A Flurry of Natural Skincare and Cosmetics :)

I’m sneaking an extra post in this week! This lovely Saturday seems like a nice night to share a flurry of natural skincare and cosmetics. As someone with severe chemical sensitivities, I’ve spent much time in search of truly natural products to use. It was very challenging at first to find any products without harsh chemicals and dyes, but with much time (and a pinch of patience, too), I’ve come to find some truly wonderful brands. I’m so excited to share this post with you, and I hope it helps you in your search 🙂 All of these products are also cruelty free, which is of equal importance in my eyes! I hope you enjoy taking a peak around.

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100% Pure (Made in the USA). This little shop has been such a blessing in my journey. It’s my go-to place to shop! They carry just about every skincare and beauty product you can imagine, and all of their products are completely natural. They’re even dyed with fruit-pigments instead of synthetic dyes! I find them to be a wonderful, wonderful company and I cannot recommend them enough. My favorite facial-care products from them are the Carrot Scrub and the Brightening Night Balm. My favorite make-up items are their lip glazes, cream sticks, and tints (not to mention how cute the packaging is!), Black Tea Mascara, and their Healthy Flawless Skin Powder (which is so soft and light.)

EOS (Made in the USA) is a brand you’ve probably heard of, as they are becoming so popular! They are the creator of the smooth sphere. My favorites are the Blueberry Acai and the Summer Fruit flavors.

Honest Co. (Made in the USA) This is a lovely company founded by Jessica Alba, filled with wonderful natural products from cleaning supplies to personal care. Not only are the products fantastic, but the packaging is adorable! Staying with the theme of this post, my favorite skincare items are the Sweet Orange Vanilla Shampoo + Body Wash, the Sweet Orange Vanilla Conditioner, and the Face + Body Lotion.

Hurraw! Balm (Made in the USA) is my favorite brand for lip products, I must say! They have such wonderful lip balms that are fair trade, to boot! My favorites from them are the Mint, the Vata blend (an Ayurvedic blend for Vata doshas that smells like sweet almond and cardamom), and the Vanilla Bean flavors.

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Indie Lee (Made in the USA) is a truly inspiring woman who overcame a battle with a life-threatening brain tumor. When she learned that environmental toxins likely contributed to her condition, she set out to begin a line of natural products. Her company was one of the very first companies I found in my search, and I’m so glad I did. My favorite product from her was a very gentle bar soap that is currently discontinued, but my next favorite is her Brightening Cleanser that smells deliciously like fresh strawberries! (Her site also has very helpful resources for “Good Ingredients” and “Ingredients to Avoid“)

Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr (Made in Australia) is an incredible line of natural and organic skincare products. A bit on the pricy side, but there are a couple of products I find to be worth the splurge! My favorite products are the Cream Cleanser and the Exfoliating Cream.

Josie Maran Cosmetics (Made in the USA) is a organic line of some considerably harsh-chemical-free products. Josie uses pure, Fair Trade Argan Oil as her signature ingredient, which is grown and harvested responsibly by co-ops of Moroccan women who earn a living wage. She also uses eco-friendly packaging. My favorite product from her is her Argan Matchmaker Serum Foundation. It works more like a tinted moisturizer than a foundation for me, but I like that! It’s very light, soft, and gleaming.

Pacifica Perfume (Made in the USA) This shop is the only place I’ve found that carries fragrances that don’t trouble me. They have some delightful, natural, delicious smelling products! My absolute favorite (and certainly my favorite smelling thing on all this whole list!) is their Hawaiian Ruby Guava body wash, body butter, and perfume.

Tate’s  (Made in the USA ) is another wonderful brand of natural products. My favorite is The Natural Miracle Conditioning Lip Balm.

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For inner beauty, these teas are lovely!

Tea Forte has a line of skincare teas called Skin Smart that are so pleasant. My favorite is the Cherry Marzipan.

The Republic of Tea also has a delicious herbal blend for skincare called Get Gorgeous.

I hope you find this list helpful! Feel welcome to share what your own favorite are! Are there any products missing on here that I should know about? Let me know!

