3.31.2016

Raleigh, NC is Home to New HGTV Smart Home

My love affair with English/Tudor/Craftsman style homes goes back to my childhood. This style is truly my dream home. I was invited to attend the official unveiling of Raleigh's HGTV smart home tour, but with kids home on spring break and my not feeling 100 percent well, I was able to get the scoop for your virtually.  And honestly, their photos will be a lot better than mine anyway. I never claim I'm a photographer. I'm a writer. 

Are you ready?

HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.


Constructed by locally owned builder, Homes by Dickerson, the home is part of a grand prize package valued at more than $1.2 million that will be awarded this summer. In addition to the home and all its furnishings, the grand prize package includes a 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC and $100,000 from national mortgage lender Quicken Loans®. The three-level traditional craftsman home is approximately 3,300-square-feet, with four bedrooms and five bathrooms, cleverly constructed with tech gadgets and smart solutions to enhance entertaining and everyday living.


“When we look for locations for the HGTV Smart Home, we are challenged with finding a neighborhood and a city that has the combination of technology and culture that makes it a great place to live. Following the homes in Nashville and Austin, Raleigh was a perfect choice,” said Ron Feinbaum, General Manager, and SVP, Home Promotions, HGTV. “As a hub for technology and a vibrant destination for those seeking family fun, it was a ‘smart’ selection all around.”
HGTV Smart Home 2016 host and interior designer Tiffany Brooks brought touches of rustic oak, metals and stone to this year’s home and combined them with a cool color palette that provides an unexpected contrast of traditional materials juxtaposed with modern and eclectic touches. In addition, she sourced art and sculpture from many of Raleigh’s local talent to further extend the custom flair of this stunning home.
The home is near Research Triangle Park and is very close to Briarcreek.  It's in a new community called, Haywood. If you do a quick real estate search, the homes on the market in this new neighborhood average about $850,000 as the asking price. 

Let's go inside. The Living Room is open


HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved
The Kitchen:



Kitchen of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, NC.


Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 


Kitchen of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.
Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 

This is a pantry with an organized office space.


Pantry in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC  The Mudroom


Mudroom

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/2016 HGTV/Scripps Network, LLC 


The Master Bath 



Master Bath of HGTV Smart Home in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved
The Master Bedroom 


Master Bedroom in HGTV SmartHome
Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved


The Media Room 


Media Room in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, N.C.

Photo by Robert Peterson/Rustic White Photography/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved


I love that the dining room is open to the  living room and kitchen. That's a great house for entertaining. 


Dining Room in HGTV SmartHome in Raleigh, NC.

Photo by Sarah Dorio/Flynnside Out Productions/ 2016 HGTV./Scripps Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

The home features three levels that provide plenty of room to either spread out or gather for family fun. The main level features a master bedroom suite, open kitchen, dining room, living room and screened porch. Downstairs, the home includes an additional bedroom suite as well as a media room and exercise room. Completing the layout, the upper level houses a home office and two additional bedrooms.
The fully furnished HGTV Smart Home 2016 is Energy Star 3 certified and Bronze-level Green certified and features products provided by national advertising partners including Bassett Furniture, Mercedes-Benz USA, Quicken Loans, Bush Brothers & Company, Daikin, LiftMaster, Farmers Insurance®, Gorilla Glue, HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams, SimpliSafe, Sleep Number®, ICON Health & Fitness, VELUX, and Simonton Windows & Doors.
During the giveaway period for the HGTV Smart Home 2016, which begins at 9 a.m. ET on April 12 and runs through 5 p.m. ET on June 2, 2016, eligible viewers can enter twice per day on HGTV.com and can sign up for daily email reminders. HGTV Facebook and Twitter fans can check in for ongoing updates and new details (#HGTVSmart).
You can view additional photos on the HGTV website.   All photos used today were in partnership with HGTV. and as a media member, I was given permission. All Rights Reserved. 

Disclosure: Thank you to HGTV for inviting me as a media guest. This post is editorial only and this blog continues its editorial content through the support of my socials and sales with Beautycounter.  I do not do ads on this site and occasionally will write a sponsored post if it aligns with my brand. I am passionate about the movement to get safe personal care products in the hands of everyone. If you would like to have an online social like this one, contact me. Take a moment to watch this video. It will cause you to think about the beauty products you put on your skin. 

