Age Gracefully and Safely!

Age Gracefully and Safely!


Say NO to Retinol! Reti-NO!
There’s something safer and better now!
I’m so excited to share this new skin care line by Beautycounter with you!
I’m 45, have 2 businesses, 3 children, a new puppy and a husband who is also a busy business owner…we’re all so busy right??…So time is of the essence! But… I’ve been getting so many compliments on my skin lately which makes me happy because although most days I don’t take much time to do my hair or makeup (messy bun, mascara, lip gloss and I’m out the door most days) I do take a little time to take care of my skin. I’m not trying to fight my age but I do want to age gracefully and prevent even more damage to my skin. All of my Summers in my younger years were spent in the sun swimming competitively, life guarding and hanging out at my best friend’s pool – all without sunscreen 95% of the time 😩. So I was really excited when Beautycounter launched….


Each product in Countertime contains our proprietary blend- the Retinatural complex compromised of Bakuchiol and Swiss Alpine Rose, which gives you the benefits of Retinol without safety concerns Retinol has or irritation it can cause. BONUS- you can go in the sun with it and if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding it’s safe to use!

I’ve been using it for a month now and I absolutely love it. Using the whole collection is so calming and relaxing to me. I enjoy using it and I love the results! Plumper and more radiant skin!

The Cleansing Oil (see photo) is amazing. I know, washing your face with an oil sounds weird BUT it’s really helping with my dryness and it’s clearing up the complexions of many who have acne!

The Tetrapeptide Supreme Cream is so rich and hydrating, I can’t imagine a day without using it. It’s on par with La Mer but without the harmful ingredient concerns.

The Mineral Boost Hydrating Essence is like a shot of nutrition for your skin and who doesn’t need that? I’ve never used an essence before nor did I know what one was before using Countertime but now I’m in love!!!

The Ultra Renewal Eye Cream is made with Persian silk tree extract which brightens dark circles, tightens the skin around your eyes, addresses crow’s feet, puffiness and fine lines. The Antioxidant Soft Cream is a light day cream but still is so hydrating! The Tetrapeptide Radiance Serum seems to do the heavy lifting for my skin. It repairs your skin and protects it from environmental stressors. All products contain the Retinatural Complex to repair and protect.

The environmentally friendly glass bottles and jars in this collection are HUGE so they will last forever. The collection is actually much less expensive per ounce than other similar brands. The products in this collection are made to work together so instead of choosing one or two items… if you can, try to invest in the collection to maximize your results and savings. Purchasing the whole collection or smaller sized regimen will give you a price break versus buying each product à la cart.

All of the benefits of retinol without the safety concerns– yes please!!
Some call it anti-aging, we call it #betterwithage.
Please comment with any questions you may have or email me @

We all deserve to age gracefully and safely!


Maria McKendry, Em & Gracie Blogger, Safer Beauty Advocate

Beautycounter in the Press⭐:
1. The Zoe Report Reviews Countertime!

2. Fast Company: Your anti-aging regimen might be toxic. This brand found a safe alternative.

3. WWD: “Better with Age” – Beautycounter to Debut Anti-Aging Skincare Line, Countertime. Our new Countertime collection was just featured in Women’s Wear Daily!

4. InStyle “Beautycounter’s New Anti-Aging Line Includes a Retinol Alternative for Sensitive Skin.”


Spring Clean Your Closet! 🌷

Spring Clean Your Closet! 🌷

It’s that time of year when I start thinking about re-organizing my closet to get ready for Spring!

Where to Start:

