Over the past several months I have been HORRIBLE at writing blog posts. Mainly because I would start one, not finish, go back & read it to only then realize, I hated it. Or, I would just post 15 stories on Instagram about what I would essentially say on here anyway. — I hate when some bloggers write a blog post, link it & then spend 30 minutes saying {the EXACT same thing} in their 30 Instagram stories. Drives me nuts. But to each their own. So, I will vow not to do that.

But I have to give myself a little bit of grace. One, this is not my mainstream job like it is for most. I have a full-time job outside of blogging, which is consuming in itself. Two, I don’t have an assistant, web designer or someone to double check my work, most of my friends do that for me after I mention I’ve posted one. Three, this is a hobby for me, something I love doing. So when I get to a point where I feel overwhelmed or stressed about posting, I have to remind myself…. this is for them – not for me. Meaning, the money doesn’t matter, sure a nice little paycheck every once-in-awhile is nice & it’s nice knowing someone liked what I suggested. But, that is not what I love about doing this. It’s finding items YOU love, posting outfits that inspire YOU, sharing tips, tricks & tidbits of knowledge that I have that in turn, helps YOU.

With that being said, 2020 I will vow to write at least 2 to 3 blog posts about topics you all care most about! Instead of focusing on the perfection of a blog post, I’m just going to focus on getting it out there.

Going through my past highlights, posts, polls & purchases, you all seems to love deals, discounts, baby/toddler, BeautyCounter, & my #OOTD posts! Which I don’t blame you, I love them too!

So, let’s do this! XO~ Kate

Last year, I’m sure you saw that I’ve made quite a few changes around my house with better, healthier & more importantly, cleaner products. Not just beauty, but cleaning products too.

Let me introduce to you my new favorite cleaning product: Branch Basics.

I feel that after using Branch Basics for over six months now, I can give you a genuine review. From kitchen cleaner, detergent, hand soap, & bathroom cleaner. This stuff is the shiiitttt. Excuse my language, but I’m serious!

First off, if you haven’t heard of Branch Basics, they are:

  • Human-Safe
  • Plant & Mineral Based
  • Free of Harmful Preservatives
  • Biodegradable
  • Not Tested On Animals
  • Non-GMO

The Founders: Marilee Nelson, Allison Evans & Kelly Love are a true testament to how living a cleaner, healthier lifestyle can change those “normal” problems that doctors consider to be “allergies” or whatever other nonsense someone diagnoses you with. Just read their stories, they’re so intriguing in itself, that is what sold me on wanting to try the products in the first place.

Once you read their stories, then check out the ingredients in their product. Not plural, singular. They sell ONE product called the Concentrate, to which you fill 5 separate bottles with that & water. THAT IS IT. It’s an All Purpose cleaner. Along with an Oxygen Boost, which is like the holy grail of getting baby poop, food, grass stains, whatever your child throws at you, THIS will get it out.

Ingredients in the Concentrate just to show you:

  • Purified Water, Coco Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Organic Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Decyl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Citrate (Food-Grade Emulsifier), Lauryl Glucoside (Sugar-Based Cleanser), Sodium Bicarbonate (Food-Grade Baking Soda), Sodium Phytate (Plant-Based Antioxidant)

All of which one, 1) I can pronounce & 2) I can google without reading “harmful” or “toxic” next to it.

Then you have the Oxygen Boost which is again, for All Purpose. Check out the ingredients:

  • Sodium Percarbonate & Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda)

Shocking, isn’t it. What’s in your current product? I bet it says, “Two main ingredients” or “Active Ingredients Are These Two” – but what are the others?

Regardless, after using Branch Basics & then using, a different product, like Windex at my office, the smell is revolting. It’s crazy to think that it can make such a difference, but it does.

