Sep 9, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Juniperseed Mercantile Reusable Cotton Rounds

If you're like me and cotton rounds (or cotton balls) are a part of your daily beauty routine, consider picking up some reusable cotton rounds, or "unpaper cloths," from Juniperseed Mercantile. Making the switch from disposable to washable cotton rounds is one easy way to be eco- and budget-friendly.

*Photo via
These organic, unbleached cotton rounds come in a pack of 12 for $15 and are, of course, reusable. They also come with a complimentary wash bag for washing (but any lingerie mesh wash bag would do).

I don't know about you, but the thought of never wasting money on a bag of cotton balls again sounds pretty sweet to me. I mean the money could always be put to use in other ways, like on a bottle of red wine maybe? Cheers to that!

Sep 1, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: One J. Crew Basic That Won't Fail

I am not a J. Crew fanatic. I appreciate their zest for high quality, but too often I've found that their high quality is matched by a too-high-for-even-this-high-quality price (I'll pass on the $100 jogging sweats, thanks). I typically go straight for the sale rack and this strategy has suited me just fine... until I recently made the fatal mistake of trying on their Pixie Pant.

*Photo via
A few of my coworkers have sworn by the power of the Pixie Pant, but until I got my butt into a pair, I wasn't a believer. I am now. These pants are all that and a bag of chips.

Described by J. Crew as "a legging but more structured, it's made from a stretchy holds-you-in fabric and looks good on everyone," you know these have to be good. And they are. While delivering on the "holds-you-in" promise, they manage to also accentuate your, um, assets. What more could you possibly want (and from a work pant/legging hybrid no less)?

The Pixie Pant in black can take you from a day at the office to a night out to weekend errand running in a heartbeat. Consider this $100 absolutely well spent.

Get Your Omega-3's on the Cheap

Salmon is one awesome fish. Not only does it taste great, but it also contains a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids that make your hair shine and you skin glow. However, when you're living on a budget like myself, dropping big bucks on a fresh fillet o'salmon every week in the name of beauty isn't really an option. Enter your canned salmon.

*Photo via

Before you get all "Ew, canned fish," check out this blurb on See? I'm onto something. You can still get nutritional goods from canned salmon, including extra calcium, and save some money in the process. And to answer your question of "How do I eat this stuff?," read below for my favorite salmon patty recipe.

What you need:
1 can of salmon
1 egg
1/2 - 1 cup of something crunchy (I like rice Chex, but you can go with Triscuits, Saltines, plain Cheerios... whatever really)
1 splash of EVOO
Whatever seasonings you like (Garlic salt and pepper never fail)

What you do:
1. Remove the salmon from the can, removing any bones as you see fit (if you prefer it bone-in, then do you)
2. Mix the salmon, egg, crunch, EVOO and seasonings together in a bowl
3. Heat up a frying pan on the stove and add a dash of EVOO to that as well
4. Make patties out of the salmon mixture (I think you'll get about four small hamburger-sized patties) and place them lightly on the hot pan.
5. Fry until both sides are lightly browned.

Now, you can eat this alone or you can put it on a bun and dress it up like a burger. It's totally up to personal preference. 

The ultra-comfy, stylish reason behind me skimping on groceries.

If you're living on the cheap (and okay, maybe going light on the groceries in exchange for a J. Crew Pixie Pant splurge), this recipe will bring at least a little nutrition to your diet and maybe even a little shine to your hair.

Aug 31, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Houston: So Far, So Good

Wow... I can't believe it's been nearly a month since my last post. As it would turn out, having a full-time job can be something of a time drain. But that's beside the point. I'm actually loving my new job and my new city.

Houston, as luck would have it for someone as food-obsessed as me, is a restaurant mecca. Never in my life have I been able to drive five minutes from my house and have the option to dine Chinese, Bosnian or Mexican if I want. It's crazy and wonderful (though not conducive to a healthy diet if you were wondering).

Check me out in my new pink chair.

As far as the people in general go, I've been surprised by everyone's kindness. Though Houston is located in the south, I was a little worried that maybe the big city mentality would be rude, crude, etc. Not at all! Everyone I've met (for the most part) has been really pleasant. That's just the naive Kentucky girl in me learning that, hey, people in big cities are really nice too.

As for other learning experiences, I'm learning how to budget, cook and pay bills. The bills part isn't so great, but being in control of your own finances is empowering. I'm currently in a contest with myself to see how much money I can save this year. It's not been easy (eating all of the foreign cuisine isn't free), but I'm discovering my inner frugality little by little.

