This month I received the #VowVoxBox from Influenster. It came packed with a few different products, including EcoTools' Pure Complexion Facial Sponge. After using it for a few days, I have put together a quick review for you.
The EcoTools Pure Complexion Sponge is handmade with 100% natural ingredients. I use a few other EcoTools products, including their makeup brushes. Their commitment to natural products is something that continues to draw me back. The sponge contains Konjac vegetable fibre, which, according to the EcoTools' website, is "traditionally used as a detoxifying dietary staple and as a naturally exfoliating sponge for delicate skin by the Japanese." I can't attest to this, but it sounds good enough - especially considering my skin's texture. I have relatively good skin, but I do have a problem with black heads on my chin and my nose. Apparently, the unique shape helps remove makeup with ease.
I've only be using the sponge for a few days, so I can't say I've seen any long term effects. I was initially intrigued by the hard shell and the way it instantly softens when wet. Clearly small things amuse me. The instructions advise using a mild face wash, so I've been sticking to a foaming one with no exfoliating power.
Pro: My face doesn't feel completely clean unless I've exfoliated it. The sponge's texture adds exfoliating power to a mild face wash without irritating my skin.
1) It's a sponge. For anyone who doesn't know what I mean by that - try squeezing your dish sponge ever so slightly. You'll soon see that water is everywhere. When it comes time to rinse, I end up with water and face wash all over my face, arms and counter.
2) The sponge's shape is supposed to help remove makeup - it also makes it difficult to store. It is soaking wet, so I don't want to put it in my cupboard. Instead, it sits on the side of my sink seeping wet until I use it next.
The EcoTools' Pure Complexion Sponge costs $5.99. I will continue to use it and look out for any long-term improvements in my skin, but would I go out and purchase this? No - I'll stick to my using my trusty fingers for face washing.
I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
I flew into Toronto last weekend for the sole purpose of shopping for bridesmaids dresses. If that doesn't make me one of the best MOHs out there, I don't know what will.
I planned to be there for moral support only. I have the luxury of standing next to five other bridesmaids, all beautiful (and thin, I might add), so my confidence level was at an all time low. I have a very different body type, so I knew it would be impossible that we all felt comfortable in the same style of dress. Yet, we did, and I learned a few things along the way.
1) Undergarments Are Important
Just like our momma's taught us. Wearing proper undergarments are important for two reasons. First, you want to see the real dress. Having a supportive bra with removable straps and underwear to slim you is integral.
But, there is a less obvious reason. Many of the dresses we tried didn't zip up. Either they didn't fit properly, or the zippers had been used so often that they were breaking. Our area was in front of a window, so luckily I was wearing suitable undergarments or the entire street would have been in for a show.
2) You'll be Distracted by Color
Talk about a generalization. Maybe you won't, but I was. No matter how beautiful the gown, it's hard to look beyond an ugly color, so be prepared for that.
3) You'll be Modeling for Everyone - and They will be, too.
We only went to Ritche, so I can't speak to every other experience. While we were there, whenever someone tried on a dress, everyone else would peek and determine if they wanted it next. We were swapping with strangers and calling dibs on dresses all day.
4) You Really have Nothing to Worry About
My biggest fear was standing aside as all of the bridesmaids stepped into the size two sample dresses. Boy, was I wrong. I didn't see a dress smaller than a size 10. Instead, the sample dresses are bigger so they can be clasped to size. Turns out, I was actually the PERFECT model because I filled the larger sizes out better. Bring on the chocolate.
5) It's all About the Bride
I mean this literally and figuratively. First, it's literally all about the bride. It's her day and it's her vision. If it's not the dress you would have chosen, tough.
Second, it's all about the bride. Your experience will depend on her. I, luckily, have the most gracious, kind sister ever. She understood my concerns about my body, and though I told her I would wear anything she put on me, she ensured we were all as comfortable and confident as possible. Jenn gave us all an opinion in the dress, and made sure the one we chose suited all of us.
To ensure full disclosure, know this - I detest shopping. It stems from a mixture of being lazy, being poor and having a completely disproportionate body. Last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised.
1/100: Because let's face it, my life would be nothing without pizza.
