Why Beautycounter?

Last week I announced that I joined Beautycounter. I’m a total introvert, so this is wayyyyy out of my wheelhouse. But you guys, this mission is so important to me.

I wanted to share some more background on why I chose Beautycounter. A few months ago, I learned that my hormone levels were all over the place. At the advice of my doctor, I started eating hormone-free meats and dairy and slowly switching to “clean” products that go on/in my skin. Around that time, my friend Madison started posting about Beautycounter products. The timing was impeccable, so I purchased some lipstick and tinted moisturizer (more about why those products later).

Y’all, I wasn’t expecting much. I don’t know why I thought “natural” products wouldn’t work. But these products truly wowed me. I bought more products and have yet to find something that I don’t LOVE. I think I expected some Mary Kay-esque products, but this is far from your mother’s makeup. It’s high end, with modern packaging (I’m a sucker for packaging),  and IT WORKS. Like really works. Look, allure agrees!

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Madison had talked to me about partnering with Beautycounter but I was insanely hesitant. Here’s why:

  • I’m an introvert.
  • I HATE when people DM me on social media about their makeup/oils/jewelry/clothing.
  • Just the word “sales” makes my skin crawl, so there’s that.

She never pressured me, and we just kept talking about it over a few weeks. But then I read more about Beautycounter’s powerful mission, and about their cool partnerships with J.Crew and Target (hello, my two favorite stores).

This process was helped by the fact that my master’s degree is in health education & behavior. We learned so much about health policy, so I was shocked to learn in my research that the US hasn’t passed a major federal law regulating the cosmetics industry since 1938. That’s 78 years, folks!

Why does that matter? Because most of the chemical compounds used in skin care have been created in the last 50 years or so. That means that the laws have not caught up to the science. And that’s kind of scary.

I love what CEO and founder Gregg Renfrew said: “Like many of you, I’m a wife and mom—and, like many of you, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I applied sunscreen, lotion, and any number of beauty products on myself and my kids, I never thought for a second they might not be safe: After all, I thought, we live in a country that regulates everything. So imagine my surprise when I learned that when it comes to the personal care industry, that’s simply not the case. Companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety.”

And that kind of did it for me. I want to be a part of this mission because I want people to simply have the knowledge about safe beauty.

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I mentioned earlier that the first two products I bought were lipstick and tinted moisturizer. Why?

Because the easiest way to “go clean” is one step at a time. It’s not to replace every product in your makeup bag or shower all at once. The best way to make the change is to do it one product at a time. Ran out of mascara? Buy a clean version. Need moisturizer? Buy a clean version. Running low on face wash or blush or eyeliner? Buy a clean version. Need to get a gift for a girlfriend? Buy a clean version.

I want y’all to join me on this mission. So much so, that the first three people who place an order will get a free goodie from me! Huzzah!

Here’s a handy shopping list for my personal “go-to” products:

  • Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer (an allure Best of Beauty award winner!): I’m shade No. 2 for reference
  • Lip Sheer (best seller, and another allure Best of Beauty award winner!): I use the Twig shade for everyday use. This lip sheer was a game changer for me since I have super chapped lips and have never found a lipstick that doesn’t accentuate that, until I found this.
  • Nourishing Cream Cleanser: Safe to use to remove eye makeup!
  • Charcoal Cleansing Bar: This is a gentler version than what you might be used to, because it also uses green tea and coconut oil.

Want a sample of something? Just message me!

And shop all of their amazing products here: www.beautycounter.com/amandaredinger

I’m so excited for y’all to fall in love with their products and their mission.

PS: Have kids? This is equally (if not more) important. Baby products are not held to a higher standard–the same toxic ingredients found in your skin care and makeup can be found in your baby wash and oils. Feel better about what you put on your littles by clicking here: Beautycounter Baby & Kids

In good health,

A.

2016 Gift Guide: Girlfriends!

I *think* I’m done with Christmas shopping, and that’s mainly thanks to online gift guides. I don’t know why I can’t figure out what to buy people, BUT if you’re in the same camp, here are some fun gifts for your girlfriends/sister/mom!

