Garden Winter Checklist

Winter is a time where most plants go dormant, so it should be a time when the gardener can finally rest. I hate to tell you that there is plenty to do during the off season to keep you busy. Plant people do not sit around twiddling their thumbs all winter. If you don’t know where to start, check out my garden winter checklist. 

Start A Compost Pile

There’s no better time to start or revamp your compost pile than the winter months. Start your compost pile in a sunny area. Soil and compost need sunlight just like plants do. Think of all the living organisms in your composting bin. Stack your kitchen scraps, dead leaves, cardboard, paper products, etc in a pile and you will have vital composting soil to use in your garden by summer. 

Cover Your Soil-

Planting cover crops that do well in the colder months like peas, clover, and grasses help provide nutrients and protection to the soil. It’s always a good idea to keep plants in the ground for as much of the year as you can. This will help lock in those helpful microorganisms that will help increase productivity of your next harvest. Once you have your crops planted, you can go an extra step and cover the rest of the soil with mulch or wood chips. This layer will help protect against weeds and improve drainage in your soil. 

Plan Your Spring Garden- 

Spring will be here faster than you think and you’ll need to have a plan ready to execute. Some varieties of seeds need to start indoors several weeks before the last frost date. Write out a list of what you want to plant and a schedule of when you need to start planting. Sounds like a great excuse to start a garden journal. You can also get a head start by purchasing seeds in the winter. This is the best time to find the cheapest seeds. 

Bring Cactus & Succulents Inside- 

I saw a few too many upsetting posts in local Facebook groups of people who left their cacti out on their front porch during a snowstorm. Needless to say there were a lot of casualties and sad plant moms in my neighborhood. Cacti and succulents are hardy plants, but do not tolerate the cold well. Keep your eye on the weather in the colder months, just in case. Be sure to spray plants before bringing them indoors to prevent contaminating your houseplants

Skip The Fertilizer-

 As mentioned before, most garden plants do go dormant during the colder months. If you still give a plant fertilizer when the plant is not growing anymore, you risk causing nutrient burn and damaging the roots. Do your research and get to know what plants do dormant in the winter as well as the summer. Some succulents actually stop growing during the warmer months. Find out your plant’s growing season and fertilize accordingly. 

I’d love to know what’s on your garden winter checklist. Let me know in the comments! And join my Fox On A Farm Facebook group to get to know each other and share gardening tips and advice.

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Plant of The Month | Compact Mini Jade (Crassula Ovata)

My eyes scanned the display of succulents at Lowe’s until I got stuck on the biggest mini jade I could spot. Her thick emerald leaves were enough for me. It might sound silly to get so excited about a $3.99 common plant, but it was my first one (give me a break). I’m fairly new to the world of house plants, but I am hooked. Since it’s cold here on t he Northern hemisphere, outdoor is close to impossible. However, we’re not going to let our green thumb powers go to waste. In this series, I will be exploring houseplants and succulents every month, giving you tips on how to keep your plants happy abs healthy all year. 

I understand that just about everyone and their grandma has this plant (or grandma passed it down), but hear me out. I’m going to convince you that you need this bad baby and how you can easily care for it. So I present you the house plant of the month, Crassula Ovata.

Jade plants are often viewed as “good luck charms”. Families will pass their plants on to their children and I think that’s so special. If that’s not reason enough to start a jade plant now, I don’t know what is. They can live up to 70 years, sometimes even longer. In addition to being a potential family heirloom, they are also east to care for. 

This cultivar is from South Africa, which tells us they like bright sun and humidity. It’s only major downfall is that it is toxic to pets, so just be careful if you have a fur child. I keep all my plants in a grow tent. High window sills and hanging planters might be a safe option as well. Now let’s get into my top tips for growing healthy, happy jade plants.

Tip #1: Light 

These little succulents need full sun, but can be tolerate a little less. If you have your jade plant inside she might be best near a south or east facing window (whichever is the brightest spot for you). If you find that the leaves look lighter or weaker, you might not be getting adequate sunlight. Investing in a grow light would help you gain control of its light schedule. They need at least 5 hours of light to be content. 

