Influenster: L’Oréal review

Disclosure: I was sent these products for free and review by L’Oreal Paris via Influenster. All opinions expressed are MINE and based on my experience, my hair type and as seen through my eyes.


L'Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil Curls Shampoo and Conditioner

L’Oreal Paris Extraordinary Oil Curls Shampoo and Conditioner

Let’s start at the beginning.

I am a member of the Influenster community. I’ve only been active for a couple months, but I enjoy sharing about the products I use. I also REALLY enjoy shopping and having access to REAL customer reviews via the internet or the mobile ap.

One of the fun things Influenster does is offer opportunities for you to receive products for review. These are called Campaigns, and new ones pop-up all the time. As a member, if you would like to be considered for one of the campaigns there are some questions for you to answer to see if you are a good fit for that particular campaign. I was lucky enough to be chosen to participate in the L’Oreal Paris #ExtraordinaryHair campaign. Once chosen I agree to give a review of the product and follow some additional steps (confirming receipt of the package, posting a review, etc…)

Like I said, I was excited to be included and review products for curly hair. As a curly girl, I am constantly looking for a product that will help my curls obey. 🙂

Background on my hair

My cousins used to call me Wild Women-partly because I used to run around like a crazy person and partially because of my curls.

I have struggled one way or another with my curls all my life. My mom has stick straight hair and her solution for my hair was to either:

  • put it in a bun (yes, I was a 3-5 year old librarian)
  • or to cut it short
My hair when I was young.

My hair when I was young.

The latter was the state of my hair for many years.

I get my corkscrew, 3A/3B hair from my father. Who was not helpful to my mother in trying to figure out what to do with my hair. Both of my fathers sisters also have the curls but lived 5-7 hours away. Another dead end in help for what to do with the curls.

Once I hit my teen years I started to experiment with my hair. Let it grow, learned how to straighten it (big round brush and a hair dryer), even a couple times getting it professionally straightened. In high school: only my ends went straight. Tried again once in college and it did nothing.

But I still couldn’t found peace with my curls. I don’t think I got ‘OK’ with my curls until my 30’s-that’s an awful long time to be fighting with ones hair.

But in my 30’s I found some great resources:

  1. My BFF Nichole-who I have know since high school, but we kinda hated each other (that is a long story…for another time). Nichole is a trained hairstylist, fellow curly girl, and my style guru-she would say I am the most frustrating person to try to do her magic on…but I think she still loves me. PS Nichole has starting sharing her wisdom and gifts over on her own She even did a make-over on me.
  2. I found a book called Curly Girl: The Handbook It was really the first time I had really felt like I had a good written resource for curly hair. I learned what things to look for (and avoid) in the products I use on my hair.
  3. And although Nichole was my hairstylist for years, she has since left her full-time post as a stylist for other things. And I was lucky to find a new stylist who seems to understand curly hair and has been a good help to me in recent years.

Now that you know a little about my hair and some of my curly girl journey, let’s jump into the review.

My review: Shampoo

Curls need moisture. Curls get frizzy when they are dehydrated. So, even though I wet my hair and condition it everyday, I only shampoo it about once a week.

To protect my curls I use a gentle shampoo that doesn’t contain any damaging detergents: no sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate.

The #2 ingredient in L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Oil Curls Nourishing Shampoo is sodium laureth sulfate. Despite the fact that the sodium laureth sulfate is the least harsh of the detergents, I was skeptical of what it might do to my curls. That, on top of the fact that several other ingredients have the word acid and alcohol in them did not bode well for me.

But I did try the shampoo on day one of my test of my #Extraordinaryhair test.

Day 1: Hair

Day 1: Hair

It smells lovely. And I felt like the smell lingered. Not something that I necessarily wanted, but was nice. However…that is where my like of the shampoo ends.

My hair felt squeaky clean—which is great for some hair types, but not for mine. Because in my hair, squeaky clean is synonymous with dry and brittle.

I’d have to say, the shampoo was a fail for for MY hair. Like I said, everyone’s hair and curl is different. But this product was not for me. I will pass it onto my sister.

My review: Conditioner

I used the L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Oil Curls Nourishing Conditioner everyday for about 5 days-my goal was one week, but…I found my curls to be frizzy everyday.

And since conditioner is my primary way of cleaning and adding moisture to my hair I found it quite hard to continue on with my test of the product. My concerns were two fold.

  1. My hair didn’t look good and I hated that
  2. I worried how long it would take my hair to get back to ‘normal’ if I continues use.

Again, the smell was lovely and it lingered, which is very nice.

But, again this item gets a fail for my hair.

I was also sent the conditioning mask…I opted not to use it considering my thoughts toward the other two products.

