Product Reviews

Dazzle Dry Review

If you know me, you know that I’m always looking for the best non-toxic product possible. Nail polish is no exception. I’m also notorious for messing up my manicure within 5 minutes of leaving the nail salon. (Carrie can attest to this ????????‍♀️ ) I hate shellac polish for so so many reasons, but love that it would dry before I’d leave and would last up to 2 weeks. But unfortunately because of all of the reasons I don’t like it, I would still opt for a natural manicure with polish and ruin my nails the same day I paid to have them done.

Enter Dazzle Dry. Not only is this nail polish non-toxic and vegan, it dries in 5 minutes (no joke) and lasts up to 2 weeks (the longest I’ve had mine last and not chip was 1.5 weeks).  I discovered this awesome system after having my last professional manicure in January 2020. I was visiting Reno and had a manicure at the salon at the Silver Legacy Resort. The nail system they used was Dazzle Dry. My first experience blew me away. The nail technician assured me my nails would be dry before I even got to the counter to pay and she was right. My manicure life was forever changed in that moment.

Silly me, I didn’t know at the time what nail system it was that she had used. I just hadn’t paid close attention while it was happening. After some detective style Googling I found out it was Dazzle Dry and immediately placed my first order.

Cost

Yes, their products are a bit on the pricey side. But they are worth it! Especially since covid has made nail salons open and close at a head spinning rate. I’m able to give myself salon quality manicures at home AND the products are safe. 

There are specials online pretty regularly, so if you’re nervous to try I’d recommend waiting for a sale. Or you could even search for a coupon code online. Either way, you will love it. I’m so obsessed that it’s hard to not constantly buy new polish. 

The other factor is the the products are non-toxic and vegan. Buying a product that is better for you and the environment generally comes at a higher price tag. The upfront cost of Dazzle Dry is worth the long-term value.

Current Special!

Dazzle Dry has a special right now for the system. If you buy one, you can get one free with code BOGO50 at checkout. This would make an awesome gift for you and one of your favorite gals.

Year End New Calendar Done Over  - eliza28diamonds / Pixabay
Personal Care

Fitness Fun

With the launch of Apple Fitness+, I wanted to take this time to get excited for the upcoming new year and our inevitable resolutions. While not all resolutions have to or should be related to fitness, it can be really fun to have at least one of them be.

For the seasoned exerciser, maybe a resolution is to rest more. Or maybe to improve your mile time. For people who have given exercise a break with everything happening during 2020, 2021 might be a great year to check out some home workouts.

I love working out at home. Not only is it my own space, with my own equipment and no waiting for machines or weights, but I’m also free to workout when it works for me and to shower right after without having to wear flip-flops. I’m not a personal trainer or a Medical Doctor- you should always consult your Doctor before beginning a new exercise program. But here are some of my favorite options that I wanted to share with all of you.

Peloton is known for their fancy at home bike workouts. But did you also know that they have an awesome app that includes strength, stretching, cardio, outdoor running/walking, and even pilates and yoga? This app is easy to use with some great trainers. They have a 30 day free trial going so if you’ve never signed up before, now is a great time to test it out! This is the Peloton Digital version, not the membership including the hardware. The digital membership is for a single-user where their All Access membership, which includes all digital content on your phone PLUS content on your Peloton hardware, can be shared with an unlimited amount of household members. I don’t have any Peloton devices so I don’t know what the experience of using their hardware is like.

Alexia Clark is a personal trainer with a massive online following and presence. There are home and gym workouts available and they don’t require a lot of equipment. You can get a great home workout using dumbbells and resistance bands. I started her program after having needing to find a new workout that wasn’t running due to surgery on my left foot and then 6months later breaking my right foot. So I speak from experience when I say you can find ways to modify. I have been using her workout program for over a year and I absolutely love it! I don’t follow her nutrition plan, but if you need new menu ideas you can definitely find some inspiration. Her workouts have a 30min or 60min option, 5 workouts/week, and are brand new every day! And when I tell you they’re new each day, they truly are different each day. The workouts are designed to be completed Monday-Friday and if you follow her on Instagram she shows you the first circuit daily. You can also mark your favorite workouts so that you can do them again in the future!

