Interviews

Q&A With Branch Basics’ Founders: Part Two

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Hey, friends! As you guys know, we are BIG fans of the toxin-free, safe, plant-based  cleaning products brand known as Branch Basics. We first talked about the brand here, and then last month we interviewed one of their founders, Allison, in part one of this Q&A series. If you missed that post, you must check it out! Allison’s words are so inspiring and will really open your eyes to the true significance and importance of ridding your home of toxic products. To follow up on Allison’s story, we have another one of their co-founders on LSK today for part two of the Q&A series with the Branch Basics’ founders. Also, they are kindly offering a promo code for LSK readers…use code LSK20 for 20% off at branchbasics.com! Now without further ado, meet Kelly Love. Scroll down to get to know her, her journey with Branch Basics, and why she is so passionate about toxin-free living.

How did you become part of the Branch Basic team and what do you love most about it?

Goodness, so much to say about this! Allison and I were roommates and best friends in college at The University of Texas at Austin. Our junior year, Allison turned to Marilee (her aunt) for health advice because her body was failing her and none of the many doctors she saw over a two year period could figure out what was wrong. She was feeling hopeless, depressed and was in constant pain. Within six months of changing her diet and the products she used everyday per Marilee’s recommendations, along with doing all kinds of cool detox treatments and taking food-based supplements, she finally started getting a lot better. I witnessed the transformation and was hooked. I wanted to know everything Marilee was teaching her and I started bugging Marilee with tons of questions for my own wellbeing. As graduation approached, we thought it would be amazing to live with Marilee for a summer before starting “real life”.. Thankfully she said yes! From my perspective, Marilee taught and modeled for us what it looked like to live as close to God’s design as possible. We filled ourselves with pure air, pure food, and pure thoughts. We meditated on scripture, spent time in nature, and didn’t put a single thing in our mouths that wasn’t part of our Food as Medicine prescriptions.

The results were powerful and truly life-changing for both of us. Allison was a new person and I, the “healthy one”, was feeling better than I ever had in my life. My painful menstrual cramps, dry and itchy eyes, random headaches, and joint and muscle pain all disappeared. I didn’t even have body odor when I got sweaty! It was a snapshot of our body’s potential and also, sadly, of how so many suffer because of what they eat, breathe, put on their bodies, and focus their minds on. Allison and I now shared Marilee’s passion for wanting to help others live a healthier, fuller life and avoid unnecessary suffering. So again, Allison and I went to Marilee asking for something that seemed crazy to her: Would she start a company with us so we could get her knowledge out to the world? In 2010, we launched Three Branches Healthy Living, an online shop for all things healthy – the safest organic mattresses, air purifiers, food-based supplements, non-toxic cleaning, etc. and then that turned into Branch Basics, which focused on cleaning, in 2012. As for what I love most, it’s a tie between getting to work with people I love so much and having the opportunity to learn something new from Marilee everyday. My life, my husband’s life and my daughter’s life are no doubt better because of her and everything she’s taught me.

Tell us about your journey of ridding your home of toxic products. How did you become passionate about clean home products?

I could feel the difference! I can now 100% tell that my constant dry eyes were from the conventional laundry detergent and dryer sheets I was using up until my “detox summer.” When I got to Marilee’s she had me put all my clothes in the sun and wash them several times to get the chemical residues out of the fibers. After giving my body a break from that non-stop toxic exposure (clothes, towels, sheets – you never escape it!), I was finally able to realize how crazy strong those smells are. I was so used to them that I couldn’t tell before! It’s like smokers that quit smoking and then can’t stand the smell of cigarettes. The laundry switch was such an obvious difference for me, so it was a huge motivator to change everything. (In addition to dry eyes I now notice I get a stuffy head, tingly and tight muscles especially in my face and neck area, headaches and I don’t sleep as well when I’m around conventional stuff.)

It also just made so much sense to me that our homes should be a safe haven, free of products that put stress on our body’s detoxification and immune systems. Cleaning products are such a simple thing to change, and getting all the toxic ones out makes a HUGE impact on your indoor air quality and on your body. Understanding what is and what isn’t safe is so important, though. We want people to know what to look for in products so that they are using the safest, most effective cleaning products possible and ultimately to inspire the entire industry to make human health the #1 priority when formulating.

If there is one piece of information that you think people should know about the importance of using safe, pure cleaning products, what would it be?

It’s about so much more than being “green.” It’s important because it means you’re not exposing yourself to endocrine disruptors that can make it difficult to get pregnant, or neurotoxins that can affect brain development, or carcinogens that can increase the risk of cancer, or skin irritants that can contribute to eczema, or allergens that can induce nosebleeds. Our hearts long for people to understand the true weight and importance their cleaning and laundry products carry in relation to their wellbeing. This is the reason we do what we do.

How do you balance being an entrepreneur and a wife + mom?

This is a daily struggle for me! Still haven’t nailed it down yet!

