Babywearing and Toddler Chasing with Ergobaby Omni 360.

Many thanks to my friends at Ergobaby for sending me this product to review. All opinions are my own. Scroll below for details on how to win your own Ergobaby Omni 360!

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Having two boys within 2.5 years has been a lot - a lot of wonder, a lot of laughs, a lot of multitasking, and yes - I'll admit it - there have been a lot of tears, too. Two boys. Two big baby boys. Two exceptional, golden-haired, strong-armed precious people who have transformed my life and gifted me with the most incredible vocation of motherhood. These mighty little men are my two greatest treasures and are constantly teaching me lessons by introducing me to the best and worst versions of myself. Parenting them has been a series of transformative life lessons in sacrifice, selflessness, gratitude and unconditional love.

Some of my most favorite mama moments have been the candid ones, the in-between interactions caught out of the corner of my eye, watching them get to know one another. My 3-year old Everett leaning over and kissing his 9 month-old baby brother Daxton after nightly prayers, Daxton bursting into giggles when Everett zooms around the room on his bike, catching the two of them quietly holding hands and sucking thumbs in their car seats. These moments are my prize, the tender reward that keeps me going in the fray of the less glamorous moments of parenthood - the arguing, the disciplining, the bottom-wiping. You mamas feel me on this?

One of the biggest learning curves of transitioning from one child to two has been keeping up with both of them at one time! Taking care of a baby while chasing around an active toddler has been a challenge that nothing could have quite prepared me for! While I love my two other models of the Ergobaby carrier, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is the model to trump them all. It has given me the ability to multitask - I love wearing Daxton while I cook double meals, clean up a mess load of toys and simultaneously play with both of them. And let's be honest, it's nice to have my hands free so I can sip my iced coffee and, you know, scroll around on Instagram. #keepingitreal

If you aren't familiar with Ergobaby, it was founded in 2003 with a mission to provide ergonomically smart solutions to adventurous parents and their babies. Along with a line of baby swaddlers, diaper bags, and nursing pillows, they are most popular for offering the best baby carrier on the market.

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My Favorite Improvements about the Omni 360 compared to my 2 other Ergobaby carriers:
- The Omni 360 grows with you from week 1 to 36 months - there is no longer a need for any infant insert or multiple carriers for different stages. This is the only carrier you will need for all your babies. Value!!

- The extra-cushioned crossable shoulder straps, improved lumbar support and adjustable under-arm straps provide a more customized and secure fit for you and baby. I'm carrying a super big boy around and this carrier makes it feel ridiculously easy and comfortable! Which is really saying a lot. My kid is in the 100th percentile in all his stats - he's BIG you guys.

- The Omni 360 carrier includes a detachable zip pouch to carry a phone, keys, a small wallet and whatever else you need. The previous Ergo models featured a zip compartment on the outside of the carrier, running across the baby's back - this is an improved design because now you can put keys or other strange-shaped items inside the pouch without potentially poking your baby. The pouch attaches just below baby's bum and can be removed if you want to throw it inside of a purse, etc.

- The Omni 360 has the amazing ability to carry baby many different ways - forward and inward facing, along with a hip carry and backpack carry. My previous Ergos couldn't accommodate so many different carrying positions - now Daxton can face outward at the zoo and enjoy all the sights or face inward while I'm grocery shopping and take a snooze. I also really love that my husband Stevie can wear him easily in this carrier, too - we just quickly adjust the straps so that it fits him and we can transition the baby back and forth between the two of us.

This carrier has made my life remarkably easier since it came in the mail. I find myself using it daily as I oscillate from boring mom tasks - vacuuming and dish washing - to fun mom tasks - playing race cars and having dance parties. The Omni 360 carrier has empowered me to be the kind of mom I want to be to my two boys - productive, present and playful.

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Interested in winning an Ergobaby Omni 360? Hop over to my instagram to enter for a chance to win your own!

*UPDATE* - For a limited time, Ergobaby is offering 10% off all carriers! Get yours!

