Zeep Bath Summer Haul

Ohhh Nellie.

If you are not already aware, I like me m’potions. I like ’em from the drugstore, I like ’em from Nordstrom. I love me some BBW and I love me some Dove. I do not discriminate. If it works as intended, feels good on my skin and (most importantly) smells good – well, sign me UP!

It was only a matter of time before I started my love affair with Zeep (pronounced ‘z-āyp). And one could say our relations began with the Malibu Barbie Sugar Whip I got for Mother’s Day. With notes of “exotic island coconut, juicy white pineapple, and sexy sweet pink sugar”, ummm…how could I resist?

This small, family-owned business based in Wichita, Kansas truly concocts some of the some amazing, cruetly-free, vegan soaps, body care and wax products I’ve tried. I should also state right off the bat, this company has given me exactly nothing. I am just spreading the good word. Very fragrant and clean words. And before I forget, sign up here to get $5 off a purchase of $25 or more (this is a referral link, meaning I get a discount if somebody uses my link).

I placed another order a few weeks ago for a small sampling of items from their summer collection and just had to share this goodness!

I decided to try a smattering of both body care and wax products. And for the first time, I am trying “scoopable” wax for my beloved warmers. They also seem to include a wax sample in every order which is oddly very exciting.

Of course I had to order the Malibu Barbie Body Spray so I could smell like this anytime I want! I am truly addicted and wish they had it in a perfume format so it was a tad longer-lasting. I also love that this spray is safe for to use on your hair!

Next we have the Toes in the Sand Wax Scoop, which as I mentioned, I am stoked to try. This scent is described as, “freshly shucked coconut blended into a rich vanilla crème – you won’t know if you should drink it or ask the pool boy to rub it on your back!” I might have to go back and order this in the body meringue, because they were not lying about wanting to rub this stuff on your back.

I decided I had to try one of their famous body meringues (I mean, meringue?!). I decided to try the Basic Beach scent, which is described as “fresh coconut, creamy vanilla, toasted marshmallow and refreshing sea salt”. Can you tell I love coconut?? This body cream is incredibly thick and contains both mango and shea butter as well as hazelnut oil and aloe vera. While it is a very rich consistency, I do not find it overly greasy or difficult to rub in.

Lastly, we have this single wax melt bar in California Girl, described as “coconut cream, sweet strawberries, toasted marshmallow, and fluffy white cake”. I knew I had to try this when I read the description and oh boy, is this a summer scent! I should have ordered more of this, but alas, there are SO many others I am dying to try.

I should also mention that the wax melt sample they sent in push-pop is absolutely to die for. It is described as “sweet and creamy orange creamsicle mixed with fruity pebbles make an amazing sweet treat”.

Leave me a comment if you go check out their site and tell me what you want to try! And don’t forget to get $5 off with this link if you decide to make a purchase!

IPL Photofacial Progress

Hello beauties!

It has been a few months since I have provided an update on the perils of my skin. There is lots to say, so I am skipping my usual rambling repartee and getting straight to it!

Following my first IPL treatment, I immediately noticed that my dark spots looked significantly more prominent. Apparently this is due to the laser penetrating down to the second layer of skin, bringing the unwanted pigment to the top layer. The technician told me that I may see what looks like coffee grounds left behind and TBH, I felt a little giddy after the first appointment when I noticed this happening.

As a reminder, here is where we left off after my first treatment in March.

The following photos were taken after my second IPL treatment in April. You can see the “coffee-grounds” a tiny bit on the large spot near my temple in the below photo.

I did not have a treatment in May, due to scheduling. But I did go in for a June appointment. Here are the photos 2 days after that treatment:

OK, so I feel like my dark spots and hyperpigmentation are the worst they have ever been! Weeee! Just what I was going for ;). I am really trusting in this “process” and hoping that we will hit a turning point where they start to fade, but so far all I am seeing is the opposite. It is also worth noting that IPL is not recommended with sun exposure, therefore lots of people do it in the fall and winter only. I have decided to keep doing it during the summer since I am indoors 90% of the time and am super diligent about wearing hats and sunscreen outside.

Anyone else going through IPL treatments? If so, drop me a line and let me know how it’s going!

