Following the Life of the Tan.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own!

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'I'm a better person when I'm tan."

I read the funniest thing on Instagram this week - "I am a better person when I'm tan." Now I'm not going to speak for women at large, but I have to say, I DO feel better when I have a bit of a glow captured in my skin. Something about a good, golden flush just makes me feel confident and ladylike.

I know that every woman has her "thing", the grooming/cosmetic/beauty ritual that makes her feel like a million bucks (heck, some of us have several of these things... ;), I admit that I am a girl's girl at heart and I like treating myself to a few of these beautifying affinities when I'm able to. I'm thirty and unapologetic these days about things like this - I like hair and makeup and getting my nails did and while none of these things are necessities AT ALL, they do help me feel cared for and a bit pampered. Self care is so necessary! And goodness gracious, when I discovered an organic spray tan that made me feel like a million bucks WITHOUT the harm of the sun's damaging UV rays or toxic chemicals, I was immediately hooked. And you know what happens when a blogger finds something she loves? Yep - she tends to shout it from the rooftops. Guilty as charged, friends ;)

RAW Bronzing Studio is located just a stone's throw away from where I live in my suburb outside of Atlanta (they also have a location in the city). The first time I visited RAW was with my mom, of course, because she's always in the know on the latest natural-beauty craze. She treated me to my first bronzing session as a Happy Mother's Day gift, and I was so intrigued (almost dumbfounded, really) by this mesmerizing place. It's a secret utopia I've driven by dozens of times and never taken a moment to stop in and experience. And I just have to say, not only is the bronzing session amazing - formulated with organic ingredients and free of gross orange-y preservatives - but the studio itself is just so surprisingly warm and luxe, all at the same time. Imagine yourself stepping into an upscale resort boutique in Palm Beach; a true one-stop shop for an exotic, adventurous getaway. Everything you need for a beach trip can be found at RAW from organic sunscreen (that won't strip your spray tan color!) to beach hats, designer sunglasses and gorgeous woven bags, billowy cover ups and lush towels. Gang's all here!

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After spending some time gabbing with the amazing ladies at RAW, I decided to give you guys a peek at the life of a RAW Bronzing sunless tan. Some of you may have never even considered getting a spray tan before, or maybe you are a pro and it's one of your "things", but I just want to share my experience with you and give you the opportunity to have the same! I have loved my pampered bronzing sessions at RAW so very much and I'm excited to share it with you AND offer you a crazy discount on your first bronzing experience! See below :)

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before

skin clean of lotions, perfume and oil

Before the Session:

My olive skin takes on a green-ish tone in the winter, so I'm always up for a little color to even out the score.

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Before the Tan: Protocol
1. When you arrive to RAW, you want to make sure that you are freshly showered, shaved and that your skin is free of makeup, perfume, lotion and body oil. For those of you know me, this means no essential oils on my skin!

2. You also want to make sure to wear dark, loose-fitting clothes, because when you are done with your spray tan you want to give it time to set in without restrictive clothing. You wouldn't put on socks and shoes immediately after getting a pedicure, right? (P.S. - my outfit is not an ideal example of what you should wear, but I wore this so I could show you guys a little bit of skin without stripping down to my skivvies. And also, if I was wearing less I think my Dad might have a heart attack knowing his daughter wasn't wearing clothes on the Internet).

3. RAW provides hair ties, makeup remover and mesh undies, so you can get prepped for your bronzing experience with everything you need. And don't be nervous about stripping down - they are so professional and kind in the bronzing room. It's amazingly un-awkward.

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after!

Will continue to develop over the next 8-10 hours

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After the Tan: Protocol
1. The best way to care of the tan is to take quick, cool showers and avoid tight clothing or heavy lotions/oils.

2. Do not get wet or sweat for 8-10 hours after the session.

3. Don't plan to get a manicure/pedicure. Make sure to schedule those appointments before your bronzing session.

4. Once the tan has faded, RAW recommends proper exfoliation with a cleanser like Acure Body Wash with a bath mitt to completely remove the color before coming back in for another bronzing session.