3.27.2016

Cooking at Home: What's Fresh from the Farm in the Spring?

One of my memories from my childhood is waking up at my Grandma's home, and seeing her in the garden. She was not a farmer to earn a living, but rather I guess it was part of her heritage to grow her own food. I really have no idea.  She died when I was 13. I never asked her, "Why do you grow your own food?" My Dad is gone now, too. I never asked him either why his parents had this garden. It is just what they did.

What's Fresh from the Farm in the Spring in NC?
From Papa Spud's website


She grew corn, turnips, collards, strawberries, butter beans, new potatoes, and  green beans. I really don't know all that she grew, but I certainly know that every day, she would cook fresh vegetables for a lunch buffet. She did it daily.  She kept me while my Mom worked when I was little and I developed a palate for fresh vegetables at a very early age. 

Farm Days
Source:  Who Remembers This? on Facebook 


This photo was circulating on Facebook this week, and it immediately took me back to summers when I would visit my Grandma. I get produce delivered weekly from Papa Spud's and I've grown to love it. It truly has enabled my family (or, at least, me) to eat more vegetables. I have beets that I need to roast  now in the fridge  Many people go to a local farmer's market and that's great, too, but I prefer to organize my produce and meat list online and have it delivered. 

This is what we have to  look forward to this spring according to Papa Spud's interviews with local farmers in their business. 

A guide to Spring Crops in North Carolina


Green Onions: Late March
Asparagus: Early April 
Strawberries: Early/mid-April
Arugula: Late April 
Lettuces: Late April 
Radishes: Late April 
Bok Choy: Early May
Salad Mix: Early May
Blueberries: Mid May
Chard, Rainbow: Mid May
Salad Turnips: Mid May
Snap Peas: Mid May
New Potatoes: Mid May
Broccoli: Late May
Squash, Yellow: Late May
Squash, Zucchini: Late May 

When I started the #OutaboutNC community last  year, one of my biggest supporters has been chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, N.C.  His dream was to open a restaurant that was entirely locally sourced. Every item from the alcohol served to dessert come from North Carolina. His restaurant has been named one of the top 100 foodie restaurants on Open Table. 

I've been in Clark's company several times now but have not made it to Charlotte yet. It's on my list. for a true North Carolina culinary experience.  Photo below from HeirloomRestNC on Instagram

Newell Farms Roasted Strawberries. Come in before they leave the menu until next Strawberry Season!


Farm Fresh, NC local produce at Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte, N.C.
Happy Spring!

Disclosure:  If you are local to the Papa Spud's delivery area and would like to use the service, you may use my referral link and get one free delivery and I will get a $20 credit. This is not a special deal only for me. This referral is available to all of Papa Spud's customers. I've been using Papa Spud's Delivery service for almost a year and a half.  This post is editorial and not sponsored. 


Small Victories Sunday Linkup

Be inspired to read, eat, create, live & blog well with our Small Victories Sunday Linkup, a collection of positive & inspiring articles from the best blogs

Ways You Can Follow Your Hosts:

Echo from The Mad Mommy (family/parenting, humor)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Gail from Frugal & Coupon Crazy (saving money) | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Tanya from Mom's Small Victories (books, food, chronic illness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly (lifestyle, travel, entertainment) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Crystal from Tidbits of Experience (family, entertainment, books) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Leigh from Hines-Sight Blog (lifestyle, food, travel) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Shannon from Daily Momtivity (parenting/kid-friendly fun/DIY) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+ Meagan from Sunshine and Sippy Cups (lifestyle) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Karren from Oh My Heartsie Girl (food, crafts/DIY, blogging tips)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Danita from O Taste and See Blog (food) |Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Michelle from Divas with a Purpose (inspiration, lifestyle and entrepreneurship) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama (family, recipes, fitness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Featured Bloggers 

Congratulations to this week's Featured Bloggers as chosen by our readers. Here are the top 6 most read posts from last week:
Bacon & Potate Quiche from Simply Stacie
Workouts for Moms at Home from The Mad Mommy
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from O Taste and See
How to Stay Motivated While Decluttering from Setting My Intention
3 Essentials for Creating a Stunning Instagram Profile guest post from Mrs. AOK for Mom's Small Victories
Cracked Up Cheesy Onion Dip from Frugal in Florida

