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Beauty Skin Care

Schique Skincare Review

May 10, 2017

Schqiue Skincare, created by Dr. Jacquelline Schaffer is a line borne out of a child’s love for her mother. What better way to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day by sharing this review with you? Jacqueline watched her mother endure skin cancer twice in her lifetime and it was enough to propel her into developing skin care that was free from harsh chemicals to take care of not only her mother’s skin but all women.

Before jumping into the review of all the products, I have to say that you will probably think that this is just another skin care line with a bunch of great ingredients. Yes, that’s true. There’s nothing that hasn’t already been said about skin care that I can say differently. Yes, the lotion is soft and the stuffs smells great. But, that’s more to it than that. I know that skin care is deeply personal and not everything with amazing natural ingredients will work for everyone.

So, I urge you to take this review and apply it to your skin type and determine if it will work or not. My skin is dry, semi-sensitive (I cannot with peppermint anything), and when God hates me, it’s also hormonal [acne]. My skin isn’t so ultra sensitive that I react to simply waking up. But, it does react to fragrances and stings to certain products. That said, testing out skin care terrifies me and I don’t really like to do it at length unless I’m drawn to product for a specific reason.

What motivated me to actually take the time to try the products and then sit down to work on a review was simply the drive behind why these products were created. It wasn’t that Jacqueline got bored one day and wanted to be rich so she decided to whip up skincare. It was because she wanted to do something for someone she loved so much, to make their lives better, to pay it forward to someone special. Her mom. This is my all time dream to do something amazing for my parents one day. I don’t have the know-how to make skincare or makeup, so it enchants me when I see people who went to school for something and turned it around as a payback for their parents. I really love my parents as most of us do, so this mission statement behind the company got me by the heart strings. *Insert sweaty eyes*

 

Schique Packaging

Packaging

Just hang on until you see what’s inside (well, I guess if you look at the feature photo you’ve already seen what’s inside lol). Simple, sleek packaging with a clean gold logo that goes well with the “chic” Schique (see what they did there?) name. It’s not overpackaged and can be recycled which I appreciate. Living in Seattle and not recycling everything really makes you feel so guilty. To be honest, just this alone makes it already feel pretty luxurious.

 

Schique Product Line

Packaging

Say it with me: OOOOOH. AAAAAAH. If I said upon opening up the simple looking boxes didn’t blow me away, I’d be lying. Have you ever seen anything so pretty that’s actually cruelty-free from start to finish, made in the USA, and free of very harsh ingredients? Seriously, I had to look up their FAQ to make sure because I felt like I was holding Dior or Chloe bottles in my hands. (Gad, love those brands but as you know they test on animals, so I cannot betray Charlie by using them.)

The packaging on all the products feels hefty in your hands and looks amazing on your dresser. Simply put, it’s just plain gorgeous and makes me feel pretty fancy having it around. They all look like something that belongs in the fancy section of Sephora, doesn’t it?

 

Schqiue Hydra Glisten

HYDRA GLISTEN REVITALIZING MIST

No way this is a mist. It looks like a Chanel perfume bottle! I almost was reluctant to use it because what happens when I run out? What will I put in it? Should I be like that cool mom and DIY this into like a room spray bottle? Ok, I digress.

At First Spray

Delicious. Simply delicious. Clean scent that isn’t overpowering, but not mainstream yet not crunchy either. It reminds me of a nice spring day where you’ve just cleaned your house with something fresh.

Claims & Ingredients

*Increases collagen activity, leading to firmer and tighter skin for a more youthful appearance.
*Creates a fresh and hydrated skin tone that suggests youthfulness and health.
*Assists in cellular turnover, aiding the skin in showing its true radiance.

Ingredients click here.

Overall Efficacy

I can only speak to this mist creating a fresh and hydrated skin tone. I did feel more youthful with radiant skin. Some mists I’ve tried actually dry out my skin after a few hours. But, this mist was great in terms of actually hydrating. I cannot speak to increased collagen activity and cellular turnover as I have no instruments to determine that. But, my skin right now is looking and feeling pretty amazing which can be credited to many things like water, exercise, diet, Maya Chia, and including this product.

 

 

Schique Insightful Contour Eye Cream

INSIGHTFUL CONTOUR EYE CREAM

Tell me, doesn’t this look like the Dior concealer?? Flashbacks of my luxury mainstream makeup that I had to throw out years ago because they keep trying to kill animals. OK, I digress.

The First Application

Eye creams to me, are beefed up moisturizers. I once heard that Beyonce just uses eye cream on her face. Anyway, the texture of this eye cream is on par with every other eye cream I’ve ever tried. Without saying that it is soft, it was. It didn’t sit on my skin all day and sunk in beautifully.

Claims & Ingredients

*Brightens, softens, and restructures the eye area
*Diminishes fine lines while reducing puffiness and discoloration
*Provides a youthful and tight surface around the delicate eyes
*Hydrates, plumps, and nourishes eye contours, restoring them to a youthful state

Ingredients click here.

Overall Efficacy

Schique claims that this eye cream will brighten, hydrate, and nourishes which I can attest to. Yes, it does all of these things. My eye area looked worse for wear without it but I also layer it with Orenda Skincare’s eye roller serum for added oomph. This combination really takes hydration and brightening to another level. Because of the hydration, the fine lines around my eyes are softer and the puffiness despite never sleeping is under control. In terms of restructuring, I can’t speak to that unless it’s specifically defined as softening the fine lines and plumping. Then yes, there was visible restructuring. But, if you’re asking me if I no longer have hooded double lids (yes, Asians CAN have double lids naturally without surgery), then negatory. I still have hooded lids.

 

 

Schqiue Brilliantly Firm Serum

BRILLIANTLY FIRM FIRMING SERUM

The last time I had a bottle that looked like this was when I was using my Marula Oil cleaning oil that seemed to last forever and a decade. I know that I keep talking about the feel and look of the products, but these are factors that all go into the user experience. I’m not a package whore. I am able to look past the facade of the bottle. But, when something is this pretty, it’s noteworthy.

