Entries from January 30th, 2013

January 30, 2013

natural beauty buff | jessica lafleur, stark skincare

As I continue exploring amazing natural beauty brands from skincare and makeup to haircare and spa products, what’s excited me most is discovering brands based in our neighbor to the north — Canada!

One Canadian skincare brand that I absolutely adore is Stark Skincare. (You’ve read some of my reviews here and here, and have participated in my blog birthday month giveaway here.)

Not only do I love the simplicity and effectiveness of the well-edited Stark Skincare product line, but I also can’t stop gushing over founder Jessica Lafleur.

Besides being in awe of her will to create natural skincare products after identifying a gap in the market (and noticing that everything she was trying on her own body was not helping), I’m pretty much sold on Jessica and Stark because, well … cat ladies gotta stick together.

jessica lefleur stark skincare

{Look at these two lovely ladies! Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

When Jessica sent me her “natural beauty buff” profile info and mentioned her meezer, Mi Ae, would be accompanying her in her picture, I about died. 

Jessica definitely earned some kimberlyloc cred for this picture.

I hope she will also score some mommy and mommy-to-be cred with my readers because Jessica is in her final weeks of pregnancy and has totally reformed her beauty routine to include products that keep her glowing all the way to 40 weeks and stretch-mark free for the long-run.

Check out her favorite beauty products below.

*As usual, I’ve starred the items I also use and love.

Green Beaver Daily Face Cream SPF 15

Green Beaver Daily Face Cream SPF 15

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Green Beaver is a Canadian company that makes great every day items (actually, they are just outside of Montreal…so we’re practically neighbors!). I love this simple sunscreen. It lightly moisturizes skin, wears well under and over face oils and makeup and adds a little bit of shine, which I actually like. (Matte skin creeps me out.) This isn’t enough for a beach day, but is good for regular exposure. It is also one of the only sunscreens, natural or not, that doesn’t burn my eyes.

Crane Humidifier

crane humidifier

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

A good humidifier is a MUST for cold winters, and a humidifier that is nicely designed is a welcome addition to my bedroom dresser. Wintertime air dries skin out severely, and in my apartment, where we can’t control the heat, it is basically a desert it’s so hot and dry! I find with my humidifier, not only is my skin better moisturized by the morning, but my sinuses thank me as well! I sometimes treat my houseplants to a “spa day” and blast the humidifier at them for a few hours. Everybody’s happy. :)

*Stark Skincare Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm and *Cypress Purity + Defense Oil

stark skincare grapefruit balm and cypress oil

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

I obviously use my own products, since they were originally designed for my own skin. GF is my go-to for pretty much everything. I use it as a cleanser in the morning, and as a moisturizer throughout the day, and often as my belly balm (I am, at the time of writing this, 30 weeks pregnant*, and NO stretch marks yet!). CY is also used by my self and my husband after every shower. I love the unisex scent and the dewiness that it leaves on both our skin. (Editor’s Note: I believe Jessica is now about 33 weeks along, according to my email dated January 8 — the time of this submission.)

Nivea 24 Hour Sheer Comfort in Lotus

Nivea 24 Hour Sheer Comfort in Lotus

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Warning! This is my dirty little secret. I used to not really wear deodorant (and when I did, it was Soapwalla’s or my own DIY blend), and had minimal smell issues. Then I got pregnant. Suddenly, I couldn’t STAND the smell of my ‘pits! It wasn’t just me, it was anybody’s body odor. I couldn’t be in public without smelling skin and body odor or hair and becoming completely grossed out. On a whim, I tired the “happy” scent of this deodorant, which I actually really liked (it’s orange, and I’m a huge citrus fan), and now I have moved onto the more sophisticated lotus scent. Sigh. Considering deodorant was THE product that made me aware that I’m sensitive to cosmetics over 10 years ago, I find this little phase of mine to be quite annoying. I will have to wean myself off conventional deodorant once again, once I’m not quite so sensitive to perfectly natural human scents.

stark oil live clean shampoo aubrey conditioner konjac sponge

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Unmarked Amber Bottle

This is the very first public peak of our new product coming out in February 2013! To mark Stark’s one year anniversary, we will be launching this gorgeous body oil. This oil is so special to me. I’ve been using it throughout my pregnancy (did I mention I have NO stretch marks?), and the scent and silky feel will always bring back this amazing time in my life. This oil is just pure luxury, and to keep with Stark’s credo, a little goes a long way AND it’s multipurpose as it can be used on body, stretchy bellies, hair, baby and as a bath oil. The soothing scent is perfect for bedtime rituals. I really can’t wait for everyone to try this out!

Live Clean Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo

This is not such a clean product (but not the worst, either), and was bought in a pinch at the local drug store. I have to admit that I like the soft apple scent (not at all like Apple Cider Vinegar, which is a little amusing), but it actually contains Bragg’s ACV, which is kind of impressive. I only wash my hair about once a week, and with this shampoo, my hair actually gets very, very clean, which is nice because I love to do Shea butter and coconut oil masks, and this gets all the residue out. So far this hasn’t made my scalp itchy, which commonly happens to me with conventional shampoo.

