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 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.


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!

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