Although these plants are hardy, they can still burn in very intense light. Again, they can grow in partial light. So if you have your plants outside maybe put them in a semi shaded area if you live in hot weather. Having your succulents in containers can also help you move them around certain times of the day. 

Tip #2: Water and Soil 

Have you ever felt how juicy a succulent’s leaves are? They are able to store an incredible amount of water inside their leaves. This requires their soil to completely dry out before watering again. The biggest reason for killing a succulent is overwatering. Take a step back Plant Mama, she’ll be okay. As for the soil , everyone suggest a cacti succulent mix. But if all you have is potting soil, just mix lots of sand or pertlite and it should help the water drain until you repot. Make sure you do use a pot with plenty of drainage holes because they do not need to sit in water. This will cause root rot. The soil and roots do need to be saturated when they are watered, so drain holes are super important. Keep in mind that the jade plant will slow down in the winter, so less watering is required. 

Tip #3: Repotting 

Typically succulents don’t mind being snug and slightly rootbound in their container. However, if you want to freshen up the soil or notice your jade plant toppling over, it might be time to repot. There’s nothing wrong with upgrading your plant from a studio apartment to a two bedroom condo so it has a little room to grow. I recommend using a heavy, sturdy pot because they do get too heavy. I actually made a few cuttings from mine because she was too heavy for her nursery pot. A small terra-cotta pot is in my future.

Tip #4: Propagation Station 

You can share your jade plant with friends and family by propagating stems or leaves (although leaves take longer to root). Use a sharp exacto blade to cut off a 2-3 inch part of the stem or single leaves. Set it aside and let the wound callous over for a few days. You can either set them on top of dry soil or a plate until they start to form roots. This could take several weeks to a month or two. You don’t need to water your cuttings until they do form roots. Then you can set them on top of moist soil. Let the soil dry out before watering. You should have babies in 2-4 months! Remember, succulents grow slow, so be patient. 

Tip #5: Good Housekeeping  

Keep the leaves clean by wiping them down gently every few months if they get dusty. Build up on the leaves can interfere with photosynthesis. The more dust on the leaves, the less light the plant receives. Think of the leaves like your face, don’t touch it and keep it clean! 

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Growing Basil In Winter

Growing your own food helps you reduce waste and harvest top quality nutrients at home for you and your family. You can even do this during winter, which may come as a relief to addicted gardeners. Although you might not be able to have a pumpkin patch thriving in your backyard all year round, you can still grow herbs indoors. In particular, we’re going to take a closer look at basil and how you can grow and harvest this fantastic herb all year! 

You can tell what a plant prefers according to its origin. Basil is native to tropical regions meaning that it likes warmer weather. Give them 6+ hours of full sun and well drained soil for perfect growing conditions. Basil is a tender plant, which means it also likes to stay moist. It’s not a woody herb like rosemary, who can stand to be dry in between waterings. So make sure you keep your basil watered, but not too wet or else you run the risk of root rot. How often and how much you water your plant depends on its location. Your basil will require less water if it’s inside in the winter than if it’s outside in the heat of summer. 

You can easily get a successful germination rate by sowing seeds directly into the soil. Just make sure you over-sow them because it’s better to pinch them out if they get crowded rather than wait for more sprouts. You can also take cuttings from a mother plant and propagate them in a few simple steps.  Once you have an established basil plant or two, you won’t ever have to buy it ever again. 

Keep your supply constantly flowing by pinching leaves to promote new growth. You can also pinch the main stem in between nodes to promote a bushy, full plant. 

Most herbs will grow indoors easily. As long as you are comfortable with the temperature, your plant will be too. Sit them on a windowsill that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight and you’ll be harvesting basil in as little as 4 weeks! This can be tricky with shorter days upon us. If you’re not getting enough light, you might need to invest in a grow light. Personally, I don’t run the heat 100% of the time in winter so my house can get pretty chilly. I keep my plants in a grow tent, which could be an option if you have pets that tend to get to your plant babies. 

I hope all these tips serve you well! Happy growing and follow my Instagram for daily gardening content. 

