REVIEWS

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My Maggies Original Fashion Magnet

Maggies are the first ever small magnets that are designed to be strong enough to hold a flat piece of fabric (i.e. shawl, sarong, etc.) together without damaging the fabric and enable the wearer to style the fabric in a variety of ways. Maggies were invented by Margaret Sinclair- a native Australian who had moved to Dallas back in the 80s to continue her career in the medical and design industries. In October 2012, she launched the “soft version” of the Maggies, then called- Magnetic Textile Fasteners, which were able to hold multiple pieces of fabrics (including delicates) without damage to them. She officially launched the Maggies label in 2013 during the Accessories Show in NYC and they have since become a household staple for women of all shapes, ages and sizes.

I was given a sample of the Maggies recently and was able to get a feel of their versatility and magnetic strength. They came in a small plastic container, in which they should always be stored, as they are magnetic (so be aware when storing near a cell phone, jewelry or credit card). The package includes a large and small magnet, as well as an instruction leaflet with some FAQs and How-To’s. The larger one is meant to hold thicker and heavier fabrics, whereas the smaller one is meant for lightweight fabrics. The magnet itself consists of a ball and ring, in which you keep the ball inside the fabric and magnetically attach the ring on the outside of the fabric (as the ring is a little more visibly pleasing). I must say that the first time using them takes a lot of patience (at least for me anyway). You have to get the fabric just right and then place the magnet where you want it. The magnet is quite strong, so getting it to fit just right took a couple tries. I feel like it’s almost a two person job because you need someone to help hold the fabric in place, while you position the magnet. After the magnet is in place, then you are good going about your merry little way. But I’d say that they are a handy little staple for any wardrobe and after a few tries, it’ll be easy handling them and the fabric yourself (insert “thumbs-up” for honing those multi-tasking stills). I also enjoyed playing with and coming up with different ways to reinvent a top or dress with just a single couple yards of fabric.

For more FAQs, check out mymaggies.com!

** Photography by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography **

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Parisienne French by Rhianna Jones (Book Review)

It’s in the middle of Paris Fashion Week and this is my first time in Paris (hypothetically speaking). I’m sitting on a bench by the Seine, in between shows, when a chic Parisienne approaches me and asks me a question in French. Instead of going “huh?” I reach into my handbag and pull out my handy little phrase book- Parisienne French. I flip through the pages, find what I think she was asking and answered her back, while also casually mentioning that I don’t speak French that well. Seeing as that had broken the ice, I kept the book a little closer throughout my Parisienne adventure. Parisienne French is full of cultured words and phases that include slang and plenty of stylish sayings, as well as a neighborhood guide, that helped me get through fashion week.

Rhianna does a fine job in turning a “normal foreign phrasebook” into the ultimate destination and “Je Ne Sais Quoi” guide for the fashionable set (and first-timers). She poured her heart and soul into creating the guide, crediting her past experiences in Paris- sitting at cafes most of the day, people watching and exploring the quaint arrondissements.

The comprehensive book is small enough to fit into your purse or clutch. So the next time you find yourself at a French bistro with a significant other and are looking to impress him/her with your new-found vocabulary, let Parisienne French come to the rescue!

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O Necklace

There are quite a lot of jewelry companies that are picking up on the “name necklace” trend. I can now add international brand- O Necklace to my small roster. The brand launched in 2001 and has been know for creating beautiful and high-quality customizable name and monogram necklaces. I received the 24K gold plated “Carrie Style” necklace. This style was inspired by the famous Carrie Bradshaw in ‘Sex in the City’. It arrived wrapped in a sturdy gift box. When I first saw my name necklace, I was really impressed with the expert craftsmanship and intricate detailing of the cursive script. If you’d like more information or to channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw, check out O Necklace!

**Photo by Nicole Kestenbaum Photography**

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The SFP LookBook: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Fall 2013 Collections
by Jesse Marth (Book Review)

I was recently able to get my hands on this amazing book called ‘The SFP LookBook: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2013 Collections’ (recently published by Schiffer Fashion Press- an imprint of Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.), which highlights the Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week F/W 13 collections. The author- Jesse Marth gives the readers a wonderful look into the collections of over eighty of the top designers during NYFW. We are provided with over 2,500 looks from the well-known designers, as well as emerging brands. This comprehensive ‘fashion bible’, as I’d like to call it, has the designers going in alphabetical order and includes the designer’s name (which is very handy dandy) and then just draws you in with the photos of garments ranging from sportswear, menswear, formal wear and red carpet designs. You can also quickly reference the book for the season’s hottest trends. This is such a great reference book for students, stylists, bloggers and designers alike!

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A Guide to Buying and Collecting: Affordable Couture by Jemi Armstrong & Linda Arroz (Book Review)

I was recently sent this amazing book- ‘A Guide to Buying and Collecting: Affordable Couture’ by one of the authors-Linda Arroz herself. It’s a book that every collector and aficionados alike would appreciate and covers everything ranging from ‘how to identify couture’ to ‘realizing the difference between real and fake;’ ‘caring for your garments’ to ‘where to shop.’ The authors- Jemi and Linda also share their experiences with collecting vintage and couture.The book also includes several interviews with collectors who share what they have, how they acquired it and where they found their wares at such a bargain. There was one gal in particular- Beverly Soloman, who happened to live in my general vicinity and boasted a lovely collection of jewelry and scarves. Huge thanks to Linda for connecting me to Beverly, as I had the chance to meet up with her and her husband, sculptor Pablo at their ranch (one of the oldest homes in Texas and magnificent) one sunny afternoon. We sat down in her office and chatted about her life in the fashion industry.