Okay, but enough about the facts of Branch Basics. They ACTUALLY work, did y’all see my videos of my stove top?! I mean, what product cleans THAT well, without leaving residue? — I’ve used the Concentrate to clean counters, cabinets, toilets, grout in our showers, windows, mirrors, my wedding ring, dirty vegetables & so much more! It doesn’t leave streak marks, oily residue or any residue for that matter. I truly & genuinely love this product.

One of the best parts about it is, when you purchase the Starter Kit + Oxygen Boost ($69), the bottles are REFILLABLE because all you’re using is one product with water. You don’t have to consistently repurchase a new bottle every time you run out. The only two you need to buy are the Concentrate ($49) & the Oxygen Boost ($10) – which I have been using the Concentrate for 6 months & still have over half the bottle left, & even more of the Oxygen Boost! It doesn’t take much & it lasts! But more importantly, again, IT WORKS!!!

I’m clearly obsessed with Branch Basics, & with another baby on the way, it only intensifies my desire to make my home a safer, healthier place for my babies, husband, myself & our dog to live.

Check out www.BranchBasics.com to see for yourself & start #TossingTheToxins in your home.

~XO, Kate

I LOVE a good sweater, anyone who knows me, knows that I will wear a sweater at any point in time throughout the year!

So with Fall (hopefully) upon us, I’ve linked my top favorites, including the one I’m wearing & of course, ones that I have my eye on. I’ve also even linked ones that you can rent through Rent the Runway. This is such an amazing option for those “I’ll probably only wear this once” type items.

Prices vary from $$ – $$$

XO~ Kate

As promised, I told you all that I would do a Natura Bissé product update after I had used it for awhile. It has been almost six months since Paul bought me several of their products for Christmas – & although I’ve used their Vitamin C Scrub before, I had never used any of their other products.

Let it be known before I go into my mini-review…

No, I’m not an expert.

Yes, this is all MY opinion.

Yes, I use other brands of beauty products, not just BeautyCounter.

However, with that being said, my daily routine consists of about 97% of BeautyCounter products.

I do think it’s best to use one line because it’s specially formulated to work together for a particular skin type, like: oily, dry, acne prone, etc. However, always do whats best for you & your skin. But, make sure that you’re using products that are actually helping you, not hurting you.

I’m sure some of you are asking, “What does that even mean Kate… “Not hurting you?” – What I mean is, some products have Retinyl Palmitate or Retinol, Formaldehyde or Benzalkonium Chloride all of which are NOT GOOD FOR YOU. Before you use a product, just check the labels. Make sure you know what you’re putting onto your skin… just like you do when putting food into your body.

So, without further ado, let me introduce to you the Natura Bissé products from left to right.

Natura Bissé C+C Vitamin Cream – promoted to “prevent & protect against free radicals”, “improve skins firmness” & to “provide hydration & suppleness”. After about 2 months of using this on & off, maybe two-three times weekly… I came to the realization that it just wasn’t for me. The texture of the cream is a little too oily for my likening.

Natura Bissé C+C Vitamin Souffle Mask – promoted to “repair damage”, “improve skins elasticity & firmness” & “recover the luminosity of the skin”. – I used this simultaneously with the C+C Vitamin Creme & I can say that they benefit each other in a sense that you have to use them as a daily/nightly regimen. They both promote skin firming, which after 30… is something to start considering. However, it’s never to early to start. Masks are always a great, regardless if you do them once a week, twice or daily.

Natura Bissé C+C Vitamin Eye – promoted to “prevent & correct dark circles, puffiness, etc.”, “hydrate, brighten, etc. & improve skin firmness”, & “reinforces & protects skin against premature aging”. – The texture is just what you want in an eye gel, light & dries quickly. I didn’t use this product as much as I thought I would. So, I really don’t have a good analysis to give.

Natura Bissé C+C Vitamin Scrub – promoted to “exfoliate”, “restore radiance & luminosity” & “eliminate impurities & dead skin..”. – I used this for over two years. The smell, the texture, & the results are always perfection. I also used to use this more so than I’d like to admit. I just haven’t ran out to find a different product to try.

