An Anniversary & Exercise of Sorts


On this day last year (pictured above) I did the impossible. After 5 years of struggling with chronic illness, I ran a 5K. I’ve never been a runner (my father used to say I ran like I had a safe on my back) so this was a big feat for me. As I ran, I left so much behind in my wake – anger at various doctors, the guilt of not being the mother, wife, and overall person I wanted to be due to illness, and the fatigue of the daily mask I wore to hide my health struggles. The 3.1 miles was an emotional journey I had not expected.  I cried tears of joy and redemption at the finish line, and my friends hugged me and relished in my moment.  It was one of the best days of my life.  I had conquered my illness and life was on the up and up. Or so I thought. Continue reading

INDIE BEAUTY EXPO Brand Highlight: Farmaesthetics Fine Herbal Skincare Reviews


As the Indie Beauty Expo approaches (T-minus 2 days!), I am once again dipping into the Verde Versace vault to share some reviews of Farmaesthetics Fine Herbal Skincare from the Farm with you.  If you missed my FIELD TRIP to Farmaesthetics, click here.  For info on the Indie Beauty Expo, how to get 20% off your entrance ticket, and access to some of the best products in indie beauty at 25% off, click here.

Farmaesthetics was one of the pioneers in the revival of “farm-to-face” and the products will take you back in time to when your great-grandmother purchased such preparations at her local apothecary. What worked for her will certainly work for your modern self.  Read on for my reviews of Farmaesthetics’ products…

Continue reading

The Indie Beauty Expo and a FIELD TRIP to Farmaesthetics Skincare Apothecary



In anticipation of the Indie Beauty Expo on 8.27.15, I decided to repost some Vintage Versace, circa 2012, for you.  This was actually my very first post on the blog.  Farmaesthetics is one of my favorite green beauty brands and following this read you will see why.  Not only will Farmaesthetics be exhibiting at the Indie Beauty Expo, their founder/CEO Brenda Brock is the event’s first speaker.  Her talk is entitled From Farmstand to Madison Avenue: How to go from farmstand to the center of the beauty world when no one else was doing it.  I had the profound pleasure of meeting Brenda and learning firsthand how her journey from farm-to-face unfolded.  Read on to follow her journey yourself, and for more info on the Indie Beauty Expo click here (use code Versace for 20% off your ticket! ). Continue reading

EVENT ALERT: The debut of the INDIE BEAUTY EXPO 8.27.15


When a necessity doesn’t exist, why not create it?

By asking herself this question, the Indie Beauty Expo was born.  This event is the brainchild of Jillian Wright, Master Medical Aesthetician and formulator of the Jillian Wright Skincare line.  I had the pleasure of meeting Jillian in Chicago at A Night For Green Beauty, where she explained the inspiration and action plan for the Indie Beauty Expo.  Jillian observed the needs of independent beauty businesses not being met by the beauty trade show paradigm, and thus her instinct told her to do something about it. Together with business strategist Nader Naeymi-Rad, the Indie Beauty Expo was founded.  Make no mistake – this is not your traditional beauty trade show.  In fact, the mold of beauty trade shows has been shattered.  Here is what has been created in its place, distinguishing the Indie Beauty Expo from any other event of its kind:

  • Jillian has gathered a Dream Team of beauty, spa and wellness experts to help execute her vision, including Vibe Veda, Wendy Berger, Jeannie Jarnot, Jessica Richards, and Marie Watkinson.
  • It is open to BOTH retailers and consumers.  The Indie Beauty Expo actually WANTS the customer to attend (that’s us, and that’s very cool).
  • There will be product demos, drinks, shopping, swag bags, and prizes galore.
  • An event-wide shopping discount of 25% off will be extended to all shoppers.

From 10:30-4:30 will be the PROFESSIONAL SESSION for buyers and retailers only. From 5:00-8:00, the red carpet is rolled out for the CONSUMER SESSION, which is described by the Indie Beauty Expo website as a “playground for those who love and are curious about indie brands and their philosophy.”  Or, as Jillian shared with a smile, a “Happy Hour” for indie beauty brand devotees.  Love that. This is a Happy Hour for chatting it up with indie beauty founders and innovators, seeing product demos, and experiencing products firsthand, all while shopping and sipping on a cocktail.  VIP ticket holders receive a glass of champagne from Laurent Perrier and Deep Eddy, an indie brand vodka company, will be pouring their spirits for all.  Sample a tea-infused cocktail mixer by Owl’s Brew or enjoy refreshing raw juices and elixirs from LuliTonix. Noshes from Bamboo Bites will compliment your beverage.  It is impossible to NOT want in on this expo, the happiest hours that indie beauty will see in NYC.