This brand new service launched this week and I love it! For those who are looking for a slightly less expensive service that is similar to Peloton, this is definitely for you. Very comparable, and I’d say even better for beginners. I really like that the strength workouts are all full body so if you’re new to working out or coming back from injury it’s easy to make sure that you’re hitting every muscle group. My most used feature of any digital workout is definitely the stretching. I really like that Apple Fitness + includes mindfulness with their cooldowns/stretching series. I’ve found that adding the extra minute or two to meditate at the end of my workout is a great way to fully bring my body down from the high of exercising. This is one feature that the Peloton stretching does not include. Apple Fitness + also doesn’t currently offer any outdoor guided walks/runs like Peloton does, but considering it’s a brand new service, I’m sure it’ll evolve over time to include more features as they get feedback from users. Apple Fitness + as a great option for getting a great workout in at home, and can be shared with up to 5 household members.

Another great option for home or gym workouts. Anna Victoria is a personal trainer who also has a massive online presence, just like Alexia Clark. Her program is similar in that it includes workouts and nutrition, but otherwise I found the Fit Body experience to be different from Alexia Clark. I definitely love that Anna Victoria’s app has tons of meal options AND they have a Registered Dietitian on their staff. Not only does your membership include access to the app, but Anna Victoria has said that you can also contact them with questions for their Registered Dietitian or their Physical Therapist. Her workouts are definitely tough, but can also be modified. She recently gave birth to her first child and has added pregnancy workouts to her app for other women who want a workout program during that time. The only complaint I had with her program when comparing to Alexia Clark’s was that there wasn’t enough variety for me. You will definitely hit all major muscle groups, it just felt like most of the workout movements were repeated a lot. They recently debuted a massive overhaul of the app to include a lot of changes for how the workout week is structured and variety with the trainer you use. You have way more flexibility over which muscle groups and exercises you do and on what days, whereas with Alexia Clark you’re kind of forced into a Monday-Friday schedule. The other feature I like is that the Anna Victoria meal plans have a ton of variety and are available for any type of diet: vegan, paleo, vegetarian, flexitarian, etc. The recipes are definitely high quality and provide great inspiration even if you don’t follow the calculated macro meal plan.

UPDATE 12/18/20: For a limited time online you can get the 12month subscription to Fit Body for only $99.99! Use promo code FITBODY2021 at checkout.

Dance Church Go is the perfect workout for people who don’t like to workout. They offer live classes every Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday. Classes are donation based with the recommendation to give $15, the price you would pay for an in-person class. Dance Church has nothing to do with religion or church and is everything dance. All classes were in-person before covid. Classes are partially guided with instructors who also give you time to just dance around your space and enjoy yourself. The 55ish minute classes include a Daydream sequence near the end for you to catch your breath and do some stretches before starting lower body work on the floor. The 30ish minute (usually Saturday class) skips the Daydream sequence and lower body specific work, but is still a great way to get your blood pumping. A friend of mine told me about Dance Church near the beginning of the pandemic and I’ve been hooked ever since! The teachers are so fun and have so much energy, you can’t help but have a good time. Classes are mostly PG-13 and friendly for kids, but I’d recommend you leave that to your discretion as a parent.

UPDATE 1/10/21: Dance Church Go announced this week that they are making some changes. Sunday classes will remain the same, and the Wednesday and Saturday classes are being discontinued. But the amazing news is that they’re working on having a streaming service so that you can dance whenever you want! That’s even better than classes Wednesdays and Saturdays! You can subscribe to their newsletter at go.dancechurch.com to stay up to date with everything Dance Church.

