Wink Soap Review with Guest Reviewer

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Today I have to tell you all about a company owned by a lovely woman named Mindi.  In fact, it is a brand I haven't tried until recently called Wink Soap. How had I not heard of this place??? 

Last week I was sent a bar of  Pumpkin Spice handmade soap and a tube of Coconut Cream lip balm to review.  Now you know me-- I am extremely picky when it comes to handmade soaps.  For me to love them, they must have a nice, creamy lather and be free of palm oil.  I also like them to clean my skin without drying and to look pretty.

In fact, I only use handmade soaps from 2 to 3 companies because I can get so picky.  Wink Soap is now one of the companies I will be able to recommend without hesitation.

I love the packaging.  The presentation is clean and modern and definitely suitable for gift giving.  The soap lathers nicely and it cleans well without being harsh at all.  The ingredients are stellar -- some olive oil, hemp oil, coconut oil, and shea butter all combine to make a lovely bar of soap.  Did I mention that all Wink Soap products are also Vegan?  I know this can affect many people's decision making processes when it comes to products.

Each bar of Wink Soap sells for $5.95.
My grade -- an A  and for me to give a bar of soap an A is a big deal!

Now for the lip balm review, I give you my lip balm loving son, Nick.  I've told you about him before.  He is 9 and just a super loveable kiddo.  He also LOVES lip balm and can be opinionated about which ones he likes and doesn't like. He can be a tough critic, so I thought I would let him share his thoughts.

Here is what he thought:

*Feels smooth and says it's just how he likes it
*Tastes OK, very much like coconut
*Lips stay soft after application
*Yes, he would recommend it to others.
*If giving a grade, it would earn an A-.

Each lip balm sells for $2.95 at Wink Soap.

NEWS: My friend Tanvi of Peppermint on Park Avenue in Rochester just told me that her boutique will start carrying Wink Soap in December! Woo hoo!

Oh Honey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I love honey.  In fact, if you can recall my DIY projects over the years, so many of them have contained honey as a key ingredient.

And what's not to love?  

In the next couple weeks, stay tuned for some great honey-based gifts that we'll make together here to give as Christmas presents. But for now, I want to share with you what I am using now as a facial product every morning and night: plain old honey.

Using honey as a facial cleanser is a popular suggestion from purists and from down-home back to basics type beauty recipe books. With society's obsession with anti-aging peptides, firming, fading, shirinking, lifting stuff, many would scoff at the idea of slathering honey all over their faces.

Ladies, don't knock it until you've tried it.

Here is what I do-- I do my typical oil cleanse to remove my makeup. I usually use grape seed oil, although if I am washing myself downstairs instead of up and am too lazy to walk up there, I will use coconut oil. Olive oil works.  So do sunflower, safflower, almond, jojoba, and more!

I remove my makeup with the oil and then splash my face with warm water. Then, I use a little spoon of honey and apply it with damp fingers to damp skin and massage in.  Then I leave it for a minute or so. After that, I gently rinse off and pat dry.

In the morning, I use honey on my face again. Heck, I even apply it to my arms and legs. Yes, it sounds a bit silly but I even have a plastic squeezable bottle of honey in my shower.

What honey does for the skin:

Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it works well for those battling a bit of acne. In fact, for my friends with dry patches AND hormonal acne, try honey! Please try it and let me know your results. Since honey is also gentle and emollient, it will help with your dryness.

Honey is a powerful antioxidant to protect your skin from those nasty free radicals floating around in the environment.

Honey is an excellent skin healer and works wonders on irritated skin, dry patches, minor burns, and abrasions.

Honey is a wonderful moisturizing agent.  It both attracts and retains water to the skin, making it moist and supple.

When you use honey to cleanse the skin, your face will look radiant and glowing! Try it out!

DIY Honey Skin Care Guide from C & G:

Review: Mia Mariu

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oh, how I really wanted to love this makeup.  When I was contacted by the folks at Mia Mariu to try some of their products, I was excited because other direct-selling brands such as Mary Kay and Artistry by Amway have unpleasant ingredients and outdated formulas.  Seeing a newer Dallas-based cosmetics company featuring mineral makeup and a focus on botanicals gave me really high hopes.

