Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Big News

I first want to apologize that I haven't been posting much. Life has gotten the best of me.

I have very good news to share with you all. I just landed my big girl job! This girl will no longer be a slave to retail, and I'll be starting my real career!! The job also means that I'll be moving to Louisville, Kentucky!
I'm very excited. Louisville seems like it is pretty vegan-friendly, lots of running paths and parks, decent cost of living, and it is only a 4.5 hour drive from my home!

I start August 1st. Which means I have exactly one month to finish up my two weeks at my current job, find an apartment, buy a car, and move. On Wenesday I will be moving in with my Aunt (who lives in DC) for the time being. Hopefully once my life is officially packed up I'll be better able to wrap my head around all that I've got to do. The good news is I have sold almost all of my furniture so I can start fresh and not have to worry about a costly move!

This does mean that I may not post much in the next month. I won't say a hiatus, but Mes Joies De Vivre is going to be on the backburner for the next few months. I plan to still post about all my subscription boxes (Birchbox, Goodebox, Green Grab Bag?) and a few other posts here and there.

I hope once I get settled in I'll be back full force!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Green Grab Bag: June 2012

I wasn't over the moon with my May Green Grab Bag, but I wanted to give them a second month to win me over. I was very excited once I got my shipping notification and even more excited when I received it a day sooner than I was expecting!

What is Green Grab Bag? Green Grab Bag is a a monthly subscription service that delivers eco-friendly and natural beauty samples to your doorstep! Green Grab Bag was started by the ladies behind White Apricot, a popular eco fashion/beauty newsletter. Each month you will receive 6 or more samples (sometimes even full-sized products) from companies that care about the environment and you. The samples range from makeup, fragrances, organic oils, skincare, body, hair, and more! Every month is a surprise, plus you get discounts on full-size items in your bag! Green Grab Bag costs $15 a month, and your bag will always be valued above!
Click here to sign up!

June 2012
This month's theme is products that will keep you looking 'cool' when the weather is hot. My assumptions are mattifying products, cooling products, sunscreens, and other summer worthy products. I have to say I do not see how any of the products are at all cool products for when the weather is hot. But let's take a look and see what you think.

Information Cards:

Organic IndulgencesLip Butter in Chocolate Mint
Yummy Chocolate mint flavored balm keeps lips lusciously soft and kissably smooth with a blend of all natural ingredients. 
Full Size: 1 lip balm ($2.95)
Size Received: Full-size! 1 lip balm ($2.95)
From past reviews I've noticed a lot of the natural/organic subscription services love giving out chapsticks. But I guess I dont mind, I always love trying new lip products. Organic Indulgences is a cruelty-free company that boasts a line of all natural, affordable products. The lip butter is formulated with shea butter, coconut oil, and sunflower oil and organic beeswax. The formula and flavor greatly reminds me of the Julep chapstick I got in my June Julep Maven box. Which means I really like it. It is buttery and soft on my lips and adds a hint of mint. The chocolate flavor is not intense. If I saw these in the store and ran out of my lip balm I'd rebuy.

Brigit True OrganicsMagic Skin Balm
This healing herbal salve combats everything from bites to burns.
Full Size: 0.15 oz ($4.20)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.15 oz ($4.20)
Brigit True Organics is a company based out of Charlottesville, Virginia that uses natural and organic ingredients that have herbal, healing power. This is a salve that is formulated mainly of olive oil and organic beeswax. Salves can be used any wounds or irritant to help moisturize and heal. I've received a lot of salves the past few months. I've been using Smith's Rosebud Salve and Climb On! Repair Bar that I received from Beauty Box 5 and Conscious Box respectively. I love my Rosebud Salve to pieces but Im open to trying new ones. I especially like that this is a stick so I dont have to get my hands all messy. Although the Brigit is a bit too oily for my taste. I applied it on a small paper cut on my hand and after 10mins its still got an oil sheen. But if it works it works. It had awesome reviews on amazon, so Ill still be trying it.

Pangea OrganicsFacial Scrub
Polish your skin this award-winning scrub that is gentle enough for daily use.
Full Size: 3.8 oz ($32.00)
Size Received: 1.0 oz ($9.14)
A familiar brand. I've gotten to try out a few Pangea products in my Birchboxes over the months. None worked well for me but I love trying out new facial cleansing products. This scrub contains Egyptian Geranium oil to help tone skin, cranberry seed enzymes that dissolve away dead skin cells, and ground adzuki beans to gently exfoliate. It smells like cranberries and blood orange which is quite yummy. I used it today and I loved it. It didn't leave my skin tight, but my skin felt clean and fresh! This may be a new contender. Thank goodness it sells for $20 on Amazon because I would never pay $32.