Please stay tuned for more blog posts. Though I'm a little busier these days, I'll do my best to keep you all updated on my life and discoveries as a young professional.  Who knows... this may just turn into a lifestyle blog!

Aug 5, 2014

Fleur d' Oranger Skin Care (a.k.a. Skin Care a la Carte)

Vacations don't always lend themselves to incredible skincare discoveries. In fact, with high levels of margarita consumption and UV worship, you end up undoing a lot of the good many of your lotions and potions do. However, every once in a blue moon you might come across a lovely shop owner on a little Mexican side street whose products are too good not to share. 

My best friend, Katie, and I in the shop.
Everyone, meet Veroushka Tarazi of Fleur d'Oranger Skin Care (or Skin Care a la Carte) in Sayulita, Nayarit in Mexico. Veroushka has spent years upon years studying plant essences and their interactions with the body and skin. As a result, she has created a line of products that are not only pleasing to the senses (you have to smell the Exfoliant Visage), but effective as well. Sit back and read along as I talk with Veroushka about her studies and why her products are so special.
Vanity Talk: How did you become so interested in skincare?
Veroushka Tarazi: Actually, my primary interest when studying the properties of medicinal plants was health related.  I had always been a great believer that the planet and its greenery contained all the medicine necessary to maintain good health. Since our skin is our largest organ, I knew that these amazing medicinal essences had the power to help us maintain excellent health as well as vibrant skin. I had studied the cutis, dermis and epidermis and soon, I started researching and testing different formulas to maintain healthy skin.
Vanity: Where and for how long have you studied skincare and aromatherapy?
Veroushka: When I discovered the power of medicinal plant extracts I was married to a French man. Since medicinal extracts are widely used by doctors in France, I pursued my studies in Poitiers for about seven years and later on in the States as well. I am also certified by the HealthCare Association in Canada. My focus is on learning every different medicinal property of each plant and from that knowledge, combining them to get a specific effect. I’ve been blessed with a very sharp intuition as to how to formulate them with great results over the years.
Additionally, I’ve studied anatomy and how each individual has a different constitution. In other words, I can treat two people for the same health challenge but will prepare a different formula targeting the same goal. It all depends on the person’s constitutional type.
As for Aromatherapy…well, that is a science that has become very commercial.  So commercial, in fact, that a lot of people claim to be aroma therapists. However, there has been an international law put in effect that does not allow the lay-person to purchase these essences I am blessed to use unless they have a degree. Used by the wrong hands, these medicinal plant extracts can be harmful, hence their effectiveness when used with the proper knowledge.
Veroushka's cleansers (the Aloe Vera Cleanser is a personal favorite of mine)
Vanity: How would you say these two things work (skincare and aromatherapy) in conjunction with each other to create such incredible products?
Veroushka: As I’ve mentioned, I also studied the epidermis and since the skin is our biggest organ, I’ve applied the same laws of healing to get effective results with skincare. Anyone who uses my products on a regular basis will not only find an improvement in their skin, but also a more balanced outlook on life. The essences have that effect on people who are around them a lot as they have a positive effect on our pituitary gland.
My own life became more balanced as soon as I was around the essences regularly and I must say, it really did change me overall and feel more at peace with myself. They are amazing.
Vanity: You believe in skincare that is completely oil-free, but you love plant waxes. Why is this? Also, what is the difference between plant oils, plant waxes and plant essences?
Veroushka: The essences are the soul of the plant, the hormonal system if you may. They are the healing power behind my products. The plant waxes and plant silicones are my champions for hydration, which is really really important and crucial for vibrant healthy skin.
You can read all about the reason why I don’t believe in using oils on your skin if you go on my site under "About Us: Benefits of Oil-free Skin Care."

Vanity: If you could choose just three products out of your entire collection to recommend to my readers, what would they be?

