Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2020
Hello & Happy Friday!!
When it comes to silly holidays, I’m a fan of them all. Life is hard enough, if there is an excuse to celebrate and give ourselves a lil more TLC, I say why not! Believe it or not, self care is imperative to even making healthy food choices. If we’re letting ourselves fall by the wayside, everything will crumble, including our food choices.
That being said, if you need an excuse to treat yourself, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time!
I read the Happiness Project back in circa 2009 and something that resonated with me was a portion focusing on spending out and enjoying the items we have. The author emphasized how we naturally place restrictions on spending out in terms of treating oneself and even with enjoying the things we already have. For example we may buy fine china or fancy candles, but only use them on specific occasions, thus they never get used.
Life is short, purchase items that make you happy (in moderation of course) and make use of the items you already have. There is no point of having and not enjoying it whether it be spending or enjoying things we already have. If it makes you relax and take on the world a little better, it’s worth it. I’m always lighting candles, buying kitchen items to explore, and before the baby taking fancy baths because I had the time lol. Perhaps That’s a sign I need a long bath!
Post pregnancy I’ve actually been good about skincare and finding ways to unwind. Those moments are fleeting so even a mask, lighting candles, or drinking a green juice gives me that lil bit of TLC that I need.
To date I’ve tested countless non toxic beauty lines, endless candles, and every juice that’s on the market just about, and these are a few of my favorite things!
Why skincare? I rarely wear makeup which helps, but if my skin doesn’t feel good, I don’t feel good.
Why candles? Perhaps it’s from growing up in the mid 90’s, but they mitigate cooking smells (win) and they just make any space a lil cozier. It’s not a necessity, so I make sure to indulge.
Why juice? Juice can be pricey, you can make it yourself, but it also requires a more time and effort to make it, clean the machine, etc. Even as a nutritionist, after living in the NYC with minimal counter space, I prefer to just grab a juice and go. Time is fleeting with a new baby, so it’s a great way to ensure I’m getting some added nutrients.
Votivo launched in 1994 as one of the first domestically made luxury candle lines, Votivo is home fragrance at its finest. Votivo established a reputation for quality fragrance and distinctive packaging from the beginning. That commitment to deliver a superior aromatic experience is unwavering. Votivo’s passion and devotion to scent is evident in the complex fragrance formulations and dedication to product detail. Each candle is hand-wrapped, and each seal is stamped making each product special.
Every Votivo fragrance is meticulously formulated and layered to reflect depth, richness and complexity. Votivo passionately pursues excellence in the art of fragrance.
Browse all the candles here
Think you’ve seen them before? View their press here
Review: I’ve been in love with Votivo candles since I was living in Miami and experienced the Red Currant. I was instantly captivated by this scent and have been exploring the line ever since. Today the company is still thriving and they offer and array of blends in addition to diffusers. I sampled one of their diffusers for the first time as I can be particular about them. Typically they are too small for a space or the scents not pronounced enough, just making them a waste. However, the size is good, the pricing solid, and it’s perfect for the more quaint spaces like the restroom. This year their new scent is Peony!! I’ll be fighting that one today as I’m behind with testing them all. (Mom life)
If you love unique candle companies that have stood the test of time (since 94′) you’re going to love Votivo!!
About the Company
In 2003, our scientists began a project that would change the world. From inside our Berkeley labs, they developed patented technology that allowed us to create an accessible cure for malaria. Today, over 120 million royalty-free treatments have been successfully given thanks to this technology.
Inspired to continue using innovative biotechnology to make a positive impact on the world, we turned to skincare—and the ingredients people put on their faces and bodies every day.
Drawing on our rich history of science and sustainability, we create skincare that is incredibly effective and safe without harming the environment or animals. Because the products you use make a difference for your health and the health of the planet.
SQUALANE + OMEGA REPAIR CREAM
A whipped texture moisturizer, rich in lipids and ceramides, to exceptionally hydrate, plump and smooth skin. It leaves skin radiant, improves the appearance of fine lines for a healthy-looking complexion.
SQUALANE + LACTIC ACID RESURFACING NIGHT SERUM
Gently powerful 10% vegan lactic acid boosts skin cell turnover, which slows down (a lot!) as we age. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that effectively exfoliates skin. We’ve completely reimagined ours. It’s vegan—made from sustainably sourced sugar. And we chose 10%, the amount proven to give powerful resurfacing results while still gentle enough to use nightly. This clean dream team’s addition of balancing clover and hydrating squalane will take your skin from dull to luminous in a single night. Get ready to wake up to wow.
SQUALANE + MARINE ALGAE EYE CREAM
A rich, anti-aging eye cream that revitalizes and brings a lifted look to eyes. Delivers deep hydration leaving skin smooth and with a youthful looking radiance.
SQUALANE + ANTIOXIDANT CLEANSING OIL
An antioxidant-rich, No Compromise™ cleansing oil that gently removes long-wear makeup and leaves skin with a beautiful, healthy look and feel.
The lightweight oil lifts away makeup and impurities, then rinses completely clean with water. Formulated with our sugarcane-derived, sustainable squalane oil, it helps keep skin hydrated and feeling fresh.