JourneysMother: Lotion Pellet in Rosewood Geranium Shea
The natural alternative to liquid lotion, these little pellets melt with skin's heat for major moisturizing.
Full Size: 1 bag of 43 pellets ($10.00)
Size Received: 1 pellet ($0.23)
These lotion pellets are solid bar style lotion that melt in your hand while you use them. They are meant to take out the mess of liquid lotion and were developed by a mom and daughter duo. I have to say I dont see how liquid lotion is messy? I like liquid lotion because I am able to get water based lotions that are non-greasy and dry quickly. This lotion pellet just needs to be warmed up in your hand for a few seconds and then they are ready to use. I tested it out on my hands and I found it waaay too greasy! I feel like I shouldnt be touching anything! It reminds me more of a solid salve than lotion. I couldnt see using this on my legs, but more so on dry feet or cuts. One pellet probably would last a week.

Glam NationNatural Perfection Eye and Makeup Remover
This organic cleanser can tackle even the most stubborn mascara.
Full Size: 2.0 oz ($29.99)
Size Received: 0.1 oz?? ($1.50)
This is a lotion makeup remover made with emolient herbs and organic oils to sooth and cleanse all at the same time. Plus, it helps to reduce under eye bags and soften fine lines.  I've never heard of the Glam Nation company but they are an all organic and natural skincare line that hopes to provide all the natural nutrients that other brands strip away. I usually use oil based eye make-up remover, it just works the best for me. It glides on, doesn't dry me out, and I don't have to rub my face raw. I did use the lotion tonight taking off my makeup. The directions for this lotion says to apply the makeup remover on a wet cotton pad and cleanse thoroughly. I did so, but I had to use a quarter of the container for application and I still had a layer of makeup leftover that my toner picked up. Even after my toner my skin feels a bit sticky. Not sure this product is for me.

Lily of Hawaii: Hale O Moani Aromatic Balm in Earthen Spice
Bring the beauty of the islands to your beauty routine when you slather on this delicious smelling balm.
Full Size: 2.0 oz ($22.00)
Size Received: 0.25 oz ($2.75)
It looks like this item was customized (only a few people received it this month). Lily of Hawaii is an Etsy shop, so it is awesome to see Green Grab Bag supporting a really local business ;) The owner has received much of her inspiration for the aromatic balms from the elements in Hawaii. She originally made the balms as gifts and used them in her massage practice, but so many people wanted them she opened up her own shop. I received an Earthen Spice fragrance blend that is earthy, spicy, warming, with a hint of Bay Rum. Each is mainly formulated with organic, Hawaiian beeswax. The pot is solid, but it melts on the spot when you dab. I put it on my wrists to try it out, but don't think this scent is right for me. I normally don't gravitate to spice or woodsy scents. To me it smells like Christmas potpourri. It smells nice, but not for me. 

Total value of my June 2012 Green Grab Bag:$20.77
This bag did not wow me at all. How are any of these products geared for summer? The so-called theme is silly. And although I may use organic beeswax in moderation, this bag contained 4 products made of beeswax. I generally gravitate towards products that do not contain beeswax so I wasn't too thrilled about that. I am excited about the Pangea facial scrub and the chapstick but I don't think it is worth $15 a month to keep Green Grab Bag going. And I learned that the Lily of Hawaii owner had sent all 3 balms to be sent together so we could try all 3, but GGB split them up... Not cool. I'd have loved to try the others. I was already charged for July, but I decided to cancel. Either I'll receive July as my last or they will refund me.

What do you think of my June Green Grab Bag? Do you think I should have kept my Green Grab Bag subscription? Let me know in the comments below! If you don't get Green Grab Bag, click here to join

Favorite Music Friday: Beatriz Luengo

Summer is officially here in DC. The new season brought in temperatures above 100F. All I want to do is run off to a pool and drink frozen margaritas as if they were water. In all actuality, I spent most of the day working and then walking around the city with a broken flip flop... Now that I am home I can enjoy the AC, put my feet up, and enjoy some summer music. This week's Favorite Music Friday pick is a perfect summer beach song.

Beatriz Luengo is a Spanish actress turned musician. Well her early career was performing on TV and in Spanish musicals, but she became famous starring in Spanish soap operas. Apparently the most famous one is Un Paso Adelante, a adolescent program about a performing arts school. The tv show had a spin off music group called UPA Dance. The music is not my type at all, and the music videos are quite interested. I don't see how this show was for adolescents. In one video one of the dancers is dry humping one of the guys in the group! But she released her debut solo album in 2005. It wasn't until her third album, Bela y Sus Moskitas Muertas that she became known in the United States.

I really only know one song of hers. But I can't get enough of it. I don't really speak Spanish, but I pretend to shout out the lyrics to Como Tu No Hay 2. It is an adorable little love song telling her man that she needs nobody but him because there is no one like him. The song has topped charts all over the world and the video has won a few awards. I hope you like it as much as I do! I smile every time Beatriz smiles! Especially when she comes out in her wardrobe change at 2:13. Now I want pink tights.

If you want to skip the music video intro, skip to 0:55 for the start of the song.

Enjoy and happy weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birchbox: June 2012

For the first time in months I was really good and didn't peak once! Maybe I'll like my box more because I have no expectations.

Don't know what Birchbox is?
Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that delivers a little, heavenly box of premium beauty samples to your doorstep. Each month you will receive 4-5 samples (sometimes even full-sized products) and generally a goodie (energy booster, granola bar, etc). The samples range from make-up, polishes, skincare, body, hair, and fragrances. All from luxury, quality brands. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked for you are based on a survey you fill out letting the gals know your style and skin-type. Birchbox costs just $10 a month, and your box will always be valued way above!
Click here to join Birchbox.

