Indie Beauty Expo Best in Show 2019 Collection

indie beauty expo Best in Show Collection

I am so excited to share with you all the Indie Beauty Expo Best in Show 2019 Collection! I attended the Indie Beauty Expo 2020 show (thank goodness it happened in January before the pandemic-onium began) and even wrote up a blog post sharing some of my cool indie beauty finds. More than 650 different indie beauty brands exhibited across the expo’s North America and Europe shows and there were over a thousand products to evaluate.

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HOW TO MAKE NATURAL HAND SANITIZER

diy natural hand sanitizer
homemade natural hand sanitizer

I stopped using commercial antibacterial hand sanitizers years ago. Not only did they have banned chemicals like triclosan, but they seemed like overkill. Over-frequent hand washing can render soap less effective and bacteria stronger, so I believed the same to be true for hand sanitizer. The FDA banned manufacturers from using triclosan, a common ingredient in antibacterial soaps and sanitizers in 2016 due to its ability to cause hormone disruption and a rise in resistent strains of bacteria. There you have it! Too much hand sanitizer can cause bacteria to rise up and against you in revolt.

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NEW HOPE NETWORK BLOGGER BOX REVIEW

wholesome allulose natural sweetener review

As part of the New Hope Network Influencer Co-op I’m sent a blogger box every quarter to experience and share with you all. It’s filled with the latest and best natural products in the market right now and this quarter’s box included a few brands I already know and love and many that I was excited to discover. I first discovered New Hope Network after attending Natural Product Expo, the biggest natural product trade show in the world, and this has been a fun way to continue to discover what’s hot in the natural products industry.

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WHY AVEENO NATURALS ISN’T ALL THAT NATURAL

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 30

Hi My name is Aveeno 100% Mineral Daily Moisturizer and I’m made with 40 ingredients but I like to advertise my very last one – nourishing oat! I come recommended by some dermatologist somewhere! I’m also  almost entirely made up of water, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, silicones & Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer. 

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Mahalo Organic Skincare Review

mahalo skincare review

MAHALO is an organic skincare brand from Kauai that is the epitome of eco-luxury. The Hawaiian brand was started several years ago by Maryna Kracht and became famous in the green beauty community for their skincare potions like The Vitality Elixir and The Petal. These bottled up rituals that contain Hawaiian essence, precious super-oils, supercritical extracts, and antioxidant-rich plant butters are made in small batches of 30, packaged in bamboo and glass jars, and then sent across the world so that we may all be blessed with good skin.

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HOW I LANDED A JOB IN SWITZERLAND AS A FOREIGNER WITH NO WORK EXPERIENCE

how to find a job in geneva switzerland
HOW I LANDED A JOB IN SWITZERLAND AS A FOREIGNER WITH NO WORK EXPERIENCE

Finding a job in Switzerland isn’t easy, and if you’re not a Swiss or EU citizen or exceptionally skilled in finance, trading, IT or international relations, it’s even tougher. I wanted to share a very real and in-depth account of my journey on how I landed my first job and started my career in Switzerland as a fresh graduate from America with no work experience (aside from internships). I also wanted to share the various interview processes I went through, which varies from company to company and ranges from casual to highly formal. Most recently, I interviewed with UBS Zurich. Please remember my experience is unique to me and my personal circumstances and everyone’s experience is different. If you’re looking to work in Switzerland, I hope you’ll find useful tips and information to help you find a job in a country with some of the highest-paying salaries.

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12 BEST NATURAL & ORGANIC TINTED FACE SUNSCREENS

best natural tinted face sunscreens

If you’re looking for the best tinted sunscreens for face that offer broad spectrum SPF protection and are made of natural and organic ingredients -but without that annoying ghostly white cast – I’ve rounded up the best natural tinted face sunscreens! All brands below are committed to high quality, safe ingredients and bringing you sunscreens that both fully protect and deeply moisturize the skin.

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INDIE BEAUTY EXPO 2020: COOL CLEAN BEAUTY FINDS

INDIE BEAUTY EXPO CLEAN BEAUTY ORGANIC SKINCARE BEAUTY ENTREPENEURS CBD NATURAL INGREDIENTS NONTOXIC
indie beauty expo

Indie Beauty Expo was one of those cool LA beauty events that I could only ever dream of attending, so despite being tired out from my recent travels to Punta Cana, I had to make my way over. Also knowns as IBE, this expo is the largest exposition of independent beauty brands from all over the world, founded to support the growth and success of indie brands and the entrepreneurs behind them. IBE also has an online magazine called Beauty Independent, a go-to source for beauty entrepeneurs (I’m also featured as a blogger!)