Natura Bissé C+C Vitamin Complex – promoted to “anti-aging formula”, “restore firmness & luminosity” & have “superior antioxidant power”. – WOWZA. This is on another level of anti-aging & antioxidant “super-food.” However, it’s quite pricey.

Overall, I wouldn’t personally buy these products again. Their price point is on the higher side. When Paul purchased these, I still wasn’t deep into doing my research about what I was putting onto my skin. I’ll never be perfect, I know I cant control a lot… but my skin care is one of them that I can.

XO~ Kate

Have you ever been around someone or you are that someone, that says, “I’m so nervous to turn ___” or “I don’t know what to do once I turn ___.”

Well, turning thirty was never one of those times for me… at what point do you say that?

I mean, I was excited when I turned 16, since I could finally drive without the not so comforting backseat driver… aka parents.

I was confused when I turned 18. I could buy tobacco products but never in my life have. Still to this day.

I was racing to turn 21, although not sure why, considering I had been to a college where most are drinking at bars well before that. But even when I could buy it legally, it was nerve wrecking, not fun.

When I turned 25, all I could think about was babies. Which was odd, because I wasn’t even married yet.

Are all those birthday in between are just fillers to prepare you for the next steps in life? I’m not sure..

However, there are so many things I’ve learned in the past couple of years that have made me fully prepared for turning thirty. I haven’t quite hit the birthday mark that makes me think “OMG I’m old!” or “What am I doing with my life?!” and shockingly, I didn’t cry because I turned 30.

I’m sure at some point I’ll get there.. maybe 31? Who knows. Until then, I’ve decided that I should make bigger goals for myself. Goals that set me outside of my comfort zone.

For example: I recently went to a birthday party where I knew games would be played. I’m all for card games, Scrabble, etc. but not ones that make you the center of attention. So, when the games started… I realized it was going to be more like charades. Not like, it was. I never in my life have played, I was SO nervous, & immediately wanted to say, “Oh gosh, I’ve got to go.” & pull the “I have a baby at home.” card. Which I NEVER do, but in that moment, I wanted to crawl into a hole.

Instead, I played & never have had that much fun playing a game. I think my husband heard me talk about if for a week!!

Stepping outside of my comfort zone would also include me selling BeautyCounter, I am NOT one to initiate a conversation with a stranger. Much less ask them to listen to me about a product, I think they should buy from me. Sounds ridiculous. But true. Yet, so far, its been a lot of fun!

I was actually, discretely excited to turn 30. I think that these are the years are where life gets sweeter. You make time for those you love, live more, feel more accepted within yourself, have more faith, ignore the bs & find friends that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

30 is not just a number, I believe it stands for where you’ve been & where you’re going. Not, that you’re “old” or “no longer fun” or whatever you perceive it as. I’m excited for 30, I think it’s going to be a great year!

Follow along with me & we’ll see!

XO~ Kate

Since I started wearing make-up, let’s see… I was around 13-14? It’s only taken me almost 15 years to start really looking at what ingredients are actually in the products I use. That’s a little gross, and disappointing.

I will not ever shame the brands that I once used, but I will praise the ones I do now for allowing me to know EXACTLY what ingredients are in them. Do you know what’s in yours?

It’s a little unsettling to see that, not only are most ingredients not included on the back of your products, but they’re also not included on the packaging. You actually have to do you own research. That automatically should be a red flag.

Before switching, there were things to consider. What did I want out of my skin care & make-up? What was I willing to spend? Was the line of products something I would use for just a short period of time, like the new craze? Or, would it be a product I would one day introduce to my daughter? What was the product doing for me? Does it really help? How many reviews does it have? — ALL things considered.

It’s a strenuous amount of time. But, I believe doing that sort of research, gets you to better beauty, a better you & a better lifestyle.