Sadly, the products didn't live up to my anticipation. I was sent several products to try and I'd like to share my thoughts on them:

Perfecting Finish Mineral Foundation -- This one sounded really great. Billed as an age-defying, hydrating makeup with a luminous coverage, it sounded right up my alley. In fact, when I first saw how perfect a match the shade called Vainilla was, I was thrilled!

I applied with my foundation brush and was immediately unimpressed.  My skin is pretty dry and despite moisturizing and applying primer, this made my skin look even more dry. The worst part, however, was how it made my skin feel.  It itched, made my cheeks sore, and about an hour in, I found myself applying grape seed oil to my face to remove it.

Why did this "natural" makeup do this?  Well, like many companies claiming to be gentle and safe for sensitive skin, this one seems to not live up to that claim.  The ingredients list speaks volumes and this one explained clearly why it made my skin so irritated: Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate (AKA Octonoxate) and Triethanolamine.

Ethylehexyl Methoxycinnamate is not a safe ingredient.  In fact, it rates a 6 in the Skin Deep Database. This is a common ingredient in sunscreen. It is an endocrine disruptor and should not be used by pregnant women. It also can trigger acne, dermatitis (as in my situation), and rashes.

Triethanolamine is an emulsifier and pH adjuster; can be especially hazardous when combined with Diazolidinyl Urea. Studies have shown that a large number of cosmetics with TEA (short for Triethanolamine) are contaminated with Nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Also avoid labels which say TEA Lauryl Sulfate, as it's the same thing. TEA is also very acidic, which is why one reason is can irritate people's skin.

Grade: D (and only because the color was so beautiful...that is why it didn't score an F)

Mineral Loose Powder Foundation -- This one surprised me, ladies. On the surface, I assumed it was just another standard mineral powder as it contains Bismuth Oxychloride, which can be a highly irritating ingredient. I chose the color recommended based on my skin tone, Savanna, and I was thrown because when you look at it, it looks like a VERY unnatural tan shade. It is nothing like the liquid foundation in terms of color.

So, the first time I applied it, the corners around my nose got all red. I thought it was another dud. A few days later, I tried again. I am glad I did!

This is a rare occasion for me to change my opinion on a product because I keep using this one now. It diffuses subtle fine lines and goes on my skin a shade I am used to wearing, as opposed to the odd shade it appears on the brush and in the container.

My complexion looks healthy and I do like this one afterall!

Grade: A-

Eye Liner in Azabache -- Would you believe that in this day and age, there is NO INGREDIENTS LISTING on this product??? None.  Because I have no way of knowing what I am putting around my eyes, I will not try it and the grade will be an "incomplete".  Companies--there is an FDA labeling requirement. Failure to list what is on the labels is ridiculous.

Mineral Eye Shadow Duo -- Argh! Another irritating product! I was really frustrated with this one. Why?  The #1 ingredient in this product is Isostearyl Neopentanoate. Most of you are probably wondering what the heck that is. Well, it is an ingredient that holds powder together into pressed form--a binder. Not a biggie--it is used in SO many products. The problem is that it is not supposed to be used in concentrations over 16%, according to the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR).  This is because of a 1985 study in the Journal of the American College of Toxicology which showed this to be irritating to the eyes of rabbits in test studies.

Why on earth it is the #1 ingredient in an EYE product is bewildering to me. There is also Bismuth Oxychloride in this one.

So, yes, I did try this product. No, I was not happy with the fact that my eyes were red and itchy within 2 hours of application. It also was very choppy in texture if that makes sense--rough--and far from the "silky soft texture" advertised on the box. The color I chose was called Valle Dorado, which was a duo of beige and brown.

Grade:  D- (just because I feel guilty leaving an F.)

