Entries from November 30th, 2012

November 30, 2012

holiday gift guide for the fabulous fashionista

It’s that time of year again — holiday gift guide season!

I’m excited to share some of my favorite fashion, beauty and lifestyle picks for you in the coming weeks.

Today, I’m kicking off the holiday shopping season with some great ideas on what to get for the fashionistas on your list from Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth.

For those of you who crave quality but don’t like to pay designer prices, Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth at The Legends Outlets in Kansas City, Kansas, is the premier destination for the best brands at the best prices.

I’ve been shopping at Off Fifth for a while and love seeing those 30 to 50 percent off signs sprinkled throughout the store. It’s my go-to store for premium denim, and lately I’ve been lusting over the well-stocked shoes and accessories sections.

Here’s a few ideas on what to get that stylish lady in your life for the holidays!

saks fifth avenue off fifth at the legends outlets kansas city

1. Classic Mary Janes, $189.99

I’ve been eyeing these Michael Kors Mary Janes for quite a while. Available in black and slate (a taupe color), these patent shoes balance the sweet factor of Mary Janes with a bit of sexiness in that slim high heel. Watch for the 30 percent off shoe sale this weekend and in coming weeks!

2. Missoni Scarves, $149.99 – $169.99

Remember when Missoni for Target came to town and the Internet broke? Well, if you save up just a little more (because these babies are typically 40 percent off), you can get the real deal for the zig-zag lover in your life. I think the red and pink one would be perfect for the holidays and will transition well into Valentine’s Day and spring!

3. Colored Premium Denim, $109.99 – $129.99

Off Fifth carries some of my favorite denim — J Brand, Paige, Rag & Bone — in the hottest colors and textures of the season. I scooped up the teal velour J Brand jeans (bottom of the stack) for my birthday and got 40 percent off the price marked. Look for more incredible 40 percent off deals on designer denim throughout the season!

4. Furry Faux Vests, 119.99 – $129.99

You’ve seen Jess rock this bold teal vest on her blog before, and there’s just a few left in the store to snatch! All of these vests are from the Saks Red Label, which is typically 40 percent off (seeing a pattern here?!). After I scouted these items for the gift guide, I gave in and took home the classic faux fur vest (it has a hood!) for something like $70. I win! The always-in-style leopard is in the back of my mind …

How do you shop for the fashionistas in your life — without breaking your budget? Any picks from the guide that caught your eye? Tell me what you know in the comments section!

November 29, 2012

beauty scoop | aubrey organics rose mosqueta nourishing shampoo

Now that I’m getting regular hair color treatments (from a natural line — more on it later!), I have to be very particular about what shampoos I use because I need to hold on to the rich color for as long as possible in between salon visits.

After my last dye job, I was on a mission to find a gentle, natural shampoo that was safe for color-treated hair — and I quickly found Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta Nourishing Shampoo.

aubrey organics rose mosqueta shampoo

{I bought an 11-ounce bottle of Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta shampoo for $10.50 at Whole Foods. Photo Courtesy Aubrey Organics}

This shampoo is luxuriously hydrating thanks to rose mosqueta oil, and it offers a natural fade-protection ingredient: thick, creamy shea butter. The soft smell of roses is light yet sweet, and the organic rice bran helps keep minerals from building up in my hair.

Here’s the entire ingredients list:

Aqua, decyl glucoside, glycerin, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, organic rice syrup, organic aloe leaf juice, xanthan gum, organic shea butter, citric acid, lavender oil, bergamot oil, ylang ylang oil, organic rose mosqueta seed oil, St. John’s wort oil, grapefruit extract, carrot root extract, coltsfoot leaf extract, horsetail extract, alcohol denat. (38b, lavender*), tocopheryl acetate, witch hazel water, ascorbic acid, soybean oil, beta-carotene

The downside, of course, to this ultra soft shampoo on my baby fine hair is that it doesn’t do much for volume.

While it doesn’t exactly weigh my hair down, it’s not thickening up my locks to create a fuller appearance. Instead, Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta shampoo is a natural shampoo that you may want to pair with a natural mousse, hot blow dryer and hair styling brushes for a little extra oomph.

But it’s definitely a gentle, color-safe shampoo that you’ll want to have on hand post-color treatment (especially for the first two weeks after a dye job!). I’ll clue you in to another shampoo I’m loving for everyday use next week!

Have you every tried Aubrey Organics Rose Mosqueta Nourishing Shampoo (or anything else from its line)? What did you think of it? Tell me in the comments section!

