Chemicals You Should be Avoiding

Beauty, Beautycounter

How many of you have seen the word “all-natural” or “derived from plants” or even “GMO” and “Organic?”

I bet everyone reading this and when purchasing those products didn’t you feel super good about that choice? You were like, “Yes, stepping up my non-toxic game and choosing better ingredients for my body or house.”

Unfortunately, you might’ve fallen into a marketing scam that’s created by corporations only wanting your mula. They jack up the prices a bit, hide ingredients under certain words, maybe take a few bad ones out, and slap a gorgeous green label on it….and they hook us.

This is actually a tactic known as green-washing. I’ve talked about it previously on my blog, and I’ll keep talking about it until I’m blue in the face. So let me be a helpful guide in listing a handful of ingredients you should avoid. Also, I’ll end with a resource that has been crazy helpful to me when figuring out which products are actually clean.

I also want to preface this and say, I am NOT perfect. Do I still have to use clinical strength deodorant sometimes because I really don’t want to be running around my recital, spreading my stench around the dancers and their parents? Yes. Do I occasionally use the cheap vanilla body sprays that I’ve gotten for Christmas every year since I was 15? Yes is the answer. Do I still use makeup I got in an Ipsy bag over 2 years ago? Not often, but yeah.

This is a judgement-free zone. Okay, guys? I just try to do better each day and that’s all anyone can do. Don’t panic after reading this and don’t get so overwhelmed that you say, “F*** it, we’re all dying from cancer anyway!”

I used to say that and yes, cancer is so prevelant, it’s scary. But, a lot more preventable than one might think…Just a little tid bit here, “99% of breast cancer tissue contained parabens” (Dr. Philippa Darbre-University of Reading in the UK). My philosophy is…how about we try to take care of ourselves the best we can during our very short time here on earth? By doing so, we are teaching the next generation good habits as well.

NOW…into the chemicals…Here are 5 chemicals you should be avoiding (and here’s why)

1. Fragrance

This one actually makes me upset, because 9 times out of 10 I’ll see a potentially non-toxic product usually with the words, “made with essential oils” and I turn that bad boy around…BOOM there is it, “fragrance.” The word fragrance is a flavoring agent that could contain literally 3,000+ stock chemicals ingredients, including hormone disrupters and allergens!! “Fragrance” is protected under federal law’s classification of trade secrets meaning that they don’t have to disclose what chemicals actually fall under that word. It’s in almost everything as well, so if you’re battling super dry, irritated skin, flip over your lotion, detergent, body wash bottles and see if that pesky word is there…

2. Parabens (Methyl-, Isobutyl-, Propyl-, and more)

Thank goodness, more and more products are becoming paraben-free. This chemical is more widely known as harmful, which is GREAT! Here’s why it’s being taken out of things…it’s a preservative first and foremost which I try to avoid as much as possible. It’s meant to protect products from mold and bacteria growth, so meant to stop Earth’s natural decaying processes (eye roll). The most concerning issue with parabens is that they’re endocrine (hormone) disruptors, which may change important, natural hormone mechanisms in our bodies. For instance, they may effect reproduction, cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. It’s found in shampoos, face & body washes, foundations, and lotions.

3. Oxybenzone

This chemical is actually in the moisturizer I used to use for years. It is also found in most sunscreens and people are spreading it all over the children having no idea why their child is having adverse reactions…oxybenzone is why. It’s a sunscreen agent and UV light absorber linked to irritation, allergies, sensitivity, and possible hormone disruption. This chemical is actually being banned in places around the world, including Hawaii.

4. BHA and BHT

These are synthetic antioxidants used to extend a product’s shelf life. They are likely hormone disruptors which as you read above…NOT good! They are also likely carcinogens and may cause liver damage. They are found often in lipsticks, moisturizers, and diaper creams.

5. Get ready for this one….Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone

These guys are chemical preservatives that are some of the most common irritants and causes of contact skin allergies. Even lab studies on the brain cells of mammals also suggest Methylisothiazolinone may be neurotoxic (poisonous to the nervous system). I wont name names here, but these preservatives are found in products from a heavily promoted Skincare brand. This brand claims to be “non-toxic.” If you would like to know which one, please feel free to ask me! They’re also found in shampoos, conditioners, and body washes.