June 2012, Box #6
This month Birchbox is ready for summer to begin and jetsetting around the world. I love that they kept the theme going on the inside of the cardboard box with the passport stamps, too cute! All the products this month are devoted to indulging in your 'inner jetsetter.' Products to help you get to your destination and others to keep you looking great while you are there. I for some reason really love this theme! Maybe because I myself am so ready to jet set my way to a vacation. If only...

Information Cards:

ComodynesSelf-Tanning Towelettes in Intense
Who needs the sun when you can get a safe, buildable, and natural-looking tan with these bestselling European towelettes?
Full Size: 8 towelettes ($14.99)
Size Received: 2 towelettes ($3.75)
I received Comodynes self tanning towelettes now in three different boxes (GoGoGirlfriend and Beauty Box 5). I have yet to use any of the wipes. I received the other towelettes during the winter so I had no interest in having tan skin. But now that I'm showing off my legs in dresses and shorts I am conscious of the fact that I am whiter than a ghost. I'll be trying these out and will let you all know how it goes. I've never used self-tanner so this will be an experiment.

stilaOne Step Bronze
Fake an island glow with this three-in-one bronzer, primer, and serum. It also keeps your skin's oil production in check.
Full Size: 1 oz ($36.00)
Size Received: 1 oz ($36.00)
Holy crap I just realized this is a full-size!! I haven't been a fan of stila's makeup products, but I was still excited to try this out. This is a one step bronzer/serum/primer. It contains swirls of the product that come out separately but then you combine it all together while you apply. The three helix are: matte bronze that warms and corrects color, a luminous bronze that enhances skintone and illuminates, and a 'kitten' shimmer that brightens and helps diminish sun spots. Plus, this stuff also has active clay that helps matte, minimize pores, hydrates and balances, and diminishes fine lines. Whew! It does a lot. At first I was worried it was too dark, but it isn't too bad it blends really well. It definitely made me tanner than I am! I had a glow all day. The shimmer is a bit more than I am used to, but Im still excited to use it especially since it has yellow undertones to help even out my pink skin! By the end of the day I did notice that my skin had pink splotches everywhere and some acne I thought was going away seems to be flaring up again. I'll try using it a few more days to see if it is actually the stila that broke my skin out. Who knows it may not be it.

MasqueologyPore Minimizing Mask
This targeted sheet mask shrinks visible pores while amping up your skin's moisture levels. Use it daily and -- if you're brave -- during your next flight.
Full Size: 3 masks ($24.00)
Size Received: 1 mask ($8.00)
This is a creepy looking mask treatment that is suposed to minimize pores and add a glow.  This is a Korean company. I am always very hesitant about beauty products from Eastern countries because they are normally not cruelty-free or vegan. And my hesitation was spot on. The mask has caviar extract, which is fish eggs. No thanks. Not on my face. Plus, it has a lot of amino acids that could be from animal sources. And the website has no information about its animal testing policy. Skipping this one.

theBalm: Staniac in Beauty Queen
We're crazy about this two-in-one lip and cheek stain: the sheer gel formula delivers a subtle, long-wearing flush.
Full Size: 0.3 oz ($17.00)
Size Received: 0.04 oz ($2.27)
Everyone this month received theBalm's Staniac. It is a gel lip/cheek stain. The color is a reddish-pink, but luckily it doesn't have carmine! Wohoo! It literally is a gel product that you just dab and blend out. It is a very subtle color that you'd have to spend some time to build into anything more than a tint. It is nice to have underneath chapstick and it seems to last pretty long. My swatch even after washing my hand has not budged. This will be perfect to have floating in my purse.

John VaravatosStar USA
In honor of Father's Day, we've included this dapper cologne, a blend of ginger, juniper berries, and vetiver. Pass it on to a lucky guy friend or family member.
Full Size: 3.4 oz ($70.00)
Size Received: 0.04 oz ($3.75)
Maybe I'm greedy, but I'd much rather another lifestyle extra for myself! This is a men's fragrance that was created in hopes to offer a scent that isn't just current but goes with the trends. The top notes include ginger and juniper berries where the middle notes are spruce and cardamom and the base is vetiver and tonka. Many things that I am not completely familiar with. But the scent is actually quite nice. It is a bit spicy, a bit sweet, and woodsy. I have a male coworker that love his cologne, so I'll see if he likes it. He is actually intrigued by Birchbox Man but wouldn't pay $20 for the service.

Breeze through airport security with these too-cute plastic bags. They're perfectly sized for storing all your travel essential (and beauty samples).
Full Size: 9 bags ($8.49)
Size Received: 1 bag ($0.94)
A plastic bag? Really? I would have used this for my liquids if I got it before my trip, but my box arrived too late. I don't see the point spending almost $1 for a plastic zip lock bag! Even zip lock sells nicer looking bags with patterns for maybe $4 for a pack of 20. I generally buy the generic brand since I only use plastic bags for snacks on the go. Not my favorite extra.