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Growing Spinach In The Fall

So, yes this blog is about to take a different direction. I’m only human, and my interests may have shifted. I am a farmer and love everything botany! I also think it’s important that people become more self sufficient when it comes to growing quality food. If you also enjoy gardening, the Fall time can seem underwhelming to say the least. But it doesn’t have to be because there are still abundant plants you can grow around this time of year. Enjoy these 6 tips for growing spinach, my personal favorite green!

I’m sure you can find some blog posts and recipes somewhere around here that include spinach, so it’s not secret that it is a vegetable I consume regularly. So why not grow it? The unfortunate thing about spinach is that it bolts (seeds) once it gets too hot outside. The good news, it does well in temperatures as low as the late teens. If you get it started in early Fall the plant will be mature enough to handle the cold.

1. Plant seeds directly into soil

2. Spinach does not require fertilizer, just keep the soil moist with water 

3. Harvest leaves before they get too big and bitter 

4. Plant in cooler weather (beginning of spring or fall to prevent bolting 

5. Plant seeds 2 inches apart and then thin or cut the sprouts to be 4 inches apart

6. Plant spinach seeds every 2 weeks for a regular supply 

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Should There Be Overweight Mannequins?

I stumbled across a post on Instagram that poses the question, should mannequins be overweight to represent the average American? I don’t think there have been many overweight people to walk into a clothing store and say “these mannequins aren’t big enough, I’m out.” I think this is because people aren’t meant to be overweight and obese. You’re not born needing a seatbelt extender or a size 2XL in clothing. And people who are overweight can recognize that plus size isn’t the standard. 

However, there has been an unfortunate shift thanks to the fat acceptance and body positive movement. People care about making sure everyone fits in and feels accepted, which doesn’t sound bad. The problem is that people would rather be coddled than to hear the truth. I realize that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes. And you can be beautiful, smart, funny and amazing, but you cannot be healthy and obese. 

Obviously there needs to be plus size clothing and activewear available. What else are overweight and obese people suppose to wear? But I don’t think the answer is plus sized mannequins. Our eyes will adjust to overweight mannequins and this will become the new standard when you walk into a store. 

It’s expensive to mass produce different sized mannequins. A few years ago, Nike launched a plus sized mannequin. If it makes one person buy activewear, it is a great investment. I just don’t think that money should be wasted in making different sized mannequins. Those profits should go to advertising and making better quality clothing in all sizes. 

No one is really being represented by mannequins. It’s common knowledge that you and that mannequin have very different bodies, which is why you always try on clothes. The average size mannequin is 6 foot with a 24 inch waist, which absolutely no woman has those measurements. Not everything is going to be catered to you. I’ve realized this real quick being 5 foot. There are zero clothing store mannequins out there that represent my short stature, but I’m not crying about it. I know I’m not the average sized woman. You can’t do anything about your height, but you can definitely do something about your weight. 


Do you think overweight mannequins should be a thing?


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Peace & Love,

Heather

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False Advertisement on Instagram & Coming Clean





Something that has caught my attention recently are these Instagram accounts who are posting other people who have lost weight and writing captions giving credit to the keto diet. I don’t understand how this is not against Instagram rules. This is clearly false advertisement and it’s disgusting that people will go so far as to tell a bold face lie in order to push their agenda. Most of these accounts don’t give credit to the Instagram user. But there are even some accounts who do credit the original post. You can easily take a look at the user’s profile to figure out their success wasn’t because of the keto diet. I’m not exactly pro censorship. I believe that people should be able to speak their opinions, however there should be some type of regulation to prevent scams like this.



Someone took it a step further and edited photos of Lori Greiner from Shark Tank promoting ketogenic products. Could you imagine discovering photos of you endorsing products you have zero affiliation with? Yuck. I can see how it would feel like identity theft. Accounts using people’s transformation and progress photos of their hard work from exercise and a healthy diet to spread false information should go against community guidelines. 

