Red Apple Lipstick Review + GIVEAWAY!

Thursday, December 11, 2014 0 No tags

(This post is NOT sponsored, but if you click on the links in this post and make a purchase, you will be helping to support JenEric Generation. So, thank you!)


I have never been a huge fan of wearing lipstick. Not because I hate the way it looks, but because I hate the way it makes me feel like I need to constantly check the mirror to make sure I don’t need a touch up. I like makeup that makes me feel natural and not self-conscious. My prejudice was admittedly based mostly on my experience wearing my mom’s lipstick for ballet performances. It was not a fair judgment, and I realize that now.

As bright and bold lips started popping up more and more, I began re-thinking my feelings about lipstick, and wondered if there could possibly be a brand that wasn’t full of parabens and didn’t feel like my lips were wearing a chalky mask. When I came across Red Apple Lipstick (look at their beautiful color selection!), and read that there lipsticks are paraben-free, and had great reviews, I decided it was time to take the leap.


First of all, the more natural a makeup product is for me, the more points it gets. If I am going to be eating food with a coating of colorful chemicals on my lips, that’s hardly worth it. But if it is possible to wear a beautiful shade of color without worrying about digesting anything harmful, then I’m game. I decided to try one of their bold red shades from their new holiday colors, hollypeno (here). I am such a daredevil!


This was basically my inner dialogue verbatim after applying it, if it helps form your opinion at all: “Woah. This is definitely red. I am not sure how I feel about this. Actually, it feels really good. Is this actually moisturizing my lips? It feels like I have Burt’s Bees on, not lipstick. Hmmm. I think I’ll eat a sandwich while I think it over. Weird. It’s not getting on the bread. WEIRDER: I don’t need to reapply after eating a sandwich?! I think this is growing on me. Eric doesn’t think I look like a clown, so that’s positive. Okay, I think I am excited about this.”

If you didn’t catch on to the overall message there, I am a big fan of how Red Apple Lipstick feels on my lips. That was the most important thing to me. Second, the color is highly pigmented and really lovely. Curious to try it? Well, you may or may not be in luck.


Because I get excited about things I love, and love to pressure my friends into trying new things, I am giving away one tube of hollypeno Red Apple Lipstick (the same shade I am wearing), and here’s how you can win:

You can enter in three different ways below. Do one, or do them all for a better chance of winning. Good luck! You have until December 18th at midnight to enter. :) May the odds be ever in your favor.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A weird (and healthy!) tip to make coffee taste even better

Thursday, October 16, 2014 0

The weirdest/most surprising thing about my pregnancy so far (aside from the extremely vivid dreams that always seem to feature a baby or small child in a minor role) is the fact that coffee hasn’t sounded good.

Early on, I did my research to determine whether or not I could drink coffee with a clear conscience while pregnant, and had happily come to the conclusion that one cup a day is perfectly safe. I was armed with knowledge! And then it just never sounded good.

My love of coffee is mostly mental, admittedly, so I was partially in denial that it didn’t sound good (I told myself it wasn’t possible in the same tone of voice Luke Skywalker uses when Darth Vader tells him who his father is). There were a few times I forced myself to drink it, thinking that just because it didn’t sound good, didn’t mean it wouldn’t taste delicious. I was wrong.  So I just stopped drinking coffee and tried to deal with my new identity. Until a few days ago when the idea started growing on my again.

Pure joy! At 17 weeks, I am able to fully celebrate this wonderful season (I meant fall, but pregnancy too) with my favorite beverage once again. It’s been a good week. My returned love for coffee was also in perfect timing with a really weird suggestion from my mom.

She was telling me about how molasses was changing her life, and that there were so many health benefits to consuming it. I was intrigued.


When she told me that some people enjoyed it in their coffee, I was skeptical. I was more than a little hesitant to try it in my morning coffee, because if it was terrible, it would be a terrible waste. But since I can’t sky dive or ride roller coasters until March, I thought a little risk in my life could spice things up.

First, let me say that I am a plain coffee kind of girl. I love it black, or with a little cream, but I think sweetened coffee is kind of gross. I am also not crazy about the taste of molasses (is anyone?), unless it is flavoring my favorite ginger cookies.

So are you curious? Okay, so on the first try, I only added a tiny bit along with cream. Maybe just less than a teaspoon. To my very pleasant surprise, my coffee tasted like… coffee. But better. Molasses in coffee is kind of like what a sprinkling of salt is to chocolate or what your best friend is to you: it brings out all the best qualities. The second time I tried it, I used about a tablespoon. It was even better. There is a hint of sweetness, but not too much for my taste.


