October 2014 / Carmen Varner // Lifestyle Blogger & Social Media + Blogging Coach


Lil Skulls & Fallen Leaves // OOTD

Friday, October 31, 2014

Today is October 31, 2014 in southern California. Today is Halloween. The day when little kids get dressed up in costumes & go trick or treating for candy. It's a festive day. In order to get festive myself, I wore my skull dress. Yep, skull dress. It has very tiny lil baby skulls. From afar, it just looks like a polka dotted dress. They are deceiving that way.

Shirt: Thrifted // Dress: Thrifted // Leggings: Forever 21 // Boots: H&M 

Take a look at this photo. There are like 12 leaves on the ground. The grass is still green. All the shrubbery in the background is green. The palm trees are green. Presently, it is 72 degrees with slight clouds. This is autumn in SoCal. Since it's cloudy & slightly cooler that normal, I wore this Halloween-y outfit. The clouds made for some wonky lighting, so pardon any oddly colored pictures.

See? They're cute lil skulls. Since this strapless dress is a bit poofy & makes a noise when I walk, I save it for special occasions. Actually, I wore it last Halloween when the boyfriend & I went to see Two Door Cinema Club & St. Lucia perform in San Diego. I wore it with my skeleton tights. It was a creepy cool combo. This time I paired it with these awesome blue leggings, which go perfectly with my fab plaid shirt. It's a bit hefty so I tied it up & rolled the sleeves for a better fit.

Peek a boo it's me! Happy Halloween everyone. Here's hoping you have a fantastic day with friends, loved ones, or whomever. I loved going out today & seeing so many people (adults!) dressed up in broad daylight. I saw someone in a cow costume by the bank. Did you wear anything festive today? How are you celebrating? The night is young. :]

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HollyBeth Organics Review

Friday, October 24, 2014

Good morning dear friends! I hope you're having a fantastic Friiiiiday. Today I bring you a review! HollyBeth of HollyBeth Organics* sent me a range of samples for my sample-loving hands to try. The line is USDA-certified organic & "is lovingly created in small, artisanal batches, using earth-friendly manufacturing practices and packaging," according to their website. It's always a weight off my shoulders when I know that what I'm using is earth-&-animal-friendly. Let's take a look!

Let me start off by saying that HollyBeth Organics has some really cute packaging. It's very floral, modern, & feminine in its design. I received the sample gift set which retails at $40 as well as a couple other samples. The gift set is appropriate for all skin types & includes a Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer, Lemon Lime Shea Butter Cream, Lavender Hand Cream, Grits & Honey Scrub, & an Eye Cream Emollient. The other samples I received were the Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream & Chocolate Peppermint Hair & Body Oil; both of these samples retail at $10 a piece.

The Rose Geranium Face Moisturizer smells heavenly. I am a sucker for rose. The formula is designed for normal, dry, sensitive, & rosacea-prone skin, which is unfortunate because it's a little too rich for my combination skin. I have to use the teeniest amount. Hey, it's good to conserve the product!

If you're looking for a natural & interesting body scrub go for the Grits & Honey Scrub. Grits are essentially ground corn -- cornmeal -- which is used as the natural exfoliant. The honey keeps it all together. This was a nice body scrub. However, you can leave the scrub on your face for a few minutes to create a mask.

Both the Lemon Lime Shea Butter Cream & the Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream are ridiculously lush. The cream is thick, you could even say hard. I love the density as well as the scent.  I feel like it's really nourishing my skin. Lemon Lime is refreshing while Orange Peppermint is more invigorating. Both of these rock! Lavender Hand Cream is lighter in texture than the butter creams but just as hearty. Although this one is specifically designed for hands, I prefer the consistency of the butter creams. It does smell great though.

I'm 24. There's no way I'm going to see noticeable results from an eye cream, so it's all about how it feels. The Eye Cream Emollient is very, very, very rich. You need only the tiniest bit. Take that tiny bit, then use less. Less is more here, people. The Chocolate Peppermint Hair & Body Oil smells tasty. I added some to the tips of my hair to hydrate them.

