Lazy Weekend Recap

This past weekend was a chill one. Kevin and I had dinner with a couple of friends on Friday night (at Full Moon Oyster Bar in Clemmons, which was SO delicious), then went with them to hang at Wise Man Brewing afterward (which is also great — I hadn’t yet been!). On Saturday morning, I got going early to teach a couple of classes at the Pure Barre Clemmons studio (which was awesome — tons of new clients thanks to our “Share the Love” Open House event).

Other than that, there wasn’t anything on our calendar for this weekend, which is VERY out of the ordinary at the Keller house. (Usually our weekend schedule fills up thanks to me, as I tend to say “yes” to lots of things — or make very ambitious to-to lists — and all of a sudden we have very little downtime during the weekend.)

Now that our baby prep is all ready (nursery is set, hospital bag is packed, car seat bases are installed), I’m not feeling anxious about making sure those things get done. I have some freelancing irons on the fire, but some of those are starting to die down as well as my due date approaches. And so Kevin and I decided Saturday would be a movie marathon day for us. We watched four movies (all of which were great, which was very lucky!): Big Eyes, Arrival, The Edge of Seventeen, and Moonlight. It was lovely and relaxing, and fun for the two of us to just be together most of the day.

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Sunday was equally slow paced, with a leisurely breakfast (protein pancakes and scrambled eggs!), working on some freelance projects, running a few errands just to get out of the house for a while, teaching and then taking Pure Barre, and then making some healthy homemade gummy bears before watching The Oscars for a while before bed.

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(Oh, and lots of snuggles with this stripey guy.):

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(Okay, so maybe Sunday was a little busier than Saturday, but it still felt pretty chill on my end.)

Weekends like these are good for me. They aren’t always comfortable (I’m wired to be doing something constantly — even if that means sort of making up tasks for myself to help me feel productive), but it’s so healthy to just slow down for a couple of days. Take deep breaths. Not be in front of my phone or laptop all day. Lose track of time and to-do lists for a few hours. Be with people who matter. Especially with so much BIG change on the horizon, unscheduled time like this was, I think, exactly what I needed.

Here’s to slow, quiet weekends to recharge and completely relax. They’re few and far between, to be sure!

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3 Easy Ways To Save Money

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I come from a coupon-loving gene pool.

When I was little, my dad had a Christmas tradition of giving each of his relatives a bag full of non-perishable groceries — items he had purchased throughout the year — along with a receipt showing how little he’d paid for each item. It was always quite an impressive Christmas morning moment.

I’ve been with my mother on several occasions when, while checking out at a cash register, the cashier looks at her, confused, and says, “Um…it says we owe YOU seven cents…”

While I admire and appreciate these habits, I’m not a coupon clipper myself. I find the process overwhelming, and plus we do the majority of our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, where coupons aren’t an option. Kevin and I tried getting into couponing for a while a few years ago, but it just didn’t stick.

Now, that’s not to say I don’t love a good deal. I consider myself to be pretty astute at finding great discounts when it comes to online shopping (you just have to Google around a bit!), and definitely love to save money when I can.

If you’re like me — budget conscious to a degree, but also just not wired to be a couponer — you might be interested in these three ways I’ve discovered to get deals (both in-store and online). (I like to keep the list rather short because then I’m more likely to actually use these savings tools rather than get too overwhelmed with options. Life’s busy enough, right?):

  • Ebates: Y’all. I can’t sing enough praises about Ebates. (This might sound familiar if you’re a frequent Curiouser & Curiouser reader, as I’ve written about Ebates before.) If you ever find yourself shopping online, you MUST sign up for this — and you MUST install the browser button. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, the gist is that Ebates captures a percentage of your online purchases that are Ebates compatible (and many of them will be!) and tracks that percentage back to your Ebates account. Then, once a quarter, you’ll get what Ebates calls a “Big Fat Check” (either in actual hard-copy check form or via a PayPal payment) totaling the amount of cash back you’ve earned during the last three months. It’s SO easy, and if you’re going to be making those online purchases anyway, you only have something to gain. You can use their app to shop via your mobile device as well. Seriously — please sign up today (and don’t forget to install the browser button, which will ensure you never miss a chance to earn cash back.)