Beverly grew up in Houston and had her Mother’s sketches {Mom was a fashion designer in Miami in the 50s} stored in the closet. Her Mother would always tell her stories about her glamorous life and the amazing clothing she’d design. Let’s just say the fabulousness of her Mother’s life and closet had rubbed off on Beverly. When she was fifteen, she was a local model for department stores and local morning TV shows. After she’d get off school, she’d drive over to a major department store (such as Foley’s at the time) and ask if they’d need any help on the sales floor and whatnot. It was not long after, that she’d regard the sales women as her ‘second mothers.’ They’d teach her the ins-and-outs of the trade, etc. and it was then that she started buying and collecting beautiful pieces with everything she earned. One women in particular who worked in the fine jewelry department, taught her about that portion of the business, while also getting her to start putting pieces that were on sale on layaway. After that, things looked up for Beverly… She had written a letter to Diane Von Furstenburg and they responded by offering her a job representing Houston in their new fragrance line. She also worked for Revlon, where she gained more knowledge in skincare, sales, marketing and honed her skills in fragrance. She was also thrilled she got to tour the factory. After working for Ralph Lauren (in fragrance of course), she started her own business as a fragrance broker. Fast forward several years to when her husband- Pablo first introduced her to the ‘love-affair’ of thrifting. During one of their first thrifting adventures, she ended up finding a few high-end scarves (one being Hermes) for a mere dollar. She now thoroughly enjoys it and the ‘thrill of the hunt.’ Her vast collection includes vintage (the best pieces being from the 50s-70s), original 70s YSL and Oscar de La Renta pieces, vanity art, fashion books, vanity art and compacts. She credits her Mother for her passion for vintage, like when they would go shopping, her Mother would turn the garment inside out and point out the construction and whether the work was good or shotty. Beverly says that you can collect pieces for a lifetime- as long as you take good care of it; case in point, she still has a black wool shawl she had acquired when she was in the 8th grade. She told me that her stories of her collection have been in numerous publications, but being in Affordable Couture has been the highlight of her life.

It’s not everyday a book spikes up a new found friendship. I am so thankful to have the book in my archives, as a reference for my ahem (sorry boyfriend) growing vintage collection and as a memory for when I met my lovely friend, Beverly. Her story was inspiring and heartfelt. And seeing her collection… well, it was just…perfect!

YOU dear readers, have a chance to win your own copy of Affordable Couture- just go HERE and enter!

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DECADES: A Century of Fashion by Cameron Silver (Book Review)

I had recently learned that Cameron Silver, co-owner of the highly famous vintage store Decades-located in Los Angeles, had just published a book on vintage fashion. So it was IMPERATIVE that I (a lover of vintage and all things…fashion) get a copy and delve into the exciting world of vintage. The hardbound book is rather large, but I was still able to stuff it into my “Other Bag by Aldo.” The cover immediately grabs my attention, as it is a close-up shot of high-end vintage designer gowns in a rainbow of colors. The book starts off by Silver talking about his background and then his transition into launching Decades. Then the book goes into detail in multiple eras, starting with the 1900s and ends at the ‘Decades’ decade, which is the 2000s. I love how the Silver really goes into detail through the eras, explaining about the clothing (like the corsets, hobble skirts, the construction…). He also shares stories of some of the notable people (such as designers and celebrities) in the eras and their roles in the history of costume. The book includes stunning photographs and detail shots, from Silver’s vintage collection to photos of eras gone by that have never been seen before. I spend at least a good few minutes or so on each page, reading and studying the photos…because well…it’s captivating and the photos provide a glimpse into a world where getting dressed meant looking polished…It was a daily ‘event’ {if you will} for some people to dress into two or three outfits daily. I could probably go on and on… This book is visually inspiring for designers and folks who are fascinated with vintage, especially vintage that looks modern. It’s definitely a ‘fashion bible’ and tool for honing your knowledge on the ten eras of fashion spanning the 20th Century. If you do get the chance to purchase this wonderful book, I suggest you jump on it. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Huge thanks to Cameron Silver for publishing this amazing treasure! I will treasure it for years to come. Also, thank you Bloomsbury Books for sending over a copy for my review.

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(Sponsored) Lotus Premium Denim

I was sent a pair of skinny jeans from a new denim company called Lotus Premium Denim- based in the Bay Area. They decided on the name Lotus because the Lotus flower’s story is compared to their story… the lotus grows from the mud and promises to bring beauty and potential despite the murkiness. Lotus was created by six young entrepreneurial women who already have day jobs with fifty to sixty hour work weeks and have families to take care of too. These women are a mixed pot of immigrants and first-generation Americans who have faced and overcame some of the hardest of adversities. Lotus Denim is a start-up has had minimal funding, but has grown on passion and drive. Since their launch in November of 2011, this philanthropic company has been giving back to their community. They have donated 5% of the profits to charities like City Year, Career Closet and Somaly Mam. That is an incredible feat seeing as they are still a blooming company- with kindness of heart. This kindness of heart that these women have translates in their clothing, which are made to clothe inspiring women all over the world.

I received the “Inspire” jean in indigo blue. The jeans fit amazingly well and are very slimming (not to mention making my ass look fantastic). Though just to be clear folks, {when you see the pictures below} the jeans look like peddle-pushers (semi-crops) on me, while compared to the model, they look normal on her. The reasoning for that is because the model is shorter than I am and I was given a 28″ inseam jean. Though taller people fear not! They do offer a 30″ inseam as well. But it goes to show that no matter the inseam with Lotus Premium Denim, they will always make you look long, lean and best of all- confident!