PS: All of these gifts are under $75!

1. The Leather Pouch Wallet from Madewell

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This is SUCH a classic gift to give, and you can even go a step further and get it foil-pressed monogrammed. This is 100% on my Christmas list.

2. Beautycounter Winter Warmth Palette

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This is a great option for two reasons: 1) women love makeup and 2) this makeup brand is totally SAFE and free of harmful chemicals. Getting this for your girlfriend/sister/mom shows that you not only understand their love for beauty products, but also that you care about them and their safety.

3. Threshold Art from Target

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Getting someone art is such a unique gift. It’s a bold statement that will provide a lasting reminder of your gift-giving skills. Plus, this is a huge piece of art for only $70 (with free shipping!), so you’ll look like much more of an impressive gift-giver with this luxurious piece.

4. “Thankful” Print by P + Co

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Show your lady how thankful you are for her with this “Thankful” print by P + Co.

5. Beautycounter Band of Beauty Membership

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This gift takes it a step further with the makeup deal, because your lady friend will get some serious perks just for buying (safe!) makeup and skin care. For $29, she’ll get:

  • 15% product credit with every order
  • Free shipping on orders over $100
  • Complimentary gift just for signing up
  • Special offers exclusive to members

 

PS: Want help picking out makeup/skin care products for your girlfriends? Email me at amanda.p.redinger@gmail.com and put “Gift Guide” in the subject line!

 

xo, A

Thoughts on ‘Stranger Things’

SPOILER ALERT. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Let’s just jump into this with my thoughts on Stranger Things, as well as some questions we need answered. Again, and for the last time, SPOILER ALERT. Would love to hear your thoughts. (I’m writing this before reading any other fan theories so these thoughts are all my own!)

  1. Clearly, Eleven is still alive.
  2. And, almost certainly, so is Papa. (Since we didn’t actually see him die.)
  3. Will…oh Will. You can’t survive in the Upside Down for a week and not have some kind of emotional trauma. So maybe that’s what he was experiencing at the end of the final chapter? Or maybe he was impregnanted with the Demogorgon’s spawn and he is just a host. This could be possible, but since Joyce/Hop saw an egg (that clearly did not need a host) in the Upside Down forest, it’s unlikely.
  4. How was Will the only one who survived? Yes, he was ‘good at hiding’ but this takes it to a whole new level, considering that everyone else had been eaten. My theory: Will was the first one taken. At that point, the Demogorgon might’ve been new at hunting, or a baby, or both. Either way, the “non-Upside Down” world was new to the monster, so he might’ve been confused and unable to hunt at his peak, allowing Will to run. Either that, OR, the monster was focused on spawning, not hunting, and needed Will alive.
  5. Does Papa love Eleven? Well, if he does, it’s clearly in a tormented way. But I think there’s more to their story than just Frankenstein and his monster. As with Mary Shelley’s work, the relationship is obviously conflicted, but there is deep emotion there. I think we might see more of this in Season 2.
  6. Where did Hop go with the bad people at the end? What exactly were the terms of the agreement between him and Dr. Brenner? Is he in cahoots with them now? Clearly he’s feeding El, but what happened when he went back to Hawkins Lab? My theory: This is all an elaborate mind game (see #8) and this is all a drug-induced psychosis. Hop is now having to help Hawkins clean up the mess they made, AND make sure they have follow-up data. Hawkins (Dr. Brenner) needs to know what happens to the people after they’ve returned to a “normal” state, and Hop is responsible for reporting that data. But, what about El? Hop knows the deal here, and he is NOT about to return that girl to Hawkins. She’s likely living in the woods with….who? Who are we missing? No one. That means that Hop isn’t the only one in on this. Mike probably is as well, and maybe Joyce and Jonathan. They’ve probably built up “Castle Byers” for her to stay in.
  7. Nancy and Steve….oh Nancy and Steve. Classic. But I’m glad it ended that way, because it would be unrealistic for her and Jonathan to get together.
  8. Have you seen Shutter Island? I’ve had a feeling that this is going to turn out in a similar way. That all of this is in their heads, likely due to the “LSD hippie crap” that Hawkins is/was testing. If so, that gives the writers a LOT of freedom on where they can go with this.
  9. The acting in this series is SILLY GOOD. I mean incredible. I was constantly in awe at how realistic and natural El’s facial expressions were.
  10. IF Eleven were to be dead, I’d be angry. She should’ve lived over Will, because the emotional trauma Will will suffer from being in the Upside Down will never be repaired. Eleven gets my survivor vote.
  11. Who are the other ten? This is a stretch, but we know that El’s mom Terry willingly participated in the clinical trials. I think Dr. Brenner was sleeping with his patients (read: Terry Ives), impregnating them, and then taking the babies to do further research on. Therefore, Eleven is Dr. Brenner’s eleventh child with his patients. It seemed that he also had a “normal” son, since the person who originally goes into the Upside Down @ Hawkins Lab was referred to as “son” just before he enters (and dies).

