When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be…

When I wake up, well I know I’m gonna be…

…I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you one who’s still exhausted. Or at least I used to be, today, I’m sharing the change that has made my mornings so much better, happier, and most of all, brighter!! It’s a simple switch that’s made me feel so much better rested.

Also thank you to the Proclaimers for lending me some lyrics to butcher. Who doesn’t love this song? Some of the funniest How I Met Your Mother episodes featured this song as the only one that plays on the stuck tape in Marshall’s college car stereo. Anyone else remember that hilarity?

Back to waking up in the mornings though: I’ve really been struggling in the last few years to get out of bed in winters when it’s still dark and cold out. This is a stark contrast, a big change for me, because previously, I would jump out of bed the second my alarm went off. I despised snoozers and prided myself on my “skill” of waking up immediately. Then something changed. I am now a snoozer. I’m a wake-up-and-reset-alarm-er. I’m a dragged-myself-out-of-bed-and-barely-made-it-to-the-bus-in-time-er. It’s unfortunate and it needed to change. I’m not sure how or when I first heard of the wake-up-light alarm clocks, but I knew about them somehow and about 2 months ago I started looking into purchasing one.

I ended up finding this one from Philips, which at almost $90 isn’t exactly inexpensive. I hate spending that kind of cash on purchases where I’m not certain of the results, so instead of clicking “buy” myself, I forwarded the link to my mother with the not so subtle hint that this would make a perfect Christmas present. She took the hint and this was the first gift I opened on Christmas morning. Well, the pictures on Amazon don’t do it justice! This alarm clock is actually quite stylish!

Phillips Wake Up Light Alarm Clock | Land of Laurel

So how has it changed my life? In so many ways! Let me break it down for you. This type of alarm clock is really cool! And no, this isn’t a sponsered post, I’m just excited to tell you about it! Seriously, I really can’t shut up about this alarm clock. I’ve been telling all my friends and co-workers all about it!

It’s super easy to use and highly customizable. You set you alarm for the next morning and then 30 mins before the alarm goes off, the light inside turns on to a dim setting and slowly gets brighter and brighter over the next half hour. This is supposed to help simulate a sunrise which can tell your body’s circadian rhythm it’s time to get up! Then the alarm itself has a couple of different settings. You can wake up to an am/fm radio station or to one of the two pre-set alarms: bird song or jungle noises. I’ve been waking up to the bird song and it is amazing! This alarm clock is life changing. In the mornings, I tend to hover in a semi-conscious state for a minute and I can hear the bird song. Without fail, each morning, I think to myself how nice it is that the birds are singing. A minute later, my brain registers that this is my alarm and I open my eyes. The light really helps remind my body that it is indeed time to wake up each morning. I am never jolted out of REM cycle like I was previously. Instead, I feel like my body slowly wakes up over that half hour allowing me to feel much more awake when the alarm truly does go off.

Phillips Wake Up Alarm Clock | Land of Laurel

The alarm itself is pretty simple and well designed. It’s definitely not an ugly bedside alarm clock. It feels just about as stylish as an electronic devise can be. It’s light weight and clean lined. You can adjust the settings on the alarm to make the time show brighter or dimmer. I have chosen a dimmer setting so it doesn’t glare at me while I sleep. The light on the alarm itself can also be dimmer or brighter and you can decide the volume of the alarm as well. It’s these little adjustments which make it so easy to personalize. For instance, I have the light on my alarm maxed out so it is as bright as possible when it’s time for me to wake up, but since I’m more sensitive to sounds, I keep my sound setting pretty low. You can also chose to use the light just by itself, which I do on occasion since my new bed hasn’t been built yet (gotta get on that already!), and the alarm is easier to reach that the higher up lamp switch.

Philips Wake Up Alarm Clock | Land of Laurel

Over all, this alarm, I can truly say, has been life-changing. I feel a million times better in the mornings when it’s time for me to get out of bed. I know longer feel the need to push snooze, nor do I feel like I’ve been jolted from my sleep. Having an alarm clock again after eight years of using my phone as an alarm also has the added bonus of preventing me from picking up my phone first thing in the morning. This means it’s a lot easier to resist scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or reading the news and gets me into my morning routine sooner so I’m not in a rush!

