Friday, April 20, 2018

CeCe Naturals Hair Products {reviews}

Are you trying to grow your hair out or increase volume? Been struggling with dull, damaged hair for some time now? You'll be happy to read today's review, then! 
 CeCe Naturals specializes in natural hair growth products to make your mane look gorgeous and healthy! Based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, CeCe Naturals has shampoo/conditioner for both curly hair and fine/straight hair. So no matter your hair type, you can enjoy the products! 

I was sent a Restoration Growth Oil, and a Fermented Rice Water shampoo rinse with Fermented Rice Water Conditioning Mask. I have never tried anything with fermented rice water until now, it's such a fascinating concept! 

The Restoration Growth Oil is a great natural conditioner and encourages the growth of roots, and strengthening of follicles. I massaged a few drops into my scalp and then distributed it through the rest of my hair in small portions. I left it in overnight and then washed it out then next day. My hair felt so silky smooth and radiant! 

The Fermented Rice Water Shampoo Rinse  is very thin in consistency since it's a rinse vs. a typical shampoo you'd find at the store. I had to use a little bit more of this since my hair is so long. I used it in the shower and it gave a wonderful lather which was surprising. 

Last we have the Fermented Rice Water Conditioning Mask. Click here to check it out on Etsy! 
If you're looking for a deep conditioner that will nourish your hair and moisturize to the max, this is it. It took me two washes to get it out fully. Serious stuff! I recommend only using a small amount because of how concentrated it is. 

CeCe Naturals has many other awesome hair care products which you should definitely check out! If you have curly hair, there are products specifically for you, too! 
Go show this shop some love and tell em' I sent ya! 


note: I was sent these products in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

J&J Farms Natural Goods {reviews}

It's a brand new week, and that means having a brand new review on the blog! Who says Mondays have to be blah?! 

Today I am pleased to feature J&J Farm which offers natural/organic soaps, lotions, essential oils and herbals! They are based out of Quantico, Virginia! 

I was sent a few awesome things to test, including a Bengal Balm, Acne Detox soap, and Organic Grass Fed Tallow soap. 

First, let's take a look at the Bengal Balm!
Click the link to view the Etsy listing. This balm is great for sore, achy muscles, stiffness, and even arthritis. Since I am constantly teaching fitness classes, and working out on my own, it is a great tool to have this stuff on hand. I get a lot of lower back soreness and during my monthly cycle, a lot of muscle cramping. This helped alleviate some of that discomfort. And it's nice to know that if I ever feel reaaaaallly super sore after a serious workout, I have this to back me up! 

Next, we have the Acne Detox Soap  which I was also super interested in trying because acne is one of those icky details I have to live with at times. You know when you have extra sugar or lactose and your gut just says NOPE? Next thing you know, there are zits galore? Yeahhh. That's what happens for me, too. If I eat clean, it's not an issue, but once I reintroduce those things back in to my diet, boom, my face is a wreck.

This nifty bar of soap is definitely a wonderful way to cleanse your face. It's nothing fancy to look at or smell, but it gets the job done and helps to reduce the inflammation that acne can cause. 

Last but not least, we have an awesome-yet-simple soap Organic Grass Fed Tallow Soap for shaving, or just for general usage. Both men and women can enjoy it, but it's recommended especially for men. If you're looking for a soap that is very safe for people with sensitive skin, this is the one! Can't go wrong here!

Overall, J&J Farms has a lot of quality products to offer, and from the three things that I got to sample, they seem like a top-notch business! I love that they promote a natural lifestyle through their products. You should definitely check them out today!



note: I was sent these products in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

SPRING GIVEAWAY - Essential Oil Diffuser Necklaces {review}

If you love using essential oils, you're gonna love today's post! I'm so excited to present you all with not just another review, but also a GIVEAWAY! Whoop! 
Today I'm featuring Corps & Ame, a Canadian based small business that offers handmade, unique creations like essential oil diffusers, jewelry, pots for small plants, and more! It's definitely a cool shop with a lot to look at. 

I was sent two different essential oil diffuser necklacesCheck out the Etsy page here for the full list of Corps & Ame diffusers!
Each diffuser necklace is unique and handcrafted. No two are alike! They are made with clay, and allow you to have a portable diffuser for your favorite essential oils all day long! All you do is put a few drops of oil on the necklace, let it absorb, then wear and enjoy! So awesome!

The construction of these necklaces is superb. They are solid and comfortable to wear. 

You can see where I have been using my oils on the necklace on the left. I absolutely love it! Not only is it a pretty necklace, but I love having a safe way to wear essential oils throughout the day. Some oils are too strong to put directly on your skin without a carrier oil like coconut or almond, etc. 
During cold season, you can put eucalyptus oil on your diffuser to help keep your sinuses open. If you are needing to relax or just chill out a little, put some chamomile or lavender on your diffuser! There are so many options depending on what you need or want!

I have been using jasmine oil and it has been just divine. It's like a natural perfume that also encourages relaxation. While I go throughout my day, now and then I'll get a little hint of the oil and it just makes everything else better! If I'm teaching yoga, as I move into down-dog I'll catch a whiff and be able to enjoy the flow even more. I can't stress how much I'm in love with my diffuser!
A few drops on it will last a few days before you need to to add more. 

