Category - Brands

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Meet the Beauty Industry’s Newest Game Changer- NipLips
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Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem
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A Fresh Start with Day One. Skincare

Meet the Beauty Industry’s Newest Game Changer- NipLips

Renae Moomjian and her daughter Helena are the beauty industry’s newest game changers. Imagine- not having to walk into your neighborhood drugstore and spend countless minutes, waffling over the large variety of lipsticks, their ingredients, and trying to find your true lip match. I know that feeling all too well. Well, the time has come where you don’t have to do that anymore. Enter: Tucson-based clean beauty brand- NipLips. Renae and Helena perfected the ingenious way of finding your true lipstick shades, and that is through the color of your nipples, which you can scan through their app (the image is not saved, just the colors).

So here’s the story of how the idea came about… Helena was reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader one day, and was mulling over an article about a woman’s nipple color being the perfect color of her lipstick. So she told her mother about it, and they both agreed that it was pretty cool. The next day, they took pictures of their nipples and went to Walgreens, going through the lipstick aisle, and holding up the pictures to each lipstick. They each got five lipsticks, went back home and drew on themselves to see which one fits the best. After finding this idea beneficial, Renae then asked some of her girlfriends if they would go figure out what their nipple color is and lipstick, then try it on and see if it works? About 90% of them absolutely loved it. The people that weren’t so sure, their perfect color ended up being the next shade darker. The duo did more research, and found articles in Cosmopolitan, Allure, and The Doctors show that talked about the concept two years ago, but no beauty companies picked up on the idea. So that got Renae to thinking that there’s got to be a better way besides taking pictures of your nipples and wondering endlessly around the lipstick aisles, wasting money buying all these lipsticks trying to find a match. Then the idea hit her- let’s create an app where you can just scan the color, and then the colors translate to the lipsticks.

Renae comes from a 30-year background in the medical device industry, an industry that is mainly male-dominated. She also has had a medical device consulting firm for the last five years. “I am frequently the only female executive, and usually the only female in the boardroom during meetings. It’s great, but I have had to learn how to communicate like a man, and  it’s kind of a tough place to be. This is all about coming back to being able to communicate, and be who I am in whatever space I show up in. I’ve always tried to figure out ‘ok how do I need to say this so these guys can understand my point?’ I don’t want my daughter and all of you going through that, so if I have to step out of my industry and do something a little bit different in cosmetics to help people get more centered and focused on who they are, and feel strong about how they communicate and they can go back into those fields, then that would be great.”

The lipsticks are made in Tucson and manufactured by Sia Botanics. The current Desert Botanical Matte line is 84% organic, with zero synthetic chemicals. All the packaging is as sustainable as possible, with the tubes being bamboo. All the colorants are natural micas and oxides from Sonoran desert. “Part of our commitment to our customers is that they will always have vegan clean beauty formulations. As much as we can, we will package eco-friendly and sustainable, and we are committed to donating back to underserved causes. In the desert line, there’s jojoba seed oil, prickly pear seed oil, jojoba esters, and natural waxes. Even though they are a matte, they are lightweight and moisturizing. It’s all about looking to you to define your beauty. Your color that you put on your lips comes from you. It’s not like you’re looking at the latest celebrity trend, or what fashion week says I should wear. You’re defining it, which is a big part this brand too. It’s accepting yourself, and being true and authentic to who you are, and that’s important. We’re creating this amazing community of woman and men that just want to buy products that are clean and don’t have bad chemicals in them, that aren’t tested on animals, that are respectful of the environment, and also give back.”

When I first heard of NipLips, I thought, what a great concept! Who knew that the answer to finding your perfect lipstick shade, would be from one of your most important assets?! Normally, I’d go for a red hue when picking out a lipstick, but after scanning through the app, I realized that that may not always be the case. But Renae did mention that nipple colors do change due to hormone levels changing throughout the month, after a workout, etc. Every time I’m at one of their events, and I see the other folks wearing their color, it ALWAYS looked great on them; which goes to show you how well the concept works. I love supporting brands that empower women, care about the environment (while also providing helpful information about sustainable living and environmental issues on their social media), and are so clean that you can practically eat them!

