Entries from December 27th, 2012

December 27, 2012

beauty scoop | osmia organics spot treatment

If you’ve been around the blog for a bit, you know that I’m always looking for the next best blemish treatment.

While I believe I have found my holy grail of acne prevention, when annoying little spots crop up every now and then, I turn to Osmia Organics Spot Treatment for backup.

osmia organics spot treatment

{Osmia Organics sent me its 0.16-ounce Spot Treatment, which retails for $20, to sample and review.}

Made with a powerful blend of essential oils, Osmia Organics Spot Treatment gets to work on those little red beasts by swooping in, killing bacteria and leaving nothing but beautiful, clear skin in its path.

Take a peek at the ingredients:

Organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of organic lavender, organic cajeput, organic lemon, parsley, thyme, organic cypress and organic rosemary CO2

The only ingredient unfamiliar to me is cajeput oil. After a little research, I learned that cajeput oil is similar to tea tree oil with its antifungal properties — perfect for a blemish treatment, and even better for my acne-prone skin that hasn’t experienced cajeput oil before!

(Note: I think my skin is getting a little bit used to tea tree oil, so it’s not as effective for me anymore — I’m experimenting more with a tea tree and lavender blend as well as other acne-fighting oils!)

Because the Spot Treatment is packaged in a convenient roller ball style, I like to roll the treatment into my hairline (a recurring breakout place for me) to help keep little pimples from breaking through.

When a pimple has formed on my face, I roll the Spot Treatment directly onto the offender, and usually by morning the spot has either 1) become ready for extraction or 2) has decreased in size.

Final verdict? I think Osmia Organics Spot Treatment is my new secret weapon for bratty little blemishes! The mix of new-to-my-skin ingredients (as well as old standbys like lavender and rosemary) keeps my skin in check and allows the Spot Treatment to do truly amazing things to my skin.

Have you tried products from Osmia Organics (I hear their bar soaps are absolutely fabulous, and have a few to try myself!)? What do you do to spot-treat blemishes? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section!

December 26, 2012

beauty secrets | how to organize your beauty products

To ensure that I give all my natural beauty products a fair shot at making it to my top shelf or makeup bag, I must keep them on display and within reach.

That old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is all too true with me — so I’ve devised a way to keep my beauty products out without being a total sensory overload.

At least for me.

Here’s how to organize your beauty products:

beauty stand on vanity

I recently picked up this pastry stand from World Market to store — yes — my makeup (bottom level), facial moisturizers (middle level) and hair products (top level).

Before getting this stand, I kept my eye shadow palettes in drawers in my bathroom’s closet. While this was fine, I found that I would take just one eye shadow palette out at a time and use the same colors every day.

Now that I have my assortment of colors out in front of me, I can be a little more creative about what colors I choose to wear every day.

The facial items used to be crammed onto my wall shelf, but I opted to pull down treatment items (Zum Rub Moisturizer in Frankincense & Myrrh and Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate) as well as sunscreens (Badger Damascus Rose SPF 16 Face Sunscreen Lotion and Sunday Riley Cashmere Mist SPF 30) because they are crucial parts of my everyday routine.

natural skincare shelf

Aw, so now, the skincare shelf. This has been a lifesaver, as I’m low on prime tabletop space.

As you can see, I store wash cloths and headbands on the lower level. The middle level houses my oils and serums, and inside that cute Chinese soup bowl are lip balms. (Yes, I am a bit of a lip balm addict.)

The “top shelf” that I constantly refer to is the top shelf of this skincare shelf. My pure carrier oils live inside that yellow basket (argan, marula, castor, jojoba, avocado, tamanu and baobab are the current residents).

To the left of it is my small collection of essential oils (peppermint, lemon, lavender/tea tree mix, orange, rose and jasmine are in my arsenal) as well as my beloved Zum Oil in Frankincense & Myrrh, a couple of toners and the recently reviewed Defend Argan Oil.

makeup brushes in mason jars

Back on my vanity, I keep two small Kerr jars filled with makeup brushes.

The jar on the left houses an assortment of makeup brushes, including my lovely Sigma F30 Large Powder Brush and Sigma F40 Large Angled Contour Brush. These are my favorites for applying loose powder all over my face to set my makeup and for adding depth and color to my cheekbones.

The jar on the right holds my EcoTools brushes. I use the Eco Tools Eye Brush Set on a daily basis, and if I’m not contouring my face, I choose my Eco Tools Bamboo Blush Brush to tap color directly onto the apples of my cheeks.

I also have this great Eco Tools Bamboo 5 Piece Brush Kit in there — it’s great for mineral makeup as well as for blending eye shadow colors!

