Friday, April 29, 2016

Two-Faced: An Arbonne VP Test Drives Designer Foundations

You guys know I always give it to you straight.  So I have a confession.....

*whispers*......despite being an Arbonne Vice President,  I am also a Sephora VIB* (pauses for gasps).  I believe in my heart that Arbonne has the best products in the world, but sometimes a girl needs to pick up a few other things elsewhere.  This is newsworthy, I know.  Not.  But that does mean that Sephora is always offering me tons of free products, even full-size, to try.  Lately they must have caught on that I never buy foundation from them anymore, because they have been pushing foundation options on me like crazy.  Since it is free, I took them up on it so I could run a quick makeup trial for you guys.  I am all about market research.

You guys....the fact that I am even posting these is how you know I am all in for you.  Selfies, even for a purpose, are not my favorite :)  Let's just say I don't suggest taking pictures of your face after a long day at home with kiddos!

Here are three reviews of recent foundation samples.  I applied two of the foundations the same way, for fairness-no primer (although to be honest, two of the three of these suggested a primer in the instructions), and with my foundation brush, and the last (Clinique) with fingers because of the nature of the product.

First up, I tried Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Full Coverage Foundation.  As the name suggests, it is full in, very, very full coverage.  Like a mask almost.  The instructions suggest starting with one dot to cover your whole face, with up to three dots for more coverage.  Now I love good coverage in a foundation, but frankly, I couldn't have taken any more coverage than one dot gave me.  It was very difficult to get that one dot blended in properly and spread far enough to be even on my entire face.  The product literature tells us that they took the water out of the formulation, which is what may be contributing to its fast drying time.  It also sank into my pores so badly after a few hours that I had foundation dots on every pore-up close.  I looked like pop art.  Not cute.  That being said, it wore very well.

At application:                After a few hours:

Coverage: very full.  You can see how masklike it is from the pictures
Tests on animals: No
Uses animal products: Yes
Paraben-free: Yes
Gluten-free: No
Follows EU standards: I couldn't find a clear answer to this, but Marc Jacobs Beauty does have ingredient lists on the website, which I appreciate
Price: $55 for .75oz

The second foundation I tested was Urban Decay's Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup.  I had high hopes for this one, because I find UD's products to be very high quality, in general.  In the past, I have enjoyed their Naked Palettes, and their eye shadow primer.  Just like above, the name suggests the coverage level you will get this foundation.  The literature claims this coverage is buildable, but I found it to be very light.  I loved how it applied very smoothly, and it felt great on.  However, three hours later, it looked like I had never applied makeup at all.  I did indeed look like I had naked skin, so this one would be a no-go for me.  Those of you who like just a little bit of coverage would probably appreciate this one more.

At application:                    After a few hours:

Coverage: very light to buildable
Tests on animals: No
Uses animal products: No
Paraben-free: Yes
Gluten-free: No
Follows EU standards: No, or at least not listed under the brand's commitment page
Price: $40 for 1 oz

In this same shipment, Sephora also sent me a full-size Clinique Chubby Foundation Stick.  Here's what I loved about it: super easy to apply directly from the stick, and blends nicely.  The stick formula of the foundation makes it super portable.  I think this would be great to keep in your bag as a touch-up for your foundation.  Here's what I didn't love: although the stick has buildable coverage, when you do build more coverage, it starts to look a little heavy and sink into your pores a bit.  I also don't love the way it feels waxy on my skin.  In pictures, I can see that it didn't blend as well as I thought.  It seems a little splotchy in places. The wear was also a little bit disappointing-it looked worn off and shiny after a few hours.  Still, not a bad option to keep in your purse or gym bag, if you aren't concerned over the ingredients (see below):

At application:                     After a few hours: 

