Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ShopYourWay Personal Shopper Program

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ShopYourWay Program for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

The economy goes up and down, but one thing never changes: those of us who enjoy shopping will always love shopping, whether or not we love footing the bill. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved going to Sears with my dad, and our family's loyalty to the store (and my love for shopping) has remained steadfast for decades. You can imagine, then, how thrilled I was when I found out there was a way to be rewarded for that loyalty and to share my friends.



ShopYourWay Personal Shopper program is not your average loyalty program. This social network of shopping rewards allows you to create your own catalog or search through members only deals at stores like Land's End, Sears Auto, Sears Outlet, Sears, and Kmart. You can uniquely engage with brands and provide feedback so your opinion as a customer gets heard. The coolest part about ShopYourWay, though, is your ability to network with friends.

Are you the fashionista, tech genius, or appliance aficianado of your group? You can actually make money putting those skills to work as a personal shopper, with no extra cost to you or your friends. When you sign up for the program, you can invite friends from Facebook, email, or other social networking sites as "clients." When you recommend items through your Personal Shopper homepage, your clients will be able to see your suggestions and buy them on-line or in-store. If they use their ShopYourWay Rewards card, you will receive 1% of their purchase price--that's mega money for items like appliances! Once you earn $20, you'll be mailed a check; it's easy to make hundreds of dollars a month just for loving to shop!

The true wonder of ShopYourWay Personal Shopper Program can't be truly comprehended without signing up and trying it. Not only is the program free, it's SO easy to sign up for! All you need to do is Request an Invite to ShopYourWay and click "Get Started."  Once you've provided your contact information, you simply need to agree to the Terms and Conditions before you can start inviting friends! ShopYourWay makes networking easy by allowing you to invite friends via Facebook, Yahoo! mail, Gmail, or your other email account. Once you've invited your friends, you can fill out your W9 form or go straight to the tour. It only takes five minutes, so what are you waiting for?

My welcome screen

Visit Sponsor's Site

Monday, June 4, 2012

My Clubhouse - Hours of Pretend Play Giveaway!

Mom to Bed by 8 and Mom Does Reviews are happy to bring you this fun My Clubhouse giveaway!

Do your children love to use their imagination? For children over the age of two, My Clubhouse is the cutest playhouse on the block, so we're super excited to be participating in this giveaway! I know my godson would love one of these-- we're willing to bet that the children in your life will love it too!
  • Play make believe in this unique backyard edition perfect for multi-child play
  • Features a peephole, chalkboard, picnic table, and secret hiding compartment
  • Fabric roof is durable and weather resistant
  • Personalize the clubhouse by writing your child's name on the doorway
  • Opening side wall for hide and seek fun
  • Dining accessories not included
  • Adult assembly required
  • Clubhouse can be used all year long. Bring it inside in the winter so the fun can continue.
Giveaway is open to US residents only ages 18 and over. Giveaway starts June 4th and ends June 25th.
Enter on the easy rafflecopter below. Remember, you can't win if you don't enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. The Educated Beauty is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The 28 Days of Self-Improvement Project(s)

Here at The Educated Beauty, we love to do our research about health, beauty, and wellness. Unfortunately, we're just as much human as we are scientist, so we don't always follow the lifestyle that we know we should. We've done a lot of self-improvement projects to obtain a healthy, practical lifestyle; some stick and some don't, and it's usually all about timing and motivation. Recently, a family member we have tons of respect for made an incredible lifestyle change that inspired us to change our own in a way we've never been inspired before. We'd love to share our journey with you, but we also wanted introduce a new aspect to this site: four week self-improvement projects that are small and manageable enough for everyone.

Why four weeks? Depending upon where you look, it's said to take between 2-6 weeks to develop a habit. Two weeks is just too short to be sure, and six weeks seems like a long time to commit; four weeks, on the other hand, is just enough to get you into the groove without feeling too daunting. While you can make resolutions to change your life for the better any time of year, it is infinitely easier to feel optimistic during the sunny summer than in the dreary winter. And if you think you want to make a permanent change after your 28-day trial run, your habits (and willpower) will be fortified by the time the tempting winter holidays arrive.

Starting everything at once can be intimidating, but for those who like to throw themselves in to new habits, we'll be introducing a new, worthwhile one each day. In addition, we'll update daily (or every other day) about our progress for each goal. We're working ourselves into the Paleo Diet--while it's our ultimate goal, we're crafting our self-improvement projects to be attainable for anyone with a healthy lifestyle.

