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asobkowiak9@gmail.com

The back of a girl's hair holding Beautycounter's Cleansing Balm
REAL LIFE

Everything you Want to Know About Beautycounter

If you follow me on Instagram & have been staying up to date then you know I’ve been talking about Beautycounter a lot lately. It’s because I’m so excited about it! I won’t lie, I was skeptical about these kinds of companies for years and I always assumed that if these products were actually legit then I could find them in a store. I started looking at the brand, and found the first “pop-up” store in Nantucket, and that they partner with GOOP, J. Crew, Target – all stores that I knew and trusted. If they were willing to put their faith & trust in Beautycounter – maybe I should too.

The more I did my research, the more I was amazed. There is a reason you keep seeing Beautycounter in news articles, on social media and point blank everywhere. People are getting smarter, the statistics on the beauty industry aren’t lying, and we can’t use the excuse that we’re naive or we don’t know better anymore.

Not to mention, more people are looking for ways to find creative ways to supplement income. Maybe for bills, maybe for fun money, whatever it may be. Women especially are looking for ways to find what they’re passionate about and change the world while making money to support their families – and all while being flexible with their time.

A little about Beautycounter

Beautycounter truly and 100% believes in their product and messaging. Their message is best told trusted friend to trusted friend. Everyone wants their products easily accessible and be able to go online at any given moment and order it. It’s bringing people what they want when they want it, like the amazon prime we have all come to know and live by. (Prime NOW cough my life).

Beautycounter has given me an amazing team that I am surrounded by constantly. We host events, we text, we work together to be bigger than any of us could be by ourselves. There is zero pressure of sales breathing down your neck – we do what we love with a product we believe in.

Why Beautycounter?

When it comes down to it, yes, Beautycounter is a company. But it’s also so much more than that. We are a movement. We are trying (& succeeding) at making the beauty industry safer for men, women, & children. We’re doing that with 3 simple things: valuable information, so you can make an informed decision on what you’re putting on your skin. Safer products, that aren’t full of harmful chemicals.

I think it’s worth digging a little deeper – if you take the time to actually look up what the chemicals in your products are…I guarantee you’ll be a little horrified at what you find. We’ve learned this before, as a country, with the food industry – that it’s not being regulated for our best interest. And guess what? The cosmetic industry hasn’t had a new law passed since 1938 and companies are allowed to KNOWINGLY use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about our safety.

Then there’s the science behind it all. And no, I am no nerd to understand this. It’s being/been proven that there is a direct link between the chemicals we’re exposed to and an increase of Asthma, Allergies, Autism, and ADHD. Genetically modified ingredients are you guessed it, genetically modifying our bodies. Decades of studies and research show that infertility and cancer are on the rise because of our daily and ongoing exposure to toxic chemicals.  

Over the past few years – both Canada and Europe have banned more than 1,300 (let that number sink in) chemicals in the personal care field and then restricted the levels of 250 more that are allowed to be included. The U.S.? We’ve banned 11. That’s a scary number to me.

All in all, I’m just doing what I can with what I know. I’m also hoping that my makeup and clay mask I do, isn’t causing me cancer..is that too much to ask for? I can’t pretend I’m getting it all right, and I can’t pretend that I went through my apartment once I learned everything and tossed out everything.  

The more I researched and looked into Beautycounter’s products – the more I fell in love. Not only are they beautifully marketed, but it’s nothing but honesty. They won’t claim to never put any chemical into a product, and they won’t put a product out because people are asking for it, if the product isn’t ready. They always stand behind the mission: to put safer products into the hands of everyone. Every product is free of the 1,300 chemicals that Canada & Europe have banned, and they have their “Never List” which these chemicals are directly related to cancer and damaging to your health. Just like me, they’re doing the best with what they know. How often do you really find a company with such authenticity?

Let’s take this one step further – Beautycounter’s real-life women are marching into Washington D.C. begging Congress to make every beauty company held accountable for their ingredients. They’re not just the pretty branded makeup with the pretty girls who use it. If you search the hashtags #betterbeauty #thistimeitspersonal #switchtosafer you’ll see, we’re all trying to be leaders in this movement – full of links, messages to Congress, and messaging on how to help out with this issue. Why? Because this time it’s personal & we deserve better.