Here is a Tips & Tricks guide that is super helpful for extending the life of the tan. In the past I've been able to extend my RAW bronze for 10 days or so. My face was the first to fade (since it gets washed probably the most frequently), but in the case that I felt like the color was significantly uneven, I could always go back in to get a face touch up! But I actually prefer my face to be a bit lighter than the rest of my skin because I think it looks more natural.

My tan is still going strong from this session last week! I'm on Day 6 and I still see a lot of pigment in my skin.


Following the tan throughout the week

I tracked the tan - get the play-by-play on my Instagram Story Highlights here!


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And while I'm talking about Instagram, I'm running a giveaway over on my account for a kit of bronzing must-have swag. You can enter here! These goodies are GOOD.

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RAW is generously offering my readers 25% off the price of a full-body bronzing service at the RAW South location with the code OYKRISTEN. I hope you give it a try! Please let me know if you have any questions about the experience - you can comment below or reach out on Instagram if you have specifics!

Happy bronzing to you, friends!

My Date Night (GREEN) Makeup Routine.

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Valentines week is upon us! I'm by NO MEANS any kind of makeup expert, but since I've been experimenting with so many new natural beauty products, I thought I would share my little date night makeup routine! As you know, I've been on a mission to swap all my conventional makeup with cleaner, greener products. I have loved discovering so many GOOD for you brands of makeup - especially since I don't feel like I'm sacrificing performance for better ingredients.

Okay, let's get into this date night makeup deal.

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I start with a clean face. I've been toying around with different moisturizers and face oils, but mostly, I just make sure my skin is hydrated and not too flaky/dry before applying foundation.

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Skin.
First up, I apply Beautycounter Tint Skin in "Sand". This is a good option for those of you who like to use BB or CC creams in lieu of thicker foundation. I love using this every day, but on date night, I put on 2 layers for a bit more coverage. I love that this formula is buildable - WIN.

Then I apply W3LL People Bio-Correct Multi-Action Concealer in "Light" under my eyes, around my nose, on my dark spots and on my eye lids. It helps conceal and brighten my skin. And believe me, these eyes could use some brightening magic.

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Eyes.
Next up, I focus on my eyes. First I fill in my brows with Plume Brow Pomade in "Chesnut Decadence". I LOVE this pomade because it fills in my sparse brow spots, helps define and also stimulates growth in the areas that I apply it - such a multi-tasking product!

I don't usually wear eye shadow, but on date night I usually get really wild and throw some color on my lids. SO CRAZY. My sister got me this beautiful Lily Lolo Laid Bare eye palette and the shade I'm wearing in these photos is "Shy Away" - also, I just put it on my lids and blend it a little bit into the crease of my eye. But not too much. Because too much shadow makes me look like I have the plague.

Then I line my eyes with W3LL People Hypnotist liner in "Black" - thicker along the top lash line and smudged underneath my lashes. With the tiniest hint of a wing. P.S. - I'm really pretty terrible at liquid liner and it's one of the things I want to attempt to get good at in 2018. Recommendations are welcome!!

The latest mascara I've been testing is Hynt Beauty Nocturne Mascara in "Black", which is what I applied here. (More of my mascara reviews here).

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Cheeks.
Cheek color is very important for yellow skinned humans like myself. I have found so much love in the ILIA multisticks, and I'm wearing the shade "A Fine Romance" here. I apply it just under my cheekbones, where you would normally contour. Hahahah I thought I could get away with saying "where you normally contour" as if that's a normal thing. I NEVER CONTOUR. But I aspire to. But I aspire to sleep in later more than I aspire to learn how to contour. So yeah.