Sooo now for the best part, the GIVEAWAY! Below you can enter to win your very own handcrafted clay essential oil diffuser necklace! 
Winner's prize is the NAMASTE diffuser necklace pictured above and below! And if you are a yogi, this is definitely the diffuser necklace for you! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Go visit Corps & Ame today and tell them I sent you! Visit my Instagram for more chances to win! (IG: leah_oxendine_strong)


note: I was sent these products in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Friday, April 13, 2018

Illua Soaps {review}

Happy Friday Lovelies!
Today we have a review featuring the amazing ILLUA Soap Shop, based out of Stockton, California! 

I was already a fan of this shop even before they sent me any products. Just looking at their beautifully organized Etsy store made me want to try their items! The photography for all the soaps is so professional and tasteful. Not to mention, the actual products looked so appealing!

To my delight, I was sent a collection of whipped sugar soaps and a solid soap as well. I enjoyed testing all the products! ILLUA offers quality hand-crafted soaps made with natural ingredients. 

So, in case you aren't familiar with the amazingness of whipped sugar soaps, here's a description from the ILLUA Etsy listings:

"ILLUA whipped sugar soaps are a cleanser, scrub, and moisturizer in one. 
Our Ocean Breeze whipped sugar soap work up a creamy lather combined with sugar and dead sea salt exfoliator that leaves your skin soft and silky."

My favorite of all the whipped soaps I was sent was the Espresso Whipped Sugar Scrub . Positively divine! It smelled just like real espresso, which made me want to eat it. It includes real coffee grounds to help with exfoliating the skin. Absolute perfection. I can't get enough of this stuff!

A very close second to the Espresso scrub was the Cranberry Whipped Sugar Scrub . The sweet scent here is wonderful, coupled with a hint of organic hibiscus which adds a floral undertone. Mmm. Excellent combination! I love the color of this scrub as well. So pretty! 

I was also sent a Lavender Purple Clay Soap. Not only does it feature a demure, pleasant lavender scent which is great for relaxation, but it also has Brazilian clay and goat's milk! The clay helps with making beautiful skin and goat's milk is wonderful for moisturizing! I like how it has actual lavender seeds on top, too. 

The last two products in this review are the Sunshine Whipped Sugar Scrub  and the 

The Sunshine scrub smells very floral and bright. The title fits it perfectly. I like how it has oatmeal powder for added exfoliation. 
The Ocean Breeze scrub is also lovely, and features dead sea salt, which is known to be fabulous for the skin as well! The scent definitely reminds me of the beach! 
While I liked the Cranberry and Espresso scrubs better personally, these two are still delightful! 

Overall, I would highly recommend ILLUA soaps for quality and a luxurious bath experience! 
You won't be disappointed with the assortment of scents and styles that ILLUA has available. When I finish using my little collection here I will very likely be back to buy some more! 


note: I was sent these items in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Pink Parchment Soaps {review}

In today’s review, I am featuring the Pink Parchment Soap Shop! 
Pink Parchment Soaps is based out of Michigan and offers lots of different luxury, hand crafted shea butter soaps.

I was sent the Juicy Soap and Claire de Lune Soap. Both are positively beautiful to look at and smell!

 Here are their descriptions from Etsy:

Claire de Lune Soap (Formerly Moon Glow)
"Unwind with Claire de Lune. Lavender, violet, and light musk combine for a surprisingly serene and calming fragrance. Dreamy and romantic, this scent will melt your stress away. Just don’t forget the bubbles and wine. A shea butter soap, Claire de Lune has a luxurious lather that leaves your skin feeling soft and clean."

Juicy Soap
"A wonderful combination of Amber, Musk, Citrus, delicate florals and warm woods."

Honestly the scents are, to me, almost indistinguishable. They both smell amazing! It’s hard to smell a huge difference in fragrance, though. There is a slight difference, but I can’t put my finger on it. It's probably the citrus in the Juicy soap, which is my favorite. Both soaps offer a luxurious experience in the shower. Their aroma is delightfully feminine and sweet. I love the floral accents and hints of musk.

Let’s also talk about how pretty the packaging is! It fits the store name so perfectly! Even the business card is elegant. I think this shop wins the award for most professional, elegant packaging! 

As to the quality of the soap, it's undeniably excellent! Even my husband liked how it smelled, and he's not big on fragrances usually. The soap gets you feeling clean, and not to mention, smelling lovely for even a few hours after you use it! 

For quality handcrafted soap, you should definitely check out Pink Parchment today, and tell them I sent you!  Visit the shop HERE

Have a fabulous day, and don't forget to follow my Instagram account for more fun stuff!

note: I was sent these items in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Rhodes Creations Naturals {reviews}

Good morning, folks! Time for another review of an Etsy small business! 
Today we have Rhodes Creations, based out of Amherst, Virginia! 
This shop offers quality natural edibles, teas, bath and body products and much more!
I love the assortment of goodies I was sent - a lavender chamomile pillow spray, sleep salve, two different lip balms, a bath tea, a gourmet tea for drinking, and a soap! 

