Every one of my wrinkles and gray hair tells a story....

At 54 years old I have managed to acquire a great amount of wrinkles and a full head of gray hair. They are the tell tale signs of my full life. Some things have been very hard and some have been absolutely perfect. I have decided to let Mother Nature dictate how things will go. However, I believe she has turned my hair over to Medusa.

I have two personal reasons why I have chosen not to touch my face with injections or surgery. My mother died at 46 and we never got to see her gorgeous face age. Oh how we would have loved to watch her wrinkles form and her hair grey. ALL OF IT. My other reason is our seven children. I plan on living to be a very old lady. (With a grandmother who lived to be 100 and a great aunt who lived to be 106, I feel like the odds are in my favor.) I dream of being able to watch my youngest grandchildren (who have not come yet) graduate from high school with both my mind and body intact.

At 54 I have now outlived by mother by 8 years. This is Patty Phelps Thorn. She would be 93 this year. She is also Katrina’s grandmother.

At 54 I have now outlived by mother by 8 years. This is Patty Phelps Thorn. She would be 93 this year. She is also Katrina’s grandmother.

As I age I want my children and my husband to see the looks on my face, to recognize my emotions, to be able to read my expressions, to feel my love, to see pride, to recognize anger, and to see absolutely joy. I earned every one of these 973 wrinkles and I am going to wear them with pride. My eyes are surrounded with lines which show all the love I have felt and have given in my lifetime. My forehead has some creases between the brows. I literally felt them form when I was a divorced mother of 5 driving in my car worrying about how I would make ends meet. The wrinkles on my nose come from a family trait of wrinkling my nose when I don't like something. The lines around my mouth are those marks of deep laughter and big smiles, both of which come easily when I’m around my children, my husband and my friends. I smile a LOT. I have a LOT of smile lines. I blame Jasper, Brooke, Colin, Willie, Adam, Scotty, and Courteney for most of my laugh lines. You guys are a bunch of hams who get into all kinds of sticky situations. Sometimes I might pretend I’m mad, but often I go into the bedroom and laugh about it. I do also blame you for a lot of this grey hair….!!

Wasn’t I little sick to my stomach when I got this photo of son Colin on a European race climbing the mast. The kid is a banker, can’t he stay safely on the ground in a bank for God’s sake! Gray Hair!

Wasn’t I little sick to my stomach when I got this photo of son Colin on a European race climbing the mast. The kid is a banker, can’t he stay safely on the ground in a bank for God’s sake! Gray Hair!

Two of our kids have sky dived. Again, well hello Brooke, so you just jumped out of a frickin’ plane?! Greaaaat! Grey hair!! The funny thing is the guy next to her is the son of a childhood friend and a college partner in crime. His mother didn’t know either!!

Two of our kids have sky dived. Again, well hello Brooke, so you just jumped out of a frickin’ plane?! Greaaaat! Grey hair!! The funny thing is the guy next to her is the son of a childhood friend and a college partner in crime. His mother didn’t know either!!

Don’t get me started on this one. How about the time Donald and I were peacefully enjoying a romantic weekend alone at the family cottage in Michigan and get a call that this kid is getting taken by DONKEY in a SNOWSTORM off the trail to Machu Picchu for an emergency appendectomy and I couldn’t get there because my passport was in Vermont. Grey hair. Shit tons of it. This is only 3 of the kids!! There are FOUR more!! There is a story like this about each one of of them!

Don’t get me started on this one. How about the time Donald and I were peacefully enjoying a romantic weekend alone at the family cottage in Michigan and get a call that this kid is getting taken by DONKEY in a SNOWSTORM off the trail to Machu Picchu for an emergency appendectomy and I couldn’t get there because my passport was in Vermont. Grey hair. Shit tons of it. This is only 3 of the kids!! There are FOUR more!! There is a story like this about each one of of them!


That said…all the embracing the aging stuff….I will tell you….I’m also a girl who loves some damn good cream. I love beauty products. And I am generous with myself when it comes to buying nice stuff and smearing it all over my face. I have dry skin. And although I don’t mind the wrinkles, I also am happy to give Mother Nature a hand.

For years I bought all the great things I heard about, all the things you know about too. Except this weird thing happened. I fell in love with and married a man who is super healthy. If you know Donald, you know what I’m talking about. The man doesn’t eat junk food. In 15 years I have never seen a Dorito or skittle or normal soda cross his lips. If it’s not all natural, from the health food store, homemade, organic, or off a farm, he doesn’t eat it. He also only uses personal products and cleaning products from the health food store. So I would get in bed at night, in our organic sheets washed in organic detergent and kiss Mr. Clean with chemicals smeared all over my face. I literally wondered if I was poisoning Mr. Clean.

Not too long ago my niece Katrina started repping Beauty Counter products. This made no sense to me because I knew she had an amazing research job and two small babies, what was she doing?! I asked her to bring some stuff to a family get together so I could see what it was all about. Needless to say, we had 5 minutes for me to slather my face and had to run out to dinner with family and I didn’t get a chance to buy anything. Off the hook, right?!?! Except the weirdest thing happened, for two days I could not get over how soft my face was and how good my normally very dry skin felt. It was bizarre, what was that stuff?! I called Katrina and asked her to place an order for me for everything she had me try. I also bought some for one of my girls.

