The Best Skin Care Products of 2012

Monday, December 31, 2012

It is that time again -- time for me to tell you about my most favorite green skin care products of 2012.  You'll notice many of them have made the list year after year.  This year, I have chosen three winners for each category.  Why?  Honestly, there are so many fabulous facial skin care and body care products on the market worthy of your attention that I just cannot bear to leave them off my list!  Plus, if availability near you is an issue, know that you have options for finding great products!




BEST of 2012




And the winners are...



Best Soaps 2012


Best Handmade Bar Soaps

To make my list, the soaps must be free of palm oil, give a nice creamy lather, cleanse the skin effectively, not leave a buildup on the skin, and not leave my skin feeling tight and dry.

The winners are:  Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap, Wink Soap, and Alchemic Muse.  All are stellar soaps.



Best Face Cleansers



Best Liquid Facial Cleansers

There are some really beautiful facial cleansers on the market and I have to say that you do NOT have to spend much money to get a good product.  I have been sent so many products over the years and it is a shame to see that some $50 cleansers are not nearly as nice as $9 ones. It's the ingredients, people!

My skin is on the dry side of normal. It is sensitive and I am in my late 30s.


If your skin is different than mine, please use our search feature for other posts on cleanser recommendations for different skintypes or drop me an email!




Best Facial Toners of 2012


Best Facial Toners



Thayer's makes some really beautiful toners.  My favorite is probably the Cucumber Witch Hazel Alcohol Free.  Other top-notch toners include 100% Pure Brightening Tonique if you want to spend more moola and Dickinson's Witch Hazel. This one is better for oily skintypes, in my opinion.




Best Facial Serums of 2012



Best Facial Serums

With my history in the skin care industry, you know I am super picky about products for the face.  Serums are one of those products I can be extra critical of. Three stellar facial serums:  Grateful Body Sea Cell Serum, Sia Botanics Prickly Pear Serum, and my most favorite (which is also the most reasonable) of all three is Acure Organics Seriously Firming Facial Serum. All three are packed with potent anti-aging ingredients and will help your skin fight the signs (and correct over time) of aging.


best peels


Best Facial Peels & Scrubs

One of the best things you can do for your skin to keep it looking fresh and healthy is EXFOLIATE! My top three products are L'Bri Rejuventating Facial Peel, Made From Eath Grapefruit Glycolic Scrub, and Juice Beauty Gentle Green Apple Peel.







Best Facial Moisturizers of 2012


Best Facial Moisturizers


Again, ultra picky about moisturizers for the face. My favorite is technically a hand cream, but I have spoken at great length about how what matters it the INGREDIENTS in a tube, not the name of the product.  I will tell you that I am wholeheartedly in love with (seed) Healthy Hand Cream. I use the fragrance free version. I use it on my face and on my hands.  I use it on my kids.  It is fantabulous.





Best Eye Creams of 2012



Best Eye Creams


I love eye treatments and I am not picky about consistency as long as the ingredients are effective and the results visible. My top 3 eye products are all available at a discounted price on drugstore.com and they are all truly lovely!






Best Lip Balms of 2012



Best Lip Balms

I love lip balm.  We all apply it frequently in this house (even my boys) and we go through quite a bit.

Again, Acure Organics makes my list.  It has quickly become a favorite brand of mine, especially for facial and hair care.  The lip balm tastes so heavenly! It is dark chocolate + mint. Yum! But it also works.

Wink Soap Coconut Cream Lip Balm is absolutely divine as well, plus Badger  makes awesome lip balms!


Best Body Washes of 2012




Best Body Washes 



For me to say something is a good body wash it must pass my no itch test.  I have an issue with even the most natural body washes making my skin feel tight and itchy.


My top 3-- Nourish Organic Body Wash, this is a brand I adore. I have tried three of their washes now and love them all.  I also adore Queen Helene Naturals Cocoa Butter Body Wash. Another favorite is from 100% Pure.  While it is part of their kids line, I prefer it to the "adult" ones from the line. It is the 100% Pure Yummy Ice Cream 2-in-1.



Best Body Scrubs 2012





Best Body Scrubs



I love body scrubs. I use them every other day.  For deep exfoliation, I need the salt scrubs.  Otherwise, I love the yummy gourmand scents of many sugar scrubs.  My top 3 scrubs --



Prem Soaps Salt Scrub is the best scrub you can buy when it comes to salt. I also love the luxurious aroma and texture of Shea Terra Organics Premium Dark Chocolate Sugar Stone Exfoliating Cream. I also love the body scrubs from 100% Pure, particularly the Cocoa Kona scrub.







