Natural and Safe Makeup


Did you know that the UK bans close to 1,400 different chemicals from being used in their cosmetics?

Can you guess how many are banned in the US?


Yikes. When I read that number a few years ago, I decided it was time to take drastic action in my own life! How many girls do you know that are slathering their skin and eyes with cancer-causing ingredients, every single day?

I first started looking for natural and safe makeup back in 2010, when Gregory was a baby. Target had a few all natural makeup products I was willing to try, but they didn’t perform very well (aka, globby, messy, no pigment, etc.), and were not easily found in stores. I quickly turned to Tarte and Bare Minerals through stores like Ulta, but they were expensive and only eliminated 2-3 of the most harmful and carcinogenic ingredients. But they were better than nothing!

And then, in the past 2 months, I’ve been introduced to a few makeup and skincare lines that I absolutely LOVE! I can get behind every single one of their ingredients!

My top pick of the moment is Root Pretty. Their eye shadows, blushes and tinted lip balms are amazing. $5 shipping gets you everything (free shipping over $75!), and you can even have them send you $1 samples to color match! Not only that, but they have lots of different You-tube tutorials, so you can see exactly what each shade could be used for, and how they look in real life.

And don’t get me started about their mascara! It’s amaze-balls! Mascara is one cosmetic that I’ve been DYING to find an all natural/vegan alternative to (did you know that drugstore mascaras use PIG-FETUS in their formulas? ewwww).


And take a look at those prices!? Cheaper than the drugstore! Sign me up!!

Unfortunately, I don’t do “powder” foundation well. It settles into lines I didn’t even know I HAD, and I look instantly about twice as old as I really am. Truly. So Root Pretty’s mineral foundation is a no-go for me.

And, truth be told, I don’t even like foundation, so I decided to try my hand at tinted moisturizers. I hate caking makeup all over my face, so tinted moisturizers seemed to be the next best solution!

Unfortunately, Root Pretty’s tinted moisturizer (I got a small $1 sample to try) was pretty much JUST a moisturizer, minus the tinted part 😉 It almost didn’t even matter the shade– they were all so thin, they pretty much evaporated, color-wise.

Enter Beauty Counter.


A friend of mine is a consultant for Beauty Counter, a brand new cosmetics line based in CA, and she gave me a few samples of their award winning tinted moisturizer called, “Dew Skin”. It just won Allure’s “Best of Beauty” awards, and I can definitely see why! A huge plus– it smelled faintly of flowers (due to the black currant and peony flower extract inside!), instead of having that awful chemical smell that most foundation does!



Beauty Counter’s price point is a bit high, so I will just be sticking to their foundation and tinted moisturizers for right now (since everything else I buy is so affordable, I can splurge on ONE item every 6 months or so, am I right?). But I’m loving what I’ve tried so far!

Last but not least, skincare! Lately, I’m all about Young Living’s Wolfberry eye cream, and I also have been using Frankincense essential oil on my face for any wrinkles (or pre-wrinkles? haha).  I also found this eye primer/nourisher at Whole Foods with some birthday gift card money, and I’m really loving it!



As far as facial moisturizer goes, I make my own for both my husband and myself! It works better than anything I’ve bought in the store anyways, and I can add essential oils as I feel like it!


Leave me a comment below if you have any suggestions to add about your favorite natural and safe makeup!

Rustic Bathroom

Rustic Bathroom

When we bought our little cottage, we knew that the “one bathroom” issue was going to be a challenge. Storage, for one, was scarce, and the footprint wasn’t large either. Back when it was built in 1940, I’m sure it seemed HUGE, but to the modern day eye, it should be classified as “small” or even “tiny”. This is what it looked like right after we bought it:

Fuller House before 10

While a 2nd bathroom is in the plans sometime soon, we knew that we had to make this one work for the time being. Our first objective was to add lots of storage along the walls.

Bathroom Cabinet


We needed a place to hang out towels, so we constructed a bead board wall with hooks.
Bathroom Beadboard and Hooks

Bathroom Shelves

When we moved in, there was a wall-sink installed. While it made the room look more open, it also meant that the pipes were exposed and that NOTHING could be stored underneath.

