Monday, October 20, 2014

Go Natural: Cleaning Supplies

I love the Go Natural series I am working on with The Florkens and Notes From a Newlywed. I am always learning new ways to use new products and keep myself protected from added toxic chemicals. Cleaning products are one of my favorite things to talk about, because cleaning products were the first things I switched when I wanted a more natural lifestyle.

I remember wanting to clean my fridge one day and not knowing what to clean it with. I mean, the fridge is where I keep my food. I had no idea what I could use. So I started doing some research on my cleaning products and it sent me into a panic. HOLY COW. I did not want to put this toxic stuff near my food. In fact, I didn't want any of it near me at all.

Being the curious lady I am, I started to research some cleaning products that fit our needs. I was lucky to find that in the Method brand cleaners that you can pick up at Target.

Target is my second home. I do the majority of my shopping there, so having a household cleaner I can pick up at my favorite store was amazing. The best part is that Target has a coupon app called Cartwheel and every once and awhile they do 10% off of the Method brand products! I love a good deal when I can find one, and these household cleaners are totally worth it.

The pink cleaner pictured above is my favorite. A) I love the color pink B) It smells amazing C) It cleans my counter tops better than any other product I have ever used.

I am also a fan of Seventh Generation products. I don't purchase them as much because I love the Method products, but I pick up a few things from that section every now and then.

What is your favorite household cleaner?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Go Natural: Beauty Products

In my last post in the Go Natural Series I used a video that talked about just how many products we use everyday. I have counted since then, and I use 19 products on my hair and skin on a daily basis. So when I decided to make the switch to more natural products, you can imagine my horror as I actually looked up the ingredients to some of the products I already had. It is disturbing.

When I first started shopping for natural products it was very overwhelming. I would research products at home and when I would get to the store that product would be sold out (of course!) and I would be left struggling with my phone in the aisle looking up ingredients.
This week I want to share two great tools with you to make your shopping experience a little easier.

1. Skin Deep® Mobile App- Download it!
Your grooming rituals probably include shampoo, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, lip balm, sunscreen, body lotion, shaving products (if you’re a man) and makeup (if you’re a woman). EWG’s Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database is the world's largest safety reference tool for personal-care products. EWG has launched this app to provide you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings at your fingertips for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market. 

This Skin Deep® app has information and online safety assessments for more than 72,000 personal care products, 2,500 brands and 9,000 ingredients, culled from product labels and from the scientific and industry literature.

To calculate a product score, we tally the hazards of each ingredient and evaluate every product in relation to all the others in Skin Deep®. The safest products score well by both measures: a low hazard rating AND fair or better data availability. EWG’s ratings are the best available information you can find on the safety of personal-care product ingredients.

2. This Printable to take with you! 
So this is where I get in to some of my favorite hair and skin care products!
If you follow me on Instagram you might notice that I like to post when I find products I love. So here are some of my favorites:

Say Yes- Say Yes products are available at Target so they are super easy to find and semi affordable. One of my favorite products is the Say Yes to Grapefruit moisturizer. It helps with the bags under my eyes and when I apply a layer, it helps my makeup go on smooth and even.
Herbaria- Herbaria is in St. Louis and I love them. First of all, their mascot is a dog who lounges in the window all day sleeping and is named Soapy. The dog is the cutest and always puts me in a good mood when I go in. If you don't love seeing a dog when you walk in to a store then you need to get out of here.

The soap is the best. I am a fan of the lavender oatmeal, but I have tried several others and I like them all. I also use several hair products, several different scents room freshener, and their essential oil headache roll-on (I will talk more about these later).

To finish up... 
There are a lot of options out there for natural products. It seems overwhelming at first, but once you find products that you LOVE then it is easy to fall into a routine.

Friday, October 3, 2014

If You Knew Me In High School

There was a linkup a while agp and as always I am late to the party. I am just not proactive enough to go out looking for linkups and I have a terrible memory so even if I found them I would forget them. It is cool though because I blog for fun and I am not trying to be an expert at anything, including having a planner full of blogging linkups and scheduling them on that exact day. What can I say... I am a rebel like that. Anyway thanks Morgan for coming up with this linkup.

I couldn't pass this blog post up because high school is such an interesting place and I don't write about it enough. Probably because nothing really exciting happened, but I thought everything was exciting anyway. So here we go... If you knew me in high school.

