Yesterday I shared a look at my updated gallery wall with Simply Framed, a wall that definitely doesn’t shy from the bold or colorful. And while gallery walls tend feel very “one-and-done,” I touched upon the process of continually...
I’ve been out of town on work travel for 12 days in January and February (!). While I LOVE a good trip, and I always see it as a chance to be rejuvenated and inspired, I get stressed out about maintaining my health and fitness while away. When home in Nashville, I prioritize working out 5-6 days per week (I’m a ClassPasser so it’s easy!), and I’m happy as a clam to have a smoothie for lunch during the workday. So when I’m away from my routine for that amount of time, I have to be diligent about the decisions that will help me take care of myself.
That means working out. I was in denial about this for years, I had always heard that working out even when you’re tired would help boost your energy and overall mood. I’m happy to say that I’ve finally embraced a good sweat as essential for my mind-body wellness; it helps me feel good physically while also saving a little sanity while I’m constantly “on-on-on” as I like to call it. And I credit a quick jog (even if it’s just a mile) and a hotel-room HIIT sesh (with this great app) for keeping me happy and healthy during these past two months on the go.
Do you struggle with staying fit while traveling? I think the biggest thing is to think of it like this: your body is truly your temple, so do what you need to do to keep it thriving. That doesn’t stop when you’re away from home; it’s the most important then. Check out a few easy tips to stay fit while traveling below. I’d love to know any tricks you have up your sleeve, too. Cheers, Kat
I really made a point to get outside and move around on our trips. That meant a few mornings I set the alarm earlier than the rest to go for a quick run before sitting down with my coffee and my laptop. Some days it was only a slow mile outside, and other days it was on the treadmill and felt more like a stress-relieving sprint. But all in all, I prioritized to simply break a sweat, and thought if it more as a treat for myself mentally than anything. It may sound silly, but it worked, and it helped me get through a long time away from my routine back home.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a gym or equipment. Like I mentioned above, I used this app a few days in the hotel room when I was too weary to go outside or find the gym. And I found this fun no-equipment workout that would be great to do with a travel buddy, and I’ve always liked this one too.
And get creative! If you can’t dedicate 20-30 minutes to yourself for a workout, think about ways you can work up a little sweat even if it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator or riding a bike instead of catching a cab.
Staying hydrated is especially important while traveling. You do not have the time to be bed-ridden with a migraine or sluggish the day after a client dinner. As McKel at Nutrition Stripped reminded us, water helps healthy digestion too, which is a huge factor in your everyday wellbeing. When you have healthy digestion, you feel better ALL around. I was also excited to learn from McKel that water helps us feel more energized and more alert, making it another no-brainer reason for staying hydrated.
During our two almost back-to-back trips, I made sure to have (read: hoard) water bottles in my hotel rooms, and I always ordered water with every cocktail. I also avoided too many mid-day drinks as I’ve learned I get sluggish, unmotivated and make poor decisions with eating if I’ve had too many! Instead, I ordered unsweetened iced tea during the day so that I could stay sharp and focused.
I’ve realized that having healthy snacks with me helps curb the cravings (and gives me more will-power to say no to the temptations on the restaurant menus).
My favorite non-GMO organic meal bar is this one. I stashed several in my suitcase for both our Louisiana road trip and South Carolina road trip. We also had a bag of Pure Growth Organic munchies for our time in the car; these helped us avoid the dismal snack offering at the gas station.
If your travel allows, also consider bringing homemade snacks like these Spirulina Energy Globes to keep you going full-speed ahead.
I’m sure you’ve already seen me raving about The Five Minute Journal, but I swear this thing is life-changing. I found a pattern in my notes on daily gratitude and my daily affirmations about my health—specifically the food I was choosing to nourish my body with, and the time I was setting aside to have “me time” and workout. I really credit the simple act of writing down those affirmations and grateful thoughts about my health for my continued motivation while on the trips. I felt more accomplished because I prioritized these things for my self.
