2 Holy Grail Drugstore Acne Skincare Products

I am a HUGE skincare junkie. I’ve tried more products than I’d like to admit in search of some holy grail products to help my skin. And thankfully, after many trial and errors over the years, I have found some products that are my absolute favorites! So the best way to describe my skin is temperamental. Some months my skin reacts great to products and then the next month I develop some kind of reaction to it. I’ve been to many Dermatologists that have prescribed me pricey washes and creams that don’t even work for me. So I’ve made it my mission to find inexpensive drug store products that actually work. Needless to say, I have had a rough journey in finding products that my skin has liked for years, but I have been successful and am here to share my secrets!
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I’ve tried so many face washes over the years. I have acne-prone, combination skin that I can never really predict. I’ve tried just about every acne-fighting face wash under the sun and have only really found one true wash that works for me. It is the Clearasil Ultra Acne + Marks Wash and Mask. I’ve been using this face wash for about 3 years now as it has really helped keep acne and redness at bay. It doesn’t dry my skin out too much, which is also a huge plus. I personally don’t use it as a mask, only as a wash twice a day, but I’ve read reviews that the mask really helps. I would recommend this face wash to anyone who has breakouts and doesn’t want to use a super harsh wash like other lines carry. The best part of it is, it’s under $10! Can’t beat a product that works well for your face and your budget.

Another acne fighting product I swear by is the Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10. I’ve been using this product for as long as I can remember getting pimples. I use this spot treatment once a day at night after I wash my face to stop any pimples in their tracks. If I feel any sort of bump surfacing, I use this cream and the next morning I wake up with either no bump, or it has seriously reduced in size. I feel like this cream completely reverses any pimple. This cream is very drying, but using a good moisturizer with it solves that issue. It is SUPER inexpensive (under $5!!) and great product to have in your medicine cabinet.

Let me know if you guys have used these products, or have any suggestions I should try next!

Xx,

M

Green Cleaning

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I’ve recently done some research into the everyday household cleaners I have been using. I realized how many chemicals and dangerous toxins were in products that I was using to CLEAN. Whether it was bathroom cleaner, countertop spray, or laundry pods, I knew I had to make some changes.

I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my bathroom and didn’t feel dizzy or sick and had to leave the room for breath. Even with the vent fan on and windows open, the fumes I was inhaling from cleaning my bathroom was literally making me sick. I considered which was harming me more, the germs in my bathroom, or the fumes and chemicals I was breathing in cleaning those germs. But I didn’t want to sacrifice a good clean either. Sure, you want to really clean a bathroom to get rid of germs, but I knew there had to be a healthier way of doing so. I recently purchased the Method Antibac Bathroom Cleaner which uses naturally derived ingredients and their non-toxic power green technology to do job. Knowing that my bathroom was still getting a deep clean without the harsh side effects of a toxic cleaner has made all the difference.

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Another issue that really stuck out to me was cleaning my kitchen countertops with harsh cleaner. I would typically use Lysol All Purpose cleaner that “kills 99.9% of germs” every day on top of my counters. Then I thought, I was using a cleaner that would KILL someone if ingested, to clean a countertop that made it “safe” to eat off of. We are using products that aren’t even supposed to touch your skin, but are supposed to be safe enough to put our forks and knives on. How does that make sense? I don’t think it does! Sure, like a bathroom, sometimes you need to kill some germs after cooking chicken or meat, but for an everyday cleanser, Lysol seemed extreme. I purchased the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner that is made of 98% naturally derived ingredients, to use for an every day countertop wipe. I also purchased a few other products from the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day line which I have totally fallen in love with including hand soap and dish soap.

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I also hate using bleach on things. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a bright white towel, but I hate pouring bleach into my washer machine. Knowing that I was pouring bleach onto towels and washcloths I would later use on my skin, specifically my face, did not sit well with me. I’ve been on the search for a bleach alternative that I could use that would still make my whites bright but wouldn’t do harm to my skin. I have always been very conscience about what touches my skin. Anything that touches skin, gets absorbed into the blood stream, and bleach is definitely not something I want doing that. At Target I found these Grab Green Fragrance Free Bleach Alternative Pods that are free of chemicals, chlorine, and dyes. Instead of bleach, it uses sodium carbonate peroxide to clean and whiten. So far, I have been loving them!

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The toxicity of breathing in, ingesting, and absorbing these toxic chemicals into our bodies was enough for me to reconsider all of my household cleaning products. I’ve actually even started looking into concocting my own cleaning products using vinegar, olive oil, and lemon. I don’t know about you, but my belief is that if you can’t read the ingredients, you shouldn’t use it. Just like food – if you can’t understand the ingredients, don’t eat it! Switch to more natural alternatives, or even better – create your own cleaners!

Xx,
M

3 Healthy Cocktail Ideas

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I know I’m not alone when it comes to loving a good cocktail. But having one too many hangovers from sugary drinks made me rethink what I was drinking. My old go-to was a gin + tonic. Thinking tonic was just some variant of water, I used to think it was a healthy choice. Then I did my research. Realizing tonic is actually a sugary soft drink masked by a name including water, I swapped out my tonic for club soda. Sure, it doesn’t taste the same but the amount of calories and sugar you give up making the change is HUGE! While many alcohols have sugar content, it is typically the mixers that surge the calorie and sugar content sky high. So, to avoid an extra five pounds and the nasty hangovers, try these using these three ideas for a healthier cocktail!
  1. Gin, La Croix passionfruit flavor, + a splash of pineapple juice with ice
  2. Vodka, club soda,  + lemon juice with ice
  3. White wine sangria with San Pellegrino sparkling water, green apples, oranges, lemons, + limes

As the weather gets warmer, there are definitely opportunities to fall victim to those delicious frozen drinks like a margarita or strawberry daiquiri. But just remember, there are always healthy alternatives that can keep you on track with your diet and natural living while still having fun!

