Myth-busting: Using toilet-seat paper covers as oil-blotting sheets?

Unless you are the heir to a paper toilet-seat cover company and your parents supply you with fresh paper seat covers by the packs, I am against using these seat covers as blotting sheets. Sure, it happened to all of us; we all thought it was the best thing since sliced bread when we first heard of this nifty trick. What could be better than gigantic blotting sheets that remove unsightly complexion shine, supplied FREE of charge by the facility management of fine public restrooms you do your business in?

Well, there’s just one problem: paper seat cover dispenser has been tested and proven to be one of the dirtiest surfaces in public restrooms. How? Besides having contact with hands of nearly every person that comes into the stall, it is constantly sprayed by the toilet water. When a toilet is flushed, it sends millions of toilet water molecules skyrocketing above. Many of these molecules find their landing place on that dispenser (and that small section of paper cover that is exposed and vulnerable). If you insist on using them in lieu of conventional blotting papers, I recommend buying a
fresh pack, they are readily available online.

Boscia Green Tea Blotting LinensIf you would like a daintier, fit-in-your-purse version of blotting sheets, my favorite is the Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens. $10 for 100 sheets actually beats out many drugstore varieties because they often cost more than $5 for less than 1/3 of the quantity and quality.


What’s in my bag?

Take a peek through my go-everywhere stash! In no particular order:

Dr Bronner’s Organic Lip Balm in Naked: Why buy Chapstick when a better-for-you option costs the same or less? This USDA-certified organic lip balm glides on buttery smooth. The Naked version is scent-free but I love all of the flavors (which are naturally scented through essential oils). Dr. Bronner rocks.

2. Herb Pharm Breath Tonic: The world would be a better place if everyone had a bottle of this. My sense of smell is freakishly acute so I’m always impressed by people with fresh breath. There’s no reason why I wouldn’t hold myself to the same standards. This is my favorite mint. It is completely organic and made with the best breath-cleansing ingredients. 1 bottle of this little gem lasts forever!

3. Japanese plum candy: This tangy candy has the true taste of plums with an ever-so-slight hint of salt. It really cleanses the palate after having a huge meal, which I’m often caught doing.

4. Coin purse my friend brought back from Japan: I love its intricate patterns. It also contains more than meets the eye.

100% Pure Organic Honey Almond Nourishing Body Cream: While I’m a sucker for anything in glass bottles, this won me over with its top-notch ingredients, intoxicating almond-tofu scent and quick-absorbing formula. $6!

100% Pure Fruit Pigments Lip Gloss in Sheer Strawberry: my favorite Lipgloss, looking forward to owning all of the colors.

7. Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens: These powder-free blotting linens are embedded with Green Tea extracts that you can see and smell.

8. Spitfire Brand Pepper Spray: Protect yourselves, ladies!

9. Cellphone: doubles as a mirror when I REALLY need one.

My bag-
Gryson Tessa in Black: Gryson makes amazingly luxe leather goods. Love the contrast of biker-chic leather with rich gold hardware. I’ve been looking for their classic zipped clutch everywhere but have yet to find it!

What is your essential to-go stash?


Product-analysis: Jane Iredale Circle Delete Under Eye Concealer- #2

Jane Iredale Circle /  Delete Under Eye Concealer - #2 As promised, here’s a review on my favorite under-eye concealer, Jane Iredale Circle/Delete. Before I begin, I’ve got to mention that I’ve been so impressed with Jane Iredale. A truly great beauty company is not afraid of making adjustments when they see the need for it. Years ago, their formula contained Bismuth Oxychloride, which is an ingredient that is irritating to many sensitive-skin types. Ironically, it’s also a common ingredient in many mineral makeup lines. While other mineral cosmetics pioneers like Bare Escentuals and Youngblood remain stubborn and unable to keep up with this ever-changing industry, Jane Iredale was able to reinvent their lines to exclude Bismuth Oxychloride. They did so with style as the line flourished to transform minerals into more user-friendly beauty products. This is the first mineral line to successfully offer beautifully-textured minerals in pressed, liquid, and cream forms. I can see, by researching their formulas, this company’s R&D works hard at utilizing good, nature-derived ingredients whenever possible. Hard work like this rarely goes unnoticed by me, I tell you!

Jane Iredale Circle/Delete
is one of their more clever creations. It’s a potted creamy concealer that offers 2 shades in each pot. My favorite, #2, contains 2 peach-based shades: a light white-peach shade and a darker coral-peach. The colors look odd in the pot but the darker, coral-peach counteracts any darkness upon contact- it's literally magic. I don't blend the 2 colors together, try using the coral-peach shade under the eye and the white-peach shade on your top lid for an eye-lifting effect. As with most Jane Iredale cosmetics, the ingredient list is short and sweet, perfect for my sensitive skin. The product contains lots of natural oils, which makes it a concealer that doubles as an eye treatment. I love that I can skip eye cream in the morning when I’m using this! Set it with a bit of powder and it doesn't budge. By mid-day, it gives my eyes a sheen that looks "healthy". This is a great concealer for eyes of all skin types and would also be a great face concealer for dry and mature skin.

Farmgirl Beauty Secret #4: when applying any under-eye concealer, tilt your face down towards your neck (this will reveal where there’s darkness around the eyes), apply only to the inner corner of the under-eyelid and very lightly blend outward (this is where most under-eye darkness appears). Many people make the mistake of applying too much on the entire under-eyelid, which will give you “opposite-racoon” eyes, where your under-eye appears too light and obvious.

