Hello, World. Mint Fox Meadows has returned!

Mint Fox Meadows has taken many different looks on over the past year. After a very long hiatus, I’ve returned on here, with a brand new (clean!) look, and a reinspired vigor to keep things going. Mint Fox Meadows is back and it’s going to be better than ever; welcome to Mint Fox Meadows 2.0
 
Allow me to explain.
 
I’ve been unmotivated, tired, exhausted, and fearful. My anxiety hasn’t peaked, but it has been running very high. My brain has been running a million miles per minute, dreaming big and happy dreams. Content ideas, the future, and so much more have been swirling in a giant cooking pot. The motivation wasn’t there. It’s been a conflicting, difficult, frustrating, and exhausting experience, but something changed.
 
A few weeks ago I decided it was time to finally do something about it again. It hasn’t been without challenges, but I have moved forward. Not swiftly, but steadily; each day tackling a new task and challenge to get things done. In doing so, I’ve learned a lot about where I want to take this site, something I’ve done far more often than I should. Let’s jump right into it.
 

Where Mint Fox Meadows is Heading

 
Mint Fox Meadows will still be a lifestyle page, but with a lot more of me included. For the sake of transparency, I opted to leave the original posts on the site. The original plan was to wipe the figurative slate clean, but I wanted to see progress. Being transparent is very important to me and I wanted to ensure that others could also see change. While I have a vision of perfection, it’s something I’ll need to work to. Right now is as perfect as it can get, but that will change in the future.
 
Mint Fox Meadows will move away from “heavy-duty” planner posts. I run the website, Planner Babes, a website dedicated to all things planner. 98% of my planner posts will be found there as it undergoes its own changes. At some point, I’m sure that I will come here to share some really amazing planner news, but I’ll be sure that it’s BIG. I recommend visiting Planner Babes if you’re interested in planners and planning. 2018 will be Planner Babes (and Mint Fox Meadows) best year yet – it will happen.
 
Mint Fox Meadows will continue to write about beauty products! I’ve been out of the beauty industry for a while, but recently returned to that as well. It’s a completely new venture, but it’s one that I look froward to. My goal is to prove to others that cruelty-free beauty does exist and it’s a very easy lifestyle to maintain. The act of going cruelty-free is a very personal decision with many different layers. If I can make the decision easier and more understood then I’ve done my job.
 
Mint Fox Meadows will remain as close to what can be seen on here currently, but with a better focus. Posts have been all over the place, but now is the time for fixing things and making sure they’re consistent.
 
For my wonderful readers that don’t want to sit through the jumble of text –
 
TL;DR; Mint Fox Meadows will be a lifestyle blog with a mix of other things jumbled in. It will be similar to content that exists presently on the site, but with heavier focuses.
 
At the end of the day, I don’t want Mint Fox Meadows to feel like a chore. I want to be able to come here and be able to write content and share. Being a content creator is a goal I’ve had since I was in elementary school. I have wanted to do this since before content creation was such a wide and prevalent thing and now is that time.
 
I hope you all continue to join me on this journey and I thank you for being a part of it. Let’s make this even better than before.

 

While I might not have been as consistent as I would like to be on this page, I have been very consistent with my cosmetic purchases. For nearly two years I have been purchasing cruelty-free cosmetics and it has been wonderful. Purchasing cruelty-free has been an important aspect of my purchasing habits. It has been so important that I’ve been making even bigger strides and purchasing household items cruelty-free, as well! It’s all baby steps in creating a better environment, not only for myself, but for my family and all of the animals that I help benefit by not purchasing other products. I know I’m only one person, but my biggest hope and dream is to influence others to be more proactive in their purchases and make smart purchasing decisions.

Before diving into my favorites, it’s important to realize there are multiple factors to purchasing cruelty-free and that also relies on your current purchasing habits. One of the things to consider falls under “the big picture” and that is whether or not you are comfortable with purchasing a product from a brand that has a parent company that participates in animal testing. An example of this would be L’Oréal. L’Oréal owns many different brands, some that test and some that don’t. As a whole, L’Oréal as a company

An example of this would be L’Oréal, as they are one of the largest brands. L’Oréal owns many different brands, some that test and some that don’t. As a whole, L’Oréal as a company does test on animals, however, several brands such as Urban Decay and NYX Cosmetics do not. This leads many to be unsure of their purchasing decisions as they don’t want to support a big brand that tests, but they are interested in certain products. While a parent company might test, many of the brands owned that do not test are still certified. When certified, they are paying for the license and undergo specific checks to make sure they’re maintaining their status. Others make the decision to purchase only from brands that are not owned by a parent company and are certified. By purchasing from cruelty-free brands, the hope is that more of the parent companies brands will move to be cruelty-free.