Total value of my June 2012 Birchbox:$54.71
Wow!! What a change from last month. I was so fed up! At first I wasn't super excited about my box, but after a few days of getting to know my products I am really happy! I am so happy about the full-size primer/bronzer from stila. I am obsessed with primers and anything that can correct my skintone. I love anything from theBalm. And maybe the third time is the charm with the Comodyne wipes since Im actually considering trying them out. A great value and some great products!

What do you think of my June Birchbox? How does it compare to yours? Let me know in the comments below!
If you don't get Birchbox, click here to join

Favorite Music Friday: Katy Perry

A long day means this post will be short and sweet.

Don't hate me. Sometimes I love me a good super pop song.
I never listen to the radio, but when I turned on my rental car this song came on. I was tired and spent from my day of traveling and this song was everything I needed at the moment. It's got a great beat, catchy lyrics and a great chorus. I have to say Katy Perry's recent heartbreak and divorce from Russell Brand has made for some great music. I'm quite partial to 'Part of Me.' All of these are great songs to blast in the car or in your ipod buds.

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review: The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

After signing up for my first beauty subscription box (Birchbox) last July and starting this blog in January I've been learning a lot of about makeup, application, and techniques. I watched a video on contouring and highlighting last fall. I had a bronzer that worked great for contouring, but no product that would work well as a highlighter. After just a little searching I was set on getting theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer. I saved up my Birchbox points and here it is!

theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer
Mary-Lou Manizer without primer

A look without any cheek products

The addition of blush applied to apples of cheeks

The look with blush and bronzer applied in hollow of cheek bone, jawline, and sides of nose

The COMPLETE look with blush, bronzer, and Mary-Lou Manizer applied above cheek bones, above brows, center of nose, cupid's bow, and center of forehead

Mary-Lou Manizer is theBalm's famous highlighter. I love how the name is a play on the fact that a highlighter acts illuminate! So what is a highlighter? A highlighter is a beauty product that is brighter and lighter than your normal skin tone and should have some shimmer in it. It is used to brighten certain areas of your face and draw extra attention to those areas. Plus, it gives you a glamorous, polished appearance. It is also used to dramatize angles created with contouring. And contouring helps enhance your natural bone structured helping to thin out and accentuate what you've already got.

Many celebrities don't leave the house without having their face perfectly contoured/highlighted. My favorite example is Kim Kardashian. She always has a bright glow and perfect bone structure. You may think what you like of her, but you really can't deny that she is gorgeous. Although I do think she goes a little too heavy on the eye makeup and lashes. Using Kim Kardashian as an example, TheUntrendyGirl.com made an amazing tutorial photo of how to properly contour and highlight.

With those shapes in mind I myself got to work using an angled powder brush. I don't contour or highlight as heavily as in the tutorial photo. Instead I focus primarily on giving shape to my giant nose, adding a little plump to my upper lip, and bringing out the angles of my jaw and cheekbones. Until this year, I only ever wore a little blush, but boy does contouring and highlighting do wonders! My face loses 5lbs in an instant and in photos my face doesn't look pancake flat and dull.

Mary-Lou Manizer may be the only highlighter I'll ever try. And I mean that. Mary-Lou Manizer is a pressed shimmer powder that can be used as a highlighter, an all over shimmer (body/face), or as an eyeshadow. The powder is a honey champagne color that has very finely milled shimmer that diffuses light. The color is extremely neutral. I am very fair and pink, but I think this shade would work would well with any skin color or tone. The shimmer catches the light adding a subtle glow and making anyone's skin look younger and softer. I don't even realize that it is a shimmer, instead it is just an instant glow. You couldn't ever pinpoint a single piece of glitter nor is it so much shimmer that you feel like you are prepping for your Broadway opening. One swipe and your face perks up.

In the photos above I wanted to show you the full 'transformation.' The blush adds a necessary addition of rosey pink to my cheeks after I neutralized out all the red tones in my face with my foundation. The bronzer helps to define my faceline and nose. I think it really does an amazing job at thinning out my wide nose! Then with the addition of the highlighter I think my face just looks completed. I may have a bit of a sheen from the start at some of the most common highlighting regions, but it looks just like I am shiny. Once I add the highlighter my shine turns into a true natural looking, glow. And the definition of my nose is even more noticeable because the contrast of the highlighter against the contouring. My upper lip also looks a tad bit fuller. It may all be subtle, but I love the enhancement.

You do have to be careful of where you apply it, but that goes with any highlighter. You don't want to highlight your entire forehead or all over your nose or you'll go back to looking shiny. Nor do you want to highlight any noticeable zits, it just makes the imperfection even more noticeable.

This product is also highly pigmented! A little goes a long way! I only need to lightly touch my brush to the powder to have enough product for an everyday look. I've been using this product for almost four months now and I can still see the original pattern etched onto the majority of the surface. I have no doubt that this highlighter could last me a few years. Yes, a few years. I mean it. It seems like theBalm realized that a product that lasts so long needs a sturdy case. Many bloggers and reviewers have said the case is metal but to me it feels like any old hard plastic. Yet it is very sturdy and feels like it will hold up. Plus, the adorable pin up gal guilty of womanizing theme is too cute.

