Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Earth Day Birchbox

I wasn't as WOW about this particular box as I have been about some in the past. Not bad stuff by any means, there just wasn't that wow factor. Still a good deal, and certainly worth the ten bucks. You can sign up for Birchbox HERE. (and the next box I got had a full sized $22 lip treatment in it! Now THERE'S some wow factor!) The tinted lip balm in this is a $7.00 full sized and the rest of the products definitely upped the value, so again, still worth it. 

Enter to Win a Dior Beauty Wardrobe!

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What do I recommend? I'm insane for Lisa Hoffman Vitamin A & C Serum. I've raved about it previously and I cannot tell you enough how much I love this stuff!
Lisa Hoffman Vitamin A and C Serum

Mistress Rae's Decadent Designs & GIVEAWAY!


PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE 2 PHOTOS THAT NEED TO BE ADDED (CHANDELIER HAIR PINS AND AMY SEDARIS WITH THE MOTH BROOCH) They're on my hubby's camera and he keeps forgetting to email them to me, so I gave up and decided to put this up anyway. They'll be added shortly, once I've finished beating him :-) 

Mistress Rae's Decadent Designs is a place where you can get some of the most fantastically unique, one of a kind items on the market. Her Victorian/Steam Punk style jewelry is a showstopper, and her dolls are BREATHTAKING. I have a few of her different hairpieces and I get stopped every time I wear them. Both the Chandelier hairpins and the Skeleton Royalty hairpins have been very close to stolen right off of my head!Skeleton Royalty hairpins

If you go to her Etsy page, you'll see that she has perfect feedback- not only is she talented and creative, but she's an honest, friendly and easy to work with seller as well.

When I ordered my Lady Victoria doll she included a ton of super cool extra goodies, included one of her highly coveted insect jewelry pieces. I wore the broach to go see Amy Sedaris (she of Strangers With Candy and the book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People! fame) who liked it so much that I just had to gift it to her, even though I'd worn that pin almost every day since I'd gotten it. I guess I'm just gonna have to replace it with this necklace
Madame Belle Arachnid Necklace & Earring Set

Madame Belle Arachnid Necklace

Santa Muerte in Blue
The Santa Muerte In Blue is beautiful and reminds me of the statues at my local Botanica but MUCH less expensive. 

Lady Victoria Doll
Lady Victoria (I only paid $7.50 for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

And look at this set currently on her page for only $23, including real flowers encased in the pendant!Celebrate Spring Necklace and Earring Set

Not only does she create jewelry and dolls, but she's a writer too! Whew! She just finished her latest work, Diary Of A Vampire Stripper, which promises to be a fun read.

But wait, there's more! She's also a photographer, as evidenced in her photo book Terra Mysteria

Cinsearae is a lovely, intelligent and talented woman who I'm proud to support and share with you. I can't recommend her enough!
Following is an interview that we did, and you can see for yourself what a charming and fun girl she is :-) 
I see that you've studied both English and theatre. Do you feel like either have influenced your pieces? (I did the same actually. Started acting in the fifth grade, went to a performing arts high school and majored in theatre until I decided to switch to English Lit)
The acting bug bit me I think sometime in junior high, and followed me through college, lol. The last time I did anything on a stage was waaay back in 2000 with an acting troupe that did 'educational theater'. We did excerpts from works by Shakespeare and such. Was a lot fo fun! I can't really say it influenced any of my pieces, although it may have helped me develop a keener 'eye' when it comes to the asthetic part of my creations.

You write as well as create dolls and jewelry. Tell me about your different writing projects. (And you have a book coming out in June!)
I'm Editor/Publisher of (award-winning) Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine. It's tri-annual, coming out in April, July and October. Of course, it caters to the darker side of things--Gothic, horror, and paranormal. I also write horror and dark paranormal romance. My most recent novel, "Diary of a Vampire Stripper" will be out this June, so I'm busy with getting the word out about it. It's a chick-lit, snarky, misadventure with a splash of romance--I'm more the suspenseful type of writer, lol. I invite everyone to check out the book's webpage for downloads, the trailer, and even a fun quiz on the two main characters: and for aspiring and seasoned writers and artists interested in submitting sommething to the magazine can visit

Where do you look for inspiration?
I'm a very visual person; I love Goth in the asthetic. I visit cemeteries, or take road trips with my hubby and stumble upon places on the way, intentionally or not. And I *always* take a camera with me. I've found abandoned houses along roadsides, dilapidated buildings, you name it. Nature herself has always offered some very eerily photogenic scenes for me, especially on rainy or foggy days! Of course, I love horror movies, or anything with a quirky, non-mundane slant. I love period movies too. It all helps with inspiration in the long run, lol. I recently published "Terra Mysteria" a book of erie and atmospheric images I've culminated over the past three years available on my storefront,

I LOVE your insect pieces and how they take something that was once a pest to be swept away and turn them into something of beauty. What gave you the idea for these pieces?
Honestly, I think my muse handed me that idea, lol. You see a lot of Victorian mourning jewelry in which human hair is incorporated into beautiful works of wearable art, and I wanted to create something that had a bit of Victorian inspiration with a tad bit of creepiness. Spiders, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, bees/wasps---these insects have special meaning in Victorian lore, so I try to use these particular insects the most---and finding them already dead, of course! My hubby also enjoys bringing home any insects he comes across in his line of work, and seeing what I wind up creating, lol.