Thankfully my husband is a very helpful, hands-on dad and also helps me make dinner most nights. (Green Chef has been amazing for us!) I’m also extremely thankful that my daughter has always been a good napper because I work during her naps and at night so I can focus on her while she’s awake. I have to be careful though, because too often I’ll tend to stay up way too late (since it’s a time I can focus without interruptions and distractions), and I’ve gotten myself into a situation where my adrenals are super fatigued and working on overdrive. (I’m kicking myself because it’s 1 AM as I type this!!) But I’m getting better and I’m also getting better at saying no to things so I don’t overcommit myself. It means Branch Basics isn’t growing as fast as it could, but it’s worth it for my health and time with my family.

In addition to using clean products, do you also value a clean diet? What are some of the grocery staples in your home?

Absolutely! A clean, nutrient-dense diet is so foundational and critical. One of the things I learned from Marilee and am totally on board with is that one diet does not fit all, and the body needs different foods, prepared in specific ways at different times of the year, during different phases of life. Especially for women. For example, there are various foods to emphasize when trying to conceive, while pregnant, and postpartum that aren’t as important in other seasons of life. Another example I love is that a person in Jamaica is not going to eat the same diet as someone in Alaska. Some foods are cooling and some foods are warming. Some people do better with little to no meat, while others should eat meat regularly. I am an O blood type and have been nursing my daughter for 16 months, so I try to get in a lot of healthy fat and protein.

Some of my staples are organic eggs, butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, Applegate Organics turkey, beef and chicken hot dogs (so easy and convenient!), Safe Catch canned tuna, wild-caught salmon, organic/grass-fed bone broth (Bonafide brand when I don’t have any homemade), organic and grass-fed yogurt with no sugar added, Go Raw sprouted granola, Once Again organic almond butter, Alvarado-Street Bakery bread and bagels, organic sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, and plenty of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I also keep Amy’s Soups on hand for times I don’t have time to prepare food and spruce them up with Vital Proteins collagen, bone broth and butter.

Besides Branch Basics of course, what other clean brands do you love? They can be home, beauty, or anything else!

Ah, so many! The tops ones that come to mind are W3ll People (makeup), Primally Pure (deodorant and skincare), Innate Response (prenatal vitamins), and Simple Mills (cookies, crackers and baking mix – I don’t use their icing though), Epic (meat bars), Hu Kitchen (chocolate bars) and Pact (organic cotton sports bras, underwear, and leggings).

Get To Know The Story Of Stranded

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Hey you guys, Melissa here, an editor on LSK! I am so excited to interview our very own Lo on the blog today, as well her best friend, Anna, to get to know the story of Stranded– their dry shampoo brand. Prepare to fall in love with the story, spirit, and soul behind Stranded, especially if you have been searching for a clean, toxin-free, and effective dry shampoo. Raise your hands, girls who don’t like to over-wash their hair!

-Tell us the story of how you two came up with the idea for Stranded Dry Shampoo Powder?

Lo: I remember AB (Anna) coming home to our apartment at the time, with a burden for brunettes because they were unable to use dry shampoo in powder form (hello, gray hair!) and expressed the idea that we should create one suitable for brunettes, too.  I could not have been more on board with the idea; research began, and the rest was history!

Anna: It really was a “eureka” moment I had in the car one day – I was thinking about how blondes could use baby powder as dry shampoo and how easy it should be to make a brown powder for the brunettes to use!  Wanting some validation, I shared my idea with Lo and with her encouragement and excitement we hopped on the internet, ordered some products, and started experimenting.

-What is the best part of working together as best friends?

Lo: There are so many positives that it’s hard to narrow them down. We have so much fun creating, brainstorming, and sampling product, plus the extra bonus- we can work in our pajamas on this, ha! The comfier the better. We also have the same foundational vision and always have each other’s best interest at heart.

Anna: Working together as best friends has been such an adventure and a blessing – we balance each other out really well and often think of things from different perspectives so that has been beneficial for our business.  It’s also been fun to learn how to be business owners and entrepreneurs together and just figure things out as we go!

-Lo, your twin sister + brother-in-law joined the team as well! What is the best part the two of them being part of Stranded with the two of you?

Lo: It feels like a full-on family business! It is so special.  Each one of us has completely different roles, too, so it makes Stranded very manageable + we are not trying to wear too many hats! We each do what we are skilled in and passionate about, work really well as a team, and have a lot of laughs in the process!

-What is the biggest success to-date for Stranded?

Anna: The positive reception we have had from consumers has felt like such a success to me – you always think you have a good idea but you never really know until people other than family members willingly seek out your product 🙂 Also, being featured on the Jamie Ivey holiday gift guide podcast felt like a real win to me.

-Any dreams/goals for Stranded that you can share?

Lo: We are actually in the midst of rebranding which sounds kind of funny since we so recently launched, but we learned so much last year and are making little shifts for long terms goals and focus! We also hope to alter the way people define and view beauty. We want to be in the beauty industry to help shift the meaning of beauty – it sounds a bit ironic, but that is our biggest foundational goal! We would also love to launch other products as we continue growing and learning.

