Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Tip of the Week #3

The pipes in my bathroom became clogged this weekend, and I needed to clear them up! Before, I would have run out and bought some Drano, but this time I decided to look up a more natural technique.

To clean out drains, first pour about a cup of baking soda down the drain. The follow with the same amount of vinegar. Stop the drain. Wait for a few minutes (some sources said up to half an hour, but I was too impatient) and then open the drain, and pour in a bunch of hot water (I boiled a kettle full of water).

Worked like a charm. :)

~ Susan

Monday, January 30, 2012

11 Random Things

Hi guys, there's a tag going around the internet whose aim is to help bloggers get a bit better acquainted.

1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. 
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about ‘you are tagged if you are reading this.’ blah blah blah, you legitimately have to tag 11 people!

11 Random Things About Me:
1. Susan is what people call me now (and my given name), but for a long time I went by a nickname
2. I have a dog who thinks she's a cat (she gets along with the neighborhood cats, but not with any dogs)
3. I have a gold tooth
4. I don't think Brad Pitt is attractive
5. I have two differently sized feet - they're a full size apart, so it makes shopping for shoes a real pain
6. I don't eat meat for environmental reasons.
7. I memorized the Periodic Table
8. I have performed at the Kennedy Center twice
9. I majored in art history but now teach mostly math and physics
10. I was a member of a fife and drum corps
11. I'm a DAR

11 Questions I Had to Answer - I was tagged twice, so here are both sets of answers :)

Questions From Lynn at Lovely CosMe Blog

1.What do you like the most about being a blogger,especially a beauty blogger?
I like writing, especially writing in an open way and getting feedback. I also like the 

2.Which part of your face do you like the most?why?
I like my eyes, I never have a "bad eye day!" (I do have days when I don't care for my skin, nose, etc.)

3.What skin imperfection that you have?and what do you do to cover it?
I usually break out badly once a month. I saw a dermatologist a while ago and he put me on some heavy duty pills in addition to generic antibiotics. This helped a bit, but I felt uncomfortable taking pills that came with so many warnings over an extended period of time and stopped after a year. To be honest, my skin is pretty much the same as when I was taking the pills. Now, I just use Everyday Minerals matte foundation to cover the redness.

4.Do you have any beauty secret?if yes,what it is?
Smile. :)

5.Are you a junk food lover or not?
Yes! I especially love candy. However, I have pretty much weaned myself off of cheap junk candy and now only eat dark chocolate.

6. Choose one:make up or skincare?why do you choose it?
I guess skincare - I think without a good base to work with, there's no point in wearing makeup.

7. What beauty product won't you leave your house without?
Lip balm.

8.Plastic surgery: yay or nay?why?
Nay. Mostly because I would never willingly go under the knife and have to deal with the painful recovery.

9.What is your fashion style?
Comfortable and simple.

10.What beauty product do you want the most now?

11.What is your opinion about green living? 
I think everyone should try to make changes and be greener. Modifications to one's current routine like walking or using public transportation when possible, using re-usable bottles as opposed to plastic, eating less meat, and choosing eco-friendly makeup are all easily accomplished. 

Questions From Caitie at Naturalla Beauty

1. What's your favorite thing to cook?
I like making peanut butter noodles - so delicious and so easy to make!

2. Do you prefer your hair up or down?
I prefer my hair down, but I usually wear it up in a bun because I'm lazy :)

3. What was the last good book you read?
I just re-read Dead to the World (for like the fifth time).

4. Describe yourself in five words or less.
Environmentally conscious blonde ninja. HIYA!

5. If you could only use two makeup products, what would you choose?
Concealer and mascara.

6. Do you like talking on the phone?
No, I prefer chatting online. I worry about running out of things to say on the phone, but if there are weird pauses online, no one ever knows.

7. What's one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
I love math. :)

8. Do you exfoliate your skin?  How often?  What do you use?
I exfoliate my face... whenever I think about it. If I get in the habit, I exfoliate every other day until the I'm using runs out, but once it's gone, it takes me awhile to buy a new one. The last product I used was the Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System (with my regular cleanser), but I tossed my last brush head about two months ago. I just purchased Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, and I'll start using that whenever it arrives. I exfoliate my body once in a blue moon :)

9. Do you like to stay in or go out?
I prefer to stay in and read a book or watch a movie.

10. What's your favorite/least favorite non-physical thing about yourself?  Why?
I am awesome at Pictionary! This makes for lots of fun times

11. What do you do to de-stress?
I drink tea and think thoughts. It's nice to have time just to think. If I'm really stressed, I like to do derivatives or integrals because I find them calming.