Product Reviews

Halo Mask Cyber Monday

By now I’m sure you all have a mask that you like. But do you love it? This post today is simply to share my favorite mask on the market, the Halo Mask. This mask is adjustable, conforms well to your face and just below your chin, and has a replaceable filter you change every 200 hours of wear. This mask also hasn’t given me the dreaded maskne (mask-acne) which I’ve definitely had happen with other brands.

My husband and I both have these masks in the darker and lighter colors. The Halo Mask quickly replaced our other cloth masks and is easily our only go-to whenever leaving our house. They’re having an amazing special for Cyber Monday, where you can buy one and get one free! These masks can be a bit pricey so today would be a great day to place an order and try it out for half the price!

See for yourself- Check out their products.

latte in cup beside strawberries and raspberries
Product Reviews

Kindle Paperwhite Review

I love books. I love the way it feels to hold a book, to smell inside a new book, to spend hours perusing the bookstore. Everything about reading and books brings me a special sense of peace that washes over me. I love to get lost in a good story, and I love to see how far I’ve come with how many more pages there are ahead of me. I even did a 52 books in 52 weeks challenge this year and completely annihilated it (I’m currently at 65 books for the year).

Part of my reading experience included flipping the pages and looking ahead to see how many pages are left in the chapter – maybe I can squeeze it in before I fall asleep or go back to some other annoying responsibility. The only part of the reading experience with books that I dislike is the amount of space that the printed book takes up after I’ve finished it. I have been a huge fan of the library simply to keep my book collection at a reasonable level and not make myself a target of the show Hoarders. 

Enter the Kindle Paperwhite

My husband had been trying for years to get me to convert to some sort of e-reader. For a while I even used my iPad and the iBooks store to test the water with e-reading and I was not impressed. The experience of reading on my iPad was nothing compared to the amazement I felt when reading a physical book.

One Christmas everything changed. My husband gifted me the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and I haven’t looked back since. 

Features I love

Not only is it super light weight and easy to take with me everywhere, but my love for borrowing from the library was able to continue. An app called Libby changed my life. You sign up for Libby using your local library credentials and link your Kindle. This allows you to borrow e-books from your library and load them directly onto your kindle! Not only can you instantly borrow any available e-book, but you can even place holds on e-books and manage your waitlist, too! Finished reading a book? Simply return the e-book through the Libby app or directly from your kindle device.

I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite for 2 years and it is just as amazing now as it was when I first opened it. I love that I can read it in any light, including direct sunlight (I used my kindle daily on the beach in Grand Cayman), and it has a dark mode now that you can turn on (I love dark mode for reading before bed). Don’t like to read before bed because you fall asleep and lose your place? That will never happen with your kindle. If you leave it idle for too long and it falls asleep, when you wake it the next time it’ll still be on the page you left off at. 

It is so easy look up the definition of a word. You simply highlight the word and the dictionary definition will pop up, including examples of how to use the word in a sentence. I love this feature since it isn’t super distracting and helps me increase my vocabulary.

Can we talk about the battery life? This thing has an amazing battery life. I use mine daily and I don’t charge more than once weekly. The only reason my battery wears down a bit is because I like it bright when I’m reading inside. When using it with no light, like when reading outside, my battery life is so long that I forget which cable to use to re-charge it. 

Another feature I love is that you can adjust not only the font but also the size of the font. When I don’t really feel like wearing my glasses, like when I’m reading before bed, I simply make the font bigger so that I can see the text more clearly. This is a feature I’ve definitely wished some books came with- you know the ones. With the teeny tiny text crammed onto the pages. Kindle solves that for anyone who has eyes that need a little help.

The argument for ad-supported

Normally I’m completely against advertisements. They can be so annoying and intrusive. However, with the ad-supported kindle (which is the one I have) the advertisements are books! Since Amazon loves to learn your habits, Amazon also does a pretty decent job recommending other books for you to check out. The ads are also pretty easy to ignore since they only ever show when your kindle is locked and don’t pop-up while you’re reading. In my opinion it’s the only time I’ve ever felt having ads was a net positive for an experience.

