Entries from January 31st, 2011

January 31, 2011

beauty scoop | kaylala no. 7 afterglow rejuvenating serum

Winter is still in full swing. While I’ve been protecting my skin with some of my favorite facial oils — jojoba oil and argan oil — I’ve recently introduced a powerful new antioxidant-loaded facial oil to my winter skin care lineup: Kaylala No. 7 Afterglow Rejuvenating Serum.

kaylala no. 7 afterglow rejuvenating serum

{Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum packs the top-moisturizing facial oils into a half-ounce tube — for $75. Photo Courtesy Kaylala.}

Kaylala No. 7 Afterglow Rejuvenating Serum is packed with all the incredibly moisturizing oils and ingredients I regularly praise — evening primrose oil, vitamin E, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil — but its secret ingredient is one I’ve never tried before getting this sample product: emu oil.

Emu oil is made from the fat of emus and contains anti-inflammatory, essential fatty acids, such as omegas 3, 6 and 9, that help nourish the skin and keep it soft. Kaylala sources its emu oil from its own family, free-range emu farm in Maryland that is certified by the American Emu Association.

Emu oil has been used as natural medicine for years in Australia and other parts of the world. For skin-care purposes, I found Kaylala’s emu-oil infused No. 7
Rejuvenating Serum to be just as light and equally moisturizing as my standby jojoba and argan oils. Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum has a distinct scent that may be off-putting to some scent-conscious beauty mavens … and Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum’s price tag ($75) may be off-putting to most budget-conscious beauty buffs.

If you want to try emu oil, I’d recommend starting with a smaller, less-expensive trial size; you can get an ounce of straight Kaylala Emu Oil for $15 and bypass the Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum until you figure out if emu oil is right for you. If you need an ultra-loaded moisturizer to use sparingly every night, though, Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum is the end-all, be-all of moisturizing facial oils. It packs in the most of the best moisturizing oils (except my other favorite, argan) into one half-ounce tube that should last you three months ($25 a month for facial oil) if you are very conservative with it — a drop or two should do!

If you’re interested in trying a few other products from Kaylala, the Face Sampler is a good buy at $30; you get a sample size of the No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum as well as cleanser, moisturizer, toner, face polish and face mask. This is the same Face Sampler kit included in gift bags at the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) awards last night.

screen actors guild gift basket

{Indulge in a sampler of Kaylala’s best — pictured in the bottom row to the right of "alking dirt" – the same sampler given out in gift bags at the SAG Awards in Los Angeles on January 30, 2011. Photo Courtesy Kaylala.}

Have you ever tried emu oil? What did you think of it? Would you rather have one facial oil — even at a high price tag — rather than several facial oils that you blend together in your skin care routine? Leave me a comment and let me know!

January 26, 2011

cupcake taste test | smallcakes | overland park, kansas

Just because I live less than half a mile away from a cupcakery doesn’t give me a license to frequent it every week — but it happens. It’s hard to resist popping in to one of my favorite local cupcakeries, Smallcakes, especially now that I’m settled in to my new city and have been baking a little less at home (plus I stalk the Smallcakes Facebook page every day for enticing specials). Now that I have so many bakeries to choose from in my cupcake, macaron and other sweets taste tests, I’ve been literally feeding my addiction — and Smallcakes has been winning for the past few weeks not only because it’s so close to my apartment, but also because the cupcakes are incredibly delicious.

While I’ve actually only been into Smallcakes three times — my first time at the Olathe location and the other two times in Overland Park over the past two weeks, each time I have walked in to the cupcakery, it feels like home. Nothing fancy, but good smells fill the small shop. Pretty, familiar cupcakes — classics like Red Velvet and Lemon — line the display shelf while interesting mixes, such as Hot Fudge Sundae, Caramel Crunch and Cookies ‘N Cream, catch your eye. Smallcakes makes a point to introduce different, interesting cupcake creations to its lineup every day — which keeps you coming back for more.