Luminous Lip Gloss in Tentacion -- The ingredients in this beautiful shade of crannberry meets plum are unfortunate. Like the other colored items from Mia Mariu, there is Carmine in this. There is also artificial fragrance, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate,

The #3 ingredient in this is something gloss makers should stop using--the dreaded "sticky" ingredient people complain about in many lip glosses: BIS Diglyceryl polyacyladipate 2. If you have tried glosses that leave an unpleasant sitcky, tacky feeling, it is this ingredient.

Another bone to pick-- crude oil! Yeppers, there is Microcrystalline Wax in here, which is a petrochemical. You will also find a host of man made red dyes. What a disappointment.
Grade: D (the color redeems it beyond a D-, but the ingredients keep the grade low)

Loose Mineral Shadow Liner -- After the other Mia Mariu products I tried, I can happily say that I LIKE this one. This is a lovely evening eye liner--just the right amount of sparkle and a nice rich charcoal shade called Azabache. I like this.  I used my Bare Escentuals liner brush and applied it over my eyeshadow (not from Mia Mariu). I detect very little Bismuth (it says "may contain" on the label) in this particular product because it didn't irritate my eyes. It lasted several hours on date night, too.

Grade: A-

The C & G Bottom Line

I was really eager to try Mia Mariu based on their website.  I believed it would be different than the other social selling brands since it gives off the "natural" vibe. I do like 2 products, but I am so disappointed in the others! Unfortunately, ladies, the ingredients in many of their items would be considered greenwashing at its finest :(

*Disclosure: I received a selection of cosmetics from Mia Mariu for possible review at no cost. This in no way has affected the outcome of this review.

C & G Holiday Gift Guide: Day 4

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 4 of our annual Christmas gift giving guide deserves a separate post all its own!

One word: CHEESE.

I love cheese. Seriously. I have been known as a cheese-loving mouse since I was just a little girl eating it at my Mia and Popu's house. I remember my grandmother serving it on her coffee table along side other treats in small wooden salad bowls.

I think this is how my Ben got his insatiable love for feta cheese.

I like any kind of cheese. In fact, not having REAL cheese was the reason I failed at being a vegan. I love cheese so much that, if it were socially acceptable, I think I could even drink a mug of rich fondue the way I'd chug down hot cocoa! Now take that image of me doing so out of your head. We all know I wouldn't do anything unladylike!

I recommend Yancey's Fancy cheese, which you can find right at Wegmans. I have even ordered it online to send as gifts to people in other parts of the country. Yancey's Fancy is artisan cheese from New York and I love it! If you live in this part of NY, you may realize this is one of the great cheeses everyone stops for at Kutter's on the way home from a long day at Darien Lake.

If you're looking for a yummy cheese gift, order from them here: Yancey's Fancy website.

My favorite kind is the Finger Lakes Strawberry Chardonnay Cheddar, closely followed by the XXX Sharp Cheddar. All of them are delicious, though!

C & G Gift Guide: Day 3

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Hand painted candles from The Spirited Fairy, $10

Cranberry Blood Orange Lip Tint from Wild Rose Herbs, $5.95

Beautiful red infinity scarf from Phyl Phil Fiber Artist, $50

Cranberry wreath from Ever Blooming Original, $59

Cranberry Almond Granola from Happy Homesteading, $3

Cranberry Pie Jam with Mulling Spices from Windowsill Pie Co., $5

Cranberry Coconut soap (palm oil free!) from Peace Soap, $5

C & G Gift Guide: Day 2

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We bought some Girl Scout Cookies -- Thin Mints -- from Ben's friend Jane. The chocolate mint combination gave me the idea for today's Gift Guide items. All of these mint chocolate finds are less than $20!

Acure Organics Dark Chocolate + Mint Lip Balm

Cocao Mint Black Tea from Teavana! A favorite of mine!

100% Pure Yummy Ice Cream 2 in 1 Mint Chocolate 

Lux Aromatica Mint Chocolate Soy Candle (votive pair)

Van Houtte White Chocolate Mint K-Cups from Bed, Bath & Beyond are among my favorites!