SQUALANE + TEA TREE CLEANSING GEL
A refreshing gel cleanser made with tea tree to deeply purify pores, help balance skin and reduce excess surface oil. Removes makeup while leaving skin healthy-looking and visibly clearer. Sulfate-free, non-drying formula features squalane to boost the performance of tea tree and help keep skin feeling ultra-soft.
Review: I’m slowly making my way through all the glory that is Biossance! Little did I know upon doing some research that I may have sampled their first product launch years ago back in 2013? It was a squalene product that came in a clear bottle, but the packaging was nothing like it is today. Needless to say, it’s exciting to see a company evolve to encompass a full line of products that you can now find at Sephora. Biossance offers non toxic skincare for a solid price point. I personally love a good mask and love to splurge on a face wash. Typically we skimp on a face wash, but I find that it can dictate the appearance of your skin. Spend out!
I sampled all of the items above plus the vegan balm and deodorant. I love a good balm no matter what the season and this one is ultra moisturizing with a slight glossy finish, but not sticky. I’ve made my way almost through half of the night cream and I have to say I love the hydration factor. The weather has been up and down in recent weeks, and everything has seemed to dry it out. This face cream literally brought my skin back to life. The oil based cleanser is also a keep as it’s hydrating, but not over saturating like many oil focused cleansers. The eye cream is also one I highly recommend. It’s thick, not too heavy, but will hydrate the skin for hours unlike others that leave me dry later. I pop it in the fridge for added results.
Given the price point, the accessibility, the fact that they are non toxic (not all non toxic products are great), I have to say.. I’m greatly impressed with all aspects of the brand. The packaging and marketing with using the Queer Eye member is also just perfection. I highly recommend this brand. Check back for more reviews on their products!
This company needs no introduction as they’ve been around for nearly 9 years. I stumbled across them back in 2013 and instantly fell in love. They candles are created from used wine bottles, the scents are strong, and they are named various adult beverages such as sangria and champagne and the scents are just so captivating! A solid price point, aesthetically appealing, and scents that take your breath away, I can’t recommend them enough
View all of their candles here
- Rosé: Notes of white peach, rose petal and pink peppercorn.
- Champagne: Notes of white grape, honey, fresh baked bread, and light citrus.
Review: As a candle lover, I was instantly taken by the look of Rewined candles. This NC based company caught my eye around 2013 and I’ve been in love with them ever since. So in love, that I featured them at my wedding as the scents are just gorgeous. This time I sampled a variety of new scents along with their new soaps. My personal favorites is Champagne!
Again, I found that each unique blend is just perfection. While everyone has their scent preferences, I promise, your biggest challenge will be finding a Rewined scent you don’t gravitate towards because they all are a win. The new soaps are just gorgeous, and it’s just another opportunity to enjoy their scents. They currently have only 3 soap options and I hope they add more, because I’m soap obsessed! They do contain fragrance, so for some that may be a pass.
As a whole, I love their approach to sustainability by re-using wine bottles, how they make a decorative statement in any room, they are a small business, and just the fine little details put into each candle and packaging.
Brand founder, Dr. Gary Goldfaden has a love and passion for skincare, wellness and a healthy lifestyle. He has been a Dermatologist for over 40 years. Inspired by his in-office experiences, Dr. Goldfaden develops innovative and technologically advanced skincare solutions that provide results, well tolerated even by those with sensitive skin.
Review: I had randomly come across the Goldfaden MD company (God bless that I did) and was intrigued by the fact that it was curated by an MD and I loved the sleek modern packaging. In a sea of disappointing non toxic skincare, I instantly fell in love with this company for countless reasons. I’ve previously tried their spray spf, exfoliator scrub that will change your life in minutes (a must try), a fab hand cream, and a staple eye cream. Everything was a win, so I was excited to experience more of the line.
My favorite product that is hands down a game changer, was the scrub. Having dry skin I’ve tried just about every scrub on the market and they either miss the mark on the level of graininess to effectively exfoliate or just completely dry out the skin. This product seamlessly exfoliates to the level of microdermabrasion while simultaneously hydrating the skin without leaving you a greasy mess. I will continue to use this product as long as I’m alive as it’s just THAT good.
This time I samples the buttery soft night cream (pictured above) and found that while hydrating it wasn’t over saturating, so even great for day, and smooths out the skin. The product is on the pricier side, but it’s so whipped and rich that a little bit goes a long way. I promise that it’s worth every penny!
Believe me when I say, I’ve tried endless oils and this Fleuressence oil is one of my personal favorites. It’s brightening and non-greasy golden elixir oil that boosts radiance and improves the appearance of skin color and tone. The pumps give you more control on dispensing the oil and a little goes a long way. I love to try things as a set to build a system so I use the serum below, then the lotion, and seal it in with the oil. We can do them in whichever order we like, but with oils you want to use them last in your routine.
