Oct 26, 2013

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

I honestly hate doing negative reviews, especially when the brand that I'm reviewing was founded on such great principle's as Indie Lee's.  And, before I getting down and dirty, I have to remind you that my skin can be über finicky, so this product may very well work for you... it just didn't do the trick for me.

But, the packaging is so gorgeous and simple... ugh!
The Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner has a fairly simple formula, thus it's original appeal to me.  Its ingredients are: water, aloe, Co-Q10, hyaluronic acid, chamomile, sage, papaya leaf extract, cucumber extract, bitter orange flower oil, phenoxyethanol and ethelhexylglycerin.  I mean, don't you just love the idea of all these natural botanical extracts working to improve your complexion?  I know I do.  However, I believe papaya and orange flower oil are responsible for some of the breakouts I experienced while using this due to mild irritation.

In defense of this toner, I purchased it when it was still very warm outside and the hyaluronic acid and aloe combo was possibly just too moisturizing for me  at the time.  My skin always felt so sticky, and eventually oily, after I applied this.  It is possible that the excess moisture was the main contributing factor to my breakouts rather than the ingredients themselves.  This means it could work amazingly for those of you with dry skin.

It's really unfortunate that I can't pinpoint exactly what it is about this toner that my skin doesn't agree with, especially since I want to like it so bad.  I'm hoping it was simply too moisturizing for my skin during the warmer late summer/ early fall months.  I may even retry the stuff now that it's colder outside, because my complexion has been looking a little dry and lackluster lately.

I must say that after reading a ton of rave reviews, I was a little disappointed.  However, I'm not going to let my experience with this product to turn me off to the brand as a whole.  I've still got my eyes on the Brightening Cleanser and Blemish Stick.  Also, should I retry this toner during the winter months and like it, I will be back on this blog, writing a post and eating my words.  Seasons change and so does your skin, so you just never know.

Have you all tried any Indie Lee products?  I would love to hear about your experiences with this brand.

Oct 22, 2013

Etsy Finds: The October Union

 I was browsing through the skincare section on Etsy.com recently when I came across an interesting new brand, The October UnionThe October Union, owned and operated by Kimie Rosenthal in Ventura, Ca., boasts an impressive offering of made-to-order products, including everything from an Herbal Face Tonic to Botanical Perfume Oils.  After placing my order (the Charcoal Detox Mask+ Spot Fix, a new fave), I decided to get more acquainted with the brand through an interview with the super friendly Kimie.  Read below to learn about her favorite products, skincare routine and more!

*Photo via theoctoberunion.com

Why did you decide to get into natural skincare? 
 It was like I fell down the rabbit hole. I’ve always had a “nose," meaning I can pick up a scent in the air or on somebody and I am almost always able to determine what its source is. I’ve always loved to collect and try new perfumes and beauty products (from stores like Sephora...what girl doesn’t?) and I was subconsciously buying “green” products.  Then, I was given a bottle of homemade lavender essential oil for my birthday and I think that’s when it clicked. I wore that lavender essential oil as perfume and as time passed I started to became super sensitive to synthetic scents in perfumes, hair products, laundry detergents, etc. If something had any synthetic scent in it, it would leave me with a headache and a feeling of frustration. So I started making my own perfumes by blending essential oils and I became so fascinated with it. I started studying natural perfumery and trying exotic oils and resins. I became, in a sense, obsessed. I studied aromatherapy, which led me to herbalism and natural skincare, and now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is a blessing that I can share compassion and connect with nature at the same time. 

What is your favorite ingredient to use and why?  
It’s hard to choose just one, but my favorite ingredient is probably rose petals. It sounds simple, but the color is just so beautiful and their scent, so faint and lovely. Another one is Labdanum, a thick, sticky resin extracted from the Cistus plant. The smell sends me over the moon! Those are definitely my favorites.  

