Category Archives: Travel

Be Prepared for Summer with Jane Iredale (Giveaway!)

Here in New York we’ve been hit with an intense heat wave already this summer.  So, being the super generous and timely people that they are, jane iredale has put together a really great giveaway for our readers consisting of a beach-ready cosmetic case filled with all the SPF, bronzing and hydrating essentials needed to enjoy warm summer days, whether you are hitting the beach or just faking a golden glow at the office. The set includes:

  •  Tantasia (two deluxe samples), a 2-in-1 self tanner and bronzer
  •  Powder-Me SPF (deluxe sample, in Translucent), a dry mineral sunscreen for face and body
  •  LipDrink SPF 15  (deluxe sample), a quenching fruit-infused protective balm for lips
  •  POMMIST Hydration Spray (full size), a refreshing spritz with UV-protective pomegranate that sets makeup and soothes inflammation
  •  A jane iredale  clear cosmetic case, perfect for traveling and packing into a beach bag

Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF TranslucentAll of these products are suitable for every skin type and tone (even the translucent Powder-Me SPF works for dark skin tones).  I’ve been using the Powder-Me SPF in Translucent for a couple months now and really enjoy the flexibility of dusting a little SPF protection after applying my makeup.  It’s also great for stashing in your bag and quickly touching up any areas that are prone to getting too much sun, despite my diligent sunscreening (for me that’s my chest and nose).

We’ve yet to try the LipDrink SPF 15 balm, but on a side note, Emily has been using another Jane Iredale lip product that she Jane Iredale PureGloss Sangria is enjoying (not included in the giveaway).  She  previously reviewed her first Jane Iredale lip gloss here, and since then, got her wish to try one of their shimmery PureGlosses since the nice people at Jane Iredale sent her one to test out!  Says Emily, “Well, my friends, it lives up to my hopes! Shiny, sticky (in the good way), and yes, shimmery, Jane Iredale’s Sangria has made the cut as one of the few lip products I keep in my purse (currently sharing that honor with Alima Pure’s Nourishing LipBalm in Fig and W3LL PEOPLE’s Universalist #4, which I will be writing a lot more about soon!).  When you really want that old-school gloss feeling, PureGloss is a great option.  Like all glosses, it doesn’t last long, but you get the joy of reapplying, where you get to smell the scent all over again and feel refreshed and new.”

Jane Iredale POMMISST

I haven’t tried the Pommist Hydration Spray yet either, but it sounds so lovely that I want to pour it in a summer cocktail!  I’m currently using a rosewater mist for lots of uses: to set my makeup, use as a toner, and as a refreshing spritz in the afternoon.  But the added UV protection of Pommist sounds perfect for this weather.

Leave a comment below to enter this generous, summery giveaway.  Bonus entries for following Jane Iredale @janeiredale on Twitter and Instagram, as well as  Just let us know in the comments what bonus entries you’re eligible for so we can give you extra entries.  This contest is open to US shipping addresses only and will end on Monday, 7/22/13 at midnight EST.


Filed under Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts, Lipstick/gloss/balm, Sunscreen, Toner, Travel

Babies Eat These Sunscreens Up (Hopefully Not Literally)

Posted by:  Jordan

We took our 3 month old baby girl to Puerto Rico for a little vacation last month and I asked the pediatrician if I could use sunscreen on her (I’ve read conflicting views of sunscreen on babies under 6 months).  She said to just make sure I did a test patch on her to be certain there were no allergies.   Of course, I also had to make sure that the ingredients were safe and all-natural. Being the product junkie that I am, I couldn’t be satisfied with just bringing one sunscreen with us on vacation–no, I had to bring three.  All three of these sunscreens are listed on EWG’s Safest Sunscreen list from 2011

First in my bag was my tried-and-true Marie Veronique’s Kid Safe Screen (see my review of that sunscreen here), which I mainly used for myself, but I did use it on my daughter occasionally as well…it just happens to be one of my personal favorites so I didn’t exactly want to share.  Mom of  the year award??