Kindle Unlimited

I had the 3 month free trial of Kindle Unlimited and was a huge fan! There were so many books available on demand that I had trouble pacing myself. The only reason I didn’t convert to a paid subscription after my trial was because Libby has been a great resource for me. However Libby’s options will only be as good as your local library system. I live in a big city with tons of library branches so my ability to borrow an e-book is pretty easy. If I lived somewhere smaller with a smaller library circuit, I’d probably consider doing Kindle Unlimited.

Final Thoughts

My kindle is probably one of my favorite electronic devices. If you’ve been thinking about getting one but are unsure about using an e-reader, fear not! This device is amazing and will only increase your love for amazing books and rainy day snuggles. Stay tuned for a follow-up post about some of my favorite kindle cases. 

Make sure to check out these awesome Amazon Black Friday specials on kindle and kindle books! If you love to read or have a goal to read more, this device will change your life. 

balance body exercise female
Personal Care, Product Reviews

Natural Deodorant Reviews

Everyone has their own reason for trying to make their beauty regimen more “green” or “less-toxic.” My personal reasons are many but ultimately led me down the path of wanting to find a natural way to deal with my sweaty underarms. When I say I have sweaty pits, I mean sweaty. I’m definitely not one of those women who can run for miles and still smell fresh as a rose garden and look like they’ve barely done any work. Not only do I sweat heavy when I’m exercising, but my anxiety causes me to break out into sweats at all sorts of inopportune moments. Consequently I have used an anti-perspirant/deodorant combination for years. The quest to find a “cleaner” alternative was on.

TLDR

Schmidt’s Deodorant was the overall best natural deodorant I tried. Smells nice, application was easy, vegan product, no skin irritation regardless of how many times I reapply during the day.

Over the course of a year I tried a few different natural deodorants, free from aluminum and other antiperspirant ingredients. I should start by saying that there’s no such thing as a “detox” period for your sweat glands. Many brands say that their products will work better after your sweat glands have “detoxed” from antiperspirants for at least 2 weeks. I can’t find any legitimate, credible science to support this concept. The human body is incredible and can “detox” itself quite well.

Antiperspirant vs Deodorant

It’s important to keep in mind that switching from an antiperspirant/deodorant combination to a deodorant only means that your experience is going to be very different from what you’ve become accustomed to. Specifically, antiperspirants work by doing just that, they’re anti-sweat. These wonderful sticks usually use an aluminum based ingredient to help tell your sweat glands to stop producing sweat. This combined with the deodorant helps you feel dry and smell nice. Deodorant only means that there is no antiperspirant properties- you will sweat. At first, just getting used to your sweating can make you feel self conscious. You are the only one who’s noticing and honestly, it’s only because you just made the switch to deodorant without antiperspirant. Over time you will notice your sweat less and less because it will become normal again for you to be sweating. You’ll also find that reapplication becomes an important criteria for how much you like a product.

I’ve ranked each deodorant that I tried below by specific categories. Continue reading for full product reviews. Please note that all of products I tested were either vegan or cruelty free. The 2 brands that are cruelty free only but not vegan were Curie and Best Deodorant Ever- both products contain beeswax.

Best scent: Love Beauty and Planet ylang ylang scent

Best application process: Kopari

Best for reapplication: Curie white tea

Best overall: Schmidt’s


Alaffia- lavender and charcoal scent

I was excited to try this brand because it’s easy to find at your local health food stores and Amazon, and it had the familiar application experience I  was used to. This was the only brand I tried that uses activated charcoal. It glides on easily without needing to be warmed against your skin and is smooth to the touch. Unfortunately for me, this product combined with my sweat smelled absolutely terrible. Nothing improved it and no amount of reapplication reduced my odor. A positive was that no amount of reapplication irritated my skin, but it also didn’t help improve the product effectiveness. Despite all of its good qualities, this one was a no for me.


