Sunday, March 18, 2018

My Current Natural Skin Care Routine

I have always been what you could call a "skincare junkie", trying every new "holy grail" product out there. I had never really considered that many of these "miracle" products could actually be doing more harm than good, in the long (and short) run. I don't know how many times a product has made me break out, given me a rash, or itchy, puffy eyes (even the ones specifically formulated for sensitive skin) Not only do many of these products contain toxic ingredients, many of them also test on animals! For these (and many other positive) reasons, I started to research products before I buy. First of all, I read the labels and look for a few key words on the packaging: non-toxic, cruelty free, no parabens, no pthalates and free of perfumes and dyes (organic ingredients are a plus!). I also check the toxicity rating on the EWG website. Lastly, I read reviews. I like to get the opinion of REAL people who have used the product before I take the plunge. I am happy to say that I am well on my way to a completely non-toxic skincare routine. Here is my review, in the order that I use them:

TULA Probiotic Purifying Face Cleanser - This is the newest addition to my non-toxic skincare routine... and so far I love it! It is described as " a probiotic-based gel cleanser that deep cleans pores and removes impurities and makeup without stripping the skin"... and this is exactly what it does! I double cleanse (once with my hands to quickly remove any makeup, and lastly with a facial brush to exfoliate), and my skin still feels dewy and moisturized! It's also a foaming cleanser, which I prefer. There are two sizes, so you can try before you buy. The bottles are very generous. I purchased the larger size, and because I only wash my face once a day (at night), I feel like this cleanser will last a loooong, long time.

Thayers Alcohol Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - I have to admit, I was scared to try this. I had used witch hazel as a toner years ago and it was not a pleasant experience. However, my pores were calling out for a hero, and this got excellent reviews. First of all, it's alcohol free! This was the main reason I decided to give it a go. It also has aloe vera, which is super soothing for skin. Finally, it smells really pleasant. Not like any other toner I have used in the past, and my skin loves it! I feel like it really preps my skin for facial oil and moisturizer.

Heritage Store Rosewater and Glycerine Spray- I love this stuff! Super refreshing any time of day. I like to spritz this on after toner and apply my facial oil while my skin is still damp. It has a very light rose scent. It's inexpensive, but so essential to my skincare routine! You can pick this up at any Whole Foods or Sprouts, too!

Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil - I have used some pretty high end and expensive facial oils, but none have worked as well with my skin as this simple oil! It's not scented, and only has two ingredients: almond oil and vitamin e. I also have a bottle in my shower and use it as a full body moisturizer. It works great in place of shaving cream, too!

Rose Hip Oil - After reading about the wonderful anti-aging benefits of this oil, I added it to my regimen. It's rich in Omega 6 fatty acids and helps aid in antioxidant protection. I mix a little with my sweet almond oil, or just pat a few drops on top. My skin soaks it up and looks instantly dewy and happy.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate - This is the only part of my routine that may have some questionable ingredients. For this reason, I don't use it everyday, but I have found that it really helps to fade spots overnight. It also seems to have had a positive effect on my eyebrows! They have never been so full. However, it is fairly expensive. I will probably be phasing this one out of my routine in the near future, so if you know of a good non-toxic dupe let me know!!

What are your favorite non-toxic skincare products?

Monday, February 5, 2018

Boot Bandit (& A Self-Care Story)

Sometimes I feel like a Goddess, sometimes I feel more like a little girl. Yesterday was one of those "little girl" days. I was just feeling off: anxious, insecure, small. *Spoiler alert: I ended up feeling so much better by the end of the day, when I finally gave myself the stress release that I needed. This is why it is so important to listen to your body! The previous week was one of a lot of hard work and poor sleep. I didn't dedicate enough time to my much loved "self-care" routine. Sometimes I forget how much I really need a lazy day to rejuvenate my body, my mind, and my soul. By 9pm, I had treated myself to some vegan pizza (favorite comfort food btw), and on my drive home I had a good (ugly) cry in my car while listening to one of those "emotional trigger songs" (we all have them, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!). I got home, made some tea, had a nice warm soak in the tub, and I felt like a new woman.

