Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Live Inspired with love and in gratitude

Don't you just love it when a company is uplifting and puts a pep in your step. It's even better when their products give you that same feeling. That's how these Live Inspired Organics products make me feel.

I came across the lovely Gina, the woman behind Live Inspired Organics (this photo is from her website), on Instagram. I was first drawn to her positive posts and daily affirmations, but then I saw how she poured her love and gratitude into her handcrafted, natural pampering products. Naturally, when she offered to send me some to try, I responded with a happy and grateful, "yes."

It's no surprise that I tested the Live Inspired Organics Essence of Strawberry Sugar Scrub first, as you know how much I adore a good scrub (recognize the Mirame bikini from my last post? Of course, I care about keeping my skin in tip-top shape for summer). I immediately noticed it's minty fresh strawberry citrus scent and the natural color (there aren't any artificial dyes added to this scrub, so don't expect it to be bright pink). It looks like little wet sand granules, ready to soften and smooth my skin for the beach.

And that's what this scrub does with pure cane sugar*, coconut oil*, sunflower oil*, pure almond oil*, uncut strawberry essence oil, sweet orange essential oil*, peppermint essential oil*, raspberry tea, kosher lecithin* and elderberry fruit extract (*denotes certified organic ingredients). It has a tendency to separate, as there aren't any added chemicals to prevent that from occurring. Just give it a stir and apply it to wet skin in the shower. The rich, luxurious oils keep this scrub from flying all over the place, which means less waste and clean up later. It also moisturizes your skin as you scrub and rinse the granules away. A bit of the oil stays on your skin, giving it a gorgeous glow.

At this point, you probably won't need any extra moisture, but if you opt to use the Live Inspired Organics Essence of Strawberry Body Velvet, you are in for a luscious treat. It not only smells as divine as the sugar scrub, but it also looks like the decadent whipped cream icing on a cake.

Distilled water (I never would have guess it was in there, as this cream is so rich), coconut oil*, 100% natural aloe vera gel, sunflower oil*, beeswax, pure kokum butter, kosher certified soy and non-GMO vitamin E oil, uncut strawberry essence oil, sweet orange essential oil*, peppermint oil* and elderberry fruit extract (*denotes organic ingredients) are whipped into this heavenly body butter that's so thick and creamy that you can hold it upside down without losing a drop. Thank goodness it comes in this tub to make it easy to get every last drop out and all over your skin, which will gladly drink it up (this stuff actually absorbs well and makes your skin incredibly soft and nourished).

Speaking of drinking it up, Gina also sent me some of her LOVE Herbal Tea, which goes so perfectly with her pampering line of products. The combination of organic rose petals, organic damiana leaf, organic orange peel, organic roasted cacao nibs, organic cinnamon chips and organic vanilla bean looks beautiful to the eye, smells sweet, is totally relaxing and tastes exactly like what's in it (although it's also nice to use as a facial steam; how's that for double-duty?).

This loose tea is simple to make by either using a paper tea bag, coffee filter, French press or tea steeping ball. Allow the tea to steep in hot water for 5-8 minutes until your golden goodness is ready to drink.

I couldn't find my tea steeping ball in the moment that I wanted a cup (the water was hot and ready, leaving me with whatever I could find at the time), so I placed a mini mesh strainer on top of my Live Inspired Mug (yes, you can buy one, too). As you can see, I made sure to have the water at a high enough level to sufficiently steep the tea.

This tea tastes like love (I included the above mug photo from the Live Inspired Organics website, because it obviously represents the mug better than my pic). It's sweet, floral and spicy with a hint of vanilla. I can even get a sense of the roasted cacao nibs, and if you're anything like me, you'd have to agree that something chocolate would be included in the flavor of love. The cacao nibs don't, however, taste like traditional chocolate; instead, they provide a very subtle roasted flavor, similar to coffee (but not so much that a non-coffee drinker wouldn't enjoy it).

Last, but not least, Gina sent me her Live Inspired Organics Essence of Strawberry LOVE Lip Balm. Again, it has that minty fresh strawberry citrus scent and a natural color from only organic cocoa butter, organic kokum butter, beeswax, pure almond oil, organic sunflower oil, organic coconut oil, strawberry essence oil, organic sweet orange essential oil and organic peppermint oil. It's firm in the tube, but melts the moment it touches your lips. It feels quite nice. I especially like the oval tube shape, which makes it easy to grip and to fit in your pocket.

Thanks so much Gina for giving me the chance to try your line. I'm so grateful for the opportunity and can genuinely feel the love you put into all of them.