Peace to you,

Rachel

P.S. Always remember to check for coupon codes! They make it all the sweeter 🙂

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10 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference

Hello all! I want to wish you a Merry Christmas full of warm love, bright joy, and the celebration of God’s most precious miracle. The lead up to the holidays has been keeping me so busy that I’ve hardly had time to keep up with writing! This season must be keeping you all so busy, as well! There are so many festivities ahead! I hope you have found peace during this busy time and been able to keep up with the tasks rather than feel drowned by them. Since I have a few plans coming up, I will be taking taking a little break from writing here until January. It has been such a gift to connect with you this year and begin sharing our journeys together. I feel truly blessed to have gotten to know you all more deeply and connect with you in the midst of our struggles. Thank you for being a part of this blog. I am looking forward to posting more here in the upcoming year! Have a beautiful season, dear ones. God bless.

In the spirit of the season of miracles, I think one of the most precious little miracles of all is gratitude. Gratitude certainly changes our perspective, and in the sweetest of ways. Oh, what a breath of fresh air and warm embrace of peace. Gratitude is something I pray we’ll carry with us in our hearts. Something I’ve noticed about gratitude is that the more thankful we are, the more willing we are to give and share freely. There is such freedom to knowing we are cared for! It can be difficult to find ways to volunteer and donate in the midst of severe illness, so I thought I’d share a collection of ten small ways to do so. Like Mother Teresa said, “We cannot do great things on this Earth, only small things with great love.” It’s the small things that make a difference. It’s the small things that whisper hope and joy to aching hearts and lonely days. It’s the small things that build in us a greater compassion, love, and generosity. Let’s live in this today.

  1. Each day, you can support charitable efforts towards hunger, breast cancer, animals, veterans, autism, diabetes, literacy, and the rainforest by clicking the free donation buttons on the Greater Good website! Each time someone clicks, sponsors fund these causes. You can also shop at this site, and each purchase directly funds the cause of your choice (for example, the purchase of one item can fund 25 cups of food). You can visit their website by clicking here.
  2. Freekibble is another great free-donation resource. Each day, they post two questions, one about dogs (at Freekibble) and one about cats (at Freekibblekat). For every person that answers, 10 pieces of kibble are donated (So if you answer both, 20 pieces are donated!)
  3. You can help remind our troops we care by giving them a gift subscription of Guideposts Magazine for $10. Guideposts is filled with inspirational, heartwarming stories 🙂
  4. You can make blankets for local animal shelters or All Girl’s Allowed Baby Blanket Ministry. Some time ago, a girl in one of the chronic illness support groups I’m in created a post about ways to make a difference while sick, and she shared such a sweet idea. She would knit blankets for the beds at local animal shelters. I came across a program for a charity called All Girl’s Allowed that allows volunteers to make and donate blankets to their Baby Shower program. You can click the link above to find out more!
  5. Saeed Abedini is an American pastor who is serving an 8 year sentence in one of Iran’s more brutal prisons for sharing his faith. You can join the international community as they petition his release by signing this petition (here) and follow updates from the ACLJ (here). But one of the the most precious and valuable things to this family is your prayers for him, his family, and the persecuted church during this time.
  6. On the note of the persecuted church, you can purchase 5 New Testament Bibles for $25 through the organization Open Doors for people in the most persecuted and high guarded countries.
  7. Boycott Uggs (and Ugg alternatives). One of my cousins shared a link of Facebook not too long ago about the truth behind Ugg boots. The article explained how inhumane this company is towards sheep, and how while many people mean well by buying knock-off boots, those companies are also inhumanely harvesting other furs. Peta advocates this cause, but if you choose to look into it, I truly and deeply recommend just reading articles and not upsetting yourself by watching videos. You can understand the issue quite well without graphic evidence of the abuse. For this small way to make a big difference, replace fur or leather boots with cruelty-free options.
  8. Use items that aren’t tested on animals. Peta’s Beauty Without Bunnies and Leaping Bunny’s Compassionate Shopping Guide are two great resources to use to find companies that don’t test their products on animals.
  9. Shop fair-trade and items made in your home country. I made a list of Fair-Trade and American-made gifts that you can view here. There are plenty more great places to shop! One of my favorite places to shop is Etsy, a host for handmade shops.
  10. Above all, the greatest way to make a difference is to give our hearts to Christ. The greatest way to share is to allow Him to grow His love, peace, and grace in our hearts in a way that entirely awakens our souls to the beauty of life in Him. It’s through Him that we are moved to love and service. It’s in Him our hope is found. Commit your heart to His love and He will love through you in the most miraculous, exciting, refreshing, brilliantly beautiful way. It’s a joy that cannot be explained, not this side of Heaven anyway 🙂

‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,you were doing it to me!’ ~Matthew 25:34-40 (NLT)

 

A Fair Trade / Made in the USA Christmas Gift Guide with Plenty of Ideas :)

I decided to sneak another post in this week in the spirit of the season 🙂 I’ve been thinking of some ideas for holiday-themed posts and have been so excited by a few that I just can’t wait to share with you! Since so many of us have started our Christmas shopping, I feel it’s the perfect time to talk about shopping fair-trade and American made. While a little challenging at times, it’s so well worth it. It’s a small way to make a big difference right where you are. Human trafficking is a cause so deeply important to me. The more I learn about it, and hear the stories of those effected, the more drawn I feel to give my heart to this cause in every way I can. One way that I found helpful is by being conscious of the origin of products. This sounds simple, but it can be a challenge in a day and age where so many items are produced overseas in dire working conditions. Years ago, I made the decision to eliminate any products I used that were tested on animals, and replace them with cruelty-free alternatives. PETA uses the term “caring consumer” and advocates cruelty-free products, and it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s so moving to imagine what graceful things would unfold if we were more caring consumers, and this is so true not only for animal rights, but for human rights, too. It can be a little difficult to find products made in the USA or fair-trade approved, but with a little time and patience (and even a little perseverance!), we can do it. This is a great way for you to make a difference no matter how ill you are. You can do it right from home, on your computer, in your bed or on the couch. It’s simple and effective, which are a great pair on an energy-budget 🙂

I made a little gift guide of products that were either made in the USA or are fair trade. Since I know how difficult it can be to find great products that are fair trade right off the bat, I thought it would be helpful to share these finds. Everything on this list is under $50, to make sure you get a great deal. The skincare products and tea are also natural, so they should not irritate chemical sensitivities 🙂 You can view each item by clicking the title beneath each picture. I linked them all so you could find them easily. So please, feel welcome to take a peak. I hope you find something for a loved one or maybe even something little to treat yourself with. Let me know what your favorite items are, and feel free to share any of your own finds! I’d love to hear from you 🙂

(As a small disclaimer, please keep in mind that I’m not advertising these items for personal gain or by request of these companies. It’s just for fun. Thank you!)

Sweet and Sentimental:

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Lisa Leonard Designs – Personalized Christmas Cottage Ornament – $24

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Lisa Leonard Designs – Connected Necklace – $42

{I discovered Lisa Leonard Designs through the website Incourage, and I’m so thankful that I did. Lisa is a jewelry designer that makes lovely and unique jewelry right here in the USA. She also has a fair-trade line. While some items can be a little pricy, you can receive 15% off by signing up to her mailing list, and she sends wonderful deals in her emails all the time! Certainly worth a look.}

Apparel and Swimwear:

For Her

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Modcloth – Seemingly Sew Top in Navy – $27.99

{I sure was amazed by how many items come up by searching “made in USA” on Modcloth. I think you would be, too! Pages and pages of clothing and accessories popped up upon my search. It’s definitely worth taking a peak at 🙂 }

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Fair Indigo – Ethos Paris Organic Pleated Front Fair Trade Dress – $49.99

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Fair Indigo – Pima Cotton Dress – $39.99

{Fair Indigo is a shop that sells fair trade, made in the USA, and environmentally friendly items. A great shop to look around!}

