Clean Beauty Product Review

It is becoming easier to be a clean beauty product junkie.  I discover a new line almost every week!  While not everything that I use is “clean”, I have made a concerted effort over the past few years to minimize my toxic load from chemicals in cleaning and personal products.  It’s not alway easy as clean beauty is a fairly unregulated industry, and the term is often just tossed around as a buzz word to attract attention.  Many products are not as “clean” as they pretend to be.  While I haven’t found all of the clean beauty products that I have tried to be effective, there are some great products out there.  I recently picked up two new clean beauty products to try out:  Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask and Farmacy’s Honey Savior.

Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask

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Herbivore is a brand that has been on my radar for quite a while, but this was the first opportunity that I had to actually try a product from the line.  This beauty line is well known for it’s oils, clarity mask and body scrub.  Founded by a husband and wife duo in their Seattle kitchen, the line is made with organic, high quality and food grade ingredients.  I chose to try the resurfacing mask first because exfoliating has always been one of my favourite beauty rituals (seriously, I am obsessed).  The Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask is advertised to exfoliate, smooth and resurface the skin and it’s active ingredients include Blue Tansy Oil  (natural anti-inflammatory), White Willow Bark (natural BHA), fruit enzymes (natural AHA) and aloe leaf (natural complexion soother).

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I was a little skeptical when I first applied the clarity mask.  There was not really any tingling and the texture was completely smooth.  I generally prefer a manual exfoliant so I was hoping for a bit of “grit” in the mask.  Nevertheless, I left the mask on for 20 minutes then washed it off with warm water and a clean wash cloth as per the directions.  My face felt smoother but the effect wasn’t anything spectacular.  There is a tip sheet that comes with the mask and it suggests to use the mask everyday for 3-4 days (on the website it says every other day) and then reduce usage to a few times a week.  I decided to use it everyday for four days in the hopes of seeing some great results.  By day three the results were noticeable and by day four my skin had a softness to it that I hadn’t seen in a very (very) long time.  I am so impressed with this product!  I am hopeful that it has positive long term effects as well – I will do a follow up post in a few months.  The price ($48 CAN) is fairly average for a chemical exfoliant from Sephora and a little goes a long way so the jar should last quite some time.  I can’t wait to try more products from this line in the future!

Stylishly Zen Beauty Rating:   4.5/5

Honey Savior by Farmacy

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I have been a a fan of the Farmacy brand since I first discovered it a Sephora early last year.  There is a lot of science behind this brand, and I absolutely love how much information they provide about the brand on the packaging.  According to the box the products are cultivated by farmers and activated by scientists (there is even a picture!).  Free of parabens, formaldehyde and artificial colours many of the Farmacy products are powered by their trademarked Echinacea Greenenvy Honey.

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Honey Savior is advertised as an all-in-one skin repair slave that is rich in amino acids and B vitamins to help smooth dry skin giving it a renewed, healthy and nourished appearance.  Honey is a great natural hydrator so it makes sense to have it in it a salve.  I love using a salve to moisturize my feet before bed, and given my love of the Farmacy brand I was more then willing to give this one a try.  In terms of quality, the texture of the salve is a slightly more liquid then others that I have tried which would make sense as it’s primary ingredient is castor oil.  The less viscous texture means that a little bit of the product goes a long way, and it’s easier to use then a thicker version. I found it surprisingly helpful with helping to revive my tired aching feet after a long day – within 15 minutes the aches and pains were a distant memory.  I am not sure why it was so helpful with this issue, but I am grateful nonetheless.   The one downside of this product is the price ($44 CAN)! That is a lot of money to spend on a salve even if it is clean beauty.  I am hopeful that this tube will last a long long time as you only need to use a very small amount at a time.

Stylishly Zen Beauty Rating:  4/5

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Overall I was happy with both of these clean beauty products aside from the price of the salve (clean beauty needs to be more affordable).  If the Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask continues to be effective then I would definitely repurchase but I am not sure about the salve.  As much as I love the Farmacy brand, the higher price point a little hard to justify.  I am hopeful that this tube will last a long long time!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Bags and Blooms

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe that it is already March!  It feels like this year is just zipping by!  While we have experienced a few beautiful days here in Montreal, I can’t wait for the warmer weather and lighter clothing options.  One my favourite things to do is to build mood boards filled with things that make me smile – fabulous fashion shots, inspirational quotes, delicious food and anything else that makes me happy.

While many may think that fashion shots are an odd choice for a wellness blog, I humbly disagree.  Wellness is about healthy eating and living but it is also about embracing things that feed your soul and for me fashion just happens to be one of the things that makes me incredibly happy.

So without further adieu here are some of the shots that I am thriving on at the moment:

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Images via http://www.Pinterest.com, Instagram (@sakaralife, @dalhousenutrition, @statusanxiety, @fashionchicstyling, @shalicenoel)

I hope that you have a beautiful day!

