For the Greater Goods

A lifestyle blog for the conscious consumer


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Be My (Conscious) Valentine?

Valentines day is right around the corner and while giving gifts is fun, giving socially conscious gifts is MORE fun. Here are a few twists on the typical chocolate and flowers. All of the products below are socially conscious in a variety of different ways and are sure to make the guy or girl in your life happy.

Chocolate:

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To me chocolate is great any time of day, month, year, etc., but chocolate on Valentine’s Day is always a little extra special. It’s a great time to splurge on a pricy piece of chocolate that you normally might not gravitate to for your daily (or weekly/monthly/not at all if you have a better self control than I do). I love the Endangered Species Chocolate bars, which are in fact not made out of endangered species, but give 10% of profits to endangered species organizations. My favorites are the dark chocolate with espresso beans and dark chocolate with peppermint crunch. You can find this brand at a variety of grocery stores, but if you can’t find this particular brand, Whole Foods usually has a decent selection of socially conscious chocolate.

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This next one is a type of chocolate you might not want to eat. This Too Faced eye shadow palette is made with cocoa powder so it smells delicious. The soft texture, high pigmentation, variety of neutrals and statement colors, and the oh so delicious chocolate scent make this palette something special. Another thing that makes it special is because Too Faced is a cruelty free brand.

Flowers:

Before starting my blog I would have never thought to look into the flower industry’s effect on the environment. But with the upcoming holiday, the idea popped into my head and I started to do a little research. Did you know that 80% of cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported? Between transportation costs and the pesticide usage, there are plenty of reasons to look into flower alternatives. Luckily there are some alternatives:

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  1. To ensure your flowers are local, stop by a farmers market. You’ll be supporting local business too.
  2. Order flowers from a USDA certified organic companies such as: OrganicBouquets.com, LocalHarvest.org, or Veriflora.com.
  3. Not into flowers? Buy some herbs! A potted herb is the gift that keeps on giving. There’s nothing like having fresh herbs for cooking. So convenient and so tasty.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Leave your plans in the comments below!

 

 

 


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Friday Finds

Check out what I’ve been checkin’ out this week…

Friday Finds 1.22.16

 

1. When I was younger, I definitely would have loved one of these “normal” looking dolls.

2. A few things to start doing in 2016.

3. A trashcan for the ocean.

4. Rhode Island celebrated a great cause this week for a new holiday called D-Strong Day.


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2015 Gifts That Give Back

Tis’ the season for giving! I’ve curated a fun list of gift ideas that give back in more ways that one. By giving these gifts, you’re also giving back to a great cause.

2015 Gifts That Give Back

 

1. The Gemma Hat by Krochet Kids: Krochet Kids supports women living in poverty in Northern Uganda and Peru by providing them with jobs, an education, and career counseling in order to create long lasting, sustainable change. This classic, gray pompom beanie is perfect for colder weather.

2. Dime Collection (tortoise frame with gold mirror lenses) by Diff Eyewear: These shades not only keep you from squinting on bright, sunny days, but also help to supply eyeglasses to rural areas in Africa. For every pair of eyewear that is bought through Diff Eyewear, a pair of eyeglasses is given (at no cost) to communities that do not have access to vision care.

3. Resilience Necklace by Made By Survivors: Made By Survivors provides jobs, education, and shelter to thousands of human trafficking survivors in Nepal, India, Cambodia, and Thailand. This particular necklace is inspired by vines that grow in Northern India. Like the women who make these necklaces, vines are very resilient. When you cut them down, they grow back even stronger.

4. Black and Gold Striped Vase by Ten Thousand Villages: Ten Thousand Villages is one of the world’s largest fair trade organizations. They are the founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization and strive to improve the lives of tens of thousands of disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries. This vase is made with a traditional Peruvian technique, but the black and gold stripes give it a modern twist.

5. Nine West Cross Body from The Fashion Foundation: Recently Nine West donated over 300 bags to the Fashion Foundation. So if you want to get a good quality bag for a fraction of the cost while also supporting a good cause, this is the place to do it. The Fashion Foundation has donated over $10,000 to schools in need of basic supplies like pencils, crayons, uniforms, and basic gym equipment. You can read more about The Fashion Foundation in this interview I did with the founder, Amanda Munz.

