Monday, May 30, 2016

Zutano Baby Acessories for Summer and Winter

Zutano is a great company for your baby and toddler outfits and Acessories.  We were first introduced to them when we received a pair of Zutano Baby Cozie Booties from a friend upon the arrival of Baby BeautyFreckled.  They were the most amazing booties ever.  So amazing that when she grew out of them we immediately ordered a second pair in a bigger size.  They were the only thing that stayed on her little tootsies and since she's an October baby - we needed to make sure those tootsies stayed warm!  The two button snaps really keep them secure.  It also assures a great fit as they grow into them as well.

Zutano Cozie Booties

If we ever have baby number two, I'll be getting the matching Cozie Hat.  I am already scoping out their toddler section and their Cozie Fleeces and mittens for fall and spring!

When it comes to summer, we all want to make sure baby's sensitive skin is protected, right?  I originally had a floppy sun hat with SPF in it, but the brim was so huge that Baby Beauty didn't love wearing it.  She lets us put a GAP baseball cap (from the baby GAP outlet) on her last summer so we figured that was better than nothing.

Enter the Zutano Baby Sun Hats.  The colors I got were: Orchid, Rainbow Candy Stripe, and Flower Shower.  They're all 100% cotton and super soft (much softer than the hat with SPF we previously had).

Zutano Sun Hats

These washed so well and really held up.  Baby Beauty wore the Rainbow Candy Stripe hat in her baby pool for hours this Saturday and even let me tie it around her chin.  She loved the hat and kept it on for hours.  It protected her face and shoulders but didn't get in the way at all. 

Ever since these hats arrived she has been pulling all of them out of her hat drawer and putting them on herself and parading around while playing in her room.  I guess this means they're baby tested and approved!

We love both the Sun Hats and Cozie Booties and would recommend them to anyone with babies of any age!  We wish we had these sun hats two years ago for our toddler!

Check out the full line of Zutano products at their website.

Disclaimer: Zutano was kind enough to send me three sun hats for review purposes.  I wasn't otherwise compensated to write this review or paid for a positive review.  All reviews are 100% honest.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Avalon Organics Intense Defense Oil-Free Moisturizer

I've been on the hunt for a brightening lotion or moisturizer for my face, and when I saw this one at Target, I loved that it was an organic more natural product at a good price.

Avalon Organics Intense Defense Oil-Free Moisturizer
Claims from
  • Lightweight cream rehydrates for improved texture & elasticity
  • Formulated with Vitamin C to combat environmental stress & damage
  • Contains organic ingredients
  • No GMOs, vegan & biodegradable
  • No parabens, harsh sulfates or preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrances, phthalates or animal testing
  • Restores & renews your complexion's clarity & vibrance by neutralizing free radicals that can result from sun damage
  • Weightless, rejuvenating oil-free moisturizer fortified with two powerful forms of vitamin C soothes oxidative stress for a firmer, healthy, youthful appearance
  • NSF/ANSI 305 certified, contains natural & organic ingredients
  • 100% vegetarian formula, no animal testing
  • NO: parabens, harsh preservatives, synthetic colors or fragrance, phthalates or harmful sulfates

  • Price: 10.92 [Amazon]
    Product Amount: 2 ounces

    This moisturizer has a light orange scent that's really pleasant.  It can sting a little if you get it too close to your eyes, but that's not surprising.  It comes in a plastic pot-style packaging, which isn't my favorite for hygienic reasons, but I can look past that for a great product.

    Avalon Organics Intense Defense Oil-Free Moisturizer

    The formula is oil-free, so I thought that would be better than the crème version of this product for my combo skin.  I assumed the texture would be similar to the Neutrogena Hydro-Boost Gel [review here], but instead it's more of a thick consistency which made it super hard to rub into my skin.  It was like trying to rub in sunscreen where you have white streaks that just take forever to rub into your skin.  Another thing I could've looked past if it had worked better. 

    Constancy of the moisturizer
    This moisturizer didn't hydrate as much as I would've liked.  My skin still had that tight feeling that you get just after washing.  I didn't see or feel enough results to make this purchase worth it.