Best Moisturizers for the Body




Best Body Moisturizers



Number one, I know we all prefer different textures -- I am stating right off the bat that as I get older, I am no longer such a body lotion fan. I love rich butters, creams, and balms. My favorite in each of those categories: Nourish Almond Vanilla Body Butter, (seed) Relaxing Lavender Body Cream, and or a rich balm, I adore Badger Creamy Cocoa Body Moisturizer.







The 12 Days of Christmas: C & G Edition

Friday, December 21, 2012



From our family to yours, may you all have a beautiful Christmas surrounded by love laughter, and peaceful relfection. Now hum along to the "12 Days of Christmas" -- Chic & Green style! All of the days feature some of my favorite things!



On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.




On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.



On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.



On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows,  three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.



On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me six  Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows,  three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.



On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight 100% Pure face balms, seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine Loubird jewels, eight 100% Pure face balms, seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows,  three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me  ten trips to Peppermint, nine Loubird jewels, eight 100% Pure face balms, seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eleven Everyday Minerals blushes,  ten trips to Peppermint, nine Loubird jewels, eight 100% Pure face balms, seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve Spa at Corn Hill manicures, eleven Everyday Minerals blushes,  ten trips to Peppermint, nine Loubird jewels, eight 100% Pure face balms, seven Original Moxie conditioners, six Silk Naturals lippies, five Honeybee Gardens mascaras, four Alima shadows, three Aunt Nancy's Soaps,  two Prem scrubs and a (seed) Healthy Hand Cream.


Random Rochester

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I apologize for neglecting the blog. I have been super duper busy and am playing catch up!




I went to the fantabulous Spa at Corn Hill on Tuesday and had a gel manicure with the area's most favorite nail guru, Elizabeth. I love, love, love my shiny Gelish red nails.




I also was busy with some last minute Christmas orders. The last of them went out to California last night. See above.



I also did some shopping at Peppermint this week. I found the sweet owl gloves for moi (above) and the "Mustache You a Question" scarf (below), as well as a couple of bars of Wink Soap. Stop by Peppermint -- it is a unique and wonderfully chic boutique!


And Weggies! What would I do without Wegmans? I did NOT want to go to the mall and I was getting some more milk for Tom and Ben and stumbled up a discounted Burt's Bees set for $7.99, 4 tubes of (seed) Hand Cream for gifts, and a huge selection of gift cards so I could finish those last couple relatives. I was in and out for my milk (and all these finished gifts now) in 10 minutes!


Jamberry Nails Review

Monday, December 17, 2012

Have you heard about Jamberry Nails? I had seen a couple online mentions before a few months back, but had the idea in my head that their product was just a sticker like the ones a few years back I had tried (and disliked) from Avon.




The lovely folks at Jamberry Nails asked me if I would like to try their product and I accepted.  I will be candid when I say that I didn't think I'd like them.  I thought it'd be a chore to apply them.  I thought they would look like stickers.  I have no problem saying I WAS WRONG. You heard me, readers. Karley was wrong. Wrong, wrong wrong. I ACTUALLY LOVE Jamberry Nails!

I had a hard decision choosing which holiday-themed nail shields I would be using first.  I actually chose a deep red with white damask print.

Applying Jamberry Nails is quite easy. You'll need to be sure that your nails are free of oils and residue from skin care products such as creams and oils.  Make sure there are no traces of nail polish left behind.  I took my buffing block and did a quick buffing of my nails -- fingernails and toenails.

First, you warm the decals for a few seconds with a hair dryer.  Then you can apply the "sticker", which is not truly a sticker. It is a vinyl decal of sorts called a Nail Shield.  Press it and smooth it into the nail. Cut to the right length and then I used a wooden cuticle stick to gentle push into cuticle area. Then you use the hair dryer again to seal it in, so to speak.  Voila--you have stunning nails in just a few minutes. Tips are just to apply lots of pressure and be sure you warm the shield prior to application.

Jamberry Nails Nail Shields sell for $15.  At first I thought that was too much.  However, they will last up to 10 days and each sheet will provide you with 2 to 3 sets of fingers or toes. If you consider the cost of a long lasting salon manicure/pedicure and love to do it yourself, this is a great bet.

