OBS is 10!

Pineapples at Unsplash

Yep, I started this little blog a decade ago. Since then, my business has definitely evolved. And my blog design along with it, thankfully. Just for chuckles, check out the OBS original home page, below.

OriginalHomepageSmall

Ouch, right?!

Way back when it all began I had a preschooler and a kindergartener, and would spend any time they were sleeping researching this whole toxins in beauty products thing. In March of 2006, after spending a good 6 months reading and asking and emailing, I decided to start a blog sharing this knowledge with others. The plan was to eventually open an online store selling my favorites.

But the writing bug soon took over and before I knew it organic beauty professionals were asking me to write for them. I may spend most of my time now writing for other businesses and websites, but I am still just as passionate about the organic beauty/heath + wellness movement.

Not only have I and my blog changed, but the organic beauty scene has changed big time too. Back when I was starting out, researching my brains out and scouring the web for organic brands that were actually walking the talk and not just utilizing good marketing skills, naturals were different. Sure, there were those that have always been both high performance and safe at the same time (Lavera, Primavera, Dr. Hauschka, I’m lookin’ at you), but many were sloopy, sticky, stinky concoctions I did not enjoy using.

I think these days women are looking for products that act, look, feel, and sometimes even smell like conventional products. I know I am. Lucky for us that is happening. Today we have a huge selection of nontoxic products and brands to choose from. Truly safe, high quality, act like you want them to, beauties.

We are fortunate. There is nothing standing in our way of looking and feeling great while making healthy choices. I’m so happy to have been a part of the organic beauty movement over these past 10 years and want to give a huge shout out to my sisters and bros in the organic beauty game too. All of the amazing bloggers, editors, online shop owners, brand creators, and PR peeps who’ve lent their time and products to my journey…a big smooch to you. Couldn’t have done it without you!

If you’d like to talk about my writing services, please get in touch via my contact page. For organic beauty info, hit up the Resources tab. The Shop page will get you started on some beauty products I’ve picked out from one of my fave shops. Or dive into the posts to see what’s going on in my green beauty world.

As always, thanks for reading and come back soon!

Top image by Pineapples at Unsplash.com has absolutely nothing to do with OBS turning 10. I just love pineapples and beaches:)

List Love :: Spring Beauty

List Love SpringBeauty

Isn’t this a weird time of year? It’s warm, it’s not warm. Our skin is dry, then it breaks out because of the up and down temps. We want to bust out the fun springtime makeup hues, but our face is still stuck in hibernation mode.

Know what fixes those end of winter, almost spring blues? An exciting beauty shopping list! Here’s what is on mine right about now:

French Girl Organics Bronzing Oil :: Ummm, cuz oil + bronzing sounds a-freakin’-mazing. This brand was featured in the latest issue of domino. Domino is one of my all time favorite magazines (I have every single issue ever published and now write for domino.com, in case you didn’t know) and what they say goes.

One Love Organics Gardenia + Tea Antioxidant Body Serum :: We’ve talked about body serums here before. And boy, are they perfect for spring. Nix the heavy balms and greasy moisturizers. Let a luscious oil blend sink into your skin and give the ol’ bod a sweet glow. This one smells fabulous and is one of my staples.

RMS Master Mixer :: Because I am, possibly, RMS Beauty’s biggest fan, this one is definitely a must try. Rose-Marie Swift, creator of RMS and green beauty icon, has a knack for coming up with super cool, unique beauty products that turn into cult hits. This is for sure gonna be one of those.

OM Caviar Eye Cream :: This baby is receiving rave reviews and is said to diminish wrinkles and dark circles. When anything says that, I say…bring it on.

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist :: The idea of misting my skin with rose water when the weather is warm is so appealing. Think I must do. These guys were also featured in that domino green beauty round up I mentioned before, so there’s that.

SW Basics Oil Serum :: It’s no secret I worship facial oils. If they were a person, I’d bff them for life. If they were edible, I’d drink them for breakfast. If they were a song, I’d have them on repeat. You get it. This beauty has both turmeric and coffee oil, which is pretty dang exciting. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and gives skin a lovely glow. Coffee helps to tighten and brighten. Come to mama.

ILIA Beauty Lip Exfoliator :: Lipgloss is my favorite makeup item. Heck, it’s my favorite beauty item. I’m sure most of you are with me. Since your lipgloss glides on so much better if your lips are soft and smooth, we all must try this cool new lip exfoliator in a stick. For smoothing your pucker on the fly.

Olio e Osso Balm French Melon :: I’ve been hunting for the perfect blend of peachy-pink lip color since binge watching every season of the new 90210. This may be it, guys. I shall try it out and let you know.

