December 11, 2014

natural beauty buff | rachel najera, rachel’s plan bee

“It all started with a little boy and a determined mom…”


Stories that start out like this are common in the green beauty world, but there’s absolutely nothing common about what Rachel’s Plan Bee founder Rachel Najera has achieved with her natural skincare line.

Currently comprised of seven botanically based products, Rachel’s Plan Bee has carved itself a nice little niche in this growing green beauty product industry.

This affordable, un-intimidating line (unless you’re scared of bees!) welcomes those who want neatly packaged naturals that aren’t ingredient-heavy and offer comforting, familiar scents.

rachels plan bee natural beauty buff kimberlyloc

On the broad spectrum of green beauty brands, Rachel’s Plan Bee offers a warm, unpretentious style for those who are feeling out what the natural beauty industry has to offer.

Who wouldn’t want this beautiful, welcoming face — and flowery, happy brand! — to be one of the first that those new to natural beauty see?

(Her line also offers an escape to simplicity and beauty that green beauty veterans sometimes need. Just make me a pretty, effective vanilla body oil that won’t leave me broke for months!)

You’ll definitely be seeing more of Rachel’s Plan Bee around in 2015.

Not only because Rachel is doing amazing things with her small yet mighty line, but because we need to see more from green beauty entrepreneurs like her in the new year.

Passionate. Humble. Always grateful.

This is what the green beauty industry (and overall beauty industry!) needs more of. And when we need something this bad, the Universe makes it happen.

Are you ready to see more of this, too?

rachels plan bee natural beauty buff kimberlyloc

As usual, I’ve starred the products I also use and love! NOTE: I’m a huge fan of Rachel’s Body Oil and Body Polish, which she hasn’t mentioned below but I felt compelled to remind you about! (Read my body oil review and body polish review.)

*Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush in “Antique Rose”

I am in love with this mineral blush because it absolutely has no shimmer looks so natural on my skin. I don’t wear much makeup, and this blush gives me just the right amount of color on my cheeks.

*RMS Beauty Lip Shine in “Moment”

Most lip color products on the market completely dry my lips out. I love this color and the way it moisturizes my lips. At first I thought the color would be way off for my skin tone. This one is perfect for a nude lip.

*Rachel’s Plan Bee Facial Oil  (Don’t forget to read my review!)

This is my favorite product from our line. I cannot be without it. There are times when I am tempted to just go to bed without my nightly dose of this facial oil, but the “skin care police” quickly remind me to NEVER neglect this nightly ritual after a cleansing my face. Our oil has become the only moisturizer I use both morning and night.

rachels plan bee natural beauty buff kimberlyloc

Tehacha-Bee Farm Natural Probiotic Deodorant Baking Soda Free

Baking soda is not my friend and I have searched forever to find a non-irritating natural deodorant. This one is great! It does go on white initially, but if you massage it in with fingers after application, it is non-staining and works all day long with zero irritation. If you are a DIY person, Tehacha-Bee Farm has a sister company called Handcrafted Honey Bee where you can order a kit to make several tubes of this wonderful product. It’s called “Your Main Pit Stop” – so hilarious!

*Rachel’s Plan Bee – Bee Cream

This is one of our first products I created in our line. This is my go to beeswax cream to quickly moisturize my cuticles, hands and just shaved legs. It’s only takes a tiny amount to get great results.

*Fleegal Farms Peppermint Chocolate Soap

Even though I have been making soap for my family for years, I have a secret addiction of buying too much handmade soap from other makers. This one is my absolute favorite. Elly of Fleegal Farms has a gift of creating super moisturizing bars with intoxicating scents.

rachels plan bee natural beauty buff kimberlyloc

Soap Nuts 

Several years ago when we were eliminating all synthetic cleaning supplies from our home, I discovered eco-friendly economical soap nuts. I love using soap nuts to wash our laundry! Artificial fragrances in commercial detergent make me sneeze. I wish I could bottle up the clean fresh scent that it leaves on clothes. I have slowly converted several “non-believers” to the many benefits of soap nuts!