Then I dust on just a tiny bit of The Honest Company Luminizing Powder in the shade "Dusk Reflection" around the edges of my face - in a sweeping motion from my forehead down to my chin. Suddenly it looks like the sun came out in my bathroom ;)

Then I like to add a bit of RMS Beauty Living Luminizer highlighter, because it makes me feel like some kind of moonlit mermaid. I put it ever so slightly on the tops of my cheekbones, on the ridge of my nose and on the cupid's bow of my upper lip. It just adds a hint of magical-ness.

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Lips.
Lastly, I apply the ILIA multistick in "A Fine Romance" again, this time to my lips! This is such a rosy delicious color and I love the pop of watermelon-y pink, especially in the winter when I feel kind of drab. This color makes me feel confident!

Then I finish by dusting my face with the W3LL People Realist Invisible Setting Powder to set everything and keep my makeup from sliding around.

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There you have it! This is my date night go-to look and the products that I've been playing around with lately.

Why Date Nights MATTER.
One of our New Years resolutions for the year is to be really consistent with weekly date nights. That doesn't always look like getting dressed up and going out - often times it just means setting aside our to-do lists and settling in for an evening of spending time together. We forgo checking our phones and getting on our laptops and instead spend time eating dinner, watching a movie and TALKING.

Truthfully, lately we have been in a really busy stage of life - he's traveling and commuting with his job and I have taken on this new venture with DoTERRA along with my freelance writing and this blog! (!), so doing anything outside of raising our kids takes some serious intention. Planning. And commitment. Taking time to date is SO special and necessary to remaining connected, and I'm grateful that Stevie is as committed to our date nights as I am. Just tonight he came to me about our upcoming Valentines date (which I planned this year!), to confirm our plans. It means so much that he cares to make us a priority, even after 10 years of marriage and two kids! Whew. Our life is busy but I seriously wouldn't trade this life of mine for anything or anyone else's life.

I hope this little makeup chat is helpful to you as you investigate natural beauty options and plan ahead for a romantic date night! I hope everyone has the happiest Valentines Day, whether you're spending it with your significant other or your girls or your mom!! P.S. - My mom and I have some wicked good V-Day plans. Just sayin. xx

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DIY Trio of Essential Oil Bath Salts.

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Since discovering a passion for my DoTERRA essential oils, I've been reawakened in my love for DIY as well. Now don't get me wrong - I've been talking about recovering the chairs in my dining room for 3+ years now. But mixing up some essential oils in test tubes with some rock salt? That is not only something that is relatively easy (okay really really easy), but it also can be enjoyed right away!

My sister Rachel originally helped me make a batch of these EO bath salts as party favors for my 30th birthday back in the fall. And friends! When I say these are easy to make, I'm not teasing you here. They are EASY, and they make awesome Galentines gifts, along with batchelorette, Valentine and birthday presents! Who doesn't love being pampered with beautiful, nourishing and pure products? I like to give these in sets of 3, so that the giftee can experience all the different blends!

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Supplies:
- Set of test tubes with cork toppers
- Organic Epsom Salt
- Essential Oils (I love and use DoTERRA oils - get yours here!)
- Funnel
- Labels (you can make your own or buy some!) or washi tape
- 3 gallon-size zip-top bags

Method:
1.) Pour 3/4 oz. of Epsom salt into a gallon-size zip-top bag.
2.) Drop in essential oils (see blend recommendations below) and zip up the bag.
3.) Shake the bag until the oils are well mixed.
4.) Using the funnel, carefully pour the salt into a test tube. Seal the containers.
5.) Attach label or washi tape so you can tell the difference between the batches.

Blends:
Clear Your Mind Blend
- 8 drops Lemon essential oil
- 8 drops Rosemary essential oil

Calm Your Heart Blend
- 8 drops Lavender essential oil
- 6 drops Frankincense essential oil
- 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil

Respiratory Boost Blend
- 12 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
- 4 drops Peppermint essential oil

Each of these blends makes 1 test tube, but feel free to triple or quadruple the batch to fill all the containers.

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Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is an excellent way to detox the body from toxins and chemicals, as well as supplement the necessary magnesium that most of us are deficient in. The essential oils provide a boost of energy, immune defense and calming properties to help target those specific needs.