* Follow your hosts.
 * Share up to 3 of your favorite blog posts you want to share. Enter your link below and let’s celebrate our small victories together!  * Please comment on 2 posts for every link you enter. This linkup only works if we support one another, your visits are crucial to encourage fellow participants as you want to be encouraged too. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to share your post and post images on their social media pages and our Featured Blogger collage. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to email you notifications when the linkup is open. Your email addresses are not shared and you can unsubscribe to emails at any time. * Stop by our Small Victories Sunday Linkup Board on Pinterest and like and repin the posts to your boards. * Spread the word! The more you share about the linky, the more visitors you will get to your content too. Please use the #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup hashtag so we can find your posts and share them too!

Add your LinkUp here: http://momssmallvictories.com/small-victories-sunday-linkup-95/

3.22.2016

#outaboutNC: Competition Dining Series is Coming to Six North Carolina Cities with a New Dream Team Concept

I am a big fan of North Carolina's Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series. I've attended several, and last year I was the media personality for semi-finalist round for the state competition where Rex Hospital Executive Chef Ryan Conklin eventually took the coveted red jacket and bragging rights. 

This foodie favorite culinary tournament is back for 2016 with eight tournaments across North Carolina. For those who may not know, the competition highlights with the best of the state’s food, agriculture, and culinary talent. This year, Competition Dining will have dual brackets in Raleigh and Charlotte, and one tournament in each of Durham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Wilmington. It all comes to a head in October with the Battle of Champions for a statewide champion.


Statewide Competition-Course Two by Ryan Conklin 

Are you a chef ready to make your mark? Applications for chefs interested in competing are currently being accepted for all locations. New to the competition this year, a change in format allows chefs to create All-Star Dream Teams so talent from different restaurants can partner together as a three-person team, upping the caliber and creating a more fun and competitive atmosphere for all.

All of the dinner events include a battle between two chef teams each preparing three courses with a featured ingredient that comes from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer. These ingredients are revealed to the chefs the morning of the dinner event and must be used in every course. And the diners call the shots -- guests arrive without knowing which chef prepared which plate and rate each dish using an app, determining who moves on to the next round and who goes home.

Statewide Competition Course 4 by Ryan Conklin


Mark your calendars – 2016 Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series official schedule includes:


Durham: April 18, 19 and 21
Winston-Salem: May 22, 23 and 25
Greensboro: June 20, 21 and 23
Raleigh (two brackets): 
July 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 21 and a finale to name one Raleigh champion July 24         
Charlotte (two brackets):
 Aug. 8, 9, 11, 22, 23, 25 and a finale to name one Charlotte champion Aug. 28 
Wilmington: Sept. 19, 20 and 22





Tickets to the dinner events are $59 to $69 each and will go on sale for each series once that local bracket is announced. Pre-sale tickets for all tournaments are available now for $10 less than standard pricing at www.competitiondining.com. Stay tuned for more info on the competing chefs and bracket matchups for the upcoming Durham series!



3.19.2016

A Path to Wellness Starts with Less Social Media:Take the Quiz to See Where You Stand

Wow,! As a blogger, it may be hard for you to believe that I'm going to back a slogan that promotes the use of less social media, but I am. I am also 47 years old so I remember a life well before the internet, and it was nice.

A Path to Wellness: Use Less Social Media
Get a Jump  Start on Spring Cleaning and March Rewards

Back then I wrote letters.  I chatted on the phone plugged into a wall.  I didn't take photos of my food nor did I document the toiletries in my hotel bathroom.  I did, however, watch a lot of television, but that is another story.

My kids are not on social media, but they are on the internet. Take this quiz from the Centre for Technology Awareness to see how you rate regarding your technology usage. The first time I took it, I got moderate then I decided to really think about my usage, and I got a high rating the second time.

Here are some tips from the Centre for Technology Awareness to help bring my rating down.


