Sunday, February 28, 2016

Get that red carpet glow w/Om Aroma & Co.

As you know, my family loves award shows, especially the Academy Awards. We like to dress up in old formal wear (old prom, homecoming, bridesmaid attire, etc.) or as characters from the nominated flicks. We take photos on a red carpet, eat movie-themed food (gotta have potatoes, since Matt Damon's character in "The Martian" grew potatoes on Mars) and cast our ballots (the winner gets to pick what we have for our next Sunday dinner). Since the Oscars is tonight, I made sure to prep my skin with Om Aroma & Co.

Talk about perfect timing, I was recently offered the chance to review a handful of Om products. According to the Om Aroma & Co. website, founder Angela Jia Kim (pictured above; the photo is from the site) started the company after developing a rash from a body lotion she applied just before a performance as a touring concert pianist. That lotion contained 55 ingredients, most of them being chemicals that she now tries to avoid. She then went to work in her Manhattan kitchen, creating chemical-free and preservative-free skincare made from the purist ingredients.

Her initial creams were a hit, due to her thousand attempts to get them just right. She later teamed up with "holistic formulators, aromatherapists and skincare experts to create Om Aroma, a line of organic skincare products (the above photo is also from the Om Aroma & Co. website), free of parabens, formaldehyde, mineral oil and synthetic fragrances. Soon after its launch, Om Aroma won four gold medals at the 2008 Beauty Olympics, beating out some of the industry giants; Om Aroma became recognized for its sophisticated combination of beauty with pure organic 'green' ingredients. All products are made in the USA. 'Sexy green has arrived'."

Who can say no to all of that, and did I mention there's a spa? These products are just what I need to get red carpet ready.

When my Om packaged arrived, it contained this simple chic wooden box. Inside the box, I found a small pouch and the award-winning Om Aroma Detox Manuka Honey Masque.

The Detox Manuka Honey Masque "contains a healing blend of Manuka honey with organic extracts to encourage cell regeneration, revealing soft and radiant skin ... Manuka honey draws impurities from the skin. Papaya and apricot enzymes gently digest dull skin cells to brighten skin."

The masque itself looks like liquid gold, and when applied to your face, its a sheer shine (it doesn't photograph well, which is why I didn't include a pic of me wearing it). It's sticky and sweet from the honey, and spreads better when warmed sightly. You can even use it in the shower (it's probably the easiest way to use it and rinse it off) or with a warm towel to take advantage of the heat and added moisture. Make sure to leave it on 5-10 minutes to reap all the benefits, both facially and from an aromatherapy perspective. The scent (it smells herbal, yet sweet; the sage really stands out to me) is relaxing and energizing at the same time.

This masque plumps and softens my skin. It really does give it a healthy glow. It also has a natural antiseptic quality that helps with minor breakouts.

As a follow-up to the mask, I got to try the new Om Aroma Mini Beauty Serum Trio, which is great for travel. These little serums fit neatly into that small pouch, but they really go a long way. You only need a tiny bit to get the job done, so they should last longer than expected.

Personally, my skin type requires all three serums (it's combination, prone to both wrinkles and the occasional breakout), so I apply each one where they are needed most. It's like multi-masking (applying more than one facial mask to different parts of your face at the same time), but with serums.

I like to start with the Om Aroma Protect Raspberry Serum for dry skin that's formulated to fight wrinkles with deep hydration. "Red raspberry seeds provide broad-spectrum UV-A and UV-B protection and vitamin E fights fine lines." I've been applying it beneath my eyes and on my forehead to soften fine lines. I feel as though it is the richest oil of the three, although it still absorbs quite nicely. The smell is not sweet, but still has a hint of tart raspberry.

I've been using the Om Aroma Renew Pumpkin Serum for Age Spots and Instant Glow on my age spots, of course. I actually have a bit of discoloration on my left cheek that I got from too much sun exposure while pregnant with my kids. "This organic face oil renews the skin through cellular regeneration and provides intense repair treatment with fatty acids, vitamin A, C, E, Zinc." I love the warm, almost spicy scent; it reminds me of fall. I haven't been using it long enough to say if it's having an effect on my discoloration, but it feels nice, softens my skin and gives it a lovely glow.