This may seem like a small thing, but the more I realize how deeply addicted I am to my phone and all the social media platforms it holds, the more I’d like to take time away from that technology. It’s one of the reasons I love to camp and get away from my phone. Somehow, it’s miraculously freeing to step away from technology and all the entrapments it holds. Not being connected is an amazing thing in this wi-fi enabled world and getting out of the routine of checking in on Facebook, Instagram, and Apple News first thing each morning is a relief. Now I peruse these things on the bus to work, when I’m not in a rush to get out of the house. It’s a minor difference in terms of timing, but a significant difference in how I wake up and start my day.

So to anyone out there who struggles to get out of bed or loves their snooze button, I highly recommend the Philips Wake-Up Light with Sunrise Simulation. It is going to significantly impact the start of your day in the most positive of ways! Starting off the New Year with this new way to start my days has been a great game changer for me and my life.

Do you have one of these, from Philips or another brand, at home already? Let me know your thoughts! Do you love it as much as I do? Because I think I might just marry this alarm clock I love it so much!

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An Honest Review

I have been following the Honest Company pretty much since it was founded a few years ago. I was absolutely ecstatic about a company that embraced the same eco-friendly practices I strive to live by. I read both Jessica Alba’s The Honest Life and Christopher Gavigan’s Healthy Child, Healthy World, which gave me answers to many of the questions that had been nagging me for much of my life. If you haven’t checked out either of those books yet, I highly recommend you do! They’re both incredible informative. Healthy Child, Healthy World is a particularly good guide on jumping head first into a healthy, sustainable life. I am constantly impressed by the Honest Company! I have a subscription to one of their bundles and get their products delivered to me every 6-8 weeks. As if that wasn’t enough information on my love for this company, I actually applied for jobs at their Santa Monica office after college. I was even was flown from Oakland to Los Angeles for an interview (spoiler alert: I did not get the job!) where I met Christopher Gavigan and Sean Kane as well as many of their other staff. It was during this interview in October of 2014 that I learned the Honest Company was making strides into the world of beauty products. I’ve basically waited an entire year in anticipation of Honest make-up!

When the Honest Company’s Honest Beauty branch went live last month, you know I signed up! I ordered their free skin trial (oily) and the Truly Kissable Lip Crayon, Demi-Matte in Honey Kiss. A week or two ago, my order was delivered to my house!! Yay! I was excited to dive into Honest Beauty!

Honest Beauty Box

The boxes came in all their glory. They’re about 12″ x 8″ roughly (I’ve already recycled mine). I love that the Honest Company makes their boxes more interesting than any old cardboard box. It definitely adds to their branding and makes each box seem special. The fact that the Honest Beauty Logo is so similar to the Honest Company’s butterfly logo, yet also encompasses two B’s and an H is just good graphic design. Whoever came up with that is one talented designer!

Honest Box from the Side

When you open it, it just gets better.

Honest Beauty Box Inside

It’s just cute right? It’s so much more interesting than a plain box. Can you tell I love design?? Seriously though, it’s little things like this that seem silly, like no big deal, that really pull a design from good to great. I love it! Enough about the box now, 400 words is probably just plenty! On to the actual products!

So my trial came in one box and my lip gloss came in a separate box which was the same size. This was a little silly and kind of a waste. I wished they’d been packaged together, but I’m assuming the free trials are all packed ahead of time. My Oily Skin Trial came with Refreshingly Clean Gel Cleanser, Dependably Clear Oil Free Moisturizer, and Beyond Protected Daily Beauty Fluid Oil Free SPF 30. I am particularly excited about that last one, because ever since I found out my favorite daily face sunscreen is rated a 4 on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (say that five times fast!), I’ve been experimenting with replacements. Ideally  everything I use would be a two or below on their scale; this is the one product that I’m finding difficult to replace.

The first thing I tried? The lip crayon! It is definitely a nude. I like the way it looks a lot. Perfect with a smokey eye or heavy liner (my favorite looks). I think it would look even better layered with an Honest Beauty Lip Gloss like they recommend… but they’re so expensive, I’m a little hesitant to buy anything else quite yet. Dang though is thing thing long lasting! When I wear it to work it will last me all the way through lunch no matter how many cups of tea or scones I snack on in the morning! It’s awesome! And I just love the texture. All of the Honest Beauty products I tried had such a smooth, light texture. It’s not cakey at all! It feels like my lips and face could breathe through the make-up, moisturizer, and sunscreen! It’s kind of indescribable and oh so amazing!