Our “playground” will be comprised of 80 indie beauty brands who delight in interacting with their customers.  Some of my absolute favorite, tried, and true brands will be representing, including Farmaesthetics, Kahina Giving Beauty, and Osmia Organics.  I am also looking forward to meeting Skin Owl, Kypris, Violets are Blue, Bottega Organica, Ritual de Fille, Violet, Triology, Hynt Beauty, White and Elm, and Jillian Wright’s line of products, amongst others. Yes, I’ve been doing my homework.  Lucky for you, I take this job quite seriously.  You can do your homework too by checking out the list of indie beauty brands here.

Here’s how to get in like flynn to the 5-8pm Indie Beauty Expo Consumer Shopping Session:

  1. Click HERE to purchase an entrance ticket.  You can select your ticket option on the page.

  2. Enter the code Versace for 20% off your ticket! I love a good discount and the Indie Beauty Expo is generously extending one to Verde Versace readers. I told you I did my homework! 

 Looking forward to seeing you there!  Please be sure to say hi and clink your glass with me.  Which indie beauty businesses are you looking forward to meeting?  





Image courtesy of the Indie Beauty Expo


Q&A About the Campaign: Chatting with Founder & Formulator Dominique Caron of Caru (soon-to-be APOTERRA SKINCARE)


This bit of news was too exciting and innovative NOT to share with you.  One of my favorite brands (from my old stomping grounds of Queens, no less!) is undergoing a huge metamorphosis.  Allow me to introduce Dominique Caron, the smart, lovely, and uber modest aromatherapist, herbalist, and founder/formulator of Caru Skincare Co.  Dominique’s product line is THE epitome of green beauty: intelligent, responsible, and sustainable, with a minimalist approach to creating skincare.  Dominique herself is an old soul who seemingly channels the master herbalists of Mother Nature’s past.  She has a gift for formulating skincare and it shows in her products.  While Dominique sources only the best ingredients and packaging, she doesn’t charge an exorbitant price for her products.  Her line is not only beautiful and effective, but it is affordable.  This is green beauty inclusive of all.

And now the news…LOTS of changes going on over at Caru Skincare Co., including its name!  From here on in, Caru will be known as Apoterra Skincare.  Being a small business, Dominique chose a unique path for facilitating the growth of her brand.  I had some questions about Kickstarter and crowdsourcing as a whole, and Dominique was more than happy to answer them.  Read on for our wee chat… Continue reading

PRODUCT REVIEW: Kahina Giving Beauty’s Essaouira Body Serum

Ess_BodySerum_200mlKahina Giving Beauty’s body serums take you on a journey.  One pump of a bottle and I’m instantly transported to Morocco.  With Fez (reviewed here), I find myself enveloped in a fragrant labyrinth of the Imperial Moroccan city.  Kahina Giving Beauty’s latest body serum, Essaouira, is a sojourn on the Moroccan sea coast.  Essaouira, a city whose name translates to “beautifully designed”, was conceived in 1760 out of desire for change, diversity, prestige, and wealth.  Essaouira, who opened her heart and her port to the New World, infused its ancient Moroccan aesthetic with contemporary European flair. Essaouira is where the second Kahina journey begins. Continue reading

PRODUCT REVIEW: Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask



\ˈrē-ˌtäks, ri-ˈtäks\

To pollute one’s body following a state of clean living.

This definition isn’t from Webster’s Dictionary – silly me made it up.  I don’t even think the word RETOX exists but no two syllables better define my June 2015.  Good times had for sure, with extra special thanks to my college girls’ reunion weekend. However, it was a month fueled by excess – too much wine, coffee, stress, and dietary no-no’s (I’m looking your way, sugar and gluten) with not enough exercise, sleep, routine, or, let’s face it, self-control.  My whole system was screaming from this retoxification; my complexion not excluded from the madness.