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EARTHWISE BEAUTY NEW ORGANIC SKINCARE REVIEW

earthwise beauty organic skincare

Earthwise Beauty launched a few new products this year, an interesting serum in the form of a face mist and the line’s only single oil facial oil. I’ve reviewed the brand and most of its products in a previous blog post (including the founder’s work diary provided by Ava herself), but since then, Earthwise Beauty has had a re-branding and a whole new look. My affiliate code OBL saves sitewide, as always.

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Ere Perez Natural Makeup Review

ere perez natural makeup mascara blush highlighter bronzer
ere perez natural makeup

Today I’ve decided to finally review the natural makeup brand from down under (Australia): Ere Perez. I’ve been using these products for a few years now and they look nothing like the images I took for this blog post circa 2017. My eyeshadow palette has hit the pan on many of the colors and my bronzer and highlighter is half way used.

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My Personal Organic Beauty Favorites

If you’re curious about what my favorites are out of the products I’ve tried over the past few years this post is for you! These are what we would say in French my “coups de coeur”, which literally means a blow to the heart in English. If you’d like to learn more about these products I’ve reviewed a good majority of them in previous blog posts – simply keyword search in the search box at the top of your screen. I’ve tried to stick to one top pick for each product type but sometimes chose 2 max 3 if they are equally my top faves. This is a very personal list of the products I have resonated most with, not just in terms of how well they work for my own particular skin or hair but how they make me feel through their texture, scent, packaging, design, brand image, ethos etc.

FAVORITE OIL CLEANSER: Whamisa Organic Fowers Oil Cleanser – cleansing oils are straightforward, I mean you can technically put olive oil on your face and it becomes a cleansing oil. But you will not have smelled anything like this oil cleanser before.

FAVORITE GEL CLEANSER: SIBU Polishing Facial Cleanser & ALEAVIA Prebiotic Cleanser

FAVORITE MILK CLEANSER: OSEA Cleansing Milk

FAVORITE FACE WASH: Earthwise Beauty Marshmallow Suds & Sally B Skin Yummies Tamanu Luxury Facial cleanser (95% Organic) – I have loved the texture and scent of these 2 the most

FAVORITE TONER: Whamisa Organic Flowers Deep Rich Toner – this is like an essence and toner in one and it provides the best hydration.

FAVORITE MIST: Annmarie Gianni Neroli Mist  – mists are pretty straightforward, this one goes beyond its function as a mist and helps to improve my mood because I love its particular neroli scent so much.

FAVORITE SERUM: Earthwise Beauty Carrot-A-Day Serum & OSEA Hyaluronic Sea Serum

FAVORITE MOISTURIZER: Odacité Oleosomes Time Delivery Release Creme & Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer – I love the texture, ingredients and packaging of these 2 moisturizers the most though I have tried many a superb moisturizer.

FAVORITE FACE OIL: Max and Me Oils Enchanted & Earthwise Beauty Ferns & Moss & Earthwise Beauty Ruby– I know all the oils I use are working hard to improve my skin but I really see and notice the difference when I use these.

Updated in 2019: A few very luxurious green beauty face oils I fell in love with are African Botanics Fleurs d’Afrique Intensive & 5Yina Lucent Beauty Oil. Both are outrageously expensive but they have such an amazing effect on the skin with a complex, unique blend of ingredients not found elsewhere.

FAVORITE PIMPLE TREATMENT: OSEA Black Cumin & Cajeput Serum Concentrate & OSEA Essential Corrective Complex – because it works for my breakouts

FAVORITE ANTI-AGING (for those who need serious skin treatment type skincare or have mature skin): Marie Veronique’s line & Fitglow Beauty’s Vita-Active line (fyi these are pricey lines)

FAVORITE MASKS: May Lindstrom The Honey Mud – I haven’t encountered a more luxurious mud mask than this and it ALMOST takes away my chocolate cravings. (Update 2019: May has discontinued this mask for the time being)

Malaya Organics Advanced Repair Mask – Neem Honey Herbal Complex – This mask stood out from the years of masking I have under my belt. Yarrow, Plantain, Collodial Silver, blue tansy, and so many other exquisite ingredients. This gem is totally underhyped.

FAVORITE MATCHA SKINCARE: Odacité Ceremony Cleanser & Plant Apothecary Matcha Antioxidant Face Mask

FAVORITE VITAMIN C PRODUCT: Sally B Skin Yummies Antioxidant Boost – it works to brighten and even my skin tone, it`s over 65% ascorbic acid and it’s affordable

FAVORITE POWDER EXFOLIATOR: French Girl Organics Face Polish – Rose petals are the first ingredient and that’s why it’s my favorite although there are obviously tons of effective powder exfoliators with cool star ingredients out there.

Plant Apothecary Rice & Clean is another favorite powder exfoliator that is super affordable (and available at certain Target stores).