So, to wrap all of that in a bow, here’s my fan theory: The Demogorgon, and everything related to it, is a hallucination, brought on by the “LSD hippie crap” that Hawkins is testing on their residents. Could also be mind-control drugs, but either way, there is no “Upside Down”. Heck, even El might be a figment of their imagination (that would be sad). Hop made a deal with Hawkins to collect follow-up data, but he’s actually part of the study as well–he just doesn’t know it. Dr. Brenner is obviously still alive, because the Demogorgon isn’t real, so he didn’t get eaten, and he is still running the study, and will continue to run the study. But Steve saw the monster, too! Yeah, and Steve had some pretty serious blows to the head before that. Seriously, the guy should’ve gone to the hospital. Then what happened to Barb and the others? People die in drug studies. She was a casualty of war. Or she’s locked up at Hawkins, still being tested on. BUT ELEVEN! I know, she’s my fave too! But, likely, a figment of their imagination. Since Hop is a part of the study, he still thinks she is real, which is why he continues to feed her. But what if she IS real!? Well, then, I believe she does have the powers we’ve seen. However, I think she is a messed up little girl. If you ONLY listen to what El says, it doesn’t necessarily equate to what happened. She says like twenty words total, and a lot of them are “bad” and “monster” and “friend”. That could mean A LOT OF THINGS. But we saw her flashbacks! Yep, and none of them were her with the actual monster in the Upside Down. She was in a dark place, likely hallucinating. Don’t you find it strange that the “Upside Down” that El went to was different than the one that everyone else went to?

Anyway, that’s where my brain stops for today with this. Would love for you to challenge my theory!

A

Loving through hate

This morning, MTR and I watched the news and learned about Dallas. One day after learning about Philando Castile. Two days after learning about Alton Sterling.

I was standing, watching. My mouth was agape*. I was in shock, and so confused and hurt. I had to walk away, and a few minutes later, I was crying in our closet, MTR praying over us and over our world. For Jesus to show us how to love and how to love through the hate. I just wept.

I have too many thoughts and too many feelings, but since I am a verbal processor, I’d like to try and get some of it out of my head.