Veroushka: Hmmm…that’s a difficult one because each one of us is different. If someone suffers of cold sores then for sure they need to see how amazing the Cold Sore Relief is. If someone has troubled skin, then the Antiseptic Cleanser used along with the Spot Treatment is awesome!
I also recommend most women the Fabulous Four combo. This combo of products makes for a complete skin care regime and every one of the products are very popular on their own as well. 
Vanity: You can also customize all of your products.  Can you do this even if the client is unable to visit your actual studio?
Veroushka: Women will send me pictures of their skin, sometimes I don’t even get to see a full face and they give me the details. What their skin is like, how their skin reacts to certain unhealthy products and especially the result they hope for. And yes, I can customize their products and recommend a skin regime do bring out the best of their skin.
I receive countless emails from women telling me how they love their vibrant, healthy skin and that it’s never been that great etc.. and they also share some more intimate health or skin problems and that’s when I customize their products.
Vanity: When we met in person, I was absolutely impressed with your skin.  What is your personal skincare routine (both morning and evening)? Also, have you found it more difficult to maintain your complexion in the warm, humid weather?
I had to crop myself out of this one, but how beautiful is Veroushka?
Veroushka: If I shower in the morning and it’s not my day to exfoliate, I simply use the tips of my fingers to scrub off the grime (especially in Mexico where there is a lot of dust) and I do this with only the shower water. I don’t use soap of course.When I get out of the shower, I use my Aloe Vera Cleanser and then the Firming Therapy.
At night, I I use the Aloe Vera Cleanser again to remove the day’s grime and then I apply the Rejuvenating Night Serum which helps rejuvenate the cells and nourish my skin while sleeping. The formula of essences used in the RNS is also very meditative and relaxing so perfect for sleep!

I’ve also now added the Eye Therapy to my own skin regime. I didn’t use it because I thought my skin care regime was enough and in my case I’m doing okay in that area. I started using it due to the positive feed-back I was getting regarding the Eye Therapy. I knew the formula was really good and I’m glad to see it is doing exactly what I meant it to do, so that’s very encouraging. (Since I’ve written this, I must say I understand why all the positive feed-back on the Eye Therapy, I use it daily also now.)

A little extra from Veroushka: Women around the world are always looking to improve their skin health and many times they go to “commercial” products as there aren’t that many accessible places that offer completely natural skin care. Some of the commercial products may give great results but unfortunately, they eventually have negative side effects. And often these effects are irreversible!
So, again, the reason for the affordable Fabulous Four, complete skin care regime. I want women to know that there is such a thing as affordable clean, fresh, natural products that are also EFFECTIVE.
Since we didn’t get into “preservatives” used to preserve skin care products, let me just say that unless “oils” are used, there is no need for any chemical preservatives and if I prepare a custom formula which does require oil, I use a natural preservative that is not just harmless but has also some benefits to the skin.
So...In case this interview doesn't already have you convinced to try some of Veroushka's products, I recommend heading over to and sending her a message. If you have any questions, Veroushka is an incredible resource and who doesn't love to discuss skin care?

Jul 21, 2014

Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup

When I recently found out that Revlon had reformulated their Colorstay Combination/Oily foundation, I pretty much resigned myself to the idea of a life without foundation. It's not that I dread wearing foundation so much (though I'm not a huge fan), but everything I've tried apart from the old formulations of Almay TLC and Colorstay has broken me out. At least up until I made my latest discovery: Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup.

When I was directed to the Clinique makeup counter at my latest trip to Dillard's, I just let it happen. Normally, I avoid the pushy sales people and browse on my own, but on this particular day I was feeling desperate. I thought I was on the hunt for a foundation that didn't exist. No cycoplentasiloxane, oil or too many silicones... a very tall order in the world of base makeup.

However, the Clinique lady was very attune to my needs and assured me that she had something I'd like. She whipped out a bottle of the Stay-Matte foundation, did a few swatches and in the end, I was completely sold. I normally would take home a tester but like I said, I was desperate so I just went ahead and got a bottle.

After all is said and done, I am so glad I bought this. It has a fabulous texture (not quite as heavy as the old Revlon Colorstay, thankfully) and it stays put all day long. Sure, as with any foundation you may have to blot or powder here and there, but nothing worth complaining about. Also, at $23 Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup is at the low end of the high end foundation price spectrum.

It's definitely a better match to my face than my forearm.
My only recommendation with this product is that you check your cheek swatch outside before purchasing. Often times, the lighting in department stores can skew the colors of a foundation and you end up with something that's too orange or pink. But that's about it.

If you have sensitive skin like me, this could be the foundation you've been looking for. Buy yourself a bottle here or here.

Have you tried Clinique Stay-Matte Oil-Free Makeup? What do you think?

Jul 20, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Weleda Salt Toothpaste

I'll admit that when I think of beauty products, toothpaste is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, when I think of unique products I own that are worth discussing, Weleda's Salt Toothpaste definitely stands out. It's a unique blend of salt, peppermint oil and other botanicals that cleans teeth like nobody's business.