Even if you’ve never been to Smallcakes, you may recognize it from cupcakery owner and chef Jeff Martin’s appearance on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” as well as “The View.” Mark your calendars for February 15 when Martin and his smallcakes make another appearance on “Cupcake Wars.” Also, if you’re on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro area, be sure to check out the new Smallcakes location in Lee’s Summit.

smallcakes cupcake display

{Smallcakes' cupcake display showcases its array of beautiful, perfectly frosted cupcakes. Photo Courtesy Smallcakes}

You never forget your first Smallcake. It was a pretty safe choice — Pink Chocolate — of simple, chocolate cake and pink buttercream frosting. Simply divine.

smallcakes pink chocolate cupcake

{My first-ever Smallcakes cupcake was Pink Chocolate from the Olathe location in summer 2010.}

One weekend this winter when I was deathly sick, the teacher man brought me traditional medicine — Sudafed — and kimberlyloc medicine — a Smallcakes French Toast cupcake. I think the cupcake cured me.

smallcakes french toast cupcake

{A French toast cupcake counts as breakfast, right? Photo Courtesy Smallcakes}

Sometimes, when you’re feeling down, you eat your feelings…or you only eat a cupcake all day. Probably not the best idea, but hey, Smallcakes’ slogan is “Maybe a cupcake will help?” On a particularly crummy day, Smallcakes’ Hot Fudge Sundae cupcake perked me up a bit. Nothing mends the heart more than a chocolate cupcake with buttercream frosting, nuts, hot fudge and a cherry on top.

smallcakes hot fudge sundae cupcake
{It’s hard to resist a hot fudge sundae cupcake with a cherry on top!}

Last weekend, I begged the teacher man to take me to Smallcakes because we were too snowed-in to do much else (this is where that less-than-a-half-a-mile-away-thing makes it rational to venture out in snowy, freezing weather). I chose a nostalgic Drumstick cupcake, which is made of vanilla cake with fudge icing and topped with buttercream and sundae nuts; he opted for classic Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting.

smallcakes drumstick cupcake
{I have fond memories of getting drumstick ice cream cones in elementary school — this drumstick cupcake tasted just like them!}
smallcakes red velvet cupcake
{Always a favorite — who doesn’t like red velvet cake and mounds of cream cheese frosting?}

Have you been to Smallcakes? What is your favorite cupcake? Tell me in the comments section which one I should try next!

January 17, 2011

beauty scoop | eos smooth sphere lip balm

It’s a widely known fact that I am addicted to lip balm. With a lip balm supply that could have me using a new lip balm a day for at least a month, I will be the first to admit that I have a lip balm-hoarding problem. Pretty soon, I’m going to run out of space for all these lip balms — especially if I keep going back for more eos smooth sphere lip balms, which come in the oddest egg-shaped packaging that takes up too much space in my makeup bag and purse, yet makes me smile every time I use it.

eos smooth sphere lip balm

{eos' tagline for its smooth sphere balm is "lip balm that makes you smile." Now there's truth in advertising! Photo Courtesy eos}

I like eos smooth sphere lip balm because it’s light, never waxy or overly thick and comes in USDA organic, medicated and SPF-added versions.  I use the lemon drop SPF 15 eos lip balm to protect my lips from getting chapped and sunburned from the harsh winter rays. Its powerhouse moisturizing ingredients include shea butter, vitamin E and jojoba oil while excluding the bad stuff: parabens, phthalates and petroleum.

While I can’t really stick this lip balm in my pocket too easily (damn you, skinny jeans!), I toss it in my makeup bag that usually accompanies me to work and slick it on throughout the day when my lips are feeling dry. The best thing about eos smooth sphere lip balm is how affordable and easy-to-find it is — it’s just $3.29 and is available at major retailers and drugstores.

Have you seen or used eos smooth sphere lip balms? What do you think of them? What are your other budget beauty basics? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

January 15, 2011

follow kimberlyloc on twitter

Pretty soon, I will join the 21st century mobile world by getting either a new iPhone or Droid phone (I still rock a dinosaur flip phone — the same one that Caro from No Finder’s Fee has). I’ll be tweeting and taking more in-the-moment photographs and posting them to Twitter, so join along with the other 1,000+ people who follow my tweets!

kimberlyloc twitter

I share social media, publishing, advertising, fashion, home decor, style, beauty and foodie stories via Twitter. Join the always-changing conversation with me! Are you on Twitter? Tell me your Twitter handle in the comments section.