I had some leftover Badger Unscented Sunscreen from last summer that I also brought with us.  This one used to be my husband’s favorite until he tried the Marie Veronique sunscreen (again, I was reluctant to share).  This sunscreen was great for covering large portions of my daughter’s body because it was so thick and spreadably creamy, so it was simple to make sure we had all portions of exposed skin covered.  Notice the 2.9 oz size–thank you for thinking of air travelers, Badger!


Finally, I bought a travel and diaper-bag friendly sunscreen stick from California Baby, which is so convenient!  The small, lightweight size makes it perfect for keeping in your bag for spontaneous trips to the park, which we’ve been doing a lot this past week since we’ve been blessed with 70 degree days here in NYC.  The trick to this sunscreen is to apply it to your fingers first, and then spread it on your baby’s face, ears, etc; otherwise, if you apply it directly to the skin it can sometimes leave tiny clumps that are hard to blend in.   The stick form is great for baby’s face because when you’re applying sunscreen to a squirmy child they have an annoying tendency to want to turn their head away from the sunscreen blitzkrieg.  The stick makes it less likely for you to accidentally get sunscreen in baby’s eye as you’re trying to pin him or her down.

With this arsenal of safe and effective sunscreens, hopefully I’ll prevent my daughter from having to get her sunspots removed via light-therapy in 30 years, like I recently did.  Curses to you, pre-prom tanning beds.


Filed under Baby, Sunscreen, Travel

Dr Hauschka Makeup Palette in Cool Breeze

Posted by:  Jordan

I recently had a much-needed massage at Area Yoga and Spa on Smith Street in Brooklyn, and as I was paying for the treatment, I noticed a 50% off table.  To my delight this beautiful makeup palette from Dr. Hauschka was among the sale goodies!  It retails for $50 but I got it for just $25!! (If you live in Brooklyn, you might call the store to see if they still have them on sale…this was about 3 weeks ago that I bought it.)  Isn’t it fun for Spring?  It also comes in Warm Breeze (more warm-toned colors) but I thought the turquoise just added a punch of color that would look nice in small doses.  I love using the top color (a shimmery champagne color) on my lid and the darker brown in the crease.  The eyeliner that comes with the palette is Aqua so I use that as a liner and then, using a wet eyeliner brush dipped in the turquoise shadow, I trace over the liner, which adds just a bit more of the gorgeous aqua color at the lash line.  You can also use the turquoise shadow as a sheer wash all over the lid, which looks nice with just a charcoal liner and black mascara.  The lip colors are both very neutral and wearable.  My only complaint is that they both have shimmer in them, and I wish one of them was shimmer and one not.  But I do like both of the colors and the texture is creamy and easy to apply with the included brush.

Today I am packing for our annual escape-the-winter-trip to Puerto Rico and this palette is definitely coming along.  The only other makeup I’m bringing is a mascara, my Marie Veronique tinted moisturizer with SPF, and my Vapour Multi-Use blush in” Spark”.  Makes packing a bit easier!


Filed under Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts, Makeup Palettes, Product Reviews, Travel

Quick Fixes and Multi-Taskers: Essentials for a New Mom

Posted by:  Jordan

Apologies for the lack of posts…the end of 2011 has been hectic with a new baby, so not only have I had less time to blog, but I’ve also unfortunately had less time to test out new beauty products.  My daughter is currently napping on my husband’s chest, so I’m taking the gift of a few quiet minutes to updates you guys on a few of my favorite products that I haven’t yet had a chance to report on.