Others make the decision to purchase only from brands that are not owned by a parent company and are certified as cruelty-free. Another group might make their purchases with products being certified as vegan and cruelty-free.

All of these decisions are personal choices and will influence your purchasing choices. Only because of my cruelty-free transition have I dipped my toes in each area. I own products owned by parent companies who test, solely because I have invested a lot of money on my cosmetics, although my purchases in the past two years have been made with having no parent company and have been certified as both vegan and cruelty-free. The main exception to this rule is my foundation from Tarte, but I’m actively pursuing other options. Having fair skin does not make for an easy job of finding a foundation or BB cream that are appropriate for my skin tone.

With the way the market changes, it’s very important to pay attention to what a brand’s status is. The list of brands changes often.

Armed with the important knowledge of purchasing cruelty-free, here are my biggest favorites.

 

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Anastasia Beverly Hills isn’t just the queen of brows, but she’s also the queen of being cruelty-free as well! While her products are pricey, they work well and she offers a variety of products. Her brow products are amazing, but her eye shadows and her recently added foundations are equally as wonderful. Definitely looking forward to purchasing more of her products as they have been nothing but the best in my experience.

Bite Beauty

If you’ve been following me on any of my social media, chances are you have seen me talking about Bite Beauty. If you haven’t seen this yet, then you’re missing out on content, get going! All kidding aside, Bite Beauty is a wonderful brand that creates an array of lip products that are hard not to love. These lipsticks are very long lasting, come in a variety of beautiful shades, and smell absolutely wonderful. I’m not sure if any of the lipsticks come in other scents and flavors, but the ones I currently own have a wonderful citrus scent and do not have that waxy smell that some lipsticks and products have. My personal favorite color is Thistle and I enjoy their cherry lip scrub. I don’t use the lip scrub as often as I should, but when I do it’s an absolute treat.

Dr. Bronners Organic Lip Balm

Dr. Bronners is actually a new favorite. I’ve actually been in the quest to find a lip balm that doesn’t contain beeswax and although this product still doesn’t meet that need, at least I’m not worried about using it unlike Burts Bees. Not only is this Dr. Bronner’s product Leaping Bunny certified, but it’s also USDA Organic; added plus! Dr. Bronner’s is known for their soaps, but they knocked it out of the park with their lip balm. I currently use the Peppermint lip balm, but there are other flavors/scents. While I’m still on the quest for a lip balm that I can find in store (because I go through them like candy!), this lip balm will do the trick. Very hydrating and very moisturizing.

E.L.F. (Eyes Lips Face)

This brand is one of those tried and true brands that people love, but most likely didn’t know they were cruelty-free. E.L.F. has made amazing strides and improvements to their products and product line to better fit their cruelty-free decision. In fact, their makeup brushes just underwent an overhaul to become vegan. With a wide variety of affordable make up and skin care, E.L.F. is a top contender on my list of favorites. I love their makeup brushes and their skin care line is fantastic. Don’t be afraid to shop from E.L.F. and experiment with a few products; you might just find that you love them. Unfortunately I do not have a product shot for their products as I need to replace all of them as my products expired (practice good hygiene with your products!), but I can’t say enough about them.

Method

Method is another newer purchase, but I adore their body wash. You might know Method for their cleaning products; their soaps, their dish washing liquid, or even their laundry detergent, but did you know that they also make body wash as well? I feel as though a lot of other people knew this, but when I was walking through the aisles of Target, believe me when I say my mind was blown. I have very sensitive skin, so finding soaps and body wash is extremely difficult, but this does not agitate my skin in the least. They carry a few different scents, but this one is my favorite! It genuinely is very crisp and it’s a very clean smelling scent. It’s not over powering and provides subtle reminders throughout the day of how wonderful you smell! Better yet, it’s gentle on the skin. I love this so much I’ve already purchased a few bottles to stockpile; I never want to be without it!

 

Hopefully this post gave you some insight on purchasing cruelty-free and to show you that a lot of these brands are readily available for purchase. I know people I have spoken to in person have thought purchasing cruelty-free is difficult, but it’s not! There are three websites I use to cross check information, Cruelty-Free Kitty, Logical Harmony, and PETA. Each of their lists contain different brands and with different reasoning and are updated often. If you’re ready to start on your own journey to cruelty-free purchases, I definitely recommend starting on those three sites.

** This post contains an affiliate link **

As someone who adores sparkly objects and has a deep appreciation for a solid pen, I’m very surprised it’s taken me this long to place an order at PenGems. For some odd reason, I wasn’t following any of the PenGems accounts on my main social media, but I still managed to stumble upon the re-release of the Northern Lights collection. My excitement level grew from 0 to 100 in milliseconds flat. I had wanted to purchase the pens previously, but the newest collection pulled me in. Not only did I enjoy the pens with the gold hardware, but the colors were absolutely gorgeous. Everything about these pens called to me and I couldn’t be more excited to finally own my own PenGems.