Nobody Warned Me

*Disclaimer: This is a brain-dump post. I am not an expert and do not know what I am doing most of the time. Please take that into consideration.

Nobody warns you that when you get pregnant and start to imagine what kind of a parent you will be, that in all actuality – you have no idea. You might think you know. You might think you will be the parent who will be a nurturer, a disciplinarian, a softy, a co-sleeper, a teacher, etc. etc. You think it is up to you to decide. Well after all these years of being a mom (and step-mom) I am here to report that unfortunately, you do not get a say. You do not get a say in what makes up your primal, ingrained DNA. You do not get a say in how you inherently react, judge situations, and most importantly – feel. It would be so great if we could choose.

I would choose to be a level-headed mom. Super flexible, rolling with the punches and feeling great about each milestone. I would take her growth in stride, marvel at each new independence and applaud our shared progress.

Turns out, I am the anxious, over-thinking, starved-for-attention mom. I am the parent who questions our decision to sleep train on a DAILY basis because I have a daughter who cannot (and has not) ever slept in the same bed as me past infancy. The level-headed mom would relish this fact. What an accomplishment! But I do not relish it. I hate it. I develop canker sores and a suppressed-appetite at how much I hate it (don’t worry I am in therapy). Now, I realize this is not solely due to our decision to sleep train, but my brain has decided it is a major factor.

Turns out, I want the co-dependent relationship where she can only fall asleep next to me. Where she hangs off of me at all hours of the day. Where she cries out for me in new situations and where I get to see the relief in her eyes when I embrace her. When I share this about myself to other parents, I am met with “You do not want a clingy child! It is so hard!”. And absolutely yes, I know the grass is always greener blah blah blah. But when it comes to the relationship I have with Clara, I only get this one shot. I can never know how things would have turned out if we would have made different decisions. There is a HUGE possibility she would have turned out the same – a very independent little gal who is very social and very comfortable in new situations.

Who knows, you know?

Well, this much I know. If the ladder is true and Clara is just who she is and the sleep training thing had nothing to do with her ingrained independence then I am afraid I have bad news. I am pretty sure that you kinda just get the kid you get. Furthermore, I feel that (in some cases anyway) we get a kid that is going to bring out something in us. We sometimes get a kid that really challenges us. For example:

  • You are introverted, but your kid is totally an extrovert.
  • You are a dare-devil, but your kid is super cautious.

You get it.

For me, it would go something like – you want your kid to need you, and they don’t…Man, that hurt to type. And while I know that of course, she needs me (she is only 2.5) she doesn’t need me in the way I want to be needed. Totally on me. End rant. If you struggle or have struggled with anything in this realm, drop me a line. And if you are a parent of grown children and are like, “NO DUH Natalie”, take it easy on me. I’m a first-timer over here.

LOVE ME

Palm Springs – What I’m Packing

We are vaxxed waxed and ready to relax y’all!

OK even I am grossed out by the phrase vaxxed and waxed, but it just felt so apropos for our situation. And while I am fine with being slightly basic, I am certainly not comfortable with going full chueg. And while we are on the subject, I for one am delighted to finally have a term for that shiplap, “gather” sign, chevron print aesthetic je ne sais quoi I was never able to put my finger on. But now? I can walk through Hobby Lobby smirking at the cheugiest-of-the-cheug while I myself select my own, slightly less cheugy (?) renditions.

I digress…<- also cheugy.

Ok I’m done.

Well guys, the fam is headed to Palm Springs in a few days! And since it has been, well, forever since we have been anywhere or gone on a plane I thought I would share some highlights of what we are bringing along.

Of course we will start with swimwear, arguably the most important items for this trip.

Infamous Swim – Mini Poppy Bikini Set in Fairy Floss – ON SALE NOW!

Infamous Swim – Gia Bikini Top/Radar Bikini Bottoms in Fairy Floss – ON SALE NOW!

Guys. I am not one to match with my kid. In fact, this is the first mommy+me matching we have ever participated in together. I always thought it a bit cheesy because really, the adult is never going to look as cute as the kid. However, these matching suits have my heart. Clara squealed when she noticed that they matched and THAT – changes everything.