Overall, I really was impressed with the range. My favorite products would absolutely be the Lemon Lime Shea Butter Cream & the Orange Peppermint Shea Butter Cream. What's your favorite organic product? Do any of these items appeal to you? :]

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* Disclaimer: These products were received complimentary from HollyBeth Organics in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

Oxblood & Orange // OOTD

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Here in beautiful California you can see the beginnings of fall start to metamorphasize. In the morning, it's cold & dewy. The snails are making their way across the stairs. Watch your step or you'll kill 'em all. At night the sun sets early & it's pitch black by 7 p.m. There are few leaves on the ground. You may need a cardigan once this week. This is how you know it's the beginning of fall in Southern California.

The start of autumn means you need enough clothing to stay cozy but enough to take off in case it gets too warm. Today was one of those days where layering was useful. Yes, I'm wearing a crop top. I took note from my post on how to wear a crop top in the fall. All you need is a little bit of layering. Same goes for shorts. I'm not ready to give them up because I hate wearing jeans.

Crop: Pink Zone // Tank: Forever 21 // Shorts: Sears // Leggings: Nordstrom Rack // Boots: H&M
Ganesh -- the character on my shirt -- is the Hindu god of wisdom, knowledge, & new beginnings. He's an interesting fellow with a rich history & cool symbolism. Every day is a learning experience. We gain knowledge with each thing to do, make, achieve, complete. 

Can I talk about how impressed I am with these photos? My boyfriend is my photographer (thx bb). He's new to taking photos of clothes & I'm new to modeling them. We have gotten better at working together over time. I'm happy I don't look terribly awkward when posing anymore. Only partially awkward. Yippy! :p

I love leggings during fall & winter. They aren't as thin & fragile as tights. I'm too rambunctious to keep my tights in pristine condition. They end up with runs after a couple wears. Leggings are more sturdy. They can put up with my climbing trees & spilling beers & sitting on rocks. 

Do you ruin your tights like I do? Has the temperature dropped where you live? Are you a weirdo on camera when you get your photos taken? Let me know! :]

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Answers || A poem

Monday, October 20, 2014

I thought of success
& what the word means.
I'm not where I thought I'd be
when I was in my teens.
There were questions
rushing through my mind.
The answers to which
I'll eventually find.
Thoughts on what to do, 
& where to go,
The answers to which
it's hard to know.
How to get there 
& when that'll be.
The answers to which
the future will see.
Ramblings of where I've been
& what that meant,
what I've been doing,
& was it time well spent?
In the moment as it happens
it's hard understand.
It's best to just live my life
& to live it unplanned.

By Carmen Varner


Essentially, this is speaking about feeling lost in life & trying to find your way. There are those moments when you question everything you're doing. Is it enough? Should I have done something else? What are other people my age doing? The only way you can get the answers to those questions is to continue on. Eventually you will understand why each thing panned out the way it did. What does this poem mean to you? Do you see yourself in it at all?

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Halloween Costume Idea: The Plastics from Mean Girls

Sunday, October 19, 2014

I've watched Mean Girls about 1,001 times but never thought about dressing as one of the Plastics for Halloween....until now! Mean Girls is a cult classic. That goes without saying, even though I just said it. But how can you achieve an authentic costume? Well, I've got the basics covered for you with this fab Mean Girls & the Plastics inspired Halloween costume idea. In case you were wondering, the Plastics are a group of popular meanies consisting of Regina, Gretchen, Karen, & Cady from the film Mean Girls.

You'll need a pink sweater. This cropped pink sweater ought to do the trick. After all "we wear pink on Wednesdays," remember? Don't forget to wear pink otherwise you can't sit with us. Why not pair your pink sweater with a denim skirt? They were extremely popular in the early 2000s along with sling back kitten heels which are worn throughout the film. Put all 3 together & you've got yourself a very 2000s look. Mean Girls came out in April 2004.

To accessorize your Mean Girls Halloween costume, you can add a bow or brooch to your pink sweater as Karen wears in a couple of the stills from the film. I recommend a small strappy bag because that's what they wore back then. Not very practical, but hey it's fashion. Most of the purses throughout the film are simple in style, compact, & have just a little strap. In the movie, Cady wears a bracelet from Africa. I found this cool beaded bracelet set.