As a new mom, spare time for myself is a luxury.  So any product that is a multi-tasker is a huge plus.  Multi-tasking is what Skin and Bones excels at.  Skin and Bones is a company that sells only two products–a cleanser and a moisturizer–and handy products they are.  The 100% natural and vegan cleanser is a face and body cleanser with just a touch of exfoliating black jojoba beads, so this one product can replace your face cleanser, body cleanser, and exfoliator.  Think of this cleanser as a really glamorous alternative to Dr. Bronner’s.  Note:  Like Dr. Bronner’s, I don’t recommend this product as a shampoo replacement (even though Skin & Bones doesn’t advertise it as a shampoo on their website, I wanted to give it a try for test purposes).  It’s not terrible, and it would do in a pinch, but it left my fine hair too heavy and greasy looking.  However, on the night I tested this cleanser as a shampoo, my husband commented–out of the blue, not knowing I had tested out a new “shampoo”– that my hair looked nice and had a lot of body (I didn’t even know he knew that hair could have “body”).  He doesn’t normally seem to notice things like when I haven’t washed my hair in 3 days, so to have him comment on it said something.  So there you go!  To each his own.

The other Skin and Bones product is their 100% organic all-purpose moisturizing oil.  This oil can be used as a body/face/cuticle/hair moisturizer, a massage oil, an invigorating scalp oil, stretch mark preventer…the list goes on and on.  Really, you can use it on anything that ails you!  The scent of both products is pleasingly unisex and woodsy, so they’re great for the whole family (as long as you’re not against woodsy, spicy scents).  Both of these items are perfect for travel since they replace so many products.  They even sell a TSA-approved travel size of the moisturizer on their website.  For an extra skin-exfoliating boost, just grab a sugar packet from the hotel coffee nook and add it to a handful of the oil to create a perfect travel-friendly exfoliator.

Another product that I’m enjoying in my new-mom beauty routine is a quick 5 minute exfoliating facial mask from Naturopathica.  The Sweet Cherry Brightening Enzyme Peel is a speedy way to brighten and smooth my sleep-deprived skin.  The cherry scent is just like fresh squeezed cherry juice, and nothing like the artificial cherry scent you know from your childhood “red flavored” popsicles.  Thanks to the lactic acid, wine extract, and salicylic acid, after just 5 minutes of having this mask on my skin (something even I can find time to do a couple of times  a week–I like to put it on in the evening while brushing my teeth), my face more resembles my baby’s super-soft skin, and less like my calloused heels.  Though it’s quick-working, it’s super gentle and doesn’t make my sensitive skin red at all.

Hope everyone has a happy new year.  Here’s to a naturally beautiful 2012!

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Filed under Cleansers, Exfoliators, Masks, Moisturizers, Travel

Lanolin Agg Tval – Swedish Eggwhite Facial Soap

Posted by:  Jordan

My mom and I are both suckers for cute packaging, so when we saw this soap at a Scandinavian gift shop in Geneva, IL, we couldn’t resist trying it out.  And isn’t the folksy charm of this soap just too cute not to buy?  Especially when the product promises Old World Nordic beauty results.   This facial soap is made with a vegetable base, rich lanolin and glycerine, egg white powder, and rose water.  I find that the fattiness of the lanolin (lanolin comes from the fat of sheep’s wool, so this soap is not vegan-friendly; however, this product is not tested on animals) and the calming rose water help alleviate the tight feeling that the egg whites impart.

The pore-tightening quality of the egg whites is what makes this soap unique.  I use it once or twice a week as a mini-facial by first removing any makeup, then creating a rich lather and letting the soapy lather sit on your skin for a few minutes–thereby allowing the egg whites to do their thing.  Rinse off with cool water to give your skin a brightening little pick-me-up.

I really love using bar soaps while traveling–no liquids to have to worry about spilling all over your bag, or making sure you abide by the TSA’s 3 oz travel restrictions.

You can buy this adorable Swedish facial soap at various gift shops or online at Amazon for about $5-$6 a bar, which is a great deal considering it will last you months if you only use it a couple of times a week.  Makes for a great hostess gift/stocking stuffer, or just a treat for yourself!  It’s amazing how happy a $5 adorably packaged box of soap sitting on my bathroom sink can make me!

