Me Time Botanicals

As Charming as an Afternoon in Charleston!

Imagine taking a stroll through Charleston, South Carolina, on a beautiful spring day; the air is fresh and the sun is shining as it dances and flirts on the sidewalk amongst full, leafy green trees shimmering in the breeze. The scent of neroli and sweet roses fills the air as you make your way to the local farmers market to sample raw unfiltered honey and drink a refreshing glass of tart berry-lemonade. After enjoying a nice full lunch, you end your afternoon by stopping at a local cafe to enjoy a richly aromatic coffee and fresh blueberry scone.

This is what it feels like to indulge in the rituals from Me Time Botanicals, and for me, is the essence of founder, Kara’s line.

Stemming from the need for “Me Time”, Kara attended ‘Formula Botanica’s Organic Cosmetic Science School’ and began crafting her rituals by hand, beginning with her Morning Perk Eye & Facial Serum. Inspired by local and sustainable ingredients in Charleston, South Carolina, Kara explains her sourcing beautifully:

I tour a local coffee roaster, visit a sustainable and cruelty-free apiary to speak to local beekeepers, reach out to berry farmers to get inspiration. My favorite part is to hear their passion shine through as they teach me about their product. This propels me to create something truly special for Me Time Botanicals and your rituals. 

Kara, Me Time Botanicals Founder

I had the pleasure of trying a few of Kara’s rituals and in the process I felt like I was getting to know Kara and her delightful hometown.

Phyto Tonic Facial Mist $18

Meaning “plant derived” this facial mist smells so good and is super uplifting to my spirit! The scent is like candied roses and neroli and instantly refreshes me skin and mood. The star ingredients, white rose, neroli and frankincense distillates help restore the skin by encouraging cell turnover and coconut fruit extract and jasmine help to nourish the complexion.

Tip: This mist is perfect to dampen my face before applying the Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask, as an essence before using the Morning Perk Facial Serum and as a mood booster throughout the day. In my true style of indulgence, once I start spraying this facial mist, it is really difficult to stop.

Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask $30

This lovely mask is as delicious (yes, I said delicious) as it sounds! The scent of berry lemonade is intoxicating and if a little drips down onto my lips, the taste is equally as yummy! The visible pieces of horsetail and nettle, infusing the honey, further add to the sensory experience.

The star ingredient in Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask is our locally sourced raw honey that I pick up directly from an educational center called Bee City just a few short miles from Charleston where local schools and families can spend the day learning about sustainable beekeeping, honey, and gardening. Their honey comes from the local wildflowers, blueberry bushes, & palmetto trees.  The hives are never treated with chemicals or pesticides, the honey is unadulterated and the bees are truly loved. 

Kara, on the sourcing of the raw honey used in her Berry Bright Exfoliating Mask

Tip: I really enjoy wearing this mask for over 30 minutes to an hour when I have the time! I mix the jar well before application and the exfoliating action is definitely noticeable. Before washing it off I practice facial tapping with dry fingers which feels especially awakening around the eye orbital area and mouth! Washing it off further activates the scent, making my mouth water all over again!

Morning Perk – Caffeine & Blueberry Seed Eye + Facial Serum $25

Like a soft, berry-scented coffee, this oil-serum is extremely moisturizing and comforting on the skin. The locally roasted, fair-trade, organic coffee infused in this serum is hand-picked by Kara from Charleston Coffee Roasters right in Charleston and is made using antique roasters to get the most out of the beans, and into the serum! Using this at night, I wake up in the morning with my skin feeling perfectly hydrated and it is absolutely suited for use during the day as well (not too oily)!

Tip: I prefer removing the roller-ball so that I can pour a generous amount into my palm to spread all over my face, neck and chest in the evening. I enjoy taking a moment to massage this oil-serum deep into my skin, paying special attention to my under-eye area to awaken and refresh my appearance during the day.

100% Organic Beeswax & Coconut Oil Bath Candle $5 – seasonal only!

Final Thoughts

The passion behind Kara’s formulations are evident during the experience of her rituals. From locally sourcing her ingredients to hand pouring, labeling and batching each jar, Kara really wants every woman to enjoy a special moment of “Me Time”.