Is Clean Beauty Expensive?

If you look at it to the point where you can’t go into CVS or another drugstore and buy your foundation for $6, then yes, it’s expensive. But chances are you’re already spending the same amount at Sephora or Ulta. 

YES, I AM DRINKING THE KOOLAID. So I’ll cut to the chase on what you REALLY want to know…

Is Beautycounter a Pyramid Scheme?

I know you all have your own opinions on multi-level marketing, and so did I. Here’s why I joined this one when I turned down countless other of these similar “business opportunities” previously. I work your typical, 9-5 job, and of course, I would like it to pay more because adulting is hard, right? To break it down, if you’re thinking about joining to make a million dollars, you might want to focus your attention on something else. Before joining, you’ll need to do your research and soul searching about if you truly believe in their mission of getting safer products into the hands of everyone. Make sure this is the culture you best relate to, we are a community over competition culture, where we all are working hard towards one common goal. You’ll make money where your passion is, you’ll make friendships where you’re vulnerable. Scroll through those hashtags previously mentioned on Instagram and think to yourself, “are these people I could see myself working with? Are these people I think I could be friends with?”  

If you believe in the products and the mission, then selling the products are easy. It’s not forced, which means you’ll be successful. And you know have to be a natural born salesperson.

Why I Joined Beautycounter?

I had my reasons initially and then the statistics blew me away – read more about my initial sign up thought on the blog here. But as I’ve gotten deeper into it, I realized why I joined, I’m excited to share it. I can talk about it naturally, without any robot monotone script like the wording. And there’s no trickle down campaigns where my team or director tells me I need to post on this day, with this message. I’m doing me.

Is Blonde Out Of Water going to turn into full-fledged only Beautycounter content?

Nope. I still live my life, love to travel, love to eat, and love to drink wine. You can browse my link for Beautycounter and browse through skincare, makeup, men’s skincare, & child’s products and see what peaks your interest while you learn about the company. You can tell me your problem areas and what you’re looking to change or what you’re lacking in your skincare or makeup routine and I can give you suggestions and recommendations. Or not. You can scroll past all the Beautycounter content on my feed and I won’t even know. It’s there when you want it.

If you have any questions or concerns, you know where to find me.

~ XOXO, the clean beauty loving, Amanda

Up close of the perfect cheese board
NOURISH

How to Build The Perfect Cheese Board

If you’re like me in the slightest, you love cheese. I love the idea of a perfect cheese board and I’ve been trying to perfect making the best one for my girl’s wine nights. Simply put a charcuterie board is, “a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes” aka a board filled with delicious meats, cheeses, and yummy snacks. It’s perfect for an appetizer and goes great with wine!

Cheese boards are one of my favorites also because they’re so easy. You don’t have to have the “perfect” one as long as you have yummy sides, and most people don’t really care how it looks (unless you bring it to me, then I’ll judge you, JUST KIDDING!) But you can keep some essentials in your kitchen and then at a moments notice you can just add what you need and you’ll be ready to go.

What You’ll Need:

Cheese:

A selection of cheeses, as a general rule of thumb – get one hard cheese, one soft cheese, and one firm cheese. My go-to cheeses are: brie, blue, asiago, something spicy (like a pepper jack), and 

Meats:

Don’t forget the meats! I normally go for prosciutto or salami. Other popular meats are speck, coppa and chorizo.

Spreads:

Some popular spreads are spicy mustard, honey, balsamic glaze, or any type of jelly. This allows just an extra layer of deliciousness to any mini sandwich you make.

Fruits/Nuts:

These are great to add for a few reasons, one they taste great on their own so it’s a great way to clear your palette in between trying different meat/cheese combos.

Bread/Crackers:

My go to’s are always water crackers and a french loaf. If you want something else or something extra crunchy then I’ll throw in the Fig & Olive crips from Trader’s.

