Review: Package Free

Hey y’all! For those of you who live in the tri-state area, particularly in NYC, you may have heard that a zero waste shop opened up in Williamsburg. Founders Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers and Daniel Silverstein of zero waste daniel are making it easier for curious consumers like us to live a more sustainable, less wasteful life.

As you may have known from my previous post on my public health blog, I’m really fascinated and on board with the zero waste movement, and I follow quite a few bloggers and vloggers talk about their tips and journeys toward a zero waste life.

So going to the store was everything I had hoped it would be. Nothing was out of place. The walls were decorated with decals that resembled rooms of a home, and each table was immaculate with themed zero waste products.

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I’ll be honest with you, the price isn’t the cheapest, but I would argue that it’s an investment towards reducing your environmental footprint and just treating the planet a little bit better by producing less waste (in the form of saying no to plastic and one-time use items, and recycling/reusing/composting items that you can).

I got myself a airtight stainless steel container, a cloth grocery bag for any fine items I may purchase in the future, tea tree and charcoal bar soap, and a little cloth napkin that’s probably softer than a baby’s bottom hah! The best part about my shopping haul was that I didn’t produce ANY trash, and I was able to just recycle the stainless steel container for them to reuse again 🙂

What zero waste products do you own at home? What do you do to live a more sustainable life?

Thanks for reading!!


DIY Toothpaste & Deodorant (Same Recipe Base!)


Hey everyone 🙂 A loooong time ago, I wanted to write a review comparing different kinds of deodorant since I wanted to eventually move away from the ones that are filled with aluminum compounds, parabens, triclosan (FDA labeled this as a pesticide) propylene glycol (also known as “non-toxic” anti-freeze, guys!!), and more, many of which can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions, and have potential links to cancer… Not to scare you guys away from reading, but it’s important to be informed what you put on your body, especially since deodorants get absorbed through your skin and goes into your system! There are a whole bunch of lymph nodes that reside in the vicinity of your underarms, and can become inflamed and swollen from the toxic additives that are in your deodorant.

I’ve been following many zero waste vloggers and bloggers, and quite a few of them have switched to more natural, zero waste alternatives for deodorant, such as making their own! The tubes that your deodorant and toothpaste are packaged in are often made from plastic that can’t be recycled, so if you want to make a more conscious decision to produce less waste, you can consider making your own deodorant and toothpaste! I’ve just made my first mini-batch of both deodorant and toothpaste, and wanted to share my experience with you.



  • baking soda
  • coconut oil
  • essential oils (for scent) – the brand I use is Calily
  • Stevia (for toothpaste)


  1. Mix 1 part baking soda, 1 part coconut oil into a container. **I had done 1/2 cup of each, but I would recommend using less coconut oil since it just sits at the top and doesn’t mix very well!**
  2. Add an appropriate amount of essential oil (the scent of your choice) to the baking soda/coconut oil mix.
  3. Since I was making both toothpaste and deodorant, I separated them into two containers since I wanted different scents for each.
  4. I added peppermint essential oil into the toothpaste mix, and tea tree oil into the deodorant mix. **I put in about 6 drops in each set, but if you want to add more or less, that’s up to you! I’m not a fan of mixing scents, but if you’re adventurous, go for it ;)**
  5. (So I didn’t have Stevia…BUT I highly recommend you invest in some for your toothpaste)

When I tried using my toothpaste sans Stevia, I have to admit, my mouth just felt really greasy from the coconut oil, and salty from that strong baking soda flavor! If you can handle that overwhelming taste, then there’s no need to get Stevia, but I am going to hold off on using my mix for brushing my teeth until I get some… 🙂

For the deodorant, many bloggers have mentioned that your body will take some time to detox and get used to not having chemicals block your sweat glands from producing sweat, so I’m being patient and waiting for the magic to happen! It’s important to mention that sweat should not smell bad; it is the bacteria that would cause an unpleasant odor, so make sure you wash your underarms thoroughly and pat dry after you shower, before you put on the deodorant! Another important tip is if you’re going to transition to your own DIY deodorant, it’s best to do it during the fall going into winter, or in the spring before the summer, that way it’s still cool enough that you won’t produce much sweat, and your body gets enough time to adjust!

There are some people who say that baking soda can be really irritating for their skin, but so far I’ve been okay (maybe it’s the coconut oil that protects my skin!)

Be sure to create only small batches since there’s really no sure-fire way of keeping out random bacteria from creeping into your products, and you don’t want to create a whole vat of this mix only for it to be unusable–coconut oil ain’t cheap, y’all!

Hope you all enjoyed reading 🙂

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New Year, New You: Featuring SHINE TEXT

As we enter the new year, we’re leaving behind negative energy and things that made us feel not so great in 2016. Many cultures consider the new year as a fresh start and a clean slate, and many people like to set New Year’s resolutions and try to stick to them for as long as possible. I for one was never really successful with setting New Year goals (heh) because it didn’t feel very organic and natural. However, behavior change experts believe that the best time to introduce new habits and behaviors is during rites of passages or holidays, and the New Year is the perfect time! Have you set some goals for yourself this year?