Speaking of glow, the Om Aroma Glow Carrot Rose Serum for Velvet Soft Radiant Skin gets the starring roll in this trilogy. "Carrot seeds have vitamin A and beta-carotene to nourish and rejuvenate the skin." Formulated for all skin types, I've enjoyed applying this serum to my entire face to enhance my already natural glow. I only need one dropper full to completely cover my face. I lightly dab it all over and allow it to absorb. I've had success wearing it without an additional moisturizer and under makeup (I let it set a bit before applying my makeup). It's light and refreshing. The sweet carrot and rose are a heavenly combination for my combination skin.

This masque and serum trio have my skin perfectly prepped for the evening and ready for our home red carpet. We are dressing up as characters this year. I'm either going to be Alicia Vikander's character from "The Danish Girl" (above is what I'd be wearing for that one) or someone from "Mad Max: Fury Road" (I might have to dirty up my glow for that one). Is anyone else dressing up for the occasion? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

And, if you are looking for a quick sweet treat for the event, here's the decadent Oscar Gold Smoothie I posted on Instagram the other day. It's a "banilla" shake base (frozen bananas blended with almond milk and vanilla) with Trader Joe's Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds pulsed into it for that sweet and salty crunch. It also has drizzles of crunchy raw almond butter and Philosophie Cacao Bee Honey, and a sprinkling of almond flour and coconut sugar "sparkles." It's garnished with fresh popcorn mixed with more honey and chopped dark chocolate almonds; the combination reminds me of old-school Cracker Jacks. How's that for a movie-inspired snack/dessert?

* These Om Aroma & Co. products were sent to me for review.
All opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Taking some face time w/Face Thyme

One of my favorite ways to treat myself is with a relaxing facial mask, so when I was offered a chance to try Face Thyme's Salty Dead Sea Mask, I just had to say yes. Besides, it's handmade in small batches by two sisters in Huntington Beach, CA, and it only contains a few natural, quality ingredients (Dead Sea clay, grapefruit essential oil and thyme extract). You know how I'm drawn to small Etsy businesses with products created with love.

This Face Thyme Salty Dead Sea Mask comes in a simple glass container, as there is no need for bells and whistles. This green powder easily whips up into a refreshing, detoxifying facial mask. Just add a little water, organic apple cider vinegar or your favorite toner to a small amount of the powder to achieve your desired consistency. Personally, I like to put a teaspoon or two of the powder into the palm of my hand (cupping my hand slightly to create a well) and mix it with enough water to make a wet paste.

Then, I apply the mask to my face, as shown. In the above photo, the mask has already begun to dry. It smells herbally from the thyme, which I think is quite refreshing. You can feel this mask tightening and toning as it dries. Once dry, it easily washes away to reveal tighter pores and clearer skin (it won't clear your skin instantly, but I noticed a blemish get smaller and disappear faster while using this mask; yes, this nearly 40-year-old still breaks out from time to time). The best part is that it doesn't irritate my skin, probably due to its short list of ingredients.

The lovely ladies of Face Thyme also sent me this Naked Hemp Lip Balm, which is just what I needed this time of year. Between all my lipstick changes and the harsh winter weather, my lips were really paying the price. I'm so grateful for this combination of beeswax, avocado oil, hemp oil, almond oil and olive oil that has healed my chapped lips. Thanks again Ashley and Serena :)

If you haven't already, you should check out Face Thyme's other products on their Etsy page, such as the Revitalizing Coco Fresh Scrub, Coco Fresh Mask and Honey Regeneration Daily Moisturizer (this one looks really good). If you post a pic of yourself using one of their products on Instagram, you could be featured on Face Thyme's Instagram feed.