The First Application

This is to be applied after cleansing and polishing your face. It has a nice pink-ish tinge with a creamy consistency that leaves a nice, subtle, natural luminosity to the skin. It absorbs into my skin at a good speed. That is, I was able to continue with the rest of my skin care regimen without having to reapply or wait a lifetime for it to start doing its work. It felt comfortable on my skin, no stinging, and no adverse reactions hours later (e.g. redness, discomfort, dryness, tightness).

Claims & Ingredients

*Protects against oxidative stress from external aggressors
*Encourages age-defying skin health hydration
*Nourishment is enhanced, leaving skin firm, hydrated, and youthfully vital
*Adds luminosity and tightens, as well as strengthens skin’s barrier function.

Ingredients click here.

Overall Efficacy

Since I started using natural products, I’ve been obsessed with oil-based serums. I like the heavy duty feel of oils because I am just that dry. So, it’s been some time since I’ve used a cream-based one. Because I am dry, I felt that this serum kept my skin moisturized and it’ll be great for the coming summer months when I don’t need anything too heavy. It’s lighter than I am used to. But, pairing it with the moisturizer does make my skin “think” that I’m using an oil-based serum-moisturizer system. I think my skin really likes skin care that has “weight” on the skin to trick it into thinking it’s doing heavy-duty moisturizing. I’m weird.

Anyway, as the benefits claim to be nourishing, moisturizing, hydrating, and adding luminosity, I would agree that this serum delivers on all their claims. Because I’m not able to measure firmness other than with my blind bat eyes and whether my skin is protected like there’s no visible shield (bad joke), I again can’t speak to that. However! Because my skin didn’t react badly to the serum and that it actually maintained it’s condition from how it was before I embarked on testing these products, I have to say that the serum did its job. I mean, my husband even said, “your skin looks nice lately…are you washing it?” He knows how to give compliments, but obviously, he noticed nice looking skin, so that speaks volumes.

 

 

Schique Lumistone Hydration Face Moisturizer

LUMISTONE HYDRATION FACE MOISTURIZER

One of my two favorites from the entire line is this moisturizer. As I’ve said before, I am dry as the dessert no matter how much water I try to drown myself in. Thus, I looove thick creams. I almost don’t even care if it actually sits on my face for longer than what normal people like because eventually, it will mix with my other skincare and makeup and create the dewiest look of all time. Also, again, look how pretty.

The First Application

Thick and creamy!!! I want to slather it all over my body, but no, I will save it just for my face! It doesn’t have any outstanding scent, just the typical no-fragrance scent. I emerged from my sleepless slumber on the first night with plump feeling skin. I then went to use again the following morning even though they say you’re not supposed to use thick things for daytime, I like to break the rules. My face felt so great all day like truly moisturized and I didn’t even really need to mist and reapply anything whatsoever.

Claims & Ingredients

*Defends skin from external stressors, protecting youthful vibrancy
*Soothes, calms, and reduces age-inducing inflammation
*Hydrates and nourishes, sealing skin’s barrier function
*Causes the skin to emit radiance and luminosity

Ingredients click here.

Overall Efficacy

If age-inducing inflammation comes from dealing with a 2-year old’s tantrums, then yes, this helps in that area. I didn’t look inflamed and horrible as I genuinely felt. All the skincare products minus the mist leave your skin looking luminous which I equate with healthy, hydrated, smooth, and actually calm (even if I’m not really that calm on the inside per tantrums). My skin felt great with this cream and I think if used it by itself after cleaning if I didn’t have time to do all the skincare steps, it would still look and feel amazing. Did I actually emit radiance? I’d like to believe I did because when I walked into boot camp, everyone thought I looked way more awake and alive than what was inside (half-dead).

 

 

Schique Intuitive Restoration Mask

INTUITIVE RESTORATION RENEWING MASK

I’m just going to show you another photo of this product. It’s the most amazing shade of blue! This was my all time favorite out of everything!

Photo Credit: @schiqueskincare

The First Application

My all time favorite exfoliating type of mask has been the Gressa Renewing Polish. It visibly brightens my skin and makes it feel extremely smooth afterward. Nothing has come close to actually brightening my skin the way Gressa does. Every polish out there is meant to exfoliate your skin with the hopes of smoothing it out and making it look like a baby’s butt. Some polishes actually irritate your skin and others rip up your skin so much that it just ends up looking worse than before. I don’t lke ripping up my skin and I don’t think you do either. That said, this mask is now up in the ranks with Gressa and my trusty Era Organics
Microdermabrasion Face Scrub & Facial Mask
 (so awesome for moisturizing AND exfoliating!). I felt like the Schique mask was a cross between Gressa and Era in that it did brighten, exfoliate, and actually left my skin feeling hydrated.

Claims & Ingredients

*Softens, soothes, and hydrates while countering free radical damage
*Removes toxins as well as firms and tones face
*Brightens and nourishes for a renewed look and feel

Ingredients click here.

Overall Efficacy

Softens. Check. Soothes. Check. Hydrates. Check. Brightens. Check! I was really blown away with using this treatment (4 times total/1x week/4 weeks) and honestly, today, my pores look better than they ever have in my life. I am only saying this because I passed by the mirror and was like whoa, I cannot see my pores today! This has been the only exfoliation treatment I’ve used in the past month because my skin will die if I use too many products. That said, I have to give full credit to this mask for my smooth, bright, tiny looking pored skin right now!

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

There are so many choices for skin care out there these days ranging from natural to mainstream. It’s important to pick the one that works for you regardless of what anyone else is using. It’s your face and money, not theirs! So, if I had to invite you to try one product from the Schique line, it would have to be the INTUITIVE RESTORATION RENEWING MASK. However, if masks aren’t your thing, then definitely the LUMISTONE HYDRATION FACE MOISTURIZER because we ALL need moisturizer. I’ve read somewhere that some people swear that moisturizer makes their skin worse and it probably did. But that’s their skin and my skin wants the thick creaminess to protect and envelope it when I’m asleep and when I’m awake.