-The fact that Stranded is for all hair colors is so amazing…has that always been an important part of the brand philosophy?

Lo: They was the philosophy that gave us a vision and a launching pad for sure. We hope to make people’s lives easier by lessening the time it takes to do your hair, and hair powder (which we feel works best in the dry shampoo world) was for the most part, only limited to blondes to use, since it was offered in only a white color. We wanted to change that!

Anna: Yes! It is so important to us that we are inclusive of all hair colors and we hope to continue growing the range of colors so that a simplified beauty routine is accessible for all people.

-It must be so fun to be able to share this dry shampoo product that you girls care so much about with the world. What has been the most rewarding part of that journey?

Anna: The most rewarding part of the journey has been when my brunette and redhead friends want me to guess how long its been since they’ve washed their hair, and then give a sly hair flip and a raise of the eyebrow, singing the praises of Stranded all the while. It feels good to have provided a clean beauty product that is becoming a staple in my friends’ beauty routines.

-Stranded is crafted with clean ingredients, making it safe and toxin-free. Why is that so important to you all as a brand?

Lo: We have learned so much about how detrimental toxins in beauty products are to our health. We wanted to offer something that not only betters your quality of life and confidence, but something that sustains good health as well!

Moms Know Best: Q&A With Cheryl Scruggs

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My mom has been one of the most consistent examples in my life. She is a woman that not only represents class and femininity, but carries a passion to impart the importance of understanding who we are as women. What she has so gracefully endured throughout her life has been enlightening to watch, and what I love about her most is that she is always growing in awareness of herself. What a blessing she is and we are so thrilled to have her here on LSK today. We asked my mom, Cheryl Scruggs, (AKA Mo!) some questions and she answered with so much love, grace, and vulnerability. Scroll down to read!

Your podcast is such a gift to listen to- what inspired you to start on the podcast journey?  

I have such a heart for women and feel as though so many are not thriving in life in so many ways. I want women to be free, to understand who they are spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually, and professionally. I have written one book in 2008 called I Do Again, mapping out me and my husband’s marriage journey, but I was feeling prompted to either write another book (specifically for women) or develop a blog. One day almost two years ago, my sweet daughters suggested a podcast! I had never seen myself in that space, but God did! How grateful I am and Thriving Beyond Belief was born. I absolutely love doing a podcast! My guests are hand-picked… some young, some older, and some in between. I love the mix because the older ones have something to teach the younger ones and vice versa.

What do you love most about your podcast experience so far?

By far, all of my incredible guests!  Each one has something amazing to share to help women thrive beyond belief. I love when women can be vulnerable, honest, and real while sharing the hard stuff about their life. It touches my heart so much and keeps me remembering how Jesus sustains us no matter the circumstance!

What do you love most about marriage?

My husband, Jeff and I have been married twice to each other; we were first married 10 years from 1982-1992, divorced for 7 years, and we remarried to each other in 1999. Because of all that we have gone through, I have to say what I love the most is that Jesus is the center of our marriage now in our “second- chance” do-over marriage. That was the missing link in our first one. A close second is that marriage teaches Jeff and I about sacrifice, selflessness and learning to love each other well! We can only do that by staying grounded in Scripture and being honest, vulnerable and willing to create a safe place for each other. It takes a lot of work, but we love this challenge as it keeps us humble and grounded. Our job is not to change the other person, but to embrace whom God created them to be and celebrate our differences rather than use them against each other.

What is the biggest joy in being a mom to twin girls?

Gosh, I am not sure where to begin with this! I literally could write an entire book on the JOYS this has brought to my life. The best word I can think of, and you said it right, is the word JOY! This doesn’t mean easy, but rather how each season challenged me, grew me, and humbled me. People ask me all the time how I did it with twins, and I always say I have no idea because it is all I knew –ha ha! It is hard to put into words the love I have for my two precious daughters. I feel as a mom, unconditional love comes very easily— it has helped me understand how Jesus can love His children unconditionally. I have loved every second and every season of raising them.

Your faith is such an inspiration to us. Do you have a daily routine of prayer and spending time in the Word, or does everyday look a little different?  We would love to hear about it!

Thank you so much. My faith in Jesus is my life….He is Life, Love and Strength. I became a Jesus follower at the age of 33 after He picked me up off the floor after a very traumatic season in my life, and He penetrated my heart at such a deep level that it’s hard to describe. I had an affair, divorced my husband and shattered my family back in the early 90’s. But Jesus saved me from the mess and put me on the right path. It was hard work, but back in 1992, I started reading the Bible for the first time in my life…my daily routine started back then of getting up early in the morning, getting my coffee ready, sitting down in my comfy chair with my Bible and a journal. I began to find out who God was by studying His Word, journaling, and praying. It brings me to tears even now as I reflect on all He has done in me, my marriage, my family, and in my life. Today, as I approach my 60th birthday, and 26 years later, I still do the very same thing- setting my alarm to wake up to hang out with Jesus. It is by far the richest part of my day!