To answer some questions you probably have: yes, it tastes salty and yes, it's shocking at first (but quickly addictive). Actually, since I've started using Weleda's Salt Toothpaste, mainstream toothpastes containing artificial sweeteners taste sickly sweet. Also, the clean you get with Crest or Colgate doesn't really compare to this. The salt and the baking soda provide a little more grit for toothbrush scrubbing, making teeth feel cleaner in the end (but it's still gentle on enamel, in case you're wondering).

At $8, I'm definitely at the very tippy-top of my toothpaste budget with this one, but I don't mind so much. Next time around, I think I'll try DIYing with one of these toothpaste recipes, but for now, I'm perfectly content with this Weleda find.

Have you tried this toothpaste? Loved it? Hated it?

Jul 1, 2014

The Double Cleanse with Purpose and Yes to Cucumbers

I've never been a huge proponent of the double cleanse. Until this point, I thought that if your cleansing product of choice wasn't removing makeup, dirt and oil all by its lonesome, then you needed something new. But lately, I've realized that some makeup removal processes just require the extra oomph of something greasy before the foaming agents can do their tricks.

All of this being said, can I please introduce you to my latest cleansing duo? Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash and Yes to Cucumbers Soothing Gentle Milk Cleanser. These two are a match made in heaven.

When I double cleanse, I like to start out with the milk cleanser, which acts as my makeup remover. I take one pump and massage it around my face for about a minute and it removes almost all of my foundation and mascara. The Soothing Gentle Milk Cleanser rinses clean too, so you could technically stop after this first step. I don't do this, though, because my skin doesn't typically agree with moisturizing cleansers alone, which brings me to the next step.

After removing the majority of my makeup with the Yes to Cucumbers cleanser, I go in with a dime-sized amount of Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash to remove remaining traces of makeup and really deep clean (but not strip) my skin. It's pretty refreshing and very effective.

Before cleansing
After cleansing (only a teeeensy bit of eyeliner left)
So, now that I've divulged my latest makeup removal secrets, I'd love to hear how you take off your face in the comments! Are you a double cleanser as well or do you rely on one product only?

Jun 26, 2014

Sunburn: It Happens

Life is full of harsh realities. For example, if I spend two weeks in Mexico during the summer without using a lot of sunscreen, I will probably burn. And burn I did! But, instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself for the rest of the trip, I threw back a Corona and got to work on some DIY remedies that are easily accessible to everyone... even in foreign countries.

I ate so. much. salsa. this past trip and luckily enough for me, a key ingredient in the salsa at my casa was cucumbers, so we had extras lying around. For this remedy, I just took a cold cucumber and cut it into really thin slices then laid them all over my face. I looked like a weirdo/ human salad, but my skin was so grateful.

*Photo via

Black Tea
Lipton. Bigelow. Non-descript Mexican brand. Whatever kind of black tea you choose doesn't matter, so long as you brew it strong, let it cool and then apply it as a compress. This one just really takes the sting and redness out of a sunburn. I'm not sure on the science of the whole black-tea-for-sunburns thing, but I hear it has to do with the tannic acid. Plus, if it works, do we really need to know why?
*Photo via

Few places you will go in this world are dairy-less. Even if milk isn't a commonly consumed beverage among locals, you should be able to pick up a carton somewhere. For sunburn, use milk like the black tea, as a compress. Like with the tea, it's the acids in milk that soothe sunburn immensely (but, bonus points if the milk is cold!).

*Photo via

Hopefully I'm not the only one here who's had a sunburn. What are some of your favorite DIY sunburn remedies?

Jun 10, 2014

The Republic of Tea Get Gorgeous

When it comes to herbal remedies, I remain hopeful, but also skeptical. I think a lot of the results associated with chugging herbal teas and tinctures, etc. depend heavily on placebo effect. That being said, people in China drink tea every day (like, they have hot water dispensers in the airports) and rely heavily on herbs and guess what? Most of them have incredible skin, especially considering the heavy pollution many of them encounter daily.

But, this post isn't about China or the Chinese people. It's about The Republic of Tea Get Gorgeous, which is an "Herb Tea for Clear Skin." This tea contains organic Rooibos tea, orange peel, hibiscus, chamomile, red clover, chaste berry and burdock root, each of which is known do something beneficial for the skin. However, I think the bulk of the benefits (if any) are coming from the antioxidants in the Rooibos and the vitamin C in the orange peel and hibiscus flower. 