I encourage my followers to try them, too. If you do, let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Live Inspired Organics sent me these products for review.
All opinions are my own :)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Celebrate July 4 in American-made Mirame

The Fourth of July holiday is only a week away, so I thought now would be the perfect time to highlight Mirame, a sweatshop-free fashion swimwear line that 's made in the U.S.A. out of reclaimed fabrics. The company also "seeks to empower women one bathing suit at a time by offering silhouettes that are both fashion forward and sophisticated, as stated on the Mirame website."

The woman behind the label could also be described as empowering, fashion forward and sophisticated. Melinda Huff is Mirame's founder (pictured above and below; photos are from the Mirame website and Facebook page), a New York native, who convinced her grandmother to let her follow in her footsteps and get behind a sewing machine at the age of only 13. Both of Melinda's grandmothers were seamstresses, from factory sewing to custom dress making for Zsa Zsa Gabor, so I guess you could say her talent and passion was in her genes.

Melinda's creative path led her to Hawaii with nothing more than a suitcase, a sewing machine and a dream. There she began making and selling swimsuits to friends and those who noticed her work. She eventually decided to move back to New York to truly pursue her passion and make her dream a reality by enrolling in FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) at night (side note, I actually got accepted there back in the day, as a dream of mine, but didn't follow through; it's a long story), and securing design internships and jobs in the Garment District. I'm honestly in awe of the fact that she ended up running the sample room and production of famed swimwear designer Norma Kamali before launching her own brand, Mirame (although, I'm even more impressed with her starting her own line; you can read more about the line's accolades and media appearances in the site's "About" section).

Mirame is Spanish for "Look at Me," a command statement Melinda selected to describe her confident, powerful and sexy line. I was lucky enough to receive a new Strappy Bikini Top and Bottom from her Wrapture Collection for review, and I have to admit that it does make me feel confident and ready to show it off. Just "look at me."

Seriously, I actually posted some pics from a photo shoot I did using my tripod and new remote to control the camera on my phone. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about my remote, this colorful background my parents let me paint on their wall a number of years ago, my swimwear obsession (growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer, too, mainly swimwear, which is why this post is very special to me), and my amateur fashion photography. It may not be as glamorous as some of the high fashion photos on the Mirame site, but they express how I feel when wearing designs like this.

Since I'm on the topic of Instagram, I love how it gives you a chance to try new things (I'm always finding new products on there), find opportunities (like the opportunity to test out and "model" this Mirame swimwear) and be whatever you want to be on a scale that works for you. For example, when I was a child, I thought it would be cool to have a different job each day of the week, and of course, they were literally "dream jobs." Thanks to blogging and social media, I can write, review products, be involved in the fashion and beauty world, and even model on my own site (maybe Mirame's, too, if Melinda wants to use my photos).

So, here are a couple more pics of me feeling empowered in my Mirame 2-piece. I call this one "Barbarella," as it reminds me of that old Jane Fonda character or Raquel Welch's stance on that vintage One Million Years B.C. movie poster, although I guarantee this suit is more comfortable than their costumes. The fabric is so luxe, and it even has a UPF of 50+ to protect your delicate parts from the sun.

The fabric conforms to your curves (especially the more you wear it and get it wet); it lays nicely on the hips, and doesn't pull-in, creating that muffin-top effect. Also, the color-block triangle top is easy to adjust with traditional strings to tie at the neck and back, which are mimicked in the string detail on the bottoms, making it adjustable, as well.

But enough with the photos of me, here's one of the Mirame models rocking the same suit, but it a different color/pattern. It also comes in a fun, brightly colored combo, as seen on the Mirame website.

This post is already getting a bit photo heavy, but I'll share a few of my other favorite Mirame designs from the site. Above it the bright coral and purple retro-style Glamkini Top and Bottom that's sure to get you noticed.

Sticking with the retro feel, I adore this sculptural Sun Shower one-piece that has a cut-out to give you more modest mid-section exposure. This one happens to be marked down a lot, so you'll have to hurry, if you want to get this suit (only x-small and small are left, as I type this).

Still not sure if you'd like a bikini or a one-piece, then check out this Arlete Monokini, which comes in this classic black, or futuristic gunmetal or gold.

The Patti is yet another way to rock a one-piece with a cut-out, but with a mesh panel to hold everything in tight. It comes in white, black and red. Like the Sun Shower, it's on sale, so be quick, if you don't want to miss out.