Coverage: buildable
Tests on animals: Clinique claims only where required by law.  PETA says yes they do.
Uses animal products: yes
Paraben-free: Clinique does not share ingredient lists, but my research made it look like yes, at least most of the brand is paraben-free
Gluten-free: No
Follows EU standards: I could find very little information on ingredients because Clinique does not publicly share them, but EWG rates the brand as a whole from 2-6, which is low-moderate for toxins.
Price: $24 for .21oz (always check the amount of product you are getting!  Unless it is specifically marketed as being concentrated, sometimes a product looks inexpensive because you are just plain getting less.  For example, if you got the same size of this as the UD Foundation above, it would actually cost about $100)

*So what do I still buy from Sephora?  Living Proof hair care that Arbonne doesn't offer (dry shampoo, texture spray, hair primer), fragrance, professional grade beauty tools (curling irons, hair dryers, Beauty Blenders, etc), and occasional makeup options to test drive.  Because I can't help myself.

There you have it!  My not-so-secret Sephora addiction revealed.  Phew.  I feel better.

Hope these pictures help you in your quest for the perfect foundation!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Which Foundation Formula is Right for Your Skin?

After how to formulate a healthy eating plan, one of the questions I hear the most often in my business is how to figure out what foundation would be the best choice for your skin.  I love makeup and I have strong personal preferences, so I love to help people find their "holy grail" foundation.  Wearing the proper foundation makes a huge difference to the appearance of your skin, and your overall look.

As silly as it may sound, foundation is actually one of the reasons I began my business.  I had been on a long-term hunt at Sephora for foundation that had good coverage, wasn't cakey, and wore well.  I had bought and used probably at least ten over the past few years, and I hadn't found what I wanted.  The last straw was when I paid (Seth, avert your eyes), $75 for a foundation that I thought HAD to be the best, because of the brand and price. And it lasted maybe an hour on my skin before it was invisible.  So frustrating!  When I had a friend send me samples of Arbonne's liquid foundation, it was *exactly* what I had been searching for, and half the price.  As a skeptic, that really got me wondering about what could be different about it.

Now that I have done my research, I know that the best thing about Arbonne's makeup is that it is all formulated to *improve* your skin, not just to be a cosmetic product that covers up imperfections.  It is a HUGE difference when you wear makeup that isn't fighting against what you are using your skincare to treat, whether that is acne, aging, or sensitive skin.  Not only that, but Arbonne's makeup follows our strict ingredient policy, contains no animal products, and is never tested on animals, in any way.  Are you curious about why ingredients in makeup matter?  I was too.  Here is a handy little video:

And.....PSA off.  :)

Foundation comes in a ton of different choices these days, but there are three more popular formulations: liquid, mineral, and CC cream (BB cream, DD cream....this is called by so many names!)

Here is a chart that will hopefully help you figure out which formula will work best with your skin type, and your preferences.

My hands-down favorite is the liquid foundation.  That is my every-single-day choice.  My skin is normal to combination, and I prefer its medium to full coverage.  It stays in place all day without looking like a mask.

What about the others?

I use the CC Cream during the summer, when we are going to be running around so I want a little bit of coverage, but we will eventually end up at the pool, so I don't actually want a full face of makeup on. Mineral foundation is perfect for when it is humid and a powder formula will keep down the shine.

For those of you who just love to see photo evidence (me too!), here are three truly cringe-worthy selfies of the different coverages, with no other makeup on.

             Liquid                                                            Mineral                                                 CC Cream

You can grab any of these formulas here.

Speaking of, come back on Friday when I do a side by side photo comparison of other foundation brands, and see which brand really does make you look like you have something to hide.  And tomorrow morning, I'd love to have you join me on Periscope (@ArbonneVPSWenzel) for a discussion and tutorial of application methods for foundation.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sugar-free, Low Carb Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Protein Shake

Are you trying to limit your sugar intake?  Staying low carb?  Diabetic?  Just wondering what to do with flavorless protein?  I have had this shake recipe on repeat for the last few days, and I can't get enough.