January 14, 2011

free stuff friday | hippie chow all natural granola

While it’s relatively simple to throw together trail mix (I like combining unsalted almonds, dried cherries and dark chocolate chips), granola is a new territory for me. Instead of whipping up my own batch (though I could probably do it!), I opt for local, homemade Hippie Chow — and now I have even greater access to it because what began as an Overland Park farmer’s market staple and then grew into a nationwide name thanks to Dean and Deluca has now come back to its Kansas City-area roots: Hippie Chow is more readily available in the Kansas City metro area via five Cosentino’s locations, eight Kansas Sampler locations, Nature’s Health Food Market and Foo’s Fabulous Custard.

hippie chow all natural granola

{Hippie Chow, a Johnson County original, is now available at select stores throughout the Kansas City metro area. Photo Courtesy Hippie Chow}

Hippie Chow’s founder, Valerie Jennings, began selling her homemade granola at her local farmer’s market in Overland Park, Kansas, in May 2010. Jennings hand-makes Hippie Chow in small batches every week to keep the all-natural granola as fresh as possible. As Valerie expands her business (you go girl!), I wonder if it would be feasible to offer a granola cooking/baking class sometime in the near future — I would be one of the first to sign up! :)

I love that even as Valerie’s Hippie Chow brand grows, she stays true to her commitment to local food and continues to source at least 75 percent of Hippie Chow’s ingredients or production from local sources. Besides her commitment to local foods, Valerie is generous and eager to share the love nationwide: she is donating three bags of Hippie Chow (in her staple original, peanut butter and chocolate flavors) to give away to one lucky reader anywhere in the 50 states so he or she can taste the goodness of the Kansas City area!

Want to win some Hippie Chow? It’s easy! Simply leave a comment on this blog post and tell me why you want to try Hippie Chow. Want multiple entries? “Like” this post on Facebook and/or tweet this post via Twitter (and make sure to tell me about it in your comment) to get up to three entries in the Hippie Chow giveaway! Make sure to read the giveaway terms and conditions below to make sure you qualify. Happy snacking!

Sweepstakes Terms and Conditions

1. No purchase necessary. A purchase does not improve your chance of winning. Void where prohibited.

2. Entrant must be 18 years old as of sweepstakes start date and a legal resident of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia as of start date.

3. Sweepstakes begins Friday, January 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm CST and ends Friday, January 21, 2011, at 7:00 pm CST.

4. Each entrant selected as a potential winner must comply with all terms and conditions set forth in these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all such requirements. Winners will be selected by random drawing. If a potential winner cannot be contacted within fourteen (14) days after the first attempt to contact such potential winner, an alternate entrant will be selected in his or her place from all entries received.

5. Sponsor(s) is/are not responsible for lost or mutilated prizes and none will be replaced. Prize is nontransferable and must be accepted as awarded. No cash or other substitution may be made, except by Sponsor(s) in the event that the prize cannot be awarded for any reason, in which case, Sponsor(s) will award a prize of equal or greater value. All taxes, fees and surcharges on prizes are the sole responsibility of winner.

January 12, 2011

beauty scoop | queen helene mint julep masque

While I could (and do) spend hours of time and hundreds of dollars at Sephora, specialty beauty boutiques and skin care counters every year, I’m loyal to a few budget beauty basics that have proven their effectiveness over the years. Today, let’s talk facial masks.