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Rey Swimwear – Holly Swim Top with Removable Cap-Sleeves – $49.99

{I’m sure many of you have seen Jessica Rey’s video, “The Evolution of the Swimsuit”. Rey Swimwear is Jessica’s line of cute, modest, and made in the USA swimsuits. What makes them even more charming is that she names the suits after characters that Audrey Hepburn played. I find that so sweet. This one is named after Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’m not sure if you can see it in this image, but this top has an adorable polka dot trim.}

For Him:

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All American Clothing – T-Shirt with Pocket – $10.99

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All American Clothing – Pull-Over Sweatshirt – $39.99

{All American Clothing is just what it sounds like — a store of all American made clothing!}

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PrAna Men’s Swim Shorts – $40.80

{PrAna is more of an active-wear store with a heart for yoga. If this is your style, you’ll love taking a peak around!}

Jewelry and Accessories:

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White Jasmine Earrings – $29.99

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Novica – Paisley Shoulder Bag – $24.99

{Novica is a shop that sells artisan made products. This site is filled with such lovely trinkets from jewelry to home goods to clothing to candles to decor and everything in between.}

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Fair Indigo – Imagine Jewelry Suga Drops – $25.90

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Dogeared – Sterling Silver Small Heart Earrings – $36

{Dogeared sells made in the USA jewelry. You can also find some of their items at Sevenly}

Yoga and Sports:

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Life Factory Glass Bottle – $22.99

{Life Factory makes BPA/BPS-free and phthalate-free glass water bottles that are manufactured in the USA and Europe. These are a great replacement for plastic water bottles that can be filled with harmful toxins. There are many sizes and colors available for men, women, children, and babies.}

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PrAna MikAyla Top – Poppy Floral – $33

{PrAna is a yoga and fitness company that is very conscious about the origin of their products and who manufactures it. I’ve seen “made in the USA” stamped on every purchase so far, and they do have a Fair Trade Collection.}

Beauty and Skincare:

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100% Pure Mint White Tea Skin Care Gift Set – $35

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100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Lip Glaze – $15 (Completely dye free! These are colored with fruit pigments. Very neat.)

{100% Pure is brimming with natural, made in the USA skincare, body care, and make up. They are truly wonderful.}

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Hurraw! Balm Vanilla Bean Lip Balm – $3.79 (Also available in many other flavors!)

{Hurraw! Balm makes sweet little lip balms with natural, fair trade ingredients right here in the USA. They’re also a beautifully generous and cheerful company that has been unforgettably kind to me.}

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Zoya Nail Polishes – $8-9

{Zoya makes just about every color of nail polish imaginable, and not only color, but every shade, transparency, matte, and sparkle, too! These polishes are toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP free and made in the USA.}

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Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Perfume Roll On – $9.60

{Pacifica makes body soap, lotion, perfume, skincare, make-up, candles, and reed diffusers. They have some delicious scents!}

Notebooks:

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Rifle Paper Co. – Vintage Blossom Notebook Set – $14

{Rifle Paper Co. makes beautiful cards, stationary, notebooks, prints, and other lovely little things in the USA.}

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Night Owl Paper Goods – Peony Springs Jotter – $8

{Night Owl Paper Goods makes cards, notebooks, and even pencils in the USA.}

Tea:

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Republic of Tea – Be Well Red Tea – Get Gorgeous: Tea for Clear Skin: $4.50-10.50

{Be Well Red Teas are a collection of healthy teas. My favorites are Get Gorgeous (for skin), Get Probiotic (for digestive health), and Get Clean (for detox)}

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Tea Forte – Fair-Trade Lychee Coconut Tea – $6-15

{Tea Forte has many delicious fair trade teas! Just search “fair trade” on their website.}

Candles and Home-Good:

Good news! Yankee Candle makes their candles in the USA 🙂

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Pacifica Pillar Candles (shown in medium sized Indian Coconut Nectar) – $8-22

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Novica – Lotus Ode Ceramic Jar – $35.99