Chickens in My Kitchen Sugar-Free, Low Carb, Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake

1 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could use other nondairy milk choices as well)
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I have been using Hershey's Special Dark)
2 T PB2 (slightly less calories and carbs than regular peanut butter)
1 scoop Arbonne Daily Protein Boost
Half a ripe avocado (to add some healthy fats. Stick with me here, you can't taste it at all, and the texture is AMAZING)
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Liquid Stevia to taste (start with one dropperful, and add from there)

Put all ingredients in good quality blender, and blend well.  Add ice, and blend until ice is your desired level of crushed.  I personally like mine smooth, like a milkshake.

If you are not trying to stay low carb, there are so many yummy add ins you could use: bananas or berries, chocolate chips, coconut.....

SO good, and so healthy.  And as a bonus, this recipe kept me full long past my usual dinnertime.

Proud of you all for moving towards your goals!  Tell us, what is your number one health goal right now? Mine is to stick my clean eating plan.  So far, I am 100% on track since Jan 1 (cliche much? Indeed. But it has always been a successful time for my goal-setting).  I'd love to hear yours...

Friday, April 22, 2016

Protein Boost Recipes

At a loss for healthy, pre-made snacks for you AND your family that help keep you full for longer, and meet your need for protein?  Believe me, ME TOO!  My kids seem to be eating constantly!  It is not unusual for me to still be washing up from a meal and see little (boy) feet sticking out of my fridge.  We go through a HUGE amount of meat and cheese around here, as well as less healthy choices, like granola bars.  Whether I want to limit the junk (boxed snacks), or watch the budget (meat and cheese), protein bites and shakes are my go-to.

These are a favorite snack recipe of our whole family.  Seth even takes these out in the field.  And they're freezer-friendly, so feel free to double up the recipe!

Chickens in My Kitchen 5 Minute Superfood Protein Bites

1 c almond butter (can sub peanut butter if you like)
1/2 c honey*
2 t vanilla extract
1/3 c Arbonne Vanilla Protein Powder**
1/3 c Arbonne Chocolate Protein Powder**
1/3 c flax seeds
1/3 c chia seeds
1 c steel cut oats
4 T mini chocolate chips

*For no-sugar bites, you may substitute liquid stevia for the honey (to taste-try 1 T to start, and adjust from there), and then also substitute Arbonne's new sugar- and sweetener-free Daily Protein Boost for our flavored proteins.  Of course, remove the chocolate chips as well.  :)
**Notes: you can make these with all one flavor of protein powder if you like.

1. In a microwave safe bowl, mix almond butter and honey, and microwave for 1 minute, or until you can easily mix them together.  Add vanilla extract.  Mix again.

2.  In the meantime, in a large bowl, mix all other ingredients.

3.  Add the almond butter mixture to the dry ingredients, and mix well.  The chocolate chips may melt.  That is okay!

4.  Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, between your hands to form 1 inch balls.  *You can also press into a 9 by 13 pan and then cut into squares

5.  Refrigerate for an hour before eating, or freeze immediately.  Keep refrigerated when you can, as the bites tend to crumble a bit when warm.  If you need to travel with them, keep frozen and let them defrost as your day goes on.

Help a girl out....what's your favorite healthy snack?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Tips for Staying Healthy on the Road

Since starting my Arbonne business almost two years ago, I have gotten SO many amazing travel opportunities (Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Seattle, Arizona, DC, Miami, Tennessee, NYC, Charlotte, just to name a few).

Charlotte enjoying the Virgin Islands, Arbonne Trip 2015

In fact, I just returned from a great week in Las Vegas for our Global Training Conference (SUCH a great week, but more on that later!).  Through our Clean Eating Challenge program, many of you have told me that sticking to your health and fitness goals while traveling, for work or otherwise, is a big struggle.  Here are a few tips that I use to make sure I stay on plan while I am traveling:

1. Preparation is KEY

Just like when you are eating clean at home, sticking to your priorities on the road will take some good preparation. If you usually spend Sunday afternoon meal prepping, do that exact thing for your trip!   First of all, plan ahead.  Do you need to order anything special?  Ready to drink shakes? Single protein packets?  A blender bottle?  Order those at least a week ahead of time.