  • If you knew me in high school, you would know that I have always been this dramatic. It wasn't something that happened after high school graduation. I thought everything was either like the best thing ever, or was literally gonna kill me.
  • If you knew me in high school, you remember my obsession with black eyeliner and fake tans. I apologize that you had to see that. 
  • If you knew me in high school, you know that I wasn't the most popular person ever but I had a small group of great friends and that was enough for me. 
  • If you knew me in high school, you were probably in my french class. Everyone was probably in my french class because I failed it too many times to count. If you were in my french class I am sure we shared some great memories because I had a blast all three years I was in it.
  • If you knew me in high school, you probably warned me about one of the idiots I dated or didn't date but "talked to" or was "just texting" because in high school that is how you define relationships.
  • If you knew me in high school you are probably aware that I missed a lot of days. By a lot I mean over 60 days. You were probably pretty curious about what I was doing. I mean, that was a lot of days to miss. The answer is nothing. Or pretending I had cramps and watching The Price is Right. 
  • If you knew me in high school you are probably wondering why I made the mistake of wearing my hair in a ponytail every single picture day. The answer is simple, not even the prospect of looking horrible in a book that all my peers could see for years to come made me get out of bed earlier to take a shower. 
  • If you knew me in high school, my sleep pattern is the exact same. I'll sleep whenever, where ever, and for as long as possible. 
  •  If you knew me in high school, you knew me at the weirdest time of my life and you survived. Congratulations. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Go Natural: Safe Makeup

Hello beautiful! Thanks for stopping by on  such an awesome occasion. Today we start our Go Natural series for real! Although I don't wear much makeup at all, I am serious about using products that don't have harmful chemicals. If I am going to cut these scary chemicals out of my everyday life, the most important place to start is with the stuff I am rubbing all over my skin.

While I might not be able to hit you with the science of everything like my co-host The Florkens, or give you tons of makeup options like Notes from a Newlywed, I can tell you some tricks that will help you ball on a budget which is pretty nifty if you ask me. 

I think the number one complaint I here about cutting out chemicals and using non-drugstore makeup products is that "it is expensive". Which I am now realizing is everyone's excuse for anything they just really don't want to do because trust me, it is not expensive at all. In fact, I ordered every single piece of my new everyday makeup bag at once and spent less than $50.

BOOM! Did that just blow your mind? Because it blew mine. I can easily go to the drugstore and spend way more than that.

Notes From A Newlywed posted about her Tarte products a few months ago and I knew I just had to try them out. They are perfect! They are always formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phthalates triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate,  and gluten.

Why is it important that we keep these nasty chemicals off our skin? Here is a video with all the information you need:

Tarte Cosmetics are perfect for me because they avoid using chemicals that can hurt me, but they get the job done. Like I said, I ordered everything I needed with shipping included it was less than $50. It was simple, I shopped the clearance section and waited until they had a 30% and free shipping. The sale was perfect and I have more than I could possibly need. Here are a few of the things I purchased.

The CC Cream is from Say Yes and I bought it at Target. It is AMAZING.

So I did some digging for you guys and found a great list of the dirty dozen chemicals that YOU should be avoiding!
  1. BHA and BHT. Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. Look for p-phenylenediamine hair dyes and in other products colours listed as “CI” followed by five digits.1 The U.S. colour name may also be listed (e.g. “FD&C Blue No. 1″ or “Blue 1″). Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
  3. DEA-related ingredients. Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer. Harmful to fish and other wildlife. Look also for related chemicals MEA and TEA.
  4. Dibutyl phthalate. Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which causes cancer.
  6. Parabens. Used in a variety of cosmetics as preservatives. Suspected endocrine disrupters and may interfere with male reproductive functions.
  7. Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance) Any mixture of fragrance ingredients used in a variety of cosmetics — even in some products marketed as “unscented.” Some fragrance ingredients can trigger allergies and asthma. Some linked to cancer and neurotoxicity. Some harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  8. PEG compounds. Used in many cosmetic cream bases. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Also for related chemical propylene glycol and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., polyethylene glycol).
  9. Petrolatum. Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizers. A petroleum product that can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.
  10. Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate. Used in foaming cosmetics, such as shampoos, cleansers and bubble bath. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look also for related chemical sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients with the letters “eth” (e.g., sodium laureth sulfate).
  12. Triclosan. Used in antibacterial cosmetics, such as toothpastes, cleansers and antiperspirants. Suspected endocrine disrupter and may contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Harmful to fish and other wildlife.
Source – David Suzuki
More details on these chemicals can be found here 

Have questions? Need advice? Want to know something specific? Leave a comment! Also, our next post will be about beauty products (hair, skin, etc.)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Who wants to see a wedding video?

If you are anything like me your hand shot into the air when you read the title of this post.The real question is who doesn't want to see a wedding video? I am one of those people who will find a friend of a friends wedding video on Facebook and watch it. Then I tear up watching a 5 minute highlight of two people I have never met in my life getting married. I'm sentimental like that.