So…now that I’ve freaked you out…what do you do to avoid said chemicals. Well, you’re not always going to be able to, but start by switching out one product at a time. For me, it was my cleansers and laudry detergents then soon after it was all my skincare.

I also want to highly recommend you use EWG Skin Deep (Environmental Working Group) as a resource. I have the app, but you can search on their website too. They rate products on a toxicity scale of 1-10 (10 being the most toxic). EWG has a strict criteria for transparency and health. I try to stick with products that are EWG verified or within the 1-3 range. Here’s an example of a product I looked up using the App (first picture) and the website (second picture) that has the highest rating of 10. Unfortunately, this brand is really popular. I personally used to use it for years. Not all of their products are rated highly, but there are A LOT, so this is why the EWG comes in handy!!


As you can see, this product contains 3 of the 5 chemicals that we should try to avoid. Key word here….”try.”

I hope this was helpful for you and didn’t put you in a panic, because that is not the intention. I believe in knowledge, education, and hard conversations. I want so badly to believe that the CDC, FDA, and all government regulated agencies have our best interest, but I’m just not so sure. Let’s dig a little deeper. I challenge you to research, research, research so you have confidence in the products you put on yourself and your families.

As a safer beauty advocate for Beautycounter, I would love to personally help you switch to cleaner beauty. It’s a GREAT place to start! Always here for questions!

Much love,

T

Top 20 for 2020

Adulting, Mental Health

I don’t do super specific resolutions, because I feel like I am ever-changing and mid-year or every week I could come up with a new goal ya know? We shouldn’t limit our goals, dreams, or desires to just once a year, BUT with a lot of reflection on last year…I do have 20 short, but sweet tid-bits I’d love to do, accomplish, see or learn.

  1. Put down the Netflix, pick up some more Brene Brown
  2. Remind myself that I am good at what I do
  3. Understand that 26 is NOT old
  4. SAVE SAVE SAVE that mula
  5. Go to Vegas for my bachelorette partayyy
  6. Actually utilize my barre membership meaning 3+ times a week
  7. Continue to learn how to love every single part of my body
  8. This is a tough one for me…but have a little less care about what others think
  9. Know that it’s okay to not have myself completely figured out yet & find contentment knowing that I may never completely “figure myself out.”
  10. Give more compliments to others
  11. Give more compliments to myself
  12. Get paid collaborations with companies I whole heartedly love
  13. Work with local organizations that help abuse survivors
  14. REMEMBER THAT I DONT HAVE TO DO IT ALL RIGHT NOW OR THIS YEAR
  15. Continue to give my all to my students & host 2 more successful recitals
  16. Go somewhere warm with my sweetie and celebrate our marriage
  17. Clean my car more often (Kyle will appreciate this one)
  18. Visit my bff across the pond
  19. Start to plan my next trip to Australia
  20. Finally….have the most beautiful, romantic wedding EVER!!! 😉

I might not crush all of these and I will most likely revert back to old behaviors occasionally or forget to prioritize my mental health, because that’s life. I’m human. Make sure if you set goals or if you want to accomplish that HUGE dream this year that you also give yourself some grace and patience. It might not happen the way you want it to. Something unforseen may occur, but don’t be too hard on yourself! Happiness is an accumulation of doing the next right thing NOT doing everything all at once and working yourself to death.

Hope your 2020 is a year where you can love every piece of you and for those that are hurting, just know your broken pieces can be placed back together and YOU WILL feel whole again.

Much love,

T

The Proposal of My Dreams

Adulting

I might be biased, but Kyle’s proposal was the best thing I’ve ever seen and It was absolutely the best night of my life so far.

I remember dreaming about this day a couple years ago and it felt so far away. Before Kyle, I really didn’t even know if I’d get married. I was so negative and distrusting of love and Kyle made me believe again, slowly but surely.

First things first, we talked about marriage, kids, and the future a lot. We got a dog together. We bought a house together. I mean we both were committed for sure, but he never gave a real indication of when a proposal would happen like NOTHING…ever. He was cool as a cucumber. It’s ridiculous and impressive!