I really can't think of a single negative. It shows that a little research before buying a new product makes a difference. With so many options it can be hard to weed through it all. But this was a clear winner. And in my book, the best.

TheBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer retails for $24 and is worth every penny. Take a look at theBalm's website at: www.thebalm.com

The bottom line: Neutral, honey tone that works with all skin colors; Finely milled shimmer that adds a subtle glow; A little goes a long way; May be expensive, but will last for years.  5/5

Have your tried theBalm's Mary-Lou Manizer? Is it your favorite highlighter? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Favorite Music Friday: Devlin

While cooling down after a long run this week my favorite new rapper came on my iPod. It was then that I realized that his CD is one of my most listened to albums of all time. Which is why Devlin is this week's Favorite Music Friday pick.

If you are familiar with Tinie Tempah, Dizzee Rascal, Roll Deep, or Professor Green, you may also like Devlin. Devlin is an English rapper that is has been part of the Grime music movement since he was 17. Grime is an underground, British hip hop that mixes together different rhythms and sounds from all sorts of genres (dancehall, hip hop, garage, punk). Unlike American rappers, these guys have a unique Jamaican/Caribbean influence. Devlin received worldwide attention in 2008 when Kanye West posted a video of he and another rapper freestyling.

I only heard about Devlin after he released his first solo album Bud, Sweat, and Beers. I randomly decided to check out his album one night when I was bored. I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. I really like the way that he raps. He doesnt rap super fast and he has a distinct rhythm. Plus, almost every song has a featured artist that brings a unique prospective to his beats. Devlin collaborated with many female, pop singers that soften the music and add fun choruses to sing along with. His first single and also this week's pick 'Brainwashed' features Jodie Connor who I already knew from hearing her songs play at work. And I adore the girl because she has the coolest collection of eyeglasses. Devlin's music is youthful and fun.

I bet many people who know rap hate him, but as a former teeny bopper who rebelled by listening to Linkin Park...this is my kind of jam.

Happy Friday and enjoy!

Look of the Day: Tribal Patterned Skirt

We all have those days where we wish we could throw on sweatpants and lay in bed. Yup I had one of those days today. 

I had to wake up super early for work and had no motivation to try, but of course I still wanted to look cute. A plain black t-shirt and a gathered A-line skirt did the job. This is one of my favorite summer skirts. I bought it at Forever 21 without trying it on and came home to realize that it was way too big. After having it sit in my closet for months on end, I finally decided to hitch it up to my natural waist and tie the belt (hard to see in the photo) in a perfect bow right in front. It's still a little big, but oh well. I love how it is so vibrant! I look put together and I didn't even try. 

I decided to go against the grain and wear my black Gap tee with my favorite Urban Outfitter brown sandals. Who says you can't mix brown and black? Breaking 'the rules' got me going and I decided to wear a clash of metals. I'm wearing copper heart earrings, a silver zipper bangle, a bright red friendship bracelet, and a gold Rams' head bracelet my grandma gave to me (she got it at a casino with a ram's theme years ago). I love how they looked stacked together. I kept the red going by wearing my new tarte lipsurgence in the color Spirited. Spirited is an orange-red and I adore it! I'll have a full review coming soon. I really think it completed this outfit to the T. 

I was comfy, but boy did I feel good!

t-shirt: Gap
skirt: Forever 21
sandals: Urban Outfitters
red friendship bracelet: Gap
zipper bangle: Jewelmint
Ram's bracelet: vintage (grandmother's)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Urban Decay no longer cruelty free (UPDATE inside)

UPDATE: Early July 2012 Urban Decay announced that they will NOT sell to China. Urban Decay is now back on the cruelty-free list. Thank you to everyone who helped push Urban Decay back to where they belong! It goes to show that we as consumers have a voice!

I didnt think I'd ever be saying this. 

Urban Decay has made the business decision to sell their products in China. As you may remember, if any beauty company wants to sell their product in China they must submit their product to animal testing. Therefore Urban Decay, the company with the moto for the last 16 years "We don't test on animals. How could anyone?" is no longer cruelty free and tests on animals.

Just like MAC they are going against what they were founded on, their ethical stand point, and what so many consumers have grown to expect. They rationalize their decision with many excuses that just sound like a whole load of PR bullshit. They are saying that they want to provoke change by their entering the Chinese market. So to create change they are conforming to a standard they believe is wrong? And their justification is that they don't want to sit on the sidelines. They think that conforming will influence Chinese consumers and the government. Instead they should have chosen to work on a large campaign ending the animal testing requirements for cosmetics BEFORE they started selling their products. Instead they are making a profit off of the suffering of animals.

I know sometimes change must start from within. For example undercover agents documenting the wrong doings at laboratories and slaughterhouses. But how does changing a government policy require that? I'll eat my words if a year down the road Urban Decay alone changes the Chinese, but I dont think it will happen.