Final Thoughts and process as a whole

Like I said, I am very thankful for the opportunity and I would welcome another product(s) for review.

I also had a hard time with the number of times they have begged for my review…even just a day after I had logged that I received my box. And I understand that they just email blast everyone in the campaign, however data-based email blasting can be segmented and if someone spent 10 minutes filtering the email list…this could be avoided and they could save on the number of emails they send out, cut down on annoying people me. 🙂

Lastly, my biggest gripe…Twitter

Within the Influenster ap, they ask you to share that you received your box.

Great! I was excited to have received my box and wanted to let people know.

They offer a pop-up with a pre-written (but editable) Tweet that they want you to share.

So I tweaked the tweet…hehe that’s funny…adding my curl type 3B and that I was excited to give the products a try. However, when I hit Tweet, the original canned Tweet is what was sent out.

And that annoyed me. That canned Tweet means nothing to anyone and certainly doesn’t make anyone who read my tweet want to follow the hashtag or follow me to see what I might say about that product.

So that sums everything up. If you are a fellow curly girl…let me know what products you like/what you use. I’m always on the hunt for new products. 🙂

Ever wonder why hair is curly or straight? Mental Floss answers that question for me.

If you’d like to sign-up for Influenster, here is a referral code:



Love: feeling or choice?

A 1950’s Tupperware party.

I was at a Tupperware party the other evening…
Yes they are still a thing.

And we were playing one of those ice breaker games that you have to play at one of those things…This one happened to be a series of questions/tasks that involved the passing of a Tupperware prize around the room. Whoever had it in the end, gets to keep the prize.

The questions were things like, Pass the prize to the newest mother; …to whomever is wearing an article of clothing with the most buttons; Pass two spots to the left, ect. But the most significant question and the reason for this blog seemed to be: Pass the prize to the person who has been married the longest.

The prize went to the hostesses mother…a lively bubbly women in her late 60’s-early 70’s, who was getting ready to celebrate 50th years of marriage.
Yes five-zero (en), cincuenta (sp), penhnta (gr), viisikymmentä (fi).

The next question (which was NOT part of the game) escaped from several mouths…
what is your secret?

Everyone in the room started throwing out questioning-answers like: love, communication, respect…

Her answer was simple: choice and faith.

BRILLIANT but not easy.
Neither of those things is always easy.

Let’s start with the easier of the two: choice.


You con’t always have the feeling of love, but you always have the choice to love the person sleeping next to you…or arguing with you from the next room.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that .

When you don’t have the feeling, you still have the choice to act like you have the feeling, AND the faith that you are just in a season where the feeling has wained, but it will come back.

And I think about how much different our world would be if we applied the choice logic to-not only marriage- but to other things.
Fake it till you make it is an age old adage for a reason.


Do I alway feel like God is right by my side-walking/guiding/holding me?

That would be a big fat NO.

But I choose (here’s that word again) to believe He is there, because I my brain tells me He is, even when the feeling isn’t there. But in my humanness, I just can’t feel it. And if we always made the choice to believe-our spouse loved us and we them or that God is here with us, ect.
Then, no one would ever stray.
No one would cheat.
No one would turn their back on God.
And no one would ever leave a pair of jeans hanging in the closet because they purchased them on a ‘good ass day’ and then three days later decided they had too big an ass for those jeans so they don’t wear them. Not that I’ve ever done that.

He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day.  —Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian in the World

He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day.
—Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian in the World

And that is the difference: love is a feeling, and feelings are fleeting. But sticking with a choice, that takes strength. The strength to know what is right and what is just that bad <insert your name here> voice in your head. Using you brain/logic/intellect is what tell you that it’s not possible for your ass to get too fat in three days time.

I’m not saying that emotions are bad. They are not. They are wonderful. But making decisions solely on them can get us into trouble. Balancing emotions with logic and thought is the better way to go.

Steve Jobs was a great visionary and he knew his computer was going to fill a need. He also knew that in order to get people to take a chance on the Apple computer he would have to get them to have an emotional response to it and if he could, he would ‘Get Them’.
He was right. She says as she taps away on her Macbook Pro.

Emotion and logic at work.

We often make the choice on marry based on an emotional response: love. I hope we all felt that when we walked down the aisle. But the feeling of love can come and go-if you tell me you love you parents/children/husband ALL the time-please give me the name of your dealer cause I wanna be on whatever it is you’re on.

But choosing to just believe that this moment is fleeting or making the choice to work through whatever (internally or externally) has gotten in the way of that “loving feeling” takes a lot of strength and faith.

Something —I choose to believe— we all have more of then we think.