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  • Ibotta: This is an app-based coupon tool that I find so much easier to use than most individual store apps/coupon systems. I use it exclusively at grocery stores (and Target), but it’s compatible at many other retail outlets as well. I love that I can use Ibotta at most of the main grocery stores here in our area (not at Trader Joe’s or Publix, though), and it’s super user friendly. You just select the store you’ll be shopping at, page through the offers they have available and select the ones you plan to use, then after you shop you scan the barcode of each discounted product and upload an image of your store receipt. Next thing you know, you have money in your Ibotta account, which you can transfer to a PayPal account once you’ve reached a certain threshold! I’ve loved using this app, and especially like how many of their offers are brand agnostic (e.g., “$1.00 cash back on any brand of bread”).

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  • Target’s Cartwheel App: This is so worth having, in my opinion. (This is coming from a frequent Target shopper, but I have a feeling many of you fall into that category as well!) The savings aren’t always huge on this app — 5% here, 15% there — but I find that if I make my shopping list first and then see if anything on my list is on Cartwheel, it’s a great system. I’m not purchasing things just because they’re on sale, but if I needed toothpaste or bananas or nail polish remover and happen to find a 10% Cartwheel deal? Yeah — count me in! (I also love when Cartwheel offers overlap with Ibotta deals for even more savings!) Also, Cartwheel can be awesome when making larger purchases at Target (say baby gear or an area rug or something). And they often have a great deal on shoes and clothes — always a good thing!

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For those of you fellow deal lovers out there — what are your favorite ways to save?

 

Friday Favorites

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Well, we’ve made it to the cusp of yet another weekend, friends. Way to go!

Kevin and I have a very low-key weekend planned, which is incredibly atypical for us. (Ahem — I may or may not have a slight issue with over scheduling us.) I’m teaching some Pure Barre classes both tomorrow and Sunday, but other than that our agenda includes:

  • movie day (Saturday)
  • potentially shopping for a new living room rug

Yup. Those are the big to-do list items. I think we can handle those. 🙂

But before we get to the weekend, it’s time for some Friday Favorites! Ready, set, GO!:

  • These Women’s dv Rose Sneakers from Target. Y’all. How adorable are these shoes? They’re comfortable to boot, and I know I’ll be getting tons of use out of them this spring. Plus, at just $24.99 they’re impossible to pass up! Snag you a pair now. (Do it!)

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  • Lenny & Larry’s cookies. I picked up three of these (3 for $5!) at Publix last week, and Kevin and I have each had a chocolate chip one since then. They’re GOOD, and offer 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving, plus they’re vegan and are soy free. I’m excited to try some of their other flavors! I think peanut butter might be up next…

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  • Beautycounter’s NEW Baby Calming Diaper Rash Cream. My diaper rash cream arrived last week, and I was so excited to add it to baby girl’s changing table supplies. I’ve read awesome things about this product, and know I’m going to love it AND feel great about its ingredients being safe and baby skin friendly (along with the rest of the Beautycounter baby line). To get your own full-sized diaper rash cream for FREE, visit my Instagram page and enter to win today! (Free stuff on a Friday? Always a good thing.)

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Hope you have a fun weekend ahead of you!

 

 

Maternity Shoot Photos

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I’ve been very fortunate to have loved being pregnant and, even though I can’t wait to meet our daughter soon, part of me is already a little nostalgic for this special time as we await her arrival. It’s been a wonderful bonding time for Kevin and me, and I’ve loved discovering the connection pregnancy has brought between me and other women who have experienced it as well. I’ve been so thankful for my body — it’s been strong and resilient while growing this little life — and wanted to capture this fleeting time with a few photos.

With that in mind, Kevin and I spent time with the incredibly talented (and all-around amazing) Sarah Shinsky last Saturday walking around downtown Winston-Salem in unseasonably beautiful weather and stopping at a few spots to snap some maternity shots along the way.

Thank you, Sarah, for these special pictures!

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Baby Girl’s Nursery Reveal

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Kevin and I have had the best time putting together our daughter’s nursery over the past few weeks, and it’s finally at the point where it’s ready for a tiny human to come live in it! (We owe a huge thank you to my in-laws, Keith and Cathy, for their help in the nursery prep process. Keith painted the room for us as well as the bulk of the furniture, and Cathy helped me shop for some great accessories that made everything come together. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful father- and mother-in-law!)

We didn’t really have a theme in mind for the nursery, but knew we wanted soft, calm colors and wanted to incorporate some watercolor artwork that we’d had for about five years (since I worked on the Kumon Learning account and was given five prints, which were images used in an ad campaign for the brand).

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I also knew I wanted to get a mobile from Zomobiles, which is a company an artist friend of mine, who I taught English in Malaysia with back in 2008, started recently. (We LOVE our zebras, Zoe!)

