Cold temps drying out your skin? I have a recommendation!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When it comes to skin care, I have always believed that simple is better.  There is absolutely no need to have a product with 50 different ingredients added in, especially when most are just fillers, additives, and preservatives.

There's a brand new body cream from (seed) and I am in love.

Like many of you, we have been enjoying some sub zero temperatures, high winds, and bone chilling dry air. This weather is great for hair that is full of static, chapped lips, and parched skin.  My husband's skin is so dry from shoveling and scraping ice off the cars that his skin is cracking. I should have said, "It was cracking."

My own skin, which is pretty dry as it is, is taking a beating this winter. As you know, I am really faithful to my skin care regimen. Even those of us who give our skin that extra TLC can face the side effects of this weather.

I do not use body care products with aritificial fragrance. They irritate my skin and my allergies, plus there's nothing good in artificial fragrance ingredients. Finding a rich, indulgent body cream to nourish the skin without fragrance can be hard.

For me, the ideal body cream needs to meet the following:

  • Must be free of synthetic fragrance
  • Must be paraben free & formaldehyde-releasers
  • Must be phthalate free & petrochemical free
  • Must be cruelty free
  • Must be affordable
  • Must be gentle enough to share with my children
  • Must absorb into my skin without feeling sticky
  • Must not leave a greasy residue 
  • Must make my skin feel soft and smooth
  • Must make my condition feel in better condition than it did before applying
  • Must leave my skin feeling hydrated for several hours

The brand new Fragrance Free Body Cream from (seed) meets my criteria and more.  The packaging is lovely and generous.  It comes in a large, 8 ounce jar. The cream has no odor and is something my boys and husband like to use as well. The cream is very rich, like a body butter.  It massages beautifully into my skin and leaves my skin looking and feeling healthy and soft.

What are the ingredients?  Let's take a look:

Water (Aqua), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Emulsifying Wax NF, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Stearic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea) Extract, Glycerin, Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Tapioca Starch, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract

A Chic & Green approved ingredients list!

My skin itches in the winter when it is so dry.  A habit I have in unknowingly scratching the itchy arms and legs I sometimes get during the night. The problem is gone, as my skin is truly hydrated. I apply this on its own at bedtime.  After a shower, I spritz on (seed) Fragrance Free Body Oil and then layer the cream over it.  It keeps my skin silky all day and evening.

You can find many (seed) Body Care products at your local Wegmans, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Duane Reade, and other retailers.  If you are in the southeast, (seed) just recently launched in Publix.

The Fragrance Free Body Cream, though, is brand new and ONLY available online in the (seed) Market. Do check it out. A jar of cream retails for just $12 for 8 ounces.

*Disclosure: I  ordered & paid for this product on my own.  I do some freelance blogging and social media for (seed), but this in no way has impacted the outcome of this review.

It Cosmetics: High Quality, Better for You Beauty

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I am making changes in 2014. I have worn some shade of plum-raisin lipstick forever. Way back in prehistoric times (before I had kids), I was ALWAYS trying new colors. New colors on the eyes, cheeks, lips... I would wear red lips, a bold fuschia--even the dreadful Estee Lauder Frosted Apricot when I was required to wear it when it was the selected lippie in the semi-annual GWP.

I never was one to fall into a rut. And then I discovered Estee Lauder Futurist Lipstick in Divine Wine.

I loved it....and then it was discontinued around the time I started learning more and more about the ingredients in skin care and cosmetics and their impact on health.

I found close replacements from other brands. Silk Naturals had a lippie I adored called Captivate. I have been wearing it several days a week for a a long time. Summer broke things up a bit when I was on my Jane Iredale Beach Plum kick.  Fall and winter came and I went back to the rich plummy hues, especially Jane Iredale Pure Moist Lipstick in Hannah and Red Apple Lipstick in Swoon.

I was in a rut. I have promised to change things up. Each time I get a new lipstick or lip gloss or reach for one in my makeup case, it has to be a non plummy-raisin hue.

In going through some of the loot I have received from companies, I rediscovered a lip gloss and am so happy to have found it once again: It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss in a shade called Naturally Pretty.

I love the texture and longevity of this gloss, especially when worn over the It Cosmetics YLBB Your Lips But Better Waterproof Lip Liner Stain in Buff Nude. I am NOT a lip liner kind of girl. In fact, I stopped using them on clients when I was doing makeup back in the late 1990s. HOWEVER, this one works. It is a very subtle nude. I color in the entire lip and apply the gloss over it. That way it lasts for several hours.

