aunt flow: people helping people. period.

Let’s talk periods, y’all. Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Lindsey McEntee, the COO of Aunt Flow, an amazing up-and-coming social enterprise right here in Columbus, Ohio. Aunt Flow is a buy-one, give-one subscription box of 100% cotton tampons and pads. Subscribers simply go online, customize their box of 18 pieces (can be pads or tampons or any combination your heart desires!), and have it delivered to their door.

For every box purchased (a monthly subscription runs $13, which is pretty great value considering you’re getting great product and shipping built in), the subscriber can select one of Aunt Flow’s featured organizations to receive a “give-one” box. So far, 22,000 pads and tampons have been donated thanks to Aunt Flow’s awesome charitable donation subscription model!

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Photo credit: Aunt Flow (@goauntflow) / Allie Lehman (@thewonderjam)

My chat with Lindsey was illuminating, hilarious, and informative! Lindsey is a recent grad of The Ohio State University with a focus in marketing, English, and women’s studies – perfect for helping lead an organization like this! Lindsey enjoys Gilmore Girls, The Office, Broad City, and anything Harry Potter, so we hit it off pretty well. If you haven’t already read up on the company, you might not know that Aunt Flow’s founder, Claire Coder, launched the business at just 19 years old. (Uh, for real!) After deciding that college at The Ohio State University just wasn’t for her, Claire dropped out and started blazing her own trails. She attended the Columbus StartUp weekend in November 2015, where she got her period. A sustainable solution for periods came to her throughout the weekend and the idea was built through the course of it.

I was at a Columbus StartUp weekend November 2015, and all I could think about were my cramps. The period pains reminded me of how my mom would share with me that many of her clients (she is an art therapist) would come to group wearing multiple layers of clothing or plastic bags to stop the flow.

I didn’t understand why women who are living at or below the poverty line had such a hard time getting tampons and pads until I started doing some research.

Menstrual hygiene products aren’t covered by WIC or food stamps and many organizations do not have budget line items for the necessary items. I was tired of donating money/tampons, so at the StartUp weekend I pitched the idea to create a sustainable solution to the need. Thus Aunt Flow begun.

-Claire Coder to Every Ella

Claire came in second place during that StartUp Weekend – businesses don’t usually come out of this weekend, Lindsey tells me.

In May 2016, Coder launched a CrowdRise campaign and earned $25,000 from that campaign. According to Lindsey, Claire has been going full speed ahead ever since. And yes, thus, Aunt Flow was born. (What an amazing way to both sell menstruators an amazing product and help out others while destigmatizing menstruation, am I right?)

While with Lindsey, I wanted to know some #realtalk: How does Aunt Flow compare to other subscription/tampon services out there, like Lola and Cora and Conscious Period? 

Lindsey was actually pretty pumped I had asked this question, and her passion about Aunt Flow’s model truly came out here, which was beautiful to see – and infectious! So according to Lindsey, “there are a lot of alternatives to a subscription box. Lola just started to donate, but it’s not built into their business” like it is with Aunt Flow.

And what’s more, companies like Lola and Cora really don’t seem to be very period-positive. If you look at their websites, they really kind of shill the “unmentionable” aspect of menstruating. Cora even sends their tampons with cardboard cases that you can put the tampon in to hide it away. In my personal opinion, those two brands are fashionable, but they’re not really trying to take the stigma out of periods like Aunt Flow is.

Conscious Period, Lindsey says, is most similar to their subscription model but is still not a one-for-one model like Aunt Flow is. Conscious Period focuses on homeless women, while Aunt Flow focuses on multiple different charities and they are more gender-neutral, calling their customers “menstruators” instead of solely marketing them toward women, which is a beautiful thing. Also, Conscious Period is solely donating pads, while Aunt Flow donates both as they truly see a demand for both. Aunt Flow also rotates out their causes quarterly, working with at least three to five charities at any given time.

So there’s lots of similarities, but Aunt Flow? They’re different. Claire and Lindsey are period-positive, gender-neutral, loud and proud. They’re selling a movement rather than just an organic cotton tampon. Their model has a built-in charity aspect and the products are customizable. What more could you ask for? I truly believe a model like this, as it continues to grow, has the potential to disrupt the market and continue doing so.

How do you see the business growing in the next year? 