Halloween is inching forward. Do you have any plans yet? Hopefully these Halloween costume ideas have come in handy. :]

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Halloween Costume Idea: Wednesday Addams

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween is nearing & you're looking for some Halloween costume ideas. Duh duh duh dunnn. I'm here to help! Today I have a Wednesday Addams (from The Addams Family) inspired look for you to rock. Sport this as an everyday outfit -- if you're bold -- or try this on for size as a Halloween costume idea for women or girls.

First things first, to achieve the look you'll need to braid your hair in the classic Wednesday Addams fashion. That was easy. Now you'll need to master your wardrobe. A collared dress is the only way to go.

Grab yourself some skeleton tights. They're so festive & definitely a conversation starter. My Halloween costume version of Wednesday Adams would wear these because she's cool, she's different, she's a little bit morbid, & doesn't mind standing out from the crowd. I would combine this look with combat boots. It's a little bit Wednesday, a little bit me. Feminine, yet spunky.

Accessorize this Addams Family Halloween costume idea with a bracelet pack. Autumn is the best time to rock dark berry lips. I love the the deep shade, the rich pigmentation as well as the immense sparkle.

Would you ever go as Wednesday Addams? Do you have any Halloween plans yet? I don't. Shhh. :]

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Halloween Costume Idea: Cher Horowitz | Clueless

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

As most of you likely know Clueless is one of my all-time favorite films everrrr. That said, it would make sense to feature Clueless's main character, Cher Horowitz, as a Halloween costume idea for women. I dug through some stills from the movie & created a hybrid outfit to emulate her style.

* This post contains affiliate links. 

To start off this look, you're going to layer a white sleeveless turtleneck & a lacy black tank.There is leeway with the white shirt -- in the film she wears a basic white tee & in my costume it's a sleeveless turtleneck.

Next we definitely want some sort of yellow plaid to mimic one of Cher's most notable looks: her black & yellow plaid ensemble. This plaid yellow skirt is a great way to keep your Halloween costume modern. We don't have to be so literal when dressing up like a character. :]

Lastly, we want some cute silver heels paired with some knee-high or thigh high socks. Once again, there is freedom with your socks. Throughout the film, most characters wear knee socks at some time or another. The color is up to you. To accessorize the look, get a small transparent clutch to hold your necessary items like your ID, cell phone, & credit card. Now you're ready to be totally clueless.

This Halloween costume idea based on Clueless's Cher Horowitz is actually pretty simple to achieve & you'll look super awesome while wearing it. Clueless is a timeless film & Cher is the perfect person to be if you're out of Halloween costume ideas this year. As if!

Stay tuned for more Halloween costume ideas for women! Stay cool. Stay positive. Stay updated. What do you think of this costume idea? Would you ever be Cher? :]

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Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes Review

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hello & good morning, friends. I'm sure you've all heard about Younique. I'd been seeing murmurs of the hyped mascara all over the web & blogosphere. One of my friends sells them, so she was kind enough to send me one to test out. I tried Younique's Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes*, which just so happens to be their best selling product.

I had no idea that was the name of the product until I looked up "younique mascara." The website claims that "3D Fiber Lashes dramatically enhances & magnifies the appearance of your own lashes." But how does it fare for a girl like me? Let's check it out!

The packaging is uncommon & cool. It comes in what looks like a sunglasses case. Open it up & there's 2 tubes: Transplanting Gel & the Natural Fibers. Transplanting Gel is essentially mascara. It works well on its own, even if you don't use the fibers. So how do you even use this stuff? Like so...

The mascara still in its original plastic packaging.

The fiber lashes require a 4-step process:
1. First, apply a base coat of your favorite mascara. Wait for it to dry.
2. Now apply the Transplanting Gel to your lashes.
3. Carefully apply the Natural Fibers.
4. Lastly, add one quick coat of Transplanting Gel to seal the deal. Repeat as necessary.

This mascara works really, really well. It truly enhances my eyelashes in a way that no other mascara has been able to do. I would recommend this product if you're looking for luscious, dramatic lashes. My only qualm about Younique is that there is a very fine line between thick lashes & chunky, spider lashes. A very fine line. I might do one eye perfectly & then the second eye looks like a chunky mess. I recommend cleaning the Transplanting Gel wand from fiber residue. Work slowly & carefully. 