I hope you’ve found this review useful and if you end up trying anything, I’d really love to get your feedback!

 

Schique provided me with all the products in this review as well as an affiliate link should you be interested. As always, opinions and experiences are tactfully honest and thoughtfully disseminated.

Beauty Cosmetics

Red Apple Lipstick Review

April 28, 2017

Red Apple Lipstick happened to be one of the first brands I found on the internet webs when I started looking into “cleaner” beauty. I’ve always been curious about Red Apple Lipstick’s lipsticks since I’ve never seen gluten-free beauty products, only pastries at that given time. I was such a “clean” beauty newb.

Fast forward a year later, I’ve been given the opportunity to try Red Apple Lipstick products after applying to their blogger program after showing some credentials and credibility in my review abilities. That said, everything was provided to me based on my selection and all my opinions will be kind, tactful, and honest. So, let’s get this show on the road.

Extra super long review here because I’m reviewing FOUR products, please bare with me!

 

 

LIPSTICK

I’ve been eyeing this RAL Lipstick in the shade Hibiscus since the dawn of my clean beauty time. I naturally gravitate towards berries, pinks, and sometimes, I will dabble in dark shades since life is too short to play it safe.

Packaging

The lipstick is encased in a sturdy, matte black case. The cap comes off with ease and has a nice “click” that’s reminiscent of childhood memories of Mom closing her lipstick tube. The bullet that holds the actual lip product has a nice texture meant for grip and minimal aesthetics. And obviously, the outside packaging itself is cutely made of paper and completely recyclable.

Swatch of RAL Lipstick in Hibiscus

 

At First Swipe

This lipstick is 100% opaque upon first swipe applied with the least amount of pressure. It is described as a true, vibrant raspberry. On me, because my lips aren’t naturally that pink, the color definitely raspberry but with a touch of mauve. It’s not outrageously bright as other raspberry shades you might have used in the past, so it is definitely wearable for day time, at the office, at Trader Joes, or like me, to go pick up my child from preschool without looking weird being paired with sweats.

The consistency is not like a balm, so there’s no shine or sheen. It’s the most matte lipstick that I’ve tried, yet it’s not in the least bit drying. When I rub my lips together, there’s no grittiness or tugging, but there’s no gliding sensation either like you would expect from a balm-like formulation.

The weight of the lip product is something that I always seem to notice. If it feels goopy or heavy or just disgusting on, I can’t deal with it even for the sake of beauty. With this particular RAL lipstick (since it’s the only one I have lol!) is pretty much weightless and Vaseline (yeah yeah I know I shouldn’t be using it because cancer or whatever, but I like it for overnight because I wake up with soft lips. Also, huge tub for like 50 cents) feels heavier on.

The taste of lip products is also something else. I don’t want to taste it nor do I want to have it taste like anything. I’m ok with balms tasting like coffee or having some kind of faint flower-like aroma, but gag me should it be that overpowering vanilla scent. Being devoid of that lipstick taste is key and if it should taste like something, that’s just gross. RAL Hibiscus lipstick is tasteless, practically odorless, and that’s how I like it. There’s a *hint* of lipstick scent that is associated with any lipstick.

I do have to warn you that if your lips are chapped in any way, no lipstick will actually look good on them, not even this one, and not even the balm-like ones. Take care of that pout with some sugar scrub (or drink more water), then apply your lipstick, and then give it a fair evaluation.

Overall Wear

My lips have a knack for reacting to all lip products by immediately burning or eventually becoming super chapped within a few hours. That’s when I know the lip product needs to go back. That said, I have only been able to wear very few brands comfortably all day without even noticing it on my lips. I wholeheartedly recommend you try this lipstick color and this particular brand. It’s on par with other brands that you might be more familiar with like Bite Beauty and Axiology.

 
 

RAL Lip liner in Blush

 

LIP LINER

Lip liners are a new thing for me. I literally only have two in my entire hoarding collection of makeup. I know its purpose but I also don’t see it’s purpose? I hate to use that lame excuse of being lazy (because with makeup, I refuse to be), but I guess it’s more like I’ve never had any interest in them. I don’t want to overline my lips and I don’t think I experience feathering because I am picky about the lipsticks I use. I think it’s an unnecessary step if you are already using a stellar lipstick. I kind of think it’s a scam if you don’t actually need it? More on how my thoughts have been corrected in a second.

Packaging

Clean, sleek, matte black that doesn’t get greasy if you touch it with greasy fingers. The product comes out smoothly with the twist top. I love that you don’t have to sharpen it because of how the product is housed.

RAL Lip Liner in Blush swatch

 

At First Swipe

Given that I only have one other lip liner to compare this to (the new Bite Beauty Lip liner pencils), I’ll say that it’s comparable. The product applies very smoothly and doesn’t tug at your lips. It has a great opacity at the first swipe that’s not too overpowering.

Overall Wear

I tried to pick a shade that would be the perfect your-lips-but-better but alas, I’ve failed again. I have a weird color to my lips that I can’t quite explain. It’s not very pink, nor very red, but this weird berry shade naturally. However, I think this Blush shade came pretty close to achieving a suitable nude if I wanted to wear it by itself underneath a clear gloss.

It is not drying and it definitely stayed on an entire day after drinking coffee and eating. It didn’t become uncomfortable to wear throughout the day. I think if this is how lip liners are supposed to perform, it did an excellent job. I now enjoy lining my lips before and even after applying lipstick. I can absolutely see its purpose now and see what a difference it really makes in the overall look for crisper, cleaner lines. I’d definitely get more lip liners from RAL as I want crisp, clean lines for when I wear darker shades of lipstick.

 
 

RAL Eye Liner in Black

 

PENCIL EYELINER

I have a cautionary tale about pencil eyeliners here. Everything smudges on me, even if it’s waterproof. My skin is dry but my eyelids apparently produce enough oils to sufficiently fry bacon on. I don’t understand. With that said, I don’t think I can really give a fair assessment for this eyeliner. I’ve tried Urban Decay in the past, smudged. I’ve tried the new Marc Jacobs waterproof eyeliner and that thing smudged within 30 minutes. So, please take this section of the review for what it is based on my eye lids.