After a considerable amount of research, reviews, etc… I made the switch. Oddly not based on any of that. I mean, products are expensive, regardless of the brand. So, a big switch is difficult when you’re throwing out hundreds of dollars… or depending on the line, thousands.

What truly made up my mind about switching was, my daughter. I did a ton of research before registering for products for her before she was even born. I would always look at the ingredients. So it made me think… “If i spend all this time researching the best products, food, etc. for her, why in the world would I not do the same for me?”

I then realized I read ingredients of what I put into my body.. which justified why I don’t eat {most} sweets or drink sodas, etc… so, why wasn’t I reading what I was putting on my skin?

It took me about two weeks after reading what was in my current make-up/products (or the fact that some didn’t even tell you), to researching what half of those ingredients were {most of which I couldn’t pronounce}, to researching what the best beauty products were, to reading what BeautyCounter products ingredients were… & so on.

Finally, I found about four brands that I religiously stick with. I’m a curator when it comes to my products. Not a loyalist. Meaning, I mix and match my products that work best for my skin & lifestyle. I’ll certainly try others, but I now check the ingredients, do my research & definitely read reviews. SIDE NOTE: The only reviews I’ve ever left was on Etsy. So I’m not sure those really count. Other than that, I’ve never left a review. But my goodness! Those people that do… are AMAZING. I mean seriously, kudos to them because I read TONS of reviews now & oddly enough, trust them.

Back to being a Curator v. Loyalist: I like to mix & match, as long as the products aren’t counterproductive & they do justice to what your skin needs are. On the other side of the spectrum, I do believe that it’s best to stick with on product line due to the fact that they are specifically formulated to work together. However, sometimes… there are some products that seem to be specifically made just for you! Right?! — Reason being: there are certain skin types that may need a little extra of this or that to get their acne, rosacea, dryness, oiliness, etc. whatever it may be, under control. I think what I’m trying to say is: Do what is best for you, as long as, you’re doing your research, you’re not over exfoliating, drying out, or over-moisturizing your skin.. or using products that can counteract with one another.

So after alllll my research, reviews & reading – I have about four product lines that I use daily/weekly. My main products are in fact, BeautyCounter not because I sell their products, but because their {our} mission is #BETTERBEAUTY . What does that mean? Well, Beauty should be good for you, not a quick fix. Your skincare should be safe, healthy & natural. Not have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or words that you can’t pronounce. For example: BeautyCounter has “The Never List” – it’s a list of ingredients that you’ll NEVER find in their products. Ever. — Randomly choose 5 out of their list, then go look at your products… if you find one of those ingredients… you should toss it.

I’m not here to tell you what to use & not to use. JUST DO YOUR RESEARCH. But, if you’re not one for that & just want to know what other people use. Then keep reading! 😉

What I found that works best for me, which I’ve been using for almost over a year now is (but have used BC for about three):

Morning Routine:

Step 1:

Face Wash: I rotate between BeautyCounter’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar & the Rejuvenating Face Cleanser

Step 2:

Apply Serum: Yes… I apply both. Everyday. I LOVE IT.

I apply Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum first, wait about 5 minutes & then apply BeautyCounter’s Rejuvenating Radiance Serum & wait about another 5 minutes before applying the next step.

Step 3:

Apply Facial Oils: Depending on the day, I’ll use one facial oil… or maybe even all three!! Read the labels… their designed for certain areas/ skin types.

Each BeautyCounter oil is formulated for either dry, oily, sensitive or a combination of those. Perfect for transitioning during those dry spells or when you’re skin gets a little oily… or whatever it may be!

Step 4:

Apply Eye Cream: With ring fingers, a small pen head size for both eyes.

After I finish, then I apply my makeup!!

Nightly Routine:

Repeat Steps 1, 2 & 3 BUT, for my eyes, I’ll apply this Rejuvenating Eye Cream {insert, raise the roof hands here}:

However, about twice a week, at night… I’ll not use any of the above & use a resurfacing peel, followed by a moisturizer.