Not one diet or lifestyle is a one size fits all. Keto, vegan, intermittent fasting, can all benefit someone, but they don’t work for everyone. Our bodies are well designed, smart machines and you can adopt to almost any diet. Don’t feel stuck if you are currently following a diet that you don’t enjoy. The older I get, the more I realize life is all about the experiences we have. There’s no point in wasting time doing things we hate. We have a limited amount of will power and you don’t want to waste it on a restrictive diet. 


For the sake of transparency, I thought I would mention that I’m no longer vegan. I refuse to be a fitness blogger who isn’t truthful about her nutrition and training. I didn’t really want to make a big deal about my dietary changes, but this seemed like an appropriate space to come clean. I just wanted to mention it wasn’t the diet’s fault, it was user error. I’ll explain more in next week’s post, but I have added eggs and occasionally some sprinkles of feta cheese to my diet.

Don’t be afraid to be honest about a change in your diet or health. A label shouldn’t dictate how you live your life. I’m sure I will be attracting angry militant vegans, but I could care less. I would rather tell the truth because I could never lie to the people who genuinely enjoy my content and fitness journey. It’s easy to post what your audience wants to see. I can imagine how many vegan or keto influencers who aren’t 100% vegan or keto. I hope to inspire other fitness creators to be honest about what they’re doing. Scammers make it hard to decipher which stories are fact and which ones are in fact stories. I don’t want to be a part of the problem.

I’ve always advocated a healthy, balanced diet. There’s nothing wrong with trying out other diets or workout programs. But if you don’t feel your best, it’s time to change something up. I just wanted to open up the conversation and create more awareness when it comes to fake content. There’s a lot of noise out there. Be aware of dishonest creators and do what is healthy to you.

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Peace & Love,

Heather

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How To Really Get Rid of Hip Dips

Hey girl, I know you want those full hips instead of those ugly violin hips. I’ll let you in on my secret to getting voluminous wide-set hips. It’s not eating in a caloric surplus, weight training, or booty band exercises. Now that I have your attention, let’s discuss. 

Hip dips are literally your bone structure where there is an indentation on your upper thighs. This is caused by the natural shape of your hip and femur bone. Everyone has hip dips, but your bone structure aka genetics determine how deep that inward curve is. In some cases, people are genetically blessed and carry more fat in their hips than others. 

If your goal is to lose weight, those pesky hip dips will be accentuated. The more body fat you lose, the more visible your hip dips will be. I have bulked and cut and I can see my hips dips no matter if I’m lean or thicker. Since losing fat and gaining muscle can make your hip dips stand out more, they can also indicate a fit & healthy body.

Sure, you can build the side booty. But since you view hip dips from the front, this is not going to make the indentations less apparent. The gluteus medius is significantly smaller than the other glute muscles surrounding it. Lest we not forget that hips dips are made from your skeletal structure and have nothing to do with muscle. 

The only two ways you can have full hips is if you naturally gain fat around your hips or if you go under the knife. This is why we shouldn’t compare ourselves to another woman’s body. Everyone’s journey and where we come from are all different. There’s no reason to get rid of hip dips or hate the natural structure of your body. When you’re killing yourself in the gym, remember what’s attainable and realistic. Start paying attention to doing the best you can to reach your potential, not some tv land fantasy. 

My suggestion is to stop looking at unrealistic Kim Kardashian bodies. The more you see that image, the more you compare yourself to them and criticize yourself. You don’t know them and their lives don’t affect you. Maybe it’s time to unfollow some Instagram accounts. Fitness goals are great to have, but don’t lose focus of self-love and health. 

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Peace & Love,

Heather

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4 Tips To Ease Back Into Fitness After A Hiatus


Hey foxy Angels! So I decided to take a whole month off from training. I moved clear across the country, which has been interesting to say the least. I went from the sunny desert in the West Coast to an icebox in the East Coast. Obviously, I had to take some time off to transport all of my dogs and belongings to the other side. Moving is already stressful and training is stressful to your body, so I reached the conclusion that I should hold off on the gym. Of course I was hesitant like most gym freaks, but I’m so glad I did. I was able to focus on my yoga practice and nutrition for several weeks, but now I’m back to the iron. A lot of people are terrified to take time off, but believe it or not, I didn’t lose my gains. In fact, I came back fresh and rested! I figured I would share some tips that’s been helping me ease back into my fitness routine.