*Photo via eofdreams.com
*Photo via wikipedia.org
Which product from The October Union range is your absolute favorite? 
Night Oil, hands down. It is such a unique blend of seriously healing and nurturing oils.  Also, the scent is so lovely. I’ve never seen anything else like it and I’m very proud that I came up with its one of a kind formula:) Also, I just made an awesome aftershave tonic for guys and its packaging is my most favorite. Ever. Not surprisingly, the aftershave is wonderful as well (say the men who’ve tested it).

*Photo via theoctoberunion.com
What has been the biggest challenge for you in creating natural and effective skincare?  
Getting people to give up the junk they’ve been using and make the switch to completely natural. Skincare can become a vicious cycle if you are using the wrong products. Going completely natural will almost always improve the condition of the skin. It’s better for us and it’s better for the rest of the planet. 

Tell me about your daily skincare routine, morning and evening.  Additionally, include any products, such as masks, oils and mists, which you don’t use everyday.  
My skincare routine has become fairly simple since I started using my own creations. In the morning, I usually only wash with warm water, raw honey or our Cleansing Grains. At night, if I’m not too tired, I use an oil cleanser or our Honey+Rose scrub followed by a face oil based on what my skin needs. Recently, I’ve been using plain almond oil at night. A couple times a week I’ll use a toner, like our Herbal Tonic, after cleansing and once a month I’ll use a mask or herbal steam to deep clean. I usually don’t wear face make-up so I don’t really feel the need to cleanse my face with a soap or foaming cleanser. Because of this, I feel my skin has become more balanced. When I do need to remove make up, I use an oil cleanser and our eye makeup remover (I’ll be releasing an oil cleanser available in the shop very soon). If I have some pimples come up, especially around my moon cycle, I’ll dab on some Charcoal Detox Mask + Spot Fix to those spots and leave it on for a while. This always helps them to not get worse, heal and go away faster. I carry a hydrosol mist with me and an constantly spraying my face, hair and body with it throughout the day to refresh. My favorite hydrosol is, of course, rose. <3   

*Photo via theoctoberunion.com

So there you have it, folks!  Kimie is clearly well-versed in her craft and swears by her own products.  There's not much more you can ask for when it comes to skincare products.  Stay tuned for my own review of her products (hint, hint... they're all amazing!).

Oct 16, 2013

Wednesday Roundup

Buenos días, as they would say if we were in Mexico (and, oh, how I wish we were).  While this week has been just about as busy as the last few, I am excited about my little getaway to Chicago this weekend where I'll be watching my boyfriend run in the Men's Health Urbanathalon®.  It should be a good time.  I know it's supposed to be pretty chilly there, but I've got my chunky sweaters and I am so ready for it...and the Chicago-style hot dogs and pizza. Yum!

So, what have I got for you all on this lovely Wednesday?  Let's see...

Sugar Paper LA 
Sugar Paper, Los Angeles designs some adorable little notebooks that make your average Mead notebooks look somewhat inadequate.  I always keep a small notebook in my purse for ideas and things, so as soon as I've filled my current one up, I'll be hitting them up for a new one.  For some reason, their aesthetic seems kind of Lauren Conrad-y to me and I am so into it.  Also, starting on October 27th, they will be sold at Target for a limited time. Yay!
*Photo via sugarpaper.com

InStyle: Amy Poehler  
I kind of cracked up when I read Amy Poehler's recent "On My Mind" in Instyle and I thought it was just too good not to share.  I love how she doesn't take herself too seriously and I personally think it's good practice to laugh at yourself at least once a day.  Thankfully, I'm pretty clumsy, so it's not too hard for me.

My picture is a little too small to read, so here's the best quotes:

"My daily beauty regimen... like any young woman, I cover myself in whale oil, put on a pair of wax lips and head out the door..."
"What do I keep in my purse? A tiny man.  He hands me things as I need them.  My monocle, my mustache-- you know, the basics."
"I wore Stella McCartney... All her pieces feel special and match my signature accessory: a fake solid-gold hand."

Etsy Addicts Anonymous
Ok, so I'm officially addicted to Etsy.  I recently purchased three things from there in one week, so get ready for some serious Etsy Finds, plus an interview with The October Union's Kimie Rosenthal!

That's a lot of product and little embarrassment...