I wish I had good news. But the only good news here is Jesus. I think about the evil in our world, and know that this will not be resolved until Jesus comes. There are many days when I am confused why He hasn’t come yet. I would’ve–but that’s why I’m not God.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Black lives matter. This will not change. We must acknowledge institutional racism for what it is. We have to humble ourselves and see how we’ve added to the problem, even if unknowingly.
  • Blue lives matter. This also will not change. I’ve seen a lot lately about “all lives matter,” and yes, that is true, because we are all made in the image of our Creator. But when we make statements like that, we minimize the issue. We cover it up because it makes us uncomfortable. So let’s call it what it is. Black lives matter because hatred and bigotry and racism has caused this violence to happen. Statistically, more black males are in prison. But let’s be truthful when we answer this question: Are more black males in prison because they commit more crimes? Or are more black males in prison because of stereotypes and racism and profiling? That hurts to answer, right? Blue lives matter because retaliation is not okay. Grouping cops into a collective mass of black-hating murderers is doing THE SAME THING that we are trying not to do with blacks. Such narrow-mindedness is what led us here.
  • Prayer matters. It’s easy to think that saying a prayer and asking God for help is futile. And that is exactly what the Enemy wants us to think. One of the most powerful things I’ve read is from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape, a minion for the Enemy, shares this, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…” Let us not be so idle to betray Hope. And when we are confused and don’t know what to pray for, “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.” (Romans 8:26, MSG)
  • Love matters. May we not see these types of violence and think that all cops or evil, or that all blacks are evil. That type of thinking is what got us into this mess. God calls us to do TWO things: Love God, and love our neighbor as we love God. That’s it. The first part is easy, the second part is hard. Especially when we know “neighbor” to mean literally anyone other than us. We need to LOVE our black friends. We need to LOVE our police force. We need to LOVE those who are confused and don’t do either of those two things. One of my first reactions after hearing the news this morning was “Do NOT get on Facebook.” Because I knew that amongst the pain and grieving, I’d find hate. More vicious, disgusting, spewing hate. And I was scared that I would go off on them. That I’d call them what they were, and yell at them and use hateful words. And quite frankly, I still want to do that. But that does NOT help. That draws a deeper line in the sand. And if we continue drawing lines, we will have more violence. That’s history, folks. So, show up. Say kind words. Don’t voice hate. Let’s ONLY show up with love in our hearts. As hard as it is, let’s let go of anger. Let’s let go of retaliation. Let’s only show God’s love…for after all, He is the ultimate Judge. We add nothing to our lives or the lives of others through hatred.

My heart hurts equally for the wives/girlfriends/daughters/sons of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the five officers shot dead. The pain is equal. May we all feel that way.

via @amyckeeney on IG

via @amyckeeney on IG

* Agape…how interesting that my mouth was agape. “Open wide, especially with surprise or wonder” is how it’s defined. But if you type in those five letters… A-G-A-P-E, how interesting that you see clearly that it is the same word as LOVE. Agape, or “Christian love.” “Unselfish love.” or, the best one: “The love of God or Christ for humankind.” My mouth was agape, open. And when we are stunned into silence like I was this morning, the only thing that has room is Christ’s love–agape. How hauntingly beautiful.

Friday Faves #9

What whaaaatttt Friday Faves is back and since I’ve left you high and dry for so long, I’m doing TEN faves today. Enjoy!

1. Whole 30

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I did Whole30 last year right around this time and it was a total game-changer. (You can read about that here.) I lost a total of 11 pounds in 30 days, and felt like a totally new person. I felt SO GOOD. Which is why I am about to do it again: because I DO NOT FEEL GOOD. I am so so so tired and sluggish and my body just does not feel great. Let me know if you want to do it with me! (It’s free and not some sales-y thing, you just eat whole food for a month)

2. bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipgloss in Free Spirit

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My mom gave my sister and I a crap ton of makeup to go through and take that she did not love. Somehow I ended up with two tubes of this stuff, and I am SO GLAD I DID. I’m picky about lipgloss since a lot of it leaves me with chapped lips, but this is minty and a great, has a lasting color and somehow is also kind of moisturizing? I also love this because it is kind of the shade that my lips naturally are, so I can wear it every day.
PS: Sign up for the bareMinerals email and you’ll get 15% off your first order!

3. Buzzfeed

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I cannot get enough of Buzzfeed. If I could get a job reading Buzzfeed articles or taking Buzzfeed quizzes, I’d jump on it. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

 

4. Starbucks Cold BrewScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.13.19 PM

This is mainly a fave because I’m drinking it right now and it’s so effing hot outside. All y’all Starbucks haters can chill out, because I don’t care about any level of coffee-snob-ishness. Okay? Good.