Why did you decide to start making dolls?
Dolls are fun *grin* and creepy, if you want to take it to that level (cue eerie laugh...). I LOVE to raid thrift stores or flea markets to find discarded and unwanted dolls so I can take them home and give them a complete makeover, lol. they NEVER look anything like how I found them when I'm done, lol. I'll also start from scratch and get doll parts, then go from there. I also like to upcycle items when I can, which was why I started making my "Lovely Bottle Ladies" from either glass or heavy plastic bottles.
(note- see my Lady Victoria for an example)
When you aren't writing or crafting, what do you like to do?
I like to create digital art when the muse hits, and I'll listen to music while I do that. Other than that, I love going to state parks with my hubby and our two crazy rat terriers. Horror Conventions, Gothic events (I love any chance to play 'dress up', lol!) going out to the movies on occasion, or just watching them at home. I can be a little bit of a homebody at times, until my mood shifts and I'm itching to get out and do something.

How long have you been creating your pieces?
I've been doing this for almost three years now, when I opened my shop Mistress Rae's Decadent Designs back in 2009. I'm getting more into the swing of things this year, though, as I'll be taking my shop on the road to the National Haunter's Convention next month, so I'm very much looking forward to that!

Anything else you'd like to have mentioned?
Mistress Rae’s Decadent Designs is also on Facebook! I love getting ‘likes’ for my page! And thank you so much for the interview, Julie Ann! It’s been fun! J

Support handmade and stop by her store! Just to encourage you to check her out, I'm sponsoring a giveaway for one of her elegant and exquisite handmade jewelry sets made especially for my readers. Cool, huh? Spread the word and gain extra entries for yourself.

One of her newest dolls- these are similar to the dolls I make! Who needs mass produced Living Dead dolls when you can own a one of a kind original? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Foodzie Earth Day Box

Foodzie is one of my favorite things in the world! For $29.95 a month, you get to pick from three different curated boxes chock full of artisan foods. Normally I get the cooking boxes, but they were already sold out when I got to the website to make my pick. Luckily, there's seemingly no such thing as being disappointed with a Foodzie box! Literally everything I got was amazingly yummy! I used the pumpkin seeds last night to make the following dish:

  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless sourdough bread
  • 1/2 cup shelled pepitas, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 6-ounce sea bass fillets

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon wedges
print a shopping list for this recipeview wine pairings


Heat heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add coriander; stir about 2 minutes. Transfer coriander to blender and blend until coarsely ground. Add breadcrumbs, pepitas and salt to blender; pulse until pepitas are coarsely chopped. Transfer mixture to baking sheet.
Place flour in pie dish. Whisk eggs to blend in medium bowl. Sprinkle fish with pepper. Dip both sides of each fish fillet into flour; shake off excess. Dip fish into eggs, then into breadcrumb mixture, coating completely.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil in each of 2 heavy large skillets over medium-high heat. Add 2 fish fillets to each skillet and cook just until fish is opaque in center and coating is golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve fish with lemon wedges.

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The popcorn was REVELATION.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Words Of Warning About Your Sunscreen

Why It's Harder Than Ever To Find Safe, Natural Sunscreens

About a year ago, I stumbled across a blog post titled Why It's Harder Than Ever To Find Safe, Natural Sunscreens. This post was a mother's lament about the decision of several leading natural personal care companies including Dr. Hauschka and Weleda, to opt out of the sun care product market altogether.

Apparently the European Union's new, stricter regulations around UV protection in sun care products would have forced them to re-formulate their products using synthetic sunscreen filters. These companies, like mine, are committed to making safe, healthy, non-toxic, plant-based products so they are just saying 'No Thanks' to government regulations based on fear-mongering, inconclusive studies, and incomplete science.

But this woman's blog post revealed the true bind conscientious consumers are in. On the one hand you want to make choices that protect you and your loved ones from danger and harm, on the other hand your choices are limited by government regulations that are often strongly influenced, if not dictated, by large corporate interests, short-sightedness, complicity from the medical (and in this case, dermatology) community, or a simple lack of funds for more meaningful research and testing.