Buuuuut one day, about a month ago, I did see a specific receipt on his phone (whoops). I did not go searching anymore after that, because I really didn’t want to ruin any surprise he might have. I started to brainstorm with friends about when this could be happening and the only conclusion was obviously Breckenridge. It’s an annual friends trip and we have a gorgeous cabin set in the mountains. We’d be surrounded by friends. I was like, “that is definitely when he’s going to do it, hands down!”

So in my mind I was going to make sure I had a cute little mountain outfit and make sure my nails were perfect, because that’s when it was going to happen, right?

Then Tuesday, November 19th rolls around and I had a scheduled dinner date with my friend Sierra and new friend, Erin who also happens to be the lovely photographer that Kyle and I had take our fall photos! We’ve become close and thought we’d catch up with Sierra after her honeymoon. Erin said she had meetings with clients that day so she was going to be dressed nice. Sierra also said she felt like dressing up a little bit and if anyone knows me, they know I have no problem dressing up! So I was like “yeah, perfect!”

We were in a group text and earlier that day I had suggested tacos but then Sierra said something about burgers at the Old Mattress Factory (Old Matt) and in my mind I was like, “omg yes sounds delicious and also I had wanted to check out the upstairs venue for our possible future wedding (premature, I know lol).

Erin met me at my house earlier that night and we were chatting about everything under the sun and of course, I brought up possibly getting engaged in Breckenridge and she fed into it brilliantly and at that point I 100% thought I would be coming back from Colorado engaged.

Flash forward to the Old Matt…we sat at the bar first. Looking back now I did think that was super odd, like why not a table? We got a drink and the lady behind the bar just happened to be the venue manager. Erin has mentioned to her that I would like to see the upstairs and then Erin had to step away for a phone call with a “friend who was on a blind date.”

The venue manager offered to take me upstairs and Sierra said she’d come with. I left my coat on the chair, because I thought it was just going to be a quick peak around. As we were walking up the stairs, the lady told me that I didn’t have to bring my drink (now I know why) and Sierra was about to set her drink down on the stairs and I was SO confused, but still had no idea.

Then….I opened the door.

Erin Ren Photography

The only way I know how to describe that moment is an absolute adrenaline rush. I remember feeling the same way another time in my life. It was on the state dance floor looking out into the thousands of people that showed up to support dance and watch my team. Pure adrenaline, love, shock, and overwhelming happiness. That’s exactly how I felt Tuesday night. It was kind of an out-of-body experience actually and I really didn’t cry much, because I was so blissfully stunned. I was trying to be in the moment, but my body was shaking and my mind was racing. I remember him shaking too while he said his beautiful speech that I know he had been working on relentlessly. I keep replaying the moment over and over, because I don’t want to ever forget how that felt.

Never in my whole life have I had someone plan something so special and thoughtful. Just solidified that he is indeed the best man in the entire world. Continues to blow my mind everyday.

After he placed the gorgeous ring on my finger, he played music and we danced….

Erin Ren Photography

Of course, throughout the whole proposal he had Erin, the talented photographer, snapping photos and I truly can’t thank him enough for planning that detail, because it was one of those moments that I really want to relive and cherish forever. Pictures help fill in the spots where my adrenaline blurred things out a bit (he got me good y’all).

Along with photos, Kyle made sure to include my best friends and that’s SO him! He’s not just the most amazing man around me, he thinks of others first, always.

So Sierra was at dinner with me and after an emotional proposal, I turned around and there was Alyssa!

Erin Ren Photography

These two cried more than I did. It was so dang cute! They had both known for awhile that this was coming and just a couple days before this Alyssa and I were at wine club (yes, I’m part of a wine club that meets monthly) and I couldn’t stop talking about when he would propose and where! She managed to play it off and keep silent THE WHOLE TIME. Her and Kyle’s sister both knew and their acting skills are above average. Incredible performance ladies!

Speaking of acting, Kyle had called my parents a month prior to this to ask for their blessing (they live across the country) and he also sent a picture of the ring to my Gma’s. His family also knew. Everyone around me knew and I literally didn’t have the slightest clue. Blows my mind!