Your marriage story is such a special + inspiring one and we love that you are using your experience to encourage others in their marriages! Can you share a little bit about that?

It overwhelms me to tears (even now as I write) because it is such a miracle and a work of God that took so much perseverance and endurance to walk through. Our book, I Do Again, shares more details, but here are the highlights: Jeff and were married the first time and living in LA, in a marriage where we were focused on all the wrong stuff—money, success, selfishness. I was lonely and desperate to know Jeff, but I kept feeling like I was hitting a brick wall. We didn’t fight, had plenty of sex, but were not connected emotionally. Long story short, I had an affair after 8 years of marriage (that I wasn’t looking for)… A man just started paying attention to me and before I knew it, I was wrapped up in a crazy cycle. Because of the deception I was under, I filed for divorce and left Jeff after 10 years of marriage. The pain is gut-wrenching for me to think I was capable of doing all of that, but it is my story and I know God wants me to share it. I became a Jesus follower 2 months after our divorce was final and God put me on a path to restore the marriage, which took 7 years, but He did it! It was so worth the wait, the pain, and the perseverance. We have been back together now for over 18 years and work together in our ministry, Hope Matters Marriage Ministries, meeting with couples, speaking across the country, podcasting, and writing. 

Let’s talk clean beauty- what are a few of your favorite brands?

I am so thankful to my daughter Lauren for educating me about this topic! The two brands I’ve tried so far are RMS and Primally Pure.

And fashion- what are a few of your favorite clothing/accessories brands?

For casual wear and because working out is part of my daily routine, I love to be comfy, but fashionable. LuLulemon, Nike and ALO Yoga are some of my go to’s for every day! I love lots of different styles and brands, but honestly I think what’s important is developing your own style! I’ve done that since I was little girl. I study fashion, and then decide what a good look would be for me! One of my lines is “I want to grow old gracefully!” I want to dress in a classy, feminine, elegant way and never compromise being a Godly woman even in this area of my life. 

And finally, wellness! What is one wellness routine that you are loving right now?

I have always been a health nut and love being an all-natural kind of woman—Since I can remember, I have always eaten clean (lots of veggies, nuts, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised chicken and eggs as well as wild-caught fish). Working out, taking care of my mind as well as my spirit by understanding who God has made me spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually and professionally is by far a must for me. Now that I’ve gotten older it has served me well, and has been totally worth it. I feel young and vibrant!

Q&A With Branch Basics’ Founders : Part One

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We are so excited to start a Q&A series today on the blog with the founders of Branch Basics– a toxin-free, completely clean cleaning brand that we love. Today we have Allison on the blog, next month we will have Kelly, and then the following month we will have Marilee. These three ladies all have incredible stories of how detoxing their homes + living a holistic lifestyle have truly impacted and changed their lives. We are so thankful that they teamed up together to develop Branch Basics– a now staple in our homes. We are so inspired by their passion in clean living, their faith in the Lord, and their vulnerability in sharing their stories with us. Also, great news! Branch Basics is offering a promo code for LSK readers. Use code LSK20 for 20% off at branchbasics.com. Enjoy Allison’s Q&A below!

Tell us a little bit about how Branch Basics got started + your relationship with Marilee & Kelly!

Marilee is my aunt and Kelly is my best friend (and both are my daughter’s godmothers!). Kelly and I lived together in college, where she witnessed my mysterious onset of debilitating pain and neurological symptoms that stumped the country’s best doctors. After two years of drugs, diagnostic tests and medical treatments, I was still suffering. At that point, I had ears to hear my Aunt Marilee, an environmental and dietary consultant. She explained how our bodies are made to heal, but that removing toxins from what we eat, breathe and put on our skin is crucial to that God-given process. Kelly’s and my interest was piqued when, within a few months, my symptoms drastically decreased. We were approaching graduation and felt called to spend the summer with Marilee in the Texas Hill Country to soak up her knowledge before starting our careers. Little did we know!! Within a few months of eating only real food and living in a home completely free of harmful chemicals, I was a walking testament of the “power of pure” – off all medication and virtually symptom-free. The transformation was nothing short of a miracle (Kelly also felt the effects…no more cramps, itchy eyes, etc.), and as a result, we shared a burning passion to help others experience the same. Within a year, Branch Basics (based on the verse John 15:5) was born.

Share a little bit about your experience with PCOS and how a clean lifestyle really helped your struggles with that condition.

I was a senior in high school when I sought the help of a world-renowned fertility specialist because I hadn’t had a period since my first one in 6th grade. My sonogram – later shown in a medical textbook – revealed thousands of cysts on each ovary, and I was diagnosed with one of the worst cases of PCOS my doctor had ever seen. The only answer was to be on birth control until I was ready to conceive, and that I’d never be able to conceive without the most advanced fertility treatments.

