Hi friends! Today I’m answering some questions I got from you on Instagram stories and over email this past week…if you like this, leave a comment and let me know and we can keep the party going!
Q: What did you do for work before becoming a blogger? Do you have a degree?
I’m excited to say blogging is my full-time job now. It’s honestly my dream job and I have all of you to thank for that. Iron sharpens iron and you all have enriched my life and my aspirations of living a less toxic life more than you can ever know. As of most recently, my Dad was in the hospital for over 100 days and part of that time he was on a tube feed. Which by the way, if you’ve never looked at conventional tube feed ingredients, let me give you a glimpse.
SICK. All of plastics and general surgery were like, “Nutrition is the key for wound healing…” and I’m like, “So where’s the nutrition!?”
I had several readers tell me about Functional Formularies – a 100% organic veggie tube feed that uses nuts as protein. I mean, total game changer! I love you guys for that and so much more! Thank you!
So to answer your question. Blogging is actually my second career. I graduated from Northeastern University in 2001 with BA in Journalism. My senior year at NU I discovered I had a passion for Sign Language and considered becoming an interpreter so I went back to NU for 4 more years and got a second bachelors in ASL/English Interpreting with a national certification to work in all 50 states. That’s what I’ve done full-time since 2005 and went down to part time in 2012 when I had my first baby. Now, I still work one day a week interpreting and I love it.
Q: What country are you from?
Born in the US – Weymouth, MA to be exact. But my Dad’s side came straight from Ireland and Portugal. And my Mom is a mix of European/English decent. I tan super easy which I attribute to my Great Nan who was from the Azores, Portugal.
Q: Out of all the online green beauty stores, which one do you use the MOST?
Now that I’m in Atlanta, I love going to Aillea. I love their aesthetic, the master classes and events they host and their curation. I feel so at home there and I can’t believe it’s only 5 minutes from house! But they also have a strong online presence too and I just love what they stand for.
Q: What is on your Christmas wish list?
Well my friend Sarah totally ruined me this year when she introduced me to Yearly Co. These delicate, solid 14k gold bangles are not only georg but each one represents a year of marriage. Now I’m just trying to figure out how to finance 10 of them as me and Jason will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this spring!
But Jason and I are not exchanging gifts this year, we decided to invest in some travel for 2019 so we are really looking forward to planning some fun trips.
Q: What kind of hairspray do you use?
There is only one clean hairspray that actually works and it’s Josh Rosebrook’s Firm Hold Hair Spray all the way. It’s a medium hold but you can layer it for a stronger hold. It’s the best and the ingredients are cleaner than clean.
Q: Was it hard to let your hair go gray?
I was definitely scared to let my hair go gray. DEFINITELY. But now that it’s gray I’m kind of in awe about how easy it feels. Not a day goes by without some random stranger telling me they like my hair. I mean, it’s getting to the point where I’m starting to doubt society’s beliefs about going gray and I’m wondering how much of it was all just in my head. The positive feedback is mind blowing! Read more here:
- Going Gray: Why I Stopped Dying My Hair
- Going Gray: 3 Months And Counting
- Going Gray: 5 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: (at 40!) 8 Months and Counting
- Going Gray: It’s Been A Year!
Q: How did you make the switch to gluten free + dairy free for your boys?
So I am 100% gluten free because I have Celiac. But my family isn’t. All of the food in our house is GF except I buy real bread for the boys because I haven’t found a GF alternative that we like. And we are mostly dairy free too. Although that is not a hard line for us. I don’t keep diary in the house. No cheese, no milk, no yogurt. We found a local plant-based yogurt that is just as good, if not better, than cows yogurt – it’s amazing! And we don’t use cheese much although sometimes I will buy a nice raw cheese from Whole Foods or the butcher. I love these GF crackers to go with it. We love our Almond Cow for making nut or oat or seed milks. That’s what they eat with their cereal or oatmeal or what I make pancakes with. They don’t really know the difference.
But when we go out to dinner or a birthday party, the kids get to order what they want which usually means mac and cheese or chicken fingers or something like that. You can read more about my thoughts on that here.
That beings said, I love buying Egg Nog this time of year. I mean, who doesn’t!?
It’s kind of like a “we stick to our values without going crazy” type of philosophy.
Here’s some gluten free breakfast ideas that I use almost every week.