Have you tried Face Thyme? Which product is your fave? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Face Thyme sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Prepping my skin w/Jane Iredale BeautyPrep

Shhh ... I have a secret. Up until recently, I was a Jane Iredale virgin, meaning that I had yet to try the extremely popular beauty line. I still haven't used any of the makeup (I keep seeing natural beauty bloggers praising the BB cream, though), but for the past couple weeks, I've been test driving the new BeautyPrep skincare.

Thanks to Gabrielle St. Claire of Eat Drink Shrink, I was sent the new Jane Iredale BeautyPrep Face Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer. I teased the other day on Instagram that I had been getting to know this trio of high performance, natural and organic (certified by ECOCERT), cruelty-free and vegan skincare products, and now I'm ready to share my thoughts.

First up is the Jane Iredale BeautyPrep Face Cleanser, which is one of those micellar waters I keep reading about. It claims to be "a no-rinse cleansing water that provides a deep pore cleanse with nourishing oat amino acids. Ideal for removing makeup and cleansing skin prior to toning and moisturizing. [It] contains a proprietary micellar water with dual cucumber extracts in liposome form that gently hydrate, smooth and protect the skin. [It] removes environmental pollutants and is antioxidant rich to help reduce free radical damage."

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of no-rinse cleansing methods, although I do sometimes use makeup remover wipes in a pinch (when the power goes out or prior to washing my face with another cleanser). Therefore, I must confess that I cleansed my face with this and a wash cloth at the sink (other reviewers have recommended using it with a Clarisonic brush or the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt), and yes, I did rinse. This cleanser actually looks and feels like water, but it cleanses away dirt and makeup. My makeup came off quite easy, except for a bit of stubborn mascara, which required a second cleanse (at least it didn't bother my eyes). I'm not sure if I'd call this a deep cleanser; however, it does leave my skin in balance and ready for the next two steps.

The Jane Iredale BeautyPrep Face Toner is described as "a gentle toner that refines pores and moisturizes with organic botanical liposomes. [It] prepares skin for layering moisturizer and makeup. [It] is infused with herbasome, a fruit extract infused water, which provides deep skin hydration and contains organic lemon grass, apple, pear, carrot and coconut water to balance pH and restore the surface of the skin."

This toner has a crazy, plunger-like dispenser that makes it easy to dispense the proper amount of product onto a cotton ball, cotton round, washcloth, etc., although it would also be nice to have the option of a spray, as it's quite refreshing (I wouldn't mind a quick spritz of this throughout the day). It's scented with organic lemon grass that's quite energizing and makes me happy. It is very gentle on my skin, and is not over-drying.

My favorite of the trio is the Jane Iredale BeautyPrep Face Moisturizer. According to the literature, it "moisturizes skin and helps prevent transepidermal water loss, protects the skin from airborne pollutants [and] prepares the skin's surface so makeup goes on smoother and lasts longer. [It] contains four organic rose stem cell extracts:
  • "White rose supports natural cell regeneration and the skin barrier, while restoring suppleness.
  • Damask rose helps to tighten pores, purify and smooth the skin.
  • Rose canina (rosehips) calms and brightens skin and helps prevent transepidermal water loss.
  • pale rose helps to rebuild the moisture barrier and provide suppleness for the appearance of newer, softer skin."

Inside this simple container is a thick, creamy moisturizer that smells so fresh and lemony. It immediately makes me think of a lemon meringue pie. It moisturizes and nourishes my skin, while having an almost exfoliating effect. Sometimes, it tingles slightly, but the results are a soft, smooth, even and tone finish to my skin. It's not too heavy under makeup; it's actually meant to prep your skin for makeup. My usual products glided on beautifully, without a primer, although I'm not sure if helped my makeup last any longer.

While I've been testing this moisturizer, I even experimented with using it as my eye cream, as well (just telling it like it is). Folks, there's a reason why there are separate creams marketed for near your eyes. It gets the job done, but when I got it too close to my eyes, it made them water a lot. Maybe this product could be the start to formulating a BeautyPrep eye cream. It's just a thought.