6. Maria Poncho by Moorea Seal: Moorea Seal is an awesome store that donates 7% of profits to a variety of causes. This poncho combines comfort and style and gives back to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I call that a win-win-win. You can also check out my Moorea Seal gift guides from last year: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

7. Dark Chocolate with Peppermint Crunch by Endangered Species Chocolate: There’s no better winter combination than chocolate and peppermint. 10% of the proceeds from each bar go to one of two foundations Endangered Species Chocolate is currently partnered with: African Wildlife Foundation or The Xerces Society.

8. On Purpose Blue Leather Tote by Kate Spade: What girl doesn’t want to find a Kate Spade bag under the tree? This particular bag is from the On Purpose collection, which provides jobs, heath care, and fair wages to 150 women in Masoro, Rwanda. The end goal is to positively transform the entire community of over 20,000 people.

9. Tiny Treasures Lil’ Zip by Dogeared: The makers of this adorable pouch are a little different than the rest of the companies on this list. Dogeared is a certified B-Corp, which means it is a for profit company that is certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

10. In-Ear Wired Sport Headphones by SMS Audio: These headphones help support Feeding America, which is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization. SMS Audio was founded by 50 Cent so you know they’ll be stylish, yield high quality sound, and will be appreciated by the music lover in your life.


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2015 Gift Guide for Makeup Lovers

The holiday season is upon us and that means the gift buying, wrapping, giving, and receiving is in full swing! I’ve picked out some of the chicest, trendiest, and luxurious products that are sure to satisfy everyone’s holiday fix. All the products below are great for both beauty gurus and beginners.

For an added bonus, all of the products I’ve picked out are cruelty free. Avoiding products that are tested on animals is very important to me and while I understand that it isn’t the most convenient way to shop, I wanted to show you that you don’t need to sacrifice quality for consciousness. I’ve done all of the research for you and all of my picks are from great brands that are committed to keeping their products cruelty free. If you’re interested in checking to see if your favorite brands are cruelty free, you can use this searchable database from PETA.

Whether these items spark your own interest or give you inspiration for gifts to give to loved ones, there’s something for everyone. Enjoy!

2015 makeup gift guide

1. Highlight and Contour Pro Palette by NYX Cosmetics: Contour palettes are all the rage in the beauty community. This one by NYX is high quality, but also affordable.

2. Tartlette 2 In Bloom Amazonian Clay Palette by Tarte: This palette has everything you need for the perfect smokey eye. The buttery smooth eyeshadows come in a mixture of colors and finishes (matte and shimmer), which make it a great buy.

3. Shimmering Skin Perfector (in Champagne Pop) by BECCA: Add a natural glow to the holiday season with this bright highlighter. It works as a cheek highlight, eyeshadow, and you can even mix a little into your lipgloss for a little extra somethin’ somethin’.

4. Jasmine Body Oil by Herbivore Botanicals: This plant based oil packs a luxuriously hydrating punch and smells amazing!

5. Lip Exfoliator by e.l.f.: Exfoliating can be a messy process, but not with this lip exfoliator. It is compact, very easy to use, and gets the job done.

6. Agave Lip Mask by Bite Beauty: I love Bite Beauty because they vow to make all of their beauty products safe enough to eat. And while I don’t recommend eating this stuff straight from the tube… I do recommend sleeping with this on your lips so you wake with a soft pout.

7. Oval 7 Brush by Artis: This new brush’s odd shape isn’t just for show. The curved handle mimics your hand and helps to evenly distribute and blend out products for a flawless finish.

8. Glitz & Glam Nail Lacquer Collection: This four piece set is the perfect way to prepare for New Years. The three pastel colors pair perfectly with the glittery gold polish for some blinged out, New Years nails. This nail set is also 5-free, which means it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals.

9. Butter Gloss by NYX Cosmetics: These glosses are extremely hydrating and the color is very subtle. I love pairing them overtop a lipstick or wearing it alone for a little extra touch when I’m wearing minimal makeup.