2/100: A foggy morning walk with a beautiful view. Toured an agency that got me excited about the idea of agency life.
3/100: A belated birthday wish to my grandfather. My life would be nothing without him (and I'd have to take the bus a lot more)
4/100: National sibling day. This makes me happy, 'cause we're cute.
5/100: As you know, I've taken some time off from blogging to get my school life in order. Being back excites me, probably more than it should.
6/100: I was lucky to attend the Hubie Jones Lecture in Urban Health today. It reminded me how happy I am to be in #PR. In our industry, we are always growing and learning and exposed to new and amazing experiences.
I like to think I'm always happy. I started the 100 day challenge during a very stressful school period as a way to remind myself to stop and appreciate the little things. Can you be happy for 100 days?
If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you know I received an exciting package in the mail last week.
In it, I received a few awesome goodies:
1) Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure:
$5.99 for colors // $7.99 for patterns
2) Pilot Acroball PureWhite:
$4.59 per 3-pack // $6.24 per 4-pack // $7.49 per 5-pack
3) Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation
4) Expert Last Lip Color in Forever Fuchsia
5) Playtex Sport Fresh Balance
6) Red Rose REAL TEA Premium Water Enhancer
Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation
From everything in the box, I was most excited to try this. At first, it seemed to sit just on top of my skin, but once I blended the thick foundation in, it was surprisingly lightweight.
These pictures were taken about eight hours after application (no powder, primer or concealer). As you can see, a few blemishes came through and my face got a touch shiny. But all in all, I loved it at first.
After a few more uses, I noticed it start to get cakey between my eyebrows and around my chin. Now, I mix it with my normal foundation to get better coverage with and a more matte finish.
Stay away if you have dry skin
Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure
I don't remember the last time I got my nails done, so this one was interesting to try. The nails come in various sizes, and application should have been as easy as peel and press. They are supposed to last up to one week* (*assuming you do it correctly)
It was harder than I thought it would be to find nail sizes. I thought matching nails would have matching designs, but they didn't. It took some time to figure out which nails fit where, and I lost a few in the process.
Next, peeling the sticker off the back of the nail was more trouble than it should have been. I lost another one because the process bent it out of shape. Also, once you have nails on one hand it gets a lot harder to do the rest.
Last, they're not very forgiving about your mistakes. I ended up having one nail that was slightly slanted. I couldn't fix it, and I didn't want to waste another nail. C'est la vie.
After getting them on, I was in love. They looked like salon-style nails, and I got more than one compliment on them. They aren't too long, which is also good because they are much-easier to wear.
These nails seem like they would stay if applied better. By the next day, one nail was slightly lifted, and my hair kept getting stuck in it. I tried sticking it back on, but no such luck. Also, I noticed the glue peeling off the back of some of the nails.
Spoiler alert, I put them on Sunday and took them off today. Not because they were bad, I'm just bad with nails. I still have 10 more (though I don't know if I have the correct sizes) so I will definitely try again. They're easy to remove and don't seem to damage your nails. They are great for a quick, last minute manicure for a night out.
The nails do not look cheap or fake (i.e, not a salon manicure)
They take effort to apply
Lasts: For me, they only lasted 3 days. But, for the sake of full disclosure, I bite my nails (ew, even these), when I'm nervous
Expert Last Lip Color in Forever Fuchsia
This was a harder product for me to review because Fuschia Pink is rarely my go-to color. The first few times I tried it, I looked like a wanna-be barbie doll. But, after mattifying it, it suited me better. It says it is supposed to last 6 hours, but that's a little optimistic. After the first couple of hours, it starts to cake up a bit. But, the color is beautiful and it lasts for a decent amount of time. You can't ask for much more than that from a $1.99 lipstick. I've been wearing it for a few days now and I'm really falling in love
Please note, I did not purchase these items. They were all sent to me for review purposes.
We're lucky that we are part of an industry that is always changing. We will never stop learning. We will never stop growing. We are even luckier that we have such a strong community of people willing to take us into their world and share their thoughts, ideas and insights. The following list is nowhere near complete, and I am sure there are many great bloggers I am missing. In no order, the following is a list of great bloggers I follow closely.
