Natural Body & Beauty Products

These days, it seems everywhere you look there are articles discussing the number of chemicals we put on or in our bodies. While I’ve focused over the past few years on eating less processed foods, it wasn’t until I found out that I was was pregnant with Katie, that I truly started to think about making changes to my daily routine.

I read numerous articles which shared unbelievable facts regarding the number of chemicals women put on their face and body on a daily basis. There are a number of websites and apps that rank and review products, most notably EWG Skin Deep site and the Think Dirty app.  Keep in mind, my personal philosophy with natural products is to take everything that I read with a grain of salt, realizing that many articles are influenced by other factors. In addition, I am focused on making small changes not a radical change. The change did not come overnight, nor have I moved to a fully natural lifestyle. My favorite under eye cream is definitely not natural and I still believe that a certain level of chemicals are needed to cut through tough grease. I fully believe that similar to diet, the choices we make are very personal. So far, it seems that each month we slowly increase the number of more natural products that we use, ranging from hand soap to shampoo. But, after receiving multiple requests from you all following some Instagram Story posts, today I am ready to share a few products that I personally love.

Natural Beauty

Below are a few products that I’ve discovered through recommendations, meandering through the aisles, research and friends. None of these products were provided to me through sponsored posts or blogger samples.

  • Deodorant – Anyone who has worked out with me or followed me on social media knows that I sweat A LOT.  Since giving birth, my hormones inbalances have just made me sweat more. It’s the worst feeling to smell your armpits while attempting to nurse your daughter. At the same time, since my armpits are so close to where she breast feeds, I wanted to find a more natural deodorant option, at least while breast feeding. Luckily, within a one week period three different people recommended Schmidt’s Deodorant. The citrus scent is perfect for Summer and the formula effectively keeps me dry and fresh smelling all day. I’ve been using the deodorant non-stop for the past month and have been very pleased with the results, even in the hot, sticky weather we had last week.
  • Body Wash – Alba Botanica Very Emollient Honey Mango Shower Gel – After seeing this large body wash bottle in Whole Foods and Target’s natural beauty section, I decided to give it a try after reading rave reviews on multiple websites. A sucker for scent, I love the refreshing, fruity smell and the formulation leaves my skin soft and hydrated. 
  • Shave Cream – Alba Botanica Mango Vanilla Moisturizing Shave Cream – During pregnancy, anytime I shaved I found that my legs were scaly and dry. Never a fan of using body lotion, I tried to find a more hydrating shave cream instead. This thick cream contains aloe vera and vitamin E which leaves my legs and underarms smooth without irritation. I will admit that some people may get annoyed with how thick it is, but I’m happy to rinse my razer a few times during the shaving process to get super smooth and hydrated skin.
  • Face Wash – Amara Organics Facial Cleanser – Since discovering this natural face wash through Julie’s blog back in early April, I’ve been a loyal fan. The face wash contains 15% Vitamin C as well as aloe, rosehip oil and tea tree oil. It’s strong enough to remove my makeup while gentle enough to use both morning and night without leaving my skin feeling dry. In fact, I found that it has gradually helped brighten my skin especially as I’ve dealt with pregnancy mask, or skin discoloration related to pregnancy.  If you don’t believe my review, check out the more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon!

I’d love to hear your recommendations for more natural products, especially shampoo, conditioner, counter cleaner and mascara.

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Newborn Favorites

It is hard to believe that tomorrow we will celebrate Katie’s one month birthday. How the heck did that happen? By celebrate, I mean that I’ll enjoy a glass of my favorite chardonnay and we’ll give her extra cuddles and hopefully capture a few pictures of her.  When I scroll through pictures on my phone, it feels like just yesterday we were in the hospital, cuddling her while the photographer snapped these pictures. So much has transpired in the past month including plenty of health scares, dirty diapers, feeding challenges but, more than anything, our house has become filled with SO much love.

bw-10-Diamond_062117-10Whether it’s the instant bond that both sets of grandparents felt with Katie when they held her or the excitement we have each time we share moments with her whether reading, cuddling, feeding, playing or even changing diapers.

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping, baby and closeup

Since I benefitted so much from the recommendations moms and readers provided to me when Bo and I were building our registry, I wanted to share the items that have made the first month with a newborn far easier. Some of these were already stocked in our home when we came home from the hospital, while others were purchased during a few of our more frantic Amazon orders or BuyBuyBaby trips.

Newborn Baby Favorite Items

Kissy Kissy KimonoUnfortunately, we quickly learned that dressing a newborn can be a tedious, painful task. Katie can’t stand when we try to squeeze her head through a small neck hole so she has spent many of her days in either a Kissy Kissy Kimono, Gerber Basics kimono or a few wonderful newborn outfits that have snaps along the neckline for easy access. This particular kimono is our favorite due to its soft feel and perfect fit.

Keekaroo Peanut Changing PadLuckily, multiple friends recommended this changing pad to us when we registered. It has been such a lifesaver as the surface wipes clean and Katie seems to like the soft surface. I can’t imagine having to wash a cover everytime she goes to the bathroom mid-diaper change or drools. 