11 Questions for the People I Tag

1. What are you favorite websites to waste time on?
2. Where's your favorite place to shop for makeup?
3. What's your favorite physical feature?
4. What's your favorite magazine?
5. What's your favorite decade of music?
6. What's your favorite hobby?
7. What was your major in college or your subject in high school?
8. Would you rather be a rock star of the president?
9. Boxers or briefs? :)
10. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
11. What's your dream job?

11 People I Tag
1. Melissa of Craft to Pieces
2. The Laughing Mermaid of Mer Musings
3. Lauren of Green Beauty
4. Laura b of Beauty O'Clock
5. Lynda of soap obsessions
6. Cheryl of The Holistic Chick
7. Melissa of melissawhitman.com
9. sarahbellum of Fat Mexican Needs Makeup
10. Moxie of Moxie Reviews
11. Karley of Chic and Green

I hope you learned a little bit more about me, and I look forward to learning more about you!

~ Susan

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Shades

I've posted before about how much I love the tarte Amazonian Clay blushes. The colors are very vibrant and last all day. Only a light sweep of blush gives the perfect amount of color - just a tap of the brush in the blush, and you're good to go. The lighter shades don't require much work, while the deeper shades require a bit of blending to ensure they look natural.

I especially love the shade "exposed" (first on the left). It gives the perfect healthy glow.

These are the original tarte Amazonian Clay blush shades

tarte just came out with four new shades, shown above. The new shades shimmer slightly due to the addition of finely milled glitter. These shades aren't entirely new - I know that "adored" and "glisten" were available earlier in special kits. This is, however, the first time that these four blushes are available for individual purchase.

I can't wait to get "buff," it looks absolutely gorgeous - very similar to "exposed!"

~ Susan

Friday, January 27, 2012

January 2012 Eco Emi Box

My January Eco Emi Box came today! Eco Emi is a green product sampler service. Every month, for $15, members receive between five and ten samples of organic makeup, skincare, candles, food, and/or other items.

Packaged with care, as usual

This box contains:

  • Herbal tea by TeaGschwendner - Acerola Fruit Tea (no caffeine) and Marani Green Tea 
    • these loose teas came with two empty tea bags
  • Organic Hand Purifier by Dr. Clean Green
  • Grapefruit Seed & Orange Peel Liquid Laundry Detergent by Biokleen
    • get 30% off all Biokleen products at Biokleenhome.com with the coupon code "ECOEMI" 
  • Organic Eyeliner in black/brown by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques
  • Lip Tint by JR Watkins - I received the shade "Scarlet Sunset"
  • Endangered Species Lip Balm by Merry Hempsters - I received the Hawaiian Monk Seal lavender orange balm
    • 25% of net profits are donated to defend species and their habitat
  • Honeydew Spearmint Lotion by Deep Steep
  • Organic Fair Trade Coconut oil by Kelapo
  • Sprouted Organic Quinoa by Tru Roots


    ~ Susan

Thursday, January 26, 2012

When Good Deodorant Goes Bad

Let me start out by saying that I love Rainwater Botanicals, and I think that this is an aberration.

I purchased some deodorant from Rainwater Botanicals in the middle of October. I really liked it- it was comparable to Lavanila's Healthy Deodorant in both effectiveness and scent (lavender vanilla). I used it for about a month, but then it turned on me!

I was at work, and I noticed that something didn't smell very good... and then I realized that that something was me!  I work at a desk, so it's not like there I was working up too much of a sweat for this stuff to handle. Something in the deodorant was reacting with my skin/sweat and causing it to smell really awful. I'm sure of this because the couple days after this stuff turned that I went without deodorant were completely odor-less.

Soy wax, Organic virgin coconut oil, Organic arrowroot powder, Baking soda, Carnuba wax, Organic neem oil, Tamanu oil, Rosemary extract, Essential oils.

I'm not sure if these photos capture it, but the 
deodorant took on a grey-ish hue. I've since found a new deodorant that I'm happy with, but I'm wondering: has anyone else had this issue with a natural deodorant before? If so, please share!

~ Susan

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Eco Emi Bonus Box - Jan 2012

Eco Emi is a green product sampler service. Every month, for $15, members receive between five and ten samples of organic makeup, skincare, candles, food, and/or other items.