Here's my left cheek about a week ago.
Here's my left cheek this morning.

I admit, I've stopped eating dairy and I've used Finacea once or twice, which definitely contributes to the condition of my skin as of late, but I've also been drinking one to two cups a day of Get Gorgeous and my skin is no worse for the wear.

If you're starting to think I'm crazy, just know I'm not the only one. Check out the reviews of Get Gorgeous on and this post on xoVain. Placebo effects or not, if you suffer from acne (especially just a mild case), it looks like you may want to give this stuff a try.

What are your thoughts on herbal remedies? Do you think tea can heal from the inside out?

Jun 8, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: What's (Going to Be) in My Carry-On

On Wednesday this week, I will have the pleasure of traveling to Mexico for a much-needed, long vacation with a few friends. I am beyond ecstatic, but before I can go anywhere, you know I've got to get my carry-on right.

When traveling by plane, I like to carry, at minimum, a cleanser, facial mist, heavy-duty lip balm, a perfume and some type of all-purpose cream. Toting these products is my insurance against looking or smelling like a haggard plane beast once we land (oh, the pleasant imagery). Check the products below to see which products will make the cut this time.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream - $12
I originally bought this cream as an attempt at curing my horribly dry skin in the winter. It broke my face out a bit, unfortunately, but it is a fan-freaking-tastic hand, body and everywhere-else cream.

Säf Organics Summer Fruits Natural & Organic Lip Balm - $5
I don't know if you had the chance to read my interview with Stephanie Ferguson of Säf Organics, but in case you didn't, I mentioned this balm once or twice in the post. It's honestly a little hard to spread at first, but once it's on your lips it stays there for hours. I know this will be great on the plane between my incessant chugging of water (gotta stay hydrated!) and coffee binge drinking.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White - $22
I've talked about Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black on here before, but never Nirvana White. Consider Nirvana White to be the more innocent, sweeter scent of the two. It's a pleasant floral that I know will go over well in the warm Mexican weather.

skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels - $30 for 8 pairs
Beauty bloggers are always rambling on about the beauty of an in-flight facial. I can't fully commit to the whole shabang of applying a mask, but I can definitely do these eye gels. They're individually packaged and contain moisturizing and cooling ingredients so you look wide awake once you've hit the runway.

Johnson's Baby Head-to-Toe Wash - $4
Because... duh, what else? This is my go-to facial cleanser for anything and everything.

Evian Brumisateur - $14 for 2
Does anyone else remember my post about how these facial mists are pretentious and unnecessary? Well, I'm now the girl that buys them because she believes she actually needs them. I think having the Brumisateur around saved my face during my long flight to China and so, on the plane to Mexico it goes.

Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses
I've fallen asleep on a dry plane only to wake up to find that my contacts have either a) dried up or b) fallen out of my eyes and then dried up. I've learned my lesson when it comes to this. No matter where you're traveling, or how, always keep an extra pair of contacts or two on hand.

My carry-on preferences change from trip to trip. It's even possible that by the time Wednesday rolls around I will have added some different items to this repertoire. But, you get the gist. Now, tell me what you put in your carry-on in the comments.

Jun 6, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Terre D'Hermes Eau Tres Fraîche

When it comes to choosing a spouse, many people (including my parents) say, "You know when you know." I'm starting to think the same principle applies to fragrances because today when I sampled Terre D'Hermès Eau Très Fraîche, I just knew. I've found my scent soul mate and no one can convince me otherwise.

Described as a fragrance that "expresses the alchemical power of the elements; a water somewhere between the earth and sky; a journey imbued with strength and poetry. Woody, vegetal, mineral" on, this masculine-leaning unisex fragrance is like a dream come true for anyone, male or female, who favors a fresh, earthy scent. It's the ideal white t-shirt perfume (or cologne) you can wear day-to-day.

If you're looking to get yourself a bottle, plan on splurging because it only comes in the 4.2 ounce size at $115. I was lucky enough to have a gift card to use toward my purchase, but I like to think I would have bought it regardless. I mean, after all soul mates are priceless!

Jun 5, 2014

How To Make Eyeliner with Burnt Almonds... Seriously

Unless we're talking about a last minute facial recipe, I don't dabble too much in the world of DIY (Rainbow cakes? No. Fancy table decor? No. Birthday party decorations? Party Source, here I come). That being said, every now and then, a beauty DIY pops up that is just too simple to not try. Example A: making eyeliner with burnt almonds.