Lindsey: “We hope to expand the product line a little bit to include bigger pad variety.” (This was something that Lindsey said she was super passionate about, and as a pad user personally, I’m also all for this. IUD periods are no joke, y’all.) They get a lot of feedback about people wanting menstrual cups, and they have been looking into it, but they are choosing to continue with their pad and tampon subscription and hope to continue growing. What I found amazing and enlightening was that right now, Lindsey and Claire are a two-woman show, handling all the social media, the appearances, media, and the hundreds of subscriptions (+more being added monthly)!

What does fulfillment look like right now?

Aunt Flow has a warehouse, and once a month they all go in there and get the subscription boxes ready. They have the little boxes their product comes in, the shipping boxes, and all the tampons come in bulk and they have to read off the customizations. Imagine doing that for thousands of customers! But that’s what they do, and they do it well. All of their subscription boxes are shipped at the same time, on the first of the month. Any time after the 20th of the month, there might be a delay in getting your box for the next shipment. For instance, I ordered my box on March 31, so since that’s after the 20th, I’m getting my first box in a couple weeks at the beginning of May. It can be a bit confusing for a new subscriber, but they are loud and clear about this on the website, and I appreciate the transparency!

Are there charities or causes you will be looking into supporting in the future? 

Lindsey is the recruiter of charities and causes, so she is super passionate about this topic as well. They have a survey that people can contact them through their website for in order to be considered as a partnering charity or cause. Lindsey looks at how many people they serve and how the Aunt Flow donation will affect them. Ideally, they work with a variety of causes, but Lindsey specifically called out that Aunt Flow would love to work with more LGBTQ+ organizations, prisons, schools, and other nonprofits, specifically with a focus on menstruators. Any interested charity can contact Aunt Flow through the Contact Us portion of their website.

I hope you all choose to support this seriously awesome business run by seriously awesome women selling seriously awesome product and donating to seriously awesome causes. Some exciting news for Aunt Flow – Claire, the founder, will actually be on TLC’s GirlStarter show, airing April 28th! Check out her blog post here about the show and what she wants to do with it.

Thank you so much, Lindsey, and Aunt Flow, for spending some time with me spreading the love!

Check out Aunt Flow and subscribe here. For May I’m donating my give-one box to Dress for Success, an amazing local Columbus charity dedicated to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

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zoya nail polish 2017 earth day exchange!

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This just in from the lovely folks at Zoya!

Zoya Earth Day Exchange 2017

With over 300 shades rooted in a healthy philosophy, it’s no surprise that we’re committed to helping you green your beauty routine! That’s why each year we give you the opportunity to exchange any old nail polish bottles (any brand) that you may have laying around your house collecting dust, or that are not BIG10FREE formulas, for brand new toxin-free* Zoya Nail Polish shades to celebrate Earth Day.

Rest assured that your unwanted polishes will be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. Make Mother Nature proud by following the instructions below and get started by picking out your NEW Zoya colors at http://www.zoya.com! Please note this promo excludes Zoya Treatments and Naked Manicure Base and Top Coats.

How The Exchange Works…

1. Visit www.zoya.com and add your desired nail polish colors to your cart.

Consumer Accounts: Minimum 6, maximum 24 bottles
Professional Accounts: Minimum 12, maximum 48 bottles

2. Apply Code: EARTHLUV and a 50% credit will be added to your exchange order – free shipping included! Offer valid 4/10/17- 5/10/17 (11:59pm EST)

3. Complete checkout and you’re all set! Please see details below for instructions on sending back your unwanted polish.

USE CODE: EARTHLUV
Offer valid 4/10/17 – 5/10/17 (11:59pm EST)

Want to see some of my favorite Zoya polishes? Check out my Zoya collection swatches HERE.

 

digital detox.

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I’ve been feeling pretty foggy. Like I’m in the throes of a deep depression that not even my normal things (reading, chocolate, cats, yoga) can help me out of. It feels different than my normal seasonal bummed-out issues. It’s a miasma that set in, oh, around January. Yeah, I’m one of the people still upset about the election and the way this country is being run, but that’s not my core issue.

Recently I got a new iPhone 7; my iPhone 6 was on its last legs and constantly would die if I tried to catch mad Pokemon at the park. When I got my new phone, I decided not to put Facebook or Facebook Messenger on it. And I only put on about half the social media apps I used to. It started as a thing where I told myself, “Oh, Facebook and Messenger seem to kill my battery, so I wonder how it will perform without those apps on there.”