FAVORITE BRIGHTENING MASK: Laurel Organics Brighten Mask – this mask has never once NOT brightened my skin like crazy

FAVORITE EXFOLIATING MASK: OSEA Vitamin C Probiotic Polish (also brightening) & Earthwise Beauty Blackstsrap Molasses Mask

FAVORITE HYDRATING MASK: Odacité Deep Hydration Mask – it literally transforms the texture of my skin when used overnight as a sleeping mask.

 

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FAVORITE HAIR OIL: Prim Botanicals Hair Oil – hair oils are pretty straightforward but this one has a scent I fell hard for.

FAVORITE HAIR SERUM/HEAT PROTECTANT: EvolvH WonderBalm. The texture is unbelievable and works better than Shu Uemura and a bunch of other high end hair serums I have bought in the past. If I apply about 6 pumps into damp hair and let it dry my hair dries much smoother and with less frizz without even being weighed down. (I’ve heard from 1 fellow green beauty lover that this did not work for her so just be aware that it does not work for everyone)

FAVORITE SHAMPOO: Evolvh UltraShine Shampoo. I love the scent of this shampoo, the texture when I squeeze the product on my hands, the way it lathers. (affiliate code OBL saves at Evolvh)

FAVORITE CONDITIONER: John Masters Organics Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner. I feel like my hair likes this formula the most and I see a more noticeable difference when using this one.

FAVORITE HAIR MASK: John Masters Organics Repair Hair Mask for Damaged Hair with Honey & Hibiscus. This truly works on making my super dry hair softer and hydrated.

FAVORITE DEODORANT: Ursa Major No B.S. Deodorant & Vapour Beauty AER. Besides working effectively, the formula is not overly dry and the packaging is elegant.

FAVORITE LIP BALM: Cocokind MyMatcha Stick – I love that it is simple, jumbo, has matcha, the packaging is black, it is super moisturizing and smells of coconut.

F A V O R I T E   M A K E U P

FAVORITE FOUNDATION: Fitglow Beauty Vita Active Foundation and for full coverage NU EVOLUTION. These are completely pure high-quality formulas.

FAVORITE BLUSH: INIKA Pink Tickle Blush, NU Evolution Blush in Soho & Flushed. Magnetic, velvety and vibrant shades of pink that I adore.

FAVORITE EYESHADOW: NU EVOLUTION – best pigmentation, velvety finish and longest lasting

FAVORITE LIPSTICK: Vapour Beauty Siren Lipstick – I’m personally not a fan of lispticks (I’m a lip gloss girl all the way) because they make me look older but my favorite formula is the Vapour Beauty’s lip siren because it’s the creamiest that doesn’t seem to accentuate my lip lines (note the dark shades are not as god)

FAVORITE CONCEALER: Fitglow Beauty Conceal+ & NU Evolution Camouflage Creme

FAVORITE LIP GLOSS: Fitglow Beauty Lip Serum in Bliss – a targeted lip treatment and lip gloss in one that actually plumps my lips. Bliss is also the prettiest color that looks the best on me

FAVORITE MASCARA: Australian certified organic makeup brand INIKA’s Long Lash Vegan Mascara is one of the best mascaras I’ve tried. I also love the affordable W3LL People Expressionist Mascara.

 

FAVORITE BB CREAM: COOLA Mineral Face SPF 30 Matte Tint  (please note this is not a clean brand though they choose to place many organic ingredients in their products)- I use serum/moisturizer/few drops of oil as my morning skincare and a lot of BB creams leave me looking a little too greasy. This matte one helps me avoid  that plus it goes on so velvety smooth and i don’t need to layer sunscreen after my moisturizer.

FAVORITE PRIMER: COOLA Daydream Primer SPF 30 & Juice Beauty Illuminating Primer (these do contain dimethicone last I checked)

S P F

Earth Mama Organics Lady Face Mineral Sunscreen Stick SPF 40 is a new 2019 launch and by far the best tinted sunscreen stick that is truly clean and organic. It conceals like makeup with a very natural tint and isn’t at all greasy. Highly affordable at under $15.

Raw Elements Sunscreen has been my go-to spf brand since I began my organic beauty journey. I prefer this for body rather than face.