I came across a Huffington Post article that featured a texting app called Shine Text which sends you a daily text reminder to increase happiness and productivity throughout your day. It’s free of charge if you have an unlimited text messaging plan, and you can customize the themes of messages you’d like to the following options:

  • joy & presence (I’m currently trying this one out!)
  • health
  • confidence
  • productivity
  • creativity

When you want to switch it up, all you have to do is text back “REAL” and you can change which theme of messages you’d like to receive. I love that they personalize it by using my name, and I love  how the text is sent in the morning to set a positive tone for the rest of my day 🙂

My first text from Shine Text: I renamed their number to “Shine Text” (with a sun!) so I always know to look forward to their messages 🙂

We could all use a confidence boost every once in a while, and a CNN article featured Shine Text, saying that this text messaging service “addresses negative thought patterns” especially when our minds are idle. It may not be accurate for all females, but it also mentions that many women struggle with confidence, and that this can be an effective means to tackle this issue and help women achieve their goals and be more self-assured of their abilities and what they want to do in their workplaces and in their lives.

If you know of anyone who could use a little bit of positivity in the morning, or if you’d like to test it out, GO FOR IT! I’m really looking forward to evaluating how I view my days ahead the more I use Shine Text.

Wishing everyone a healthy and happy new year, and best wishes for sticking to any resolutions and goals you may have set for yourselves!

Review: e.l.f. VoxBox

Time for another review! I was super excited to be one of the first recipients of the e.l.f. VoxBox and try out some of their new products (especially that Hydrating Bubble Mask!). Shout out to Influenster and e.l.f. Cosmetics for allowing me to participate in this campaign to test the products for free! 🙂 I always enjoy testing these products out and trying new things!


e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer: This is a very light primer, and almost feels like air when you apply it because it’s so light and once you apply it, it immediately disappears on your skin. It dries quickly, but my face doesn’t feel dry when I’m done applying makeup. I would think a primer helps foundation and makeup to stay on, but there is some makeup residue if I use a tissue. Rating: 3/5

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator: When I first took it out, it looked like a mint green lipstick. The directions say to dampen your lips before applying it, and then rub off any grainy residue once you’ve finished. It smells and tastes like a sweet minty flavor. I didn’t really think it “exfoliated” because I didn’t see or feel any of the grainy texture left on my lips; however, my lips did feel a lot softer afterward! Rating: 4.5/5

e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Wine

e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in Wine: This is definitely not matte! It’s more of a subtle satin appearance. Additionally, this was  richer, brighter berry color, and I was a little bit disappointed because I expected a deep wine red. However, it is very moisturizing so you won’t really need to exfoliate beforehand, and I can’t complain too much! It isn’t transfer-proof, but if you’re careful when you eat or drink, it should last you a few hours. Rating: 3.5/5

e.l.f. Baked Highlighter & Bronzer: They bake this duo reallllly well; it takes more than a couple swipes with my brush to actually get any product on. When I do get the product onto the brush, the bronze is a nice color and blends alright, while the highlighter is very subtle and probably not ideal if you want to make your cheeks pop when you’re going out to party haha. Rating: 3.5/5

e.l.f. Hydrating Bubble Mask: I was SO excited for this product, guys. After seeing so many new products come out with this carbonated component and thinking about how my face would look with a mask of tiny bubbles, I was stoked to see that this product was in the VoxBox. The instructions say to pump the product and apply it to your face, and to wash off when the bubbles start to dissipate. The moment it touches your face, it starts to bubble, and gets tingly/itchy, depending on what you’d describe the sensation! It’s not itchy in the sense of an allergic reaction, but rather because these teeny, tiny bubbles are popping all over your face! I’m not sure if I just took too long to apply it, but when I had finished applying the formula around my face, more than 50% of the mask had already dissipated 😦 (I was hoping for a longer-lasting bubble-face look so I could take a photo and share with y’all, sorry) This mask is supposed to hydrate, but I felt like it should be named a tightening mask! My skin was very taut once I washed my face and air-dried, but it wasn’t peeling as if it was dried out. I just thought I should mention this factor. Rating: 3/5

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Hope you all enjoyed reading this review! 🙂

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Review: ColourPop Out and About

It’s about time for another one of my reviews….. 🙂 This time, I’m excited to share ColourPop’s Out and About lip bundle in three super-cute shades: Viper, Baracuda (not sure why they spell it that way), and Times Square. I have heard such great things about this brand and some of my friends rave about their matte lip products, so I decided to join and give my two cents since I’ve kept my eye out for some pretty fall shades!


I took some lip swatches for you to see how they look on an actual person (not those photoshopped lips you see in lip product commercials and advertisements lol) to hopefully give a better idea of what it could look like if you decide to invest! I would say I’m between light-medium skin tone with yellow undertones.