I have had two long, pretty hot showers and a long bath with these. I also have scrubbed a lasagna pan. No peeling, chipping, etc. so far.  It's Monday at 11:15am as I type this and I applied them Saturday afternoon.

What I really adore about these would be the fact that when you apply them, there are no fumes at all like traditional nail polish.  You also can remove these WITHOUT nail polish remover. For a test, I did it on my pinky toe. You just rewarm with heat from the hair dryer and peel the nail shield off. Easy peasy.

Jamberry Nails are sold through independent reps. You can also buy online.

Here is a link to the company: Jamberry Nails

Chic & Green approves of Jamberry Nails and gives the product an A.

*Disclosure: I was sent nail shields from Jamberry Nails for possible review at no cost.  This in no way has affected the outcome of this review.

Today.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Do you ever just kneel down at their bedside to watch your children sleep?

I remember when I was a new mommy I was so unprepared for the strong protective feeling I would have taking over my body. There swaddled in his crib was baby Nicholas. I would get out of bed over and over between feedings just to be sure he was breathing. I vowed to protect him forever to the best of my ability.

I did the same with Ben when he was a newborn, although I knew he was OK. I was no longer a novice.

Every night, I watch them still-- but only for a couple moments to kiss them both once more before I head to bed. I always adjust their covers and then I tell them how very much I love them and always tell them something silly. Usually I whisper in their ears and say "Tomorrow, I am going to give you 37 kisses." That number changes as I get older. I like to tuck them in once more and just know all is well before bed.

Today, I did as I do every weekday morning. I hug them both, make sure they have what they need, and then we take our super quick walk over to school. We laugh and chat and then I leave them in a place I know they enjoy--a safe place where they are nurtured and can learn and grow-- school.

After I leave them off, I go about my routine of grabbing coffee and then I get busy working, usually on my laptop. And I know that when the school day is done, Ben will run out to greet me with a big, relatively toothless grin before Nick slowly walks out with his backpack and trombone.

So many of us have these normal days, don't we? The parents of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut today wished their precious children a happy day at school and most likely said, "I love you! I'll see you after school!"

And for those parents, those routine words on a Friday morning would be the last they spoke to their children.  The last time they walked them or drove them to school...the last time they waited with them for the bus.

Since I do social media as part of my job, I was on Facebook this morning when my friend in Connecticut posted about a school shooting. As I watched the story unfold and evolve from the initial, sad report of 2 people dead to what we would all discover was a horrific, unimagineable massacre of mostly children, we are all sitting here wondering how the hell this happened. Again. In a nice safe neighborhood...

I could go on and on about  how easy it is for people to get a hold of guns here...or about how too many people turn a blind eye to those with mental health problems which makes it so people aren't getting the help they need. I could address the crackpots who say, "everything happens for a reason."

I will not. Right now there aren't words for me to say. There is no reason. All I have are these raw feelings--feelings of horror and sadness.

We have no answers. What we are left with is this overwhelming gratitude for having children who are snoring softly in their beds right now. Safe. Sound. Protected. Innocent.  As children should be.

And we are left asking how and why and what now? We will watch the story continue to unfold over the coming days and wonder why this monster did what he did and what happened to him as a child to somehow turn him into this person who was capable of such a heinous crime.

There are no acceptable answers. There are none.  The harsh reality is that there are parents who will never hear their children laugh again. Or feel sloppy kisses. Or feel the warmth of their child's hug, which has to be the greatest feeling on earth.

I know I am not the only one with the this feeling in my heart---the "what if that had been my child?" I just came back downstairs a few minutes ago from watching my boys sleep. They only went to bed at 9 o'clock, but I really don't care. I will be back with them in a bit. First back to Nick's room, then to Ben's. I will kneel on the floor with more falling tears and watch them sleep.  There are no words. None at all. These beautiful innocent children and school personnel were taken away and there are no just no words...

I'll Have a Blue Christmas....

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

etsyblu

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Buying Guide

RACHELelise, $27
Aurora Borealis earrings by moi in my shop Loubird Handmade, $16
Gift tags from Charonel Designs, $4.95
Votive holders from Bittersweet Design, $27
Robin's egg blue banner with red heart from Amanda at Funkyshique, $24

The Spirit of Giving

Monday, December 10, 2012

It is the holiday season and most of us are incredibly fortunate. We have our families; we have good health. Our children go to bed snug in their beds each night knowing they are loved and that they are protected from adult worries and cares. That is what being a kid SHOULD be like.