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We also are using a rocking chair that was Kevin’s great-grandmother’s, and have a pair of Kevin’s silver-plated baby shoes, which I love being able to incorporate. Then from there, things just kind of came together.

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Our nursery is in the room that used to be my closet room — a tiny “bedroom” right next to the master that has sloped ceilings and a tiny (read: short) closet.

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It’s not ideal for a bedroom in most circumstances, but I love the way it turned out for a nursery. (The dresser was one my dad had in his room as a kid, then I used in my room growing up. I love getting to use it for a third generation!) We were gifted the crib and changing table from friends, which was so generous.

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It’s cozy but doesn’t feel cramped, and because baby clothes are so very itty bitty, the weird closet situation isn’t a problem at all! (Kevin built some hanging racks in there, so it’s like we have a custom baby closet.)

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This room has become my favorite room in our house, and it’s so fun to go stand in there and just imagine what it will be like once a baby occupies the space. (Fulton loves it, too. I often find him just hanging out on the rug. He totally knows something big is happening around here.)

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Now we just wait for the baby! (Well, I guess I should pack my hospital bag first. That’s next on the list!)

 

 

Baby Prep: Products I’m Excited About

Big disclaimer: I’m not a mom yet, so this advice is just speculative, and is based on intuition, advice I’ve gotten from other moms, and reviews I’ve read.

Kevin and I are in the final weeks of “getting ready for baby” mode, and it’s created an exciting, fun atmosphere. (Yes, sometimes I feel overwhelmed, but we’ve made good progress over the last months and weeks, and so we’re down to just a few final things to be ready for Baby Girl to join us next month.) We’re finishing up a couple of things in the nursery (hanging a bookshelf, getting some closet racks built), and the other two must-do items we have left are packing our hospital bags and getting our car seat bases installed in our cars. So close…

As we’ve been getting things in place, there are some items I get especially pumped about using when our daughter arrives. (Note: This is a very short list, and we have so many other great things ready — in large part due to generosity from friends and family — to help care for, clothe, soothe, bathe, and entertain our girl. Thank you to everyone who has helped us get ready to welcome her into the world!):

  • aden + anais Muslin Swaddles. Everyone I know who has kids raves about these, and it’s easy to see why. These swaddles are lightweight, breathable, a great size, and have adorable patterns. We have a solid collection waiting for our girl!

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  • Dohm Sound Machine. No, it’s not specifically a baby product, but Kevin and I are pumped about this item. (We actually have received two, which has been amazing because we put one in our room and one in the nursery. We LOVE ours, and know our baby will, too!)

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  • Anything Burt’s Bees Baby. We have a crib sheet and changing table cover by this brand as well as burp cloths and even a few ADORABLE outfits. Everything comes in such sweet, pale colors and is SO soft, and I love that it’s all 100% organic cotton.

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  • Beautycounter’s Line Baby of Products. I’m obsessed with this brand for myself, and absolutely can’t wait to start using their baby products on our daughter. I love that the products are made with such high-quality, safe ingredients, and know I can trust them to be ones that will be effective but sensitive to use on our baby girl’s skin. (Especially perfect timing: Beautycounter just launched a Calming Diaper Rash Cream that I’ll definitely be adding to our collection of diaper changing supplies.) Quick reminder: I’m a Beautycounter consultant, so if you’re interested in any products for yourself or a baby in your life, please shop via my site (and get in touch with me regarding questions, etc. — I’d love to tell you more about the company and its products!).

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  • BOB Stroller. I’ve been lusting after these since using one waaaay back in the day for a family I babysat for. I’m so excited that we got one (shout-out to Mom, Dad, Susan, and Marty for the generous baby shower gift!), and know our family will enjoy lots of runs and outdoor adventures thanks to this stroller.

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  • Baby Carriers (Bjorn and K’tan). I’ve had both of these come highly recommended from other parents, and look forward to trying them both. I hope the baby likes them, because the idea of baby wearing (and having two free hands!) is very appealing.

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We’re ready to meet you, Baby Girl!

 

 

Friday Favorites

Okay, so it’s a Monday. But I had some new favorites I wanted to post and didn’t want to have to wait alllll week to do it. (Y’all are good with that, right?)

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! Mine was great, and was full of celebration.* On Saturday, my amazing Pure Barre family threw me a baby shower that started off with a Pure Barre staff class and ended with gifts and socialization. It was exactly what I hoped it would be! Thank you to everyone who made that event so special.

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Then, on Saturday evening, Kevin and I joined some other friends to celebrate our friend Ashleigh’s 30th birthday. It was an evening full of good food, laughter, and wonderful people.