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Anara Original Cocktail Ring

Huge thanks for the ladies at the Delaware-based brand Anara Original for sending me one of their cute cocktail rings to review. Anara Originals was founded in 2002 by Sara Crawford, who’s goal was to create vintage-inspired and urban couture for both men and women. Sara graduated with a B.A. from the International Academy of Design and Technology in under three years and is a testimonial that being somewhat visually impaired has not stood in the way of her goals. After working with such names as Tommy Hilfiger and H&M, Sara decided to create her own brand that was an expression of who she was. The name ‘Anara’ is derived from ‘Sara’ and her middle name ‘Ann.’ She has a knack for turning ordinary pieces into extraordinary works of wearable art. For example, the ring that I know have. It’s apart of the ‘Button Ring and Brooch Collection.’ Inspired by a box of buttons that belonged to her Grandmother, Sara clusters buttons and brooches of all shapes and sizes and creates lovely masterpieces to wear on your fingers. The vintage-inspired collection is made with love and her Grandmother’s amazing style in mind. I love little chunky button ring! It’s oversize and has an adjustable band. When I wear it, I try to style my wardrobe around the color of one button each time, so it’s not too overbearing. The ring is a statement piece after all! For more information, check out AnaraOriginal.com and their cool blog, The Trendsetter, which has inspiration and pictures of new inventory.

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**Dressing Marilyn by Andrew Hansford (Book Review)**

This August (2012) marks the 50th anniversary of iconic actress Marilyn Monroe’s death. Author Andrew Hansford debuted his book- Dressing Marilyn: How a Hollywood icon was styled by William Travilla in North America this past April. Naturally, as a vintage enthusiast, I was excited to do a review on this book. William Travilla was the “IT” designer of Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’, dressing the likes of Jane Russell, Paul Newman, Judy Garland, Lauren Bacall and others. Mr. Travilla was then tapped to become Marilyn Monroe’s exclusive designer, dressing her for such famed movies as Gentleman Prefer Blondes, River of No Return, The Seven-Year Itch and others. You remember a little gorgeous pink gown or the jaw-dropping sequin red gown in Gentleman Prefer Blondes? Or how about that pleated white number made famous in one scene on The Seven-Year Itch? You can thank designer William Travilla. Since Andrew Hansford manages the William Travilla archives, he takes us on a journey to a by-gone era and gives us a small peek into the life of Marilyn Monroe- the actress and friend of Travilla. We are able to view original patterns and sketches of clothing worn by the actress, as well as some rare photos of costume test shots and candid shots. We can also read rare snippets of interviews from Travilla. This book can turn a boring rainy day afternoon into an afternoon of excitement, as once you start reading, it’s hard to put the book down.

Dressing Marilyn (an Applause Book) is available for $29.99 and is hardcover with 192 pages, including 200 color/ B&W photos.

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(Sponsored)**Halter Top Maxi Dress from Reverent Style**

I was excited when a rep from Reverent Style tapped me on the shoulder to do a review for one of their product on ReverentStyle.com. Reverent Style is the latest online retailer to hit the young contemporary market with nothing over $100. They feature apparel, accessories and jewelry from designers including: Ya Los Angeles, Lush, Moon Collection, Everly Clothing, October Sky and C. Luce. Their vision is to be enablers for young women to express their unique and independent self through personal style. Now, usually I’m somewhat hesitant on ordering anything online (as I like to try on first), but I decided to give it a shot. I check out the site and choose the Halter Top Maxi Dress by Ya Los Angeles. When I received the package, the dress was nicely folded and packed in a plastic envelope. The dress was even better in person! The quality was excellent. The colors and patterns were radiant and the small fit perfectly and true-to-size. One word of warning, the dress is NOT lined, so you will probably need a little somethin-somethin to cover up under the dress. A white strapless slip would work perfectly! I’m 5’7″ and the dress went down to my ankles. Since the dress is comprised of a cotton/polyester blend, it is advised that it be hand washed in cold water and hang dried only. So, for a mere $45 for the Halter Top Maxi Dress, you won’t break the bank for great quality and getting compliments EVERY time you wear it (like I did)!

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(Sponsored)**Wild Pair and BakersShoes.com**

The lovely folks over at St. Louis-based Bakers Shoes tapped me on the shoulder to review a pair of Wildpair shoes. I chose the Brooke strappy sandal in champagne because I loved the look and of course, the platform. Ok, I know that the 6 1/2″ heels and 2 1/4″ platform make me (at 5’7″) a giant, but they are just the cutest and I love the height. The straps are made from soft fabric with enough stretch to slip your feet right through. When I’m walking in them, I’m extra cautious and I try to stay on even pavement (because let’s face it- they are SUPER HIGH). I feel that because of the higher platform, it doesn’t put as much strain to the balls of my feet as a shoe with a lower to no platform. I chose the champagne color because of its versatility. You can wear it with just about any color and dress it up or down (though when wearing pants, I would recommend a skinny pant or pant where you can roll up the cuff to show off the shoe). Be sure to check out the Brooke on Bakers.com!

I would like to thank Anna Friss of Bluebirdapparel.com for taking the great shots of me and for helping me with styling using product from Miss Ohio Vintage- an awesome boutique on Washington and 13th in downtown St. Louis!