Strong immunity is as important as ever while you’re on the go (because who has time to be sick these days?!), and it’s right in line with healthy digestion. When your body is functioning at its best, you’ll truly feel like you can tackle the full schedule ahead. By remembering to pack supplements and vitamins, you’re giving yourself a boost that will have you feeling amazing all the way until you’re back home.
From a kale face wash to a nontoxic deodorant (that actually works) to a soothing face mask and more; I’ve tried more green beauty products than I can count over the past few years. And from that I’m thrilled to say I’ve really been able to narrow it down to the best green beauty products on the market.
If you’re thinking about swapping out any of the products in your own daily routine, I’d recommend any/all of the following to start. I included several great options for things like daily cleansers, face oils, all natural skincare, nontoxic deodorant and clean nail polish that I’ve personally tested and LOVED.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with clean beauty and skincare products of late, but I can also attest to how much more effective they really are. I’ve been happy to test and sample a ton of popular brands who’ve devoted their lines to products with ingredients you can trust. That kale face wash (only $36!) is THAT good that I went back for another bottle, I’m telling you. But like Kat said yesterday, take it slow if you’re overhauling your entire beauty and personal care routine…it can add up fast and it’s more fun to see the direct results of a new favorite, am I right?! Truly, MKR
I turn to this Softening Emollient Elixir when my face is feeling super dry (hello, winter). Its all natural ingredients, including a combination of apricot seed oil, high oleic sunflower seed oil, lock in major moisture…fast. I can’t get enough of how it makes my skin feel hydrated and dewy.
This gentle, incredibly healing milk and honey mask is another one of my secrets to my recent glow; its collagen boosting milk peptides help to hydrate, and the honey flushes the pores and keeps my complexion clear. It’s great for sensitive skin (which I most definitely have). I typically apply it once a week, when I’m in need of a good at-home spa night.
Once you try this moisture mist, you will be hooked. It’s part lightweight moisturizer and part toner that can be used for long-lasting hydration. The list of ingredients include shiitake mushroom (a natural source of Vitamin D which tones my complexion) and alpine rose (rich in antioxidants that fights dryness from the winter or any other of the elements). I love to use the mist before applying serum so that it preps and hydrates the skin for maximum effect, but also whenever my skin needs a quick little reboot throughout the day (especially great when traveling!).
This award-winning organic makeup remover is absolutely one of my must-haves in my routine. Applied directly to your dry face, this serum locks in moisture and effortlessly removes makeup and impurities. It’s super hydrating; the ingredients feel luxurious on the skin and you’ll find yourself finally looking forward to removing your makeup every night once and for all.
A WOM team favorite for good reason, this gentle everyday cleanser is a showertime staple. Its winning formula includes vegetable glycerin, cold-pressed apple oil and Chilean soap bark to come together as a non-drying, nontoxic foam. It can be used for the face, body AND hair. It’s pretty much a miracle product in my book.
This uniquely moisturizing lavender shave oil is great for normal to sensitive, and easily irritated, skin. Its nourishing blend gives you a ridiculously close shave, while it repairs and hydrates the skin. I’m a big fan of its all-star lineup of ingredients; Vitamins A & C improve skin tone and texture, and Omega fatty acids 3, 6, and 9 rejuvenate.
This convenient ready-to-use roll on blend features four types of Eucalyptus essential oils. Eucalyptus contains cineole, which has been studied for its potential to support healthy lung function and reduce airway inflammation. Along with Eucalyptus, the blend includes powerful essential oils: peppermint essential oil, myrtle essential oil and copal essential oil.
I like to rub Breathe Again straight on my chest or under my nose, finding that it gives me fast relief when I’m stopped up. If you haven’t dived into the whole essential oil world yet click HERE to find out why we did a few months ago and join us!
So thrilled to have an all natural cough drop on hand in case I need the relief. These cough drops not only bring the cough to stop, they sooth sore throats and boost immunity. I personally love the flavor too; think minty, spicy yet sweet (but with no artificial sugars or preservatives).