These swimsuits are maybe the nicest I’ve owned. The materials is thick, yet soft, durable, and very comfortable. I was also really impressed with how they come in handy pouches, perfect for throwing in your bag to store your wet suit!

We will also be taking this amazingly soft toddler bamboo bathrobe from Kyte Baby for Miss Clara to warm up in post-pool play.

And if you’ve never ventured over to Kyte Baby – go go go! They really have theee best things and Clara basically lives in her sleep bag walker.

In terms of clothing for myself, I will of course be bringing a few new new summer things I have accumulated. Among those items are these new shorts from Aerie and a couple of cropped tee shirts from Target.

I will also be taking this dazzling tank top from Sparkle City!

(Pardon the Minnie Mouse tattoo on my arm). This tank top is SUPER high-quality! Forget everything you thought you knew about sequined appliques because this is SO SPARKLY. Pageant-worthy, truly. I die for the cut, the band-tee vibe and subtle nod to America. Cannot wait to don this in PS and on July 4th!

One thing I totally dropped the ball on was ordering myself some prescription sunglasses for this trip. Just did not get my act together in time. Luckily I have these adorable new sunglasses from Pixel Eyewear that are both polarized AND offer blue light protection. They feel so high-quality and I love that David can wear them too #unisex.

For the plane ride, I am so excited to wear these new high-waisted, buttery soft leggings from Amazon, by Fenrici for only $20. Also, excuse the body suit cut into a shirt. READ: Body suits are not made for tall people.

Of course no vacation in 2021 is complete without a mask! Since we will have to wear these for several hours in the airport + while on the plane, I am very excited to have two new anti-acne face masks. I am also excited due to the fact that I have been battling some pesky breakouts on my chin recently!

This two-pack comes in light blue and black, offers UV protection, absorbs surface moisture quickly, helps soothe inflamed skin and is super soft!

Now onto the beauty items! I really have not been wearing too much makeup lately (as evidenced in most of these photos), but have been trying out lots of new skin and body care. Here is what I am bringing along:

Of course, sunscreen! I plan to slather it on the whole time we are there and am so happy to have discovered this kind from Earth Baby for Clara.

One thing I hate about so many of those all-natural sunscreens is how white they are, and how it does not rub in! I usually have .0000432 seconds to get sunscreen on her and am so thankful when the task is made easier. This stuff is great because while it is natural, it rubs in SO smoothly and smells really nice.

We are also bringing a vat of hand sanitizer and I plan to throw this bottle of EcoFreaks in my checked bag so we’re well stocked for the week.

This stuff is a nice reprieve from the super scented versions that can leave hands feeling dry. This version is non-scented and contains aloe for added moisture.

Another new item I will be bringing along is this all-natural deodorant I have been trying from mindalt.

First of all, this deodorant smells amazing. Like nothing else I’ve ever smelled before. And I am not going to lie, switching from regular to all-natural deodorant is no task for the faint of heart. There is a definite “detox” period and several moments where extra wetness have become commonplace. What I love about the mindalt deodorant compared to other all-natural versions I have tried, is the strong scent. It seems to really overpower any foul odors and the scent is just so damn nice and calming. They also have a formula to suit any mood – including “more energy” and “more mindful”.

Another item I will be throwing in the ol’ toiletry bag are these self-tanning drops from Tanologist. I love that they mix right in with any lotion and I find that only a couple drops of the “dark” shade provides a nice sun-kissed look, rather than the harshness that a straight-up self-tanner can provide.

I have also been in hot pursuit of some concealer for my face that contains some sort of blemish treatment. I am telling you, these pesky chin zits are driving me crazy. And guys, I think I found my new holy grail.

The August + Monroe 3-in-1 Camouflage is ground-breaking.

I am so thrilled I found this stuff! It is from a clean brand, featuring aloe, arnica, squalane, salicylic acid and vitamin C. The formula is color-adjusting which I have never been a huge fan of, TBH. It starts out white and darkens to skin-tone as you work it in. I was nervous at first, but the coverage is amazing AND it does not feel like concealer at all. See below for some before and afters!

BEFORE
AFTER

No filters! Promise.