The mesh is especially nice on the Night Cap one-piece swimsuit that doubles as a bodysuit, taking you from day to night. You may recall me mentioning it in a recent Instagram giveaway Mirame had with EcoHabitude and Ina Dayle organic body care (I need their mermaid body scrub in my life). I think you can still enter at the time that I'm typing this; if that is the case, here's the link.

You can also purchase this suit, any of the others I've mentioned or another style from the Mirame site, and get 20% off with the code: Rawdorable. It's good until July 13, 2016 on regularly priced and sale items. If you order tonight, you might be able to rock your new American-made Mirame on the Fourth of July. Wear it with confidence and pride.

What's your favorite Mirame design? How does it and/or this blog post inspire/empower you? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Mirame sent me this bikini for review. All opinions are my own :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

"Treat" your lips to organic balms & scrubs

As you know, my kiddos are on summer break, which means I might not post as much as usual or I may include them in the process. Lucky for all of us, I had recently won Organic Beauty Lover's Earth Day giveaway, which included these organic, cruelty-free, beegan Treat Beauty Old Fashioned Jumbo Lip Balms and Scrubs. My daughter Hayden happily volunteered to help test them out and review them all.

Hayden and I made a girls day out of it. We've been hanging out in our pineapple bikinis (mine is from Pineapple Bikini and hers is from Target) and treating ourselves to these fabulously fun lip products. Just look at all of those tasty Treat flavors in large containers that remind me of old-school Bonnie Bell (but better for you).

I was like a kid in a candy store. Honestly, I can't tell you the last time I've had bubble gum or cotton candy, which happen to be some of my favorite lip balm flavors as a child. I quickly snagged up the Bubble Gum Lip Balm, while Hayden went for the Soft Candy (it's described on the Treat website as a "sweet and fluffy cotton candy, with a touch of soft vanilla. A super-girly favorite!").

Oh my gosh, this Bubble Gum Lip Balm actually smells and tastes like traditional pink bubble gum (it's sweetened with stevia), but it's anything but sticky. It's healthier combination of ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter and vitamin E melt on your lips and make them so soft.

Hayden was in agreement about the Soft Candy Lip Balm. She said it makes her lips feel "smooth, soft and silky, and it smells like vanilla."

These lip balms are seriously addictive, as I must admit that we tried them all. Hayden was ready for a sugar-free sugar rush, staking her claim on Sugar Cookie (it smells like those flower-shaped butter cookies with the hole in the center) and Marshmallow Cream (the scent is closer to a cookie than a marshmallow, but still sweet).

Of course, Hayden had to have the Marshmallow Cream Lip Scrub to match her balm. It literally is a dense sugar scrub encased in a jumbo lip balm container, which made it easy for her to use. I'll let her describe her experience for you.

In Hayden's words, "You rub (the lip scrub) on your lips like sugar, and then you wash it off at the sink. It can get a little messy, but it makes my lips soft like silk. Then, I can apply more lip balm."

Good job Hayden. Now I got to use the Sherbert Lip Scrub (it reminds me more of strawberry lemonade with a strong citrus scent) with the Peaches & Cream Lip Balm (this really smells like peaches and cream). I enjoyed the scrub, as well, and was happy with the results. The Peaches & Cream Lip Balm was a good match for the Sherbert.

Last, but not least, we tested the Confetti Cake and Coconut & Cream (my favorite, as it's extra coconut creamy and dreamy) lip balms. The Confetti Cake smells like a vanilla cake, but there's no confetti to be seen. Instead, it's a feeling you get when you apply this clear, yummy lip balm (it is almost good enough to eat, although not recommended). In fact, all of these lip balms are free from artificial colors, harsh chemicals, and known allergens, including parabens, phthalates and alcohol. They are all natural, USDA-certified organic and made in the U.S.A.

A big thank you goes out to Organic Beauty Lover and Treat Beauty. These lip Treats are perfect for some mommy-daughter time.

Have you tried Treat Beauty? What natural beauty products bring back childhood memories for you? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Organic Beauty Lover and Treat Beauty sent me these lip balms.
All opinions are my own (and my daughter's, too).

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rahua for healthy, lustrous hair and scalp

This is just a quick, spontaneous post, because I'm very happy I rediscovered this natural hair care brand. I was running low of my usual shampoo and conditioner this morning, so I finally got around to opening these Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner samples I received from Petal & Post (I guess I was saving them for a rainy day; today actually is a rainy day, which explains the poor photo quality).

