ON GOOD LEGS AND BAD SKIN

Here's how the gene pool went for me: I inherited good legs and bad skin.

I usually convince myself that it's a pretty good trade off, since long and lean legs are a little harder to come by than new makeup, but, I'm also in my 30s now and I still break out occasionally (thank you, postpartum hormones) and I'm also starting to get wrinkles early. So, there you go. Good legs and bad skin. We all have our things.

To help my skin a little I'm trying out a few ideas, like the common sense skin care regime (drinking more water, finding my sunscreen, taking vitamins) but I wanted a little more backup without the Botox and have a few discoveries to share.

SKINCARE

My general rule here is less is more. I use a very basic cleanser and hardly anything else on my face. When I want backup for a beakout or wrinkles, Derma-E has an Anti-Wrinkle line I like and Spot Treatment, and I like that it's available at Whole Foods, which I generally use as a benchmark for more "natural-ish" products.

MAKEUP

Esmi is a line from Australia that I recently discovered and am loving. It's SPF, mineral based, and has excellent coverage and staying power. I like flat brushes for mineral based makeup application, and this one is vegan and works great. I wear color II-III in the winter and III-IV in the summer. If you're similar in skin tone to me and debating between the two I'd recommend III-IV.

TOOLS

First, at home microdermabrasion with ReVit. There's plenty of science and technology behind micoderm, but it's basically just sloughing away the outermost layer of the skin so that new skin beneath is generated faster to promote healing. I like this one because it uses diamond exfoliation as opposed to aluminum oxide crystals (technical terms, just do your research there) and overall I prefer this method to a chemical exfoliate.

Second, red light and heat therapy with FaceFx. Red Light Therapy aids in elastin and collagen production, similar to blue light therapy for seasonal depression. This little device feels kind of light saber, Star Wars-esque, in that it's this wand with light and heat on your face. It's pleasant and spa-like, and it seems like my fine lines have improved. Both this and the microderm tool can be used together and while pregnant and/or nursing.

COLLAGEN

I consider myself generally well versed in supplements and natural health, but this was a new one for me. When I'm unsure on a health product I check with Wellness Mama, a podcast and blog I discovered when pregnant. She has this and this to say about collagen and since my hair/skin/nails have taken a toll post-baby, I was game. She recommends grass-fed varieties like Vital Proteins. The way I take it is I mix Collagen Peptides or Marine Collagen Sticks in my latte each morning. I love that it has no taste and gives a protein boost to slow caffeine absorption. If I make a green smoothie I'll add Collagen Beauty Greens since this one can only be mixed with cold liquids. If I was just choosing one product I'd go with the classic Collagen Peptides for the hot/cold mixability option.

While these things all can be fun to try, with any beauty product I share I also want to mention that I know that real beauty is more than just skin deep. Surface level beauty can only take us so far. I value kindness, strength, and compassion more than any wrinkle-fighter out there.

Shared in partnership with Derma-E, Esmi, SkinFx and Vital Proteins. Cheers to real beauty.

ETHICALLY MADE EASTER BASKET GIFT GUIDE FOR MOMS

Because kids aren't the only ones who deserve a treat from the Easter bunny, moms (and anyone caring for children!) can get in on the fun too.

BASKET

A cute take on a non-traditional Easter basket is to fill something she'll use again and again (like this soft as butter leather tote) with thoughtful, smaller items. This one is oversized and works for all seasons. (The less expensive version in pale pink canvas is here.) Other vessel options that double as gifts: a market basket, straw bag, or cute backpack.

FILLER IDEAS

Water bottle so she'll never have to reach for a plastic bottle again. This one is insulated, making drinks ice cold for 24 hrs, plus it has a straw lid attachment which is a make-or-break feature on water bottles for me. It's made responsibly and gives back to state parks. The one I have is the 32oz and how I feel about that size is like Goldilocks: not too big or too small, just perfect.

Outfit. I love this adorable spring romper by Matter. They have a cool transparent makers process, employing artisans in India. If you have a daughter this little girls dress can be worn for multiple years, as a dress, then tunic, then tank. More info here.

Leather stash clutch. I have this one in multiple colors, I think it combines the best of both form and function. It's roomy enough for my wallet, keys, phone, and it's so nice to travel light and just grab this instead of a purse when I'm out without the baby.

Reusable, well designed grocery bags (great for non-grocery items too!) Cutest colors and prints, ethically made, well priced, and they hold up to 50 lbs while still storing/folding into tiny pockets. Adorable new plant prints for spring are here and here.

Flowers. Bonus point for ones from your local farmers market.

Ideas for extra little items: nail polish/lip balm/lip gloss/chocolates/pedicure gift certificate.

Pack all your tinys in reusable, zippered pouches, for cute packaging that will get extra use. (I use these for organizing diapers and wipes in a big tote. Spring colors here and here.)

Top with colorful tissue paper or plastic pastel Easter eggs.

Hopefully this will spark some ideas. Mother's Day is just around the corner and any of these would make a cute gift basket for that as well.

Shared in partnership with most companies listed.

BEAUTY FINDS AS OF LATE

Blush is my favorite makeup product (if we're not counting eyelash extensions) and I wear it daily. Beauty Counter makes this cream one, and it's great. A bright pop of pink, easy to blend formula, strong pigment, and no chemicals.

This whitening program is an at-home version of one you'd get in the dentist's office. It works with custom fit trays, that you take the molds of yourself, and I like that it whitens even the far back teeth, something I always wished the over the counter whitening strips could do. See a before and after here and a video demo here. They're also hosting a giveaway of one whitening set! Just comment on this post to be entered to win.

This eyelash growth serum is a more natural version of the standard one. Since I wear eyelash extensions, my real eyelashes seems so sparse without them, so I've been using this one by Plume to try to help give them a boost and I've already noticed a difference. It works on brows too, so I've started using it there and they're starting to fill in more. Hooray for a much needed natural product in this department.

I'm always on the hunt for a good, natural deodorant. I recently discovered PiperWai and have been impressed. The charcoal works to absorb, not just mask, and the scent is heavenly and spa-like. In my experience, the ones that come in a jar seem to work better than the stick versions.

Coconut Oil. So many uses for this, but I like it as a face and body moisturizer (a great natural moisturizer for babies too!) especially in the winter.

My Clarisonic Skin Brush still gets so much use even after years of having it.