December 10, 2014

beauty scoop | kari gran foundation

I’ve added a new mineral foundation to my natural makeup collection, but I swear this one is different than anything I’ve tried before.

If you’re already a Kari Gran makeup fan, you probably know what I mean.

This mineral foundation is flat-out fantastic.

kari gran foundation review before and after

{Kari Gran sent me a foundation sample kit for review (retail $10) so I could figure out which color suited my skin tone. I opted for shade No. 2. I then purchased the full-sized foundation (retail $25) and redeemed a $10 off discount that came with the sample kit, which is available to anyone who purchases a sample kit. What a great deal!}

But first, a bit of context:

In the photo comparison above, on the left, I am obviously not wearing any foundation (but have on my brows and some lip color to keep from scaring you).

I’m wearing only Kari Gran mineral foundation all over my face. No base layer of concealer or any mineral veil.

While the photo on the right shows a much evened-out complexion, I’m still not too happy with the dark-ish circles under my eyes. That’s just sleep deprivation at it’s finest, though. I was on five hours of sleep in this photo.

Perhaps a base layer of thick concealer could have helped, but I’m all about the honest foundation reviews! (And I should become all about getting more sleep.) I bet if I had my typical seven hours, those undereye circles wouldn’t be so prominent.

And now, what I really think makes this foundation special:

What sets Kari Gran’s mineral foundation apart from other mineral foundations I’ve tried is the instant glow you get upon application.

We beauty bloggers tend to through around the word “glow” a lot in our reviews, so let me be more specific: Because of the subtle amount of mica in this mineral makeup’s formula, you seriously get that beautiful, radiant complexion that’s not shiny or glittery. It’s just glowy. And that’s that.

Obviously, if you avoid mica in your beauty products (I don’t), then this isn’t the foundation for you.

Here’s everything inside Kari Gran foundation:

Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Mica

If you’re used to using a highlighter everyday, you can get rid of that step when you use Kari Gran’s foundation. The light-reflecting effect is built in to this foundation, so all you need to do is buff it in and go. I absolutely love this foundation!

As with many of the nontoxic makeup I love, Kari Gran foundation is free of talc, synthetic fragrance, dyes, bismuth oxychloride, parabens, nanoparticles and animal testing

But seriously, what sets it apart is the glow.

I can’t help but admire the way my skin looks after using this mineral foundation. It’s just beautiful, and when I go back to using my other beloved minerals, I get a little annoyed that I need to layer on the highlighter to my glow.

Speaking of layering on makeup, I stumbled upon this fantastic refresher course on how to apply your mineral foundation the right way.

We all know that we should apply sparingly and build, build, build for even coverage, but sometimes it just helps to see someone actually do it. Let’s not waste our makeup, ladies!

(This is the result of going down the YouTube beauty vlogger hole on one of my days off from work. And plus, Jen is a fellow Jayhawk and friend of a friend, so I gotta share the love.)

So, are you cool with using mica in your beauty products? Have you tried Kari Gran’s mineral foundation? What are your favorite natural foundations (and what color do you wear?)? Tell me in the comments section!


December 5, 2014

holiday gift ideas for him

All the dudes in my life get grooming products for Christmas.

And maybe some of these things, too.

holiday gift ideas for him

(From top, left to right)

Bike Chain Bottle Opener

Drinking beer is exciting, so why not use a cool bottle opener to celebrate whatever occasion you’re about to toast? Who cares if the occasion is Friday at 5.

Brickell Men’s Products Men’s Starter Kit

Guys deserve great green skincare, too, and Brickell Men’s Products delivers. Made with certified organic and natural ingredients, Brickell Men’s Products packs all the green goodness that us ladies have come to expect in our skincare, yet is packaged in a dude-friendly way that looks sleek on the vanity. The Starter Kit contains six travel-sized products for your man to enjoy, including face wash, shave cream, aftershave, moisturizer, soap scrub and hand balm.