Let's start with the Evening Repose gourmet tea sample . Click the link to see the Etsy listing! 
This is a mild herbal tea blend great for encouraging the relaxation and calming of your body and spirit. After a long day at work, this is definitely a nice beverage to sip before bed! The herb combination is superb. I love the packaging, too. So darling and rustic. 

Next we have the Herbal Bath Tea. Another great addition to your day/evening for relaxing a little extra! Simply add in to your warm bath water and enjoy! 

I was also sent a Sleep Salve. Personally I didn't find this one super useful, because I don't really like to have anything sticky on me when going to bed. 

On to the lip balms! I was sent a Citrus lip balm and regular beeswax balm. The ingredients list on both was phenomenal. Simple and nothing questionable at all. All natural yumminess! The smell of each balm was very mild. I could hardly even notice the Citrus scent. If you like to have minimal scents for your lip care products, you would enjoy these two. Great moisturizers, minimal fragrance.

The all natural Lemon Basil soap  makes me think of a soap I'd like to use on my hands, perhaps in the kitchen. It's also great for using in the shower, though! The lemon/lime/basil combination is really unique and fresh. Once again, a great ingredients list with nothing questionable!

My favorite thing from this collection was the Lavender Chamomile Pillow Mist , which I have been spraying faithfully on my husband's and my pillows each night. It really does promote an aura of peacefulness and restful sleep. I love the pleasant lavender chamomile fragrance, which is definitely not overpowering. It's just right. Very easy to use, as well.

Overall, this is a darling shop. I am impressed by the variety of items Laura Rhodes offers! Everything is natural and earth friendly, as well as safe for your skin and body! The packaging for all the products is so cute and old-timey. If you want to support a quality business, you should definitely check her store out today! Tell her I sent you! 


p.s. I was sent these items in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Appalachian Mushrooms & Chaga {review}

Are you a mushroom fan? Guess what - I didn't use to be! As a kid, I thought mushrooms were nasty and to be avoided! But every since I got into my late teens, I started acquiring a taste for the fungi. 
I would never in my wildest dreams, as a kid, thought that some day I would even acquire a taste for wild mushrooms

That's right! I got to try some delicious dehydrated wild mushrooms and chaga from 
David Russell at Appalachian Mushrooms

 I had the opportunity to review both the Maitake Mushrooms, as well as the Wild Mushroom Mix and ground chaga

When I tried both types of mushroom, the results were quite surprising....

After rehydrating the mushrooms in some water and then draining the extra water off, I mixed a bit from each mushroom packet and sauteed them with a little organic olive oil, some garlic salt and other herbs. 
I paired the finished product with sauteed kale and it was amazing! It almost tasted like bacon bits mixed in the kale. Highly recommended, especially if you are vegetarian or kosher and want something vaguely similar to pork but no actual meat! 

The maitake mushrooms taste very close to the typical mushrooms you would purchase anywhere else. The mushroom itself has a unique shape but the flavor is quite mild. The wild mushroom mix included Oysters, Chanterelles, and Hedgehog mushrooms. The flavor was a little stronger but still delicious! I think these were what brought the bacon bits flavor and vibe. They might look a little different but don't let that throw you off! 

Next, we move on to the chaga!

So first off, what the heck is chaga? I asked myself this question as I opened the little tin container and smelled the ground mushroom powder. 

Turns out, it's a very nutritious substance that is packed with health benefits! For example - chaga mushrooms are great for boosting the immune system! Also, they are anti-cancer, antioxidants, reduce inflammation, protect the liver, and even can help promote healthy skin. It boasts 215 different phytochemicals. Wow, right? Who would have guessed that a mushroom could do all that! (information source, and another useful source)

Chaga can be enjoyed in two different ways primarily - tea, or tincture. I decided to try the tea since I don't have the ingredients right now for a tincture, and am more likely to drink hot tea than use a tincture at this phase in my life. 
You can also take chaga tablets or make your own, but note that this method is not as efficient for garnering all the benefits from the chaga, as it is very hard to break down in the human digestive tract without a little extra help. It appears the best way to get the full benefit is from tincture, and then second best is through hot tea. 

David included some nice paper tea bags with the chaga, which was a plus! I brewed a cup using about 2 tablespoons chaga and let it steep for about 20 minutes. I read you can let it steep up to an hour, even, to get all the nutrients out. 

I sweetened the finished tea with a spoon of Apiterra raw honey, and it was tolerable. I say tolerable because I'm not used to the flavor of tea made with mushrooms. That's just the reality, haha. I think that this kind of tea would wear on me if I were to keep drinking it. And knowing how amazingly healthy it is, gives me incentive to drink it! With honey, it really isn't that bad at all. Give it a try and tell me what YOU think?!

You should definitely check out Appalachian Mushrooms especially if you already are into mushrooms or trying new things that are very healthy! Tell them I sent ya!

p.s. I was provided these items in exchange for my honest review.