In terms of face makeup, I am keeping things pretty simple and bringing along this Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer that I received via Influenster. I love that it provides a nice level of coverage, while also containing SPF.

I swear, I have gotten to try some of the nicest things just by joining Influenster – and it really is totally and completely free. They also do not spam you with a bunch of emails. If you have a ton of Facebook friends, or Instagram followers – sign up here! You fill out a profile with your likes and they send you free stuff. It is amazing. (This is a referral link that I earn “points” for).

And that concludes the most exciting things I will be bringing along with us. What are some of your must-haves for travel?

*Some of the items above were sent to me complimentary for review. All opinions are my own.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Hear ye! Hear ye!

Mother’s Day is upon us.

Let us celebrate and buy stuff! But Moms are just SO worth it, aren’t they? And when I say “moms” I mean allllll the moms. We’ve got hot-mess moms, competitive moms, helicopters, granolas. We all know a few of each. But ALSO – we have the step-moms, foster moms, fur-moms, non-binary moms, moms who have lost, mother earth. There are so many moms and all are equally important!

Here are some gift ideas for that special mom, or mother figure in your life.

Zeep Bath

Ok guys, I may have found my new Lush. Zeep Bath is a small, family-owned business located in Wichita, Kansas. I found out about them on Instagram and was immediately drawn in by the cuteness of the products and just overall aesthetic. I meannnn….

They carry both bath & body products and home fragrance (which I have yet to try) in absolutely scrumptious scents. David ordered me their Sugar Whip (whipped soap + sugar scrub) a couple weeks ago for our anniversary and GUYS, I am hooked.

Their Malibu Barbie scent is described as “exotic island coconut, juicy white pineapple, and sexy sweet pink sugar”. After using it one time, David said I smelled like a “Hawaiian tropic girl” (ala Dumb and Dumber, I am guessing) and the scent lingered for hours. I am now ordering the body spray and whipped soap in Malibu Barbie because I want to smell like this 24/7. It shall be my new signature scent!

Zeep also has a referral program, which I happily joined. Use this link for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more!

*Also, this company did not send me anything, nor is this sponsored.

Bunnies by the Bay

Bunnies by the Bay is a Washington-based company that sells some of the sweetest, most high-quality stuffies, lovies and baby gifts you will find. The best part is that several of their stuffies come with a backstory! If you or your kiddos love Peter Rabbit, you will absolutely love Bunnies by the Bay! I was immediately drawn to one of their signature bunnies, Blossom of Cricket Island and knew Clara would love it.

I am getting side-tracked, this is a MOTHER’S DAY gift guide!

When I saw their adorable Blossom Bunny mommy & me face masks, I knew what a sweet mother’s day gift they would make!

First of all – the PACKAGING:

No detail is overlooked when it comes to their adorable packaging. Clara and I were squealing at how cute everything came. And the look on her face when she pulled out little Blossom, just says it all!

But these mommy and me face masks?! I DIE.

Here is E, modeling the kid mask:

And yours truly in the adult version:

For get $10 your first purchase at Bunnies by the Bay, click here!

Bombay Hair Curling Wand

Perfect for the lady who desperately needs to upgrade her hair-tools game, look no further than Bombay Hair. I have never invested in nice hair tools, and have been using the same teeny tiny Conair curling wand for years now.

Enter – the Bombay 32MM curling wand.

I meannn, just check out the gorgeous packaging!

This extended wand is 100% tourmaline and features a cool tip which helps with styling burns. You also get a little stand and heat protectant glove.

The best part about this curling wand? It heats up in literally 10 SECONDS! You can select an exact temperature and the LCD screen turns from blue to green when it is ready to go.

Check out these amazing curls, that seriously last ALL DAY.

And here is a video of me using the curling wand! Be warned, I am verrrry professional at this:

Dossier Fragrances

YOU GUYS. This company basically makes designed imposter (remember those millenials?!) fragrances, but like bougie. I discovered them on Instagram after trying to find a knock-off of my most coveted perfume of all time, Le Labo Rose 31. I have wanted this perfume for probably 10 years and realized I needed to somehow make it a reality.

Then I stumbled upon Dossier’s Floral Rose.