CODES TO HELP YOU SAVE

SIBU BEAUTY: ORGANICBEAUTY30
Aleavia Skincare: ORGANICBEAUTYLOVER
NU Evolution (affiliate): ORGANICBEAUTYLOVER 
Earthwise Beauty (affiliate): OBL
Odacité: OBL
Raw Elements Sunscreen: OBL

 

 

 

 

PetCube Bites Interactive Treat Camera Review

If you’re a dog (or cat) owner who wants to be able to see what your fur baby is up to while you’re away and remotely talk to and play with him/her all from your phone, the PetCube is worth looking into. Before I even became a new dog owner I knew I wanted to have a device like this because my cousin had bought one for her dogs over Christmas and loves it. This device has been so useful as a new puppy owner, I could not imagine not having it. Here are all the impressive features of the PetCube Bites:

Fling treats varying distances up to 6 feet
Toss treats automatically at scheduled times
Stream in 1080p HD video with 138° wide angle view
138° wide angle view
3x digital zoom
2-way audio to hear & speak
Night vision with infrared LED
Sound and motion alerts

I hate having to leave Rufus alone especially because he’s a young puppy and needs constant love and attention. With the PetCube I just tap the app and am able to see exactly what he’s doing. The camera and sound work very well and I haven’t had any issues whatsoever. It’s probably actually me who has separation anxiety from my furry child because I have this need to be able to see him at all times when I’m away from him. I try not to speak to him too much unless I know I’m coming home soon because I don’t want to torture him. If I’m running late on feeding him dinner I can throw him some treats with the app so he doesn’t get too hungry/unhappy. Instead of treats I fill up the container with his normal dog food so he doesn’t get too spoiled and used to treats as food.

The night vision also works well and I don’t have any complaints with this feature. There’s been a few occasions where I’ve had to leave him alone all day (the worst!) and I set up the motion alerts so anytime he moved I would get a notification on my phone and be able to go into the app to see what he’s up to. This way I’m not constantly and mindlessly checking up on him every second of the day.

Petcube Bites camera

Design wise, this device is very sleek and modern looking and comes in three colors: silver, black and rose gold. It has a no-skid surface on the bottom so it won’t move around much or tip easily and comes with a wall-mounting kit if you prefer to mount it on the wall. It was a lot thinner and lighter than I initially thought it would be so that was a pleasant surprise.

Use code OBL for $15 off at the PetCube site. Free worldwide shipping

The current PetCube devices will be phased out later this summer to make way for Generation 2 devcies which will be priced much higher so now is the right time to grab these.

PetCube Website

Petcube Bites treat camera specifications

 

 

 

HOW I PAID OFF $60,000 OF DEBT IN 2 YEARS

Student debt is just THE ABSOLUTE WORST – the emotional and mental burden of having this huge number looming over your head, wondering if and when it will ever get paid off is always in the back of your mind. I dreamed of becoming a serial hacker so I could hack into the systems and magically delete that number to zero- we’ve seen it happen in TV shows so it must be possible. I had about a dozen government and private loans with various interest rates when I graduated from the University of Southern California and I knew that I wanted to start paying them off as fast as I could once I landed a job. I even read blogs and websites dishing advice on how to pay off debt and personal success stories- not just to learn tips but also to keep me motivated throughout those dark months. If you want to pay down your debt quickly you need to be prepared to live down to the bare minimum, exercise a ton of self-control and go HAM. Aka Beast Mode but for debt. Friends and loved ones are going to suffer too but if they love you they’ll be waiting for you on the other side. It is no walk in the park, but it will be worth it.

I cut out all monthly recurring subscriptions

Aside from the basic necessities like my cell phone subscription, I cut out ALL monthly automatic charges like my VPN service (this hid my IP address so I could access US websites from abroad), HULU, etc.

I allowed myself a set amount of spending money each month

Instead of looking at where my money was going each month, I simply and brutally allowed myself $100 in spending money – this meant no eating out, hardly any shopping, no Starbucks, no cold-pressed juices, no nothing. I either packed my lunch to work or skipped lunch entirely if I forgot to pack. That’s the sad truth. I didn’t go shopping for clothes, cut my own hair and stuck to the rule of $100 per month. It became my monthly personal challenge and sometimes I even spent less than $100. I explained to friends and my partner what I was doing and why I needed to do it. The people who truly care about you will understand.

I put as much of my paycheck as possible towards loans

Each time I received my pay I immediately transferred everything I could minus my basic living expenses towards my loans (around $3000 to $4000 a month). That way it simply was not possible for me to even spend money, because it was already out of my bank account. And I watched as these huge lump sums made my debt number go lower and lower at warp speed.

I paid off my highest interest loans first

Some of my loans had a 10% interest rate, which means if a loan was $10,000 then it was increasing by $100 each month or $1200 each year. Compared to other loans that had a 2% interest rate, it was obvious that the high interest ones needed to be obliterated first. That’s why the last months of paying off my debt I was able to coast and live it up more while also putting more money to my savings. Everyone needs to have a FUCK OFF FUND by the way.


It was quite simple really and it can be summed up in one word – SACRIFICE. But obviously, in order to pay off debt successfully, you need to have a well-paying job. Earning $2k a month is not a good foundation for paying off a disgusting amount of debt. I was also living in cheap housing provided by relatives so if your home is taking up a large chunk of your paycheck you need to think about moving to a more affordable place to live. Whatever it takes.