The third set inside that little Kerr jar is this Eco Tools Day to Night 6 Piece Set. It comes inside a cute clutch (great for travel!), and I decided to get this set because it contains a great concealer brush as well as that fluffy powder brush that is more easily portable than my Sigma F30.

bamboo drawer organizers

I don’t know how I found anything in my drawers without these bamboo drawer organizers. The two long organizers hold my hair styling tools and my natural deodorants.

The short bamboo organizer holds hair ties and bobby pins. The backward “L” shape that remains holds my fabric headband, a few Sephora compact mirrors and my glasses and glasses cleaner.

nail polish display

Finally, I don’t know where I would be without my nail polish display.

I was lucky enough to score two of these babies from my sweet manicurist last year (he was redoing his interior design and had these as leftovers!).

Storing your nail polish on a shelf is so helpful if you’re a visual person like me.

You can easily see what colors you already own, and if you’re like me and enjoy organizing by color, what colors you’re low on (or what colors you just don’t like on your nails!).

So, do any of you have a mini-Sephora in your bathroom, too? :) How do you organize your beauty products? Tell me your tips in the comments section!

December 21, 2012

holiday gift guide for the favorites on your list

Now, I know we aren’t supposed to play favorites, but c’mon: We all have them.

This holiday season, I’ve been spoiling my best friends, the teacher man and my eight-year-old nephew (Happy Birthday, Jackson!) with the best gifts ever.

If you’re out doing last-minute shopping this weekend, pop into Halls on the Country Club Plaza to score a few special items for the favorites on your list.

halls kansas city holiday gift guide

Here’s my top five picks from Halls on the Country Club Plaza!

1. J Shoes, $185, on sale for $129

men's j shoes

I love a guy in a great pair of shoes. The teacher man just got a new pair not too long ago, but I’ve been eyeing these for a bit — look at the sale price! — and adore the mahogany coloring with darker shading on the toes.

These shoes seem versatile enough for any color and any style of dress, from daytime to evening. Did I mention the great price?!

2. Frye Boots, $348

women's frye boots

I have yet to add a pair of Fryes to my shoe collection, but these tough-girl boots caught my attention while perusing Halls. The distressed look + shiny rivets look downtown cool.

Pair them with skinnies and a feminine top for an interesting juxtaposition of style, or throw on your most badass leather moto jacket to keep the cool going from head to toe.

3. Darphin Aromatic Care Oils, $70 — $150

darphin aromatic care facial oils

You know that I’m obsessed with facial oils, and I bet that anyone I introduce them to will be as well.

For friends who prefer a high-end approach to down-to-earth facial oils, I choose Darphin, a Parisian brand that brings a bit of chic to the art of oil cleansing and oil care.

My favorites are rose ($70), chamomile ($70), myrrh ($70) and jasmine ($110). Other great scents include 8-flower nectar, featuring ylang ylang, patchouli, neroli, rose, ever-lasting and lavender essential oils plus jasmine, arctic cranberry, iris and date extracts ($150), niaouli ($70), tangerine ($70) and orange blossom ($80).

4. 74 Harley Street Necklace, $330

74 harley street necklace

Made right here in Kansas City, 74 Harley Street combines vintage flavor with modern pizzazz to create one-of-a-kind jewelry that just begs to go home with you.

I’m in awe of the beading — and quality of beads — in this statement necklace. The blues and turquoises look stunning next to the honey and amber tones.

5. Mad Pax Spiky Backpack, $65

mad pax spiky backpack

My nephew has a thing for Mario games, and I couldn’t resist getting this cool Bowser-like backpack for him to use on trips to Grandma’s house, school and maybe even my apartment some summer!

He’ll be opening this fun gift at his birthday party tonight, and a cool little kid on your list could be opening it on Christmas if you jet over to Halls to scoop one up!

So tell me: What’s on your last-minute, final weekend of shopping list? Who is the hardest to buy for in your family and circle of friends? Leave me a note in the comments section!

December 19, 2012

beauty scoop | pelle beauty stellar multitasking facial concentrate

If you caught my Instagram last night, you know that I have a slew of facial oil reviews in the works for you.

The first facial oil up for review is Stellar Multitasking Facial Concentrate from Pelle Beauty, a Toronto-based natural skin care company.

pelle beauty stellar multitasking facial concentrate

{Pelle Beauty sent me a sample of its new facial oil, Stellar, which retails for $42.95 CAD for a 30 ml dropper bottle. Also, can I just say I am in LOVE with my new 50 mm lens? I took this picture on my balcony just a bit ago.}

Like most amazing oils, Stellar can be used in so many different ways. I tested it as a daytime moisturizer (post-cleansing and toning), but you can also use it as a makeup remover, a brow groomer, a makeup primer, a mineral makeup mixer and a facial mask primer.