I’m still basking in all the happiness. My adrenaline has been pumping nonstop and it’s been almost a week! I’m having a hard time eating, because I have so many butterflies. I also can’t stop wedding planning. We have our venue picked and a couple other big details planned already, but truthfully it’s because I’ve known that I’ve wanted to marry this man for 3 years….Soooo I might’ve have been planning on the side for a little while now. 😉

9•5•20 is going to be our best day yet!

Here’s to forever with the man that sweeps me off my feet everyday.

Erin Ren Photography

Much love,

Taryn

The 4 Hydrating Beautycounter Products You Need This Winter!

Beauty, Beautycounter

The first official snow fall came down on us today in Nebraska. Didn’t stick but Winter is coming! According to whoever predicts the weather, it’s going to be a wicked one out there this year. Lots of ice and cold-yay!

You know what that means for many of us….Dry skin! I have already had an inbox full of dry skin questions over these last couple weeks and I thought I would write something up for you all to refer back to when ordering from Beautycounter during the cold months.

Here are four hydrating products you need for your dry skin. After almost one full year with the company, I can personally attest to the amazing hydration all of these offer.

First, the Cleansing Balm. The “balm that does it all.” I’ve written and talked about this product so much. because it truly is incredible and one of our best sellers. I use it as a makeup remover every night. Finally, a product that removes makeup while adding hydration unlike all the other cleansers, liquids, or wipes that completely strip your skin of moisture (ick). The Balm can also be used as a straight up moisturizer (probably best overnight because it is a little thicker). It can be a variety of others things too, like an eczema cream, burn ointment, and even a hydrating facial mask. The balm recently got an upgrade and now contains lotus extract. This has brightening properties and has been used for centuries. Our Cleansing Balm also contains raspberry and cranberry oils and vitamin C. Massage gently onto face, if using it as a cleanser, and then wipe away with a damp cloth. I use microfiber.

Product Image

Counter+ Lotus Glow Cleansing Balm $72

Next, I can’t pick just one product from this collection, so I have to recommend the whole thing. The Countermatch Collection is the hydrating line you never knew you were missing. It seriously changed my skin and my life you guys. First products I started using and I was hooked on Beautycounter for life. The collection contains Pure Calm Cleansing Milk, Intense Moisture Serum, Eye Rescue Cream, Adaptive Moisture Lotion (for day), and Recovery Sleeping Cream (for night). This line seems to work for most skin types and I have zero reported issues or problems from clients so far. It’s a collection I can almost 100% guarantee will work for you. Even for those with oily skin, I would recommend this line first, because of the bio-mimic technology. This breakthrough technology matches the exact moisture your skin needs. I am oily prone myself and always thought I needed less hydration, but not the case. My skin was actually over producing oil because it was lacking hydration! Don’t strip your skin people.

Countermatch Collection

Countermatch Collection $201

Thirdly, Melting Body Balm. It is as luxurious as it sounds. If you struggle with eczema or dry spots like I do, this product is for you. Immediately apply after the shower and your skin will be buttery smooth without the harsh chemicals and fragrance used in many other lotions that end up irritating your skin further. This product is infused with monai scent, argon and avocado oils. This Body Balm was a “Best of Beauty” Award Winner in Allure Magazine this year!

Product Image

Melting Body Balm $42

Last, but definitely not least…our Baby Soothing Oil. Yes, for baby, but also for you! Within our Beautycounter private Facebook groups, it’s one of the most recommended products by consultants. I think it’s also one of the products that I don’t talk enough about! This winter, I will be stocking up and making sure my clients that struggle with dry skin stock up too. It is a mix of organic coconut, jojoba, and sunflower seed oils. Absorbs easily, but doesn’t feel greasy!

Baby Soothing Oil

Baby Soothing Oil $22

I hope this year is the year you don’t have to struggle with dry skin. I know for so many years it was a personal struggle and I would continually layer on lotions that were packed with harmful ingredients. I also want to mention that you might want to switch up your laundrydetergent as well. That can exacerbate dry skin SOOO much! I use Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder, but they have liquid and a variety of other products too. This is not an advertisement, I just truly love their products and my eczema has almost disappeared with the use of cleaner beauty and cleaner detergent.

You can shop all these products at My Beautycounter Site.

Thank you all for reading and as always, I am here for whatever #betterbeauty questions you may have! I am not an expert on all things clean and safe yet, but everyday I am researching and taking steps to get there.