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner

I love this conditioner so, so, so much. I’ve been using it for nearly two years and normally I also use the same shampoo that goes with it. I love Aubrey’s. It’s such an old-school brand that a lovely man started in his basement, so I totally relate to him. Anyhow, this conditioner makes my hair feel like silk, and I like to use a little on the ends every time I wet my hair (about three times a week and once a week when I wash).

Konjac Sponge by The Konjac Sponge Company in Red Clay

I started using these sponges over a year ago, and loved them so much I had to start offering them on my site. They are ultra soft, almost like a jelly, and are made of pure vegetable fiber with a little clay added. Pairing this sponge with our Grapefruit Balm is such a nice way to start the morning. I like to massage the balm on before the shower, then let the steam do its magic for a few minutes, then I wet the sponge and give my face, neck and chest a nice massage with it. I love all the different types of Konjac sponges, but I think the pink is my favorite. Or maybe this red one. Or the white one…hard to pick!

Neti Pot by NeilMed

Neti Pot by NeilMed

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Not strictly a beauty product, but I do feel prettier when I can breathe properly!

rms living luminizer vapour organic beauty

{Photo Courtesy Jessica Lafleur}

Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus III Instant Skin Perfector

I love the ingredients in Vapour products! This magical crayon-like thing makes my sometimes sallow looking skin look fresh and healthy! I just sweep it along my cheekbones and below my eyebrows and blend it in with my fingers. It’s very subtle, but effective and catches the light nicely. I have a feeling I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this when my baby is born…

*Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 130

This foundation is great. It feels light and it’s very comfortable to wear… in other words, I can’t feel it once it’s on. I apply it to the middle of my face and around my eyes, and blend outwards, which I must have read somewhere because I’m a little clueless when it comes to makeup (one reason I love Vapour…its so fun and easy to use and blending is very easy!).

Vapour Organic Beauty Aura Multiuse in Spark 202

This adds just the right amount of a healthy hue to my cheeks (and sometimes lips). I swear I’m not on Vapour’s payroll! I sincerely love their makeup. As I have said, it’s really easy to use, the ingredients are great and oh, the scent? It’s so fresh and clean and subtle. To me, creamy makeup is the way to go as powder makes me feel like a little old lady (and not in a good way). Only complaint is the packaging, which I feel could be a little fancier or more design-y (My tubes don’t look like the metallic versions on the site which irks me a little….still, I only have love for Vapour!)

*RMS Living Luminizer

I was recently gifted this and at first was all like “there’s no way that this can live up to all the hype”. I had even been using my own concoction that was very similar to RMS’ for my own use. Lo and behold…there really is something magical about this (satisfyingly heavy) little pot. There is literally the exact right amount of shine and glow to this product. It doesn’t look cheesy. It isn’t too subtle (in other words, you don’t need to apply half the pot to get any kind of results), it’s just perfectly lovely, and it really seems to stay put. I apply to the inner corners of my eyes to look alert when I’m feeling less-than. Another post-partum essential, I am sure!

January 29, 2013

outfit post | prep star

It’s only been within the past year or so that I’ve really embraced the blazer.

A staple of many business wardrobes, blazers can be just a bit too stuff if styled too formally — that’s why I prefer blending blazers with denim, dresses and other casual pieces to bring a bit of structure to an otherwise laid-back wardrobe.

Speaking of structure, though today’s blazer doesn’t boast the longer length or darker color of the traditional blazer, it does embody the spirit of discipline and respect with its nod to chic schoolgirls everywhere.

Isn’t it funny how those who never had to wear a uniform (hi, public school!) embrace a bit of that style influence (hi, Clueless!) later in life?

kimberlyloc prep star outfit

{White Blazer//Forever 21 (similar); Blue Jeweled Tank//The Limited (similar); Turquoise Denim//New York & Company (similar); Zebra Flats//Target (similar). Photo by Prentiss Earl III}

kimberlyloc "k" initial watch and bracelets

{“K” Initial Watch//c/o Charming Charlie; Link Bracelets// Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth (similar); Turquoise Ring//KC Garment District Boutique; Nail Color//OPI “Don’t Pretzel My Buttons.” Photo by Prentiss Earl III}

Are you a blazer gal? Or do you prefer cardigans and denim jackets? Tell me how you channel schoolgirl-chic in the comments section!

January 28, 2013

beauty & style secrets | how to incorporate emerald green into your look

Unless you’ve been avoiding the Internet lately, you probably know by now that emerald green is the “color of the year” for 2013, according to Pantone, the leading authority on color trends.

What you may not know, though, is exactly how to incorporate bold emerald green into your look when it comes to hair, makeup and accessories.

That’s where I come in.

On Monday morning, my “Better Kansas City” segment with co-host Kelly Jones aired (we actually taped last week, but due to the presidential inauguration, couldn’t share these secrets with you until today).

