Giveaway: Block Island Organics Skincare

Block Island Organics Giveaway!

Block Island Organics Giveaway
We’re so excited to bring you this awesome giveaway — the entire product line from Block Island Organics a $65 value!

Check out our review of this wonderful line here.

To enter, please take both of the following steps!

1. Follow me on Instagram by clicking here.

2. Like Block Island Organics on Facebook by clicking here.

3. Leave a comment with the steps you took!

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Sensitive skin? This line is your savior!

Block Island Organics

Super sensitive skin can be a real downer. It seems like everything from a scented lotion to the tiniest drop of an abrasive ingredient can set your skin on a downward spiral of redness, breakouts, and bumps.  Finding pure, organic, unscented skincare that is actually effective for slowing the signs of aging, protecting skin, and balancing skin can seem downright impossible.. Well fret no more!

I discovered Block Island Organics a few months ago, and love their streamlined products that give you all the basics for balanced, beautiful skin, regardless of your skin type. The ingredients in this 3-product line read like a who’s who of organic beauty powerhouses. After just a couple days of use, my skin was soft, nourished, and super healthy, with no sign of redness or drama.  That’s all a girl can ask for!

Start with the Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser, a super luxe and rich cream cleanser that’s loaded with antioxidants, nourishing vitamins, and botanicals like calming chamomile and rosehip, moisturizing avocado, sunflower, and coconut oils, and deep cleansing rosemary and oat, on top of vitamins C and E to prevent and reverse aging.

Follow with the Natural Mineral SPF 30 Sunscreen, to protect skin from the damaging and aging effects of the sun.  Safe and gentle enough for use on kids and babies, while effective enough for mature skin, this super lightweight and non-nano zinc oxide formula also has aloe, shea butter, green tea, and coconut oil, making it an amazing daytime moisturizer.

At night, the Organic Revitalizing Night Cream totally has your back, healing skin from the environmental damage inflicted during the day, deeply nourishing and moisturizing your face while you sleep, and infusing skin with soothing botanicals and oils that calm sensitivity and slow the signs of aging.

All three of the powerful products are unscented, vegan, free of harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, and have never been tested on animals.

–> Use discount code “natasha” for 15% off all Block Island Organics products until July 6th!

Want to try this skincare dream team for yourself?

Click here to enter our giveaway!

Holistic 2nd Trimester Must-Have’s

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

2nd-Trimester-Organic-Beauty
Getting some sun on our baby moon during the 2nd trimester!

Ok, mama’s-to-be, here is some good news for you! After the nausea, fatigue and anxiety of the first trimester, things are about to get way, way better.  The second trimester gives you a much needed bit of respite between the drama of the first three months (check out my Holistic 1st Trimester Must-Have’s), and the common discomforts of the 3rd trimesters. Most women get their energy back, generally feel better, and can get back to their lives as normal.

I have to say, I loved the second trimester.  My baby started moving around, I felt great, I was going to prenatal yoga several times a week, and could often be heard uttering things like, “OMG I love being pregnant!”  It was an easy, beautiful time.  This is when you’ll most likely have your baby shower, go on a baby moon, and enjoy some QT with your partner.  Without the joys of hemorrhoids and swollen ankles.  BUT, to experience this time as magical, you’ve got to take some steps to take care of and support your body and baby.  These are your must-have’s to make this happen:

Holistic-2nd-Trimester-Must-Haves

1. Bump Nest Body Pillow ($79)

The second trimester brings with it a bunch of changes to your body, which can make comfortable sleep hard to come by.  A good body pillow is an absolute must. Although there are tons of different ones out there, I love Bump Nest.  It’s insanely comfortable, versatile, and comes in a variety of adorable colors and patterns.

 

2. Pregnancy Tea ($14.95 for 2.5 oz.)

Herbs do an awesome job at decreasing the various ailments of pregnancy — like swelling and bloating, aches, anxiety, and more.  I’m a big fan of Herblore Pregnancy Tea, which is loaded with potent herbs like dandelion, nettle, red raspberry leaf, and chamomile, among many others!  I drank it throughout my entire pregnancy, and loved the results!

 

3. Stretch Mark Oil ($11.44 from Earth Mama Angel Baby):

Though you hopefully started moisturizing your belly in the first trimester, the second trimester is when a lot of growth happens, so it’s time to bump things up!  This all-natural stretch mark oil from Earth Mama Baby Angel is free of the parabens and mineral oils present in most pharmacy-bought brands. With organic calendula, borage and jojoba oils, and sweet orange, it does an amazing job at preventing stretch marks and itching skin.  I used it during my whole 2nd and 3rd trimesters, and didn’t get a single new stretch mark (and I am definitely prone to them)!