P.S. - If you want to learn more about why I love Ergobaby, check out my ultimate guide to baby essentials and 8 tips for traveling abroad with your baby.

Green Beauty Trials: Foundation.

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Foundation - it's pretty much the foundation of the face. Ha, see what I did there? Okay, I tried a bunch of clean foundations in order to find the best one for my needs, but I also kept all of you in mind while I was trying the different products. I wanted to be able to share all my findings with you! So in continuing with this green beauty series, here are my picks (and experience) with finding a foundation that works for me.

In terms of what I was looking for - I wanted a foundation that was lightweight enough where it didn't feel like foundation, but with enough coverage to hide my blemishes and scars. I have used mineral powder makeup for years, but lately have been drawn to the ease of beauty balms and color corrective creams. So I focused on sampling foundations that were much like that - a lightweight, moisturizing liquid that dried to a matte finish.

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Foundation:
1.) Lily Lolo BB Cream in "Light"
I liked this BB Cream, but didn't fall head over heels with it in terms of treating it as a foundation. It provides a light amount of coverage, kind of like a sheer tint. This is the kind of thing I would put on if I were going to spend the day at the beach, but it's not something I would want for everyday because it didn't provide enough coverage. I have some sun spots and acne scars, and this didn't do anything to hide those. However, if you have really clear skin, this would be a great option for you, because it is a really lightweight option and made with extremely clean, non-toxic ingredients.

2.) Beautycounter Skin Tint in "Honey" & "Sand"
I didn't want to like Beautycounter. I really didn't. But this skin tint is so darn good. I loved both shades - "Honey" being perfect for when I have a little bit of a tan and "Sand" being more of my natural skin color. After sampling both for about a week I purchased the "Sand" shade and have been wearing it ever since. I love this skin tint because it goes on really light, like a BB cream, but it has build-able coverage - I apply a little extra in some areas and it covers my imperfections, while other areas could still have just a very light amount on and it all blends together perfectly. Love this product. A lot. Many thanks to Hannah Tanner for sending me these samples!

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3.) Josh Rosebrook Tinted Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30
I needed to know about the hype of Josh Rosebrook products, so I was excited to try this particular day cream. While I liked the build-able nature of the Beautycounter skin tint, this one was also really compelling because it's sheer and almost gleaming. I wouldn't want that kind of glow everyday because the texture is a little bit like sunscreen, but it really did make my skin extra glowy and felt very fresh. This would be another great lightweight option for spring or summer.

4.) Alima Pure Liquid Silk Foundation in "Echo"
This foundation was a close second for me, and in fact, I will probably purchase this in the future when I need something with heavier coverage. This feels more like a traditional liquid foundation, providing a full face of coverage. It goes on light and creamy and immediately sets into a matte-like finish. I wouldn't want to wear this everyday, just out of a personal preference, because I like wearing something that doesn't feel like heavy makeup. However, like I said, I will probably purchase this for days when I need more coverage, like if I'm filming or photographing something special.

BONUS FIND: Concealer + Setting Powder
I'm including my picks for concealer and setting powder in this post because I only tried one of each and immediately fell in love with both - there was no need to keep trying a bunch of other products! I love when that happens. I've been super impressed with most of the W3LL People cosmetics, and I must not be alone - so many websites are out of stock of these items. Thankfully, The Detox Market seems to keep them in stock so I haven't had any trouble there. And here's a public service announcement - select Target stores carry W3LL People, so you could check out some of the line there! Sadly, my Target does not, and most of the items aren't available to order online, but if you're one of the lucky ones who have them in your local Target, then you can check it out in person! Otherwise, I would happily encourage you to sample these products before purchasing them full-price - The Detox Market offers a sample program where you can try 4 products for $7.99 - one of the best deals I've seen, in terms of sampling luxury, high-end natural products! Okay, PSA over.

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W3LL People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer in "Light"
This concealer is the bomb. It actually covers my acne scars (of which I have many) and has a brightening affect. I put this under my eyes to cover the dark circles and it acts as a non-shimmery highlighter, brightening up the tired areas under my eyes. I love this stuff.