Speaking of feeling like a new woman (how about that transition though?), these boots will give you that feeling. What was it that Rachel said on Friends when her world was falling apart? "They're my new "I don't need a job, I don't need my parents, I've got great boots" boots!" ... ok well I need my job and I love my parents, but these boots are ah-mazing. Here's the clincher: they're from TARGET. Aaand they are under $50 bucks. Try and find a good pair of over the knee boots anywhere else for under $50. Right now these babies are on sale so get at themmm! 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Current Favorite " Cleaner, Greener" Beauty Products

I've been making the switch to green, or at the very least greener, beauty products. I try to put the best foods I possibly can into my body, so it only made sense to make an effort to put the best products I can on it, too. I am skincare obsessed, have been since Junior High... er, although I was not anywhere near as comfortable in that skin back then as I am now. I believe that nourished, healthy skin is the best base, and not some ridiculously expensive foundation. I'm all about, glowing, hydrated, dewy skin. Here are the products I'm loving right now:

W3ll People Bio Tint Multi-Action Tinted Moisturizer - I love this tinted moisturizer! It provides SPF without feeling heavy, and gently blurs imperfections. In other words, your natural glow shines through.

W3ll People Bio Correct Multi-Action Concealer - This is probably the best concealer I have used to date! I never wear a full-face of makeup, but some days call for a little extra coverage here and there (hello dark circles). This concealer goes on like a dream! It's super moisturizing, and helps tired eyes fake being well-rested.

W3ll People Expressionist Mascara - Umm... ok. Where do I start? I've faithfully used the classic Maybelline pink tube mascara for over 10 years, but this mascara has converted me! It makes my lashes really happy and keeps them so soft!

Pixi Skin Treats Overnight Glow Serum - I have to admit, I was scared to try this. I have sensitive skin, and heard that exfoliants can be way too harsh. However, I heard good things about this so I took the plunge. I'm so glad that I did! Applying this serum before moisturizing a few nights a week before bed, and I wake up with even, glowy skin!

Manuka Honey - I've enjoyed honey many times throughout my life, but I had never thought of putting it on my face. With it's antibacterial and skin softening properties, it only makes sense! I love to slather this on my face before I hop in the shower, and let the steam and honey do its job! Best tasting beauty product ever, haha!

Sweet Almond Oil - Discovering this has been a game-changer! Almond oil makes the best in shower moisturizer (I love time-saving multi-taskers!) I like to add a little fragrance oil to the bottle, but it's great unscented too.

Rose Hip Seed Oil - An amazing natural anti-aging treatment! I like to create my own nighttime facial oil by mixing this with almond oil and a little bit of lavender oil.

Rosewater Facial Toner - This is so refreshing! I like to spritz this on a clean face before I apply my moisturizer or facial oil.

CoCo Kind My Matcha and Macabeet Moisturizing Sticks - My Matcha is my favorite of the two, but they are both great! My Matcha is great to use on the lips before bed, and Macabeet is great for a daytime touch of color.

Native Deodorant - Paraben free, aluminum free, gentle, and they smell great! I love the coconut
scent best!

What are some of your favorite clean, green beauty products?


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal (Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free!)

Happy New Year! Long time no post! The end of 2017 was crazy busy, and I'm glad that things have slowed down even just a tiny bit. I took advantage of this bit of extra time by creating a healthier version of a recipe that I have been wanting to try: Chrissy Teigen's famous Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal. Her recipe is definitely very decadent and includes 2 cups of boxed yellow cake mix. I wanted to challenge myself by creating a version that was not only completely from scratch, but also refined sugar free and gluten free (I am not a fan of white sugar or flour, if you hadn't noticed). I cut the recipe in half, because I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but it was a success on the first try! You can easily double it and should get the same delicious results :]

Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal (Refined Sugar Free & Gluten Free)


  • 1/2 stick unsalted grass fed butter, melted (I used Vital Farms)
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of pink salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper or use leftover butter to grease the dish. Combine the oats and coconut sugar in a food processor and blend into a flour. In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour-coconut sugar mixture, coconut flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the almond milk, then the applesauce, eggs and vanilla. Let stand a few minutes to thicken. Pour into your prepared baking dish, top with fresh fruit like raspberries, strawberries, peaches, etc. Bake about 1 hour or until a knife inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let stand on a cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Great warm from the oven, cold from the fridge or warmed up! This dish seems to get sweeter as it sits, and was extra yummy on day two ;]

If you try this recipe, tag me on instagram! @cxupcake


Monday, October 30, 2017

Sweet and Salty Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookie Skillet (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free)

Happy Monday! Super busy day today so far! I'm editing photos, answering emails and doing homework... but I had to stop to make this cookie skillet that has been at the front of my brain all week. Aaaaannd, after it baked up as a success, I had to immediately share it so that y'all can enjoy it too :] It's a little sweet, a little salty, soft, gooey, tastes totally sinful and not "Monday" at all. This cookie skillet is basically a glorified baked oatmeal, so honestly it can pass for breakfast! You can swap the chocolate chips for berries too, if you prefer. On top of that positivity bomb I just dropped on you, it is vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, and can be whipped up in one bowl... by hand! I promise! This is totally a TREAT and not a TRICK (see what I did there?). I know, I know. I'm your hero ;]