Fast forward five years, I had adopted my newfound “clean” lifestyle for over a year when my fiance encouraged me to get a sonogram. Although I still wasn’t having a period, he had seen my health transform and was convinced my ovaries had followed suit. Having had the doctor’s dismal report ingrained in my head since high school, I wasn’t as optimistic. But upon receiving the scan, the doctor (who had been too booked to see me that day) rushed into the room holding my sonogram next to the original in disbelief. I had reversed my PCOS, having only a few small cysts on each ovary. He wanted to know what I had done and what medicine I had been taking. When I explained that I had gotten off birth control and ditched toxic home/body products, processed food, refined sugars, and bad oils, he was shocked and asked me to speak to PCOS support groups at his clinic. (Interestingly enough, his NP who had prescribed the birth control in high school, is very passionate about natural healing and reached out to me after reading my fertility journey to find out ways their fertility clinic can implement some of my lifestyle tips to address PCOS. How great is God!?)

If you are comfortable with sharing, give us a little bit of insight into your personal story with becoming pregnant and how a toxin-free lifestyle impacted that journey.

Having proof of the power of this new lifestyle, I knew my body was headed in the right direction and that my period would come back. Often the reproductive system is the last to repair, as it exists to usher in new life and is not vital to our survival. It’s no wonder, as the body should be in good health before conceiving a baby!

We began working with Dr. Dittman, author of Brighton Baby: A Revolutionary Organic Approach to Having an Extraordinary Child). He coaches couples on how to conceive, birth and raise children naturally, and has helped hundreds of couples reverse the trends that our existing diet and lifestyle have led to: an exponential rise in autism, ADD/ADHD, birth defects and infertility. Will and I were ecstatic when just six months of taking supplements and implementing some dietary additions, I had my second natural period, 12 years after my first. Because our choices in the perinatal period directly affect the fetal brain development and overall health of our future children, Will and I continued working with Dr. Dittman to completely normalize my cycle and further strengthen our health. When our vitamin and mineral levels were optimized , we were ready and conceived our daughter (surprisingly!) easily, just as Dr. Dittman had predicted.

Through the journey that you outlined above + the journey of starting your own business with your two-co founders, how did your strong faith play a role in it all + how was it impacted by everything?

Simply put, this story wouldn’t exist without my faith. Depending on the season of my healing journey (the dark days following the bright ones were hardest), my faith carried me, pushed me on, kept me from spiraling, picked me up when I did, and gave me hope for healing. I would call Marilee when I was feeling overwhelmed, bursting in tears when I heard her voice. She’d launch into speaking Truth over me, reminding me that “by His wounds we have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24), that “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh. 8:10), and that despite what the world and my body is telling me, I am able to rise above and take the Spiritual viewpoint on my situation. Had it not been for my faith, I would have given in, seen the doctor’s prognosis as ultimate truth, taken the path of least resistance…and I can’t help but think it would have involved continued pain, increased medication and infertility heartache.

What makes you most excited about the future of Branch Basics?

More than ever before, people need the information and story of hope that we are sharing. We never set out to sell soap, but to use our products as a vehicle to educate people on the transforming power of a clean diet and lifestyle. I am beyond-words excited for the day that Branch Basics is a household name, because that means so many people will have been empowered to make changes and choices that will positively affect their health.

As a mom, what new wellness challenges have you faced + what are your top 5 clean mom/baby products that you swear by?

Gosh I’d say my biggest challenge is finding the right baby + business balance. It seems there’s always something to be doing and different directions I can be pulled. But the saying “too busy not to pray” is so true. While time spent in the Word and seeking His peace and direction is time away from work and family, it never fails to center my compass and put everything into perspective.

As for clean mom/baby products, I may be taking this in a different direction, but these are really the few products I use for Sloane and me: Branch Basics, of course. It’s used all day every day on all things cleaning and laundry. Next, an organic mattress is one of the best investments you can make. Conventional ones are a main source of exposure to toxic chemicals, especially for developing infants who spend so much time sleeping. Naturalmat is our personal favorite. AustinAir makes the best air purifier on the market, and Sloane and I each have one in our rooms. We also each take a vial of Quinton daily, a seawater mineral supplement that contains all the minerals that the body requires to function optimally. (I can’t recommend it enough for those struggling with fertility issues.) We also each take Restore, the best product for gut health I’ve found.

What originally made you passionate about clean products and clean living?

I got well when I started using them! No one could have convinced me that ridding my diet and environment of toxins would eradicate thousands of ovarian cysts, open up my endocrine pathways and enable me to easily conceive a perfectly healthy baby. I now fully grasp that the things we choose to put in our mouths, rub on our skin and use in our homes can serve to nurture our bodies, enabling us to heal, or rob us and prevent us from moving forward.

Besides Branch Basics of course, what other clean brands do you love? They can be home, beauty, or anything else!