They also have versions of everything from Le Labo, to Jo Malone, to Chanel, YSL and Tom Ford. And they only cost $29 or $39!

The glass bottle is actually quite weighty and feels expensive. But the scent?! I was BLOWN away! This smells exactly like Rose 31…it is almost uncanny. I do not think the lasting power is quite as good as the Le Labo version but for $39 I will take it!

I have been dousing myself in this everyday and could not be happier.

Elise Design Company

Christa was kind enough to send me a few pairs of the gorgeous and unique Belle Stud handmade earrings to try and I am absolutely gaga for these.

These earrings are made of acrylic, are lightweight and make a statement while still being dainty. Also, they’re only $15 and they have free shipping!

I could not get E to take off the rose gold version, she just adores them.

I die for these black and gold ones! And ignore my dark spots…they’re a work in progress.

So impressed with the quality of these earrings from this small business. Totally want to get the initial necklace next, which would also make an amazing mother’s day gift!

The Great Oregon Wine Company

Doesn’t wine always make the easiest and best gift? I recently tried this Pinot Gris from Great Oregon Wine Company and it was love at first sip.

I am no wino, but this went down very nicely and was super bright and refreshing. And also – May is Oregon Wine Month! You can get $10 flat-rate shipping on 4 bottles or more right now! Go get you some.

Crocs

Yes, I am including Crocs. Mainly because I actually want some for Mother’s Day. They are ugly, yes. But in a cute way. I just feel like by me not owning Crocs, I am doing myself a disservice. PLUS, I actually think they are kinda cool right now. As in, I see cool people wearing them from time to time.

You can get them on Amazon Prime and they will be here by tomorrow. What’s not to love?

And that will conclude my list for now friends. Have a fabulous mother’s day!

Checking In

Today I thought I might provide a check-in of sorts. There is so much happening right now, with spring being well underway, summer plans being made and the possibility of the world opening back up looming. This is where I am at, in Portland Oregon, right now.

So – vaccinations! I find every social interaction as of late must begin with the obligatory vaccine catch-up. “Did you get your first shot?”, “How did you get an appointment?!” “Pfizer, Moderna or J&J?” We talk about the complexities of getting an appointment, the side effects, the new Brazilian and British covid strains. We are beginning to hug our grandparents, see friends inside and officially stop wiping down our groceries (although WE only did this for about a week). Is there a REAL possibility that we will be inside public places with other people, not wearing masks and (horror of horrors) not social distancing??!

Returning to our places of work, to restaurants and stores, to concerts and arenas and Chuck-E-Cheese. It has me feeling some kind of way. On one hand, I am elated to throw it back to 2019. To waltz into a crowded Goodwill, sans-mask, footloose and fancy free. Breathing in the mixture of must, body odor and Jean Nate, unadulterated. I am excited to see the look on my daughter’s faces when they get to interact with their peers again. And the way my husband’s eyes will sparkle when he comes home from playing basketball. I cannot wait to share that morning cup of joe with my coworkers again. All of these things give me happiness to no end.

But also – there’s this: I am an ambivert. Or, as I like to call it an introverted-extrovert. I like a variety in life. But the past year has really thwarted that extroverted side of me. I have settled into my quarantine nest and the routines that go with it. And even though there have definitely been exceptions, I have loved being around my family everyday. I also finally found joggers in tall sizes (Old Navy!). The introvert in me has been thrust into the spotlight. She has gotten used to it. It has become homey and warm.

We have all gotten used to certain things, haven’t we? To the awkward “covid shuffle” around the grocery store, trying to keep a gap between us. To the absence of invitations to parties, game nights and play dates. To air high fives and chest bumps. I have gotten used to the glares in the park we sometimes get when Clara is not wearing a mask. Or the dirty looks from others when she is. I am ready to wave goodbye to these things, but not to others.

I am not ready to drop Clara off at day care again. To miss the sticky hugs I get each morning after her morning waffles, or witnessing the sheer pride she exudes from completed the whole alphabet puzzle. I am not ready to only see my husband between the hours of 7:30 to 10:30 pm on weeknights. I am not ready to say goodbye to my cozy work-from-home spaces, complete with a dog on my lap and no makeup on my face. Most of all, I am not ready to say goodbye to the calm of a more simplified life.