W3LL People Realist Invisible Setting Powder
I've been using the Bare Minerals Tinted Powder for years, and I was happy to learn on the Think Dirty app that it is actually a pretty clean powder. However, I wanted to find something that was even a bit cleaner, in terms of ingredients, and I only had to try this setting powder by W3LL People to find exactly what I was looking for. Once I am completely finished putting on my makeup, I apply this powder all over my face as the last step.

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My Recommendation:
I love the Beautycounter Skin Tint in "Sand" for my everyday look. I pair it with the W3LL People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer in "Light" to cover my skin imperfections and use the W3LL People Realist Invisible Setting Powder to finish my makeup and keep everything in place for the day. However, I would happily recommend the Alima Pure Liquid Silk Foundation if you're looking for something with a heavier coverage and super matte finish. And if you're looking for something extremely light with a bit of tint and a glowy finish, then the Josh Rosebrook Tinted Nutrient Day Cream is the right pick for you.

Any green beauty foundations that you have tried and loved? If so, I would love to hear from you!

P.S. - Feel free to take a peek at my natural mascara picks and the reason why I decided to go green with my beauty routine.

Whole30 Quick Reference Meal Guide.

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Since I just completed my round 2 of Whole30, I thought I would go ahead and share a quick guide to some of my favorite and most-prepared meals. You can find all my favorite Whole30 meals throughout this blog under the tab "Food & Drink", and then click through all the categories, but I thought I would make it super easy for those of you who want a quick reference for exclusively Whole30 recipes. This is an easy way to find what you're looking for over and over again if you're on Whole30 and needing to cook a lot :) I will continue to add to this post as I share Whole30 recipes that become favorites!

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Whole30 Breakfast:
Chicken-Apple Sausage and Spinach Frittata
Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash (which we've made for lunch and dinner, too!)
Dragonfruit Smoothie Bowl (omit the granola and honey and make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant, otherwise use canned full-fat coconut milk or coconut water.)
Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl (omit the granola and honey, make sure the almond milk is Whole30-compliant or go ahead and use full-fat canned coconut milk or coconut water.)

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Whole30 Lunch:
Salmon + Caper Spinach Salad (omit the Parmesan cheese)
Strawberry + Grilled Chicken Salad (omit the goat cheese)
*We find ourselves eating a lot of leftovers for lunches so that we don't get bored in salad land :)

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Whole30 Snacks:
Note: snacks aren't encouraged on Whole30 unless you are pregnant of breastfeeding, which I was during my round 2, so these are some of my faves.
Apple Sauce, 2 ways
Boiled Artichoke (omit butter, sub olive oil and extra lemon)
Lara Bar (I love the banana, apple and blueberry bars)
Almond Butter Banana Energy Shake - Coming Soon!
Almond Butter Date Round Bites - Coming Soon!

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Like I said, I will continue to add to this post as I keep finding recipes that are winners. If you need some more guidance, feel free check out my Whole30 Diary (Parts 1, 2 ,3 & 4), my reasoning on why I love Whole30, my 3 biggest takeaways from Whole30 and my favorite tools to use in the kitchen. Happy Whole30 prepping/eating/enjoying to you!

Green Beauty Trials: Mascara for Day & Night.

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Why I Decided to Make the Switch.
I've been using the same conventional mascara for over 10 years. I have loved it because it has given me that bright-eyed and bushy-tailed look that I have come to count on. And come to need, especially in these past 3 years of transitioning into motherhood (and lack of sleep-hood). My sister is a green beauty advocate and convinced me to look into the toxic chemicals that are laden in most makeups on the market (including my beloved mascara), and after a few years of me trying to ignore her, I finally did my own research and was appalled. Did you know that the FDA doesn't have to approve ingredients in our makeup? I didn't. This means that manufacturers can put any ingredient in the formulation of cosmetics, with the exception of color additives. Don't believe me, do your own research, friends! It's kind of insane.