Then, think about how you will handle meals, and get your nutrition needs packed up.  For breakfast, maybe pack your blender bottle, individual packets of protein, and any other supplements.  For lunches, consider whether you will be in the car all day (need nutrition bars and individual packets of almond butter, or ready-to-drink shakes to avoid the drive through), or having business lunches (plan what you will choose right now-”I will have a piece of fish and a vegetable”) for lunch everyday.  Put sturdy snacks in your luggage.  Powdered greens are a great safeguard against a no-vegetable trip. This seems obvious, but most of us don't even consider planning our nutrition on a trip.

Next, look at your schedule and plan your workouts.  Commit to how many workouts you will get in while you are gone.  These days, that is much easier than it used to be.    I am so grateful that Arbonne so highly values health that they offer group workout options for us, but if that is not your situation, plan them for yourself!  (In fact, maybe a friend or colleague would appreciate the invitation to join you!  Encourage each other!)

Arbonne charitable workout for Hope for Haiti #gtc2016

Group yoga to benefit Arbonne Charitable Foundation #gtc2016

Running or walking is always a simple option.  It has the added benefits of needing only a pair of shoes, and also allowing you to explore the area!

One of the ways I have been introduced to awesome new workouts is to take every opportunity for new classes.  Are you traveling to a big city?  It is a great chance to try that awesome class that everybody raves about!  Are you in a scenic area?  Ask friends for recommendations for a hiking spot or walking trail.  Are you visiting someone who is passionate about a certain workout?  Let them introduce you to their fav!  That is how I tried a barre class, and it is a regular part of my routine now.

Hiking on trip in AZ

If you know that you will have a crazy trip with little downtime or no good options, consider signing up for streaming workouts.  This is what I do when I am home on the farm.  My personal favorite is Physique57 streaming because they offer a free 1 week trial.  Other great options include Tracey Anderson streaming, or Barre 3 streaming.  All of those choices offer no-equipment workouts that you could easily do in a hotel room.

So how do you fit all this into your traveling schedule?

2. Prioritize

Write down your goals, and commit to sticking to them.

One important way to make sure that happens is to spend the money: pay for the exercise class, the daily gym pass, whatever it takes.  Buy the blender bottle, the single serve protein, the stacking containers, the PB 2.  Why?  Because you need to make staying healthy as easy as possible.  Making small investments in necessary preparation is an essential part of that.  

If at all possible, make it a priority to go to the market when you first arrive and grab clean food that can be kept in your room fridge: hardboiled eggs, precut veggies and hummus, non-dairy milks, water.

If you track your food using a diet and fitness calculator, consider where you want to spend your calories/macros.  Don't stray from that plan except for a truly once in a lifetime treat.  (Airport food ain’t that).   Planning ahead will help enormously here.

For example, here is the difference in Starbucks v Arbonne's Fizz Sticks nutrition:

If you are committed to staying on plan, do you really want to spend THIRTY TWO grams of sugar on one coffee?

Another important way to prioritize is to discipline yourself for what you want the most!  

Leave the party early so you can get up early and squeeze in that workout.  If all else fails, walk laps at the airport.  Ask your business contact or friend to meet you for an active meeting instead of a drink.  I have done this with great success several times lately, and gotten to have some great experiences as a result.

Barre 3 Studio, Georgetown

3. Essential Take Alongs

So what to pack?
For me, these are essential take alongs, and I can fit most of it into one gallon size ziplock.

4. Stay Flexible

Let's say you slept through your planned workout this morning. You're giving up on today, right?! NO. Figure out a way to squeeze something in! Walk laps in the airport. Do a 7 minute HIIT workout (there are apps for this!). What if your boss just loves fast food, beer, and general shenanigans? (Well, don't we all?!) Make the best choice you can-check the nutrition info, order a club soda and lime, plead jet lag and get back to the hotel-whatever it takes. Don't let your perfect plan be the enemy of a good alternative choice. Staying on track is absolutely about a "no matter what" attitude than it is about sticking to any one small part of your plan.

