Best and Worse Lush Cosmetics Products (Plus a $200 Lush Giveaway!)

All you UK ladies are so familiar with Lush, but it’s a relatively new phenomenon over here in the States. I think I only visited my first store a couple of years ago, and when I mention it to girl friends, most of them just give me a confused look.

Still, it’s a welcome change from the sterile, chemically environment of Sephora. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mecca of makeup, but I do feel better about putting a bunch of fruits, veggies, natural cremes, etc. on my face, especially if they work (and boy, do they!). Let me tell you about some of my favorite Lush products and confess the ones that didn’t really work for me.

Lush Cosmetics

Here’s my “must have” Lush products I can’t recommend highly enough:

  • Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask – Honestly, I’ve had some pretty fabulous experiences with most of Lush’s face masks (check out this post for my favorites), but this one is the ultimate.
  • Fresh Farmacy – If there is one acne fighting product I could recommend beyond all others, it’s this one. Not too expensive, not too harsh, it’s truly the rockstar of my skincare products.
  • Popcorn Lip Scrub – Delicious! This lip scrub is both effective, especially when applied before putting on lipstick, and also quite tasty.

Here’s the ones that I felt generally didn’t impress:

  • Tea Tree Water – Although I generally like tea tree in general for skincare, I’ve never had much luck with toners. Honestly, this didn’t feel any more effective than spritzing water on my face.
  • Vanishing Creme – I don’t think too highly of Lush’s face moisturizers. They’re quite pricy, and honestly less impressive than the good ones you can pick up at the drug store.
  • Cupcake Fresh Face Mask – As much as I sing the praises of Lush’s fresh face masks, this one didn’t do much. Sure, it smelled delicious, but I didn’t feel like it did much for my skin.

What Lush products have rocked your socks? What has flopped?

Lush Giveaway

Also, I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers to bring you a giveaway with an amazing prize for one lucky reader! We’re giving away a $200 Lush gift card. You can enter daily over the next two weeks and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media. Good luck!

Prize: $200 Lush Card

Co-hosts: The Missing Niche // Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog // Nail Polish Anonymous // Oddly Lovely // Benedique // Ashley Brooke // Bless Her Heart Y’all // WorldWideStylista // Makenzie Emma

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 11/7 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Burgundy Autumn Dress

Autumn Dress 5Autumn Dress 1Autumn Dress 3Autumn Dress 4Typically I’m a believer in quality clothing – I love picking up my favorite jeans from Lucky Brand once a year, a nice sweater or peacoat from JCrew, or splurging on a $100 pair of boots. But every once in a while you find a gem at a more budget-friendly item at a place like Forever 21 that is so frickin’ adorable and miraculously seems to last years. And that’s exactly how I came upon this dress.

Because of my pink complexion and strawberry blonde hair, red is not typically a color I look very good in. The exception seems to be these kind of deep burgundies and wine reds. Isn’t it the perfect color for fall? It looks wonderful with brown (the color that mostly makes up my wardrobe), plus it perfectly matches the color of the ribbon I regularly wear in my hair.

Do you prefer to buy more quality clothing at establishments like JCrew or Lucky Brand, or do you prefer to save your money at places like Forever 21?

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9 Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Work

Ru OfficeIt is one of the greatest joys of my job that my pup Ru can come with me into the office every day. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have adopted a dog if she had to stay at home alone. Ru is immaculately behaved, and I’m confident that a large part of it is because she has constant socialization with people and supervision by me.

I knew from the minute that Ru curled up in my arms at the shelter that she would be a perfect fit for my company. She was so calm and gentle, even in the stress of the kennel and all those barking dogs. I began bringing her into the office slowly. First it was Friday afternoons and then for half days. After only a couple of months, she became a constant fixture, scouting the floor for crumbs or swinging by someone’s desk for a scratch.I love that she’s always curled up under my feet while I write, and keeps me going on long walks on our lunch break. It’s hard for me to imagine the place without her.

On another really exciting note, Ru is a semi-finalist in the Fast Company Top Office Dog competition! It would be so awesome if you guys could help us out and go vote for Ru in the “Face of the Company” category. There’s no need to sign up or give your personal info, so it should take no more than a second. Just head to this page, click “vote” under Rumi’s picture, then scroll to the bottom to submit!

Bringing a new dog home

If you’re thinking about turning your well-behaved pup into an office dog, here’s some ideas on how to start:

Make sure your dog has flawless manners and is a good fit for your office. Only well-behaved and mellow pups should be allowed the privilege of spending time at work, since dogs who are prone to barking, running in frantic circles, or even being aggressive to visitors will be at best distraction or at worse, possibly dangerous. Don’t forget, your pup will be representing your company to the public!

Get the permission of your manager and all your coworkers. If some of your coworkers are afraid of dogs or have horrible allergies, an office dog wouldn’t be fair to spring on them. It’s one thing to get hired knowing there’s an office dog already there, but resentment might build if a new dog is brought in and other employees have no say.