Packaging

Standard black eyeliner pencil packaging. You will need to sharpen this over time.

RAL Eye Liner in Black Swatch

 

At First Swipe

If you’ve ever used Urban Decay eyeliner at any given point in your life, then you will know what I’m talking about when I say this is your answer to the all natural, gluten-free, vegan-friendly dupe. It doesn’t tug on your lash line, it’s opaque, and has potential (for the right eyelids) to wear all day.

RAL eyeliner in Black Closeup

Overall Wear

The biggest thing for me is that with oily lids, I also have very sensitive eyes so I can only really use one eye product right now (Physician’s Formula Eye Booster Eyeliner in Black). My eyes are easily irritated, turn red, and itchy with mostly ever single eyeliner on the market (lucky me). That said, the RAL eyeliner did NOT irritate my eyes whatsoever.

Even though everything smudges like I said earlier, the RAL wore on my eyes for a good 2 hours before the Panda eyes started showing up. I was able to wash this off easily with my Nooni cleanser and it came off completely clean. I didn’t need to clean it again after I got out of the shower.

I honestly feel like if you don’t generally have a problem with eyeliners that this would be a stellar choice for you. I believe that because of it’s cleaner ingredients, even the most sensitive eyes like mine will feel comfortable all day long. Having red, itchy eyes isn’t the best look for anyone.

I am giving this a 5-star rating based on how the eyeliner did not irritate my eyes, didn’t pull on my eyelids, and was as opaque as the Marc Jacobs liner. This 5-star rating applies to someone who typically doesn’t have problems with smudging, smearing, and irritation. However, because I have finicky eyelids and everything on earth smudges, I am disappointed to say that I cannot use this product. This translates into the fact that it is NOT the products fault, it’s really my eyelids fault because I would use this daily in a heartbeat.

 
 

RAL The Lash Project wand in Black

 

THE LASH PROJECT MASCARA

If you’ve made it this far, bless you. I’ve saved the best for last as there’s no mascara like this that make my lashes look amazing. I’ve already given away the direction of this review, so please continue for the rave.

Packaging

The packaging is like any other mascara you’ve seen so I don’t have any special adjectives to use to describe it other than nice, black, matte packaging.

At First Swipe

The formulation is on the drier side meaning that your lashes don’t stay wet for years while you’re waiting for it to dry. That said, if you are a double-applier, then you can apply it again almost the second you’re done applying the first coat on your second eye.

The wand and the formulation must be magical because, at first swipe, it separates my lashes and lengthens them immediately. It is as black as you can get without feeling like you’re applying smoke ashes to your lashes.

The real test was in the overall wear because just like my eyelids, my eyelashes also don’t like very many products resulting in smudging, tearing, and regretting I even tried to make my lashes look decent.

Overall Wear

In short, WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY ENTIRE LIFE?!!?!??! I have ceased to look for the next mascara that might work kind of well for my eyelashes. I’ve found the one, the #LOML right here. I feel like every girl is always searching for the one and praise the Lord when you’ve finally found it after 15 years! Let me tell you right now, this gets a 10-star out of 5-star rating. If you have eyelashes like mine, short, sparse, and thin (apparently, typical “Asian” lashes), then this mascara needs to be buried with you so that you can look amazing in the afterlife. It is that amazing.

The claim with this RAL mascara is that it’ll strengthen your lashes over time and improve the health of them. I’ve tried tons of lash products promising the same thing and I’ve never seen any great come out of it. With RAL mascara, my lashes don’t fall out as much if, at all since using this product and OMG, my lashes look amazing. My bare lash line on top even looks “fuller” in the mornings. The craziest thing is that I don’t really have bottom eyelashes (read microscopic), but this mascara is able to pick it up anyway and suddenly, I have a full set of lashes like everyone else!

There’s absolutely NO smudging, smearing, irritation, and the level of curl that my lashes are able to keep with this mascara is unbelievable! Wearing the mascara by itself, I look like I have “natural” false lashes. When I use it with the Jane Iredale eyelash primer (another holy grail to bring with my in the afterlife), my lashes practically reach the top of my eyebrows. Remember how I said I have the typical Asian eyelashes? Well, this kind of eyelashes doesn’t reach anything anywhere close to even showing up even being thisclose to a magnifying mirror.

You won’t be disappointed if you have lashes like mine by grabbing this product. You needed to get this like yesterday. It needs to be in your makeup arsenal. Actually, it needs to be in your life arsenal. Quit spending money on the stuff that just doesn’t work. I’m absolutely and thoroughly floored by how stellar this is especially for being a product with “cleaner” ingredients. It seriously just doesn’t happen this way. I’ve tried 100% Pure Mascara and that smeared in 3 seconds. Seriously, thank you to whoever made this formulation and picked this wand over at RAL, you need to win the Nobel Prize for this.

 
 

OVERALL THOUGHTS, WHAT YOU NEED TO TRY RIGHT NOW

Ok, it looks I literally gave everything a 5-star rating and obviously, I need to narrow some things down here. Here’s my overall ranking of things in the order of “you must try right now or you’ll really be so sad forever”.

1. Mascara
2. Lipstick
3. Lip Liner
4. Eye Liner

I hope this review was helpful! There are many, many choices out there for great makeup that’s natural and cleaner if you are in the market for such items. It can be inundating and intimidating. I can tell you that my communications with RAL have been very kind and enjoyable. They seem very helpful and interested in making sure their customers are happy with their products. They also have a great money back guarantee! Again, the mascara, there’s nothing like it!!!

If you’ve tried anything and loved it, please share with me! If there’s something I haven’t tried but must, please let me know! I’m absolutely impressed by the quality and performance of RAL products and believe you will be, too!

Thank you for reading!