Honest Beauty Products

That night I got to try the rest of my samples! The cleanser smells really great! Very perfume-y and feminine though, so probably not for you guys. I was actually surprised by the scent. Most of the Honest products have more mild scents. I am particularly sensitive to smells, so although this threw me off for a second, as soon as I got over my surprise I found the scent to be floral-y, but mature.  The cleanser works really well guys! It easily stripped off make-up without leaving my face feeling dry.

Next up? The moisturizer. Now, I don’t normally use moisturizer. My skin is plenty moist unless I’m bombarding it with benzoyl peroxide in a war over lurkers. I once had a dermatologist tell me that my skin really didn’t need moisturizer, so I don’t keep any on hand. Because this was part of the trial, I decided to try it anyways. The moisturizer was really lovely! It’s a great consistency that blends really easily and left my skin feeling incredibly refreshed and somehow smoother. I might just get some for those days when I need it!

Finally, the product I was most excited about: sun protection! I wear sunscreen on my face every single day you guys. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have seen too many people get skin cancer. I had pretty bad acne in my teens and went to several estheticians and dermatologists. I’ve gotten tons of advice on my skin and keeping it clean, clear, and wrinkle-free– a lot of it conflicting– but one thing stands out. Every single professional I’ve ever consulted has insisted on the benefits of wearing sunscreen on your face every single day. So I do. Dermatologists I’ve seen have taken this a step further and let me in on a little industry secret: sunscreen only works if it contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Do you know how many products out there claim to be sunscreens, but don’t contain either ingredient? SO MANY you guys! SO MANY! Now, I totally understand not loving these ingredients, because they have heavy white pigments that make them difficult to rub into your skin, but they are the only thing that actually protects you! Think life guards and the white zinc nose, guys. That is who you want to be!

The Honest Beyond Protected Daily Beauty Fluid Oil Free SPF 30 rubs in so well though. It’s really light! I’ve been experimenting with a lot of daily facial sunscreens lately and have been so disappointed in so many products. This is a feasible alternative to what I’d previously used! This guy is a little bit shinier than the Eucerin, but it seems to sink in to your skin after a few minutes. Some products I’ve tried have left my face so oily that I had to wash my make-up brushes after using them just once! That means my skin was so oily from the product that even after waiting a few minutes and applying liquid foundation, the oil clogged my brushes when I applied powder! THIS IS INSANE. And if it’s doing that to my brushes what’s it doing to my pores?! The Honest Beauty Oil Free SPF 30 didn’t do this at all! My face was totally matte after I applied my make up. Thank god. My natural oils provide plenty of shine, thankyouverymuch. The Oil Free SPF 30 does have a bit of the whitening affect that all suncreens with zinc dioxide have, but not nearly as bad as so much of what is out there. This is good stuff guys! I’m pretty committed. Once my trial is all used up, I’ll bite the $28 per 1.5 fl.oz. bullet and finally be happy with my daily facial sunscreen!

That brings me to my one and only complaint about the new Honest Beauty products: the price. Having always been a drug-store make-up kind of girl, some of these prices are difficult for me to wrap my head around. I have to pay how much for how many fluid ounces?! It’s too much for my current budget. As much as I’d love to replace everything I currently use with the clearly far superior Honest Beauty products– I can’t. I don’t have the free income to spend for these products at these prices. 😦 I’m totally disappointed, but I knew this before I ordered my trial and I knew they’d be so amazing it would suck to have to give them up! Don’t get me wrong, I plan on planning my finances so I can get what I can in the future, but I certainly don’t expect or plan to be able to convert my entire beauty routine to Honest. 😦 I’m totally bummed, but I hope that so many people love them, the prices go down, and they become even more readily available! Until then, I’ll be stalking the EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database waiting to see how the Honest Beauty products score! I’m guessing low.

What about you? What do you spend on the beauty products you use every single day? Do you think paying more is worth it or do you too rock the drug-store brands? I know everything I use from the drugstore still rates 2 or less on the Cosmetics Database, so you don’t have to pay too much for a healthy product. Have you tried the Honest Beauty line? Did you love it too?