Viper: a matte, deep berry/wine red with blue undertones
Baracuda: a “satin” berry red with some orange undertones
Times Square: a matte, dark nude beige

Initial Thoughts:

  • Viper and Times Square are definitely as “ultra matte” as you can get! Once you apply these to your lips, in seconds it will dry. Make sure you moisturize and exfoliate your lips beforehand! These dry so well that I don’t think they will transfer to your food or drinks.
  • Baracuda almost doesn’t appear satiny to me; it has a very subtle satin finish. It’s definitely more moisturizing than Viper and Times Square because of the different formula, and I would say this will definitely transfer to anything you eat or drink.

I put them to the test on different days and here are my thoughts:

  • Viper and Times Square, because they are ultra matte, really stays put as long as you keep your lips dry. If it’s really cold out, you’ll find that your lips will look extra wrinkly because the matte formula already dries out your lips, and the cold wind doesn’t help! I find that if I dab a little bit of chapstick or coconut oil, it’ll moisturize my lips, but the matte effect will go away and they will transfer to foods and beverages when you eat!
  • Baracuda is definitely my favorite in terms of keeping my lips moisturized while staying vibrant throughout the day. It can definitely transfer onto tissues or if you go out of your way to leave marks on your food or beverages, but if you’re careful, you can really eat or drink without messing up your lips! I was really impressed considering it wasn’t matte and glued onto my lips, and yet the color stayed and I could eat and drink with minimal issues.

Note: I didn’t get compensated by Colourpop for my review, but wanted to share my thoughts on these three colors if you were interested 🙂

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Review: Double Wall Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Hey everyone! It’s been a while since I wrote a review, but I’m super excited to share this one with you. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, I was swamped with finishing up assignments and studying for finals, but I managed to squeeze an hour or so to go to my local Marshall’s to pick up a stainless steel water bottle and some glass lunch containers (yay to reducing plastic use!)

I came across the S’well water bottles that are currently trending right now, and after doing some research, I learned that they’re a charitable organization that partners with UNICEF and WaterAid to get clean water to those who need it in developing countries (hooray for public health initiatives!!!), and with American Forests to plant a tree for every wood-grained water bottle that’s sold  (hooray for helping our environment!!!), among other partners as well. I love the founder’s aha moment about taking initiative to promote reusable water bottles to hopefully make plastic water bottles a thing of the past.

The last time I was at Marshall’s, I saw that they had a variety of stainless steel water bottles at a fraction of the cost compared to S’well, and I have to say I was tempted, being a broke graduate student and all *tear* haha. Also, I wanted to test to see just how effective these double wall stainless steel bottles could be!

I was just about ready to give up on my search for the perfect water bottle, when this pink beauty peeked out from behind the other bottles. It was dainty, a muted dusty pink, with a cute heart printed on it. I knew I had to have it (maybe one day, S’well, one day…).

I couldn’t find the perfect backdrop to showcase this bottle, but then I remembered my roommate’s beautiful thread artwork! 🙂

I looked for the brand name, and there was really no “brand” to be found–it only listed Formation Brands, LLC as the distributor, so I literally had no background knowledge of the maker’s reputation or how effective this bottle would be.

The tag on the bottle was modest: “Keeps hot beverages hot & cold beverages cold. Not for use in microwave, hand wash only.” I had no idea how long it would keep my beverages hot or cold, so I put it to the test.


  • 4pm: I boiled some hot water and poured it in, and then I waited.
  • Every two hours or so: I swooshed it around and opened up the bottle, placing my palm over the opening. It was still steamy and I could feel the heat as if I had just boiled a fresh pot of water.
  • 8:30am: I was going to check around 10:30pm before I went to bed, but I forgot. The moment I woke up, I frantically rolled out of bed and nearly ran to the living room while I was half-asleep to open up the bottle. By then, 16 hours had passed. I dumped out the water into the sink, letting the water run over my hands. It was still REALLY warm! Honestly, I expected it to be at room temperature, but this bottle really proved itself 🙂

I haven’t had the chance to test how long cold beverages will stay cold (being that it’s about 60s now in Maryland haha), but I was more worried about the bottle’s ability to keep beverages warm for when winter comes. I’m not sure whether the water stayed hot because I didn’t occasionally open and dump out water as if I was drinking it, but I did pour half of the water out to test out another bottle I’d purchased for my mom, and during my two-hour checks, both of the water bottles’ contents stayed hot. This humble, $9.99 bottle from Marshall’s was definitely a steal, and they have many more colors and designs in this shape.

For my public health plug, I definitely encourage you to reconsider buying value packs of plastic water bottles. Sorry for the long post, but I hope you enjoyed reading and go out and buy yourself a reusable bottle! Go green!

(I was not compensated for writing this review by any companies or organizations mentioned in this post!)

Broken Landscape

Lucky enough to check out Richard Taittinger Gallery the other day to see Jorge Mayet’s “Broken Landscape” temporary exhibit 😁 these little trees were so intricately designed!

ALL PHOTOS ARE ©magnetically aesthetic. Please do not steal, edit, or use these pictures in any way without my permission. Thank you! 🙂