It also means that if you choose to put on those jeans from the back of your closet,  your ass will look great-because you have a great ass. So…go put them on and shake your booty!

New @OneCraftChick on etsy

Art for Creative Potpourri Studios site

For the last couple of months, my husband and I have been working on a potential item to sell on Etsy.
This is easier said then done.

When we got married, our pastor talked about how Chris speaks Chris, and Maria speaks Maria, and we need to learn how to speak each other’s language and/or make our own. It has been almost 7 years…and I have not figured out Chris language and he hasn’t figured out Maria.

Our own language?

Therefore, any joint task takes about 15 times longer, because we don’t speak the same language, we can’t get on the same page, and we both think our way is right.

All that being said, the final product is always well worth the arguments effort.

The final piece is well-made, because we both take a lot of pride in what we do.
It may not be exactly what either of us thought it would be in the beginning, because evolution is inevitable. We both relent a little listen to each other and the final piece is something we are happy with.

The fringe benefit? We move a little closer to figuring out each other’s language and maybe creating our own.

This 18-inch doll (such as an American Girl Doll) furniture set turned out lovely. Our girls have one of the early sets to play with and we now have one out for sale.
We plan on offering custom fabric options as well as paint colors.

Let me know what you think.

Spotlight, Love and other media things

Love-Netflix original

Love-Netflix Original series

Yesterday, I finished my binge watching of Love on Netflix. And today, I am sad, not only because it is rainy-cold and gross here in Indiana, but because I want to know what happens next. This doesn’t happen with everything I watch on Netflix. It did with the first two seasons of Orange Is The New Black and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. However, not with Season 3 of OINB and I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch The Making of a Murderer, I like ‘lite’ right now and that one is too heavy for this season of my life.
Maybe Fuller House will be my next binge-there is NO mistaking the lite-cheese-factor in that one.

But Love certainly filled a need for me. Quirky-awkward characters are my thing ( I identify with them). Mickey and Gus (Mickey calls him Gus Gus in one scene which reminds me of Cinderella) are realistically flawed people (people I have known in my life) and they get each other, but they don’t truly get themselves so they can’t honestly get each other. Make sense?

Mickey is a recovering addict (name it, she is probably addicted to it) who just don’t have enough faith in people (or herself) to be honest with them-including Gus. Gus is a TV/film set tutor who on the surface has it all figured out. But like most of us, when you get to know him you see how insecure he is.

And you watch their relationship go from friendship to romantic to sabotage on both of their behalves to (some) acceptance of their individual flaws.

The show is probably not for everyone. But it’s worth giving a try to see if it’s for you.

Spotlight-The movie

Spotlight movie

Also, last night Chris and I  watched Spotlight. As someone who spent the first 10 years of my career in a newsroom, I was so excited to see this movie. My husband is a former Catholic so it appealed to him and he likes a good true story and one that deals with injustice.

In all honesty, I need to watch it again. But my first impression is, although the story (the true story) is excellent…I didn’t feel like the acting was exceptional and I know Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams are both up for best acting nod, but I’ve seen do better. And I liked Michael Keaton better in The Paper-another movie that takes place in a newsroom.

I’d still recommend watching the movie. The story is important and seeing how the Catholic church did all they could to cover-up what was going on and how The Boston Globe had all the pieces to uncover this story years earlier but didn’t put them together. It also goes to show you how our own religious beliefs can play into our lives and our work.

Other media: Twitter

G+ Vs Twitter

I met Lorraine Ball, of roundpeg, a couple years ago at MixWest. She is incredibly smart and up-to-date on the field of PR and marketing. I got an email today from rp about Twitter and specifically, is Twitter dead for small businesses? Since I have never been a huge Tweeter (I’m pretty sure that’s not even a word or the right lingo around Twitter) I have never put as much stock into the Twitter world-at least not for small business.

And today’s email confirmed that for me (or at least made me realize my thoughts are not unfounded). Twitter for small business has been down since 2012 and this year is no exception.

Like Love, I believe Twitter isn’t for everyone. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon but have now found it’s not for their business or haven’t mastered the art of a marketing campaign that fits into a 140 character world.

That being said, roundpeg put out a great blog post about Google +, which I confess, I am still a bit baffled by. I’ve dabbled, but have thought about how to use G+ effectively in marketing.

When G+ first came out I thought it was going to be a flop in the world of Google, and be gone within a couple years…however it’s still here. So maybe it’s time to research a move from Twitter to G+ for some of my clients.

Are you on Google+? How do you use it? I’d be interested in knowing.