I think this can be said of most facial oils (I remove my makeup with coconut or jojoba oil), but for brow grooming, makeup priming, mineral makeup mixing and facial mask priming, you need a very lightweight oil that sinks in immediately to get the job done right — and that’s the glory of Stellar.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Stellar’s scent (I think the sandalwood is too much for me), I keep coming back to it when I’m in a pinch in the morning and need to quickly moisturize, dust on some makeup and go, go, go.

Stellar sinks into my skin so well (thanks to meadowfoam seed oil!) that I tend to think I need a couple more drops of it to really moisturize my skin — but two-three drops will do, trust me! If you want a little extra “dew” on your cheeks, then add one more drop to your fingers and pat it in … you will instantly glow!

Let’s take a look at these glowing ingredients:

Meadowfoam seed oil, black currant seed oil, babassu oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, rice bran oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E, neroli flower oil, sandalwood oil

Meadowfoam seed, black currant seed and babassu oils are showing up more and more in natural skin and hair care. It seems that Pelle Beauty is predicting what oils are going to be the next big trends in natural skin care!

  • Meadowfoam seed oil is one of the most-stable oils, meaning you can kiss all that talk of natural beauty products spoiling too fast goodbye.
  • Brazilian babassu oil is a regular stand-in for coconut oil, though I haven’t seen it as easily available for purchase the way good ol’ coconut oil is.
  • Black currant seed oil is loaded with omegas 3 and 6, which promote hydration and have anti-inflammatory properties.

(I currently have a couple other oils featuring meadowfoam and black currant as the star ingredients that are awaiting review, and have been deep conditioning my hair with a babassu oil-based treatment — reviews on those to come!)

So, final verdict on Stellar: I like it, but I may have to reach out to the founder to see if she has any recommendations on what additional essential oil (jasmine?) I could mix in to with Stellar to make it friendlier to my olfactory senses.

As for the moisturizing and priming properties: Hard to find anything much better! I have one super serum that wins all-around in my book (er…blog?), but I think with a little customization on scent, Stellar can earn a spot on my top shelf, too.

Have you tried anything from Pelle Beauty? What do you look for in a super serum or natural makeup primer? Tell me what you know in the comments section!

December 18, 2012

holiday gift guide for the natural beauty

While I love fashion and will never turn down a great meal, natural beauty is my passion.

I started this blog nearly three years ago to talk about the things I love — style, beauty and food — with like-minded people, but over the years, it’s become quite obvious that my one true love is natural and organic beauty — skincare in particular.

I’ve rounded up eight of my favorite natural and organic beauty sets for you last-minute shoppers who need to send me a gift :)

Everything should be available online, and some products may be located in your local health food store or fine salon/spa. Good luck with your final shopping spree (and hey, you may even want to grab yourself something nice, too).

holiday gift guide for the natural beauty buff

1. Olie Biologique Hydrating Skincare Survival Kit, $96

Olie Biologique is one of my new organic skincare loves. The line is rooted in Moroccan argan oil, and they only use USDA certified-organic argan oil.

This sweet kit contains the pure, organic argan oil in a sleek black jar as well as a full and travel size of Olie’s Huile Moderne 004 Hydrating Oil, a blend of USDA certified organic argan oil, organic rosehip oil, vitamin E, bergamot oil, neroli oil and frankincense oil.

2. Lotus Wei True Joy Set, $125

Remember my review of Lotus Wei perfumes? Well, I’ve been sold ever since, and I think a Joy Juice set is the most perfect gift to spread joy this season.

The set contains an elixir, mist and serum for use both interally and externally. Trust me, Joy Juice is going to get you through the post-holiday return/exchange time.

3. Stark Skincare The Whole Shebang, $120

If you’re finally ready to go natural, or just want a very pared down beauty kit, Stark Skincare’s “The Whole Shebang” is the one to choose.

All you need is right here: A skin cleansing balm that doubles as a moisturizer, an amazing cypress oil that smells oh-so-fresh, a toner that helps keep blemishes away and a green tea mask allows you to customize it to your skin’s particular needs.

4. Indigo Wild Zum Bag in Frankincense & Myrrh, $16.50

I will never be without my Zum Rub in Frankincense & Myrrh, and I’m getting a little bit obsessed with everything in that scent from Indigo Wild.

This TSA- friendly bag will keep my skin in check during the upcoming holiday travel, and it’s a fun way to try the other natural products that Indigo Wild has to offer, including oil, mist, body, tub, bars and rub.

5. Jurlique Hand Care Essentials, $62

No matter how much you oil up, a thick hand cream is a must in the dead of winter.

This gorgeous hand care essentials kit from Jurlique contains four rich hand creams in rose, lavender, jasmine and citrus that are perfect for that person on your list who 1) likes a little variety and/or 2) tends to misplace things and needs constant backup.