Inspired by a brief mention of almond eyeliner on Into The Gloss, I went out in search of easy almond-eyeliner-making instructions, which I finally found on Bella Sugar. For this DIY, you only need four things: one almond (unflavored only... save the cocoa roast for eating), a metal spoon, a lighter and tweezers. Besides the Greek yogurt mask, DIYs don't get much simpler than this.

Step 1: After gathering your supplies, pick up your almond with your tweezers and while holding it over your spoon, light it on fire.

On today's installment of stupid things to do around your computer...

Step 2: Let the almond burn for a little while until one side is completely black. Then, set it on the spoon to cool.

Step 3: After your burnt almond has had the chance to cool off, take an eyeliner brush (or a Q-Tip) and moisten it slightly with water. Then, rub it all over the blackened part of the almond.

Step 4: Finally, apply the the color you picked up on your brush as you would a normal eyeliner.

A little heavy-handed on the lower lash line, but I think it looks good.

And voila! You've just DIYed your own almond eyeliner. Now, if you're ever stuck on a desert island in dire need of eyeliner, and they have almonds, you're in luck!

May 30, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Essie Sand Tropez

Essie Sand Tropez is the nail polish equivalent of khaki pants. It looks polished (no pun intended), but casual. I actually surprised myself by even liking this color because I'm not really a khaki-wearing gal. Also, when I go for a neutral, it tends to be more pink like Essie Mademoiselle or Sally Hansen Something Borrowed. It's a good day for something new though, don't ya think?

Does my hand look weird to anyone else?
What do you think of Sand Tropez? What's your favorite neutral polish?

Weekend Ramblings: A Conversation with Stephanie Ferguson of Säf Organics

Despite the fact that my routine is not completely clean, I've always found an incredible amount of inspiration within the green beauty community. Stephanie Ferguson of Säf Organics, like many other people, started out in clean (or green) beauty because of allergic reactions she was having to conventional products. Then, what started out as an attempt to thwart these reactions turned into a full-blown passion for green beauty! Join me in my conversation with Stephanie as we discuss her skincare journey as well as her wonderful line of products.

*Photo via
 Vanity Talk: First of all, what sparked your interest in natural skincare?

Stephanie Ferguson: I was diagnosed with gluten and dairy allergies almost 10 years ago when I was working for a major cosmetics company.  I noticed I was still reacting to things after changing my diet, which prompted me to consider the products I was using.  Since skin is our biggest organ (we absorb everything we put on it within 30 seconds), I began the journey to “Green My Beauty Routine." Skin is the foundation of the beauty industry—it all starts there.

VT: According to your website, you started your company by creating products out of your kitchen. What was the first product you created?

SF: My first product was lip balm. Growing up, a close friend of mine had chronic chapped lips, which seemed to worsen with the use of Chapstick or Carmex, and so many people in my life currently struggle with the same thing. Since I am also a voice in the gluten free/vegan communities, I set out to make a completely organic, gluten free vegan lip balm with lasting results.  I believe I have succeeded in that. [Vanity Talk Note: She truly has. I’ve been able to use one of her lip balms* and it is the balm dot com.]

*Photo via
VT: What inspires you most in the design and creation of a new product?

SF: Nature remains my biggest inspiration!  I find it beautiful, breathtaking at times, and completely effective in lifting our mood, aiding us in healing and brightening the space around us.

VT: Are there any particular challenges you’ve had to overcome in the natural skincare industry?

SF: It is difficult being the “new kid on the block” so to speak, with small resources.  Putting myself out there has been a bit of a challenge, but the response from those who have tried us and from our repeat clients keeps me going.  They are why I do what I do!

VT: If there was one product from your line that you would consider a “must” in anyone’s routine, what would that be?

SF: Oh mercy…to pick only one?! I would have to say the Clarifying Oil would be a definite must.  You can remove makeup with it, cleanse with it, moisturize with it and use it to dilute essential oils for medicinal use.  It is definitely multi-purpose and perfect for all of us who stay on-the-go.

VT: What are your personal favorite products?

SF: I would have to say my top three are: the Clarifying Oil, Cleansing Grains and Lotion Bars [Vanity Talk Note: I sampled a lotion bar* as well... everyone should have one of these]. I also believe that I have one of the best lip balms on the market (biased, I know) and love that our masks are customizable.
*Photo via
VT: What does your own skincare routine look like?