  • Did you know most people don’t realize how much time they spend online? If you’d like to know how much time you truly spend on your phone or tablet, try downloading an app that monitors your usage. The Centre for Technology Awareness recommends Moment.
  • If you often stay up late using your phone, sleep next to it, or wake up and immediately reach for it, you may be addicted. Instead, turn your phone off at night, wait 30 minutes before turning it on the morning, and try not to sleep with or near it.
  • Text, email, and app notifications can be demanding and distracting. Studies suggest they decrease productivity. Try disabling automatic notifications for a few hours and see how it feels to be in control of when you check your inbox!
  • There are situations where phones and tablets do more harm than good. Make a firm commitment not to use your device when your attention should be elsewhere. Some “no-phone zones” might include meals, vacations, and anytime you’re socialising with friends or family.
  • Ideas to Do Instead of Social Media or Checking Phone 

Person Street Pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C.
Schedule lunch with a friend. This week I chose Person Street Pharmacy in Downtown Raleigh for my non-technology outing. 
*Recommend for a farm to table lunch. I got the Roast Turkey with Arugula. 

Take a quick walk 

Do Yoga

Read a Magazine (My favorite is Dr. Oz, The Good Life) 

Play a game with your kids

Take the time to do some Spring Cleaning. Diffuse these great scents with Young Living Essential Oils. to  keep your home fresh. 



Sweet Springtime Renewal
Combining aromas that are clean, relaxing, and romantic, this blend brings together three favorite essential oils for a uniquely uplifting experience.

Hawaiian Sunrise
Get the uplifting scents of Hawaii without having to brush the sand out of your shoes! Sandalwood provides a warm, beachy smell while Lime adds a burst of citrus.

Spring Blossom
With an invigorating aroma and hints of floral sweetness, this rejuvenating blend is perfect for bright spring mornings.

Unplug and Enjoy Life.

Be inspired to read, eat, create, live & blog well with our Small Victories Sunday Linkup, a collection of positive & inspiring articles from the best blogs

The Small Victories Sunday Linkup

Here at Small Victories Sunday Linkup, we like to reflect on the small victories of the week that passed and look forward to the week ahead. We invite bloggers to our community to share their best posts to inspire our readers to read, eat, create, live and blog well. The linkup is open all week long so bloggers can celebrate the best of their blogs anytime! 
   

Ways You Can Follow Your Hosts:

Your Small Victories Sunday Linkup Hosts: Mom's Small Victories, Sunshine and Sippy Cups, The Mad Mommy, Frugal & Coupon Crazy, Keystrokes by Kimberly, Tidbits of Experience, Hines-Sight Blog, Daily Momtivity, Oh My Heartsie Girl, O Taste and See, and One Hoolie Mama
Echo from The Mad Mommy (family/parenting, humor)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Gail from Frugal & Coupon Crazy (saving money) | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Tanya from Mom's Small Victories (books, food, chronic illness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly (lifestyle, travel, entertainment) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Crystal from Tidbits of Experience (family, entertainment, books) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Leigh from Hines-Sight Blog (lifestyle, food, travel) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Shannon from Daily Momtivity (parenting/kid-friendly fun/DIY) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+ Meagan from Sunshine and Sippy Cups (lifestyle) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Karren from Oh My Heartsie Girl (food, crafts/DIY, blogging tips)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Danita from O Taste and See Blog (food) |Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Michelle from Divas with a Purpose (inspiration, lifestyle and entrepreneurship) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama (family, recipes, fitness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 Featured Bloggers 

Congratulations to this week's Featured Bloggers as chosen by our readers. Here are the top 6 most read posts from last week:
 21 Ways to Promote Your Blog Post from Lamberts Lately
Baked Garlic Fries from Sidewalk Shoes

* Follow your hosts. * Grab the Small Victories Sunday button and place it in your sidebar or the post you are linking up * Share up to 3 of your favorite blog posts you want to share. Enter your link below and let’s celebrate our small victories together!  Please comment on 2 posts for every link you enter. This linkup only works if we support one another, your visits are crucial to encourage fellow participants as you want to be encouraged too. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to share your post and post images on their social media pages and our Featured Blogger collage. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to email you notifications when the linkup is open. Your email addresses are not shared and you can unsubscribe to emails at any time. * Stop by our Small Victories Sunday Linkup Board on Pinterest and like and repin the posts to your boards. * Spread the word! The more you share about the linky, the more visitors you will get to your content too. Please use the #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup hashtag so we can find your posts and share them too!


Disclosure: My preferred Essential Oil brand is Young Living. I am a wholesale member, and if you become a member or purchase retail off my site, I will receive a commission.  Thank you for your support in helping keep this blog free of ads, and with an editorial focus. 