Start Slow

It’s tempting to get back in the gym and start where you left off. But your body is going to take less volume and intensity to start seeing results again. There’s no point in burning yourself out mentally and physically just to sit another 3 months on the couch. Try scheduling 2-3 workouts with maybe 6-9 sets. The idea is to build up those habits again and get in the swing of your routine. Make sure you’re getting enough quality sleep and focus on your recovery just as much as your time in the gym. Be on top of your nutrition and stick to mostly cooking whole food meals at home. 

Take Recovery Days Seriously

It’s true that we grow while resting, but we can maximize this recovery time by taking full advantage of rest days. Do things that are going to help your body recover for your next session. Remember, the work doesn’t stop when you leave the gym. You’re not the same fitness level you were when you first took time off, so give your body time to adapt. This could mean only working out 2-3 days a week. Just be sure to utilize the other days by eating enough calories with mostly whole foods. Stretching and foam rolling will help combat the tightness in your muscles and increase range of motion. 

Keep It Fun

If you’ve been out of the routine for a while, chances are you’re not going to want to go to the gym if you dread the workout. But you’re going to look forward to it if you include exercises you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to do an intense cardio session on the treadmill if you hate running. You won’t stick to anything you genuinely despise. 

Make It Easy

Maybe you were weight lifting a few months ago and built up to doing 10 different exercises on one muscle group. If you have been out of the game for a while, don’t be afraid to scale it back (way back). The idea is to slowly build up those habits again. You’ll quickly start to build momentum and confidence when you make workouts easier. Skip the supersets and burnouts for a few weeks until you’ve earned it again. 

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Peace & Love,

Heather

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3 Tips For A Healthy Holiday


The holidays are here, which typically means travel and larger than life portion sizes (lest we forget pumpkin spice). Meanwhile, gyms everywhere are going unused and workout videos are going unwatched. It seems like if you’re not stuck in traffic headed to grandma’s house then you’re working overtime to pay for gifts. So when the hell do you have time for fitness? All that progress you made during summer shredding comes to a screeching halt. But just because you’re on a holiday break, doesn’t mean your goals have to be. Your health should be a priority all year round. And not just when it’s the season of showing more skin. I don’t want those gains to be lost in vain, so here are some tips to keep in mind when you are on the go this holiday season. 

B.Y.O.F.

Whether it’s a Christmas party, visiting the family, or road trips, you can always bring your own food. Stock up on healthy snacks so you don’t end up at a fast food drive thru. If you’re driving, gas station almost always have nuts, seeds, protein bars, and even fruit! And if you’re worried about overeating on stuffing and mashed potatoes, you can always fill up on healthy foods before you get there. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in your Mama’s cooking, but overindulging can have consequences. 

Bring Your Workout Inside

It might be too cold outside to go for a run, but you can find plenty of things to do inside. Even if you are visiting friends and family, you can find the time and place for a little holiday sweat. Obviously this time of year is about spending time with loved ones. But I’m sure they will understand if you need 30-60 minutes to take care of you. You can visit a local gym or follow along at home workout videos. You can also include them in your activities by walking around the mall or do something fun like go ice skating! 

Remember Your Goals 

Is that extra servings of macaroni and cheese casserole worth ditching your health goals? The holidays come once a year, so enjoy yourself. You can still have a fun filled holiday without throwing your goals on the back burner. It shouldn’t take having 3 different deserts to have a good time. Your goals won’t happen if you don’t put in the work. I mean, think about it. Your body doesn’t care about how your taste buds feel. Remember, we’re trying to reach long term goals. Think about why you want to live a healthy lifestyle. You’re going to have numerous opportunities to cheat yourself. Don’t do it.

How will you stay active this winter?