Urban Decay gave in for the money. They are no longer cool in my book. I'm actually pissed. What companies can we trust to stay true to their word? If things keep moving in the same direction by the end of the year I'll be wearing squashed elderberries as blush and lipstick.

Take a look at the full statements from Urban Decay themselves and from Leaping Bunny. If you like myself are upset take a stand and speak up! Email Urban Decay, sign a petition, spread the word. Who knows maybe we can provoke UD to reconsider!

Urban Decay:
Urban Decay and China
Urban Decay is going to sell our products in China. Because of China’s policies on animal testing, we know that this will not be a popular decision with some of our loyal customers. But the decision is a thoughtful one. 

For 16 years, we have been committed to two key causes: women’s rights, and the fight against animal testing. Our dedication to those causes will not waver. 

For those of you unfamiliar with China’s policies, the sticking point is this: the Chinese government reserves the right to conduct animal testing with cosmetic products before the products are approved for use by Chinese citizens. The government has not told us if they have exercised this right with our products. So, our brand does not test on animals, but the Chinese government might conduct a one-time test using our products. Do we like China’s policies? No…and that is really the point. Going into China was a huge decision for Urban Decay. But, we believe that change cannot and will not happen by outside pressure alone in a closed market. Change can only happen from within. When we enter the Chinese market, we will do our part to help make those changes. 

When we were considering expanding into China, a group of marketing consultants told us to remove the section of our company history that describes our crusade against animal testing. “It doesn’t mean anything to the Chinese beauty customer,” they said. Of course, we refused. Our “no animal testing” policy is part of who we are, and has been since day one. The news that animal issues don’t even register with the average Chinese consumer was one of the biggest factors in our decision to go there. During Urban Decay’s infancy, we worked hard to inform consumers about animal rights in the United States and Europe. The battleground for animal rights is now in China, and we want to be there to encourage dialogue and provoke change. 

We also hope to shed some light on women’s rights issues in China. As a company that caters to a female customer, this is extremely important to us. For one thing, going into China is a way for us to advance women into important professional positions. We will help grow the cosmetics industry, which primarily employs and creates career paths for women. Although workers’ employment rights are a relatively new concept there, progress has been made partially because of pressure from businesses, consumers, and advocacy groups from other countries. Based on this, our belief is that both an outside force and inside pressure for change can result in helping transform both the importance of women and animal testing policies in China. And more importantly, we hope to influence the perspective of the citizens on both of these issues. 

If we don’t go to China, other companies without our beliefs will, and the culture will never change. We want to encourage a culture of consumers who care enough to buy cruelty-free products, and who view professional women as role models who influence their lives on a daily basis. 

Yes, we are a for-profit company. And yes, we would eventually like to make money in China. But we don’t stand to turn a profit in China for quite a while, partially because the market isn’t quite ready to sustain an untraditional brand like ours. If it were only about the money, we would wait a few years. But our foray into this market is also about participating in an amazing time of change in China. We don’t like animal testing (and neither do the 13 dogs in our office), but we are trying to change the world… even if it is one eye shadow at a time! Sitting on the sidelines isn’t our style. We understand that you might not like our decision, but we hope you can respect it. 

Any editors or advocacy groups interested in interviews with Urban Decay founding partner Wende Zomnir may contact us at publicrelations@urbandecay.com. 

For any advocates or Urban Decay fans interested, Urban Decay founding partner Wende Zomnir will host a live chat in 2 weeks to answer questions about our entry into China. Please click here if you would like to sign up to be notified.

Leaping Bunny
Leaping Bunny Program Removes Urban Decay: China’s Animal Testing Requirements are the Reason
June 6, 2012 
PHILADELPHIA—The Leaping Bunny Program, administered by the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC), regrets to inform compassionate consumers who look for the Leaping Bunny Logo that Urban Decay is no longer certified as cruelty-free by the Leaping Bunny Program. The company has notified us that they have elected to sell their products in China, which, due to animal testing requirements in that country, will cause them to be in violation of our Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. 
Concerned individuals may be aware that animal testing requirements implemented last year in China have caused other companies, such as Mary Kay, to be removed from the Leaping Bunny list due to similar concerns. And there may be more, as CCIC continually investigates reports of companies that may be a party to animal testing in order to sell in China. 
The Leaping Bunny Program sets itself apart from other cruelty-free lists by reviewing companies’ adherence to a strict no animal testing standard and removing those companies that no longer comply. “The tragedy of this is that testing cosmetic products and ingredients on animals is cruel and unnecessary,” commented Sue Leary, Chair of CCIC. The certification program remains in dialogue with companies and other experts on the issue, and supports efforts to persuade Chinese officials to accept non-animal alternative test methods. 
Companies certified through the Leaping Bunny Program pledge to eliminate animal testing from all stages of product development. The company's ingredient suppliers make the same pledge and the result is a product guaranteed to be 100 percent free of new animal testing. All Leaping Bunny companies must be open to independent audits for verification, and pledge commitments are renewed on an annual basis. 
Since 1996, the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics has been connecting compassionate consumers with cruelty-free companies. The CCIC is made up of the following organizations: American Anti-Vivisection Society; Animal Alliance of Canada; Beauty Without Cruelty, USA; Doris Day Animal League; Humane Society of Canada; The Humane Society of the United States; and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society. CCIC's international partner is the European Coalition to End Animal Experiments. On the web at www.LeapingBunny.org. 
For more information, contact Vicki Katrinak at (888)546-CCIC or admin@LeapingBunny.org

What are your feelings on Urban Decay's decision to enter the Chinese Market and therefore begin animal testing? If you would like to see UD change their decision, sign this petition. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Goodebox: May 2012

I received my May Goodebox a few weeks ago and was so excited about everything in it! But life got away from me. I'm getting behind on my blog posts! I thought being out of school would mean more time for blogging but the more hours I work the more I want to just relax when I get home.