Well Being

Follow That Arrow: Notes on Getting Here from There Book Review

February 21, 2017

How many of us follow any arrows even when the signs are so obvious? I know sometimes I don’t.

I had some time today, so I decided to get my thoughts that have been swirling in my mind about this book out. Months, which might as well be decades ago, a good friend asked me if I would be interested in reading her good friend’s book. I said sure and read it the second I received it. Now, a million years later, I’m finally getting around to sharing this book with you.

 

Title: Follow That Arrow: Notes on Getting Here from There
Author: Gwen Van Velsor

Initial Thoughts:

This was a really easy, smooth read. It didn’t leave my wondering what she meant nor did it leave me feeling frustrated. Yet, it’s been keeping me thinking about it months later after my initial read.

Nothing about the writing was complicated especially given a very complicated topic about life and how love can die in a blink of an eye. The author’s husband left without any warning and left her life in what I assume to be an emotionally painful upheaval. The guy didn’t know why he did it, he just did.

I honestly wanted to know why he left and was hoping she’d divulge in this mystery by the end of the book. I also was waiting for Gwen to bash this guy to pieces which she never, ever did! What even!!! She barely expressed any anger, not even an ounce of passive aggressive anger. I could sense she was shocked and sad, but not the kind of sadness that kept her in bed unable to function at all for months on end.

To be honest, I kept reading because I wanted to know like the dirty little secrets about Gwen’s marriage that she never really talked about. DARN IT! This part kind of irked me but it was the immature, nosy bastard inside of me who wanted to know what she wouldn’t tell me. I then felt horrible about it because why would I want her to share this painful part of her with her readers? A dissolution of marriage is so private and painful and I felt glad that she never spoke about her husband again after the initial mentioning of him.

Thoughts After Reading:

I felt like I had read a version of “Eat, Love, Pray” and even though I never really read “Eat, Love, Pray”, I’ve heard enough about it to make that comparison.

My first reaction was: OK, that’s great.
My second reaction was to talk about it with my husband.
My third reaction was: I’m not sure what to really think about this!!!

It was well written. Easy to read. I felt like I was traveling with her on her journey. She did a lot of walking by the way. She also met what I presume to be a really hot young man who was in love with her and wanted to whisk her away into the most romantic life ever. God, I really wanted her to be with this young man!!!!!

I was also slightly disappointed that she didn’t go “wild” in her “love” part like the “Eat, Love, Pray” lady did. I almost felt like if my husband were to up and leave me like that, being that he’s the only man I’ve ever been with, I might as well. (Ok, I’m joking mom, I’ll just become a nun).

Anyway, I felt happy for Gwen that she found what she needed which was mainly healing and herself. She went about it in a great way which was to hike a million miles and she made some great friends along the way. I’m glad she didn’t plunge into despair and a feeling of never being able to be herself. I felt proud that she was able to keep living and that her self-worth and self-identity weren’t so intertwined and DEFINED by her husband!

Months Later:

I am thinking this book had a bigger effect on me that I initially thought because I’m still thinking about it months later.

There are some poignant lessons to be learned from Gwen. The lady’s husband left her suddenly without any rhyme or reason! This is brutal and horrible and mean. But, the way Gwen handled this situation is what grace looks like. She didn’t burn his belongings, she didn’t poison him, and she didn’t even speak poorly of him! She was angry and sad but turned these emotions to find the better version of herself and I honestly don’t know many people who could do this in this kind of situation. People get hurt all the time and our first reaction is to hurt that person back. Maybe she suppressed it but I know some of those feelings came out when she was on her million mile walk.

She never lashed out at anyone. She didn’t treat her hot, young lover poorly because of what happened in her marriage. She just seemed to be always mindful, polite, kind, and graceful and that seriously blows my mind. Her emotional control was spectacular and she never let on that she fell apart into one big mess even if she was one big mess inside.

I don’t know Gwen, but I know her friend Marie and friends of a feather flock together. I assume Gwen is like Marie and without meeting either of them, I can almost sense they have a good soul. When shit hits the fan, the way you handle the situation speaks to what kind of person you are. Do you want to stab everyone in the face for your problems or do you try to work through it like a mature adult?

I also thought to myself, “If I was having a hard time, would I want to talk to Gwen about it?” I think yes, totally. She has this kind of gentle wisdom and perspective that isn’t violent, brutal, judgmental, or superior to you kind of attitude. I felt like Gwen was easy to relate to even if you haven’t been in her situation. But, if you are in the process of rediscovering yourself, I feel like she’s the person who can talk you through it.

Final Verdict:

My initial thoughts were not all too exciting. But, my final thoughts took so long to formulate because I think I needed to read beyond the words. Whoa, not trying to get all weirdly fourth dimension, but there was definitely something to be seen past what she wrote.

I think Gwen is like a warm cup of tea. If you are going through some personal things where you need reassurance that things will be ok on the other side, this book will really help you see that. If you need inspiration on how to find yourself and love yourself again, especially if you’re not into making all the love to all the men all over the globe, Gwen will help inspire you.

I still think that she’s incredible for really keeping the dignity of what was marriage once was. We are easily too quick to get mad at our spouses and when we do head for divorce, things can get ugly real quick. I think Gwen showed us that even if a marriage fails, there was a reason why we fell in love and got married in the first place. We should uphold that moment and give it the respect it deserves even if things changed.

Definitely worth the read and I’m confident it will get you thinking twice or three times about it over the next few months!

 

If you’re interested in reading this book, you can check it out here on Amazon!

Beauty Cosmetics

Shampoo Guide

February 20, 2017

Hair is such an important part of our lives, especially women. Thus, shampoo is a staple for our everyday lives. While some of us have gone in the no-poo direction (I bown down to you!!!), some of us are still searching for the best shampoo of our lives.

There are so many choices out there based on your hair type. So many promise so many things and before you find the perfect one, you’ve already spent your entire life savings. I have tried a handful of shampoos in my lifetime. I can’t say that I’ve found “the one” quite yet, but I’m getting close.