I order mine with a splash of whole milk (studies have recently shown whole milk is MUCH better for overall health & weight loss) and one pump of vanilla syrup.

 

5. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

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This is the best white wine I think I have ever had. Very tart, bright, light. Not sweet. Love it so much.

6. LOLA Tampon Delivery

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You heard me right. Here are the four BEST things about LOLA:

  1. They deliver tampons to your door.
  2. They are made from 100% organic cotton.
  3. You can MIX AND MATCH absorbencies. WHAT. Isn’t that all of our wish? Want 3 supers, 14 regulars and 1 light? Done. How about 7 supers, 7 regulars, and 4 lights? Done. All regular? Done. 8 super and 10 regular? You get that too. This is so crazy.
  4. You can turn off and on delivery. So if you don’t need a new box next month, just change the delivery date and you won’t be billed. Brilliant.

And, they aren’t that much more expensive than Playtex or Always or whatever other brand.

Start now! Get your first TWO boxes for only $9 (regularly $18) AND get a $5 credit if you use the code APURSER1

 

7. Catbird 

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I love Catbird jewelry if you’re looking for some timeless, dainty, long-lasting jewelry. In fact, this is where I got my wedding ring! I love it so much because their pieces are timeless and sturdy and don’t break the bank (although there are some incredible pieces that do break the bank).

In addition to jewelry, they also have beauty products, and home goods.

 

8. Loacker Quadratini Chocolate Wafers (I buy @ Trader Joe’s)

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All I need to say about these is that they’re light enough to easily trick me into eating a whole bag. God bless America.

I buy them at Trader Joe’s, but they’re also on Amazon and I think at Walmart and World Market.

 

9. Quinoa Apricot & Arugula Salad from Love and Lemons

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THIS is my salad. It’s my jam. It’s so filling and yummy and different and I love it. I roast the chickpeas for 15mins at 450 degrees to give them a little crunch and I don’t add the chives or almonds because they’re just unnecessary to me so why spend the $ on them? And OH the dressing. So good.

 

10. Pure Barre

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Y’all, I drank the Kool-Aid. The bright red Kool-Aid.

I didn’t think I’d enjoy PB as much as I do, mainly because of the cost ($$$). I didn’t think it would be worth it but YOU GUYS. It is.

I’ve taken barre classes before, but when I took a Flybarre class in Atlanta thanks to my cousinsisterfriend Joanna, I knew that I was missing something. There is something about a KILLER workout with fast paced music that is REALLY HARD that just fits my soul. The barre classes I had taken before were good, but lacked the energy.

Since we don’t have a Flybarre here, I just thought I was out of luck–because I did not realize that we have a Pure Barre. But once I found out that we did (!) and went to my first class–GAME OVER. Literally I signed up for the New Client Special (1 month unlimited for $100) after my first class and yesterday I signed up for a year unlimited.

A YEAR UNLIMINTED, YOU GUYS.

That’s a lot of classes. But it is so worth it let me just tell you. I usually go a minimum of three times a week, and sometimes more. It’s an incredible workout, and I usually reach muscle failure in each section we work (arms/thighs/seat/abs). They tell you to “embrace the shake” and BOY DO YOU SHAKE. I worked in the fitness industry for almost 8 years, and this is the bomb.com. It’s the real deal.

This 55 minute workout is no joke. Yesterday my instructor commented on how she loved how much I sweat during class. Because I do.

So–if you have a Pure Barre in your area, go to one class. And then promise me something….go again. The first class can be overwhelming; they move quickly and use terms you might not be familiar with. But guess what? EVERYONE in the room with you has had to be a first timer and not understand what was going on. No one walked in all chill and new what it meant to “bend stretch”, okay? So just go once, have a little fun, and then go one more time. You won’t regret it.

PS: BUY THE STICKY SOCKS. You are required to wear socks during class. Try holding a 90 second plank with regular socks on ON CARPET. #bless