So, that's all I've got.  Have you all anything to share on this fine Wednesday?

Oct 8, 2013


As a very girly girl, I always surprise myself by preferring more masculine scents. From the perfume oil I use almost every day to my lavender deodorant to my body wash, it never fails that I pick scents most would consider to be "unisex."  Perhaps it's because I think wearing scents that translate effortlessly well for both men and women is just cool.  Do you agree or disagree?

PLANT, one of my fave newly discovered brands, has made body washes with surprising scent combos that break the mold of your typical store-bought options that generally lean strongly towards either masculinity or femininity.  The two body wash samples I received from them, GET IT ON* and WAKE UP*, were both awesome and oh, so unisex.

*Photo via plantbrooklyn.com
GET IT ON combines organic rosemary extract and the organic essential oils of cedarwood, ginger and myris sandalwood to create a sexy, full-bodied scent that doesn't evoke any unwanted memories of Victoria's Secret Love Spell. It's an effortless sexy, like a hot guy in jeans and a soft t-shirt.

*Photo via plantbrooklyn.com
WAKE UP offers a more refreshing scent, using organic rosemary extract and the organic essential oils of rosemary and lemongrass to stimulate your senses (am I sounding like a 5® Gum commercial yet?).  I could be totally off here, but it kind of makes me think of wasabi, not in the typical wasabi-clearing-your-sinuses way, though.  It's very nice.

All of PLANT's body washes use the same base of saponified organic oils of coconut, olive and jojoba, vegetable gum, glycerin extract and organic aloe vera.  The formula resembles that of a classic Castile soap, but much milder and more moisturizing.  Other PLANT body wash scents offered are CALM DOWN, with ginger and lavender essential oils, and GET HAPPY, with the essential oils of peppermint and geranium. 

At $20 a bottle, these body washes are on the pricier side, but organic ingredients aren't cheap!  But, didn't you already know that you get what you pay for?

Oct 2, 2013

Wednesday Roundup

So lately I've been going on and on about how busy I am, but I just now realized I haven't even offered an explanation as to why.  Well, folks, the story is that I'm interning for a magazine right now (YAY! Life dream semi-realized!) and we are just about to send our Winter/Spring issue to the printer and things are a little hectic.  I love love love my job, but balancing it with my blog and school work is making it really difficult for me to give 100% in all three areas.  But, I promise to try harder to be more dedicated to my little blog and I expect my readers, a.k.a. you fine people, to help me stick to that promise.

But enough with the mumbo jumbo, let's get on with this week's Wednesday Roundup!

Clementine Daily
As a blogger, I'm always on the lookout for exciting new websites to read for inspiration and I'm excited to share one of my new faves with you today!  Clementine Daily, one of the internet's newest gems, is serving up daily posts for ladies seeking advice in food, style, beauty, life, etc.  And don't you dare assume that their posts will be preachy like a lot of online advice columns.  Not at all.  In fact, reading Clementine Daily is just like having a chat with your really wise best friend.

*Photo via hayneedle.com

Who knew that adding a little bit of oatmeal to your cleanser in the morning would increase the softness of your skin by like 200%?  Ok, yea, maybe those numbers aren't scientifically measurable, but I gotta tell you that ever since I've started mixing oats in with my Johnson & Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash in the morning, my skin is feeling a lot smoother and definitely less irritated.  The Daily Green actually has a great article on the benefits of oatmeal for the skin.  Check it out here.

*Photo via helpmybudget.com

Konjac Sponges
I've discussed konjac sponges on here before, but since Boscia has introduced their own version of the Asian wonder product onto the market, I figured I should re-adress the issue.  A konjac sponge is a little Asian root vegetable that is naturally alkaline and can be used to cleanse your face, with or without actual face wash.  Don't be fooled by Boscia, though.  Sure, they are a reputable brand and they do offer some awesome products, but their sponges are way overpriced at $18 a piece! Buy your konjac sponge here for about $10 each.  Same product, better deal.  

*Photo via sephora.com

That's all I've got for today.  How is your week going?