Be sure to also look into getting a lip facial or buy the Lip Transformation Kit to do it yourself at home. I did a lip facial, and it was life changing! My lips were insanely dry and chapped, but after doing that, they were as smooth as butter. In fact, it’s been several months since the facial, and my lips still don’t get as chapped as before. It also only takes up to fifteen minutes. For a list of where you can find NipLips in Tucson, you can go HERE. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem

After biting into the saffron and cardamom rose amaretti, I immediately sat back in my chair and savored the beautiful flavors as I chewed. They were rich, yet subtle and exotic. Have small cookies ever put you in such a state where you have not a care in the world? Well, these did; and Shazieh Gorji is, pardon my language, a fucking genius.

Shazieh is the sole owner behind the Tucson-based cottage industry brand- Agave Pantry. I had recently heard of the brand on social media, but then had the pleasure of meeting her during this past Cultivate Tucson market. Earlier in June, we met up and she shared some insights into her world of small batch and handcrafted pastries, infused salts, spirit pots, and an AirBnB.

She has always loved baking, even before she graduated from culinary school in 2014. While in culinary school, she did an externship at Acacia. After having her son, she decided to take a step back, and while at home with him, was baking and honing recipes and skills. She knew she wanted to still be in the food industry, and had heard about the cottage industry license (cottage industry means that you can make goods in your own kitchen, however, you cannot make anything that needs refrigeration).

So she worked on getting her license and figured out what she wanted to create, as she wanted to find her voice and do something that no one else was doing. She experimented with an amaretti, which is normally a crunchy Italian almond-based cookie with no flavor. She used the same ingredients, however, changing it up a bit and made it more marzipan-like. She then added flavors that are typical of her Middle Eastern background (she grew up in Pakistan to an Iranian family), such as cardamom, rose, and saffron. The mainly gluten-free menu has since expanded to other goodies, such as Lemon Tea Cake, Carrot Cake (also comes in non-GF), Chocolate Almond Torte (also available are Spicy Chocolate and Cardamom), Raspberry Lemon Cake (non-GF), Rosemary Cookies (non-GF), Vegan Chocolate Cardamom Brownies, and much more! All of her baked goods are made from non-GMO flour, free range eggs, and organic spices. She will start incorporating more locally-sourced ingredients after this summer. She grows her own rosemary, but will be adding Hayden Mills flour and dates and citrus from Urban Grove.

It was December 2018 when she officially launched Agave Pantry- the culmination of her baking, travels, and experiences. Her first market was the Fourth Schmourth Handmade Market, followed by Cultivate Tucson and other little pop-ups around the city.

Aside from the edibles side of her business, she also creates functional pottery that includes: platters, dipping/salt bowls, small spoons, as well as jars to hold just enough coffee beans so that they won’t go stale. “The act of using coffee helps you to slow down a little because you don’t want to be too rough. Making things that let you slow down and just appreciate little moments. For me, scooping out coffee from something handmade is beautiful… Creating beauty of the mundane of every day life.”

Another best-seller is the spirt pots. She considers them “food for your soul because they are affirmation pots. They are very intimate and personal. You don’t share your pot with somebody else, and using it adds the emotional and well-being of where you are, and that adds to the emotional well-being of everyday.” Be sure to check out her Spirit Pot Workshops , which you can book on Tucson AirBnB Experiences.

Be sure to also check out her Tucson AirBnB listing- Purple Desert Heart Guesthouse if you are in Tucson and need a place to stay and don’t want to be in a hotel. Also, check out her Instagram and Facebook page for new events and such!

Look for Agave Pantry at the MSA Annex Summer Night Market in September!

Have you been fortunate to try one of Shazieh’s amazing goodies? If so, what are your favorites?

A Fresh Start with Day One. Skincare

The wise Ilona Royce Smithkin recently posted on her Instagram, “Take care of your body, it’s your best friend!”