SF: I use my Clarifying Oil daily to remove makeup/cleanse and moisturize, followed by the Immortal Serum and a bit of Lotion Bar during drier months. I use the Cocoa Superfood Facial Mask (with raw manuka honey) two times weekly, followed with Angelface Botanicals Lavender + Aloe facial toner, and finish with my Vanilla Chai Lip Balm.

*Photo via

*Photo via angelfacebotanic
VT: Is there anything else you would like to tell my readers about the Säf Organics line that I didn’t already ask?

SF: I am really here to help people feel confident in natural products.  There has been a stigma in the natural market for some time now, that we are all nice and work to some level…but aren’t as effective as our synthetic counterparts.  I am here, as I know we all are, to dispel that.  We are and certainly can and will be as, if not more, effective than mainstream beauty products as our ingredients benefit you for many more reasons than why you started using it in the first place. We are also looking to launch a few new things this year, including an expansion of the Beauty line, so stay tuned for that!

So, there you have it folks! Head on over to to check out Stephanie's full product line for yourself. Also, for the love of all that is green beauty, get a lotion bar* while you're there. They really are great!

The * denotes a product which I was sent free of cost.  Reviews will remain objective, regardless of how the product came to me.

May 27, 2014

Quick Thoughts: Lisa Eldridge "PMS Face"

I'm not sure if it's the fact that she's British or if it's the fact that she's just gorgeous, but Lisa Eldridge makes "PMS Face" (or at least getting rid of it) seem way glamorous. Check out this video and you'll see what I mean.

I wasn't aware that "PMS Face" was even a thing until finding this tonight, but after Lisa discusses it, I know exactly what she means. So, thank you Lisa! Now we all know how to handle this lady issue like professionals.

May 26, 2014

dr. dewy™ Lip Cure

Surgery sucks. Period. Granted, I've only had one surgery in my adult life and it was for my wisdom teeth, but it definitely sucked. I cannot, however, say the same thing about surgery-inspired beauty products. This super teeny, tiny niche group that consists mostly of moisturizing post-procedural cleansers and balms has recently welcomed dr. dewy™ Lip Cure*, a product meant to be used during surgery, and it is awesome.

*Photo via
Created by Dr. Edward Akkaway, the Lip Cure is an outstanding mixture of coconut oil, shea butter, tamanu oil and desert date oil, plus some other ingredients, that is applied to patients' lips before going under so they wake up with soft lips. But, it can also be used by regular Joes (Josephines?), like me, just looking for a decent lip balm.

I really like the Lip Cure, not only for its great ingredients, but for the fact that it doesn't feel like a heavy-duty balm. Its texture is actually quite similar to that of Waxelene, though it does a little more in the way of healing and moisturizing.

dr. dewy™ Lip Cure is a great option if you're looking for a nighttime lip treatment, but it also works wonderfully during the day. If you do a good amount of traveling, this would be also be great to have on an airplane where the air is much drier. Regardless of your reasoning for buying it, though, you can get your Lip Cure here.

Have you ever tried dr. dewy™ Lip Cure? What do you think?

The * denotes a product which I was sent free of cost.  Reviews will remain objective, regardless of how the product came to me.

May 24, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer

I love a bold lip as much as the next person, but come summertime, I like to tone things down a bit. I mean, who wants to be bothered with constant lipstick reapplication when they're trying to enjoy a day in the sunshine? Not me (and probably not you either).

Enter Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Cherry, the lip color of your summer dreams. I personally can't believe it's taken me this long to discover this product because I'm already a big fan of the classic Beeswax Lip Balm. But, regardless of the late discovery, this stuff is great. 

Cherry is a washed out, balmy version of any classic red lipstick... in a good way. It's sheer and glossy, but also pigmented enough to give you the color you want when lipstick is too heavy. It's pretty wonderful, and to be honest, my swatch below hardly does it any justice.

The only thing this product lacks, in my opinion, is a sunscreen. I'm by no means a sunscreen fanatic (we all no I don't wear the stuff daily), but when it comes to shiny lip products in the summer, they just need to have a little protection in them. Alas, we just can't have it all!

Tell me: Have you tried any of the Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers? What's your opinion?

May 16, 2014

Weekend Ramblings: Greek Yogurt Mask DIY

When it comes to exfoliation, I usually prefer the physical variety (think an actual scrub vs. glycolic acid), but after trying out the simplest Greek yogurt DIY ever last night, I'm starting to understand the chemical exfoliant hype.