  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raw almond butter (can probably sub roasted or any other nut butter)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of pink salt (can sub sea salt)
  • A heap of dark chocolate chopped into chunks


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cast iron skillet with coconut oil non stick spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mash the banana with a fork until it is a pureed consistency with little to no chunks. Whisk in almond butter, maple and vanilla. Add oat flour, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine. Transfer the batter to the prepped cast iron skillet and smooth evenly with a spatula. Top with dark chocolate chunks. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until it starts to take on a golden brown color, but keeps a soft center.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Chocolate Almond Butter Banana Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free!)

Heyyy! Long time no post! Things have been craaazy in both good and not so good ways (oh life). Anyway, I am currently studying for a Holistic Nutrition certification, which is really exciting for meee :] Because of life events, I am a little behind and I have been busting my buns which hasn't left much time for my blogging passion project. Anywho, I wanted to share this recipe because it turned out soooo good and I couldn't keep it to myself. Now back to the grind! Wish me luck!

Chocolate Almond Butter Brownies

  • 2 ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1 cup + 3 tblsp creamy or crunchy raw or natural almond butter ( I used Trader Joe's Raw)
  • ⅓ cup pure maple
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non dairy milk (I used cashew)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao
  • Dark chocolate chunks or chips (I used Trader Joe's 72% dark chocolate bar)
Would you look at that batter?!


Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8x8 square baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, smash the banana until it resembles a puree. Mix in 1 cup almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and almond milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, almond flour and cocoa. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into your prepared baking dish. Dollop the 3 remaining tablespoons of almond butter over the top and use a knife to swirl into the batter. Top with your chopped chocolate or chips. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out with moist crumbs. Don't overbake! You want these to be dense and moist.

While these are good warm from the oven, I actually prefer them the next day. Somehow the banana flavor becomes more pronounced after these have "rested" and cooled. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea or a big glass of cold almond or cashew milk!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Vegan Mixed Berry Chia Jam Tarts

I loved Pop Tarts growing up. I was especially fond of the strawberry Pop Tarts... and no, not the frosted ones. Shocked? Well, call me a purist. I can't remember when I last had a pop tart, but the fond memories of carefully eating all of the edges off, before savoring that gooey center are fresh in my mind. Having such a delicious memory on my mind is great and all, but I'd rather have it on my taste buds. Alas, I am much more aware of what I put into my body (damn adult concsious!) so I decided to make my own, wholesome version. Alright, now before you accuse me of some kind of crime against Pop Tarts, I caved and topped them with pink frosting and sprinkles. We good? Cool.

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 2/3 cup coconut oil (you can also use vegan butter or regular butter if not vegan)
  • 2-4 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 heaping cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 tbsp chia seed
  • 1 Tbsp coconut sugar

So, I just sort of whipped up a glaze without any real measurements. Here's what I did:

  • About 1 cup powdered sugar
  • A splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1-2 tsp Karo Syrup
  • A bit of red food coloring paste

Mix the powdered sugar and the milk together into a smooth paste. Add the Karo syrup and food coloring paste until you get the desired hue. The glaze should be liquid enough to easily drizzle over the top, but thick enough to stay in place and harden when cooled. 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the mixed berry chia jam filling by placing berries in a small saucepan over low heat with 2 tbsp water. Cook for 5-8 minutes and smash with a fork once the berries are soft. Remove from heat and add chia seed and coconut sugar. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
  3. To prepare crust, mix flour and salt in a large bowl, then process with coconut oil in a food processor.
  4. Using a tablespoon, drizzle cold water over the mixture and pulse until it starts to form a dough. The dough should be moist enough to form into a ball, but not too sticky to roll out. Add more water if needed or more flour if it gets too wet and sticky.
  5. Turn onto a floured surface, shape into a disc, and then use a rolling pin to roll into a large rectangle.I used a sheet of parchment on top to keep my rolling pin from sticking to the dough as I rolled it out.
  6. Cut into equal squares or rectangles and carefully transfer each to the baking sheet. Use your fingers to press the centers down a bit to make a little "bed" for the chia jam. This will help to keep it from seeping out the sides while baking.
  7. Place about 1 Tbsp of filling onto half of the squares, leaving a border to seal the edges. Then use your finger to dot water around the edges to help the squares stick together. Top the squares with their matching halves and then seal lightly with a fork.
  8. Use a fork to poke holes in the top of each sealed tart, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Let cool completely, then top with glaze if desired. 
Happy tarting!