Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Product Review: Essence of Vali

The last few weeks of summer always seem to be overly hectic for me, and this year has been no different. You've already heard a little here, and now I have that review I've promised you. 

The Company
Valerie, the founder and president, is remarkable person. Any woman who has the courage to leave her career and make a business out of what she loves is truly amazing. The company's philosophy revolves around self care, and their card reads "Inspiring people to love themselves, age gracefully and experience a whole new way of live. Challenge your mind. Honor your body. Celebrate your spirit."

I had the opportunity to review Massage and Bath OilsBotanical MistsPerfumeSleep Aids, and Pain Relief Balm.

The Products
These products are not tested on animals, 100% natural, and except the balms, 100% vegan.

The Oils: I know these products are intended to be massage and bath oils, but I've found my favorite way to use them was as a body oil upon getting out of the shower. While they weren't as moisturizing as the lotion I generally use, the scent lingered all day and well into the night, but was never overly powerful or distracting. For massage I found the oils to absorb quite quickly. I would prefer a massage oil to last longer, but I liked that I didn't feel like I had to shower after a massage.

The Mists: I loved how easy the mists were to use. They really make aromatherapy accessible. I appreciate that they were concentrated enough to use a minimal amount. Two sprays and the whole room was scented, and it lasted! As the oils, the mists come in lovely blue bottles with solid color labels associated with the scent.

The Perfume: Its hard to find an natural perfume that doesn't smell too, well... natural. While the scent doesn't mirror a traditional perfume, and such takes time to get used to, it is a very pleasant scent. If you'd like to try it out, you can request a sample here!

Sleep Aid: The vial of sleep, a bedtime ritual, was one of my favorite products. I have a whole collection of aromatherapy sleep aids, most of which are simply lavender essential oil in a jar. I appreciated that Vali's sleep ritual was a more complex scent, and oh how relaxing it was! Most of all, it was lovely that just a drop lasted all night. With the mini vials, however, it is difficult to dispense just a single drop. I found it is easiest to turn the vial up side down, getting some of the concentrate on the lid, open the vial, and touch the lid to the corner of your pillow. Make sure it is the corner as it is too concentrated to be used on skin. The full size version has a dropper which makes this issue null and void. 

Pain Relief Balm: If you've ever used icy hot, this product has a similar effect, but more mild. It smells lovely, like peppermint. As far as application, the product was a very soft solid, and very easy to spread on the skin. I have chronic back pain, and utilized this product when I was having a particularly hard time. The effects were noticeable in a couple of minutes and helped ease the pain.

The Results: I believe aromatherapy is like exercise, or college. You get what you put in. Of course, you can spray "Calm" around you while stomping your feet and throwing things, and it may have effect, I'm sure it is much more beneficial to utilize the product and take a quick quite moment to sit still and take a couple deep breaths.

That being said, I was in a particularly hysterical mood a couple of days ago, feeling a mixture of self pity, anger, frustration, and sadness all mixed into one. As I stormed downstairs, I noticed the Essence of Vali's products sitting on my living room table. I saw the bottle of "Uplift" mist first, and no joke, actually said "Freaking uplift!" in a pretty angry tone. None the less, I sprayed the mist around me a couple times and continued storming around the house. 
The effect was remarkably similar to this thing my dad used to do when were were particularly angry with him as children. He would put on this goofy grin and point at our faces, all the while saying "I see that smile creeping up! Right there, I see it. Your smiling!" (There was no staying mad at that man). Eventually I felt the mood slipping away, despite my resistance. While it didn't turn me into a glowing ball of sunshine, it noticeably eased my tension.

While I am an aromatherapy junkie, everyone I showed these products too loved them. The quality is outstanding, and the price is affordable. I can see these products being perfect as hostess or christmas gifts. The mini vials of sleep would also be great for travel, when a good night's sleep is often hard to attain. At only a dollar, who could resist?

The only issue is deciding what blends to choose! Valerie's favorite mist is Uplift. I loved Fortify, Detox, and Refresh. The website even has a handy symptom checker to set you up with the right blend for your needs. You can check that out here.

*Samples of these products were sent to me for review. As always all opinions are my own. You can read my full disclosure here.

Which would you choose?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Full Disclosure

Currently, I'm working on a few product reviews for you, and would like to preface that with a note on disclosure. 

I'm on a budget: I'm a college student, and on a budget that reflects this. Occasionally, I am sent a product for review. These are almost always sample sizes. If I am sent a product, it will be clearly noted in the post, and does not influence my opinion in any way.

I'm selective: Not every product I purchase or receive will be featured in a review. I try to share only positive experiences. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally I will review products I liked.

It takes time: Once I purchase or receive a product, I like to use it for quite a bit of time before sharing my thoughts. For cosmetics this may mean a week. Hair products are often a little longer at two weeks or more. As for backpacks, equipment, and such, it may take a months to come to a conclusion. I want my reviews to be as fair as possible, and if I haven't given a product enough time before sharing, the post will clearly state "first impressions".

About me: The opinions in my reviews are my own. That being said, everyone is different and results may vary. Using the products I review, as with any other  review, will not make you look, smell, act, or seem like me (thank god!) I will, however, try to include any information you may need to make an decision about whether or not this product may work for you.

As most results are specific to the individual using the product, I'd like you to meet me:
Skin type: Seasonal (combination with occasional break outs in the summer, dry in the winter)
Hair type: Wavy/Curly, Dry, Frizzy
Activity level: Active
Diet: As clean as possible

*I am not an expert in, well... anything. The opinions here are my own and are not meant to be taken in place of professional advice when necessary.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Let's Go Cruisin'

The Woodward Dream Cruise 

As many of you know, I grew up in a little town outside Detroit, the Motor City. Every year, our area has this event called the "Woodward Dream Cruise". The dream cruise, according to their offical website is "[...]the world's largest one-day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year from around the globe."