C & G Gift Guide: Day 1

Monday, November 12, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year -- and that means it is time for my annual gift guide items to start! Today, we will begin with some gift ideas from social selling businesses:

I have posted on Pinterest before about my Stella & Dot Collection. Here is a new favorite--which would be a gorgeous gift! I recommend Melissa Murray if you are local and looking for a  Stella & Dot stylist.

You all know my feelings on Scentsy. This blogger would never recommend the line.  If you must have artificial fragrance in the home, try Pink Zebra Sprinkles. They are soy-based instead of crude oil-based paraffin. I recommend Natasha Brown for your Pink Zebra needs. Just a tiny scoop of the Warm Apple Pie can scent the downstairs of our home for a couple days.

I am typically a from scratch cook. That said, I do love the Cinnamon Roll Cheese Ball from Tastefully Simple and locals will find Stephanie Butler especially friendly and helpful. Check out her site today.

Gold Canyon has some lovely candle holders, too! Shop with Suzy Imoehl on her website. I especially adore the one above!


I stopped selling via  alex + von last spring, but I tell you that alex + von is truly a company for women which I admire greatly. There are many great consultants and you can buy several different natural beauty brands all from the same person on the same site. You'll find many great gift ideas there! 

Christmas Magic in the Mail

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I love this time of year.  Two weeks from today, I'll be in the kitchen preparing Thanksgiving dinner for our family.  The turkey will be making its way into the oven, pies will be baking, and the boys will have just finished watching the Macy's parade on tv. After everyone leaves and all is cleaned up, that is when I officially start my Christmas decorating.

I love the magic of Christmas. I love the music, the events, the togetherness. Most of all, I love that excitement, joy and light in the eyes of my boys. They get so excited and  have so much Christmas spirit -- and much of that stems from the jolly old man at the North Pole: Santa Claus.

Don't you remember that feeling you had as a child?  I know I sure do!

I want to tell you about a friend of mine.  Her name is  Nickie and she is a mom of two boys as well.  She lives in Connecticut and she loves Christmas as well. Every year, she sends children customized letters from Santa Claus bearing a North Pole stamp through her small business, Nickie's North Pole Connection.

Nickie has a brand new website and now is the PERFECT time to order your personalized letters. They are made just for YOUR child -- not just a form letter of some sort.  She will ask you a bit about your kiddos and create a special letter just for them.  It is such a great experience for them when they come home from school only to find letters stamped from the North Pole made out to them!

Check out Nickie's website today! Each letter is just $10 and includes the cost of postage.

Seeking "Me" Time

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's been a busy, but nice morning. I got the kids off to school, voted, &  met my friends for coffee, including Peggy, therapist and chai maker extraordinaire.

I just got home from a nice, leisurely manicure from the super fabulous Elizabeth, guest blogger at C & G, Supermom, actor & the woman behind Chandelierious. Do you know how long it has been since I had a nice, relaxing manicure? I don't, but I can tell with with certainty that it was before I had children. Same thing with regular massages. It just doesn't happen.

When I got home a little while ago, I felt calm.  Relaxed.  Unhurried. 

I've been very busy lately. That's why posts haven't been daily or even multiple times daily.  A couple of weeks ago, I began a new position with a wonderful natural body care company I've written about on the blog before doing social media and blogging for them.  I also am, for the time being, doing my social media work for another company a few hours a week. Then there's the newsletter writing and blogging for a nation organization devoted to cosmetologists....and my freelance pieces...and managing the Pinterest accounts of 12 companies.

So while I have a tremendously flexible schedule and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do each day, it is a balancing act because I do whatever I can to put in my 110% effort and be done with my work by the time Nick and Ben get home from school because that is my most important job -- being a mom!

This brought me to thinking. I am lucky because I have a flexible schedule. However, this has me filling up just about every free moment.  I volunteer quite a bit. I have been super busy with my volunteer efforts for Obama for America, making calls and getting the word out and two days this week I am doing the book fair at school. Down time is really rare. It might involve reading a book on the Nook or curling up with a cup of hot tea, but when it comes to "scheduled down time", I just do not do it.