Tips for the Perfect Cheese Board

  1. Bring the cheese to room temperature before you make it. This will help you be able to cut it perfectly and arrange it onto the board. When your cheese is room temperature it will actually bring out it’s natural flavors.
  2. Change up your cheeses. I try to always incorporate a new kind every time I make one, this way I get to try and constantly perfect the board. The mix of the different types of cheese textures I think is key in finding the perfect balance.
  3. Don’t precut/slice all of it. This way if not all the cheese is eaten you’ll be able to save some for yourself later! Bon Appétit magazine says that if you cube the cheese it looks too much like “an afternoon snack for children” and then if you cut it too thin then the cheese will start to “sweat” and lose its flavor.

 

My Perfect Cheese Board

Gouda Cheese (I prefer extra aged but this varies from creamy to aged to extra aged) | A type of Cheddar | Asiago Cheese | Brie Cheese (double or triple cream) | Pepperoni Log | Roasted Red Peppers | Spicy Dijon Mustard | Extra Virgin Olive Oil | Balsamic Glaze | Fresh Loaf of French Bread | Water Crackers | Olives (I don’t personally like these but I add them when I entertain) | Seedless Grapes | Fuji Apples (sliced in thin sheets not wedges)

Favorite Combinations:

Gouda + Fuji apple

Gouda + Pepperoni + Mustard

Water Cracker + Brie + Grapes

Water Cracker + Asiago + Roasted Red Pepper

French Loaf + EVOO + Balsamic

French Loaf + Gouda + Roasted Red Pepper

Water Cracker + Manchego

The Perfect Cheese Board

~ XOXO, the cheese-loving, Amanda

Two girls cheersing on a rooftop
LIFE, ETC.

How To Keep a Long Distance Friendship

It’s no secret that I’m from San Diego and now I live in Boston. And moving away from home means leaving friends that you’ve known forever, and literally couldn’t replace if you tried. Regardless of the why, sometimes we get separated from our BFFs which shouldn’t mean that they’re lost to you, it just means that you may have to work a little harder to stay just as close and do things a little differently.

I learned fast that everyone who had been at the base of my support system, the girls I spent “Bachelor Monday” with, the new brunch spot we needed to try out, and the girls we did life together with were no longer that for me. Luckily for me, I’ve made GREAT friends in Boston but here’s what my friends and I have done to maintain our relationships:

Don’t “know” Their Life by Their Instagram

Everyone posts what they’re doing these days on their Instagram story, which means you are virtually there. You know where your BFF went to dinner last night & what they ordered. This can feel like a strong connection in the moment, but when it comes down to it and as more time passes, it’s a sign of a fleeting friendship.

Never let a “like” on Instagram or a reply to their story replace your friendship. A few words with an emoji doesn’t replace or keep up a friendship.

3 girls drinking wine in Dallas

Pick up the Phone

This seems like an easy thing to do, after all you did it all the time before. But with both your personal lives, work, time differences, this can get hard! It helps to know each other’s schedule, “great you get off at 5, I’ll call you then when I’m walking the dog.” This way, it’s set and you aren’t then playing phone tag. You’ll be surprised that hearing someone’s voice can be so reassuring even in times when you didn’t even know you needed it.

A group of girls in bikinis in Malibu

Girl’s Trips

Yes, visiting each other’s city is fun, but planning a girl’s trip is so fun! Plus it lets you both explore a new city together. As long as you’re all together, the plans will all fall into place. There’s nothing better than a weekend with your BFFs.

Girls drinking wine in San Diego

Don’t Stop the Group Chat

The group chat used to be where you’d be spending happy hour and hoping that someone (or everyone) would join. Or about weekend plans, things that you all could do together. Now it’s not, it’s changed, and that’s okay. It can be about opinions on if you should buy this (because you used to only shop together) or about the crazy thing that happened on the commute home. Whatever it is, just don’t stop it.

Girlfriends on the beach in San Diego

 

Always Have a Plan

If the next time you will see eachother will be home for Christmas, or for someone’s birthday, or adult spring break. Just plan it. Make it happen.

Two girls drinking beer in Fenway park at a Red Sox game

Don’t Forget the Friendship

Long-distance friendships take time and effort, but there’s a reason you have these life-affirming friends that you can’t look back and smile on the memories you share together. The friends who remember memories just as well as you, have laughed with you when times were amazing, and who cried with you when times are tough. They’ve been with you for the monumental things that have shaped you into who you are and will still be there for the monumental things that are going to happen.