Whereas it was once believed that UVB rays (the ones that cause sunburn) were directly linked to skin cancer, it is now believed that UVA rays are the real cause of both skin cancer and pre-mature aging of the skin. So UVA filtration (or protection) is the latest driving factor behind global sunscreen product development. Unfortunately, at the moment there are only a few chemical sunscreens that can protect you from UVA, and as it turns out, here in the U.S. we have even fewer options than in Europe or Japan, due to the FDA's continuing failure to finalize its official position on this sensitive but critical matter.

It also turns out that some of the FDA-approved sunscreen chemicals can lead to other cancers because of the free radicals they generate when they absorb and react with the very rays they are designed to protect you from! Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cellular damage by stealing electrons from healthy cells --a process called oxidation. The DNA mutations caused by this damage are usually a pre-requisite for the rapid development of any type of cancer.

According to The Chemical Sunscreen Health Disaster web site, sunscreens made from chemicals are potentially harmful to humans in one of two ways:

1) Their chemical action leads to the proliferation of cancer-causing free radicals and/or

2) Their estrogenic effects make them endocrine disruptors which can cause serious problems in sexual development and adult sexual function, and can further increase risks for certain types of cancer other than melanoma.

This is a list of FDA-approved sunscreen ingredients as of August 2010:

Avobenzone (also known as Parsol 1789)
Menthyl anthranilate
Octinoxate (formerly Octyl Methoxycinnamate)
Octyl Salicylate
Padimate O
Phenylbenzimidazole sulfonic acid
Titanium Dioxide
Trolamine salicylate
Zinc Oxide
Of this list, only two ingredients --Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide-- are naturally occurring ingredients. Both are very effective physical UVA and UVB sun blocks because they deflect UV rays away from the skin. All the other ingredients are chemical sunscreens that work by absorbing UVB radiation (the so-called "burning rays") and then dispersing the energy through chemical reactions --some of which can generate those dreaded "free radicals" that often lead to cancer.

The most commonly used of these ingredients are Avobenzone, Octinoxate (formerly Octyl Methoxycinnamate), Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, and Padimate O.

Avobenzone is an oil soluble chemical agent capable of absorbing light throughout the entire UVA spectrum. It is one of the very few comprehensive chemical UVA sunscreens available on the market right now. Its role in protecting skin from the potentially carcinogenic effects of UVA radiation, are what make it the most widely used chemical sunscreen ingredient.

Unfortunately, Avobenzone is known in the scientific community as a strong free radical generator that degrades fairly quickly in actual sunlight, rapidly reducing its effectiveness as a sunscreen. Which has to make you wonder ... can using this type of sunscreen actually cause more harm than good?

The results of one study done at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, showed that many widely used sunscreen chemicals, including benzophenone-3, octyl methoxycinnamate, and octyl-dimethyl-PABA, mimic the effects of the female hormone estrogen and trigger developmental abnormalities in rats.

And as far back as 1998, Dr. John Knowland at the University of Oxford, reported studies showing that certain sunscreens containing PABA and its derivatives can damage DNA, at least in the test tube experiments. When a chemical sunscreen, Padimate-O, was added to DNA and the mixture exposed to the ultraviolet rays of sunlight, it was found that the sunscreen broke down in sunlight, releasing highly active agents that could damage DNA.

Research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of over 1,500 sunscreens and other sun-blocking products currently on the market found that 3 of 5 sunscreens either don't protect skin from sun damage or contain hazardous chemicals --or both. In their 2009 Sunscreen Report they reported a 70% increase over 2008 in the number of products containing one ore more of the 4 strong UVA filters FDA has approved for use in sunscreens (Avobenzone, Mexoryl, Titanium Dioxide, and Zinc). Their research showed that despite the increased use of UVA filters, 1-in-9 products offer dangerously low levels of UVA protection.

In August 2007, the FDA proposed a 4-star rating system for UVA protection and a requirement that the rating appear on sunscreen labels. The FDA has not yet finalized this proposal though there has been talk that the new rules will finally be released in the fall of 2010. As a result of this delay, no brands are currently posting the new UVA rating voluntarily. With no mandatory, comprehensive sunscreen standards in place, products vary widely in safety and effectiveness, natural product manufacturers aren't able to offer safer products, mothers fret, and the public continues to lose out.

Copyright Dropwise Essentials

Donya Fahmy, is a green business owner and the creator of Dropwise Essentials' spa-quality aromatherapy body products that help you safely relieve stress, increase vitality, improve confidence, or simply manage your emotional state any time or place without popping a pill. For more free tips and valuable information visit and subscribe to the Dropwise Health & Beauty News Ezine or blog feed.

Argan oil, the Michael Jordan of beauty products!

Unlike many beauty products that are hot for a minute and disappear (vibrating mascara wands anyone?) the hype surrounding argan oil is going nowhere. And while most of us have tried – and likely love – our hair and skin thanks to Moroccan oil and Josie Maran’s concentrated version – there’s even more out natural gorgeousness out there.