On the left, my eye has 1 coat of Younique while on the right, my eye just has my regular mascara as a base. (Please don't mind my black eyes; I accidentally poked myself in the eye with the wand so I had to clean up mascara from under my eyes). You can clearly see the difference. The Younique eye is thicker, longer, & more dramatic. And this is only 1 coat. I usually do 2. The mascara is relatively easy to wash off. Simply use warm water & facial cleanser at the end of the day. The mascara retails at $29 each.

Overall, I am really pleased & would consider repurchasing. I've gotten many compliments on my lashes. I love seeing the length & drama it adds. The more you use it the more you'll understand how to apply it successfully. The proof is in the pudding. Have you ever tried the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes by Younique? What do you think? :]

If you're interested in purchasing, buy from Alissa.

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* Disclaimer: This product was received complimentary from Alissa in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

Finding the Strength to Ignore Someone's Negative Opinion of You

Monday, October 13, 2014

I never thought I had a big nose until my coworker told me I did. I was 19 years old & I worked at Panera Bread as a cashier. My coworker casually mentioned my nose was big. Big nose? It just never crossed my mind. I have a big nose? Oh great.

I was always a little self-conscious of my body. I was never the skinny girl or lean girl or sporty girl. When my coworker spoke of my "big nose" it brought up so many insecurities. It felt as though I had another thing to worry about.

Short fingernails. Unibrow. Big nose. Stretch marks. Scars. Love handles. Aaaaall the insecurities came crashing down. 

Eventually, I had to stop pondering about my big nose. I can't lose sleep over someone's opinion of me. I am the girl with a nose, boobs, a bum, & a waist & that's a fact. 

I realized in my early twenties (but still have to remind myself) that those who put you down usually feel that way about themselves in some way -- they are projecting their unhappiness of what's going on in their own life on to you. I mean really, what does telling someone they have a big nose do? Why do it? I have no idea.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that body confidence & self-esteem starts from within. It may be a work in progress, but love yourself as you are. #LYAYA 

I took the comment to heart rather than listening to myself. I went all my life feeling comfortable with my nose & the comment sent it crashing down. Nuh uh. I will not let someone's opinion of me alter me or make me feel negative toward myself. NOPE.

And should I ever feel that way, I will read this post. And perhaps you will too. :]

Have you ever suffered from poor self-esteem or body confidence issues? Did anyone point out your insecurities? How do you feel today? Has anything changed? You are beautiful. You are handsome. You are a fantastic person. Feel it. Believe it. Join the discussion by using the hashtag:  #LYAYA :]

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20 Things To Do Before Halloween

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween is coming at us full throttle. I love seeing those Halloween stores on every corner -- around this time of year they're more prevalent than Starbucks, so it would seem at least. Some of you may have already figured out your Halloween costume. But I'm sure most of us lag until the very last second to decide. Right? ;]

I want to get in the Halloween spirit. I've already watched The Nightmare Before Christmas twice. I'm not sure what to do for Halloween. I always figure something out last minute. I hope inspiration hits. I think it will. We are about to get into the dark, dirty center of Halloween. I was psyched to walk by a house last night & see headstones all over the lawn. No, it wasn't a horrible real life scenario of Hannibal, just Halloween decorations! In order to really get festive -- I mean really -- I made a list. Oh yes I did because I love lists. Here's 20 things to do before Halloween passes! It's never too late to get in the spirit! BOoo00oOOO

1. Go to a pumpkin patch
2. Bake Halloween cookies
3. Carve a pumpkin
4. Go to a haunted house
5. Make/buy/assemble a Halloween costume
6. Find a Halloween party to go to in order to wear costume
7. Watch your favorite scary film
8. Do the monster mash ;]
9. Say "BOO!" as much as humanly possible
10. Visit a cemetery
11. Find your way through a corn maze
12. Eat candy (but not tooooooo much)
13. Wear a sheet & pretend you're a ghost
14. Drink hot apple cider
15. Decorate your house (even just a tiny bit)
16. Throw a party
17. Watch Hocus Pocus
18. Have a Halloweentown marathon
19. Watch The Nightmare Before Christmas
20. Go trick-or-treating

