Memorial Day Sale Outdoor + Bedding Favorites

I cannot believe we're already a couple days out from Memorial Day! And you know what that means?! SALES! With summer days right around the corner, this is the perfect time to get some pieces for your patio, deck, or even the inside of your house for a summer refresh. I love switching out a couple things for the seasons. Usually for the summer I try to go more light and airy. I put away our gingham couch pillows in favor of a pretty, light, floral print. I also like sprucing up our bedroom linens!

One of my favorite brands, Serena & Lily, has the most dreamy bedding, sheets, pillows, and everything you could need for a bedroom spruce up and luckily they're having 20% off site wide with code SUMMERPREP. Our new bedding just arrived and I'm so excited to get it washed and on our bed to show you soon! I always, always spec S&L sheets to my design clients because there is NOTHING like them. Just trust me-- I've been sleeping on them for over 5 years now and I'll never go back ;) Here's our previous bedding and pillows:


I'm sharing some of my favorite bedding options below for you, all on sale! One reason I love Serena & Lily is because everything is so classic and feels so fresh, a little coastal and oh-so-beautiful. Their pieces aren't overdone and always leave a room feeling so effortless. I can totally get behind Serena & Lily's mission and belief that living well begins at home. Ain't that the truth?! 






SHOP: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

Now for those of you who want to bring the insides out (see what I did there?!) here are some of my favorite pieces for your patio, screened porch, deck, or terrace to make it feel more homey. I can see a lot of summer nights on a patio like this!



SHOP
: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

I think I'm going to get those gold candlesticks for my new builtin bookshelves in our living room. I just love them! And you've got to feel the softness of this Capri beach towel. It looks like a turkish towel, but it's real beach towel material, extremely EXTREMELY soft! If you get one thing, make it this towel (or the set of two!) I seriously think it's a must-have beach accessory for summer days ahead. I got one for myself and for my mom for Mother's Day. Don't forget to use the code SUMMERPREP for 20% off everything. 

Did anything catch your eye? I'll be back this week with more fun sales, including a try-on session. Happy Memorial Day Shopping!
xoxo
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* This post is sponsored by Serena & Lily. All thoughts and opinions are my own (as always!) I only work with brands that I truly love and use in my own home. Thank you for supporting brands that keep Michaela Noelle Designs doors' open!

Baby Girl Shower Inspiration

I cannot even tell you how excited I am that I'm throwing one of my best friend's baby showers in June! I can hardly wait for the day to arrive-- you'd think it was my own shower ;) Ha! I have a couple friends helping out and together, we're creating something really lovely, girly (it's a girl!!) and sweet for our friend who loves everything dainty and feminine. 

I created an inspiration board for the shower (because, have you met me?! hehe) so I thought I'd show you some of our ideas!


1. Balloon Garland: I mean, it's just so fun!! My friend Tara at One Stylish Party is my go-to for things like this. I'm so excited to get our custom garland in the mail. Gonna be honest, I'm nervous to create it (never done it before!) but hopefully I can master it. My plan is to do it quite a few days before the shower.

2. Bubbly Bar: For the drinks, we're thinking of doing a mimosa bar with different juices, then of course the mama-to-be can just drink juice without the champagne. We'll have fruit garnishes and then also have infused water as another option.

3. Flower Bar: Nothing makes me more excited than creating this!! We're going to let guests make and take a small bouquet of posies home for the favor. Our friend LOVES flowers (she even has a cut flower garden in her yard!) so this shower wouldn't be complete without one of these.

4. Custom Sugar Cookies: I get these made for almost every special occasion around here. Madri is the best, if you're local!

5. Glass Goblets: these will be part of our bubbly bar. I promise you things taste better in a fancy goblet!
6. Bows: The theme of the shower is Bows & Blooms, so we asked each guest to bring a bow to start the little lady a bow collection! It can be a bow, headband-- whatever they want! One of my friends helping with the shower might be making something similar to thing bow wreath that guests can clip their bow onto when they arrive.

