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As a skincare junkie, there’s nothing more that excites me than finding incredible skincare products. Enter Jeffrey James Botanicals. A California based company who was founded by former football player Jeffrey James – yep,I know right! As an athlete, Jeffrey was fascinated by how to  the body worked but it wasn’t until his father was diagnosed with skin cancer that his focus turned to the skin and providing your skin with the best organic, natural ingredients possible.

One of my favorite things about J2 is that there’s no guessing as to which products from their line will work for you. The whole idea was to create products that not only were good for you but were effective for every skin type. There are 12 products in the entire line and I’ve tried 8 of them – the wash, the toner, the exfoliant, the serum, the light, the glow, the creme and the gift. There’s a serious obsession here hence why I decided to dedicate a whole blog post to it. Another thing I love is the glass packaging which gives it a very simple lux feel. I’m a sucker for pretty packaging, especially glass bottles since you can reuse them! Though I love all the products I used, today I want to talk about my absolute favorites. Before I start, here’s a little info on my skin, it’s combination (oily in the T-zone and drier/normal on the cheeks) acne prone as well and it tends to dehydrate pretty easily. Now let’s talk about the products:

The Wash

This is the only cleanser in the line. It’s a gentle sulfate free gel that does not dry you out.  It’s formulated with a blend of organic essential oils, organic aloe vera and ocean minerals which help to gently exfoliate. It also contains methysulfonymethane or MSM which is organic sulfur that aids in wound healing and repairing skin tissue.  It cleanses really well including every trace of makeup. The only exception is don’t use it near the eyes because it stings due to the ocean minerals.

The Toner

The use of toners is a question I get asked often from my clients. Are they necessary? what do they do? I’ve written a post about it here, if you’d like to know more. This toner is one of my favorite toners up to date because it’s one of the few toners I’ve used that actually make a big difference in my skin . It contains MSM, vitamin C – an amazing antioxidant, colloidal silver and geranium oil which has anti-microbial properties. Really love this stuff!

The Serum

This is the mother of all hydrating serums and I’ve tried a fair share of them. It contains 50% hyaluronic acid. Yes 50%! Hyaluronic acid is the best for keeping skin hydrated and supple and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a product with such a large percentage of it before.

The Light

This age defying vitamin c serum feels so luxurious when applying. Because it’s made with argan stem cells it has a slippy feel to it but in a good way minus the oiliness.

The Glow

I’m a big fan of oils in general and this one is just absolutely lovely. The name says it all – it really does make you glow, even after the first use. I love the lemony green scent from the geranium essential oil. Jojoba oil which is very similar to our own skin’s natural oil makes it perfect for hydration (especially if you have dehydrated skin) without clogging your pores. It’s the perfect everyday oil and it has easily become a favorite. Quick tip: I also mix one to two drops of the glow and the serum before applying. Makes a great combo!

 

Have you tried J2 Botanicals? Please share in the comments! 🙂

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Happy Weekend everyone! Hope yours is off to a great start! I’ll be off at work today and later on we’re having dinner to celebrate Carlos’ sister’s birthday. Should be lots of fun! Sunday is still up in the air which is totally fine by me – sometimes it’s great not having any plans and just taking things slow on my day off. What do you guys have planned? Whatever it is, I hope it’s great and just what you need.

 

1. 4 Real Women Spill Their Secret On Getting Raises – Such great tips and yes to girl power!

2. This Grain Free Granola is Nuts. Literally – Since experimenting with the grain free diet,  I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting in the kitchen. This grain free granola looks pretty simple to make and sounds delicious so it’s going on my list of things to cook up. Can’t wait! More on my decision to go paleo and my experience with it so far to come soon.

3. What To Say When Someone Asks What Perfume You’re Wearing – This post had me cracking up! Too funny but I’m not going to lie it has crossed my mind.

4. The Importance of Solo Travel.

5. Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl –  Mexican food is one of my favorites and cauliflower rice has been everything right now. I’m so looking forward to trying this out!

