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The Vegan Backpack that will Revamp your Style

A fashionable backpack is a great addition to any wardrobe. Backpacks can be stylish and functional, allowing you to carry everything that you need in an organized, hands-free way. 

GUNAS Cougar Backpack

The Cougar Backpack from GUNAS is gorgeous! I have it in gray and the construction and quality is amazing! Made from beautiful, 100% textured eco-polyurethane, this bag is a classic! Compact, yet large enough to fit all of your essentials, its simplicity is a thing of beauty. The interior lining of the bag is made from recycled plastic bottles. Additionally, there are two small pockets inside the pack, as well as a zippered pocket, to help keep things in order. The light-weight, fabric shoulder straps make this bag quite comfortable to carry too! Finally, the recycled metal hardware with gold plating is sturdy and utilitarian, but also gives this backpack a chic, modern look! 

GUNAS Vegan Leather Backpack

Perhaps you caught on to the best part about this bag . . . it's vegan! There is a common misconception that leather is simply a by-product of the meat industry and that in purchasing it, we’re preventing waste. If you really think about it, that logic is fundamentally flawed. Leather is a very lucrative good that people would want even if animals weren't slaughtered for meat. In fact, leather is the most valuable part of an animal, pound for pound. Because leather doesn't require refrigeration, food safety testing, and has such a high mark-up rate in the fashion industry, leather is also the most profitable part of an animal. For that reason, leather is not so much a "by-product" of the meat industry as it is a "co-product" that directly contributes to the demand for factory farms and the profitability of slaughterhouses. Also, by purchasing leather goods under the guise of leather being a by-product, people are inadvertently contributing to greater and greater demand.

Not to mention, raising animals for food and leather requires a tremendous amount of energy and resources! It's also important to remember that the actual process of turning skin into leather requires very harsh chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and various oils, dyes, and finishes, many of them cyanide-based. Bleh!

Gray Cougar Backpack from GUNAS

All bags from GUNAS are 100% free of animal by-products! That means no silk, no fur, no wool, no down feathers, no leather! Did I mention that they're absolutely adorable too?!? 

GUNAS Backpack

The link below will save you $20 USD off of a purchase from GUNAS!

GUNAS New York

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References: Slaughtering the Amazon & 7 Reasons Wearing Leather Is Actually The Opposite Of Cute

**This is NOT a sponsored post and the link for $20 off is part of GUNAS's Refer a Friend program that is open to anyone who has previously made a purchase.**
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Ingredient Inventory: Rose

Rose is one of the most luxurious and iconic ingredients in the world. With such an elegant form and recognizable fragrance, the rose dominates floral arrangements, skincare concoctions, and aromatherapy products. Not to mention, there's nothing more classically romantic than a bouquet of roses!

Benefits of Rose

It takes approximately 60,000 roses to produce just an ounce of rose oil! Roses smell different throughout the day, so they're often harvested before sunrise when these precious posies are at their sweetest. They're then quickly steam distilled to capture their purest essence. Because a tremendous amount of work goes into its production, rose oil isn't cheap! It's also quite hard to find in its purest form, but can typically be found diluted in an oil base or as an absolute produced via solvent extraction. 

The uplifting aroma of rose oil is believed to help invoke positive thoughts and boost self esteem, confidence, and mental strength. In a similar way, the comfort of its scent may help a person dealing with fear or stress.

Roses are coveted for their beauty and therapeutic benefits, but their skincare benefits are just as immense. Rose extract is amazing for dry, mature, and sensitive skin in particular. It also has intensive hydrating properties and provides a calming, astringent effect that helps diminish redness and irritation.

Rose petals are rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants. Vitamin C boosts collagen production and strengthens skin cells, encouraging blemishes and acne scars to heal quickly.

The rose hip, the fruit of the flower, contains Vitamins A, B3, C, D and E, as well as essential fatty acids that quickly absorb into the skin and aid with tissue regeneration. Rose hip oil contains trans-retinoic acid which assists skin regeneration and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

If you’re concerned by a dull, uneven skin tone, then add rose hip oil into your routine. It's also a great way to counteract the damage caused by UV rays, something that we often neglect in the colder months. Guilty!


Here are five of my favorite products featuring rose:


Odacité Acai Rose Serum Concentrate (Ac+R)


Do you have a beloved rose product?
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The Mover's Makeup Bag

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I recently moved. Geoff's parents graciously took us in while we anxiously await for construction to finish on our first house! During this transitional period, I've packed up the majority of my makeup arsenal and limited myself to one small cosmetic bag of essentials. You know what that means . . . if a product made it into that bag, it's exceptional!

Hynt Beauty DUET Perfecting Concealer in Fair; Hurraw! Moon Balm; Ilia Beauty Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady; Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation in Lightness; Lily Lolo Vegan Mascara; Parlo Cosmetics Natural Mineral Blush in Pretty, Pretty Princess; Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Sigil; Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Cream Blush in Lovesick; RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer; and RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer

Hynt Beauty DUET Perfecting Concealer in Fair

You only need a very small amount of this concealer because it covers everything and blends incredibly well! It has a thick, melted marshmallow-like texture, but can easily be thinned out with a bit of moisturizer when I'm after less coverage.