My friends from my hometown are some of the most cherished people I have in my life. I know that they’re my lifelong friends, no matter where life takes us. We’ll always have each other, and when we need each other we’ll be there.

Winery outside of Washington DC

~ XOXO, the BFF loving, Amanda

P.S. Yes these are (some) of the people in my life, that I left behind when I moved to Boston/graduated college and still love love love with my whole heart.

A girl sitting by a window wrapped in a weighted blanket
LIFE, ETC.

Here’s What Happened When I Slept Under a Weighted Blanket

You may have heard the new “trend” or “fad” with weighted blankets, and I won’t lie, I was intrigued. Point blank, I’ve never had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep until the worst breakup of my life which you can read about here. Moving on – I couldn’t fall asleep, my mind would race, I would wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks some so bad I thought I almost needed to call 9-1-1 because it felt like I was having a heart attack. I literally thought my heart was coming out of my chest. And I was barely sleeping at night.

Anyways, I came across Mosaic Weighted Blankets – and I was desperate so I thought, “Why not give it a try? What’s the worst that could happen?” I started doing my research and people said it felt like you were getting a really big hug, all night. I found out that people are benefiting from a weighted blanket and it wasn’t a placebo effect. Here’s what happened with me:

Do weighted blankets really help with anxiety?

The theory behind weighted blankets come from deep pressure touch or DPT which help with a lot of different mental aspects, stress included, and we have had enough of that in our everyday lives. One of the biggest benefits is that, it helps the body release serotonin which is the happiness hormone and decrease cortisol which is the stress hormone. At the same time, it calms the nervous system. I think personally, that it brings you back to when you were swaddled as a baby and comforted by your parents feeling safe.

Not only do they help with anxiety, they are known to help with all of these too:

  • Any condition with chronic pain like endometriosis & fibromyalgia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Brain Trauma Injuries
  • Down Syndrome
  • & people with anxiety for any reason.

Are weighted blankets safe?

The first point to make them safe is to buy a blanket that is 10% of your body weight and you want it to be smaller than your bed because it’s not supposed to hang off. AKA if you are going to try someone else’s blanket, don’t make it someone who is double your size.

What Happened to me

When I first got my blanket it came with little sections with little beads inside it, I thought it would be rough when I was sleeping but it wasn’t. Overall, I was and a still am a big fan of these blankets. This is what I noticed after I used it consistently for the first month: I only spent one night not under the weighted blanket where I had trouble falling asleep, my thoughts drifted, and I had a little bit of anxiety/stress.

It lessened my anxiety

In the month I used my blanket I only had one anxiety attack and when I woke up, I was able to be calmed by my hugging blanket. I didn’t need to call people in the middle of the night to talk me off a ledge and I was able to use this blanket to self soothe.

I would fall asleep right away

As I used to be able to, it was easy for me to fall asleep again. I was no longer laying in bed for hours worrying, overthinking my life, or trying to relive every moment to analyze everything that brought me to this moment here.

I remembered more of my dreams

I have always been a dreamer and I would remember my dreams here and there. But after sleeping under my blanket, my dreams became vivid. It’s proven that weighted blankets take you into a deeper sleep and for longer. You stay in REM sleep, the dreaming aspect longer and more frequently.

I woke up feeling refreshed

I’ve always been a morning person, but I never felt refreshed or that I got enough sleep. I would wake up and be ready to start the day. I was more motivated and excited.

I do think my weighted blanket helped a lot. I would recommend them for anyone, after all, if you are already getting a bad night’s sleep – I would do anything to at least try and make your body and mind get a good night’s sleep. It’s worth trying.

~ XOXO, the well rested Amanda

A girl writing "an open letter" in a notebook
LIFE, ETC.