Thank goodness the doctor is always IN. Continue reading

PRODUCT REVIEW: GRESSA Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation

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In terms of foundation, I want my cake and I want to eat it too.  I want to look like I woke up with glowing porcelain skin…BUT I’m not willing to do the time and work of Michaelangelo to get my face there.  I want under eye circles, redness, broken capillaries to disappear…BUT I don’t want to look like I’m wearing foundation.  That’s a tall order for any of us who weren’t born looking like the Ivory Soap Girl.  However, hold onto your foundation brushes, ladies – I am pleased to announce this order has been fulfilled (as have our dreams) by Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation. I speak of holy grail foundation, people.  HOLY GRAIL. Continue reading

PRODUCT REVIEW: The Natural Deodorant That Survived Elena Brower’s Yoga Class


Some people have a graveyard of hair products in their cabinet. I have a graveyard of natural deodorants. I’ve tried them all but none have worked, even the cult classic natch deodorants like Soapwalla and Schmidts. Just call me Natural Deodorant Fail Girl. #naturalsdeodorantfailgirl. While I stayed the course in my deodorant mission and trials, I would wind up in a state of ripeness by the time afternoons rolled around. I’m sure my co-workers were also referring to me as #naturalsdeodorantfailgirl once I left the room. I held on to the hope that my husband might actually appreciate my “natural essence”. Turns out not so much. At all. Apparently love does not conquer BO, as he requested I “return to the chemicals”. I needed to find something, and fast.  Continue reading

EVENT ALERT: A Night for Green Beauty #ANFGB



Take the thrill of the Womens World Cup (USA! USA!) and add it to the excitement of the Olympics, the Oscars, and your best night out with the girls, all synergized into one event.  The result?  The buzz, joy, high, beauty, glow and great fun that will be A Night For Green Beauty.

What is A Night for Green Beauty, you ask? (especially after such an intro!)

Put simply, it’s the top green beauty brands’ founders/formulators AND us green beauty devotees together under one roof.  Or, as some refer to it, “The Green Beauty Party of the Year”.  You know I love me a good party. The sole purpose isn’t necessarily shopping (although there will be plenty of that if you wish – good luck trying to walk out empty handed!).  Rather, it’s the opportunity to meet the fantastically talented, uber intelligent, and forward-thinking women and men behind the green beauty brands.  I have to tell you, it is really quite cool to meet the woman who formulates your eye cream.  When was the last time Aerin Lauder talked to you in person about her brand’s eye cream and ingredients?  Hmmmm….keep dreamin’.

The knowledge, passion, and warmth the green beauty community exudes is extraordinary.  I can also guarantee you will share many laughs as you dabble in experiencing all their facial and body care, perfumes, oils, soaps, hair products, and makeup.  You will be in sensory bliss.  An added feel-good bonus:  green beauty brands are known for paying it forward by supporting various social and environmental causes.  This year, proceeds from the event will benefit Learning AFAR: No Barriers Youth, a non-profit foundation that realizes the difference ONE person can make in this world. Learning AFAR: No Barriers Youth provides “transformative journeys” for students, educators, wounded veterans, and adults with disabilities, empowering them to find their worth, purpose, and a “No Barriers” mindset.  What a fantastic cause – please check out the website.

A little history: the event was founded by Karen King and Victoria Fantauzzi, the dynamic duo behind La Bella Figura.  It has traveled from NYC, to LA, and now lands in Chi-town.  The deets for this premiere green beauty experience and shopping event are as follows:

WHEN: Thursday August 6th, 6-10pm

WHERE: VENUE ONE 1034 W. Randolph, Chicago IL

COST: FREE as a bird, baby!

SPONSORED BY: Thoughtfully Magazine, Goodebox, Beau Tea Bar, Integrity Botanicals, Eco Diva, and Learning AFAR: No Barriers Youth.

For further info and the AMAZEBALLS list of brands representing, check out the #ANFGB website or find them on Instagram.

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join in on this green beauty community celebration.  I hope you can too!  Come meet the brains and personality behind the brands, your favorite green beauty bloggers, and fellow natch beauty-obsessed peeps.

Over the next two weeks I will be reviewing some of my favorite products that will be featured at #ANFGB.  Whether you will be there in person or in spirit, I will help you generate a wish list of lovely yet effective products!

Will I see you at #ANFGB?