What is Goodebox?
Goodebox is a monthly subscription service that delivers trial size healthy, eco-conscious, natural beauty and personal care products. Each month you will receive 6 or more products customized for you. The brands and products that Goodebox send out have been thoroughly evaluated upon the brand's use of non-toxic, natural ingredients that respect earth, animals, and humanity. The samples will range from make-up, skincare, body, fragrances, and some lifestyle and wellness products. Every month is a surprise, but the samples picked are based on a very detailed, thorough survey that even lets you indicate color preferences, any allergies, vegan, sensitivities, etc. Goodebox costs $16 a month, but the value of your box will be way above!
Click here to join Goodebox.

May 2012, Curated by Jessa Blades
This month's Goodebox has a little theme based on the fact that with the warming weather and all the color trends this season we are all looking to boost our own color palette to match. So they had the box curated by a make-up artist who knows color! It is curated by Jessa Blades a natural beauty expert and make-up artist. She believes that we must listen to our bodies and use products that heal, nourish, and protect while enhancing. Because of the bad expiration dates on the Weleda products last month, we have two extras from Weleda. And! Goodebox has officially started a reward recycling program through TerraCycle! Every month it just gets better and better!

Information Card:

Tatcha: Petal Fresh Original Aburatorigami Sheets
Intended for all skin types, these all-natural leaflets absorb excess oil withotu disturbing makeup for petal fresh skin anytime, anywhere. Will not steal moisture from skin or disturb makeup. Powder-free. Fragrance-free. Pulp-free.
Full Size: 30 sheets ($12.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 30 sheets ($12.00)
The packaging alone is gorgeous and the sheets have gold flecks in them! During imperial times thin sheets of paper were used to protect metals that were being hammered into leafs. Apparently geishas would use the papers, flecked with metal pieces to keep their skin matte. These sheets are made from abaca fibers which is a plant similar to a banana plant. I love that they are larger squares than most blotting papers. I can easily blot my entire face without loosing any of my make-up! They are almost too pretty to use, but since DC is so humid in the summer I know they will be a hot commodity in my purse.

 Kahina: 100% Organic Argan Oil
Extremely rich in Vitamin E & antioxidants, argan oil minimizes fine lines, restores elasticity, improves skin tone, soothes irritation, neutralizes free radicals that cause signs of aging and protects the skin from environmental agents. Light & easily absorbed, it gives skin a radiant glow.
Full Size: 1.0 oz ($36.00)
Size Received: 0.85? oz  ($26.20?)
The size is unlisted, but from my experience of this sample pack size it is around 0.1. I've never used argan oil, but I hear everyone talking about it. Kahina is an organic line that donates a percentage of their profits to support programs that improve the lives of Moroccan woman who extract argan oil. The creator works directly with these women to ensure ethical treatment and to source the oil. These women have used argan oil for centuries due to its high antoixidant and essential fatty acids and nutrients. You only need to apply 1-3 drops as needed to the face morning and evening after cleansing. Or you can use it for other purposes: restore hair shine and calm frizz, use to moisturize hands, treat skin conditions naturally, or use as a body oil. I have such oily skin that the word oil scares me. But I have heard that argan oil really helps with redness and acne! I'll report back after I use it for a week.

Kahina: Antioxidant Mask
Argan oil and silica-rich rhassoul clay combine with extracts of pomegranate and acai to detoxify, deeply drawing out impurities & replacing them with nourishing trace minerals. Stimulates collagen production & improves skin strength & elasticity. Delivers potent antioxidants & reduces signs of aging while gently exfoliating to reveal toned, smooth, supple skin.
Full Size: 1.69 oz ($62.00)
Size Received: 0.1 oz  ($3.00?)
This one is also unlisted, but it feels like 0.5. I have no idea though. The fact that argan oil on its own helps combat uneven skin and acne makes me believe this mask will be heaven. It is a nice thick clay mask that smells minty. It seems to be an all purpose mask that combats age, uneven skin tone, and acne/clogged pores. It uses pomegranate seeds as a natural exfoliant and has eucalyptus oil which my sensitive skin will love. I'm terribly at remembering to apply masks. I may do one mask every 3-4 weeks. I should set a reminder to make sure I do one a week. I am hopeful that this mask will be awesome and actually clear my pores!