5. Tips & Trips

  • Packets of single serve protein are perfect for when you are only using a carry on bag. Make sure you have your blender cup and stacker ready to go in your bag for your travel day.
  • Ready-to-drink shakes are the gold standard for car trips and checked luggage. SO easy.
  • If you will be in one place for more than a few days, consider sending nutrition ahead to the hotel. Most hotels will hold boxes for you at the front desk. That will save you some weight in your luggage.
  • Stay on your probiotic, for two huge reasons. 1) Many people suffer from tummy trouble while traveling, and your probiotic is essntial to protecting your digestion, and 2) Do you know that a large percentage of your immunity resides in your gut health? By being consistent with your probiotic, you can save yourself all that crud many of us pick up while traveling.
  • Bring your own water bottle. Keep it filled. Enough said.
  • Commit to keep using your trackers, especially if you normally do at home-My Fitness Pal will give you nutrition information on most restaurants. Even if you are planning on indulging, keep yourself accountable by tracking everything!
  • Write down your goals and keep them with you. WHY do you want to stick to your plan? What is your end goal? Keep these with you to remind yourself when you are tired from travel and feel like diving into a mediocre pizza.
  • Try to get a friend to commit with you. If you can chat throughout the day, it will help keep you accountable. Even better if you two are traveling together. It is so much easier and more fun to make healthy decisions together. Encourage each other when one is feeling weak!
  • Make the effort. This is key. Work hard ahead of time so that your decisions are easier later. For example, pack food for airport on travel days, don't plan eat fast food and hope you will find something healthy.  Start yourself off on the right foot.
  • A quick example of what I ate while I was gone last week:
    • Breakfasts: protein shakes made in the room, with fiber, Digestion Plus, and PB2. Prepared and packed in my tote: Fizz Sticks made with Greens
    • Lunches: Always protein and a veggie combination of some kind at a restaurant. Made sure to get in a healthy fat (avocado is a good bet)
    • Dinner: (admittedly, at 11pm most nights): Again, protein and veggie combo. I even got a beautiful salad from room service one night. And champagne. Because vacation.
    • Snacks: bags of almonds, another protein shake, or nutrition bars in my tote. We also keep veggies and hummus, and some meat and cheese in our hotel fridge. Cut myself off coffee before 2 pm, stuck to fizz sticks so that my sleep wasn't disturbed.

May you be encouraged in your efforts to stay healthy while traveling! Tell me, what are your traveling healthy tips? I challenge you to make one healthy swap this week, whether you are on the road or not.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Year in the Making: How Arbonne Taught Me to Live Inspired

Hello faithful friends!  I apologize for being inconsistent with this space in the last year or so.  So many exciting things have happened in that time that took my time and attention, but I have missed chatting with you all.  I am committed to making the room for this in my life again.

In the meantime, let's catch up!  As I alluded to above, it has been a surprising and fun couple of years.  First of all, my family is healthy and well, and growing up quickly.  Those babies are now almost 11, almost nine, seven, five, and three.  Not exactly babies anymore.  I am everyday both delighted and exhausted by all their energy and passion for life.  There are a lot of feelings and talking and NOISE in this tiny house.  We are still happily homeschooling, so I feel blessed that we get to spend all our days together.  In addition to farming, Seth has started another business of his own doing sales and service for precision planting.  His business is absolutely exploding at this time of year, right before planting season.

Olivia, 10.  Amelia, 8.  Charlotte, 7.  Henry, 5.  Griffin, 3.

The biggest surprise of these years has been my Arbonne business.  When I started a little less than two years ago, I was just terrified.  I thought there was no way that a business like this could work.  I thought that I had absolutely no time to fit anything else into my life, let alone my own business.  I thought that I couldn't be successful at a network marketing business, because I didn't know anyone here.