    I wanted to loved this so much.   I loved that it was organic and cruelty free, but the negatives outweigh the positives on this one.  I'm going to finish off the jar, but I won't be repurchasing this one.

    My search for a good brightening/Vitamin C moisturizer continues...suggestions more than welcome below!

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Top 5 Tips for Dealing with Fibromyalgia

    I have been living with Fibromyalgia around three or four years now.  It all started with a slightly dizzy feeling at work, my legs feeling weak and tired, my knees feeling swollen, and a general muscle weakness.  At first I assumed I had Lyme disease from walking my dog in wooded areas (we had a lot of trees around our house) since the symptoms lined up.  After numerous tests that kept coming back negative, my rheumatologist suggested Fibromyalgia.  I tried numerous prescriptions but my Fibro made me sensitive to side effects, so I always stopped taking them.  I just tried to deal with the pain at that point, but didn't do too much research into natural remedies.

    After some time had gone by, and still not feeling great, I still wondered if I had a silent form of Lyme.  I saw a doctor who practiced Functional/Integrative Medicine and paid extra for a Lyme test (from Igenex - this test shows all traces and bands).  The test was negative but the doctor had a few good suggestions for muscle pain.

    After we moved to the area we live in now, I saw a new family doctor.  Another round of tests were done and nothing showed up.  We revisited the Fibromyalgia diagnosis and ideas on how to deal with it.  I tried another medication, but it gave me bad side effects again, so we discussed some natural options like yoga.

    Through all the family doctors, rheumatologists, the functional doctor, and my own research, I have learned to take little bits here and there and use what works for me more naturally.

    Here are my top five tips that have helped me the most:

    1.) Water, Water, Water
    Drinking eight eight-ounce glasses really flushes out my systems and keeps me hydrated.  I can feel it if I am not hydrated enough and haven't had enough water.

    2.) Vitamins*
    Vitamins have been a huge help to me.  If I don't take them for two or more days in a row, I feel a big difference.  Here's what I take: Up & Up D3, Doctor's Best CoQ10, Doctor's Best Chelated Magnesium, Nature Made Super B-Complex, Up & Up Allergy

    3.) Mild Exercise
    Mild exercises like yoga, swimming, walking, and biking are suggested for fibro.  I had to slowly build up to exercise.  At first I started with 10-20 minutes of biking, yoga, walking, or swimming.  Now I aim for about 30-40 minutes but try not burn myself out.  Too much can leave me more exhausted and in more pain.  I usually do yoga or weights 2-3 days a week, and ride my bike the other 2-3 days [see my bike review here].  We will also walk together as a family with our dog after dinner if the weather is nice and I'm not tired.  I love the 10k-a-Day program.  I'm going to do a full post on the DVDS I use at home for exercise.

    The DVDs I rotate currently for exercise, plus biking/walking

    4.) Diet
    I found a few sites about the best things to eat and avoid with fibromyalgia.  I've tried avoiding various foods groups (dairy, gluten), but I didn't feel a big difference.  The main thing for me was cutting way back on caffeine.  I drank coffee religiously before and have since given it up.  Now I will occasionally have one cup of green tea in early afternoon or the occasional decaf coffee (black, no sugar).  I've noticed a big difference in my dizziness since I cut back to almost no caffeine.  I can't remember which site had a great list of the best things to eat and avoid but I will do a separate post on those foods specifically.

    5.) Sleep
    At least 7-8 hours, but 8-9 is optimal for my body.  I had trouble sleeping for a long time when I was first diagnosed so I found melatonin tablets (Up & Up Melatonin) super helpful.  The muscle relaxers that were supposed to help me sleep were always too much for me.  Rozerem is a prescription melatonin that helped me at first but I found over-the-counter melatonin just as good.

    I hope these tips are helpful for those of you who have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  Not everyone's body is the same, so these tips may not work the same for everyone.

    Please let me know in the comments below what has worked/not worked for you and if you suffer from Fibromyalgia, CFS, or something similar.  I would love to share more of my journey with others.