You see, Greek yogurt contains lactic acid, which is a gentle Alpha Hydroxy Acid (or AHA) that works by encouraging skin's cell renewal below the surface. Also, it moisturizes by increasing ceramides in the epidermis. (source: The International Dermal Institute)

Chemical exfoliants, like lactic and glycolic acid, work much deeper than physical exfoliants. However, they are often viewed as much gentler when used at low concentrations and for that reason, they are really popular for anti-aging and acne treatment. I never really got the hype because I couldn't seem to find an AHA that I liked, but now, I'm feeling a conversion coming on.

If it's good enough for LC... *Photo via
So, let's get to the actual DIY portion, shall we?

All you will need for this mask is full-fat, plain Greek yogurt (I'm personally a Fage Total fan, but any brand will do), a spoon and a cotton ball.

1. Using your spoon, dip out about one tablespoon of Greek yogurt.

2. Dip your cotton ball into the Greek yogurt on the spoon and spread the yogurt over your face, leaving an opaque white layer.

3. Wait 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your skin's sensitivity (you can definitely go longer if you already know how your skin responds to lactic acid).

4. Cleanse your face using your regular cleanser and lukewarm water.

That's it! Of course, you always have the option of adding other ingredients, like honey for an anti-bacterial boost or turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties. I prefer the plain Jane version, though. Sometimes simplest is best!

How was that for an easy DIY? Have you ever used Greek yogurt as a facial mask?

May 14, 2014

Quick Thoughts: An Experiment with Water, Part 2

Some experiments start out destined for greatness and others, not so much. Unfortunately, "An Experiment with Water" falls into the latter category. What started out as an attempt to see if my skin responded well to fewer products ended all too soon because I totally chickened out... well, sort of.

The whole "chickening out" stemmed from me not being able to remember a morning I hadn't washed my face since I was probably 12. I kid you not, I have been washing my face in the mornings religiously since this age. I think this is around the time that my friend and I first started applying her mom's RoC anti-aging masks to tighten our faces as well. I wasn't always the brightest lip pencil in the Caboodles case.

Insert unrelated grad photo here, please.

I probably also chickened out after day two because, to be honest, I just don't enjoy the way my skin feels when I don't wash it. It's this strange combination of tight, oily and gross. No gracias!

Above all, though, I found myself unable to commit to this experiment because I run in the mornings. I definitely could have stuck it out for a week had I not returned from my run every morning with a nice layer of sweat covering my face. Rinsing with only water on those days would have been a severe beauty offense.

So, as much as I like to be a human guinea pig, I couldn't fully commit to this experiment and for that, I'm sorry. BUT, now, my skin isn't doing to shabby despite the humid weather's best attempts to turn it against me. I'll take it!

What are some failed beauty experiments you've tried in the past?

May 13, 2014

Bröö Volumizing Pale Ale Shampoo

As a recent college graduate, I've had the pleasure of experiencing many transitions that come along with growing up from a freshman to "real world" participant, one of those being the transition from sipping a lukewarm Natty Light at a football tailgate to enjoying an ice cold craft beer at my favorite local brewery (shout out to West Sixth!).

If you can believe it, my hair has been experiencing this particular transition as well. Lately, I've been using Bröö Volumizing Pale Ale Shampoo* and whenever I lather up with it, I feel like I'm dousing my scalp in a nourishing, citrus-flavored craft beer. This may sound unappealing to you, but it shouldn't.

Beer is made of barley and hops so it contains all sorts of proteins to nourish your scalp and fight frizz. While the alcohol content could potentially be drying, it also works as a fabulous shine activator. See? I bet beer in your hair is starting to sound good right about now, and Bröö products make it easy to do.

Bröö is perfect for everyone who's considered dumping a bottle of beer on their hair, but was either turned off by the smell or didn't want to actually go through the process of washing, conditioning, opening a beer in-shower and then, finally, beer-ing.

Bröö offers different lines of beer-based shampoos and conditioners depending on hair concern. I chose the Volumizing Pale Ale variety because my hair errs on the oily and flat side, but there's also Smoothing I.P.A. and Hydrating Porter lines.

All talk aside, I really love the Bröö Volumizing Pale Ale Shampoo and Conditioner combo. The shampoo cleanses gently and the conditioner moisturizers just enough so that my hair isn't weighed down. Also, neither product contains sulfates, silicones or parabens.

This line is pretty great and I would definitely recommend it. Also, bonus: putting beer in your hair will not give you a beer belly!

The * denotes a product which I was sent free of cost.  Reviews will remain objective, regardless of how the product came to me.

*All photos via