If you are on the hunt for safer products/beauty and this journey seems overwhelming to you. Download the EWG (Environmental Working Group) app or just search products you are wondering about in their website. So helpful!

Much Love,

T

 

Trauma

Mental Health

My gosh, have I been having some DEEP conversations lately. I don’t know if the wine nights or hot summer days spark something inside of me that make me question everything, but I. am. questioning. everything. Most of the recent convos have been surrounding trauma, shame, regret, spirituality, and forgiveness.

It seems like each of my friends have something in their life that they are currently dealing with that is a BIG deal. I just keeping thinking….when did our lives become so damn complicated? It’s like you hit your mid twenties and realize that this life is fricken crazy, it is nothing like you thought it would be, and literally not one person has it figured out. On the flip side, how nice is it that I have a group of friends who aren’t afraid to dive into the deep stuff, like the REAL deep stuff!  Find yourself a group like that!

I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately. Just not 100%. It seems like I always struggle in the summers and I think it has to do with a lack of structure. I need structure, but hate it at the same time. I also have realized that life was so busy these last couple years with the start of an amazing relationship, opening a dance studio, moving, and everything in between that I kind of put my past in a little box and stuffed it in the basement, so it wouldn’t come out again. Well…you guessed it…the box apparently wasn’t sturdy enough, because BOOM I feel myself re-living and dissecting trauma all over again. Have I not worked through it enough or at all? Am I “over it?” Will my mental health be a life-long battle?

Some of you may be wondering…wait, what trauma? Am I missing something here? In another blog post in the near future I will be sharing more of my story that most don’t know, because truthfully I didn’t know it was trauma or wrong until recently. I was sexually abused multiple times in college by a handful of men. For many years, like 6 years, I thought it was my fault. After all, I was drunk and promiscuous right? I put myself into those situations. I brought myself to those parties. I drank way too much and way to often. I didn’t respect myself. I literally did NOT care what happened to me. I gave men what they wanted, because at that point I was a hollow shell of a human being. Within that time my abusive ex entered the picture and most of you know how that ended up. More trauma.

I thought I had hidden that away, and most people in my “new” life don’t see that old person at all. I almost feel guilty for being able to start over and within the last week, I discovered that I don’t think I’ve forgiven her. I don’t think I’ve let her heal. I discovered that there’s a small piece of me that I still believe is used trash. I don’t know if I view myself the way others do. I’ve covered up, and carried on. That apparently only works for so long, and then BOOM it’s like my brain gets hijacked and the old me creeps in, nudges me, and says, “you still don’t respect yourself. Why don’t you just drink your trauma and pain away…that’s easier. Why don’t you go ahead and make some more mistakes, just because it feels good.”

I decided that I will not self-sabotage and I will not minimize or hide my trauma anymore. I will deal with it and get the help I need. I’ve decided to seek out some counseling and the reason I’m writing this is because this shouldn’t be “shocking” or “taboo!” This is normal! Therapy is normal, or should be! Kyle, bless his heart, said, “I didn’t know it was THIS bad.” He was super concerned when I opened up to him, and I told him it isn’t THAT bad, but it shouldn’t have to get to that point. I’ve noticed some behaviors within myself that make me think I need to talk to somebody about the things I’ve been through. Simple as that. There should be no shame there and it shouldn’t have to get BAD before someone reaches out and says, “Yeah, I need a little help.”

I also am starting a life completely away from my family, and this is a whole other blog topic in and of itself, but this is fricken hard you guys! I already feel like I’m floundering through life at times, just trying to manage it all, attempting to be an adult in this world. On top of that, I don’t have my family. It brings tears to my eyes even mentioning them and so I just don’t think about it. I stuff that down too. I would love to chat with a professional about ways to cope with that!

Ultimately, I want to be the best wife and mother that I possibly can be, and I believe that if I start or continue on the journey of healing I will be a lot better off for myself and for my future family. I am thankful for the support of my family, my friends, and my love. Sometimes we might need just a little more than that, and that is okay! 

I challenge you all to open your hearts to healing. I don’t know what that looks like for you and may not be counseling, but being a little more transparent and authentic with how we are actually feeling can make a huge difference. Let’s be the generation that doesn’t stuff it down! 