 

4. Organic Cotton Nursing Sleep Bra ($30 from Majamas)

If your boobs didn’t already start their mega-expansion, the 2nd trimester is where this will happen.  I grew one full cup size in my 1st trimester, and then another size and a half in the 2nd trimester.  Having a comfortable bra during this..um.. expansive time is absolutely crucial.  And to increase it’s versatility, why not make it a nursing bra that you can use for quite some time after birth! I love this organic nursing sleep bra from Majamas, which helps with back pain and super soft and comfy.  Plus, when you’re nursing, you can rest assured that the fabric is free of chemicals!

 

5. Maternity Jeans ($49 from Motherhood Maternity)

This is the time to start stocking up on a few key maternity items. Though the Bella Band got me through the 1st trimester, by month 6, all my old jeans were too small.  A good pair of maternity jeans might be the single most versatile piece of clothes you’ll use for the rest of your pregnancy.  I found an awesome pair of skinny jeans at Motherhood Maternity that looked great, and were the most comfortable jeans ever.  Though there are tons to choose from, I recommend jeans/pants with a high belly panel for extra support and comfort later in pregnancy.

 

6. Prenatal Yoga Workout ($11.99 from Gaiam)

Prenatal yoga is the BEST way to relieve pregnancy swelling, aches and pains, and to prepare your body for an easy and beautiful labor.  It’s also super helpful in preventing excessive weight gain in pregnancy, and is an amazing way to connect with your baby and changing body, and deal with some of the stress and anxiety that can start to crop up as you progress through your pregnancy.  I went to prenatal yoga class as much as possible, but on the days when I just wasn’t feeling up to it, having a great DVD to move with at home was a life saver.  Desi Bartlett is my yoga teacher here in LA, and her DVD feels just like being with her in class!  It features two yoga routines, Strong Mama and Cool Mama, so you can tailor your practice to how you feel on a particular day.  I also used the 10 Minute Solutions Prenatal Pilates DVD a ton to mix things up!

 

7. Glass Water Bottle ($19 on Amazon)

Staying super hydrated in pregnancy is crucial for decreasing swelling, constipation, and mucous buildup that can creep in during your second trimester. It’s also vital for your amniotic fluid and nourishing your baby!  Since you definitely want to be avoiding toxins like the BPA found in plastic water bottles, investing in a pretty glass water bottle is key.  I take mine with me everywhere to make sure I’m drinking my 2-3 liters of water a day, and love the stylish streamlined look of these bottles from Takeya.

 

8. Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth

This is an absolute must-read for anyone planning a mindful, natural birth.  Midwife Ina May Gaskin literally wrote the book on the matter, and will help you to commit to an educated, beautiful birth without fear.  I absolutely loved reading this book in my 2nd trimester, and felt so much more prepared and aware, not to mention able to have the birth I wanted after reading it.  NOTE: Read the second half of the book first, and then circle back to the birth stories in the beginning.  It can be really overwhelming to start in on birth stories without any context.  This advice came to me from a friend and awesome holistic mama, and she couldn’t have been more spot on.  Other great 2nd trimester reads are The Birth Partner and Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives.

 


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What to Look for in Natural Skincare

The world of natural skincare and beauty is definitely having its moment, but just because something claims “organic” or “natural” on the label, doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Just like with everything we put in our mouths, we have to be super conscious of the ingredients we are putting on our skin.  Check out the awesome infographic below to help you know exactly what to include and avoid to be truly naturally beautiful.

Get Perfect Youthful Skin with Earthwise Beauty

Perfect Skin by Earthwise Beauty

The quest for effective, skin perfecting beauty products is tough enough as it is, but throw in some stringent criteria for natural ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a doozy.

Enter: Earthwise Beauty, a potent and effective skincare line made from food-grade quality organic, natural ingredients, herbs, and essential oils.  And I have to say, I’m pretty obsessed.

Seasonal Summer Party Recipes

We threw a lovely little housewarming party a bit ago, to celebrate our beautiful new Santa Monica home and all we love about west coast living.  (Check out our Sustainable Summer Soiree Inspiration post for all the serving ware and decorative items we used!)

We used our weekly Out of the Box Collective CSA box of fresh, local, seasonal and organic produce as a jumping off point to create our entertaining menu, and filled in the blanks from Whole Foods and food ol’ trusty Trader’ Joe’s.

Eco-Friendly-Summer-Soiree

Continue Reading…

Inspiration: Sustainable Summer Soiree!

We love a good party. And now that we live in beautiful and sunny Santa Monica, with tons of indoor and outdoor space to entertain, we were itching to throw a little housewarming party to take our space for a test ride.