Have you tried Jane Iredale's new BeautyPrep skincare or any of the other products? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

*I was sent these products via Eat Drink Shrink and Jane Iredale.
All opinions are my own.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Suja Juice & Cookie Cups for Valentine's Day

Better late than never. I mentioned the possibility of a food post for Valentine's Day, and I almost didn't deliver. Thank goodness that I had a craving for Suja Juice and cookies, just in time for the big day. Suja's yummy red Sweet Beets organic cold pressed juice and pink Twilight Protein are the perfect love potion, and the best way to serve it is with cookies ... make that cookie dough cups.

In my house, I do more "unbaking" than traditional baking, so these don't require a special baking pan and oven. You can even get the kids involved to form the cups, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. You've gotta make the dough first.

To make the cookie dough, add 1 cup almond four, 1 Tbsp. Philosophie Coconut Magic Coconut Butter, 1 Tbsp. Philosophie Cacao Bee Honey, 1 Tbsp. almond butter, a dash of sea salt, a sprinkling of cinnamon and a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla to a mini food processor.

Process your ingredients into a sticky crumb, as shown.

Add a handful of raw cacao nibs to make this a chocolate chip cookie dough.

Give your mini food processor a spin to incorporate the "chips."

Remove your cookie crumbles from the food processor and gently knead it into a ball of dough.

Divide your ball of dough into three equal sections, so you can form three cookie cups.

At this point, the dough can be formed into cups, as if you were working with play dough. How you form this is up to you. I used a tamper from my Vitamix to help shape mine and keep all three cups about the same size.

Once your cookie cups are formed, you can skip the oven and put them in the freezer to set.

The next step is to melt some dairy-free chocolate chips in a double-boiler. You could also make raw chocolate to keep this recipe entirely raw.

When your melted chocolate is ready, remove your cookie cups from the freezer for filling.

I used a spoon to fill my cookie cups with the melted chocolate. I lined the rim to allow the chocolate to run down the inside of the cups. Then, I added some more to the bottom and spread it around.

Put the chocolate-lined cookie cups in the freezer to set or to store until ready to use.

I thought it would be fun to drink a red Suja juice and/or a pink Suja almond milk-based beverage out of these cups for Valentine's Day. I couldn't make up my mind when it came to which one, so I swirled both the juice and "milk" together. I also garnished my straw with strawberry lips (some strawberries look like lips when you slice them).

After having my juice, it was especially tasty to eat the no-bake chocolate chip cookie cup. Yum!

Are you making any special treats for Valentine's Day? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable). Happy Valentine's Day!

* I purchased all the ingredients for this recipe. I'm just a fan of these brands :)

Looking for more Valentine's Day recipes. Here's a link to a past round-up of my Valentine treats.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine Body Oil Faves

Valentine's Day is nearly here, and I thought I would have posted more before the big day. I've just been so busy that I haven't had a chance to post the ideas in my mind. It's too late for a gift guide, but that's not going to stop me from posting my favorite body oils for the occasion. You might already have some of these, as I've mentioned them all individually in the past.

No matter what day it is, I love a good body oil. They're not only sexy, but they are quite moisturizing and beneficial to your skin. Here are some of my faves:

Most of you know, I'm a huge fan of Acure Organics, and their Marula + Argan Dry Oil Body Spray is a staple in my house. It's so convenient to spray all over your body when you are in a rush (you still need to rub it in, but it takes seconds to do so). It absorbs quickly, which is a common theme with my favorite oils. It comes in Coconut, Citrus Ginger and Rose. All three scents are lovely, but I think Rose is a romantic choice for Valentine's Day. You can see my full review of Acure's Dry Oil Body Sprays here.

I just realized that I haven't posted a blog review of Leahlani's Pua Lei Organic Coco Infusion for Hair, Skin and Sun (make sure you check out all the beautiful skincare on Leah's new site). Much like pure unrefined coconut oil (which just happens to be the main ingredient in this product), the consistency of this oil changes with the seasons/temperature. It's more solid than the rest of the body oils in this post, but it melts into your skin, due to your body heat. This Coco Infusion also contains kukui oil, macadamia nut oil, sea buckthorn fruit, vitamin E and a blend of delicious smelling organic fragrances. The scent transports you to a relaxing tropical beach.