The Northern Lights collection was my first ever purchase and I had no idea what to expect, but I did know that I had a 10% off code that I could use and that was a wonderful perk. Armed with the knowledge of the collection being released, I signed up for the VIP newsletter so I could receive the link for the full collection. Fortunately for my impatient self, I had discovered the new collection only a few days prior to its release meaning I didn’t have to wait long at all. In fact, I didn’t have to wait long at all through the whole process.

The email for the new collection came on a Friday, I made my order a few hours after the e-mail was sent, received my shipping notice on Saturday morning, and received the pens on Monday morning. I have never had fast shipping like that before so I was beyond thoroughly impressed to receive them so quickly. The entire process was very quick and easy from start to finish. I was so impressed by how fast the shipping was I immediately made a second order to have duplicates of two of the colors and also pick up a pen from the Coffee Shop line.

Anyone who took advantage of purchasing the Northern Lights collection as a full set was treated to very pretty packaging. Each set was shipped in a beautiful sleeve featuring the Northern Lights and in that the pens were placed in a plastic sleeve to help protect them. I will admit that I’m not sure that this particular packaging is standard when purchasing full collections, but it was a fantastic touch. In addition to the gorgeous packaging, everyone who preordered the set also received a mini-notebook made with stone paper, meaning it’s waterproof and tear-resistant. Such a cool little addition!

The total cost of the Northern Lights collection was $45 with the 10% off code. The pens retail at $9 for their signature collection (the silver hardware) and $10 for their autograph collection (the gold hardware). Special and limited edition pens appear to also be priced at $10 as well.

Now let’s take a moment to discuss the build of the pens themselves, as they are put together fantastically. The sparkle and shine that comes from these pens are amazing. They dazzle the room regardless of whether or not there’s sunlight coming in, providing a gleam even in dark places. However, when the sun hits these pens, they shine like no tomorrow.

Every pen is set in either gold or silver hardware, with over 120 crystals (wow!!!) in each pen and featuring a matching rhinestone at the top. They come with black ballpoint ink and ships with a refill! If you prefer to have blue ink you can request it upon ordering and will be sent a blue refill. Certain brands of gel ink refills can also be purchased at an additional charge and are designed to fit the pens so you never have to be without your favorite ink. In addition to being able to purchase gel ink, additional colors are also available at an extra charge. As long as you have the pen, you’re able to customize your ink choice and ink color meaning you can get many years out of your PenGems. Look at the pens as an investment and commitment to always having a sparkle in your life because that’s always a wonderful thing to have.

This is the Cappuccino PenGem from the Coffee Shop collection. This pen is part of the Signature collection which features the silver hardware versus the gold.

Right out of the box, these pens work fantastically! Ordinarily, with a ball-point pen, you have to “warm” the ink up to get it flowing, but these pens started writing right away! I’m a girl who was 100% sure that she would never want to use a ballpoint pen again, but between the quality and how smoothly the ink flows, I’ve officially changed my mind. I’ll always enjoy the darkness and crispness of a gel ink, but I am on board with keeping these pens with ballpoint ink.

Overall, I truly and genuinely can say I adore these pens. I have been fascinated by them for a few years, but only recently have been in a position where I could purchase them myself. They are extremely sturdy and would make wonderful gifts, whether for yourself or for someone else. The price-point of the pens is wonderful and being able to catch a new release with whatever goodies they might be adding in is even better! PenGems are a full experience and the care they show in maintaining their brand isn’t something that you find often anymore. All of the little touches add to the experience.

If you’re interested in making your own PenGems purchase, I would appreciate it if you purchased through my link – You’ll receive 10% Off at PenGems for your first order!

Make sure that you follow PenGems on their social media so you’re in the loop for any future releases!

PenGems Social Media

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Google+

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** This post contains an affiliate link, but everything was purchased on my own. Purchasing through my link allows me to purchase additional product from PenGems for me to review just for you! **

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Maintaining composure in stressful moments is truly an art. It’s an art, but it’s something that can be learned and can be harnessed in the moments you don’t expect to need it. This particular skill was needed a month ago when I uploaded what could be considered a “controversial” video, but was meant to be looked at from a business and consumer perspective.

The topic of the video was the frequency of the releases from Mambi and how much product was released. I stated that they had just released a large set of brand new planners and accessories not even 6 months prior, in addition to having a smaller release several months before that. In less than 6 months, around at least 150+ products (if you count each individual product separately) have been released. While I understand the need for variety, I’ve started to wonder if it’s all too much and too fast. 30 new planners (including several not mentioned in the original releases – more on that at a later date) were released between Michaels and Hobby Lobby. While they share a few designs, both stores had exclusives. The mini planners that were released are also all undated, a feature that some love, but most haven’t enjoyed. The accessories were even more spread out than the planners, but there is most definitely a lot of product. All of these products have been added to product that is still currently being produced and still in store. My concern was based on wondering at what point does it become too much? and will there be a burn-out on the creative end and in manufacturing?