Here’s to the most gorgeous spring you’ve know yet!

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

The Heck With Balance! Are You Doing What You Want to Do?

Have you read Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte yet? Well, she just ran a free audio course that wrapped on Monday, and it was as inspirational as anticipated. So much feel good, juicy dreams, get ‘er done info! It’ll make you feel like canning everything you hate and hitting those big dreams of yours hard.

The one shining memento I came away from the course with was this…Do what feels right to you. The heck with expectations and balance. Feel free to mix things up, take the less beaten path, do what you wanna do.

This way of thinking helps me big time. I tend to do the things that I feel need to get done first. Like the work you don’t love but feel obligated to do. You know what I’m talking about. For real, what would happen if we all did the things we love? The things that feel right?

Obviously, we have to pay the bills and this means some stuff we aren’t absolutely head over heels for. But how many of your daily tasks could have waited a day or two to get done? Or maybe never need get done at all?

Let’s say you have deadlines or meetings one day. These would fall into the “must get done” pile. Then there are the items you feel are necessary for a balanced existence, like returning those phone calls or sorting your sock drawer. Those babies fall into the “don’t really need to get done” pile. No one is going to get stood up or fired if your gym socks are mixed with you dress socks.

Next is that list of what you’d really like to do. One day. Some day. The stuff that lights your fire and makes you feel instantly energized. What if you did some of that every day? Or at least most days? Feels like freedom, right?

So I’m doing a little experiment. I have a day where no assignments are due and no appointments are on the calendar. Of course, there are articles I could be working on and inboxes I could be sorting through and files I could be organizing. But not today.

Today I am dedicating to writing. For me. My blog and other creative projects I’m working on. Stuff I usually do once my “real” work is done. It feels super indulgent and exciting.

What do you think? Does this idea feel liberating to you? Or like a disaster in the making? I’d love to know!

Image :: Lea Dubedout at Unsplash.com

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Replaced :: Aquaphor

Are you so tired of cracked skin on your hands? Or maybe the skin on your face is looking irritated or ruddy? How about eczema? These skin conditions all come with the winter territory.

Go to the doctor or dermy and they’ll tell you to pick up a tube of Aquaphor, or some similar petroleum jelly type product, at the drugstore and you’re all good. Why is that? Because petroleum jelly works in the short term. It almost instantly makes skin feels softer and soothed, and helps to seal in moisture our skin is crying out for right about now.

Trouble is, petroleum jelly (petrolatum) often contains cancer causing contaminants. As a matter of fact, the European Union considers the ingredient carcinogenic and restrict its use in cosmetics.

Aside from that nasty news, petroleum jelly is occlusive, meaning it forms a barrier on the skin. In the moisturizer world, there are humectants, emollients, and occlusives. Humectants draw moisture from the air to the skin. Emollients are moisturizing ingredients that soak into the skin, filling dry cracks and areas.

Occlusive agents are meant to hold in moisture and prevent dryness. They usually feel greasy on the skin and can cause clogged pores and acne. Some natural ingredients are also occlusive (beeswax, mango butter, cocoa butter…) and work the same way as petroleum jelly, creating a water loss barrier on the skin only sans the carcinogenic contaminants. Due to the comedogenic nature of occlusives, it’s a good idea for those with oily or acne prone skin to use minimally.

But here we are in the midst of dry skin season. Even if you are on the oilier side, now is the time to get in on some of the benefits of these ingredients to deal with problem skin.

I have three favorite petroleum-jelly-type products that are all natural and work even better. You are going to love them!

True Organic of Sweden All You Need is Me :: Love the name, love the product. This one is new to me this season and can’t imagine going through another winter without it. It looks and feels just like Aquaphor coming out of the tube, but once you rub it into skin…seems to evaporate with no oil slick left behind. I use it religiously on my fingertips, cuticles, dry spots on face, and anywhere else that is just a little bit ( or a lot bit) too dry.

Waxelene :: Called “The Petroleum Jelly Alternative” this is the one to get if you are into using petroleum jelly straight up. It’s a simple four ingredient mix that comes in a either a tube or jar. No icky stuff, just real deal moisture for ultra parched skin.

SKIN Claramint Lip Balm :: I had to include this one here, even though it is decidedly minty, unlike Vaseline or Aquaphor. It is the exact consistency of petroleum jelly, super smooth and clear, and works like a charm on dry, chapped lips. I use it every single night before bed and it is always on when I wake up in the morning. Oh, and a lil dab’ll do ya.