My manicure and conversation with my friend was kind of like an "A-ha" moment. I need to schedule more ME time the way I would find the time to volunteer at school or for finishing writing pieces.

Once Elizabeth lands herself in a salon (which I bet will be super soon!) I will be making regular appointments. I think I'm also going to start getting massages again. It can be so easy to get yourself into a schedule that does not include self care and relaxation for yourself.

This is what I want to know-- What do YOU do for yourself as a way to have you time?  Not you and the kids.  Not you and your significant other, not you and the people you're busy volunteering with...Just you. Something for you as a means of pampering yourself....without interruptions.  I think it is something more of us need to take the time to do!

By the way, I am loving my nails. If I could find another battery for this camera (I put it in the Wii remote the other day), I'd share a pic. The next best option is to show you the shade. It is called Trophy Wife and it is by Essie:

I {heart} coconut oil.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Over the past few years, we have discussed the benefits of natural oils over choosing something synthetic such as mineral oil (yuck--crude oil on your skin???).

Today, I'd like to focus more on one of my favorite oils, coconut oil.

I've told you how I like to apply coconut oil on my upper arms because I have a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris.  Coconut Oil has really helped to alleviate those symptoms.

Skin Care Benefits of Coconut Oil:

There are many skin benefits of coconut oil.

Coconut oil is rich in something called Lauric Acid. In fact between 40-50% of coconut oil is actually Lauric Acid. This is a very promising natural treatment for acne. Not just for acne, coconut oil works on dry skin and on skin with eczema and flakiness.

Did you know, though, that there are many other uses for coconut oil?

I'd like to say that I used to be skeptical about some of the other uses.  First of all, I used to cringe when I heard people talking about using Coconut Oil for cooking.  It goes against so many things you've heard about from traditional practitioners because it being a saturated fat.  I used to think I'd get clogged arteries or that it's make me gain more weight or make my blood pressure go up.

From my own experience, when I use coconut oil in cooking, it is easier to lose weight.  Dr. Oz recently has been talking about the benefits of coconut oil and one of the ones he mentioned is weight loss.  He mentioned also how it can treat everything from skin conditions (which we have known), ulcers, and more. In fact, just a couple years ago, Dr. Oz was also skeptical of this oil and then decided to do more research.

Here are a couple of videos about coconut oil from Dr. Oz:

Coconut Oil Video Part 1
Coconut Oil Video Part 2

Health Benefits:

*It is said that Coconut Oil can help prevent fatty deposits in the liver.
*Coconut Oil is used by many people now to help control diabetes.
*Coconut Oil is used by naturopaths to treat pancreatitis symptoms.
*Many believe Coconut Oil helps your bones absorb magnesium & calcium more effectively.
*Anecdotal evidence shows Coconut Oil can help prevent tooth decay.

I've recently been incorporating more & more Coconut Oil into our meals here at home.  Some C & G tried & tested favorite recipes using Coconut Oil:

Paleo Coconut Oil Mayonnaise
Delicious, Low Carb Truffles
Coconut Shrimp
Super Yummy Baked Apples

Coconut Oil varieties I recommend:

Jarrow Organic Extra Virgin
Barlean's Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

How do you like to use Coconut Oil? Share your ideas with me.


Friday, November 2, 2012

OK, I know that this is a green beauty blog....a blog about DIY projects and sometimes a bit of my life thrown in. I have shared quite a bit about myself with  you over the past 5.5 years that I've been writing here at Chic & Green.

I've made it no secret in the past where I stand politically. I am a liberal....a Democrat. I love President Obama. I adored President Clinton. I am a proud American. I believe in hard work.  I also believe in helping others and I believe in equality. I believe that this election is the most important of our time.

I have had some of my writing published on left-leaning websites. If you are undecided or you want to know why I believe what I do, I would like you to please read these pieces. I am so passionate about voting for Barack Obama.  I believe the futures of our children and our rights as women depend on it. I know this probably won't be a favorite post among some of my super conservative readers, but I proud of what I believe and I am proud of our President.

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