Hurraw! Moon Balm

You can't go wrong with Hurraw! lip balms! This one is packed with luscious oils and blue chamomile to keep your lips hydrated all night long. It also has a soothing scent of vanilla and Peru balsam.

Hurraw! Moon Balm


Ilia Beauty Lip Conditioner in Blossom Lady

This is the most effortless, muted pink! It's perfect for everyday use, and its lipstick/balm hybrid formulation makes it super comfortable to wear throughout the day.

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation in Lightness

I mention this foundation all of the time because I love the airbrushed look that it gives my skin! I also find that it looks the same when I'm about to take it off as it did when I first put it on. It took my a little time to find the best application method, but a buffing brush over freshly moisturized skin works wonders for me! Check out my full review of this foundation here.

Lily Lolo Vegan Mascara

This is another product that I talk about all of the time because it performs so well for me. The rich formulation coats my lashes beautifully and never makes them look clumpy or spidery. 

Parlo Cosmetics Natural Mineral Blush in Pretty, Pretty Princess

The pigmentation of Parlo's products is amazing! This flirty pink mimics my natural flush and its flattering sparkle eliminates the need for a highlighter.

Don't forget that code blushingbme saves you 20% sitewide at Parlo Cosmetics :)


Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Sigil

I'm still testing out this shadow, but I'm in love with the color! It's a rose, champagne color that can be used all over the lids or just as a highlight. The texture is unique and I'm definitely not used to it yet. It's between a powder and a cream, and seems to blend best once it has warmed up a tad.

Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Sigil

Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Cream Blush in Lovesick

The verdict is still out for me on this blush, but the color is perfection! It's an especially flattering dusty pink that will compliment so many skin tones! I also find that this blush is very easy to blend. I have a full post dedicated to Rituel de Fille coming soon!

Rituel de Fille Inner Glow Cream Blush in Lovesick


RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer

This bronzer creates such a lovely, sun-kissed glow! There is a subtle, golden shimmer that provides a gorgeous warm, radiance that is perfect all year round!


RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer

I have completely fallen for this champagne-toned highlighter! It has a luxurious, satiny texture and melts into the skin with such ease. It provides just the right amount of iridescence for stunning, glowy skin that looks naturally radiant and never overdone. Check out my full review of this product here.

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What do you think? Did I miss any key products?


**The Parlo Cosmetics blush featured in this post was an affiliate sample and the promo code, blushingbme, is an affiliate code. As always, however, I have presented my 100% honest opinion. I cannot, nor will I ever, accept compensation in exchange for a positive review.**
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Get the Look: Super Simple Valentine's Day Makeup

I reviewed Vapour Organic Beauty's Aura Multi Use Classic in Artemis back in May of 2016 (check out my post here) and it's a product that I always go back to. I am seriously infatuated with its cool-toned berry pink hue! The color is so complementary that it enlivens the cheeks with a natural glow and looks equally stunning on the eyes and lips! In fact, if you are interested in no fuss makeup for Valentine's Day, Artemis will elevate your look and make your life super simple!

Here's how to get the look:

Valentine's Day Makeup

To find out how I prepped my skin, check out my current morning skincare routine.

Foundation

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation in Lightness

This is one of my favorite foundations of all time! It has a satin finish that gives my skin an airbrushed look and just the right amount of coverage. It also wears beautifully on my super dry skin! I like to use either a damp sponge or a buffing brush to blend a small amount over my entire face.


Concealer

Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Fair

I used a small buffing brush to apply this thick, marshmallow-like cream underneath my eyes and on the areas in need of some additional coverage. This concealer is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! You only need a very small amount because it covers everything and blends like silk!

Bronzer

RMS Beauty Buriti Bronzer

I blended this cream onto my temples, around my hairline, and lightly across the bridge of my nose with a soft stippling brush. I also lightly contoured underneath my cheekbones.

Super Simple Valentine's Day Makeup


Highlighter

RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer

This luminizer is gorgeous! It adds a natural, champagne-toned radiance to the skin for that perfect lit-from-within glow. I used a dense face brush to apply this cream to the tops of my cheekbones and down the center of my nose.


Blush

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Classic in Artemis

I used my fingers to blend this multi-tasking cream onto the apples of my cheeks for a romantic flush of color.


Eye Shadow Primer

Alima Pure Eye Primer

In addition to preparing the skin for eye makeup, this base nourishes the delicate skin in the eye area thanks to wonderful natural ingredients like olive-derived squalane, shea butter, and clary sage water. I used my fingers to dab a small amount of primer onto my lids before moving to shadow. 

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Classic in Artemis

Eye Shadows

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Classic in Artemis

Parlo Cosmetics Natural Mineral Eye Shadow in Just Cause

Alima Pure Pressed Eyeshadow in Zephyr


First, I applied Artemis over of my lids using my finger. I then went back in with a small blending brush to add Just Cause to the outer third of each of my eyes. I grabbed a fluffy brush to then blend this rich brown hue through the crease of each eye. I also used a pencil brush to diffuse a small amount of Just Cause along my lower lash line. Finally, I used a small shadow brush to add Zephyr to the inner corner of each of my eyes to brighten things up a bit!

