Holiday Gift Guide: Aromatherapy Favorites

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I love my essential oils. I regularly use my oils. I have blended with them for years--having been certified in Aromatherapy for 10+ years now. I buy synergistic blends to use in the home. I use my diffuser. That said, there seems to be a growing trend on social media: crazy marketing claims concerning the benefits of aromatherapy.

They are not a cure-all, they are not meant to replace Western medicine. They will not cure cancer, Autism, Alzheimer's or RA. You see these claims daily, though. You will be seeing more on this from me soon in an upcoming magazine feature. Aromatherapy, though, does have many benefits and there is real science to back it up. However, it is best used as a complementary therapy.

If you have an essential oil aficionado in your life, I have some gift ideas for you today!





  • Let me help you out if you are choosing a Custom Blend over at (seed) Body Care. I have been freelancing for (seed) for more than three years and I am excited to have a new project helping customers find their ideal essential oil blends. Email me at mixologist@seedbodycare.com and I will be more than happy to help you out! The Custom Blends line is stellar -- you will find Body Lotion, Body Oil, Lip Oil, and Body Wash in this collection. The products are all naturally plant-based and are vegan, paraben-free, artificial fragrance free, petrochemical free, cruelty free, gluten free, and use an Ecocert preservative.





  • Looking for an aromatherapy stocking stuffer? I am a huge fan of the pre-diluted synergy blends over at Plant Therapy. I use the Pain Relief Blend to help with my carpal tunnel. The Kid Safe Sniffle Stopper blend rubbed under my boys' noses helps with congestion, and I have also found that my older son does really well focusing on his school work with the Kid Safe A+ Attention blend.  




  • If you are an essential oil you will definitely want to consider an oil diffuser. There are so many lovely options available these days. Mine is from Art Naturals and was found right on Amazon. I am extremely happy with this one and it's more aesthetically pleasing than some others.

  • I only purchase my essential oils from Plant Therapy. Try one of their sets, especially if you are new to oils. I trust Plant Therapy. I love how they do not use any wacky medical claims. I also love that the company employs experts in aromatherapy to answer product questions. This is important. Day in and day out, there are some truly unbelievable -- and possibly dangerous -- claims on social media made by reps of essential oil companies. I am not naming names, but if you look up the two brands to which I am referring, you will find articles about lawsuits concerning both companies.



  • FarfalladelaLuna has an exquisite collection of handmade essential oil storage boxes over on Etsy. Do check them out!



  • You can also experience the benefits of aromatherapy by adding oils to a diffuser locket. There are some great ones for gift giving at Scentered Aromatherapy Lockets.



Decleor Aromessence Neroli Serum & Hydrating Night Balm Review

Monday, December 7, 2015

I think I am in love. Shh. Don't tell my hubby.

Just kidding.

But I am in love enough with these facial care products that I recently "broke up" with the serum and night cream I had been using that I believed were irreplaceable. These products are that good.




I have been using the same facial products since May. They are quite lovely. And they worked pretty well for me. Also back in May,  I received a package from Decleor. It was full of luxurious looking products, but I never opened them until about 5 weeks ago because my skin was just fine. It happens each fall -- when the air temps drop and the humidity falls, my skin becomes dry. That is when I remembered that I had just packed the items from Decleor in a moving box (eek, 10 more days till the big day is FINALLY here). I took out the products and am completely blown away with the quality  and the results.

I have not used the BB Cream or the Rose serum yet, but I will unpack those soon and try them out and get back to you with my thoughts.

What I have been using religiously -- Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum and the Aromessence Neroli Essential Night Balm.




Serum Review -- I have long been a fan of facial oils. My first experience with them was when I was a Clarins Counter Manager right after college. I remember that I was not quite 22 and had fairly oily skin. When our visiting exec recommended I try the Lotus Treatment Oil, I was scared. Using an oil on my skin went against everything I had previously been taught. That oil turned my skin around, though, and I was forever convinced that oils can benefit even the oiliest of skin types.

I used to use oils at night. This one says to use in the morning and even I was skeptical about this. What if my makeup slid off? What if it had my looking like an oil slick?

Here is my AM routine:

*Cleanse skin with Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy CoQ10 & Rosehip Cleansing Milk

*Apply Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion Alcohol Free (It has salicylic acid to gently exfoliate too)

*Apply two drops of Decleor Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum

*Wait 5 minutes and apply Bare Minerals Prime Time primer

*Apply It Cosmetics SPF 50 CC Cream (Radiance formula, shade Light) with a Real Techniques Stippling Brush

This facial oil serum absorbs very quickly into the skin and does not leave an oily film or residue behind. I have never had luck with an oil before my makeup, but this one is different. It really leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated without any unpleasant greasiness.

Did I mention the ingredients? They are really top-notch and beneficial to the skin.


  • Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Oil, Linalool, D-Limonene, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral




Night Balm Review -- This is my most favorite product from Decleor. It was the first one that I tried. Let me share my experience. I started using this when my mother was recovering from hip surgery and I was traveling back and forth. My husband was on a business trip in Dallas and the dog had a tummy bug. At the same time, we accepted an offer on our house and had to find another. I was SO stressed, sleeping less than two hours a night, and felt like I was barely functioning. My skin was DULL and I looked as tired as I felt.

I started using the balm on a Wednesday night. I remember -- it felt so wonderful on the skin, immediately quenching the dryness. The dog got me up every hour to take him out and I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror around 3:30. My skin was glowing and looked so refreshed. The results from the balm appeared quickly.

Over time, I have seen a softening of those coupe pesky fine lines that have crept in. My skin tone is even. It is healthy looking.

