problematic ingredients you’ll be able to make decisions much faster. While you’re researching animal ingredients to avoid, you can simultaneously look out for synthetic ingredients that you may want to avoid; diazolidinyl urea, for example, is a lab-made preservative commonly found in cosmetics and skin care products. It is a common allergen and can be hard on sensitive skin.



The other approach is much more fun, but considerably harder on your wallet, and that is to ditch anything you’re currently unsure of a start fresh with companies you know are vegan or cruelty-free. Once again there are a couple of good resources online; the PETA list, a similar recent list from Sephora, and the Google search for ‘best vegan cosmetics’ top result: tarte cosmetics. The Sephora list is very extensive, it lists companies according to their animal testing stance, vegan adherence and even gluten content. Another good list is from cruelty-free organization Leaping Bunny, whose adorable bunny in motion logo can be seen on companies certified cruelty-free. Lastly, if you want to just dive in and start checking out products, the aforementioned tarte cosmetics has a shop page dedicated to its vegan line, which is a really great place to start!
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