After getting acquainted and indulging in Me Time Botanicals, I realize the brand is perfectly named, lovely and affordably priced. Great for a little indulgence or as gift for a girlfriend or loved one, there is really no reason to hesitate in giving this delightful, natural, indie-brand a try!

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! What is your favorite way to indulge in “Me Time”?

How Important is Cleansing, Really?

My A.M. Cleansing Routine

Lately, I’ve been witnessing the rising trend of ditching facial cleansers in the morning in lieu of splashing one’s face with water. Does anyone else find this ritual bizarre? To me, this is about as normal as brushing one’s teeth without toothpaste, or taking a shower without soap.

I happen to think that cleansing my face, especially in the morning, is the most important step that sets the tone for the rest of my (skincare) day!

Our skin does a lot while we sleep including increased cellular turnover; it is also the bodies largest organ and the requirements of our skin can change daily based on hormones, diet, etc. For these reasons, I like to listen to my skin when I wake up to understand what it needs.

Is my face feeling tight? Is it rough? Does my skin need a double cleanse? Extra exfoliation? Or can I just use a gentle cleanser? When I tailor my cleansing routine to my skin’s daily needs, the results I achieve are a more healthy and vibrant glow.

My Morning Routine Options:

My skin feels tight: Exfoliation followed by a gentle cleanse or mask.

My skin feels normal: Gentle cleanse or active cleanse.

My skin feels rough: Exfoliation followed by an active cleanse or mask.

My Favorite A.M. Cleansers:

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser $42-$82

This gritty cleanser is a holy grail ritual for me. It has an aloe-base so it rinses really clean and leaves my skin feeling fresh! The scent is also bright and awakening! With 11 active ingredients, it polishes, refines, decongests & plumps the skin. Using this first thing in the morning on dry skin really helps to soften my complexion if I wake up and my face feels tight.

Osea Ocean Cleanser $48

I have written about this cleanser in-depth in a previous post and absolutely love how potent it is with algae extract and lactic acid. My skin LOVES lactic acid! It does a fabulous job of keeping my skin smooth which sets the perfect canvas for the rest of my skincare regimen and make up. Tip: This would be what I consider an “active cleanser” with its powerful ingredients that work deep to exfoliate the skin.

Nuori Vital Foaming Cleanser $35

I discovered Nuori when I traveled to Denmark with my sister last fall, and I love how this unique brand boasts freshness (Nuori recommends using their products within a few months of batching to get the most effectiveness from their ingredients). This foaming cleanser is uber gentle and has a beautiful floral-citrus scent. Full of humectants and pomegranate enzymes, it leaves my face feeling undisturbed yet cleansed and soft.

Earthwise Beauty Marshmallow Cleanser $60

Earthwise Beauty has captivated my heart and this cleanser had me instantly smitten! This small-batch, organic, unrefined cleanser leaves my skin silky-soft and clean. A little goes a long way and the formula is full of calming and soothing ingredients like calendula & chamomile flowers, marshmallow roots, cold-pressed pumpkin seed oil and jojoba seed oil to nourish my skin and keep it clear.

Final Thoughts

Gone are the days of using Cetaphil to cleanse, and I don’t think I will ever forgo cleansing to simply rinse my face with water in the morning. I enjoy a variety of cleansers depending on my skin truth each and every day. Giving myself options allows me to truly listen to my skin and give it what it needs to achieve a more smooth and glowy complexion.

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! What is your favorite morning cleanser? Have you ever tried just splashing with water? What are your thoughts?

Clean Skincare Ruined My Life

And I Am Forever Grateful (Continue Reading)

I was never excited about “clean” skincare. Sure, I saw Kourtney Kardashian talk about it all the time on KUWTK and I figured it was inevitably better for me, but still it was something I didn’t gravitate towards. I thought that somehow, clean skincare offered only two choices. The choice to “DIY” a mask, and slather my face in honey, yogurt and camu-camu powder (which I have done, admittedly), or go to Sprouts Farmers Market and spend $7 on an organic face cream that offered little benefit.

