Category - Lifestyle

Meet the Beauty Industry’s Newest Game Changer- NipLips
Agave Pantry- Tucson’s Hidden Culinary Gem
Safe and Sustainable Cleaning with The Hoot

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?

Safe and Sustainable Cleaning with The Hoot

One of my fondest childhood memories was when I would go to my dad’s house for the weekend. Seeing that he hardly had time to really clean up around the house, I took it upon myself to help out. I really enjoyed showing him a cleaner house after I was done. In those days, the thought of a natural, chemical-free cleaning solution was pretty much unheard of. But fast-forward to the 21st Century, we now live in a society where it’s almost a given to have healthier and more sustainable household cleaning products around.

I had heard about The Hoot All-Natural Cleaning Solution through my Facebook feed, and I wanted to check it out. The Virginia-based small company was launched by Tonya Newsome. Throughout her lifetime, she had always spent most of her time cleaning homes, including her own. Over time, however, she would notice that her hands were aging faster than her face, and that she was having many respiratory issues. That led her to start investigating the ingredients behind common household cleaners, most of which turned out to be harmful. Empowered with the newfound information, she set out to make her own safer cleaning solution, which (since 2014) is now known as The Hoot.

The Hoot wasn’t the original name for her product, but unfortunately, the name she wanted to use was already taken. Tonya goes on to explain, “Because our logo design was completed before we named ourselves, I was 100% set on keeping the logo and finding a name that was befitting of the design and our mission- to introduce an all-natural cleaning product that is safe, effective, and AFFORDABLE. “The Hoot” was actually suggested by my daughter one day while sitting on our porch, and it immediately reminded me of my youth. In the first grade, I was in a play titled, “Give a Hoot.” I could recall a popular song from the seventies called, “Give a Hoot, Don’t Pollute.” I thought to myself, ‘Perfect! This is a sign!’ The name “The Hoot” stuck.”

While you can pretty much clean just about anything with the solution, it does not polish wood…Yet… Did I also mention that they use bottles that are crafted from recycled plastic?!

Tonya sent me a bottle to try, and I must say… I’m impressed! It does everything a “normal” cleaner would do. It also smells fantastic! It comes in lavender, lemon, orange, peppermint, and pine. I received the lavender, and boy do I love the way it gives off a calming scent when I’m cleaning the kitchen, floors, bathroom, etc. I also use it to clean the tiles in the shower, where the soap scum builds up. I spray it, let it set in for a minute, and use a good scrubbing sponge, and it’s pretty good at getting most of it off. What’s also great about this product, is that I don’t have to use gloves. I have the reassurance that it’s safe to use around myself, my spouse, and my three cats. “The Hoot ingredients are easy to read. We are affordable, and our product contains no SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) or SLES (sodium laureth sulfate) like a lot of natural products on the market today. These are both common additives used mainly to produce foam in cleaning products, but are also known skin irritants and cancer-causing agents. The Hoot All-Natural produces the same (or even better) results without the harmful effects,” Tonya said.

The Hoot All-Natural cleaning solution, natural ingredients

I also love how Newsome is all about helping out and giving back in her community. “At this time, our main focus is introducing and getting the word out about The Hoot All-Natural. In the future, we also hope to expand our mission to include providing information and access to other healthy alternatives, including community gardens to low-income areas.”

You can find/shop The Hoot All-Natural online, in six local health food stores in Virginia (and plan on getting into more), on Facebook, and Instagram.

Tonya leaves us with, “Give The Hoot a try on things outside normal house areas that you need to clean. We have had customers use it on their shoes, car rims, car seats, and even as a glass cleaner!”

The Hoot All-Natural cleaning solution, natural ingredients

It really does work on car rims!


Copyright © 2013. Created by Meks. Powered by WordPress.