The cosmetics we buy at the makeup counter at Macy's or at the drugstore contain parabens, phthalates, PEG compounds and even formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. These chemicals are harmful because they can cause disruption to hormones and have been linked to a variety of cancers - and I wear makeup almost everyday! I've always heard that skin is like a sponge and soaks up everything we put on it. So if you do the math... I've been caking my spongy-skinned body with harmful chemicals for years, all in the name of beauty. That's kind of depressing. But you know what's also depressing? Having to start over with research on natural makeup brands. That just sounds exhausting. And expensive.

Where I Turned.
I was honestly at a loss for where to begin. How do I know which brands are "good"? How do I know which websites carry everything I need? I'm guessing Sephora isn't going to be carrying the hippie-dippie hemp-laden makeup I would probably have to turn to (I'm a little heartbroken about having to break up with my twice-yearly Sephora purchases - I loved all those samples and reward points!) But after consulting my sis, she pointed me in the direction of The Detox Market, an online retailer that carries a range of mid-to-luxury beauty products. She also directed me to Fig & Flower, an Atlanta beauty boutique specializing in natural, vegan-friendly products. These two sources were a game changer for me, and this is where I was able to find most everything I've been trialing for the past two months. I'll share more about them in the coming month with my other makeup sampling, but today I want to focus on the mascara hunt.

Natural Mascara? Is that a thing?
I learned pretty quickly that it's challenging to find a green, non-toxic mascara made with naturally-derived ingredients that actually performs well. Boo. But after some frustrating searches (and trials) I finally landed on some satisfying options!

Mascaras I Tried:
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara - While I have come to love this brand for other products, this mascara did nothing for me. When I say nothing, I mean nothing - other than bum me out.

- Kjaer Weis Mascara - I really wanted to like this mascara, mainly because this brand's aesthetic and packaging are super luxe and chic (I mean, check out this and this. Oooh la la.) But you can't like a mascara just because it comes in a pretty tube! This mascara provides extremely minimal bright-eyed and bushy-tailed-ness, which is really what I'm looking for. Moving on.

- Lily Lolo Mascara - Ding ding ding ding! We have a winner! This mascara is the gold standard for green makeup for a reason - it performs just as well as a conventional lengthening mascara. The brush is full and gives my lashes a really great wake-up, lengthening, separating and ever so slightly thickening. I love wearing this mascara without any other eye make up because it really makes my eyes pop. I'm super pleased and you will find me wearing this most days.

- Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara - I didn't really want to like Beautycounter makeup because everyone is talking about it these days, but gosh darn it, this stuff is spectacular. This mascara does everything Lily Lolo does along with an extra va-va-voom of thickening. This is the perfect mascara for a smoky eye and a more dramatic evening look. The one drawback to this mascara is that you have to remove it with makeup remover. I'm kind of lazy and like the ability to wash off makeup with regular face wash, but with this mascara I've been using these Pacifica Cleansing Wipes and they do the trick. If you're interested in giving this mascara a try, reach out to my girl Hannah Tanner and she will hook you up (and probably throw in a few samples because she's awesome like that :)

My Recommendation:
I love the Lily Lolo Mascara for an easy daytime look. Think the 5-minute face. I love the Beautycounter Volumizing Mascara for a more dramatic look, like a date night or super pulled-together look. I'm honestly surprised that I found these options that performed so well, and this gave me hope and excitement for the rest of my makeup trials! During the month of September I will be sharing more green beauty finds, including foundation, concealer, blush and lipstick, so stay tuned friends!

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Just as an FYI, this is not a sponsored post. While I sometimes use affiliate links (which means I may earn a commission if you purchase a product through the link I provide), I personally paid for every product I sampled during the past two months of the beauty trials. I want you to know that even when posts are sponsored, I always share my honest opinion of the product/service. If you have questions about this please check out my disclosure policy or feel free to shoot me an email. Thanks for letting me share my heart with you!