The Write Woman
A Piece of Me
LEOPARD is a NEUTRAL
Twist on PR
PR Girl Paige
Olivia Adams PR
Parties and Press Releases
That Working Girl
Coffee and Cardigans
NYC PR Girls
Acorn and Oak
One Heel Ahead
Strange and Charmed
I don’t believe people when they tell me they regret nothing in their lives. Let’s be honest, everybody has some things they want to change. If I could give my 18-year-old self some advice, I’d start by telling me not to wear a white dress to prom when pasta is being served. Bad idea.
1) Relax about Money
As my mom continues to tell me: “You’re not the first student in debt, and you won’t be the last.” I paid my way through an expensive five years in university. Be smart with your money, but stop stressing. Going for dinner, taking that vacation or taking a day off work isn’t going to make-or-break you, so just relax.
2) Do all the research you can
Not only did I realize in my 4th year that I was in the wrong program, but I realized that I could have gone to my dream school for the same cost as the one I attended. I could have saved myself from those mistakes if I took more time to think about my decisions.
3) Don’t commute
Just save yourself, it isn’t worth it. My commute was anywhere from 4-6 hours a day. By the time I was home, I was cold, cranky, tired and unmotivated. Mix that with working and homework, and it’s not a pretty sight.
4) When something feels like it’s over, it’s over.
I spent a lot of my university life holding onto friendships that weren’t worth it. It really pulled me back and hurt me terribly. If people aren’t growing with you, leave them behind. You’ll find better people.
5) Get involved
This goes back to my commute. I lived so far from school that I never had time to join clubs or attend events. I have almost zero memories from college, and I really regret that now.
6) It’s not real life
Sure, when we graduated from high school, it finally felt like the real world. But it’s not. Make mistakes. Learn from those mistakes. This is your time to do it.
A spring break isn't much of a spring break when you're spending it doing homework. However, I was lucky enough to spend yesterday in Newport, Rhode Island with a few of my closest friends.
We spent a good chunk of our day touring the Newport Mansions. For just under $25, you can tour two properties. One was a self-guided audio tour and one had a guide. We definitely got more out of the audio tour, as we were able to take more time in each room. It really depends what you are looking for.
If watching the waves from a billion dollar mansion isn't enough, Newport offers views for the photographer in everyone. An amazing photographer I know took these photos. You can see her complete portfolio here.
Depending on what you're looking for, it might be best to head out to Newport sometime after May. We were lucky that the tourist spots were pretty empty, however a lot of shops were closed for the off-season. We will definitely have to head back during the summer months.
Today is Massachusetts White Ribbon Day. Today is the day we stand up and fight for the end of domestic violence. I've been passionate about the White Ribbon Campaign since high school, and people constantly ask me where my inspiration comes from. I've attached an opinion-article I wrote for class about a real, serious experience. For the first time, this is my story.
I am 17, and I am in love. Steven* is 20 and staggering over to me. He is demanding it until I’m crying. Though I say no, some authors think he should “turn [me] around and rip [my] clothes off”, because all women want to be dominated.
Six years ago I escaped an emotionally abusive relationship. Today, as I regurgitate the above quote – and yes, it’s a real quote from Love Italian Style – I realize that this is our problem. Today’s most popular novels are teaching young women everywhere that abuse is sexy.
In her book Love Italian Style, Melissa Gorga teaches the fundamentals of a “hot and happy” relationship. Always be available for sex, even if you are not in the mood. Remember to thank your partner when they remind you to lose weight. It’s disrespectful to stray too far at a social event. Dress for your partner in the morning. Do the “female things” so your man can “throw down in bed.”
Ladies, being told not to leave your man’s side is not hot. Being too scared to say no to your partner is not happy. We teach that relationships are about respect. Yet, this garbage gets past a publisher and into the hands of our sisters, our daughters and our friends.
E. L James wrote the racy 50 Shades of Grey for mature audiences. Yet, teenagers and young adults everywhere are falling in love with the “demanding and scary and hot” Christian Grey. He tracks Anastasia’s every move. Christian threatens to spank her when he does not approve Anastasia’s actions. He belittles her for speaking her mind. He buys her gifts she does not want. Anastasia is in constant fear of crossing him. They are in love.