6. The Weird Thing You Should Try Before Bed To Fall Asleep – I had no idea! but will be giving this a go.

7. Lisbon Bucket List – Lisbon, Portugal has been having a little moment recently. There’s something about it that speaks to me. I’ve never been but I have a feeling it will be one of my favorite places. Definitely adding this to my bucket list!

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January! I can’t believe we’re half way through the new year already!?!

It feels as though every year I hear myself saying this, but really last year in particular just went by so fast. And 2016 seems to be going at the same pace. Why is it that the older I get, the faster the years go by? Sometimes I feel as though I’m trying to catch up with time. Anyone else feel the same?

Lately I’ve been really thinking about life in general and how easy it is to be clouded with the daily routines and schedules that by the time I realize it, a  few months have passed then a year. My focus as of late has been on making time for doing more of the things I love and enjoy while working towards my goals. I’m not big on crazy new year resolutions as I feel it adds too much pressure. Rather I prefer to focus on doing one thing each day that brings me closer to my goals while not adding stress on myself. My journey has been about creating a life based on what’s most important to me. It hasn’t been easy especially during my 20’s, when I felt my mind was being pulled in a million directions. Now being in my 30’s it’s become more concise and clear. I guess that’s one great thing about getting older 😉

So here’s what I’ve been enjoying going into this month:

 
It’s time to plan it out – It’s been a long time since I’ve used a planner and I don’t mean the calendar or an app on my phone. I’m old school when it comes to things like this. I love writing things down, somehow it brings it to life for me. I was on the hunt for a planner that had a little something more, like space to write goals for the week, month and year and a place for reflection and to write inspiring and positive things for self motivation. I came across this one from Passion Planner and ordered it. I got the smaller size and have already started using it. I’m really enjoying being able to jot down my daily routines, to do lists and goals, rather than trying to remember every detail.

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Streamlining my wardrobe – Over the span of last year, I have been slowly going through my wardrobe and taking out items that neither fit, I haven’t worn in a long time and items that I simply do not love and have donated or sold them on thredup.  I’ve written a post about embracing minimalism here, if you’d like to read it.

The last couple of months have been about streamlining my wardrobe with items that reflect who I am and so I’ve been looking for inspiration on pinterest, instagram & other blogs for things that speak to me and slowly have been rebuilding my wardrobe. I’m still working on it and have to say my shopping trips have completely changed since going through this process. Often times I’ve left the store empty handed and that’s okay. I don’t want to settle for buying an item just for the sake of having it or because omg it’s a great deal. Having a certain image in mind of what exactly I’m looking for has made a big difference. This process has been about being more intentional in what I purchase and buying quality over quantity. It doesn’t just stop at my wardrobe though, I have taken this whole approach into every aspect of my life which has been pretty great.

What’s been on your mind this month?

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A few weeks ago, Farmaesthetics one of my favorite skincare brands invited me to come to Newport, Rhode Island to learn more about their new products. I’ve worked with Farmaesthetics products before at the spa where I previously worked (that’s where I first came across the brand) and was super excited when I was asked! After all these years Farmaesthetics remains one of my favorite skincare brands!

I was also super excited to visit Newport as I had never been. Though I was only there for less than 24 hours, I managed to squeeze in some time for sightseeing before heading back to New York. Here are a few snapshots of my Newport trip.

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The minute you step inside the store you feel as if you’ve been transported to the country and stumbled upon this charming and cozy apothecary.

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Cozy treatment room located towards the back of the store.

Around town…

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IMG_5287 Gorgeous views at the marina. I sat here looking out at the water and completely lost track of time – it was so relaxing and a much needed change of pace from New York City! Seriously can’t wait to go back.