Well.   I have never been happier to be wrong in my whole life.  Ten months after beginning my business with all that fear, I promoted to Vice President and earned a free Mercedes.  In the past two years, my business partners and I have been able to build an incredible team of people across about twenty states and three countries, people who motivate and inspire me everyday, and who have achieved considerable success themselves.  In our first full year of business, my team did almost a million dollars in sales, and we promoted 22 people to the position where they make $1000+ per month.  We promoted five people to the level where they make $2500+ per month, and this year, we are ready to help three more women earn their own free Mercedes before 2016 ends.  My personal business now brings home six figures a year.

More than that, we have been able to give back in big ways.  We have been delighted to support many causes that you told me are important to you (March of Dimes, St. Baldrick's, Girls on the Run, Boys and Girls Club, Volunteers of America, and several smaller local needs).  But the biggest success of this year is the tiny part we played in supporting the Hope for Haiti project.  Last month, the Arbonne VPs leading that project had an idea for a FB auction of gently used clothes and accessories.  We hoped the auction could raise $40,000.  We raised $300,000 in four days and CLOSED DOWN the project.  As a result of that vision and the work of so many, all 90 families who were still homeless from the 2010 earthquake now will have homes.  A few weeks later, the ground has already been broken for their houses.

I cannot explain the surprise and blessing of this, except that so many people have been incredibly generous, have consistently worked hard, and have dreamed much bigger than seems realistic.  THANK YOU, for the part that each of you has played in supporting my business.  So many of you have hosted small groups for me, referred me to other successful business people, and introduced me to your contacts.  Thank you for those of you who have loyally purchased products, written me glowing reviews, and joined my team.  I cannot tell you what it means to me to have your continued support as my little business grows.

Just a little Arbonne fun from the past two years
When I started my Arbonne business, I thought that I wanted to help Seth pay off my law school loans.  As it turns out, I am not motivated by that goal at all.  But it did lead me to my passion-helping people find a third career path.  Many of us were taught that if you work hard and do well in school, go to college and go to grad school, then you will get a great job and be successful.  Well, for the most part, that turned out to be true.  Except that we were working more and more and more hours.  And we had a bunch of grad school debt.  And then we had babies, and we found that we didn't want to work more than full-time and not see their sweet faces all week long.  But what were the options?

I know many women in that position who eventually decided to become stay at home mamas, as I did.  While I have loved being home full-time for almost 10 years now, I always felt a tug to be using a different part of my brain.  But I truly believed there was no other option (that would allow me to keep time with my family first) between working out of the home, and being a stay at home mom.

Arbonne IS that third path.  I am now able to run a thriving business, while still being at home every day, educating and raising my kiddos.  You can only imagine my surprise-before I began with Arbonne, I seriously believed that people who had direct sales businesses were sad and lonely people, who spent far more money with their silly companies than they earned.  (Sorry sorry sorry!  I really did think that!).  Helping people on this third path to career success is now my passion.  It is what gets me moving early everyday, and keeps me up late at night!  I have never felt as fulfilled and inspired as I do now, and I am able to have my business work around my first love, my family.

Mercedes Presentation Party, May 2015

Now that you have been very lengthily updated, where do we go from here?  :)

Well, as promised, I am going to be more consistent with this space.  Sharing ideas and conversation is a deep-rooted joy of mine, and I am going to make time to do that with you more.

There will also be a small shift in the conversation here-in the past, I have written mostly about babies and home and farming, and I will continue to do that.  Those are as essential to my life as they have ever been.  But Arbonne has also opened up a whole new group of passions for me, namely: healthy living, skincare and makeup, goal-setting and entrepreneurship, and even fashion.  So you will begin to see a small sprinkling of these topics as well.  I am hoping to bring you tasty (and group-tested!) clean eating recipes, makeup and skincare reviews, and a peek inside my business life.

I hope you will continue to stick with me and enjoy a broader range of topics here.  If you like what you read, can I ask you to share this page, as you have done so many times in the past?  You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram (@sodellwenzel), or Pinterest to hear more antics from our house everyday!

And of course, I always love hearing from you in the comments!  Tell me, what is the biggest, most exciting thing that has happened to YOU in the past year?  I am anxious to hear...