7. Treats: We're doing an afternoon shower, so the food will be fruits, cheese & crackers (think charcuterie board), and small bite desserts that are easy to pick up.
We're doing something pretty sweet and actually having a bit of time for a couple activities instead of games. We didn't want to do anything cheesy ;) (but if you have any non-cheesy baby shower games please tell!!) so we're going to be writing the new mama some notes to open after the baby is born, painting some baby blocks, creating our flower arrangements, and a couple of other special things. Can't say more in case my friend is reading ;)
Since I've never had a baby shower, tell me what your most favorite thing you did at YOUR shower was in the comments! Or if you've been to a shower and seen something fun, do tell!
xoxo
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6 Tips on How to Choose a Sunscreen

In Monday's post I shared lots of  facts about sunscreen including what to avoid in the ingredient list and what to look for instead. Today I'm giving you 6 steps to choosing a safer sunscreen for you and your family! Hopefully this will make it a little easier. 


1. CHOOSE MINERAL SUNSCREEN. Opt for products whose main ingredients are either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Chemical sunscreens are more popular because one of the complaints many people have regarding mineral (also known as "physical") sunscreens is the white, chalky-like residue they can and often do leave on the skin. However, Beautycounter's mineral sunscreens are formulated to blend easily onto skin with hardly any white residue. This is why I love Beautycounter.

Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the surface of the skin and physically bounce or reflect sun’s rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin as well as babies and kids.

2. BROAD SPECTRUM PROTECTION. Opt for sunscreens that protect against UVA (the rays that age) and UVB (the rays that burn).  Beautycounter's newly reformulated mineral sunscreens protect against UVA, UVB and Blue Light, all things we want to avoid to keep healthy skin.


3. NO RETINYL PALMITATE. Some sunscreens contain Retinol or Retinyl Palmitate (as many facial moisturizers with SPF often do). Studies have shown that this vitamin A derivative may trigger the development of skin tumors and lesions when used on the skin in the presence of sunlight. Yikes! It's best to avoid this ingredient! It is never found in any Beautycounter products as it's one of many products on The Never List.

4.  NON-AEROSOL SPRAY. If you prefer the ease of a sunscreen spray choose a non-aerosol option, as the propellant chemicals of aerosol cans can be harmful. Beautycounter's sunscreen spray is air-powered, delivering convenience without harsh chemicals. (They really do think of everything!)
5.  AVOID FRAGRANCES. Synthetic fragrances can have any number of harmful chemicals because they are considered "trade secrets" and they aren't legally obligated to report their ingredients. Isn't that crazy?! This is one of my favorite things about Beautycounter. All the ingredients are listed and everything has such a wonderful scent, usually made up of essential oils.

6. DON'T BE FOOLED BY CLEVER MARKETING: A lot of companies will claim they are paraben-free, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free. And while all these things are good, it still doesn't make the product SAFE. If a product is all of those things, but has fragrance or contains a couple other potentially harmful ingredients, the claims they make for marketing don't really matter, right?! We used to use a very well-known brand of sunscreen that said it was paraben and gluten free, so I thought I was in the clear. Come to find out, it has the two most harmful chemicals sunscreen can have! I felt a little lied to, not going to lie. This was about the time I joined Beautycounter, so I thankfully found our sunscreen as an amazing alternative.


If you need a couple different price point options, let me help! 

Beautycounter is obviously my first choice with the lotion, stick and spray, but SuntegrityGoddess Garden, and Alba Botanica are some other good choices! This is the lip balm I use when I'm in the sun to protect my lips.

And guess what? This week Beautycounter is launching a couple new sun products! We already have the Countersun Sunscreen Mist, but soon there will be two more options in tinted versions! This will give you a little glowy boost while also protecting you.

How could I resist rounding up some favorite summer pieces?! I rarely buy myself swim suits, but I did snag this one this year and I'm super excited about it! 
 
SHOP: 



Hopefully these tips in picking out a safer sunscreen are helpful to you!

Here's to the SUN!
xoxo

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Here Comes the SUN! Get the 411 on Safe Sunscreen

It's common knowledge that protecting your skin from UV rays can prevent premature aging like fine lines, hyper pigmentation, and most importantly, it can prevent skin cancer. However, more recently we've been hearing how sunscreens can effect marine life and coral reef. In July of 2018 Hawaii became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two common sunscreen chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which many researchers worldwide have deemed potentially harmful to aquatic life.

February 21 of this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced a new proposal on sunscreen safety intended to overhaul the entire sunscreen industry. (Hooray!) Of the 16 different active ingredients in sunscreens currently on the market, the FDA deemed only 2 as being safe to use: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

While all of these strides forward is great news, until the sunscreen industry is completely overhauled, figuring out which sunscreens are both protective for us to use and gentler on the environment isn't always easy. It definitely requires some label-reading skills, so that's what I'm helping you with today.