Every so often, they have a "bonus box" full of extra items leftover from previous boxes on sale. I was lucky enough to get the one recently on offer (they go super quick!). This was sold for $14.
Everything is always nicely packaged

My box contained:
  • Maggie's Socks
  • Black Olive Bath Salts by Verdura Botanica
  • Dr. Hauschka Blackthorn Body Wash
  • Gin Gins Boost Candies by The Ginger People
  •  john masters organics blood orange & vanilla body wash
  • naturally it's clean Floors by Enzyme Fresh Home
  • Neuma hair styling products (blow dry lotion, smoothing creme, and style texturizer)
  • WYK candle in Whispering Pine
  • Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques lip moisturizer
  • john masters organics jojoba & ginseng exfoliating face cleanser
  • SheaTerra Organics Rose Hips Black Soap Deep Pore Facial Soap & Mask
  • VerMints in CinnaMint
  • Organic Hojicha Chai Roasted Green Tea with Spices
  • Dr. Hauschka Lavender Bath
  • Artisana Raw Coconut Oil
I love getting sample sizes because I get to try out a bunch of new things and I don't feel bad about having tons of stuff around that I know I'll never use up.

They're going to announce the sale of another Bonus Box later this week on their facebook page, so check it out if you'd like to grab it!

~ Susan

Monday, January 23, 2012

Natural Weapons in the War on Acne

Last Monday I woke up with two of the biggest zits I've ever had in my life. I think they can be attributed to a variety of things; that weekend I didn't get much sleep, I wasn't eating well, and I didn't use my Trader Joe's Tea Tree Soap! By using the following products, my skin went back to its normal, mostly smooth state:

Rainwater Botanicals Troubled Skin Care Trial Kit

Collective Wellbeing Acne Detox Mask

 1. Rainwater Botanicals Troubled Skin Facial Soap

I washed my face first thing in the morning, then before going to bed with this soap.

Ingredients: Saponified vegetable oils [mainly coconut oil], glycerin (kosher, of vegetable origin), purified water, sorbitol (from berries; a moisturizer), sorbitan oleate (an emulsifier), soybean protein (a conditioner), organic hemp seed oil (cold-pressed), neem seed oil, French green clay, essential oils, and titanium dioxide (a mineral whitener)  

2. Collective Wellbeing Acne Detox Mask

In the morning, I used this mask right after I washed my face and before doing the rest of my routine. After the mask completely dried, I washed it off with the Troubled Skin Facial Soap.

3. Rainwater Botanicals Pimple Potion

After washing my face, I applied this directly to the problem areas (i.e., the zits). Its consistency was mush more watery than I has expected, so I just tapped it on without rubbing or anything.

Ingredients: organic black willow extract, organic calendula hydrosol, organic helichrysum extract, organic apple extract, organic chamomile hydrosol, organic geranium hydrosol, essential oils or basil, geranium, and bergamot

4. Rainwater Botanicals Troubled Skin Facial Serum with Frankincense and Tamanu

I applied this serum all over my face, concentrating on the problem areas. Only a few drops were needed for my whole face.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Juice, DMAE, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Rooibos Tea Extract, Emusifying Wax, Organic Green Tea Extract, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Organic Tamanu oil, Organic White Tea Extract, Vitamin E, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitamin B3, MSM, Organic Black Willowbark Extract, Xanthan Gum, essential oils of frankincense and sandalwood

5. Rainwater Botanicals Troubled Skin Facial Cream

I think this cream is pretty superfluous because its ingredients are incredibly similar to those of the serum.  Also, the serum seems to provide enough moisturizing on its own. Rainwater Botanicals states that their serums can be used alone or with moisturizers or creams.

I used it in areas that need a little bit more moisturizer, mainly my cheeks.

Ingredients: Water, Organic Aloe, vegetable emulsifying wax,organic black willow bark extract, organic calendula water, organic geranium water, organic chamomile water, wild crafted shea butter, organic plum kernel oil, vegetable glycerin, organic tamanu oil, naturgard(natural preservative), organic rose hip oil, organic jojoba oil, olive squalane, rosemary extract, lactic acid, organic lecithin, msm, essential oils of frankincense and sandalwood.

Note: I did not use the Rainwater Botanicals toner that came in the trial kit.

In a couple days I felt much happier with my face, and in five days my face was completely healed. I hope you found this helpful!

~ Susan

Friday, January 20, 2012

Random Tip of the Week #2

To make your whole house smell good, bake a whole, unpeeled lemon in the oven with the oven door slightly open. This is a much better alternative to aerosol/chemical air fresheners.

You'll get a bit of extra heat, too!

~ Susan

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Here are my Nails of the Day!


I love the nail polish I'm wearing right now! This is "Anne" by Julep. It's a very vibrant violet, and people always comment on it when I wear this.