Well, after attempting the DIY method and not ever wanting to resort to a $7 face cream, I decided one day that chemicals and science were just more effective.

Clean skincare ruined my life.

I could take you all the way back to the sixth-grade and talk about how I’ve struggled with acne for forever, or how I was prescribed Accutane in high school, but this blog would take too long to read.

I could talk about how, for 6 years, before having my first son, I only used Cetaphil & Olay Regenerist, but that’s irrelevant.

I could also mention how I went crazy with a 10-step skincare regimen after having my son, buying every discovery-set in sight, but that would only belabor what this blog post is ultimately about.

Clean skincare ruined my life.

When I decided to change my regimen, before becoming pregnant with my second son (editors note: I am currently 28 weeks pregnant; glory to God), I hated clean skincare. My face was no longer smooth and was full of blemishes. I distinctly remember my cousin asking me if I was enjoying my new, “clean” routine. “I hate it!” I remember answering, “My skin loves chemicals!” But pregnancy is a sacrifice. Much like not being able to drink alcohol, or eat cold lunch meat; we can’t have good skin during pregnancy.

I vowed to return to my beloved peel pads and facial masks the moment I was done breastfeeding. I mean, I don’t have to breastfeed for 15 months this time, right? 6 months is sufficient, right!?

Clean skincare ruined my life.

And then, one day, I struck gold! I found natural cleansers with lactic acid and fruit enzymes that began deep cleaning my pores, I found clean peel pads that resurfaced my skin back to a smooth, silky texture. I found healing moisturizers full of raw nutrients that fed my face as I slept, oils that hydrated, essences that brightened and serums that restored. Somewhere along my clean skincare journey, I found a tropical island, a rain forest, a treasure trove of vivid formulas that were void of fillers, chemicals, synthetic preservatives and instead contained the most precious of natural ingredients. These ingredients began to transform my skin like never before.

Something magical happens to our skin when we feed it pure nature. Our skin desires to be bathed in exotic fruits, rare flowers and golden rich oils extracted from raw seeds & nuts. The very idea that we ever slather industrial sludge on our faces and call it beauty is absolutely bizarre.

Clean skincare ruined my life, it forever set my beauty standards higher. It has become a passion, a fixation that I cannot quit. The uniqueness of each clean brand: how they source, batch and pour each lovingly sought-out ingredient has me captivated. God has given us rain forests that are encyclopedias of potent and effective elements; tropical islands that are an oasis of brightly colored nutrients to feed our skin back to a state of radiance. Science and nature have collided in a way, that today, is undeniable.

Clean Skincare ruined my life.

Clean skincare ruined my life because I don’t want to go back to the products and chemicals I was using before. My skin has never felt more nourished, more clear, more loved. Each gleaming bottle is an indulgent ritual of self-care. Every step in my regimen is a moment of bliss and pure delight. After reluctantly giving up the synthetic products I was used to, I have found there are boundless amounts of effective, clean, natural, non-toxic beauty rituals out there for me to feel, touch, smell, explore and discover!

Clean Skincare ruined my life and I am forever grateful.

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Please comment below! I would love to know about your clean skincare journey or if you’ve recently decided to start!

Beauty Heroes February 2019 Subscription Box: Tabitha James Kraan

I received this trio in my February subscription from Beauty Heroes. I wanted to give these products a fair review, so I tried them multiple times before posting my thoughts. I should tell you upfront that for my hair type (thin and straight with very little volume) they didn’t quite fit my wish list, but if you are specifically wanting some insight into this brand and products, please continue reading below:

Scented Organic Hair Oil $52

This was my favorite product out of the three items I received, I enjoyed using it as an overnight treatment and the ingredients are clean and organic (there is also an amber crystal inside the bottle – nice touch!). I found the scent to be beautiful and subtle, but the oil unfortunately weighed my hair down too much to use during the day.