I truly use my own product more than any other out there, simply because it does so many things, from removing stains and to removing my eye makeup! However, some of my other everyday clean brands are Primally Pure and KEYS skin care, W3LL People makeup, Premier Research Labs food-based supplements, and PACT lounge/workout wear.

Can you share a little encouragement for people who might be feeling overwhelmed about purging old, toxic products + replacing everything with clean alternatives?

It may seem hard to throw out our “perfectly good” products, especially if they’re costly and not near empty. However, what’s harder is keeping them around, knowing they contain ingredients that are working against our health. It’s a mindshift, really, and it helps to think of throwing out toxic products as freeing versus restricting. Because, the truth is, this one step is the most important in creating a healthy home, which can save money that might later be spent on doctor visits, medication and missed workdays. The ultimate preventative healthcare! 🙂 It’s important to not get overwhelmed, but to determine your priorities, and begin making changes as you are able.

We are so thankful for your openness about your personal story and are beyond inspired by it!! What do you hope people take away from reading about your experiences?x

I am so honored to be able to share my journey with your readers. My hope is for people to realize that we have more control over our health than we likely realize, and for that to be empowering, not overwhelming. Our bodies are strong and beautiful and have the God-given ability to heal. Every effort you make toward creating a healthy home will be a step towards strengthening your immune system and enhancing your (and your family’s) health.

Primally Pure Q&A

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Friends! We are so excited to have Bethany & Courtney here on LSK today from Primally Pure. Bethany is the founder of Primally Pure and Courtney is the brand’s natural esthetician + marketing strategist. We connected with Bethany & Courtney a while back and have since become loyal, forever fans of their natural skincare line. We have raved about Primally Pure before on the blog, specifically their deodorant and cleansing oil. Today we are sharing a Q&A that we did with them via email and let me tell you- it is packed with some serious information! If you love clean and natural skincare, you are in the right place. Enjoy the read and be sure to check our their website + follow them on Instagram.

MEET BETHANY

What inspired you to start Primally Pure? I dealt with sensitive, acne-prone skin for most of my teenage years and well into young-adulthood. I tried every mainstream product you could imagine, many of which offered short-lived results but didn’t truly make a difference in the health of my skin. It wasn’t until after I discovered the power of eating real food that I purged my bathroom cabinet of toxic skincare products and began formulating my own replacements made with real, recognizable ingredients. Much to my surprise, the products I made actually worked better than the dozens I had tried in the past. My acne cleared up and my skin felt (and looked) better than it ever had. But most importantly, I enjoyed using them. I started selling my creations on my family farm’s website and a few months later I started a website of my own. Today, I have a team of 11 and we work out of a beautiful office/warehouse space in sunny Southern California.

What is your personal skincare routine? My skincare routine is always changing! I love mixing things up based on the season and what I feel like my skin needs most at the time. Lately, I’ve been using our Cleansing Oil for a deep clean at night 3-4 times a week, and then cleansing with our Baby Bar on the remaining days. I’ll usually follow either of those up with a few spritzes of Complexion Mist (I rotate between Neroli, Lavender and Geranium) as a light, hydrating toner. And last but not least, I’ve been using our Blue Tansy Beauty Cream for its calming + nourishing properties. In the morning, I usually just rinse with water and sometimes use Complexion Mist (really obsessed with Complexion Mist at the moment)!

Tell us a little bit about the work environment at Primally Pure HQ! I’m extremely grateful to have a sister-in-law who is an incredibly talented interior designer, and she designed our whole space! From our “spa-ffice” where Courtney works and gives our team facials, to our sitting area, my office, our coffee bar, etc. it’s really a simple, clean and inspiring place to be – which is always great for dreaming up new product ideas or visions for the brand. As for the team dynamic, we work hard and play hard. It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect with a growing company, but our team has been amazing at adapting as we go along and jumping in to fill in gaps as needed. Everyone is always willing to help with whatever needs to be done. And we reward ourselves with monthly trips to a local winery, spa days and other fun outings together.

We can’t help but notice how many bloggers are gushing over your products! What makes you most excited about the following of clean-beauty-lovers that you are curating? I have to pinch myself every day as we notice more and more amazing women (Lauren being one of them!) sharing Primally Pure with their followers. There’s no way we’d be where we are today without them, and we’re always super grateful and tickeled whenever someone shares their experience with PP!

What are you most looking forward to in the future for your brand? So many things! 2018 is shaping up to be a very exciting year for us. We have plans to move into a new + bigger space this summer, launch a few new products (including a coffee mask), hire on some additional members to our team and start a subscription program for our deodorant. Owning a business has been a more challenging undertaking than I ever could have imagined, but it’s also more fulfilling than any job I’ve had and I’m more excited than ever for what’s to come.