The Advanced Style star’s words couldn’t be more true. I’m so glad I switched over to natural skincare products a couple years back, as I hope that the non-toxic products will help take care of my “best friend” for the rest of my life. I’ve noticed a big difference in the overall appearance of my skin, and I’ve been told a lot lately that I look like I’m still in my 20s (which is great). I’ve been so lucky to have connected with numerous local, natural and organic skincare brands throughout these couple years, mainly in Arizona, but also a couple amazing companies in Houston as well. I’m so pleased to share with you, the story of a company that just recently launched not too long ago…

Day One. is a small Phoenix-based skincare company that was created by Alexandra Stein in December 2017.  I had the pleasure of meeting her when I stopped by Pop PHX on my last visit to Phoenix. I had originally e-met her on Instagram through mutual friends, and I was thrilled when I found out that she was vending at the shop when I’d be in town.

While at the shop, I was introduced to naturally-made small batch bars of soap, deodorant, lip balm, and bath soaks, whose primary ingredients include: Isolated Cannabidiol and Full Spectrum Hemp Extract. Alex is a firm believer of only using organic, non-toxic products on your body, as well as being an advocate for cannabis and hemp. You can read more about the use of the plant with her products HERE. We also chatted about the importance of a natural deodorant that works. I can vouch for the fact that Day One.’s aluminum-free version does work for me. I still sweat, however, I don’t stink, thanks to the AHHHmazing fresh tea tree scent that emits from my armpits. Alex also loves it, and feels that it’s been a godsend to her own armpits as well. It was also interesting finding out more about her growing brand…

LAFS: Tell me a little about yourself, and what inspired you to start a skincare company?

AS: I grew up in Phoenix, AZ but spent my formative years at a boarding school in central Arizona. As soon as I graduated I packed and moved to Chicago where I lived for 5 years, eventually moving back to Phoenix after graduating from Loyola University Chicago with two bachelors degrees. The last 9 years in Phoenix have been a rollercoaster! With deciding to leave my corporate job and start my journey into entrepreneurship 3 years ago, I never would’ve envisioned being where I am now. I worked for years in marketing and public relations and made the jump to sales after leaving my job at an ad tech startup. I was making great money but I wasn’t happy. That’s ultimately when I decided to combine my passion for helping people and advocacy for cannabis and hemp, and turn it into my own organic skin care company…My passion for skincare and creating products started during my teenage years and progressed as I moved back to Phoenix. While living in the Midwest, I experienced a complete 180 in terms of skincare problems from growing up in Phoenix and spent lots of time making DIY face masks and shopping at Lush with my college girlfriends. I feel self-care routines are important to help us destress from our everyday troubles and have been taking baths to relax since childhood. Making the bath soak came about after creating bath bombs and really not liking how my skin felt after using them during my own bathing routine. While fun to watch and swirl about in, when I moved back to Phoenix after graduating, I took what I learned from living in the harsh and windy climate of Chicago and experimented with my own products at home. It wasn’t until I made my first batch of cold process soap in 2015 that I knew I was here to bring back bar soap in a big way.

LAFS: What inspired the name, “Day One.?”

AS: When I thought about the name, a fresh start. Also, the beginning of a new routine. Beyond our purpose of “empowering the public to make conscious health and beauty choices”, I want to inspire others to be their most authentic self while treating their bodies and skin with the utmost love and care. Education and transparency have been a huge selling point for my products. I want people to start their journey into non-toxic skincare and hygiene products with Day One. and I’m hoping I’m creating a loyal following for my niche.

LAFS: What makes Day One. stand out, in your opinion?

AS: Our products are free of palm oil and toxic ingredients. Two things that remain in many over-the-counter soaps and hygiene products. They are also made with a proprietary hemp seed oil that’s infused with an additional raw extract from hemp and isolated cannabidiol, both extracted with minimal solvents and imported from Europe. The combination of organic ingredients with the added benefit of hemp makes Day One. stand out.

Find Day One. online, Facebook, and Instagram!

Day One., natural skincare, bath salts

Day One., natural skincare

Day One., natural skincare

Day One., natural skincare, soap bar

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