We are all hoping and praying that summer 2020 is not lost, so I am throwing out more good vibes into the internet universe with this mineral sunscreen review. I deemed March to be Sunscreen Madness month on social media (really just to hype myself up) and tested a dozen of the latest and greatest reef-safe sunscreens throughout the month. I love sunscreen, can never have enough of them, and probably own at least a dozen at any given time.Read more
John Masters Organics has a fantastic range of natural and organic hair care products widely available and priced mid-range that includes clean shampoos, conditioners, masks and styling products. Celebrating their 25th year this year, John Masters Organics is practically a household name for holistic and natural lifestyle enthusiasts. Their hair care is famous worldwide with 70+ stores across the globe. Even the itty bitty hair salon on my street when I was living in Lugano used John Masters Organics products. And of course, every single product in this range is made of at least 70% organic ingredients.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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.Read more
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!)Read more
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.Read more
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 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 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 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 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 HYDRATING MASK: Odacité Deep Hydration Mask – it literally transforms the texture of my skin when used overnight as a sleeping mask.
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 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 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.
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
Raw Elements Sunscreen: OBL
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.
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.
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.
The Juice Beauty Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer and Signal Peptides products along with Edible Beauty Australia’s boosters are some of the new and exciting launches of 2019 that I got to try recently. I’ve used these for the past two to three months and am sharing all the “juicy” details.
Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer
The Prebiotix Gel Moisturizer ($52) boasts an ingredients list full of antioxidant-rich, organic ingredients and a bio-fermented complex containing high-performance prebiotic ingredients to help balance the microbiome. What you’ll immediately notice about this moisturizer is its beautiful light blue shade and how lightweight and thin the consistency is.
- A proprietary prebiotic blend including viola flower, chia & coconut extract acts as a protective layer on the skin, locking in moisture for a more radiant, hydrated and balanced appearance
- Boosts skin luminescence appearance with fermented kumaru known for its ability to absorb ultra- violet light and reflect back visible light
- Helps soothe distressed skin with linseed
- Fermented American bamboo smooths skin
- Hydrates and moisturizes skin with organic antioxidant-rich jojoba & prickly pear
- Fights free radical attack with an antioxidant juice base of organic grape & apple and organic aloe rich in Vitamin E
- Calming aroma with essential oils lavender, clary sage & juniper
Even with dry skin like mine, this moisturizer felt amply hydrating and my skin seemed to soak it all in. It feels perfectl smooth and silky and since it actually feels much like a thick serum to me I was able to layer on heavier oils and balms guilt free. I will say the one ingredient I do not like that’s all the way at the end of the ingredients list is bismuth chloride oxide, which I’m not sure why they needed to include. I emailed Juice Beauty customer service asking them and they replied that they chose it because it helps brighten the skin, blurs imperfections and minimizes the appearance of lines, wrinkles, dark circles. Still, this is one of those ingredients I’m iffy about because it goes through so many refinement processes to make it safe for cosmetic use that contamination is a risk. So I don’t think this is a really necessary ingredient.
The scent of lavender and juniper is very subtle and is simultaneously calming and uplifting. I appreciate this concept of skincare that feeds the good bacteria on your skin and thus creating a stronger or repaired barrier, just the same as I appreciate skincare concepts like high-vibrational, CBD and gemstone-infused.
Ingredients: (organic aloe juice/jus d’aloès bio)*, (organic apple juice/jus de pomme bio)*, (organic white grape juice/jus de raisin blanc bio)*, glycerin (organic/bio)*, olus oil†, sodium PCA†, lactobacillus ferment, (organic rice bran extract/extrait de son de riz bio)*, bentonite, coconut alkanes, (jojoba seed oil/huile de graines de jojoba), sodium hyaluronate†, glyceryl stearate SE, (kumaru seed ferment filtrate/graine de kumaru fermentée filtrée), hydrolyzed viola tricolor extract, (organic shea butter/beurre de karate bio)*, (organic coconut oil/huile de noix de coco bio)*, lactobacillus, (coconut fruit extract/extrait de noix de coco), lactobacillus ferment lysate, (chia extract/extrait de chia), bamboo leaf ferment filtrate/feuille de bambou fermentée filtrée), (prickly pear stem extract/extrait de cactus nopal), hydrolyzed linseed extract, propanediol†, xanthan gum, carrageenan, biosaccharide gum-1, coco-caprylate/caprate, sodium lauroyl lactylate†, hydrogenated lecithin, panthenol (Vitamin B5), potassium sorbate, melia azadirachta leaf extract, (eggplant fruit extract/extrait d’aubergine), (basil flower extract/extrait de fleurs de basilic), (turmeric root extract/extrait de racine de curcuma), citric acid, bismuth chloride oxide, lavandula angustifolia extract, triethyl citrate†, (orange peel oil/huile de peau d’orange), (juniper oil/huile de genévrier), (clary sage oil/huile de sauge sclarée).