Hands down, my favorite all natural nail polish brand: Smith & Cult. This “8-free” nail polish is formulated without the eight common concerning ingredients of big-brand name polishes: Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Xylene, Ethyl Tosylamide and Triphenyl Phosphate.
They’re simply my favorite thanks to utterly gorgeous shades that don’t chip (I’m talking like 1-2 weeks!). Do yourself a favor and stock up on a few colors of Smith & Cult nail polish.
The gang’s all here! No, this isn’t your favorite smoothie recipe; it’s one of my favorite face cleansers. This Youth to the People cleanser has antioxidant-rich ingredients work that together to fight free radicals, overall redness and all the junk that hits your skin from the environment every day. It’s light, non-irritating and very, very refreshing.
I feel like I’m giving my skin a big hug with this ultra soothing and hydrating cleanser. It’s gentle enough for super sensitive skin and it’s completely fragrance-free, and it has a lineup of all natural ingredients like water lily extract, chamomile essential oil and rosemary essential oil. It has the perfect amount of creaminess as it effortlessly removes impurities (and makeup) without irritating the skin’s surface. It’s left my skin feeling sooo supple and soft.
Here’s a fantastic new-to-me lightweight daily moisturizer from Osea Malibu. It hydrates and gives your skin a barrier protection against surface damage caused by things like extreme dry climates, wind and air pollution. The ingredients are heavenly; USDA Certified Organic Algae, shea butter and avocado oil. After applying, your skin feels silky to the touch, and it smells absolutely divine. I think it helps the overall look of my makeup too – hydration really is key!
Frankincense essential oil is my new trusty skincare BFF. It’s great for my acne scars, as well as fighting fine lines and wrinkles to help reduce their appearance and support an overall healthy glow and clear complexion. I like to apply Frank on my face “neat” without a carrier oil (after spot-testing to see how my skin would react), but you can also mix it with a carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil. Another great application is a drop or two in your favorite daily moisturizer for an even Also, add a drop or two of frankincense to your daily moisturizer to boost its performance.
And the best news is that it comes in the Premium Starter Kit ($160 value for 11 oils, a diffuser and more) which is a great deal from the retail price of $96.71 a bottle).
Tea tree essential oil is a life-saver when it comes to pesky blemishes and breakouts. It’s my go-to spot treatment that gets down to the problem STAT, and clears me up naturally. I’d HIGHLY recommend this oil to anyone looking to add an emergency breakout solution to their beauty regimen.
By now you know of my love affair with Thieves essential oil; it’s a household staple for us now for major immunity support, dozens of nontoxic cleaning applications, as well as aromatherapy. It’s a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary.
I apply a drop directly on a pesky pimple, only to see it disappear by the next day, leaving no scar. I like to think of it as a bacteria zapper around the house, and I’ve found it works wonders on my skin too.
I’m always on the hunt for a hard-working all natural deodorant. If you’ve tried any, then you’ll know it’s easier said than done finding a good alternative to the big-name brand stuff you’ve used for years. I recently tried a sample from No Tox Life and have been really pleased with the subtle fragrance and strength to fight sweat.
Only a few months ago I tried derma rolling, and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised with the results. As someone who’s struggled with acne scars for almost all my life, I appreciate this (affordable) at-home treatment that helps exfoliate and turn over skin cells, regenerating fresh, younger looking skin.
Here’s a scary news flash: a lot of your favorite beauty and personal care products contain industrial chemicals, which include carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. EWG has been warning us of this for years; personal care products are manufactured with 10,500 unique chemical ingredients, including things like coal tar and formaldehyde (known human carcinogens) and lead acetate (a developmental toxin). Many also include plasticizers, which keep concrete soft, degreasers, which remove the grime and gook off car parts, and surfactants. #Woof
All of these ingredients have no place being on our skin, which is our biggest organ of our body and soaks up everything we put on it. Because of this scary reality, it’s easy to see why a clean, green beauty routine is absolutely vital for our health and wellness. Fortunately, it’s actually super simple to swap out a few of the most harmful culprits (think everyday lotion, toothpaste and body wash).