But really? I didn’t really realize it until I thought of it, but I was wasting minutes, hours, days refreshing Facebook and looking at what everyone else was up to. I was living vicariously through everyone else and their engagements and trips and babies and happy lives while I curled up on my couch in the fetal position with a cup of coffee or staved off work to see what kinds of leggings my friends were hawking.

In the first day or so of having my new phone, I felt naked. I don’t know what’s going on with other people! And they don’t know what’s going on with me! I posted a status saying I was only going to check Facebook while at work and/or at a regular computer, because I wouldn’t have it on my phone. I told people if they wanted to get in touch with me, to text me.

Do you think anyone has been in touch? No. And that’s okay! This detox from Facebook has taught me that friendship is a two-way street, and I could benefit from reaching out to people, too. Just this weekend I spent some lovely time with my good friend, Jordan. I reached out to her and we made plans and I followed through on them without cancelling. That’s so big for me. I didn’t spend my time scrolling through my phone instead of making conversation.

And you know what? it’s kind of been the best thing. My Facebooking was getting to be A Thing. It was the first thing I looked at in the morning and the last thing I looked at before bed. I realized that maybe I was looking at getting something out of it that really isn’t there, and to me, that’s true connection.

I’m looking for true connection. This is a theme that’s been popping up for me, connection. At thirty, I’m lonely in ways I’d never imagined. For friends in my town that aren’t an hour or more away. I’m lonely for pals here in Columbus that are just a text away, where we can curl up on the couch drinking wine and talking about things like feminism and skincare and politics.

Social media has made me awkward in person. I reach out to local online friends in the hope that we can be friends, but that’s such a weird thing to do nowadays that I’ve gained no ground on that.

So I think I will keep up this digital detox of sorts. These feelings around connection and how social media has changed me are worthy of exploration. I need to be better at putting myself out there, and making myself a more approachable person. To me, the first thing about that is getting my nose out of my phone and off of Facebook as much as I can. I want to continue to explore this and see what kind of journey it takes me on.

Because I know I’ve missed a lot of journeys because I was too busy staring at my phone.

I hope you’ve all been well. ❤ I just became a member of an amazing society of women blogging about awesome topics, so my hope is that you’ll see more of me around here. By the end of the month I’m planning on showing you my 2017 Q1 empties – lots and lots of skincare empties thus far! And my monthly favorites will be returning – I’ve got a lot of new goodies I’d love to share.Thanks for popping into my little corner of the Internet; I am honestly and wholeheartedly grateful. Let’s connect – on Instagram at @murflegirl or Twitter at @vividlyvz. (Because obviously my Facebook page might not get as quick a response, haha!)

zoya naturel 3 collection review & photos

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Happy 2017 everyone! I hope the holidays were amazing for all of you. They kind of went by in a whirlwind for me, and before I knew it, the first week of January came and went. What are your New Year’s resolutions? One of my 2017 goals is to definitely blog more consistently, which is why I’m here today to bring you the freshest and latest from Zoya Nail Polish – the fresh, creamy beautiful new Naturel 3 collection! The Naturel collections from Zoya have long been some of my favorites – creamy, pigmented polishes that act as palate cleansers from all of the holiday glitz and glam. The Naturel 3 collection is no exception.

Zoya’s creme finishes are probably my favorite creme finishes of any nail polishes in production today. Even better than Essie and OPI, I usually find Zoya creme finishes easily able to pack full pigmentation into one coat. Most of the polishes in the Naturel 3 collection were one-coaters for me, not that I was surprised! For the purposes of all of these swatches, I used two coats over a base coat (Rainbow Honey All Your Base). I didn’t use topcoat for these swatches – the polishes are plenty shiny on their own. The formulas were all creamy and easily spreadable and were very easy to clean up. On to the swatches!

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First up is Zoya Cathy, which I had to gasp at as I was putting it on. This is pretty much my perfect mannequin-hands shade! It may now show through with my lighting, but this is the same pink-tinged nude color as my hands, so it gives me that mannequin-hands look I’ve always been seeking. Zoya describes it as a light pinky nude cream and that pretty much describes it to a t. I will be reaching for this one more and more, since it’s close to my skintone IRL, it’ll be a great nude for me and even a great base for glitter polishes.

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Zoya Debbie is described as a plum brown creme. I’d say Zoya’s description is rather spot-on, as this neutral polish has a brown base, but definitely is more of a plummy/cool-toned brown. It looks relatively similar to Gina, the next polish in the collection, but to the naked eye in real life, they are definitely different.