I have nine different jars and tubes of facial masks in my beauty arsenal (that’s after I pared down my collection from 15 — I wasn’t joking about beauty resolution number four!). Of those nine, one of my favorites — and the least expensive — is my 8-ounce tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque.

queen helene mint julep masque

{You can find Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque at most retailers and drugstores. It usually costs less than $4 — what a steal!}

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque has been a staple in my beauty stash for more than 5 years. It’s the perfect, minty mask for unclogging oiled-up pores and relaxing a stressed mind and body after a long day. I tend to be a little overindulgent with this mask — it’s easy to cake it on until you have a bright green facial mask that takes 20 minutes to dry — but it doesn’t concern me too much because it’s so inexpensive. When I don’t have time to put on a full mask, I sometimes like to spot-treat blemishes with the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. It’s simple, fast and effective at drying up pimples while also treating the skin around them.

So who hasn’t tried Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque? Tell me some of your budget beauty basics in the comments section.

January 10, 2011

style secrets | wine bottles as boot shapers

I’m not the type of person who keeps shoeboxes to store her precious shoes and boots in after every wear. It’s just too much of a hassle, and plus, I like to see all of my boot options as I’m getting dressed in the morning. Instead of storing boots in their boxes, I keep them in perfect shape by reusing empty wine bottles as boot shapers.

wine bottles in black boots

{Keep your boots in tip-top shape (and protect their zippers!) by reusing empty wine bottles as boot shapers.}

For a while, I was researching the best cedar boot shapers and even got a pair of inexpensive plastic boot shapers from my dear Kansas City cobbler. While making the sell (they were only $8 for the pair), my cobbler, “Dad,” as his oiled-up work shirt read, also told me that using rolled-up newspapers worked well, too — though the papers could become less stiff over time. Then it dawned on me that I had pairs upon pairs of boot shapers just outside on my patio — in my glass recycling can.

If you drink as much wine as I do (hey, it’s good for your heart!) and have as many pairs of boots as I do, then save a little extra cash ($8 bucks a pop, as cheap as that is, adds up if you own more than 10 pairs of boots) and reuse your wine bottles as boot shapers. Bonus: If you forget what type of divine wine you had, you can always check your boots for a little memory jogger.

If you don’t drink as much wine or have as many boots, remember this tip, straight from the cobbler’s mouth, for choosing which boots in which to place boot shapers: Choose the boots that have plastic, not metal, zippers to shape. Why? Plastic zippers are less sturdy and more prone to breakage when they slouch over, so it’s important to prioritize shaping those first.

Do you use boot shapers? What other ideas for creative reuse do you have? Share them in the comments section.

January 7, 2011

home decor | madebygirl blogs and coffee print

I’ve been in my new Kansas City suburbs apartment for a little more than two months, but only in the past few weeks have I really begun to set up my secondary spaces (aside from, ahem, finally getting my living room furniture in at the end of December — probably not a “secondary” space). During my generous winter break from work, I focused on putting together my home office, knowing that one of my 2011 resolutions would be to blog more consistently. This meant organizing files, making lists of home-office needs and finally hanging my pictures and diploma up on the wall.

Even as I was finding spots in my work area to put my pretty, inspirational pieces, it still lacked some charm and I had to deal with a completely blank, apartment-white wall to my right. Luckily, I received the perfect, belated birthday present in the mail from my dear friend Caro that now has a sweet spot in my new workspace.

made by girl i love you blogs and coffee print

{This super-fun piece is printed on espresso-colored paper and looks beautiful with my dried caught-it-at-a-wedding bouquet and dried Christmas dinner date roses.}

Caro, who writes the blog No Finder’s Fee, found this adorable print online at MadeByGirl, a fun card and print shop run by designer Jen Ramos. The “blogs and coffee – espresso” print is available in two sizes — 8” x 10” and 16” x 20” — which are both printed on 100 percent recycled stock from French Paper. I have the smaller size, and am waiting to stumble upon the perfect white, whimsical frame and matte to show off my print even more.

Since becoming acquainted with MadeBy Girl and Jen Ramos’ style, I’m planning on stocking up on some of her creative greeting cards; I’m eyeing the love-themed cards to possibly use as Valentines this year (or just to tell someone I love them whenever I can!).

How do you decorate your home office? Leave me a comment (or show me your pictures on Flickr) and give me some more inspiration!

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