This Resurfacing Peel is SO awesome. If you haven’t found one that you like, give this one a try! It will not disappoint you. As for exfoliating, I have another skin regimen that I’ll have to post soon!

I’ve linked all the products or if you click this link -> BeautyCounter , it will take you directly to my website where you can purchase any of the BeautyCounter items to try out for yourself.

If you have a certain skin type & need additional help, send me a message! I am happy to help you find what is best for your skin & needs within BeautyCounter. (:

** FULL DISCLOSURE: I am by no means saying, do what I do, use what I use or that I’m a certified Dermatologist or whatever other label you’d like to place. I am a BeautyCounter Consultant, Blogger, Mama, Wife, Sister, Friend, GirlBoss… lol..

What I am saying is: DO YOUR RESEARCH!

~XO Kate

I am THE WORST when it comes to convincing myself to workout. I could be fully dressed & all I would have to do is put my shoes on & that could linger on for hours before I actually did it. Mainly because I would convince myself that, “I needed to do X,Y,Z.. before I can workout.” Like, the dishes need to be put up or I need to reorganize this closet or paint this bedroom – ridiculous justifications for reasons not to workout. So this statement is supremely accurate in my life.

However, oddly enough, I take a lot of pride in my workout shoes. In the past years, running was a big part of my life & having the right shoe, that would last, was imperative. Now, that I rarely run (which I have no good excuse for or maybe the dishes are still not put up), I workout in different ways like, yoga, biking, lifting weights, chasing after Holland… regardless of what it is now, I still have to have the right shoes to get motivated. That is why I go by the three C’s for workout shoes!

Color – Comfort – Cost

Color is important, & there are sometimes that I buy the shoe solely based on that. But, they have to be comfortable. I have a high arched foot, so naturally, any shoe I purchase that is flat, creates discomfort, no matter how cute they are!

Comfort is key. But, this is a problem. You go to the store, try on a shoe, immediately think, “These are great! I’ll take them!” – Then you get on your first run, 10th run & start to feel the pain. THAT should NOT happen! & although that seems like the worst part, not being able to return them actually is. So now, you’re stuck with a pair of shoes that you’ll most likely never wear again aside to fast pace walk through the mall.

Cost coincides with color & comfort. If I’m paying $120+ for running/workout shoes – they better be worth every single penny. Sure you can skimp & buy $50-$75 ones, but in the end, you’re feet will hate you.

This is why I LOVE Running Warehouse & have used them for about 6 years now. I order several different pair all at once, try them on, workout, run, walk, etc. in them for several days, sometimes weeks, because they give you 90 DAYS to try them out. “Running Warehouse wants you to be completely satisfied with your purchase. Items can be returned at any point, new or used, within 90 days from the original invoice date. ” RW – Now isn’t that impressive customer service?!

So, with that being said. Here are my top 4 running/workout shoes that I LOVE & highly recommend.

  1. Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Women’s Shoes Ember Glow/Pink/Grey

My lounge shoe, ie: grocery shopping, mall walking, running around with Holland. These are SO comfy, the arch is EXTREMELY supportive & I feel like I’m walking on a cloud!! These are BY FAR, my favorite purchase.

2. Nike Free RN 2018 Women’s Shoes Black/White

My running shoe: I’ve purchased this pair twice for two different 5ks. They are lightweight, breathable & make running a breeze!

3. Adidas Ultra Boost 18 Women’s Shoes Orange/Orchid/Pink

My {other} running shoe: I purchased these solely based on what they looked like. BUT – they ended up being one of the best pairs!! They’re again, lightweight for running, PINK & I use them to lift weights in as well.

4. Nike Odyssey React Women’s Shoes Oracle Pink/Pink/Coral

My “just because” shoe: I purchased these in gray awhile back, they are great for just about anything. The support on the arch is AWESOME as well! Posting these pink/coral ones because I think I need them!