An Open Letter From My Broken Heart

Sometimes it’s really hard to share the messy parts of who we are. Those parts we’re not proud of…those parts that we’re insecure about. It’s tough to share those things with the people closest to us, let alone with people on the internet. So with that being said, I’d like to start this blog post off by saying two things:

  1. This isn’t going to be like most of my blog posts. I’m going to treat this more like a journal entry, and with that being said I’ve debated posting this. It’s vulnerable, puts it all out there. I’m not always the best at being vulnerable. But if this can resonate with someone, one person, and make them feel not so alone – then that’s why I wrote it.
  2. If you have a broken heart, I’d like to say I’m sorry. It sucks to go through, it really sucks. This is the worst feeling, I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

The it’s not you- it’s me, the lies, the slap in the face, the kicks when you’re down, the self-blame, self-guilt, replaying every fight, every cherished moment. The torturing yourself to the point where you have to run to the nearest bathroom to ball your eyes out. To the feeling where you knew your eyes were puffy for weeks. I’ve been there.

You deserve better, you’re better than him. I heard that a lot. A lot, a lot. And it doesn’t sit well. Like great, I deserve better, but I wasn’t good enough for that as*hole? PERFECT.

And then your mind goes to the how could someone who loved me, who cared about me have done this to me? But shitty people do shitty things.

You think you know someone but in reality, you don’t. You’d think others would have respect towards you, but they don’t. Not everyone has the same heart and you’ll end up real disappointed if you think people will do for you as you would do for them. Respect isn’t mutual, communication isn’t mutual. Shitty people do shitty things. And that isn’t on you.

One day I’ll realize, I am good enough for a love I deserve.

I know I deserve certain things in a relationship, as does everyone. Someone where you should always feel like the feelings are both respected and reciprocated. A relationship where know the effort you are putting into this relationship is reciprocated and appreciated. A relationship where you shouldn’t have to question if someone is cheating or lying, and where you feel reassured in every aspect of it. And mostly, where you feel loved, and you can love freely.

The Blessing in Disguise

I’ve tried to see this as a blessing because that wasn’t always my relationship. But I know I can look back and left nothing on the table, nothing I could have done differently.

So why does it hurt so damn bad? Why do I feel so worthless? So unloveable? And the worst: not good enough. I knew it was all going to be okay, I just didn’t know how I was supposed to get there. Why do I feel bipolar being completely fine one minute and a wreck the next? Sometimes, I can go from the I hate your guts, to the fetal position balling in a matter of seconds. To how I have to focus on one thing, one moment or else I get overwhelmed with anxiety. Why do I let my mind wander until the weeee hours of the night, fall asleep crying, only to have a nightmare within a few hours and wake up with an anxiety attack where I have to wonder if it’s actually a heart attack and I should rush to the emergency room.

It’s all confusing, and still is, I don’t understand. And I probably never will. Instead of searching for answers, I know I have to be okay with no answers. I have to be okay for myself. Because the way I’ve been living, the way I’ve been treating myself is not okay.

Looking back, even just writing this brings up all the real and raw emotions. But what I’ve learned and what I will always take with me: trust your gut. Trust your intuition. And when your significant other calls you crazy or tells you that you’re being psycho and tries to turn the blame onto you – realize it. Don’t look the other way. And definitely, don’t question it.

I’m waiting for the day that I can look back and smile, knowing why this happened for a reason. Where I can let go completely of the person who I thought I knew, and who I thought I loved.

Which leads me to this moment, and this is the moment. No more wishing of the unhappy I was because it’s less unhappy than this. No more of the self-doubt, or the negative self-talk. No more replaying every moment to see if there was something, some clue, some moment of clarity that I missed and then I could have not been so blindsided.

Moral of the story: always trust your gut & no matter what you do, shitty people will do shitty things.

~ XOXO, the girl who’s stronger (on most days), Amanda

A girl standing in front of a lighthouse in Newport, RI
ADVENTURE

Weekend Getaway in Newport, RI

It’s no secret, or it shouldn’t be, that I am obsessed with all the picturesque coastal towns that line New England. I spent a weekend in Newport, RI & I had been before for a day, and I couldn’t wait to get back. (Again, I can’t wait to go back.) When I booked this weekend, I thought it would be full of spring weather with bright and shiny skies, but it was full of snow. Here’s what to do, what to eat, & where to stay.