November 27, 2012

beauty scoop | eminence eight greens youth serum

As a bona fide fan of so-called “super serums” (aka nourishing, organic facial oils), I finally splurged on Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum after a recent deep cleansing facial where my aesthetician used this light, slightly sticky potion on my acne-prone skin.

eminence eight greens youth serum

{I bought Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum from Roca Salon and Spa for $44. Photo Courtesy Eminence Organic Skin Care}

When I bought this serum, I was suffering from major acne breakouts; I had large, cystic bumps on my forehead and jawline and annoying little red pimples in random areas on my face.

I was desperate for a miracle treatment, but as a natural beauty blogger who’s been around a bit, I knew it would take some time for my skin to benefit from a new product.

I gave Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum four weeks to do its magic, and my results were … nonexistent.

Major bummer. Especially during that insane purging time where my self-esteem was low and pimples seemed to be reaching new heights every day.

I diligently applied the serum every night before bed, and even added a little extra as a spot treatment to trouble zones. While my skin did feel a bit tighter (not in an uncomfortable way), the serum in no way helped soothe redness, bring down the inflammation or, in the end, help heal my breakouts.

As you may have guessed, after this trial period (a LONG four weeks of faith!), I went back to my trust ol’ jojoba and tea tree oil concoction (this was pre-Zum Rub revelation) to fight off the breakouts and get my skin back to a less-broken-out-look.

I will say that I gave Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum a very difficult test; this bottle of yucca juice, lavender and more delicious ingredients had to battle skin that was purging post-deep-cleanse-facial … and skin that hadn’t had a facial in a few months.

Here’s the full list of ingredients:

Yucca Juice, Lavender Extract, Glycerine, Linseed Extract, Yucca Extract, Chasteberry Extract, Hops Extract, Horsetail Extract, Paprika Extract, Biocomplex (Vitamin A, Esther C, Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha Lipoic Acid), Spring Water, Glycine Derivative, Lavender Oil, Red Clover Extract

Yucca is supposed to be an amazing antioxidant, and we know that lavender is up there with tea tree oil with its acne-fighting capabilities.

It seems, though, that this serum just didn’t have enough “oomph” in it to truly be an acne-fighter for those of us who get more than just the occasional pimple. I’ll be passing Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum on to the next family member who claims it!

Have you ever tried Eminence’s Eight Greens Youth Serum? Did it work for you? What’s your special pimple-fighting skin care treatment? Tell me in the comments section!

November 26, 2012

outfit post | deck the halls

Want to know the easiest way to survive the madness of Black Friday?

Stay in and wait for Cyber Monday!

I’m hanging out at home today (extended vacation for me!) to scout the sales and recover from a holiday weekend cold. There’s no better place to be than at home in a warm robe!

However, I do make it out to shop local during the holiday season, and on a recent blogger outing at Hall’s Crown Center, I spied more than a handful of fun holiday gift ideas for my friends and family.

I’ll be sharing those ideas with you in the coming weeks as I put together my series of holiday gift guides — stay tuned!

kimberlyloc leopard print jacket and glazed-jeans

{Leopard Print Jacket//Patterson J. Kincaid via Neiman Marcus; Sheer Black Blouse//Target; Glazed Jeans//The Limited; Heels//c/o Savers. Photo by Jana Meister}

For a fun evening out with local Kansas City bloggers (including my girls Jana and Jess), I wore my super-comfy glazed jeans (last seen here) and my new cat-lady blazer that I scooped up from Neiman Marcus on major steal (it’s currently out of stock — sorry!).

We toured Halls at Crown Center and were spoiled with wine, snacks, goodie bags and a generous $25 gift card to help jump-start our holiday shopping.

Though I lusted over these gorgeous raw-style jewels, I actually ended up coming home with a sweet new envelope-style black-and-yellow-crocodile clutch that’s been by my side for several outings over the past few weeks (see it in a blog post soon!).

kimberlyloc leopard print jacket

{Bauble Necklace/KC Garment District Boutique Collective. Photo by Jana Meister}

So tell me: What’s on your holiday wish list this season?

November 21, 2012

beauty scoop | stark skincare white willow bark perfecting tonic

I think it’s already time to update my favorites page.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been using Stark Skincare’s White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic, and I’ve been seeing and (feeling!) stellar results with it — especially with managing acne breakouts.

stark skincare white willow bark toner

{Jess of Stark Skincare sent me a sample of her gorgeously packaged White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic. It retails for $22 for a 2-ounce spray bottle. Photo Courtesy Stark Skincare}

When I first glanced over the White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic’s ingredients list, I was a bit skeptical that I would like it because I have a history of turning up my nose at witch hazel.