As someone who absolutely adores the company and the Happy Planner brand, I didn’t want to see the situation that I had with the Erin Condren Life Planner all over again. I love variety, but I don’t feel that the products should be released on the schedule that they’re on. Most planner brands start to release their 18-month planners around now, but most releases that I follow truly start to begin in May and continue on from there, while also having their 12-month planners available for next year. While I can’t complain about having at least a twice a year release, I do think that particular schedule needs to be revisited and refined. My biggest complaint for the 12-month planners had been that they weren’t out in time for most of the holiday rush in a lot of stores and I felt that should have been addressed well before-hand by both the store and the company in order to ensure a timely set up. However, even though my thoughts were valid, many people didn’t think so.

“This is stupid, why would you care?”

“Why would you even complain about something like this? We don’t get this option here in (insert location here.)”

“If you can’t afford it, don’t buy them.”

“Get a degree and you’ll understand.”

Those are just a select few of the comments that I had received in messages, in comments of a thread I had initially started, and also on the video itself. None of the comments had anything to do with the video itself and more to do with myself as a person. These comments were coming in fast and to make the situation worse, I wasn’t even home to do any sort of damage control. In the thread I had created, I was coming to terms with the comments made against myself, but then people started attacking others in the comments. Like any sane adult, I turned off comments and decided to delete the thread because none of the people who had supported me should deal with the equally as ignorant accusations. The stress that had started to pile on from the comments and the anger that I was starting to feel had dissipated almost instantly. The situation was done, I wasn’t alone and had my message out.

Or so I thought.

“She deleted it because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

“It’s sad that this is something that she cares about.”

“The fact she deleted just shows that she can’t stand people not agreeing with her. Way to be a complete loser.”

“She’s complaining because she obviously has a problem with self control.”

Another thread had returned by someone else who immediately played the card that I had to have blocked them when I did no such thing. I left a comment on the new thread telling her that I did no such thing and laid out the facts of why the original thread was deleted, but apparently that was the absolute wrong answer. The situation escalated to a point that I truly wasn’t expecting and the comments made about me and have been made about me since then have been absolutely disgusting. Since I still wasn’t home and wasn’t set to be home for a few hours, everything I did at that point was in the public eye. Even though I was out in the world, I had to act as though the situation wasn’t bothering me. I set everything I had to not send notifications, or to send less notifications as they never really stopped, and set the push notifications on my phone to off. If I didn’t start setting the situation as far as I could in the back of my mind, I’m almost positive that I would’ve lashed out at someone. While the situation was on-going, at the time it was better to just take a step back and breathe. Take a deep breath in, let a deep breath out. As the tattoo on my wrist says as a permanent reminder, “Just keep breathing.”

When I was finally home, I was able to start on the damage control I had received. Briefly check through filtered messages, delete the ones that were nasty and reply to the people who were supportive and were ashamed at everyone else. I could monitor my video and delete the nasty comments as they came through. I even made a point to message an admin to have the second thread that wasn’t made by me deleted (it never was) in the hopes that situation would just end and everyone could move along. While I hate to admit it, the situation bothered me for a good two weeks after the fact and has been a big reason as to why I haven’t made content recently. In the moments during and following the incident with the video I felt defeated and confused. I couldn’t understand the amount of ignorance and how nasty people could be in regards to another human being. YouTube is a vast space and while it’s easy for some people to post, for others such as myself, it’s difficult.

If this had been a situation that had occurred a few years ago, it would’ve been something I really would have struggled through and would have been bothered by a lot longer. Chances are I wouldn’t have been able to work through the situation and wouldn’t be making this post today as a reflection of the situation and with a message.

There is no reason to be ignorant or make comments on situations that you do not know about. If you think that you know someone, but truly don’t, then do not comment. If you want to have facts, then ask. If you have questions, then ask. If you do not receive the answers that you expect or are looking for, do not get angry. If you feel your opinion is fact, then remember that it is only fact. Words on a screen are often more painful than words said in person, as in person there’s an ounce of courage behind them, whether it be from fear or anger or any other emotion in between. Words on a screen do not disappear as readily as words that are said that can vanish into the air. This message applies to people of all ages, of all races, of all walks of life. In today’s day and age there is no need for any of this, although it is something that needs to be said more often than it should. Bullying does not always end after you graduate high school, but it is still up to you to define what is right and what is wrong. People need to be more conscientious of their words and what they are saying. What you are saying might not affect you, but it can affect someone else.

Be kind to one another. Build each other up, not tear each other down.