It's been a while since the last time I washed and conditioned my locks with Rahua, but my love for it returned the minute this shampoo came in contact with my hair and scalp. This 100% natural, organic, gluten-free, cruelty-free, vegan shampoo gently cleanses my dry hair and oily scalp with a nice lather and lightly sweet scent (from clean ingredients, of course; you can find the full list of ingredients on the Petal & Post site). My head is left feeling clean and in balance thanks to Rahua's pH of 4.5-5.5, which is the same range found in healthy hair and skin.

All of Rahua's hair care has a pH in this range, including this conditioner, which looks and smells amazing, like a rich tropical butter. It's star ingredients include Rahua oil (it fortifies weak, damaged strands, while nourishing the scalp), Palo Santo (Rahua's signature scent), quinoa (this gluten-free superfood vitalizes hair and promotes healing and moisture retention) and aloe (also a wonderful moisturizer). Although luxurious, this conditioner does not weigh my thin hair down, while providing the exact amount of conditioning it needs. My hair is left soft, shiny and tangle-free (it also smells intoxicating).

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, you can find Rahua hair care products at Petal & Post, which only sells products that are free from sodium laurel sulfate, sulfates, parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, PEGS, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, BPA, lead, artificial dyes, harmful synthetic fragrances or animal by-products. In other words, you can be assured that brands purchased from this site are safe to use. U.S. and Canadian customers can get free shipping with the code: rawdorable-SUMMER (the code is good for one use through 9/30/16).

Have you used Rahua hair care products? What are your thoughts? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* I received these Rahua samples from Petal & Post.
All opinions are my own :)
* This post contains affiliate links. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

#GetTheGoodStuff from Beauty Brew

Recently, I discovered Beauty Brew on Instagram, when I entered for a chance to select a sample from the line's "beautifully brewed holistic skin care." I was so curious about these holistically-handcrafted products in their cute little jars with vintage looking labels. They're made in small batches and are 100 percent free from preservatives, chemicals, parabens, phylates and fillers, as well as being cruelty-free.

At first, I was immediately drawn to the Flower Power Bath Soak with European Sea Salt and Organic Wild Flowers. That's what I picked as my sample. The name is so cute, and the dried wild flowers make this bath soak extra special. The full list of ingredients include organic wild rose buds, organic hibiscus, organic butterfly pea, organic chamomile flowers, Greek Mountain Sideritis buds, organic dried lavender, European sea salt, sweet orange oil, tuberose oil, rose oil, lavender oil, bergamot oil, peace & love. 

As you know, I tend to reserve floral bath salts for foot soaks with my daughter, and this one has got to be a new favorite. It smells fresh, sweet and floral (this needs to be made into roll-on oil blend in a glass container, so you can see the flowers inside it; hint, hint), and is packed with plenty of fresh flower petals and buds that appear to bloom in the water. I just adore it.

I was lucky enough to also be offered a full-size product to try, when I picked my sample. I have to say, I'm totally loving this next product, even more than the bath soak.

The Beauty Brew Argan & Birch Balm for Cellulite, Circulation & Spider Veins is the bomb. I was hoping it would be more than just your average balm, and boy did it deliver. This combination of shea oil, cacao butter, beeswax, argan oil, birch oil, shea butter, vitamin E and vanilla smells a little like natural Bengay (I always liked that smell; it clears my sinuses) and has a texture similar to Vicks Vapor Rub, but it works when applied in circulation motions to your butt, thighs and anywhere else that may be stretched and dimpled.

For some reason (I wonder why), my hubby wasn't down with me taking closeups of my derriere or the back of my legs, so you'll just have to trust me. This concoction relaxes your muscles (it just has an overall aromatherapy-like calming effect), softens and plumps those dimpled and stretched areas (it seems to temporarily make cellulite and stretchmarks less visible during the time the balm is applied, although I have noticed some improvements with frequent use). It also increases circulation, causing spider veins almost disappear (not all the way, but almost) for a little while. Again, you'll have to keep using this balm to maintain results.

I don't know why it didn't occur to me right away, but I recently started to use it on my stomach to reduce the appearance of stretch marks from having two lovely children. Although I consider them to be a badge of honor, I don't mind keeping them a secret from time to time, and this balm gives me the ability to be nearly stretch mark-free in a bikini. Heads up that this works better for when you are laying out or staying out of the water. I think it works pretty well.