It’s not that witch hazel is a bad ingredient — it’s actually quite an amazing natural toner made from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub — it’s just that it has a distinct smell that my nose isn’t too keen on.

But, Jess Lafleur, the founder of Stark Skincare, has found a way to make witch hazel smell luxurious and amp up its natural acne-fighting power.

Enter our friends watermelon, grapefruit, cucumber and lime extracts.

Not only do these fruits liven up the smell of witch hazel, but they also deliver key benefits:

  1. Watermelon, grapefruit and lime extract are rich in Vitamin C, which helps the skin protect itself from damaging UV rays.
  2. Cucumber is rich in antioxidants and provides a cooling effect to freshly washed skin.

These smell-good ingredients, combined with soothing aloe vera juice and antibacterial willow bark extract (a natural source of salicylic acid), make for a truly balanced toner.

It refreshes my skin, cleans up trace amounts of makeup, dirt and oil and delivers an additional boost of acne-fighting power before I slather on my new favorite nighttime acne treatment.

Here’s the entire ingredients list:

Aloe Vera Juice, Witch-hazel Water, Watermelon Fruit Extract, Cucumber Extract, Willow Bark Extract, Lime Fruit Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vegetable Glycerin, Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil

Sadly, I’m down to my last few sprays of Stark Skincare’s White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic (I may have spritzed a little too liberally a few times … I can’t help it … I also spray a bit of toner on my makeup sponge before I squeeze the liquid BB cream out of the tube … nice little hydration boost).

However, I will absolutely be purchasing this toner. Here’s to another staple item for my top shelf!

Have you tried Stark Skincare’s White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic? What’s your thought on toners in general … and witch hazel in particular? Tell me what you know in the comments section!

November 19, 2012

beauty scoop | zum rub moisturizer frankincense & myrrh

Get ready for some company, tea tree oil and jojoba oil: I’m ready to induct another natural beauty product into my acne-fighting hall of fame.

Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh has been my go-to nighttime acne treatment of choice for the past two weeks, and I’ve experienced some phenomenal results.

zum rub frankincense and myrrh kimberlyloc acne treatment

{I bought Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh for $9.50 at my local Whole Foods Market. Photo Courtesy Indigo Wild}

First, frankincense, like tea tree oil and lavender, is known for its antifungal properties as well as its astringent and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Myrrh, frankincense’s usual partner in acne-fighting crime, has these same properties and is most well-known for its ability to treat wounds.

These two complexion-clearing oils come together in an amazing base of sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil and coconut oil to create a light moisturizing treatment that stopped the onset of a cystic acne pimple on my chin.

Seriously.

Typically, when I feel an under-the-skin pimple forming, I can do nothing more than dab tea tree oil on it every night and hope for the best. I’ve never successfully prevented a cystic pimple from forming with this approach, but I’ve usually been able to keep it from becoming infected.

However, when I used the Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh liberally on my chin when I felt the beginning of the cyst forming, it took just three days of continued use to go from a small knot under the skin to nothing at all.

The cystic pimple never ballooned up in size and caused that painful, unsightly bump on my face.

In addition to stopping acne flareups in their tracks, I like that Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh is one of those inexpensive, easily accessible, multipurpose products that just happens to made right here in Kansas City.

Points for being a local!

It also wins skincare points with me because though I tend to be a pure oil addict when it comes to skin moisturizers, I like that Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh basically just solidifies (thanks to coconut oil, beeswax and shea) my favorite effective skincare oils, like grapeseed oil, into an easy-to-apply, no-mess skin treatment that works.

Let’s take a peek at the other oh-so-good-for-your-skin ingredients:

Certified organic sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, beeswax (natural, not refined or bleached), carnauba wax, shea butter, goat’s milk, essential oils, fragrance oil & vitamin E.

The only drawback to Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh? Your nose may not love the scent. I find the aroma of frankincense and myrrh quite soothing, though; it’s a woodsy sort of spice that reminds me of a morning hike and lots of fresh air.

If you’ve got problematic skin, I think you should give Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh a try. Report back and let me know how it works for you!

(Another Zum product on my list for total-body breakout prevention: Zum Bar in Frankincense & Myrrh)

Have you found any holy grail, natural acne treatments? Please share them in the comments section!

November 15, 2012

style spy | amanda from shawnee, kansas

One girl who speaks the same language as me when it comes to piling on the accessories is Amanda, a new colleague of mine whose style embodies the self-described “hipster elegance.”

style spy amanda from shawnee, kansas

I’ve only known Amanda for about six months (we started work on the same day!), but she’s quickly made an impression on me because of her love of color, classic shapes and funky jewelry.