Whether you love Pantene or are looking for a more natural alternative while you work your way up to the no-poo revolution, I’ve connected with an editorial site that’s done much of the legwork that many of us have not really done yet.

Camilla at Reviews.com has been such a gem and sweetheart in patiently waiting for me to share her company’s research on shampoo. I hope that you will visit her site as I’m sure that you will find some really useful information. I especially loved the section on dry hair because that’s who I am, dry. They’ve gone into the science behind the hair, the ingredients, and their findings are no frills, no fuss, and presented in what I feel is a very unbiased manner. I can tell they didn’t get paid to do this and I am not paid to do this either because who has time to write about things that they don’t believe in these days?

Click on the photo below to check out their reviews and findings. I know that some of them their best findings are not in line with the all natural, CF, vegan, organic haircare, but regardless of what you use, all knowledge is powerful and not meant to use as ammo to judge other people, ok?. So, utilize it as much as it fits into your lifestyle and your beliefs. I am just here to share more resources with you regardless of what my preferences are! Hope you find some of this useful!

Photo Credit: reviews.com

Beauty

Target Likes Me

February 2, 2017

If you guys only knew that my love for Target goes way back to when I was in middle school, even before it was the thing to do. My mom would drag me there and I’d always be like “Mooooooooommmmm, I want to sit here and be an emotional teenager.” I was so stupid. My mom was showing me the way before it even became THE WAY.

Fast forward 20 years later and I start playing the social media game because it looked fun, I like to try to be creative and pretend like I have a knack for making pretty pictures. I also like to pretend I am going to write a book one day so I try to see how long I can write a post for before people just want to stab me.

Anyway, so what’s the pinnacle of the Instagram game? For some people it’s reaching 10,000 followers and for others it’s making friends. I’ve made some friends, like 9 that I really actually would invite to my home for coffee. I’ve also had exciting times like when Wayne Goss liked all my pictures of his brushes, when Nate Berkus liked this photo, and when Musings of a Muse became a friend. THESE ARE THE FAMOUS PEOPLE, people!!

Now, the real pinnacle of my IG time is this right here. Call me names, call me silly, call me whatever you want and judge me, but this is literally too much for me right now. The moment Target followed me and then requested to use this photo as part of their Awesome Shop. OMG, HELLO, MIC DROP.

This is like that person you’ve had a major crush on forever and you’ve been having a one-sided love affair with, finally notices you. Just, cannot.

THANK YOU, TARGET. YOU’VE MADE MY ENTIRE ADULT LIFE RIGHT NOW.

Photo Credit: Target

Beauty

MEMEBOX LIMITED EDITION BENTON TRAVEL SET GIVEAWAY

January 16, 2017

I’m so excited to host this amazing giveaway with Memebox USA for the Limited Edition Benton Travel Set! If you’re new to Korean Beauty, Benton is a brand, in my opinion, that is a great “starter” brand to get your toes wet with! We invite you to enter the giveaway and hope you get a chance to try this out!!

MEMEBOX Limited Edition Benton Travel Set

Here’s a close up of the skin-beautifying products included in the set!!!

Close up Memebox L.E. Benton Travel Set

Well Being

Being Happy Every Morning

December 30, 2016

When Jan 1, 2017 rolls around and I open my eyes, I want to wake up happy. My goal of being happy every morning is an elusive one but one I think I can reign in if I try hard enough. I don’t even want 6-pack abs or to fit into my super skinny jeans. I used to have a trillion resolutions but now that I’m nearing 40, all I want to be is happy. I’ve definitely Googled the following: How can I be happy? How to wake up happy? How to stay happy? Am I happy enough? What is happy? Is happy real?

It’s not as easy as telling yourself “hey, be happy” and then you go on being happy. It’s a lot of hard work to be happy, to maintain that happy feeling in the midst of life. As I age, my “happy” feelings, unfortunately, seem to coincide with the hormonal party that ensues in my body. A party that I didn’t get invited to, one I didn’t want to go to, but one I’m forced to go to. You know how fun those are.

So, I did a search on the web to see what people have said about being happy. It’s far more than thinking about things you’re grateful for. It actually starts the second you start waking up. I’ve always suspected that I walked into class in grad school cranky as hell and cold because I’d wake up in a panic. Then, I’d panic all the way to class while suffering a walk from the parking lot with a wind chill of -20F. After the feeling returned to my limbs and my blood slowly came out of its frozen state, I was pretty content being at school and seeing my 2 friends.

It can be as simple when you’re not ungrateful like me to just be happy to wake up another morning. I generally don’t feel like I get enough sleep. But, what parent does? I ruminate and fester sometimes and wake up utterly irritated. Call it future-led-anxiety or overthinking, but I’m not a morning person and never have been. Maybe, this can be something to add to my resolutions: make friends with early mornings.

Anyway, here’s what I wrote and my boss, Teri, let me put it up on our site because she thought it was hilarity. Take a peek and hopefully, you’ll like it, too. How do you wake up happy and stay happy? I don’t want the cheesy answer of “I am so grateful to have my kids drop kick me in the face at 545am every morning.” Just stop.

Photo Credit: today.com

Well Being

Dealing with the Seasonal Affective Disorder

December 10, 2016

Winter is upon us here in the Pacific Northwest! It’s already snowed, the temperatures are struggling to stay above 40F, and our Christmas tree is up! Aside from all the lights and presents lurks a monster that many of us struggle with this season. It’s the SADS: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Literally, you feel sad and you even walk sadly. It’s the kind of blah-ness that comes with the not seeing the sun for weeks on end. But, when the sun comes out, you feel like skipping through the streets and playing some fun rap song on the radio with the windows down.

Mental health issues are a real thing and by no means should we ever be dramatic about depression, anxiety, etc. With that said, seasonal depression, while grueling and painful, lifts when the sun peaks during the winter and disappears completely by spring and summer. I am not sure that you should lump yourself into the same category as those who truly suffer from depression and try to say you understand how they feel. SAD sufferers are kind of on the tip of the iceberg. People who manage depression year round are in the iceberg. So, what I’m saying is don’t be a jerk to someone dealing with depression and say, “I know how that feels because I have it just in the winter, from November 28h to December 3rd.” You’re going to get some evil eye emojis back at you.

