2016 was a year of eco friendly and cruelty free discovery, for me. I thought I’d return from my lengthy and accidental blogging hiatus by sharing some of my new favorite beauty products.
While I am an omnivore, cruelty-free (no animal testing) personal care products are a top priority. The products listed below all happen to be vegan, too, but I do use products that make use of animal ingredients (like beeswax and goat’s milk) fairly regularly. I’d also like to note upfront that this is not a sponsored post. These are just companies that I feel really good about supporting!
- Hurraw! Balm Papaya Pineapple 100% natural / certified vegan & cruelty-free / GMO-free / made in the US $4.49
If you’ve been reading this blog for a bit, or if you follow me on social media, you are probably familiar with Hurraw! I’ve definitely gushed about them before. This company is good people. The Papaya Pineapple was a new variety to me, this year. It’s a tube of tropical perfection in my snowbound New England. I want to keep one in my purse, and one in the car, and one… you get the idea. Whenever I order from Hurraw!, I order four or five tubes, and they have always included a free balm with my purchase. This time around, because it had been a while, I also received a very sweet handwritten note on my invoice that said, “Naomi’s back!” I can’t say enough good things. If you can’t find Hurraw! balm at a local retailer, it’s absolutely worth ordering through the mail.
- Trust Fund Beauty Nail Lacquer vegan & cruelty-free / 10-free / GMO-free $15
My nail polish collection has been toxin free and animal friendly for about six years, now. It includes a variety of brands in all price ranges (proving that the way you choose to spend your dollar 100% counts, because ten years ago the options were incredibly limited). I discovered Trust Fund Beauty over the summer, and this brand is now at the top of my list when it comes to polishes. My first purchase was Hot in the Hamptons, an ultra bright shimmery pink, perfect for summer. I immediately fell head over heels for the coverage and durability of this product. This is the first polish I’ve used in ages that didn’t just chip off immediately. I’m looking forward to purchasing a couple nude shades (including pictured, Bitches Who Brunch) when I have the budget for it.
- Zao Organic Volume Mascara 100% natural / cruelty-free / free of petroleum derivatives and parabens $33.20
I’ve used a few different cruelty-free mascaras, but never anything quite so luxurious. The price point reflects the quality, and for the one cosmetic item I use almost daily, I do think it’s worth it. I love the bamboo packaging. I received this in a Love Goodly subscription box!
- OSEA Malibu Atmosphere Protection Cream 100% natural / vegan & cruelty-free / made in the US $48
Oh my goodness. So. To be honest, the name of this product made me giggle a bit when I first got it (another amazing Love Goodly subscription box item), but it is so, so good. I will never giggle at it again. This is not something I can afford to replace at the moment, and I am incredibly sad to see that my bottle is nearly empty. This is honestly the nicest daily moisturizer I have ever used. It smells great, it feels great on my dry, sensitive, and aging (bwamp bwamp) skin, and it’s full of nourishing ingredients.
- Schmidt’s Deodorant Rose + Vanilla Stick certified vegan & cruelty-free / free of aluminum, parabens, and phthalates / made in the US $8.99
I finally found my dream deodorant. I’ve been using strictly natural deodorants for the last four years or so. It’s been a bit of challenge finding the right one for me. Flash forward to the release of this particular scent (in stick form), and I decided to give Schmidt’s another go, after not being 100% in love with their jar formulas. I am so thankful that I did just that. Natural deodorant is tricky, for a lot of people. It’s something that’s really important to me, so I’ve kept at it over the years. The price point is right, I love the ridiculously girly scent, and this product actually works.
- Acure Ultra-Hydrating Body Wash certified vegan & cruelty-free / paraben & sulfate-free / $9.99 (price varies)
I discovered this after searching for the “best moisturizing body washes” when it started to get cold. I’m never looking back. I do, admittedly, feel a little guilty about the plastic bottle (because we’ve been really good about using bar soaps with minimal packaging since I moved into the house), but this product really is incredible. And it smells so good.
I’m really pleased that I managed to discover some new things over the last year, even if a couple of them are definitely out of my price range right now. It’s important to me that I continue to support the companies that are ethical and genuine, and that the self care products I use regularly are ones that I can feel good about, in more ways that one.