10. Clay Mask (Green) by Fig and Yarrow: Aside from a day at the spa, there are few things that are as luxurious as a good face mask. This all natural, detoxifying mask from Fig and Yarrow works on all skin types.

11. Everlasting Liquid Lipstick by Kat Von D: Along with contour palettes, liquid lipsticks are taking the beauty industry by storm. This version by Kat Von D is highly pigmented and lasts on your lips for hours (aka it won’t smudge during your New Years kiss *wink wink*).

12. Blush Palette by e.l.f.: This four piece palette holds a variety of extremely pigmented blushes that are perfect for mixing to create your own signature shade.

I hope this gift guide has given you some inspiration and gotten you excited to go shopping. Are there any beauty buys you’re currently obsessed with? Leave your favorites in the comments below!


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Orange Harp 2015 Gift Guide (For Her)

Every year I make myself wait until after Thanksgiving to start thinking about Christmas. No Christmas decorations, no holiday music, no gift shopping until I have properly stuffed my face with turkey. And every year I find myself in a mad rush to find last minute gifts. This year I’ve decided to take a new approach. In respect for Thanksgiving, I will still keep the holiday tunes and décor to a minimum, but I am going to start thinking about gifts a little earlier to spare myself any last minute stress.

I thought I would help my readers out too by creating my first gift guide of the year. Last year my first seasonal gift guide revolved around a company called Orange Harp. For those of you who have never heard of Orange Harp, Orange Harp is a mobile app that serves as a marketplace for high-quality, ethically crafted, socially conscious products. They partner with brands that make things the right way. The thing I love most about Orange Harp is that they believe you don’t have to sacrifice quality or style to lead a conscious life.

Since my original gift guideOrange Harp has grown in many ways. They currently have partnered with 45 brands and sell over 4,000 products. Orange Harp has also updated their app with filter options for easier navigation. In my opinion, the coolest new addition is their Orange Harp Heroes program. They encourage users to send in their socially conscious tips and stories so Orange Harp can share them with the world. You can email you tips to life@orangeharp.com for a chance to win a $10 gift card.

All the products below are available on the Orange Harp app which you can download from the app store. You can click the links to learn more about each product and why they’re considered socially conscious. This is your lucky day because you can also save some money by using the code GREATERGOODS at checkout to get 15% off your entire purchase (valid through November 30, 2015). Happy shopping!

Orange Harp For Her Gift Guide 2015

1. Aasha Glass Cuff

2. All Natural Hand Cream Smoother

3. Arapahoe Red Button Down

4. Ring Holder

5. Presidio Tote

6. White Sage & Wild Mint Tea

7. Kiss Ring

8. View Sera Cosmetic Bag


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Inspiring Instagrams: Accounts That Are Making An Impact All Over The World

While there are many superficial aspects surrounding Instagram and social media, both are powerful ways to reach an enormous audience and spread awareness. I’ve gathered a cornucopia of accounts that are currently inspiring me. What I love about all of these accounts is that they don’t just present you with problems, but rather solutions and an outlet to get involved. They spread awareness in a positive and unique way. Check em’ out, stir up some awareness, donate if/when possible, and get ready to get inspired.

National Geographic (@natgeo): “Life is an adventure—enjoy the ride and the world through the eyes of the National Geographic photographers.”

I learn something new about world cultures, animals, and the environment every day from the National Geographic Instagram feed. It brings attention to environmental causes, human rights issues, and endangered species while posting breathtaking images from remote locations around the world. But this feed not only spreads awareness to global issues, but also shows you what people and charities are doing to solve these problems.

Charity Water (@charitywater): “We’re bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in need around the world.”

Of all the charity Instagram’s I’ve checked out, Charity water is my favorite. Charity Water brings clean, safe drinking water to people around the world. Their Instagram does a great job of showing their incredible impact while also teaching you about the importance of clean water access. Their feed shows how your donations directly impact people’s lives.