We'd love to hear your own progress each day or whenever possible-- reaching goals is easier with a support group. Feel free to start each "mini-program" whenever you'd like; there's no time table, and we'll be checking in regularly!

Tomorrow: Project #1: Get Hydrated

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Losing the Shampoo: Why You Shouldn't Be Scared

If you've never heard of the "No 'Poo" movement, chances are you don't hang around too many beauty blogs. As squeamish as the name itself may make you, you'll probably be even more revolted by the real meaning behind it.  It took me a long time to warm up to the idea, but once I did, my first thought was that it was totally revolutionary. My second was the realization that it was absolutely the opposite- which is why, after the 'gross' factor, it makes so much sense.

As far as I have found, the movement's roots (pardon the pun) can be traced back to the book  Curly Girl by Lorraine Massey. The "No 'Poo" concept itself is quite simple: ditch the store bought shampoo and use only conditioner or natural concoctions to wash your hair. As disgusting as this may sound, it actually has a solid scientific foundation. Shampoos rely on nasty ingredients like Sodium Laurel Sulfate-- which is actually a detergent-- to clean your hair.  By definition, detergents are used with water to clean away oil and grease particles. While this sounds great in theory, it isn't just the dirt that's being washed down the drain. The natural oils in your hair, which are necessary for its health and luster, are washed away too. This hardly leaves for glamorous tresses: really, have you ever tried shampooing without conditioning afterwards? 

So (if you've made it this far) we've established we don't want those nasty ingredients in our hair. How do we stay clean?!?  There are actually a surprising number of answers to this conundrum, but before we get to that, there are a few things you should know about going shampoo-free:

1) You WILL go through a transition period. This means that, for a span of a few weeks to a few months, your hair will be more oily and greasy than you have ever seen it before. The duration of this period differs for everyone: my boyfriend's hair adjusted to the B.S. method in a matter of days, while the same method took my long hair a month to fully adjust to. This transition is completely normal. Your body is used to producing oils at a high rate to compensate for your frequent shampooing.  As long as you stay away from the bottle, your scalp will slowly adjust and begin producing those oils at a much slower rate. My recommendation? Invest in hair bands and cute ribbons to tie your hair up with (braids are especially good at hiding greasy-looking hair).

2) You WILL be tempted to go back to shampoo once, only to immediately regret doing so. This says nothing of your strength of character. Just know that once you step out of the shower and feel your hair post-breakdown, you will be so disgusted that it will only strengthen your resolve to go 'poo-free. Really, quitters never win.

3) You WILL save money. A lot of money. And even more than a lot of money if you go with the W/O or sebum methods.

4) Once you have adjusted, you WILL wash your hair substantially less than ever before.  As much as I  love saving money, this was THE selling point for me. I used to have to wash my hair daily if I wanted to avoid a greasy, waxy look. Now I'm washing my hair every three days or so, though I can go substantially longer without it being noticeable. In fact, my hair looks better five days after a wash (it was an experiment...) as it used to look after twelve hours. If you adhere to the rules (which we will get to in the next post), this will never cause your hair to be dirty or smelly.

Sold yet? Of course not, but for all of the benefits, you'd be crazy not to at least try it. I'm hardly an eco-freak, but when something is so good for your body, the earth, and your wallet... it's really a no-brainer.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Olive Oil: The Essential Natural Beauty Product

Non-believers, back away slowly. If the last post about giving up shampoo made you cringe, you might want to skip over this one. If you're crazy committed to going all-natural, saving money, and getting the most out of minimizing, read on. Besides baking soda and apple cider vinegar (I'll be covering those more later), the multi-tasking beauty product I'm most excited about is something else all great chefs have in their kitchen: oil.  I'm not talking about just any oil; I'm talking about cold-pressed, pure extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) that's super great for your body, inside and out. As a Mediterranean girl myself, I'm familiar with the super health benefits you get from using EVOO while you're cooking and eating. What I wasn't familiar with was the way it could help my skin and hair from the outside in.


Just about every girl serious about great hair has heard about hot oil treatments. What you may not know is that you can save big money by giving yourself a homemade treatment using only EVOO. If you're going all-natural but miss the silky feeling of your hair after conditioning, EVOO will give you back all that and more. Even if you're still using store-bought shampoos and conditioners, you can get huge benefits out of one of these treatments. EVOO will seriously condition your hair, help with dandruff control by moisturizing your scalp, and leave your hair more lustrous than you've ever seen it before.