My boys are curled up right now as I type. Nick is reading a book while snuggling with "Kitty", his stuffed grey cat.  Ben is watching "Monday Night Football" with Tom and the dog. It is a joyful time. They are so excited about Christmas, cookie baking, Santa Claus, and life as carefree 7 and 9 year olds.

We are so very blessed.

The boys have classmates (one in each of their classes) whose worlds have been turned upside down.  These beautiful children are the same age as my boys and their dad is dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

And they, along with their parents and two other siblings, need the help of our community.  I know that not all of you are in the Rochester area-- only about 25% of my readers are from the ROC. But for those of you who are in Rochester, I ask you to please read on.

We live in an incredibly generous community. People pull together to help one another. A local business, 2 Ton Tony's Pizza on Titus Avenue, is reaching out to help this family and pulling together members of this community to help out in any way we can.

The organizer of this drive is Tony's fiancee, Kathy Nersinger. She has a wishlist for the children. There are 4 children, all under the age of 10. The youngest is a 2 year old girl. The oldest is a 4th grade girl. There are two little boys in the middle.

The children's mom tells me that they could really use some joy. Let's all pull together to help this family!

Here is the original message from 2 Ton Tony's Pizza:



"Attention Facebook friends of 2 Ton Tony's Pizza. Christmas is a time of giving and celebrating with our family and friends. We have been very fortunate in our 3 years that 2 Ton Tony's has been open. Last Christmas Eve we celebrated our 2nd Christmas Eve lunch at 2 Ton Tony's and we also found a new purpose for our celebration. 


Last Christmas, my fiancee, Kathy Brinklow Nersinger and myself reached out to help a single mom that had lost her job and was struggling to make ends meet. This hard working mom shared that she would not be able to have any Christmas for her son. Kathy was so moved that she took it upon herself to offer our help to make Christmas a reality for this family. With the help of many friends and Bob Lonsberry and his listeners, this mom was showered with gifts for her Christmas celebration with her son. This year Kathy and I have decided to turn this into a 2 Ton Tony's tradition. We have selected another family in need for this Christmas season and this family needs our help. This particular family happens to be customers of 2 Ton Tony's in Irondequoit and in the past year they have been given terrible news. This family of 6 (Mom, Dad and 4 kids 10 & under) was told that the dad has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). 

This horrible disease is now ravaging through his body and he currently is at home, bed-ridden with a tracheotomy to help him breath. Since he was diagnosed,the wife has left her job to take care of her dying husband. Their children are watching their father wither away and they need our help. We want to ask our friends, customers and fellow humans to join our cause in helping bring Christmas to this family in need. We are asking for any help you can offer in the way of gift cards, cash donations or gifts to help this family celebrate possibly their last Christmas together.

 We have already begun to purchase gifts from their wish list. We will be collecting donations until our Christmas Lunch on Saturday December 22nd and after the lunch we will deliver all of the donations to this family. I want to thank you in advance for your generosity and I hope to see all of you for our Christmas Lunch."


I know that things are tough for many people. Any small donation would be helpful. Or instead of one more video game or American Girl doll outfit, think of using that money to buy a toy for these children so they can have a nice holiday, too.

To find out more:

If you can help out in any way, please contact Kathy Nersinger at kathynersinger@yahoo.com 

Thank you, friends!

A Handmade Christmas: Lavender Infused Honey

Friday, December 7, 2012

In case you haven't figured it out after all this time, I kind of adore honey.

I have an easy peasy (and quite delicious) handmade gift idea for you: Lavender Infused Honey.

This Christmas, I am creating several gift baskets with hand-blended teas (next week on the blog), vanilla infused sugar, a china tea cup, and shortbread cookies.

The honey is pretty easy to make.  You can infuse the honey with almost anything you'd like. I happen to use sprigs of lavender.  You can use rosemary or other herbs too depending on your preferences.


You will need-- any kind of good honey. I am using raw and unfiltered wildflower honey. Check your local farmer's markets for great local honey! Aman's here in Irondequoit sells some great honey!

You will also need an herb of your choice. I chose lavender.  Last up -- jars. I bought quilted mason jars (4 ounces) at Wegmans.

To create the honey infusion, simply simmer a small amount of lavender in honey on low heat. Use a saucepan and let it infuse for about 20 minutes.  Pour into clean jars.