3.12.2016

Personal: What Does Busy Mean?

Have you ever looked at your life before kids and said to yourself. "Man, what did I do with all that time?"  I'll tell you that before kids I believe you had a lot more carefree or leisure days that were more unplanned. After becoming a parent, very little is unplanned.

What does being busy mean? HinesSightBlog
Source: Pinterest


As your kids become more independent, life with them does get easier, but it also gets busier. As a blog business owner,  I have had to resort to writing down what I accomplish during a day when they are at school.  I do it to keep myself more accountable, but I also do it as proof that I do things other than read Facebook and scroll through Instagram because Will may come home and see a big pile of laundry still needing folding in the laundry room for the second or third day in a row.

Truth. HinesSightBlog
Source: Pinterest



What my husband doesn't quite understand is that every minute  I spend on Facebook or time on Twitter and  Instagram during the day could connect me with a potential blog follower, reader, client, or even new connection. As a blogger, everything I do is tied to traffic, influence and numbers. When I hit publish on my blog five years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into by being a self-publisher. It is s quite different than being a traditional journalist who is paid a salary to cover things. 

I feel blessed that I am asked to cover a lot of things locally and in the South, but usually, there is not a budget for the coverage, and it's just for media editorial coverage which is a fancy word for free work when you are not a salaried staff person. I've had to learn to work smarter and align myself with revenue producing activities that I support. For example, Beautycounter is now available for purchase here.  I am passionate about their movement to regulate the beauty industry with personal care safety reform.

Great saying on being busy and success
Source: Pinterest


You can book a hotel off my site now or a fun getaway through Living Social. You can even plan a European vacation and you can purchase my favorite protein powder

I don't accept many sponsored posts because then my blog becomes too like those pain in the butt Communications and Journalism assignments that I didn't like decades ago. It feels forced. Writing then becomes like going to the dentist. The passion in writing is then gone. 

I love having editorial freedom. I share my thoughts, my passions, and news I want to share. That is liberating, but it doesn't always pay the bills. 

I've been extremely fortunate that my freelance writing jobs have come to me. I've not pitched them. I just finished one that I can't tell you much about yet, but it was probably my biggest one I've completed, and it also involved a professional photographer. It's travel and leisure for a consumer product magazine.  I will share more about it as soon as I can.

Source:  Pinterest


I field through about 75 story pitches a day from PR officials.  I'm old school and I read them. I can't help it. The Southern Belle in me sometimes even says "Thank you for making me aware" And yes, It takes time, but the old journalist in me doesn't want to miss something or an opportunity.

The days fly by. And right when I feel like I'm on a roll to accomplish something, it's time for the kids to come home. 

I've not quite had to pull out my daily accomplishment list out  just yet for Will, but he will just have to trust me that I will eventually clean the kitchen floor and that laundry will eventually go in drawers. The sad thing is that nicely folded laundry drawers will then replaced by another load that had a few extra "drying" times because when it's in the dryer, it is at least hidden from everyone's view. Guilty as charged on that one.

But, have you ever noticed that the busy people are the ones who tend to over-complicate their lives and do even more? We step up. We volunteer. I hyperventilate every morning in the mirror now because I know I only have two more months until I become our school's PTA President. I just volunteered to serve on a Cotillion committee, and it took me only three seconds to say yes because I think a program like that would be good for my son. I sometimes wonder how will I get it all done?

The Truth about being busy.
Source: Pinterest 


A friend who I have not seen since November called and wanted to get together over her lunch hour. This week was busy.  I needed to do a freelance piece for the Examiner, write three news email blasts for my three audiences because I'm so three-dimensional that I cannot pick just one niche. No. No. That would be too easy. I over-complicate, remember, but that is who I am.

I knew that if I allowed my never ending to do list to dictate my plans, it would be April before I felt like I was free enough to get together with her.

Instead, I said. "How about Friday?"

I chose to fold laundry at 7:30 pm at night for an hour instead of during the day. I chose not to write the email letters because there is no sponsor for them right now.  It can go out anytime. It didn't have to be this week.

I'm working smarter. Not harder. I write on demand when the paid assignment comes in.

I'm never too busy for my friends and family.