National Wildlife Foundation (@nationalwildlife): “Home of #wildlifeselfies — a series of silly and close-up wildlife photos. Working to inspire people to protect wildlife and enjoy the outdoors.”

If you don’t think this account is adorable, then I question whether or not you have a soul.  Cute animals, funny captions, what more does an Instagram account need? The feed is also peppered with tips on how you can do your part to support their mission to protect wildlife and enjoy the great outdoors.

View this post on Instagram

Before this fundraiser, Fatima had exhausted her financial resources in the struggle against bonded labor to the point where she feared that she'd be unable to pay her own medical bills. Thanks to everyone who donated over the past 72 hours, she now has nearly $2 million to continue her organization's fight against bonded labor. (To fully visualize this impact, it should be realized that the purchasing power of a dollar in Pakistan is about 5x greater than in the United States.) This is an absolutely transformational amount of money. Fatima is meeting with the board of the BLLF to plan a major expansion of their efforts, and she wanted me to pass along this statement: "From BLLF and from all of the bonded labourers, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has opened their hearts and donated to our cause. I struggle to find the words, I don't think I have the words to tell you how grateful we are. You have donated for freedom, for rehabilitation and we are indebted. Thank you so much. The prayers of every labourer are with you and they will always hold you in their hearts. Our responsibility now is to honour what you have trusted us with, and we will. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we want to build a real freedom center in Lahore, here we can work on not just releasing families but rehabilitation. We want workers to be treated with the rights they deserve as citizens. Pakistan faces a lot of challenges, and we want industry to thrive in Pakistan, but the labourers must be free. You cannot make people work by beating and chaining them. I believe that the day the owners understand me, that the day the worker is happy, the profits will be greater. Labour rights need to be regulated, owners have the right to make profit but not through abuse, and deprivation. That is not an industry, that is slavery. This is a big step for labourers that this has received so much attention, and that their voices have reached a global stage and we are being heard. With this we hope to end bonded labour in Pakistan."

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

Humans of New York (@humansofny): “New York City, one story at a time.”

On this account, photographer Brandon Stanton captures photos of people on the streets of New York and asks them questions about themselves to generate a caption for the photo. Whether the stories are happy, sad, funny, or inspirational, it generates a sense of community and support that reminds you of the good in the world.

Although most pictures are taken in New York, Stanton’s recent trip to Pakistan has helped raised over $2 million for an activist who is trying to end slavery in the brick making industry. This is an issue prior to HONY, I knew nothing about. Check out this article to learn more about how HONY changes lives.

View this post on Instagram

Keep it positive! 💕

A post shared by KELLI PEASE ★ HAPPY INSPO (@happsters) on

Happsters (@happsters): “to create, dream & spread happiness. Science of Happiness graduate.”

Need a pick me up? Check out the Happsters. This account is committed to spreading happiness, which is surely a worthwhile cause.  This account posts inspirational quotes daily. I like to screenshot my favorites and save them for a rainy day. If you like my Monday Motivation posts, then this account will be right up your alley.

What inspiring accounts do you follow on Instagram? I love hearing about what inspires others so feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.


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Fair Treasure

I love the idea of subscription boxes. Like love as in capital L-O-V-E. I’ve tried Birchbox and Conscious Box, would love to try Ipsy, am intrigued by Rocksbox, and have heard great things about Stitch Fix.

I just love the idea of getting a special surprise in the mail each month. One subscription box that recently appeared on my radar is called Fair Treasure. Fair Treasure helps you find high quality products from around the world that are produced by people earning a fair wage to feed their families, lift themselves out of poverty, and educate their children.