Make sure everyone is on the same page as far as rules and behavior. Will the pup be allowed to roam or should he stay behind a baby-gate? Is he allowed in meetings? What behavior is unacceptable, like excessive barking? Make sure everyone agrees, and that the consequences for not following the rules are clear.

Introduce your dog to the other office dogs outside of the workspace. Most dogs do better when they meet one-another on neutral territory. Instead of bringing the new pup straight into the office, meet nearby and take them on a walk together, switching who is walking in front and who is walking behind. If all seems to be going well, let them meet on loose leashes, then bring them into the office together. It’s a lot easier to do everything right from the start than have a fight break out and try to repair their tarnished relationship!

Set up a positive space for your dog with his bed and non-squeeky toys. The office is going to be your pup’s new home-away-from-home, so make sure he feels comfortable and safe. Put out his favorite bed and toys, the ones that already smell like him, so the new space feels more familiar.

Start slowly with half-days during hours you know you can afford to be distracted. There’s no need to rush into a 40 hour work week. Start by bringing your pup in for just a few hours when you know you can be keeping a close eye on him.

Keep your dog contained (at least at first). Until your dog know the rules and recognizes the office as part of his territory, it’s likely he’ll get into trouble like pulling some goodies out of the trash or having an accident. It will be easier to keep a close eye on him if he’s not free to roam, so try keeping him leashed to your desk or behind a baby-gate.

Have mentally stimulating activities on hand to keep your dog entertained. Just like humans, dogs get bored. One of the best things about bringing your dog into the office is there’s more going on than a quiet house, but a young dog will enjoy some activities to stay busy. Try filling a Kong toy with peanut butter or scheduling in a 2-minute game of tug-o-war.

Continue being diligent about training and discipline. At the office, it’s more important than ever that your pup be under your control. Reward your pup for good behavior like welcoming visitors politely and practice recall regularly so you can contain him if you need to. I even suggest brushing up on your training with a refresher dog class (bonus points for getting his canine good citizen certificate!).

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How to Pick a Flattering Lipstick Shade

Lipstick Shade

First, a basic truth: every woman looks gorgeous in lipstick. There’s a reason Parisan style is so famous for a bold lip and otherwise simple makeup. It’s truly chic and timeless. The most difficult aspect of lipstick is picking out a shade that looks stunning on you. Despite the fact that you may be drawn to more blue-based or purple truth reds, the truth is that might not flatter your skin tone, lip shape, or the shape of your face in general.

Here’s some thought-starters on how to pick a flattering lipstick shade:

1. Always shop for lipstick in a well-lit area and go when you’re wearing little other makeup, since it can distract the eye or even change the appearance of the lipsticks.

2. Consider your lip shape - dark shades make lips appear thinner, so stick to softer ones if you’re concerned with creating a plump, full lip.

3. Pick a lipstick two shades darker than your natural lip color for a natural and everyday look.

4. Match your lipstick’s undertones to your skin’s undertones. Warm skinned girls look better with orange undertones, cool skinned girls look better with blue undertones.

5. Try picking shades the opposite of your iris color on the color wheel, in order to make your eyes pop more. For example, if you have blue eyes select a more coral based shade.

6. Hair color can also serve as a starting place for lipsticks. Blondes often look best with pink shades, while redheads do best with violets.

7. Some complexion guidelines (but not rules!): when buying a red lipstick, fair skinned ladies look good in cherry undertones, olive skinned ladies look good in fire-engine red, and darker skinned ladies can rock deep reds.

8. More complexion guidelines: fair skinned ladies should stick with apricots, pinks, and corals. Medium skinned ladies do best with roses, mauves, and berries. Darker skinned ladies look pretty in plum, chocolate, and red.

9. Choose to emphasize either the lips or the eyes when selecting a lipstick for a specific look. Occasionally both look good together, but only if neither is emphasized too much.

10. Ask for help from a sales associate if you’re not certain. After all, they’re the experts!

Do you wear lipstick? What’s your favorite shade?

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Tips for Getting Tattooed (And My Tattoo Stories)

I have two tattoos and neither one is exactly small.

The first I got just after my 18th birthday, which is minimum age you can be tattooed under California law. At that time, I was doing a lot of drawing and painting, and wings showed up in my art constantly. Just like with dreams, I believe that the symbols that show up in your art often hint at something that’s going on underneath your conscious mind. I don’t remember having very many doubts when I tracked down my artist, showed him some drawings and described to him what I wanted, and went underneath the needle.

Tattoo B&W 1

I wasn’t anticipating tattooing to be a very spiritual experience, but it was. I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it here yet, but I grew up in a spiritual, hippie household and religiously identify as pagan. In most pagan faiths, symbolism is extremely important. Even outside of paganism, we as a culture understand the power of symbols – think of the cross, the swastika, or even written words themselves. What could be more powerful than having a symbol permanently etched on your body? It is for this reason we use tattoos for quotes or memorials – so we don’t forget a specific message or someone close to us who has passed.