There are many different ways to make olive oil hair treatments, but as a minimalist I prefer not to add any extra ingredients. My EVOO hair mask method (modified and tweaked from many online sources) is as follows:

1) Jump in the shower so your hair gets nice and wet. Towel or air dry until damp.
2) Stick 1/2 cup (adjust based on the length of your hair) of EVOO in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm. (Warning: it can get HOT, so use caution and don't burn yourself)
3) When the EVOO is still warm but cool enough to apply to your scalp, massage your scalp with the oil. Apply some to the ends of your hair as well.
4) Comb through your hair with the EVOO and throw it in a warm, damp towel or shower cap. (It's important to keep the oil and your hair warm enough. Use a blow drier if it starts cooling too much)
5) After thirty minutes, rise the EVOO out of your hair and shampoo as normal if desired. If your hair is extremely dry, a lot of the EVOO will be absorbed. (Warning: the shower floor will be slippery if you don't use a mat, so if you don't have one, it's best to rinse hair out in the sink to avoid danger)


This is where you might get a little grossed out, but I promise it's worthwhile. For centuries, olive oil has been used as a moisturizer, as it is extremely effective for dry skin. Contrary to (very) popular belief, EVOO won't cause you to break out; in fact, you can actually use it to clear up your skin and replace all those expensive lotions! I've found that rubbing a few drops on my face at night leaves my skin feeling smoother than ever in the morning. More importantly, it has not once caused my acne to flare up, so I totally trust it! Some people use it as their moisturizer twice daily, but I prefer to only use it at night-- it feels a little too heavy under my makeup. To avoid getting oil all over your pillow case, be sure to continue to rub the oil in every few minutes until your skin stops looking greasy. If my super-sensitive skin can take it, I can almost guarantee that yours can!

If you're not ready to take such a leap of faith, EVOO can be used as a mask to draw nasty dirt and oils out of your pores. Just rub a little bit on your face, place a warm, damp towel over it, and relax for five minutes. Your skin will be instantly fresher and cleaner when you rinse it off with warm water!
Oh, and if you think that olive oil's uses stops there, think again. I've only scratched the surface of its uses-- it's actually a minimalist's dream! Check out this cool article I found that gives 25 practical uses for olive oil:

Get some of your own!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Milk: Which Do You Choose?

"Milk: it does the body good!" Got it? Not so fast. While decades of advertisement and scientific study have told us that dairy is a cornerstone of good health, recent scholarship has began to shed doubt on these long-standing claims. And we shouldn't be surprised: the average gallon of milk sold today is packed with antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides that cows and their food are treated with. Organic milk isn't necessarily safe from these; there is a lot of debate as to what qualifies as organic, and food labels like "natural" can be extremely misleading. The milk sold today just isn't the same milk our grandparents drank: it is commercially produced at a high volume that makes use of excessive processing. Of course, it isn't just these chemicals that make milk a questionable nutritional option. Think practically: as infants, we drink the milk of our mother until we reach about eighteen months. After that, our bodies (and the bodies of our mothers) instinctively wean us off this milk, just like dogs, cats, or cows. Our bodies were only built to drink milk at a young age-- hence the high rate of lactose intolerance developed in adults. As one of my high school biology teachers told me, "it's just unnatural for one animal to drink the milk of another! Can you imagine feeding your dog human breast milk?"

Of course you wouldn't.
Now, it's still important to recognize that the wealth of health benefits derived from milk are absolutely real. Many nutrients are derived from the drink: vitamins D, A, protein, and-- most notably-- calcium. While we have been raised to consider milk the most convenient way to get these nutrients, the fact is that many more natural, healthy alternatives exist... and some are even inspired by our favorite drink!

While there are a variety of ways to go about getting your milk fix-- cereal can be hard to give up, right?-- for now we will cover four of the most popular non-dairy "milk" products: soy, rice almond, and coconut milk. Each comes in a variety of brands and flavors, so in the sake of fairness we will examine the "regular" version of the most popular brands. The milks will be judged for nutrition, cost, other flavors, and taste (which is admittedly highly subjective). Here goes!

For a comparison point, we will use 2% Dairy Milk. Its nutrients of note (in 8 oz):
122 cal (43 from fat), 5 g fat, 12 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 8 g protein, 9% of your daily Vitamin A intake, and 29% of your daily calcium intake

Soy milk (Silk)

When I ventured away from dairy milk, the first type of milk I tried was soy milk. Obviously, it was tasty enough to lure me away from conventional milk for good.
Silk Original comes in two forms. Like many non-dairy milks, there is a shelf-stable variety that can be stored up to twelve months (translation: if it's on sale or you find a great coupon, you can buy it even if you don't need it yet!) While the vanilla flavor is Silk's most popular (and delicious), the original packs a tasty punch that won't leave you missing dairy.