Basically, Woodward is the main road on the southeast side of Michigan. The Dream Cruise is when a ton of classic, antique, and weird cars drive around this road through four or five cities. Attendance at this massive party is nearly mandatory each summer in our area.

Though I am not a car enthusiast, even I can appreciate the work so many men people put into a hobby involving automobiles. Some of these cars are truly amazing. 

(I'm partial to the "cute" trucks.)

Some are just weird.

And yes, that is me- on a Harley Davidson. And no, I didn't actually drive it. 
The kickstand is still down. 
I'm not that cool. 

How have you been spending your last weekends of summer?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Once Upon A Whirlwind

Hello Lovelies.

It's been a crazy couple weeks around here. Between getting my house ready for new roommates, heading home for a couple days, sending my baby sister off to college, finishing up summer classes, and getting ready for the fall semester, I haven't had much time for... well... anything.

Which means, of course, I'm long overdue for some self care time. 

I'm partial to yoga, aromatherapy, rest, and some extra healthy eating when it comes to hitting "restart".

Luckily, I'm in the process of reviewing something special for all of you! In the very near future, you'll be seeing a review of a couple of products from Essence of Vali, a company that focuses on self care by nurturing of the mind, body, and spirit through aromatherapy.

What do you do to ground yourself?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Say what? A Green Smoothie Recipe

Today is my birthday. 
The big 21! 

When I woke up, my wonderful boyfriend offered to take me to our favorite little place for breakfast, and I did the unthinkable. 

"Could I have a green smoothie instead?"

What? Did that really just come out of my mouth?
Yes. Yes, it did. 

It's that good. 
It's also great way to sneak in some fruits and vegetables!

I like the pineapple to be frozen and the banana fresh. I think it makes the smoothie a little more creamy. You can also throw in some chia seeds, or other supplement type things if you'd like. 
The best part is the pineapple and banana overpowers the kale. You won't even know it's there! 
But if by chance the kale is too much, start out by putting only a few pieces in, and build up by smoothie from there.


Do you have a favorite green smoothie recipe?
Please share 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Scrub a dub: What's in my shower

Maybe its because I'm nosy, but I'm always interested in how other people do things, what products they use, and such. I find those "what's in my bag" posts so interesting. Yeah... it's weird.

I mean, if your over at a friends house and use the restroom, you have to peek at what they've got in their shower, assuming the curtains open. It's not like opening the medicine cabinet or anything creepy like that. 
Ok, so I'm never going to be invited to anyones house again. 

Seeing as most of you will never get the chance to creep through my bathroom, I though I would give you a glimpse.

I'm working on using products that are better for me, so most of these products are free are harmful chemicals.
So we recently remodeled our bathroom, including the shower, which means I had to clean everything out. 
I also have a guest staying at my apartment for a couple weeks, and I'm trying to leave a little room for her. 
For these reasons, what's currently in my shower are just the "everydays".

First of, I've recently started using Broo shampoo and conditioner, and so far I'm loving it! The shampoo is the original, and the conditioner is citrus scent. 
Both are sulfate free, which is what I look for. They are also paraben free, pH balanced, and made from real beer. Though because it is sulfate free it does not lather like "normal" shampoos. 

Next we've got an Arbonne body wash which was given to me as a gift. The one in the link is similar, but the  one I have is pretty old and I believe the packaging has changed. This body was is made with strawberries, and is nice, but nothing special. I'll finish the bottle but will probably not repurchase. 

For the face, there's origins checks and balances, which origins gave for free on earth day for trading in an empty bottle. (You can still take empty bottles to their store for recycling!) I've been using it since then, and it still seems full! While I usually finish a face wash and move on to a new brand, but I think this is one I'm going to stick with. Its gentle, effective for my skin, and doesn't leave a residue on my face. 

When it comes to shaving, I usually grab whatever razors are on sale. To work with that, I've got Dr. Bronner's shaving gel. It is organic and fair trade product. I've found it to be effective, and love the lavender scent, but I can also see why many wouldn't like it because it is a gel, and doesn't lather much- if at all.

There's also a wide tooth comb I use with the conditioner. I believe it was from target three or four years ago. I should probably invest in a new one soon...

So there you have it. What you can't see is there's a pretty large shelf full of crap products and such next to the shower. Maybe I'll show you that sometime. 
Let me know in the comments if you'd like to see a review of anything! Also, If you've got a what's in my shower, or purse, or room, etc. post share it below!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two families around the Fire

I apologize for the absence, 
I've been at a family reunion. 

Since I'm still getting back into the swing of things, all I've got for you today is a quick photo journal of some reuniting. 

As for the backstory:
My grandmother's 7 children and her brother's 13 children and all of their children's children plus a bunch of dogs get together every year to go camping.
We cook food over the bonfire, play beach volleyball, go kayaking, and have a shotgun shooting competition.

Where we stayed. Not in the water, of course, but in the yard behind the house next to it.

True to reunion fashion, every meal was cooked over the bonfire. 

My sister and I were in charge of breakfast. Which was, of course, filled with dirt, but otherwise delicious.
(The pan was heavy and we're kind of clumsy)
The boys fished, and my younger cousin caught this monster!

Dozer was there too, searching for leftovers the little ones dropped.

We played sports and exercised (just kidding... we ate more bonfire food).

And Dozer even helped clean up camp... kind of.

Does your family hold reunions? 
What do you do?