The trick with this gem of a product? Only add a TINY amount to your fingertip -- I mean less than a size of a pea. Then massage between your finger tips and gently massage into the skin.

Ingredients --

  • Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Coumarin, Farnesol, Geraniol, D-Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol, Linalool.

The Skin Benefits of Corylus Avellana Seed Oil 


You do not often see this one in skincare. What is Corylus avellana? It's common name is European hazel or hazelnut oil and it really is splendid for the skin. It is the #1 ingredient in both of these products. So what are the benefits, exactly?
  • Astringent oil delivers non-greasy hydration to the skin 
  • Quick to absorb
  • Ideal for normal, combination and oily skin types
  • Rich and Vitamins B and E
  • Abundant in flavonoids
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Hydrating and skin balancing

The Skin Benefits of Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli is very special. This essential oil is also very expensive. Why? To yield just one pound of the oil, you need at least one thousand pounds of orange blossoms!

Neroli comes is distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It has myriad skincare benefits.

  • May help improve the appearance of acne scars
  • May help improve skin elasticity
  • Calming and relaxing to sensitive skin

Thoughts on Decleor  


Decleor is a luxurious brand of HIGH QUALITY, effective skincare. It reminds me of a combination of three lines: Tata Harper, Clarins and Suki. In many ways, it marries those three into one ideal collection.

I didn't think I would find myself changing things up so much, but I am so grateful that I gave the products a chance, as they are truly exquisite.

For more details, visit http://www.decleorusa.com/.

Holiday Gift Guide: Blueberry Edition

Friday, December 4, 2015



If you love the scent of blueberries, you absolutely will want to try the Whish Body Blueberry On the Go Travel Set. This adorable set includes TSA-friendly sizes fof their body wash, butter and shaving cream, all in a cute travel bag. $20







Blueberries are potent antioxidants, and you will get your fill in Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask. This facial mask from Lush features blueberries, orange, almond, Irish moss, calamine and chamomile to soothe uber sensitive or irritated skin. $7.95







Blueberries & Cream Rooibos from Tealightful (my consultant is Jarrod Parsons) is a berry-licious drink. It is creamy and sweet without being too sweet and is just delicious on a cold night. $16.50




Blueberry Ale Beer Soap from the Brown Bag Soap Company on Etsy combines Sweet Water Blueberry Wheat Aloe, coconut oil, olive oil and more. I love blueberry beer and you could make a gift basket with blueberry beer, blueberry soap and blueberry candles. Wouldn't that be a fun gift? $5.95


If you are looking for an indulgent gift for the blueberry lover, the Trish McEvoy Home Collection Blueberry Vanilla Scented Candle would make a special gift. $20.50


Holiday Gift Guide: Palette Edition

Thursday, December 3, 2015

There are so many gorgeous eye shadow palettes out there in every price range. it can be hard to know which ones are worth it, though. Some look beautiful, but the actual product is choppy when applying or you may even experience the dreaded eyeshadow fallout.




I am sharing my TEN FAVORITE EYE SHADOW PALETTES -- all are ideal for giving!

Bonus: All of my favorites are paraben free.




If you are looking for the BEST assortment of truly matte shadows, the It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Matte Luxe Transforming Eyeshadow Palette is a must have. This is my most favorite collection of matte colors in any price range and it is a staple. It Cosmetics is in my top 3 favorite brands of cosmetics because the ingredients are great, the packaging is beautiful, and the products actually live up to their claims.  Something unexpected? These can ALL be transformed into a pearl finish if desired. $42

The Venice Enchantment Eye Shadow Palette from Cargo is made of rich golds and wines and comes with an eye pencil in a coordinating shade. $34



Jane Iredale is one of The Beauty Blogger's longtime favorite brands. The ingredients are really stellar, as is the quality -- plus the packaging is truly gift worthy. In the Blink of a Smoky Eye Kit  features a blend of neutrals and colors of the highly pigmented Pure Pressed shadows. $50


Another favorite is the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. Oh, this one is gorgeous. It is a really wonderful palette and the colors, especially the bold sapphire, are simply stunning. I confess-- I am not a big UD shadow fan. I have the Naked Basics palette and do like it, but the larger Naked palettes just aren't the best in terms of quality. I am happy with this one, though. Get it before it is gone! $58




Looking for a kit that includes a bit more AND has absolutely fantabulous ingredients? Then check out the Au Naturale Julie Henderson Glam Eye Palette. It is an incredible value -- regularly $130 for $48.


The Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Collection is a lovely blend of matte and shimmer shades. I love the fact that there is natural cocoa fruit powder in the shadows, which delivers a rich and chocolatey scent. $49



I've had this one for years and it continues to be a night-out favorite. It's from Honeybee Gardens and is the Rock the Smokey Eye Palette. A friendly tip -- this is $29.99 nearly everywhere, except Ulta's website, where you will find it for just $16.99.



The PRO Palette 2  from LORAC is one of the most reached for palettes in my makeup collection. I used it on the brides and bridesmaids for the weddings I did over the summer and it is just one I will always want in my personal stash. Like the other brands features here, this is not the only eye palette from LORAC, but it is by far my favorite from the brand.  $42




What drugstore palette is far superior to the Urban Decay Naked palettes in terms of quality of ingredients AND no fallout (which the Nakeds are notorious for)? Yep, it's the $11 Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Classic Nude Palette. No parabens. No gluten. No artificial fragrance. It's fabulous!


This is a true classic. Laura Mercier never disappoints with her powder shadows and the Eye Artist's Palette is like that Little Black Dress -- this will be an essential in your beauty repertoire. Find it at Sephora. $55

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