Nutrients: 90 cal (30 from fat), 3.5 g fat, 8 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 6 g protein, 10% of your daily vitamin A intake, and 45% of your daily calcium.
...So what? With six grams of soy protein in every eight ounces, you're getting 2g less protein than you would in 2% dairy milk. However, Silk Soy milk is clearly superior to dairy in caloric, fat, carbohydrate, and calcium content.
Cost: $0.11/oz for a six pack of the shelf stable variety on amazon.

Taste: With a slightly nutty aftertaste (apparently a new development), Silk feels slightly thicker than dairy milk but goes down much more smoothly. As far as milk varieties go, the taste gets a 6/10. For a delicious taste with only a few more calories, try the vanilla-- it goes perfectly with cereal!

Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Very Vanilla, DHA-Omega 3 (Plain), Organic Vanilla, Organic Original, Organic Unsweetened, Light Vanilla, Light Chocolate, and Light Original 
(Note: all light favors are sweetened with Stevia)

Rice milk (Rice Dream) 

Rice Dream is the overwhelmingly popular variety of rice milk made from organic brown rice. It can be found in both shelf stable and refrigerated forms.
Nutrients: 120 cal (20 from fat), 2.5 g fat, 23 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 1 g protein, 10% of your daily vitamin A intake, and 30% of your daily calcium. Also a significant source of Vitamin B12 (25%), Vitamin D (25%), and Phosphorous (15%).
...So what? Rice milk trumps dairy milk in its vitamin and mineral content. However, the low protein and high sugar value make it less appealing than other milk varieties.

Cost: $0.09/oz for a twelve pack of the shelf stable variety on amazon.

Taste: Definitely does not taste like dairy. It's thin, watery, and has a taste reminiscent of oat and something else I can't put my finger on. Closer to water than milk, but some may enjoy the lighter taste. A 4/10.

Flavors: Vanilla is available in both refrigerated and self stable form, but the rest are shelf stable form only: Enriched Chocolate, Heartwise Original, Heartwise Vanilla, Supreme Chocolate Chai, and Supreme Vanilla Hazelnut.

Almond milk (Silk)  

While Almond Dream sells another popular variety, we will review Silk in the interest of control. In the interest of full disclosure, this is my absolute favorite after sampling all three.
Nutrients: 60 cal (25 from fat), 2.5 g fat, 8 g carbohydrates (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 1 g protein, 10% of your daily vitamin A intake, and 45% of your daily calcium. Also a significant source of Vitamin B12 (50%), Vitamin D (25%), and Riboflavin (25%). 
...So what? As low calorie as milk substitutes get (the unsweetened flavor has just 35 calories!), the taste is unbeatable and the nutrition is impossibly good for those watching their weight.

Cost: $0.08/oz for a six pack of the shelf stable variety on amazon.

Taste: While the taste is undeniably nutty-- it takes a bit to get used to-- it tastes much more indulgent than its 60 calories without being too thick. Surprisingly good with cereal and coffee (although not as good as Silk Vanilla Soy Milk). On its own, though, nothing is better. 8.5/10

Flavors: Vanilla, Dark Chocolate, and Unsweetened.

Coconut milk (Silk)  

One of the newest nondairy milks, PureCoconut lets you buy into the current craze for coconut in our drinks.

Nutrients: 80 cal (50 from fat), 5 g fat, 7 g carbohydrates (0 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 1 g protein, 10% of your daily vitamin A intake, and 45% of your daily calcium. Also a significant source of Vitamin B12 (50%) and Vitamin D (25%).. 
...So what? The nutrients and calories have regular milk beat, although Coconut milk doesn't compare to almond or soy milk.

Cost: Not yet listed (will update soon!)

Taste: Despite the expected richness, Silk's coconut milk is surprisingly watery, with a strong aftertaste that is difficult to get used to. I love coconut, but coconut milk is like coconut water in its distinct taste. If you LOVE coconut water you might like this; otherwise, expect it to be an acquired taste. I give it a 5/10 here.

Flavors: Original and Vanilla (pictured)

Free Target Summer Beauty Bag!

We love how Target does their beauty bag giveaways-- they offer sweet samples for high-quality products and provide coupons to match! You even get a cute little clutch bag, perfect for makeup or other toiletries. Hurry to their Facebook page to score one of the 477,500 they are giving away RIGHT NOW... they go FAST!