I know these pictures aren't the best - I took them on my phone at the nail salon!

~ Susan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Burt's Bees Haul

The weather has been growing colder and my lips have been getting drier, so I decided to pick up some more lip balm.

Here are a few Burt's Bees products that I picked up at CVS:

Burt's Bees Aloe & Witch Hazel Hand Sanitizer and Beeswax Lip Balm

I always like to have hand sanitizer on me, but didn't want to keep using conventional ones. This hand sanitizer is all-natural, but still kills 99.99% of germs. The Aloe Vera moisturizes so your hands to get dried out. The balm it came with is plain and good to have on hand for every day.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Rejuvenating Lip Balm with Acai Berry

I use cuticle treatments often to keep my cuticles from drying out and peeling off. This balm is also very standard, but has a fruity flavor.

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm in Pink Blossom and Lip Shimmer in Watermelon

These lip products are a bit more fun. They are tinted and almost give the appearance of a lip stick or lip gloss on the lips.

Burt's Bees Tinter Lip Balm in Rose and Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb

I picked these up in case the others don't show up very well.

Here's to keeping moisturized in the winter months!

~ Susan

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Green or Unclean: St. Ives Naturally Clear Apricot Scrub Blemish & Blackout Control

This was my go-to exfoliator/anti-acne cleanser. I loved how smooth my face felt after using this. When I first started moving to using natural products, I had thought I would be able to continue using this because St. Ives presents itself as having "all natural products." Sadly, I am not aware of any St. Ives product that is actually comprised of all natural ingredients. I stopped using this months ago when I read the ingredient list and saw that it included sodium laureth sulfate, but I thought it would be interesting to see how the entire list measured up on Skin Deep.
This has a Skin Deep Rating of 6

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Juglans Regia (Walnut) Shell Powder, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Zea Mays (Corn) Kernel Meal, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Trietanolamina, Glyceryl Searate, PEG 100 Stearate, Prunus Ameniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Cetyl Acetate, Carborner, Polysorbate 60, Ceteareth 20, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, PPG 2 Methyl Ether, Phenethyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance, Titanium Dioxide

Verdict: Unclean

~ Susan

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask - Fruit Smoothie

I received this mask in my December 2011 Holiday VoxBox from Influenster. I have tried Montagne Jeunesse Face Masks before, and I liked them. They're relativelely cheap and easy to find at Target and Walmart. Also, though each packet is meant for a single use, I get two applications out of each if I really pile it on, and up to four if I use it more sparingly. I store whatever's left over from my first use in a glass jar in my bathroom.

This flavor, Fruit Smoothie, smells incredibly fruity, perhaps because it contains ingredients derived from mango, raspberry, apricot, peach, and pomegranate. The mask promises to leave your skin fresh, clean, and smooth. According to their website:
  • Mango smoothes, softens, unclogs pores
  • Raspberry is an excellent anti-oxidant
  • Pomegranate contains 3 times the anti-oxidant properties of red wine
  • Peach hydrates and helps to improve skin
  • For weekly use

 I applied it to my face after cleansing, as I do with all masks. I waited until it's completely dry, about 20 minutes, and then removed it.  Then, I rinsed with water, patted my dry, and used my tea tree cleansing pads before applying makeup. It felt nice and refreshing. :)

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified water), Kaolin, Glycerin, Bentonite, Magnesium aluminium silicate, Polysorbate 20, Parfum (Fragrance), Sea salt (Dead Sea salt), Glucose, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) acetate, Allantoin, Xanthan gum, Mangifera indica (Mango) seed butter, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) leaf juice, Prunus persica (Peach) kernel oil, Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) kernel oil, Punica granatum (Pomegranate) seed oil, Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) fruit extract, Citric acid, Lactoperoxidase, Glucose oxidase, CI 14700 (Red 4)

You can check them out on their facebook page. They have giveaways on Fridays!

~ Susan

Friday, January 13, 2012

December Influenster Box

After seeing iluvjesse444's Green VoxBox haul, I signed up with Influenster. Basically, you create an account on their website and fill out information about yourself. You earn "badges" by answering different questionnaires. Some are about what your interests are, others are about how socially networked you are. They use this information to decide if they'd like to send you VoxBoxes, boxes of things to try out and give them feed back.

December 2011 Influenster VoxBox

This is what I received in my first VoxBox. They said that 98% of those who had signed up got this box. I had hoped that due to my questionnaires I would only get natural products, but you can see that that was not the case. However, I was interested in trying everything but the soap and the lip gloss.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails

I had never tried press-on nails before, so these were an interesting experience.The company claims that they last up to a week, but mine came off at work after writing by hand for a couple of hours.Also, though the packaging is very cute (the nails come in a plastic container shaped like a bottle of nail polish), it took me a while to get it open. O.