What to do in Newport, RI

Newport Vineyards

  • Tour the Newport Mansions, some of the largest homes in America & they were once used as “summer homes.” Most of the homes were built between the 1870s- 1920s. I toured the breakers which was the summer home of the Vanderbilts.
  • Take a walk on Cliff Walk. This is a walk along the ocean where you walk by a lot of the Newport Mansions and if you do the whole walk it’s 3.5 miles.
  • Newport Vineyards. We stopped on the way into the city, it was right off the road & the wines were all so good! It was snowing (yes, ugh!) so we didn’t walk the vines but they looked beautiful.
  • Shop along Thames Street & Bannister Wharf with so many cute little boutiques & tourist shops, you’ll find something to take home!

What to eat in Newport, RI

Lobster roll at The Morring in Newport, RI

Iced coffee in front of coffee grinder

  • The Mooring – we had a famous lobster roll here & it was right on the water.
  • Get a coffee at Coffee Grinder
  • Breakfast at The Corner Cafe, their menu is huge and they will 100% have something for everyone. I got the breakfast scrambler and it was to die for. It’s also so cute inside, almost like Grandma’s house.
  • Grab a cup of the famous clam chowder from The Black Pearl

Where to stay in Newport, RI 

I stayed at Gurney’s Newport, but I also have heard great things about the Castle Hill Inn. I think there are so many hotels, air bnbs, and inn’s all with such charm that it’s hard to go wrong with anywhere!

Until Summer, Newport!!

~ XOXO, the New Englander, Amanda

Creamy Mac n cheese with hot sauce
NOURISH

My Favorite Cozy Crockpot Recipes

Cold days are never ending here in New England which means cooler nights that are perfect for crock pots and warm dinners! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for you all to try! I love coming home after a day at work, or running errands whatever it may be to the smell of dinner! These are easy recipes that taste great, what could be better?

Crockpot Chili Recipe

Chili is one of my favorites, and the leftovers taste just as good the next day!

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cans of diced or crushed tomatoes(2-14 oz cans)
  • 1 can (14 oz) of tomato sauce
  • a clove of garlic
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red or green)
  • 2 cans of kidney beans (red or green)
  1. I brown the meat about 80% and cook the onions with the garlic
  2. Throw every else in the crock pot for 4-6 hours
  3. Garish with greek yogurt (or sour cream), cheese, and green onions. I of course add hot sauce. And wa-la! Your chili is done and delish!

Crockpot Tortilla Soup Recipe

I think this one was my favorite because it was SO easy! I was nervous because I’ve never done a crock pot without cooking the meat first, but it did it’s job and cooked the meat!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 (10.50 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn (1 bag)
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno chopped
  • 1/2 onion
  • Toppings:
  • Sour cream/plain greek yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Green onions
  • Cilantro
  • Diced avocado
  • Tortilla strips

Case and point why this recipe is so easy!

  1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. Place chicken in the bottom.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix everything else! And then put it on top of the chicken.
  3.  Cook on low for 4 hours. The shred the chicken (I did this right in the crockpot) and then cook for another 2 hours on low. If you are going to put this on while you’re at work, you can also shred the chicken before you serve. Serve with your favorite toppings & enjoy!

Cheesy Crockpot Mac ‘n Cheese

This isn’t necessarily healthy, but #treatyoself right? Because I think we all have a soft spot for mac.

What you’ll need:

  • 12 oz box of pasta (I used shell because I love when the cheese fills the inside)
  • 1/3 of a cup of sour cream
  • 1 10 oz can cheddar cheese soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 6 TBSP butter, cut into 6 tabs
  • 4 cups of shredded cheese (I used 2 cups of pepper jack and 2 cups of Monterey Jack)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  1. Cook pasta until it’s about 80% done, otherwise it’ll turn into mush in the crockpot (yes, that did happen to me the first time.)
  2. Mix in sour cream, can of soup, milk, garlic, dry mustard, and salt/pepper. Mix until it’s well combined.
  3. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top & gently stir in it.
  4. Place the butter cut on top, cover, and let it cook for 2-3 hours.

This mac is really the creamiest, and I of course add hot sauce on top. I give it a double thumbs up and really understand why/how “bulking” in the winter is really a thing.