So, I’m hooked. Have you ever heard of such a thing as adding molasses to your coffee? Will you try it? Here are just a few of the health benefits of molasses:

  • long term use of molasses has shown to improve hair quality–as in, it can even help your hair turn back to its original (healthiest) hair coloring because of the copper content! Google it.
  • It’s loaded with calcium and magnesium
  • It is rich in iron
  • It gives you an energy boost (but not the jittery, too-much-coffee kind)
  • Read more here

Be sure to only get organic, unsulphured blackstrap molasses. I used this kind, which I bought from Whole Foods for about $6 for a 16oz bottle.

Thanks for the weird tip, Mom! I should never have doubted you.


Okay, so will you try it? Have you tried it before? I want to know what you think of it!

P.S. Another energizing way to drink your coffee.

How to Quit Shampoo (and why you should)

Thursday, July 31, 2014 0 No tags

This post includes affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, you will be helping to support JenEric Generation. Isn’t that great?

I have a confession about my hair. I don’t use shampoo. Awkward, right? 

You may have heard it referred to as “no ‘poo”, the nickname for the increasingly popular trend to go without shampoo. If willingly giving up shampoo sounds like a form of self-torture to you, let me persuade you to believe otherwise. There are a few reasons why this method is used by so many. 

First, what it is not: it is not a movement to forgo washing your hair. That would be gross. I am not pro-gross. The no ‘poo method is a commitment to using only natural products in your hair, to avoid all the chemicals and toxins that come in most store-bought shampoos, but also because it is so good for your hair. Another reason to go no ‘poo: once your hair adapts to this method, you can go longer periods of time without washing your hair (using homemade dry shampoo to help you along the way). To be honest, that is probably my biggest reason for using this method.


Enticing, isn’t it? Or maybe not. 

Maybe you are not sold on giving up your favorite shampoo. No ‘poo is certainly not for the faint of heart. But if you are willing to open your mind to the possibilities of healthy hair and a healthier you, let my experience be of some help to you.

I will admit that I trashed my shampoo after researching the ingredients listed on the back of my shampoo bottle in a fit of panic. I was scared. Now, I am not a scientist and I may be needlessly paranoid over the ingredients whose names I cannot pronounce and their possible harmful natures, but I am not convinced of that yet. And because I was afraid of the contents of my shampoo bottle, and because I began to imagine all the time I would save not washing and styling my hair every other day or so, I decided to give it a try.

Here’s what you need to know if you try ditching shampoo. It is imperative that you remember this: everyone’s head of hair is different. There is no magical formula that works for everyone when it comes to how exactly to go no ‘poo. It will take a lot of patience and a lot of trial and error. But, it can be done. I gave up completely in frustration before giving it another shot a few months later. And it paid off. Now, I’ve been doing it for about one year.


Because I promised that “no ‘poo” does not mean not washing your hair, here is the homemade shampoo and conditioner you will use: baking soda and water for shampoo, and Apple Cider Vinegar* and water for conditioner. Seriously.

The trial and error part comes when you have to decide how much baking soda, and how much Apple Cider Vinegar you will use. This is what works for me: two heaping teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in one cup of warm water. For conditioner, 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. Most people will use similar measurements. It won’t vary that much. However, the slight variances make a big difference. 

You will have to try it a few times before you figure out what combination your hair likes best. I have thick, long hair, so two spoonfuls is a good amount for me. If you have shorter, or thinner hair, try using less.

The squeeze bottles are the best way to apply the solutions to your hair, in most people’s opinions. This is how I use them in the shower: wet hair and apply baking soda solution all over your scalp. I focus on my hair line and the crown of my head. Now move away from the water and scrub scrub scrub. Then, shave your legs or sing a song so the baking soda can do its thing for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Rinse again just in case you weren’t thorough enough. Then, squirt the apple cider vinegar (your new conditioner) on your hair. This is where another trial and error aspect comes in. My hair prefers this solution mostly just on the ends of my hair, and not for long. I pretty much rinse immediately. 

When you first start no ‘poo, your hair will kind of freak out. It may look greasy for a few weeks as your scalp re-learns how to produce the proper amount of oil. The thing about store-bought shampoos is that those chemicals strip your hair of its natural oils. This causes your scalp to go into over-drive and create more oil to make up for the dryness, which in turn makes your hair greasier, and in need of more washings. No ‘poo allows your scalp to function as it was made to, and once it adjusts back to its natural inclinations, your hair will be less greasy between showers. Make sense? So, the beginning of no ‘poo is not the fun part, I admit. But if you want to do it, it can be done. Stick with it.