Before you start organizing, you have to downsize and purge. Years ago, I made a habit of doing this right before the change of every season. Our house lacks the luxurious master closets that everyone else seems to have but we only have ourselves to blame since we built our house. (They looked so big and nice on paper!) Having a small closet means that I’ve had to re-organize it consistently for the 15 years we’ve lived here or else it quickly turns into a wild jungle. At first I felt it was such a nuisance to have a small closet but over the years I’ve learned that it’s forced me to only keep things I really need and wear and only purchase things I LOVE. Quality over quantity. Sometime after the new year, I binge watched all of “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo and it inspired me to once again go through my closet and purge wasn’t “sparking joy.” I love that saying (and isn’t she the cutest?) but when I asked myself that question as I held up pretty much everything in my closet…the answer was “no.” I really don’t have much emotional attachment to “stuff” in general. I certainly wasn’t going to get rid of everything so I changed the question to questions like “Do I feel good in this?” and “Am I ever going to wear this again?” In other words, if it was itchy, uncomfortable, looked worn, out of date, didn’t fit great or wasn’t worn in over a year, it went in the clothes to donate pile. If you’re having a hard time deciding whether or not to keep things or not, invite a friend over who will give you an honest opinion. Interesting fact – I’ve NEVER wished I still had something I got rid of!

How to Maximize Space in Your Closet:

The best way that I find maximizes space in my closet is to buy Streamlined Velvet Hangers! It’s amazing how much space these slim hangers free up. I have them in ivory for my lighter clothing and black for darker clothing as they do leave a tiny bit of noticeable “velvet dust”on your clothing.

Organize your closetOrganize your closet

How to Store Your Shoes:

When it comes to nice shoes, I like to store them in the original box. Many of them come with nice cloth bags now so I keep them in the bag, inside the box. I know you’re probably thinking oh yuck I don’t want to keep the boxes but for nicer shoes, it maintains the shape of the shoe by avoiding piling and stacking with other shoes and they don’t accumulate dust. For my not so nice shoes like flip-flops and sneakers, I store them on racks on the bottom of my closet or in other closets in my house! A really cool way to easily see which shoes are in the boxes is to take a picture of the shoes and place it on the box. Take the photo with one shoe facing you and one facing away so you can see front of the shoe, the heel type and height. Here I am below using my daughter’s Polaroid camera! You could also just use your phone, email it to yourself and print out the photos.

Organize your closet Organize your closet

If you want to invest a little more, clear shoe bins will give your closet a sleeker look. Even though they’re clear, I still think a photo on the bin is a good idea to easily see what’s inside!

Idea: Before you toss some of your favorite leather shoes, you may want to consider taking them to a cobbler. It’s amazing how leather shoes can be completely repaired and restored to look BRAND NEW! If you live locally, check out Sole Man in Buffalo. He’s incredibly talented.

What to Store, What to Keep:

If you have a small closet, you may need to rotate your clothing. This means storing things like sweaters in another room or closet in your house. I have the luxury of having a finished attic so I can store some things there to free up space and avoid my clothes smelling like a basement. If you can avoid storing clothes in the basement, you definitely should to avoid having to wash them all again when you bring them back up. Even the cleanest basements can smell musty!

To neatly store your clothes that you want to put away, how are you going to do this? I recommend purchasing clear bins with lids. Clear again just like the shoes so you can easily see what’s in them. If you only have opaque bins, no worries, just place a label on the outside….”Fall and Winter Sweaters” or whatever it is! Just head to your local Target to purchase them. Add a small cedar block for a nice scent and to keep moths away! Keep your lighter sweaters and clothing in your closet for the upcoming warmer weather! It can’t come soon enough!

One More Thing Before You Go:

One more thing before you leave me to get started! Winter coats! Be sure to take them to your local Dry Cleaner as soon as the weather breaks. More importantly, don’t forget to pick them up after they’re cleaned! 😂 It’s a good idea to store them in clear hanging garment bags to keep them dust-free. The plastic bags from the Dry Cleaner can look messy and they often rip so these garment bags are for the fancy folks who want to amp up their “tidying up” game! They’re nice for dresses too.

Parting Note:

Before I leave you to do your massive closet binging and re-organizing, I want to tell you that by doing this you’re not just cleaning, you’re healing yourself. What feels messy inside yourself will feel better, I promise. Your thoughts will be clearer too. It may even motivate you to re-organize more parts of your home and life. Set aside a few hours…maybe days depending on the size of the closet jungle you’re trying to tame! 😉Play your favorite music and have fun with it!

Thank you for following Em & Gracie. I really appreciate all of you!


Maria McKendry

“Clutter is not just the stuff on your floor. It’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” – Peter Walsh

Interested in cleaner beauty? Check out my new passion….Beautycounter products!