I really enjoy this time of year. I really do. The nights become chilly & you finally get to bust out your fall/winter sweaters. It's the beginning! Let's celebrate. Cheers to skulls & bones & stitches & haunted houses & zombies. Can you cross off everything from the 20 things to do before Halloween list? What are you most excited about for Halloween. :]

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Oh My Layers // OOTD

Monday, October 06, 2014

Fall is here!!!!!!!!!! I am so thrilled to be able to wear layers! Leggings, scarves, cardigans, beanies. Oh yes, how you have been missed. It hasn't completely cooled down over here in San Diego, but I can tell it's on its merry way. We actually just got over a heatwave. Yes. HEATWAVE! 

Wrap: LA9* // Tank: H&M // Shorts: Nordstrom Rack // Leggings: Pink Zone // Boots: H&M
I put on my LA9 Vivian Wrap & some leggings & layered away. I like to wear shorts in autumn. You know, just with more clothing underneath. Tights, leggings, or thigh highs work perfectly to combat the wind & fresh air. The wrap is lightweight, as you can see it billowing in the breeze. Sometimes I put on the hoodie if I want to look really cool. ;]

At some point I pushed up the sleeves as I often tend to do. I guess it's a habit. I also tend to act a fool & look like a goober. But c'est la vie. That's me. My black velvet combat boots are a staple during this time of year since it hides the legging cut off. Hehe. Yep, consider it an insider fashion trick. 

The wrap is cool because it reminds me of a bat. You can wrap yourself cozy or...spread your wings & fly. Tehehe. I'm so happy it's officially fall. Now I just have to wait it out for the temperature drop. Tell me, how's the weather where you are? Is it "fall" yet? Or some other season altogether? How is your fall style looking? :]

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* Disclaimer: The Vivian Wrap was received complimentary from LA9 Clothing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]

8 Girls Night Films to Watch on Netflix

Friday, October 03, 2014

GIRLS NIGHT!!! Yes! Time to open that bottle of wine, gather your girls, & let the Netflix movie marathon begin. The only issue is to decide which films to watch, which to start with. That's where I come in. I do the work. I just want y'all to have some fun. These 8 Girls Night Films to Watch on Netflix are a mixture of your cult classics, your favorite rom-coms, your best childhood memories, & #GirlPower! Come on ladies. Time for some funnnnn. :]

1. Clueless

Clueless is one of my favorite films OF ALL TIME, so yes it made it on this list. My girlfriend & I adore watching this film with some munchies & a few brews. It's the typical girls night movie to watch. Very typical. Plus, you get to see Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Paul Rudd, & Brittany Murphy back in their hay day. Who doesn't love the 90s? 

2. Say Anything...

Ione Skye & John Cusack star in this cult classic from the late 80s, directed by Cameron Crowe. When Diane, a high-school valedictorian, starts dating Lloyd, an irresponsible army brat, her father is not too impressed. If anything...you have to watch it for its memorable scene pictured above. You just have to. 

3. Mean Girls

Duh! No girls night is complete without Mean Girls. This film is so quotable it's bonkers. I think girls my age appreciated this movie a lot since it correlated with real life at the time. I was about to start high school when this premiered, so it was highly relevant. Bonus: you get to view Lindsey Lohan before she started doing drugs. So pretty. 

4. Spice World: The Spice Girls Movie

One of the most powerful girl bands of the 90s & early 00s & possibly of all time: SPICE GIRLS! #GirlPower. I watched this movie for the first time in years & I was laughing hysterically. The whole film just pokes fun at themselves. It's lighthearted, humorous, & showcases some of the pinnical style choices of the 90s.

5. Bachelorette

I randomly spotted this film one day & decided to watch it by my lonesome. It was racy, funny, & star-studded. Kirsten Dunst, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan (from Mean Girls), Isla Fisher, James Marsden, & Adam Scott (from Parks & Rec) star in this witty film about 3 friends/bridesmaids who have just a liiiittle too much fun right before the wedding. Oopsies. Just watch it!