The summer I was 19, I went to work at a wildlife rehabilitation center. It was in the middle of nowhere in the California Central Valley. I was deeply lonely and depressed, but I forged a very strong bond with the 22 baby raccoons I worked with and one little baby in particular. I was incredibly struck by their resilience and ability to survive even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

I conceptualized the idea for my next tattoo then, but waited another two years before I got it – little raccoon paw prints climbing up my leg in the same place my little baby raccoon would climb up my jeans to hang out on my hip. To me, it wasn’t just a nod to them and the emotional support they provided me during my last serious depression, but also a reminder to myself that even when hope seems lost and the odds are stacked against you, you can persevere and survive.

Tattoo B&W 3Because I consider tattoos to be a spiritual practice, I don’t consider getting one lightly. Here are my suggestions if you’re toying with getting a tattoo:

Decide what you want to get, and then wait. I suggest waiting a few years if possible in order to be completely sure this is the image, place, and idea you want put on your body. Sometimes ideas seem cool or “hip” in the moment, but then become cliche or passe after a few months. Or you might be going through a short lived phase, but that knitting or band tattoo won’t be nearly as cool after six months.

Carefully consider placement. I’d recommend thinking of three things – the first is how much the location will stretch or become “flabby” with age. Backs and lower legs are a pretty safe bet, but upper arms and thighs are more likely to become less muscular with age. Also, some places hurt a LOT more than others to get tattooed, so do your research – ribs are supposed to be excruciating. Third, I think it’s better to get a tattoo you can easily hide and can’t easily see. I think wrist tattoos are gorgeous, but I know that if I had to look at the same image every day in such a visible place for the rest of my life, I would get over it. That’s why I love back and leg tattoos – you basically forget what they look like and that they’re even there.

Do your research on your artist and find one that tattoos in the style you like. I was interested in artists that were good at shading so it wouldn’t have made sense for me to seek out a professional who does retro styles or lettering. Ask to see their portfolio or ask your friends who have tattoos in the style you like who their artists are.

Let your artist design the tattoo and trust his recommendations. They call them “artists” for a reason – whoever you hire should be incredible at drawing, plus he’ll have some ideas about what will actually translate well to your skin. Sure, you can go in with a complete piece and just hire him to replicate it, but it’s a lot more special to have an original work of art put on your body. Also, if he says something won’t look good, take his word.

Don’t skimp out on an artist. If he’s not charging much, there’s probably a reason. Get used to the idea you might be paying a couple of hundred for a medium tat to even a couple of thousand for a giant one. Save up instead of shopping for a cheaper option.

Think of tattoos as a map of your past. My wings or paw prints might not mean as much to me when I’m 40 years old, but I’m going to look back at them as symbols of what I was and what I was passionate about or struggling with. Tattoos don’t always need to have the same level of meaning to you your entire life, and that’s OKAY. (Just don’t get something you’ll regret, like your boyfriend’s name, haha.)

Do you have any tattoos? What do they mean? If not, have you thought about getting one?

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Pumpkin Spice Face Mask DIY Recipe

Pumpkin Spice Face Mask 7

I know, I know – pumpkin spice.  One of the most controversial topics of October, it seems. Either you love it and can’t get enough or you’re completely over this fad. I suppose I fall somewhere in the middle. Sure, pumpkin is yummy, and I love a slice of pie on Thanksgiving, and I’ve even enjoyed the Starbucks pumpkin spice latte I tried that one time on a whim.

But the idea for this face mask hit me and I just had to try it. Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, which softens skin, and natural enzymes that help promote new cell production. Cinnamon can reduce signs of aging and plump the skin to reduce fine lines, and it also helps heal acne and pimples (although you should consider leaving it out if you have sensitive skin). Nutmeg is also a treatment for acne and acne scars. The other ingredients often found in pumpkin spice like allspice can actually be reactive on skin, so I left those out, but as you can see many of the core ingredients are pretty fantastic for a face mask. I also added in some honey and apple cider vinegar, since those are two fantastic, DIY skin product stables.

I’m curious, where do you guys fall on the pumpkin and pumpkin spice issue?

Pumpkin Spice Face Mask 1Pumpkin Spice Face Mask 3Pumpkin Spice Face Mask

  • 1 cup pumpkin (either canned or fresh)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (leave this out if you have sensitive skin)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Put the pumpkin in a medium sized bowl. If the honey is hard, put it in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds until it is completely liquid. Add the honey, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and mix until its an even consistency. You’ll have enough face mask for three 4-ounce mason jars. The face mask will need to be refrigerated and will only be good for about one week, so I recommend giving two to your girl friends! I find that it’s the easiest to apply with a brush and produces a lovely heat and tingly feeling.

Pumpkin Spice Face Mask 2

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