Anyway, you all probably saw my tweet yesterday saying I got my wedding highlight video back. I cried like a baby all day. It is one thing to actually live the day from your own bridal perspective, but another thing to see what everyone else was seeing. As a bride you don't get to see your bridal party walk down the aisle, or see if the cute ring bearer and flower girl were nervous (they were but they did great!) Basically you just hide with so much anxiety until it is your turn. Then you see it all at once and try to digest it all as you walk down the aisle. Needless to say i was thrilled to finally see what was happening while I was hiding.

Now what kind of blogger would I be if I wrote an entire post about our wedding video but didn't share it? A terrible one. So because I love all of you, and this video I am sharing 6 minutes of our special day with you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Pot Southwest Pasta

Hey guys! I am here with your weekly recipe that has been used in the Messmer home. As always, I am sharing a favorite from the week because I am not trying to share disgusting food. Also, I don't share food that is hard to make because I am really not that great in the kitchen and my laziness is just getting worse. So this week I went super easy with my dish but that does not mean it wasn't super delicious.

I have implemented a new meatless Monday tradition over here because as much as we love chicken, beef, and pork sometimes it is nice to experience other kinds of protein including beans. Black beans are a staple in this house. We use them in everything. So let me share this EASY recipe with almost no cleanup needed (does it get much better?)

Original recipe here
  • 1 13.5 oz. box of whole wheat rotini (or any pasta)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can Rotel canned tomatoes and chilies (I used the Mexican blend with lime and cilantro)
  • ¼ cup taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Mexican cheese blend, plus more for topping
  1. Add all but the last 2 ingredients (beans and cheese) to a large pot. Stir, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be ¼ to ½ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot when it is done.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans and cheese (optional). Let it rest for 5 minutes to warm the beans, melt the cheese, and absorb the excess liquid.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Go Natural: A Lifestyle Series

Today is the big day!
I teased about a big project and I am excited that the day is finally here so I can share our new lifestyle series with all of my readers! I am most excited that I get to take on this adventure with two of my favorite bloggers The Florkens and Notes from a Newlywed. At this point I think we have all teased about it enough individually, and we are finally ready to give you the full scoop about what we are doing.

The Series:
We have planned a lifestyle series specifically dedicated to taking steps to live a natural life. Every other week we will be posting about a specific topic that we feel is important. In our posts we will give product reviews, talk about chemicals that can be found in certain products, and even let you know what chemicals you should be looking out for. Our goal as a group is to help spread the knowledge. We aren't making any money from this series, or forcing you to participate in anything (although if you keep coming back you might find a surprise at the end) and we definitely are not trying to push our lifestyle choices on you. We just want everyone to leave our pages knowing a little more about going natural.

We are challenging you!
Sometime during this series journey, we hope you will make one switch from your regular routine (beauty, cleaning, food, etc.). Taking one step towards living a little more naturally will make you a healthier, happier person. Just that alone will make our crazy little natural-loving hearts spill over with pride. If even just one of you take on this challenge it will make the entire series worth every second of collaboration, research, and writing these posts.

About my Journey:
The past several years I have been taking steps to live a more natural lifestyle. I have dabbled with different aspects of the lifestyle change including going "no poo" (no shampoo) for over a year. The real desire didn't start until much more recently, when I wanted to clean out my fridge but I had no cleaning products in my house that I felt comfortable using where I keep my food. Since then I have slowly been changing little things in my life, one step at a time to make the transition easier. Eric and I have talked about it multiple times since then, and we agree that we want a chemical free home for our future children.

I think we all can agree that I like to do things the easy way. I am so lazy. I work from my couch, sometimes while watching Criminal Minds, and reheat whatever I have leftover from dinner the night before. I like minimal effort. Minimal effort is my way of life. So it is totally okay if you are at home thinking I am so tired of people preaching at me about this natural stuff. I get it. I am 23 and it was just a few years ago that I thought Taco Bell and Spaghetti O's were the dinners of champions. I am not here to preach to you about what you should do.

This series is going to be a bit different. I am not going to tell you to do anything. Instead, I am going to show you what works for me, then explain why I do it. I don't work for any of these brands, none of these posts will be sponsored, and most of all I am going to show you products that a newlywed can afford while searching for her first home. So basically if I can afford it as a broke-ass college graduate with student loans and a potential mortgage knocking on my door, so can you.

The truth is that if I didn't have people in my life who explained this lifestyle to me (including The Florkens and Notes from a Newlywed) I would be lost. There is a lot of information to know, and even a bit of science. So sit back and let us do all of the work for you.

Some of our topics include:
Makeup & cosmetics, cleaning products, medicine, and food.

There are a few topics I really look forward to touching on during the coming weeks and I am going to give you just a small sneak peek. So if you are interested in any of these, make sure to come back. 
  • "no poo" (no shampoo) -my experience and if it is worth it. 
  • essential oils- are they worth the investment? What can they be used for?
  • Natural medication - there is a natural prescription for that.