SIDE NOTE: This is not an #AD – I just absolutely LOVE being able to try out my shoes, especially those that are for stability, enhancement, training, etc.

If you decide to try out @RunningWarehouse , tag me & let me know how you like them!!

XO ~ Kate

In the past week I think I’ve cried more than I have in my entire life… & if you know me, then you know that is A LOT of crying.

My mother always says, “We are a crying, laughing, hugging, kissing kinda family… if you don’t like that… then you won’t fit in.” She couldn’t be more accurate. My friends know that I cry… weekly. My family knows that I cry… way too much & my poor husband knows that on any given day, a good book, a funny movie, good food, Holland giving me a kiss or Robin (with Peloton) saying something inspirational, I could bust into tears.

Well, this past week (more like two), has been overwhelming, exciting, joyful & full of emotion. Holland turned one on February 1st, so naturally all week, anything that didn’t fit her, or any photo I came across of her that was anything previous to that day… would make me weep. Which brings us to day. Today was her first day of “school”. I didn’t exactly prepare myself for today, I’m not even sure that I could. But, it came natural, as if we had done if before. Paul & I woke up early, got ourselves ready then Holland woke up, we got her dressed, fed & into the car, like it was nothing. Until… it hit me.

Today was her FIRST day of school. The first day that would start her next (presumably) 23 years of learning, studying, making friends, memories & creating a future for herself.

The day she was born, I always knew this day would come. It’s just.. I never knew how fast it would, how hard it would be & in that very moment (pulling down our street), exactly how my parents felt every time I hit a milestone that created a lump in their throat or that tear in their eye.

Today was that day for me.

I couldn’t swallow back that lump, I couldn’t hold back those tears & I couldn’t let go of Holland’s hand – the entire drive to school.

I never knew how much I loved her until I saw her on the sonogram.

I never knew how much I needed her until I met her.

I never knew how much my patience would be tested until she cried all night the first night we brought her home.

I never knew how much I wanted to breastfeed, until I couldn’t.

I never knew how much my relationship with my husband would change, for the better. We are a team.

I never knew how much in life I was lacking until she showed me the true meaning.

I never knew how much I wanted to stop time until each monthly photo I took of her.

I never knew how much I would hate letting her go today. No one warned me. No one said, “Kate, it’s going to hurt like hell as you walk away.”

I never knew how much I would miss her until I couldn’t watch her on our security cameras at home.

I just never knew…

What I do know now, is that time flies. Everyone said it… they made sure of that. But, it doesn’t really sink in until you have “one of those moments” like mine: when I realized my baby was walking, talking, & waving “bye-bye” as she went to music time.

So my little Valentine, here is a poem that I will hold near & dear to my heart. To remind me to cherish each day, the good & the bad… because you are only little once & only for a little while.

“From the moment you hold your baby in your arms you will never be the same. You might long for the person you were before, when you had freedom and time and nothing in particular to worry about. You will know tiredness like you never knew before. Days will run into days that are exactly the same. Full of feedings and burping. Nappy changes & crying. Whining & fighting. Naps or a lack of naps. It might seem like a never-ending cycle. But don’t forget… there is a last time for everything & babies don’t keep.

There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time. They will fall asleep on you after a long day & it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child. One day you will carry them on your hip & then set them down & never pick them up that way again. You will scrub their hair in the bath for one last time & from that day on they will want to bathe alone. They will hold your hand to cross the street & then will never reach for it again. They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles & it will be the last night you ever wake to this. One afternoon you will sing, “the wheels on the bus,” & do all the actions to never sing that song again..

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate & the next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone. You will read a final bedtime story & wipe your last dirty face. They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time… The thing is, you won’t even realize it’s the last time until there are no more times. Even then, it will take you a while to realize. So while you are living in these times, remember there are only so many of them & when they are gone… you will yearn for just one more day of them. For one last time.”

 

XO~ Kate