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Milan High by Ugglebo Clogs

I recently reached out to the Swedish clog brand- Ugglebo, because all my pals in Phoenix were wearing them and I just had to see what all the fuss was about. I chose and received a pair of the Milan High clogs because a.) I love higher heels and b.) they have straps around the heels so my feet won’t slip out. They came in a signature Ugglebo box and wrapped in tissue. Also included was a postcard that briefly describes their story and a cute key chain. The clogs feature an Alderwood base and soft nubuc leather, which is stapled to the wood for a classic look. The heel is 3.9″ ( 10 cm) high. They run true to size, as I am a 9 (39 according to the size chart). I love that the scalloped edge brings a certain European-esque charm to the clog. If you aren’t used to clogs already, you do have to break them in and it does take a few weeks. Just wear them for a few hours for a few days a week on carpet and you should be fine. Also, give the leather (especially around the toes) some time to stretch as it, because at first (at least for my feet anyway) it does seem a little tight. But for the most part, they are comfortable and easy to walk in. I would definitely recommend getting a pair of these unique clogs, they come in a variety of styles from heels, wedges, boots, to shearling and vintage. And ahem, not to mention they look fab dressed by themselves or with a pair of tights or socks- just sayin…

I also want to share some of their backstory with you. The company was founded in 1965 by renowned clog maker -Sven Carlsson. He launched the brand based on his years of making comfortable clogs for men and women and combining those techniques and todays fashion trends. His son, Christer has since joined the team and has taken over as head clog master. Today, Ugglebo prides itself on the same legacy of handcrafting comfortable and luxurious clogs as it did back in 1965. The brand also participates in several charities, including Donate Your Old Shoes. After hearing the charity’s mission, Ugglebo launched Re-Clog the World- encouraging folk from all over the world to send their old clogs, no matter what brand and in return, Ugglebo will donate them on your behalf to Donate Your Old Shoes. To shop and find out more about this amazing brand, check out Ugglebo.com!

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Kiehl’s Florence Welch Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque – Limited Edition

Thank you Kiehl’s for sending over the limited-edtion Florence Welch Rare Earth Pore Cleansing Masque for me to review. Kiehl’s recently launched this product just in time for Earth Day and is apart of the Label Art series. All 100% of the proceeds go to benefit RECYCLE ACROSS AMERICA™, a non-profit organization determined to make recycling more simple and effective with the introduction of national standardized labels for recycling bins. The masque helps aid in minimizing pores and leaving your skin soft and vibrant. Ingredients include Amazonian White Clay, which helps to pull out oil, dirt and other ‘lovely’ toxins that clog pores.

When I put on the masque the other night, it was soothing, with no overwhelming Earthy odor. My skin does tend to be sensitive when trying on product, but the masque was gentle and didn’t irritate my skin, thanks to the soothing and hydrating oatmeal and aloe vera that also make up the ingredients. It is recommended that the masque only stays on for ten minutes, but I left it on for around fifteen minutes and it was fine. I just took it off using a warm washcloth and voila! My skin was smooth and felt cleaner and not clogged.

The masque is available in-store on online and retails for $23.

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“Sofia Vergara” Cuff via The Style Manor

The lovely Sharon- CEO and founder of The Style Manor had approached me regarding the site and offered me the opportunity to review a product on the site. The Style Manor is a members-only site (FREE to join) with no obligation to pay per month and caters to selling new accessories (like a handbag, bracelet, earrings, sunglasses, etc) every week. You are free to purchase the entire set (handbag and two jewelry pieces) for $39.99 or separately. Each set is stylist-approved and features day-to-night styling tips.

I ended up choosing the cuff from the “Sofia Vergara” collection, because I loved its unique, avant-garde design. When it came in the mail I was glad to find that the cuff was somewhat heavy, which in my opinion, means good quality. It fits my arm perfectly and looks great with anything!

Check out The Style Manor today!

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MOTEL Skinny Jordan Jean in Black/White Stripes

Let me tell you, if you’re looking for colorful striped jeans…you’ve come to the right place! May I introduce the “Jordan Jean” by the British brand- Motel. This jean is uber-stylish to the core and the fit is fantastic! There’s plenty of stretch at the waist and thigh region, thanks to the Lycra, Polyester and Rayon blend. I love that there’s so many ways to wear this pant. I wore a funky vintage red top and kept to the red/black/white palette. This pant would kill it with the neon trend! Create your own funky take on the trend by adding neon pinks or yellows with the white/black stripes. The pants are now available in white/candy pink stripes! Be prepared to be complimented every time you wear this pant. Check out Motel today!

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LOVE Strapless Asymmetrical Chiffon Dress by In Love with Fashion

I am “in love” with my lovely navy, strapless asymmetrical chiffon dress, courtesy of the hip British brand- In Love with Fashion! The brand is showcased in Topshop, as well as online. They have a variety of the sheer chiffon garments and the girliest of dresses. In Love with Fashion is among the brands favored by a large amount of British celebrities as well. I can see why, as my garment is made from high-quality fabrics and looks great styled up or down. I wore a vintage multi-colored knit vest, tights and heels the first time I wore it out. The dress was semi-sheer, so I wore a navy slip underneath and had no problem. The high-low skirt just flows, though I definitely recommend wearing only with heels, as I had to wear with sandals (because I couldn’t stand walking in heels after several hours) and I noticed the skirt getting caught sometimes when I walked. But nevertheless, it’s worth it! All in the name of fashion! Definitely do yourselves a favor and check out In Love with Fashion!

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Leoluca Handbags

The owners and designers of the San Diego-based brand- Leoluca Handbags, Emma and Lauren, reached out to me in regards to their line, which just debuted this Fall/Winter 2011 season. The name Leoluca is derived from the Italian saint- Leoluca and the Italian mobster- Leoluca Bagarella (good and evil). This concept helps bring inspiration to the line, juxtaposing edgy with contemporary and femininity. The line is handmade here in the USA and handcrafted using the highest quality materials. They sent me the “Winter,” a white leather envelope clutch with pink interior, handy interior pocket and back exterior pocket, ostrich embossing and a detachable gold chain. I LOVE this chic clutch and its versatility! I don’t really use it as a shoulder bag, mainly as the clutch. It fits easily under my arm and is just my all-around “best-friend”! You have got to check out this line here, if you want that perfect clutch for day or evening!