But I can speak from personal experience that it can feel wearisome planning a complete overhaul of your beauty routine, especially when it means parting with some of your favorite tried-and-true products. My biggest piece of advice is to take it slowly; take the time to research the products you use, understand the dangers of specific ingredients, and ultimately prioritize your approach on cleaning up the toxins on your bathroom counter. That may mean you start small and swap out the easy stuff like toothpaste and daily moisturizer. That may mean you tackle the harder switches like deodorant and shampoo next month. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t part with your current product because you haven’t found a clean alternative that works as well, either. I have a hard time leaving this mascara after years and years of wearing it. And I only recently found an all natural foundation that was super hydrating and actually gave me the coverage I needed. It’s a slow process, but it’s definitely worth it to find clean(er) products that work for you.
Below, find a few of the green beauty alternatives I always recommend to start (I had the list at 19, but pared it down for time’s sake!). I’d love to keep the conversation going about clean beauty; please leave a comment below with any of your favorite green beauty alternatives or questions you may have. I’m still learning a lot myself, but I’m finding that it’s an incredibly interesting journey to be on. Cheers, Kat
Here’s a friendly newsflash that the majority of big-brand name deodorant contain five very concerning ingredients: parabens, aluminum, triclosan, phthalates and “fragrance” – a term that can house up to 200 ingredients that don’t have to be listed. I won’t bore you to death, but I will point out a few things about parabens and alumimum to start.
Parabens. There’s been research that shows these may interfere with the way our bodies produce and regulate hormones. Since there’s estrogen-sensitive tissue around your armpits, there’s a high chance that the parabens can promote cancer cells growing there (read: breast cancer).
Sorry to break it to you, but toothpaste has just as many toxic ingredients in it as your go-to deodorant. Blue No. 1 (artificial coloring that can cause kidney tumors and immune reactions), sodium fluoride (it erodes your enamel and can be a factor in the development of heart, kidney and thyroid diseases), sodium saccharin (an artificial sweetener that can raise the risk of bladder cancer), triclosan (an endocrine disruptor that can interfere with hormones and cause cancer and brain disorders), and sodium lauryl sulfate (it makes the toothpaste foam, which causes your teeth to become sensitive to silverware among other things) all sound like bad news to me.
I started down the clean toothpaste path with Tom’s of Maine since it’s easy to find just about anywhere (even among the mainstream brands at my grocery store). It ranks a 1 out of 10 on Think Dirty‘s toxicity scale so I knew it was a heck of a lot better than the stuff I was using before.
Now I’m using this Ayurvedic herbal toothpaste in fresh mint. It tastes a lot more fresh to me than the Tom’s, and I’ve delved into the world of Ayurveda lately and find that this toothpaste works great.
Surprisingly, it is not required by law in the U.S. for cosmetic brands to be completely transparent about their formulations and ingredients. In turn, a lot of these ingredients are harmful for our health.
Ever seen Jergens Naturals Ultra Hydrating Daily Moisturizer? It lists a whopping 34 ingredients, and many of them are incredibly toxic to our bodies. A daily moisturizer seems innocent enough, but in reality it can be housing a boatload of terrible ingredients for us.
That’s why I’ve completely made the switch to nontoxic products I put on my skin everyday, including this *heavenly* hydrating cream by One Love Organics. It is a new product, so it’s not on Think Dirty‘s toxicity scale yet, but all other OLO products have an incredibly low score 1-2. You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the line; super hydrating, simple ingredients and effective results.
I’m getting a little weary just typing this, but shampoos and conditioners usually contain five toxic ingredients: sulfates, parabens, “fragrance”, triclosan and polyethylene glyco (sensing a little pattern?). Many of the “hydrating” hair products actually strip the scalp of its natural moisture. A bit counter-productive, I’d say.