Let’s talk design

My latest client is an engineering firm from our nation’s capital that is jockeying for a government contract.
It’s really interesting work.
Lots of graphics and the hold project could be a designers nightmare. Engineers are not always known for their social interpersonal skills. Believe me, I live with one and a basic conversation is daily struggle.
But honestly, these people are among my favorite clients ever.
Never met them in person, but I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.
And on top of everything…they are a female owned company. And unlike some of the other female run companies I’ve done work for, she appears to actually be involved and therefore more then just a prop for a certification.
Love it!

Scope of work
The graphics are very straight forward (read: not a lot of fancy fonts or art). And that is something I miss.
The basics. Not boring. Just simple, easy to read graphics.
Sometimes people want fancy for fancy sake. As a trained newspaper designer, this was not part of my training.
Art Fancy for fancy sake is not a necessity.
You use art and graphics to enhance your story.
Sometimes the words need to shine and I submit to you that a well-crafted and beautifully written paragraph is sometimes better then a 1000 photos.
And pair that paragraph with an excellently written and clean graphic…you can’t go wrong.
Especially when you are talking about an abstract theory.

Know your audience
Just like with writing, knowing your audience is paramount in making art/graphic decisions.
Never underestimate your audience and as a general rule: what they are used to seeing is what they want to see.
That’s not to say that you only give your audience what they want: you give them what they need, in the format that they will be most amiable to.
And this is something that only a trained graphic designer can give you. And only a designer without an ego and who is willing to concede that the whole project isn’t about the “look” can really help you reach your goal.
That’s not to say that there aren’t projects that aren’t all about making something pretty.
Those are fun too!
It just requires a different mindset.

God Don’t Make No Junk

There seems to be a lot of talk right now about”‘What is your purpose?”
Know your purpose.
Know your hum (that’s what Shonda Rhimes calls it).

This is something I struggle with everyday. I have no idea what it is.

I don’t know what God has created me to do. I know He has created me to do something, ’cause God don’t make no junk. But at 41, I feel like I’m a little too old to not know what my passion/calling/purpose/hum is.

I have been blessed with a wonderful family; a husband; smart, health and creative kids. I have a healthy (be it overweight) body, brains, common sense and the (almost too confident) sense that I can do anything as long as I put my mind to it.

But the flip side of that is that I also have great fear that I’m doing something wrong. I am a weird mix of Type A personality and a people pleaser. And I have never been able to find the balance, I have never been able to get past the fear that I will do something wrong and someone wont be happy with me/what I’ve done.

I think about the week I spent on the film set. Which I loved. I was exhausted, but I was a part of something. I moved all day long. I got to use a bunch of my knowledge and also research and learned just as much. And I think maybe that is where I should be.

But I’m in Indiana—not a hotbed of filming happens here. And although some commercials and thing do happen, if I could break into it…it’s late nights and early mornings. Things that don’t fit with my family situation. So, I don’t try, it’s not a possibility.

And even if I did it, I fear that 3 months into it, I’d hate it-I’d be unsatisfied and back to where I am right now…

So now what? I don’t looking for you to give me an answer, I’m just throwing this out there into the universe. I know God is listening and I know he is faithful and is working on something for me.

Welcome: First post

Yeah, I actually handwrite the post first.

Yeah, I actually handwrite my post before typing it. I find I write better this way.

I have spent the last couple of months thinking and praying about this site.

And although I still don’t have a definitive answer about what it will be, I feel God telling me small pieces of it. And here is the first small piece.

One post. 🙂

You will notice, that I have titled this section of my site ‘My Journal’ as opposed to ‘Blog’.

I had a blog before I got married, but I feel like that is just a whole other chapter of my life. And although I have tried several times to reboot that blog with my new life chapter—it just has never felt quite right.

So, new site for a new chapter in the life of Maria.

Why journal over blog?

That is an excellent question!
I love blogs.
But I feel like they have really evolved over the years to something highly produced-with professional writing and photos, sponsorships, and a whole lot of pressure to make people happy. And that’s great for some people, just not for me.

So, I have chosen to call this a journal. Photos will be decent-but I’m just an amateur photographer; graphics will look good-cause I’m a designer by trade; and the writing will be OK-cause I am actually a horrible writer, but I’m working on it everyday.

I have no idea how to get sponsors and generally, I’m probably not politically correct enough for anyone to want to be associated with me as a ‘brand’. And I’m not sure I want the pressure of being a brand. I’m a little too lazy chameleon-esque for that.

I will do some tutorials/craft sharing (which is very blog like). I will also talk about God, my family and friends, my job, TV, movies, etc.

I will  jump into some other social media platforms—I’m fascinated by Periscope right now. And I have an idea for my first real scope (see, I even know the lingo 🙂 ).

So, I hope you decide to come back and see what’s going on here on my little slice of the internet.