Clean Skincare Products to Love

Happy Monday Gals!

We are kicking off this week with a majjjjjor overhaul of my skin care routine. My skin was in need of some major TLC and after doing some research, I decided to make the switch to “clean” skin care products.

I was shocked to find out that the cosmetic industry is not regulated in the same ways that other sectors are. In fact, its pretty much not regulated AT ALL. To summarize, cosmetic companies are able to put nearly any chemicals they wish in their products, without the requirement of any safety testings aaaand to make matters even worse, they are not required to disclose all chemicals on the product packaging. Meaning, hundreds and thousands of potentially harmful ingredients that fill the cosmetic shelves have not been properly vetted or researched for their long term health effects. This absolutely disgusted me!

Because the cosmetic industry is highly unregulated, there are no standards cosmetic companies need to meet in order to label their product with misleading text such as “natural” or “organic”. I mean, how much harder can they make it for us?! As always, it’s super important to always read the ingredient lists. Key words to avoid are: parabens, phthalates, PEGs, ethanolamines, chemical sunscreens, synthetic fragrance, BHT, BHA which are linked to causing hormone deficiencies, cancer, and skin irritation.

If your scratching your head RN, you’re not alone. I was legit dumbfounded. and confused. and lost. I stood in the cosmetic aisle for a solid 30 min trying to figure out which products were in fact clean and which labels were actually just lying to me. Luckily, I discovered the “Think Dirty” app. It takes all the thinking out of it for you! You can search thousands of products to find which are clean vs dirty, see full ingredient lists, and they provide you with a detailed explanation on why some ingredients are deemed as harmful. Check it out here.

I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes RN. And I get it. I promise you I’m not one of those kale eating- all organic- never have gluten-types (but even if I was, so be it!) but I do believe if there is a healthier alternative that works great why not try it? Obviously, I am not a dermatologist or skin care expert so I encourage anyone who is struggling with their skin to do lots of research and to experiment with different products to find what works best for you! These products below are what have worked for me! 🙂

The Body Shop- Tea Tree Imperfection Daily Solution

Tea Tree oil is great to combat pesky blemishes. This pre-serum treatment helps improve the overall condition of your skin. A little goes a long way! And unlike many natural serums, this one smells so good and refreshing! Grab it for under $25! All of The Body Shops products are 100% vegetarian and never tested on animals.

Garnier- Micellar Cleansing Water

This stuff is AMAZING! By far the best drug store find when it comes to makeup remover. It literally melts away your makeup without the harsh rubbing of makeup wipes or other cleansers. It ranks a 3 on the “Think Dirty” app (10 is the worst). Best part, its under $10!

ACURE- Sensitive Facial Cleanser

I have used Neutrogena for years and was appalled at the high rating of it on Think Dirty. To think I was putting that many chemicals and toxins known to cause cancer on my face had me running the next day to find a clean alternative. I picked up this one from Target and so far so good! I picked up the sensitive version, but it also comes in a type specific for those with oily skin. Under $10!

Shea Moisture – Body Lotion

If there is one product that we use everywhere and every day, its body lotion. Especially in the winter! Making it even more important to use a clean product! I have extremely dry skin, and had been using Gold Bond Healing Lotion… until I discovered it ranked a 9 for developmental and reproductive toxicity! So in the trash that went and I picked up this one by Shea Moisture. All of their products are cruelty free and 10% of all proceeds go towards women led businesses (how awesome is that?).

Burt’s Bee’s – Lip Shimmer

Burt’s Bee’s is probably not knew to anyone but I recently picked up their tinted chap stick and am hooked! Perfect for those light makeup days where you want some color on your lips without looking too “done up”. I am so excited that they have expanded their cosmetic line to lipsticks, foundation, blush and more! I picked up their mascara and will report back how it works!


Shop my skin care routine here:

Let us know if the comments below what your favorite “clean” products are!


Athleisure with CALIA by Carrie

Staying motivated during the holiday months can be rough. With all the gatherings, traveling, yummy food and holiday cocktails, not to mention the freezing temps, & lack of sunlight (Chicago gals- we know you can relate- BRR!) making time for the gym often times falls to the sidelines. This holiday season, I’m trying to stay in some what of a fitness routine! There’s no denying it- when I’m more consistent with my workouts, I’m less stressed, have clearer skin, and feel 10x better in my jeans than when I’m not.

