Category: Ethos Reflections

L’Amour et la Musique moves to Patreon!

august 27, 2017 | by: mercedes | filed under: videos, ethos reflections

I’ll keep this post short and sweet since there is literally SO MUCH information and a video explaining everything related to this new direction for L’Amour et la Musique but – I’ve spent the better part of this summer conceptualizing a Patreon campaign to move L’Amour to the next level. I launched the campaign yesterday and I hope you will consider supporting the content I make through a small monthly donation. Welcome to my first early adopter Patrons – you guys have completely made my weekend, and I’m so grateful you’ve chosen to support what I do in this way.

Please visit my Patreon home page:

I also included a bonus footage upload for anyone interested – some of the underlying inspiration behind the work that I do:

Co-authored blog post/article on Savoir Faire Beauty

june 22, 2017 | by: mercedes | filed under: ethos reflections

Just a quick post to direct you (if you’re interested) to a blog post I wrote with Dr. Shanesha Brooks-Tatum on the in-process transformation of the “green beauty” movement from activist/grassroots to mainstream/luxury on her website, Savoir Faire Beauty. Shanesha and I connected through my channel last year and as two social scientists with a deep interest in alternative/beauty, we decided to collaborate on some research pursuits in this space. Stay tuned for more!

From Grassroots Counterculture to Mainstream Luxury: What’s Happening to Green Beauty?


In other news – I know I still haven’t uploaded the playlist from my last favorites video so that will be forthcoming, as well as a Patreon announcement, and some revamps to this site. I am building a “Shop” page where I can link you to all my hall of fame products, both beauty and lifestyle.

Is it the weekend yet?


Articulating action points

by: mercedes | march 31, 2017 | filed under: ethos reflections

photo cred: pinterest

I’m so thoroughly energized from the conversation my last video on YouTube generated. It’s impossible to ignore that MANY people have been feeling disenchanted with the mainstreaming of the green beauty community, along with the luxification of products and routines, and the onslaught of incessant marketing from every angle. There’s so much more to say and analyze on all these themes and topics, and what I *don’t* want to happen is just a return to business as usual on my channel.

I’ve been thinking about some concrete ways that I plan to steer L’Amour et la Musique in some novel directions. So this is serving as a bit of a roadmap for myself, detailing some actionable ways that I intend to use this platform to move forward in new ways.

* Product reviews and PR samples: I still have a deep love for beauty products and beauty rituals, and I intend to keep sharing my favorite discoveries, my routines, products I think are really noteworthy. I want to continue working with Beauty Heroes because I so fully support Jeannie and her mission, and I want to selectively review other brands that I feel inclined to share. However I’m no longer interested in amassing a vast array of PR samples and want to be extremely selective about what I accept and what I show. With respect to sponsorship, I have never received any kind of compensation to post a review or talk about a product, and that will not change. If I am ever in the position where I am consulting on a beauty endeavor that is not L’Amour, I will ALWAYS be extremely clear and transparent about that.

*More single-theme conversation videos, almost pseudo-academic lectures?: I’ve taken a page out of Jess (Stark Skincare) and Jordan (Jordan Samuel Skin) and their approaches to videos. Jess makes videos on a single topic (e.g. fear mongering and pseudoscience, overwhelm in green beauty) and shares her thoughts anywhere from 10-20 minutes in video format. I really love that style of video, and since I have so many thoughts swirling I want to start a list of similar topics I could do almost academic-lecture style videos on (but more conversational and not uptight and pretentious the way so many academic talks are : p). If you have any suggestions for this sort of video, please comment!

*Vlogging: I have been saying this for years but I *really* think if what I personally am after in the YouTube/blogging/social media space is an authentic, raw, quotidian expression of beauty then I need to put that kind of content out. While I love sitting in my bedroom and recording videos, sometimes it can feel a bit stale and I think doing vlogs that are more dynamic and multifaceted is really the next step  I feel pushed towards.

*Diversified content on “beauty” as a truly holistic concept: This is related to the above point, but since I am re-evaluating my framing as a “green beauty channel,” I want to allow more space for videos on varied content like DJing, sharing my musical history/narrative, gluten-free/paleo recipes, crystal collection, bullet journal flip-through, et cetera.

*Increased blog activity: I feel an urge to write more than I have in a LONG time. I think because as my critical thinking skills have clicked into high gear, I’m very comfortable writing about these themes after so many  years in school and so many academic papers later. So, I’d like to really put fingers to keypad more and just EXPRESS.

*Collaborative hybrid academic-beauty projects: I am in the nascent stages of collaborating with another academic/beauty enthusiast on a project she is just getting off the ground. Together I think we can produce some interesting and thought-provoking short articles, and also intend to conduct social science research to buttress our own experiences in the beauty community and what we’ve been observing and critically thinking about.