The first week of July flew by quickly. The days were full, but I still feel a little bit like they’ve escaped me. Have you ever felt like that? It’s strange. I don’t feel like that handful of days lacked anything necessarily, but there’s still an odd and lingering sense of longing. This is probably due to some kind of inherent personality flaw that I don’t particularly want to look too deeply into. So. Here are a few of my July goals:
Paint. I’ve been reading a lot about intuitive painting and journaling, and the work I’ve seen has been inspiring. It’s been ages since I’ve really put my heart into any artwork. In the past, my personal art making process has served primarily as a coping mechanism. When I actually feel well, I tend not to create. It seems rather a sad thing, and it’s something I’d like to change. What does “happy” art even look like? I don’t know. I’d like to explore it. This is top priority, I think. How great would it be to build up a new portfolio? My style has changed significantly in the last five years (and yes, it’s been that long since I’ve made anything worthwhile).
Read three books. The number is completely arbitrary, I just know I’d like to spend some more time reading. I’m currently working my way through book number one.
Make an effort to be positive. It’s the little day to day things, really, but those things add up and can weigh people down. I want to be someone who lifts people up. I can often be critical, over-reactive, and short tempered, and I’d really like to make more of an effort to be more thoughtful, especially in regards to myself, and the people I care most about.
Visit a museum. This is somewhat less of a priority, because it’s summer and the whole seacoast is swimming with tourists. It would be nice, though, to visit one with Timothy before he leaves for the entire month of August. Neither of us has been to the Ogunquit Museum of Art, and I’d love to visit!
Get my hair cut. It’s been well over a year. Now that I am most assuredly committed to longer hair (for a while), I just want something that frames my face nicely.
Drinking: Shipyard Melonhead, likely my final couple bottles of the season. This is not to say that it’s a bad tasting beer, but much like its autumnal sibling, Pumpkinhead, I can only drink maybe three a year. It’s a bit special, and I don’t ever want to take away from that.
Listening to: Don’t judge me (or do), but I obsessed with the Precision Soca Remix version of Hula Hoop (after hearing the original song only like… a month ago because I’m old and out of touch). It’s summertime. Deal with it.
Reading: Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King.
Snacking: Have you tried any of the Buddha Bowl popcorn flavors from Lesser Evil? I’m really into “Avocado-Licious,” and Tj likes “Himalayan Pink.”
Wearing: I’m still in love with the handful of Pura Vida bracelets I bought earlier this summer, especially the black sterling lotus. It’s become a comforting part of my “leaving the house” routine. Just a reminder that you can save 20% on any Pura Vida order using the code NAOMIDENSMORE20 at checkout. Also, dear Mainers (and aforementioned seacoast tourists): check out Loyal Citizen in Portland! We hadn’t yet been into the brick and mortar store, and were pleasantly surprised when we stopped in last week. Wear your Maine pride and support small business! There’s a design for just about anybody, but I’m most fond of the Joshua Chamberlain print, available on both men’s and women’s tees.
I haven’t shared monthly goals since February, so it seems as though actually blogging ought to be on my goals list. I am making a mental note of it. It is noted.
But let’s talk about summer. The sudden sunshine is motivating.
Set up my laptop. Tj recently bought a new laptop, so his Macbook Pro has been handed down to me. I’m a little over my head; it’s much newer than any computer I’ve used in the last few years, and it’s been literally over a decade since I’ve used a Mac. To write this post, though, I’ve already had to switch computers (twice) and email photos to myself, which just isn’t sustainable. Or necessary. I need to move my files, and I definitely need to make a software decision or two. Do you use Adobe Creative Cloud? How do you feel about it? I’m almost 100% certain that the Photography plan (which includes just Photoshop and Lightroom) will be more than enough to do both blogging and internship work.
Reach out to brands I want to work with. Aaaah. This is a big scary one. I actually emailed some companies today, and I was a giant ball of nerves before hitting that “send” button. But here’s the thing: I realized that I would much rather reach out to the companies I already love, support and promote in real life, than wait for random brands I have no feelings for whatsoever to reach out to me. If I make an effort, and am kind and genuine, something good may come from it. Or it won’t. But certainly nothing bad is going to happen.
Get. In. The. Water. We didn’t really surf at all last summer. Or, I certainly didn’t. My surfboard hasn’t really been touched since I moved into the house. There were a lot of things holding me back. At the moment, I think I’d be happy just to float and paddle and probably fall off the board a few times, so really there’s no excuse not to go to the beach.
Date night. Have I mentioned that Tj is leaving for four weeks at the end of July to work at the Olympics? And how that is a little bit (or… how about very) surreal and stressful? Four weeks is a long time, and Brazil is very far away. I feel like we definitely need to fit in some quality, device-free time for ourselves. And good food. And probably some wine.
It’s not here yet, but August is going to be a little difficult. I’m trying my best to stay in the moment, but it’s not easy. I will definitely be making an effort over the next few weeks to enjoy these days as they come. Summer moves so quickly.