I have used many, many lip glosses over the years. I really think--even though it is a splurge at $24-- that the It Cosmetics gloss is a step above the others. It contains argan oil, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid to really help combat dry lips while adding rich, long-lasting color.

I rate these products from It Cosmetics an A+. I really do adore their products!  In fact, I did my makeup with It Cosmetics products in this pic below--

What I am wearing:

Celebration Foundation Exclusive Set (I wear Fair now, but in the summer use the Light Medium shade)

Pretty in Amber Luxe High Performance Collection (which includes shadow, eye shadow brush, and mascara)

Vitality Face Disc  (I sweep a large kabuki brush over all 3 shades)

Shop Local: Blue Honey Jewelry

Monday, January 20, 2014

We have so much local talent here in Rochester.  I love the fact that we have such an artsy community.

My friend Stephanie recently told me about her friend, Julie Rodda, the woman behind  Blue Honey Jewelry.

Blue Honey Jewelry can be found online on Etsy at select local shops. Julie, a Webster native,  uses vintage elements such as buttons, Swarovski crystals, feathers, sari silks, Frozen Charlottes and more. The results of her creativity and passion show -- her pieces are truly one of a kind, boutique style works of art.

A sampling....

I absolutely love these earrings! They are exquisite and would be perfect for Valentine's Day -- or any day!

I love skeleton keys. When I was making jewelry, I used them often in my necklace designs and I just love the vintage vibe. This hair pin set is perfect for your retro date night hair 'do and will add a touch of vintage charm.

My friend Elizabeth has a pixie and she wears funky hair accessories really well and makes them look fabulous. Adorn your pixie (or any cut!) with this beautiful headband.

OK. I am drawn to all of Julie's creations, but I personally feel her niche is her talent at creating AMAZING iPhone cases out of vintage elements. These are true works of art. Yes, these are splurge items, but let's look at it this way--how many of you have your smartphones at your side all day, everyday. Most of you. It's another accessory. You use it always, so you might as well glam it up!
The Dreamy Dragonfly with Swarovski crystals case is my favorite.

Thank you to Stephanie for telling me about Julie and Blue Honey Jewelry! By the way, Stephanie is my friend and all-star Tastefully Simple consultant. Check out her website! If you place an order, select "Karley Mott" as your party hostess!

Etsy Love: Hearts, Hearts & More Hearts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I love hearts. I always have. To me, hearts represent love, hope, and a sense of connection. That's why I have my Mary Engelbreit Valentine's flag hanging out front and my red, fuchsia, and purple Valentine's wreaths on the doors.

I "like" a page on Facbook that is the business page for Sakatah Colors, a shop on Etsy. I was going through my newsfeed this morning and some of her latest creations appeared, one of them boot cuffs with a heart design. That's what inspired my heart post for the day. And guess what? I haven't done an Etsy Love post in ages and it reminded me how much fun I have scouring the website. If I can find some extra time, I promise to make it a regular feature once again.

About these Etsy beautiful finds--

I absolutely ADORE the boot cuffs for little girls. I wish they came in a big girl size, because I would buy them to top my black boots when I wear my grey leggings. Made by Sakatah Colors. ($15)

I wear earrings daily. About 360 of those days each year are spent wearing dangle earrings. I love the red heart dangles from Madd Dogg of Tomorrow. ($17)

I am always on the hunt for bracelets to layer with my Alex and Ani bangles. The red cuff bracelet from rinnK Designs would be perfect for this purpose! ($22)

Keep your hands warm with the super soft felted heart gloves from Yastikizi. ($34)

I am the lone girl in a house of guys. Even our troublemaker of a dog is a guy. Every now and then I like to add a bit of sparkle to the home when I can sneak it in. The pillow cover from  Amore Beaute would be perfect on our unisex neutral colored sectional. ($31)

Fresh Squeezed!

Monday, January 13, 2014

I have been in a citrus mood lately!

Citrus scents are cheerful and fresh. Perhaps that is why I used to LOVE Clinique Happy when I was in my twenties. No need to resort to synthetic fragrances when there are so many healthier options!