This box is right up my alley! One of my biggest issues with other boxes is the lack of a socially conscious effort. While I’m trying to make a conscious effort with the products I buy, most subscription boxes don’t help with that, but the Fair Treasure box does. _MG_2208

Although Fair Treasure isn’t Fair Trade certified yet (key word), they are working towards it. All of the products they send out follow the 10 principles of Fair Trade, which are listed below:

  • Creating Opportunities for Economically Disadvantaged Craftspeople and Farmers
  • Transparency and Accountability
  • Fair Trading Practices
  • Payment of a Fair Price
  • Ensuring no Child Labor and Forced Labor
  • Commitment to Non Discrimination, Gender Equity and Freedom of Association
  • Ensuring Good Working Conditions
  • Providing Capacity Building
  • Promoting Fair Trade
  • Respect for the Environment

Fair Treasure fills monthly subscription boxes with 2-3 handmade items that abide by their ethical, fair trade standards. Boxes usually include home décor, jewelry, or personal accessories. Along with each item is a corresponding note card that gives you a little information about how the item was made. I got three items in my box that I wouldn’t have thought to buy for myself, but will definitively use. In my box I received a bottle stopper, tea towel, and miniature vase.Below are pictures of all the items with their descriptions:

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_MG_2202The subscription service costs $35 a month and you can pay for one or three months at a time. The quality of the products justify the price, but I understand spending $35 a month on a subscription box isn’t in everyone’s budget. I believe it is a great way to treat yourself once in a while. It would also be a great, unique gift. If you’d like some more reviews, you can check out My Subscription Addiction’s and Must Have Boxes reviews of Treasure Box.

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Splurge or Save: To The Beach

Summer is officially here! To me summer and the beach go together like peanut butter and jelly. I would go to the beach everyday if I could. The sand between your toes, the fresh, salty air, the soothing sound of crashing waves, looking for shells and wildlife, warm sunshine, even taking a dip if its hot enough (although it is very rarely hot enough in Maine). I love it all. I grew up around the ocean and since I am a seasoned veteran, I know how important it is to be prepared for a day at the beach. You gotta remember sunscreen, a towel, water, a good book, maybe a Frisbee, and most importantly… snacks! Now with all of that stuff, you’re gonna need a hefty beach bag to carry it all around. Lucky for you I’ve picked out two super cute, functional, and socially responsible beach bags for this month’s splurge or save.Mar y Sol Tote

The first bag is made by Mar y Sol, which is a company that enables families in Madagascar to gain economic independence. The founder, Laurel Brandstetter, traveled to Madagascar in 2003 for a community development project and while she was there she met many talented artisans who dreamed of making their products available in the global marketplace. So Laurel did just that and works as a liaison between local artisans and global buyers. Mar y Sol also promotes environmental conservation. This bag is made out of responsibly sourced agave leaves with organically tanned leather handles. You can learn more about Mar y Sol in this video. Each step of making these bags is done locally and by hand which means these bags don’t come cheap. This particular bag costs $125 and can be found online at Nordstrom. 

World Market Beach Tote

This second bag has a VERY similar look, but is blue and will only cost you $30. Apparently pom poms are “in” when it comes beach bags. This bag is sold by Cost Plus World Market, which actually has a very similar mission as Mar y Sol: to make unique items from around the world accessible to a global market. It began in the 1950s when a San Francisco businessman turned traveler began selling shiploads of hand-woven wicker he found along his journeys. People were enthralled by the unique treasures and the business took off. This bag is particularly unique because it is made out of recycled plastic bottles. You can buy it here at the Cost Plus World Market Website (also available in orange).


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Splurge or Save: Stacks on Stacks on Stacks

Now that the weather is (sometimes) warm enough to bare my wrists and arms while wearing a tee shirt, I’ve been really into stacking dainty bracelets. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with different stacks and while I’m no master, I like to have fun with it. But as I was looking for some dainty bracelets to add to my collection, I realized I am fairly boring when it comes to my stacking game. Most of what I own is gold chains or bangles. So I’ve made it my goal to mix up colors, textures, and metals to make a more interesting stack. I’ve got to diversify my portfolio, right?

I have picked out two similar, stackable bracelets at different price points that are socially conscious and will add a little pop of color to your wrist. Stylistically speaking these two bracelets are extremely similar. Both have a colorful, adjustable band with a metal bar centered in the middle. The materials and prices are what set these two apart.