*Minus the Super Bowl. Ugh. Poor Falcons!

Okay. So on to those favorites I was talking about:

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  • Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale Series. As a huge fan of this book (and Margaret Atwood in general), I was super pumped to see this advertised last night during the Super Bowl. I can’t wait to check out the series when it launches in April, and think it might be worth re-subscribing to Hulu for. (Especially because at that point I’ll be looking for some good maternity leave shows to watch! Perfect timing…)

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  • Fairlife Chocolate Milk. I’ve posted about this stuff before on my Facebook page, but I had to mention it here, too, because when I think about my “favorites” of late, this milk definitely qualifies. It’s kind of become my wine substitute during pregnancy (and I even have a special glass I like to drink it out of). Kevin and I both love this stuff, and not just for its taste (which is top notch). It also has much more protein and much less sugar than other chocolate milk brands. Good taste and good nutrition? Yeah, sign me up!

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Hope your week gets off to a great start!

Clothing Items I’ve Loved Both Before And During Pregnancy

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As much fun as it is to buy maternity clothes, I was determined not to spend a fortune on that portion of my wardrobe, knowing this whole being pregnant thing wasn’t going to last all that long in the scheme of things. I wanted to be able to repurpose as many existing items of clothing as I could, and thankfully so far have had good luck on that front.

Here are some of the items I owned pre-pregnancy that I’ve gotten the most mileage out of while pregnant:

  • Mossimo Long Lean Tanks (from Target): I have maybe eight of these tanks (in black) and wear them alllll the time. So far, they’re still working great during pregnancy, and are perfect to throw on under an open cardigan, under a sweater, etc.

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  • Hue tights: I’ve loved this brand for tights for the last couple of years, and as it turns out they work great during pregnancy, too! They’re durable, affordable, comfortable, and wash really well. Plus, you can really hike them up over your belly when needed… 🙂

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  • High-waisted yoga pants: I sure am glad I invested in adding some high-waisted legging options to my workout clothes collection before getting pregnant, because they are perfect for pregnancy as well! I especially love my high-waisted Beyond Yoga and Lululemon leggings. I’m hoping I can make them work for the next seven-ish weeks.

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  • Workout tops: Thank goodness for stretchy workout fabric! I’ve been able to get by with almost exclusively non-maternity workout tops (I do have an Ingrid & Isabel maternity tank, as well as a Beyond Yoga one, which are both excellent). As far as my existing workout tank collection goes, I find myself reaching for my Beyond Yoga tops the most, by far. Their Light Classic Racerback and On The Move Racerback Camis just can’t be beat.

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  • Aerie Boho Plunge bralettes: I am obsessed with these. I wore them almost daily before I was pregnant, and continue to do so now. They’re supportive but SO comfortable. (Aerie has lots of cute bralettes, and I’ve tried a few styles. This one is far and away my favorite.)

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  • Open cardigans and ponchos: Ponchos (like this one from LOFT, which I have and love) are amazing. I mean, come on: blankets that are acceptable to wear out of the house? Uh, yeah. Sign me up. Plus, no zippers or buttons are involved, so there’s plenty of room for a baby bump. Same goes for open cardigans. Those two items (paired with leggings) have been my go-to uniform this fall/winter.

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Fellow expectant mamas: What pre-pregnancy clothes have you enjoyed wearing throughout your pregnancy?

Pure Barre During Pregnancy: My Experience So Far

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It’s no secret that I love Pure Barre, and since starting at the studio about four years ago it’s changed both my body and my life in a big way. I’ve transitioned from “What am I doing here?” to “OMG, I love this place” to “Can I live in this studio?” to “I think want to teach, too.” I’m so grateful to have found this workout and this community!

When I found out I was pregnant last July, Pure Barre immediately came to mind. I’d watched lots of other inspirational clients and fellow teachers attend classes well into their pregnancies (some right up to their due dates!), and that was certainly motivating. I’d read several blog posts, too, about women who’d written about their accounts of continuing Pure Barre while they were expecting. I found the posts (like this one!) by women who had at least two children and had done PB with one and not the other to be especially interesting. I knew doing this workout as much as I felt up to it during pregnancy would help me feel better throughout and help with delivery and recovery as well.

Thankfully, I felt pretty good throughout my first trimester, skirting the morning sickness so many women experience. I was TIRED, but I was able to keep my pre-pregnancy Pure Barre routine — both teaching and taking classes — intact. (I still attended and taught lots of 6 a.m. classes — I’d just go to bed around, oh, 7:30 p.m. the night before!) This continued into my second trimester as well (and the exhaustion subsided a bit — wahoo!). I was feeling really, really good.