Best Deodorant Ever lavender and peppermint scent

LIES! This was by far one of my least favorite of the natural deodorants I tried. I was so excited because this product is local and smells so fresh without being overpowering. Product is cruelty free but not vegan. This product contains beeswax. From the moment I started to apply, I knew it was going to be a rough trial. Not only did this brand not glide on smoothly, I found it easier to just stick my finger into the stick and then rub it into my underarm area. If your nails have any length at all, you end up with product underneath them. It was also challenging to not over apply and end up with giant deodorant pills in my arm pits. The scent was fresh and nice, but after about 30 min of sitting at my computer on a summer day, I noticed a smell. That smell was me. Unfortunately this was not going to work.


Curie -white tea scent

This was a total gamble. FabFitFun had this product as part of one of their edit sales for only $5. I took a chance. I would recommend this one with reservations. Note that this one is not vegan but is cruelty free. Their ingredients include beeswax. Application was easy and similar to what I was used to using antiperspirants, and the scent was fresh. I did feel like this one required re-application throughout the day to stay fresh. The scent was clean but a little too subtle for my liking. This is one that I continue to carry in my purse to have on me “just in case” but is missing a certain something for me.


Green Goo – wild rose scent

This was the only aloe based deodorant I tried. I’ve found that it has enough power to keep me fresh as long as I’m not doing anything. Otherwise, this wasn’t a strong enough option. This brand didn’t cause any irritation issues though so it was okay to reapply multiple times throughout the day. Smells amazing- just like you’re in a rose garden. Because it’s aloe based it does have a bit of a sticky feeling when you first apply it, but the stickiness goes away quickly. I still use this deodorant occasionally during the winter after I’ve worked out, showered, and am just lounging the rest of the day. This brand might work well if you’re not a heavy sweater, but if you’re like me you’ll want to reserve it only for days you aren’t moving around much and the weather isn’t too hot. Or just skip it and use something else.


Kopari- original scent

One of the most popular brands I tried. And it smells so good that you want to keep sniffing yourself. The application process was easy, required no time heating under my arms and it glided on like butter. I tried this deodorant for some workouts at home before being confident enough to try it while exercising in a group setting. This deodorant successfully kept my smell away and I swear only made their scent stronger as my body heated up. So I’m sure you’re thinking, “well then Kopari must’ve been your favorite!” and the sad answer is unfortunately no. While my body responded well to this brand’s ability to cover my smell, my skin revolted. This product gave me a pretty gnarly rash that took a few days to start but made my underarms felt like they were on fire. To add to my pain, this meant I had to take a couple of days off of any underarm products to try and let my skin heal. Not ideal.


Love Beauty and Planet- ylang ylang scent

From the moment I put this on I was in love. Application was smooth and the scent was to die for. Unfortunately for me, this product also gave me an incredibly painful rash. Another no for me, but might work well for someone else’s body. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could use this one.


Schmidt’s- rose and vanilla scent

I was perusing my local Costco and saw a 3 pack of the Rose scented Schmidt’s deodorant priced so well I was willing to roll the dice. You can also find this brand at most Target stores, Amazon, and other online retailers. This product required a short warming period in my underarms to help it glide on easily. Like many of the heavier deodorants, it was easy to apply too much and cause pilling in my underarms. The scent was amazing without being overpowering and was able to decently stand up to a workout. I still sweat because this is not an antiperspirant. But this product found a combination of scent and other ingredients that didn’t irritate my skin or assault my sinuses with a deluge of offensive smells. This has been my go-to deodorant ever  since. I have tried multiple scents from this brand and have had no adverse reactions to my skin. I still sometimes struggle with application and put too much on, but it’s easy to rub any excess into your skin. Additionally I’m able to successfully reapply this product throughout the day as needed without causing skin irritation. I don’t think it quite earns 5 stars though, and that’s because I have noticed my white shirts have a slightly discolored underarm area requiring a good soak in oxiclean before washing.