A lot of people on the internet will tell you to wear hats in the first few weeks of your experiment to conceal your adjusting (greasy) hair. Since that was not an option for me in my place of employment, I simply had to wash my hair as frequently as normal (as opposed to washing it less right from the start–which does actually help your hair adjust faster), using the no ‘poo method and dry shampoo. 

When you start, I suggest washing your hair with this method on your normal hair-washing schedule. Then, slowly add a day, going a little bit longer between washing your hair very gradually. Some people are able to go an entire week without washing their hair, while still looking great!

Troubleshooting: if your hair feels too dry afterward, try using less baking soda next time. If your hair is too oily afterward, use less apple cider vinegar.

Need more troubleshooting help? This girl has a great post with lots of helpful no-poo advice.

If you need convincing that no ‘poo actually works, here is photographic evidence. This is my hair after almost one year of no ‘poo (does someone want to come up with a better name for it??) I’d say it looks pretty normal. I don’t look too crunchy, right?


Have you tried no ‘poo? What was your experience with it? If you have not tried it, have I convinced you to yet? Share your thoughts, questions and shampoo anxieties in the comments below!
*All Apple Cider Vinegar is not created equal. I linked to my favorite brand, which is widely regarded as the best. I highly recommend it!

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Do yourself a favor: mental health

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 0 ,


Remember this series? I started it a while back, but it was mostly about food in relation to health.

This time, I want to talk about mental health.

Some studies show that mental health is (on a scale of not-at-all to very) pretty important. That’s quantitative scientific data for you.

Now, I know I have been talking a lot about my mental health and general sanity around here lately.

Please do not be alarmed.

The truth is, Eric and I are currently in a transitional stage right before a couple of big changes unfold. I really hate being vague on my blog, and try to avoid it at all costs, but it really can’t be helped in this instance. You need assurance that I am not going insane, but that assurance requires secrecy at the moment. I can assure you that I won’t have secrets for very long. And no, I am not pregnant. So, you can keep guessing.

Right now we are dealing with equal parts stress and equal parts excitement (wait, but it’s not a baby?!). It’s a weird stage of life. There are so many unknowns (but aren’t there always?).

In the midst of all the questions and waiting and hanging in there, there are a few things that are helping to keep me calm, in addition to lots of prayer and childlike faith.

What do you do when you are stressed or overwhelmed? Do you have any comforting rituals? I want to know!

1) Yoga

So, I have never been a yoga girl. Plenty of ballet, and some Pilates here and there, but never yoga–until a few weeks ago when I realized it might not just be for heathens and I tried a video on youtube. I am now hooked. And not a heathen. I still haven’t been to an actual class, but I look forward to unrolling my mat in our living room when I get home from work now. It does wonders in relaxing my scattered thoughts, and it just feels so good. Like, ballet-class good. I am going to stick with it.


Honorable mention goes to my mini-trampoline, which is especially great when the feelings of excitement are greater than those of stress.

books-and-wine2) Reading

Especially before bed, reading is necessary in a hectic life. I always second guess myself on this one until I actually make myself read even when I feel like there are a million other things I could be doing. Most of the time, that feeling is just…a feeling. And taking a few minutes to read allows me to remember that. It’s great! Also, the wine pictured is completely unrelated to stress.


3) Music

Listening to music is big when it comes to keeping my wits about me. Currently, I can’t stop listening to First Aid Kit.

I also love listening to Eric play the guitar. But, a couple of weeks ago when Eric was gone, I wondered if playing the guitar was as hard as it looked. So I picked it up and went to youtube and then subsequently went to town. I know approximately 8 chords. But it is really astounding the number of songs one can play knowing only 8 chords. Mainly though, I have been playing one song over and over and over and over (this one). I now know that playing the guitar is not as easy as it looks, but playing a few chords is doable for the average monkey.

4) Not blogging/blogging

Is that confusing? Depending on a lot of things, sometimes blogging is a destresser, and other times it is not. Sometimes, I just need one less thing to think about. And other times (like now), I feel better accomplishing this one small thing. It makes me feel like I am making progress even if everything else in my life feels like treading water.

But I’m hanging in there. Are you?


Are any of my de-stressers, your de-stressers? What would you add? Do you have any favorite yoga youtube videos?