Kelly and I chatted through everything from nail polish and eye makeup to pashminas, rings and flip flops.

Watch “Better Kansas City” co-host Kelly Jones and I talk emerald on Monday’s show.

Below is a closer look at the products discussed during the show.

Thanks to Beauty Brands and Halls Kansas City for letting me loose in their respective stores so I could choose a few more items to share in addition to my own personal collection of emerald items!

emerald eye makeup from marie natie, smashbox and tarte

{Make emerald work for you from day to night. I love wearing sheer mineral makeup for daytime looks and bold cream shadows, built to an intense glow, for evening.}

emerald nail polish from deborah lippman zoya china glaze OPI

{Have a little fun on your toes and tips with striking shades of green that flatter any skin tone.}

emerald tory burch flip flops hard shell clutch pashmina cocktail ring hair tye

{If you’re not quite ready to buy an emerald coat, dress or pants, work the color of the year into your accessories collection instead.}

  • Tory Burch Khaki and Green Flip Ray Wedge Flip Flops (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $60; similar here)
  • Hair Tie (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $14; similar here)
  • Cocktail Ring (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $105; similar here)
  • Pashmina (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $78; similar here)
  • Hard-case Clutch (sold in-stores at Halls KC for $350; similar here)

Have you updated your beauty and accessories wardrobe with a little bit of emerald yet? What sort of pieces have you chosen — or what pieces are you after? Tell me in the comments section!

January 25, 2013

free stuff friday | lotus wei perfume sampler

It’s the last Friday of my blog birthday month!

It’s been an incredible month of fresh new posts, from outfits to beauty reviews, and I’m thrilled to have so many lovely brands offer to host a giveaway in honor of my birthday and to treat my sweet readers.

Today’s blog birthday giveaway sponsor is Katie Hess of the lovely natural fragrance and aromatherapy company Lotus Wei. You may remember my reviews of her line of transformative perfumes — I loved them so much that I just had to have her share a sampler set with you so you could experience it for yourself!

lotus wei perfume sampler set

Perfume is one of the most-difficult products to leave behind when you transition to natural and organic personal care.

While I’ve pretty much made the switch and now love using sheer scents from Lotus Wei and other green companies, I still have my formerly beloved scents tucked away in a bag that’s not within reach.

After about six months of going phthalate-scented-fragrance-free, I dug back into that bag of toxins to wear an oldie for a “special night out.”

Much to my surprise, I ended up in a coughing and sneezing fit within minutes of spritzing it on — my body, which had obviously become accustomed to the new, natural smell of itself and its surroundings, was screaming a collective “wtf?!” at me.

I haven’t reached for those synthetic fragrances since.

And you don’t have to either! I am sure you will find a new, natural fragrance you love from Lotus Wei after you win this sampler. Ready to test your luck? Use the handy-dandy Rafflecopter widget below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway begins Friday, January 25, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central, and closes on Friday, February 1, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central.

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 25, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central, and closes on Friday, February 1, 2013, at 12:0o a.m. Central.

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. Void where prohibited.

January 24, 2013

this makes me happy | anjolee stud earrings

If my friends were asked to describe my approach to jewelry and accessories, the words “timeless,” “classic” and “understated” would probably not come to mind.

I’m a little more known for my love of eccentric, bold jewelry that makes a statement, but when it comes to dressing my earlobes when I’m wearing an attention-getting necklace, I like to keep it simple with shiny stud earrings.

kimberlyloc anjolee earrings

{Anjolee sent me a pair of its classic three prong earrings in sterling silver and cubic zirconia so I could test the quality, look and feel of its jewelry as well as the company’s customer service before I make a major jewelry purchase from the online diamond site.}

I have a small collection of fashion stud earrings, but I’m upping the ante when it comes to what I put in my sensitive ears now.

Instead of reaching for a pair of cheap stud earrings made of questionable metals that irritate my earlobes, I’m now devoted to my Anjolee three prong silver and cubic zirconia stud earrings.

anjolee earrings

{These little CZ’s from Anjolee shine bright like a diamond!}

These pretty, simple studs catch the light in a flashier way than my costume earrings, and because they’re made of sterling silver, they don’t cause any suspect bumps or redness on my lobes.

Anjolee typically doesn’t sell cubic zirconia, but for my purposes — wanting to play with the customization process on the website and experiencing Anjolee’s customer service — the company made my earrings in a more affordable gift option to review.

When I am ready to invest in some high-quality diamond jewelry, I’m excited to go back onto the Anjolee website and play a little more with the custom look, feel and sizing options for its diamond bracelets, diamond necklaces and diamond pendants.

If you’re ready to buy some beautiful jewelry for yourself or a loved one (me?!), you should take advantage of coupon code MP591, which gets you an extra 5 percent off all orders — which amounts to a lot when you’re throwing down big bucks for investment jewelry!

Do you own a pair of simple stud earrings? What are your jewelry basics/classics that you wear all the time? Tell me in the comments section!

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