That’s all for now!

xoxo, mercedes

On Esteé Lauder/Brand Subsidiaries, Testing Cosmetics on Animals, and China…

may 5, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: ethos reflections, makeup


I am a thoughtful, critical person. This has pros, and plenty of cons. It can make life more complicated, but I’ve determined ultimately much more rewarding and full of immense depth. One way this energy has become channeled in my life is through my constant reflexive/reflective practice over my consumption habits – and chiefly beauty products. It is a combination of my minimalist strivings, my attempt at curating a beautiful life, and more recently a reflection of the incredible detoxification that has infused every corner of my life as a result of the work I began with a medical intuitive three months ago. Now more than ever, I am crystal clear on what belongs in my life, what doesn’t, and what I want to draw into my life, and surround myself with.

As a beauty blogger/youtuber/content creator who brands herself primarily in the “eco space,” I’ve always felt a bit…different, from many of the same vein. For one, I am not vegan or vegetarian. In fact completely the opposite – a traditional foods approach was what finally kicked the disordered relationship I had with foods since childhood to the curb. It is my personal conviction that very few people can thrive on an animal-free diet over the long term. During my dissertation research, on Rhode Island’s local/alternative food movement, I traveled all over the state and met many people involved in producing and selling food locally, including animal products. It profoundly shifted my mindset away from the now normalized rhetoric of “meat is basically all of our environmental/health/spiritual/everything problems” and towards a deep respect and reverence for humane animal husbandry, and a conscious relationship with animals and animal products we may consume, which provide profound nourishment on both the physical and energetic level.

I’m not sure why I’m rambling about all this so much when the point of this post is to wax poetic about why I no longer want to buy from cosmetics brands owned by Esteé Lauder, which I’ll get to very soon. But I suppose I feel the need to clarify my stance towards the now commonplace rhetoric around our (human) relationship with animals. As a species, we have ALWAYS had a dependent, and often exploitative relationship with animals. This has only become grossly and perversely exacerbated under (late-stage) capitalism, and global development. I think most people can agree that there are some things deemed worthy of an ethical “violation” of animal rights (i.e. testing pharmaceuticals that have the potential to be life-saving to humans), and those not worth of such a violation (i.e. testing cosmetics). I’m oversimplifying this, but bear with me.

As I spoke about in this video, I’ve never been overly compelled by cosmetics brands whose primary marketing slant is that they are cruelty-free – while continuing to use toxic chemicals in their formulations. What the HELL is the point of that? I still don’t understand it, really. It has also always upset me that we seem to care a hell of a lot more about animal rights (maybe because they are technically “voiceless”?) over human rights/labor rights, which is a part of the discussion that is nearly always edited out, or not even considered. In general, I try and consider a holistic nexus of issues when I choose what brands to support and products to buy. Now, I’m human and not a perfectionist, so I’m not 100% conscious 100% of the time. But more and more, I find myself being repelled ENERGETICALLY by certain brands and products. Enter, what this post was actually supposed to be about from the outset!

In a recent video, I talked about how I was lusting the Tom Ford eye defining pen. I mean damn that thing looks luxe, at $56 a pop – the stuff a liquid eyeliner lover’s dreams are MADE of. It gets nothing but raves, and is supposed to perform like nothing else on the market. After expressing my desire for said product, a few of my regular viewers (and friends) pointed out Tom Ford’s non-cruelty free status, as a brand. As you can see if you go read the comments, we had a nice dialect about it where I shared a version of what I’m sharing here – that I don’t find the cruelty-free label compelling, I look at the bigger issues, et cetera. But the more I sat with it, the more I actually WAS kind of upset. Or, I started feeling more into the energy I guess.

I did just a basic search on Tom Ford and cruelty-free, and learned (both from google and from my friend/viewer who works for Trish McEvoy, which is [aside] one of the last hold outs in independently owned luxury cosmetics brands) that Tom Ford is owned by parent company Esteé Lauder, which owns a host of other brands I feel embarrassed I didn’t actually know about, including MAC, Bobbi Brown, Bumble & Bumble, among many others – you can read the full list here.

Now, the issue is such. In the United States, all of these Esteé Lauder-owned brands I guess ARE cruelty-free, and do not test their products on animals. However, they have a “disclaimer” that states they WILL test their products on animals IF IT’S REQUIRED BY LAW. And you need not dig very far to learn that it is, in fact, required to test cosmetics on animals before they reach the consumer market in China. I’m sorry, but what the fuck is up with that. There’s no politically correct way to say this, but China already makes me uncomfortable in so many ways and this was just the last straw. Maybe I’m missing some of the context about WHY a country would have such a law in place, but either way it’s just really gross. Of course, a global company like Esteé Lauder would never dream of not selling their products in a place like China with such a MASSIVE market share (I heard on NPR the other morning that China either has or will soon surpass the US in terms of Starbucks locations/consumption). So I get that companies like that are basically ethically bankrupt and sans morals, but I’m just like…no. NO.