My own experience with the SADS started when I moved to Seattle after we got married in 2010. My first winter seemed exciting at first but then I was always sleepy, tired, unmotivated, and moody. I started regretting moving here and thought about living a separate but married life from my husband safe from the dark clouds back in sunny Southern California. I didn’t realize that I was dealing with the SADS until 2011 when the sun didn’t come out from November until the next year in March. I got one of those light boxes and a Keurig to try to keep my sanity.

Ever since I went on WEBMD where they told me it wasn’t a tumor or Malaria, I’ve learned how to deal with the dark winter months in Seattle. I take vitamins, exercise, drink coffee (not like jugs even though I may lead you to believe I do), installed super bright lights in my house, and interact with people who don’t seem affected by the weather as much.

I can tell you that it feels like you’re trying to run the daily race wearing 500 lbs ankle weights. You can’t distinguish day from night. It feels like you’re perpetually living in a day that’s always 630am or 435pm. Your body is constantly releasing melatonin due to lack of vitamin D so you are fighting to keep the happy hormones in your system. Quick tip: 65 jumping jacks can do wonders.

Anyway, if you are like pretty meh and blah once winter hits, you are not alone and it’s ok to admit you are dealing with the SADS. Tell your family, your friends, and most likely, they will commiserate with you. I will commiserate with you!

Try to get out often, be in the world even though it’s easy to stay cooped up like a chicken who can’t even free range at home. Target is your friend. Getting coffee with your friend in the afternoon can get all the happy hormones flowing and you’ll soon forget that it’s dark outside at 334pm.

I wrote about this a little more seriously over at TERIMIYAHIRA.COM where I include some science and facts, and a lot less rambling. Check it out below!

Well Being

Tazeka Aromatherapy Review

November 17, 2016

Tazeka Aromatherapy has really found a way to change my views on aromatherapy for good. I am drawn to products that have some sound scientific backing connected with them. I am not that person who believes in crystals and oils to alleviate any actual serious ailment outside a relaxing spa experience. Maybe my skin is thick and my brain is too closed, dense, and unable to let any of such goodness penetrate.

Maybe, I’m also a fan of Advil because that stuff actually really works for most things.

Then came along Tazeka Aromatherapy. They kindly contacted me and offered to send my choice of 4 aromatherapy blends for me to test. I had never heard of them and when I went to their site, I was instantly blown away instantly by their on point packaging! Housed in this gorgeous colored case is a roller ball of blended oils claiming to help you with anything from headaches to feeling happier.

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve tried aromatherapy when I first got into clean beauty. I made the change after reading that perfume like my beloved Chloe was going to make me birth babies with 6 eyeballs and make my hormones go haywire. I cut down on Chloe and made a whole-hearted attempt to try to go more natural with my aromas. Perhaps I didn’t go to the right place and perhaps I chose the wrong scents. But, nothing I tried ever made me smell elegant nor did it make me feel happy like Chloe did. The organic aromatherapy blends made my husband ask me if I was becoming a tree. Surprisingly, they actually gave me headaches and smelled superficial! Then, gone were the days of compliments like, “Wow, you smell great, what is that?”

I went back to Chloe because I’m done having kids so no one is coming out with 6 eyeballs. My hormones are already disrupted because I am a person with 2 kids nearing 40. A person who is alive and can’t get away from things that disrupt hormones like I don’t know, LIFE.

 

What is Tazeka Aromatherapy?

Each Tazeka blend contains 100% organic, unsprayed, or wild-crafted pure essential oils, pure organic jojoba wax, and natural tocopherols. (That means vitamin E. It’s a great natural preservative—both for your skin and for our blends!) We use only the highest-quality, ethically-farmed and harvested ingredients, sourced from farmers and distillers we trust. We don’t want any synthetic additives coming between you and the power of the plants, and we stand by the integrity of our products.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Optimism – $39.50
Claims: To enliven and uplift your spirits.
Scent: Clary sage & warm citrus.

Efficacy: This blend was the most intriguing because I really love citrus, fresh, and “happy” scents. I’ve tried other organic citrus scents that ended up smelling overwhelming or like Lemonheads. I was pleasantly surprised to feel that this blend actually made me feel optimistic. It’s sitting on my desk right now as I furiously type away. It’s actually fresh, uplifting, and when I take a big deep whiff, I can honestly feel my mood lift.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Soothe Your Stress – $44.95
Claims: For peaks of sudden stress, but best over time for anxiety that can cut off hope & happiness.
Scent: Deep rose & woody vetiver.

Efficacy: Lovely stress, one of my all-time favorite topics. The short story is: stress kills and some days, I actually don’t want to die. I think I handle it well, usually. My family would say I implode with every minor tinge of stress that comes my way. Stress from the outside world can be easily tossed in the garbage in my opinion. If it’s from someone I don’t care about, then I give zero poo’s. But, stress from family is another thing because feelings are involved.

Anyway, this scent reminds me of nature but in a good, fresh way. It actually makes me feel like I can let go of whatever is stressing me out for that moment, regroup, and come back with a better perspective to tackle it. You know how you’ve gone out of a walk to look at the trees, the sky, and even some weeds along the way? Then, you come back feeling invigorated and like your soul isn’t so doomed. That’s what this scent will make you feel.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Non-Stop Thoughts – $44.95
Claims: Supports intellect, clears out stagnant thoughts, & helps you get over being a perfectionist.
Scent: Cardamom & myrrh.

Efficacy: It makes me cackle but I’m not ever trying to be a perfectionist. Just look at my hair that I never brush. That aside, I don’t know about you but I think a lot. It feels like there’s always so much to do and not enough time. There’s a lot of expectations to do a lot because hey, taking care of 2 kids is really easy. My thoughts are riddled with what I can get off my to-do list in the 5 minutes I have right now. And, what needs I’ll have to address until the end of time. This blend has helped to give me pause in the day. I need it. Everyone needs it. We aren’t machines to be producing work and gourmet meals every second of the day. This blend allows me to give myself permission to not think about one thing for at least .76 minutes.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Headache Helper – $44.95
Claims: Relieves pain, inflammation, & helps to center your mind.
Scent: Cornmint, lavender, & frankincense oil.