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Moda Revise Handbags

The lovely NYC-based handbag brand Moda Revise asked me to review two bags from their Spring/Summer 2012 line, the teal ‘Georgiana’ tote and grey cross-body satchel. Each bag is beautifully handcrafted in lambskin and boasts whimsical silk screened floral manga artwork done by the designer- Stella Chang, herself. The bags are also embellished with high-quality antique-gold finish hardware and the black leather bow adds a girly touch. The grey satchel comes with a detachable strap to wear on the shoulder or cross-body. It has numerous handy pockets on the inside, like a pocket for your cell and a strap where you can store a pen for easy reach. The teal tote is roomy with less pockets and still offers a strap for your pen. The opening for the tote has a magnetic closure, whereas, the satchel can be zipped shut. The bags retail between $340-400. Also check out Moda Revise on Facebook!

**The above slideshow is courtesy of Moda Revise**

As a thank-you for the review, Stella also gifted me several samples from their Chocolate Handbag line, where she is also head designer. For this better line, they only use faux leather, are affordable and are geared toward the chic, on-the-go consumer. Their bags retail from $40-125.

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Rainforest Radiance Hair Butter from The Body Shop

I really want to thank the folks at Bratskeir and The Body Shop for sending the Rainforest Radiance Hair Butter. This conditioner is amazing and smells so good! It’s smells like being in the clean rainforest mixed with some heavenly floral scents. Every time I use it, I feel the stress of the day melt away and I find that my hair is always so soft and smooth after leaving it in for five minutes and rinsing it off. It also helps to protect my hair’s shine and radiance. The best thing is that it’s eco-friendly and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients like silicones, parabens or colorants.

Rainforest Radiance Hair Butter retails for $14.00. To buy it, go here.

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Nila Anthony Handbags

I had connected with Nila Anthony Handbags during MAGIC and was delighted when they allowed me to pick out a purse for my review. The entire Nila Anthony line is vegan and offers styles that are trendy and edgy. One fact about the line is that the designer- Nila Prawiradjaja grew up in Bandung, Indonesia, which was built on top of a volcano. That was a reason why she always wanted to have nature and her respect of the environment influenced in her designs. The line has been featured in Vogue, InStyle and Lucky just to name a few. I really admire their price points, which are very reasonable and can complement any budget. Nila Anthony and the sister brand- Jesslyn Blake are available through A.N.D.M Showroom . You can also check them out on FACEBOOK!

I chose a black bag with adjustable strap and a brass antique-inspired key as a closure for the flap. The leather had sort of a pebbly texture and is soft and durable. The inside lining has a brown and white floral print (reminiscent of Nila’s nature influence). There are numerous handy pockets that are open and also pockets with zipper closures. All the details, even the logo, are brass. The strap is adjustable, like I mentioned and is made to be worn on the shoulder or cross-body. It’s just the perfect little bag that’s not bulky and is easy to carry around.

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Cheeky Green Eco-Friendly Cargo Tote

I was first introduced to Cheeky Green Totes during FOCUS and really loved the different styles of the recycled totes. Cheeky Green founder- Stefanie DiBenedetto designed the trendy bags to be soft, machine- washable, foldable and multi-functional (for grocery shopping, for use in place of retail shopping bags, taking on the plane, or just carrying as a purse). The bags are also strong enough to hold 25 pounds. The company was kind enough to send me a cargo tote (in brown) to review. The tote came with a handy detachable coin purse that I can take with me to the store or gym, without the hassle of lugging a massive purse. I love that the bag is lightweight, stylish and foldable and made of 100% recyclable Tyvek™. Again, the bags come in a variety of styles and colors. For more information on the company and their mission to fight disposable culture, go to their website.

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Activist Eyewear

My dear readers, I’d like to introduce an eyewear brand that’s pretty popular on the East Coast (because they’re designed in Brooklyn and crafted in Japan) and need more attention here on the West Coast. I was excited when the company’s co-founder Anthony Codispoti reached out to me and lent me a pair of their signature aviators to try out and learn more about the brand, called Activist Eyewear. Anthony’s business partner Mark Craig had been designing eyewear for ten years. During that period, as he had worked with high-end markets, as well as high-performance markets; he realized that nothing was being done to bridge these two worlds of style and performance. So, he and Anthony decided to start-up an eyewear company to provide eyewear that looks as good as it performs. Anthony explains their ideal consumer, known as the ‘dapper outdoorsman,’ “He works hard, plays hard and explores the world in all his pursuits. He needs gear to keep up with him and refuses to compromise on style in the process.” Now ladies, I know what you’re thinking…’What about female consumers?’ Activist Eyewear may gear mostly to men, but the glasses are unisex. I happen to like the aviators and wayfarers, which are also the brand’s best-sellers. So, the glasses come with a nifty protective case made from American-made waxed canvas. [The company that makes the canvas has been making the canvas that has been used in ship sails for two-hundred years.] They also come with a lovely micro-fiber cloth with their AE logo in a repeating pattern. If you purchase the wayfarers, you’ll receive two lanyards (otherwise, you must purchase them separately for $10). When looked at closely, the weave on the lanyards is custom-made with their signature Morse Code pattern. The glasses are fragile, but rather unique and offer little hidden tidbits, such as: the fingerprint texture on the nosepads. The print is actually Mark’s thumbprint. Along with providing extra grip, it’s also the artist’s signature. Unlike the usual curved ear rest on other glasses, AE uses ‘Split-Fit’ technology, which makes eases tension and pressure near the ears and temples. When I was wearing them, I could feel the difference in comfort and secure fit. So friends, definitely check out Activist Eyewear and snatch up your pair fast, because they only make each 718 of each colorway worldwide.