Don't forget that code blushingbme saves you 20% sitewide at Parlo Cosmetics :)

Mascara

Lily Lolo Vegan Mascara

Mascara is a very personal thing. I know that some people absolutely despise this mascara, but I love it so much! No other product makes my lashes look as full and thick as this mascara! It's just the thing for flirty, Valentine's Day lashes, especially when you are as falsie challenged as I am! Haha!


Lip Color

RMS Beauty Magic Luminizer

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multi Use Classic in Artemis

I applied Artemis all over my lips and then topped them off with Magic Luminizer. To create a soft ombre effect, I tried to focus a fair amount of luminizer at the center of my lips.

Valentine's Day Makeup Tutorial


Happy Valentine's Day!


*The Parlo Cosmetics eye shadow featured in this post was an affiliate sample and the promo code, blushingbme, is an affiliate code. As always, however, I have presented my 100% honest opinion. I cannot, nor will I ever, accept compensation in exchange for a positive review.
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Is your mattress affecting your health?

This post is an advertorial in collaboration with Avocado: Green Mattress*

Avocado: Green Mattress
Photo courtesy of Avocado

Is your mattress toxic?

It's easy to find luxurious, green alternatives to conventional beauty products, but cleaning up your home can seem like a daunting task. The impact that building materials and furniture have on people's health is often overlooked, not least of all because they are often expensive or infeasible to replace.

However, when you consider that you spend approximately one third of your lifespan sleeping, it's time to evaluate what it is that you've been sleeping on. Hidden in a traditional mattress, you will commonly find several materials that are linked to reproductive damage, thyroid problems, endocrine disruption, brain damage, and cancer.

A quick search for the toxins found in a standard mattress and you will come up with a list that includes:

  • Antimony (a heavy metal similar to arsenic) 
  • Formaldehyde 
  • Pesticides 
  • Plastics (including polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride) 
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and other chemical flame retardants 
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 

You're not eating your mattress and you're not slathering it all over your body, so what's the big deal??

Avocado: Green Mattress
Photo courtesy of Avocado

Perhaps the most troublesome issue with mattresses made from volatilve organic compounds (VOCs) and other cheap, harmful materials is that they tend to off-gas. This release of gases that were trapped, dissolved, absorbed, or frozen into a material can have a serious impact on your health as they increase the chemical burden on your body. For instance, as you sleep, your body repairs itself via processes that eliminate free radicals that have accumulated throughout the day. These healing processes can be negatively influenced by excess chemicals in the body. Not to mention, for babies and young children who are still developing, inhaling these toxic chemicals can have even greater consequences.

As with all healthy lifestyle decisions, it's important to look for the least harmful options whenever possible.

Avocado: Green Mattress
Photo courtesy of Avocado

Avocado: Green Mattresses

The next time that you are ready to buy a mattress, consider purchasing one that is made from natural and organic materials. Avocado makes green and eco-friendly mattresses, using 100% natural Dunlop latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources, natural Joma New Zealand wool, and certified organic cotton. 

In terms of comfort, Avocado's green mattresses ensure proper spinal alignment and balance from an 8-inch support layer of 700-1300 individually tuned coils made from 100% recycled steel. Encased in their own fabric pockets in 3 distinct zones, these coils float independently to reduce motion transfer. They also provide optimal ergonomic and joint support by allowing your body shape to better contour to the mattress. Most importantly, they provide better edge support to ensure that Avocado mattresses are more durable.

Did I mention that Avocado products are handcrafted in the USA and that the company offers a 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, easy financing with Affirm, as well as free shipping or in-home delivery/setup options?

What if it's not the right time to buy a new mattress?

You really can't go wrong with a purchase from Avocado! However, if a nontoxic mattress isn’t in the cards right now, don’t stress! There are a few things you can do to prevent off-gassing and reduce your exposure to the dangeious chemicals that may be hiding in your current mattress.

For example, wrapping your mattress in food-grade polyethylene (a form of plastic that does not contain harmful dioxins or phthalates) will significantly reduce off-gassing.

Additionally, if you recently bought a new mattress, allowing it simply to air out in a well-ventilated area before you sleep on it will prevent you from being exposed to VOCs when they are at their peak.

You can also start small by swapping out your sheets and pillows with less toxic alternatives. I recommend checking out Avocado's pillows made from certified organic latex and natural Kapok fill. Additionally, each pillow is wrapped in a certified organic cotton cover that has a luxuriously high thread count!

Avocado: Green Mattress

Avocado: Green Mattress
Photos courtesy of Avocado

Whether or not you choose to purchase your next mattress from Avocado, do your research and find a brand that is transparent about their materials and certifications.

Through the month of February, promo code BBM100 will save you $100 off any standard or pillow top mattress!!

Avocado: Green Mattress
Photo courtesy of Avocado


*The links provided in this post are affiliate links. As always, however, I have presented my 100% honest opinion. I cannot, nor will I ever, accept compensation in exchange for a positive review.


couple laying on a natural green bed and smiling
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