Efficacy: I’ve experienced about 5.5 headaches in my lifetime, even after kids. I know, I guess I could be considered lucky. But, my mom had migraines (thanks to me) frequently and I know she would use this Tiger Balm to help quell the pain. I’ve rolled this directly onto my temples for those days when my life feels numb and foggy. I also carry this around with me to inhale whenever I am under duress. It’s not overly minty where it would irritate one’s skin or overly tainted with lavender. It’s honestly the perfect blend of calm, uplifting, and soothing. I really love this blend! For once, something that’s not actually Advil that does help headaches, the natural way.

 

 

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

Photo Credit: Tazeka Aromatherapy

 

Aprodite – $44.95
Claims: To bring emotional and physical sensuality alignment and ignite passion.
Scent: Jasmine, rose, & spicy cardamom.

Efficacy: Okay, so you’re thinking I wanted to try this to seduce my spouse or whatever. But, the truth is I wanted to see if this was going to smell that like that horrid vanilla scent that everyone used to wear. I never understood how vanilla could be calming and sexy. I love vanilla ice cream but the scent, organic or artificial, it’s just gag-inducing to me. Thankfully, Tazeka used jasmine and rose which I think makes more sense because these scents are beautiful. I want to smell beautiful, not delicious. It’s not too strong, musky, and definitely not vanilla. And, since we are all grown adults here, it doesn’t smell like you are trying too hard to ignite passion. That just smells actually gross. Easily wearable and won’t offend anyone, especially that baby with 6 eyeballs I may have created while wearing Chloe.

 

Is it Worth Sharing Over Coffee?

By now, you’ve noticed that these appear pricey. Sure, but what great scent/perfume isn’t? You might be thinking, “You got this for free so of course, you’d say great things about it.” The last time I checked, I didn’t sell my soul to the devil for free products. I don’t think that had I not liked any of these scents, that I’d lose anything by basically saying, “Don’t become that gross vanilla wearing lady trying to seduce everyone”. I’d rather lose product reviews than my integrity that I’ve racked up a good $150,000 in student debt with to learn how to report things unbiasedly.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not a true believer of aromatherapy. I don’t think essential oils cure AIDS, HIV, and definitely not cancer. I don’t even think they really cure sore throats, I’d rather drink Vicks. I also don’t think they drive away evil spirits and clear the air of negative energy.

I do, however, believe they clear my nose when it’s clogged and freshens up a stinky room. Ever burn those soy candles with essential oils after someone’s fried fish at 8am in your house? Works. I also believe they help when my baby boys have colds. God forbid I poison them with Vicks unless I want them to wake up with 6 eyeballs.

That said, I’d be delighted to wear any of these scents to meet a friend over coffee. I’d even carry all of them with me to let that friend smell and roll it on themselves, too. Tazeka Aromatherapy actually works as describes for each scent. They keep it simple and don’t overhype their product with claims of curing the world and tumors. Again, this is coming from someone who doesn’t think lavender is really even that calming. None of the scents are overwhelming. I would not be afraid to wear it next to someone who all allergic to all the aromas.

Absolutely enjoyable and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to say “hey, I have some great essential oils that could help with your stress.” I wouldn’t think twice to try their other scents, especially Meditation Guru because I bet my family would say I need some zen right about now.

Lastly but not least, I need to mention the company. Kristina who is my contact person has been really gracious and a complete gem to interact with. She’s easy going and has never pressured me for a review. When I touched base with her to give her quick feedback, she was so excited and shared with her team. Then, guess who emails me- the owner herself, Ms. Zena Hallam. She thanked me for my feedback and was very appreciative. In a world where large businesses easily thrive and small businesses need to work really hard to gain trust and rapport, this is where simple correspondences like these make all the difference. #suckerforhandwrittennotes

 

RATING SCALE:

 

 

WHERE TO PURCHASE: Directly at Tazeka Aromatherapy.

Well Being

Coping with Death

November 16, 2016

Coping with death, what a way to get this off to on right foot. This is probably going to be my most morbid post but I’ll tell ya, it felt good to get it all out. The tricky thing with death is that we all know it’s going to happen, but we don’t know when. Then, the major test of life seems to be how we cope with it.

The sad thing about life is that the older we get, the more death we experience. Sometimes, it gets to you and other times, it’s just an event in someone else’s life where you feel bad for them. When it gets to you, it’s a whole different story. The last few years, it’s been death after death, mostly resulting from cancer and NOT from old age. Peers my age are losing the battle and it leaves you reeling because you always think that could’ve been me.

I wrote a piece for our editorial (www.terimiyahira.com) that is deeply personal to me. I always think there’s a fine line between being personable and personal. I do not like to get personal. Letting people in is a great thing if that person treats your life with respect and care. But, sometimes letting people in can be a bad life decision that you don’t see until years later. I guess I wrote this more for me and I hope that somewhere along the way, it can help someone who’s been through it.

This was published in October which arguably is the toughest month of the year for me. Sometimes, I’m able to keep it together and other times, I’m stuck the entire month and it just feels like life is keeping me in the mud. In psychology, we study the stages of grief and textbooks make it seem so linear. You move from one stage then you go to the next. In real life, it’s not like that because you can make one stride forward today and then tomorrow, you are back to square one.

What I’ve learned is that life doesn’t ever stop because you want it to stop. This can feel like no one cares and that no one is sensitive to your feelings. Sure, in some aspects that’s probably very true. But, if we are to think positively about anything, especially about sudden death, it’s that the world keeps going in order to help you keep going.

If you want to see an abbreviated version of how I tried to deal with sudden death, click on that emo picture below and let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear how you coped with a hard time in your life.