Dogeared balance blue leather bracelet

The first and more expensive bracelet is from Dogeared, which you can buy here. The founder of Dogeared, Marcia Maizel-Clarke, believes jewelry could be both beautiful and meaningful. All of the jewelry is designed and hand crafted in the spirit of love, kindness, and consciousness out of their Southern California Studio. Dogeared is a certified B Corporation. Don’t know what a B Corporation is? Check out this video (it probably explains it better than I can). Basically, they’re all about creating, implementing, and sustaining ethical business practices.  Dogeared adheres to these standards by handcrafting everything locally, respecting the planet, and partnering with non-profit organizations that share their vision of a better world. While this bracelet won’t completely break the bank at $42, it is over twice as much as the other bracelet I’ve picked out.

Silver Bar Boarding 4 Breast Cancer

The next bracelet is by Pura Vida and can be purchased here. It is very similar to the Dogeared bracelet, but instead of leather, the band is made with string and only costs $15. The company started after the founders, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, took a trip to Costa Rica and fell in love with the pura vida (pure life) lifestyle. They met two men who were selling bracelets on the street and decided to take some of the jewelry back to sell in the U.S. The bracelets became very popular and blossomed into a business. Today Pura Vida provides jobs for artisans in Costa Rica. They also created the Charity Collection which gives back to charities all over the world through the sale of individual bracelets. The bracelet I have featured today gives $3 to Boarding for Breast Cancer.

So which do you chose? Will you splurge or save?

(Also as a sidenote: There is an adorable dog named Annie (just like yours truly) that needs YOUR help. If you saw my my recent Friday Finds, you might have read the story about Lola’s Lucky Day, which rescues dogs in Houston. Annie is their most recent rescue and needs an operation to have a tumor removed. So whether you have $2 or $200 bazillion to donate, please take the time to help any way that you can.)


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Zoya Oh Boya!

I first heard about Zoya from my friend and nail enthusiast extraordinaire, Becky. Before she came across Zoya on Instagram, Becky was a die-hard Essie girl. She has accumulated 40 bottles of Essie polish, but it only took one bottle of Zoya to convert her. So when she told me it was the best polish she’s ever used AND they’re made without harmful chemicals, I knew I had to see for myself if this was too good to be true. IMG_1574
Zoya began in 1986 and revolutionized the nail industry by creating polishes that were free of toxin ingredients. All of their polishes are “five free”, which means that are made without: toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and DBP. So what’s so bad about these chemicals? I’ll give you the rundown.

Toluene: When breathed in, this chemical can be harmful to your nervous system and can cause light-headedness and nausea. I already struggle to paint with my left hand so I don’t need any light-headedness to make it that much harder.

Camphor: In high doses this chemical can cause seizures. It also acts as a seal on your nails that deprives them of nutrients and can cause yellow staining. Definitely not something you want in your nail polish.

Formaldehyde- This is the stuff that’s used to preserve and embalm dead animals and humans. If that hasn’t turned you off, formaldehyde is also a carcinogen.

Formaldehyde Resin- This is derived from formaldehyde, and although it isn’t as toxic, it can trigger skin allergies and irritation.

DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate)- In 2006, companies began eliminating DBP from nail polishes because it is a suspected teratogen (causes birth defects). It is banned from children’s toys and should probably be left out of nail polish too!

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So after doing some research about Zoya, I bought a few (ok a lot of) bottles to try out. A couple weeks ago there was a buy one get one free sale and I took FULL advantage of it. They have a huge color selection so picking out a few favorites was definitely a challenge. A tip Becky taught me for buying nail polish online is to do an image search of the polish to see what it looks like painted on someone’s nails. When my products arrived, the first color I tried out is called Pinta and it is a so-dark-it’s-almost-black-purple. I love it. The color is super pigmented and the consistency thick enough to keep it from being runny and thin enough to make applying it manageable. IMG_1549 I’ve mentioned in other posts that I’m trying really hard to avoid harmful chemicals that can linger in beauty products. So I’m definitely trying to incorporate “five free” polishes into my arsenal. Of all the “five free” nail polished I’ve tried, I really think Zoya is my favorite. Other “five free” polishes I’ve used chip easily or never fully dry. That’s not the case with these. Zoya is definitely proof that you don’t need these chemicals to make a good polish.