I have to say that I'm really impressed with Beauty Brew and would recommend the line. Obviously, I picked these two products to get beach ready for summer, but there's a lot of facial products worth checking out, too. If you join the Beauty Brew mailing list, you can get a $5 coupon toward your purchase. If you use it, let me know what you get. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Beauty Brew sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own :)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Bloom Custom Botanicals to Nourish the Skin

I feel refreshed from my brief blogging break, and so does my skin after using Bloom Skin Essentials, a natural, organic, cruelty-free and gluten-free line of custom botanical skin care designed to nourish your skin with vegan and vegetarian ingredients (the products I received contain only organic, steam-distilled, medical-grade botanical and essential oils, as well as herbs, roots and plant extracts; however, some of the line includes USDA organic ghee and milk powder). Bloom is free from harsh chemicals, toxins, synthetic fragrances, preservatives, parabens, nanoparticles, silicon, sodium laurel sulfate, alcohol, petroleum-based products, fillers (including water), GMOs, PEG, phenoxyethanol, pesticides and insecticides.

The lovely Misty Litt (here she is pictured with her daughter Beatrice in 2015; this photo is taken from the Bloom Skin Essentials website) founded Bloom, inspired by an early interest in skin care (she recalls making her first facial mask out of oatmeal and honey at the age of 10; she apparently tested it out on her reluctant big sister) and her daughter (isn't she a cutie?), who was diagnosed with a slew of health issues (more information on this personal story is posted on the "Our Story" page of the site). Wanting to live the most natural lifestyle possible, Misty focused on learning more about what we eat, drink and put on our skin, as well as about the therapeutic properties of food and plants. She began experimenting with skin care on another level, no longer just rubbing olive oil into her skin, but by getting into truly customized, deeply rooted skin care. The result is Bloom.

Misty was kind enough to send me her Bloom Skin Essentials Glow Daily Tonic, Hydrate Hydrating Botanical Mist and Nourish Essential Facial Serum for Combination Skin. They all come in 100% recyclable glass bottles with eye-catching, brightly colored labels.

Glow is the first product in this particular 3-step skincare regime. It can be used on face and body to gently remove dirt and makeup (I like to apply it with a cotton round, so I can see it getting the job done; then, I wash my face with it, as usual), leaving your skin cleansed and simply glowing. I happen to adore oil cleansers for their ability to clear away impurities without stripping your skin of its natural moisture. They're also nice for a good facial or body massage during the cleansing process (you could also include Polish into your routine for a deeper cleanse). This one happens to have an intoxicating herbal scent from only natural ingredients, including apricot kernal oil, olive oil, palmarosa, lavender, lemon peel and non-GMO vitamin E.

The next step is to hydrate and nourish your skin. The two products with these names actually work hand-in-hand, as they both hydrate your skin and give it a dewy glow. Hydrate starts the process and preps the skin for Nourish, while Hydrate is also nice for refreshing your skin throughout the day.

Hydrate is my favorite product out of the three. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know how I've been taking it everywhere with me. I love spritzing this combination of Bulgarian rose hydrosol, aloe, palmarosa, lavender, Moroccan rose and lemon peel from head to toe for instant hydration on the go. Somehow, it does a spectacular job of both cooling down and calming my skin in heat and humidity, while still delivering the benefits of a body lotion, without the fillers and emulsifiers. The sweet, refreshing floral scent is also a lovely, energizing pick-me-up. Oh, and of course, it does an excellent job of setting my makeup, especially on these summer days.

Last, but not least, is Nourish, which comes in three different formulas. There's one for dry skin, one for oily and another for combination skin. I happen to have combination skin, so that's what I received. It contains jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, apricot kernal oil, rosehip seed oil, sandalwood, Moroccan rose, palmarosa, lavender, vetiver and non-GMO vitamin E.

It's important to select your serum based on your skin type to ensure the best result. For example, my skin is in a state of confusion, with a case of Peter Pan syndrome. Although I have mature skin, it doesn't want to grow up yet, making it still prone to breakouts. The combination skin serum lightly moisturizes, plumps and firms my skin, giving it a youthful glow without looking too oily or clogging my pores. I was surprised at how little I needed to use and how well it absorbed into my skin, especially when applied right after Hydrate. Similar to Glow, it's perfect for massaging into the skin and enjoying its aromatherapy benefits.

I have to say that using Bloom is definitely a spa-like experience, a daily treat for your skin. If you are a fan of facial oils and oil cleansing (or have been curious about them), it's definitely worth a try (you can use the code: RAWDORABLE to get 15% off your Bloom Skin Essentials purchase). When you do, let me know what you think. You can find my on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

Btw, Bloom Skin Essentials supports The Plant A Billion Trees Campaign, planting a tree with every order. Gotta love that.

* Bloom Skin Essentials sent me these products for review.
All opinions are my own :)