    *Please discuss any medications you take, including vitamins, with your doctor.  This post is not intended as medical advice as I am not a doctor.*

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primers | + Plus a Duel: e.l.f. vs. SmashboxPhoto Finish

    {This post includes affiliate links.  Affiliate links are where I make a portion of sales from links used, which helps keep Beauty Freckled going.  Thanks for your support!}

    Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish Foundation Primer was the first primer I ever used, but figured there had to be a good dupe for it out there with a better price point.  That's when I came upon the e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primers at Target.  There are now a few different color correction options as well as hydrating and blemish control versions and a silicone pore perfector.

    e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primers
    Transform your face into a flawless and smooth canvas with the Mineral Infused Face Primer.  Developed to combat against excess oil, flaky dryness, enlarged pores and fine lines.  This clear multipurpose skin primer will prepare your skin so makeup goes on evenly for a long lasting satin finish.

    Recommended Uses:
    Tone Adjusting Green is ideal for minimizing redness and correcting blotchy skin.
    Brightening Lavender is ideal for uneven skin tones and to brighten dull or yellow tones.
    Radiant Glow (contains shimmer) is ideal for creating a luminizing effect on dark spots and uneven skin tones.

    Clear, Tone Adjusting Green, Radiant Glow

    Just to compare cost quickly: e.l.f. Clear Primer is $6 for 0.48 ounces; Smashbox Iconic Photo Finish is $36 1oz or $16 0.50oz.  So the elf product has 0.02 ounce less, but that's about a $10 savings if you compare it to the smaller half ounce Smashbox Photo Finish.  The e.l.f primer looks like you get more than you do in their slightly deceiving packaging.  Smashbox's packaging is much nicer, however, you can buy two of the e.l.f. version for less than the cost of one Smashbox.

    Smashbox Photo Finish is silicone-based and feels thicker.  e.l.f. Mineral Primer is more of a gel even though it containes silica.  Both primers are promoted to help fill in pores, keep oil at bay, and make makeup last longer on the face.  If silicone is a bit too much for your skin, these probably aren't for you.  They both do a good job of filling in pores and do make a nice canvas for makeup to lay on.  Both slide on super nicely and feel super silky.

    Here are quick reviews of the three I have:
    Mineral Infused Clear is a base that helps lengthen foundation wear time and creates a flat starting point for makeup.  This is a great affordable alternative to the Smashbox version.

    Tone Adjusting Green balances redness in skin, which I tend to have on my cheeks.  It has a similar consistency to the clear primer, just tinted.  It's supposed to be comparable to the Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Primer in Green.  I definitely think it neutralizes the redness on my cheeks and works the same as the clear, just with the added color correcting benefit.

    Radiant Glow gives a dewy glow.  This one I've been using more in the winter, as my skin gets more "dewy" and oily in the summer.  It brightens up foundation a bit, but has a bit too much glitter in it.  I think this would be better for normal to dry skin types.  I wouldn't repurchase just because of my skin type, but it does its job.

    Wear Test:  I decided to put the e.l.f. Mineral Clear Primer to the test opposite the Smashbox Photo Finish Clear Primer.  I placed  the e.l.f. on the left side of my face, and the Photo Finish on the right, then applied my makeup as usual (I used the CoverGirl 3-in-1 for reference).  Results:  I couldn't tell a difference upon applying my makeup, honestly.  Upon application, the e.l.f. was slightly more slippery and didn't set as nicely as the Smashbox but that's a minor detail.  After about 7 hours of wear time, both sides looked identical.  If I hadn't know which side was which, I couldn't have said one side looked any better or worse than the other. The Smashbox has nicer packaging and slips around less on application, but you won't be able to tell much if any differences once either is applied.  So if you're looking for a good dupe for the Smashbkx Photo Finish, check out the e.l.f. Primer.

    e.l.f. also makes a Poreless Primer that's supposed to be fully matte versus the satin finish of the Mineral Primer.  I imagine this will do pretty well when put head to head against the Smashbox primer as well, so I will update when I try it!

    You can find these all for $6 at your local Target (or get it shipped free if you're a RedCard holder from their website), at Amazon, or on the e.l.f. website.  They're worth a try!