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FASHIONARY x I.T Sketchbooks

I’d really like to thank Fashionary’s Chief Editor and Designer- Penter Yip for giving me the wonderful opportunity to review and write about this amazing tool for designers. It is a huge thrill for me to introduce to you, dear readers~ Fashionary… The Fashionary and I.T special edition collection comes in four neon colors: pink, blue, green and orange and offers 164 pages of fashion deliciousness that caters specifically for fashion designers. The first 34 pages offer helpful tools, such as: button measuring diagrams, fabric dictionary, laundry labels, calendar, pattern and flat drawings (which is useful if you need to look-up the name of a sleeve or skirt), and a huge list of fashion brands, blogs, photographers, etc. Then the last 130 pages are pages that have 400 barely-there templates for some quick sketching for that designer-on-the-go. I also love that it has a contrasting elastic bookmark to not only hold your place, but keep any loose papers from falling out of the book. It’s the cutest little sketchbook ever! It’s so light, small and portable, which makes it easy to tote around in a smaller purse. LOVVVEEEE ITTT!!! Every designer should invest in this “Fashion Bible.” Check Fashionary out here!

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‘Tailored Cheek Tint’ & ‘Illuminating Face Base’ by The Body Shop

I was delighted when the folks at The Body Shop sent over the ‘Illuminating Face Base’ and ‘Tailored Cheek Tint’ for me to review. The products are part of their eco-friendly line, “Brush with Fashion. The ‘Illuminating Face Base comes in a .50 US fl oz tube with a built-in brush. You have to twist the tube in order for the apricot-colored liquid to push its way into the brush. Then you just brush your face, dapping it with your fingers or sponge to blend in. You can use it alone, in place of your make-up. Please note, for those of you with problem skin (like myself), this is NOT a concealer. It does do a great job in brightening your face and helping to cover up problem spots. The ‘Tailored Cheek Tint’ comes in a .33 US fl oz tube, also with a built-in brush. This will most likely take the place of my blush. When you squeeze the tube, the liquid (though clear-colored)comes through the middle of the brush, turning it pink. You can either brush it on your cheeks and then dab, or like I did, just dab it on my cheeks. Though if you do that, you may experience a brief staining of your finger…but don’t worry, with just a few washes with a little soap and water, it’ll be gone. To read more about the “Brush with Fashion” line, go here.

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“Blondes Make Better T-Shirts” Tee

I’m sure ya’ll have heard of the infamous “blonde” jokes….Well, now you have the chance to wear a label that I’m sure will bring some humorous conversations to the table. The eco-friendly line was created by Norwegian designer- Lise Ellingsen, herself, a blonde. I met the rep for the line, the lovely Miss Neely and she went over the different cuts, fits and designs of the tees. I learned that the line only uses 100% sustainable and sweatshop-free fabrics, produced right here in sunny California. One of their most popular fabrics is Promodal, made from 40% beech tree and 60% eucalyptus tree. They have also used fabrics comprised of 50% recycled plastic bottles that are mixed with organic cottons. She also was pointing out the comical names for the tees, for example: the “Oops” tee, featuring one style with a burnt iron mark, a lipstick stain, etc. There’s one tee with a pocket at the bust and an ‘ink stain’ at the bottom of the pocket. This tee is aptly named: the “Ink Spill” tee. There are also “Blonde Moment” tees, like the one Neely graciously gifted me to review. Mine is called the “Bike” tee. There’s a snapshot of a blonde chick um…locking her bike to a post…or uh…lack thereof… My tee is an x-tra small and fits like a small/medium. The material is super-soft and comfy, like a baby’s blanket. For more t-shirt options, photos, “blonde tips”, etc., check out Blondes Make Better T-Shirts! This is the epitome of SoCal chic!

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ME! Bath “Lavender Lullaby” Bath Ice Cream

My first encounter with the ME! Bath brand was when I was retouching their photos for work. They paired their products with things that relate to that scent (for example: the chocolate body wash has thick chocolate syrup running down the side of the bottle). This immediately caught my attention and I contacted the brand; who were kind enough to send me the Lavender Lullaby Bath Ice Cream. When I received the package, I could even smell the calming lavender aroma through the cardboard box! The packaging is simple, yet I noticed each scent had it’s own saying on the back of the packaging. The Lavender Lullaby’s box states: Sleep comes to some quickly. For the rest of us, there is nothing more relaxing than the dreamy soft smell of lavender. As you soak away layer after layer of stress, feel the comforting sensation of your eyes drifting as you enter wonderland…

I didn’t want to use the bath soak right away, because (and I can’t stress this enough) it smells SO GOOD! Every time I took a big whiff, I felt so calm. When I finally did use it in the bathtub, it fizzed, turning the water purple. It took several minutes for the bath bomb to dissolve and after my bath, my skin was smooth (from the Jojoba oil) and smelled of the lavender. I have so much faith and love of this product, that I am determined to try EVERYTHING! I want to personally thank the founders- Benjamin and Lisa Nissanoff for making such an amazing product!

Definitely check out their website! And follow ME! Bath on Facebook and Twitter!

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S’WELL Drinking Bottle

For all you environmental aficionados out there who love a good reusable drinking bottle for hot and cold drinks… the S’WELL bottle is for you! S’WELL was founded in September 2010 by Sarah Kauss, who was hiking in the desert on day and thought of a better concept for the water bottle. The stainless steel bottle comes is a variety of colors and uses an advanced insulation that keeps drinks hot or cold much longer than the other brands. It is non-leaching, toxin-free, unbreakable and holds seventeen ounces of drinking bliss. The shape of the bottle was ergonomically designed to fit into your hand, bag or cup holder. The bottle opening is easy to clean and is large enough to add ice cubes. It was designed for the fashion-forward consumer and addresses two important issues: the environment and the global water crisis. For every bottle sold, S’WELL will donate 10% of the proceeds to WaterAid, which is a nonprofit organization that has been working to deliver water solutions to the world’s poorest communities for the past thirty years. For every bottle sold, it provides a year’s supply of water for someone, while for every five bottles provides a lifetime’s supply. For $40 a bottle, it’s sure to be a great gift for a loved one this upcoming holiday season or a gift for yourself and rest-assured, you’ll also be helping out the environment, while staying your fashionable selves!