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Peace & Love,

Heather

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My Skincare Routine For Oily Skin

Hello foxes! I know I’m not the only one, but I have battled with my skin for years! I finally found a skincare routine that has been working for me and products that don’t work against my skin. Keep in mind that we all have different skin texture and issues. What works for me might break your skin out. I am a 26 year old ladies, so wrinkles and fine lines have already made their debut. However, I also have sensitive skin, so retinol isn’t my jam. As soon as I started buying more natural beauty products, I noticed an improvement in my skin. I assumed my skin was more on the dry side because I live in the desert. But turns out my skin is oily, which explains all those breakouts. I wanted to mention that the health of your skin not only reflects your skincare routine, but also your sleep, stress levels, and nutrition. 


Step 1: Cleanser | Skin Co Truffle Therapy Whipped Cleansing Cream

I have been using Truffle Therapy Whipped Cream Cleanser for my face wash for over 2 months now. I was hesitant at first because my skin doesn’t do well with cream cleansers. But it says it’s for all skin types, so I was convinced to try it in the end. Skin Co is an animal cruelty free brand and they use quality ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised that it made my skin feel really soft the first time I used it. The cream also didn’t break me out or irritate my skin. It doesn’t really smell like anything and a little goes a long way. I like to scrub it in and let the product sit on my face for a minute. I go through phases where I wear makeup everyday and then I stop for a while. I’m in the natural face phase, so I don’t really use this cleanser to remove makeup. But I have once or twice and it did a good job. 


Step 2: Acne Scrub | Shea Moisture African Black Soap Clarifying Face Wash & Scrub 

I love that the formula is strong for an animal cruelty free scrub. It contains salicylic acid, which helps fight acne. It leaves my skin fresh and clean without feeling tight. It’s a great combination of cleansing and exfoliating without it being too rough. I’ve noticed a huge improvement on my oiliness and breakouts. And the best part is that it doesn’t irritate my skin. 

Step 3: Toner | Shea Moisture African Black Soap Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Toner 

I know I said my skin feels clean, but it feels extra clean after using this clarifying toner. I just spritz a little product on a cotton ball and swipe it in an upward motion. Adding a toner to my skincare routine has been a game changer. I’ve noticed that it helps fight existing breakouts while preventing new ones. I’ve been using it twice a day and it doesn’t dry out my skin. Like I mentioned, I have sensitive skin, but the aloe made it really soothing! 


Step 4: Face Mask | Elemis Superfood Vital Veggie Mask

I like to use face masks after I tone because it acts as the perfect primer. I’ve been using this mask twice a week and it’s definitely not your typical face mask. The product isn’t full coverage like most face masks and goes on almost opaque. But you only need a thin layer of this appropriately named veggie mask. It’s full of vitamins and minerals from wheatgrass, kale, avocado, and chia seeds. My skin feels so soft and hydrated after I rinse it off. 


Step 5: Primer | Touch In Sol No Pore Blem Prime Essence 

I definitely used this wrong the first time. I put my foundation on immediately after I applied the primer and my makeup was sliding off my face. Luckily, I gave it another shot and fell in love. The serum is watery and glides over your skin. It helps to absorb in your other skincare products. I still apply a makeup primer, but I use the No Pore Blem even when I’m not wearing makeup. 


Step 6: Face Oil | Wander Glow Ahead Illuminating Face Oil 

Another product I was skeptical about because I didn’t think oily skin and face oils made sense together. But it’s definitely not oily and it absorbed quickly right into my skin. It has vegan, animal cruelty free ingredients like castor oil and black currant seed oil, which helps balance moisture and plump up the skin. I haven’t noticed any reduction in fine lines, but my skin is very glowy afterwards. It’s super lightweight and doesn’t break me out. A little goes a long way, so be careful. 


Step 7: Moisturizer | Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer

This is the only non animal cruelty free product in my routine. For as much alcohol is listed in the ingredients it doesn’t dry out or burn my skin. It does contain soybean extract, which has long term benefits and helps brighten skin. I also like the fact that it contains a 15 SPF, which doesn’t leave a white cast on your face. The non greasy formula prevents streaky makeup, which I really appreciate. I do prefer Burt’s Bees Renewal Firming Day Lotion, but it was out of stock. Finding natural moisturizers with SPF is a challenge, so I had to settle this time. 


What are some non animal cruelty free skincare products that you’ve been loving? 

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Peace & Love,

Heather

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