 

~ XOXO, Amanda with the very full belly

Stowe, VT
ADVENTURE

Stowe, VT Travel Guide

I spent a weekend in mid-November in Stowe, VT. I had never been, but it’s been on my radar for some time because I see it all over the ‘gram! It’s safe to say, I loved it! Here’s my guide to seeing the town, eating, & what to do ~

Disclaimer: 1. I don’t like beer, and there are SO many breweries there. 2. I didn’t ski (so if you go in the winter, that’s an added given on what you have to do).

Beautiful scenery in Stowe, VT

Where to stay in Stowe 

I stayed at The Lodge at Spruce Peak. Did I love it? Yes. Guys, it had a fireplace in the room! I could have died a happy girl!! (I also don’t have one in our apartment in Boston, isn’t that WRONG?!) But the hotel was great! It was cute, everyone was friendly, the beds were comfy.

They have a heated pool and jacuzzi and the floors around it was heated, this SoCal girl had never even heard of that, so I thought it was pretty cool.

Where to eat in Stowe, VT

Stowe has SO many good food options! The Bench – I had lunch there and it was very delicious – dare I say BEST mac n cheese ever?! We also had a burger and a pizza which were very good as well. They have a wood fired oven which was the center of the kitchen so you know everything that came out of there was going to taste good.

We also stopped in The Alchemist for a few apps and drinks. We made friends with the bartender who made some of the best espresso martinis I think I’ve ever had! Their special was apple which wasn’t bad but you can’t top the espresso!

There was also live music at this spot called the Rusty Nail – which is also a mexican food place called Tres Amigos (It didn’t make sense to me either, but I went along with it!) Their margaritas were delish & the live band was fun. He was a local and his family was all there and he was JAMMING!

What to do in Stowe

I was in need of a relaxing weekend! And isn’t that what vacations were for? I got breakfast in bed, jacuzzied, walked around their cute little downtown, typical vacation things. I think their downtown is such a cute little mountain town. Live music at the place I mentioned before is a must!

Obviously there were people skiing, and if I had known that there would be so much snow already (I would have needed to as well!) The Country Store on Main & Stowe Wine & Cheese are both worth stopping into to bring home a little Stowe with you.

Overall, I was a big fan! I love small and quaint towns and would 100% recommend!

~ XOXO, the snow bunny Amanda

Toast To St. Jude Event
LIFE, ETC.

Toast To St. Jude

I wanted to share with you all this 1. an amazing committee that puts on  2. an amazing night that is coming up in a few months. I went last year for the first time and had a blast! It’s called Toast to St. Jude, this year it’s on April 27th, at the Revere Hotel in Boston. 

The Party at Toast to St. Jude

About The Event

There is a DJ, a huge dance floor, an open wine/beer bar, and yummy hors d’oeuves – honestly what more could you want? Oh, how about  live entertainment, silent auction and a premier raffle? Yep, they have that too. Plus all the funds that are raised goes straight to St. Jude and the children who are fighting life threatening diseases.

The silent auction all have donated items or offers where you buy a raffle ticket and can win things you’d actually want to win, like gift cards to restaurants, fun events, wine tasting tours, plus more!!

A Child in Need of Help at St. Jude

About Toast To St. Jude

St. Jude is a research hospital where they are finding cures and saving children with cancer.  No family ever pays for treatments that aren’t covered by their insurance, and if a family doesn’t have insurance, they are never asked to pay.

This committee has raised over $390,000 over the last six years, and last year alone, they raised over $160,000. This year – there’s more sponsors, more items at the auction, more space (which means more dance moves), and it will be a night to remember.

Want to Join in the fun?

If you want to support the children of St. Jude as well as have a fun night, buy your tickets before 1/31 to get the early bird price special! 

St. Jude

A list of chemicals that Beautycounter will never put in products
LIFE, ETC.

Why I Joined The Clean Beauty Movement

If you’re following along on Instagram – you’ve seen me post about this – no doubt, but why now? It’s a good question! And what’s it all about? Let’s break it down. And I am sure, after reading this – you’ll want in!

A little about Beauty Counter

They have 3 main missions:

1. Education – spreading the word, and educating people on why other beauty products are so bad for them, what the chemicals mean & to your body. And the more we know, the safer we can be.