    Friday, May 6, 2016

    Diaper Bag Review | Skip Hop Duo Double

    {This post includes affiliate links.  Affiliate links are where I make a portion of sales from links used, which helps keep Beauty Freckled going.  Thanks for your support!}
    I loved watching "What's In My Diaper Bag" videos on YouTube before Baby BeautyFreckled arrived, so I knew I would have to review my own diaper bag one day.  I will follow this up with a "What's in My Diaper Bag" post.  So here we go with the review of the Skip Hop Duo Double...
    Skip Hop DUO DOUBLE Hold-It-All Diaper Bag, Onyx Tile
    Specs from Skip Hop:
  • Attaches to any double (side-by-side) stroller with patented Shuttle Clips— leave the shoulder strap attached or remove it for a cleaner look
  • Wear with messenger strap or as a tote
  • Magnetic closures throughout; main compartment zips shut
  • Cushioned changing pad
  • Extraordinarily durable poly-canvas construction— this bag will last for years
  • 16 pockets include a zippered personal pocket and two side mesh pockets for bottles or sippy cups
  • Convenient cell phone pocket & easy-access pen holders
  • Contrasting lining makes it easy to find everything inside
  • Note: Not for use on single strollers
  • Size (inches): 19l x 4.25w x 13h

  • This diaper bag is classified as a bag for twins.  I currently have a 2 1/2 year old girl (Baby BeautyFreckled) and have used this diaper bag since she was pretty much a newborn for just her and loved it.  Starting out with the Skip Hop Via Messenger in Black, I liked the bag, but found it too small and ended up using it just for doctor visits where I just needed diapers, wipes, and a blanket.  After seeing the Duo Double, turns out I loved the size for just one child.  I liked having enough room for whatever I need, being able to see it all easily, and not having everything just jammed in there.

    Skip Hop Duo Double in Onyx Tile
    Skip Hop Duo Double in Onyx Tile

    Outside there are three fabric pockets, two bottle pockets, and one large fabric pocket with the changing pad inside.  Inside there are three mesh pockets, two bottle pockets, and two fabric pockets.  The whole inner bag zips up and there is a mommy pocket next to the main zipper so you don't have to undo the whole bag to get to your wallet, keys, or phone.  Included are also a full strap as well as smaller straps for hand carrying which both come in handy.  The Shuttle Clips are easy to snap on and off the strollers we use.  I would never want a bag without stroller clips again!

    Side Pockets and Messenger Strap

    Two Back Pockets - One with Changing Pad
    The note above says it's not for use on single strollers, however, we used it on our Britax B-Agile and our Baby Jogger City Select and we've never had an issue.  Just use it at your own risk, because if you had a lot in there and on a smaller stroller like the B-Agile I could see how it could tip it over.

    Above View of Skip Hop Duo Double

    Above View of Skip Hop Duo Double Inside

    The inside of the bag has three mesh pockets on one side, two fabric pockets on the opposite side, and two bottle pockets on each inner end.  The big 'pocket' in between all these is considered the last pocket in the count, I believe.  I love carrying the Skip Hop Changing Station in that middle compartment, and it fits perfectly with room to put a rolled Aden + Anais blanket and extra clothes as well.  The Changing station is great because it's bigger than just the changing pad that comes with the bag and you can shove diapers and wipes in it in case you need to grab just those items to change baby. 
    Even with all we have in the bottom, the Duo Double doesn't look bulky or get too heavy.  We also paired our bag with the Pacifier Pocket (not shown), which easily attached to a strap for easy access.

    Overall, Skip Hop nailed it with this bag.  I wish they wouldn't market it as for twins, because I think it might scare some people off.  If you like to carry enough to cover your toush (and baby's toush too!) then this bag is the perfect size.  I don't carry a purse at all when I carry this bag and it's been super perfect for us and will easily grow if we end up with Baby Beauty #2 in the future!

    Skip Hop Duo Double Front

    Check out the Skip Hop Duo Double on Amazon or at BuyBuyBaby, where I purchased mine.  {BuyBuyBaby is the best baby store in my opinion, but more on that another time ;) }

    I will follow up with a full "What's In My Diaper Bag" post soon showing you all exactly what I carry and how I organize the bag and what's in it!