Clean Shampoo $35

With an aloe vera base, this shampoo is very light and does what it says in terms of detoxifying your strands. Unfortunately for me, that also resulted in a lack of hydration that my hair desperately needs. I was impressed by the lathering effect (especially considering the clean ingredients) and the Amber Rose scent was beautiful in the bottle. After rinsing my hair, most of the scent had dissipated.

Clean Conditioner $35

Also with an aloe base, I too found this conditioner to be very light. It felt buttery as I applied it to my strands, but after rinsing, my hair lacked hydration once more. Similar to the shampoo, the scent is very faint after rinsing.

Final thoughts: For the price of the subscription box ($42.95 per month), there is definitely a lot of value here ($122). I appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to new products and brands and I was sad these didn’t work for my hair type and wish list (more volume, additional hydration, smoothing, etc.).

Thank you for taking the time to consider my thoughts!

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Clean Lip Care

Love Your Lips!

Clean Lip Care

Neglecting any part of my body as I start my 30’s is not an option, knowing that everything I do now will make an impact in the future motivates me to care for my whole-self daily. Finding clean brands to care for my lips is vital, especially considering I ingest (even in small amounts) what I place on them; avoiding synthetic ingredients and chemical preservatives is critical to lip care and beyond (we will dive deeper into the rest of the body later).

(Side note: Yes, unfortunately I am guilty of using petroleum jelly on my lips when I was younger – yuck)

Fortunately, we live in a really fun time right now; clean, organic beauty brands are blossoming! And the idea of self-care is taking off! We take care of ourselves because we want to, not because we have to.

Discovering lush lip care products would have been difficult a few years ago, but today they are in abundance. And with ingredients like rosehip, jojoba, sea buckthorn, prickly pear and raspberry seed oils and with macadamia nut, mango and coconut butters – these lip products sound more like dessert than beauty products. But that’s the point! That we are putting ingredients on our lips that our body can recognize and that taste delicious. Yum!!!

Here are a few of my favorite, most recent discoveries:

French Girl Rose Lip Polish $18

French Girl Rose Lip Polish $18

Lip care should start with a good exfoliator. Treating dry, dead skin is a waste of time. This lip polish smells of minty-fresh, almost chocolatey roses and has no strange after taste. Tip: I place a small amount on a rough cotton round before using it to scrub my lips, and the surrounding skin. I find I can apply more even-pressure and get more scrubbing power this way.

I will use this scrub before applying my Henne Lip Mask on the days I wash my hair, while the shower is heating up. This exfoliator is not meant for consumption but the sugar crystals do taste delicious if I “accidentally” taste some while wiping it off (Lol) with the other side of the cotton round.

Henne Lip Mask $37

Henne Lip Mask $37

I was so excited to be introduced to this brand in my January subscription from The Clean Beauty Box. This slightly-gritty orange mask is full of rich ingredients like rosehip seed oil and sea buckthorn oil and smells of zesty, slightly spicy citrus. It’s delicious ingredients plump and revive lips and the sensory experience of this mask is the ultimate in lip self-care!

Henne Luxury Lip Balm V2 $19

Henne Luxury Lip Balm V2 $19

As a follow-up to the Henne Lip Mask, their lip balm is also a delicious sensory experience. The stick-balm is easy to apply, has an earthy, chocolate-like scent and is extra silky on the lips. Alone, the ingredients seem simple; coconut and avocado oil, shea butter and cacao seed butter; but combined, they make for a fabulous lip balm.

Kari Gran Lip Whip $24

Kari Gran Lip Whip in ‘Radiant’ $24

Kari Gran is a name synonymous with small-batch lip care, and “Lip whip” explains this product perfectly. The texture is like peppermint-flavored whipped butter for your lips and the colors offer a beautiful flush (‘Radiant’ is pictured above). I now own several different colors, including ‘Jolene’ and ‘Suji’ and have one in my purse wherever I go!

Odacite Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum $44

Odacite Aventurine Kiss Lip Serum $44

Serums offer targeted results due to a higher concentrate of active ingredients and I was so excited to bring those same results to my pout! Every ingredient in this product offers something special to the delicate skin of your lips and I use this nightly. Tip: If you use a micro-needle for your lips, you can apply this after for even deeper penetration. The aventurine crystal roller-ball is cooling, and the light formula offers a tingling effect that says it’s working to plump and restore lips with rich hydration.