With the arrival of my third trimester, I noticed my body telling me to dial back the classes a bit — and I’ve been listening. I’m now taking about three classes per week on average (in addition to teaching regularly), which is about half the amount of classes I’d typically be taking. Still, I’m getting so many benefits from continuing to show up at the barre.

I haven’t experienced any back pain yet. My abs are still intact (though there’s a lot happening underneath them these days!). I don’t have any issues with mobility or going from sitting on the floor to standing. Despite having gained 18 pounds so far (I’m in my 32nd week right now), I really do feel good, and much like myself in many ways. I’m confident I have Pure Barre to thank for this in a big way — both the hundreds of classes I took before becoming pregnant as well as the ones I’ve been able to take during this pregnancy.

Here are a few photos documenting the evolution of my pregnancy at Pure Barre:

Week 19:

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Week 22:

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Week 24:

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Week 27:

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Week 32:

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I’m hopeful I can be one of those amazing women who keeps coming to class right up until it’s time to give birth! We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll keep showing up as much as I can, getting lots of good LTB time in before this little girl arrives. THANK YOU, PURE BARRE!

Beautycounter: My Latest Brand Obsession

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Yes, this is a post about one of those order-via-a-consultant products that you see on Facebook alllll the time. (I know, I know.) But don’t close your browser window just yet! Hear me out.

I (like many of you, I’m guessing) feel like posts to purchase “Brand A” of skincare or host a party for “Brand B” of clothing fill up my Facebook feed these days. It’s overwhelming and can get pretty annoying, as far as I’m concerned (not to mention pushy). And so it’s incredibly surprising that I now find myself among those people selling a product online. (This is not something I thought would happen!)

No, I don’t love when I feel like brands are pushed on me repeatedly. However I DO love discovering new skincare and beauty products that others have had a great experience with. And so when I realized that could be my Beautycounter goal as a consultant — to simply be a resource for other women looking to add some new high-quality products to their skincare and make-up routine — I was on board.

I first tried Beautycounter products thanks to a college friend (and Beautycounter consultant) who shared some samples with me. I’d heard of the product before, and vaguely knew their mission, but kind of tuned stuff out about it. I’m so glad I gave those samples a try, because thanks to them I found a brand that I was really impressed by. I’ve tried natural skincare and beauty products before that just didn’t cut it from a performance standpoint, but this isn’t the case with Beautycounter, which I was pleasantly surprised by. They’ve been able to strike a balance between quality products that play in a more clean/natural space. Plus, they have a line of baby products that I know Kevin and I will enjoy using once our baby girl arrives. This is a brand I’d absolutely buy if it were sold in stores, but it happens to be sold via a consultant model.

Some of my top Beautycounter picks include:

  • Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer: I’d been using a different BB cream that I was decently happy with, but had heard rave reviews about this product and so I gave it a try. I’m in LOVE, y’all! It’s so light (the other one i was using felt pretty heavy) but still provides nice, even coverage, and it does make your skin feel dewy and moisturized just the right amount. I use it under mineral powder, and since you just need a little bit the tube lasts a long time.

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  • Balancing Face Oil: I wasn’t on board with the whole “add oil to your face” philosophy until trying this stuff. I thought it would make my face feel oily, but it actually just moisturizes and replenishes your skin’s natural oils.

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  • Body Wash in Citrus Mimosa: This body wash’s texture and feel is wonderful, and smells amazing to boot. I’ve always been drawn to citrus-scented body washes, and so this one fits the bill for me in a big way.

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  • Charcoal Cleansing Bar: I’ve been on board with the whole charcoal-as-cleanser trend for a while now (I’ve even tried using it as a teeth whitener — with good success!), and this cleansing bar is wonderful. I love how bright it leaves my skin looking, and enjoy using it about once a week.

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So consider this my “Hey — I’m selling Beautycounter” intro. Don’t worry — I’m not going to be clogging your Facebook feed with constant updates or anything, nor am I going to pester you to host a party (although I’m happy to help facilitate that if you’re interested, as it is a great way to save on products). I’m just putting this out there so y’all know you can come to me if you’re interested in learning more about Beautycounter or trying this brand for yourself. If you’re someone who already uses ad loves Beautycounter products and, for whatever reason, are looking for a new consultant, please let me know. I’d love to help you replenish your stock and/or try something new.