Dr. Hauschka: Cleansing Milk & Make-up Remover
Ideal for removing makeup, this gentle cleanser features fermented grain extract to remove dirt & impurities. Jojoba and sweet almond oils maintain natural moisture balance, keeping skin soft and supple. Bentonite clay soothes and cools irritation while Anthyllis extract tones and balances. Excellent for all skin types, especially sensitive.
Full Size: 4.90z ($36.95)
Size Received: 1 oz ($7.54)
I heard about cleansing milks this year. Before that I had no idea there was such a product. I'm so lazy that I welcome products that can be used without water. Dr. Hauschka's is a German company, which I love, because Germany has very high standards for natural/organic ingredients and products. Cleansing Milks are creamier make-up removers that remove dirt while moisturizing. I used it last night using the instructions Goodebox gave. They said I could use it waterless and wipe it off. I did that, but I felt like I had a layer of slime left on my face. I looked at the instructions on the package and it says to wet face before and wash thoroughly with water or a moist wash cloth. So lies! It isn't a waterless cleanser! I'd definitely reuse this (with water). My skin felt really full and soft this morning. But would I really pay almost $40 for a cleanser, nope.

Zosimos Botanicals: Cream Eyeshadow in Ivory Sparkle
Full coverage, long lasting, rich color. Great for layering and blending with loose powder shadows.
Full Size: Minipot ($3.00)
Size Received: Minipot ($3.00)
The owner of this company is a vegetarian! This means that this company takes my issues to heart. On the website they have a DETAILED list of the few non-vegan products (and specific shades, which I learned some companies aren't willing to disclose) and gluten, soy, and nut charts. So awesome. This is a cream based eyeshadow that is made from oils and waxes. The minipots are apparently a concentrated version of the product. I found I had to actually scoop out the product and kind of smear it on. It almost reminds me of crayon eyeshadows, just in a pot. The color is a nice muted beige with a ton of fine sparkle. It is a very pretty color. I love that it came with a mini applicator. Since it is so waxy I don't really want to use any of my normal brushes in fear that it would be difficult to clean off.

Zosimos Botanicals: Eyeliner Pencil in Cobalt
Creamy, long-lasting eye pencils are easy to apply & come in a variety of colors to please any skin tone and eye color. Unlike wet, loose powder liners, these pencils go on smoothly, neatly, and evenly.
Full Size: 0.12 oz ($15.00)
Size Received: Full-size! 0.12 oz ($15.00)
Oh eyeliner, it's something I never go without. But I'm boring and tend to always stick to my plain black. But I was so excited to see that I got a bright, cobalt blue! It doesn't hurt to be adventurous every so often. The pencil is very creamy, but it doesnt apply evenly for me. I get spots that are weak and others that are really pigmented. I put it on my eyes and I couldn't get it as bright as I got it on my hand. But it did look like a steel, grey blue color which was really pretty. I'll definitely still use it and see how it wears.

Zhena's Gypsy Tea: Açai Berry Red Tea
Healthy beauty from the inside out. Enjoy this ultra premium, ultra-anti-oxidant, full leaf, organic tea for enhanced health and wellbeing. 100% biodegradable hot couture, corn silk sachets.
Full Size: 15 tea sachets ($6.99)
Size Received: 1 tea sachet ($0.47)
Mhm tea, my favorite extra. It is a caffeine-free tea so I was able to to drink it last night while I was winding down after work. This is a roobios red tea which I always love.  It reminds me of the roobios I always drink at the tea place in the mall. It had açai, blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, licorice root, hibiscus, rosehip, orange peel, lemon grass, and vanilla. All those flavors mixed together were delicious and refreshing. The tea bag was one of those mesh pyramid shapes that are so popular right now. I'd definitely buy this again if I saw it in the store.

Weleda: Pomegranate Day & Night Firming Creams
Full Size: 1 oz each($33.00 and $37.00)
Size Received: 0.23 oz each ($7.60 and 8.51)
These samples were included in the June box because of the expired samples we received last month. I didn't mind the expiration and have been using my products all month long. But it is nice that they took action. These two samples expire 12/2013 so much better! As Kahina taught us pomegranate is a great ingredient filled with antioxidants to help fight the aging process. The creams have shown to reduce wrinkles and improve elasticity when used daily, although their sample size was very small (21 individuals). I have such oily/acne-ridden skin that all the creams that I'll put on my face are laced with retinol or benzoyl peroxide, not aging ingredients. I'll probably give these away. But the gesture was appreciated.

TerraCycle: Bear Naked Granola Wrapper Recycled Zip Bag
This bag is so cute! And even better it represents the start of Goodebox's Beauty Packaging Recycling program. Now we can send cosmetic and beauty packaging that generally are not accepted by our home programs to TerraCycle. Every 0.05 lbs earns 2 points. Once we have 1 lb (40 points), Goodebox will give you a bonus sample in your next box! I think it is so awesome! They have a full list of what is accepted on their website. I've already started collecting a ton of empty containers. I never realized that my attempt to recycle those products may have useless. Now I know they will be recycle!

Total value of my May 2012 Goodebox:$83.32

What do you think of my May 2012 Goodebox? What products did you get in yours? Are you as excited as I am about the recycling reward program? Let me know in the comments below!
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