It is hard to imagine something farther from love. This is nothing more than sexualized abuse, disguised as BDSM. James is doing a disservice to those in safe, consensual BDSM relationships and abused women everywhere.
50 Shades of Grey started as Twilight fan fiction. This is understandable, considering the dynamics of Edward and Bella’s relationship. Edward spies on Bella, following her when she visits friends and family. He disables her car so she cannot go out. He has people watch Bella when he is not around. Edward isolates her from her friends and undermines her independence. He waits outside her house. He threatens suicide if she were to not exist.
If this is a healthy relationship, leaving Steven was a mistake. Steven would show up to my house unannounced and follow me to parties he was not invited to. He hacked into my email and went through my phone when I fell asleep. Steven stole my keys so I could not go out and destroyed my property when he decided he no longer liked my friends. Steven finished a bottle of Vodka and threatened to drive off a cliff because I mentioned a desire to move away for college.
Trust me when I say this is not love. Being stalked and belittled is not devotion. Being threatened and controlled is not a sign of a powerful man. Being restricted, lonely and scared is not passion. This is abuse. Yet, these authors are telling our youth that it is not.
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 35% of women in the US have experienced rape or other forms of abuse by an intimate partner. Nine percent of Massachusetts’ high school students report physical or sexual abuse by a partner. One in five teenage girls has a significant other threaten self-harm if presented with a breakup.
So, before you watch the 50 Shades of Grey movie or buy the latest Twilight knockoff, remember the victims, past and present, of relationship abuse. Maybe you will consider donating to your local Battered Women’s Shelter instead.
*Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.
Last night I participated in the @PRSSANational twitter chat with Jason Mollica. We discussed personal branding and becoming the #CEOofYOU. Delucare has stuck with me since my first year of university, and every year I further develop my personal brand.
One question asked about the tools we utilize to strengthen our personal brands and I automatically thought of my blog. It has become a place for me to organize my thoughts, develop my plans and differentiate myself in the PR industry.
I have made some great connections on twitter and through the blogosphere, but I’ve never actually introduced myself. So, here it is:
My name is Rebecca and I’m currently a MS PR Candidate at Boston University. Originally from Toronto, I studied Communications, Culture and Information Technology (CCIT) at The University of Toronto and specialized in Visual Communications at Sheridan College.
I’ve always known what I wanted to do, but I never realized the industry name until I was partially through my undergraduate career. Though I sometimes wish I started PR earlier, I now have a unique background and set of skills from the highest ranking university in Canada, and one of the top universities in the world.
I have a passion for the White Ribbon Campaign and ending intimate partner violence. Inspired back in high school, I now intern with BU’s SARP and Boston University’s School of Social Work.
If I could do anything with my life, I would stay in school forever, but that’s not financially feasible. Instead, I aspire to work with a cause marketing/socially conscious PR agency. I am also in the beginning stages of starting my own nonprofit organization.
My personal brand is all about mixing education, laughter, values and messy hair. You can find my professional self on LinkedIn, or my 90’s pop loving self on Twitter. Let’s connect soon!
For anyone who missed it, you can find a chat recap here.
“I wonder if it’s possible to know someone through the words they loved”
The Evolution of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin
I’m an avid reader. I have a terrible habit of starting a book and finishing it a day later. With this comes the realization that I forget books, I forget stories, I forget characters. I’ve tried to write down some of my favorite quotes from books I’m reading as a way to slow myself down and experience every word. Some books don’t produce any quotes I love, and sometimes I forget.
It’s a progress, a journey, and you’re invited to join me.
These are some of my favorite quotes from some of my favorite books I read in 2013. This is not the complete compilation, but it’s a start.
"But love, I've come to understand, is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day."
The Wedding, Nicholas Sparks
“Here’s one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning”
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver
"There is something special, irreplaceable, about the first time living."
Crossed, Ally Condie
"The earth reflects the sky and the sky meets the earth and, every now and then, if we're lucky, we have a moment to see how small we are"
Reached, Ally Condie
A Boston girl via Toronto. University of Toronto, Sheridan College, and Boston University alumna. Passionate about ending domestic violence. Hoping to never go a day without carbs or chocolate.