A tub soak of this nature is best paired with a mud mask (I just got this one and I'm excited to try it!) along with the Magnolia magazine and a glass of wine. But then again, maybe that's just me.

I hope you have fun giving these bath salts a try! Let me know in the comments section how it goes for you!

The Body Oil I'm Using Everyday (+ a Giveaway for you!)

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As many of you know, I've been on a green beauty journey over the past 6 months or so. I've been testing everything from mascara and shampoo to serums and toners. It's a lot to take on at once! But I've just gotten to the point where I want to decrease the toxic load in my home (and on my body!), so the research and trial-and-error is all worth it. While I've found some face oils that I am loving lately (which I will include in a separate post, because I didn't want to overwhelm with too much information here), I kept striking out when I was looking for a premium body oil. I wanted it to smell good (duh), be super moisturizing but not greasy, free of toxic ingredients and instead made with safe botanicals and essential oils. You all know how much I love my Doterra oils... so, the bar for a stellar-performing body oil was set rather high.

Which brings me to Little Barn Apothecary.

The Discovery.
I discovered Little Barn when I was celebrating my 30th birthday at Serenbe this past September. They have locations at Serenbe, Westside Provisions in Atlanta and down in Watersound, Florida at The Hub on 30A. Shannon took great care of me in the store, explaining the LBA philosophy (which totally resounds with me) and proceeded to load me up with some incredible samples. I went home to try the body oil and I was honestly overwhelmed. I had found the one! I ran out of this remarkable sample oil in like 3 days because I couldn't stop basically bathing in it. Even Stevie came home from work and said, "Whoa, you smell really good. Like really, really good... what is that?" I tried to pass it off as my naturally alluring scent, but we've known each other far too long for that to work on him. He was like, "no for real - what is that??"

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So let me just tell you a little about this heavenly Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil. Formulated for all skin types, this oil is best used just after you get out of the shower, when your skin is still damp. It is a daily moisturizer that is non-greasy and quickly absorbs into the skin to give you an all-day glow. It also smells super indulgent, like you've been bathing inside the nectar of a flower and then spritzed with a squeeze of citrus juice. Which is #lifegoals, am I right? I imagine this is what Tinker Bell smelled like, that lucky lass.

I love that Little Barn Apothecary believes in the power and healing of all-natural ingredients, centering each of their products around the simple focus of being a safe, pure alternative to the chemical-laden self care products in today’s market. This has been my mission with my Green Beauty Trials, to find companies just like this one! Score!

The Story Behind the Brand.
Little Barn Apothecary founders Joshua and Brad started the brand in their kitchen after realizing there was a void in the market for handmade, uncomplicated self-care products. The beauty market is flooded with chemical-laden products that wreak havoc on the body, and they were passionate about creating alternatives. After sharing some of the items with friends and family, they were met with enthusiastic requests for more and decided to expand their line. In 2015, Little Barn Apothecary was debuted to the public with the promise that the product line is “simply simple”, meaning that the botanical ingredients in each product is 100% natural and selected by hand. All products are hand crafted in small-batch apothecary tradition and sold in recycled glass bottles with minimal packaging. Every product is 100% vegan and organic, containing wild-harvested ingredients whenever possible. All the products are free of synthetic ingredients, artificial colors, parabens or any sort of “fillers”. Little Barn takes inspiration from the earth to provide hand made formulations designed to evoke a simple feeling of well-being.

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Discount for YOU!
Well, whatever they're doing, it's working. Stevie keeps trying to steal my body oil, that rascal. If you want to snag your own, you can shop here and receive 15% off any purchase by using the code KRISTENH at checkout. Stock up on Christmas gifts, my friends! I am also a huge fan of the Ginger + Rosemary Hand and Body Wash and the Lavender + Frankincense Original Oil (amazing essential oils for supporting overall skin health!) I love dropping an extra drop or two of my Doterra essential oils in these products for added potency. Hurray for all the oils!