Where I dined: Cantina 18 in Cameron Village
Highly Recommend
@OutaboutNC on Instagram
A lovely day to lunch outside. Fresh goat cheese guacamole and salsa over conversation with a friend you have known for 15 years equal a priceless #outaboutnc day in Cameron Village, Raleigh. 






 


3.06.2016

Keeping your Baby Safe: Beautycounter Launches Safe, Simple Ingredient Baby Line with each Ingredient Disclosed #BetterBeauty

Yes, my personal days of having a baby is over, but I'm entering a new phase in life where some of my friends are becoming grandparents. My college roommate will become a first-time grandmother next month. And because Liza is only six, several of her friends have baby brothers or sisters.  My days of being around babies is, fortunately, not over. I get my baby fix every Tuesday during my daughter's dance class. What we put on our baby can have an impact in the future. I made mistakes with my kids, but I'm now sharing with you on how you don't have to make the same mistakes I made when it came to skincare.

Safe products for babies: http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


Over the last few years, I've become more vocally passionate about causes.  Maybe I've matured and have become more comfortable to give my thoughts. It's kind of unlike me to take a stand on anything, really much less publicly, but I'm taking a more natural approach to my way of life. I think it started in 2014 when I began using my produce delivery service which caused me to read more about nutrition, whole foods, and the supplements we may or may not need in our lives.  I understand why milk without hormones or vegetables without pesticides are crucial. I have done my research.

I am a Young Living member, and even though I don't use all of their products, I've gone with a more all-natural approach to my home cleaning, the protein powders I use, my toothpaste, deodorant and even some supplements. And yes, I put a few essential oils in a diffuser.



Am I a 47-year-old modern hippie? I don't think so even though I went to a very liberal, environmental conscious university here in North Carolina where people could actually major in Environmental Studies. I didn't even know what that meant, much less understand the importance of a college major like that in 1991. But, fast-forward 25 years and for the first time, it feels as if my vision is clearer. Maybe becoming a parent changed me. Maybe the fact that I live in an urban, sophisticated city with largest research park in the U.S had an impact on me.  Maybe it was a friend who reads food labels. I don't know. It doesn't matter now.  What matters is that I'm moving forward from this point.

I started using Beautycounter cosmetics last November after being introduced to it at a VendRaleigh meeting where I was speaking. I was at the point in my life where my current brand of cosmetics was low so I decided to try the Beautycounter cosmetics. Well, after learning why Beautycounter CEO Gregg Renfrew, started her company, I got an eye-opening education and it is something I never thought about in all of my many years of buying personal care products.  The U.S. has not passed a federal law to regulate the safety of personal care products since 1938.  Europe has been researching and banning or restricting 1400 ingredients whereas the U.S  has banned 11 up to date. Beautycounter has developed a NEVER list of 1500 products that will not go in their products.

The Never List for Beautycounter cosmetics. Only safe products http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I've been buying cosmetics since I was 12. Back then, I wanted LancĂ´me which was about as chic as you got in 1980. As a TV reporter, I bought cosmetics more than I bought anything else. I have bought and used just about every brand of cosmetics you can think of from drug store cheap to department chic to buying directly from a make-up artist. It's the one luxury I will never do without it, and I have even joked that if stranded on a deserted island, I would be lost without my face powder, mascara, and lipstick. The beauty industry is a huge part of my life and even though I'm less superficial then perhaps in my younger years, I still want to look my best and cosmetics help me do that.  But more importantly, I want safe cosmetics for my own daughter when she wants to wear lip gloss or mascara in the future. In fact, she has to wear make up now for recitals a couple of times a year. 


#betterbeauty Beautycounter http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I bought whatever I saw in the magazines and never thought twice about what I was putting on my face, my body or even on my children.  Recently, Liza wanted a cheap Elsa and Anna fragrance because well, it had the two characters on it that she loved most. I've made better choices about food, but changes in cosmetics never occurred to me.  Her brother sprayed it on her face, and she broke out in hives. You would be shocked about all the nasty things that are hidden behind the simple word: fragrance. 



#BetterBeauty Safe Beautycounter products http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#



A friend told me about the EWG website SkinDeep and honestly, I wanted to throw up. The products, even some high-end baby lines that I purchased as a new Mom in baby boutiques were not considered safe products due to the ingredients in them.  Research shows that most Moms change their buying habits after having a child, and it may start with something as simple as looking for a safe sunscreen. 