Let's take a look of my favorites:

3 Girls Holistic has a citrus vanilla fragrance blend that I absolutely adore! First of all, it is in a very generously-sized roll on bottle. Do not laugh, but the fragrance I am enjoying so much is from their 3 Little Girls line and it is called Citrus Parfait Perfume.  It is 100% natural in a grape seed oil base and the fragrance components are vanilla absolute, sweet orange and tangerine essential oils, and bergamot oil. It is fresh, fun, and smells a bit like a creamsicle.

$13 (1 ounce)

100% Pure Blood Orange Body Wash is also all-natural and lathers up all nice and sudsy without harmful sulfates.  It smells SO good and it wakes me up in my morning shower.

$17 (for 17 ounces)

Who says you cannot find budget friendly NATURAL shampoo? This one is lovely. It is NOW Foods Citrus Moisture Shampoo. And it is only 6 bucks for a 16 ounce bottle. No sulfates or parabens and it smells lovely! With ingredients such as strengthening biotin and reparative niacin, your hair will also be treated as it is cleansed.

$6.11 (16 ounces)

You know I am devoted to the Fragrance Free Hand Cream, but as my love of citrus scents is returning, this one is a must-have in my collection. It is (seed) Healthy Hand Cream in Invigorating Citrus.  This 100% natural, gluten-free, vegan hand cream contains shea butter, grape seed oil, aloe vera, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and essential oils of tangering, grapefruit, and lime.

$8 (3.5 ounces)

Antho Beauty Purists has a fantabulously (I know, not a word!) cheerful body cream called Citrus Grove Organic Body Butter.  This organic butter contains Fair Trade Raw Shea Butter, non-GMO vitamin E, lemongrass, bergamot, orange, and more.

$15.95 (4 ounces)

It is nearly impossible to find a natural deodorant that works all day long. They all seem to eventually stop working after a few months. I am using Weleda Natural Citrus Deodorant  right now. Be forewarned--if you have freshly shaved armpits, this will sting like the dickens.

However, I don't need to shave under there much anymore since I've been using the Silk'n Flash & Go Home IPL Hair Removal System (like a laser). This is a spray. The fragrance comes from natural essential oils and it really does work--even when you are working out. No aluminum, no parabens-- and no B.O.!


Peppermint + Lace

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Local readers, if you haven't been to Peppermint at the corner of Park Avenue and Meigs, right across the hall from World Hair, you are missing out!

The owner, Tanvi Asher, is not just a talented fashion designer. She is also my friend. She is suportive of other women, handmade artisans, and she is one of the kindest people I know.

In addition to clothes and shoes, you will find beautiful artisan creations-- from greeting cards to bracelets to bow ties.

~Here are my favorite lace finds in her shop~

Wear this stunning lace dress for Valentine's Day. I absolutely adore the deep scarlet shade.

Oh, Elizabeth W. T. -- did you buy this vest yet? My friend was looking at this one the last time we were at Peppermint together and it is so, so beautiful!


A lined lace dress that comes in at the waist and has pretty cap sleeves. The photo does NOT do this one justice, as it is absolutely stunning in person!

I fell in love with this at my friend Tanvi's boutique and wore it for New Year's Eve with black heels, some dangly earrings and an armful of bracelets.


These cute boots have lace on the sides and in addition to being flirty & romantic, are VEGAN.

Boot socks with a touch of lace

You don't need a boring black top with your skinny jeans this winter! This fun top is anything but your basic black and contains lacy front details.

Reflections on 2013: A Year of Many Changes

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 has come to a close and as we are three days into the New Year, I have so much I'd like to reflect upon.

What a year 2013 was. It was an absolutely AMAZING year for me, both personally and professionally.  It also had some major lows.

My year in review--


I lost 36 pounds in 2013! THIRTY SIX. Wowzas. I did so slowly, healthfully, and in a way that will be maintained. Actually, I still would like to lose 14 more. I can fit into my wedding gown again-- for the first time since we were married 12 years ago.

I will never be "skinny", but I am healthy and I am happy.

Last winter, I gave my body a "reboot" with the Emerald Essentials 7 Day Body Transformation

It was a bit of a change, but it detoxed my body in a way, helped me shed about 7 pounds in a week, and eliminated food cravings. It got me headed on the right path!

.In this time, I also learned how terribly sensitive I am to gluten. I tested negative for Celiac's Disease, but consuming wheat and other forms of gluten must have been the source of my brain "fog", headaches, and bloating. I eliminated those and the symptoms have disappeared! In fact, the only grains I consume are oats. For fiber, I have veggies and flax seed--chia seeds, too.