6. Badger Balm Classic Lip Balm 6-Pack, Collector’s Edition, $14.99

Badger Balm is one of those tried-and-true, no-fuss, USDA organic brands that I always recommend to people. My first experience with Badger was with these lip balms, and they’re a staple in my natural beauty routine.

These are a great, healthy option for kids, teens and of course, you and me — here’s to a stocking stuffer that you actually want!

7. La Bella Figura The Holiday Purifying and Detox Kit, $110

La Bella Figura knows how to put together a gorgeous, gotta-have-it gift set.

Packaged in a hip chevron-print cosmetics case, La Bella Figura’s Holiday Purifying and Detox Kit contains everything you need to chill out after the holiday madness: Bio Active Purifying Mask (a favorite of mine!), Purifying Facial Steam Teas, 1/8 ounce of Barbary Fig Seed Oil and a sample set of The Travel Diaries Collection (Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Paris Perfume Oils).

Find some time on December 30 and/or January 1 to lock yourself in the bathroom, play a few relaxing tunes and give yourself the at-home spa detox your body is going to need.

8. One Love Organics Beauty Essentials Holiday Gift Set, $139

If you’re into double cleansing (cleansing with oil and cleansing with a gentle wash) and need great exfoliation, One Love Organics’ Beauty Essentials Holiday Gift Set has you covered.

One Love Organics products do not contain water, meaning you get more of the good stuff (essential oils, rich carrier oils) instead of diluted, less powerful ingredients. This kit contains one of my favorite cleansers, the waterless skin cleansing balm that helped me ease into oil cleansing method, a gentle exfoliator that doubles as an exfoliating mask and a microderma cloth that helps pull oil and dirt away from your skin with the softest touch.

December 14, 2012

holiday gift guide for the bling queen

You just can’t go wrong with shiny, sparkly baubles this holiday season.

Whether you’re buying for a friend, a relative or a special lady on your list, jewelry is always a no-brainer when it comes to present-pickin’ time.

The only decision you have to make now is whether you get her a necklace, ring, bracelet or earrings — or some fun combination!

If you do your fashion jewelry shopping at Charming Charlie, you’ll probably find room in your budget to get her a few fun items — all of my picks below are $12.97 or less!

Necklaces

charming charlie holiday gift guide for the bling queen necklaces

1. Collar Necklace, $12.97

For the sophisticated jewelry lover, a collar-style necklace is key. It pulls together a business casual outfit with a flash of delight while nodding to this popular trend in jewelry.

2. Tassel Necklace, $9.97

Perfect for the head-to-toe black outfit, this long, gold tassel necklace adds visual interest without being too loud. I love the way the playful tassel hangs.

3. Circle Plate Necklace, $12.97

This gorgeous plated necklace looks way more expensive than it is. It’s timeless, chic and will look oh-so-amazing all year round.

Rings

charming charlie holiday gift guide for the bling queen rings

1. Twisted Ring, $12.97

Talk about funky yet elegant! The shape of this ring draws attention, while the sparkly rhinestones remind onlookers just how fabulous you are.

2. Three Stackable Rings, $12.97

Thick rings create a very tough, cool look — but instead of committing to the style, take it easy with three stackable rings to create the appearance.

3. Alligator Ring, $9.97

Challenge the animal lover on your list to slide this rad reptile onto her finger for a little visual interest and a major conversation starter.

Earrings

charming charlie holiday gift guide for the bling queen earrings

1. Circle Earrings: $7.97, on sale for $3.99

The combination of antiqued copper and turquoise gives a striking vintage appearance to these easily wearable earrings.

2. Tassel Earrings, $7.97, on sale for $4

Back to the tassel trend again, except in bright blue — why not make a statement when you have some shimmy- and shake-worthy material on your ears?

3. Teardrop Earrings: $9.97, on sale for $4.99

Such a pretty color and classic shape — the light from your next holiday party will reflect so beautifully off of these teardrop earrings.

Bracelets

charming charlie holiday gift guide for the bling queen bracelets

1. Red and Fuchsia Leaf Bracelet: $12.97

Festive colors and a fun shape make this leaf bracelet the cutest little thing you’ll see around a wrist.

2. Gold and Purple Dot Bracelet: $9.97

Spots of amethyst on rich gold plates give a bit of glamour and edge to this pretty piece that will go from season to season.

3. Gold and Ivory Bracelet: $12.97

Ivory and gold are the markers of true sophistication. A pretty “U” shape and soft coating give this bracelet an elegance that is unmatched by most fashion jewelry pieces.

What pieces above speak to you (or speak for someone on your shopping list)? Tell me what you like in the comments section!

This post is kindly brought to you by Lucky Magazine and Charming Charlie, who generously gifted me a $150 gift card to shop my favorites and share them with you in a series of posts. All product picks and opinions are my own!


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