Argan oil is what is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree, indigenous to Morocco. The oil has a high concentration of Vitamin E and fatty acids, making it a topical superfood (if only we could eat it too!), perfect for parched skin and hair. And if Josie Maran’s skin isn’t enough to convince skeptics, the healing powers, wrinkle reducing, stretch-mark banishing, cuticle-smoothing, and acne-fighting are just a few of the reasons to love this balancing oil. Read on for the more ways to incorporate argan into must-have beauty products: 

Instinctual Energizing Bath and Body Wash (7.7 oz.)
Instinctual Energizing Bath and Body Wash (7.7 oz.)
Energize your mind and relieve fatigue while cleansing your skin with this luxurious body wash from SpaRitual. Organic ginger oil instantly awakens and invigorates while antibacterial and antioxidant white willow bark and green coffee seed purify. Argan oil imparts a soft, hydrated, protected finish for a lastingly silky texture. Made with 70% certified organic ingredients.

Darphin Age Defying Lip Balm 8ml/0.28oz
Darphin Age Defying Lip Balm 8ml/0.28oz
A rich creamy aromatic lip balm to combat aging Instantly melts into lips for nourishment all day long Diminishes appearance of lip lines Replenishes essential moisture for suppleness Lips appear softer smoother & fuller Suitable for all skin types

Girls Night Out My Glam bag

Alrightee, Whiny McWhinerson was finally happy with her Glam Bag! I'm still teetering on the fence, but the inclusion of Urban Decay has kept me sated. Where my concern lies is with the proliferation of "Made In China" type products constantly included. There are so many options out there that I'm still kinda torn as to whether I'll cancel my subscription or not. I already paid for it, so I suppose I should stick it out, but we'll see. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Plantastic Beauty

Spending a day in nature can brighten anyone’s sullen mood. But the power of plants isn’t restricted to lifting only your spirits; those lush leaves also hold simple, safe, environmentally friendly beauty secrets. Klorane uses the purest plant extracts to develop a collection of natural, hypoallergenic hair care products, providing therapy not just for the soul, but for your tresses too. And with celeb fans like Christina Aguilera, Kate Hudson and Rebecca Romijn, it’s guaranteed to be a new fave in your shopping bag. 

Here’s a few must-haves:

Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk

For the constantly on-the-go, grab a bottle of this powder-like shampoo for a quick cleanse. Simply shake, spray and brush your hair to leave it clean, soft and voluminous (and spare water too). This easy-to-use formula soothes and comforts your scalp while restoring volume and freshness to your luscious locks. Plus, for those of you who love keeping score, it won the Allure Best of Beauty award for best dry shampoo.

Dry Shampoo w/Oat Milk Aerosol

No Rinse Care With Papyrus Milk

Dry, unruly hair is our worst nightmare, especially for the overly-attached to their straighteners and driers. Use this lightweight papyrus milk extracted from plants grown exclusively in Eastern Spain, this innovative formula controls frizz and protects against humidity, detangling and styling your hair to ensure it turns out perfectly shiny, healthy and manageable. No wonder it won the CEW award this year for best new hair styling product!

No-Rinse Care With Papyrus Milk (3.38 fl oz.)
Shampoo With Chamomile

Attention blondes! Show off that halo of golden tresses with this gentle, aromatic shampoo specially formulated with Egyptian-grown chamomile extract to enhance vibrant highlights in blond, light brown and light chestnut hair, color-treated or not. An ideal summer cleanser, this shampoo will leave your hair radiant, glossy, and perfectly sun-kissed.

Klorane Golden Highlights Shampoo with Chamomile Extract

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Whoo Hoo! Tarte has Primers Now!

I'm so excited! Tarte is simply one of the best brands out there for beauty that won't kill you. They have wonderfully natural formulas that perform just as well, if not better, than many of their chemical laden cousins. And now they have primers!
clean slate 360 creaseless 12-hour smoothing eye primer -clean slate™ 360 creaseless 12-hour smoothing eye primer truly locks eyeshadow in place while preventing fallout and migration for truer shadow payoff.


clean slate poreless 12-hr perfecting primer -clean slate™ poreless 12-hr perfecting primer helps makeup stay in place longer while preventing creasing in fine lines and wrinkles for a healthy, seamless complexion. Prime the skin for an overall soft-focus effect as you extend the wear of your makeup.


clean slate flawless 12-hr brightening primer -clean slate™ flawless 12-hour brightening primer helps makeup stay in place longer while brightening skin for a healthy, glowing complexion. Ideal for all skin types, this hydrating base keeps your makeup in place for up to 12 hours of perfect wear time, it's also a quick fix for tired or sallow skin--just one application and skin looks instantly radiant.


Not sure which is right for you? Want to try all three? Purchase the clean slate deluxe primer trio for only $9 and receive a deluxe size of each!  Can you say, me me me me me?