In typical Organic Beauty style, we focused on elevated entertaining — using sustainable party accessories, fresh local produce, and an affinity for organic style.

Check out my inspiration board for a sustainable summer soiree, then peep some photos and recipes from our housewarming party where we put it into action!

 

Organic-Beauty-Eco-Friendly-Summer-Party2

How to not obsess about your health

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

This last month and a half brought with it a whole load of drama. I won’t bore you with all the gory details, but basically, I developed some pregnancy related fluid in my inner ears, resulting in one ear getting completely clogged (like, pretty much deaf-level clogged), and some debilitating vertigo and nausea that rendered me couch-ridden for the better part of a month.  I essentially couldn’t move my head without throwing up!

Not. Fun.

Although my official prognosis is “this just may continue until after you give birth!” (ugh.), my symptoms have gotten a lot better, and I can now walk around and drive unassisted, and was even able to restart my yoga practice last week.  Yay!

The whole situation made me feel so out of control.

Thoughts like: “Why was this happening to me??”  “I had had such an easy and healthy pregnancy so far, and now this?” and “But I’m so frickin’ healthy! I do everything right!!!” flew through my mind on a daily basis.

Yes, I threw myself a couple of serious pity parties, but I also did my best to maintain a sense of humor and lightness around this miserable situation.

It really made me think about how obsessed we can get with our health, and how harmful it can be to lose site of the big picture and our sense of humor.

5 Tips for a Healthy Inspiring Workspace

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Healthy Inspiring Workspace

Since I launched my own business several years ago, I went through several iterations of what it looked like to work from home.  In our little Brooklyn apartment, we didn’t have space for a proper desk, so I typically worked on the couch (not recommended), or at the dining room table (only slightly better). When we moved to our lovely new home in Santa Monica, I finally had a little corner dedicated entirely to my work, and I set about creating the workspace I had been wishing for.  What I found astounded me — a dedicated, healthy, and mindfully created workspace made me more productive, happier, and less stressed out during my work day! I actually looked forward to my work and settling down at my little desk.  The difference was mind-boggling.

So whether you work from home like me, have a traditional out-of-home office, or hunker down at a shared co-working space, there are definitely some important steps to take to make your work, in whatever form it takes, a more enjoyable experience.  After much trial and error and, of course, those failed attempts in Brooklyn, I’ve narrowed down these 5 key elements to creating a healthy, inspiring workspace aligned with how you want to feel throughout your day.

 

Holistic 1st Trimester Must-Have’s

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC1st-Trimester-Organic-Beauty

Doing some prenatal yoga during my 1st trimester

Those of you who have experienced it know that pregnancy is totally bananas. 9 months of your body being completely hijacked by another creature leads to some pretty interesting side effects.  But it can also be one of the most rewarding, beautiful, and radiant times in a woman’s life… IF, and only if, you set yourself up right.

One thing I’ve learned in my 8 months of pregnancy so far is that being prepared is the KEY to a healthy, happy, and radiant baby-growing experience. Each trimester seems to bring with it a whole slew of new and exciting changes, but if you know what to expect and are armed with the right tools, you are in for some much smoother sailing.

My 1st trimester was actually pretty bearable.  I never once threw up, could wear all the my normal clothes, and felt decently good throughout.  I did, however, feel queasy, super sleepy, and bloated for quite a bit, and the tools below really helped me keep it all together.  Since I know every pregnancy is different, I’ve also included some tools for those mamas who have a different experience — more nausea, more of an expanding body, etc.

A major focus for me in this pregnancy has been to minimize stress and anxiety, treat my body with the utmost love and care, and eliminate anything that could harm my growing baby.  Luckily, my years of writing this blog and working as a holistic nutritionist have armed me quite well for this intention, and I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with you!

Below you’ll find the most effective, beneficial, and safe products and tools that helped me throughout my 1st trimester.  If you have some healthy, non-toxic, natural tools to share, please feel free to add them in the comments!

Holistic 1st Trimester Must Have's

 

1: Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Butter ($13)

Even though you may not start showing yet in your first trimester, subtle changes (perhaps even ones only you and see) are already taking place.  My boobs grew an entire cup size in the first 3 months of my pregnancy, and I definitely noticed a bit of a “burrito belly” coming in, that was bigger some days than others.  With your body starting to expand, it is super important to keep your skin hydrated and supple, which will help avoid stretch marks later in pregnancy.  Earth Mama Angel Baby is a wonderful line of non-toxic, natural products for pregnancy and baby, and I absolutely loved this super hydrating Body Butter during my first trimester.  Though it’s great for your whole body, I recommend focusing on your thighs, butt, hips, belly, and breasts for maximum benefit.  And of course the body butter is organic, free of all toxins, AND has a lovely scent that won’t aggravate morning sickness!