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Giveaway!
I'm super excited to partner with LBA to give away a "Glow For It" kit to one of you! This amazing set contains contains my beloved Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil, the Sweetgrass + Lavender soap and the Jasmine + Geranium Polishing Scrub. Jump over to my Instagram (@oykristen) for your chance to enter! Winner will be selected and notified on 11/22, Thanksgiving eve!

More about the Kit:
The “Glow For It” Body Kit comes in a limited edition box, complete with three items to help you achieve a natural, healthy glow, even in the dead of winter. First, cleanse skin with the Sweetgrass + Lavender Soap Bar, an organic, gentle soap made for all over body cleansing with essential oils to create the perfect aroma in your shower. Next, exfoliate with the Jasmine + Geranium Polishing Body Scrub, perfect for dry skin. This scrub uses pure, organic cane sugar and organic, skin loving oils to scrub away dead skin and reveal a softer, more youthful glow. After stepping out of the shower, pump a small amount of the Honeysuckle + Grapefruit Body Oil, and massage over still damp skin. This luxurious daily moisturizer is non-greasy and formulated for all skin types. It quickly absorbs deep into the skin to give you an all-day, glistening glow while sending you on an indulgent journey of sun-drenched blossoms, lightly kissed by delicate pink citrus. The “Glow For It” Body Kit is priced at $70 with a retail value of $80 and is available online at littlebarnapothecary.com and at select retailers.

Going Green with my Beauty Routine.

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My sister has been telling me for years now. She's the queen of trying new products and has been slowly transitioning over to an all-green, non-toxic beauty routine. It's super inspiring but also intimidating. I am almost 30 years old - that means I've been doing this beauty thing for a while now. I've found the products that I like, that seem to work for me, and honestly... it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. I haven't wanted to embark upon a taxing journey of finding new, cleaner products because, ugh. The expense. The work. The research. I'm a tired woman, yall. My babies exhaust me.

I've done this in other areas of my life - my pantry is stocked with healthy staples and my cleaning products are mostly non-toxic and free of harsh cleaning agents. Though I admit, there is a time and a place for bleach. But my passion for greenery hasn't extended to the beauty-licious part of my life, until now that is.

What changed? Well, there's the aging.

Graying.

The wrinkles, they're appearing.

I've had this epiphany lately. I am living in the time of my life where the most aging occurs. I think that these years of running on lots of adrenaline (and coffee) and very little sleep and taking care of everyone else's needs before my own - I think these are the years where aging begins to take its toll - even if it starts showing up a little later in life. I am doing my best to drink lots of water and exercise regularly and eat (relatively) healthy. Most of my household products, from cleaners to air fresheners and detergents are all composed of non-toxic ingredients. But the next step is cleaning out my bathroom cabinet and makeup bag from the products that are downright bad for my health. At the encouragement of my sister, I've started looking up my tried-and-true products on the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database and the Think Dirty app - these rate the ingredients found in millions of products and offer research, education and guides on how to make cleaner choices.

I'm testing a few new products and I will keep you all updated on what actually works. I am a little apprehensive about this whole trial period but I finally feel the conviction that this is important. I am kissing all over my kids every day - do you know how many toxins are found in regular lipstick? It's appalling that this stuff is allowed on the market. It's appalling that I've spent so much money over the years on chemical crap. So here we go, friends!

Currently testing:
Makeup:
Ilia Multistick in At Last
Ilia Lip Crayon in Red Coral
Loli Lolo Mascara
100% Pure Liquid Eyeliner in Black Tea
Galaxy Milk Illuminating Beauty Oil

Body:
doTERRA Essential Oils (for face, hair and skin - I've been creating my own concoctions)
Aveda Shampure Composition Body Oil
Piperwai Deodorant

Any of you have non-toxic beauty products that are outstanding that you recommend? I would love to hear from you!

P.S. - The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is going on right now and there are some seriously good finds on super sale if you're looking for Fall staples. Just sayin'. :)