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“Thompson” High Heel Open-Toe Bootie in Black by Report Signature

I would personally like to thank Art Abenoza of Report Shoes and Steve Corcoran of Isis PR Agency, who reps DNA Footwear for gifting me the “Thompson” high heel open-toe bootie in black. DNA Footwear offers all the latest brands of shoes, including Report and Matiko. I recently tested out the leather and suede booties with 4 3/4 heels at my employer’s holiday company party, paired with one of my designs. They fit perfectly and I felt no slippage, however, I must be blunt, there was no traction on the front soles, which caused me to be more cautious while walking (and that I still have a hard time walking in heels to begin with). But other than that, I found no flaw. I felt regal and poised while wearing them. The curvature of the platform allowed for less pressure of my front sole, thus allowing for reasonable comfort while standing or walking for a prolonged period of time. Check out the shoe on DNA Footwear here.

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Ruffle Dress and Cuff by Lisa Michelle Collection

I was recently gifted a vintage-inspired cuff with stones and zippered ruffle trim and a sleeveless tiered ruffle dress by the Lisa Michelle Collection. The dress fit beautifully and is made/and lined of silk charmeuse. The inner lining hugs the body at the right places, allowing the silhouette to look classic without looking loose. I chose to wear my dress with Michael Antonio wedge booties, which gave it a more playful look.

Lisa Michelle is now offering a discount for all my readers!! Use code, FashionsnobLA to get 20% off your order on her online store.

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Alex and Ani’s “Lifetime of Luck” Bracelets on ZeeBerry.com

I was recently gifted the “Lifetime of Luck” bracelets by Alex and Ani from the popular site, ZeeBerry.com. The eco-friendly bangles came in a set of seven. Each bangle (made of Russian Gold over recycled metals in my case) adjusts to fit any wrist-size. Five of the bangles are simple, while the other two bangles have either a ‘Good Luck’ or ‘Tree of Life’ charm as well as a charm that bears the Alex and Ani namesake and the ‘recycle’ symbol. The bangles add flair to about any outfit, whether you choose to dress up or down.

ZeeBerry.com is offering LAfashionsnob readers a coupon for $10 off any order over $50 (expires end of November)…. just enter the code: LAfashionsnob at checkout. (I would suggest one of the inspiring and uplifting Alex and Ani pieces, which can be found here.

For more info about the Alex and Ani brand in general, click here.

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Chiqui Beaute Facial Masks

I first read about the beauty brand, Chiqui Beaute through the Vital Juice Los Angeles newsletter and I wanted more information. So, the lovely Chavonne sent over samples of their best-selling facial masks. Below, you will find the three masks with a description of ingredients and how it works for the skin, and then my review of the product.

“Spa Glacial Mud Purifying Mask” -  Rich in minerals, Vitamins and Anti-aging essentials… How does it work for your skin? a.) Absorbs all impurities for great skin exfoliation. b.) Deep pore cleansing and oil secretion reduction. c.) Helps balance skin pH and improves the texture, elasticity and hydration in the skin. d.) Recharges the circulation of the skin and detoxifies the skin.

I have sensitive skin. So I was somewhat hesitant to put the mask on…. but after applying the creamy charcoal grey substance (that is paraben-free) to my face…I noticed that it cooled and soothed the skin, rather then burning it. I adhered to the directions- leaving it on for about 15-20 minutes, before taking it off with a hot towel. My skin felt refreshed and rejuvenated after.

“Citrus Happy- Hydrating Facial Mask” – Essential Ingredients: moist-24, extracted from the roots of Australian Imperata Cylindrica herb. Orange Oil and Hyaluronic Acid. Cucumber Extract, Tea Extract, Wheat Germ Oil, Lierre Extract and Scutellaria Root Extract. How does it work for your skin? a.) Promotes the skin elasticity and texture. b.) Provides 24-hour long lasting moisture and natural radiance look to the skin. c.) Restores balance to dry or oily skin. d.) Promotes the production of collagen. e.) Reduces puffiness and improves dry wrinkles skin. f.) Aids the release of toxins by increasing perspiration. g.) The citrusy fragrance in this mask refreshes the skin as well as relaxing the physical and emotional tension.

This mask is made from thin paper and due to it being super moist from the soapy-feel and oils, it was a little hard to unravel at first. Once the mask is on the face, make sure that it’s pressed securely against the face, especially the area around the eyes and mouth. It managed to stay on when I was gallivanting around the house, but did experience minor slippage around the mouth. After 20 minutes, I took off the mask and rinsed my face with warm water and patted dry. After, my skin felt refreshed and smooth.

“Youth Restore Lightening Mud Mask”- Plant-derived Alpha-Arbutin with anti-inflammatory Cucumber Extract and Rose Extract. How does it work for your skin? a.) Promotes skin lightening by blocking epidermal melanin biosynthesis. b.) Minimizes skin depigmentation to an even skin tone in a more effective and safer approach than any other lightening agents. c.) Helps repair skin damages from free radicals. d.) Smooths out fine lines and restores collagen. e.) Provides calm and soothing sensation.

This mask takes on a creamy white hue and is a lighter substance. It doesn’t burn when I applied it to my face and I immediately felt a cooling sensation along with a sense of calm. After 20 minutes, I took it off with warm water. My skin had a youthful glow and of course was smooth to the touch.

Chiqui Beaute is available online. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook.

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Zana Cosmetics

I was gifted make-up from the eco-friendly line, Zana Cosmetics to try out and review. Kristin Gentner-the sales director sat down with me and helped determine the best products for my skin type- which is fair and prone to oil and acne. Keep in mind, that every ingredient used in Zana are talc, paraban and cruelty-free and is made right here in sunny Los Angeles.

~Moisturizing Lotion- This moisturizer is made with natural oils and rose extract. When applied to the skin before the make-up (and used twice daily) it makes the skin smooth and has a light scent of roses.

~”Picture Perfect” Face Primer- Used after the moisturizer, is used for prepping the face for make-up application. Ingredients include: avocado and safflower as natural moisturizers and rosemary and hibiscus as natural soothers.

~”Fresh-Face” foundation (in light beige for my skin tone)- I applied this foundation with one of the Zana brand brushes to my face, which has a few problem areas. After the application, I saw that it covered the problem areas perfectly. The foundation felt light…not caked on.

~”Unilucent” Pressed Powder- This is used after applying the foundation. This light powder kept my face shine-free and natural all day long.

~”Liquid Silk” oil-free liquid foundation- Like the  “Power Matte” foundation, is easier when applied with a sponge. Unlike most liquid foundations, this one doesn’t run. I had to squeeze some on the back of my hand and it was heavy enough to where it didn’t run all over my hand. After rubbing off the excess liquid with a napkin, I noticed that it made my skin smooth and not oily nor sticky. It truly is liquid silk!

~”Power Matte” cream-to-powder foundation- I applied this foundation with a brush at first, then reapplied with a sponge and found that the sponge was more effective in full coverage (with some of my problem areas). After patting my face, I found that the foundation was also light and not have a caked-on feel.

~”Kiss My Lips” satin lip color (in Power Rose)- When worn, the light pink/rose hue is subtle with a hint of a glittery tone.

~”Lip Magic” lip balm (in Rose)- I love this lip balm! My lips get chapped very easily, but after one application, my lips are fine for the rest of the day, thanks to the rose extract and organic oils that make up the product. When I apply the balm, I notice (that I don’t from other brands) that the ergonomically designed tip hugs the curves of the lips, making for a smooth application.The rosey scent and taste ain’t bad either!

~”Shadow Fix” eye lid primer- Put this on before the eye shadow and it will make the color stand out even more.

~”Deliciously Cheeky” blush (in Salsa)- This blush is recommended to be mixed with the “Unilucent” powder so that it blends evenly for a more natural look. Or just apply it alone to accent your cheeks.

~”Seductive Eyes” high color shadows (in Zumba)- This dark rosey hue has a hint of shine and looks great on fair-skinned eye lids.

~”Diva Glaze” high shine tints (in Tropical Sunset)- This creamy gloss is a great alternative to your “average” gloss. It’s enriched in Vitamin E and doesn’t leave any sticky residue.

~”Sexy Lash” volume mascara (in blackest lash)- Just your average mascara for making your lashes gorgeous!

~”Exotic Lips” lip plumper- For those of you who love fuller lips, then you’ll like the “Exotic Lips” lip plumper. After a minute or so of the application, you’ll feel a tingling sensation-which means it’s working. I noticed a small difference in my lip size after about ten minutes. But you have to continue using it for thirty days to fully notice a difference.

~”Glitter Queen” eyeliner (in black)- This is a fun eyeliner! The black hue is rich and the glitter is a fun accent which helps one of my best features pop. However, after application, since it’s a liquid eyeliner, it’s best to keep the eyes closed for a few seconds and let it dry.

~”Flirt” eye liner (peach, pink, red and black)- These markers also have ergonomically designed tips that help create smooth, fine lines in rich hues that help make the edge of your eye lids pop.

~”Perfect Brow”-Use this when you want to even out your brows or customize your brow shape.

~”Clean Sweep” make-up remover- This make-up remover is oil-free and is more of a gel, which is great, in that it doesn’t make a mess like a watery remover would. My skin is also uber-sensitive to some removers-but that isn’t the case with this product.

For more information, please go here!

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Paqit Towelettes

Wow! As soon as I opened the small package containing the moist towelette, a sweet smell of bergamot wafted through the air. I realized that this is anything but a moist towelette. The Bergamot towelette covers the body and hands, while the Japanese Yuzu refreshes the face and neck. Both scents were citrusy. The Bergamot had a more rich, sweet orange scent, while the Yuzu had a soft citrus mixed with a little grapefruit. Once my skin dried, it felt smooth, clean and refreshed. These towelettes are perfect for someone who is always on-the-go. This product is extremely environmentally friendly, using sustainable, biodegradable and recycled materials and using natural ingredients like: aloe vera, seaweed extract, ginkgo biloba, fruit extracts, vitamin E and pure essential oils. Paqit is available in three sets: a package of eight towelettes, a package of eight towelettes that includes a Paqitbook and a small zippered carrying case and lastly, a package of twenty-four. Prices range from $10-27.

For purchasing and more information, go here!

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Midnightmare Apparel

“The designs are original hand-drawn illustrations.  The images are silhouettes of women who are disguised as animals…with a hidden agenda. Using the Femme Fatale approach, the images represent the women who know the power of their appeal and use it to get what they want.” -MidnightMare Apparel

Femme Peacock Tank Tunic with a picture of a femme peacock screenprinted in white on the front. The tunic is 100% Organic Cotton and organically dyed and hugs the body. I found it comfortable to wear and it looked great with skinny jeans and flats.

Femme Mare 3/4 Sleeve Tunic with a picture of a femme mare with bow and arrow screenprinted in white on the front. Again, extremely comfortable and I wore it with my signature skinnies and flats.

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