Image :: Yegor Chekmarev at Unsplash.com

Highlighter Goes Old School

Highlighter Goes Old School

Happy New Year! How were your holidays? Mine were fun, fast, and full of activity. Now for the not so fun part…repairing your skin and body post holiday festivities.

My skin was left looking like uncooked pizza crust, lightly dusted with flour (only minus the elasticity), once I got back into reality this month. All of that extra salt, sugar and fat, paired up with no exercise and less sleep, was not exactly a recipe for gorgeous skin.

My first inclination? Reach for the self tanner. It is a great way to fake it til you make it. But then I came across a new idea. Well, actually an old idea. As in, back to basics.

While writing an article on earth toned makeup I came across a makeup artist who uses a throwback way of instilling glow. No highlighter required, though I am a huge fan of some highlighter.

What’s the trick? Good old fashioned cleansed and exfoliated skin. And lots of moisturizer. Love this idea for dry ol’ winter.

Here’s what I’d use if I were going this route, and I definitely am:

Exfoliating is the insta-remedy for dry, lack luster, or otherwise down in the dumps skin. It feels good and leaves skin looking renewed. Here’s the deal though. Going nuts on this step can leave you with a whole new problem in the form of redness and irritation. Not the look we are going for here. So let’s do this thing right. I love One Love Organics Brand New Day for jump starting a good glow. Go ahead and use on your neck and décolletage too.

For good clean skin that isn’t stripped of natural oils I couldn’t be happier with Acure Organics Sensitive Facial Cleanser, which you can pick up at your local Whole Foods. Just foamy enough to get skin nice and clean, but emollient enough to not dry it out. When my skin is feeling super dry, I use Lavera Basis Cleansing Milk 2-in-1.

Ah, now for the best part. Let’s ramp up our moisture! I like to start with a good layer of my fave facial moisturizer, Lavera Mattifying Balancing Cream. I’ve tried many and just keeeeep coming back to this baby. It is light yet hydrating, not greasy, works well under makeup, has no weird scent, and even helps to balance oil. Perfection!

Ok, next up let’s add some oil. This is the step that takes your complexion to the next level. Choose one that works for your skin type. RMS Beauty Beauty Oil works well on everyone’s skin and is like silk in a bottle. Getcha some pronto.

Worried makeup will slip right off of your well oiled skin? Here’s the trick: Use a dusting of powder on areas you don’t want shiny (tip of nose, chin, forehead) and where you want makeup to stick (eyelids).

Whatd’ya think? Gonna give this old school highlighter look a try this winter?

Image :: Brooke Cagle at Unsplash.com

Reconstructed :: Jennifer Lawrence Vogue Cover

Reconstructed :: Jennifer Lawrence Vogue Cover

How great is J Law’s makeup on the cover of Vogue this month? Hey, I’m all about the holidays and getting in the spirit and looking festive. But, I’ve gotta say…this fresh, bronze-y look has me hackerin’ for something a little more warm weather.

So, yes, it is ok to pair your warm neutrals with your wintery style, or even as a low key holiday look. Why not keep face and hair simple and let that smashing new outfit you got for the season do the talking?

Here’s what I’d use if I were recreating Jennifer’s look. And you better believe I am!

W3LL People Bio Bronzer :: Going nuts on the bronzing powder is always a bad thing. But a little dusting of this will take skin straight from December to July. For the fair skinned, mix a bit of bronzer with your regular facial powder. The idea here is fresh glow, not just came back from a tropical vacation.

Ilia Beauty Pure Eyeliner in Sweet Jane :: Just the right amount of depth without being harsh or too glam. Which is exactly what I love about brown eyeliner.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer Shadow in Glow and Tiger Eye :: Create a warm yet illuminated look, followed by your choice of black mascara. Mine? Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara all the way.

Ilia Beauty Lipstick Crayon in Come Undone :: Think slightly plummy nude. A true nude would make this look boring. The slight hint of color adds a hint of natural color. If you into something a bit glossier, and who isn’t?, RMS Beauty Lip Shine in Honest works beautifully here.

Ecobrow Defining Wax :: Make those eyebrows pop with a bit of definition. Not sure how to pull off on fleek brows? Here’s a little tutorial for ya.

List Love :: November Edition

List Love :: November Edition

I know what you are thinking…It’s November! What should I be puttin’ on my face and bod?

Great question! Let me fill you in on my little listy-poo of stuff I am in love with for the month of earth tones, warm clothes, pumpkin everything, and gearing up for the holidays.

The latest addition to the ever-awesome Kjaer Weis collection includes a smokin’ hot Cream Blush that I can’t get enough of. The beauty of Above and Beyond is that it is so universal. Looks great on my fair complexion but would also work perfectly on medium and darker skin tones. Way to go again, KW!