Can we keep all the good, but not the bad? Can we all continue to stay home when we are feeling sick? And wear a mask if we are feeling sick, but need to go out? Can we work from home when we need to, without feeling guilty? Can we tell people no if we’re not feeling it, without making 1,000 excuses? I feel like there is so much we have all learned about ourselves over this past year.

What have you learned? What do you hope our post covid world looks like?

Self Care Products Round-Up

Well we’ve been stuck inside for a year now!

Remember how back in March 2020, we were all like, “Did you hear that this might last until May!?”. Or in June when we were like, “Oh it has to be over by the holidays!”. For me, the cute quarantine-themed songs to the tune of Katy Perry hits are met with a deadpan gaze. The funny covid memes and hopeful quotes are just scribblings, words on a page. I know we’re at the “end” of all this with vaccinations on the uptick and cases decreasing but man has it taken a toll. To say anything else would be a lie.

Several things have pulled us through this. For me, it’s my husband, Grandma Lisa and Aunt Sandi, Liberty Creek Pinot Grigio, my cute daughters and a healthy dose a’self curr.

Today I bring you some new (to me) products that have helped me. Mind, body and soul. Or should I say hair, face and body?

T0112 Sea Salt Serum

I have been using this spray serum for a few weeks now and I think I am in love. This stuff is packed with, you guessed it – sea salt, but also jojoba seed, argan and tamanu oil. The sea salt provides that realistic beachy texture but the oils add a wonderful dose of moisture. I find that SO many sea salt hair products are very drying. This stuff is actually hydrating! What an amazing product.

FactorFive Skincare

I have been using these three mini-sized products for about a month now and am seeing some beautiful results. FactorFive uses ethically derived human stem cells that work to replenish the skin at a cellular level. All of these products are non-scented and apply very nicely to the skin. I have loved using these while I go through the IPL laser treatments. Read more about that here! I feel they have aided the cell turnover process and provided necessary nourishment my skin needs.

Ecoslay Hair Products

Ecoslay is a small, vegan, 100% homemade hair care company with products so fresh, several have to be refrigerated!  You all know I suffer from a dry scalp, and the Peppermint Schnapps hair wash provides a invigorating scalp experience like none other. Next I applied their thick and rich Banana Cream and left it on a solid 5-10 minutes. This stuff seriously coats each strand with a thick layer of moisture and I loved the look and feel of my hair as I rinsed it out.

I have been using the Moonshine Hair & Body Oil on my dry heels and it has really been making a difference!

Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick

I have been using this concentrated eye balm for a couple of months now, once or twice a week. I ordered mine from Sephora but it is available for 15% off on their website! I wanted to try due to the stellar reviews and so far I have noticed a diminished appearance of my crows feet!

La Parea Ecuadorian Rose Candle

You all KNOW I can get down with a candle. They really make a break a day for me. You might also know that I am super fond of anything rose-scented. This candle is probably the truest rose-scented item I have ever encountered. It really does smell like you stuck your face into a bouquet of luscious, fresh roses. The candle burned evenly and the wick performed like a champ. I highly recommend this one, but am anxious to try some their others like Beach Day!

Country Bathhouse Body & Home

YOU GUYS. These are huge, donut-shaped bath bombs that smell like cotton candy!! I am so beyond impressed with both the size and quality of these products.

These bath bombs use a certified organic goats milk soap base, are non-staining and hypo-allergenic. I am totally in love!

They also make a whipped soap + shaving cream in a Love Spell scent that I am dying to try! I MEAN, just look at this stuff:

Maybelline Sky High Mascara 

Finding this mascara was the highlight of my day! It has blown up due to TikTok and I was stoked to try it out. While it definitely is nowhere near the best drugstore mascara out there, it is super lengthening.

Dr. Teal’s Shea Butter & Almond Oil Epsom Salt

Ok guys, this might be my new favorite from Dr. Teal’s. I really love the coconut epsom salts, but this kind was SO wonderfully moisturizing! Also I am obsessed with the scent – very comforting and rich.

All for now – Leave a comment with your favorite self care products!