I happened to find these adorable tags on Etsy from a shop called Sweetly Scrapped Art.  In fact, I bought quite a few different tags to use on gifts this year.

Next week, we'll get to the other projects for easy handmade gifts!



Nail Polish Adoration

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I almost always have my nails painted. Here's how they look today--



Anyway, I am pretty rough on my hands and end up chipping my manicure within a couple days so I'm going to be having gel nails done (with Gelish) by Elizabeth at Spa at Corn Hill soon. I cannot wait to show you when they're done.  In the meantime, here are my most favorite nail colors for the holiday season:



nails



For lots more inspiration, please check out:

Elizabeth's Thrifty & Fabulous Nail Art Post

The Nail Polish Board on Pinterest from Spa at Corn Hill


I want to hear from you-- What nail colors are you wearing this season?



What's In It Wednesday: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Wednesday, December 5, 2012




Yes, it's time for an all-new edition of What's In It Wednesday, when Chic & Green takes a hard look at the nasty and harmful ingredients in some of the most popular beauty products on the market.

Today we will take a serious look at what I always bake for Santa on Christmas Eve: RED VELVET CUPCAKES.

Filled with white flour, red food coloring, white sugar and more, I am sure that this dessert is not so good for you. That's my bottom line....and I pretty much guarantee that this recipe may just increase your bottom line :)

All kidding aside, I am going to share a simple, delicious recipe for these lovely treats! We're skipping the beauty products this week and focusing on baking.

I normally substitute natural applesauce for oil, wheat flour for the white, and natural colorings such as beet juice and elderberry...however, it's Christmastime, so I'm not doing so with this yummy one!

This is loosely based on a Paula Deen recipe. I've modified it because there was so much oil in the original, and not enough cocoa powder to suit my own tastes.

Enjoy!

This recipe will yield 8 to 10 cupcakes.

Please note that I have no patience for piping the frosting onto my cupcakes...I can't make gorgeous cakes and pies, but these will taste yummy for sure!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the following dry ingredients in one bowl:

1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder

Set aside.

In another bowl, beat one egg. Add in 1/2 c. vegetable oil. Then add 1/2 c. buttermilk, 1/2 t. of distilled white vinegar, 1 T. vanilla extract and beat together. Add in 2 T. red food coloring. Blend.  Now blend the wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.

Pour into greased muffin pans or into muffin paper liners in a muffin pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool.

While cooling, let's make a super yummy cream cheese icing!

Mix 1 (8 oz.) package of softened cream cheese with 1 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar, 1 T. vanilla and a stick of softened, unsalted butter. Mix on medium for about 90 seconds.

Ice the cupcakes and eat! Or save them for company....or both!

The Best of Honey Beauty Products

Tuesday, December 4, 2012



C & G Best Honey





Buying Guide:


Burt's Bees Honey & Bilberry Foot Cream, $10
Collective Well Being Honey Buff Facial Scrub, $12
Beecology Honey & Botanical Sulfate Free Shampoo, $13
Wedderspoon Manuka Honey & Oatmeal Soap, $6
Tokyo Milk Honey Blossom Lip Balm, $10
A Wild Soap Bar Honey Oat Fragrance Free Body Balm, $12


Thifty & Fabulous: Nailed it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Here I am! 

Again I will say, it's been awhile.

Hi!

Much has changed since my last post. I have indeed graduated from cosmetology school and begun work at a beautiful Spa (more on that sometime soon). I have also become an Aunt once again with the arrival of my nephew Judson, born on Eloise's birthday!

Life is good. Very, very good.

But, this post isn't about that. This particular post is supposed to be thrifty. And, fabulous!
Now that I am immersed into daily life as a nail technician, I thought something in that field might be apropos. Part of doing nails is, of course, nail art. In fact, that's one of my favorite things about this profession: getting to play and create mini "works of art".
Here are a some recent little projects...







One of the tools used to create the dots and small shapes above is a dotter. 
This is the set I have. They come in several sizes.




These aren't expensive. You can buy a 4 piece set online for less than $10.00. The thing is, you don't have to! You can create a your own dotting tool from items you already have at home.

A pencil with a pin stuck into the eraser will do the trick.




 
As will a toothpick.




The rounded end of a small paint brush...

Or, bobbypins!




Best yet, use all of these options to create different sizes. Can't get much more thrifty than free. And, nail art is rather fabulous if I do say so myself. (And, I do!)

Have fun! 

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