Here’s my disclaimer: I write extremely researched reviews after extensive, self-conducted testing. I do not review products I dislike; it's a waste of time and typing skills. This review contains product I've purchased and gratis sent by company due to interest in feedbacks. My first priority is to my readers; company gratis does not guarantee placement. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are provided to inform readers of where to purchase products. All in all, you can be sure that items seen on my website are the very few products that qualify for recommendation after rigorous testing.


Must-visit: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA.

Boyfriend and I headed up to LA for July 4th. During the car ride, we caught a radio ad advertising our destination. “Hollywood Bowl contains the friendliest people in LA!” And you know what? It really does! Hollywood Bowl is a well-known amphitheatre in the heart of Hollywood. You’ll find amazing live performances under the stars from various artists and LA’s own Los Angeles Philharmonic. It’s hard to believe that beyond the white bowl and its surrounding quiet trees, the insanity and flamboyance that is Hollywood ensue. On one of our first dates as a couple, Boyfriend brought me here to see the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform Mozart under the Stars. It was a beautiful performance. We had seats that were close enough to feel the music dance in our chest but far enough removed from the stage lights to take in the stars and the brisk night air. I loved every minute of it.

Their 4th of July event is well-known so we were really looking forward to returning. I’m a self-proclaimed sucker when it comes to fireworks. You’re sure to find me wide-eyed and smiling like a fool at any type of firework display (sparklers not excluded). You won’t get a hoity-toity firework review here. With that said, The Hollywood Bowl July 4th event is much more than a spectacular firework show. We arrived at our destination finding thousands of people flooding into the bowl, almost 18,000 to be exact. People of all ages, genders, cultures and ice cream preferences can be found within and surrounding the bowl. And they were all having picnics. What could be better than picnicking with 18,000 people?

We brought a yummy picnic as well (you simply cannot go to Hollywood Bowl empty-handed). We had a basket full of fried chicken, cheesy tomatoes & herbs soup (piping hot from an excellent soup thermos), olive oil garlic toasts, our favorite goat cheese, a giant vanilla bean custard cream puff to share (we’re on a diet), peach tea and a bottle of Pennsylvania Chardonnay (to wash down the fried chicken). If that sounded good, just imagine it tasting 21 times better at Hollywood Bowl. Our seat neighbors brought a 17-course picnic complete with a printed menu. Despite everyone being oh-so-civilized, I estimated that 86.7% of the adults in the audience were giddy on wine of some color. This provided the medium for a crowd that is super friendly and jovial. People were swing dancing on the side walk to the orchestra playing Big Band music. Korean moms behind us ate Kimchi before cheerfully singing the entire Star Spangled Banner in Falsetto. I couldn’t help but giggle about the eccentric mix of people that gathers here. I had a blast spending our July 4th at Hollywood Bowl and I’m super excited about future visits to this Los Angeles landmark!


Farmgirl Beauty Secret #66: Using aspirin topically for bacne and ingrown hairs.

Bacne, shaving bumps and ingrown hairs- what lovely subjects of concern! With the summer heat and bikini season approaching, people have been coming to me about these pests. The simple solution for bacne (back acne), shaving bumps and ingrown hairs is sitting in your medicine cabinet right now! Aspirin is made up of acetylsalicylic acid, which exfoliates skin and has anti-inflammatory properties. I first heard of using aspirin for face acne years ago. I did try this on my face when I was acne-prone. While it did help with acne, my skin was left too dehydrated for my liking. The concept is great though; I wasn’t about to give up on it yet.

Further research on aspirin led me to make the connection that the popular ingrown hair solution, Tend Skin, is basically made up of acetylsalicylic acid. This product has been made very popular by waxing salons and beauty supply stores. The verdict: I tried Tend Skin on myself and other “guinea pigs”. While it works well in preventing and eliminating ingrown hairs and shaving bumps, the strong alcohol scent left my olfactory system with a hangover. I passionately hate putting anything on my skin that reminds me of how chemical-ridden it is. And to think some ladies use this around their, ahem, bikini region…yikes! For a gentler and much cheaper solution, follow these simple steps to make your fresh batch of Tend Skin for sensitive skin.

- Place 1 or 2 uncoated aspirin in the palm of your hand.
- Combine it with a 1-2 pumps of aloe vera gel.
- The aloe vera gel will begin to soak into the powdery aspirin. Speed up the mixing process by blending the 2
ingredients with your finger.
- Apply to sites of ingrown hairs and shaving bumps; scrub areas gently.
- Can be left on as a solution (apply sparingly) –or- Apply liberally and wipe off after 10 minutes.

This solution works better than Tend Skin because it’s a true concentrate of acetylsalicylic acid that is activated right before application. How clever is that?!

The mask method (apply liberally and rinse off) is also excellent for bacne. You may want to increase the number of tablets used if the bacne area is large. Use a back loofah for easy application. The skin on your back (and body) is generally “brawnier” than the skin on your face, making this safe yet extra-strength treatment the perfect solution for bacne, shaving bumps and ingrown hairs.

On a side note: while aspirin is safe for internal usage, please err on the safe side and NOT try this if you are allergic to aspirin.

Edited to add: My readers have come up with their own great ideas about using aspirin (read their brilliant comments!). I want to reinforce one reader's comment about exercising caution when using this on the face (another reason I didn't care for it as a face mask). If you do decide to try this on the face. Mix with thicker, heavier base (like honey) so there's no fear of inhaling the dried apirin. It is, after all, a medication, please use with caution!