So, for my birthday, (at my behest) my dad bought and installed a special kind of sink from Ikea. It’s wider than a normal sink, but much much narrower. These new dimensions give us more walk space in and out of the door (it makes a HUGE difference) plus extra storage underneath.

Bathroom Sink Zoom Out


We even left 6-7″ underneath the sink so that we could store away the kids’ step stool. I love not tripping over that thing constantly, let me tell you!Bathroom sink

Speaking of stools, I picked up this rustic looking one at a yard sale. We use it by the shower to put things on when needed.

Bathroom Stool


Last but not least, I made a shelf/towel holder out of a crate. I hung it on the wall, then screwed in a bar cabinet pull underneath for the towel rack.

Bathroom crate on wall


Most people are surprised when I tell them that our family of 4 shares one bathroom between us, but there’s a part of me that really loves it! Only one bathroom to clean? Yes!

Eventually, as our family expands, we will add more space. But for right now, we are loving our cozy rustic bathroom!

South Africa!


As I mentioned on this blog, we spent 2 weeks in South Africa this past December! My brother met a wonderful girl who grew up there, and so it’s where they decided to have the wedding.

What better way to show you what we did than to give you some pictures?

South Africa Gods Window

“God’s Window”


SOuth Africa thatch cottage

Each family had their own thatched roof cottage at the wedding venue!

The Boys near the Elephant

Right outside our hotel door!

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Mac Mc Falls

Mac Mac Falls


Outside our hotel in Johannesburg


Close up on a Safari


The view from our breakfast table at Askari Lodge


The Groom and Ring Bearer :)



Askari Lodge


Want to know what a haggard mom looks like after 20 hours on an International Plane Ride???


Not sure we packed enough luggage…


Sister Bridesmaids :)


Outside our hotel in Sabe. You can also see the 2 story slide to the left! And yes, a trampoline on the kids’ playground!




The boys passed out during the wedding reception!


Sisters and mother!

Askari Game Lodge

Askari Game Lodge, the wedding venue

Askari Game Lodge 1

The view from the wedding reception

South Africa graskop swing

The “Graskop Swing”– where my husband decided to free fall 19 stories!!!

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House Tour– The Boys’ Room

Boys Room with toddler beds

It’s been a while since I posted– because we were in SOUTH AFRICA for half of December! I have plenty of pictures to show, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I finally decided to take pictures of the boys room, mainly because we just bought them bigger beds and the room will change drastically. I am using the transition to “real” beds (hint: we bought bunkbeds!) as an excuse to phase out some of the more “baby” decor, and replace it with boyish things.

But I know that I will one day want to look back and remember this little room as it was for one year.

Their two little toddler beds fit so nicely along one wall 🙂

Boys Room Two Toddler Beds


This is Gregory’s side of the room. While I have a few memorable things up on the wall (his baby footprints, his saint, etc.) I also gave him some freedom to hang a few of his “treasures” from Sunday School and his medal from soccer. Over on the wall, they each have a hook for sweatshirts, along with another set of hooks for bathrobes and backpacks.

Boys Room Gregory's Side

Boys Room Vintage Posters on wall Boys Room Footprints in frame


Next to his bed are a few crates housing his books. He loves sitting on his bed or in his little chair to read!Boys Room Crate Bookshelves


On the other side of the room is AJ’s bed and his books.

Boys Room AJ's side

Boys Room Pictures in Frame

Boys Room AJ's Books


On the wall next to AJ’s side is the play kitchen and stuffed animal basket.

Boys Room Play Kitchen


A small peek inside their closet with the chalkboard dresser fronts:Boys Room Closet


As I’ve explained in previous posts, we keep just a few toys out and rotate them. I stuck to this technique when we had our foster boys– my rule was that I had to be able to pick it all up in under 10 minutes, or there was too much stuff. Turns out, they play more happily when there’s less out at a time anyways!Boys Room Toy Shelves with Baskets


Above the toys shelves is some of the remaining Baby Room decor. Boys Room Owls on the wall


And then, finally, a shot looking back out into the hallway, with a little surprise on the back of the door…Boys Room Far Wall


Perfect 🙂Boys Room Basketball Hoop on door