I switched other sugars for coconut sugar, which is low glycemic, for when I had a recipe with sugar, but for the most part, I do not use any sugar. I will use raw honey.

I use almond flour and coconut flour instead of white or wheat flour, too.

I eat often. Lots of veggies, some fruit, cheese, eggs. I even eat bacon, ladies. 

Coconut oil is a staple.

My blood pressure is stable, my cholesterol under 150. No more hypoglycemia or anemia.

I have had green smoothies since March, too, and they keep me feeling full in the morning.

Did I mention that I exercise six days a week? Yep, that is a BIG part of it. Pilates, workout shows from Hulu, Jillian Michaels DVD, walking, even some r-u-n-n-i-n-g have been a part of this change.

Excuse the mess. I need to empty my laundry bucket and hang my clothes...can I please just put it off one more day?


Well, 2013 was an amazing one professionally.

Because of a situation I will discuss later in this post,  I had to say goodbye to the PR job that was taking most of my time and energy and pare down. I continue my work a few hours a week for (seed) Body Care doing the blog and some consulting. I love the owners and have loved the body care products since the first time I was introduced to them a few years ago. In case you haven't tried (seed), their products are all-natural, affordable and accessible. Locals can buy the line at Wegmans.

I had several beauty articles published in print again in 2013, which is always lovely! 

Late in the summer, I joined  Jamberry Nails pretty much on a whim since I loved the products so much. Who knew that in this short amount of time I would have a team of 13 and be promoted 4 times? I am a Senior Lead Consultant and am loving this incredible opportunity.


I am a good mom. Let me say that and be clear. I do the very best I can and feel that I am raising two really wonderful boys. This year has been hard, though, and I have often second guessed myself.

I don't talk about my kids often on my blog. I mention them, cover major stuff, but believe in keeping much of that aspect of my life private. I want to say this, though, if your GUT as a mom tells you one thing, do NOT allow teachers, administrators, or anyone else tell you that you're wrong.

Mother's intution has wondered about Asperger's for while. Quite a while. Yet, school has a hard time taking concerns seriously when academics are always in the 99th percentile.

We consulted with experts in the field, teachers, and a friend who is a school psychologist of 30+ years and has a keen knowledge of this subject. We didn't give up.

Finally we had someone at school willing to listen--someone who agreed with what we were thinking--and we could FINALLY get that appointment for further testing. At the age of 10, our son was diagnosed with Asperger's. Actually, to be technical, the DSM-5 no longer calls it Asperger's, so the official diagnosis is Mild High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.

This year was also hard and a test of our strength when Nick was bullied (on more than one occasion) at school. He actually was punched in the eye by an older boy in front of his principal. We pulled Nick out from that school and he is being homeschooled until the end of the year. Nick will then be attending a private, independent school. Things are so much better for him and for our entire family since he was removed from that environment.

I am a homeschooling mom? Never in my life would I have predicted that one, but that is what is going on now. And it is great. Nick is thriving. I am learning new things each day as well. We go on field trips, read Newbury Award winners each week, and learn all sorts of interesting things. Could I do this long-term? No. Frankly, no. And I am selfish when I say that, but it is because I do miss my freedom and flexibility. I am doing the right thing for the situation, though, and I wouldn't change things.


I am lucky. I have a great group of friends. I feel truly fortunate. And blessed. 

My friend Kyra was diagnosed with breast cancer in November. Her strength, courage, and determination have made me a better person--she has inspired me to try just a little bit harder, laugh a little bit louder, and love even bigger. Through all of this, we have become truly close friends. I can be me--100% and without a filter--with her. I really do love her. And while we met because of this evil force called cancer, I have met a new dear friend--a kindred spirit and fellow blogger named Audrey. Please do check out Audrey's blog, The Wicked Wit of the West.  

Cherish your friends--old and new. And a message from this mama -- you are NEVER too old to make new friends.


On a lighter note, I ended the year with a new haircut. I have been growing out my pixie since March (when I decided once and for all to be serious about my eating, ironically). It's been hanging in my face, so I decided to get a change. Thank you to the fabulous Nicole Porretta at Ulta across from Eastview Mall in Victor for her skills!

Here is to 2014 -- a healthy, happy year for all of us. I look forward to sharing it with you!  I will try to post here more often than 2013. I miss the daily posts, but with homeschooling and work, it can be difficult.

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