I also did not particularly care for the style/design I got. This came with a coupon for a dollar off my next purchase of imPress nails, so if I do pick up another pair it will be one of their cuter designs. I think I would only get these if I was going somewhere fancy and wanted my nails done, but had just broken one of my own nails. There are other coupons on their website if you like press-on nails and would like to check these out.

Softsoap Coconut Scrub Bar Soap

This bar exfoliates while it cleanses... but I have a bar soap I am happy with and did not want to try this one because it does not contain all natural ingredients.

Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask - Fruit Smoothie

I have tried Montagne Jeunesse Face Masks before, and I liked them. They're relativelely cheap and easy to find at Target and Walmart. I also like how them come in single serving sizes, so I don't have to worry about using it all up before it dries out. I do typically get more than one application out of each, but if whatever's left dries out, I don't mind because I already got my one use out of it. I hadn't tried this particular one, but it works just as well as all the others. :)

New York Color Liquid Lip Shine - Nude York City

I tried this out once so I could give them my feedback. I love the scent - it smells like a fruity candy... delicious. I also love how this is UNsticky - this is one of the least stickiest glosses I've tried (I also find Bare Escentuals' glosses to be unsticky). I also liked how it felt moisturizing, as opposed to just lying on my lips. However, I will not continue to use it because, like the soap, I have alternatives with better ingredients.

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum

I hadn't realized that Mentos made gum. I remember everyone was into Mentos in middle school. People would get a pack of either the regular or fruit flavored ones and then end up sharing the whole thing. So, I guess there was a nostalgic aspect. :) I like the flavor and the fresh, tingly feeling this gives my mouth. The flavor also lasts for an appreciable amount of time. I've already gone through the whole pack I got, and will probably re-purchase. I don't chew gum very often, but I like to have a pack in my purse just in case I think I have stinky breath. (I think gum freshens breath better than mints since they stay in your mouth longer.) Since I rarely chew gum, my extra packs of stick gum that I keep around invariably turn to mush or end up getting pieces of dirt stuck to the sticks. Disgusting. Since these are hard pieces of gum in a hard plastic pack, I won't have to worry about my back-up breath freshener crapping out.


I've tried out a couple different flavors of LARABARs before. I like how they are filling, even the small ones like the one I got in this pack. This is the only size I've eaten before - I'm not in love with their flavors/mouthfeel in general, but I like being able to eat a very small snack to get rid of any hunger pains between meals. I also like how it contains all natural and very simple ingredients. I did not like this flavor as much as other flavors that I have tried in the past (my favorite is the coconut one!). This tastes like apple and cinnamon-flavored nuts. Not bad, but not something I would purchase again.

If you're interested in Influester, sign up at influenster.com.

~ Susan

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Random Tip of the Week

Neosporin First Aid Antibiotic Ointment
Neosporin has a Skin Deep Rating of 2

Use Neosporin before you need it. If you're going to wear a pair of shoes that looks sexy but feels uncomfortable, put some Neosporin on the spots where the shoes rub against your feet before you head out.

I do this every time I wear a pair of high heels and know that I'll be on my feet for a long time. It really works! Try this out if your shoes rub you the wrong way.

~ Susan

Monday, January 9, 2012


Happy New Year! I realize it's been 2012 for over a week now, but I just got my internet back... again. (One of my biggest regrets of 2011 - signing up for Verizon. I've now switched companies.)

 Last year I became more aware of the effects ingredients in my personal care/cosmetic collection could have on my health and more conscious of the choices I was making whenever I made a purchase. I ended up concentrating on on bath and body products, and now I am really happy with the products I use in the shower and on my face and body as part of my skin-care routine. I plan to continue to use these products in 2012. Most of them come from Rainwater Botanicals and Trader Joe's.

This year, I hope to take a closer look at the makeup I use. I made better-educated purchases of makeup last year, but not perfect ones. I am not a purist, and I feel comfortable using up the remainder of any products I have in my current collection. However, I hope to limit my makeup purchases in 2012 to only the cleanest items.

In fact, I hope to limit my purchases in general. I've amassed enough eye shadow to last me the next decade! I go through my skin-care products at a pretty decent rate, but I need to chill on the cosmetic buying.

I'm staying away from making any resolutions this year as they tend to fall by the way-side before February rolls around. What about you though? Do you have any goals for 2012?

~ Susan