*certified organic ingredient / ingrédient certifié bio †plant-derived / origine végétale
Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Serum
Another new launch as part of their Signal Peptides line, this product is notably interesting because it’s a micro-serum. This is the first time I’ve come across a micro-serum, which has a unique micro-emulsion technology (10x smaller than standard emulsion droplets) that facilitates delivery of active ingredients to the skin. It’s actually formulated for people over the age of 40 and focuses on restoring the appearance of firmness and skin elasticity with certified organic ingredients and firming peptides. Their custom blend of sunflower-derived plant lipids combined with rice peptides and pterostilbene-rich wild blueberry extract work to boost hydration, renew the skin’s surface and protect from external aggressors.
I love how supple this serum makes my skin feel once applied. It has an immediate softening and hydrating effect and it doesn’t just sit over the skin but properly absorbs. The reason I say this with confidence is because I’ve never had a pilling problem with this serum and it never feels like it’s just sitting on top of my skin and drying into a layer. Not that color is at all important in skincare (or is it?) but the creamy white shade of this serum makes me feel like I’m applying a milk serum onto my skin.
Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (organic aloe juice/jus d’aloès bio)*, glycerin (organic/bio)*, coconut alkanes, caprylic/capric triglyceride†, squalane†, polyglyceryl-10 mono/dioleate†, dicaprylyl maleate, cetyl alcohol, olea europaea (organic olive fruit oil/huile d’olive bio)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter/beurre de karate bio)*, hydrolyzed rice bran extract, phosphatidylglycerol†, polyglyceryl-3 oleate†, glycine soja sterols, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry extract/extrait de myrtille), linum usitatissimum (linseed extract/extrait de graine de lin), helianthus annuus (sunflower seed oil/huile de graines de tournesol), hyaluronic acid†, tocopherol (Vitamin E/vitamine E), glyceryl cocoate†, coco-caprylate/caprate†, cetearyl olivate†, sorbitan olivate†, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, xanthan gum, caprylyl glycol†, squalene†, gluconolactone†, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, sodium benzoate, triethyl citrate†, citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot oil/huile de bergamote), citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange oil/huile d’orange douce).
* = Certified organic ingredient
† = plant derived/origine végétale
Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Eye Balm
Similar to the Signal Peptides Firming Serum, the eye balm also features sunflower-derived lipids combined with rice peptides and pterostilbene-rich wild blueberry extract but with paracress extract. It’s also in a base of organic coconut oil and sunflower seed oil which may not fare well with some of you. You may also be thinking $80 for an eye balm in a pretty standard base is a LOT- and it is. So while I do love the consistency and texture of this balm I do not believe it is worth the price as it’s also a small amount of product that you receive. But I do want to say that this balm has an amazing consistency that makes it feel luscious, velvety and smooth. It’s not at all greasy or overly rich/heavy and moisturizes well.
Cocos nucifera (organic coconut oil/huile de noix de coco bio)*, helianthus annuus (organic sunflower seed oil/huile de graines de tournesol bio)*, vegetable oil, copernicia cerifera (organic carnauba wax/cire de carnauba bio)*, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter/beurre de karité bio)*, glycerin†, hydroxystearic/linolenic/oleic polyglycerides†, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla wax/cire de candelilla), caprylic/capric triglyceride†, bismuth chloride oxide, spilanthes acmella (paracress flower extract/extrait de fleur de cresson de para), hydrolyzed rice bran extract, phosphatidylglycerol†, vaccinium angustifolium (blueberry extract/extrait de myrtille), tocopherol (Vitamin E/vitamine E), squalene†.
*certified organic ingredient / ingrediént certifié bio †plant derived / origine végétale
Edible Beauty Australia Boosters
Edible Beauty, which is a natural skincare line from Australia, launched their skin boosters this year and they’re an entire product category on their own. It’s not designed to replace any skincare step but rather “boost” it. They blended nourishing botanical, food and seaweed extracts (some of which are Australian yay) to create these serum-like products designed for use after cleansing and toning. I tried all three: Turmeric Latte, Probiotic Radiance and Deep Sea Collagen and all three have the same exact consistency and texture. I’ve seen this described as thick but to me it felt like a normal serum, neither thin nor thick. More than anything these provide intense hydration for the skin, so perfect for dry and parched skin. The probiotic one naturally helps optimize the health of your skin’s microbiome and barrier, the turmeric one helps clear and calm skin, and the deep sea collagen is designed to plump and hydrate. Each one boasts some pretty interesting ingredients:
Turmeric Extract is rich in curcumin, a potent antioxidant which has been used as an ancient beauty ritual for lightening and brightening the skin. Curcumin also inhibits acne causing bacteria on the skin and has been shown to be 36 times stronger than azelaic acid, an irritating chemical used in acne treatments. Its anti-inflammatory properties also mean that turmeric can soothe painful cystic breakouts and calm redness.
Licorice Root contains the active ingredient, glabridin that interrupts the enzymes that activate melanin production, making it a natural skin whitening agent. It prevents future hyperpigmentation while improving existing dark spots on your skin. Licorice Root is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and redness for a clear and calm complexion.
Snow Mushroom known as the “beauty mushroom” the Tremella mushroom has been used for centuries as a youth-preserving mushroom due to its unique polysaccharide and antioxidant profile. Polysaccharides found in the mushroom have remarkable water retaining properties, with the ability to hold nearly five times more water than hyaluronic acid. Tremella’s polysaccharides also stimulate the production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the most important “super antioxidant” enzymes in the body. SOD helps to protect and regenerate the skin as well as effectively prevent wrinkling and sagging of the skin. It has shown to be effective in preventing oxidative damage to skin cells as well as increasing the body’s production of its own powerful free-radical defence mechanisms.
Ingredients:Aqua, OrganicTremella Fuciformis, (Snow Mushroom), Organic Glycerin, Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root, Organic Calitris Glaucophyll (White Cypress) Leaf, Acacia Senegal, Xanthan Gum. Rumex Occidentalis Extract, p-Anlsic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Oil, Ascorbic Acid.
Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Ferment Filtrate, restore skin PH and acid mantle reducing skin sensitivity and strengthening the skin barrier. This probiotic strain also attacks bacteria which sit on the skin’s surface causing blemishes.
Wildcrafted Emu Bush, native to the Australian Northern Territory, it contains potent antioxidants including chloregenic acid which protects the skin from break down and ageing along with phenolic acids which have an antioxidant action stronger than that of vitamin E. This makes this wildcrafted extract effective at skin restoration and repair.
Birch Leaf, is a powerhouse ingredient for calming and treating sensitive and irritated skin. It is prized for its ability to reduce inflammation, purify and hydrate skin. It contains 17 amino acids, minerals, enzymes, proteins, antioxidants and vitamins, all of which are beneficial for your skin.
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Acacia Senegal, Xanthan
Gum, Lactobacillus Bulgaricus Ferment Filtrate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic Betula Alba (Birch Leaf), p-Anisic Acid, Glyceryt Capry1ate, Organic Eremophila longifolia (Emu Bush), Organic Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol.
Deep Sea Collagen Elixir
Seaweed Collagen, has been shown to reduce wrinkle depth and improve overall skin appearance. It increases the expression of the longevity-boosting and anti-ageing protein (SIRT1). Seaweed Collagen also prevents the breakdown of hyaluronic acid in skin cells and in doing so preserves the extracellular matrix, which is a dominant means of defence against visible ageing and the weakening of dermal thickness.
Seaweed Leaf, harnesses the unique power of ocean plants to survive extreme conditions and often adapt to changing environments, providing them with the ability to revitalise and renew the skin. Seaweed Leaf is rich in vitamins and amino acids which reinforce the skin cell membranes, protecting against free radical attacks, which accelerate ageing. The extract can also ‘re-organise’ the cell membrane structure to reverse cell damage and restore the skin to its natural state, combating sagging and loose skin.
Purslane (Portulaca) Extract, works to repair and regenerate the skin on a cellular level. Purslane protects skin cellular DNA from age-related dysfunction, thereby maintaining the cells’ repair function and strengthening the skin with its natural antioxidant compounds. It contains a high amount of glutathione, which is a natural antioxidant system, along with hydrating Omega-3 fatty acids.
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin. Undaria Pinnatifida (Seaweed Collagen), Acacia Senegal, Xanthan Gum, Organic Litchi Chinensis (Lychee), Organic Panicum Miliaceum (Millet) Seed, Ulva Lactuca (Seaweed Leaf}, Organic Portulaca Oleracea Extract, p -Anisic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate
When I attended the Natural Product Expo this spring I also joined the New Hope Influencer Coop, a community of natural lifestyle influencers and health experts who support the mission to bring more health to more people in partnership with New Hope Network. They sent this beautiful box full of innovative natural health, food and beauty products that I normally would have never heard about (except the beauty ones of course). Here’s what was inside:
- Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co – Ka-Pop Dairy-Free Cheddar Popped Chips (@KaPopSnacks; @KaPop_Snacks)
- BFree Foods – Stone Baked Pita Breads (@BFreeUSA; @BFreeFoods)
- Big Island Coffee Roasters – Espresso Bites (@bigislandcoffeeroasters)
- Curaleaf – Lemongrass and Menthol Lotion (@CuraleafHemp)
- Earth Mama Angel Baby – Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40 (@earthmamaorganics; @earthmama)
- Elma Farms – POSHI Marinated Vegetable Snack (@eatposhi; @healthyposhi)
- Goddess Garden – SPF 30 Everyday Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin (@goddessgarden)
- Jenny’s Gourmet Foods LLC – Greenjoy Cacao & Greens Pressed Salad Bar (@greenjoylife; @AuntDottiesKayco)
- Life’s Grape – Vine-Dried Grapes (@lifes_grape; @LifesGrapeSnacks)
- MARS Food North America – Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice with Garlic (@SeedsofChange)
- R.W. Garcia Co. – Organic Bar-B-Q Corn Chips (@rwgarciasnacks)
- Serenity Tea Sips, LLC – Bergamot and Jasmine Tea (@SerenityTeaSips)
- Smart Baking Company – Gluten Free Smart Cakes Raspberry Cream (@SmartBaking; @smartbakingcompany)
- Sun Chlorella USA – Sun Chlorella “A” Granules (@sunchlorellausa; @SunChlorella)
- Tango Advanced Nutrition – AllerPhase (@puretango; @AllerPhase)
- The Little Potato Company – Garlic Parsley Microwavable Potatoes (@LittlePotatoCo)
- Wakunaga of America – Kyo-Dophilus Kids (@KyolicAGE)
F O O D S
The Ancient inGRAINed Snack Co and their Ka-Pop Dairy-Free Cheddar Popped Chips had to be my favorite food product in there though almost everything was delicious. For being dairy-free they tasted even better than regular cheddar popped chips. There was such an intense crunch to each of the chips and so much flavor I would definitely purchase these again.
The Little Potato Company’s Garlic Parsley Microwavable Potatos were easy and convenient to make for dinner and packed a garlic punch in each bite. They were a tad on the salty side for me.
The Smart Baking Company’s Gluten Free Smart Cakes Raspberry Cream were cute little cakes in a cup, but I did find the texture to be a little too dry and the taste much too sweet for my palette. Otherwise I love the concept and the fact that they’re gluten free!
The Sun Chlorella come in individual packets and in granule form, but once you pour them in water they begin to dissolve. I usually can’t stand the taste of chlorella on its own in water, but this one did not have a strong taste.
Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice with Garlic was super delicious – I included this in a dinner and it took my dish to the next level. Perfect texture and amount of seasoning has been added to this.
Greenjoy Cacao & Greens Pressed Salad Bar reminded me a lot of the Fruit Rollups I used to eat as a kid. I love the concept of greens that could almost pass as a candy snack. It tastes super natural and isn’t overly sweet.
Big Island Coffee Roasters Coffee Bites actually tasted like chocolate too me even though it isn’t! It’s coffee with some natural sweetener and has a very strong taste to it. It’s quite sweet and has a tinge of bitterness from the coffee.
POSHI Marinated Vegetable Snack was a total surprise. I thought these were dry snacks but they come in their natural state and are marinated in ingredients that help preserve them. Super healthy and a great option for people who don’t like to eat vegetables.
P E R S O N A L C A R E
I’ve been using the Goddess Garden SPF 30 Everyday Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Sensitive Skin that says “Sheer” on it and while it isn’t exactly sheer (there is a bit of a white tint) it doesn’t leave a strong white cast like some others do. It’s perfectly smooth, hydrating and lightweight and feels very much like a true lotion. It’s got a subtle lavender scent.
I got a little jar sample of the Curaleaf Lemongrass and Menthol Lotion and didn’t expect such a tiny amount would work so well. You can feel the cooling effect immediately and it stays for a good few hours, so it’s definitely something to try on areas of aches and pains for immediate relief.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Baby Face Mineral Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 40 comes in a small cylindrical push-up container and contains only natural and safe ingredients along with zinc oxide for spf protection. I found it to be a very emollient and rich sunscreen (great for dry skin). It does leave a white cast.
Hi loves and thank you for coming on here and wanting to hear me share my thoughts. I recently went through a major life transition moving from Switzerland to California and felt like I needed to simply WRITE (aka verbal vomit) in order to process everything that’s happened. As many of you guys know I basically spent all my 20s living in Europe- a little in Paris (Rue de la Convention), a little in St Gallen (Blumenaustrasse), a little in Zurich (Thujastrasse- I can’t believe I’m remembering the street names), a little in Lugano and mostly in Geneva – and I became a Swiss citizen. I basically left for Switzerland in 2010 and I moved to the US last summer. I met my first love while studying abroad and it was a whirlwind all-consuming type of romance that many people dream of. A lot of people search for this kind of love all their lives and I feel lucky to have experienced it (fyi he now hates me). But one of the many important lessons I learned while living in Switzerland was, love is not enough.
Also I have to warn you that there probably won’t be much structure to this blog post and it will be long. When I first moved abroad I was insanely young and not emotionally and mentally equipped for expat life. Had I been 30 and moved there I may have stayed my entire life. As a fresh graduate I was hungry to start my career but nobody there knew what USC was or cared that I had interned at major Fortune 500 companies. I struggled a lot with this and started off as an intern in marketing before landing a real job. Not being able to have the career I really wanted and that I had worked so hard for throughout high school and college was a huge source of unhappiness for me. I did end up landing a coveted marketing job at a Swiss company while working at a job that I didn’t like and it was my saving grace. Without it, my relationship would have never lasted as long as it did because I would have grown so unhappy I’d have left a lot sooner. My ex was also a student for much of this time and I did a lot of the financial supporting. Another lesson: don’t spend all your money on a guy if he isn’t treating you like you’re the best thing in the world.
I had no knowledge of French and studied my butt off, actively watched Swiss & French news and TV shows (Fais Pas Ci Fais Pas Ca was one of my faves), read the Swiss newspaper, and devoured anything and everything French that I could in order to become fluent – this was how I got the job that I wanted and interviewed successfully in French for a position that required fluency. There were so many days I felt like it would be an impossible feat to learn a whole foreign language and I would break down and cry at night from despair. My lesson from overcoming this challenge: even if you think something is impossible (I literally felt it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to learn French and all the British people I knew who’ve lived in Geneva their entire lives and couldn’t even hold a conversation in French was proof), NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE if you set your mind to it. Where there is a will there is a way, as some wise man once said.
I found that making friends was difficult. I had friends come in and out of my life except for a few because Geneva is an international hub with people often working on assignment for 1 or 2 years for large companies or NGO’s. Making friends with the Swiss is even more challenging because they tend to be cold and closed off, especially to foreigners. The friends and people they have in their lives are those they have known much of their lives in their small communities and they don’t feel any need to introduce new people into their close circle. I had some cool coworkers though despite the work environment being disgustingly sexist and inappropriate at times. I did meet many very interesting, driven and accomplished people, most of the time older and wiser than me, who each played a little role in shaping me into the person I am today. Instead of being unhappy that I was having a hard time making deep friendships like the ones I had in California, I needed to shift my attitude towards thinking that each person who came into my life, no matter how brief, was someone I could learn from and share experiences with, and that each person is on their own journey in life and I could, in turn, help make a brief, positive impact in their lives.
For a few years I loved my relationship, my life, my job and my ability to travel around Europe on the cheap many weekends. Who wouldn’t love going to Corsica one weekend, Spain the next and Mykonos the next- after a while all the places start looking similar (though I will never get tired of Paris, Barcelona and Greece). I probably annoyed a lot of people with those obnoxious travel photos and hotel collaborations if you scroll down my Instagram feed. Maybe after about 6 years, I became tired of similar looking villages in neighboring France, similar looking ski resort towns in Switzerland, the same Easyjet destinations every year with no new interesting cities being added for me to get to. I loved how everything in Switzerland is so orderly and structured – almost to a fault – and the landscape was beautiful everywhere you went. I couldn’t stand how exorbitantly expensive everything was ($9 for a Starbucks latte, restaurant meals on average over $100 for 2 people, $22 for OPI nail polish before my nontoxic switch) and I never shopped in Switzerland (I’d buy things to go to my California home and then bring everything back whenever I visited), how mind-numbingly boring Geneva became after a few years (if you come from a small town Geneva will seem exciting), the complete lack of authentic Mexican food (tacos are life) and the depressing grey weather 8 to 9 months of the year. This is my spoiled background though coming from one of the world’s greatest and sunniest cities. There are so many people from third world countries who would risk their lives to be able to escape to a life of peace and security in Switzerland. Before I left Geneva I befriended a gay couple in their 50s, who were from Portugal and Colombia originally, and I asked them if they were happy just living out the rest of their lives in Switzerland and their answer still stays with me today. They said that after a while they just became used to life in Switzerland, they now enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of life there, and they would visit their favorite cities multiple times a year (Barcelona and Tel Aviv). I knew I didn’t want that.
My ex was the perfect boyfriend during the first year, making the effort to be understanding of my difficulty transitioning to Swiss life, encouraging & supportive, and taking me on trips to London, Rome, and Cyprus. Certain things happened to him that he deep down probably blamed me for because it was easier than blaming himself. He also wasn’t emotionally ready for the unique struggles that come with being an international couple in which one has to adjust to a new country and culture. He soon became indifferent and resentful whenever I was having a hard time and quick to anger, which led me to become unhappy even though I had created a wonderful life for myself. This small part of myself that was unhappy ate away at me. This is the reality that you don’t see behind those perfectly edited little Instagram squares. Flying off to beautiful destinations in Europe (a few times a year) and back to LA (twice a year) was all I looked forward to throughout the year as a way to escape the humdrum of my day-to-day life feeling invisible. I felt like a robot simply going through the motions. I felt like my life revolved around my ex and his aspirations, and I was just there to provide support for all his needs. Something felt wrong- I should have felt more happy in this life or at least some kind of mild state of contentness on a daily basis. I almost started a family and I began to ask myself could I raise a family here? With this man? Would I be happy growing old here? The answer I got was always a very hesitant maybe and no. I knew I would forever regret it if I didn’t DO something and moved back to LA to see if the grass was greener on the other side. The way in which I handled my relationship towards the end wasn’t good and I drove my ex away through my behavior instead of communicating how I felt inside. Next time I know that if for whatever reason I’m unhappy I should communicate it early because eventually my actions will hurt my partner.
I eventually needed to decide whether I would ignore this part of me and continue to live this Swiss life until the end of my days, possibly forever being partially unhappy I never got to live a life in LA or being with someone who didn’t treat me well… or to search for what my heart really craved – to be in sunny Southern California with my friends and family nearby. I’m sure I could have eventually made peace with living abroad forever if I chose the former and 9 months later, I still grapple with the ghosts of my former life and the what-ifs. But imagine all the experiences I would have missed out on over the past year had I not decided to move back and all the ways I wouldn’t have grown emotionally by upheaving my very quiet very quaint Swiss life. By moving back, I was able to find myself again, re-discover who I am, and also have the opportunity to re-invent myself. That is the beauty of new beginnings and new chapters in life. I am truly in my element here and I have a sense of self-confidence that I didn’t in Switzerland. I’ve also come back with nearly 10 years of unique life and travel experiences and language skills. I often think of how lucky I am to have lived what I have lived and what very few Americans ever get to experience. I will always be grateful for my ex for coming into my life when he did. Thank you, next.
It hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be adjusting back to US life. When I first arrived I actually got hired immediately into working at Max Azria Group, but I didn’t feel happy working there and left. I remember one of the graphic designers who flew in from Mexico asked me why I would move back from Switzerland when the salaries are so high there (thanks dude). I forget what I answered back, but I probably said something like it was super boring there most of the time and not everyone earns very high salaries. One of my colleagues who helped hire me had spent many years working in Shanghai, loved it there, moved back to the US for this job and felt unhappy being back. Though it wasn’t easy adjusting back for me either, I felt happy and excited to be in LA. After all, so many Europeans I met over the years would ask me incredulously why on earth I would choose to be in Switzerland when I could be in LA. It’s not like I’m from Little Prairie, Arkansas. I just made up that city. Other ways it’s been strange for me being back…I definitely feel culture shock when I go outside of my bubble of family and friends in LA to other states and I see the “real” America. My mentality has shifted to being more Swiss after all these years and I get overwhelmed by how big this country is and there are just..so..many..people..and I feel the very same thing that used to piss me off when Europeans used to say this to me – there is a lack of culture/history in the US (don’t hate me!). Moving back to Trump’s America is also very different from when I used to visit Obama’s America. I get little bouts of culture shock just from society being so different. They were stronger at first, but now that it’s getting closer to a year since I moved back, they’re not as intense. Everyone’s lives have changed..marriage, kids, jobs..and my parents are so much older looking. After the first few months here I actually wanted to run back immediately to Switzerland and to what felt familiar. But ultimately, I feel deep down inside that I will be happier growing old here surrounded by my loved ones, sunshine, beaches, traffic, tacos and poor air quality. I also met a wonderful man who is sweet, caring, mature, generous and above all, kind and patient – the two qualities I need most in a partner. Without him I think I might have been too weak and moved back to Switzerland.
What I learned is that you need to live your truth. If you’re not happy in any way, seek change and don’t just stay stuck there because you’re scared of the unknown. There are no right or wrong decisions, only decisions that you can learn and grow from. The people who truly love you will stick by you no matter what you choose. And if they don’t, they are not worth keeping around. If you feel like you’re going to regret not doing something, then you HAVE TO DO IT.
How am I doing now you ask? I have had my dark days when I wasn’t sure if I made the right choice. But I’m so happy with all the new experiences I get to have by being here in the States. Despite its many, many problems, the US is without a doubt the best country ever and Americans are the best people to be around (except the crazies). It’s actually the small interactions I have with friendly strangers that uplift me, as crazy as that sounds. In Swiss society, you don’t do small talk with strangers..it isn’t normal and if you do try to strike up a tiny convo with someone on the public transportation, the grocery store, in line at the coffee shop..they will think you’re weird or straight up legit mentally ill. But I may not be so crazy after all because a study found that small talk with strangers makes you happier. I don’t have my dream job yet (not sure what that even is yet), but I have some really cool ongoing gigs with various companies aside from my blog. Most recently, I’ve been working as a speaker for a billion dollar medical tech company which has been super sweet. Life has given me so many blessings I don’t even deserve and I need to tell myself…Andrea, you’re doing just fine.