This EWG public website helps parents and consumers buy products with safer ingredients. Luckily, there are products that have good ratings so I encourage each of you to go through your cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners, lotions and see how your brand ranks.  You want to shoot for a 1 to 2 rating. The lower the better. 


Beautycounter is on EWG. Ranked high for safety. http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I've been using Beautycounter awhile and replacing my items as quickly as my cosmetic budget would allow. Beautycounter's new Baby line is in its most simple and purest form. It's fragrance-free, and developers made an important decision not to scent this baby line in order to keep it in its purest form and to keep the ingredients uncomplicated. All ingredients are listed on the website and on the product.
New Safe Baby Line with Beautycounter for Babies http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#



When learning about the product, I was told that that Beautycounter's philosophy is that newborns don't need to be washed often anyway. There is no need to strip the baby of its natural oils, but this new line with a 2-in-1 formula gentle all over wash provides a nourishing and tear-free product when you do bathe your infant. 


Gentle Baby Wash by Beautycounter: Safe, simple, uncomplicated ingredients http://www.beautycounter.com/leighhines/#


I now have the passion for the change that BeautyCounter CEO Gregg Renfrew has put in motion, and is outlined in the business article. Just like actress Gwyneth Paltrow and her blog GOOP, I've become an online partner with Beautycounter as well. You can buy the same products I use daily right from my site.  And yes, I will benefit directly from your purchases, and it will underwrite all my other editorial, travel and non-sponsored content I present on this blog. I am always transparent with my disclosures and your trust in me as a source.  Beautycounter also has a very flexible return policy if for some reason you are not 100 percent satisfied with your purchases. I have never returned any of my products, but I also know the look, feel, or exact color of a cosmetic can be very subjective. 

To launch this fabulous new online partnership, I am hosting a giveaway for the Baby Gentle All-Over Wash. It retails for $20 and is 8 fluid ounces.  If you would like to know more, please don't hesitate to contact via email or social media.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Small Victories Sunday Linkup


Be inspired to read, eat, create, live & blog well with our Small Victories Sunday Linkup, a collection of positive & inspiring articles from the best blogs

Here at Small Victories Sunday Linkup, we like to reflect on the small victories of the week that passed and look forward to the week ahead. We invite bloggers to our community to share their best posts to inspire our readers to read, eat, create, live and blog well. The linkup is open all week long so bloggers can celebrate the best of their blogs anytime!

Stop by and say thanks to your extra special hosts who do their best to encourage our community and promote your posts!

 Ways You Can Follow Your Hosts:


Echo from The Mad Mommy (family/parenting, humor)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Gail from Frugal & Coupon Crazy (saving money) | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Tanya from Mom's Small Victories (books, food, chronic illness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly (lifestyle, travel, entertainment) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Crystal from Tidbits of Experience (family, entertainment, books) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Leigh from Hines-Sight Blog (lifestyle, food, travel) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Heather from Simply Save (saving money, minimalism, life) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Meagan from Sunshine and Sippy Cups (lifestyle) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google + Karren from Oh My Heartsie Girl (food, crafts/DIY, blogging tips)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Danita from O Taste and See Blog (food) |Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter | Google + Michelle from Divas with a Purpose (inspiration, lifestyle and entrepreneurship) | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama (family, recipes, fitness)| Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

 Featured Bloggers 

Congratulations to this week's Featured Bloggers as chosen by our readers. Here are the top 6 most read posts from last week:
 10 Helpful Tips for the New Blogger from Setting My Intention
Advice I Can't Give from Grammie Time
Things Currently from Simply Save

* Follow your hosts. * Grab the Small Victories Sunday button and place it in your sidebar or the post you are linking up * Share up to 3 of your favorite blog posts you want to share. Enter your link below and let’s celebrate our small victories together! Please refrain from linking up posts with mature themes like erotica, new adult or offensive language. * Please comment on 2 posts for every link you enter. This linkup only works if we support one another, your visits are crucial to encourage fellow participants as you want to be encouraged too. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to share your post and post images on their social media pages and our Featured Blogger collage. * By linking up, you are giving the hosts permission to email you notifications when the linkup is open. Your email addresses are not shared and you can unsubscribe to emails at any time. * Stop by our Small Victories Sunday Linkup Board on Pinterest and like and repin the posts to your boards.



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