But the struggle with moisturized hair is real, even with cleaner products. I’ve bought a few completely natural shampoo and conditioner brands that just don’t cut it. I’ve tried the Acure line, which you can find at Whole Foods/Whole Body and it was just okay (though my boyfriend liked it). This is a product I especially see a difference in moisture and touchability (which is SO important to me with my long, thick brown hair) with the clean options and not-so-clean options). My biggest suggestion to you is try a few samples if possible, and be diligent at looking at the ingredients.
That being said, I’ve been SO pleased with Bumble & Bumble’s Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil shampoo and conditioner. With a nod to all natural oils (it uses six feather-light oils: grapeseed, safflower seed, sweet almond, macadamia, argan, and coconut). While it’s not perfect; it gets a 4 out of 10 on the Think Dirty toxicity scale, but all other B&B shampoos are 9’s and 10’s, it does smell amazing, works to hydrate my hair and a little goes a long way.
It’s scary to think about, but we OF COURSE soak in the chemicals we put on our nail beds. Check out this EWG study for the deets.
While I’m committed to an all-natural, clean beauty routine, I am in no way ready to give up a good mani and pedi when needed. Fortunately, we discovered Smith & Cult nail polish, an “8-free” formula that doesn’t include the usual suspects in most nail polishes (Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, Xylene, Ethyl Tosylamide or Triphenyl Phosphate).
The incredible thing about Smith & Cult polishes is that they last at least 2x longer on my nails than the toxic counterparts. I’m the person that doesn’t enjoy a standard mani (not gel) because it chips off in 2-3 days. With Smith & Cult polish, I find that my nails last longer, look healthier and I simply feel better knowing that it’s clean.
For the record, I recently tried a nontoxic Aila nail color too (same price point as S&C), and it chipped within a day. Really disappointed but solidified my love for S&C.
Nail Polish Remover
Aila 3-in-1 Soy-Based Nail Color Remover with 100% Argan Oil
A lot of nail polish removers you can buy at CVS for 99 cents have acetone, aka propanone. It can cause nails to be excessively dry, brittle and damaged. To put it in perspective, a typical gel manicure includes a 10-minute acetone soak before reapplying. I love my gel manicures like the rest, but that realization has kept me away from getting them too frequently.
Unfortunately, even the nail polish remover without acetone still includes harmful chemicals, especially “fragrance” that we’ve learned is just as disruptive to our bodies as other ingredients. I’ve turned to Aila’s nail polish remover (here’s another great alternative too) to ensure that I’m helping, not hurting, my nails.
If you haven’t heard of Dr. Bronner’s by now, you’re living under a rock. This bestselling family-owned, 100% natural brand is a life saver in more ways than one. It ranks an outstanding 0 out of 10 on the Think Dirty toxicity scale, and can be applied for 23049823049 uses on the body and around the home. It’s organic, certified fair trade, and has 100% recycled packaging.
The peppermint is my favorite, though all of the scents I’ve tried are great (almond, unscented, lavender, etc.). This one is cented with organic peppermint oil that cools skin, clears sinuses and sharpens the mind, all while in the shower!
The pure-castile liquid soap is concentrated, biodegradable and versatile like I mentioned above; it can be used on the face, body, hair as well as with dishes, laundry, mopping, pets and all-around house cleaning.
I’ve mentioned this amazing tanning lotion once or twice on here before, and it’s still one of my absolute favorite “all natural secrets” I like to say. My friends and I still get regular spray tans in the winter when we finally hit rock bottom of paleness (usually like…right about now). But honestly, the chemicals in those booths freak. me. out. There are FDA warnings inside the rooms warning about inhalation (which is pretty inevitable in there), so it cannot be good.
So instead, I used to look to St. Tropez tanning products to get me that healthy glow in the dead of winter, or whenever I needed a little boost really. Everything was all fine and good until I looked them up on the Think Dirty toxicity scale…they’re all a whopping 9 out of 10!!! The Gradual Tan Everyday Body Moisturizer, for example, scores high in Carcinogenicity, Developmental and Reproductive toxicity, as well as Allergies and Immunotoxicities.