If there’s one thing that makes going to the gym a liiiittle less painless, it’s some cute new athletic wear! It may seem like an excuse to purchase some new digs, but it seems to work so I’m all for it 🙂 I was in need of some winter workout attire, and love this “Shine bright” sweatshirt and leggings by CALIA By Carrie.

Beanie / Sweatshirt 

Leggings / Sneakers

If you’re like us, and are in need of some motivation, here are some other manageable tips to follow to help you stay on track with your fitness goals!

1. Drink lots of water– This is literally the easiest thing to do but I bet most of us aren’t drinking enough of it. I recently got a YETI and am obsessed with it. I can’t get over how well they work! Now that its getting cold, I love having a cup of hot water with lemon and honey first thing in the morning- before having my morning coffee!

2. Avoid snacking after 8pm- This one is hard. I’m such a snacker! I try to cook a protein filled dinner so I don’t feel like grazing (as much) at night. I also love keeping Dove’s dark chocolates on hand for an after dinner indulgence. I always crave something sweet and this helps curb that craving without completely scarfing down a package of Oreos. 🙂

3. Find an exercise you actually enjoy– After feeling like I was in a fitness rut for months I decided to sign up for Corepower yoga. I am much more motivated in a group class setting & if there is an instructor to push me than when I go to the gym on my own. Keep trying difference exercises or classes until you find one that sticks! Groupon is always a great go to when you’re ready to try something new!

4. Everything in moderation (yes, even working out!)- Nothing derails me from my fitness goals than feeling like I “failed” if I don’t manage to make it to the gym everyday. Let’s face it, thinking I am going to work out every day is just unrealistic. So instead of coming up with excuses for why I can’t make it, I plan what days I am going to workout in advance. Staying active feels a lot less daunting and less like a chore when you do it in moderation (unless you live for the gym life, in that case go for it :)).

5. Don’t deprive yourself- This kind of piggy backs off #4. Life is too short not to eat the cake. So eat the cake!

Shop some of our other favorite athlesiure wear from Calia by Carrie!

Casual Tuesday: My Go-To Fall Uniform

Casual Tuesday: My Go-To Fall Uniform

Happy Casual Tuesday! It has been awhile since we did an OOTD post on here so I wanted to share my go-to fall outfit! A chunky skin sweater paired with jeans and booties is the ultimate fall uniform. This outfit will be on repeat for me. Most of these items pictured are on sale! Outfit details are listed at the bottom of this post!

For any of you ladies located in the Chicago area, you have to make a trip out to the Nordstrom Last Chance store located in the Yorktown mall (about a 45 min drive from the city). For anyone unfamiliar, the Last Chance store has all items that have not been sold from Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack. TBH- the place iiiis a bit of a sh*t show (haha!) so pack your patience. You do have to do some digging and sifting through the racks, but there are so many items in new condition to be discovered at major discounts. I was able to land the scalloped sweater pictured above for $10 (originally $50)!! (Nordstrom has an almost identical sweater I linked at the bottom of this post!) I also got a pair of OTK boots brand new for $20 (originally priced at $200).

I have been living in these jeans I picked up at Express (legging cut). They have so much stretch and are by far my most worn pair. Express is currently discounting all jeans by 40%! I love this, this and this pair!

A good fall bootie is a closet staple. I am obsessed with this perforated pair from Lucky Brand. The heel height makes this pair perfect for everyday wear and can also be dressed up for an evening out. I also love the zipper detail. This pair is currently on sale and comes in both tan and black!

Jeans / Booties / Sweater (look-a-like) / Sunnies

Travel Tuesday: Weekend Getaway in Washington D.C.

Hello Ladies!