Industry of All Nations Ribbed Alpaca Beanie

Available in black and gray, Industry of All Nations’ Ribbed Alpaca Beanie, available via Accompany, is one you’ll want to borrow from the guy. Warm, durable alpaca fibers insulate while allowing the skin to breathe.

Warby Parker Barkley Sunglasses

Made from custom cellulose acetate, Warby Parker’s Barkley sunglasses offer a contemporary yet classic look that’s both stylish and subtle. The anti-scratch and anti-reflective coated sunglasses offer 100 percent UV protection and 100 cool points.

Das Boom Industries Yuzu, Shiso & Saffron Body Wash

For the minimalist guy’s shower, Das Boom Industries’ Everywhere Wash in Yuzu, Shiso & Saffron gets him clean from head hair to toe hair. The bright, fresh burst of yuzu, an East Asian citrus fruit, makes Das Boom Industries’ Everywhere Wash the perfect early morning everything cleanser. Everything Wash is also available in Bayrum, Smoke & Dirt and Bourbon & Leather, but this was by far the favorite of my test subjects (and myself).

Herschel Supply Co. ‘Chapter’ Travel Kit

If you’re going to give a guy a bunch of great new green grooming products, then it only makes sense to add in a tough dopp kit to boot. Herschel Supply Company’s ‘Chapter’ Travel Kit is made of durable tech canvas that fits both the “form” and “function” requirements.

Everlane Cashmere Hoodie

Made of ethically sourced grade-A cashmere source directly from Mongolia, Everlane’s Cashmere Hoodie is touchably soft and offers an attractive, slim fit that keeps the look polished. This isn’t the bro hoodie you remember from your days on campus. Another one you’ll want to jack from your guy. (Note: A less-expensive but just-as-beautiful cotton cashmere version is also available.)

Toms Taupe Aviator Twill Men’s Paseos Mid

Mid-cut shoes in taupe? Bet your guy doesn’t have this in his shoe wardrobe. (Do guys have shoe wardrobes?). As with all Toms purchases, your gift of the Toms Taupe Aviator Twill Men’s Paseos Mid also helps a person in need via the company’s One for One promise.

December 3, 2014

holiday gift guide for people who like to stuff stockings

Because we all need ideas of what to put in other people’s hanging socks.

stocking stuffer ideas

(From top, left to right)

Etta + Billie Hot Toddy Body Scrub

San Francisco natural bath and body line Etta + Billie’s re-imagination of a hot toddy in bar form is just genius — and oh-so-beautifully packaged, as all the products are. Sea salt, organic cocoa butter and fair trade shea butter combine with cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger for a warming morning skin treat.

Deco Naturals Holiday Collection Lip Butter Set

As sweet and cheerful as your favorite childhood lip balms (but without all the nasties!), Deco Naturals’ Holiday Collection contains six creamy lip balms made from cocoa butter, beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil and vitamin E in familiar flavors such as candy cane, gingerbread, sugared cranberry, egg nog, spiced pear and hot cocoa. Pass the egg nog, please.

The Konjac Sponge Company Konjac Sponges

Cute konjac sponges are a staple in every beauty addict’s bathroom, and this year they’ll likely be the staple of every stocking. These small but mighty sponge exfoliators gently buff away dead skin and can be used with just water or your favorite cleanser. (Just make sure to tell your not-so-beauty-addicted friends what to do with it, mmmk?).

Jane Iredale PurePressed Electric Refillable Compact

You shouldn’t be the only thing all dolled up this holiday season. Update your Jane Iredale powder with a beautiful amethyst compact decorated with a fuchsia crystal. It’s designed to hold any Jane Iredale PurePressed Base, PureMatte or Beyond Matte Powder Refill. (Oh, and get one for your friend, too. Because this gift guide is for others. Not yourself. I forget.)

Tatcha Original Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers

Would you be offended if someone put oil-blotting papers in your stocking? Not if they’re elegant ones from Tatcha. These all-natural blotting sheets, made of 100 percent Abaca Leaf and gold flakes, absorb excess oil without disturbing makeup.