February is a tough month, right? It’s still winter, but I have already become anxious for spring. The fluctuating weather is not helping, but I realize I shouldn’t complain about temperatures in the 50s. I’m trying hard to live in the now, or whatever, but you know. I want sunshine and bike rides and the ocean. I do have a more steady schedule than just a month ago; the semester started last week, and I just began a internship of sorts at a local museum. Being busy helps a lot. Here are my goals for the month:
Eat somewhere new. There are a few places in Portland that are on our list. It would be a nice treat, for sure, and something fun to look forward to.
Finish two books. I’ve got one on hold that I’m looking forward to picking up again. I also have a lot of reading to do for class, but I’ll make it happen. It’s a matter of using my time a little better (like, not binge watching shows I’ve already seen three times).
Purchase some professional (ish) clothing. Not much of what’s in my closet right now fits appropriately. That being said, I’m not actually willing to get rid of anything because 1. it’s all really nice, and 2. I literally just need to lose like eight pounds and I’ll be comfortable (and feel more like myself) again. I need pieces I can wear to work at the museum in the interim. There’s not really a dress code, especially because the site is closed for the season, but I feel like something beyond jeans and a cardigan would be appropriate come spring. Professional attire has always sort of alluded me, because I’ve never really had to develop this part of my wardrobe. When I try to shop for these things, I either can’t find anything that fits properly (dress pants are not made for short girls with butts), or I end up looking like a completely different person. Not cool. I’m not sure what the solution is, here. Skirts and dresses, I suppose.
Make time for friends. I haven’t seen my lady friends since before Christmas. Thankfully, we have some stuff coming up this month. I’m also thankful that they understand how terrible I am at socializing. I’d like to be better, though. I’d like to be able to go out for coffee like a normal person without it being an event. I will get there.
Get my hair cut. It’s time. I’ve waited far too long and I am a mess. Just …ugh. This needs to happen ASAP.
I think that’s probably it. Keeping it simple and (hopefully) attainable. How about you?
We made it. It’s 2016! Here’s to you, and everything you accomplished.
There’s snow on the ground (finally), and I’m more or less back to my normal routine, for whatever that’s worth. I rang in the new year with Thai carryout with Tj’s family, followed by a comforting, solitary
bottle glass of wine (and a mug of chamomile tea). I’m old.
These are my January goals:
Get outside. This is a big one. New Year’s Eve morning had me feeling black and gloomy, but when I took a moment to think about it, I realized I hadn’t spent any serious time outside in days. I took a walk into town and then through the woods behind our house and felt like a different person. Sunshine is really important to my well-being. I make jokes about locking myself inside, but outside is, of course, not the problem. It’s prolonged human interaction that I struggle with. I am thankful to live where we do, surrounded by trees and so close to the ocean.
Find doctors. As of today, I have new health insurance! This year, I’m going to use it. It’s time to track down a GP and probably a therapist, and maybe get my eyes tested (which could perhaps help provide an explanation for my migraines). Getting stuff done!
Sort through and sell some toys. I took a bit of an eBay break during the holiday because I didn’t want to worry about shipping. Also, at the beginning of November I shipped out a huge box of My Little Ponies to Poland, and the whole process involved with that transaction was a little stressful and seemed never ending (and, in fact, has not yet ended). I need to take new inventory of what’s left and get some things posted. To those of you familiar with my original collection, don’t worry, I’m still keeping something like 60+ ponies to myself. Glitter and rainbows for life.
Eat green things. This is self explanatory, right? I’d also like to work some healthy vegetarian meals into my normal winter rotation. Soups and chilies seem like a good springboard. It’s definitely time to start throwing spinach into everything. I’m still not really down with kale. Sorry.
My goals for the month are simple, and I don’t really have any New Year resolutions per se. I think I’d like to let myself have more fun, try new things, be a little less reserved. I’ve spent the majority of my life thus far constantly thinking “I’m too ___ to do ___,” which is …limiting, obviously. I have missed out on probably more than I know; I’m scared of basically everything. I would like to be less scared. I would like to smile more. So I think this year I’d like to work on reaching out when I wouldn’t normally reach out, and on taking advantage of opportunities wherever I happen to be. No numbers, no limits, no “absolutely must do or else(s)” this year, just a little bit of stretching. Tips of fingers, tips of toes.
And, always, I want to be kind to the people I stumble into along the way.
Thanks for stopping by. My name is Naomi, and this space is made of girldust. This blog is a picture of my comfortably scattered life on the coast of Maine. I'm trying to be a slightly better version of myself every day. I like old houses, reading, the ocean, ghost stories, and museums. You can learn a little bit more about me here. Follow along elsewhere, or get in touch: