REVIEW: Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo & Conditioner

Your whole life, the beauty industry has mislead you. It has lied to you. It has convinced you that if your shampoo doesn’t lather, or if it doesn’t leave your hair smelling like fresh daisies, that it’s not actually doing its job. What the beauty industry doesn’t tell you, is those suds you’re so used to are caused by sulfates. These sulfates are an aggressive detergent, meant to remove dirt and grime from your hair – which they do. But in addition to cleansing they often also dry out your scalp, strip your hair of its natural oils, and in some cases can even cause severe skin irritation. And that fresh daisy scent that makes your hair smell so clean? That’s an added fragrance… more specifically, a toxic chemical. It is added to your shampoos and conditioners, to trick you into thinking you have clean hair, when really you’ve just added who knows how many additional chemicals in that bottle to get that fresh, clean smell.

The quick solution? Never wash your hair again.


The long-term solution? Find a better product to wash your hair with.

That is where Maple Holistics comes in. The company is headquartered in Farmingdale, New Jersey, and provides all natural, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, made-in-the-USA products through their online shop. The company started in 2001 but became commercially available around the country in 2012, and I was fortunate enough to recently receive their Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set to try out.


*Note: Maple Holistics kindly sent me these products to review,
but all opinions in this post are always, completely my own.*

After my Halloween baby powder blunder, my hair was in dire need of some TLC. These products came into my life at the perfect time. I had a feeling they would restore the much-needed moisture back into my hair, but had some concerns over using an all-natural product for the long term. Would my hair become over-oily? Would it ever actually feel “clean”? Would a lack of added fragrance mean if I don’t wash it for a couple days, it will start to look and smell dirty? All of these concerns, while valid, are definitely a by-product of the beauty industry standards of adding unnecessary ingredients to shampoos and conditioners to manipulate what we believe actually constitutes as clean.

What’s in it?

Argan oil is derived from the nuts of Argania spinosa, a native desert tree in Morocco. It can be ingested, and in Morocco is often used for dipping bread, on couscous, or in salads. It’s also increased in popularity recently for cosmetic use, in the hair, skin, and nails. The benefits of Argan oil are pretty clear when using in your hair: it’s non-greasy, tames frizz and fly-aways, provides shine, and protects your hair against the heat of dryers, curlers, and flat irons.

Maple Holsitics uses all-natural ingredients in conjunction with Argan oil to bring forth an effective tool for anyone who wants to bring their hair back to life. Free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrance, the company uses a natural and gentle surfactant in their shampoo, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, instead of the typical kinds of sulfates found in commercial shampoos and conditioners. A quick google search of most of the major ingredients in their products (most of which I was unfamiliar with) show they are mostly derived from coconut oil (another *amazing* product for your skin and hair) and other various organic compounds and oils.

The results are in…

I have pretty healthy hair to begin with – it’s not color treated, I only blow dry it once every week or so, and typically wash it two or three times per week. I do tend to flat iron my hair daily. After the first week of using the Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, I didn’t see much of a difference in the overall appearance of my styled hair. This was actually a positive in my eyes, since I feared the oil might weigh my hair down or make it appear greasy. What I did notice immediately was added shine; again, much needed after that baby powder sucked all the natural oils out of my hair. My dry, straw-like hair was back to normal in no time.

After about a month and a half of continued use, I have also noticed a dramatic decrease to flakes and dandruff, especially going on day two or three without washing. This is definitely a side-effect of removing sulfates from my hair care routine.

My unstyled hair has always had this natural, unattractive “kink” to it – not straight but not quite curly/wavy. It kinda just flips out where it wants, much to my disdain. But ever since using these products, when I let my hair naturally dry, it has become much more tame and dries less frizzy. Even after a vigorous workout at the gym (with short hair I can’t really put it in a pony), my sweaty hair largely stays put, which is in sharp contrast to the gross, uncontrollable flip-out it was doing just a couple months ago. I couldn’t believe it – to actually be able to run to the store/bar/wherever after the gym and not worry about what my hair is doing. What a feeling!

I do feel like it has lost a little bit of volume over the last month, but it’s nothing a little dry shampoo or teasing can’t fix. The smell of both these products are subtle and pleasant. I started to notice after a while, my hair took on more of my own natural scent which was also pretty delightful – no smelly hair after a few days without washing (seriously – I’ve had my closest friends perform the sniff test). The picture below is on day three (!!) without washing, and I just can’t tell you enough how much my hair has changed for the better since I went all-natural.


Overall, the benefits of switching to an all-natural hair routine have made me a believer. My hair feels and looks so much better, it’s so much less dry and static-y (just in time for winter!), and I know I can feel good about the ingredients in the bottle.

Claim your free sample!

As an added gift to you, Maple Holistics is offering a Free Sample to anyone who visits their page and fills out this form! They even let you pick what sample you want to receive… what do you have to lose?

Check out Maple Holistic’s wide range of organic and natural beauty products on their website, or visit their page on Amazon!

Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose

Happy Halloween, my pretties!

Remember a couple years ago when I told you how much I hated dressing up in costume for Halloween? Moral of the story, getting creative with your makeup and sticking with comfortable clothes are always the way to go, especially in Cleveland.

After going strong with cat makeup and a vast array of kitty ears for the last two years, I finally branched out with a new costume for a Halloween party this weekend, and it was totally worth it.

So, what, you ask, did I decide to go as?

(I mean, it’s pretty obvious…)



That’s right! After watching a 10-minute makeup tutorial, I took an old black-and-white striped dress I already had, mixed my palest shade of foundation with some white face paint [fun fact: mixing with foundation stops cheap Halloween makeup from cracking/caking], piled on the purple smokey eye and various green yuckiness, and voilà. Oh, I also added approximately five pounds of baby powder to my hair to get it white at the roots [only mildly regretting that decision 3 days after the fact], and sprayed some green hairspray on the ends.


I was so pleased with how it turned out. A few friends and I just watched the 1988 cult classic the previous weekend, so the little details [like the rotting green around his mouth] were fresh in my mind. I was a bit nervous the striped dress (instead of his iconic blazer) would look stupid, but it actually worked out really well — I already had that dress in my donation pile due to a small stain I couldn’t get out, so I dirtied it up a little more and made it work. It was easy, fun, and the people who got it loved it.

[My only regret: falling asleep without washing my hair. It is now the consistency of straw since the baby powder sucked all the oil from it. But it’s not like I needed an excuse to not wash my hair for a week, lmao.]


PRO TIP: To elevate your Beetlejuice game, get yourself a Lydia Deetz to go along with your costume!

Halloween 2k17 – success ✔️

I found a new oil and it’s changing my life

If you know me, you know the struggles I’ve faced with my complexion throughout the years. My teenage years were filled with oily, pimply skin and harsh acne creams. When it finally cleared up, I was left with a ton of acne scars, awkward combination skin, and random breakouts that could strike at any moment.

A couple years ago I stumbled across rosehip oil, and it helped with some of the issues I experienced, but it wasn’t my complete solution. I still dealt with breakouts and oily skin at the end of a long day. Then about six months ago, my mom got me hip to witch hazel wipes, and that has truly been a life saver. I saw a noticeable difference in my complexion, my makeup started going on smoother, and I was less oily throughout the typical day. But, throw a stressful week of work at me and I still found myself trying to fend off a painful zit with spot acne treatment or even resorting to — gasp — popping them. I figured keeping this routine was as good as it was going to get for me. Boy, was I wrong.

My December Ipsy bag seemed like nothing out of the ordinary. A lip treatment that reminded me of a milder Carmex, a pricey concealer brush (honestly the item I was most excited about), an eyeliner that I haven’t even opened yet, another highlighter to add to the growing collection… and then there was this tiny 0.23 fl oz bottle of maracuja oil from Tarte Cosmetics.


So, my first thought was WTF. Ever since discovering rosehip oil, I’m always down for the latest and greatest face oil, but I’m used to buying oils from brands like Aura Acacia or Trader Joe’s…and I’m not necessarily all that trusting of one sold by a cosmetics line. Second, my friend just told me about a bad experience she had throwing an oil on her face all willy-nilly one night, only to wake up with her eyes swollen shut. I was hesitant to say the least, but did some light research on it and figured I’d give it a shot. After all, it was called “Pure Maracuja Oil” and the only ingredient was 100% maracuja oil. What could be the harm in trying it out? It was the best decision I ever made.

This shit has no joke changed my life. I can recall a night in my late teens, it’s seriously still so clear in my mind: I stared closely at the details of my face, all the craters and scars and blemishes, and cried so helplessly because I thought the damage to my face as a result of my struggles with acne were going to be permanent. And I’ve since accepted that fact. But in just two months of use, my acne scars are fading; my pores are shrinking; and my breakouts are fewer and father in-between. I even had the start of a painful zit just before Valentine’s Day (one that even my witch hazel wipes haven’t saved me from in the past), I applied the oil day and night… and. The. Zit. Disappeared. My friends are starting to notice the change in my complexion. They told me they thought the scars were permanent too. So what the hell is this magical oil?

Maracujá is Portuguese for passion fruit, and maracuja oil can be derived from either the passion fruit flower itself or its seeds — the benefits and properties, no matter the derivative, are very similar.

According to Tarte’s product description:

  • maracuja oil: rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin C for firmer, brighter, smoother skin; helps promote active skin recovery and rejuvenation while delivering maximum hydration

Product performance: This powerful, precious skincare oil is cold-pressed from the maracuja fruit, naturally rich in brightening vitamin C and replenishing essential fatty acids to nourish, protect and feed your skin. Harvested from the best in nature to restore balance and harmony, you can apply a few drops of this daily moisturizing face oil to quench dry skin and seal in hydration, as the gentle multi-tasker helps calm excess sebum production on oily and acne-prone skin. You can also mix it with your foundation for enhanced moisture and anti-aging benefits with a dewy, radiant finish. The weightless, hypoallergenic formula helps firm and soften without clogging pores, and works to provide an antioxidant barrier against environmental attack.

In a 6-week consumer study of 53 women,

  • 96% of women saw an overall visible improvement in skin
  • 91% of women saw a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 94% of women saw a visible improvement in skin texture
  • 94% of women thought skin appeared renewed and rejuvenated.

So, my next question is, why is Tarte Cosmetics the only company selling this miraculous product? One website suggests, “only one crop is harvested each year by the amazonian women… Tarte has a cooperative in the Amazon that supports the women of the region.” I wasn’t able to find any information to support that claim, though let’s be real, I didn’t look that deep into it.

I would categorize it as a dry oil, as it absorbs into the skin quick and leaves no oily residue. The smell is pretty neutral, and you aren’t using enough of it at once to really notice it at all. It’s not cheap: a half-ounce bottle will cost you around $15, and 1.7 fl oz at a small discount, $45 (it’s like a $3 savings… yes, I did the math). But 2 drops per night is all you need to experience the multitude of benefits. Attached to the cap is a convenient pump-action eye dropper to help you really control how much you use. My Ipsy sample from December (less than a quarter-ounce) lasted me until last weekend, and I used it every single night.

I can’t say enough good things about my experience using this miracle oil. If you have issues like me, or if you are even just looking for a good nightly product to lock in moisture and even out your skin…

What are you waiting for? 


*Worth noting that no one even paid me to write this. That’s how much I love this shit.

Monthly subscription takeover

In the 90s, when I think of monthly subscriptions, I think of the kids in the neighborhood that would go door to door, guilting unsuspecting housewives into magazine subscriptions that were completely unnecessary — who needs a year and half subscription to Better Homes and Gardens or Sports Illustrated? For a one-time cost of $16.99, it didn’t seem so bad. And if you were that kid and you were lucky, you could convince your parents to buy one for yourself, securing 12 or 18 copies of the latest Tiger Beat, depending on if they wanted to shell out the extra $5.00 or not.

Birchbox broke through as one of the first successful and widely-known monthly subscription programs, a $10 per month subscription for all the latest high-end beauty product samples. Subscription services continue to evolve today, letting consumers not only get new makeup on their doorstep every month, but also food, razors, active wear, and  now even undergarments. With the click of a button, you can even subscribe your dog to get a monthly box of treats and goodies.


It’s a thriving market that is sucking a lot of consumers in. I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend $10 a month to get a box full of goodies, or $40 a month for a new workout outfit each month. Right?


I’ve largely stayed away from this trend, mostly because I’m cheap. But also on principle: I have so many things, and most of these things tend to get stowed away in a random drawer and are forgotten about until it’s time to give them away or throw them out. And what if you don’t like what you get? Especially with the idea of clothes or a pantie/bra combo being sent to you monthly–sometimes these subscriptions can be costly, and with your card automatically charged each month, you may not realize how costly it truly can be. It just seems impracticable to me. This article looks into the boom of the subscription era and puts the concept of being dissatisfied perfectly:

“In a month where I don’t use Netflix, I don’t really think about it,” Bennett says. “A month where you don’t like the product shipped to your front door, you’ll have a visible reminder that this wasn’t a good month.”

That’s the biggest reason I’ve kept from getting suckered into one of these things. I have the worst buyers remorse, and these types of trends would definitely perpetuate that. The industry is heavily dependent on bloggers to review each product for their followers, one of the most notable being My Subscription Addiction.

Well, as it seems, I finally caved and decided to try Ipsy a few months ago. I have some friends that use Birchbox and have expressed disappointment with it, saying that after a few months they began to receive the same things over and over. I also read that Birchbox is more sample size, high-end products whereas Ipsy provides more sample and full size but also drugstore brands (which, tbh, is probably the only place I shop for makeup anyway).

I find myself wanting to try a lot of different beauty products these days, but never wanting to go out and buy it myself for fear I will get the wrong thing or dislike what I pick once I try it and waste my money. So, a $10 subscription for five new beauty products a month does sound like a good fit for me. Ipsy claims on its website that the average value of a monthly “Glam Bag” is $53.00. Who wouldn’t want to try that? Pay $10.00 and get $53.00?

Not necessarily.

Ah yes, being the nerd I am, I know there are a lot of different approaches to reach an “average,” which is fodder for companies that like to throw out skewed statistics. So three months in, I’m pretty convinced I’m getting my money’s worth–that is, receiving items that I personally value at $2.00 a piece (I’m very practical, I pay $10 per month for 5 items, so it’s simple in my mind). But when you tell me that each item really is valued at $10.60 a piece on “average”? Now that makes me want to know how much they are really worth. I think a quarter of a year is a good sample size, but I’m also keeping in mind that items may be more or less “better” when you start a subscription, and will invariably taper off because a) Ipsy automatically charges my card each month and knows I probably won’t cancel after a few lackluster bags, and b) at some point, I may not need a new highlighter every single month, despite me telling Ipsy that I like receiving highlighter.

A couple of items to note: sometimes sample sizes are cheaper or more expensive than full size, depending on the brand. To keep everything apples to apples, I’ve just taken the price of a full size item to determine a per-ounce price, and used that to prorate the size that was received. It may not be as accurate as the beauty bloggers, but it’s logical math and that’s my jam.

August Glam Bag

Lord&Berry | 20100 maximatte crayon lipstick
  • Full size = 0.20 oz; sells on their website for $20.00
  • Size received = 0.06 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.00
Beauty For Real | I-LINE 24-7 Eyeliner
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $14.00
  • Estimated value = $14.00
Josie Maran | Whipped Mud Mask
  • Full size = 0.50 oz; collection sells on their website 5 for $48.00 ($9.60/piece)
  • Size received = 0.24 oz
  • Estimated value = $4.61
Organic Surge | Perfecting Face Polish
  • Full size = 2.5 oz; sells on their website for $9.09
  • Size received = 1.0 oz
  • Estimated value = $3.64
  • Full size = 0.6 oz; sells on their website for $7.50
  • Size received = 0.5 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.25

Total estimated August Glam Bag value = $34.50

September Glam Bag

Briogeo | Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask
  • Full size = 8.0 oz; sells on their website for $36.00
  • Size received = 1.0 oz
  • Estimated Value = $4.50
Waxing Kara | Sweet Lips Honey Lip Balm
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $10.00
  • Estimated value = $10.00
IT Cosmetics | Superhero™ Mascara
  • Full size = 0.304 oz; sells on their website for $24.00
  • Size received = 0.17 oz
  • Estimated value = $13.42
Crown Brush | Ombre Angle Brush
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $7.99
  • Estimated value = $7.99
tre’StiQue | Mini Highlight Stick
  • Full size = 0.21 oz; sells on their website for $34.00
  • Size received = 0.04 oz
  • Estimated value = $6.48

Total estimated September Glam Bag value = $42.39

October Glam Bag

 theBalm Cosmetics | CabanaBoy Blush
  • Full size = 0.30 oz; sells on their website for $21.00
  • Size received = 0.02 oz
  • Estimated value = $1.40
NYX Professional Makeup | Vivid Brights Liner
  • Full size received; sells on their website for $7.00
  • Estimated value = $7.00
Pure Brazilian | Leave In Miracle
  • Size received = 1.0 oz; sells on their website for $6.00
  • Estimated value = $6.00
Indi Beauty | Buttercream Antioxidant Lip Scrub
  • Full size = 0.353 oz; sells on their website for $21.99
  • Size received = 0.169 oz
  • Estimated value = $10.54
tre’StiQue | Matte Lip Crayon
  • Full size = 0.06 oz; sells on their website for $28.00
  • Size received = 0.02 oz
  • Estimated value = $9.33

Total estimated October Glam Bag value = $34.27

Average Glam Bag value over first 3 months = $37.05

So, while certain items may not have hit my $2.00/piece mark (I’m looking at you, worthless sample size of blush that I can’t even use), and I’m certainly nowhere near the $53.00/month average value by my own definition, you can see that one or two items a month hit above the $10.60 threshold. And honestly, each month there are one or two items that I really love (i.e., the face polish, liquid illuminator, mascara, lip scrub – total estimated value of $34.80) which in total are valued at more than the $30 I spent in the last three months. I’d say for those wanting to expand their beauty bags, Ipsy is definitely worth it, at least for the time being. We’ll see if I get roped into any other monthly subscriptions any time soon….

[[Sign up for Ipsy here.]]

Time for a lesson in witch hazel

So you might recall a post I did last year about my newest skin obsession, rosehip oil. I still use it on a daily basis and am still reaping the benefits of elasticity and much-needed moisture to my face. I’ll admit, though, I’ve still been experiencing breakouts… to the point where I actually went out and bought some salicylic acid spot treatment. Yeah… no one ever mentioned your mid-twenties would be spent battling both acne and wrinkles. Ugh. Anyway. It hasn’t been ideal.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, my mom started going on and on about some wipes she found in the store that she swears by; something she called witch hazel.


Um. What? When I think of witch hazel, I think of that character on Looney Toons. I honestly thought witch hazel was like a weird name for a supplement, like St. John’s Wort. And let’s just say my mom believes anything Dr. Oz tells her, even after he got sued for giving people false information. Like a ton of times. All that taken into consideration, I did some research, asked around, tried it out for myself… now I can confidently say that after three weeks of use, this shit should be sold by the ton.

Okay, so… what is it?

Witch hazel is a plant. Easy enough. The leaves, bark, and twigs of this plant are used to produce an astringent that can be used for various medicinal purposes. The essential oil is not sold separately as a consumer product, simply because the plant does not produce enough essential oil to make that production viable. Most witch hazel that is on the shelves is distilled with either water or alcohol, depending on the use you want out of it. From what I’ve read, if you get it in liquid form as witch hazel water, that is more for ingesting, and anything distilled with alcohol is used either as a liquid or wet wipe as an astringent centered around skin care.

I’m currently using these towelettes by Dickinson’s, which can now be found at almost any drug store and grocery store in the skin care aisle. The ingredients include: All Natural Witch Hazel (Containing Natural Grain Alcohol 14% and Witch Hazel Extract), Benzethonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.


And… what do I do with it?

Let me preface this by saying my research only goes as far as uses for these astringent towelettes.

First and foremost, it is used as a natural astringent. It has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and to minimize the appearance of pores. This aids in treating and preventing blemishes and acne from forming. I have been using the Dickinson’s wipes every night after removing my makeup and have realized my pores (which are normally huge) have noticeably shrunk down. My make up looks better and better sitting on my skin every day, and even when I go makeup free, I don’t worry as much. Stress and premenstrual break outs are not nearly what they were a month ago.

It also has  skin-tightening  properties and can help reduce swelling on the skin. This makes it ideal for brightening and firming the skin around your eyes, shrinking swollen/varicose veins, minimizing the appearance of bruises, and even relieves hemorrhoid pain. I’ve read that it is like “nature’s Neosporin,” so it can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to disinfect, stop bleeding, and help the healing process.

As if that wasn’t enough, this stuff is the best after-sun treatment I’ve ever used. Never mind those expensive aloe- and cucumber-based lotions… there is aloe added into the wipes that I buy, but even the all-natural aloe gel I have never gave me these kind of results. After spending hours in the sun one lazy Saturday, I applied it to the redness on my nose and on my thighs where I got more sun than intended. It immediately took the burning sensation and tenderness out, and by the end of the night most of the redness was gone! I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I think this particular experience caused me to be a true believer in this shit.

And there are still more uses! I’ve also read it can relieve the itch from insect bites–though, I still have not tested out this theory yet (only because my Skin So Soft works so well I haven’t really gotten bit much this summer, thankfully). My coworker said when she was younger, that’s what her mom used to use on her for mosquito bites. Another use is razor burn and skin irritation, which I have tested, and it definitely helped in the bikini area. Not any more than using Listerine though (astringent hack, btw). WedMD says that it is “possibly ineffective” for treatment of itchy and inflamed skin (i.e., eczema or similar rash), and hydro-cortisone seems to be a better option. But either way, I’m convinced this stuff is a god-send. Like, why don’t more people know about it?

Is there a downside to this magnificent product?

The only con I’ve found thus far is the smell of the towelettes I use. The “signature botanical scent” they mention on the packaging doesn’t really do it for me.

And honestly, with all these benefits, if that is my only complaint… why are you still reading this? Go to the store and get some!



Top five reasons why Halloween costumes are the actual worst

Happy Halloween!

What a wonderful time of the year… scary movies on every station; parties where everyone gets to dress up like someone they’re not; and it’s perfectly acceptable to scare the shit out of children. At the ripe old age of 25 (in two short weeks), I’ve finally come to the realization that purchasing actual costumes for Halloween is complete and utter bullshit. Why, you ask?

  1. The price of a good costume. You can always tell when someone gets a costume or wig at Walmart versus one of those fancy Halloween stores. If you want to look hot, you’ll have to pay for it.
  2. They’re a one-time wear. So on top of spending all that money to look good, chances are you aren’t going to reuse the costume for a very long time, if not ever.
  3. Does anyone really look good in polyester? ‘Cause that’s what most of those crap costumes are made out of. Itchy, uncomfortable, unflattering, and cheap looking. Halloween should be about having fun and being comfortable in something you wouldn’t normally wear. Not being in something you can’t wait to change out of.
  4. October 31st in Cleveland is cold. Not an ideal time of year to be down with the “sexy” costume of anything. It’s fucking chilly out there, peeps! And more likely than not it’s going to rain on you and all your slutty friends.



  5. Shopping online for clothes is the worst. Shopping online for Halloween costumes are a true nightmare. You really think you’re going to look like the person modeling that thing? Here’s a fun fact: they have binder clips pinching the back of their costumes to make it look more form-fitting in photographs.

My solution this year for my new-found disdain for Halloween costumes: make-up. Whether you’re drawing an animal face on, a zombie, sugar skull, or a skeleton… you can literally wear whatever you want and it still looks like you put in a ton of effort. Look good and feel comfortable! Halloween make-up is not that tricky, it just looks like it is. Just google it, man.


Have fun and be safe, everyone!


Let’s talk about rosehip oil

The Issue.

My entire life, I’ve avoided applying oily products on my face like the plague. If a moisturizer or a face wash did not come with an “oil-free” disclaimer, I refused to buy it. My skin was extremely acne prone from the time I entered my teens until around 17, and aside from avoiding oil, I basically treated my skin like it was indestructible. Benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, you name it, I applied to my face day and night. I willfully put acid on my face hoping it would clear up my acne. My skin was so damaged that even when my acne cleared up and went away for the most part, I still had these scars on my skin that one day (in tears) I accepted would be there forever.

I wish I had known back then what I know now.

My skin would feel really, really dry every morning after I showered. I always assumed that was a good thing, since I thought my acne was being caused by oily skin. All the products I applied to my face were supposed to dry it out, so I figured I was headed in the right direction. I avoided using moisturizers or lotions on my face unless my face was so dry it actually hurt. Regardless, by the end of the day, I was blotting oil off my face and wondering where I went wrong.

The Misconception.

I started opening myself up to the idea of applying oil to my face when I purchased an oil-based eye serum from my friend, Erin, in February (review of the serum here). Erin informed me that the biggest misconception floating around is that oil is bad for your skin. I avoided it so haphazardly in my youth, that I put this terrible stigma on the mere thought of oil getting anywhere near my face.

What I failed to realize is that if my skin felt dry before my day even started, that meant it was literally craving moisture. Because I didn’t do anything about my dry skin, my body started to produce oil to make up what I was lacking. Hence, the grease pit on my face by time the day ended. My body was trying to tell me it needed moisture, and if I wasn’t going to listen to what my body was saying, it would try and compensate on its own… but in these kinds of situations, the body often overcompensates, leaving the skin too oily and thus very prone to clogged pores and breakouts.

The Solution.

For the past few months, I have replaced traditional moisturizers and nightly creams (which I still only used sparingly into adulthood) with this Organic Rosehip Oil with Vitamin E. Rosehip oil is distilled from the seeds of the Rosa rubiginosa or Rosa mosqueta species of rose. A cold-press extraction method separates the oil from the hips and seeds. Vitamin E oil is sometimes added to prolong the shelf life (like in the one I’m using), and you can also refrigerate it to keep it from spoiling. I apply one pump of this amber-colored magic all over my clean face before bed and before makeup application in the morning. It’s considered a “dry” oil, so it absorbs into the skin fairly quickly, and it gives me a chance to give myself a mini-face massage morning and night.


Within the first week of daily and nightly application, I immediately noticed my face wasn’t as oily at the end of the day as usual. While washing my face, I can feel how much smoother my skin is since I started… it’s finally getting the moisture it’s needed all these years. The true test, my skin tends to get extra oily around a certain time of the month, but I didn’t experience any premenstrual break outs for the first time in forever. I’m also beginning to notice my makeup application is getting easier each day I use it. After about six weeks, my skin tone is becoming visibly more even. I was even complimented on how great my makeup looked two weeks into starting use… but I didn’t apply it any differently than I normally do. My skin just looks better!

The long-term benefits I’ve read about are enough to keep me using this for as long as my skin is loving it. Prolonged use will aid in wrinkle prevention and anti-aging, skin firmness and elasticity (which is something I’m already starting to notice), it will lighten and fade scars and blemishes on the skin as well as reverse sun damage. Plus it’s organic and all natural, so you’re not putting chemicals directly on your face (sorry, teenage face for applying acid directly onto you). I’m still baffled at how much improvement I have seen in such a short time using it.

Bonus: after cleansing face and before applying rosehip oil, dilute some apple cider vinegar in filtered water, apply to cotton swab, and use as an all natural toner!★

The Lesson.

Oils fucking rock! Don’t discredit the power they hold. At a price of around $10 every three months, I’ve effectively replaced expensive moisturizers, wrinkle/anti-aging creams, and regenerist serums all with one natural product. A couple caveats I’ve found in my research if you decide to incorporate rosehip oil into your daily skin regimen–while it will help with acne scars and breakout prevention, it should not be applied to active acne (though your apple cider vinegar toner can☺). Also, while it helps reverse sun damage, it does not offer protection from the actual sun–still use an SPF daily!

Keep in mind, there is literally an essential oil alternative for everything that ails you. Migraines? Lavender and peppermint oil. Bad allergies? Eucalyptus oil. Insomnia? Lavender and neroli oil. Sore muscles? Peppermint oil. Foot odor? Tea tree and lemon oil. Keloidal scar? Vitamin E oil. Seriously, I could go on forever and ever and ever and ever about how great oils are. Do some research–I promise it’ll change your life.


For the decoratively challenged

Adulting is so not ideal. It does things to you… you start to worry about things you never used to give a second thought. For instance, when I lived with a roommate, home décor wasn’t really at the top of my priority list. Basically, I was just along for the ride while my roommate turned our [so college] single-futon-and-tv-in-the-corner into a damn Pintrest dream room packed full with a gorgeous sectional, pillows, flowers, candles and lights strung from sheer curtains over the window. No, I’m serious, the girl was an interior decorating genius. And while I was fine being the simpleton with the lonely futon next to the TV, I quickly learned just how nice it felt to sit in a living room that was so damn beautiful.


Our apartment was a picture out of a magazine, I shit you not.

When I moved into a place of my own, I had to start from scratch in basically every aspect of décor, from wall art, to curtains, to pillows and seating. And after living in the fairytale space pictured above, I knew I couldn’t fill my new-found space with just any old crap. I needed to make my living space beautiful because I knew just how relaxing it could be. Magazines, and Pintrest, and my old roommate all made it look so easy… I had anxiety just thinking about it. There are so many options — where do I even begin? Then once I started my planning and buying, I couldn’t help but think, is this really what I want? What if I change my mind? Below are some key tips I learned throughout this entire process:

  • Plan ahead.

The Home section in any store can be so overwhelming. If I don’t go in there with a clear idea of what it is I am looking for, all of a sudden I want to buy everything in sight. At least have a vague idea of color schemes and patterns if you’re browsing, so that you don’t fall prey to buying something that really doesn’t go with anything just because you thought it was cute. This also comes into play when comparing prices. Do your research and you won’t get suckered into anything!


Hold your breath and proceed with caution.

  • All neutral E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G!

When it comes to your couch, your bedding, and other staple furniture around your house or apartment, stay neutral. That way, if you ever feel the itch to change up the colors in a room, all it will take is for you to buy new pillows, a new lamp shade, or a new painting for the wall. This is way less expensive than replacing entire pieces of furniture or bed sets.

  • You really should hang curtains.

At my old apartment, we had curtains in the living room and my roommate hung some in her room. I never hung any in my room, and it never really felt homey to me. They say the room isn’t finished until the drapes are hung… and it’s true. Some Pro Tips for hanging your curtains:

      ◦If you rent, and don’t want to put a hole in the wall, or are just too lazy to do it—try Command Hooks! I did this in my apartment and it was so easy and painless.
      ◦Always hang from ceiling to floor, and wider than you think you should. It will open up the room and make the window appear much larger.


  • Don’t settle – Unless you have to.

You don’t need to decorate everything right away – it’s a process. So when you don’t find something that makes your heart completely flutter… don’t settle for just anything. Because you will be sitting there on a Monday night with your glass of wine waiting for the latest episode of Pump Rules to come on, and you will be staring at those pillows that you reeeeally weren’t sure if you liked, and now you know you absolutely hate them. And you’ll “accidentally” dump your wine all over them. And “accidentally” rip them to shreds. And then you’ll have an unexpected visitor. And then you’ll have to explain your craziness which COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED HAD YOU NOT JUMPED THE GUN ON THOSE UGLY ASS PILLOWS. See what I mean? The exception to this is if you have a really clear idea of what you want and you just can’t seem to find it anywhere. Then it may be time to settle and get crafty: turn your attention to the interwebz. Use Pintrest, Google, whatever, and try to turn something you weren’t 100% sold on into exactly what you envisioned.

  • Keep your receipts.

Kind of a no-brainer, but sometimes we don’t realize something won’t look right until we actually get it home and see it in the space. Decorating is hard to envision (especially for the impaired), so don’t ever throw a receipt away or remove the tags unless you are absolutely sure you want to keep it. And even then, it’s good to keep the receipt just in case.

And there you have it! Proof that even the most decorating-challenged of people can beautify a space like an adult. Hopefully these tips will steer you in the right direction, or at least alleviate some of the anxiety involved with figuring out how to decorate your house or apartment. Remember, even if you don’t really believe you’re an adult yet, you can trick all of your family and friends into thinking you are by having a well-assembled living space.

Beauty survival kit

Happy March, peeps! The first of the month is always so refreshing, isn’t it? Well, besides rent being due. Ugh. Anyway, 2015 has been a year full of discovery for me: from discovering things about myself, to discovering new ways to view the world around me, to the topic of focus today: discovering new products that I don’t how how I ever lived without.

Here’s a breakdown of three things in my beauty drawer I’m currently obsessed with:

1. Handmade Vegan Gluten-Free Lemon Eye Serum


Don’t let the name scare you, this is an all-natural eye serum my good friend and soul sister Erin makes and sells. It consists of just four ingredients, all with unique benefits: apricot oil for anti-aging and wrinkle prevention, Vitamin E oil for softening skin, jojoba oil for moisturizing, and lemon oil for brightening skin (not to mention a heavenly citrus scent). Before you mentally block this entire post out because you think putting oil on your face will cause it to break out, let me be the first to inform you that your whole life has been a lie. Putting oil on your face actually makes it less oily and less prone to breakouts. I’m serious. Look it up!

I initially purchased this as a natural alternative to the Neutrogena Deep Wrinkle Intensive Night Cream I was using. I only started using a wrinkle cream as a prevention measure (my mom – who has flawless skin – said she started using it in her mid-20s), but making the switch from a wrinkle cream to this stuff was the best decision I could have made.

I have been using Erin’s homemade serum for about a month now and am starting to see some clear benefits beyond just wrinkle prevention – my under-eyes actually look and feel more firm, and I have almost completely lost the dark under-eye circles that have plagued me since I was a teenager. I love that it’s all natural, and because of the individual benefits of all the components, I’ve also experimented with applying the serum on acne scars and on my forehead as well. What’s even better, is I’m pretty sure this bottle will last the rest of my life.

You can buy this product directly from Erin on Etsy!

2. Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo

I have to admit, my mom got this for me probably more than a year ago, and I threw it in a drawer and never thought of it again. Having short, dark, and thick ass hair, I try to only wash it two or three times a week, making dry shampoo a must in my morning routine. I experimented with so many different types, from powders to spray and everywhere in between with no avail. I always ended up having this gunky residue left behind near my scalp, making it look like I had dandruff. I even tried different techniques, such as applying the dry shampoo before bed and letting my pillow work it into my hair. Nothing seemed to be working, so I essentially gave up, and just resorted to teasing the crap out of my hair on especially greasy days.

Then, while packing for Vegas in January, I found this bottle amongst all of my travel-size shampoos and body wash. I threw it in my bag, with little expectation to actually use it. Well… Vegas happened, and the first morning I woke up to find my hair a grease pit. So I gave this stuff a try– and imagine my surprise when it went on perfectly, didn’t leave any residue behind, and gave my hair wicked volume in the process! I love this stuff, if you haven’t found your go-to dry shampoo yet, I suggest you give this one a try.

You can buy this at virtually any beauty store, including Ulta.

3. Rimmel London Lipstick and Lipstain


I have no idea what kind of voodoo magic Rimmel London has been working with, but every lipstick I have tried by them have been outstanding. They are affordable (~$5-$10 a pop at Target), lightly scented, the color is rich, and most importantly they don’t dry my lips out (even WITHOUT a lip primer, which I always seem to have to use with the $16 MAC lipsticks…). My two faves are pictured above – Provocalips 16HR Kissproof Lip Color (left) and Lasting Finish by Kate Moss (right).

I don’t have much more to say beyond the application is easy and smooth and the results are amazing. I rarely — if ever — have to reapply, even after eating and drinking. Removing it at the end of the night doesn’t leave any stain or residue behind on my lips (which, as much as I love you, Just Bitten, you really suck at). When it comes to drugstore lipstick (which tbh is the only thing I can afford right now), Rimmel really gives the big names a run for their money (aside: how am I just now understanding what that saying means?). Now excuse me while I go cry over all the money I wasted on MAC lipstick.


Provocalips in ‘Kiss Fatal’


Lasting Finish by Kate in ’10’

Tina Fey on Photoshop

This year Saturday Night Live celebrates its 40th anniversary on the air. Pretty incredible, really. I never thought about how many lives this show touched, how many careers it sparked, and how much work actually went into these skits until Sunday, when NBC aired a 40th anniversary special for the show.

I think every kid had that period of time, when you were old enough to stay up past midnight on a Saturday, but too young to have any cool plans or a curfew that would allow you to be out at that hour. So, we watched Saturday Night Live, and we felt so badass about it. This is where I first saw Tina Fey.


I just finished reading her bestseller, Bossypants, in record time (ok, so it took me a month. Whatever, when was the last time YOU read an entire book?). Honestly, for someone (me) who doesn’t really understand the recent rise in female comedian memoirs (Not That Kind of Girl, Yes Please…) I can tell you this one was a great read. It was funny, it was purposeful, it was witty, it was informative, and even empowering. I was probably so into it because, in a way, I grew up with Tina Fey, from her time on SNL and Weekend Update to Mean Girls (which I saw, like, 3 separate times in the theaters), to 30 Rock, she was present during a very influential time in my life.

Anyway, while this book is hilarious, and I think you should read it RIGHT NOW, and probably put her on a presidential ballot ASAP, one part of the book was too good not to share—her take on retouching images using Photoshop:

“I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion. It is appalling and a tragic reflection on the moral decay of our society… unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool.”

In this society, we think it’s awesome to point out celebrities’ treacherous Photoshop fails. If I were these people, I’d post the shit outta my Photoshopped picture on Instagram with a caption saying, “WHY ARE YOU ALL SO OBSESSED WITH ME?!” This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I am not famous. But, as Tina Fey points out, only people over seventy are fooled by Photoshop. You know it’s happening, you know these people on the magazine covers don’t ACTUALLY look like that. Let’s be real, people (ha ha, no pun intended there, but that was kind of funny).

“’Why can’t we accept the human form as it is?’ screams no one. I don’t know why, but we never have. That’s why people wore corsets and neck stretchers and powdered wigs.” This is probably the most valid point in favor of Photoshop that I’ve ever heard. I’d take a little retouching on my hips over squeezing into a damn corset ANY day. As women, we have taken steps to change our outward appearance since the dawn of time. Photoshop is just another logical progression of that.

A final thought from Tina Fey, my new favorite human being ever, to leave you with:

“Give it up. Retouching is here to stay. Technology doesn’t move backward. No society has ever de-industrialized. Which is why we’ll never turn back from Photoshop – and why the economic collapse of China is going to be the death of us all. Never mind that. Let’s keep being up in arms about this Photoshop business!”