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Here’s Zoya Gina, described by Zoya as a medium brown neutral creme. If you look at the photos of Debbie and Gina together, you see that Debbie definitely has a cool-toned, more purple undertone, while Gina has a pretty neutral undertone. Gina looks like melted milk chocolate to me. And I’m here for it. Both shades are beautiful and glide onto the nail rather effortlessly.

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I was stunned by Zoya Jill when applying it. It’s described by Zoya as a lighter mauve cream nude and I would definitely say it’s a bit mauve-y, but it’s kind of a blush rose nude to me. This one had an absolutely perfect formula and it truly was beautiful on the nail.

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Zoya Mary, described as a medium raisin creme, was another absolute stunner on the nail. This glided on effortlessly. I’d say Zoya’s color description is pretty accurate. This one reminded me a lot of an Essie polish in the formula and tone, but I’m not sure which one – maybe Merino Cool? Either way, this is gorgeous.

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Last but not least, we have Zoya Tatuma medium light nude creme with a warm base. Compared to Jill and Cathy, you can definitely see that this is more warm, more yellow-toned in the undertones, than those two. This was still an effortlessly beautiful nude and I’m still wearing this one.

This entire collection was, as all of the other Naturel collections have been, a total win for me. I’m all about that fresh, new take on nail polish after the glitter and glimmer of all the holiday polish. The Naturel 3, as well as the other Naturel collections, can be found here for $10 each. Excitingly enough, the Naturel 3 collection also has 3 coordinating lipsticks, and I have a post coming up on those very soon!

What did you think of the Zoya Naturel 3 collection? I’m all about it!

i’m with you. 


I posted the below to my Instagram very recently. I wanted to share it here too:

I was initially going to stay off of social media and not make a post about how I’ve been feeling and my thoughts in the aftermath of this contentious election. 

But I can’t sit by and watch my friends, my family, my spiritual village in agony. I see you, and I’m with you. 

To my amazing, strong, and resilient brothers and sisters of color, fearful of what comes next, I see you, and I’m with you. 

To my LGBTQA brothers, sisters, and persons, unsure of their future and their rights down the road, I see you, and I’m with you. 

To my non-Christian folk, from those who get persecuted on their looks alone, to those who feel unsafe talking about their spiritual practice, I see you, and I’m with you. 

This country voted against us. Voted against progress, voted against equality, voted against the greater good. We will now be plunged into an uncertain and rather terrifying future. A platform with a Vice President that supports conversion therapy and barring gays from employment. A platform with a President that railed against everyone “other:” people of color, women, the disabled, non-Christians…the list goes on. In this trying time, we must pause to let ourselves grieve and heal. 

And then we must continue to fight. This is a time of awakening, and a time to stay woke. I see you, and I’m with you. 

october favorites

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Holy hell, where did October go? Sure, most of it was spent on vacation, but this month really flew by for me – I can’t believe it’s November already! Welcome to Scorpio Season, folks. I’m turning 30 on November 6, and lots of my friends are also November babies so there’s lots to celebrate this month!

A favorite focus of my blog is my monthly favorites – taking a look at the items I reached for a lot during the month. Sometimes favorites sneak in repeatedly, and sometimes I have new favorites. This month I had a few new faves, and I’m excited to talk about them today! Let’s go from left to right in the photo above.

  • Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Protector: Okay, as you may already know, I’m a big fan of Asian BB creams. They give me the coverage I need while still looking natural and having great sun protection. I’d heard great things about this BB cream, so I picked it up a few months ago. This has very sheer coverage compared to more traditional BB creams, but I like it. It evens out my skintone and keeps me looking fresh or awake. It looks great alone or with powder over it. I’ve noticed a huge change in skin texture for the better throughout the last 2 months of Curology (disclaimer: referral link) so I’ve felt the need for less coverage in my base. Good stuff all around.
  • Milk Makeup Lip + Cheek in Perk: I got this as my sample choice for my very last Birchbox. They actually sent the wrong sample but made it right and sent me one of these. I find myself loving Milk as a brand more and more, even though I want to hate them because their vibe is not usually what I go for. Perk is a beautiful peachy color with a bit of gold glow. Just a couple dabs of this stuff and I’m looking beautifully flushed. It’s not sticky or tacky like other cheek stains (looking at you, tarte) and it doesn’t dry my skin out, so it’s a thumbs up in my book. Love the multitasking aspect of this stuff, too.
  • ColourPop SuperShock Eyeshadow in Alchemy: Okay, I’m being a total jerk, including a discontinued item in my monthly favorites, but I just can’t NOT talk abou this stuff. Alchemy is a “glitter sheer” finish, and it’s really cool stuff. So it is a sheer shadow, but it’s got this beautiful multicolored microglitter in it. It looks fantastic sheered out on the lid, or as a topper on other shadows. It’s got a nude base and looks really natural and beautiful on me, despite being a glitter shadow. I love ColourPop’s SuperShock formulation, it’s creamy and pigmented and I can just smear this on with my fingers when I’m pressed for time.
  • Missha Misa Geum Sul Rejuvenating Essence: Okay, this one was completely unexpected for me. I had ordered a 10-pack of samples of this stuff from either RoseRoseShop or TesterKorea. I brought them with me on vacation, not expecting much. But I was totally blown away by this stuff! It’s packed with traditional Asian medicinal herbs, like wild ginseng, ginseng water, deer antler, and reishi mushroom. The kicker? It’s got pure gold in it. The shit literally has gold flakes in it. I discovered the gold flakes by accident when putting them on one day. I was like, “wtf is in this?!” Doing more research showed that yes, it IS gold. Anyway, this essence leaves my face so moisturized and bouncy and plump feeling. It’s got some brightening and wrinkle-repairing benefits too, so I’m all about that. This stuff is pretty expensive at $40 for this little bottle. I found a fantastic deal on eBay so I purchased it straightaway. I will definitely repurchase, this stuff has my skin feeling great.
  • Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes mascara: Okay, me including this in my Monthly Favorites makes me laugh. I HATE Great Lash mascara. Hate it. I historically have scoffed at the fact that it’s on any sort of “best” lists because I think it’s literally the most mediocre mascara known to man. While going through my stash one day, I saw this familiar pink and green tube and thought, “have I gone mad?” But hear me out. This stuff is different than original Great Lash. It has this amazing, sort of spade-shaped brush that grabs every lash and allows me to get into all of the tighter spots. The formula is fantastic, it holds a curl and just makes my lashes look AMAZING. I am eating my words, and never again will I scoff so heartily at some Great Lash mascara.
  • CosRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence: You guys. YOU GUYS. This stuff. I’ve heard great things about it and I purchased it awhile back when RoseRoseShop was having a sale on CosRX items. It’s 96% snail mucin. Snail mucin has fantastic restorative and repairing properties, and is good for bug bites, acne, rashes, redness, you name it. I use this every night and day and it takes the redness right out of my face. I love it so much, I’m going to repurchase this over and over. It’s not slimy or gross, but just keeps the skin feeling nice and moisturized and not tight or dry feeling. I can’t get enough of it!
  • Wet n Wild Photofocus Setting Spray: I picked this up on a whim as I’ve been meaning to try a setting spray. I tried the Urban Decay ones YEARS ago and didn’t love them. I’ve been loving this one, mainly because it’s not overdrying or too mattifying. I prefer a natural look, and I’m okay with dewy, even. My dry skin looks better that way. A few spritzes of this over makeup and it gives a fantastic natural finish while keeping my makeup in place. I’m about half finished with this one. Not sure if I’ll repurchase as there are lots of other setting sprays for me to try, but I’m really satisfied with this one.

Well, there you have it, my favorites for the month of October! What will I reach for in November? I’m foreseeing lots of darker lipstick and maybe even trying to zero in on a new foundation that I love. The possibilities are endless.

What were your October favorites? What did you reach for most in the last month or so?

book review: ‘good as gone’ by amy gentry

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It’s very rare that a mystery or suspense novel keeps me guessing. Amy Gentry’s Good as Gone kept me guessing up until the very end, and even now I’m still in a bit of (really good) disbelief about what I read.

The book starts out from the perspective of 10-year-old Jane, who is witness to her sister Julie’s abduction in 2008. Eight years have passed, and the family has begun to find their new normal without Julie around.

Until Julie shows up on their doorstep.

The family rushes into action, settling into having Julie back home and they realize her reappearance is causing more questions than answers. I don’t want to give too much away, but something is amiss.

This novel’s character development and backstories were AMAZING. I found myself really engrossed in all of the different characters – and if you read it, you’ll know what I mean. It goes to show that we never know what’s going on in someone’s head, and what they’re truly going through. The book also spoke to me about the resilience of family relationships through hardship, and the little secrets and lies we can come to collect.

Fantastic novel, I’m glad I chose it as my Book of the Month selection and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who will listen. Five stars from me.