I’m in love with the Plant Profusion line so I sampled the serum to again create a skincare system. It’s light, non drying, contains active plant stem cells combined with powerful hydrating agents and key ingredients to make skin appear smoother, feel firmer and look stronger, resulting in a more luminescent complexion. So far so good, but I’m testing the system simultaneously making it hard to discern what results can be achieved by each product. I’ll be focusing on this one by itself to give more feedback. This product is on the pricer side, but you don’t have to use it nightly and a lil goes a long way.
BluePrint®is the real deal. As pioneers in the field, BluePrint’s®commitment to helping people lead authentic and more energy-filled lives is what drives us every day. Always was, always will be.
We are pioneers in the field, and the BluePrint’s® commitment to helping people with pure organic ingredients and delicious blends, we are constantly innovating with one mission in mind: Give you the energy and nutrition to make the most out of every moment. We get it, you have a lot to accomplish. Consider us your on-the-go charging station. Your BluePrint® for a vibrant life.
Take detox to the next level by fueling your day with only USDA Organic certified fruits and vegetables. Ginger, Mint, Cinnamon, and Cayenne are the supporting acts to great organic nutrition throughout the day.
Best in Class & Original Cold-Pressed Taste
- USDA Certified Organic
- Non-GMO Verified
- Kosher certified
- No added sweeteners
Check out all their cleanses here
Review: Today the market is saturated with new juice concepts. That can be overwhelming to just about anyone, however some companies have stood the test of time to always have a product that delivers in terms of flavor, diversity, and a low sugar content, and that’s Blue Print!
Long before the boom of the wellness industry they were one of the first companies on the juice scene. At the time it was probably viewed as a trend, but of course they were completely wrong. There will always be a market for ready made juices and BP is here to stay. I personally love the marketing behind this company, how they have created new products, but remain true to their original blends.
As a first time mom, my the first trimester hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sick, tired, dehydrated, constipated, and combined I struggle to get enough nutrients. While I embrace supplements more today, I’m still a full supporter of receiving nutrients through food. Blue Print organic juices were honestly my saving grace during pregnancy, delivery and absolutely recovering from it all. Juices can be pricey, but its a small price to pay to get ample nutrients in one serving! If there is something you do for yourself, splurge on drinks that do you good, not wine.
While I don’t juice cleanse, I love to select the cleanse options because it comes with an array of options that just pair well together. My personal is the The BluePrint OG Cleanse. It’s got everything you need from the cayenne lemon juice, to the beet juice, a cashew milk and more. However, all the options deliver in terms of quality and diversity so it’s just a win win. If you’re searching for a juice company that pioneered the movement, BP is my favorite!
MZ Skincare is another product line that’s curated by a doctor in the uk who specializes in facial aesthetics. I find that products that are backed by an MD and or come from Europe that the quality is generally better. To date the regulations for ingredients are more stringent there than the U.S.A, which could potentially play a role in the overall quality. I sampled this line last winter and was instantly impressed but the aroma of each product and how my skin just glowed. While they contain fragrance, today I make exceptions as long as I’m getting results! I’ve tried a variety of their products such as the Life & Lustre, Rest & Revive, and the Brighten and Perfect Cream and everything delivers in terms of results. While the price tag can be hefty, you use minimal amounts and it’s not warranted nightly.
I know what you’re thinking, placenta cream, I’ll pass. Don’t be too quick to pass though! With an innovative blend of ovine placenta and stem cells combined with peptides to detoxify, it strengthens and repairs the skin during its nightly rejuvenation. By stimulating collagen and elastin, it seamlessly replenishes moisture to plump and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to be it being one of my favorite products based on the results, the smell is gorgeous!
I also sampled the new Gold light therapy mask. I know what your’e thinking here, that looks like something out of a horror movie. Believe, me, I was hesitant using it as it’s just intimidating. The theory behind this device is that LED light therapy is that it promotes healthier looking skin.
The MZ Skin device is a travel friendly at home option (had to be plugged in) that delivers a multicolored series of light therapy to the dermis to promote total skin rejuvenation. Light therapy is said to help solve a plethora of skin woes from calming inflammation to diminishing breakouts and reducing hype-pigmentation; this is the new generation mask designed for total skin supremacy.
Balances and clarifies the skin. A great treatment for acne-prone skin.
Stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to refine, plump, and strengthen the skin.
Reduces pigmentation, helps to even out the skin tone and brighten the complexion.
Soothes the skin, reduces redness and inflammation to restore health.
Repairs the skin, reducing inflammation and sensitivity. Also called Near Infared Light.
Since at home devices are becoming more and more common today I decided to test this mask. As a whole I’d have to say I love the concept, but the mask is heavy, had to be held on while using it, it’s hard to accomplish anything while wearing it, you still see light in your line of vision, which can’t be good, and lastly, I fear that somehow I would break the device. Given the hefty price tag for an at home option (the few options that are available are all around this price) and all of the above, I don’t know if this would be something I would need in my routine. Life is hectic as a mom that I only got to use it one time so I can’t discern any type of results. Significant results are achieve over time through consistent use.
However, I love MZ skincare and feel confident they always deliver results. The company is backed by a dermatologist, the products last, and even the face masks eclipse any others I’ve tried on the market. If you’re looking to indulge in your beauty routine, I highly recommend MZ!