I particularly admire the way she pulls off the “office chic” look without appearing stuffy — I mean who else can wear a sweet collared blouse and navy pants and make it look so fresh?

style spy amanda from shawnee, kansas

Another thing I absolutely adore about Amanda’s style is her understated yet attention-getting accessories style.

The girl always has on at least five pieces of jewelry every day, but it never looks stacked and forced; everything just goes and the pieces aren’t screaming for attention — but you just can’t take your eyes off of them.

style spy amanda from shawnee, kansas accessories

See how Amanda put this look together:

Blouse //  Forever XXI (similar, with white collar)
Pants // Forever XXI (similar)
Shoes // ModCloth
Earrings // Urban Outfitters (similar)
Watch // Pulsar
Small Gold Bracelet // Vintage via Re-Runs Vintage Apparel & Accessories
Diamond Ring (on ring finger) // Pass down from grandmother
Ring on middle finger // Mother’s sorority ring
Shell rings on index finger // ModCloth
Owl ring // Forever XXI (similar)
Gold ring // Forever XXI

Is there someone at your office who inspires you to step it up a notch? What sort of dress code do you have at work — are you able to express yourself, or do you have to make business attire come creatively come alive through jewelry? Tell me about your work wear in the comments section!

November 14, 2012

beauty scoop | la bella figura bio active purifying mask

My face has been purging a lot lately, and while it’s a little bit more calm since my most recent facial two weeks ago (review on that to come), I am still fending off pesky pimples along my chin and hair lines.

When I learned that one of my favorite natural beauty brands, La Bella Figura, was coming out with some new honey-based complexion-clearing masks, I eagerly asked my girl Victoria to send me something — anything! — to help me out with these breakouts.

Victoria does not disappoint. Enter La Bella Figura Bio Active Purifying Mask.

la bella figura bio active purifying mask

{La Bella Figura sent me a sample of its new Bio Active Purifying Mask. The mask costs $60 for 2 ounces and is available online through La Bella Figura’s shop. Photo Courtesy La Bella Figura.}

I got a small sample of the Bio Active Purifying Mask that allowed me to test it out twice, and my skin is already begging for more.

The mask, made from a base of manuka honey, which has natural antibacterial properties, had the perfect consistency. I was expecting it to be thick and gooey (hello, honey!), but instead, it was the perfect texture — sticky enough to feel as though it was able to trap the nasties in my pores, but thin enough to evenly spread across my face without feeling tight.

Upon washing it off (do this with either your hands or a wash cloth*), I felt a fine grit gently exfoliating my skin. I take it this comes from the blend of Amazonian white clay (aka kaolin clay), Rhassoul clay, white willow bark powder and natural activated charcoal. This also seems to be responsible for the luminous glow I had post-mask.

Let’s take a look at the entire ingredients list:

Organic Raw Manuka Honey, Kaolin/Amazonian White Clay, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Black Cumin Seed Oil, Wildcrafted Papaya Seed Oil, Organic Moroccan Lava/Rhassoul Clay, Wildcrafted Orange Flower Water, Organic Gotu Kola Extract, Organic Burdock Root Extract, Organic Hibiscus Hibiscus Flower Extract, Organic Willow Bark Powder, Organic Helichrysum Extract, Organic Turmeric Root Powder,  Organic Parsley Seed Oil, Organic Rose Geranium Oil, Organic Carrot Seed Oil, Organic Roman Chamomile Oil, Wildcrafted Myrrh Oil, Organic Australian Sandalwood Oil, Non-GMO Vitamin E), Wildcrafted Radish Root Extract Ferment Filtrate

It’s quite an impressive list of exotic natural and organic ingredients! I’m especially intrigued by the amazing blending in the La Bella Figura Bio Active Purifying Mask; for such a robust ingredient list of fragrant herbs and essential oils, the mask doesn’t have a strong odor. It just smells fresh, with maybe a hint of an herbal aroma.

Final verdict? I think La Bella Figura has done it again. With one product from the line already claiming a permanent parking spot on my top shelf, I think I may need to make some space in my Sunday spa drawer (yes, I have one) for a full-size jar of La Bella Figura Bio Active Purifying Mask.

How do you treat your acne-prone skin? Ever experimented with honey-based masks? Leave me a comment and tell me a few of your clear-skin secrets!

*Attention wash cloth users: Because the La Bella Figura Bio Active Purifying Mask contains turmeric (a great anti-inflammatory), your dainty pink wash cloths may get a little yellowish stain on them. You have been warned. :)



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