Much love,

T

 

Be a Good Person -God

Adulting

I’ve been having multiple conversations about faith, religion, god, and all of the above lately. I’ve chatted with a few friends about it and it’s been a topic of discussion with Kyle too as we plan for the future.

I grew up in the Methodist church and back during my high school days when my parents would drag me there, I would’ve told you it was annoying. But, when I look back now, I am thankful for that foundation and I always left church with a full heart and a comforting feeling.

Kyle has told me that his experience is different. He grew up Catholic and not meaning to offend anyone, but you can imagine what a teenager thought of a traditional Catholic service. Not relatable and something he didn’t find moving or comforting. He said he didn’t take it very serious. BUT, he did love his Catholic High School and the bond he established with his brothers. They went to Mass, had religion classes, as well as the regular curriculum. They held their students to an extremely high standard not only regarding grades, but also behavior. He loved how they had five pillars or something like that, where they were taught how to be men of faith, great future dads/husbands, and to treat everyone with respect.

Because of his memorable high school experience, we are considering having our children go there as well. My only hang up is I do not want my family to be raised in the Catholic church. There, I said it. I don’t believe it’s a requirement if your kids want to attend a Catholic school, but I also don’t know if I want them learning all about the Catholic traditions when that’s not something I necessarily agree with and not what I value in my relationship with God. Also, it’s not what I grew up with! Where I grew up I actually didn’t know a lot of Catholic families or maybe I did and I just didn’t pay attention, but most of my friends either didn’t attend church, were Methodist, Lutheran, or non-denominational.

So, this brings me to the discussion of faith and religion in general. Let’s take out all labels for one second and simply talk about Christianity. First off; I went to Sunday school, I know the main Bible stories, I grew up in church/youth group, and I was confirmed. I loved my experience for the most part and the biggest thing I took away from all those years was that we treat people like Jesus would have treated them. We don’t judge harshly and we try to live like Jesus did with compassion and empathy. The other thing I grab onto is the fact that regardless of what you believe in, there is something bigger than you out there aligning and helping you make things happen in your life. I truly believe in a higher power. I’m a pretty realistic person, but also extremely sensitive and emotional. I know in my heart that something has had my back, because some of the mistakes I made should have brought me worse things and some how I ended up okay. I ended up better than okay.

For me, it’s not about memorizing the bible front to back, chanting the same phrases over and over, sitting in a pew every Sunday, not eating certain foods on certain days, what you wear, or who you fall in love with…it’s about BEING A GOOD PERSON. Just don’t be shitty person. I really don’t think it’s that difficult of a concept.

And those who sit in judgement of others who may not be as “religious” as you…you’re the worst kind of human. Being Christ-like is being understanding of ALL. Jesus walked with the worst of the worst and was there for them through it all. I’ll just bring it back to my favorite quote, “Those with glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

That is exactly what Kyle and I want our future kids to understand…that it’s about being a good human, caring for your neighbor, doing all you can to be empathetic, kind, and loving. I understand that the Catholic church does teach all those things too, but somewhere along the line I feel as though many who attend those traditional services have lost the main point. They get so wrapped up in, “well, it’s just what we do” or “If you want to go to heaven, you just have to do x, y, z.” Like no, I truly don’t believe God wants you to just go through the motions and chant the same phrases over and over again. I believe he wants you to breakdown, cry, and talk to him in your car, because you’re about to lose it. I believe he wants you to ask questions and dive deeper into the meaning of life. I believe he wants you to have transparent and HARD conversations with the ones you love. There’s no way he wants perfection, because it doesn’t exist! I believe he wants us to worship with beautiful, fun music. I believe he wants us to sit and talk about REAL issues of the world and find some answers as empathetic, loving people! AHHH I could go on!

Moral of the story is that I’m re-evaluating what it means to be a “Christian” and what the next steps look like for Kyle and I. The absolute best part about it is that we are very much on the same page. Our values align and we want the same things for our future family, we just aren’t 100% sure what that looks like yet.

I am trying to possibly find a non-denominational church in the Omaha area preferably not too far West as we are closer to downtown, so if anyone reading this has any suggestions please let me know!

Thanks so much for continuing to support my life, my journey, and my thoughts!

Much love,

T