I’m a firm believer that what goes on inside our bodies, the foods we consume and our overall lifestyle have a huge impact in the way our skin looks. Have you ever wondered why you tend to get breakouts in a certain part of your face? Face mapping is a great tool and it helps us in finding the cause of our skin dilemmas. Face mapping combines western dermatology with ancient Chinese medicine with the idea that certain zones of your face are linked to certain organs in the body. This is definitely true and makes a lot of sense as our skin is our largest organ and as an external organ, it reflects what’s going on inside.
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1. Forehead  The forehead is linked to nervous and digestive systems. Your body might have trouble digesting certain foods, you might be experiencing excess stress. Could also be hair products and/or an oily scalp that is clogging up pores in that area. Improve your body’s elimination process by eating more leafy greens, drink tons of water to help flush out the toxins in the body. Also check your hair products, try to relax by doing yoga, meditation or working out to get that blood pumping.

2. Between eyebrowsOverloaded liver – cut down on alcohol and rich foods like butter and cheese, you could also have a food allergy. Increase your leafy greens intake as well as tons of water!

3. Under eyes & EarsMay be linked to the kidneys. This means your body might be dehydrated, so make sure to increase your water intake. At least 8 glasses of water a day.

4 & 5. Cheeks – Respiratory issues. If you’re a smoker, this might be your culprit, Can also be related to allergies, stomach problems, dirty pillows, cell phone, dirty makeup brushes or too much sugar. Eat more leafy greens, cut your sugar intake, drink tons of water to flush out all the toxins. Deep clean makeup brushes once a week, change pillow cases frequently and clean cell phone with an alcohol pad to disinfect frequently. Keep a skin diary to see if there are certains foods or products that may be causing allergies.

6. NoseThe nose is associated with the heart. Do you have high blood pressure? If so, this might be the cause of breakouts in this area. Other reasons could be a diet high in saturated fats. Reduce your intake of highly saturated fats like fried foods and swap them for foods with good fats like omega 3 fatty acids (think avocado, salmon, flax seeds)

7 & 8. Jaw & Chin –  Breakouts in this area are linked to hormones. This means that your hormones might be out of balance. Breakouts here usually happen during your menstrual cycle or even if you have started using or switched your birth control. It can also be due to resting your hands in this area.

9. NeckBreakouts here can mean your body might be fighting bacteria to avoid an illness. Drink lots and lots of water to flush out toxins in your body and rest up!

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The last few months I’ve been on full purging mode. Last week my boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment and as I’ve been going through the things we have accumulated over the last two years, I’m realizing how much unnecessary stuff we tend to keep that is no longer useful to us. I went through every inch of our stuff and have managed to get rid of quite a large amount of things including donating several bags of clothing and shoes that didn’t fit or I had not worn for a long time. I used an online consignment store called thredup to sell items that had been sitting in my closet with tags still on or still looked new. The process has left me feeling so much lighter but in all honesty with a sense of guilt as well. Purging all these things opened my eyes to all the waste which definitely does not make me feel good. I’ve always thought of myself as a resourceful person and as someone who was aware of not being wasteful, so that was tough to take, but it completely changed everything for me.

I fully admit that in the past I have been a shopaholic and many times purchased items without really putting thought into the long term use of it and how it would pair with the rest of my wardrobe or home items. So I’ve been going through what I like to call a minimalism “soul searching”. I’ve really dug deep for the reasons behind my over shopping and it has helped in more ways than I imagined. I realized that before, shopping for me was a mind game of believing that I really needed something when I actually didn’t. Have you ever been in that position when shopping? My mind reasoning goes like this, ohhh that’s a really cute shirt, I kinda need a white top like this, hmmm should I get it? I really should, I don’t want to loose out on it. In reality, I didn’t need another white shirt, but the mind games always got me. Not anymore, I haven’t shopped in months to really let my new minimalism approach sink in. I’ve streamlined everything, my wardrobe, my beauty arsenal with items I absolutely love and work for me. My intention now is to build a clothing, beauty and home wardrobe of things that I absolutely need and I will get a lot of use out of. For me it’s about being mindful and intentional with what I decide to spend my money on and surround myself with. I want every item in my home to be a reflection of me. I have become a firm believer in being surrounded by less of the things I love rather than having more things that don’t make me absolutely happy. There’s no reason to have unnecessary baggage.