XXS

Inspiring Design

My love of nesting is currently in overdrive.  The winter season may be almost over but I intend to make the most of the last few weeks (hopefully) of the cold weather.

This home in Sweden is straight out of my winter nesting daydreams.  With gorgeous sea views, a comforting minimalist vibe and beautiful muted tones this home is incredible.  Recently renovated, the large kitchen is the perfect refuge for the long winters and the  entire house is the perfect place to nest anytime of the year.  White floors help to brighten the entire home and contrast perfectly with the deep muted and textured tones of the walls.  The garden is a beautiful space to enjoy the gorgeous views once the weather warms up.  This a dream home, inside and out!  I am obsessed!fullsizeoutput_1479

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All images from http://www.fantasticfrank.de

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  XXS

Cashew Butter Blondies

This recipe for cashew butter blondies came to me as an epiphany of sorts.  I love blondies and my favourite recipe in the past was curtesy of the Barefoot Contessa.  Rich, buttery and completely indulgent, those blondies were fun to eat but not so great for my health goals.  So with this year’s baking challenge I decided to include a lightened up blondie recipe.

I thought that cashew butter would be a great addition to blondies and I spent a lot time Googling recipes trying to figure out how to achieve my blondie dreams.  I tried a few recipes that I found, and while they were good they didn’t feel like the decadent treat that I was searching for.  Then I came across a recipe for grain free brownies that was simple and sounded delicious.  I decided to use that recipe as a base and adapt it into the blondie recipe I had been dreaming of.

This recipe is simple but delicious.  These blondies are flourless and can be refined sugar free if you omit the chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 500g jar cashew butter

1 cup (250ml) golden maple syrup

2 organic eggs

4 Madjool dates, pitted and mashed

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt)

1/2 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp Baking soda

What to do:

Preheat oven to 320 degrees

Blend the dates and maple syrup until creamy

Mix in the cashew butter until completely integrated

Slowly stir in the eggs (one at a time)

Stir in the salt, cinnamon and baking soda

Gently fold in chocolate chips until just combined

Pour batter into a 8 X 8 pan lined with parchment paper

Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown

Let cool before cutting into squares

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I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

Happy December Everyone!

I associate the holiday season with rich chocolate desserts more then anything else.  So while others have visions of sugar plums dancing I tend to dream of chocolate waltzing.  Bad joke?  Alright, I’ll stop before I hurt myself.

At the beginning of November I decided to challenge myself and create a few delicious dessert recipes that were decadent yet still moderately healthy treats. Eating well is a lifestyle not a diet which includes clean high quality foods that support your body without leaving you feeling deprived or overwhelmed.  To me, this includes desserts.  You don’t need to have an all or nothing approach when it comes to eating.  Simple swaps and little adjustments can make a big difference in your health and how you look and feel overall.  I created these recipes for my clients and for you, to give you options during the holiday season and beyond. For those of you who are intimidated by baking please note that I am not a baker by any means, I just really like to eat.  It’s also important to me to know what is in my food. These recipes are simple, easy and require minimal skill, ingredients or effort.  My kitchen is literally in a closet and I have zero counter space, yet these recipes still came together beautifully – if I can do it, I have faith that you can too.

First up: Dark Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Brownies

These dark chocolate chunk brownies are the most perfect dessert that I have ever baked.  Rich, dense, moist and oh so good.  Did I mention that they are gluten free and refined sugar free?!?!

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This amazing recipe has officially become my go to dessert recipe when I need a sweet treat.

Please note: All of the ingredients that I used when making these little bites of heaven were organic, but I understand that buying organic that can be a little pricey, so just try to keep your ingredients as clean and as high quality as your budget will allow.

Ingredients:

4 madjool dates (pitted and mashed)

1 cup of pure dark maple syrup

1 365g jar of creamy almond butter

2 medium organic eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1 heaping tablespoon of chunky almond butter

pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt (or regular sea salt)

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup of organic dark chocolate chunks (minimum 70%) plus some more for the top

What to do:

Pre-heat oven to 320

Line 8 X 8 pan with parchment paper

Beat the maple syrup and dates until creamy (I used a blender for this part to ensure that the dates were completely integrated)

Mix in the creamy almond butter, this will make the mixture extremely thick so slowly add in the almond milk to loosen up the batter and make it easier to mix

Slowly add the eggs

Add raw cacao, baking soda and salt and mix well until fully incorporated

Stir in the chunky almond butter and the chocolate chunks

Pour the batter into pan and top with extra chocolate chunks

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes

If you can resist eating some straight out of the pan before the brownies have cooled you are officially my new hero.  I on the other hand burned the inside of my mouth – it was totally worth it.

Enjoy! XXS

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