Update 3/9/12:  Thanks to a sleuthy reader who has been trying to find this soap, it has been discovered that there is something fishy going on.  You can’t find the original formulation of this soap–by the Victoria Company– in stores anywhere!  I did notice that a seller on Amazon has a 6-bar box for sale, but who knows how many they have in stock since there seems to be a nationwide (worldwide?) shortage.  If  you find the imposter soap by the Kala company that looks to be nearly identical in packaging, be forewarned that it’s not the original formula;  I hear the new version is quite drying, but I haven’t personally tried it.  The photo below is what the new soap looks like; if you’re trying to find the original formula that I fell in love with last summer, this isn’t it.  There is a lawsuit currently in progress filed by the Victoria company against Kala, so hopefully our original eggwhite soap formula will return to us soon!


Filed under Cleansers, Product Reviews, Travel

Marie Veronique Organics

Posted by:  Jordan

Photo courtesy of Fig+Sage: read their comprehensive review of MVO by clicking on photo!

You’re going to hate me after I tell you about my latest skincare obsession.  Well, I hope you’ll thank me too, because I think you’ll end up loving these products as much as I do.  But if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to go out and immediately buy every incredible product that Marie Veronique Organics makes!  Thus, the hate me part of the equation comes when you see your credit card bill.

With humble beginnings in her Bay Area kitchen, Marie Veronique Nadeau, a former chemistry teacher, started this all-natural skincare company in 2003 as a holistic and eco-friendly way to focus on aging gracefully.  Her company sincerely focuses on ways to not only help consumers make an educated decision (see the Glossary of Ingredients which explains each ingredient they use, or the News & Research page to learn more), but they also donate 10% of their proceeds to the Acumen Fund, an organization that works to create opportunities for women and children in third world countries.  Emily and I just love companies like this–an intelligent, go-getter type of woman who started her own business that helps others look and feel their best, while simultaneously helping our environment and those less fortunate than us.  See, now don’t you just want to buy everything from this company?  If you’re not yet convinced, let me just rave about the best part–their products!!

We were generously sent samples of three products to test out:

A water-resistant SPF 25+ sunscreen made with no harmful chemicals or nanoparticles.  If Sun Putty was my favorite sunscreen last year, this is the winner for this year!  It goes on smoothly and evenly and protected me from a VERY hot and sunny day out at Rockaway Beach in NY yesterday.  A 2.7 ounce bottle (travel friendly size–thank you, MVO!) sells for $19, which is competitive with other natural sunscreens on the market.  Plus, EWG’s Skin Deep gives it a safety ranking of just 1, which is great!  As a sidenote, EWG loves Marie Veronique Organics as much as I do–they recently included all three of these sun-protection products in their Top 25 Sunscreens this year!

We’ve all heard the importance of a serum in our skin-care regimen and this one is fantastic.  It has a slightly cinnamon-y scent and immediately tightens your skin upon contact, without drying it.  I was worried at first that the tightening sensation was because it was sucking all the remaining moisture out my skin, but that’s not at all the case!  In one word this serum with SPF 20 is perfection.  You can use it alone on rainy days or days when you’ll be indoors most of the day–it leaves a great matte finish.  On very sunny days or when you plan to be outside for an extended amount of time, it’s advised to use this product in conjunction with the Moisturizing Face Screen.

Update/Correction: My original post was misinforming–I mistakenly gave you the link to the Anti-Wrinkle Serum, thinking that it was the same thing as the Anti-Aging Day Serum.  It’s not!!  I have corrected the link to take you to the correct product, which is now called Everyday Sheer Coverage (it used to be called the Anti-Aging Day Serum).  Confusion abound!  But the good news is that the Everyday Sheer Coverage is only $50 for 2 oz, not $140/ounce like the super luxe Anti-Wrinkle Serum.