How much do you adore those red/black ombre nails up there from the OPI Venice collection? I know I saw a how-to on Instagram but now can’t locate it. If I were doing it, and I probably am, I’d use RMS Beauty Nail Polish in Beloved and Diabolique. Tried out Sublime and have to say, the color is brilliant and lasted longer than the brand I normally use. Great stocking stuffers too.

Aster & Bay Glow Body Serum. Want this Jasmine scented skin hydrator in my life so bad. Keep away dry skin and smell completely vibe at the same time? Yep!

Think earthy makeup shades are only for summer? No way, Jose! Earth tones are super in for fall and winter this year. Try out warm, caramely Kjaer Weis Eye Shadow in Charmed. A neutral means you can go for something ultra dusky on lips, like RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek in Diabolique. You know, to match your nails.

Yes, the holidays are coming. Yes, they’ll be fun. And yes, they’ll smack the energy straight out of ya. This year I may try getting a little extra something from Urban Moonshine Energy Tonic. This natural ingredient combo is said to suppress fatigue, boost mental clarity, and ramp up energy. That oughta get you through to New Year’s, unlike regular moonshine which does the opposite.

How cool is this funky black and cream scarf? And how handy would it be right now? Throw it on with jeans and a sweater, pants and blouse, over your coat, with your jammies…kind of up to you.

As for reading. I’ve been taking a class on fiction writing and haven’t wanted to read any fiction to mess with my mojo flow. So I’ve tapped into Medical Medium by Anthony William which is doing all kinds of good stuff for my life. Have you heard of this guy? Definitely worth a look.

PS :: In case you didn’t know, I’m writing over at Domino.com. Check out my fun stuff there, like how to carve out a vanity in tiny digs and how to share a closet with your SO, daughter, roomie…without losing your ever lovin’ marbles (or any of your stuff).

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Really Want

Shop Talk :: The One Thing Your Customers Need

Shop Talk is a series on helping organic beauty professionals get their products into the hands of people who will love them, and share their message with the world.

You neeeed vibe word flow.

Know why? It’s how you sell your stuff.

If you were a blogger or shop owner around 6- 10 years ago, you probably remember online marketing in a very different way. Back then it was all about the pretty ads. Flashing, sparkling, bright ads. Plastered everywhere.

Sure, people are still paying big bucks for ads on highly visible sites. But do you know what gets customer attention these days? It is not that big flashy ad. It is words. Solid, honest, super transparent information.

We’ve upped our online game along the way. And thank goodness! Now we go to someone’s site, read up on what we want to know, and decide if we’d like to request more info or make a purchase. The way it should be.

Hey, if you walk into a shop and start looking at, say…juicers. You are thinking the cheap one looks good price-wise. But will it burn up the third time you use it? Is the more expensive model the best way to go? What do you do? Look at the huge banner telling you to purchase the expensive model and do that, just because the banner said so?

Heck no!

You ask the person working in the store. That is why they are there, right? To give you more information that will aid in your buying decision. And how much does the giant, brightly colored banner with the eye-catching font do for you? Not a whole lot.

Same deal with your web content. Your words tell your customers what they want to know and answer their questions. This is what helps them decide what to buy. Not the crazy ad.

No clue where to begin? I’ve created a little crib sheet for you, including three important things to keep in mind when sharing your products with your customers.

3 Important Things to Share With Your Customers

1. Who is this product for? Most often, when people shop beauty they are shopping for a solution. Fix their acne. Tone down their redness. Diminish their wrinkles. Tell them exactly who the product is designed for and what problem it solves.

2. Look, smell, feel. Since we are talking online stores here, customers can’t get their hands on your sweet products. Let them know what the product feels like to the touch. How does it smell? Is it a creamy, dreamy violet-hued red lipstick or a striking matte tangerine lipstick? Be as descriptive as possible.

3. Give up the ingredients. We know this is important. Consumers are savvy these days and look for full ingredient listings. So don’t beat around the bush, copy and paste those suckers onto each and every description page.

If, on the other hand, you do not have a love of writing, think your writing stinks, or simply do not have the time (you are running an online biz, after all), I can help with that. Organic beauty/wellness writing is my thang and I’d be more than happy to help you out.

Find out what my services will do for you, and fill out the Content Stylist form with the specs on your writing wants and needs. Or if you are less wordy, don’t know what you really want or need, or would like to talk about retaining my writing services on an as needed basis, please give me a shout through my good ol’ contact form. Questions welcome.

Would love to hear from you organic beauty + wellness professionals…what are your biggest hurdles in running an online biz? Setting up time for blogging, social media, or emails? Getting to know your customers? Finding new and exciting products? I’d love to know, so please share in the comments.

