Friday, March 29, 2013

Making the Switch

Lately I've been feeling squeamish about the products I put on my skin every day, especially with us thinking about kicking off the "let's try for a baby" process in the next 2 years or so.  I'm really hoping that this doesn't come off as self-righteous and preachy, but when I started switching my normal beauty products to cruelty free/harmful chemical free, I had to do a stupid amount of research and thought if I share it maybe it will save someone else from having to do the same!  I don't like to spend lots of money on products, so everything I use can be found at the drugstore and is cheap (like I think $10 for mascara is expensive).  Also, ingredients/cruelty free products can be a little bit like falling down Alice's rabbit hole; sometimes it feels like there aren't any "perfect" products out there, so some of these involve compromises.

I started off with baby mascara ran out, and Target just so happened to carry Physician's Formula organic mascara.  I was a Covergirl Lash Blast user, and this swap took a few weeks to get used to the texture/consistency of the new mascara, but now I'm a big fan.  It is not at all waterproof, which I actually prefer as it's easier to get off but I know that's deterrent for many.

Then I started switching over my concealer and my powder.  I don't wear all over foundation on my face, and I use a day time SPF moisturizer from Trader Joe's that is paraben free/cruelty free.  After hitting up reviews, beauty blogs, PETA's website and more, I found out that the E.L.F. (Eyes/Lips/Face) brand at Target is actually vegan and cruelty free.  I use the Cosmetics Database on a product by product basis to see where the E.L.F. products fall on the hazard scale, and I stick to products that are low on that scale (under a 5).  I love how cheap they are, and I've been really happy with almost everything I've bought (and if I haven't liked it, I spent all of $3 on it so it's not a big loss).  It's not a perfect system, but it's within reach and better for me than where I was 6 months ago, so it's enough.

I also picked up this all natural toothpaste from Trader Joe's, but I'm not nuts about it.  I ordered this Nature's Gate Glow Lotion for pasty light skin tones off of Amazon (I couldn't get it in town) to work on my translucent skin.  I'm so pasty I'm embarrassed to show my legs right now, and I don't use tanning beds anymore.  I smoked for four years, I don't need to do anything else to add to my cancer chances!  The lotion was highly reviewed and I put it on this morning after my shower....keep your fingers crossed for me that I'm hellaz tan when I wake up tomorrow (it takes 24 hours to work).

And last on my list was shampoo (I need to start researching lotion but we have a big bottle of St. Ives that's only 30% used up).  I had a rough run-in with the sulfate/paraben-free cruelty free Burt's Bees shampoo that sucked SO BADLY that I would give up after a week of dull, icky hair and use my husband's Herbal Essence and then have the best hair day of my life.  Right now I'm using Tresemme Naturals shampoo/conditioner.  It smells awesome, is cruelty free and falls on the lower end of the hazard scale.  

I still use the Bath and Body Works shower gel I got for Christmas...I figure it isn't on my skin for very long at all, and it was a gift.  I also haven't looked into vegan/chemical free nail polish or remover yet.  I do make our laundry soap and some of our cleaning products.  We don't buy organic everything at the store; we just can't afford it, but we do participate in an organic CSA every summer and shop at the Farmer's Market when they're in season.  We are far from perfect but we try to be conscious about what chemicals we surround ourselves with.  I hate that we have to; up until 6 months ago I just assumed that if it was on the shelves then it was safe (aside from not putting much thought at all into it).  That's just not the world we live in, and I feel much better about what I slather on my body, face and hair every day now that I've made some switches.  

I am REALLY hoping this doesn't sound preachy or condescending, and if it came across that way I'm really sorry, it wasn't at all my intention!

Have you done any product switching lately?  

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I blogged my wedding, then dropped off of the blogosphere and am trying to ease back into it now-I miss it and all!  Partly because I blogged in the past and knew firsthand and partly because it's definitely the way things are going, but I'm starting to work with bloggers more and more in my job.  I'm a Dir of Public Relations for my hometown Convention and Visitors Bureau, and one of my Fiscal Year 2013 goals was to organize a press "fam" trip, where you get a bunch of jornalists/travel writers to come to your town and write (hopefully positively) about it.  It can be pricey, and you aren't guaranteed coverage.  So

I did some research and found a thriving community of midwestern family travel bloggers and now we're reaching out to them to host them for visits!  It's really amazing-we're able to find bloggers with interests that reflect our advertisting campaigns (Back in Time features all of our historic attractions, Family Fun is geared towards families with kids, and Great Outdoors highlights all of the outdoorsy-things to do in the area).  We're going to be promoting a "Family Fun Passport to Savings", and that's something I'm going to request that the blogger highlights in the posts they write about their visit here, and it will be pushed in our print advertising (Midwest Living, Missouri Life and Southern Traveler magazines, among others) as well as on our banner ads we purchase at Tripadvisor.  We'll basically pay for some of the costs of the bloggers trip here, and in exchange they'll blog about their visit, touching on some features we'd like them to highlight.  All of their posts have a disclaimer, and they share the content around on social media too.  We'll really get some bang for our buck in terms of promoting our destination, and they are relationships that I am really looking forward to furthering.

My town is right on the Mississippi River
Blogging encompasses so many different areas of interest; I'm really excited to be able to work directly with travel bloggers this summer!

No idea why, but I always love it when blogging friends talk about their jobs.  What do you do?  Is it what you went to school for?  Do you like it?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Long Time No See

It's been a while, hasn't it?

I'm on Instagram (follow me @stacydlane , I'd love to follow along with you too!) and it's my favorite social platform.  Here's what I've been up to lately:

Reading like a crazy woman.  The inter-library loan service at our library keeps me in great books.  Dragon Lady is taking me a while but it's really interesting (Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck is one of my favorites, and this is the true counterpart).  Illuminations was about Sister Hildegard and it's a new favorite.  The walling nuns in to be anchorites was new to me.  Are you on Goodreads?  I love it, I get so many new book ideas!

I've just wrapped up a few sewing projects.  I made this quilt for my niece, who will be making her grand arrival in May.  (I got the pattern idea from here)

I made this fun fleece ribbon-tabbed blanket for Ryan's cousin Ashley, who is having a little boy in June.

For work, I've been helping to plan a HootUp, and it's the first of it's kind in the state of Missouri.  I'm overly excited about it!  I'm a huge fan of Hootsuite (are you a Hootsuite user?), especially after hearing one of the founders at a conference in November, and the planning process has been fun as the people I'm working with are a blast.  Plus, meetings in the sun with iced tea and views of the Mighty Mississippi don't hurt either...

I am so ready for spring, and sundresses and sandals and nice weather to walk Oscar and Ninja in.  It's so COLD here!  How's the weather in your neck of the woods?

And it's not a blog post without a gratuitous picture of my dog: