Category - Brands

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Feeling Zen with Ahimsa Essentials Natural Skincare
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Tucson’s Laura Tanzer Creates Sustainable Clothing for the Modern Woman
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KisaKisa Clutches Create Buzz Among Houston’s Fashionable Set

Feeling Zen with Ahimsa Essentials Natural Skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

I was first introduced to Ahimsa Essentials when I was perusing the Certified Local AZ Festival. Ahmisa is Sanskrit for causing no harm or injury. I met the owner- Queenie, who told me about her line of safe and natural skincare. She had body butters, natural deodorants, and therapeutic balms in a variety of scents on hand to try. I smelled several scents; each smelling amazing, of course.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The small company launched in January 2015, and made its’ debut at Phoenix Public Market. These natural and uber-Earth-friendly are created in Phoenix, AZ by the husband and wife team- Sean and Queenie Scherer. They create these products out of their home, using only plant-based and sustainable ingredients. Sean goes on to explain, “We are a team of a Naturopathic Doctor and an Environmental Engineer, so it is in our “nature” to strive towards making the planet a more sustainable, healthy and natural place!  When we started looking at how to make our mark we found that the bath and body care industry is loaded with synthetic ingredients, unnecessary fillers, unethical practices and animal testing.  We decided to create our own brand and named it ahimsa Essentials for two reasons; 1. ahimsa means to do no harm in thoughts or action 2. We only use the essential ingredients that make products effective, no fillers, no synthetics and absolutely no animal based ingredients.  We have created a line of products that are completely plant-based and sustainable while also being incredibly effective! ”

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

They currently offer five lines (all information is c/o Sean):

1.)  Moisturizers. They only use organic Shea butter and essential oils,  which are ultra-rich and natural moisturizers that are very pure and effective with only a small amount needed.

2.) Balms. Only organic Shea nut oil and essential oils are the only ingredients. These have both therapeutic benefits and nice natural scents. They are useful both as a parfume and for a variety of other therapeutic benefits (examples; Bliss – immune boosting, Rescue – tension reducing, Zen – anxiety reducing).

3.) Sugar Scrubs.  Organic EVOO, Fair-trade organic sugar and essential oils are the only ingredients. These work as exfoliators, which leave a lovely moisturizing effect behind.

4.) Deodorants. Organic Shea butter, organic coconut oil, Arrowroot powder, baking soda and essential oils are the only ingredients. Effective all-natural deodorants with our signature scent blends and a mix of essential oils, which are anti-bacterial to prevent the growth of bacteria, which lead to odor.

5.) Soaps. We have two different soap products; one is a liquid Castile soap, which is an organic olive oil based soap that can be used for nearly every purpose one can think of!  The other is an Hawaiian Loofah soap, which is a natural coconut oil and macadamia nut oil bar soap molded around a vine grown loofah.

After reviewing these products for a week (so far), I’m never going back to store-bought skincare care again…

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The Zen Organic Whipped Body Butter is kind of amazing, especially since it’s getting colder and drier here in the desert. I mainly use it after getting out of the shower. It is infused with lavender, peppermint, and bergamot essential oils, which are PERFECT to help aid relaxation before bedtime, or just after a stressful day. They recommend using about a dime-size portion to use on your hands. I personally use a smidge more, because sometimes I feel like I need it. It comes off as somewhat oily, but once you rub it all in, the oil feel eventually goes away. I find that I can go all day without adding more to my skin, thus the product lasts longer.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

The Rescue Tension Balm is an essential oil roll-on that helps to relieve tension, mental fatigue, body aches, etc. I’ve used it a few times, for minor headaches, and just to help ease my mental state after a stressful day at work or whatnot. I really love the minty fragrance that it gives off. I’ve found that it doesn’t necessarily relieve 100% of the aches, but it helps to a degree. I do find that it really helps my mind relax.

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Ahimsa Essentials, natural skincare, skincare

Lastly, I chucked my store bought deodorant in lieu of the Zen Natural Deodorant. I was kind of skeptical at first, as I wasn’t sure if it would work or not. After a solid week of being on it (hiking, working, etc), it seems to do the job. They recommend a pea-size portion, but I need a little more, as every body functions differently. When I first used it, I rubbed it in all the way, and it didn’t work as well. So now I’m leaving it on, and it works! Again, please note, this is just from my observations, not everyone may experience the same results.

I’m definitely glad I made the switch to Earth and human friendly skincare products. I feel that if I make the mistake of it getting into my mouth, lips, eyes…wherever… I won’t freak out, because there aren’t any harmful chemicals.

You can find Ahimsa Essentials ONLINE, @ahimsaessentials #ahimsaessentials on social media, OR in person at the following markets and retail locations: Uptown Farmer’s Market Wednesday and Saturday, Phoenix Downtown Public Market Saturday and Tempe 6th Street Market Sunday. Retail Locations- The Henna Shoppe (4 locations around Phoenix area), Ahimsa Medical Center in Mesa, Green Goddess House of Herbs in Melrose District and Lotus Day Spa and Salon in Yuma.

They welcome ideas, comments, or desires for particular products!

*I received product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

 

Tucson’s Laura Tanzer Creates Sustainable Clothing for the Modern Woman

I first heard of the Laura Tanzer Designs brand when I was browsing through Phoenix Fashion Week’s social media pages in 2015. At the time, Laura was an emerging designer and had presented during Phoenix Fashion Week‘s annual runway festivities at Talking Stick Resort. Tanzer had showcased the “Les Rayures des Fleurs” collection- a stunning assortment of skirts, dresses, blouses, and jackets that were in an array of red, black, white, and navy blue hues. What also grabbed my attention were the floral prints, stripes, high-waist flared pants, maxi dress with dramatic low cut back, and asymmetrical jacket.

I immediately reached out to Laura, and have since been a fan of her brand, which is sustainably made in Tucson. The designer has been creating clothing ever since the tender age of seven. She, alongside her grandmother, would make clothing for her Barbies. The clothing creating continued throughout the years, as she made wearables for herself, her sister; then her friends, and finally- clients! Along with the impeccable construction of the clothing and passion for what she does, she also credits getting her inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere. For example, the collection that will be unveiled during Phoenix Fashion Week on the 14th…”The inspiration for my current collection combines my love of modern form, contrappunto, and my travels to places with water – Venice, the Outer Banks off North Carolina, the Pacific Ocean.” I have seen some of the teasers on her Instagram, I can only predict that Spring 2017 will be sophisticated and elegant.

This month marks the three year anniversary of her official launch (October 2013). She now has a charming Atelier in the historic train depot in downtown Tucson, where she works and where clients can come in, browse, and buy. I’ve had the pleasure of stopping by the atelier a few times, not only to finally meet Laura in person, but to also see, feel, and try on the clothing. Let me tell you, the fit of her clothing was amazing! It was refreshing getting a one-on-one ‘fitting consultation’ with her, as she’ll explain the fit and have suggestions on tailoring or how to wear the pieces. It was also fun to see the room where she and her small staff construct the samples and put together the collections. I’m loving that the clothing is made with the highest quality fabrics, right there in Tucson, and with the utmost care and sustainability.

Speaking of sustainability, Laura also believes in not only creating sustainable clothing, but also, a sustainable lifestyle. “I want to contribute to the local economy, create jobs, build my business by respecting the environment and our natural resources. Our Sustainability Series occurs the fourth Wednesday of every month. We host specialists in various areas of sustainable practice/knowledge, such as water, air, toxins, social behavior, etc. It is always entertaining, and always inspirational! My co-sponsors are: Mrs. Green’s World, Green Living Magazine, Local First Arizona, Delectables Restaurant and Borderlands Brewery,” Laura explained further.

If you are local to Tucson, I suggest taking a trip to visit the Atelier. If not local, you can shop Laura Tanzer online. Be sure to also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, and Youtube.

In the photos below, I am wearing select pieces from the “Les Rayures des Fleurs” collection.

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Black and White Striped Maxi Dress (call (520) 981-9891 for ordering info)

** Above images by Sofia Emm **

Laura Tanzer maxi dress, nyfw, sustainable fashion

Navy Blue and White Striped Hi Waist Flare Leg Pant + Navy Blue Top (call (520) 981-9891 for ordering info)

** Above image by Julie Stanley **

KisaKisa Clutches Create Buzz Among Houston’s Fashionable Set

Kisa Williams’ round clutches have the fashionable crowd in Houston buzzing. Williams launched her brand- KisaKisa in 2015 and creates round statement clutches in a variety of prints and colors. She has an intense passion for what she does, and pours her heart into her work. Every clutch is handmade in Houston. I very recently commissioned her to do a custom piece for me, inspired by cactus, the desert, and the Southwest. I just received my bag and OHMIGOODNESS…. she NAILED it! I just can’t sing enough praise for her talent and an eye for something DIFFERENT!

Below are photos of the handbag in the desert. I thought it was only fitting, as desert and cacti/Southwest go hand-in-hand…

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

KisaKisa Cactus Clutch, made in Houston, Southwest print, desert, mountains

LAFashionsnob: Tell me a little about yourself…

Kisa: I’m from Austin, Texas. I moved to Houston in 2001 when I transferred with my job, Houston Board of Realtors. I can remember sitting on my mom’s bed in my PJs, watching her get dressed. It was like an art form. She had pride in the way she looked. Everything was perfect, from her hose, to her lipstick that matched her handbag and shoes. I can remember her having so much jewelry; and she would allow me to try it on and play dress up. That is where my love of accessories was born. Since I was a sick child, she made sure I had other activities to do besides going outside to play. So she drowned me in markers, colored paper, glue, and glitter; and I had the big pack crayons with the sharpener on the side. I can remember I had a Scooby Doo coloring book. I felt so sad for them [the characters] because they were in the same outfits all the time. So I colored Velma Dinkley’s outfit different, I made her turtleneck purple with small pink and yellow flowers. Her A-line skirt was boring, so I colored it black and white polka dots. Her socks matched the yellow flowers in her sweater. I also gave her gold glitter shoes.

I decided to go back to school late in my life, my 40’s. I have had many other jobs: real estate, nanny, clerical, and I was even a foster mom for awhile. I felt like I had a creative side, but just didn’t know how to express it. HCC [Houston Community College] showed me how to tap into my creative side and do something spectacular. I owe everything to them. The professors not only teach you, but they mentor you as well. I’m not a number, I’m KISA. I can remember sitting across the table from my professor at Chili’s on 59, and pulling out my badly made sample handbag to show her. She was like, ‘OMG I love it!’ She advised me on the size of the bag and other minor changes that I made.

LAFashionsnob: Speaking of handbags, what inspired you to start making the clutches?

Kisa: I have always been a handbag girl. I would often be asked, “Where did you get that bag?” The first chance I got, I took a handbag class with Professor Ken Simmons at HCC, and that is where it all started. I took a very simple concept and made it my own. I owe a lot to Simmons. I’m going to name a bag after him.

LAFashionsnob: Why are the clutches in the shape that they are?

Kisa: I did know at first why I was drawn to the circle, but while having lunch with a close friend- Sarah Shah, she pointed out to me that the circle is the shape of a sickle cell. I was born with Sickle Cell Anemia, the disease causes my red blood cells to be in the shape of a sickle. When the bag is open, it is the shape of a normal blood cell. There is no cure for the disease… YET. I hope to being awareness and raise money with a signature red bag.

LAFashionsnob: What makes your handbags unique?

Kisa: My bags are unique because they are circles, and made out of fabric, not leather. I was so tired of seeing square and rectangular shaped bags. I wanted to do something different. I mix colors and fabrics in a unique way, something different than black and brown.

LAFashionsnob: Where can we find your handbags?

Kisa: www.kisakisafashion.com, @kisakisafashion, Pinterest, and Mio Boutique on Westheimer in Houston.

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutchKisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

KisaKisa clutch, fashion, style, Houston made clutch

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