Let's Get the Facts Straight:

* Did you know that 5 sunburns at any age increase your chance of skin cancer by 50%? That was enough to wake up this California-sun-loving-girl!

*90% of signs of aging are because of the exposure to sun.

* No need to get any SPF over 50, as the benefits max out.
SPF = Sun Protection Factor SPF is the measurement for defense from UVB rays • SPF 15 = blocks 93% of UVB rays • SPF 30 = blocks 97% of UVB rays • SPF 50 = blocks 98% of UVB rays

* UVB: UVB 
are the rays that lead to sunburn. On average, five sunburns at any age doubles one’s risk for melanoma.* *Skin Cancer Foundation

* UVA: UVA = Aging sun rays. While UVA is almost undetectable because these rays do not change the color of the skin, they do penetrate deeper into the dermis of the skin, where they can potentially cause free-radical damage that leads to skin aging. UVA rays are equally intense no matter the season, AND they penetrate clouds and glass.

* BLUE LIGHT: One ray that is becoming top of mind as we spend more and more time in front of computers, 
smart phones and tablets is Blue Light. Blue Light is a trendy topic in the technology realm, but, Blue Light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. The shorter, high energy blue wavelengths that make up Blue Light, collide with the air molecules, causing blue light to scatter. This is in fact what makes the sky look blue.

* EFFECTS OF BLUE LIGHT: Its skin-aging effects can potentially be as much of a concern as those caused by UVA & UVB. The latest research suggests it may damage skin proteins and lipids. When these are damaged, signs of age like loss of skin elasticity, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation are possible.

* The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is very helpful tool to find what's safe and what's not the best. Their database is full of thousands upon thousands of products and they rate them from 1-10 on their safety (1 being safe and 10 being considered toxic/not the safest option). You can literally scan the barcode of a product on their app and it'll give you a rating if it's in the database. They also have this helpful chart to keep on hand when searching for sunscreen and finding out about the ingredients in what you use. You want to stay in the green zone, but it's really the bottom two that are your safest bets. 




What Ingredients to Avoid:

Retinyl Palmitate (a derivative of vitamin A), Parabens & Synthetic Fragranceare three other common ingredients you'll see included in conventional sunscreens and all three raise some red flags.  

Note: Retinyl palmitate is an antioxidant that is well known for anti-aging, but studies by federal government scientists indicate that it may trigger development of skin tumors and lesions when used on skin in the presence of sunlight. No thank you! In addition, other governments warn that cosmetic products that include retinol (and other derivatives of vitamin A) may contribute to unsafe amounts of vitamin A, and recommend against using vitamin A-laden cosmetics on the lips and over large portions of the body. 

I share this because safer alternatives exist, and educating and advocating for safer products is what prompts positive change in both industry and government. I never share to scare you or get all obsessed about being toxin-free. The truth is, there are safer options and with all the research on what these more harmful ingredients to do our bodies, I think we can definitely do better than those! Because while our laws are still lagging, there are companies like Beautycounter (and others!) that are trailblazing the way.

Beautycounter's Countersun Mineral Sunscreen is a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against damaging UVA, UVB and Blue Light. It's formulated with non-nano zinc and antioxidant-rich California Poppy, and its physical formulation provides an effective shield from skin-aging rays, while being gentle and pleasant feeling on the skin. This smooth, nourishing formula blends evenly onto skin with limited white residue. I also love the hint of citrus scent!

Why is it Safer? 

Beautycounter prohibits chemical SPF filters due to their high potential for skin irritation, opting instead for physical sunscreens, more commonly known as mineral sunscreen. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sit on the surface of the skin and physically bounce or reflect sun’s rays away from the skin. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin, as well as babies and kids. 
Beautycounter never uses Octinoxate, Oxybenzone (or any other chemical sunscreen), parabens, retinol, retinyl palmitate or synthetic fragrance. 
You can check out our Never List of over 1500 ingredients we never put into products, because Beautycounter feels there are much safer options.


Be sure to come back tomorrow when I'll be sharing tips on how to pick a safer sunscreen, sharing some other (non-beautycounter) safer brands, and more!

Here's to more sunny days!
xoxo
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