Hope you enjoy!

Xx,
M

Winter Skin Essentials

I know I’m not alone when it comes to hating winter solely for the fact of dry skin. Basically from November to March, I am constantly using lotion, chapstick, oils- you name it. It seems like a never ending battle! But luckily over the years I’ve found some staples in my routine to keep the dry skin at bay during the winter.

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My all time favorite winter skin saver is Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion Sheer Hydration. I used to use the regular Aveeno, but found it to be a little too greasy (a pet peeve of mine!) so I swapped out for the sheer hydration bottle and LOVE it. By no means does sheer hydration mean that it isn’t a very moisturizing lotion either. This lotion goes on so smoothly, absorbs quickly, without ANY residue. I used to try a bunch of other brands like Vaseline and Aquaphor, but always found them to be too thick to absorb and left me feeling greasy. THIS is the stuff guys, it is my holy grail winter skin saver!

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My next favorite dry skin buster is the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion for my face. I use an acne cleanser + acne spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide daily, so my face is always dry. This lotion by CeraVe is thin enough to absorb into my skin, but thick enough to cure the dryness and prevent flaking. I can’t stand when a lotion on my face feels greasy- I am prone to breakouts, so feeling greasy typically means it’ll break me out- but this lotion has not disappointed me.

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Let me know if you guys like these lotions too or have any good suggestions for what I should try next!

Xx,
M

The Best Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe

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So around my family and friends I am known for my healthy juices and smoothies. I can make any person a juice or smoothie they are guaranteed to love! I even convinced my veggie + fruit hating mom to drink regular smoothies and she loves them! The trick? Make them taste like they AREN’T healthy! And it’s easier than you think.

I personally enjoy green smoothies with kale and spinach. But I know many people don’t. But I put kale and/or spinach in ALL of my recipes. It’s a quick, sure fire way to get those greens! And with my recipes, you can’t even tastes the leafy greens, but still reap all the benefits. What’s better than that?!

Here is my recipe for my healthy green smoothie:

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
  1. A handful (literally) of spinach
  2. 1 cup of almond milk – My favorite is Silk unsweetened almond milk, but any milk alternative works as well
  3. 1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter (use natural, organic peanut butter with no added sugar – I use Smucker’s Organic Creamy Peanut Butter)
  4. 1 large green apple
  5. 1 large frozen banana
  6. 3/4 cup of vanilla greek yogurt
  7. 1 teaspoon of honey (use local, raw honey)
  8. 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder (I buy mine at Wegman’s)
  9. 1 dash of cinnamon
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
  1. Wash the spinach and pick off the stems from the leaf, put all leaves in blender
  2. Pour the almond milk into the blender
  3. Blend just the spinach and the almond milk for about 2-3 minutes until no leafy chunks remain*
  4. Add the peanut butter, green apple, frozen banana, yogurt, honey, wheatgrass + cinnamon to the blender
  5. Blend for another minute or so until smooth
  6. Pour into a large glass and enjoy!

*The trick with making a smooth smoothie with things like kale and spinach, is to blend the greens and your liquid by themselves for almost 3 minutes (depending on the quality of your blender) until there are no chunks of greens in the blender. Then, add the remaining ingredients.

This recipe makes a pretty large serving. It can be shared between two people, or I like to have it as a meal replacement with a snack on the side.

 

Let me know if you guys try out the recipe and how you like it! I’ll be sharing more smoothie and juice recipes in the coming weeks, so be sure to follow my blog to read about those!

Xx,
M

The Secret to Eating Healthy

The best way to describe my eating habits is non-processed. I don’t look at calories or the sodium content, I look at the ingredients. The fewer, the better. Now, I don’t look at every single food and assess it’s value health wise. I definitely indulge in my occasional ice cream sandwich, bucket of fries, + pasta. But I would say about 85% of the time, I am very conscious about what I am putting into my body.

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It all started when I found myself in college unable to focus, lacking so much energy everyday, and just overall felt like a slug. I took a step back and looked at the aspects of my life that could cause it. Sure, college drinking has an affect, but I’ve never been one to turn down a cocktail! I looked at the food I was consuming on a daily basis. Living on my own, I found myself going to the store and buying the easiest, fastest meals possible. I was too busy (or so I thought) to plan a recipe, too lazy to cook a meal, and just plain didn’t care.

I began doing my research into eating healthy and its benefits. And that is where my life transformed. I started to go to the store and spend an extra 30 minutes actually looking at what I was buying. I began spending more and more time in the produce section, choosing fruits and veggies for my snacks for the week instead of my usual bags of chips and pretzels. Don’t get me wrong, I still almost always have chips and pretzels in my house. But those are saved for days when I need a little indulging.

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I slowly (key word, SLOWLY) began making changes in my eating habits. I didn’t go through a pantry makeover and throw out every single bad food. If I’ve learned anything, it’s everything in moderation. You can’t just change your life in one day- you are setting yourself up for failure. Slowly over the weeks, I would swap more and more snacks for veggies and fruits, more frozen pizzas for fresh chicken and yams, my weekly ice cream for fruit covered in dark chocolate. Soon enough, I found myself naturally craving healthier foods, feeling better, and even looking better! My abs started to come in without any change to my workout, my face cleared up, and I had more energy than I knew what to do with. Sure enough, this lifestyle change became my normal. To this day, about 4 years later, I still work on finding better and healthier alternatives. It takes time. But it’s possible. Anybody can do it if they have the right mindset and motivation.

Xx,

M