I have asked Katrina to do a question and answer with me for this blog. I have zero connection with Beauty Counter other than my niece is a rep. I just wanted to share with you what I have grown to love. My skin feels fabulous and I feel fabulous for making the change.

Katrina on the right, with childhood friend Becky

Katrina on the right, with childhood friend Becky

Where did you grow up and what did you like to do as a kid?

I grew up in Connecticut. Similar to you, I spent summers on the boat, in the sun, on the beach, and at various outdoor camps. I was a bit of a tomboy and enjoyed sports, sailing, spending time with friends (many of whom I am still very close with today), and crafting of any kind.


Can you tell me a little bit about your graduate school experience and study afterwards?


I lived in NYC for a few years to get my Master's degree in developmental psychology from Teacher's College at Columbia University.  I worked in special education for a few years while obtaining my degree. I wanted to pursue the research aspect of psychology that I dipped my feet into during undergrad and graduate school but did not have time for while working full time and going to class. When my husband and I were relocating, I looked for research jobs at the local universities. I am always eager to learn more and have a graduate certificate in research ethics and obtain continuing education credits for research administration.



Did you have any positive healthy role models growing up?

Katrina, her mother Gay, brother Britton and her father and my brother Henry. Gay is a wonderful healthy role model for us all!!

Katrina, her mother Gay, brother Britton and her father and my brother Henry. Gay is a wonderful healthy role model for us all!!


My mom. Although I always teased her for being crunchy and a health nut, I have slowly become just as much of a health nut. I admire her for persevering even though her family wasn't very receptive (I wouldn't eat a single vegetable that had seeds and often griped that she had to make all of our food from scratch). Now raising two young girls, I see how much they are watching and paying attention to everything that I say, do, and eat and realize how important it is to always be that healthy role model.



What lead you to considering Beauty Counter?


I was looking for safer products for my kids.  I didn't even consider safer products for myself but I had done some research and knew that there were concerns with the ingredients in sunscreen and baby body wash and those were the first products I tried.

What is the thing you admire most about the Brand?


Just one thing?! I love the mission of the company. Not only are they trying to "get safer products into the hands of everyone" but they don't compromise on the environment, ingredients, or performance while doing it. They are a certified B Corp, Leaping Bunny certified, and are always giving back to a number of charities representing positive change. They also make it so simple with the Never List (1500 questionable or harmful ingredients they will not include in their products) so you don't have to look up every ingredient of every product, you know you are choosing safe products every time. 

What are your 4 or 5 favorite Beauty Counter products for someone who just wants to get started?


Dew Skin (SPF 20 tinted moisturizer) it is sheer and so easy to match a shade for everyone

Sheer Lipstick (My favorite shade is Lily, I have never been a lipstick person but this one is life changing, so hydrating I even put it on before bed sometimes)

Overnight Resurfacing Peel (15 safe acids combine to help even skin tone, reduce age/sun spots or acne scars and is so easy to use)

Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist (the mist is my favorite and my first product, sprays on white, non-aerosol, NO chemical ingredients! and rubs in easily even though it is mineral based)

Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser (everyday cleanser, refreshing citrus scent, and slight texture to exfoliate and safe to use while pregnant or nursing)

I know Beauty Counter has a quick make up routine. Can you explain it please?


The Flawless in Five is 6 products that are easy to use and give you a flawless look, every time, in 5 minutes or less. I knew nothing about makeup products when I started this venture and have had so many compliments on this look and it is so simple to do. Beautycounter makes it easy for you and recommends color shades for you and lets you pick (SPF tinted moisturizer or typical foundation, brow gel or brow pencil, volumizing or lengthening mascara, lip gloss shade, blush shade, concealer shade).

What message would you like your darling little girls to have with them as grow into teens and then young women?


Stay strong and be you! They already have such unique and strong personalities at 1 and 4 but, unfortunately, we live in a cruel world and people are getting exposed to so much at young ages (and not just chemicals in products!) I want them to know they don't have to change because someone teases them for something or conform to what everyone else is doing because it is cool at the time.

What is your favorite way to spend time as a family?


We love doing anything outdoors. We are always up for an adventure or a vacation and enjoy traveling but it always involves spending a lot of time outside.

What is your favorite way to spend time by yourself or with friends?  

I finally picked up the family tradition of needlepoint (both sides of my family needlepoint) which I can fit in the few moments of time I might have to myself (between two jobs and two kids there isn't too much time!) I also love running and will be training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October, which includes many hours of training runs with friends. To balance it out, I love trying new food and drinks and enjoy visiting new local breweries or cooking up a new recipe.

When I received these answers from Katrina I called her laughing to tell her that all of my favorite products were different than hers!! Since I don’t know how to do the little fabulous links she did, I will share this photo.

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My top for obsessions are the eye cream, the Brightening and Vit C face oil, the cleansing pads and the cleansing balm. The first two are self explanatory. I love the pads because I only really wash my face in the shower. I rarely wear make up but sometimes I just really want one of those delicious smelling pads to wipe a day on the island or  traveling away!  Although I use them daily, they are also great on a plane. The cleansing balm is the the bomb. Literally. It can be used to remove make up or moisturize your face…but I have found another great use. I put it in my hair. I hate traveling with hair products. I love that I can rub a little of this into my frizzy curls and voila! Takes away the frizz! It is my current favorite beauty product.

Thank you Katrina!! If you want to learn more you can follow Katrina on instagram and connect there. @ktschrader11