Q: What product is best for fading acne scars (under $100)?
Okay great question. Here are some products that are under $100 that work for me:
- Laurel Brighten Mask – I can see my skin evening out with just one use – it’s NUTS!
- West of South’s Prickly Pear Repair Serum is $110 but with my code LISAWEST15 it brings it to under $100. The founder made this serum for the sole purpose of healing her acne and repairing her scars. Worth it!
- And check out my girl Alish from The Glow Getter here – she talks about how the Skin Owl line totally changed her skin with before/afters. Also under $100.
- And True Botanicals Clear Line actually beat out Proactiv in 3rd party clinical trials. Their IG has some CRAZY before and afters. Not under $100 but I feel compelled to mention them because they are a game changer! More on my experience with them here!
Q: How did you get started with organic products?
My son was born with a mild case of eczema and that really started it all. The docs prescribed him a steroid cream that started discoloring his skin and in my gut I knew there had to be a better way. So I first started out experimenting with making my own lotions and lip balms and lip tints but then I gave that up fast because TIME. That’s when I found the world of clean beauty and I was hooked! You can hear more about what that journey looked like in this video.
Q: What’s the best primer or base that you use (not 100% Pure)?
I love using an oil. The texture of your foundation will never look better than the texture of your skin so a couple of things. First, be sure to exfoliate at least 1x a week. I love this exfoliator because it works to exfoliate in two ways, both manually and enzymatically. I also like this one too for more of a budget option.
Then I like using a hydrating mist followed by a light face oil. This usually primes my face and just makes my skin glow!
For a hydrating mist I like The Optimist (luxe) and LIVE Botanicals Fleur De Terre Calming Elixir (budget friendly). And for an face oil primer I love West of South Prickly Pear Repair Serum. It’s super active, light and moisturizing. A real crowd pleaser. You can read more of my thoughts here. And LISAWEST15 will save you 15%!
Q: Did you try the brand The Ordinary? If so, any thoughts on their products?
I haven’t heard of The Ordinary. I took a quick peek and my first question would be how they source their retinol. Some retinol, specifically synthetics, can speed up tumor growth. I also noticed they preserve with BHT which some studies say is a carcinogen.
Q: Does your Dad know we are all thinking of him and sending good juju?
Thank you Rachel. He is elated at a second chance at life and spending his days adapting to his new state. But above all he is so happy to be home and he has all his get well cards taped to the wall so he can find inspiration in them everyday. He has also said many times that he would not have been able to make it through all this without the support of others. So THANK YOU! Thanks to all of you who sent well wishes and continue to do so. They brighten his spirit and are a key part of his healing.
Q: Best tip/secret/product for little pimples on cheeks (the kind that looks like texture)?
Okay I don’t have this issue so I asked my friend Jamie McDowell, founder of Modern Holistic and a nontoxic esthetician here in Atlanta. She does nontoxic facials and stocks Laurel Whole Plant Organics – I can’t wait to try her out! Anyways, this is what she had to say:
“Exfoliation by enzyme! No scrubs or acids. Without seeing it, it’s hard to say. Breakouts on cheeks could also be a gluten issue. It’s easier to identify the root by seeing a picture. Here are some products I would recommend:
- Laurel Whole Plant Organics Berry Enzyme Exfoliator
- Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator
- True Botanicals Resurfacing Mask
- One Love Organics Love + Charcoal Mask
- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
- Herbivore Pink Clay Mask or Blue Tansy Mask
If you want a DIY:
- Mix 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar with 1 tbsp Bentonite Clay
- Add 1-2 tsp activated charcoal.
- Mix with a silicone spoon/spatula. (No metal with the clay).
- Leave on for 15 minutes
This will help detox skin and pores! Also, a facial would totally help too. With a facial you will get some manual lymphatic drainage to help break up stagnant lymph fluid.” If you are local check Jamie out on her Instagram or website!
Q: Why does your hair always look so good?!
Haha! Believe me, I my hair has a mind of it’s own! Sometimes I am all about the wave but then it starts looking stringy and then I go back to straightening it for a couple of weeks. The gray hair is a new thing for me and I love the natural highlights I have now. I think it adds dimension on the days I pull it back or do buns. More here on what I use and how I style my do.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could only bring three items what would they be?
- Coconut Oil
- Green smoothies
- Clean wine
Cover photo by Monkey & Squirrel