Kusmi Tea Green Teas Assortment

Greet the green tea connoisseur with an assortment of delicious Kusmi Tea. Interesting flavor combinations, such as strawberry green team, rose green tea, spearmint green tea and ginger-lemon green tea will tickle the tastebuds of even the most adventurous tea-drinker in your life.

Real Techniques Core Collection Brush Set

Armed with these four high-quality brushes, the makeup guru in your life will be able to create a flawless face thanks to Real Techniques’ Core Collection Brush Set. Gifting them to a beauty newbie? Point her to Real Techniques’ online video tutorials or everyone’s favorite, Lisa Eldridge.

Lotus Wei Mini Serums

Lotus Wei’s Balancing Serums are the perfect remedy for the stressed-out friend or family member who is in desperate need of some down time. This mini collection allows her to experience all of Lotus Wei’s powerful aromatherapy blends designed to dramatically change the everyday state of mind. My favorites? Infinite Love and Joy Juice.

Mustache & Beard Comb

Probably not wise to give this to your sister. Instead, stuff that mustached-man’s stocking with this handmade-from-sustainably harvested cherry wood comb. At 2.13 inches wide, 0.88 inches tall and 0.25 inches thick, it’s one unobtrusive grooming product that can easily fit in a pocket

The Wild Unknown Tarot Card Deck

Featuring quite possibly the most beautiful tarot art I’ve ever seen, The Wild Unknown Tarot Card Deck includes major and minor arcana and instructions on how to use the deck. For the tarot-curious, you might want to also include The Wild Unknown Tarot Guidebook. It’s pretty, too.

December 1, 2014

holiday gift guide for the cat enthusiast

Cat ladies (and cat men!), this one’s for you.

Oh yes I did.


holiday gift guide for cat people

From top, left to right:

Meow Meow Tweet Bar Soap Trio

I’m a big fan of Brooklyn-based natural beauty brand Meow Meow Tweet not only do because founders Jeff and Tara make high-quality, smell-good products, but also because these two are bona fide cat people whose love for furry felines shows in their funky packaging and addictive Instagram feed. This soap trio is a great little introduction to the line. My recommendations: Tangerine Basil, Grapefruit Mint and Black Walnut Sage.

Video Kitty Tumblers

Made in Ohio and decorated in Minnesota, these Video Kitty Tumblers are the all-American cat owners’ dream. Don’t worry if you’re drinking a Belgian beer out of them while your Siamese cat sits in your lap. Details, schmetails.

Cat Lady Tote

Cat ladies, unite! Let all those dog people at the farmer’s market know that 1) their dog is sniffing you in inappropriate places and 2) your cat is way too busy to deal with the farmer’s market and sent her human instead in search of organic catnip and fresh fish.

Notorious C.A.T. Shirt

Know someone who loves East Coast rap? Does that person also love cats? Introducing “I like it when you call me big Paw-Paw,” indeed.

Cat Eye Mask

For all my ladies out there still struggling to perfect their daytime cat eye, chill out, Google some tutorials (this one and this one are great) and then sleep on it before trying again tomorrow. Rest easy knowing that your bedtime cat eye is on point.

Tiny Kitten Ring

Playful kittens grow up to become grouchy cats, but these Tiny Kitten Rings, designed to fit your pinkies or first knuckles, stay small and sweet forever. Made of solid 14 karat cold, the Tiny Kitten Ring is exclusive to the shop Catbird in New York.

Cat Tipi

Cotton canvas panels, birch poles and suede lace come together for the ultimate gift for the cat person’s actual cat: A sure-to-be-loved cat tipi. While most cat toys are tossed to the side (and instead the box is given attention), a cat tipi is bound to be your kitty’s most prized hiding spot. If your cat loves to hide inside the litter box top as you’re cleaning the actual box (mine does!), kitty will surely love the tipi. And if she doesn’t? Well, there’s always the cardboard box.

Cat Tea Towels

Printed with eco-friendly inks on 100 percent cotton, these cat tea towels are a must-have for the home of owners of black cats, Siamese cats or Persian cats. Or any cat lover, really.

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