So, enter my why I guess I’ll no longer be buying from brands under the Esteé Lauder umbrella. And continuing to research what other companies/specific brands this pertains to. It kind of blows because I really need a new MAC 217 brush so that may be my one teeny tiny last ditch exception. I don’t know guys. Maybe I’m just channeling my frustrations about the state of the WORLD more generally into this, lashing out on China! But I’ve been thinking about it enough to write this exceedingly verbose blog post about the issue.

Any thoughts?


My Two Recent Videos/I’m A Naughty Blogger

april 6, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: videos, skincare, ethos reflections

Someday, hopefully in the not so distant future, I will upload regular, unique blog content. However until that day comes – here are my two recent YouTube videos! I am, in fact, quite pleased that I’ve managed to swing getting two videos a week up recently (it’s a challenge…and once I move, I’m hoping that will ease some of the frustrations and challenges I’ve been facing for oh I don’t know, YEARS? #OkUniverseIGetIt).

This past Sunday’s video was my review of the April Beauty Heroes box:

“You had me at luxury, Beauty Heroes. April’s box is absolutely beautiful, and so appropriate for our transition into spring. I hope you enjoy hearing my (extra wordy) thoughts today. I’d love to hear your impression of the product if you’ve had the chance to try it, and/or any general feedback you have on the boxes. Happy Sunday! xoxo, mercedes and benoit the bunny.”

To subscribe to Beauty Heroes to receive the March Hero product and sidekick from True Nature Botanicals:

To give a Beauty Heroes Gift Subscription:

To learn more about Beauty Heroes as an eco-beauty subscription box service, here is a playlist of all my past Beauty Heroes reviews –

And today’s video is a (mostly) Eco Beauty Product Spring Clean, and some musings on minimalism:

“One of my favorite things to do is continually engage in a recursive process of editing my life. Ruthlessly detoxifying things out so that I can make space for what I DO desire. This impulse has become even stronger since I began working with a medical intuitive, which has had the effect of clarifying many facets of my life. I recently did a comprehensive sweep of my beauty stash and thought I’d show you guys what will be leaving chez l’amour – so in a way, this is kind of a disappointing products video too. Thumbs up for aspiring minimalism, and a l’amour makeup collection at 10k subscribers? xoxo, mercedes.”

Bonne Année!

january 1, 2016 | by: mercedes | filed under: ethos reflections

I wanted to usher 2016 in thoughtfully with just a short expression of both gratefulness (for the past) and excitement (for the future). It seems like every year people proclaim that the coming year will be “the best year ever,” and many seem to want to forget the year that has passed along with all its challenges.

I KNOW this is so cheesy and a spiritual new-age hippie mantra but really: where would we BE without the challenges? And what year ISN’T going to have challenges? It’s not even a question, it’s a guarantee that each and every year of one’s life will come with particular hardships and challenges. From my current perspective, I try and view the challenges as opportunities for surrender, increased personal growth, expanded consciousness and awareness, and cultivating grace, integrity, and authenticity.

Thank you to everyone who supported L’amour et la Musique this past year, in any capacity – I’m so happy to share my passions with likeminded people, and for the opportunity to follow my bliss.

Happy New Year!


My January 1st Instagram Post <3

What I’m relegated to at the drug store, and minimalism versus beauty blogging

For the past 4 or 5years I’ve been enamored with the idea of minimal yet beautifully curated life. Simplicity but quality resonates, and clutter, excess, and waste drives me nuts. This has extended to beauty and self care in general – I don’t like to have to much product around, and want to fully use, enjoy, and appreciate everything I…

What you do not because you have to, but because you want to.

Despite all my years of education and “real job,” I still continually find myself drawn to and spending copious amounts of time the realm of beauty, health, and wellness. Perusing my favorite blogs, and youtube channels, interspersing it between my “real” work. I suppose there are many of us like that – not yet having figured out how to make our lives what we love, but keeping those creative fires alive in these other ways. Thus, this. I don’t know what this will become. A space for beauty ramblings and musings, Love Lists, a precursor to a youtube channel which I fantasize about, an addendum to my pinterest board – a way to display my curated vision of beauty. My acupuncturist tells me I have a strong lung-metal element running through me (from Five Element theory), which has helped her understand my attention to self-care, beauty ritual, and the magnetic draw towards beautiful things, and curating a life to reflect that.