Portable Diaper Changing PadOur keekaroo changing pad stays upstairs near her bassinet for convenient nap time changes but the rest of the time, we use this soft changing pad. We’ve thrown it in the diaper bag, used it on the back porch and typically keep it downstairs as part of our secondary changing station for daytime changes.

Aden+Anais Swaddle ClothsWe use these large, square muslin blankets multiple times a day! While we primarily use them to swaddle her when she sleeps, we also use them as burp cloths and keeping her warm. I would recommend sticking with this brand and making sure that you check the measurements as certain retailers sell different Aden+Anais lines which are smaller or not as soft.

Carter Baby Burp ClothsI remember looking at the pile of six burp cloths we received during the baby shower and rolling my eyes. I asked my mom if I should exchange some and she laughed and said no I should hope to receive plenty more. Now, a month in, I’ve already gone out and bought more. I swear that if I had my way we’d have a burp cloth in every corner of the house as I always find myself without one in arm’s reach. These are inexpensive, soft and large enough to capture all her spit-up and drool when we burp.

What to Expect: The First YearThis book has been loved a lot already, even in the first 30 days. We read the weekly section as she enters the new week in hopes of better understanding what we can generally expect as well as using the index to search hot topics like gas, fussiness, and jaundice. While we both realize that Katie and babies, in general, do not come with an instruction manual and can’t be predicted, this book has helped us become better educated and prepared parents.

Boppy and Boppy LoungerI have used the Boppy daily to help support my arm during nursing since I often use the cradle position to hold Katie. In addition, it helps elevate my arms so that she is closer to my breasts, making nursing easier and more comfortable. The Boppy Lounger is one of her favorite spots when we are relaxing together. I recently discovered that the slight incline makes her more comfortable and a bit happier during our daily outfit changes, which she previously wasn’t enjoying.

UPPAbaby Bassinet + Cruz StrollerStrollers are an item that we researched for weeks before making a decision since it’s an investment as well as an item that the entire family uses daily. For us, considering our Brooklyn location, it was important to find a lightweight, durable, spacious, easy to use yet small enough to navigate stores and subways. The basket on the stroller has plenty of room for groceries or anything else we need and the standing fold allows us to easily store it when we’re at home.  It easily fits through doorways, can manage our neighborhood grocery store’s narrow aisles, has a very large sunshade that keeps Katie protected on our walks, and at 30 pounds I haven’t had an issue taking it in and out of our brownstone on my own.  While the Cruz doesn’t come with the bassinet, we were able to find a family in the neighborhood who didn’t need the bassinet which came with their UPPABaby Vista. The bassinet has been wonderful as it easily attaches, with just one handle, to the stroller base and provides a comfortable space for Katie to sleep safely at home as well as explore when it’s attached to the stroller. We’ve taken her for long walks on a daily basis since she was just three days old and have found that she still prefers this over being in a car seat when we’re out in the stroller.

Dr. Brown’s Infant Baby BottlesSince we didn’t think we’d need to use bottles during the first few months of Katie’s life, we never registered for bottles. Therefore, when we urgently needed to start supplementing with formula, we headed to BuyBuyBaby to buy bottles. Many people recommended buying a few different types so we could figure out what type Katie preferred. While we were initially intimidated by Dr. Brown’s bottles due to their multiple parts and pieces, after just a few feeding sessions we could tell that Katie loved them. She latched easier, suffered from less gas and they were easier for us to hold. When we burp her, typically 1-2 times during feeding, the burps come up far faster than before.  While they have multiple parts, I have found that they aren’t that difficult to clean and I tend to do my best to clean them immediately after each feed while she’s sleeping. I’ve found that the Dr. Brown’s specific cleaning brush helps greatly though!

Your Turn: As we move into the second month, I’d love your recommendations for things you or your baby loved as they hit months 2, 3 and 4?

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Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie

Today I am sharing a delicious, fast and healthy Strawberry Peanut Butter smoothie recipe with you guys that I whipped up this morning in between our morning feeding session and running errands.

As you may have seen, due to issues with with my milk supply, I have been trying to fit lots of lactation superfoods into my day, especially through my breakfasts and snacks. During Katie’s first week of birth, when my milk still hadn’t come in, I spent time researching which foods and spices could naturally help increase my milk supply. After conversations with my lactation consultant, pediatrician, fellow moms and of course a few Google inquirieres I found that oats were the most commonly mentioned item. Since then, I’ve enjoyed oatmeal for breakfast almost daily.

Today’s warm weather inspired me to enjoy oats in a different form – smoothie. This smoothie took just a few minutes to whip up and included items that I had in the pantry, refrigerator and freezer. It is packed with nutrients but still brimming with a delicious flavor that would please everyone from a picky child to a breastfeeding mom.

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Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie

Serving: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup milk (I used Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)
  • 2 Tablespoons PB2 or 1 Tablespoon your favorite nut butter
  • 1 serving Vanilla Protein Powder (I used 2 scoops of Aloha Vanilla)
  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed meal
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspooon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional but recommended especially if you don’t use vanilla almond milk)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  • Pour in bowl or glass and top with your choice of toppings which could include fresh sliced strawberries, granola or nothing at all.
  • Enjoy immediately with a spoon or straw!
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