Similar to Leahlani's Coco Infusion, Lani's Tropical Body Treatment has a richer texture from the coconut oil, although still a more traditional oil consistency. It also contains a luxurious combination of almond oil, camellia seed oil, baobab seed oil, moringa seed oil and ylang ylang oil. I'm not sure I'd describe the scent as tropical, but it's romantic, like something my grandmother had on her bedside table (my grandmother had great taste and style that I loved to replicate). Check out my original review here, and keep an eye on the Lani website for more products being added to their line soon.

I'm so in love with Prim Botanicals. The Body Oil is so good that I'm going to cry when it's gone. It softens and tones my skin, absorbs well, yet still leaves that gorgeous body oil glow. This combination of hazelnut, camellia, almond, andiroba and pracaxi oils, along with jasmine, rose, black pepper, bergamot and rosemary, smells quite herbal right out of the bottle, but once applied to my  skin, it tastes on a more sensual smell. You can read more about it in my original review. Check out their big sale that's going on now, and sign up for the Prim Botanicals e-newletter to get 15% off your purchase.

Amaki Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil has Valentine's Day written all over it. This seductively sweet floral oil actually has little rose buds floating inside it. I was sold on the visual alone, but the oil itself really delivers, too. Although it's an amazing moisturizer, my favorite way to use it is in my hair (gotta have lovely locks for Valentine's day). As a leave-in hair treatment, this nourishing oil really tames my mane, without looking too greasy. You can read more about it in my last blog post.

Now that you've read about some of my favorite body oils, what are some of yours? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although some of these body oils were sent to me for review, others were purchased or repurchased once the product for review ran out. This post was my idea and all opinions are my own. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Flowers in my hair; flowers everywhere

Just the other day, I posted about Amaki Flowers & Salts Bath Soak, mentioning that Amaki also makes a beauty oil with flowers in it. I promised to let you know when I got an opportunity to try it. Who would have thought it would be so soon?

To my surprise, almost as soon as I posted my bath soak review, a box containing this lovely luxe oil arrived on my doorstep. Manika from the Natural Beauty Corner must have read my mind. Of course she knew I'd be interested in the bath soak's partner in pampering.

I couldn't wait to remove the bottle of Amaki Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil from the box and put it to the test. But first, I had to admire its beauty. Inside this simple glass bottle, you can see a handful of sweet little rose buds floating in a combination of certified organic oils, including evening primrose oil, jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, rosehip oil, bergamot essential oil, rose geranium essential oil and jasmine oil.

The fragrance is heavenly (its a sweetly seductive floral; I love the hints of rosehip and jasmine) and the oil itself looks like liquid gold. It glides on every inch of my skin with ease (it's excellent for massage). It also absorbs well, so you don't have to wait all day to get dressed ... unless that was your plan.

Since this oil absorbs well, it can also be used on your face, day or night. I haven't used it enough to give a thorough review on that, but I can say it gives you a healthy glow.

I have been using it on the length of my hair for the past few days. It works as a leave-in treatment and brings new life to my dry ends.

Seriously, I put almost a hole dropper worth of the oil into my thin hair, and I can still walk around with my hair down, instead of it a bun (in other words, my hair doesn't look greasy). It also smells amazing and keeps that light floral scent within nose-reach for hours (although I'm not a huge fan of perfume, I do love the scent of natural oils).

I've been enjoying using this Amaki Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil from head to toe, especially after a good soak with the Amaki Flowers & Salts Bath Soak. It has Valentine's Day (or week ... or month, etc.) written all over it.

If you're interested in ordering the Amaki Jasmine & Rose Nourishing Oil and/or the Amaki Flowers & Salts Bath Soak in time for Valentine's Day, you'll be happy to know that both products can be found on Amazon and are eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping.

What do you think about flowers in your natural beauty products (I happen to think they're really romantic)? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* I was sent these Amaki Flowers & Salts Bath Soaks via the Natural Beauty Corner for review. All opinions are my own :)