Fortunately, I’ve found a WONDERFUL clean alternative that earns a lovely 0 out of 10 on the scale; Vita Liberata is an ultra-hydrating lotion that creates a natural-looking tan that fades in a few days and never looks obnoxious or uneven. It’s made with certified organic botanicals and *claims* there’s absolutely “no smell whatsoever” but there is a bit of a smell, though not a deal-breaker at all. It’s formulated without parabens, sulfates, phthalates and has no traces of triclosan, GMOs, fragrance, or alcohol.
Try the gradual lotion (my favorite), or the mousse (which still works great just more high-maintenance to apply I think), and the self-tanning bronzer which looks so natural and great that I can’t believe I haven’t known about it until now.
A lot of popular mouthwash brands contain alcohol. This dries out the mucous membranes in the mouth, reducing your saliva and causing bad breath. It actually ends up changing your mouth and throat’s pH levels. And recent studies have found evidence that alcohol increases the risk of developing oral, head and neck cancers. Yikes.
As an alternative, I’ve started oil-pulling. All you do is swish coconut oil around your mouth for up to 20 minutes. It has a ton of oral health benefits, while it makes teeth whiter, breath fresher and clears up your skin too. Seriously, I’ve never had my mouth feel so CLEAN.
You can of course use plain organic coconut oil, but I really like these individual coconut oil packets because it takes the guesswork out of serving size, and they have a subtle peppermint flavor. Really just an all-around good product for the oil-pulling beginner like me.
So I still see the appeal of beautiful, long false eyelashes. I remember buying them for $5.99 at Walgreens during college, and I even dished out the $150 last year for a professional set. Long story short: they’re bad for your eyes, they can add up quick, they usually hurt/feel uncomfortable and usually look…fake.
But since I’m still intrigued with these things, I was all ears when I heard what Jessica at Bare Beauty said about these ones by Battington Lashes. They’re 100% silk lashes that look so incredibly real, and they’re only $24. You actually take them off at night, carefully storing them in their chic box until next use. Along with an the all natural eyelash adhesive I use (HERE), I feel really great about wearing them. If you’re interested in false eyelashes, don’t waste your time or money or energy getting them professionally done at a salon; try these instead.
In 2015, Time shared a piece about the dangers of perfume. And still now, the term “fragrance” or “parfum” is your first flag. It can mean there are up to 10,000 different ingredients involved in making that intoxicating smell. You can pretty much assume that most fragrances you spritz on your wrist contain phthalates, which can lead to developmental disorders, lower IQ, hormonal imbalances and reproductive risks.
Fortunately, there are a lot of natural, clean ingredients that smell absolutely divine. A new favorite brand of mine is By Rosie Jane, and this gift set includes four best-selling scents; they’re all paraben free, sulfate free, phthalate free, phosphate free and cruelty free.
Finding all-natural, clean makeup (that actually works well) can be a little more difficult than finding the green personal care products. I’ve tried a TON of foundations and powders over the past two years in hopes of finding one with great coverage, texture, moisture and overall feel. I am not someone who runs around town without a drop of makeup on (yet) so a good foundation is really important to me.
I recently discovered clean beauty Kjaer Weis thanks to Levert Beauty. It can be scary ordering a foundation over the internet, but the site does a great job explaining what color will match your specific skin tone (I have light-to-medium with pink undertones). The foundation is incredible…a little goes a long way, and it feels super hydrating and touchable on my face. Not to mention, the packaging is so luxe and makes me feel oh so fancy when applying.
I’ve been using this concealer for at least a year now, and I will never use a different one. RMS Beauty completely nailed it with a hydrating, lightweight formula that offers flawless coverage that actually resolves imperfections and redness of the skin. The nontoxic formula includes coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, rosemary extract and it has proven to last a lot longer than I imagined it would (it’s a tiny little jar after all!).
With my previous YSL Touche Eclat, I knew I wasn’t using the cleanest formula (most YSL products hit a 9 out of 10 on the Think Dirty toxicity scale). This alternative, that actually works better, is a nice 3 out of 10 instead. Seriously love this product.