MEET COURTNEY 

What do you love most about being a part of team Primally Pure? Oh my goodness, so much! But what tops my list is the people I have the privilege of working with.  It’s so refreshing to be a part of a team that genuinely gets along, encourages + supports one another and enjoys spending time with each other (even outside of the workshop!).  The women I’m surrounded by on a daily basis make coming to work everyday such a JOY.  Plus, the people I have the opportunity to connect with through partnerships, collaborations and customers are some of the most beautiful + inspiring people on the planet (ahem, Lauren + Melissa!).  My mom shared a quote with me recently that said, “Your tribe matters as much – if not more – than your task.” And I’m so deeply grateful that I get both – a career that I’m passionate about with people I dearly love.  

What is your day-to-day like as the holistic esthetician? Currently, I’m splitting my time between being Primally Pure’s in-house holistic esthetician and Director or Marketing.  But I love how these positions actually complement each other so perfectly!  As a holistic esthetician, I’m passionate about helping others experience health + balance not only in their skin, but in body, soul and spirit.  A powerful way to do that is through educating and empowering others – and that’s where the marketing piece plays a big part in my day-to-day.  

I spend the majority of my days creating content for our blog, social media, newsletters, videos and other creative projects to share clean skincare + holistic wellness with the world.  I work in our brand new “spaffice” which is beautifully designed to function as an office for content creation + communication as well as a spa for curated skincare services!  A couple days a week I give our team members facials (sorry, we’re not open to the public just yet!) using only Primally Pure products and customizing masks with the pure, natural ingredients we have on hand in our workshop.  Like raw + local honey, colorful clays, powdered herbs, natural exfoliants and essential oils.  Our plan (hopefully in the near future!) is to open a Primally Pure concept spa offering non-toxic skin treatments, stress relieving services and a space to holistically care for your whole being.  But right now I just get to play, dream and design on the daily!

What inspired you to become so interested in and passionate about natural and clean personal products? As I started to learn about the science of skin and the reality of how our largest organ reveals imbalances within the body and that the products we apply can actually contribute to these imbalances, I was inspired to search for skincare that was naturally derived and delivered results. Clean skincare just makes sense to me.  Why would we want to put anything less on (or in!) our body?  I think that awareness first started for me as I began to cultivate my own self love journey several years ago. Genuinely wanting the best for my body, for myself and for others.  

On that journey, I quickly became fascinated by how food, lifestyle and product choices have the power to positively or negatively impact the state of our health – not just for our skin, but for our mind and soul, as well.  This inspired me to start to take a whole person approach (including products, nutrition, lifestyle, stress levels, etc) when caring for skin.  I wanted to treat more than what we simply see in the mirror – which can be merely symptoms of something so much deeper.  

I’ve also developed a deep belief that we’ve already been given everything we need – specifically, from nature.  The colors are radiant, the aromas are intoxicating + therapeutic and the benefits are truly healing, inside and out. Life is already too short and too stressful, why add the burden of chemicals and toxic buildup?  Clean skincare is a conviction I carry with me, and as a holistic esthetician (and simply, a human being!) I’m committed to caring for myself and for others with only ingredients that are life-giving, to our skin cells and entire self.  

Tell us the scoop about your natural deodorant– we know that it is a top-seller for Primally Pure and we are so amazed and pleased by the ingredients and effectiveness of it! Aw, thank you! That always makes us SO happy to hear.  Our natural deodorant was the first product our founder, Bethany, ever formulated and she’s been on a mission to disprove the stereotypes surrounding natural deodorants (i.e. they don’t work, they’re just for hippies, etc.) ever since. And I’d say she’s doing a pretty good job at it 🙂  It’s so incredible to be a part of a company that offers a clean and effective option to conventional, chemical-filled deodorants.  Seriously, their ingredient lists (and the risks of disease + dangerous side effects) are scary!  

Our formula is so unique because one of its main ingredients is tallow from grass-fed cows.  This vitamin-rich animal fat is full of anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties to protect and nourish even the most sensitive skin.  Our good-for-you, organic ingredients (fair-trade coconut oil, baking soda, beeswax, arrowroot powder, non-nano zinc oxide, kaolin clay and essential oils) work together to keep you smelling fresh all day long while leaving your skin feeling smooth + soft.  And how great is it that you can actually pronounce each ingredient on the back of the tube?!  As a brand, we’ve been able to show the world that it doesn’t have to be scary switching to natural deodorant.  It’s actually a simple, powerful way to take control of your health (and unwanted odor!).

What is your personal skincare routine? 

PM // First step, Baby Oil to remove my mascara (there’s no essential oils so it’s super gentle around my delicate eye area!) and then Cleansing Oil.  I LOVE oil cleansing (and love that you do, too!).  There’s so many benefits: facial massage, boosting circulation, deep pore cleansing, steaming with a warm washcloth and a balanced, clear complexion. After cleansing, I apply Everything Spray with an organic cotton pad which heals + calms any current breakouts or inflammation. Or if I feel like my skin needs a bit more moisture (which is definitely this time of year!), I’ll spritz Complexion Mist all over my skin.  This step is a must for me before applying our Palmarosa + Mint Beauty Cream as it helps it to absorb better and hydrate more deeply.  Final step, I always apply lip balm before bed!