Shop Talk :: When Your Creativity Gives You Lemons…

Shop Talk :: When Your Creativity Gives You Lemons…

So you’ve got yourself a blog. You have been doing a fair job of updating it regularly. You’ve set aside a day/night/wee hour of the morning each week to write up a post. And now you are blank.

If you’ve ever wondered What the heck am I going to put up on the blog this week?, first; you are not alone, second; you have options.

Yes, all of us dry up on creativity at some point. Even those who appear to have creative mojo dripping from their pores. You have two options here. Either get your juices pumping which, yes, takes energy and often time. May I suggest a run, shower, quick nap on the couch?

Or you can fake it. This is the easy way out, but it can also be a thing of beauty.

The following is a list of post ideas for any organic beauty or wellness blog. These are fast and easy to come up with, will help you out in a pinch, and fun for your readers too. You’ll be slinging these babies out like hotcakes and having a great time doing it. I’m calling it…

Blog Post 911

Product post :: Product reviews can get old. Not only for you, but for your readers. Rather than writing up 300+ words on what is so great about your latest addition, try a sentence or two on a handful of similar use products, seasonal items, or those you are simply loving right now. A pretty pic never hurts either and can even do most of the talking for you.

Wishlist post :: You know you have one. Don’t we all? That running list in your iPhone, notebook, head of pretties you are dying to get your hands on? Share them with your readers and encourage them to do the same in the comments. Have a shop? Put up items you’d like to try and match them up with similar “until I get to this” items you carry.

Who Do You Love post :: The super model, actress, writer, painter, product creator, blogger that you admire so much? Tell others about her. Share her with your world. Your followers like to know what you like and your crush may even take note. Nothing like a little reciprocal love.

How To post :: Do your readers ask you certain questions again and again? Friends and acquaintances always wondering what lip gloss or scent you are wearing? Tell them, already! As in “I always get asked…”. A good ol’ how to post is always a hit, too.

How They post :: I have heard so many women comment on the JLo Glow. I always thought Luminizer, duh. Well, let them know! How did Salma get that winged out liner on that Allure cover? How does Gwen get her red lipstick to stay put? Have the answer? Enquiring minds want to know.

Each of these can be whipped out in an hour or less. Promise.

Did this help? If you’d like to read more blog post ideas or have other questions on content for your site or blog, let me know.

How To :: Shop Beauty at Whole Foods

How To :: Shop Beauty at Whole Foods

Whole Foods. I mention beauty items you can find there from time to time. Thought it was time I shared my WF beauty shopping list.

While I try and curb my Whole Foods experience due to my desire to go on vacations, buy some cool clothes, and one day send my kids to college, I do end up there fairly regularly. Not only is their fruit selection much better than my beloved Target, but it is an easy place to pick up some of my favorite natural beauty essentials.

The key to shopping WF without going broke is to go prepared, get your shiz, and get the heck outta there! So, here’s your list for the beauty aisle. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

AcurehairWF

AcurebodywashWF

AcurelineWF

AcureWrinkleWF

Acure Organics :: I love that WF carries this fabulous line. Acure makes skin, body and hair care basics, reasonably priced, and no nasty ingredients. They work great too. I pick up the Eye Cream, Day Cream, Radical Wrinkle Complex, Sensitive Facial Cleanser, body wash, and shampoo and conditioner. Target does carry some of this line too.

TrilogyWF

Trilogy :: Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil is one of my first organic beauty loves. So good. Brightens, diminishes lines and dark spots, hydrates, and makes skin glow. A prize.

EvanHealyWF

Evan Healy :: A bottle of Pomegranate Repair Serum is a must for the beauty kit this time of year. Sinks into skin to moisturize and soften. I like to use it at night over my usual moisturizer once the indoor heat season starts up.

LipbalmWF

Whole Foods Lip Balm :: What if I told you WF makes one of my absolute fave lip balms?. For real. I love this lip balm more than most I’ve tried over the years. And since I am a lippy junkie, there have been many. It is super smooth and soft, not too greasy or too waxy, and comes in lots of fun flavors. Cheap too. Grab one at the checkout aisle as you are avoiding the bakery and making a mad dash for your car.

DrHWF2

Dr. Hauschka :: I also love that WF carries Dr. Hauschka. This guru of organic beauty has high quality formulas and several products to choose from. I don’t purchase these products regularly, but if they start carrying Dr. H Volume Mascara that’ll change real fast.

There you have it. My personal Whole Foods beauty shopping list. Now put your blinders on and go buy yourself some healthy stuff.