2. Product – they’re creating products that still make you look fabulous but also are clean and don’t harm your skin. Can you really ask for more?

3. Advocacy – do your part! You want to change the laws, tell the world. Because nothing will just “magically” change.

The stats on chemicals in our skin care and make up products speak for themselves

  • 80,000. The number of chemicals on the market today, many with little to no safety data – in the skin and make up care area.
  • 80% of beauty products have never been tested for safety.
  • 1938. The year the government last passed a law that regulates the cosmetic industry.
  • 26 seconds. That’s all it takes for the chemicals in your beauty care products to enter your bloodstream.
  • In the U.S. 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer – 40 years ago, it was 1 in 20. Leading cause? Chemicals we put in and on our body.
  • Carcinogens are legal in our beauty products – which have a direct correlation to causing cancer.

Anything you use that has any of these, drop right away, here’s Beautycounter’s Never list:

  • Formaldehyde – this is also known as a carcinogen that is linked to asthma, neurotoxicity, & developmental toxicity. Commonly found in shampoo, body wash, & bubble bath.
  • Hydroquinone – a skin lightening chemical that inhibits the production of melanin and is linked to cancer, organ toxicity, & skin irritation. Commonly found in skin-lightening creams.
  • Parabens (methyl-, isobutyl-, propyl- and others) – used to prevent the growth of bacteria & mold. Parabens are hormone disruptors, which may alter important hormone mechanisms in our bodies. Commonly found in shampoo, face cleanser, body wash, body lotion, & foundation.
  • Phthalates (DBP, DEHP, DEP and others) – a class of plasticizing chemicals used to make products more pliable or to make fragrances stick to skin. Phthalates disrupt the endocrine system & may cause birth defects. Commonly found in syntheic fragrance, nail polish, hairspray, & plastic materials
  • Polyethylene glycol (PEG compounds) – used in cosmetics as thickeners, solvents, softeners, & moisture-carriers. Depending on maufacturing processes, PEGs may be contamined with measureable amounts of ethlyene oxide & 1,4-dioxane, which are both carcinogens. Commonly found in creams, sunscreens, & shampoo.
  • Retinyl palmitate and Retinol (Vitamin A) – A nutrient that may damage DNA & speed the growth of skin tumors when used topically. Commonly found in moitsureizer & anti-aging skin care.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS and SLES) – SLS & SLES are the surfactants that can cause skin irritation or trigger allergies. SLES is often contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a byproduct of a petrochemical process called ethoxylation, which is used to process other chemicals in order to make them less harsh.
  • Synthetic flavor or fragrance
  • Toluene
  • Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone
  • Oxybenzone
  • Triclosan and Triclocarban
  • Benzalkonium Chloride
  • BHA and BHT
  • Ethyl enediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA)
  • Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA)

Girl with a charcoal clay mask

Don’t even get me started with the chemicals we put on babies and what they do, or should I and what they do?

✖️Over half of America’s children (54%) are chronically ill
✖️Autism rates are as high as one in 28 in some states
✖️One in six children (15%) has a learning or behavioral disorder
✖️One in every 10 American children (11%) have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
✖️One in every 13 American children suffer from eczema and food allergies including deadly peanut allergies
✖️One in every 8 American children (13%) are in special education
✖️Over 15,000 children were diagnosed with cancer last year alone
✖️There is an epidemic of autoimmune illnesses like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis
✖️Many children suffer from debilitating anxiety, Tourette’s and sensory issues
✖️American children are 70 percent more likely to die before adulthood with mortality of kids in the US higher than in peer nations since the 1980s
✖️America’s infant mortality is much higher than in other higher-income countries

Do you think this is a coincidence with chemicals?

We are surrounded by these chemicals and it’s legal to put us in harm’s way because it’s cheaper or easier or whatever the excuse is.

What you can do to get involved 

Our mission at Beautycounter is to get safer products into the hands of everyone, let me know how you want to get involved. If you’re interested in trying any products (need recommendations) I am here for you. If you want to jump right in and shop, here’s MY link: To shop with me! Or you can join my team, and join the movement! As always, reach out with any questions or to jump right in!

~ XOXO, the clean beauty boss babe, Amanda