AM // I’m still training myself to become a morning person, so I keep my skincare routine super short + simple.  After splashing my skin with warm water, I spritz Complexion Mist and I finish with our Fancy Face Serum to help even my skin tone and lightly hydrate.  I love using this serum every morning because it gives my skin a healthy, natural glow and I feel like I rarely need makeup anymore!

And of course, my daily skincare routine goes beyond the products I apply. I’ve noticed such a difference in my skin since using collagen peptides for smooth + strong skin, dandelion tea (supports healthy liver function) for clear skin and of course, water – we can never get enough of this miracle beauty beverage.


feature image by Christy Johnston  + product images via Primally Pure 

10 Questions with Angela Lanter

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Hey guys! We are so excited to have one of my besties on the blog today, Angela Lanter! Ang and her husband, Matt, are two of my and Jase’s closest friends and we absolutely love doing life with them. Read the Q&A below to get to know Ang as she dishes on all things love, beauty, pregnancy, and blogging. xo

– How did you and your husband meet and when did you know that he was the one?

Matt and I have a mutual friend from church, Courtney, who played matchmaker.  She was convinced that we were perfect for each other…  Turns out she was right!  I knew very early on that Matt was the one for me.  I didn’t have a moment, per se, that it dawned on me.  I could feel that something was different about our relationship than any other relationship I’d ever been in.

-When did you start your blog and what was the journey of becoming a blogger like for you?

I launched Hello Gorgeous in January 2013, just a few months before our wedding.  I didn’t have much time to put into my blog at first because I was planning a wedding and working full-time as a fraud investigator.  After we were married, I quit my job and we moved to New Orleans for Matt’s show, Starcrossed.  I had time to focus on my blog and turned my passion into my career.  I launched my YouTube channel in September 2013 and never looked back.  I’ve always loved beauty, so I knew this was the field I wanted to be in, I just didn’t know how to make that a reality.  Blogging has allowed me to take the things I love and turn them into my own business.

-We love your Instagram so much! What is your approach to managing that social platform and connecting with your followers?

I try my best to keep my posts as real as possible.  Social media has a way of making things look so perfectly perfect…  But that’s not reality.  I love connecting with my followers, my Gorgeous Girls, on real-life issues, so I focus on creating content that’s relevant to what’s currently going on in my life that others can relate to.  I also do my best to respond to as many comments as possible to show my appreciation to those who take the time to follow along and share their lives and thoughts with me.

-Give us a brief description of your personal style. Where are your favorite places to shop? 

I consider my style feminine casual.  I like to be cute but also comfortable…  Especially now that I’m pregnant!  My favorite thing to do is mix highs and lows.

-What is your typical morning beauty routine + a few of your must-have products? 

I’m big in exfoliation, I try to exfoliate 2 times a week to keep my skin looking and feeling soft.  My basic morning products are: cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream and moisturizer with SPF.  I can’t live without a good eye cream!

-How do you stay so healthy & fit!? Share a few tips + a some of your favorite foods.

I would love to say that I have this awesome workout routine and diet that I stick to…  But I don’t, lol.  I try to do yoga whenever possible and I’m constantly on the go, so I tend to walk a lot.  We try to make smart choices when cooking and eating out, but I also really love my desserts…  It’s one of my pregnancy cravings for sure.

-Congrats on your first baby-to-be! What has been the most surprising thing about pregnancy so far? 

The most surprising is the amount of symptoms that I have experienced that I was clueless about.  You would think with as many cousins and girlfriends that I have who have had babies, I would know it all…  But no one does.  Each and every pregnancy is different and I made the mistake of thinking that what I’ve seen others experience would be exactly what I experience.

-Tell us about your and your husband’s podcast, Hello Bump! How did that idea come about? 

I had been throwing around the idea of launching a podcast for over a year, but my husband’s job moved us to Vancouver last summer and we put that idea on the back burner.  When we found out we were pregnant, we thought, this is the perfect time to jump into the podcast world!  We didn’t even know if we would ever release it, but after listening to what we recorded, we decided it was too fun not to share.

-It must be so fun working on the podcast with Matt! Do you feel that sharing the journey with your followers and fans has been a gift for the both of you as expecting parents? 

I think so.  I’ve had so many women reach out to me after listening who relate to me because of my endometriosis journey, or different symptoms I’ve experienced.  I’ve had a lot of women say that the podcast has been such a fun way for them to relive their own pregnancies, even many years ago.  I think it’s just a fun, easy listen and people can relate to what we’re experiencing and feeling.

-What is the one thing that you are looking forward to most about being a Mom? 

Bonding with my baby.  I wanted a girl so badly, so I’m so excited to get to share things like my love of makeup and clothes with her (hopefully she’ll love those things too, lol!)  I can’t wait to dress her and do her hair…  Basically, just be a girl’s mom!

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