6. Wish Upon a Star

I watched this a million times as a youngin. It aired in 1996 & stars a very youthful Katherine Heigl. This is like the 90s Freaky Friday. The two sisters end up switching bodies. One sister, Heigl, is hot & popular & totally mean. The other is the nerdy, frumpy one. You know, the typical arrangement. But it's so good. If you watched this as a kiddo, you'll really appreciate the convenience of having it on Netflix.

7. The Parent Trap

Lindsey Lohan & Lindsey Lohan star in this--haha just kidding. BOTH of them are Lindsey Lohan. Okay, so they're twins. They didn't know they were twins. They meet at camp. They hate each other -- remember, sisters hating each other is typical for films (& real life, until you two can grow to an age where you appreciate one another). Then they kinda start to like each other & plot to get their parents back together.

8. She's All That

Sex. Style. Popularity. Yes, the 3 words that everyone yearned for in high school. I was none of these words in high school, but that's why I live vicariously through this movie. Freddie Prinze Jr. (is he still around?) & Rachael Leigh Cook showcase their "I'm in my 20s, but I'm playing a teenager" acting skills. Can a high school jock turn an unpopular girl into the school's prom queen? Do they fall in love? What happens when she finds out it's all a bet he started with his friends? *shock horror* 

Live long & prosper, young film lovers. Make this a girls night to remember....or not remember...you know...because of the wine. Anyway, have a delightful ladies night. Which one of these films is your #1 pick? :]

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Crystal Body Deodorant Review

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

I now have more deodorants than I can sweat out & use in a lifetime. Okay I exaggerate, but I'm okay with that. The kind people at Crystal* sent me 8(!) deodorants to test out. Crystal brand uses natural mineral salt deodorants meant to keep you smelly free without the harsh chemicals found in most deodorants. Hooray! 

I got sent 4 fragrance free deodorants & 4 fragranced deodorants. Two of the non-fragranced deodorants were in pure mineral stick/rock form (I'll get into it later). Prices range from $3.99 to $6.99, so nothing is out of reach. I was actually anticipating that'd they'd be more expensive due to the quality & ingredients. That's a bonus! :]

These are the 4 non-fragranced deodorants. Two of which are in stick rock form, 1 is a roll on deodorant, & the other is a spray. These contain no harmful chemicals, no Aluminum Chlorohydrate, no Aluminum Zirconium, no parabens, & no phthalates. Very cool. I like that there are multiple ways of use. The idea of the rock is so unique, but my favorite methods are the roll on & the spray due to the ease of application.

Here's a close up of the deodorant rock. It's basically a clear, hard rock. I've never experienced anything like it. The rock needs to be slightly moistened in order to work, otherwise it's completely dry. It warns not to put the rock on granite, which I can only assume creates some sort of reaction. Weird right? The non-fragranced deodorants work just as well as the fragranced ones, so if you're sensitive to scents go for these. I, however, love a good smell. 

Cue the choir of angels. Hallelujah! I love these scents! On the left we have the Onyx Storm spray. This is perfect for guys; it has a musky scent that reminds me of Axe Body Spray. I really like this one & my boyfriend does as well. The Lavender & White Tea, Chamomile & Green Tea, & Pomegranate all smell soooo fantastic. To be honest, I wouldn't be able to choose between them. I'm quite impressed with the range of scents & how long lasting these are.

The thing to remember is that Crystal deodorants are not antiperspirants. They don't contain those harsh chemicals, so you will sweat. At first I was skeptical because I don't like feeling the moistness that is perspiration. However, these deodorants stand up to their claim of keeping you smelling fresh. So despite the sweating, which is completely natural, you will smell delightful. Woohoo!

I would definitely recommend these deodorants. I will be making the switch to natural deodorants because antiperspirants freak me out due to the fact that they stop your body's natural reaction: perspiration. That said, I absolutely recommend purchasing & trying something from this line of products. I would repurchase any of the scented deodorants.

What are your thoughts on deodorants or antiperspirants? Do you prefer scented or non-scented ones? :] 

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* Disclaimer: These products were received complimentary from Crystal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are 100% mine aka Carmen's. :]


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