Over Labor Day weekend, my boyfriend Cort and I headed to Washington D.C. for a much needed weekend get-away. It was both of our first time’s to D.C. and we instantly fell in love with the old architecture, deep rooted history, and Memorials of America’s Capitol. With three days and so many sights to see, we packed ours days full of site seeing with little down time to make the most of it – but always making time for that morning mimosa because after all it is vacation! 🙂

Day 1: National Mall 

We stayed at the Kimpton Topaz hotel located in DuPont Circle. DuPont Circle is the perfect walking distance from all the major tourist attractions, tucked away in a quite and charming little neighborhood with it’s own predominant bar and restaurant scene. The Kimpton Topaz was so generous to upgrade us to an amazing sweet and greet us with some sweets & champagne upon arrival (tbh the doughnuts lasted about 5 seconds haha). Oh and did I mention that they have a complimentary happy hour and hors d’oeuvres every day?? I mean, does it get any better?? Once we checked in, sipped a mimosa and scarfed down a doughnut we set out for the National Mall.

To those of you unfamiliar, the National Mall is not a mall at all, but a large – 146 acre- outdoor pavilion that is comprised of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, US Capitol, the White House, World War 2 Memorial, Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, among others. My boyfriend is a HUGE history lover so you can bet we walked all 146 acres of it (note to self: don’t wear brand new tennis shoes to do this- my feet are still recovering from the blister damage). If you aren’t loving the idea of walking each memorial/monument the city does offer various hop on/off bus tours and also offers city bike rentals. One thing that was recommended to us that we did not have time to squeeze in was touring the monuments at night by boat on the Potomac River. From afar they were so beautifully lit I can only imagine how gorgeous they would be up close! Here are a few snap shots of the National Mall:

Day 2: Arlington National Cemetery / Library of Congress/ U.S. State Capitol

On Day 2 we woke up early and got a cab to Arlington National Cemetery. Located in Arlington VA, it is still only a 10 minute cab ride from D.C. (One of the things we loved most about the city was the ability to get to all the major attractions in no more than 20 minutes. The trip to Arlington was hands down my favorite part of the trip. It was incredibly humbling to walk the resting place of so many brave souls who gave their lives for our country. To this day, over 30 funerals a day are held at Arlington. Within Arlington National Cemetery, you can see the resting place of JFK and Jackie Kennedy, the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, Changing of the Guards, as well as the Arlington House.

After trying out D.C’s subway system and taking the train back to downtown (this is a personal victory as I have lived in Chicago for 4 years now and still do not understand how the “L” works haha)  we toured the Library of Congress and State Capitol. The Library of Congress was so beautiful I could not get over the detailing in the wall paintings and gold applique. Within the Library of Congress you can also see a collection of Jefferson’s Library. The touring of the State Capitol was a little bit of a let down. There really aren’t many rooms you can explore without signing up for a private/guided tour.  And they made me throw out my travel sized hairspray before entering 🙁 #security I’m glad we went to say we did, but I enjoyed the sight from the outside much more. Can you believe how massive it is?

Day 3: Holocaust Museum / Georgetown

We saved the museums for our last day in D.C and I am so glad we did because it rained all morning making it the perfect indoor activity (with minimal walking which is what I was more concerned about given the state of my feet haha). There are so many museums to see in D.C and we really didn’t even scratch the surface due to time constraints. Most museums are free entry other than just a few. We herd great recommendations of the Holocaust museum and decided to check that one out. It took us about 2 hours to get through but you could easily spend double that amount. Other museums to chose from are the Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space Museum, Newseum, National Gallery of Art, International Spy Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, just to name a few (yes, the list does go on:) #museaumsonmuseums)

For dinner we headed to Georgetown which is the cutest area filled with old architectures, cobblestone streets, century old canals and upscale fashion boutiques. We stopped in for cocktails at Martin’s Tavern. Open since 1933, the restaurant holds a lot of history and was a favorite to famous congressmen, senators, and presidents such a Truman, George W Bush and JFK. It is also where JFK popped the question to Jackie and is now marked as the “proposal booth”. Georgetown is filled with so many restaurants and bars and the night life is definitely a younger crowed given it sits on a college campus but also so much fun! Definitely take a day or half to explore Georgetown when in D.C.

This trip was the perfect way to close out summer while also falling more in love with our great country. For anyone needing a quick weekend getaway, we couldn’t recommend Washington D.C enough! 3 days was the perfect amount of time to see everything we wanted but you could easily spend a week in D.C and not see the same thing twice! Where did you guys travel this summer? Any recommendations for our next getaway? Let us know in the comments below!