Ingredients:

Adansonia Digitata [Baobab*] Seed Oil, Moringa Oleifera [Moringa*] Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis [Jojoba*] Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii [Shea Nut Oil] Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba [Meadowfoam*] Seed Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii [Shea] Butter, Cocos Nucifera [Coconut*] Oil, Theobroma Cacao [Cocoa*] Seed Butter, Glycine Soja Seed Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate [Vitamin C], Punica Granatum [Pomegranate*] Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea [Marula*] Kernel Oil, Vaccinium Corymbosum [Blueberry*] Seed Oil, Lactobacillus/Capsicum Frutescens Fruit Ferment Extract, Hordeum Distichon [Barley] Extract, Tocopherols [Vitamin E] Oil, Ubiquinone [Coenzyme Q10], Alcohol, Lecithin, Aqua [Water], Aroma, Phellodendron, Santalum Album [Sandalwood] Extract, Yeast Extract, Cucurbita Pepo [Pumpkin] Seed Oil & Papain, Rosmarinus Officinalis [Rosemary] Leaf Extract | *Organic Origin


https://odacite.com/products/aventurine-kiss-lip-serum

Edible Beauty & Goddess on the Go Beauty Balm $21

Edible Beauty & Goddess on the Go Beauty Balm $21

Offering ingredients that are truly edible (although it is not intended for consumption), this balm is sheer and smells of mango, raspberry seed oil and vanilla. It melts effortlessly on contact and is designed to be used anywhere that needs hydration (think cuticles, hair, elbows, etc.). The raspberry seed oil offers some natural sun protection, and as evidenced by the worn product label, I also have one of these on hand in my purse and bedside! This product is simple and appreciated.

Final Thoughts:

Don’t neglect your lips! Our lips are so delicate and need a lot of attention. In addition to sunscreen, it is important we offer them regular exfoliation and deep hydration. With an abundance of beautifully rich, beautifully natural ingredients it is easier and more enjoyable than ever to show our lips some love!

Remember, you are appreciated and worthy of self-care and love.

XOXO,

Erika

Comment below! I would love to know what green beauty products you enjoy using on your pout!

Hello!

Hi everyone! I am so excited to introduce myself to you. My name is Erika Arriaga and I live in the beautifully hot, beautifully dry state of Arizona. I have been married to my husband, Carlos, for 5 years and we have a 3 1/2 year old son, also named Carlos and a 5 month old son named Pablo. My boys are the loves of my life and we have another baby on the way! Our third is due in June and we cannot wait to have another baby running around, and coincidentally running our lives (LOL).

I work full-time for a large medical supply company and I am a LOVER of skin care! Did I mention I LOVE skin care? When thinking of starting this blog, the one question I asked myself, with doubt was, “Is there enough room for me?”. In this massive world of influencers and beauty brands and bloggers, do we really need another one? I am not an expert, I won’t pretend to be. I am not an aesthetician. I am not a creator of skin care. But, like most women, I am on a mission to look as beautiful as possible for as long as possible.

I think about skincare obsessively. My phone would tell you that I research skincare 3 hours and 27 minutes on average, daily. I love trying new products, discovering the latest brand launches and researching ingredients. Luckily, I’ve found that I’m not the only one, I am not crazy! I am no expert, I won’t pretend to be. But I think I’ve done a good job so far at 32 of keeping my skin looking good, and if I keep this up, I’m banking on another 32 years. Now, most people say, “32!? How bad should your skin be? You’re a baby!” I know, I know! Trust me, I’ve done enough the past 30-some years to cause massive damage do my skin, and I believe prevention is key!
I still have a chance! But it starts now. Not to mention, the process of self-care and beauty is pretty fabulous, and there are worse addictions. Right?

I hope you find inspiration from my blog! Inspiration to indulge in luxurious, CLEAN! skincare. I hope you find inspiration from all of the beautiful colors, luscious scents, unforgettable textures; all while reducing your toxic load!

XOXO,

Erika