Behold my favorite product I’ve tried from MVO!  This stuff is like the glamour girl version of my former favorite tinted moisturizer with sunscreen from 100% Pure (which, don’t get me wrong, I still love my 100% Pure but it just can’t compare with the end results from this product from MVO!)  It evens out my skin tone, immediately makes my pores smaller and my skin firmer, and creates a nearly flawless look by blending in imperfections and discolorations.  It also gives my complexion a nice glowy look (not to be mistaken with shiny because it’s not at all a shiny, oily finish).  I can’t rave enough about how much better my skin looks after applying this miracle product to my face in the mornings!  This ultra lightweight (perfect for summer!) moisturizing sunscreen comes in three tints to choose from: No Tint, Light, and Medium.  Apparently for the fairest of the fair the No Tint is recommended since it has a yellow tint that evens out any redness without adding any color.  I’ve been using the Light Tint which blends perfectly for my skin.  Emily has been trying out the Medium Tint which works for her slightly tanner skin with olive undertones.  However, I tested out the Medium Tint to see how much different it was from the Light and it blended perfectly on my skin as well.  I think the colors are just so universally flattering that you can’t make a wrong choice!  Thankfully the price of this product won’t send you into sticker shock: $40 for 2 ounces.  One tip on how to apply this moisturizer: apply a few drops to your fingertips and then gently press the liquid into your skin, rather than rubbing it in.  I’ve found that this technique helps it spread evenly while not using an excessive amount of product.

So, where to start with all these products?  I’m personally wanting to buy the Anti-Aging Travel Kit  which allows you to try a cleanser of your choice, the anti-aging mist, the anti-aging oil (which I’ve read is addictive!), and the Moisturizing Face Screen in your choice of the 3 tints.  All of 4 products in a handy travel/sample sizes for $51 should help you decide which products you want to invest in full-size versions of.

Or, if you’re already sold on my review of the Moisturizing Face Screen and know that you’d like to buy the full-size version of that, we’ve got a special Product Junkies Rehab exclusive deal for you, which lasts until 7/31/11! Receive a free 1/4 oz Anti-Aging Oil+ (a $20 value!) with the purchase of the Moisturizing Face Screen using code MVOJunkies at checkout.  See, maybe you’ll love me, after all!


Filed under Cool Companies We Love, Giveaways/Freebies/Discounts, Moisturizers, Product Reviews, Sunscreen, Travel

We all have our neuroses

Posted by: Jordan


My top phobias in order of least anxiety-inducing to most terrifying:

#3: Waiting for my baggage to come down the baggage carousel and fearing that all 180 people around me will see all of my underwear spilling out of an open pocket of the luggage, and then, being too embarrassed to scoop it all up off the carousel, I just watch it go round and round.

#2: Overflowing toilets.

#1: Like 98% of all New Yorkers – bed bugs.

Thanks to my completely unoriginal phobia of these fang-y pests, at least once a month I’ll wake up having a horrible nightmare about having bed bugs, and often I’ll have a scalp scratched raw from subconsciously scratching myself in my horrible nightmare.  This recurring nightmare was made even more real to my subconscious this past week when we were in Puerto Rico.  In addition to the abundant sunshine, they also have an abundance of mosquitos, or some similar insect that leaves me with itchy bug bites.  Because of these pesky bites I woke up from my bed bug nightmare itching very real bug bites all over my body (thankfully, not from bed bugs).

As soon as I got home I reached for the yet-to-be-tested sample of Anti-Itch Formula from Neem Tree Farms.  I had received a sample of this soothing oil from the company’s owner after she related to my post about my first experience with the exceptionally stinky neem oil.  She sent me a couple samples of her products along with the promise that they smelled much better!  And she’s right!!  The Anti-Itch Formula mostly smells of lemongrass and lavender, and only faintly of neem (I think because my nose is now trained to sniff out straight neem, it’s easily detectable for me, but for a “neem virgin”, I don’t think you’d detect it at all in the Anti-Itch Formula).  Immediately after applying the oil, my mosquito bites stopped itching and became less inflamed and red.  I have a feeling this oil will be a staple in our house this summer!

I also tried out the Neem Bark Toothpowder, which I really loved.  Thank god, it tastes nothing like neem; rather it tastes like a winter dessert full of cinnamon and cloves.  It’s kind of fun to use too–you just dip your toothbrush loaded with toothpaste into the powder to get a light coating on top of your toothpaste.

Thank you, Neem Tree Farms, for showing me that neem oil can be beneficial, while not making me stink like a garlicky everything bagel!

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Filed under Cool Companies We Love, Toothpaste, Travel