 

2: Belly Armor Belly Blanket ($69)

If you’re like me and tend to use your laptop on your lap or rest your tablet on your chest or belly at night, the Belly Blanket is an absolute MUST. It protects your growing baby from the radiation emitted by your computer, iPad, phone, etc.  I even used it every time I traveled by plane to protect my baby from the high levels of radiation up in the skies! It comes in a chic grey color that won’t clash with your look, is lightweight, and machine-washable.  Radiation in pregnancy is no joke guys, so please make sure you’re protecting yourself and your little one! The Belly Blanket is perfect to use at home, the office, or while traveling!

 

3. Natural, non-toxic cleaning supplies

Cleaning products account for a huge percentage the harmful toxins you and your baby are exposed to in pregnancy.  The toxins in bleach, toxic scrubs, and abrasive sprays can cause birth defects, hormonal imbalances, and complications in pregnancy, let alone be super unpleasant to smell for a queasy pregnant mom.  If you haven’t already, now is the time to switch over to a line of natural, non-toxic cleaning and laundry supplies in your home, and toss all the toxic crap. I’m a fan of Mrs. Meyers, Honest Company, Common Good, and Puracy.  For more information on detoxing and naturalizing your home and beauty products, check out my guide to 4 Steps to Naturalizing Your Life.

 

4. Natural anti-nausea remedies

Nausea rears its ugly head for many women in their 1st trimesters, to varying degrees of intensity.  I myself felt a little queasy throughout, but have friends who were throwing up nonstop for three months.  No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s important to arm yourself with a bunch of anti-nausea tools to make the whole thing easier.  The most effective remedies I’ve found were ginger (in the form of chews, tea, or fresh grated ginger in your food), lemon essential oil (put a few drops on a hanky and seal in a ziplock bag — sniff whenever nausea strikes), and Organic Preggie Pops. To be honest, the Preggie Pops worked the best, but since they do have some sugar in them, I used them sparingly.  Many women have also had success with Sea Bands, but unfortunately, I was not one of them.  A trial and error approach works best with finding the right anti-nausea remedies for you, but definitely find something that works. Nausea is a horrible reason to deprive your growing baby of vital nutrients and building blocks in the 1st trimester, so make this a priority!

 

5. A whole foods prenatal vitamin + DHA

All supplements are not created equal, my friends, and just because something is labeled as a prenatal does NOT mean that it is a high quality supplement worthy of your growing bundle and your own health!  I recommend a whole foods based prenatal vitamin like Vitamincode Raw Prenatal or New Chapter Perfect Prenatal, which have food-based folate (instead of synthetic folic acid), support for healthy digestion and elimination, and hormone-balancing pregnancy safe herbs and vegetable blends.  Also, if you’re not regular eater of low-mercury seafood like wild Atlantic salmon, I highly recommend a fish oil supplement high in DHA like Nordic Naturals ProOmega.

 

6. BellaBand ($28)

Even though you may not be obviously showing in your 1st trimester, many women (myself included) experience a persistent bloated feeling that can make fitting into your skinny jeans a little frustrating.  You don’t need to shell out on maternity clothes yet, but it is definitely worth investing in a BellaBand, which extends the wear of your normal pants and skirts by months and months.  I was still using it well into my 2nd trimester.  The BellaBand comes in a bunch of different colors and sizes and allows you to leave your pants, jeans and skirts unbuttoned/unzipped, making things infinitely more comfortable.  I have one in every color!

 

7. The Natural Pregnancy Book ($14.35)

Information overload is a common overwhelming symptom of pregnancy, so it’s really important to choose your sources wisely.  I am NOT a fan of the typical pregnancy books which can instill a lot of fear, and are not at all supportive of a natural, joyful pregnancy.  So I was SUPER excited when I found The Natural Pregnancy Book, by physician, midwife, and holistic health expert, Aviva Jill Romm.  Packed with all kinds of useful information like pregnancy nutrition, natural remedies for common pregnancy symptoms, moving your body, and overcoming fears and anxieties around pregnancy and childbirth, this was my ultimate resource in the first and second trimesters.  Try to resist the urge to buy up too many books too early… you have tons of time to get all the info you need! In the 1st trimester, focus on educating yourself about the basics, and making sure you have your prenatal care, nutrition, and wellness down for you and baby.  A few other fun books I enjoyed in the 1st trimester are Mama Glow and Kind Mama, both wonderful books on having a gorgeous, healthy, and vibrant natural pregnancy.  But if you’re going to read just one, The Natural Pregnancy Book has you covered!  I’ll share my fave books for the 2nd and 3rd trimesters in upcoming posts.


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